April 25, 2006
IT’S KNOXVILLE’S DOGWOOD FESTIVAL: Lauren Spuhler, Erin Chapin, and Jigsha Desai offer a video report.
IT’S KNOXVILLE’S DOGWOOD FESTIVAL: Lauren Spuhler, Erin Chapin, and Jigsha Desai offer a video report.
MY TCS DAILY COLUMN IS UP: It’s a response to Daniel Henninger’s dissing of the blogosphere last week.
GRAND ROUNDS IS UP!
This year, the PKK has been very active just across the border in Turkey and Iran, attacking police and army units. The Turks and Iranians are fighting back. There are already over 2,000 Turkish troops inside Iraq. This sort of presence has been tolerated for years, as long as the Turks were just looking for PKK camps in remote areas. But the Turks have over 50,000 troops on the border, and appear ready to expand their operations in northern Iraq. Meanwhile, to the east. Iranian troops are moving to the border, and Iranian artillery is being fired into Iraq, at areas believed occupied by the PKK.
The Kurdish government in northern Iraq basically tells the PKK, “you’re on your own.” But if the Turks and Iranians do serious damage to the PKK (by finding and destroying many of the PKK camps, which are often disguised as civilian villages), many of the PKK fighters will just flee to Kurdish government controlled areas and blend into the civilian population (the PKK gunmen don’t wear uniforms). This would tempt the Turks to just keep going. The Turkish army has been fighting, and defeating, Kurdish irregulars for centuries. No big deal. Many Turks believe that northern Iraq really belongs to Turkey (it was taken away from defeated Turkey after World War I, so that Turkey would not have access to the newly discovered oil in the area.) Iraq does not want to give up the north, but they cannot defeat Turkish troops. Only the U.S. can. For the moment, the Americans are telling the Turks to stick to hunting PKK, and forget about lost provinces. For the moment, anyway.
More on this at California Yankee. Given the Turks’ lack of support regarding our efforts in Iraq, I don’t see why we should be particularly supportive of their efforts. An Iranian invasion, meanwhile, would just be playing into Bush’s hands.
THE MCCARTHY STORY is getting more complicated.
AN ARMY OF HILTZIKS?
“PRO-TALIBAN SPEECH PROTECTED, criticisms of homosexuality unprotected.” Unless, I guess, you’re quoting the Taliban on homosexuality . . .
DIVING DEEP to simulate space missions: A pretty cool report.
SO I GUESS READING INSTAPUNDIT AT WORK IS OKAY:
Saying surfing the web is equivalent to reading a newspaper or talking on the phone, an administrative law judge has suggested that only a reprimand is appropriate as punishment for a city worker accused of failing to heed warnings to stay off the Internet.
Administrative Law Judge John Spooner reached his decision in the case of Toquir Choudhri, a 14-year veteran of the Department of Education who had been accused of ignoring supervisors who told him to stop browsing the Internet at work.
Frankly, we’d be better off if bureaucrats spent more time reading blogs, and less doing their jobs. . . .
InstaPundit — bringing on the revolution, one wasted hour at a time!
THREE MILLION DOWNLOADS for The Glenn and Helen Show since we started counting 13 episodes ago. If only we were getting 99 cents per download . . . .
UPDATE: Or, er, anything at all . . . .
DARFUR UPDATE: There will be a rally in DC on Sunday, April 30.
MICHAEL TOTTEN REPORTS on an experiment in journalism that has worked out pretty well — and on what’s coming next.
A MONTAGE OF TALKING-HEAD RESPONSES to the Mary McCarthy case, over at Hot Air.
UPDATE: A text roundup here.
And Stephen Spruiell says that media outfits are using a misleading frame to make it look as if the McCarthy story is connected to the Plame story. Hey, maybe she’s the Plame leaker! I mean, they’d know, right . . . ?
MORE DISENCHANTMENT WITH CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS, this time from Mark Steyn:
Christopher Hitchens said on the Hugh Hewitt show recently that he “dislikes” the Republican party but has “contempt” for the Democrats. I appreciate the distinction, though I’m not sure I could muster even that level of genial tolerance. . . .
