May 11, 2002


RICHARD BENNETT says that I'm obsolete, and being replaced by technology. That's a relief.

Though if you go to Katie Granju's site, click on her open counter, and select "week view" (or just try that direct link, which seems to work) you'll see that my links aren't quite as feeble at sending traffic as Bennett has repeatedly said. (The spikes correspond to references from here). Maybe people just don't follow links to Bennett's site?

I do think that Bennett is right about the colossal expansion of the blogosphere since last fall. I try to find new blogs and note them when they're noteworthy, but it's like bailing the ocean with a teacup. It's absolutely true that the blogosphere is far too big and diverse for any single blog to matter all that much. That's okay with me though. I have a job, and a life. I even have other hobbies besides this one. And I'd rather see the blogosphere grow into a mighty ocean of links and commentary than remain a relatively big fish in a relatively small pond.

As for technologies like more refined forms of blogdex and daypop, well, bring it on. I'll go quietly. When I've been replaced, I'll just sit around the Punditry Club bar, boring all the young pundits with stories of the glory days, when Alex Beam fell for Bjorn Staerk's April Fools page ("Oh, he's not off on that again," they'll groan, and I'll pretend not to hear).

UPDATE: Meryl Yourish says that Bennett has just rediscovered "push technology" (now there's a blast from the past) and that I don't get to retire yet. Other people have suggested that Bennett's just trolling here. Say it ain't so! He does seem awfully focused on various sites' Alexa rankings, though Alexa doesn't seem very accurate to me.

I actually think that Bennett's trying to generate buzz for his mysterious forthcoming web app. I'll be interested to see it. I don't think it'll replace blogging any more than that robo-newsreader babe on Ananova replaced Laurie Dhue. I read blogs to see what people think more than to find links. The approach that Bennett describes is more likely to replace Drudge than true blogs. I think that Yourish is right that Bennett's approach won't do what he claims it will, but I think there's room for a lot of useful blog-related apps and his may be one. And I absolutely agree with Bennett that there's way too much stuff out there for one human -- even a full-time one, not a hobbyist like me -- to cover. But I don't try to be comprehensive; I just try to be interesting, by writing about stuff that interests me. And while I'm generally one to embrace the machine, not rage against it, I'm not convinced that the human-ness of the blogosphere is going to be replaceable by software any time soon.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Well, if Bennett was trolling, it worked. There's more commentary from Eric Olsen and Jeff Jarvis, who says it's given him an idea.


IF YOU OPPOSE LEGISLATION CRIMINALIZING CLONING RESEARCH, you should go sign this petition. There's more background from Virginia Postrel over at her site; the petition is her project. I've signed, and so has Milton Friedman.


MEDPUNDIT SYDNEY SMITH reports on The New York Times' firing of one of its corporate physicians for refusal to violate employee privacy. Here's the story medpundit links to. Remember this the next time The Times gets on its moral high horse:

While working as The New York Times' corporate physician, Dr. Horn said, company executives asked her to let them see patients' medical records even though she didn't have patient permission to share the confidential information.

She also claims, in court documents, that the vice president for human resources told her to "misinform employees regarding whether injuries or illnesses they were suffering were work-related so as to curtail the number of workers' compensation claims filed against The Times."

When she didn't comply, Dr. Horn said, she was fired.

Perhaps Howell Raines or Gail Collins will resign in protest.



But now, German chancellor Gerhard Schroder has called on the European Union to ‘quell the far right’, by paying ‘urgent attention to the issue of law and order’ (why is that always their solution? More law’n’order clampdowns?). It will hardly be surprising if mainstream politicians try to make mileage out of standing up to the far right – just as Chirac did against Le Pen in France and as local politicians did against the British National Party in Britain. After all, these mainstream politicians don’t have any decent policies or ideas of their own worth voting for - but at least they aren’t fascist scum, eh?

Mick Hume of spiked made sense of the reaction to Fortuyn’s death, arguing: ‘The way that one politically meaningless shooting in the Netherlands has shaken the Continent reveals the strength of the culture of fear today…. Whatever the reasons behind Fortuyn's death, we can be certain that, driven by the culture of fear, the response to it will pose a far more urgent threat to democracy than the far right or a crackpot vegan assassin. It will strengthen the view that a united front against the spectre of “extremism” is more important than political debate, and that certain views cannot safely be expressed. It will reinforce the “safety first” attitude about protecting politicians from the public, and protecting the public from themselves.

The sad thing is, I think that this may turn out to be an optimistic assessment.

MICKEY KAUS takes on Andrew

MICKEY KAUS takes on Andrew Sullivan's banishment from The New York Times Magazine.

UPDATE: Eric Olsen weighs in, too.

JUAN GATO has been tracking

JUAN GATO has been tracking the similarities among newspaper editorials on the Second Amendment. Start with this post and scroll down for more.

MARK STEYN does it again

MARK STEYN does it again in a hilarious piece on "march of fascism" alarmism in Europe:

"Gotcha," I said. "So this guy, Pim, is another charismatic, hateful Right-winger like Le Pen, who believes in." I reached under the desk and pulled out the BBC's handy How to Spot a Right-Wing Madman chart. "So, like Le Pen, he believes in Right-wing policies like economic protectionism, minimum wage, massive subsidies to inefficient industries. He's opposed to globalisation, fiercely anti-American."

"No, no," said Ron. "Pim doesn't believe any of that conventional Right-wing stuff. He's the other kind of Right-winger."

"What other kind?"

"The kind that's a sociology professor who believes in promiscuous gay sex and recreational drugs. We've got a call in to Norman Tebbit and Baroness Young asking if they'd like to pay tribute to him from one of their favourite gay bathhouses." . . .

"Got it," I said. "So I'll start with a little scene-setting colour stuff - not since the 1930s have we witnessed the disturbing spectre of so many gay professors on the march across Europe in their screamingly camp jackboots, blah blah, and then we'll go to Jean-Marie for a quick comment on how he and his fellow Zionist homosexuals are taking the news."

And it just gets better from there.


HALF OF ALL ARGENTINES are living below the poverty line now. Jeez, that's just awful. Unfortunately, unless the political situation is solved, it's going to be hard to solve the economic problems. And with economic problems like these, the political situation is likely to stay dreadful.


ANTI-SECOND-AMENDMENT EDITORIALS: Reader Brian Hoffman sends these observations:

You oughtn't be surprised about the LA Times Second Amendment editorial. A only slightly-differently worded editorial was in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune yesterday, with the same lack of discussion of the history or scholarship of the Second Amendment, the same talk about the position of the government since the 1930s (without mentioning Miller by name), and the same accusation of Ashcroft's personal prejudices.

I know exactly where this came from, since it's merely an expansion of what Volokh mentioned (in one sentence) as the talking points of the Violence Policy Center:

This, a lawyer representing the antigun Violence Policy Center opined, is a departure from what was "the government's position for more than 60 years"--and an illegitimate one, because "people who happen to be in office temporarily shouldn't use the office to promote their personal views."
The LA Times and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune ought to be published in critical and synoptic editions, in order to show how lazy and biased they really are (I doubt Matt Welch will simply run press releases).
Yes, the extent to which both papers -- and a lot of others -- simply regurgitate press releases of groups they agree with is a disgrace, and someone ought to point it out on a regular basis. The Star Tribune editorial, by the way, flat-out misrepresents what the U.S. Supreme Court has said on the subject. For more background, see this piece.


BERKELEY HATEWATCH UPDATE: The Angry Clam finds the double standard.


THE LOS ANGELES TIMES EMBARRASSES ITSELF with this dumb and hysterical editorial on the Justice Department and the Second Amendment. The title is a giveaway ("Ashcroft's gunslinger style") and the whole thing simply piles one cliche on top of another. The editorialist can't decide whether to savage Ashcroft simply for being Ashcroft, or to argue with his Second Amendment position, so the piece is an incoherent mixture of unsupported ranting on both subjects. You'd never know from reading the Times editorial that Ashcroft's view is shared by lots of leading constitutional scholars, that the Supreme Court has repeatedly treated the Second Amendment as an individual right, or that the Framers thought individual gun ownership was important. The L.. A. Times editorial board should read Eugene Volokh's oped from yesterday's Wall Street Journal. And they should note that Volokh provides footnotes, while all the Times provides is sputtering vituperation.

ERIC OLSEN has a long

ERIC OLSEN has a long post on the economics of blogging. I want to be clear, though: I don't think that money is necessarily corrupting. But I'm keenly aware of what Mark Twain said in Tom Sawyer -- that work consists of what a body is obliged to do. If I became "obliged" to produce a couple of dozen (or more) interesting posts a day, I'd probably enjoy it a lot less. That's my concern, and it's why I like a donation model: people can donate money if they appreciate it, but there's no long-term obligation.

May 10, 2002

EUGENE VOLOKH replies to Rand

EUGENE VOLOKH replies to Rand Simberg's response to Volokh's oped in the Wall Street Journal on the Second Amendment. All within about 12 hours. Cool.




MORE COURTS, LESS JUSTICE: Dahlia Lithwick says international law is oversold. Yep.

STANLEY KURTZ says that liberals

STANLEY KURTZ says that liberals should read conservative magazines since conservatives read liberal publications:

Last year, liberal political theorist Cass Sunstein put out a ridiculous little book about the dangers of the Internet called His argument was that the web is allowing people to isolate themselves from contrary opinions. The places Sunstein held up as dangerous examples were all conservative sites like and Free Republic. If Professor Sunstein had actually read the conservative web, he'd have seen that conservative sites are preoccupied — even obsessed — with the liberal media, a media they know intimately.
He's right. Of course, Sunstein was ignorant of the blogosphere, which answers all of Sunstein's concerns without requiring the government coercion that Sunstein advocated.


STEVEN DEN BESTE says that the National Training Center at Fort Irwin is more important than a turtle. I agree.


SELF-ORGANIZED NETWORKS: This is kind of interesting.


HERE'S AN EXCELLENT PIECE ON BLOGS by Scott Rosenberg. Here's a key sentence that proves he actually knows what he's writing about: "The editorial process of the blogs takes place between and among bloggers, in public, in real time, with fully annotated cross-links." Absolutely. A blog is always a work in progress, subject to revision in light of criticism or reflection. It's as if you got to read a newspaper story through all the drafts.


MATTHEW MILLER says Bush is pulling a rope-a-dope on Gray Davis.

RAND SIMBERG responds to Eugene

RAND SIMBERG responds to Eugene Volokh's oped on the Second Amendment.


WELCH DISSES ALTERMAN by proxy. It's pretty good, too.


HOW DUMB IS AL QAEDA? As my post below suggests, I think that they're more competent than I'd like, but not especially bright. Reader Michael Marion is more worried:

"Al Qaeda has shown some degree of operational skill, and gets a lot of points for persistence, and for being willing to learn from its mistakes. What it lacks completely is political judgment. But then, what do you expect?"

Personally, I don't know what to expect. That Al Qaeda will be defeated eventually, and that technological, secular, free market, republican modes of existence will survive, seems so much more likely than the opposite. Allowing for the unimaginable, which is always a wild card, what we have on our side is superior to what they have.

We have firepower, money, amazingly broad competence, a high degree of solidarity and purpose (in the USA, at least), a deep sense of justice and civilization in our mission to destroy Jihad, and (more or less) good political leadership.

What they have is a global, religious/ideological solidarity honed to the highest degree of commitment, a willingness to die, an understanding of the technology available to them and the patience to carefully implement missions based on the biggest technological bang for the buck.

