April 20, 2002

HUH. I'm an open-source blogger,

HUH. I'm an open-source blogger, while "Max Power" sounds like a porn star. So which of us comes off better in that comparison?


YOU CAN STREAM AUDIO of the Glenn Reynolds / Mickey Kaus presentation on weblogs at UCLA by clicking here.


ANOTHER REPORT ON VENEZUELA and environs, from Jorge "scoopmaster" Schmidt:

1. Public confirmation of organized labor-led march on May 1st: The parallel "Bolivarian" Labor Organization announced plans for a counter-demonstration the same day.

2. Excellent piece by T. Varadarajan on Venezuela generally: He's right, by the way, Venezuela has been esentially socialist for the past 30 years.

3. A helicopter crash killed most of the Venezuelan Air Force's high command. These were the post-coup guys. It is being blamed on bad weather.

4. The Colombian paramilitary forces have declared Chavez "persona non grata" and "highly dangerous to the intergity of our nation."

InstaPundit: Must-reading for Latin American experts everywhere!

BILL HERBERT doesn't like Ted

BILL HERBERT doesn't like Ted Rall's latest cartoon much.

JOSH MARSHALL reports that he

JOSH MARSHALL reports that he heard from an unnamed "Latin American expert" on Thursday,

an intriguing development which few or no US media sources have reported: despite the apparent calming of the situation in the country, the State Department is asking family members of embassy officials in Caracas and other non-essential employees to leave the country.
That would be "few," not "no" U.S. media sources, since InstaPundit (via a communication from Jorge Schmidt) reported it on Wednesday!

MICKEY KAUS clarifies his position

MICKEY KAUS clarifies his position (yeah, that's it, clarifies it) on an independent McCain candidacy.

GROANNN. Reader Don Burton writes:

GROANNN. Reader Don Burton writes: "I saw the item about the bicycle protest that became raucous. Will the media now call for an end to the 'cycles of violence?'"


HONG KONG ON THE WEST BANK: Jerry Pournelle has this suggestion:

Imagine that Israel draws a boundary, and expels all the Palestinians from within it; we hope with compensation. What's outside is now Palestine.

The world gives Palestine a present: the Brits get to run it, rule of law, police, courts, exactly as they ran Hong Kong. This will go for 25 years after which there will be an election.

No taxes: the government is paid for by the international community. There can be some money for infrastructure but again the Brits administer all this.

Think of Hong Kong 1950 and again in 1975. Palestine would be richer than socialist high tax Israel.

Of course it won't happen.

Of course not. Who wants to be rich, free and at peace? No warlords do, that's for sure.

UPDATE: A dissatisfied reader writes:

I'm actually kind of tired of the use of Hong Kong (or Singapore) as the representative model of colonialism. The Brits DID have Palestine, and they did nothing but help screw it up. I would expect Jerry to have a better grasp of history.
Well, not every place can be Singapore or Hong Kong -- can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, after all.

EMAIL UPDATE: Sometime correspondent "Reinhard

EMAIL UPDATE: Sometime correspondent "Reinhard Heydrich" pours scorn on the notion that there were 100,000 people at the pro-Israel rally. He may be right about the numbers (there were about 54,000 extra metro users that day, though of course not all protesters used the Metro). But it seems kind of odd that he's bitching: doesn't he believe that a Massive Jewish Conspiracy runs everything? And if so, why shouldn't they be able to turn out 100K protesters? Nazis are losers, Reinhard. You guys weren't even as good as the Communists at mass murder, though I'll grant that you gave it your best efforts.

Anton Riviera (whose name is likely about as genuine as Reinhard's) is mad that I'm not publishing more emails from him. One was quite enough, thanks. Hey Anton: get your own blog. Or just read The Mirror.

RADLEY BALKO has posted an

RADLEY BALKO has posted an account of his experiences at the antiglobo/anti-Israel protests today in Washington. Excerpt:

"Bush Is Hitler," read one sign. "Free Trade=Holocaust" read another. "IMF, International Mother Fucker," read one particularly uncreative poster. One guy dropped all pretense and went with, simply, "Fuck America." Drum circles broke out, and just in front of us, a quintuplet of spiraling, hairy college girls in sundresses and sneakers began chanting something about "profit is the enemy," and "George Bush is a ho! IMF has got to go!"
There's a lot more. Go read it to see what terrible shape the antiwar left -- at least this part of it, and this is pretty much all there is at the moment -- is in.


WORTHWHILE CANADIAN INITIATIVES: Jim Bennett has a column on Canada today. Also, you can leave messages of condolence (for the friendly-fire incident earlier this week) and support on this Canadian Forces message board.

ANTIGLOBO UPDATE: They're showing some

ANTIGLOBO UPDATE: They're showing some of the speeches on C-SPAN. I just caught a few minutes of some rather shrill-voiced woman from "Muslims Against Racism" calling for solidarity with Cuba and North Korea because "we are all Palestinians."

Her chief complaint, as best as I could make out, was that "they are using our tax money," for this war and that's wrong because it's a use of tax money that some taxpayers don't approve of.

Welcome to my world, sister.


THE NORWEGIAN EMBASSY RESPONDS: Reader Terry Hinshaw got this email, and shared it with me:

The Royal Norwegian Embassy has taken due note of your comments to the incident in the Norwegian Parliament last week, when a young man was requested to leave his outer garment - displaying a small Israeli flag on the chest pocket - in the cloak room before being re-admitted to the Parliament restaurant. The staff acted of the basis of administrative procedures of the Parliament, which require that outer garments be checked in the cloak room.

It should be underlined that the incident was not politically motivated. Nor does the incident reflect any change in Norway's position with regard to the situation in the Middle East.

The Norwegian government has repeatedly given its full support to the U.S. efforts to stop the violence and seek a negotiated solution to the conflict. We share the objective of an immediate cease-fire, an end to all violence, an Israeli retreat and a dialogue between Israel and the Palestine Authorities. In a statement issued on April 17, Foreign Minister Jan Petersen expresses his concern for the current situation, and calls on both parties to implement recent resolutions by the U.N. Security Council.

Israel has many friends in Norway. The young man visiting the the Parliament last week is only one of them. Their consititutional right to voice their opinion has not been and will not be restricted.

Yours sincerely,

Jon-Еge Шyslebш
Counselor for Press and Cultural Affairs
Royal Norwegian Embassy
Washington, D.C.

Hinshaw comments that "It sounds like an after-the-fact rationalization for what happened in their Parliament. . . ." Maybe so. But at least they realize now that -- to coin a phrase -- the whole world is watching.