But what happened to the other guys? “The Republican party,” says Arlen Specter, “is now principally moderate, if not liberal” — and he means it as a compliment. “I’ll just say this about the so-called porkbusters,” chips in Trent Lott. “I’m getting damn tired of hearing from them. They have been nothing but trouble since Katrina.”
Well, to be honest, I’m a good half-decade past getting damn tired of hearing from Trent Lott. But the difference is that, as a member of the pork-funding sector of the economy, I pay for him; he doesn’t pay for me.
He’s starting to sound like Bill Quick.
IN THE MAIL: Ramesh Ponnuru’s new book, The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life.
I’m pretty sure I’ll disagree with most of his analysis (like Scott Adams, I think I count as “pro-death”) but judging from the reviews that are already up, I think this will get a lot of play.
HOWARD KURTZ has more on the Hiltzik affair. So does Jeff Jarvis, who writes: “I would not fire Hiltzik. He screwed up and made an ass of himself. That is punishment enough.” There’s some interesting discussion in the comments.
UPDATE: Patterico writes: “It’s not the pseudonyms, it’s the sock-puppetry!”
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: I think this is right:
It was only last month that the Senate staged a breast-beating debate about the need to control the rampant pork-spending abuse of earmarks — boondoggle appropriations tucked into vital legislation with little public scrutiny. Senator Trent Lott, Republican of Mississippi, orated on the side of the angels in calling for reform. Well, the angels have lost another player. As the Senate returns from recess it will confront the year’s prize porker blithely trotted out by Senator Lott — a $700 million earmark to relocate a Gulf Coast rail line, which was just rebuilt, post-Katrina, at a cost of $250 million. . . .
Even worse, Senator Lott and his fellow Mississippi Republican, Thad Cochran, are attaching this frivolous add-on to a bill that is supposed to be used to pay for emergencies — specifically the war in Iraq and hurricane reconstruction.
Senator Lott angrily resents any description of his pet project as a right of way to the slot machines. He insists the rail line needs higher ground and his constituents better protection. But it seems clear the twin traumas of Iraq and Katrina are being used as cover. Economic development is a fine goal for the Gulf Coast, but it deserves careful consideration, not a devious rush to the pork barrel.
UPDATE: People who think that this kind of thing won’t matter to the GOP should read this post.
MICHELLE MALKIN has a new web video venture called Hot Air. The current episode is about China, Internet censorship, and the complicity of U.S. companies.
IF YOU WERE OFF having a life or something over the weekend, you missed our podcast interviews with Jim Dunnigan, Austin Bay, and the just-back-from-Iraq Michael Totten.
FORGET CLIMATE CHANGE: Now we’re warned about how technology is changing our brains.
JOHN FUND has the latest Yale Taliban developments.
MICKEY KAUS has more on l’affaire Burkle and the Hillary Clinton immigration plan.
A BIG MARCH IN KNOXVILLE:
Up to 20,000 people turned out Saturday for a parade to welcome home the National Guard’s 278th Regimental Combat Team, providing a big-city atmosphere powered by small-town values. The rains that had been pelting the region ceased and the clouds gave way to bright sunshine for the two-hour Celebrate Freedom Parade 2006 through downtown Knoxville.
“What a great sight this is on the street today,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen as he reviewed the 2,500 members of the 278th standing in parade formation wearing their camouflage uniforms. As governor, Bredesen is commander of the Tennessee National Guard.
Bredesen said the men and women of the 278th who were deployed to Iraq for a year represent “what is the very best of our state and the very best of our nation.”
Nice to see something positive like this going on.
UPDATE: Praise for Phil Bredesen, and questions about why stuff like this gets so little attention.
MCCARTHY ON MCCARTHY: “Why isn’t she in handcuffs?”
CATHY SEIPP ON BLUE CROSS: “To decide after a therapy has proved beneficial that it’s merely ‘investigational’ and therefore should not be covered — that, actually, seems the definition of bad faith. . . . What I didn’t realize at the time was that I’d turn out to be my insurance company’s worst nightmare — the cancer patient who keeps responding to extremely expensive treatments. I only hope that Blue Cross doesn’t turn out to be mine.”
