Archive for January, 2007

January 31, 2007


The New York Times Co. posted a $648 million loss for the fourth quarter on Wednesday as it absorbed an $814.4 million charge to write down the value of its struggling New England properties, The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. . . .

The company originally paid $1.1 billion for the Globe in 1993 and $296 million for the Worcester paper in 2000.

The Times reported a loss amounting to $4.50 a share for the October- December period. It earned $63.1 million, or 43 cents a share, a year ago.

Reader Matt Graham writes: “NYT in quagmire. Should immediately begin plans for withdrawal from newspaper business.”

Don Surber: “I notice the Wall Street Journal does not operate this way.”

The Times empire should be making as much money as the WSJ’s, and I think it’s bad management that has made the difference.

January 31, 2007


On the new Knox County Commission is the son of an ex-commissioner, the father of a current commissioner, and the wife of another ex-commissioner.

Also, there’s a Sheriff’s Office employee and one of the booted commissioners is now the Knox County Clerk.

Boy, term limits really bring in new blood, don’t they?

Part of the problem is that not that many people want the jobs.

January 31, 2007

STEVE FORBES IS PUSHING the Iraq Oil Trust idea.

January 31, 2007

LOADS MORE LIBBY TRIAL BLOGGING at Tom Maguire’s place. “In a brutally devastating but gentlemanly low key way the defense destroyed a key prosecution witness.”

And lots more on developments at Duke at K.C. Johnson’s, plus a link to this oped by Johnson.

UPDATE: No, it wasn’t a misquote from Tom above — I cut-and-pasted accurately, but then he fixed the error. I’ve followed suit.

January 31, 2007

BACK BEFORE THE ELECTIONS, I wondered if the Republicans suffered from some sort of “bizarre death wish.” Hugh Hewitt thinks it’s getting worse.

And reader C.J. Burch writes:

The Repubs are on very dangerous ground here I think. Any Sox fan can tell you this. It is very easy to really, really hate people you once loved when you feel they have betrayed you. (Think Roger Clemens, Sox fans) The Republican base isn’t going to get over this, I don’t think…not ever. Of course the winners will be conservative Southern Democrats, and there are still some around. Folks like Jim Marshall here in Georgia will step into the vacume just fine. The Democrats took the South for granted and tossed it away. Looks like the Repubs are trying the same gambit. If they don’t think southern (Jacksonian) voters will find somehwere else to go they’ve lost their minds.

I realize that you go to war with the political class you have, but still. . . .

January 31, 2007

HOW NOT TO TALK about politics and religion.

January 31, 2007

THE NOT-SO-FINAL countdown.

January 31, 2007

THE PERIL OF A NEWSPAPER BLOG “…is that a reporter might say what he actually thinks before an editor catches up with him and makes him stop.”

UPDATE: More here from Blackfive and here from Marc Danziger. Danziger observes:

Look, Arkin’s a pretty good writer, and a veteran. But if you look at his opus in Google, you find him on the anti-military side of almost every issue that’s come along since the 1980’s.

And to appoint him lead blogger on military affairs for arguable the leading newspaper in the country certainly looks a lot like appointing ‘Focus On The Family’s’ James Dobson as the lead rap music critic.

I’m not saying that the major media are liberal, or biased against the military or anything. But this sure makes a good case for it.

Read the whole thing(s).

MORE: A related observation from The Mudville Gazette. And reader Ted Doty writes:

The problem is maybe less what Arkin wrote, than what his commenters wrote. After reading some of them, I feel like I should take a shower:

” I applaud the use of the word “mercenary” to describe the soldiers comprising our standing army. The rarity of its use in this context compelled me to comment.

“U.S. soldiers are by no means “volunteers,” any more than I am a volunteer plumber. When a person accepts compensation in the form of respect, glory, and not least of all monetary benefits (not to mention a host of other privileges for serving one’s country after service is completed) a transaction is made in which both sides receive some benefit. Fisherman in Alaska take on relatively larger risks in exchage [sic] for relatively larger reward. Why is the U.S. military of the 21st century so different in this regard?”

Jeez … is is 2004 all over again? Not that I question their patriotism or anything …

No. Though it’s no fairer to blame Arkin for his commenters, I stress, than any other blogger. But that doesn’t make the comments better. Most of them, however, take a decidedly different tone, more hostile to Arkin than to the troops.

January 31, 2007

AN INTERESTING LOOK AT the state of the economy.

January 31, 2007

XENI JARDIN continues her series on Guatemala.

January 31, 2007

“LOUD CHEERING AND STRONG APPLAUSE:” Bush on Wall Street, where they seem pretty happy with him.

January 31, 2007

AN INSTAPUNDIT FLASHBACK: “HE’S DOOMED, THEN: ‘The only thing standing between Joe Biden and the presidency is his mouth.'”

Yep. Calling Obama the first “articulate and bright and clean” black candidate for President is unfair. Say what you will about Al Sharpton, but his personal hygiene appears to be excellent.