DAVID BERNSTEIN sends a link

DAVID BERNSTEIN sends a link to this story from the New York Times and notes:

Israel says it blocked access to aid groups because of danger from booby traps. The aid folks accused Israel of making up lame excuses. Well: "As relief agency officials and human rights activists swarmed around the camp, an Israeli Arab doctor stepped on something that exploded, blowing him
off his feet. Writhing in agony and bleeding from the leg, Wael Omari, part of a delegation of physicians, was stretchered away to an ambulance by shocked colleagues. The blast was a sharp reminder of the dangers posed by unexploded ordnance and booby-traps."
Yes. Although strangely the Times story doesn't mention that the aid groups had failed to take the Israeli warnings seriously. But we do get this quote from an ICRC staffer: ``It took six days for the Israeli army to let us into the camp, but now we have fairly free access on a daily basis.''


BOB KUTTNER IS WORRIED. He's afraid that we've reached an ideological tipping point in favor of conservatism.

Funny, a reporter just asked me that as part of an interview, which in a way is evidence that Kuttner may be right. On the other hand, he seemed to think that I am a conservative, and that InstaPundit is part of the tipping. Well, if I am I'm a pro-cloning, pro-gay-marriage conservative who wants to see Mars made earthlike and settled by humans. If that's conservatism, I'm your man!

And that underscores the problem. Conservatism, as that term is used by a lot of people, doesn't mean much more than skepticism toward, well, the likes of Bob Kuttner. So if it triumphs, will it really be that huge a change? For Bob Kuttner, maybe.


GREAT OPENING PARAGRAPH in this piece by Mike Lynch on the Supreme Court's virtual-kiddie-porn opinion:

"What the Supreme Court has said here is that ‘child pornography’ has to involve children,’" Mark Kernes, a senior editor at Adult Video News, told The New York Times. "And what a shock that is."
What's interesting to me is how uncontroversial this opinion turned out to be.


THE SPEED OF THE BLOGOSPHERE: Well, I managed to tout the InstaPundit Store (now featuring thermal commuter mugs and ladies' tank tops!) for a couple of days before somebody else caught on and started doing the same thing. Damn those war profiteers anyway!

UPDATE: By the way, if you can get me a picture of Condi Rice in the InstaPundit baby-doll t-shirt I'll give you a free shirt, mug, or whatever. Even the coveted red-white-and-blue InstaPundit office basketball goal!


MY LAW SCHOOL CLASSMATE GENE SPERLING has an oped in the Washington Post today calling for lots of education as a form of international aid. I like this idea, but I see some problems.

People are pretty sensitive to what you teach their kids. The countries that need aid are disproportionately thugocracies. Such regimes usually want to indoctrinate the kids, not teach them. Would we wind up funding something like the Palestinian schools, which are an endless program of hate-the-jews indoctrination? Or the Pakistani madrassas, where all they teach kids is how to memorize the Koran in Arabic, even when the kids don't speak Arabic?

And if we tried to give them a real education, wouldn't it create a huge backlash?

None of this means it's a bad idea, just that there are a lot of bumps in the road. And it's not worth doing at all if it winds up simply subsidizing anti-American indoctrination, which seems likely to me if international aid organizations are involved.

JOHN ELLIS thinks McCain will

JOHN ELLIS thinks McCain will run as an independent in 2004. Mickey Kaus agrees.

I'm not so sure. McCain is, pretty obviously, an egomaniac who's addicted to the limelight. But running as an independent seems to be the sure path to political self-destruction. Look at Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan. Does McCain want to do that? Or is he so egotistical that he thinks it'll be different this time?

THE SARGE has a nice

THE SARGE has a nice piece on the limitations of sloganeering.


THE ANTIGLOBO PROTESTS have already produced their first violent incident. Which is one more than the pro-Israel protests produced, I believe.

Of course, as the link shows, they got publicity out of it. Perhaps at the next pro-Israel rally the crowd should stone the Saudi embassy or something? It won't be their fault if they do, you know -- just an expression of "desperation" and "hopelessness" in the face of media bias.

RADLEY BALKO is going to

RADLEY BALKO is going to infiltrate the anti-globo protesters today. He'll be posting updates on his website later on. Check 'em out.

April 19, 2002

PAUL CONRAD: The new Ted

PAUL CONRAD: The new Ted Rall? Matthew Hoy thinks so.

UDPATE: Reader Simon Hawkin adds:

While looking at the cartoon you referenced, I realized the airplane flying low towards the two minarets must have been hijacked. Since the airplane has the Star of David markings, it must be Israeli, and the hijackers are Palestinians or their sympathizers. I am sure, however, that this is not what the author of the cartoon had in mind.
Meanwhile, Robert Musil adds some supporting detail to Hawkin's hypothesis, noting that:
I believe the two towers featured in Conrad's cartoon are not mosques. They appear to be the towers of the Christian Bethlehem Church of the Nativity and another church nearby. [Scroll down to "Church of the Nativity" and click on the little magnifying glass to enlarge the tiny picture.]
So we can conclude that Conrad's drawing is either (1) an incredibly subtle piece of anti-Palestinian propaganda, since it shows a hijacked El Al airplane being smashed into two Christian churches, presumably by Palestinians; or (2) an incredibly inept piece of anti-Israeli propaganda, since it shows a hijacked El Al airplane being smashed into two Christian churches, presumably by Palestinians. Having visited his website and seen his other work, I don't thing subtlety is his hallmark, so I'm going with inept for now. But I could be wrong.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Okay, I think it's safe to rule out subtlety. Reader Scott McKim sends this link to another tasteless airplane cartoon by Conrad from last fall.


ERIC OLSEN SAYS NPR IS HOPELESSLY BIASED, and cites as evidence today's report on Jenin.


THIS STORY CLAIMS AN IRAQI CONNECTION TO THE OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING: Do I believe it? I don't know. Many aspects of that story didn't add up, and it's no exaggeration to say that connecting the American right wing to that bombing saved Clinton's presidency (read George Stephanopoulos' memoirs on that if you doubt me -- and note the smarmy role played by Dick Morris). That certainly provides a motive to cover up the foreign connection, especially if the case was suggestive but not airtight. But this is only evidence, not proof.


BLOGGER CHARLES MURTAUGH has a good article on cloning in today's TechCentralStation.


PUBLIC INTELLECTUAL OR NOT? is a parody combining elements of Hot or Not? and the works of Richard Posner (well, one work of Richard Posner, anyway). At the moment, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski is nearly even with both Al Gore and Pat Buchanan. V.S. Naipaul seems to be the highest-scoring public intellectual of 'em all.

A REGIS WANNABE is kicking

A REGIS WANNABE is kicking Al Jazeera's ass!


LOOKS LIKE IT WAS A SUICIDE ATTACK IN MILAN, according to this report.

BO COWGILL files a report

BO COWGILL files a report from Michael Moore's appearance at Stanford. Sadly, he didn't get to ask Moore about the SpinSanity plagiarism allegations.


WHY LUKE PINGEL IS NEARLY AS SMART AS NATALIE PORTMAN, though from my point of view, at least, lacking in other desirable attributes that she possesses:

Mr. Riviera, if you would take your hostility down a notch and actually listen to other people instead of your own echo-chamber of leftists, you might find that most people in America (most of the people I know, anyways, and I'm quite conservative) were and are quite concerned about the plight of oppressed people around the world. The problem is that when we propose solutions people like YOU scream bloody murder and accuse us of racism, or imperialism or colonialism or what-have-you...all because our proposals differ from yours.