TOM MAGUIRE is looking into McCarthyism in the media.
DARFUR UPDATE: The trouble has spread to Chad, and StrategyPage has the latest:
While Sudan insists it did not support the Chad rebels, people who have traveled through the border area contradict this. The U.S. also says Sudan is involved (without revealing its sources, which probably include satellite surveillance and agents on the ground.) Sudan apparently believes that, if the faction it backed got control of Chad, the Darfur rebels would have one less place to hide out in. But some of the Darfur rebels belong to tribes that have branches in both Sudan and Chad. That said, Sudan’s brutal policy in Darfur doesn’t make sense either, but there it is. The Sudanese leadership are ruthless, and don’t much care how much mess and misery they create.
Indeed. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden — who was already mad about the end to genocide in East Timor — is now declaring war against the world over efforts to end the genocide in Darfur. I agree that this is, if genuine, an agitprop error. But it’s hard to stay in touch with the currents of popular opinion when you live in a cave.
UPDATE: TigerHawk notes something that this dog isn’t barking about: “Apart from the list’s comic aspects, it is fascinating for its omissions. Why didn’t bin Laden talk about Iraq? Less than 2 1/2 years ago, al Qaeda broke the news to the Taliban that it was diverting resources to Iraq so as to humiliate the American ‘Crusaders.'”
I guess that didn’t work out so well.
ANOTHER UPDATE: In TigerHawk’s comments, Kai Carver says that Osama did talk about Iraq. I guess it just wasn’t seen as newsworthy. Hmm.
WE ARE HERE TO SAVE THE ERF! E. . . R. . . F!
BRENDAN LOY: “Proving once again that Australia is the new Florida, Cyclone Monica is threatening to make a second landfall — this time as a Category 5 cyclone.”
It’s now stronger than Katrina and Rita ever were.
SCOTT JOHNSON TO TIM RUTTEN: “I appreciate Rutten’s drawing attention to my condemnation of the Times and the Pulitzer Prize committee.”
THE WASHINGTON POST ASKS: “Who are the overlooked autocrats we should be paying attention to but aren’t?” It’s not a bad list, though Robert Mugabe should probably be on it. I guess he gets more attention than the folks listed, but he still doesn’t get nearly enough.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: This is pretty cool. In the Philadelphia Inquirer PorkBusters gets called “the most effective citizen-journalist watchdog movement in a generation.”
I don’t know about that — it sounds like a bit of an exaggeration — but it’s nice to hear. There’s no question that PorkBusters has gotten a fair amount of attention, and that politicians are at least embarrassed about pork.
That’s not bad for a project only a few months old, run by a couple of bloggers without a budget with help from other folks in the blogosphere. But it’s going to take more than this to make a real difference. Changing the psychology is the first step, and that’s happened. And, perhaps, we’ve even started to change behavior. But we need a lot more of that, and I suspect that structural changes will be needed, too.
Still, it’s always nice to be noticed.
MARY MCCARTHY / CIA LEAK UPDATE:
There is no mention by the Post — none — that Mary McCarthy is a big Kerry campaign and Democratic Party contributor.
How can the WPost justify reporting one friend’s mere impression that McCarthy is not biased and that it is very difficult even for those who know her well to understand why she would leak sensitive information, and yet not report the objective fact that — after a meteoric professional rise in intelligence circles during a Democratic administration — McCarthy, while a government official on a government salary, gave at least $7700 of her own money in a single year to Democratic political campaigns?
Given the Post’s delicate posture in this case — having been the recipient of at least one highly sensitive leak on a subject about which it chose to publish a story damaging to national security — you would think they might perceive a special obligation to play it down the middle here. But apparently not.
This morning’s story is said to have had no fewer than eight contributors — it was written by R. Jeffrey Smith and Dafna Linzer, and lists as contributors Walter Pincus, Al Kamen, Howard Kurtz and Dan Morse, and research editor Lucy Shackelford and researcher Magda Jean-Louis.
