July 27, 2006
ATC LOOKS AT the latest Brookings numbers from Iraq.
ATC LOOKS AT the latest Brookings numbers from Iraq.
<a href=”http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1199″BRUSSELS JOURNAL ON EUROPE: “The less control the authorities have with Muslims, the more control they want to exercise over non-Muslims. As problems in Europe get worse, which they will, the EU will move in an increasingly repressive direction until it either becomes a true, totalitarian entity or falls apart.”
Claire Berlinski worries about the same thing. I hope they’re wrong, but I fear they’re right.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Here’s a worthy venture. “435 districts, 435 blogs against pork!” Andy Roth writes:
Thanks to Congressman Jeff Flake’s 19 anti-pork amendments, we now have every House member on record regarding their positions on earmarks. Before now, House members have been able to avoid scrutiny because their pork was co-mingled with other projects and tucked into the dark corners of big spending bills. Or they were able to withstand the scrutiny because they were attacked as a whole chamber and not directly attacked themselves.
But because of Flake’s amendments, they were recently forced to cast up-or-down votes on specific projects. They could no longer deflect attention. Below is a summary scorecard of how they voted (below the scorecard are the vote descriptions). If you want an itemized list, you can click on any one of the following PDFs. A “YES” vote on any of the Flake amendments is a good, anti-pork vote. A “NO” vote is a bad, pro-pork vote.
So what can we do with this information? If you are a blogger, find your local congressman and blog about him. We have the votes, we have the members on record…now we just need to put some sunlight on the situation. Once you’ve blogged about a particular lawmaker, let me know. I’ll post a link to your blog on the list below. My email address is aroth at clubforgrowth dot org.
Follow the link for more information, and to sign up.
President Bush sat down yesterday with a Sudanese rebel leader whose forces are accused by refugee advocates of killing young men and raping women in the northern part of Darfur.
Bush met for about 40 minutes in the Oval Office with Sudanese Liberation Army leader Minni Minnawi. He was the lone rebel leader to agree in May to a U.S.-brokered peace accord to end what the United States calls genocide in western Sudan. . . .
Bush told the rebel leader that his forces must refrain from violence and pressed him to forge an alliance with other factions in Darfur to broaden support for a peace agreement, Jones said.
I’m skeptical that diplomacy — or the UN — will save many lives here, but I suppose it’s worth a try.
APPARENTLY, it’s still blog sweeps month at Samizdata.
ILYA SOMIN notes a major victory for property rights in Ohio.
MALIKI’S SPEECH WASN’T BAD: I’d rather have had him say he proudly stood with Israel’s democracy and against the Islamo-Fascists of Hezbollah, but no Arab politician, elected or otherwise, can say that yet. And if he did, he’d be denounced as a Bush puppet, probably by a lot of the same people complaining about the speech he actually gave.
A recent Iraqi leader launched real, deadly missiles against Israel. An earlier ruler of Iraq paid the families of suicide bombers a princely sum after their relatives strapped explosives to their bodies and killed and mutilated Israelis. Perhaps, these Congressmen who lament the words of the new Iraqi leader, will now celebrate the fact that Saddam is behind bars instead of issuing verbal orders to kill Israelis and slaughter his own people.
The Moose harbors no illusions about a dramatic transformation of Muslim attitudes toward the Jewish state. But, it is a dramatic improvement when words cannot kill.
It will be a great day when Arab leaders unambiguously denounce Hezbollah as a pack of murderous terrorists. But then, it would be nice if we could count on European leaders, or Kofi Annan, to do the same.
UPDATE: A response to Howard Dean’s criticisms: “So it’s the usual anti-war position, with a new spike of rhetoric… that doesn’t seem likely to appeal to anyone.”
PATRICK HYNES has learned that it’s better to disclose up front. Jim Geraghty busted him for ripping Romney while working for McCain without mentioning it on his blog. Hynes takes his lumps here, and Daniel Glover has a roundup that hits him for levelling charges of paid shilldom at Markos et al., but observes: “He was as forthright and honest with me as any source I’ve ever interviewed, and he was not at all defensive even though I was asking pointed questions. That was definitely a new media approach to talking with a journalist/blogger.”