In this game, they rationally see themselves as David confronting our Goliath. The question is whether their Islamic slingshots can defeat our Western (dare I say, Judeo-Christian?) predators and daisy cutters.

You say they have no political judgment, and you may be asolutely correct. I hope you are. I think you are. But the question does not seem foreclosed. It seems apparent from 9-11 that death to kafir is not the sole nor even the primary purpose of the current Jihad, as heart-warming as the death of infidels may be. Destruction of the western (meaning American) economy is the chief interim goal.

The ultimate goal is a completely Islamic world. The penultimate goal is to bring the non-Islamic world down to the subsistence level of the Islamic world. That makes the fight more even, a world where the sword of Islam is mightier than the pen of freedom and commerce.

Whether Al Qaeda is politically astute or not, depends on several confused or unknowable considerations.

First, where does the world of Islam stand? AQ depends on money, comfort, expertise and spiritual sustenance from the billion and more Moslems on Earth. The Moslem world is the water in which AQ swims.

It does not seem clear where the official or unofficial Moslem world will go. AQ is betting that they can provoke the West into actions so severe, that the Moslem world will have no religious choice but to engage in a planetary Jihad so overwhelming the West will be destroyed.

In this respect, the millions of hostile, unassimilated Moslems in America and Europe would seem to play a part.

Second, what weapons does AQ have? This unknown factor is paramount. If they have smallpox, anthrax, sarin, nuclear or other WMD, they are very powerful indeed. 9-11 makes no sense whatsoever, unless AQ had WMD. If 9-11 occurred without a present capability to inflict free-form mass destruction, then AQ is stupid indeed, politically and in every other way. Again, "mass destruction" being defined not merely as numbers killed, but primarily as a means of destroying the economy by instilling widespread fear, and by hyper-elevating the level of risk and uncertainty to discourage economic activity.

In this respect, a special note must be taken of suicide bombers. A dozen such bombers in a dozen NYC subway stations during rush hour, would be more massive in economic effect than the purely spiteful and banal enormity of bombing a bar mitzvah. Nonetheless, it probably would not quite reach the magnitude of a dirty bomb, for instance.

Third, how clueless is the West? In order for AQ to succeed in fomenting a planetary Jihad which surpasses every other human concern, they depend on the absurd qualms of much of the West's political elite, an elite which already disdains America and Western values. AQ looks at the Moslem world with its simple resolve, and compares it with a world which is uncertain of the question whether force should be used to defend yourself.

In this respect, the advantages of the West seem utterly devalued.

Looking at means and goals, it is tempting to compare Jihad to the Internationale. From the perspective of Western Man, global communism looked a lot like Jihad in practical consequence ... the determined ideological destruction of the values held dear by those who see liberty as the greatest political good. Disruption and terror, violence and brute force, lying and oppression ... mere tools for the greater good.

But Jihad is not communism in meaningful respects. Communism had states to protect, Jihad does not. Jihad has ummah, which communism never had. True, Moslem masses are oppressed by Islam, but Islam was not imposed on the present generations of Moslems, it was transmitted.

Communism, because it ruled from the top down, had an interest in stability, if only to avoid mass retaliation. Today, Jihad dangles the Islamic states, not the other way around. For the temporary and short-sighted motive of self-preservation, the Islamic rulers contribute to the chaos Jihad seeks.

If politics is defined as arranging circumstances to achieve your goals, it is not so clear AQ is politically inept. AQ benefits with every act of violence, it seems. A day without violence, is a day which did not add to the psychological mosaic of destabilization of the world detested by Jihad.

What it all comes down to, is an audacious risk by AQ. They are gambling Islam on their ability to bully and intimidate the West into economic chaos and eventual poverty. They think the West is psychologically incapable of understanding and effectively responding to Jihad.

To the extent Western politics, in the surrealism of leftist thinking, and in the sheer ignorance often generated by self-satisfied, material well-being, refuses to acknowledge the death threat explicitly being made by Jihad, AQ might not be so lacking in political judgment whenever it does something which seems lacking in political judgment.

Maybe AQ has figured us out, better than we have figured out them. Maybe not. Your point, which is that AQ is helping the formerly ignorant or indifferent to figure things out, may be true. Let us hope it is not too late to have figured things out.

This seems excessively pessimistic. The Ummah is mostly a fiction. If it becomes a genuine threat to the West, it will be history. Al Qaeda's weakness lies in not understanding just how bloody and brutal the West is capable of being if it feels seriously threatened. I suspect that Israel alone, with 400 atomic weapons, is capable of wiping out much of the Muslim world, and that's peanuts compared to what the United States would do if faced with a unified Muslim world bent on its destruction. (And biowar cuts both ways: imagine what would happen if smallpox got loose in Mecca at the right time of the year. I hope that any Al Qaeda types bent on biowar think about this long and hard.).

At any rate, most Muslims -- even most Arab Muslims -- don't want to bring down the West in an orgy of gotterdammerung-style destruction, and aren't likely to get behind anyone who does. But if through some miracle Al Qaeda were to unite them in that goal, it would simply mean the end of Islam as a world force. The big danger to us all (but especially to them) is that the Arab world's penchant for substituting fantasy for reality makes them less responsible in this regard than the stakes suggest they ought to be and -- and here you're right -- than the Communists were. But then the Soviets had the experience of World War Two. The Arab world has yet to experience such a sobering encounter with mass bloodshed. That, however, will change if they push too hard.

UPDATE: Will Allen writes:

Glenn, Marion's post is very well argued, but I think you are correct. If the United States suffers an attack from a weapon of mass destruction, or even a near miss, it had better be entirely, completely, fatal, if one is viewing the conflict from Al Qaeda's perspective. If it is not, the population of the United States will sweep away any hesitant elites like so many dust motes, and an absolute maelstorm of titanically massive violence will ensue, the likes of which the world has never seen, and it will be very one-sided. WWII will look like a medium-sized, drawn-out skirmish. There is nothing as dangerous as a large, technologically advanced, totally enraged democracy. I hope to never see it.-Will Allen
I hope never to see it too -- because I hope that such a response won't be necessary.

ORRIN JUDD uses a recent

ORRIN JUDD uses a recent piece in The American Prospect as a jumping-off point for his argument that Bush's critics in the media don't understand him because they don't understand business, or the management culture of business.




THE RISHAWN BIDDLE / ERIC ALTERMAN FEUD continues apace. Rishawn also has an interesting piece on hotel management squabbling in Forbes.Com but you have to be a subscriber to read it.

TROLL ALERT: Brendan O'Neill is

TROLL ALERT: Brendan O'Neill is dissing Linux.

BRINK LINDSEY takes on Charles

BRINK LINDSEY takes on Charles Krauthammer's cloning column. It's an unequal contest, and Brink comes out on top.

CRAIG SCHAMP has a compendium

CRAIG SCHAMP has a compendium of links on the Gray Davis / Oracle scandal.

And we're supposed to trust Larry Ellison with all our private information?

MARGARET WENTE says that Amnesty

MARGARET WENTE says that Amnesty International has destroyed its credibility with its one-sided approach to Israel and the United States.

WALTER SHAPIRO delivers a blogger-like

WALTER SHAPIRO delivers a blogger-like Fisking to Noam Chomsky's book. Sample:

At a moment of intense patriotism, it is worth trying to decipher the roots of Chomsky's against-the-grain appeal.

The secret certainly does not lie in Chomsky's riveting prose style. The book was cobbled together in mid-October from Chomsky's voluminous e-mail exchanges, primarily with foreign journalists. The repetitive format, consisting of naпve questions followed by self-serving answers, allows Chomsky to elude any rigorous explanation of what America should do in the face of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The MIT linguist may be a prophet without honor in his own country, but Chomsky is far from an adroit soothsayer in any language. Radiating the armchair pseudo-certainty that is his trademark, Chomsky predicts, "An attack against Afghanistan will probably kill a great many innocent civilians, possibly enormous numbers in a country where millions are already on the verge of death from starvation."

Just in case any gullible reader missed his point, Chomsky helpfully adds, "Wanton killing of innocent civilians is terrorism, not a war against terrorism."

OK, even great thinkers occasionally make mistakes. But Chomsky cannot even decide whether Osama bin Laden should be reviled or coddled with a tolerant understanding of the causes of his murderous fury.

Hmm. Maybe this is because Chomsky's, you know, an idiot? Shapiro continues:
Chomsky is a master of false equivalence. High on his roster of American war crimes is the 1998 destruction of a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant in an abortive cruise missile attack against al-Qaeda. Chomsky claims that tens of thousands of Sudanese died because of the resulting lack of life-saving drugs. He dismisses with a flurry of rhetorical excess the American explanation that the misplaced attack was due to faulty intelligence.

In classic style, Chomsky wonders whether the 1958-61 Chinese famine should also be dismissed because "Mao did not 'intend' to kill millions of people." In a few short sentences, Chomsky has implicitly likened an errant cruise missile to the worst horrors unleashed by the Chinese Communist government.

Why is anyone reading this tripe?

Maybe because, you know, they're idiots too? Shapiro's explanation is kinder and more reasoned than mine -- but not necessarily inconsistent.

TAPPED deconstructs Will Saletan on

TAPPED deconstructs Will Saletan on robo-rats. Turnabout's fair play, I guess.

GUIDANCE COUNSELORS: Less ethical than

GUIDANCE COUNSELORS: Less ethical than political consultants? Mitchell Webber identifies some pretty questionable behavior in a recent New York Times series, and wonders why it passes unremarked.


THE GREAT KAUSFILES SELLOUT made the front page of the New York Sun, reports Lori Anne Byrnes, who has posted the article on her blog.


GO TO MATT WELCH'S PAGE. Give him money.

JOSH MARSHALL responds to the

JOSH MARSHALL responds to the Great Kaus Sellout by saying that he's merging with AOL. Uh, dude, that one's been done.

EUGENE VOLOKH has an op-ed

EUGENE VOLOKH has an op-ed on the Second Amendment in today's Wall Street Journal. It's excellent.


PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH wants to be the anti-Chomsky. You already are, Pejman -- you're rational, and you don't live in a fantasyland.

TOM BELL responds to the

TOM BELL responds to the E.U. barcode flag with some designs of his own.

READER RUDY BUNTIC writes:In regards


In regards to Bill Lockyer, how can he can give money back to Oracle and then feel he is somehow cleansed enough to do an investigation of the California - Oracle scandal. Are we somehow to believe that he is free of conflict of interest because he gives $50,000 back? Obviously he can give the money back, clear Oracle of any impropriety and then get a bunch of fat checks in the mail from Oracle a year or two from now as a payback. It reminds me of John Ashcroft and Enron. He recused himself from the investigation of Enron because he took political donations from them when he was a Senator. Shouldn't Lockyer recuse himself and hand over the investigation to someone who will actually investigate and not have a campaign to run?

I read your 'About Me' and figure your most recent book concerning political impropriety probably means you already thought of this, but I had to rant just in case.
I've never thought that giving the money back makes conflicts go away -- and in fact, acting as if it does is the plainest admission that you are for sale. But politicians like this approach because it grants them easy absolution.


A READER SUGGESTS that I hold a contest for best blog-store item, and nominates this mousepad from WhattheHeck.Com.

Contests and prizes are more Andrew's thing.


THE AMERICAN PROWLER takes on TAPPED regarding the relative treatment of Arafat and Musharraf.

MATTHEW HOY nominates himself for

MATTHEW HOY nominates himself for TAPPED's list of liberal bloggers.

