Archive for October, 2005

October 27, 2005

TRENT LOTT: “I’ll never read a blog.”

UPDATE: “To which I’m sure Yoda would reply, ‘That is why you failed’.” From reader Tim Gilbert.


October 26, 2005

IN LIGHT OF MY PRINTER POST from a while back, I guess I should report that I just installed one of these HP wireless printers to replace my now-dead study printer. (The old one bravely lasted just long enough to finish the book, which is now with the publisher; may it rest in peace in printer heaven, where the ink cartridges are always full and the paper never generic). The installation was easy, though it took a long time, chiefly because HP loads up the installation with a lot of software and other junk I’d just as soon do without. The wireless printing works fine from my laptop, too.

But what I’d really like is a wireless printer that will show up on any laptop in range, and print from any laptop in range, without having to load any software or drivers. That way guests, etc., could use it with a minimum of fuss. I don’t think that’s even possible with current operating systems. Am I wrong?

October 26, 2005

SISSY WILLIS REPORTS that USA Today has pulled the Condi photo mentioned earlier, and says that it was altered in ways that don’t fit USA Today’s standards.

October 26, 2005

IS SMALL THE NEW BIG? That’s a theme I’ve written about before (and it’s even a chapter in the book), but here’s more evidence for the proposition that small businesses are of growing importance in generating wealth:

When we look carefully at the distribution of these tax returns a clear picture emerges: an extraordinarily high proportion of high-income taxpayers have some form of business income (schedule C, E, or F) and that as their incomes rise, so too does the likelihood that they have business activity. As shown in Figure 2, overall 43% of taxpayers in the top 20% have business income, twice the percentage of those in the middle income group. Of those taxpayers in the top 1%—those earning more than $300,000 and subject to the highest marginal tax rates—nearly three quarters have business income. And for taxpayers with incomes above $1 million per year, nearly 83% have business income.

People often argue that self-employment or small business formation is up because people can’t get other jobs — it’s just a step above welfare, in other words. This would seem to suggest otherwise.

October 26, 2005

ANOTHER BLOGGER IS OFF THE FENCE regarding the Miers nomination: “I don’t want a Justice who is merely better than the mediocre. I want excellence.”

October 26, 2005

BLOGGER MOMMA BEAR HAS DIED: She is remembered here and here.

October 26, 2005


AP reports that President Bush has reversed course and reinstated the U.S. Department of Labor’s Davis-Bacon regulations on federally funded hurricane recovery and reconstruction projects in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

Mark Tapscott adds:

This latest decision, along with the lack of vocal White House support for the Coburn amendments last week and the growing fiasco of the Harriet Miers nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court could well ignite an open revolt on the Right that could seriously damage Bush’s ability to get anything through Congress for the rest of his second term in the presidency.

He notes a common factor with Bush 41.

October 26, 2005

FRANCO ALEMAN has come out of the closet — and he’s wearing pajamas!

October 26, 2005

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Mark Tapscott notes signs of progress.

October 26, 2005

THERE’S LOTS OF RAMPANT SPECULATION regarding what Patrick Fitzgerald will do. I don’t have any particular thoughts, except to note that lots of people are mentioning the False Statements Act. That’s a troubling law, and as I’ve done before, I recommend my former colleague Peter Morgan’s article, The Undefined Crime of Lying to Congress: Ethics Reform and the Rule of Law, 86 Nw U L Rev 177 (1992). The False Statements Act reaches more (a lot more) than just lying to Congress, and his article surveys its history and some of its abuses.

The subject also gets considerable discussion in this book, which was seen as more-or-less pro-Clinton when it came out, but which I think (and thought) has more general applicability.

UPDATE: More here.

October 26, 2005

RON BAILEY writes on NanoBioTech.

October 26, 2005

JOHN STOSSEL WRITES on the fate of the Coburn Amendment: “How do they live with themselves?”

October 26, 2005

EUGENE VOLOKH WRITES on the Second Amendment and the ‘Living Constitution.'”

October 26, 2005

IN THE MAIL: John J. Miller’s A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America. I expected it to be a rather dull house-history of the Olin Foundation, but it’s actually a pretty interesting insider’s account of the creation of a “counter-intelligentsia.”