Hynes acted as go-between on our podcast interview with John McCain; I didn’t realize he was actually being paid by McCain’s PAC. Not sure it would have mattered, really, but I would have liked to know.
AUSTIN BAY wonders if 21st century Islamo-Fascism will play out like 19th century anarchism.
I notice from the transcript that a lot of people are worried about Amazon’s grocery business because it’s low margin. I hope that this succeeds — as I said before, if anyone can make the Internet grocery business work, it ought to be Amazon. Then again, I haven’t actually ordered anything from their grocery service yet, and I’m a huge Amazon customer. Anybody out there used them? What has it been like?
UPDATE: Reader Antoinette Aubert emails:
have ordered some things from Amazon grocery, not a lot but things I have difficulty finding in my local grocery stores. For some items it only takes a few days, but the specialty tea I ordered took 2 weeks. I didn’t mind because I can’t find that tea anywhere else this side of the UK pavilion at EPCOT center. So for that sort of thing they are very useful.
Because they can’t stock perishable items mostly only sell in bulk they aren’t good for regular grocery service. Therefore I can’t use their grocery service except as a supplement so I don’t know if they are going to be able to make a profit. If they could come up with a regular milk delivery service like a good milk man I would LOVE that. But I am probably wishing for the moon on that one.
Tom Holsinger emails:
I ordered a half dozen boxes of banana bread mix from Amazon just before Christmas as my local stores were out of it. Amazon’s delivery from a New York grocery chain was immediate – two days as requested, and I baked a bunch of loaves for my family in time for Christmas.
I’ll use Amazon again for groceries when I need something not in my local stores.
BTW, Chicago pizzerias have delivered to other states for years.
Maura Seger writes:
I’ve used Amazon Grocery about half-a-dozen times so far for bulk (carton or more) purchases. Ordering is easy, the selections are good and delivery is fast, especially on the two-day, all–you-eat prime deal. I’m really hoping this venture succeeds for Amazon. Backed up by a local grocery delivery service, also on-line, this means I may never have to set foot in a supermarket again.
On the other hand, David Caplan emails:
I ordered some Jay’s Potato Chips from Amazon on June 1 and today I got the third (I think) notice that there was a delay in the shipment. I suspect they’ll never send them. I can understand running out of stock in various consumer items, but potato chips? It seems as if something else is going on here.
But Grace Nunez writes:
I recently ordered dishwashing detergent tablets at a competitive price. I had to order 5 packages at one time, but that was no big deal.
And shipping was “free” using Amazon Prime.
I anticipate ordering much more. What’s not to like – I don’t enjoy grocery shopping, shipping is free, clicking items with my mouse is way easier than a pushing a cart down the store aisles and I’ve been very pleased with Amazon’s service. I’m surprised that more people are not using this new feature.
I guess I’ll have to try it.
ANOTHER NON-HELLISH CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE: Installed a new wireless router, and had some trouble getting it to talk to the modem. BellSouth customer service was nice, but told me it was a Linksys issue. Talked to the Linksys guy — he said his name was “Joe” but he was somewhere in India, I think — and though it took a while we figured it out. He seemed pathetically relieved that I just went through the steps politely and didn’t yell at him.
AN “INTRIGUING TALE OF SENATE CHICANERY” — though alas, not a terribly surprising one.
A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY:
Grumbling and slamming the phone on a reporter – it just didn’t sound like Bill Gardner, New Hampshire’s secretary of state. But that’s how it seemed in Sunday’s New York Times, in an article about the Democratic Party’s plan to move Nevada ahead of New Hampshire in the presidential nominating calendar.
Adam Nagourney, the top political reporter for the Times, included this sentence in a paragraph about Gardner’s potential to buck the Democratic plan and enforce New Hampshire law:
“Reached at home on Saturday to see what he might do, Mr. Gardner responded, ‘do not call me here,’and hung up the telephone.”
The problem was, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner hadn’t spoken to Nagourney since 2004. The man the reporter called was an unrelated William Gardner, who apparently lives in Rochester.