May 09, 2002

VIRGINIA POSTREL decries the lack

VIRGINIA POSTREL decries the lack of gender diversity among New York Times and Washington Post columnists. But she identifies one major publication that's doing quite well.

AL QAEDA REDUX? The Hindustan

AL QAEDA REDUX? The Hindustan Times reports that Pakistani intelligence officials think Al Qaeda is likely to strike soon with a bunch of new suicide attacks. Well, that would be typical. Just as U.S. pundits and politicians are starting to return to business as usual, this will remind the country that it's still at war, and remind the world that these "scum" (to coin a phrase) are still out there. If the attacks are on Americans it will give America more room to maneuver diplomatically. If they're on non-Americans (as in Pakistan ) they will produce additional pressure on the countries whose people are attacked to support the war. As I said, typically stupid.

Al Qaeda has shown some degree of operational skill, and gets a lot of points for persistence, and for being willing to learn from its mistakes. What it lacks completely is political judgment. But then, what do you expect?

DENISE HOWELL has this interesting

DENISE HOWELL has this interesting observation on the tendency for legal documents to show up on the Web:

When attorneys begin to realize that, thanks to the Internet, their dispute-related correspondence may have a broader audience than they thought - even for writings that, unlike legal pleadings, are not part of the public record - this could have a dramatic, and positive, effect on the tenor and content of those missives.
Over the long term, that's probably true. And not the amount of attention Cardinal Law's deposition -- the sort of thing that wasn't usually available to the public in complete form until very recently -- has gotten. There's both an up- and down-side to this.

JOSH CLAYBOURN says that Indiana

JOSH CLAYBOURN says that Indiana University Chancellor Sharon Stephens Brehm is insensitive to diversity concerns.


THE AMERICAN JEWISH CONGRESS is asking Hollywood filmmakers to boycott the Cannes Film Festival because of antisemitism in France.

Heck, I'd boycott 'em just because of Ted Rall.

JOE KLEIN says that Bob

JOE KLEIN says that Bob Shrum is killing the Democrats. So why is Bill Kristol imitating him?

GRASSHOPPA has an annotated list

GRASSHOPPA has an annotated list of nations that voted in favor of the UN resolution criticizing Israel earlier this week.

Meanwhile Jay Zilber says he's found a connection between Pipebomb Boy and The Fight Club.


ORACLE SCANDAL UPDATE: A reader sends this story, which I had missed and which says that California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who is investigating, is being criticized because of $50,000 he got from Oracle, and that highway patrol officers were sent to stop shredding.

KNOXTHRILLS: The local alt-weekly looks

KNOXTHRILLS: The local alt-weekly looks back on the 1982 World's Fair (which I, then in college, remember as one big party) and remembers it as . . . one big party. I don't know how it was for the tourists, but for those of us who worked there, it was an eatin' & drinkin' & miscegenatin' good time!

PLUS: Knoxville -- proto-birthplace of The New York Times!

THE AHA! GANG: Some people

THE AHA! GANG: Some people might find emails pointing out mistakes annoying. Not me! The post below briefly said that Rall had voted for Le Pen, something I misread because of his reference to voting for a right-winger. I fixed it in (literally) less than a minute -- but over a dozen emails came in pointing out the mistake.

It makes it pretty hard to screw up for long, doesn't it?

TED RALL says he holds

TED RALL says he holds French citizenship in addition to U.S. citizenship.

On May 5th, I voted for a right-winger. It was my first time, and with any luck it will be my last. I really didn't have much choice. Born in the United States of a French parent, I enjoy dual nationality-a status that Jean-Marie Le Pen had promised to eliminate had his National Front seized the presidency of France.
But of course.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

Americans have been racking our brains: Why did almost 20% of the French electorate vote for Le Pen. Now we know. A vote for Le Pen was a vote to strip Ted Rall of his French citizenship. I've often said I'ld never vote for Buchanan, but if he adopted this plank of Le Pen's platform . . . .
No, that couldn't be it -- or Le Pen would have won!


READER PATRICK THOMAS is unhappy with my post on the new Oracle scandal, below:

You comments regarding another Oracle scandal in "Florida" could use tightening up. The "Florida" scandal is, according to the article, a "Miami-Dade" scandal.

Your phrasing conflates Gov. Bush of Florida with Gov. Davis of Califronia, insinuating state procurement payola, and I saw no mention in the article of involvement by the Florida Republican or members of his administration.

He's right. Sorry, but it just didn't occur to me that people would read it that way.

VOLOKH-A-RAMA: Not only was he

VOLOKH-A-RAMA: Not only was he on Talk of the Nation talking about the Second Amendment, but he's quoted today in The American Prospect talking about the First!

UPDATE: Volokh has a post about his Talk of the Nation appearance. And here's a link sent by reader Will Middelaer to an audio stream. I don't have RealPlayer on this computer (it conflicts with some audio software that's more important to me) so I haven't listened to it.

ADAM CURRY reports that his

ADAM CURRY reports that his Pim Fortuyn-related blogging has been a "powerful experience." His essay on press coverage of Fortuyn, entitled "The Big Lie" is number one on Daypop. It's number 2 on Blogdex, but this post on Curry is Number One.

TAPPED IS taking nominations for

TAPPED IS taking nominations for the best liberal bloggers. I'm nominating Welch and Layne for starters.

EUGENE VOLOKH was just on

EUGENE VOLOKH was just on NPR's Talk of the Nation. That doesn't air here, but here's reader Paul Giovanni's reaction to the first part:

As I listen to Nine Totenberg on "Talk of the Nation", holding forth as NPR's "national legal correspondent" on the Second Amendment, I am reminded of the claim that NPR is not biased 95% of the time. This must be one of the other 5% of the times. Eugene Volokh is coming on now; if he is the Volokh I think he is, maybe there will be some balance.
Meanwhile Charles Murtaugh says he missed the first part, but heard the second part and "Volokh was very good." I imagine it'll be online shortly.

UPDATE: Kevin Hurst heard the whole show and has these comments:

I listened to the entire Talk of the Nation broadcast today and Nina Totenberg was typically insufferable. However, the two guests, Eugene Volokh and Akhil Amar of Yale, largely agreed on the salient point of discussion, i.e. "collectivist" vs. "individualist" views of the 2nd Amendment, as I knew they would given their history on the subject. The host, whose name I've forgotten couldn't quite seem to grasp that the meaning of the 2nd Amendment, as written, is pretty clear when understood in the language of the period. Prof. Amar seemed to help to keep him confused. Prof. Volokh was great. Prof. Amar, IMO, got off on some strange tangents and justifications for the 2nd Amendment which seemed to be more about how a liberal can come to terms with a right to bear arms than constitutional history. Listening to the [guest] from the Violence Policy Center squirm and rant made it all worthwhile.
So there you have it.

UPDATE: The missing Ward Connerly

UPDATE: The missing Ward Connerly poll (see below) is now here.

EDWARD BOYD has a long

EDWARD BOYD has a long quantitative post on media bias, with comments from Geoffrey Numberg. And very cool charts.

EYE ON ALGERIA: Still more

EYE ON ALGERIA: Still more violence, largely unreported beyond little wire stories like this one. But this paragraph is the big news:

More than 120,000 people have been killed in Algeria's Islamic insurgency, which erupted in 1992 when the army canceled elections that a fundamentalist party was poised to win.
Amazingly, this may be true -- at least I found this story saying that it's more than 100,000, and this 1999 report saying that it was between 65-100,000. Note that as of July, 2001 the estimated Algerian population was just under 32 million. Proportionally, then, we're talking about the equivalent of nearly a million deaths in a country the size of the United States.


ANOTHER ORACLE SCANDAL, this time in Florida. Question: is this how Oracle does business, or is this how everyone does business?

UPDATE: Reader Charles Austin writes: "Unfortunately, it's pretty much how a lot -- not all -- but a lot of business gets done at this level. It is a powerful rationale for limiting the power of government. Remember Lord Acton's famous dictum about power corrupting."

ANOTHER UPDATE: To clarify, it's a Miami-Dade scandal, not really a Florida scandal.


IS NORTH KOREA NEARING COLLAPSE? We've got credible reports of mass starvation. Now more, and more desperate, people are trying for asylum in foreign consulates. I don't know if North Korea is near collapse, though it wouldn't surprise me. But if it does collapse in the near future, I predict that reports of the horrors going on there will bring a lot of discredit on the constructive-engagement policies of Kim Dae Jung.

UPDATE: Zach Barbera noted last month that North Koreans were trying to escape to Mongolia and asked just how bad things had to be for people to do that.

JOHN DERBYSHIRE, suprisingly, doesn't care

JOHN DERBYSHIRE, suprisingly, doesn't care about the palestinians.

HERE'S NEWS that's both encouraging

HERE'S NEWS that's both encouraging and discouraging:

A suspect in an alleged scheme to obtain fraudulent student visas had flight manuals, a drawing of a plane striking one of the World Trade Center towers and a date book with a lone entry: Sept. 11, according to court documents.

The Virginian-Pilot obtained the documents that were used to justify the arrests of five suspects in the Norfolk area Tuesday. They were among more than 58 people arrested in 13 states on Tuesday.

Encouraging: this guy is in custody. Discouraging: he wasn't in custody until this week.


IRAQ, AL QAEDA & OKLAHOMA CITY: A reader writes:

Regarding the apparent Iraqi link to the OKC bombing, it always seemed to This Observer very odd that Timothy McVeigh, who was sufficiently capable and with-it to put together a devastating explosive in a Ryder truck, would then morph into such an utter numbskull that he would flee the scene in a car with no license plates. From this flow two possibilities and only two, both pointing to Iraqi involvement: 1) He was in fact a total moron and had little to do with implementing the attack; 2) He was a designated fall-guy and drove without license plates because it was his *mission* to get himself arrested and charged with the attack. And the Clinton Administration, for political advantage, and the FBI, from bureaucratic inertia, were entirely complicit in this imposture.
Well, terrorists do make dumb mistakes -- I seem to recall some Palestinians who blew themselves up transporting a bomb because they forgot to allow for Daylight Savings Time or some such. But there are many loose ends and unanswered questions about the Oklahoma City bombing, and even a lot of law enforcement people who aren't conspiracists have misgivings.

On the other hand, Howard Owens agrees with Josh Marshall that there's not enough evidence to demonstrate an Iraqi connection to 9/11.

UPDATE: An alert reader sends this link to the Palestinian bomber story, which is pretty much as I remember it. And reader Mike Walsh notes:

Well, the first WTC bombers actually went back to get their deposit on the rental van! Also, if McVeigh was the "designated Fall guy, what possible motive could he have for going through with it? If he was wiling to really die for his cause, he would have lit the fuse and then just turned up the radio and sat there. He also served in the Gulf War, and I have not heard of anybody in that conflict developing any great love for the Iraqis.


GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS AT ABC'S THE NOTE: First, the good news. At long last, The Note actually links to the stuff it mentions! Welcome to the Web, guys!

The bad news: today's Note uses the term "hide the salami" to describe some legislative maneuvering. Um, well, in a way that's an appropriate term for most legislative maneuvering (at least in terms of what they're doing to us), but usually we say "hide the ball," as the term "hide the salami" has somewhat different connotations.

UPDATE: An email points out that The Note is a Disney publication. Hey, there might be kids reading that post on trade policy!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Dale Betterton writes: "InstaPundit gets results! 'The Note' has now changed 'hide the salami' to 'hide the ball.'" So where's my Boeing?