We want to help, but not just throw money at the problem. We want to help, but we understand that might mean expecting some cultures to help themselves while we help them. We want to help people be free. But any time anyone who offers a solution that doesn't toe the leftist-ideological line, that person or group gets shouted down as being racist, colonialist, imperialist, or what-have-you. To our discredit, those of us being yelled at by the likes of you, have closed our mouths. But that doesn't take away from the fact that people like you CREATED the silence you noticed before 9/11. You and your disrespectful, foul-mouthed, Leninist tactics.

So, before you go calling someone a "f-ing" anything, look at yourself and close your mouth - for a change.

And admit that you're jealous that 100,000 people peacefully and respectfully showed up in the Mall last weekend in support of Israel. And that YOU KNOW DARN WELL that your anti-globo protests this weekend will be poorly attended, raucous, smelly, disrespectful and downright stupid. And you can't stand it.

"Darn?" That's pretty strong language, Luke.


STILL MORE ON NIGHTLINE from reader Aaron Schatz:

I saw it also. I felt the problem was there was nobody to argue why SOME anti-Zionism IS antisemitism. Weisel was shockingly weak.

Koppel tried to say that burning down synagogues is not a reasonable protest against Israeli actions, but by making the second half of the program an attack on Israeli policies by Hitchens, it really dulled the message. It came off as "Israel is wrong, the Jews deserve all this."

I think the best comparison is this: can you imagine if the Free Tibet folks burned down Chinese restaurants in the USA beause they didn't like China's actions in Tibet? Of course not.

CHRIS SUELLENTROP has an "Assessment"

CHRIS SUELLENTROP has an "Assessment" piece on Cynthia McKinney in Slate. Opening sentences: "All of us have voices in our heads, whispering insanities. Rep. Cynthia McKinney's problem is that she lets hers speak."



On Wednesday, the Jerusalem-born actress objected tartly in the Harvard Crimson to law student Faisal Chaudhry's April 11 essay on U.S. policy concerning Israel and the Palestinians. Chaudhry framed the Arab-Israeli violence as "Israel's racist colonial occupation" in which "white Israeli soldiers destroy refugee camps of the brown people they have dispossessed for decades."

Portman, who immigrated to the United States with her family in 1988 and lived briefly in Washington, wrote to the student newspaper that Chaudhry's racial rhetoric "is a distortion of the fact that most Israelis and Palestinians are indistinguishable physically. The Israeli government itself is comprised of a great number of Sephardic Jews, many of whom originate from Arab countries. The chief of staff of the army, the minister of defense, the minister of finance . . . and the president of Israel are all 'brown.' One might have an idea of the physical likeness between Arabs and Israelis by examining this week's Newsweek cover on which an 18-year-old female Palestinian suicide bomber and her 17-year-old female Israeli victim could pass for twins."

Portman continued: "Outrageous and untrue finger-pointing is a childish tactic that disregards the responsibility of all parties involved."

For too many on the Left, "racist" has simply become a synonym for anything they don't like -- the same role that the word "fascist" played for a long time, until the Left began sucking up to the genuinely fascist regimes of Arafat, Saddam, and Qaddafi for lack of any other anti-American regimes to adhere to. It is thus impossible for them to imagine a war that they disapprove of that isn't, somehow, racist. Of course, Portman's letter drew this logical and factual response: "Yesterday the 25-year-old Chaudhry speculated that the Crimson published the letter only because Portman is a movie star."

I don't think it's good that the antiwar left is morally and intellectually bankrupt. I think it's bad. But I think it needs to be pointed out, so as to facilitate change and growth.


STILL MORE ON NIGHTLINE: Reader Laura Hodes weighs in:

I saw the show, and agree with both Bernstein and Jarvik: parts of it were anti-Semitic. It tried to be too balanced in its portrayal of attacks in France, suggesting that Jews also committed acts against Arabs. It allowed Hitchens more air time than Foxman or Wiesel, and cut off Foxman and Wiesel at key moment, whereas allowed Hitchens to go on and on, and mentioned that he has a Jewish mother and wife as if that justified his pro-Palestinian opinions. And Hitchen's point was how hard it is for him because he has to be careful what he says b/c people will call him an Anti-Semite--poor baby. His whole emphasis was on him, and how hard he has it. Also, at one point Donovan says to him: "so you're saying the debate is more muffled in the U.S. than in Europe"? The word "muffled" is coded, meaning that Hitchen must have said (it was cut) that in the U.S. pro-Palestinian sentiment by pundits is quieted. Why? As Hitchens said (my notes are at home), there is a "very strong Jewish lobby in D.C". I found that statement, and the whole emphasis, and the way Nightline allowed Hitchens to say this wiithout any questioning by Donovan, to be anti-Semitic.


MORE ON NIGHTLINE from reader David Bernstein:

The Elie Wiesel interview wasn't weak. I don't think the program was anti-Semitic, but it didn't do a good job at all at establishing the two relevant points: (1) Some supporters of Israel abuse the term "anti-Semitic" by hurling it at anyone who disagrees with the supporters' views on Israel; and (2) that shouldn't obscure the fact that some critics of Israel are in fact motivated by anti-Semitism.

The low point was the Hitchens interview, both the gratuitous information that his mother was Jewish and his wife is Jewish, and his insistence that it's equally bad to compare the Israelis to Nazis and Yasser Arafat to Hitler. Excuse me, but the Palestinians have been sympathetic to Nazi views of the Jews at least since the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem allied himself and the Palestinian cause with Hitler during WWII. The Arab media routinely publishes political cartoons that could have come straight out of Der Sturmer. Anyone who read the chilling interview with Hamas leaders in Gaza (who are now officially alllied with the PA in the West Bank and Gaza) in the Times a couple of weeks ago could see the genocidal intent. The PA media incites hatred against Jews, denies Jewish historical connections to the land of Israel, even the Temple Mount, and Arafat himself has never distinguished between the killing of Jewish civilians and the rest of his "liberation struggle." The Nazi analogy may be an exaggeration, but it is not inapt.


READER LAURENCE JARVIK, who also puts out The Idler, shares his impressions of last night's Nightline:

To my eye, it was overtly anti-Semitic. Strangely Koppel only narrated the final portion, a weak interview with Elie Wiesel where he accused him of falsely equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism, which Wiesel denied--translation: it is OK to trash Israel.

Report from Paris apparently justified attacks on Jews as result of Arab rage, talked about conflicts between Jews and Arabs, not making clear that every case is one of Jewish victimization and Arab attacks.

Reporter John Donvan repeated anti-Semitic canards and permitted Hitchens to rail against the Israeli lobby apparently qualified because he is Jewish and his wife is Jewish -- hardly making him an expert on Anti-Semitism (Hitchens was reportedly raised non-Jewish and 'discovered' his Jewishness later in life, so may have some psychological conflicts that Donvan declined to mention). He grilled Foxman and got him to say it was OK to call Sharon a 'murderer.'