October 26, 2005

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Over at, I ask where’s the White House?

October 26, 2005

VIRGINIA POSTREL EXPLAINS why she opposes Harriet Miers’ confirmation.

October 26, 2005

DON’T MISS THE LATEST CARNIVAL OF TOMORROW, with all sorts of blog posts on futurist topics.

October 26, 2005

MY FORTHCOMING BOOK has a chapter called “From Media to We-dia” (with an appropriate hat tip to Jim Treacher) and the theme is one I’ve sounded here a lot — about how technology lets individuals do things that only big organizations could do not long ago. I was interviewed the other day by documentary filmmaker Ron Galloway, who’s doing a film on WalMart, and this item from his blog illustrates my point:

We had to edit a trailer for our distributor in a rush the other day, so we ran into the Apple Store in Soho, bought a PowerMac and Final Cut Express, jumped in the car heading for Maryland, and digitized and edited a trailer in the car while riding down the New Jersey Turnpike.

By the time we hit Carlisle, PA it was done. We found a hotel with wifi, and uploaded the 5 minute trailer we had just edited on the road.

You can’t buy that kind of fun.

Actually, you can. And it’s not even all that expensive!

UPDATE: Bob Krumm sounds a cautionary note.

October 26, 2005


October 26, 2005

IF YOU ASK ME, it’s because people like boobies.

October 26, 2005

MILITARY BLOGGER BILL ROGGIO will be traveling to Iraq and embedding himself with a Marine unit. He’s asking for donations to help with the expenses. Give generously. I just did.

October 26, 2005

DOCTORED PHOTOS AT USA TODAY? Adobe’s “fill flash” can sometimes do surprising things, but I’m not sure it could do this.

October 26, 2005

TOM MAGUIRE continues his relentless dissection of Plame coverage. Meanwhile, on the question of why the White House cared what Joe Wilson was writing in the Times, Mickey Kaus observes:

Isn’t it possible the White House was extremely alarmed by Wilson’s covert (and then overt) appearances on the NYT op-ed page because Cheney, Libby, et. al. were operating under the outdated impression that the NYT op-ed page was where the fate of men and policies gets decided–i.e. that it was still overbearingly influential? [You mean …–ed Yes! If TimesSelect had been in place in 2003 this whole scandal would have been avoided.]


October 26, 2005

CONGRESS, PODCASTING, AND THE FUTURE OF VIDEO: My TechCentralStation column is up.

October 26, 2005

IT’S BLOG QUAKE DAY — a round-the-world blogburst for Pakistan earthquake relief. Give generously.

October 26, 2005


October 25, 2005

JONATHAN STEELE’S HORROR:The Guardian reports on the historic first democratic constitution adopted by an Arab country in a referendum. Jonathan Steele’s piece, which appears to be a news story and not an opinion column, drips with the bitterness of defeat. . . . Is this sort of reaction really just resentment at the fact that a right-wing Republican has promoted a war which is leading to the creation of a democratic republic in Iraq? Or is it not more the case that the likes of Steele actually find something deeply horrifying in the very idea of Arabs choosing democracy.”

October 25, 2005

JOHN PODHORETZ writes on the New York Times’ sudden turn against Judith Miller:

Previously, when newspapers have taken their own work to task, it has resulted from one of two causes. A reporter was caught committing outright acts of plagiarism or fabrication — as with The Washington Post’s Janet Cooke or the Times’ Jayson Blair. Or the paper needed to clear the name of an innocent person whom the newspaper had effectively tried and convicted of a serious crime — as the Atlanta Journal and Constitution did to Richard Jewell, falsely accused of the 1996 Millennium Park bombing, and the Times did to Wen Ho Lee, falsely accused of spying.

THE issue that has ostensibly caused this unprecedented character assassination is Miller’s involvement in the public exposure of CIA operative Valerie Plame. And in this case, no one at the paper is accusing Miller of making anything up — because she never published anything on the subject. Nor can anyone accuse Judith Miller of harming the reputation of an innocent — because, again, she never published. . . .