ANOTHER GRAY DAVIS SCANDAL seems to be brewing, this one over "A company that won approval of a $453 million contract in 2000 to help California manage welfare cases [that] gave $50,000 to Gov. Gray Davis' campaign within a day of hiring one of the governor's top fund-raisers as a lobbyist." The company is Accenture, formerly known as Andersen Consulting.

Interestingly, I noticed that Accenture's website has absolutely no mention of its history as part of the Andersen empire. I wondered if this was Enron-related, but I called Roxanne Taylor in their media office and she told me that the arbitration decision that severed the relationship between Andersen's accounting and consulting arms required Accenture to remove all references to Andersen. Still, it's an interesting historical connection under the circumstances.


BOY, YOU LEAVE THOSE GUYS UNSUPERVISED FOR A MINUTE. . . . I took a couple of hours off to go see my daughter's elementary school spring program (she looked very cute, twirling red-white-and-blue streamers and singing You're a Grand Old Flag) and when I get back I find that Jonah Goldberg thinks I'm complaining about Mickey Kaus's move to Slate. Huh? I'm fine with it. My labeling it the "Great Kausfiles Sellout" was entirely in mockery of those who I figured would seriously accuse him of selling out. Yet another case where what I thought was obvious tongue-in-cheekery wasn't. Just proves that what one of my colleagues says about teaching applies everywhere else: "It's impossible to be too obvious."

No Boeing for you, Slim-Jim boy!

KAUSFILES ENVY: Reader Tom Carroll

KAUSFILES ENVY: Reader Tom Carroll wants me to emulate Mickey:

Please sell out. . . I'm not sure that the voluntary contributions you get
are enough to keep you interested in the daily blogospheric grind. Please, opt for the Boeing.
Well, I do this because it's fun, and I don't want it to turn into work. If it stops being fun, I want to follow the lead of the Sarge and quit. Of course, I hope he'll come back in a few weeks, as he's done before: tanned, rested, and ready. (And thicker-skinned about jerky email). But a lot of the fun of the blog world is that it's fun. There are a lot of people (nearly all of them people who earn their primary incomes from writing) who are really concerned about developing a viable economic model for blogging. More power to 'em, and if the Boeing is offered, I'll give it serious consideration. But that's not really what it's all about for me.

Hmm. "Take the Boeing." That's kind of a nice term for blogger-affiliation with major media. As in, "I hear Postrel's taken the Boeing." "Yeah, VodkaPundit, too." "After Kaus and Blair, I figured there'd be a lot of that."

JAMES LILEKS discusses the U.N.

JAMES LILEKS discusses the U.N. through the prism of web design:

Point number one: clever webmasters fix it so you don’t have to type “www” to call up a site. “” ought to work. Of course, it doesn’t.

Two: the homepage title for the UN is: “it’s your world.” Really. There is a link to read the page in Chinese. There is no link to read it in Tibetan. For those in Tibet, we paraphrase a Rat Pack quote: it’s the Party’s world. You’re just living in it.

ANDREW SULLIVAN and Virginia Postrel

ANDREW SULLIVAN and Virginia Postrel both offer their thoughts on the earthshaking Kausfiles acquisition.

How much money is Kaus getting? I don't know, but he offered to "send the Boeing" for me the next time I travel to L.A. . . . .

Here at InstaPundit, despite all the war profiteering, I can barely keep up my ratty old Gulfstream.

UPDATE: Now Kaus is saying he's not getting that much money. But rumor has it that Bill Gates' accountants were seen looking worried yesterday, and muttering something about "that damned money-grubbing blogger."


WILLIAM SAFIRE WONDERS why the CIA is trying to discredit the story that Mohammed Atta met with Iraqi intelligence officials in the Czech Republic -- and why some in the press are playing along.

Meanwhile, in the worrisome-if-true category, this story reports some troubling overlaps between loose ends in the Oklahoma City bombing case and the 9/11 hijackers.

UPDATE: Josh Marshall says Safire is wrong.


BE SURE YOU DON'T MISS this InstaPundit ExclusiveTM on the Great Kausfiles Sellout! (Scroll down).


RON ROSENBAUM WRITES that the idiocy of some "pro-peace" advocates (he means Amy Wilentz in particular, though he doesn't use her name) shows that the American Left is in crisis because of its inability to respond to murderers and thugs -- from Yasser Arafat to Pol Pot -- who mouth a few catchphrases about oppression in the process of their murder and thuggery.

As someone who has long considered himself a liberal, I think what’s going on here has something to do with the deep denial—the displaced fearfulness—the left has about any discussion of the Holocaust, because it might inevitably bring up the one thing the left is too frightened to face: Stalin’s Holocaust, the mass murders that killed more people than Hitler. The mass murders committed by people like Mao and Pol Pot who mouthed their commitment to "peace" and "social justice" while slaughtering millions in the name of leftist ideals.
Yes, that's been the crazy aunt in the Left's attic for over 60 years, and the refusal to deal with it has taken a terrible toll on the Left's intellectual integrity and moral legitimacy. The pathetic state of today's "peace movement" indicates just how far that degeneration has gone.


CORNEL WEST UPDATE: Cornel West spoke recently at Minnesota, addressing his relationship with Harvard. Steve Gigl wasn't impressed with what he heard.

DR. MANHATTAN finds parallels between

DR. MANHATTAN finds parallels between the murder of Pim Fortuyn and that of Yitzhak Rabin.

DAN GILLMOR has a very

DAN GILLMOR has a very good column on the California electricity crisis, and how the blame reaches well beyond Enron:

Yet everyone is shocked, shocked that the energy wheeler-dealers at Enron took advantage of California's lame attempt at electricity deregulation. Imagine that: The sharpies manipulated prices after the state all but issued an engraved invitation.

That's the sorry reality behind what are being called the ``smoking gun'' memos, written in late 2000 and early 2001. These Enron memoranda, released on Monday, are posted for your reading amazement on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Web site (


YOU WANNA TALK MASSACRES? William Sulik wonders why this one didn't get any attention, while the bogus massacre claims at Jenin created an international uproar.

GRAY DAVIS is getting loads

GRAY DAVIS is getting loads of bad press over the Oracle scandal in California, but it doesn't seem to be getting a lot of national attention yet. But California readers keep sending me stuff and asking why it's not getting noticed elsewhere. Beats me. Lots of other news? A vague sense of caution after overhyping the Enron scandal early on? Whatever, here are some links I've gotten, if you're interested.

This story from the Sacramento Bee says that state officials tried to block the Oracle contract to the last minute but were overruled by higher ups.

This story from the Contra Costa Times says more or less the same thing, but with more details.

This story from the Mercury News says it was "Davis Advisers" who pressured for the deal to go through despite obvious improprieties.

Pretty much the same story in each, but with different emphasis. This seems like pretty serious stuff to me.

May 08, 2002


THE CHRONICLE PULLS A CAIR? John J. Miller reports at The Corner that the San Francisco Chronicle has taken down the poll about Ward Connerly's Racial Privacy Initiative -- apparently because it was doing too well. Online polls are mostly meaningless, of course -- but once you put them up, you should play fair.


KAUSFILES SELLS OUT -- an InstaPundit exclusive! Mickey Kaus has inked an awe-inspiring and deeply lucrative deal with Slate to take his blog "indoors." Out of the blogosphere, into the lucrasphere! Mickey responds here to important questions:

Why are you selling out to a giant soulless monopolistic corporation?

I’m not selling. I’m renting! I can leave anytime I want, and take kausfiles with me. And they can cancel me anytime they want. They’re willing to be extremely flexible and play it by ear, which is one of the great virtues of Slate.

If I were a total schmuck, which I hope I’m not, I could even stay on Slate for a few months, get some new readers, and then move the blog somewhere else. You could move the site around like one of those disco events that’s held at a different venue each week.

Readers will never have to worry which site I’m on. If they type in they’ll always be automatically taken to wherever the blog is.

But I think and hope it will find a happy home on Slate. I’ve been writing longer items for them for years, as you know. The Slate people are all friends, and Slate is looking very lively these days, you may have noticed. (No thanks to me) . They don't tell me what to write, or what not to write, yet they give me ideas I can steal. And they have three frigging million readers!

What about quirkiness?

Quirk-retention is a major corporate objective of both partners in this joint venture. If the quirkiness level falls, it will almost certainly be my fault, not theirs I note that there are now quirky pages on the sites of other big corporations – ABC’s excellent The Note, for example, or MSNBC’s excellent gossipy email dispatches from Jeannette Walls. Maybe “suits” and “bean counters” will eventually stamp out these signs of life. But why? They’re popular -- and it costs corporations money to ride herd on things. It may be cheaper just to let ‘em ride (at least as long as they don’t libel somebody or rile up some anti-smut group).

Why’d you do it?

There are only so many glamorous blogger parties you can attend before you ask yourself, ‘Is this all there is?” What about -- I’d ask this to myself when I was alone, in the middle of the night – what about making some money and using it to buy consumer goods?

I will get a bit more money from Slate. I’ll also get more readers, if it goes as planned. I couldn’t think of any better way to get either of those things.

I also owed it to Slate. I was spending more and more time writing for the blog – because it was fun, in large part -- but I was producing fewer and fewer of the longer pieces to sell to them. These longer pieces had occasionally been collections of shorter items – but now the shorter items all go into the blog, so the longer pieces were getting longer, and less frequent. This solves that problem. Now they get the longer pieces and the blog too. It’s all on Slate.

Blogs are hot right now – a good time to sell out! But will there be any site of yours that’s independent of Slate? will soon have archives and links. And all existing kausfiles archives will stay where they are. But that’s about it.

When is this sellout going to happen?

Sometime this week, I hope. Maybe even tomorrow.

In the interest of journalistic ethics [Yeah, like you believe in those -- Ed. Stop that! That's Kaus's schtick!] I should point out that the Q&A above is not an actual interview by me, but just a bunch of Q&A stuff that Mickey emailed me. (Hey, I wonder if other "journalistic" interviews ever work that way, only without admitting it? Naah, couldn't be, that would be unethical.) Anyway, I thought people would be interested, though since you don't have to do anything different, you can just relax and wait for the thrill.

Is this the future of blogging? Maybe in a small way. Would I do this? Probably not -- er, unless the money was really good and they let me keep doing what I'm doing now. But unlike Mickey, I don't have to support myself this way, either!

DADDY WARBLOGS has a report

DADDY WARBLOGS has a report from his own middle eastern correspondent.

HERE ARE a bunch of

HERE ARE a bunch of links on animal rights terrorism, from Brian Carnell.

HERE'S A science blog you

HERE'S A science blog you may find interesting.


A WORD OF ADVICE: Buy the "emergency water/gas shutoff wrench" from Harbor Freight or some other discount tool place for $3.99 and keep it handy for when you need it. I did, and it's a good thing. More later.


ANIMAL RIGHTS VIOLENCE: Fredrik Norman has some useful information on advocacy of violence among the animal-rights crowd.


EUGENE VOLOKH has a lot of useful Second Amendment information.

NAT HENTOFF is savaging the

NAT HENTOFF is savaging the black law professors who boycotted Clarence Thomas's appearance at the University of North Carolina law school.

NPR UPDATE: Boy have I

NPR UPDATE: Boy have I gotten a lot of mail on NPR. But as my slowed posting rate may illustrate, I've been kind of busy. But here are some comments from reader Thomas Castle:

I'm an NPR listener and fan, and also a Republican (not party-line, though). Although I believe mainstream media are for the most part biased, I have to say that NPR is usually balanced and fair.