Since campaign contribution information is available on-line — you don’t even need to draft star reporters and research editors to dig it out — is it too much to suppose that at least one of these eight folks might have mentioned, at least in passing, that this purported non-ideologue of a leaker was giving lots of money to the effort to unseat the present administration?
I’m pretty sure that similar evidence tying a leaker to the GOP under similar circumstances would get a lot of play.
Lots more at The Belmont Club — just keep scrolling.
I’M WATCHING ANYA KAMENETZ ON CNN, going on about how bad Generation X has it. Of course, CNN’s tear-jerking vignette was about a woman who ran up huge credit-card bills in college, which isn’t terribly heartbreaking. Seems like they’re going out of their way to paint a grim economic picture. More on this story here and here.
“IT WAS MY UNDERSTANDING that there would be no math.”
BILL HOBBS is blogging again.
AN ABSTINENCE-ONLY bait-and-switch from the Bush Administration? Jeez. Not that the “official” version wasn’t lame enough to begin with.
A PACK, NOT A HERD: “A passenger who claimed to have a bomb aboard a United Airlines flight was subdued by passengers as the California-bound plane was diverted to Denver International Airport, airport officials said.” Nice to see that people haven’t gotten slack since 9/11.
UPDATE: In a related development, Mary Katharine Ham reviews the Flight 93 movie.
GATEWAY PUNDIT has a roundup of the latest Iraqi political developments.
AN ARGUMENT FOR INTELLECTUAL DIVERSITY: “Mobbing” in academia. Fortunately, the Internet seems to serve as an effective antidote.
TIM WU ON REASONS TO SUPPORT NET NEUTRALITY: “The Network Neutrality debate is really a debate about what are, in effect, crown corporations, AT&T and Verizon, whose plans would distort private competition among internet service providers. Companies like AT&T are infrastructure providers, almost like the roads — and their plans are very much simple tollbooths placed on a utility necessary for the operation of the private market. That’s why I think even libertarians have reason to resist the incursions of a company like AT&T on the internet and its design.” Plus, you’re likely to see indirect — and hence less accountable — government regulation using monopolists as intermediaries. At least, that’s how it worked last time we had that kind of arrangement.
TOM MAGUIRE: “The NY Times seems to think the political contributions of the sacked CIA officer are significant, but their investigative skills are apparently a bit rusty, since they are about $7,500 light in their reporting.”
I’m pretty sure I know what the talk-radio folks will be talking about next week.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Still more here.
MORE: The coverage seems a bit warped:
If you want a good sense of where the media’s mind is in the wake of the Mary McCarthy story, check this out. . It’s an AP story about McCarthy’s firing. Guess whose picture is at the top? Not McCarthy. Not Dana Priest. Not anybody involved in the story at all, actually. It’s a picture of Scooter Libby — who’s not even mentioned in the article.
I won’t be surprised if they end up fixing it soon. But it’s there now.
So does that mean AP thinks McCarthy is the Plame source? . . .
MORE: A rather negative review of the New York Times’ defense of Mary McCarthy. [Defense? Aren’t they a neutral news source? — ed. No.]
STILL MORE: Chester invokes some literary cliches.
MORE ON PORK: “Earmark reform is now a hot topic: The online Porkbusters movement has raised awareness of it; the Senate has passed a version of earmark reform; President Bush even addressed the issue in his State of the Union. Boehner is turning up the pressure at exactly the right time. But he and Speaker Dennis Hastert need to do more if they want to revive this budget. They need to use their power on the House GOP Steering Committee — which hands out committee assignments — as leverage against Lewis: He needs to know that his chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee is at stake.”
UPDATE: Much more here.
WELL, DUH: The “culture of corruption” issue turns out to be bipartisan: “Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (W.Va.) stepped down temporarily from his post as ranking Democrat on the House ethics committee, amid accusations that he used his congressional position to funnel money to his own home-state foundations, possibly enriching himself in the process.”