To my eye Donvan looked guilty, wanted permission from Foxman to bash Jews as Jews. Perhaps you should find a transcript, it seemed like the lowest point of the series in history. Maybe Disney was right to want to cancel the show.


PS I only watched it because you mentioned it in Instapundit. Curious about other blogosphere reactions...

So am I. I didn't see it; we get up at the crack of dawn around here, so watching Nightline is more than a sacrifice than I cared to make. Reader John Kluge adds:
Of course, criticizing Isreal alone does not make you an anti-semite anymore than critcizing Jesse Jackson or Cynthia McKinney makes you a racist. However, isn't it interesting that the very people on the left who have been charging everyone who disagrees with them on racial issues racists for years, now whine that they are being tagged for being anti-semitic for criticizing
Isreal? I don't think that its true that they are being called anti-semitic merely for criticizing Isreal. You are dead on the mark when you write "Sure, you can criticize Israel without being antisemitic. But when you criticize Israel for things you ignore in others, it raises certain doubts" However even if they are right and they are being unfairly accused of anti-semitism, who are they to complain after spending the last 40 years calling anyone who disagreed with them on racial issues racist?
It is hard to imagine Nightline running a show whose main theme is that people who criticize black political leaders, even all black political leaders, aren't racist, isn't it?

Actually, it gets easier to imagine all the time. I think that the growth of antisemitism in Europe prefigures a broader resurgence of racism and general nastiness, which is one reason I've been calling attention to it. (I don't think it will spread to the U.S., with the exception of those limited segments of society who look to Europe for their lead in all things). It's too bad Nightline is contributing to the problem by making excuses. Of course, maybe this characterization is unfair. I didn't see the show, and though I find Laurence Jarvik's impressions generally reliable, I might have disagreed with him in this instance. I'll be interested in seeing what other people say.


MAGNUS BERNHARDSEN has more on Norwegian trade unionists who don't like Israel.

HOG FARMS: More dangerous than

HOG FARMS: More dangerous than Osama bin Laden! No, really, that's what Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is saying, making clear that he's uninterested in, or at least unfit for, political office in the future. Fortunately, hog farmers seem familiar with what Kennedy's producing:

Luke Kollasch, an Algona hog producer, said it is irresponsible to compare the pork industry to the man blamed for the largest terrorist attack against the United States. Kollasch and three other people walked out during Kennedy's speech. "You have to be a complete wandering idiot to make that statement," said Kollasch, whose family owns several hog farms and feed and construction companies in northwest Iowa.

"To compare pork producers with a regime that kills and terrorizes Americans, that blew my mind," said Craig Christensen, a producer who farms with his father and uncle near Ogden.

I missed this story when it appeared, but found it via the Political Hobbyist site. Here's a Walter Olson column on this subject, too.

And is it just me, or is real life getting more and more like The Onion?


THE SPACE SETTLEMENT INITIATIVE: Here's a website devoted to promoting human settlement of outer space -- one that pays attention to important issues like seeing that it's profitable. Yeah, I know this is usually Rand Simberg's turf, but I'm allowed to poach on it, occasionally.


YOUR MEDIA-WATCHING ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEKEND: The antiglobo protesters are coming to Washington. There won't be any more of them than were at the pro-Israel rally. They will, for the most part, be unwashed slackers with incoherent and contradictory positions rather than respectable citizens coalesced around a single cause. So politically they're less significant by any reasonable measure.

Your assignment: see if their protests get more attention than the pro-Israel rallies in spite of their lack of significance. See, for example, if they get full-length segments on ABC, NBC and CBS -- something the Israel rally didn't get.

And if they do, is the lesson to the pro-Israel protesters that they should set stuff on fire next time? Or is the lesson something worse than that?

UPDATE: Also compare how this likely-much-smaller rally by CAIR gets covered. (UPDATE to the update: Reader Edward Baer writes: "I wonder if they planned it for Hitler's birthday on purpose?")

THE CAIR AFFAIR is discussed

THE CAIR AFFAIR is discussed in The Washington Times today.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU says terrorism comes

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU says terrorism comes from tyranny, not desperation:

Indeed, the root cause of terrorism is totalitarianism. Only a totalitarian regime, by systemically brainwashing its subjects, can indoctrinate hordes of killers to suspend all moral constraints for the sake of a twisted cause.

That is why from its inception totalitarianism has always been wedded to terrorism--from Lenin to Stalin to Hitler to the ayatollahs to Saddam Hussein, right down to Osama bin Laden and Yasser Arafat.

It is not merely that the goals of terrorists do not justify the means they choose, it is that the means they choose tell us what their true goals are. Osama bin Laden is not seeking to defend the rights of Muslims but to murder as many Americans as possible, and ultimately to destroy America. Saddam Hussein is not seeking to defend his people but to subjugate his neighbors. Arafat is not seeking to build a state but to destroy a state; the many massacres of Jews he sponsors tells us what he would do to all the Jews of Israel if he had enough power.

Yes. And as Dave Kopel writes over at The Corner: "Why don't all the people who are supposedly so concerned about the oppression of Arabs demand that the people of every Arab nation be given the same property rights, right to vote, and freedom of speech that Arabs who live in Israel have?" Why, indeed?


Why weren't the people who are now supposedly so concerned about undemocratic regimes in Saudi Arabia and Syria making their voices heard, say, a decade ago? Might it be for the same reason that they were silent for so many years over the situation in Afghanistan? That they don't actually give a shit about democracy and freedom for brown people in faraway countries as long as life is cosy in the god-be-praised USA? Or perhaps for a lightly different reason: that those Arab tyrannies were fine and dandy while they were placing their orders for US military hardware and keeping their repression to themselves.

Why indeed?

After all, the only people addressing the injustices that arrived with the Taliban in 1996, or across Saudi Arabia over the past handful of decades, have been the international human rights organisations, and the left. Of course, it's those organisations that are now being demonised by you and your pack of dittoheads for identifying in the occupied territories the same patterns of abuse that they've complained about, consistently, for decades, to silence from the mainstream and condemnation from the right.

You fucking hypocrite.

Hmm. I must have forgotten my many pro-dictatorship, pro-Taliban posts on InstaPundit back in the early 1990s, huh?

Here's another question: if all these groups were so good about opposing the Taliban, why did they suddenly switch sides the minute it looked as if someone might actually do something about the Taliban? And why aren't we getting the daily press releases about Saudi gender apartheid that we're getting about the IDF?

And what's this "little brown people" crap? One only hears that sort of thing from the "progressive" Left these days. The racism in this statement is made more obvious by the fact that neither Arabs nor Afghans are particularly little, or brown. But today's Leftism is all about shouldering The White Man's Burden, isn't it? Which means, of course, that you have to call as many people little and brown as possible, to enlarge your own importance.