OF course, none of this Miller character assassination has anything to do with the Valerie Plame story. Rather, it has to do with the war in Iraq, weapons of mass destruction — and the peculiar solipsism of both the staff of The New York Times and the paper’s liberal readership.

Read the whole thing. I think that driving the war issue is the Baby Boomers’ Vietnam era conceit that right-thinking people are always “against the war,” regardless of circumstances. Or which war.

UPDATE: David Adesnik on a different story exhibiting the same phenomenon: “I think the real lesson of this article is that journalists are unable to comprehend Iraq except through the prism of Vietnam.”

October 25, 2005

GEORGE GALLOWAY: “TERROR’S LORD HAW-HAW” — except that I think Lord Haw-Haw was actually amusing.

October 25, 2005

HERE’S MORE ON ROSA PARKS, noting that her appearance wasn’t quite as spontaneous as myth has it. I knew about her connection to the Highlander Center.

October 25, 2005

AMERICANS FOR BETTER JUSTICE, the anti-Miers nomination group made up of Bush supporters, has a TV ad up on its site that will be running on Fox News starting tomorrow.

October 25, 2005


Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has unveiled an environmental plan to boost energy efficiency, cut down on waste and reduce greenhouse gases tied to global warming as part of a wider effort to address issues where it has been pummeled by critics.

Wal-Mart Chief Executive Lee Scott said the world’s largest retailer wants to be a “good steward for the environment” and ultimately use only renewable energy sources and produce zero waste.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: A reader who works at WalMart sends this link on an experimental energy-conserving WalMart.

October 25, 2005


October 25, 2005

J.D. JOHANNES, recently back from Iraq, writes on the “2,000th casualty” PR event:

Unfortunately, the media and the anti-war factions will never see Staff Sgt. Alexander as more than number 2000–a number used to wage a political battle. . . .

Unlike the pundits who will bray this evening on the cable channels and the activists who will hold vigils in Washington, D.C., I have been to the country where these men died.

I have been to the exact village where 1,998 died.

I have walked the dirt roads of Al Amariyah. I have been in businesses and houses around Amariyah. I have rode in a humvee up and down the bomb littered roads leading into Amariyah.

I may not have known Lance Corporal Butler, but I spent months with Lance Corporals–many in the Corps for less than a year–who patrolled Amariyah. . . .

Numbers 2,000, 1,999 and 1,997 also strapped up every day to stand on a wall many in America are willing let crumble. And to those who would let that wall crumble, they are just numbers.

They are not men of action and conviction, to the anti-war faction, they are merely numbers of sufficient quotient to send a press releases and hold press events.

I asked Marines all across Al Anbar province two questions:
1. If something goes bad and you die here. What would you think of people who used your death to protest the war.
2. After being here, and knowing what you know, would you still join the Marines/volunteer for this deployment?

The answers were invariably the same.

They did not want their death to be used as a prop and they would make the same decision all over again. These young Lance Corporals and Non-Commissioned Officers volunteered to join the Marines, many with the intent of coming to Iraq. And while few would say they like war, they all recognize the necessity of it.

The Marines and soldiers who fight in Iraq are not numbers, but the media and certain groups are treating them as if they were. Number 2,000 was a national treasure, just as number 1,435 was and number 2,038 will be. For what is the value of a man who will fight a war for others who despise him?

But for those who are willing to take action, there would be no wall at all hold back evil and those men and women on the wall deserve more than a number.

Read the whole thing.

October 25, 2005

ROSA PARKS HAS DIED: LaShawn Barber has a huge roundup post.

October 25, 2005


The size of the rejection was seen as a protest at the failure of public policy on security and as a reflection of discontent with the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. . . .

The No campaign – the effort against the ban – made much of the failure of public policy to deal with the threat of violence. The Yes campaign was seen to lack substance and ultimately failed to present convincing arguments on the risks of gun ownership.

Opinion polls on the eve of the referendum revealed a strong correlation between rejection of the ban and disapproval of Mr Lula da Silva’s government.

Gun control is usually a loser when it goes to a popular vote.

October 25, 2005

BELLICOSE WOMEN IN IRAQ: Read the whole thing.