However, I grant you that NPR can be, occasionally, astonishingly biased. Maybe 5% of the time. (Don't even get me started on Daniel Schorr, the Anthony Lewis of radio.)

So, on balance, I'd say NPR is unbiased 95% of the time, and ridiculously biased 5% of the time. That probably beats CBS, NBC, and ABC.


PS: Actually, NPR does seem to have a more pronounced bias against Israel, now that I think about it...

But even if NPR were very biased, I'd still listen to it during my commutes, because what else is there on the radio? In my town, nothing but fart jokes and obsessive sports shows. Not my bag. In the land of fart jokes, NPR is king.

"In the land of fart jokes, NPR is king." I'm sure they'll post that one in the newsroom. . . .

Reader Mark Manela writes:

On O'Reilly's decorum:

Your facts "I could barely get a word in edgewise" don't square with your apology: "He's not rude -- he just can't keep quiet"

The Oxford English Dictionary (page 866) defines Rude: ... 4. Unmannerly, uncivil, impolite; offensively or deliberately discourteous: a. of speech or actions.

If Rehm had "barely [let you] get a word in edgewise" could you have been so forgiving?

No one escapes bias.

Well, yeah, it's rude to talk over people, I guess, but it's not like calling them names. It's inconsiderate, not abusive. And if someone treats all guests that way, it's not bias.


HERE'S A LINK TO Cardinal Law's deposition. He seems to think the First Amendment's going to help him here, but I kind of doubt it.


MICHAEL CRICHTON LOVES BJORN LOMBORG: At least, Andrew Millard is reporting that there's a 5-star review of Lomborg's book from Crichton on Amazon. The review's still there, so I assume it must be genuine -- one would expect a phony one would have been removed after more than a week.

Of course, I suppose it could be the auto-parts Michael Crichton, rather than the famous-author Michael Crichton. But one would expect the famous-author Crichton to call this to someone's attention. Anybody know if this is him?


MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO KNOW about the EU Flag. Several readers have emailed me that it's just a "concept" and isn't actually meant to be adopted, though nobody's linked any stories on that. Fine with me, though.

MARTIN WALKER writes that Europe's

MARTIN WALKER writes that Europe's Left is committing suicide. Looked more like homicide to me the other day, but . . . .


THERE ARE TWO REASONS WHY I'VE FOCUSED LESS ON THE MIDEAST LATELY: One is that, quite frankly, it was getting too damned depressing. People ask me how I write so much day after day, but the really draining part is reading all that bad news. The other is that James Taranto's Best of the Web is doing such a superlative job that whenever I find something interesting it's either something he's covered, or something he will cover later in the day. Go there. It certainly sounds like my Arafat hunch (see below) is playing out.


MEMO FROM THE EVIL CHORTLING DEPARTMENT: "Our campaign to utterly discredit any opposition to the war is succeeding brilliantly, thanks to our tireless mole in Cambridge. Buwhahaha!"


IS IT JUST ME or does this letter from Luke Helder make him sound a bit like the guy who shot Pim Fortuyn?

UPDATE: Howard Owens answers.

NPR CORRECTION: Several readers wrote

NPR CORRECTION: Several readers wrote to point out that NPR is not, in fact, listener-supported, as this page admits: "NPR's annual revenues come primarily from member station dues and programming fees, contributions from private foundations, and corporate underwriting. A long-standing board policy prohibits NPR from soliciting listeners directly: on-air fund raising, direct mail, and telephone solicitations remain a prerogative of member stations." Looks like their biggest fans are corporations.

LAWMEME has some interesting things

LAWMEME has some interesting things to say about Jamie Kellner's comments on what constitutes "stealing."


IT'S JUST A HUNCH, but I think this last suicide bombing may have been it for Arafat.

PATRICK RUFFINI is fact-checking Brian

PATRICK RUFFINI is fact-checking Brian Williams. He's more polite, but. . . .

MATT WELCH is fact-checking Eric

MATT WELCH is fact-checking Eric Alterman. Welch's conclusion: he lies like a big yellow dog.


READER DOUG TURNBULL found a picture of the EU's new bar-code flag. Jeez is that hideous. Could this possibly be an effort by anti-EU moles?

TAPPED is giving me the

TAPPED is giving me the credit (via my scholarly work, not InstaPundit) for bringing about the Justice Department's new position on the Second Amendment. I think they exaggerate my importance (Larry Tribe, no right-winger, basically agrees with me on this) but that's okay. If you're interested, here's a link to one of my scholarly pieces on the subject, and here's another. And here's a shorter, non-scholarly piece that I did for Legal Affairs, the new legal magazine edited by Lincoln Caplan and published by Yale Law School.

UPDATE: By the way, if you read this article from TAP in August, which is quoted in the TAPPED item above, you find this now-hilarious statement:

Another article, by Emory University's Michael Bellesiles--whose Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture won the coveted Bancroft Prize for American History and Diplomacy last year--accused Ashcroft's intellectual allies of engaging in quotation hunting rather than taking on "the hard and time-consuming task of archival research."
Maybe Bellesiles should have done a little more of that "archival research" himself.


FRITZ HOLLINGS -- BRINGING BACK THE STAR CHAMBER? My new TechCentralStation column is up.



Don't be a dope. NPR is public radio because it's supported by its LISTENERS, who presumably value Diane Rehm over Rush Limbaugh. The taxpayer-dollar support of public radio (CPR) is down to pennies, as we're reminded constantly during pledge week.

I'm sure, in our lifetimes, we'll see those pennies reduced to nothing, and will you be happy then? After all, I patronize lots of businesses that advertise on our loathsome talk-radio station, so I guess part of my money goes to subsidize the morning-drive guy who thinks it's hilarious to make jokes calling a Hispanic and a Jew "a taco and a bagel." My feeling is, it's not worth getting upset about; it all comes out in the wash.

So what if Diane Rehm supports gun control? She had you on her show, and I'll bet she was a damn sight more polite to you than Bill O'Reilly is to the guests he disagrees with.

Hmm. Where to start? NPR was called "public radio" long before its listeners started shelling out. It's now listener-financed to a large degree because it's sufficiently unpopular with taxpayers that it has to turn for support to the niche market that it actually appeals to. Nothing wrong with that, but nothing "public" about it either.

As for Rehm and O'Reilly: It's OK for Rehm to support gun control -- it's just dishonest for her to deny that she's a liberal. That's like Rush Limbaugh saying he's not a conservative. And on the politeness front, Rehm was more polite than O'Reilly is to people he disagrees with -- heck she was more polite than he was with me when I was on his show and I think he agreed with what I was saying, though it's hard to be sure because I could barely get a word in edgewise.

In truth, though, I've seen O'Reilly be awfully polite to people he disagrees with, so that's probably a cheap shot. He's not rude -- he just can't keep quiet. It's also a bit lame to conflate tax money -- which is money you're forced to pay -- with money that you spend at businesses that advertise on a particular station. Don't want to patronize Taco Bell? Nobody will show up at your house with guns. Don't want to pay your taxes? Expect a different response.

UPDATE: Reader George Moore writes:

A couple of points regarding your post about radio talk show hosts. Limbaugh rarely has guests on his show. There are times when a political figure will phone (I recall one show when Bill Bennett seemed to be calling from a pay phone someplace in the Carolinas), but they are few and far between.

On Bill O'Reilly's TV show, or one of them, anyway, they do have guests, and they are frequently of leftist tilt. Unfortunately, this frequently degenerates into O'Reilly and his guest attempting to talk over each other for five minutes, but the guests are on the show. Your point about public radio is well-taken. However, it should be pointed out that hosts like Limbaugh and O'Reilly are frankly opining from a political position. They make no secret of it. The main objection to the so-called main-stream media is that they firmly maintain a political position, middle to hard left depending on the show or story, but refuses to acknowledge it.

Case in point: I was listening to Bloomberg radio in New York this morning. They delivered a news item stating that the Justice Department had broken with its past position on the meaning of the Second Amendment. Fair enough. It has. They then went on to an ad-hom attack on John Ashcroft, stating that the new take on the Second Amendment merely reflected his personal view.

I was hoping to hear how Mr. Ashcroft got Mr. Tribe (D. Harvard), to endorse this bizarre new view of the Second Amendment, but they dropped it after a swipe at Bush.

Yes, it's the unacknowledged but obvious bias of NPR that sticks in most people's throats.

MARK STEYN heaps scorn on

MARK STEYN heaps scorn on the British press for its hysterical and credulous treatment of the non-existent Jenin "massacre":

The Palestinians themselves put the death toll at -- wait for it -- 56.

That's right. 56. There are no missing zeroes on the end. The only missing zeroes are those gullible British and European hacks who swallowed that line about hundreds of dead civilians but have fallen mysteriously silent as the figures have been revised downward. . . . So, 52-56. Hmm. Where have I heard those numbers before? Why, in another famous media illusion -- "the brutal Afghan winter", under whose grueling conditions Kabul this January had to cope with average daytime Fahrenheit temperatures of ... 52-56! It would, however, be unfair to suggest that in every ludicrous Fleet Street fiction the correct figure will prove to be 52-56. For example, when the Yanks were torturing al-Qaeda suspects in "the searing heat of Guantanamo", the overnight low was 66 and breezy, or about the same as a late January day in Kandahar in the brutal Afghan winter, when the warlords and their catamites stroll arm in arm down the sun-dappled streets.

Personally, I think the number should be 42.


THE TRUTH ABOUT PIM FORTUYN: From InstaPundit's de facto Amsterdam correspondent, Adam Curry. A very nice essay. Lots of info over on Andrew Sullivan's site, too.

UPDATE: A reader sends a link to this BBC item by John Simpson and asks "Is it me, or is this a rather spiteful piece?" It's not you.


THIS WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE ON TALK RADIO says that it tilts right. Well, yeah. But what's amusing is the rejoinder to a statement by Bill O'Reilly that NPR is all left:

Besides, he adds, dangling new bait, "[National Public Radio] is all left, top to bottom. That's where the left goes. . . . They listen to Diane Rehm."

Rehm, the host of an NPR-distributed show out of WAMU-FM in Washington, replies: "If a liberal is a talk radio host who represents more than just one view, then I am indeed a liberal. . . . I've never felt there's just one way and one way only. [Some hosts] espouse one view over and over again, whereas our message is far more confusing because we're open to ideas and let you make up your own mind."

I don't know. I don't listen to Rehm, which isn't available in Knoxville, but I've been on her show talking about gun control and her mind was pretty clearly made up there. And she made a point of letting me, and the listeners, know on the air just how much she disagreed with me.

To be fair, she had me on the show espousing a view she disagreed with, even if she obviously took the side of Tom Diaz, who was the pro-gun-control guest. But then, a lot of right-wing talk-radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Neal Boortz have liberal guests, and promise that liberal callers will go to the head of the line. And bias in NPR is different, isn't it, since it's (allegedly) public radio?


ASSASSINATIONS. RIOTS. ECONOMIC COLLAPSE. But never fear -- the EU is on top of it. They've designed a new logo:

Forget the stars, hail the stripes. The European Union's image is set for an overhaul, with the replacement of its gold star flag by a dazzling new bar-code-style logo.

The new design, which has been commissioned from the ultra-fashionable Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, will bleed all of the colours of the national flags of EU nations alongside each other.

Ooh. A bar code -- that'll show all those people who say the EU is going to make them into indistinguishable cogs in a great supranational machine!


YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: I'm really not convinced these guys are up to the job of fighting terrorism. Or anything else.


REUTERS BLOWS IT AGAIN: First it was "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." (Uh, no, not unless he's fighting for, you know, freedom). But now Reuters seems to be taking the position that one man's Tennessee is another man's Kentucky -- which I, at least, find quite offensive.

May 07, 2002

BRENDAN NYHAN has a followup

BRENDAN NYHAN has a followup piece on the Susan Schmidt affair -- she's the Washington Post reporter who responded to hostile but non-abusive reader emails by trying to get the readers fired. I guess it's the usual media double standard at work.


A LESSON FROM OXFORD in what makes America great.

SECURITY is still lousy at

SECURITY is still lousy at USDA labs handling dangerous pathogens, according to an Inspector General's report.


I WAS GOING TO REPLY to Chris Patten's silly and offensive op-ed in the Post (and the EU-niks call American diplomacy unsubtle?) but, heck, just go read what Jeff Goldstein says. Sasha Castel isn't happy, either.

JOSH MARSHALL agrees with Mickey

JOSH MARSHALL agrees with Mickey Kaus that Tony Blair's statement on Pim Fortuyn's death could have been a bit more, um, forthcoming.


CAIR AT THE CHRONICLE? John J. Miller noted a San Francisco Chronicle poll on the racial privacy initiative at 10:01 p.m. -- the initiative was ahead with 59% of the vote. Now at 10:18 p.m. it's returning a 404 error. Hmm.

UPDATE: It's been moved to the front page, apparently (scroll down on the right).


PIPEBOMB BOY UPDATE: IUMA has apparently taken down his song, but the Hoosier Review has it in MP3 form.



With all the other stuff going on in Europe yesterday it was easy to miss, but the WSJ has a big article today on Swiss drug maker Novartis' partial exit from the Continent. Seems that Novartis brass have come to terms with the fact that Europe is a swiftly falling star in the world of pharmaceutical research, and announced that they would be moving all research to the Boston area. Put this news up against the mass exodus of
European drug companies over the past few years to New Jersey(!) and you've got another dead rat on the European Union's collective kitchen floor. The Journal article does a great job laying the groundwork and explaining how socialized medicine has already killed the Euro's will to compete or innovate.
Yes, I saw the article in today's print WSJ. Well, it's not just socialized medicine -- though that plays its part -- but also the general antitechnology attitude among the Greens, the Killer Vegan Animal Rights Loonies, and so on.

Of course, it looks like Pipebomb Boy may be one of those last himself. Loser.


JOE KATZMAN SAYS that the IRA may have just won the war against Britain.



Well, it was bound to happen. Israel pulled back from the occupied terror-tories, again. They let Arafat go, again. And there was a suicide bombing, again. Is anyone really surprised at this? . . . There is a "piece process," alright. We're taking Israel apart piece by piece, with the complicity-by-complacency of the EU, and the waffling of the Americans.


AND NOW FOR SOME POSITIVE NEWS: More progress in nanotechnology.


JAY MANIFOLD WEIGHS IN on what the Pim Fortuyn assassination is likely to mean.

DEAD MICROBIOLOGISTS: The Rapmaster points

DEAD MICROBIOLOGISTS: The Rapmaster points out this article from a Memphis alt-weekly back in March. And he linked to it back in March. Advantage: Rapmaster!

UPDATE: And, courtesy of reader Michael Levy, here's a posting from FreeRepublic from December, back when there were only five dead microbiologists. Advantage: FreeRepublic.

CHECK OUT this Pim Fortuyn

CHECK OUT this Pim Fortuyn quote:

....when I am killed or wounded then you (prime minister) are responsible because you give me no protection and you make the atmosphere in this country so poisonous that people want to hurt me....
From a radio broadcast a couple of weeks ago.

UPDATE: A longer version appears at Best of the Web today.

ROD DREHER has a good

ROD DREHER has a good column on Pim Fortuyn. Excerpt:

"Pim Fortuyn was reacting strongly against a highly organized communal politics," says Erik Jones, a Netherlands expert at the University of Nottingham. "What he was arguing for was more of a sense of individualism, but within the context of a strong monoculturalism. He argued that the Dutch needed to do away with all this consensus, and just voice their opinions — but to do so within the general framework of Dutch culture."

To do that, Fortuyn challenged one of the fundamental principles of liberal Dutch culture: Thou shalt not be seen as intolerant. Immigration and immigration-related crime are not new problems in the Netherlands, but the ability to speak openly about it is. For years, the ruling elite, which includes the media, has made discussion of the growing immigration problem taboo, on pain of being branded a crypto-Nazi.

As recently as last week, Fortuyn denounced this paralyzing political correctness, telling an interviewer that "everywhere in Europe, socialists and the extreme left have forbidden the discussion of the problems of multicultural society." . . .He was right, but it's in the interest of the political establishment in Europe to demonize challengers like Fortuyn as neo-fascist, thus delegitimating their ideas without having to engage these ideas democratically. A Belgian government official reacted to the Fortuyn murder by cautioning politicians to be more careful about how they campaign — implicitly blaming Fortuyn for his own assassination. This will not last, particularly when the average voters believe people like Fortuyn are a liberating presence in the stultified, statist world of European politics.

ADAM CURRY has Pim Fortuyn-related

ADAM CURRY has Pim Fortuyn-related updates from Amsterdam.


BEFORE YOU START EMAILING, I don't know any more about this UT football scandal than you do.


THE POWER OF THE BENSKYSPHERE: Yesterday, Alex Bensky wrote: "I wonder if you saw the front page of today's Times. I'm sure it is sheer coincidence that the photograph illustrating the article on yesterday's pro-Israel parade happened to have a large pro-Palestinian poster in the foreground. Just luck of the draw, I suppose." Today, the New York Times issued this correction:

An article yesterday about a parade in Manhattan marking Israel's 54th anniversary reported that 100,000 people had registered to march and hundreds of thousands more lined Fifth Avenue in support. The article also said that anti-Israel protesters numbered in the hundreds.

A front-page photograph, however, showed the parade in the background, with anti-Israel protesters prominent in the foreground, holding a placard that read, "End Israeli Occupation of Palestine." Inside the newspaper, a photo of a pro-Israel marcher was outweighed by a larger picture of protesters, one waving a sign that likened Zionism to Nazism.

Although the editors' intent in each case was to note the presence of opposing sides, the effect was disproportionate. In fairness the total picture presentation should have better reflected The Times's reporting on the scope of the event, including the disparity in the turnouts.


Er, almost certainly, actually. But it's still cool.


CHARLES PAUL FREUND has some keen observations on Pim Fortuyn and his treatment by the press and the European political establishment.



Perhaps Mahathir Mohamad is channeling Jamal al-Din al-Afghani?

“If it is true that the Muslim religion is an obstacle to the development of sciences, can one affirm that this obstacle will not disappear someday? How does the Muslim religion differ on this point from other religions? All religions are intolerant, each one in its way. The Christian religion, I mean the society that follows its inspirations and its teachings and is formed in its image, has emerged from the first period to which I have just alluded; thenceforth free and independent, it seems to advance rapidly on the road of progress and science, whereas Muslim society has not yet freed itself from the tutelage of religion. Realizing, however, that the Christian religion preceded the Muslim religion in the world by many centuries, I cannot keep from hoping that Muhammadan society will succeed someday in breaking its bonds and marching resolutely in the path of civilization after the manner of Western society. No I cannot admit that this hope be denied to Islam.” (“Answer of Jamal al-Din to Renan Journal des Debats, May 18, 1883 in N. R. Keddie, An Islamic Response to Imperialism, p. 183)

Could be. I'm not a historian of Islam, but I know that Muslims have been saying stuff like this for centuries. The depressing thing is, they've been saying stuff like this for centuries. Of course, if they're really 600 years behind what used to be called Christendom, it's about time for the Renaissance. I'd like that to be true.



I speak/read Dutch and have been following the murder of Pim Fortuyn in the Dutch newspapers. De Telegraaf (of Amsterdam) is reporting that the alleged murderer is a worker at "Milieu-offensief" (environment offensive is the direct though inadequate translation), an enivronmental activist group that is dissociating itself from him and his actions. It appears that the main push of the group is animal rights and ridding the world of biotech.

The report goes on to quote one of his co-workers (they shared an office) as saying that he worked there 4 days a week, that he had spoken briefly with the accused's wife last evening who wouldn't say anything but did have a lawyer with her. They appear to be cooperating in the investigation.

Here's the link.

Here's a link to the group's website.

Don't know what this all has to do with Pim Fortuyn.....


PIPEBOMBER UPDATE: Jonas Cord has done an investigation into pipebomb suspect Luke Helder, finding information about his taste in music and general worldview:

Before reading the notes left behind with the pipe bombs, I quickly considered that the acts were perpetrated by someone involved in the whole Militia/Turner Diaries/McVeigh crowd. The Punk/Vegan/Rage Against the Machine crowd would seem to have been the starting point of his warped campaign, although I’ve never known these kids to adopt the “do not fear death” attitude expressed in the notes.
Those vegans are killers! Oh well, so long as it wasn't the Nebraska Guitar Militia.

UPDATE: Sean Hackbarth has more information.


THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT has formally endorsed the individual right to bear arms interpretation of the Second Amendment in two briefs filed with the Supreme Court. And rightly so.

DOCTOR WEEVIL points out that

DOCTOR WEEVIL points out that Pim Fortuyn is not the first right-of-center political figure to be murdered in Europe. Not even the first this year: "It's only been seven weeks since the Red Brigades murdered Marco Biagi, a Berlusconi adviser 'who had drawn up proposals for dramatic labour reform' in Italy (to quote the BBC account). So far as I have heard, no one's been arrested."


A WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE have written to tell me that today's is Rachael Klein's last column. Now Lex Gibson is encouraging people to write her via the address at the bottom of her column (it's [email protected]) and encourage her to start a blog. It's not the worst idea I've heard. Heck, she's already a blogosphere celebrity, and it wouldn't be a bad way of boosting her writing career.

SARA RIMENSNYDER offers another reason

SARA RIMENSNYDER offers another reason to love Ozzy Osbourne. Lynne Cheney take note.

Yeah, it's washed-up-70s-rock-god day here at InstaPundit, apparently.

HMM. Maybe Alice Cooper was

HMM. Maybe Alice Cooper was right.


FORMER MTV VJ Adam Curry, who lives in Amsterdam, has a weblog and he's covering the Pim Fortuyn shooting very thoroughly in English and Dutch. Thanks to reader Greg Greene for the tip; he found it here.


ANOTHER SATISFIED CUSTOMER: Reader Jeff Hummer writes:

As is my luck, you put up your newly redesigned Insta-fashions just after I got my original-design Instapundit hat. So, am I "old-skool" now? By the way, I got a date out of the hat I ordered...with a young lady who also reads your site. Turns out she will let me barbecue her a steak if she can bring potato salad ('tis the season).
There are many styles of Insta-Wear,TM and none are obsolete. And if they get you a date, so much the better!

Another reader asked why, in light of an earlier post from today, I don't sell InstaPundit strappy sandals and glitter panties. Um, if CafePress offered 'em, I probably would.


PIM FORTUYN'S KILLER is being described by Reuters as a vegan animal rights activist. Among his writings is this phrase: "Protecting animals is civilising people, as they say."