UPDATE: Ann Althouse: “I’m on the same page as Kos on this one.” Me too.

But Jonah Goldberg is defending Biden.

January 31, 2007

IS THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ABOUT TO COLLAPSE? “I am starting to lend more personal credence to the theory that a combination of strong growth, fat corporate profits, and already tight labor market might push the unemployment rate to lows we have not seen since the 1960s.” That would be nice.

January 31, 2007


January 31, 2007

AN AL-QAEDA / CBS video partnership? “CBS used Flash, while AQ prefers realPlayer. That’s just one more reason to hate both Al Qaeda and realPlayer, I guess.”

January 31, 2007


Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, one of Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-laws with deep roots in al-Qaeda as a financier and facilitator, has been reported to have been murdered in his bedroom in Madagascar. Khalifa, “who mined and traded precious stones in Madagascar,” was reported to have been murdered by “a gang of 20 to 30 gunmen broke into his brother’s bedroom, shot him dead ‘in cold blood’ and stole his belongings.”

It’s hard to see this as bad news.

UPDATE: An angry lefty reader thinks that this is bad news because — if Bush weren’t an inept boob — we would have captured Khalifa and reaped an intelligence bonanza.

I’m sure we’d rather have captured him alive and interrogated him, but that’s not always possible. And at any rate, I doubt Khalifa would have produced much useful intelligence in the absence of now-banned interrogation techniques. I’d rather have him pushing up daisies than either operating out in the world, or filing a civil rights suit from Guantanamo. Of course, such a ban does tend to make people like Khalifa worth more dead than alive, but I can live with that consequence, and am surprised that lefty Bush critics feel otherwise, given all the complaints about Guantanamo, etc.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Meryl Yourish emails:

From the article:

“They stole everything — his computer, all of his things,” said Khalifa’s brother.

Uh-huh. His computer. Your lefty reader isn’t reading between the lines in the news article.

I doubt it was just someone desperate for an early release of Windows Vista. And another reader emails:

Your blurb contains an update that says:

“UPDATE: An angry lefty reader thinks that this is bad news because — if Bush weren’t an inept boob — we would have captured Khalifa and reaped an intelligence bonanza.”

If you read Bill’s article, you will see that he had been captured three times in the past and let go in each case. Basically it is a case for showing why we can’t use conventional law enforcement techniques against these maniacs.

He was arrested in the US in 1994 … let’s see … which administration was that again?

I blame Bush.

January 31, 2007

HOW MANY LEGISLATORS DOES IT TAKE TO BAN A LIGHTBULB? More than they’ll probably muster for this dumb idea:

A California lawmaker wants to make his state the first to ban incandescent lightbulbs as part of California’s groundbreaking initiatives to reduce energy use and greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

The “How Many Legislators Does it Take to Change a Lightbulb Act” would ban incandescent lightbulbs by 2012 in favor of energy-saving compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

I’m quite interested in compact fluorescents — I’ve installed quite a few in my house, and I’ve been experimenting to see which ones suck (most of them) and which ones are okay. But banning incandescents? That’s just silly.

Now a ban on private jets? Much less intrusive, and there’s lots of reason to think that this sort of thing has gotten out of hand. Flying commercial — you can even fly First Class if you want — is a small sacrifice for our business and political and entertainment leaders to pay in order to fight the scourge of global warming. Plus, who knows, if the “jet set” starts flying commercial again, maybe commercial flying will get better . . . .

January 31, 2007

basscov.jpgPioneering forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass is the inventor of the University of Tennessee “body farm,” made famous by Patricia Cornwell’s bestselling novel of the same name. Bass is also, with Jon Jefferson, a bestselling author in his own right under the name Jefferson Bass. We talk about forensic anthropology, their new novel Flesh and Bone, what CSI gets wrong, and how to have fun in Chattanooga’s gay bars. Plus, Dr. Bass’s new effort to find out what happened to the Big Bopper in his plane crash with Buddy Holly and Richie Valens.

You can listen directly — no downloading required — by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. Or you can download the file directly by clicking right here. You can get a lo-fi version, suitable for dialup, cellphones, etc., by going here and selecting the lo-fi version. And, of course, you can always subscribe via itunes. Please do! And, as always, my lovely and talented cohost is taking comments and suggestions.

Music: “Temptation,” by Mobius Dick. This podcast was brought to you by Volvo USA — if you buy a Volvo, tell them it’s because of The Glenn and Helen Show!

January 31, 2007


UPDATE: More background here.

January 31, 2007

GLOBAL WARMING CULPRIT LOCATED: “‘He uses the 707 as the family van,’ says Jumbolair developer Terri Jones. ‘The Gulfstream is his sports car.'” Green Hollywood outrage is sure to follow this revelation . . . .