Hey, the NYT can’t even tell the Contras from the Sandinistas. . . .
UPDATE: But hey, no reason to single out the Times:
Daniel Schorr is used to producers popping into his Washington, D.C., office at National Public Radio to ask, on deadline: Which war came first, Korea or Vietnam?
Jeez. What do they teach them in school these days?
“DIPLOMACY is the art of saying ‘nice doggie’ while reaching for a stick.” Condi is saying ‘nice doggie.’ Israel is the stick.
One may disapprove of this strategy, but complaints that Condi isn’t accomplishing anything merely indicate that the complainer doesn’t know what’s going on.
IT’S A PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH LEBANESE BLOGGERS DOHA AND RAJA over at PoliticsCentral.
RANDI RHODES GETS a bad review from Ed Cone:
She was ranting about Israel’s “genocide” in Lebanon.
Genocide? Whatever Israel is doing, however bad you may think it, it’s not the mass systematic extermination of a people. She piled on, saying that people who talk about the world’s last genocide (which, of course, the Holocaust was not) should never do it themselves.
She also said, wrongly, that “thousands” of people had died in Katrina.
It was pretty damn bad.
Of course it was. I’ve noticed a lot of antiwar people accusing Israel of “genocide.” Once you realize that in lefty newspeak, “genocide” is a code word meaning “self-defense” it all makes sense.
UPDATE: Related thoughts here.
WITH BLACKOUTS IN ST. LOUIS AND NEW YORK, and hurricane season still looming, it’s time to talk disaster preparedness again. Here’s a blackout survival guide from Popular Mechanics, and here are some guidelines for safe home generator usage. Still more on disaster preparedness from the PM folks can be found here.
Here’s a disaster survival kit put together by Target and the American Red Cross, and here’s a somewhat more comprehensive one, though both lack sufficient food and water. I’ve got this emergency radio and it seems to be pretty good. You should have at least a week’s worth of those. There’s some good advice on other items — and be sure to keep a stash of cash in small bills — from Amy Langfield, too.
For general knowledge, you can’t do better than the U.S. Army Survival Manual, though it’s not really adapted to disaster recovery. There’s lots of good information here, though. I haven’t read this book, but it sounds pretty good. There are also a lot of useful recommendations from the American Red Cross. And here’s more from Winds of Change.
I will stress, though, that as important as having adequate supplies is, it’s not enough to buy stuff. You’ve got to think ahead, and acquire the basic skills to get along in times of trouble. The books help, of course, but there’s more to it than that. With luck, any effort you put into this will be entirely wasted. If you’re unlucky, you’ll get to use it. But that’s still a lot luckier than needing those supplies and skills, but never having bothered to acquire them.
MICKEY KAUS: “Did I miss the meeting at which the Dem-MSM steering committee decided to make income inequality a big issue in time for the midterms? … It’s certainly a legitimate effort, but at some point the Dems are going to have to see that it leads directly to a contradiction with their Latino base.”
A CHRIS MATTHEWS MELTDOWN: Transcript and audio available here. He has a rather shaky grasp of reality, judging by these comments. I can’t do better than quote Don Imus’s observation: “That is really just an…that is just an absurd, ridiculous position. I’m just…I’m almost embarrassed that you’ve said that.”
UPDATE: Indeed: “When next the elders of the MSM tribe gather to moan the loss of civility in politics, I hope somebody brings along this tape.” Though the problem is less a lack of civility than a lack of coherence.
MEDICAL DATA LEAKAGE:
The issue emerged when Perry configured a new laptop for a small doctors’ office, and encountered problems downloading software updates for Medisoft. In search of a work-around, Perry dove into the software’s components, where he found an internet address, a login name and a password for a server operated by InstantDx, a Medisoft partner.
Using the password, Perry connected to the server with a file transfer program and listed the contents of the directory — hoping to find the software updates that prompted his digital sleuthing, he says. Confounded by the obscure file names that popped up, he executed a command that sucked down the entire contents of the directory — which he describes as 2 GB of files.