BLOGLAND'S COOLEST STUFF: There's now an all-new InstaPundit Store featuring merchandise with a new InstaPundit logo that was designed by James Lileks. It doesn't get any cooler than that here in the Blogosphere!

You can also see it by clicking on the "InstaPundit Store" link to the left -- that will take you to a store featuring all of the InstaPundit merchandise. Don't forget the cool InstaPundit Boxer Shorts!

I don't know why I get such a kick out of this, but I'm obviously not the only one in Blogland to feel this way.




AN INTERESTING ANALYSIS of Hugo Chavez's situation, which I found via Howard Owens' Global News Watch site.

BRENDAN O'NEILL says that Pim

BRENDAN O'NEILL says that Pim Fortuyn was a victim of political hate speech. Dave Kopel says he still is, and he's not the only one.

ANDREW LONG analyzes the New

ANDREW LONG analyzes the New York Times coverage of Pim Fortuyn and calls it character assassination -- not because it's factually false, but because of the way it's spun: putting the good stuff way down at the end, and the bogus comparisons to Le Pen up front.


THE NORWEGIAN NOBEL INSTITUTE has announced that it's not going to revoke Shimon Peres's Peace Prize:

At its meeting on April 29, 2002, the Norwegian Nobel Committee discussed the many responses it has received concerning recent statements made by certain committee members about Shimon Peres and the Nobel Peace Prize. Norwegian, as well as international news media, have interpreted these statements to mean that the Committee would have wished to revoke the prize awarded to Peres in 1994. This interpretation is not correct.

According to the statutes, the Nobel Prize cannot be revoked. This question has therefore never been an issue for the Norwegian Nobel Committee. This is true also for the many prizes that over the years have been awarded for peace-building efforts in the Middle East. The statements recently made about Shimon Peres and the Nobel Peace Prize have been made on behalf of individual committee members only, and do not reflect the view of the Norwegian Nobel Committee as such.

Sorry guys, but I just don't care. You've blown your credibility completely. Revoke it, don't revoke it, whatever. There's more honest judging in the WWF.

UPDATE: Some readers say I've blown my credibility by saying WWF instead of the new WWE. But I meant the World Wildlife Federation all along. . . Yeah, that's it! . . .


THE KEY TO LIFE IS: Strappy sandals? That's what it says.


A MUSLIM LEADER with a clue! I'm not that much of a fan of Mahathir Mohamad, really, but he's hit the nail on the head here:

Muslims spent too much time fighting themselves, neglecting the pursuit of knowledge and creation of wealth, said the Malaysian leader, known for his straight-talking ways.

"If I may be permitted to say, we Muslims and our countries are not very Islamic. We cannot even regard each other as brothers," he said.

"To be very crude the fate of the Muslims of today is of their own making."

Mahathir said Muslim education had concentrated too much on religious dogma, neglecting worldly subjects such as science, mathematics and philosophy. . . . "They missed the Industrial Revolution completely. And now they are going to miss the Information Age," said Mahathir, whose country's economic success is admired in much of the Muslim world.

I wonder how long before we hear this from an Arab head of state.

TAPPED is criticizing the Bush

TAPPED is criticizing the Bush Administration's decision to pull out of the International Criminal Court. It says that will hurt our war on terrorism. Yesterday I heard a long (even for NPR) monologue by Chip Pitts (who has also criticized the U.S. withdrawal from the disastrously anti-semitic, anti-American Durban conference) on All Things Considered making a similar point, and saying that the U.S. is abandoning the principle of reciprocity. Had the treaty been in force, Pitts said, we could have used it to extradite and try bin Laden.

There are two problems here. The first is that the "international community" and the United Nations have demonstrated that they are partisan, dishonest, and anti-American in everything from their bogus concerns with starving Afghans to the absurd protests over the Guantanamo prison camp to the unending dishonesty over Israel. As the continued feteing of Arafat as a legitimately elected leader and indictment of Ariel Sharon as a war criminal indicates, they simply can't be trusted to run an International Criminal Court honestly.

As for reciprocity, I'll repeat a question I asked about the Geneva Convention: who in the last 50 years has treated American prisoners in accordance with the Geneva Convention?

And does Pitts really think that the only reason we don't have bin Laden in custody is that we didn't have the International Criminal Court? What planet is he from? Listen to the monologue if you have time. You'll see that I'm being charitable, here. As I've written before, the International Law community is doing itself, and international law, no favors by overselling international law.

SOME TIME AGO, John Scalzi

SOME TIME AGO, John Scalzi suggested that some bloggers were lying about their traffic figures. He didn't accuse me, but I felt that the honor of the blogosphere had been touched, so I gave Jonah Goldberg the password to view my counter. Here is his report.

Scalzi and I will square off with pistols at dawn at a date to be determined by our seconds. Or I might just say "Nyah, nyah."

UPDATE: That link isn't working, which means that The Corner needs to "republish archives." Meanwhile you can go to the main URL for The Corner and scroll down.


I HAVEN'T WRITTEN ABOUT THE AFGHANISTAN FRIENDLY-FIRE incident involving Canadian troops because (1) I don't know much about it; and (2) the reports I saw initially suggested that neither did the journalists reporting on it. However, Canadian military blog Flit has some extensive writing on the subject suggesting that there was near-criminal incompetence at work -- though this later post pulls back just a little on the near-criminal part, if not the incompetence part.

Friendly fire is inevitable in warfare, of course, and too many safety rules may actually be counterproductive (you don't want troops in a battle zone to think too long before shooting). But this doesn't seem like a "heat-of-battle" case so much as a screwup. I hope that it will be properly investigated, not just whitewashed, because it's very important to study these events in order to figure out how to prevent them in the future. And because we owe it to our Canadian allies. Canadian politicians may not be in especially good odor, but I've never heard anyone who has served with Canadian soldiers say anything bad about them.


THE POWER OF THE BLOGOSPHERE: Virginia Postrel's posts say "no, no, no" -- but her habit of posting says "yes, yes, yes!"

Seriously, Virginia responds to my comments on the traffic brought in by John Leo's column by saying that there's a reason that they call it big media, and by reminding blogospherians that big media have a lot more readers. Well, yes. But look at the comparison: Leo's column runs in one of the three biggest newsmagazines (and more importantly for our purposes, on its website). It also runs on two other websites. Together they produced roughly a 30,000-visit boost to my traffic. That's about ten times what an InstaPundit link can generate in referrals.

So on the one hand, I'm (at best) only one tenth of a John Leo, as Virginia Postrel is pointing out. But Virginia's got the wrong metric. I don't have a magazine. InstaPundit doesn't run on big, high-traffic sites with lots of other content to bring eyeballs. It runs here, on a site that's all me, that I do entirely by myself. (Er, and I'm paying $12/year for hosting). So my attitude isn't "damn, I'm only one-tenth of a John Leo." It's "Damn! I'm one-tenth of a John Leo!"

It's true that blogospherians shouldn't get swelled heads. We're individuals with our own websites, not Movers And Shakers. But for individuals, we have a lot more clout than we're used to having, which is quite exciting. (And while a lot more people read Anna Quindlen's maunderings, as Postrel points out, I suspect that Newsweek wishes its readership had the demographics of the weblog world).

So while bloggers shouldn't get swelled heads, I think we should all remember, and live by, Webb Wilder's words of advice: "You're never too small to hit the big time."


AMERICAN JEWS ARE BOYCOTTING FRANCE when planning their vacations. Well, yeah. Best quote:

``I'm absolutely livid, and I think other people should be too,'' said Danielle Lewis, who had planned a honeymoon in France, but is now looking elsewhere. ``I've lived in France, I'm a Francophile and I love French food and wine. But I don't want to go there. Why would I want to give money to people who want to kill me?"
I'm not Jewish, but I wouldn't plan a trip to France now either. And ever since last fall I've been substituting the amazingly good -- and even more amazingly cheap -- Chilean wines for French vintages, in a show of hemispheric solidarity.


LOTS MORE PIM FORTUYN COVERAGE over at the Independent Gay Forum. Sample quote:

Openly gay Dutch politician and sociology professor Pim Fortuyn has been assailed as a "right-wing extremist," as if he were Holland's answer to France's Jean-Marie Le Pen. The charge is absurd: Fortuyn has urged immigrants to embrace their adopted nation's liberal values of political tolerance, women's equality and respect for gays. Yet he, rather than the Muslim clerical leaders he criticizes, winds up getting tarred as some sort of reactionary or fascist.
Yes, I wonder if Fortuyn's gayness has something to do with the tone of his coverage -- and I don't just mean the rather un-PC characterization of him as "flamboyant" in the New York Times.


MICKEY KAUS AND ANDREW SULLIVAN have quite a few interesting things to say about Pim Fortuyn's killing. I have to go give an exam. More later.

TRAFFIC YESTERDAY: 77,677 -- beating

TRAFFIC YESTERDAY: 77,677 -- beating the previous record by over 26,000. All hail LeoPower!


PIM FORTUYN'S KILLER is said to be an "extreme leftist" by authorities.

May 06, 2002


IF YOUR DOMAIN IS REGISTERED with Verisign, you might want to read this.


QUITE A FEW PEOPLE HAVE EMAILED ME to say that the Pim Fortuyn assassination feels bigger to them than it ought to. As David Carr writes on Samizdata, "I think those tectonic plates of history just juddered." Such intuitions are often true when widely felt -- but of course, when widely felt they are often self-fulfilling. We'll see. Europe is in a bad way, as I've been saying since, well, before InstaPundit even started. Because the problems have been papered over, and because there's an agreement among the elites not to talk about them, a lot of people haven't realized how bad they were. Now they're starting to.

And, you know, it's not always bad for political "tectonic plates" to move. It just depends on how they move.

AIRPORT SECURITY: Your tax dollars

AIRPORT SECURITY: Your tax dollars at work. What a joke.

HOLY SH*T: Eric Olsen likes

HOLY SH*T: Eric Olsen likes to talk about "InstaPower," but here's something that puts it in perspective. John Leo linked to me in his column, which is sending me referrals from U.S. News and from the and JewishWorldReview sites where his column runs. I typically send somebody I link to between a few hundred and a few thousand visitors. So far today, I've had about 68,000 pageviews, breaking my previous record by about 17,000 -- and exceeding a typical Monday's traffic by more like 25,000. InstaPundit also got linked by Slate's "On Other Websites," which sent a fair amount of traffic -- but that's happened before, and it's done nothing like this. All hail LeoPower!

UPDATE: At 11:15 it's 72,589. I'm going to bed, where I'll dream about what life would be like if I got just one dollar per pageview. . . .

"EXCELLENT!" That's Alex Beam's blurb

"EXCELLENT!" That's Alex Beam's blurb for Ted Rall's book on this page. Can this be real?



I wonder if you saw the front page of today's Times. I'm sure it is sheer coincidence that the photograph illustrating the article on yesterday's pro-Israel parade happened to have a large pro-Palestinian poster in the foreground. Just luck of the draw, I suppose.

I'm also enjoying their series on the pressures on high school students who are trying to get into college. Apparently if one can't get into a private, prestigious college--Ivy League, Stanford, Seven Sisters, and the like--one's life is ruined.

Now, I'm no one to talk since two of my degrees are from branch campuses of state universities and the simple country law school that gave me a degree is also a public institution. Apparently people condemned to, say, the University of Tennessee, or my obviously loser niece and nephew who went to the University of Washington, will lead lives of quiet desperation.

I'm sure the Times has no consciousness of the point they're making, any more than Clinton did when he said he wanted a cabinet that "looked like America" and then went out and named people from elite and expensive private universities.