October 25, 2005

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Sen. Coburn’s office emails:

Constituent phone calls [regarding the antipork Coburn Amendment] from 10/17/05 to 10/21/05

Out of state calls for Coburn HUD/Trans Appropriation amendments (including a dozen Alaskans and 2 dozen from the state of Washington).

Pro 256 Con 0

In-state calls for Coburn HUD/Trans Appropriation amendments

Pro 121 Con 0

Should Members of Congress forgo their annual automatic pay raise and put the savings toward Hurricane Katrina recovery costs?

Yes 91%
No 9%

678 total vote(s)

Pretty good stuff; no wonder Coburn is hanging tough. And no wonder other folks in the Senate don’t want this to gather momentum.

Meanwhile, reader J.A.M. emails:

Here’s a link to my post about the response I received from two out of three of my Washington representatives from Michigan:

I’m not impressed at all with Senator Levin’s email, but Congressman Ehlers gets at least a B for his. No word from Debbie Stabenow.

Reader Sudi Beheshti emails:

I emailed my congressman, Sam Johnson, R – 3rd District, TX, regarding helping with the effort to cut spending. Here’s his response. He doesn’t talk about specific cuts, but it seems to be a better than average form letter!!

Thanks for all your efforts in the PorkBusters project!

(Johnson’s letter is in the Extended Entry area — click “more” to read it).

And reader Julie Martin-Korb emails about what’s happening in Maryland:

In September, I wrote to Maryland Senators Sarbanes (D) and Milkulski (D) and Representative Chris Van Hollen (D) suggesting that the federal highway funds earmarked for the Montgomery-Prince George’s InterCounty Connector (ICC) be donated to Katrina relief. I previously forwarded to you and posted on Porkbusters the non-response I received from Senator Sarbanes. I have not yet heard from Sen. Mikulski or Rep. Van Hollen.

I also wrote to Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich (R) with the same suggestion. I called upon him to lead the way for other state governors and demonstrate the compassion of the people of Maryland by donating the federal ICC funds to Katrina relief. Today I received a two-page responsive letter from Robert L. Flanagan, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Flanagan’s response is also below — click “More” to read it.

Continue reading ‘PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Sen. Coburn’s office emails:

Constituent phone calls [regarding the antipork C…’ »

October 25, 2005

MY ADVICE TO CHRISTIANS, JEWS, HINDUS, ETC: Start blowing things up and beheading people. This will gain you enormous solicitude from the powers-that-be:

A West Yorkshire head teacher has banned books containing stories about pigs from the classroom in case they offend Muslim children. The literature has been removed from classes for under-sevens at Park Road Junior Infant and Nursery School in Batley.

British banks are also abandoning piggy banks for the same reason. And though it’s characterized as toleration, I think it’s really out of fear of violence.

No, I’m not serious about the advice. But they need to think about the incentive that’s being created here, or I fear that others will take the lesson. When you reward behavior, you tend to get more of it.

UPDATE: Several readers email to observe something that seemed obvious to me, but maybe wasn’t — that this sort of behavior is unfair to Muslims, since it stereotypes them as excitable and easily offended. That’s a common vice of political correctness, of course, as it tends to belittle and demean the very people it’s ostensibly concerned with. Meanwhile, reader Michael Murphy emails: “Well, I suppose we should be grateful that books containing references to Jews or which feature Jewish characters are not removed from the shelves lest they offend.”

Give ’em time.

October 25, 2005

GOOD NEWS FROM THE TROOPS: The Mudville Gazette has articles on both troop recruitment and troop retention. Greyhawk particularly likes this explanation given by a soldier for why he reenlisted: …”because as I look around at the state of this nation and see all of the weak little pampered candy-asses that are whining about this or protesting that, I’d be afraid to leave the fate of this nation entirely up to them.”

October 25, 2005

TOM MAGUIRE has much more on the latest Plame developments: “Even some aficionados are growing weary of this speculation and leak-parsing (but not me!).”

October 25, 2005

THE PLANK is a new group blog at The New Republic.

October 25, 2005

CAN’T STOP THAT BOY: Lileks is up to #37 #28 on Amazon.

October 25, 2005


The city council here has awarded the Newark Weekly News a $100,000 no-bid contract to publish positive news about the city, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported in Monday’s editions.