When he looked at one of the files, titled GUHmedpts.csv, he was shocked to see thousands of entries for patients in the Washington, D.C., area — far from his client’s office. He Googled “GUH,” found it was a common abbreviation for Georgetown University Hospital.
This sounds eerily like a plot device in an unpublished novel that I wrote with Fritz Fiedler. Are any members of Congress being blackmailed. . . .?
PAT BUCHANAN: “Ex-conservative?” I always saw him as more of an idiotarian — one of the prototypes for that term — anyway.
HERE’S MORE on the Tesla Roadster. I remain skeptical, but I also remain willing to accept one for long-term test purposes. . . .
ANOTHER CIVIL RIGHTS VICTORY IN CONGRESS:
The House voted Tuesday to prevent law enforcement officers from confiscating legally owned guns during a national disaster or emergency.
Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana lawmaker who sponsored the bill, said firearms seizures after Hurricane Katrina left residents unable to defend themselves.
“Many of them were sitting in their homes without power, without water, without communication,”he said.”It was literally impossible to pick up a phone and call 911.”
The House voted 322-99 in support of the bill. Senators voted 84-16 earlier this month to include a similar prohibition in a homeland security funding bill.
The limitation would apply to federal law enforcement or military officers, along with local police that receive federal funds.
There’s also this: “Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., repeatedly called the bill ‘insane.'” Apparently he thinks that many of his fellow Democrats, who joined the crushing majorities in favor of this provision, are certifiable. But in fact, I think you’d have to be certifiable to oppose this legislation, unless you were from the bluest of blue-state regions.
JOE WILSON is turning up everywhere.
BILL WHITTLE has posted the first chapter of his new book.
AZIZ POONAWALLA ON THE BARRETT AFFAIR:
This is an affront to me on multiple levels of identity – as a muslim, sure, but also as a proud Badger alumni . . . My beef isn’t with Barrett’s comments – hey, free speech, whatever – but rather that they reveal a mentality that is very dangerous for a professor teaching introductory Islam. Barrett has a clear agenda and is going to use his class as a vehicle for it. Rather than be taught about the great history of jihad, the critically differing interpretations of it between (as an example) the Umaiyyads and the Fatimids, the students will be taught a bland version of the concept that ultimately takes away the power of jihad as a principle of Islam.
This is my beef with progressivism in general – it seeks to neutralize the power of faith and the vibrancy and potency of its ideas. Islam is not easy. It isn’t meant to be distilled into coffee-cup aphorisms or worn on the sleeve. It’s not a pet cause to be trotted out in service of political posturing. It means something, it has a real depth and a real heft, but people like Barrett (and bin Laden) cannot allow that wondrous complexity to distract their audience from their own petty agendas.
Perhaps the University of Wisconsin should hire Aziz. It would have to be an improvement!
ALPHECCA’S WEEKLY ROUNDUP of media gun coverage is up.
And I notice that Michigan has adopted progressive views on self-defense: “People in Michigan now will be allowed to use deadly force — with no duty to retreat — if they reasonably think they face imminent death, great bodily harm or sexual assault. The law also protects people from civil lawsuits if they have used force in self-defense.”
SOME THOUGHTS ON ACADEMIC BLOGGING from me and from some other academic bloggers, in the Chronicle of Higher Education. I’m sorry to see some people say that their Deans don’t appreciate blogging — my Dean has been very encouraging, and in fact says that he thinks it counts as scholarship, which surely makes me — on a word-count basis, at least — one of the most productive scholars around. . . .
ANOTHER UPDATE: Meanwhile, Republicans are in trouble over stem cells.
MORE: Bill Bradley has further thoughts on Democrats and Israel.
THIS IS INTERESTING: “Half of Americans now say Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded the country in 2003 — up from 36 percent last year, a Harris poll finds. Pollsters deemed the increase both ‘substantial’ and ‘surprising’ in light of persistent press reports to the contrary in recent years.”
Apparently, trust in “persistent press reports” isn’t what it used to be.
AN ARMED CITIZEN STOPS A KNIFE RAMPAGE — but in the news coverage, the gun disappears.