Stuff like this just makes a third-party run more likely, I suspect.
We interview blogger Michael Totten, who spent the last six months covering Lebanon, Egypt, and Iraq for his blog, with support from his blog readers. He talks about what he saw, how well the reader-support model works, and what he sees in the region’s future.
We also talk to StrategyPage publisher Jim Dunnigan, author of numerous books on military matters, and columnist/blogger Austin Bay, who’s also the author of The Wrong Side of Brightness, a novel, and who has another novel coming out soon. They talk about China’s military and political ambitions, the progress of events in Iraq, and what to do — and what, apparently, we’re already doing rather quietly — about Iran. (There’s also some discussion of the much-touted Iranian “EMP bomb” threat.)
Hope you like it. My lovely and talented co-host is, as always, taking comments and suggestions for future episodes.
MORE TO COME, I EXPECT: A CIA employee fired for leaking classified information.
PUBLIUS HAS THE LATEST on political developments within Iraq. I agree that this is probably more positioning before a final resolution — at least, that’s how it looks like to my inexpert eyes. (Though more and more Iraqi politics are looking like faculty politics with the addition of AK-47s and IEDs — which is not a good thing!)
Also, read this interesting dispatch from National Guardsman Arik Catron.
MY PAPER FOR THE HARVARD BLOG/SCHOLARSHIP CONFERENCE is now online. It’s called Libel in the Blogosphere: Some Preliminary Thoughts. It’s a preliminary draft, so comments and suggestions are welcome.
Other papers are also available, here.
MICHAEL TOTTEN has posted his final report from Iraq. Don’t miss the postscript!
REBECCA MACKINNON: “I am a big fan of Skype in general, and I use it heavily. But the way Skype chooses to treat its Chinese users will ultimately impact the extent to which I as a user can trust Skype anywhere, in general.”
Read the whole thing.
IN THE MAIL: Matthew Continetti’s The K Street Gang : The Rise and Fall of the Republican Machine.
I understand the logic of the “K Street strategy,” but I don’t see much in the way of actual results in passing Bush’s domestic agenda. Not positive results, anyway.
MUCH MORE ON THE HILTZIK STORY, from Howard Kurtz.
UPDATE: More from Cathy Seipp. And Hugh Hewitt is noting the contrast between L.A. Times editor John Carroll’s dismissive comments about the lower standards of the blogosphere, and, well, this. And Ace writes: “I’m going to pretend that this is the MOST IMPORTANT STORY OF THE ENTIRE YEAR, as the left did with Gannongate and l’affaire ‘The Nech.'”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Roger Simon is playing Freud with Hiltzik.
BLOG WEEK IN REVIEW: Me, Eric Umansky, Tammy Bruce, and Austin Bay on the events of the week in a new podcast from PJ Media. Please give it a listen — and, when you’re done, fill out the survey.
The Defense Department waves away the protesting generals as just a handful out of more than 8,000 now serving or retired. That seems to me too dismissive. These generals are no doubt correct in asserting that they have spoken to and speak on behalf of some retired and, even more important, some active-duty members of the military.
But that makes the generals’ revolt all the more egregious. The civilian leadership of the Pentagon is decided on Election Day, not by the secret whispering of generals.
We’ve always had discontented officers in every war and in every period of our history. But they rarely coalesce into factions. That happens in places such as Hussein’s Iraq, Pinochet’s Chile or your run-of-the-mill banana republic. And when it does, outsiders (including the United States) do their best to exploit it, seeking out the dissident factions to either stage a coup or force the government to change policy.
That kind of dissident party within the military is alien to America. Some other retired generals have found it necessary to rise to the defense of the administration. Will the rest of the generals, retired or serving, now have to declare which camp they belong to?
It is precisely this kind of division that our tradition of military deference to democratically elected civilian superiors was meant to prevent. Today it suits the antiwar left to applaud the rupture of that tradition. But it is a disturbing and very dangerous precedent that even the left will one day regret.