Then again, we’re talking Newark here, so there may be a degree-of-difficulty issue. (Via NewsAlert).

October 25, 2005


October 25, 2005

UNSCAM UPDATE: “US Senate ‘finds Iraq oil cash in Galloway’s wife’s bank account’.” More here.

UPDATE: Here’s Galloway’s response.

October 25, 2005

THE COTILLION is up! With a cool, witchy pinup graphic.

October 25, 2005

LILEKS IS UP TO #51 — with a bullet!

October 25, 2005

THE IRAQI CONSTITUTION has been accepted by Iraqi voters: Gateway Pundit has a roundup, including province-by-province breakouts of the vote.

Obviously it’s “another setback for Bush.”

October 25, 2005

MOST KATRINA AID remains unspent. Something to think about before appropriating more.

October 25, 2005

ALPHECCA has posted its weekly report on gun bias in the media.

October 25, 2005

PATRICK HYNES ASKS why Bush looks bored when it seems as if he ought to be panicking.

UPDATE: Jay Solo thinks it’s because Condi left the White House.

October 25, 2005


Some 1,400 people died in Indian Kashmir because of the recent quakes, and over 140,000 were made homeless. Across the border in Pakistani Kashmir, over 50,000 died, over 70,000 were seriously injured and over three million are homeless. The American relief effort has involved thousands of troops, several dozen helicopters and navy ships carrying relief aid and military equipment for rescue and reconstruction work. The U.S. noted the large amount of good will generated in Moslem Indonesia because of vigorous American relief efforts last year after the Indonesian earthquake and tidal wave, and is apparently out to repeat that process in Pakistan. The scope of the disaster has caused the Pakistanis to toss aside most political considerations and accept aid from anyone (including India and Israel). The quakes have had more impact on the military and political situation in Kashmir than any diplomacy or military efforts in the last several decades.

And scroll down to see how Al Qaeda is upset about this.

October 25, 2005


October 25, 2005

MICHAEL BARONE predicts no indictments this week.

October 24, 2005

RYAN SAGER: “The parallels between 1994 and 2006 keep piling up. Republican denials that there could even possibly be a problem might just be the next piece of the puzzle. . . . Chances are, though, that the Republicans will muddle through. But, if they’re paying attention, they also know that their continued success at this point is owed entirely to their adversaries’ inexplicable incompetence. Bush, in this second term, is weak; but Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are like lactose-intolerant kittens.”

October 24, 2005

LILEKS is up to #67 now.

October 24, 2005


There is major news in the fight over the report of independent counsel David Barrett’s investigation into the Henry Cisneros matter. Late today, the three-judge panel overseeing Barrett ordered that parts of his report be released to the public — and that all of the report be given to Congress.

For those who have forgotten, Cisneros was Clinton’s HUD Secretary, and was charged with lying to the FBI about the amount — not the existence — of payments to his former mistress.

Oh, well. Some people will manage to cash in a bit, just like last time.

UPDATE: Andy McCarthy says that Fitzgerald is apolitical and honest.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Tom Maguire has some thoughts as everyone is waiting for Fitzgerald.

October 24, 2005

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Nanodot has been covering the Foresight Nanotechnology Conference.

October 24, 2005

I LIKE AUTOMATED SERVICES like Technorati or Google News, but they’re easier for spammers and spoofers to fool than real people are. That’s the point of this post by Dave Winer, though as he notes, real people can be fooled, too.

October 24, 2005

YES, I WAS SCOOPED with this good news.

October 24, 2005

HERE’S FED CHAIR NOMINEE BEN BERNANKE’S homepage. Links to publications, CV, etc.

October 24, 2005

A SUGGESTION THAT THE PRESS do a better job in reporting on Joseph Wilson’s Niger mission, rather than mischaracterizing it.

October 24, 2005


Hurricane Wilma headed into the Atlantic Ocean after its path across southern Florida knocked down trees and power lines and flooded low-lying areas. Insured damages from the storm may be as much as $10 billion, more than any of the four hurricanes to hit the state last year.