January 31, 2007

MEGAN MCARDLE: “Gasoline prices rose slightly a year ago from $2 to $3 (readers in Europe are snickering, or sobbing) and the media was filled with how awful this was and what oh what was the president going to do to bring prices back down? Now that gas is cheap again, the hue and cry is about how to get people to use less. In the garbled logic of politics, where human beings are unmoved by incentives, CAFE standards offer a ‘have your cake and eat it too’ promise — low gas prices and low gas consumption. Unfortunately, reality will assert itself and we will find low gas prices bringing high gas consumption, no matter what CAFE requires.”

January 31, 2007


Charles Schumer and Barack Obama plan to introduce a bill today in the Senate that will impose more regulation on political speech during campaigns in order to end “deceptive” practices. The New York Times editorial board enthusiastically supports this new bill, even though it admits that the one abuse most often associated with this effort can be prosecuted under existing law.

It’s all about protecting incumbents. It always is.

January 31, 2007

RUDY GIULIANI: “STAR POWER.” A big vulnerability is going to be on the gun issue, I think: It is for him what Campaign Finance Reform is for McCain, something that chases away GOP base voters who lean libertarian.

January 31, 2007

THE TOSHIBA PORTEGE R400 gets “gadget of the week” honors at Popular Mechanics. Doesn’t sound like my cup of tea, though.

January 31, 2007

SCIENCE FAIR BOOKS, Valentine’s Day reading, and more, at the Books for Kids blog. Plus, “princess books” that won’t shrink the brain.

January 31, 2007


BIRMINGHAM, England — Eight terror suspects accused of planning a kidnapping were arrested in pre-dawn raids Wednesday, police said.

Police would not comment on Sky News TV reports that part of the plan was to behead a hostage and post the act on the Internet, and neither the Home Office nor West Midlands police could not confirm details of the alleged plot.

Not much information there, but if that’s the plot I’m glad it was foiled.

UPDATE: A roundup on what’s going on from PJ Media.

January 31, 2007

MICKEY KAUS on a double standard regarding reportorial speech at the New York Times.

Hey, at least we’re not talking about Chris Hedges. Then again, maybe we’re not allowed to . . . .

January 30, 2007

TEN YEARS TO SAVE THE PLANET: Let’s start by banning private jets.

No, really! Also stretch limos.

January 30, 2007

A HERD, NOT A PACK: “I’d noted earlier that the media seemed to be going back to its traditional ways, of serving as an arm of the antigun movement. Well…”

January 30, 2007

I WROTE A MOBIUS DICK SONG a few years ago called Submarine on Europa. Now there’s a guy who’s working on actually putting a submarine on Europa.

January 30, 2007

BALL OF WHACKS UPDATE: Virginia Postrel is posting whacks photos. Maybe they can go in a Whacks Museum. . . .

January 30, 2007


In a landmark ruling in favor of bloggers and cyber journalists, a Santa Clara County Court defended the First Amendment rights of online journalists to protect their confidential sources, effectively giving web journalists the same protections afforded to traditional print journalists. . . .

Apple was ordered to pay all legal costs associated with the defense, including a 2.2 times multiplier of the actual fees, bringing the total to about $700,000.

At least, this will make people think twice about trying to push bloggers around, on the theory that they’re little guys and that doing so is risk-free. On the other hand, as I said last time this kind of bullying backfired, “Don’t get cocky.”

January 30, 2007

MORE ON GUATEMALA, from Xeni Jardin. Background here.

January 30, 2007

MY LOCAL PAPER wins an award for videoblogging. I hope they’ll do more of this kind of thing.

January 30, 2007

BENCHMARKS: The new “lockboxes?”

UPDATE: Is the Republican Congress blowing things again? “I think I’m seeing a sea change in the way the war is being reported. Cautious optimism, or at least a lack of pessimism, seems to be leaching into MSM reporting.” Talk about lousy timing.

Or maybe this is brilliant Rovian jiu-jitsu: GOP members turn negative on the war, media reflexively turns more positive on the war. . . . It’s the power of negative thinking!

January 30, 2007

MICHAEL BARONE: The Wars of the Roses?

Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton. It sounds like the Wars of the Roses: Lancaster, York, Lancaster, York.

To compare our political struggles to the conflicts between rival dynasties may be carrying it too far. But we have become, I think, a nation that is less small-r republican and more royalist than it used to be. Viscerally, this strikes me as a bad thing. But as I’ve thought about it, I’ve decided that something can be said for the increasing royalism of our politics. And whether you like it or not, you can’t deny it’s there. Not when the wife of the 42nd president is a leading candidate to succeed the 43rd president who in turn is the son of the 41st president. The two George Bushes are referred to in their family, we are told, as 41 and 43. If Hillary Clinton wins, will she and her husband call each other 42 and 44?

Then there’s Jeb. And how long until Chelsea’s 35? . . . .

January 30, 2007

THE PAJAMAS MEDIA straw poll results for the first week are now in. Romney squeaked ahead of Giuliani, and Obama is at the top on the Democratic side. But the second week voting has started, and it’s looking different. Big news: How badly McCain is doing, which underscores the damage that Campaign Finance “Reform” has done him in the blogosphere.