“Even?” I’d say “especially.” They’ve been pushing the idea that generals should run things, not their civilian superiors, and (with Kerry) the idea that only a combat veteran should be President. Yes, those are opportunistic slogans of the moment. But they’re still slogans. Do they really want that kind of a country?
UPDATE: Reader Rachel Walker emails:
I understand the right to dissent. Heck, it’s been my side’s rallying cry since it lost to Bush in the Supreme Court in 2000. But the logic of this dissent puts their train of thought far into the (dare I say it) fascist line of behavior, since they are basically calling for the military to control all things.
This is what contrarian arguing can end up doing – leading one into exactly what they did not intend to be. I had to learn the lesson that not every action equals a proper reaction.
UPDATE: Fred Schoeneman disagrees: “The precedent was already set, back when all those retired (and active duty) generals were bitching about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ And before that it was set by a General on active duty. His name was MacArthur, and he was a pro-war Republican.”
MacArthur was fired. And neither he, nor the generals who bitched about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” were treated kindly by the media. Indeed, they were treated as threats to Democracy and the American Way. Why is this different?
MICKEY KAUS: “Are you as suspicious as I am about the current well-publicized crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants?”
JONAH GOLDBERG accuses Al Gore of perpetrating a “green scare.”
THE NINTH CIRCUIT BLOWS IT ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT, according to this post by Eugene Volokh.
Increased airport security in the United States has been an expensive disaster that is turning a lot of otherwise law-abiding people into outlaws. But it’s worse than that. International travelers have noticed that airport security outside the United States, especially in Europe (the home of twenty million Moslems, and thousands of openly enthusiastic Islamic radicals), is much less grueling. Yet there have been no attempts to “take advantage” of this seemingly lax European airport security to hijack aircraft.
Many frequent flyers in the United States have found, by trial and error, ways to sneak forbidden materials (cigar clippers, knives, lighters) past the gate security. And the airport security people know that all their aggressive searches aren’t working. In the last two years, tests of airport security have shown that 60 percent of fake bombs get through. This was largely due to the fact that bombs can be taken apart, the pieces smuggled aboard, and then reassembled for use.
I don’t know why the Democrats haven’t made a political issue of this, since it’s got a ready-made constituency (everyone who travels by air). Are they just unwilling to attack a big, expensive government program?
HARDBALL, HILTZIK AND REUTERS: Lots of bad news for the media today, over at the Media Blog. But NBC’s embedded Baghdad blog gets a good review.
Plus, this: “As the famous saying goes, on the internet, no one knows you’re a dog. However – they will probably figure it out if you are a horse’s ass.”
MARK STEYN ON HUGH HEWITT: Talking about the Hiltzik affair, Iran, and more. Transcript and audio here.
IRANIANS IN ADHAMIYA? Zeyad has a report. Whether or not Iranians were behind the gunfire, it’s interesting that so many Iraqis are saying so.
UPDATE: Though in Zeyad’s post someone says that the gunmen “came from Iran” (which seemed to me to go beyond the usual Shia=Iranian line often heard from Sunnis in Iraq), this post from Michael Yon says that the Iranian role is overstated. Of course, he’s still enroute back there, so this reflects his experience from earlier in the year. You should read the whole post anyway, though.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Tim Chapman writes:
You’ve got to hand it to some Republican appropriators. Despite swirling political winds that threaten to blow the GOP majority right out of town, they keep on keeping on.
Never mind the fact that the pungent stench from the Abramoff scandal still permeates the corridors of K Street and Capitol Hill. Never mind the fact that this scandal revealed the questionable practice of Congressional earmarking run amok. And never mind that it was only months ago that the Senate debate over the poster child of bad earmarking – the Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere – ignited a firestorm of criticism over the way Congress spends American tax dollars.
No, these considerations are a mere after thought – an annoyance – to many congressional appropriators who remain intent on bringing home the bacon, no matter what the cost. . . .
Now, the “emergency” spending issue is set to come before the Senate. Next week, when the Senate returns from its Easter recess, the chamber will debate an emergency supplemental bill. Aside from the above mentioned Rail Road to Nowhere, the supplemental contains over $82 million in “emergency” funds for disasters that happened prior to 2005 and going back all the way to 1999.