UPDATE: Reader John Downing writes:

While I agree with Anton Riviera that the left is usually out front in drawing our attention to human rights injustices throughout the world, particularly American human rights violations, I think Mr. Riviera illuminates a bigger point. At the end of the Gulf war, the left was "out front" calling on the US not to topple Saddam but to humbly follow the UN mandate only to kick Saddam out of Kuwait. If there were any calls for toppling Saddam back then, they were
not from the left but from the right. But, again, I do agree with Mr. Riviera that they were muted. Which brings us to the broader point Mr. Riviera may be trying to make--in the past decade conservatives moved from hostility to interventionist policies to open advocacy of international intervention. Nation-building is no longer a bad word; as it was just 2 years ago in the 2000 presidential campaign. There are 2 reasons for this shift. First, conservatives/republicans take pride in America and its history more than the elite left. This love is best expressed by Lincoln's statement that America is "The last best hope of Earth." As an avid reader of the conservative press, I've noticed this quote resurfacing in publications from the National Review, to The Wall Street Journal, to the Weekly Standard, to Second, conservatives now believe that military action can facilitate the "hope" Lincoln talked about. The dramatic success of the Gulf War and our actions in Afghanistan have debunked the quagmire argument attached to American interventionism since Vietnam. This triumph of American values coupled with the recent triumphs of the American military may frighten Mr. Riviera and other members of the humanitarian left. After all, aren't many of these human rights groups founded on the premise that they are Earth's "last best hope"? Personally, I
find it quite frightening when evidence mounts that I am not what I thought I was.

MICKEY KAUS defends the New

MICKEY KAUS defends the New York Sun against the "snippy Zabarsism" of the New York Times' Clyde Haberman.

April 18, 2002

REID STOTT has unflattering things

REID STOTT has unflattering things to say about Cynthia McKinney, and sensible things to say about the silliness of labelling warbloggers, peacebloggers, etc.

MEDIA BIAS: Edward Boyd does

MEDIA BIAS: Edward Boyd does a numerical analysis and comes up with far different results than Geoffrey Nunberg got.


INSTAPUNDIT'S PARIS CORRESPONDENT IS NOW OUR LISBON CORRESPONDENT, because that's where Nelson Ascher is emailing from today. He writes that there may be some changes in attitude going on in Europe. I hope he's right:

Hello. It seems that the killing of at least 15 German tourists in the bombing of Jerbah's synagogue in Tunisia may be begining to turn the pro-Islamic tide in France. Below I send you today's Le Monde's (not exactly a pro-American or pro-Israeli paper) editorial. And I've just seen on France 5 TV a discussion or talkshow with with sociologists or scholars (two of them being French-Arab Muslims) analysing and condemning in very strong words what they called the Islamist totalitarian international, even comparing it to nazism. Among the details discussed was that of the geo-strategic importance of the Islamic/Islamist conquest of part of the Balkans because of its proximity to Southern Italy and, as a consequence, the strenghtening of ties between Bosnian/Albanian mafias on one side, and the Ndrangheta, Camorra and the Sicilian mafia on the other, the effect of which, among other things, is to facilitate the smuggling of arms, money-laundering etc. One of the panelists referred to the way the islamists see Europe: as the weak link of the West. Another said that electoralism and populism have driven local politicians to opportunist and short-sighted alliances with the islamists because they can both deliver the votes and keep social peace in the banlieus. One thing I can tell you for sure: independently of the sides they take, Europeans have a much deeper (maybe even cynical) knowledge of the problem than one would think by merely reading the British press. After all, they do live with millions of Muslims and they really colonized their lands. Some Europeans may not have learned much lately, but neither have many others forgotten what they already knew.
Yes, I suppose that there are quite a few people with a clue, outside the chattering classes. Now that the idiocy of the chattering classes -- and just as important, their impotence to affect events -- has been demonstrated, perhaps the clueful will begin to exercise some sway.


A RHETORICAL SUGGESTION: Since "homicide bomber" has caught on, regardless of whether people like the term, here's another one the Administration should start: Talk about "Arabia" rather than "Saudi Arabia" whenever you're talking about the country. Talk about "the House of Saud" or "the Sauds" when you're talking about the government. Never use the two words together, as "Saudi Arabia," anymore -- and do your best, without ever actually saying it, to give the vague impression that you regard the Sauds as temporary and not very distinguished rulers of Arabia, but no more.

If the issue is raised, deny that you mean anything by it, but keep doing it.

THE SARGE is back! I

THE SARGE is back! I knew he couldn't stay away.


LIKE AN AWFUL LOT OF "SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE," it turns out that chemical bullet-matching doesn't work.

NIGHTLINE will be about antisemitism

NIGHTLINE will be about antisemitism tonight. Here's an excerpt from the promotional email:

We have been flooded with emails since the beginning of the current round of violence in the Middle East. A lot of them have been fairly nasty, which we expect. But a number of them have accused us of not only being biased, a common theme to all of them, but of also being anti-Semitic. A smaller number have compared us to the Nazis, a particularly ugly attack. Now in recent weeks there have been a growing number of anti-Semitic attacks, especially in Europe. Synagogues burned, cemeteries vandalized, even a Jewish soccer team attacked. Many of these incidents have happened in France, but there have been incidents all over. Correspondent Richard Gizbert will report on this rising level of violence.

But there is a more difficult issue here, and that's why I referred to the emails. The charge of anti-Semitism is not one to be taken lightly. But can someone be critical of Israel, or its policies, without being anti-Semitic? Is it possible to separate the two? At the same time, the charge of anti-Semitism can be used to quash any criticism. It's easy for everyone to condemn the blatant and violent anti-Semitism behind the incidents in Europe. But what of something that is much more subtle? It's a difficult subject. John Donvan is going to explore that question in his
report tonight.

They're going to have Elie Wiesel.

My short answer: Sure, you can criticize Israel without being antisemitic. But when you criticize Israel for things you ignore in others, it raises certain doubts.


FLYOVER COUNTRY TODAY is a, well, it's a NewsBlog, I guess. Check it out.

THIS STORY suggests that our

THIS STORY suggests that our brains may be hardwired in favor of religious experiences, which actually makes some evolutionary sense.



JONAH GOLDBERG poses this excellent

JONAH GOLDBERG poses this excellent question over at The Corner:

What do you think the reaction of, say, Mother Jones, Nation or the New York Times would be if Israel wasn’t a Jewish homeland, but a gay one. Gays have been persecuted for thousands of years. They’ve never had their own nation – though the quasi city-state of San Francisco is something of a gay Zion. Gays, like many Zionist Jews, feel a very strong need to prove they won’t be pushed around anymore. Homosexuals will never be safe from gay-bashing pogroms, they might argue, until they have a homeland of their own. Any takers?
I love questions like this. But then, I'm a law professor, and hence Socratic by nature.


IF YOU'RE WONDERING WHERE MY FOXNEWS COLUMN IS -- and no doubt there are, uh, several people who are -- it won't appear until Monday. I got it to 'em on time, but there was some kind of production glitch and half of it disappeared, so I had to resend it.