January 30, 2007

TOM COBURN profiled in GQ:

The dynamic had begun almost the day he arrived in the Senate, in January 2005. While fellow newcomers like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama observed the customary “freshman silence,” Coburn’s first major move as a senator was to pick a fight with one of his party’s most venerated leaders, Ted Stevens of Alaska, a forty-year veteran of Congress who also happened to be the Senate’s president pro tempore.

The fight was over pork. As the 2006 transportation budget passed through the Senate process, Coburn noticed something odd: $200 million to pay for a bridge in Stevens’s home state—a bridge almost as long as the Golden Gate and taller than the Brooklyn Bridge, connecting an island of fifty people to the coast. In the Senate, these kinds of giveaways are not unusual; members, and especially those in a position of influence, are frequently given millions of dollars for personal spending projects back home, items that bypass the normal review process and are quietly ushered in by their peers (whose own projects get the same deal). But to Coburn, who hadn’t spent forty years in the Senate and didn’t have any of his own special projects and didn’t particularly care about keeping pacts with his new colleagues, $200 million seemed like a lot to spend on a bridge for fifty people. So he tried to take the earmark out. And that’s when Tom Coburn discovered what his life in the Senate would be like. . . .

So now there’s all this hullabaloo about the Democrats taking over—Tom Coburn is supposed to care? He’s supposed to get excited now that the peanut butter is on top and the jelly is on the bottom instead of the other way around? This is a revolution? It’s a revolution that Ted Stevens has been pushed aside as chairman of the defense-appropriations subcommittee and that in his place the Democrats have installed…Daniel Inouye of Hawaii? A man who inserted $900 million of his own personal projects into the budget last year—and who happens to be one of Ted Stevens’s best friends in the Senate? It’s a revolution that the Democrats have cleaned out the subcommittee behind the Bridge to Nowhere and replaced the chairman with…Patty Murray of Washington? A woman who personally led a campaign for the bridge and who threatened revenge against any Democrat who opposed it? It’s a revolution that Thad Cochran has been deposed as the most powerful budgetary overlord in the Senate and is being replaced with…Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia? A man who has single-handedly converted his state into a federally funded monument to himself, with no less than thirty projects named in his own honor, including the Robert C. Byrd Expressway and the Robert C. Byrd National Technology Transfer and the two Robert C. Byrd federal buildings and the Robert C. Byrd Center for Hospitality and Tourism—not to mention the actual statue of Robert C. Byrd that stands in the rotunda of the state capitol?

Robert C. Byrd is going to clean up the government? This is a revolution?

Coburn smiled at the suggestion. “We’ll see how the Democrats vote on the first big earmark boondoggle that comes up,” he said. “I’m gonna try to reserve judgment.”

Read the whole thing.

January 30, 2007

THE ECONOMIST on a minimum wage increase:

It is probable that the minimum wage increase will not cost enough jobs to make its effects readily distinguishable from random economic variation. It is also probable that it will improve the lot of a few poor people, though not many, as fewer than 20% of those who earn the minimum wage live in poor households now. On the other hand, it also seems probable that much of any benefit that goes to poor families will come out of the pockets of other poor people—very probably even poorer people, such as convicts, who are currently barely hanging onto the fringes of the labour force. . . .

CEO’s who support higher minimum wages are not, as the media often casts them, renegade heros speaking truth to power because their inner moral voice bids them be silent no more. They are by and large, like Mr Sinegal, the heads of companies that pay well above the minimum wage. Forcing up the labour costs of their competitors, while simultaneously collecting good PR for “daring” to support a higher minimum, is a terrific business move.

Sounds like more of that Hagelian courage. . . .

January 30, 2007

IT FEELS LIKE THE FIRST TIME. But remember, when people tell you it’s the first time, they’re not always telling the truth . . . .

January 30, 2007


UPDATE: Here’s a Libby trial live-blog aggregator, set up by the Media Bloggers’ Association.

January 30, 2007


January 30, 2007

IN THE MAIL: J.D. Johannes’ independent Iraq documentary, Outside the Wire. I’ll post a review when I get a chance.

January 30, 2007

ANN ALTHOUSE ON RACIAL ASPECTS OF OBAMA-MANIA: “What accounts for amazement to the point of adoration at the fact that a man possesses excellent skill at something like note taking? Is it not that he can do it and he’s black? You can laugh at Noah’s nuggets of gratuitous adoration, but you ought also to look at them critically and think about the implications.”

January 30, 2007


January 30, 2007

BENCHMARKS FOR BOEHNER: And some further thoughts here.

Back before the elections I commented about the Republicans: “It’s as if they had some sort of bizarre death wish.” Still seems to be true.

UPDATE: Reader Keith Mitchell writes:

One has to wonder if the Boehner has been reading the reports the Defense Department is already required to publish quarterly. Titled “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.” Complete with benchmarks and progress.

Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq:

Weekly Updates on reconstruction:

State Department Updates:

My guess would be “no.”