Nowhere in the text of the bill or in any committee reports are the projects that this money would fund listed. Instead, curious parties are referred to a table maintained by the Federal Highways Administration that lists the projects.
So now, not only are appropriators content to designate questionable projects as “emergency” funding, but they do so without even listing where the money will go in the text of the legislation.
So much for transparency.
Plus there’s this, from the Christian Science Monitor:
Remember Alaska’s “bridge to nowhere”? It’s about to be topped by what critics call Mississippi’s “railroad to nowhere,” which is quickly becoming the poster child for excessive spending by the Republican-controlled Congress.
The project, which was added to a $106.5 billion emergency defense spending bill in the Senate, would relocate a Gulf Coast rail line inland, to higher ground. Never mind that the hurricane-battered line was just repaired at a cost of at least $250 million. Or that at $700 million, the project championed by Mississippi’s two US senators is being called the largest “earmark” ever.
The controversy points to a deepening split in the GOP over whether to rein in spending in the face of wartime commitments and record deficits – and whether failing to do so threatens their majority in this fall’s midterm elections.
Yes they should — and yes, it does.
By the way, Trent Lott’s railroad to nowhere now has a dedicated website. I don’t think he’ll like that.
Much more at the Heritage Policy Weblog.
A SMALL BUT PLEASANT CIVIL RIGHTS VICTORY: “Under pressure from the National Rifle Association, police this week began returning guns confiscated after Hurricane Katrina.”
HERE’S A REPORT that China censored CNN’s coverage of the Falun Gong protester.
FRAN O’BRIEN’S UPDATE: Scott Koenig is looking for a change of venue.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG GETS RESULTS:
Well I marched my unregistered guns out and gave them a good talking to. It seems that most of them knew they should not go out after dark or let themselves be found on the street.
Except my Mossberg. He smelled of cheap booze and refused to look me in the eye. His “Whatever dude!” comments started to get on my nerves.
I’m so worried he will end up in a life of crime and other sorry deeds. What is a dad to do?
I’m sure Mayor Bloomberg will have additional helpful advice.
HEH: “Tax Court: Couple Must Report as Income $25k Paid by Wife’s Paramour.” Should have followed the blackmailee’s tax advice!
FROM MEDIA TO “WE-DIA” — some interesting developments.
ACCORDING TO THE FOLKS AT AMAZON, An Army of Davids has some strange bedfellows:
What do customers ultimately buy after viewing items like this?
49% buy the item featured on this page:An Army of Davids : How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths by Glenn Reynolds $15.74
36% buy The Ghost Brigades (Sci Fi Essential Books) by John Scalzi $15.57
4% buy How to Be a Domestic Goddess : Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson $12.97
3% buy Dog Days by Ana Marie Cox $16.29
2% buy Size Matters : How Big Government Puts the Squeeze on America’s Families, Finances, and Freedom by Joel Miller $14.94
UPDATE: Various readers email that they wouldn’t mind “sharing a shelf” with Nigella Lawson. What, no Joel Miller fans out there?
SOME INTERESTING POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS IN IRAQ: Gateway Pundit has a roundup.
DANIEL DREZNER HAS AN OPEN THREAD ON IRAN: I’m not sure what to do. I tend to agree with Jim Dunnigan that military action right now would be a mistake, and that we should be working for regime change, and supporting anti-Mullah activities in Iran. (Perhaps we are, but I don’t see much sign of it). I think some of the fears are overstated — I’ve heard people talk about the Iranians developing an EMP weapon, but I think they’re a long way from that. I think you need a thermonuclear (hydrogen), not simply a nuclear weapon to get a crippling EMP pulse (this says that you need at least a megaton device) and that’s much harder than a simple atomic bomb. On the other hand, claims that the U.S. can’t do anything militarily to Iran are silly — there are lots of things we could do, I’m just not convinced they’re a good idea.