Anyway, their loss is your gain, because this column by Jeffrey Snyder on concealed-weapons permits is running in its place, and it's swell. Excerpt:

Eleven states, including California and New York, still have the older, discretionary licensing statutes. They permit the chief of police or a local judge to issue carry permits to persons of "good character" who have some "good reason" or "proper cause" to carry a gun. The language of these statutes is so vague that issuance of carry permits is completely discretionary, and generally these statutes are administered as near-total bans, especially in cities and suburbs.

In New York City, for example, the people who seem most often to have both "good moral character" and "proper cause" to carry (besides those whose work requires them to carry) are celebrities, such as Howard Stern, or persons who have wealth, political influence or connections. Meanwhile, cab drivers — who are murdered or shot more frequently than police officers and far more frequently than celebrities — fail time and again to have "proper cause."

In this manner, discretionary licensing schemes reveal an ugly fact: the state that operates on the basis of such a law clearly believes that only certain of its citizens are important enough to warrant the right of self-protection; the rest can just take their chances.

Yes. There are rather dramatic racial disparities in who gets permits, too. Imagine that.

HOWARD KURTZ surveys the differing

HOWARD KURTZ surveys the differing news accounts of the alleged massacre at Jenin.


MAX POWER RESPONDS ON THE CAIR POLL: He says that it's mathematically impossible for what CAIR's webmaster says below to be true.


JONAH GOLDBERG SAYS Baghdad delenda est!.

SIDE-BY-SIDE on Drudge at the

SIDE-BY-SIDE on Drudge at the moment: "Democrats see Bush slipping" and "Five planets line up in rare celestial array." Sometimes I wonder if he does stuff like this on purpose.

TIM BLAIR finds out who's

TIM BLAIR finds out who's really profiteering from war this time around.

HEY, THE InstaPundit Online Store

HEY, THE InstaPundit Online Store is booming! I've sold, like, several t-shirts and coffee mugs, earning several dollars in the process! Now if I can just get President Bush photographed in an InstaPundit hat -- or better still, get Condi Rice photographed with an InstaPundit tote bag! I'll bet that would earn me, hell, dozens of dollars.

This "war profiteering" thing is pretty cool. Thanks to the guys who suggested it.


KENT STATE PROFESSOR JULIO CESAR PINO pens this nauseating tribute to a suicide bomber:

You are not a terrorist, Ayat. The real terrorists are those who some 100 years ago hijacked a beautiful religion and transformed it into a real estate venture. Glancing around the world, they saw in Palestine "a land without a people, for a people without a land," as their spokesmen and women chant ad nauseaum. The Zion of the concertina wire, F-16 bomber death planes and tank crews collecting skulls and shedding martyrs' blood. The birthplace of your ancestor, and mine, the Palestinian pacifist Joshua ben Josef, is now a battle zone -- with Christians, Muslims and peace-loving Jews trapped inside Bethlehem.

Your last cry, by gesture rather than the spoken word, was "Stop, thief! This is not your land and we are a people." I can assure you, Ayat, that the whole world stopped to listen. Even the numbskull who parades as president of the United States heard you, and, following the text written for him by his handlers, expressed astonishment at how a teenager could perpetrate such an act. Simply, it is pronounced "justice" and spelled C-O-U-R-A-G-E.

I don't think that he should be fired, as another professor (whom the local paper is careful to characterize as Jewish) does. But I think he should be denounced as an idiot and a moral leper. Which he is. And perhaps even -- if you agree with the analysis in the Slate item I linked to yesterday -- an unwitting accomplice to the genocide of the Palestinian people.

UPDATE: Kent State alumnus and neighbor Eric Olsen weighs in on this.


POWELL'S TRIP WAS A SUCCESS: Just look at who's unhappy with it. And the last paragraph is a beaut.

WILL WILKINSON takes on Leon

WILL WILKINSON takes on Leon Kass's "moral repugnance" argument against cloning and genetic engineering.


READERS RESPOND to the CAIR webmaster's message posted below:

Jonathan Guest writes:

The CAIR webmaster misses an important point. He, by CAIR's silence, implicitly endorses insane propaganda from the Arab world (Jews exsanguinate Palestinian children for beverages, etc.) and then expects to have some credibility on other things. The same effect is in play on the issue of "atrocities" in the West Bank. If they actively or passively support such lies, who would believe a word they say?
James Groat writes:
Omar's explanation might be a bit more believable if it weren't for the assertion that their IT department is suffering from "squiting (sic) eyes and paper cuts." Webserver log files would be much easier to examine while they are still files on the server's hard drive, rather than printing them; and using a computer program to count duplicate poll postings rather than trying to count "exactly 8,056" duplicates by hand.
I'm not entirely sure that's what he meant, but the "paper cut" remark was a bit odd.

FREDRIK NORMAN has some more

FREDRIK NORMAN has some more background on who's behind the anti-Israeli statements and actions in Norway. Are there any anti-Israeli leaders in Norway who aren't former Communists, or Nazi sympathizers, or both?

UPDATE: By the way, the contact page at the Norwegian Embassy is back online after disappearing for a while last week.


MORE ON THE U.N. from a reader in Britain:

We had a goof from one of those aid agencies -- I'm pretty sure it was something to do with the damned UN -- on "Newsnight" (UK version of "Nightline") last Friday.

The moderator asked Beardie about Israel's charge that they transported weapons and ammunition for the Palestinians in their vehicles.

No! he snorked, That never happened! And anyway, the Israelis planted the stuff on them.

Says it all, really.

Yep. This is why I think that proposals for an "international peacekeeping force" won't work. Er, unless it's nonpartisan Hindu troops from India.


NASTY GIRLS AND LONG DONG SILVER: It's a porn-o-rama over at Kausfiles!


DECONSTRUCTING FISK'S LATEST: Now it's Bill Herbert doing it. Herbert also weighs in on the Meryl Yourish / Andrew Sullivan / Jason Kenney debate over the Wolfowitz-booing incident:

No, Jason. As Meryl was trying to point out – and I certainly got it, was that the crowd was not booing the deaths of Palestinian innocents. They were booing at the presumption that they didn’t care about those innocents, which was what they were hearing from Wolfowitz’ lecture.

I was not at the rally Monday, but I know the feeling. It is a common assumption among Israel’s critics on both the Left and Right that those of us who support Israel – and it’s current military operation – don’t care about innocent Palestinian lives. Frankly, it’s insulting. We do care about them, and I would argue that we care more than the Palestinian terrorists themselves, and certainly more than those who make excuses for people who send their children to “martyrdom.”

It was the condescension they were booing, not the idea that Palestinians could be innocent.