January 30, 2007


January 30, 2007


Why, exactly, is Sen. Chuck Hagel showing “courage” in conspicuously denouncing the Iraq War now that virtually the entire American establishment has reached that same conclusion–now that Hagel is virtually assured of getting hero treatment from Brian Williams and Tim Russert and long favorable profiles in the newsweeklies?

Read the whole thing. “Courage” consists of saying what the media want you to say. My thoughts can be found here.

January 29, 2007

REQUIRING GUN OWNERSHIP: My New York Times oped on the topic generated enough interest that I’ve put up this longer treatment of the subject: It Takes a Militia: A Communitarian Case for Compulsory Arms-Bearing. The piece notes that “communitarian” reasoning is arguably more supportive of requirements to own guns, and belong to a militia, than of gun control. Does this suggest that I support programs for “national service?” Not so much, and reading the piece will give you some idea of why. (Bumped).

January 29, 2007


January 29, 2007

CINGULAR, PRICELINE, TRAVELOCITY fined for using adware.

January 29, 2007

CHRIS HEDGES calls for censorship of the “radical Christian Right.”

January 29, 2007

IT’S STILL 1968. And always will be, apparently.

UPDATE: Hey, the spitting is back:

There were a few tense moments, however, including an encounter involving Joshua Sparling, 25, who was on crutches and who said he was a corporal with the 82nd Airborne Division and lost his right leg below the knee in Ramadi, Iraq. Mr. Sparling spoke at a smaller rally held earlier in the day at the United States Navy Memorial, and voiced his support for the administration’s policies in Iraq.

Later, as antiwar protesters passed where he and his group were standing, words were exchanged and one of the antiwar protestors spit at the ground near Mr. Sparling; he spit back.

Capitol police made the antiwar protestors walk farther away from the counterprotesters.

“These are not Americans as far as I’m concerned,” Mr. Sparling said.

Quick, rerelease Electric Ladyland!

January 29, 2007

MORE Hezbollah fauxtography.

January 29, 2007

ED FELTEN says that the music industry has boxed itself in over copy protection. (Via TechMeme).

January 29, 2007

DAVID BELL: Was 9/11 really that bad?

Plus, identifying the real enemy.

UPDATE: Comments on the Bell piece, here.

January 29, 2007

XENI JARDIN reports from Guatemala. And she’s got a cool new series called Xeni Tech.

January 29, 2007

THE Carnival of the Capitalists is up! So is the Blawg Review. Lots more carnivals at — and don’t miss the Blog Carnival box in my right sidebar.

January 29, 2007

SUPERMAXING the brain?

January 29, 2007

DNA EXONERATES THE INNOCENT: Except when it doesn’t.

Plus, an anti-railroading society?

January 29, 2007

HEH: “There Are Two Americas; John Edwards’ New House Takes Up Almost All of One Of Them.”

I have nothing against lawyers getting rich, but the mansion thing does make it harder to pose as a horny-handed tiller of the soil.

January 29, 2007

MULTICULTURALISM CONTINUES TO FAIL: ” A growing number of young Muslims in Britain are inspired by political Islam and in favour of Sharia law, Islamic dress for women and faith schools, according to a study. The survey of 1,003 Muslims by pollsters Populus for the independent Policy Exchange think-tank also suggested there was greater support for militant Islamist groups among the young.”

January 29, 2007

NOW OUT IN PAPERBACK: A (modestly) revised version of An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths. Buy one today. Heck, buy twelve today! It’s certainly got more blurbs than most books on Amazon.

UPDATE: Hey, when I posted this link it said the book was shipping. Now it’s back to saying “pre-order.” Official publication date is 2/06, but my author’s copies are here. Sorry, I’ll let you know when it’s really out.

January 29, 2007

AT CHICAGOBOYZ: “Whatever hits the fan is never evenly distributed.’

Some of these issues are also touched on here.

January 29, 2007

REAL REASONS AND ACCEPTABLE REASONS: An interesting speech by NASA Administrator Mike Griffin.

January 29, 2007

BILL ROGGIO on the fighting in Najaf.

January 29, 2007

JIMMY CARTER: “TOO MANY JEWS” on the Holocaust Council.

Professor Freedman, now a law professor at Hofstra University, also confirmed that a respected Holocaust scholar was rejected as a board member by Carter’s office because the scholar’s name “sounded too Jewish” — although he was a Presbyterian Christian. Mr. Freedman told us that the WND account was “entirely accurate” except that Elie Wiesel, not Freedman himself, had selected the board members.

We asked Professor Freedman why he decided to publicize details of this Carter memo now. He said that he had told the story repeatedly over the years in private circles, but only now did someone mention the story to a reporter who called him up to ask if it was true.

It just gets worse.

January 29, 2007

DON SURBER: “Let’s cut to the chase: The Hillary campaign is held back by one man. Divorce him. . . . If Britney Spears is smart enough to dump K-Fed, surely the valedictorian of the Wellesley Class of ‘69 can figure this out.”

January 29, 2007

DAVE HARDY on fake gun-rights groups.