Congressional Democrats aren’t offering many suggestions, though. (Via Billmon, who hasn’t stopped blogging yet!) I don’t really blame them for that — I don’t have any good ones myself — but I do hope that their silence now will be remembered when they pop up to criticize whatever the Administration does, or doesn’t, do.
We had Jim Dunnigan and Austin Bay talking about Iranian nukes and what to do in this podcast a few weeks back. We’re going to try to get them on again soon.
UPDATE: This is interesting:
Recent developments regarding the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapons program have struck a nerve in India. As a result, India has greatly increased its intelligence efforts directed against Iran, and is looking for ways to cooperate with the United States and the European Union. This at the same time India is developing economic and military deals with Iran. The commercial and military people in Iran, that India works with, seem sane enough. But the senior Iranian officials, calling for the destruction of Israel, death to America and converting everyone on the planet to Islam, are worrisome. To put it mildly. So the Indians are taking a close look at their neighbor Iran, with the aid of anyone who will help.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More thoughts here.
IMMIGRATION GROUPS are pulling away from ANSWER. That seems wise to me.
HITCHENS ON HEWITT: Transcript and audio here.
MICHAEL SILENCE of the Knoxville News-Sentinel has more on the Bill Hobbs story.
WITH HU JINTAO VISITING THE WHITE HOUSE, I hope somebody leaves a copy of today’s Washington Post lying around open to this oped by Rebecca MacKinnon:
Another victim of Chinese state kidnapping — with whom I am personally connected — is Wu Hao, an independent filmmaker, blogger and U.S. permanent resident. It is unclear why state agents abducted him on Feb. 22, but his friends think it may be related to his work on a documentary about China’s underground Christians. He continues to be held — this is the 58th day of his detention — despite the fact that Chinese law limits the maximum detention without charge to 37 days.
About a month before his abduction, Hao (his first name) also took up the part-time role of Northeast Asia editor for an international bloggers’ network that I co-founded, Global Voices Online ( http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/ ). He was excited about introducing the perspectives of Chinese bloggers to an English-speaking audience. He also kept an English-language blog at http://beijingorbust.blogspot.com/ . While his writings were considerably more honest and edgy than those in the China Daily, he was by no means a dissident and often defended his government against Western criticism.
Hao turned 34 this week. He personifies a generation of urban Chinese who have flourished thanks to the Communist Party’s embrace of market-style capitalism and greater cultural openness. He got his MBA from the University of Michigan and worked for EarthLink before returning to China to pursue his dream of becoming a documentary filmmaker. He and his sister, Nina Wu, who works in finance and lives a comfortable middle-class life in Shanghai, have enjoyed freedoms of expression, travel, lifestyle and career choice that their parents could never have dreamed of. They are proof of how U.S. economic engagement with China has been overwhelmingly good for many Chinese.
Problem is, the Chinese Dream can be shattered quickly if you step over a line that is not clearly drawn — a line that is kept deliberately vague and that shifts frequently with the political tides. Those who were told by the Chinese media that they have constitutional and legal rights are painfully disabused of such fantasies when they seek to shed light on social and religious issues the state prefers to keep in the dark. . . . But we have a serious problem that won’t go away: How can Americans respect or trust a regime that kidnaps our friends?
The Chinese Embassy’s website is here.
UPDATE: At least Bush raised the subject:
As the relationship between our two nations grows and matures, we can be candid about our disagreements. I’ll continue to discuss with President Hu the importance of respecting human rights and freedoms of the Chinese people. China has become successful because the Chinese people are experience the freedom to buy, and to sell, and to produce — and China can grow even more successful by allowing the Chinese people the freedom to assemble, to speak freely, and to worship.
THE AGE-ADJUSTED DEATH RATE in America is plummeting, and life expectancies are at a record.
VIA RANDY NEAL a very interesting report on online journalism and the future of newspapers.
HOWARD BASHMAN’S “How Appealing” blog is now hosted by Law.com. Its new URL is http://howappealing.law.com/.
THOMAS DOLBY reports on Freakonomics in action.
JEFF JARVIS: What’s wrong with the Pulitzers.