Wilma, the eighth hurricane to reach Florida since August 2004, was over the Atlantic, about 350 miles (563 kilometers) south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. One death was attributed to the storm, which cut power to more than 3 million people.

Not bad compared to what we’ve seen lately, but bad enough. The Hurricane relief donations list still works.

UPDATE: Here’s a report from Cozumel, via Doc Searls.

October 24, 2005

ANOTHER BLOGGER BOOK: Clayton Cramer has a publisher and a nice advance.

October 24, 2005


October 24, 2005


Last month conservative backbenchers changed the direction of House GOP fiscal policy by introducing “Operation Offset” — a package of potential savings in government spending that would offset the tens of billions of dollars needed to recover from Hurricane Katrina.

At first, the package was met with disapproval by House Leadership. But weeks later, Hastert and others have embraced parts of the package and are scheduling a vote on the House floor this Thursday that would increase savings by $15 billion. That vote is a direct result of the actions of the House conservatives led by Mike Pence.

Now, a band of fiscal conservatives in the Senate plan to offer a similar proposal. Tomorrow, at 12:30 Senators Ensign, McCain, DeMint, Graham, Sununu, Coburn and Brownback will hold a press conference in which they will unveil the details of their own savings package.


October 24, 2005


October 24, 2005

HOW MUCH INFLUENCE are bloggers having on the Miers nomination?

Some, but not enough!

October 24, 2005

IRAQI BLOGGERS MOHAMMED AND OMAR are profiled over at the PJ Media site. And scroll down for lots more interesting blogger profiles, including Daniel Drezner and Stephen Green.

October 24, 2005

JAMES LILEKS’ NEW BOOK is currently #96 #68 on Amazon. Congratulations, James!

October 24, 2005

LONGEVITY UPDATE: Here’s an article from the Chronicle of Higher Education on Aubrey de Grey and the Cambridge conference on Scientifically Engineered Negligible Senescence. Meanwhile, closer to home is this article on current progress. There’s also more here.

October 24, 2005


The US and France on Monday presented a joint front against Syria, demanding Damascus tell the truth over its alleged involvement in the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister.

Shockingly, however, the cooperation is less than total. Daniel Drezner has a Syria roundup.

October 24, 2005

WHEN MIERS’ NOMINATION TANKS: Nominate Douglas Ginsburg!

He’s clearly one of the leading judges in the country, with vast experience in antitrust law, admintrative law, constitutional law, and more. His marijuana incident is now more than twenty years in the past, and no longer seems disqualifying in any event, given subsequent revelations (“I didn’t inhale” and whatnot).

Most important, Ginsburg (who is still only sixty) is not a Bush crony or loyalist, and can be counted on as a strong and independent voice on the Court. And conservatives would rally around: if he was good enough for Ronald Reagan, surely he’s good enough for the Bush Adminstration.

We could do worse. And probably will.

October 24, 2005

PAJAMAS: The fashion is spreading.

October 24, 2005

“THE SOURCE OF THE CHAOS:” Michael Totten has more about Syria and Lebanon.

October 24, 2005


Ben Bernanke, the White House economic adviser who has urged the Federal Reserve to articulate its preferred rate of inflation, will be nominated to succeed Alan Greenspan as Fed chairman, reports said Monday. A formal announcement is expected at 1 p.m. EDT.

Bernanke, who gained a reputation as a monetary moderate while a Fed governor from 2002 to 2005, was named chairman of the White House council of economic advisers in June. He is the former head of Princeton’s economics department and received his economics education at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

At a time President Bush is battling criticism of his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, the choice of Bernanke is viewed as a safe one.

I don’t know much about him. Kudlow likes him.

October 24, 2005

MICHAEL YON has a lengthy must-read report from Iraq.

October 24, 2005

HOW BLOGGERS STAND ON MIERS: N.Z. Bear has a roundup of for and against, which looks to be mostly against.

October 24, 2005


Only when they lean left, apparently.

October 24, 2005

JAMES LILEKS’ NEW BOOK, Mommy Knows Worst : Highlights from the Golden Age of Bad Parenting Advice, just came out. My copy — preordered months ago — is already on its way. I’ll post a full report when I’ve read it, or maybe (since she’ll probably snatch it up first anyway) I’ll get the Insta-Wife to post a review.