January 29, 2007

MICKEY KAUS: “Labor costs–and specifically work rules–are part of what’s killing all the unionized auto manufacturers while their non-unionized competitors thrive.” Work rules, I think, are more damaging than pay issues because they cost flexibility and make it harder to introduce new technology.

January 29, 2007


Anti-war protesters were allowed to spray paint on part of the west front steps of the United States Capitol building after police were ordered to break their security line by their leadership, two sources told The Hill.

According to the sources, police officers were livid when they were told to fall back by U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Chief Phillip Morse and Deputy Chief Daniel Nichols. “They were the commanders on the scene,” one source said,who requested anonymity. “It was disgusting.”


January 29, 2007


Philip Zelikow and Daniel Marcus, respectively the executive director and general counsel of the 9/11 Commission, told Mr. Davis’s investigators that they were never told Mr. Berger had access to original classified documents for which no copies existed. Had he known, Mr. Zelikow says, he would had “grave concern.”

As it was, the 9/11 Commission was not informed of any investigation of Mr. Berger’s alleged tampering with documents until only two days before his testimony, and then in only the most vague terms. Not only were the 9/11 Commission not told that Mr. Berger had access to original documents; they were affirmatively led to believe that the commission got all the documents that Mr. Berger took. Both Mr. Zelikow and Mr. Marcus understood Justice to mean that there was no way Mr. Berger had taken any other documents. An investigator for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee bluntly told Fox News last week: “The Justice Department lied to the 9/11 Commission about Sandy Berger. That is a fact.” A Justice Department spokesman still insists it “has no evidence that Sandy Berger’s actions deprived the 9/11 Commission of documents.” But that raises the question: How hard did Justice look for such evidence?

The 9/11 Commission wishes it had known answers to that and more. It’s time that Congress and the public learn why the Berger scandal was treated so nonchalantly.

I think there’s more to this than we know, so far.

January 28, 2007

PATRICK RUFFINI sends this video of George Will making “the conservative case for Giuliani.”

Meanwhile, Joe Lieberman may back a Republican.

January 28, 2007


January 28, 2007

PODCASTING ABOUT the joys of podcasting.

January 28, 2007

HARRY REID, LAND BARON? The Los Angeles Times takes a look at some of Reid’s dealings. (Via Ed Morrissey, who asks: “Will the reformist zealotry of the Democratic majority be brought to bear on Reid? Don’t count on it.” What about all that “culture of corruption” talk before the election?)

January 28, 2007

THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES is up. So is the Carnival of Wheels, and Radiology Grand Rounds. And, of course, the Carnival of the Cats. Lots more carnivals — and yes, I know, I’ve been pretty lax in noting them lately — over at

And even when I’m lax, the BlogCarnival box in my right sidebar is always on the job — click here and look right.

January 28, 2007

AIRBRUSHING AT DAVOS? A bit late for that, isn’t it?

January 28, 2007

MICHAEL YON posts a lengthy essay, with photos, from Iraq.

He emails: “There are two types of media sources covering this war: the ones who are here, and those who are not. The media is Missing In Action, and reporting from afar. Yesterday, for instance, major media reported on an attack in a small village north of Mosul. None of those sources actually visited the village. I did.”

His work would be in The New Yorker, if there were any justice.

UPDATE: Plus, a photo essay from Bill Ardolino, one of those journalists who reports from Iraq.

Photo by Michael Yon

January 28, 2007

“THANKS JOHN: You’re a really big help.”

UPDATE: Eric Scheie: “This is not to suggest that Bush is perfect. Far from it. I’m often disappointed in him, and many times I’ve looked back and asked whether things might have been different had Kerry won. The answer is yes they would have. I think they would have been worse. The more I read about Kerry, the more I’m glad I didn’t vote for him.”

Yes. Bush, as I’ve said many times, was a weak candidate. It’s just that Kerry was much weaker.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Heh: “In response to Bill Kristol saying John Kerry shouldn’t have left home to criticize American foreign policy abroad, Brit Hume yesterday quipped: ‘Is it really fair to John Kerry to argue, Bill, that when he’s in Switzerland, he’s away from home?'”

January 28, 2007

MORE MYTHS: This time it’s five myths about suburbia and automobiles. I had a related piece here.

January 28, 2007

AT STRATEGYPAGE: Top Ten Myths of the Iraq War. Excerpt:

10- The War in Iraq is Lost. By what measure? Saddam and his Baath party are out of power. There is a democratically elected government. Part of the Sunni Arab minority continues to support terror attacks, in an attempt to restore the Sunni Arab dictatorship. In response, extremist Shia Arabs formed vigilante death squads to expel all Sunni Arabs. Given the history of democracy in the Middle East, Iraq is working through its problems. Otherwise, one is to believe that the Arabs are incapable of democracy and only a tyrant like Saddam can make Iraq “work.” If democracy were easy, the Arab states would all have it. There are problems, and solutions have to be found and implemented. That takes time, but Americans have, since the 18th century, grown weary of wars after three years. If the war goes on longer, the politicians have to scramble to survive the bad press and opinion polls. Opposition politicians take advantage of the situation, but this has nothing to do with Iraq, and everything to do with local politics in the United States.