U.N. SUPPORTING TERROR? That's the gist of this piece, which recites some damning facts:

Unfortunately, UNRWA is not alone in reinforcing the U.N.'s reputation as an organization incapable of fighting terror. On May 24, 2000, Israel unilaterally pulled back from southern Lebanon, a withdrawal the U.N. certified to be complete. Terror did not end, though. On Oct. 7, 2000, Hezbollah guerrillas crossed the border and kidnapped three Israeli soldiers (including one Israeli Arab), all of whom they subsequently killed. Observers from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon videotaped the scene of the kidnapping, including the getaway cars, and some guerrillas.

Inexplicably, they then hid the videotape. Questioned by Israeli officials, Terje Roed-Larsen, the U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, chided Israel for "questioning the good faith of senior United Nations officials." When after eight months the U.N. finally admitted to possessing the tape, officials balked at showing it to the Israeli government since that might "undermine U.N. neutrality." That U.N. observers protected and defended guerrillas who crossed a U.N.-certified border, using cars with U.N. license plates while under the cover of U.N. flags, was apparently of no consequence to UNIFIL. Pronouncements aside, U.N. moral equivalency in practice dictates that terrorists are equal to states. Fighting terror compromises U.N. neutrality.

The U.N. has turned a blind eye to terror in Iraq as well. Throughout the spring and summer of 2001, a series of bomb explosions wracked the safe haven of northern Iraq. Kurdish authorities long suspected the complicity of certain U.N. drivers who crossed freely between the safe haven and Iraq proper. On July 19, 2001, Kurdish security arrested a Tunisian U.N. driver found in possession of explosives. A Yemeni national serving as deputy director of the U.N. mission in northern Iraq demanded that the driver be released before any investigation could be completed; he was. The U.N.'s reputation, in other words, trumps protecting innocents from Saddam Hussein's bombs.

Remind me again: what, exactly, is the U.N. good for?

DAVE COPELAND has some disturbing

DAVE COPELAND has some disturbing thoughts, mostly on journalism.

SOMALIA provides some good news

SOMALIA provides some good news in the terror war, according to this report.


MAGIC FOO-FOO DUST: This story from the Star Tribune reports a breakthrough in coal-emissions scrubbing that could make coal-fired power plants pretty damned clean. I'm not entirely persuaded yet: two of the three main sources are the company that created it and the utility that tested it (but is also the main investor). But if coal could be burned cleanly with an inexpensive addon technology, it would substantially reduce dependence on foreign oil.

PRESIDENTIAL-RACE handicapping is well under

PRESIDENTIAL-RACE handicapping is well under way, and there's a nice survey over at The American Prowler, which even gives the Condi Rice bandwagon a bit of a boost, though one potential stumbling-block may be Rice's own ambitions for higher office -- as NFL Commissioner.

MATT LABASH'S series on traffic-cams

MATT LABASH'S series on traffic-cams was much praised here. So I should note that Eugene Volokh (and perhaps others) found some mistakes, which have now been corrected. There's an explanation over at Eugene's blog.

April 17, 2002

EUGENE VOLOKH has a graphic

EUGENE VOLOKH has a graphic illustration of how things get out of hand quickly.

SUMAN PALIT offers a bracing

SUMAN PALIT offers a bracing endorsement of globalization.


MICHAEL BELLESILES UPDATE: The Christian Science Monitor hasn't retracted its review of Bellesiles' Arming America yet, but in response to my FoxNews column from a couple of weeks ago, they did run this piece on the whole controversy. The piece quotes a book review editor as saying that the case against Bellesiles hasn't been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. I'm not so sure about that, but I would suggest that when a controversy of this magnitude erupts it would be fair to ask the reviewers if they'd like to add (or subtract) anything where their reviews are concerned. I suspect that a lot of Bellesiles' reviewers would. There's also a discussion of this issue on the Monitor's Monitor Talk message board.



Dear Sir:

As the CAIR webmaster, I'm pretty used to *interesting* emails sent by visitors who like to speak their mind on a number of issues - from the "I hate you" to the "go back home" to the "you're behind the disappearance of Hoffa". However, I wasn't prepared for the onslaught of emails from the "poll fiasco" - as one email put it.

The dust is finally settling here at the CAIR IT department as we finish looking over two days worth of web site logs - which add up to a lot squiting eyes and paper cuts. I understand that when someone hates you or the work you do no matter the amount of explanation - there's always going to be a "yeah but ..." at the end. So, knowing that - here's is the summary -

User (I can provide you with the IP address) logs in to the CAIR website. They disable their browser cookies (allowing them to vote multiple times). They voted exactly (as per the logs) exactly 8,056 times. We purged the poll of 8,055 duplicate polls. We also purged a number of other multiple votes (including YES answers). The number of "NO" answers go down drastically. CAIR is seen as manipulating the votes to their advantage. To avoid such confrontation - the poll is taken down. And now, the Onslaught of "You can't handle the truth emails".

So, I say this in conclusion. Our integrity was questioned - now question the integrity of the user who caused this. Despite everything - I'm impressed at your persistence at 'following' all this :)

All the best to you,
Omar T.
CAIR Webmaster

Meanwhile here's some further commentary on the subject by Telford Work.

BLOGGER PERMALINKS: Virginia Postrel is

BLOGGER PERMALINKS: Virginia Postrel is complaining about Blogger permalinks. If she doesn't know this, it's a safe bet that others don't either: If you right-click on the heading (the part that says "Posted 4/17/2002 at ____" and select "copy shortcut" or "copy link location" you'll get a permalink that will take you directly to the post, so long as you're using a reasonably up-to-date (i.e., not Netscape 4.7) browser. But if you simply left-click on that, it'll take you to the archive page for the week, and if you cut-and-paste the URL that appears in the address window at the top of the page then it's just the address for the weekly (or in a few cases, monthly) archive. So right-click and "copy shortcut."

If you've got one of those funky Apple one-button mice you're on your own, but I'm sure there's a way to do it.


BETTER THAN BLOGGING: My daughter, who is now sleeping the sleep of the justly tired 6-year-old, and I went to a carnival tonight. We ate pizza, rode rides, ate caramel apples (well, she did; I passed on that one) and generally had a wonderful time. Then home to read several chapters from Prince Caspian (having done the Harry Potter series together twice, we've moved on to Narnia) until she fell asleep.

Now I'm curling up with Max Boot's new book on small wars, The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power. I ordered it from Amazon Monday, and it arrived today. The book looks good, and Amazon rules: I had tried to order it from Borders but they were saying it would take two weeks.


THEY'VE HIDDEN IT FROM THEIR MAIN PAGE, but the CAIR poll is back up to 77% against trying Sharon as a war criminal. Meanwhile, on Osama bin Laden's blog an equally scientific poll has "non" ahead by an identical margin over "no."


HERE'S A FULL-LENGTH TRANSLATION of the Oriana Fallaci article I mentioned earlier.


ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS IN DENMARK are calling for the murder of Danish Jews, reports Fredrik Norman. What's more, after the Denmark/Israel soccer match, Palestinian sympathizers tried to storm the stadium, a riot ensued, and in a possibly related development shots were fired at the American Embassy.



THERE'S NEW Clip Art Nonsense.