October 24, 2005

BRUCE KESLER looks at progress in Iraq. He suggests that some people will be disappointed, but fortunately they’re the right people.

Meanwhile, ATC reports that Iraqi oil revenues hit a new all-time record.

October 24, 2005

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU: A Lebanese blogger explains things to Americans. (Via Michael Totten).

UPDATE: More background here.

October 24, 2005

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The Times Picayune has a roundup of progress to date that’s lengthy and thorough:

You want to funnel millions to Louisiana? OK, how much are you willing to deny North Dakota?

The initial proposals failed in Washington, suggesting that though Katrina may have swamped a major American city and killed more than 1,000 people, it lacked the punch needed to make elected officials give up pet projects. Nevertheless, supporters vowed that the synergy unleashed by the hurricanes that battered the Gulf Coast this year and a bloated federal budget that both liberals and conservatives bemoan for differing reasons could produce a watershed moment in fiscal management. . . .

Despite last week’s setbacks, members of the Porkbusters movement remain optimistic. Hurricane Katrina and its enormous price tags have stirred new debate about fiscal responsibility, they say.

One positive sign, they say, is a proposal that would require massive cuts to offset post-Katrina appropriations. It was introduced by the Republican Study Committee, a conservative caucus that has gained status on the Hill since the GOP leadership was rocked by the indictment of Texas U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay and criticism of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.

Meanwhile, here’s an article from the Washington Post on the Coburn Amendment aftermath:

Although the Coburn amendment lost, it struck a chord among lawmakers as they face increasing belt-tightening pressure. . . .

And, there is a curious twist to the story: Many residents of Alaska appear to support forfeiting the bridge money for hurricane relief. “This money, a gift from the people of Alaska, will represent more than just material aid; it will be a symbol for our beleaguered democracy,” reads a typical letter to the Anchorage Daily News.

Young, who made sure his state was one of the top recipients in the highway bill, was asked by an Alaska reporter what he made of the public support for redirecting the bridge money. “They can kiss my ear! That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” he replied.

If you needed any more proof that “pork” is about putting money in the hands of fatcat contributors, rather than helping constituents, this would seem to be it.

UPDATE: More on the blogosphere’s role, and the Capitol Hill response, at the National Journal’s Blogometer.

October 24, 2005

THE MIERS OPPOSITION is getting organized. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that this nomination is a debacle. By now, I think it’s even obvious to the White House.

October 24, 2005

THE BLOG AND THE COFFEEROOM: Some interesting thoughts from Ginny.

October 24, 2005

JOHN FUND looks at what went wrong with the Miers nomination and observes, “I believe it is almost inevitable that Ms. Miers will withdraw or be defeated. Should that happen, it is important President Bush understand how it really happened.”

October 23, 2005

MICROSOFT WORD: It’s not a bug, it’s a feature!

THE United Nations withheld some of the most damaging allegations against Syria in its report on the murder of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, it emerged yesterday. The names of the brother of Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria, and other members of his inner circle, were dropped from the report that was sent to the Security Council.

The confidential changes were revealed by an extraordinary computer gaffe because an electronic version distributed by UN officials on Thursday night allowed recipients to track editing changes.

The mistaken release of the unedited report added further support to the published conclusion that Syria was behind Mr Hariri’s assassination in a bomb blast on Valentine’s Day in Beirut. The murder of Mr Hariri touched off an international outcry and hastened Syria’s departure from Lebanon in April after a 29-year pervasive military presence.

Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, described the report’s findings as “deeply troubling”. Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, said: “It is an unpleasant story which the international community will take very seriously indeed.”

But the furore over the doctoring of the report threatened to overshadow its damaging findings. It raised questions about political interference by Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary- General, who had promised not to make any changes in the report.

I’m guessing that he used the phrase, “You have my word as a diplomat.” Retief, where are you when we need you?

UPDATE: More reason why the U.N. wants to control the Internet?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Addison Laurent points out that the Retief stories are available free online from Baen Books. I’ve mentioned the Baen Free Library before; it rocks.