IN THE MAIL: Michael Barone’s latest on immigration, a new edition of his The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again. He makes a case for fairly open immigration, but with strong pressure toward assimilation, as in previous waves of migration. The question is whether that combination is possible. Excerpt:
The main threats to assimilation come not from the immigratns themselves, but from American elites who flinch at the mention of Americanization and who find European-style multiculturalism more appealing. There are educational elites, who support so-called bilingual education — which in practice is often neither bilingual nor education — in which children are taught in bad Spanish and kept from mastering the English language, the first rung on the ladder of upward mobility. There are the political elites, who persist in requiring foreign language ballots even though immigrants who wish to become citizens are required to show that they have learned English. There are the governmental elites, who allow Wahhabi imams to serve as prison chaplains and preachers of terrorism to teach in Middle Eastern studies programs. There are the academic elites, who pride themeslves on admitting as a studet at Yale a spokesman for the murderous Taliban regime. There are the highly educated moral-relativist elites, who regard our civilization as a virus, and hostile immigrants and multiculturalism as the cure. But America has better traditions and a history of proven merit in assimilating immigrants.
I think the immigration debate will heat up again in the fall, and I hope that this book sparks some discussion.
UPDATE: In a related item, Cathy Seipp has thoughts on the media, immigration, and Islam.
AN ARMY OF DAVIDS APPROACH to intelligence analysis:
The reactor, which reportedly will be capable of producing enough plutonium for as many as 50 bombs each year, was brought to light on Sunday by independent analysts who spotted the partially completed plant in commercial-satellite photos. Snow said the administration had “known of these plans for some time.”
I think we’ll see more of this kind of thing.
SOME ADVICE ON DEALING WITH political disagreements on vacation from the Insta-Wife, inspired by some horror stories we heard on our trip.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS ON ALTERNATIVE FUELS: A podcast at Popular Mechanics. Plus, a postmortem on an exploding laptop!
CYNTHIA MCKINNEY OPPONENT HANK JOHNSON is guest-blogging at Winds of Change. “My opponent’s record speaks for itself.”
A Georgia gun dealer that Mayor Bloomberg sued as part of his effort to get firearms off the city’s streets hit the mayor with a lawsuit of his own yesterday, saying Mr. Bloomberg slandered his business and broke federal law.
Adventure Outdoors Inc., which is being represented by a former Republican congressman of Georgia, Bob Barr, filed a $400 million lawsuit in Superior Court of Cobb County.
The business was one of 15 so-called rogue dealers in five states that Mr. Bloomberg sued two months ago after an undercover sting operation. The 13-page complaint filed yesterday said that Mr. Bloomberg and several others in his administration smeared the dealer’s reputation and that its undercover investigators lied on federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco forms.
Observers say the legal action could be the first in a string of lawsuits against the city in connection with the mayor’s lawsuit.
I’m sure the Cobb County jury will be appropriately sympathetic to Mayor Bloomberg’s civic-minded goals. And hey, if he loses he can just pay ’em off with the money from his own lawsuit against tobacco wholesalers. Even better, lawyers are getting a cut of all this action!
THINGS I DIDN’T BLOG ABOUT ON VACATION:*
(1. The Glenn Greenwald sock-puppet kerfuffle. Short summary here, oodles more at Ace, and Dan Riehl. Best take on the whole phenomenon — and at an appropriate level of seriousness — here. Sock-puppetry is, I think, a venial sin. But a revealing one. And it makes me wonder if I was unfair to Greenwald’s readers when I complained about the lame emails I get whenever he publishes my address. Maybe those emails are all really from Greenwald. . . .
(2 The “180s.” I agree with Hugh Hewitt that Bush ought to reach out to war supporters who now disdain him. (Perhaps he should let them talk to Tom Ricks.) But I think that a lot of the flipflopping is from people who feel that they have to attack Bush and the war now in order to protect their standing in the journalistic or foreign-policy establishments, so I don’t know how well it will work.
(3 Wisconsin and 9/11 denialist Kevin Barrett. What should Wisconsin do? They’ve got two problems here. No, make that three.