Indeed. (Via Austin Bay, who observes: “In twenty years its common sense assessment will be the conventional wisdom.”)

UPDATE: Some related thoughts from Robert Kagan:

It’s quite a juxtaposition. In Iraq, American soldiers are finally beginning the hard job of establishing a measure of peace, security and order in critical sections of Baghdad — the essential prerequisite for the lasting political solution everyone claims to want. They’ve launched attacks on Sunni insurgent strongholds and begun reining in Moqtada al-Sadr’s militia. And they’ve embarked on these operations with the expectation that reinforcements will soon be on the way: the more than 20,000 troops President Bush has ordered to Iraq and the new commander he has appointed to fight the insurgency as it has not been fought since the war began.

Back in Washington, however, Democratic and Republican members of Congress are looking for a different kind of political solution: the solution to their problems in presidential primaries and elections almost two years off. Resolutions disapproving the troop increase have proliferated on both sides of the aisle. Many of their proponents frankly, even proudly, admit they are responding to the current public mood, as if that is what they were put in office to do. Those who think they were elected sometimes to lead rather than follow seem to be in a minority.

Perhaps we should abolish Congress and run everything by poll. I doubt there’s much support for that idea in Congress . . . . Read the whole thing, and especially this point: “Of course, most of the discussion of Iraq isn’t about Iraq at all. The war has become a political abstraction, a means of positioning oneself at home.”

And TigerHawk writes: “There are, I think, two groups of people who are afraid that the ‘surge’ might work.”

January 28, 2007

CLAYTON CRAMER will soon be starting a book tour in support of his new book, Armed America: The Remarkable Story of How and Why Guns Became as American as Apple Pie. I’m sure that Michael Bellesiles won’t like it.

January 28, 2007

JUST THINK OF IT AS EVOLUTION IN ACTION: Muslims urged to refuse ‘un-Islamic’ vaccinations.

UPDATE: Dan Riehl points out the obvious. (“Actually, Reynolds’ noting the item is far from celebrating it . . . any actions, stupid or otherwise, by parents are by definition built in to any working theory of evolution.” I disagree with Riehl on the HPV vaccine, though; I’d include it with routine childhood immunizations.) And some related thoughts of mine, here and here. As for those who wrote me with the usual anti-vaccination scare stories and conspiracy theories, well, it’s evolution in action for you, too. Me, I keep my shots up.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Light Maleski emails:

One overlooked problem with all people not getting vaccinated is the overall immunity level of the population decreases… not just those that don’t have the vaccine. For vaccines to be truly effective, they have to be administered to as much of the population as possible. So this doesn’t just affect the Muslims, but also the communities they intermingle with. An un-vaccinated person will make it more likely a person with a vaccination will contract the disease. Not an issue to overlook. This is also a problem with parents who want to refuse vaccinations for their kids before they enter school for “Religious” reasons (Christians included). These kids being more susceptible carriers increase the risk of other children getting sick, and thus the parents, and everyone else they come into contact. These kinds of people present a danger to us all.

Yes, this is the standard argument for mandatory vaccination, and I think it has considerable force, especially where, as here, the risk from vaccination is very low.

MORE: One of Dan Riehl’s commenters asks: “Am I the only person in this entire discussion other than Glenn Reynolds who’s read Oath of Fealty?” Heh. Apparently. It’s not like I haven’t used the phrase before.

January 28, 2007

MORE BUTTER-BLOGGING: So we ran out of the New Zealand butter that won the taste test a while back, and it still was showing as out of stock on Amazon. At a reader’s recommendation, I tried this Amish roll butter instead, though I didn’t fully grasp just how much butter a 2 lb. roll is. . .

The Insta-Daughter — who, delightfully, made me pancakes this morning — likes this stuff better; I find it a bit saltier than I like, but it’s quite good. And I imagine Nina Planck would approve.

UPDATE: No sooner did I post this than I ran across an interesting essay by Michael Pollan on food and nutrition:

But after several decades of nutrient-based health advice, rates of cancer and heart disease in the U.S. have declined only slightly (mortality from heart disease is down since the ’50s, but this is mainly because of improved treatment), and rates of obesity and diabetes have soared.

No one likes to admit that his or her best efforts at understanding and solving a problem have actually made the problem worse, but that’s exactly what has happened in the case of nutritionism. Scientists operating with the best of intentions, using the best tools at their disposal, have taught us to look at food in a way that has diminished our pleasure in eating it while doing little or nothing to improve our health. Perhaps what we need now is a broader, less reductive view of what food is, one that is at once more ecological and cultural.

Read the whole thing.

January 28, 2007


OK, WE’RE not in America, but a session in Davos today on American energy security would have been a touch more convincing if we hadn’t been sitting in an overheated hotel room with the windows wide open so that this expensively produced heat dissipated into the freezing air outside.