THERE'S NEW Clip Art Nonsense. You know, I just figured out who Jim Treacher is. He's the guy who used to author "Sawdust" and "The Invisible Tribe."

UPDATE: By the way, position your cursor over the text, or click on it.


JUST HEARD AN NPR MONOLOGUE from a reporter who said that it's practically open war against Muslims in America. He was identified only as the White House correspondent of The Final Call. No mention that it's Louis Farrakhan's paper. That's like having a commentary from a "correspondent" for The Spotlight without mentioning its racist and antisemitic connections.

Interestingly, most Muslims don't consider the "Nation of Islam" to be Muslim at all. The Saudis even have a foundation whose purpose is to tell people this.


HERE'S A GREAT POST from Slate's "The Fray," the place where so many webloggers, including me, got their start:

The group that sends a message, "You can trust no one in our population not to kill you," sends the message, "Unless you get rid of all of us, you will die." This is very dangerous; it's an invitation to genocide.

On the one hand, the people of Palestine seem to be saying that they have nothing to lose. This sends a message to the world to look at their situation. This is a definite benefit to them.

On the other hand, the people of Palestine also seem to be counting on Israel's personal morality (or at least Israel's need to appear moral before the world) not to commit genocide. They seem to be saying that the people of Israel will bow to world pressure and not wipe them out. At the very least, the message is that Israel is a good enough world citizen to follow certain rules of civilization.

There is another dangerous element to this for the people of Palestine. What if they are wrong? What if Israel says, "Damn world opinion. It's us or them, so it's going to be us"?

(Via Best of the Fray).


WARBLOG PROFITEERING: Yep, I've got an online store. I linked to this once before (I actually set this up to micro-manufacture gifts for people) but now that we're all profiteers, I thought I'd open it to the public. Buy dozens of t-shirts for your friends, and don't overlook the stylish coasters and totebags.

JASON KOTTKE is writing about

JASON KOTTKE is writing about weblogs and he's not very happy. He's not happy with the WarBlog Book project because he says its viewpoint is too narrow. And he's not happy with James Wolcott's Business 2.0 article on blogs because, well, its viewpoint is too narrow.

As to the first, I think that Max Power's response is pretty fair. Books have viewpoints; if you don't like them, you write your own. I mean, it's not like Michael Moore gave me equal time in his book. Er, unless he copied some passages, but I would have heard of that. And it's not likely anyway.

On the other hand, Kottke's right about Wolcott, in the sense that Wolcott wrongly states that there aren't many blogs devoted to "cultural pursuits." There are, though you won't find 'em on my links bar, except for Melissa Schwartz and sometimes Orchid and formerly (it disappeared during some template-mangling incident and I forgot to put it back) The Anna Franco Review. But my links (to the extent that there's any organization at all there, which is a very limited extent indeed) are where I go, and I don't go to cultural sites much. And the cultural sites I visit wouldn't interest most InstaPundit readers: how many of you have ever stopped by DJ Mag, or want to? What's funny about Wolcott's statement, and Kottke's criticism, is that the standard Big Media article on blogs until recently did the opposite -- focused on obsessive hobbyists, book lovers, cat lovers, etc. and ignored the weblogs devoted to politics.

UPDATE: Jim Treacher had a similar reaction to Kottke's on the Wolcott piece.


ANTISEMITIC VIOLENCE IN FRANCE: This story says there were 360 incidents last month. Something comparing it with, say, April 2001 would have been nice. What do they teach them in J-school nowadays?

UPDATE: A reader writes:

You write:

This story says there were 360 incidents last month. Something comparing it with, say, April 2001 would have been nice. What do they teach them in J-school nowadays?

It might be more instructive to compare with incidents in the US, as reported by CAIR, hardly a site that can be accused of pro-US bias.

CAIR has stats on reported incidents of all kinds "anti-Muslim" incidents since 9/11. They have a breakdown by category at [this link], and by state [here]. In NY and DC there have been, respectively, 116 and 113 reported anti-Muslim incidents of all sorts, including airport profiling and discrimination in the workplace. There are (I believe) more Muslims in Michigan than Jews in France, and CAIR has only 28 reported incidents of any sort since 9/11. I am not sure I care if it is worse to be a Jew in France today than it was a year ago. I want to know why it is worse to be a Jew in France now or a year ago than to be a Muslim in America post 9/11.

JASON KENNEY says Meryl Yourish

JASON KENNEY says Meryl Yourish is wrong and Andrew Sullivan is right about the Wolfowitz-booing incident. I think, however, that they're talking past each other here.

HEY, the Lileks piece on

HEY, the Lileks piece on journalism and the mideast that I link to below is now linked on Jim Romenesko. It deserves the attention.

VENEZUELA UPDATE, this from reader

VENEZUELA UPDATE, this from reader Jorge Schmidt, who has sent a number of interesting items:

The Chavez government is already escalating its confrontation with its opposition, despite its words of conciliation and rectification. The immediate targets are the media and PDVSA.

Remember that last week's events originated in a strike by PDVSA's upper management in support of executives fired for opposing Chavez' appointees to the company's board of directors. Said executives were later rehired. They were fired again hours ago [it's not yet on the news, so no link]. This means that the managers will strike again. Chavez still has not retracted his attacks on the legitimacy of the elected leadership of the Federation of Venezuelan Workers (CTV). The media also continue to be intimidated and threatened.

Faced with fresh and clear evidence that all Chavez seeks is time to regroup and rearm his Bolivarian Circle thugs, a new protest is being planned for May 1st by the CTV and many sectors of civil society. This march will be larger than the one that took place April 11th.

The US Embassy, by the way, has sent all family and nonessential personnel out of the country, and the State Department issued a travel advisory warning Americans of the volatile and unpredictable situation there.

I don't think it's over yet.


READER SEAN COX thinks he understands what the White House is doing:

You point out Michael Kelly's fine rope-a-dope article, but he misses the BIG point:

We still have a lot of bombs to build before we take out Iraq.

At the end of last year, people noticed that we had greatly diminished our stockpiles of smart bombs and non-nuclear cruise missles in Afghanistan. I recall (but do not have a citation) that the general guestimate was Sept/Oct of this year to build enough ordinance to drop on Saddam.

In the mean time, the US is playing the Israel/Palestinian game to make the rest of the Arab world go nuts. The US supports Israel, plays with Arafat, and hopes to rope a bunch of dopes into our sights when the bombs start dropping. Until we have the bombs we need to end this quickly, we're going to do what it takes to keep the Middle East and the numerous maniacs that inhabit it looking like the evil idiots that they are.

Once we have enough bombs, we'll know who to drop them on and this will come to an end.

In support of this characterization, I noticed an interesting line from David Remnick in The New Yorker (it doesn't seem to be on their website). Remnick remarked that only "the parlor-statesmen of Europe" still take Yasser Arafat seriously as wanting peace. When you start reading anti-European throwaway lines in The New Yorker, you know there's a change in attitude.