Problem one is that they hired a looney as an adjunct. That’s not shocking — adjunct positions pay badly and are often hard to fill. (At my law school we spend a lot more time than most places evaluating and screening adjuncts; I’ve often wondered if this extra effort was worth it, but must now conclude that it probably is.)
Problem two is that they’ve converted this into a question of academic freedom, when it’s not. At least, an adjunct who promised to teach white supremacy, or Christian supremacy, in a course on Islam would be very unlikely to retain his position. Wisconsin may claim otherwise, but I don’t believe them, and I doubt many others do. (Here’s an example of why).
Problem three is that the Wisconsin administration has responded in a very tin-eared fashion and made the problem much bigger than it has to be.
To address these, they could fire Barrett, but I think that’s a mistake and wouldn’t get to the root of the problem. They need to look at the process for hiring adjuncts, and to protect students in Barrett’s case they should assign the guy a supervisor or member of the department to co-teach the course for quality control. For justice, it should be the department head or committee chair who hired him, they should be present for every class, and it should be an addition to their regular course load. . . .
More importantly, they need to realize that people pay good money to send students to Wisconsin because it’s “branded” as a place that provides quality education from quality professors. When you respond to criticism by basically disclaiming any responsibility for what’s taught in classrooms, you also destroy the brand. Why send students to Wisconsin if that’s the case? Where’s the quality control? What does it mean to be an elite institution if you let any bozo teach whatever he/she wants in any course?
Without some reason to think that Wisconsin is better than other schools why go there?
I hope that administrators at universities around the country are paying close attention. I doubt it, though.
* With the exception of a link or two, in some cases.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse responds to my Wisconsin observations.
POWER LINE REMINDS US that it’s still blog sweeps month.
ED MORRISSEY is porkblogging at Heritage, with a post on Duke Cunningham and secret earmarks.
IN THE MAIL: Seth Godin’s new book, Small Is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas. Looks pretty interesting. Godin writes: “I’ve been betting on the intelligence of my readers for almost a decade, and that bet keeps paying off.”
IS THE I.R.S. GETTING BETTER? Helen had some sort of issue with her self-employment tax, wrote them a letter, and they very quickly (within a few weeks) fixed it and sent a refund check. She’s had a couple of experiences like that lately; are they getting better?
“I HAVE A CUNNING PLAN:” Bush Sends Kerry to Resolve Israel-Hezbollah War.
TOM MAGUIRE defends Erwin Chemerinsky, and offers a criticism.
DANIEL GROSS looks at a geopolitical risk index. The usual cautions apply.
OIL PRICES FALL, as Condi Rice arrives in Beirut.
SIREN, BUNKER, no questions.
Maybe, when this Lebanon thing is over, we’ll finally get it:
Guerrillas like to hide behind civilians.
Muslim guerrillas take it a step further: “Civilians” are a weapon to them — as much a part of the fight as the AK-47 or RPG they carry.
Those who have visited any Hezbollah installation in Lebanon over the years always remark on the fact that there are always families, women and children, in and around the place. “Secret” installations are usually hidden in plain site — in houses or apartment buildings.
Seldom, if ever, has a guerrilla movement been able to so openly and exquisitely weave itself into the fabric of a society as Hezbollah has done in Lebanon. . . .
To Hezbollah — high on the hatred of centuries — this is total war, and the very term “civilian” — except for its temporary value in gulling the West — does not apply.
This is something that neither the press, nor discussions of the law of war, gives sufficient attention.
MADE IT HOME IN ONE PIECE, Palm Beach to Knoxville in just over 13 hours. Regular blogging will resume tomorrow.
A Fish, a Barrett, a smoking gun . . . .
UPDATE: Alternative subtitle: Stanley Fish worries that Americans will agree with him on free speech.
WE’VE BEEN AT THE SOUTHEASTERN ASSOCIATION OF LAW SCHOOLS CONFERENCE, which was held this year at The Breakers in Palm Beach. A nice place, except that I got stuck — along with several other people — in an elevator for about 20 minutes. And reportedly it happened more than once during the conference. I highly recommend it as a conference venue, but I’d suggest checking to be sure they’ve updated the elevators . . . .
Now we’re heading home.
ILYA SOMIN looks at libertarian divisions over the Iraq war.