October 23, 2005

ANOTHER VICTORY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: DESPITE MASSIVE GOVERNMENTAL AND INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT, a gun control referendum has failed in Brazil, and by a rather sizable margin:

More than 64 percent of voters favored keeping arms sales legal, the electoral court said with 75 percent of the expected 122 million votes counted.

Only 35 percent supported the ban even though some 36,000 people were killed by guns last year in Latin America’s largest country, where bloodshed and violence are a daily concern for many citizens. [Yeah, it’s a Reuters story, so you have to expect asides like that.] Full results were expected by midnight (0200 GMT).

“We didn’t lose because Brazilians like guns. We lost because people don’t have confidence in the government or the police,” said Denis Mizne of anti-violence group Sou da Paz.

This may be true — but one might say the same about many civil rights, of course. As Dave Kopel suggests, this looks like “a stunning repudiation of the international gun prohibition movement.”

The next question is when gun rights activists will stop playing defense against gun-control efforts and start promoting the right to arms as an international human right.

UPDATE: Reader Joe Rega emails:

Hi Glenn, I live in Brazil and believe me, you don’t know the half of it. The level of propaganda from the pro-ban side, which included the current government, the Church, the Globo television network (think CBS, ABC and NBC combined) and the arts/intelligentsia crowd was beyond the pale and clearly directed at the less fortunate. In other words, it was presented as a class vote. The margin of victory indicates that Brazilians of all classes voted against this ridiculous referendum. It is a sure sign of the steady but certain maturing of democracy in this country.


October 23, 2005

INDIAN BLOGGER DESI PUNDIT announces a Blog Quake Day to raise money for Pakistani earthquake relief. It’s quite explicitly modeled on the Katrina effort.

October 23, 2005

A TIPPING POINT WITH SYRIA? Plus there’s this:

Syria continues to arm proxy guerrillas and run spies in Lebanon despite withdrawing its troops from the country in April, an Israeli newspaper quoted an upcoming U.N. report as saying on Sunday.

The report, due out later this week, could compound international pressure building up against Damascus since a U.N. probe last week named senior Syrian officials as suspects in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri.

So far, so good.

October 23, 2005

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH posts a Serenity review and talks about his new brown coat.

October 23, 2005

MORE GOOD NEWS FROM “THE QUAGMIRE:” Gateway Pundit has a roundup: “‘Iraq the Quagmire’ is maturing into ‘The MidEast Democracy Leader’! The strongest proof of this it that even the Arab League is backtracking from its previous stand.”

UPDATE: Bill Quick, meanwhile, notes that the A.P. is blowing it again.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More from Brian Dunn.

October 23, 2005

CHARLES FRIED on the Miers nomination:

OF COURSE, it is not necessary for Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers to have attended an elite law school to be qualified for a seat on the Supreme Court: Neither John Marshall Harlan nor his grandfather (famous for his eloquent dissent in the separate-but-equal decision) did, and Robert Jackson, perhaps the most elegant writer in the court’s history, attended no law school at all.

And it certainly is not necessary that she previously have served as a judge on a lower court. Many of the great justices were new to the bench, starting with John Marshall, through Charles Evans Hughes, Earl Warren, and William Rehnquist.

What is indispensable is that she be able to think lucidly and deeply about legal questions and express her thoughts in clear, pointed, understandable prose. A justice without those capabilities — however generally intelligent, decent, and hardworking — risks being a calamity for the court, the law, and the country.

Read the whole thing.

October 23, 2005

MICKEY KAUS has a lengthy post on the New York Times’ response to the Miller/Plame business, which he calls “incoherent.”

October 23, 2005

BOLIVIANS MARCH IN THE STREETS FOR FREE TRADE: If only we could get people to turn out for that here.

October 23, 2005

MY WALL STREET JOURNAL OPED on Harriet Miers’ nomination is now available for free over at OpinionJournal.

October 22, 2005

MICHAEL YON reports on the Iraqi elections in the Weekly Standard.

October 22, 2005

A LEBANON PROTEST ROUNDUP FROM PUBLIUS, plus some Beirut protest photos at light seeking light, and another roundup, with video, at Gateway Pundit.

UPDATE: Read this, too.

October 22, 2005