Not to mention all the jetting-to-Davos, sometimes in private jets. Still, this bit sounds right to me: “The eventual answer is a big revamp on the supply side: more nuclear energy, more from existing renewables, more from new technologies. And a smaller revamp on the demand side: less waste, through more efficient cars, smarter building regulations. The state of the union address looked in the right direction.”

January 28, 2007

THOUGHTS ON politics and human rights.

January 28, 2007

A CIVILIAN MORTAR ATTACK on a girls’ school.

Plus, other civilians arrested.

January 28, 2007


Hamas and Fatah gunmen battled each other in the streets Sunday, having sent civilians fleeing from their homes in an increasingly bloody power struggle that left more than two dozen Palestinians dead over the weekend.

An explosion early in the morning rocked the Gaza City home of a bodyguard to Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan, but the guard was not in the building and no casualties were reported. At least eight people were wounded in exchanges of fire between the sides overnight, Palestinian security officials said.

Because it’s only a civil war if you can blame Bush, apparently . . . .

January 28, 2007

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER at Davos. Plus, Arianna Huffington versus John McCain.

January 28, 2007

RON ROSENBAUM: The Geico Caveman jumps the shark.

January 28, 2007

A GOOD WEEKEND for editorials at the Washington Post.

January 27, 2007

A REPORT from the Code Pink rally.

UPDATE: In Madison, Vive Saddam.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A lengthy report from a reader — click “read more” to read it.

MORE: Another report. And here’s a PJ Media roundup.

January 27, 2007


British officials say police have cracked the murder-by-poison case of former spy Alexander Litvinenko, including the discovery of a “hot” teapot at London’s Millennium Hotel with an off-the-charts reading for Polonium-210, the radioactive material used in the killing.

A senior official tells ABC News the “hot” teapot remained in use at the hotel for several weeks after Litvinenko’s death before being tested in the second week of December. The official said investigators were embarrassed at the oversight.

The official says investigators have concluded, based on forensic evidence and intelligence reports, that the murder was a “state-sponsored” assassination orchestrated by Russian security services.

And yet, Putin pretty much gets a pass for this.

January 27, 2007

NEWS FROM AFGHANISTAN, courtesy of Major John Tammes.

January 27, 2007

MORE ON ORGAN DONATIONS: Virginia Postrel reviews Kieran Healy’s new book in The New York Times. Excerpt:

The book’s major shortcoming is its failure to address the fastest growing source of organs: living donors. More than two-thirds of the people on the national waiting list — about 68,000 — need kidneys. There are nowhere near enough brain-dead accident victims to fill that demand, regardless of family beneficence or organizational efficiency. Fortunately, nobody has to die to supply a kidney. They can come from living donors, who can live perfectly normal lives with a single kidney and who now account for nearly 40 percent of all kidney transplants. With the kidney shortage at crisis proportions, the debate over financial incentives is really a debate over whether living adults should be allowed to sell their own organs or, at the least, receive a tax credit or some other indirect compensation.

Although he barely mentions living donors, Healy’s sociological message resonates through that debate. Financial incentives would operate within complex organizational structures, as well as contract and liability law. Bureaucratic institutions, notably hospitals and insurers, would shape the environment in which transplants take place. Many kidney sellers would still have humanitarian motives. “The idea that markets inevitably corrupt,” Healy writes, “is not tenable precisely because they are embedded within social relations, cultural categories and institutional routines.” Commerce isn’t antithetical to culture; it is part of it.

Read the whole thing.

January 27, 2007

JOHN KERRY does it again. Like Jimmy Carter, he’ll never forgive America for rejecting him, and he’ll console himself with the approval of America’s enemies.

UPDATE: Video here.

Don Surber: “This is the best Massachusetts can send to the Senate?”

Jules Crittenden: “Sorry, I don’t feel like writing any more about this guy right now.”

Ann Althouse: “Anticipated next scene: Kerry proffers some mind-bending explanation of how his use of the words ‘international pariah’ didn’t mean what Fox News manipulated unintelligent plebes into believing.”

January 27, 2007

WELL, YES: “Google’s decision to censor its search engine in China was bad for the company, its founders admitted yesterday. . . . Asked whether he regretted the decision, Mr Brin admitted yesterday: ‘On a business level, that decision to censor… was a net negative.'” And not just on a business level.

This kind of thing is why I’m less pessimistic than Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu regarding the future of Internet freedom.

UPDATE: Big roundup on this at BoingBoing.

January 27, 2007

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: Princeton, Berkeley, and Asians.

January 27, 2007

THE SARAJEVO MOMENT: “Maybe it is already, and the fact is that the fretters exaggerate the impact of the thinkable catastrophe. My lunch companion, for example, argued that a small nuclear weapon exploded in New York, while a horror for the city and its inhabitants, would have roughly the same impact on the financial markets as a moment of delirium on the part of Ben Bernanke.”