RAND SIMBERG has been liveblogging the Space Frontier Foundation conference. Just keep scrolling.
THE L.A. TIMES LOOKS AT podcasting politicians.
DAN RIEHL: “The Kidz are Allwhite.”
TODD STEED sends this email from Beijing:
I’ve been teaching for three weeks in the world’s largest English language camp: Tsinghua University’s 2006 English Summer Camp. Tsinghua is probably the Harvard, Yale or MIT of China. Several people have claimed various other schools at times, but those are the most common comparison. The students are smart, hungry, movitated, funny, and are willing to compete on any level at anything.
Basically, I work with a group of about 60 students from computer and electrical engineering. One of the best suprises was how much these tech students love to sing. In the course of the first few days they learned to sing Rocky Top, obscure American pop songs, Louie Louie, and Brown Eyed Girl. Oh yes, and Country Roads, the semi-national anthem of our class. They can now tell you the geographical errors in the song without prompting.
One small group of my guys formed a band called FTP while another formed a group called All for Lucy. Picture attached of FTP and their coach.
There’s not much free time- but when it’s available I take it. This results in long afternoons getting tea making lessons and such. And walking around in this very pumping city. It’s booming, booming booming and the Olympics are just around the corner to make it boom some more. Everyone is excited about the Olympics. The students, the teachers, the guy selling some mystery meat in the streets,the oustanding street musicians, the shop keepers. They are expecting big things as a result.
It’s all too much to take in. You can’t visit a city like this for three weeks and even make a half dent in it. But I tried, this included also seeing live music. And this where I noticed that Beijing is on the way up quickly. Their live rock bands kick butt. That, and a great beer are the two secret signs of a culture that is ready for the new world. They are still working on the beer, but I think the Beijing Olympic Beer might be a winner.
Great rock bands in Beijing? I think we know who won the Cold War.
Plus, a buried lede at ABC. And a review of the Tesla electric sports car I mentioned earlier. I’ve been slack, but Mickey has been busy!
TOP TEN SIGNS of trouble at The New York Times.
Enough. I’ve read and re-read all the material on the Barrett case and then discussed, thought some more, and discussed again. In the end, we’re going to act locally because our unease coming out of this just won’t ease. As the father of an inbound freshman who completed SOAR and is a month away from moving into the dorm, we’re pulling the plug on UW here, and actively calling back some of the schools we turned down. Yes, it is because of this Barrett class, not this one nut alone, but of the even scarier indifference and lack of systemic accountability involved throughout this process. It really is a truth teller as to what is in store for us the next 4 years, and so, we are opting out. My wife and I are both highly educated and of a fairly liberal bent ourselves, but clearly this 9/11 incident has legs and is indicative of a deeper core cancer at this institution.
There’s more, and you should read it all, especially if you’re an administrator at the University of Wisconsin.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse comments.
UNITED NATIONS AN ACCOMPLICE in Hezbollah kidnapping?
RON BAILEY on Bush’s stem cell veto.
WENDY MCELROY OFFERS a postmortem on the Deb Frisch story.
ANOTHER PODCAST INTERVIEW with Israeli bunkerblogger Eugene.
FINISHED Naomi Kritzer’s new book, and liked it a lot.
WELL, DUH: Pat Buchanan calls Israel “un-Christian.” Never mind what I’d call Pat Buchanan . . . .
THE TESLA ROADSTER: Sounds cool, but I’m skeptical. I’d cheerfully accept an evaluation copy, though . . . .
JOSH MANCHESTER: “The ‘big bang,’ as invading Iraq has sometimes been called, was meant to reorder the nature of politics in the region. This has been accomplished in a fundamental way.”
BEST INTERCHANGE FROM MY CONFERENCE SO FAR, at a session on judicial campaigns and the First Amendment:
Larry Dessem: They’re even attacking the Missouri Plan in Missouri.
Howard Walthall: Then what will we call it now?
IT’S A SEARCH FOR MISSING PERSONS at Classical Values.
ADVICE TO PUBLICISTS, from John Scalzi.
BLOG CENSORSHIP IN INDIA? It’s going to be hard for India to make it as a technology leader if this kind of thing goes on.
UNSCAM UPDATE: Claudia Rosett has more on Tongsun Park’s oil-for-food conviction and what it means.
BUSH’S STEM CELL VETO: As I noted below, this appears to be mostly political theater on both sides. I think Bush was wrong to veto the bill, though, and I also think that he’s going to get extra heat because this was his first veto. If he had been vetoing bills all along, this wouldn’t be such a big deal. And it’s not as if there weren’t plenty of other bills he could have vetoed. . . .
FEDS SHARPEN DATA-MINING TOOLS:
U.S. intelligence agencies have invested millions of dollars since 9/11 on computer programs that search through financial, communications, travel and other personal records of people in the USA and around the world for connections to terrorism, according to public records and security experts.
Interestingly, it sounds as if a lot of the data is purchased from commercial databases. It would be useful to have a debate on what sort of data mining is appropriate, on the level of general principles, as opposed to the sort of episodic alarmism we get about particular programs.
In probably unrelated war-on-terror news, there seem to be more prosecutions of terror suspects in the United States:
Two men already accused of discussing terror targets with Islamic extremists were indicted Wednesday on charges of undergoing paramilitary training in northwest Georgia and plotting a “violent jihad” against civilian and government targets, including an air base in suburban Atlanta.
The new indictment accuses Syed Ahmed, a 21-year-old Georgia Tech student who was arrested in March, and Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 19, of traveling to Washington to film possible targets, including the U.S. Capitol and the headquarters of the World Bank, and sharing the recordings with another alleged terrorist based in Great Britain.
Both men are U.S. citizens who grew up in Atlanta area. They previously were accused of traveling to Canada last year to meet with Islamic extremists to discuss “strategic locations in the United States suitable for a terrorist strike,” including military bases and oil refineries, according to prosecutors.
And there’s this:
A British man was indicted Wednesday on charges he helped run terrorism fundraising Web sites, set up terrorists with temporary housing in England and possessed a classified U.S. Navy document revealing troop movements.
Syed Talha Ahsan was arrested at his home in London, England, on a federal indictment in Connecticut charging him with conspiracy to support terrorists and conspiracy to kill or injure people abroad.
Ahsan is accused in the same case as Babar Ahmad, a British computer specialist who was indicted in Connecticut in October 2004.
Both are accused of running several Web sites including Azzam.com, which investigators say was used to recruit members for the al Qaeda network, Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime and Chechen rebels.
It’s hard to know how much to make of these cases at this point, but stay tuned. Meanwhile, the Counterterrorism Blog looks at Hezbollah activity in North America.
THE VOLOKH CONSPIRACY is having DNS problems. If you’re having trouble reaching them at Volokh.com, try Volokh.powerblogs.com instead.
MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT REP. JERRY LEWIS:
Rep. Jerry Lewis profited handsomely on an investment in a fledgling bank headed by a close friend who invited him to get in on the company’s initial stock offering.
The California Republican was given the opportunity to buy into Security Bank of California in early 2005, shortly after becoming chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Lewis’ initial $22,000 investment now is worth nearly $60,000.
Besides his friendship with bank Chairman James Robinson, Lewis has other connections to the bank. Several of its board members have contributed to his campaigns and are linked to businesses that shared in the bonanza of federal dollars Lewis steered back home.
Lewis’ finances are under scrutiny as part of a broad federal investigation into connections between Washington lobbyists, their clients and the awarding of government contracts. No charges have been filed, and Lewis has denied any wrongdoing.
It seems a bit dodgy, though.
MYSTERY POLLSTER COMMENTS ON a new Pew blogger study.
JACOB WEISBERG MAKES A HERETICAL SUGGESTION: That the war in Lebanon isn’t Bush’s fault. Can this be true?
YES, I’M NOT BLOGGING MUCH THIS WEEK, but James Taranto is back online.
SOME DEVELOPMENTS AT DUKE are reported by KC Johnson.
MORE THOUGHTS ON THE LONG TAIL, in my TCS Daily column.
RAISING CAPITAL at The Huffington Post.