Cheer up, Alex. At least you're not from poverty-stricken Sweden.

UPDATE: Reader Dave Ivers writes:

Tell Alex Bensky that I only hope his loser nephew and niece only lead lives of "quiet desperation" and that they don't, instead, follow the practices of the disappointed in the Middle East and begin strapping explosives to themselves and blowing up in the midst of, say, a Renaissance Weekend meeting of the elite (or maybe a Trilateral Commission meeting). [Why do they hate us?] As a graduate of a Big Ten (Eleven?) school who got his doctorate in a very little-known discipline at a directional school (and who has taught almost exclusively in state directional schools --a Northern, a Southern, a Central, and now an Eastern), I got more than disgusted with a couple of Harvard PhDs who typically crapped up their survey instruments to the point that it was not at all obvious what they were trying to test (try asking 60-80 year-old farmers {after 8PM} questions with multiple clauses containing obscure words and see what kind of responses you get).

For an egalitarian society (?) with a left wing that insists on leveling schemes, it sure is funny who ends up in the power positions, no?

Yes. At a law professors' meeting on affirmative action some years ago, I suggested that the best way to hire more scholars of color would be to get rid of a lot of tenured senior faculty. After all, most of the older white guys actually benefited personally from discrimination, while the young white guys we discriminate against now didn't. Not surprisingly, it didn't fly. Similarly, a visiting professor at Harvard was approached by students who urged that he decline Harvard's offer of a permanent position in protest against Harvard's inadequate diversity policies. He suggested that it would be a more touching statement if they quit law school in protest of such policies. The students declined. Most of those "leveling" schemes involve leveling other people so that the levelers can feel good about themselves.

ANDREW SULLIVAN has more background

ANDREW SULLIVAN has more background on Pim Fortuyn. He also says: "If this is a hit-job from the left, things could get really, really ugly in Europe. And some news reports indicate it already has." The story Sullivan links to is about Fortuyn supporters clashing with riot police and blaming the politicians who attacked him as a right-wing extremist. Meanwhile immigrants from North Africa are reported to be celebrating.

KATIE GRANJU says more people

KATIE GRANJU says more people should be sleeping with their children.


THE MISSING LINK has some pretty cool information resources on the Web.


READER JACK WILLIAM BELL says he's got the explanation for the mysterious deaths of microbiologists, and he points to Greg Bear's new book Vitals. Gee, I hope that's not what's really going on.

THE U.S., as expected, has

THE U.S., as expected, has announced that it's repudiating the International Criminal Court. Given the complete abrogation of any moral position on the part of the "international community" over the past few months, this seems reasonable.

BRENDAN O'NEILL tries to relieve

BRENDAN O'NEILL tries to relieve the lefty blog shortage.

DOC SEARLS has a great

DOC SEARLS has a great quote at the end of this article on weblogs: "We're all stringers for each other now." Dr. Weevil explores this very phenomenon in a post.

HERE'S AN interesting article on

HERE'S AN interesting article on Pim Fortuyn from the Financial Times. This excerpt is worth noting:

Not only was he openly gay, but he made clear his sexual orientation directly informed his politics. He wanted to halt the arrival of immigrants from Muslim countries because he feared they were eroding the country's tolerance of diversity.

"In Holland homosexuality is treated the same as heterosexuality. In what Islamic country does that happen?"

What country indeed?


FUKUYAMA NOSTALGIA UPDATE: Somehow, in all my linking last week, I forgot to link this piece by Rand Simberg responding to James Taranto's defense of Frank Fukuyama's anti-biotech piece.

ANNE APPLEBAUM says the French

ANNE APPLEBAUM says the French Left has learned nothing and forgotten nothing in a piece on the aftermath of the Chirac / Le Pen runoff:

She was speaking, of course, of immigrants in Marseilles. It made me think of a passage in a recent, much-lauded book by Larry Seidentop, Democracy in Europe:
Here we come again upon the pattern which has haunted French history since the Revolution, a pattern in which the political class or elite loses touch with popular opinion, only finally to be called to account by widespread civil unrest, if not revolution.
My worry is this: If people's fears about immigration, crime, and national identity are not addressed in the next few years of President's Chirac's tenure, there may not be "widespread civil unrest," but there may well be an even larger vote for Le Pen next time around. There is no reason France's politicians shouldn't be relieved by Chirac's triumph—but the events of the past two weeks are no excuse for renewed complacency either.
I agree.

UPDATE: Reader John Kluge writes:

Its interesting how the European elites first reaction to 9-11 was to scold Americans for not sufficiently examining why people hate them so much. Now these same elites, congratulating themselves over LePen's defeat, seem incapable of asking why a large percentage of their electorate is willing to vote for someone they believe to be a fascist.

JOSH CHAFETZ reports on the

JOSH CHAFETZ reports on the London pro-Israel rally. Here's the the BBC report on the rally, too.


THE RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH has this followup piece on the little-reported armed law student who put a stop to the shootings at the Appalachian Law School. It's a companion piece to this interesting report on defensive gun use in general.

UPDATE: And this piece by John Lott on European gun control and mass shootings is worth reading.

KEVIN JAMES writes that he

KEVIN JAMES writes that he called the French election, and the Franco-chattering classes' reaction to it -- way back in April. He's also got a comment on Pim Fortuyn's assassination, which he describes as the consequence of hate speech:

The controversial party leader is invariably described as "far-right", "extreme right", and suchlike in the world press, and made out to be the Dutch equivalent of Jean-Marie Le Pen. As Dave Kopel conclusively demonstrated in his Sunday article for the Rocky Mountain News, the portrayal of this gay Dutch sociology professor—take in carefully all four words: "gay Dutch sociology professor"—as some sort of neo-fascist extremist is a ridiculous slander.

And now it has proven a deadly slander.

If the Europeans truly value democracy, they ought to start demonstrating in the streets. Not in protest of the affrontery of people like Fortuyn for daring to question the Continent's political orthodoxies, as they have been up to now, but rather against the European political and media elites for ensuring that Fortuyn and others who agree with him are demonized and denied a fair hearing.

This process of character assassination is profoundly anti-democratic, and appeared dangerous enough before, as I explained in "Understanding Le Pen's triumph". How much more dangerous it appears now, after today's demonstration that character assassination can incite the more deadly kind…even in a place like the Netherlands.

Yeah. After the Oklahoma City bombing, everyone from Newt Gingrich to Rush Limbaugh was charged by Clinton spinmeisters (quite deliberately, as George Stephanopoulos recounts in his memoirs) of creating a "climate of hate" that led to a terrorist act, an accusation immediately picked up by bien pensant media figures.

I look forward to seeing the New York Times editorial page draw similar lessons for Europe.

UPDATE: Rod Dreher has some thoughts on The Corner.


SLANDERING PRIVATE SHLOMO: This UPI column talks about the treatment of Israeli soldiers in the media.


EUROPEAN HATEWATCH UPDATE: Anti-immigration Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn has been shot dead, presumably by someone who doesn't like his politics. Details are sketchy at the moment.

Hmm. I thought that such shootings only took place in the uncivilized United States, with its bloody-minded Frontier approach to things. And it's funny that these killers seem to be able to get guns. I thought they were against the law over there. . . .


MY FOXNEWS COLUMN is up! Frontiers, space, Islamo-fascists, and euro-weenieism all rolled into one delicious package, chock-full of pundit goodness.

RAND SIMBERG has a bunch

RAND SIMBERG has a bunch of cool space-policy posts.

THIS says it all.

THIS says it all.

A FEMINIST, writes Anne Marlowe

A FEMINIST, writes Anne Marlowe in Salon, is "somebody who believes she should pay for her own dinner." In my experience, this excludes a lot of women eager to consider themselves feminists in other contexts.

UPDATE: Reader David Waghalter writes:

"I used to think a feminist was somebody who believes she should pay for her own dinner, too. Man, did that get me into a lot of trouble on dates."

DEN BESTE explains the Oracle

DEN BESTE explains the Oracle scandal, which still isn't getting the national play you'd expect. He adds: "Oracle is the company which wants to build a national database to support a national ID card that all residents of the US would be required to carry. Be very afraid."

Yep. They're buying politicians, and want to build a system that will track Americans. The only good news is that -- based on this transaction -- the government will wind up letting Oracle sell it a piece-of-crap system that isn't any good.

UPDATE: Jim Glassman supports a national ID card, but says that Larry Ellison shouldn't be allowed near it, since he has a habit of spying on people. But Eric Peters isn't having any of it.

THE IDLER has a content

THE IDLER has a content analysis of New York Times coverage of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, showing consistent anti-Israeli bias. Here's some additional evidence.


ENRON SCANDAL UPDATE: Reader Stan Brown sends this story:

A California state senator plowing through boxes of subpoenaed Enron Corp. documents has finally unearthed a smoking gun, the first tangible proof that energy traders tried to manipulate the price of electricity amid short supplies last summer.

One problem: The evidence doesn't implicate Enron so much as the managers of California's electricity grid, whose Folsom-based trader was caught red-handed trying to game the market. In a bizarre twist, it turns out that the state-created Independent System Operator, or ISO, was the one rigging the price of power, not the evil private generators who everyone suspected.

Robert Musil, call your office!

UPDATE: Gena Lewis has another interesting Enron angle.


MODERN WEATHER COVERAGE: Yep, it's pretty much like this all right.


BELLESILES UPDATE: A reader sends a link to this speech of Sen. Zell Miller's (D-GA), reproduced on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's website. Zell Miller does what many (though not all) historians have been too polite to do, and accuses Bellesiles of outright fraud. Excerpt:

A couple of years ago, an Emory University professor, named Michael E. Bellesiles wrote the most distorted view ever published about the role of firearms in early America. It was called "Arming America."

It delighted anti-gun reviewers by claiming that colonial militias were ineffective, that settlers seldom engaged in hunting and that colonists had little interest in owning firearms. The New York Times gave it a glowing, almost giddy review of several pages, as did the other liberal media.

It would seem that, in Bellesiles' America-in-Wonderland, colonists were a bunch of naive, wishy-washy peace nicks.

Well, tell that to the British Redcoats who tried to cross Concord Bridge!

Tell that to Thomas Jefferson who said, "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."

Or Samuel Adams who said, 'The Constitution shall never be construed to authorize prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms."

Tell that to James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, who explained that the Constitution preserves "the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation where the governments are afraid to trust the people."

And, Thomas Paine, the writer of Common Sense, that pamphlet that inspired the Revolution, who wrote "Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world."

Or finally, Patrick Henry, who warmed us to "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone, he said, who approaches that jewel."

In those words of Patrick Henry, I suspect Professor Bellesiles with the willful intent to kill the Second Amendment. But all his distortion, backed by all the anti-gun media in the world, cannot murder the founding fathers' wisdom that no man be disarmed.

By the way, when other historians later began to really examine the Bellesiles book, which one early reviewer labeled as "the NRA's worst nightmare," these historians found he had actually made up much of his so-called research. Just made it up out of the thin air of anti-gun bias.

One of the most respected historians at Emory called the research "scholarly incompetence."

And an inquiry is presently underway, as the dean of that university said this week, to address allegations of misconduct in research. An NRA nightmare? I don't think so. But, my friends, that's the kind of thing we're up against, and it has come down to us - the Guardians of the Second Amendment - to ensure the preservation of our heritage.

A lot of readers have emailed me to say that they think Emory will just wait until the attention dies down and then issue a report that whitewashes the whole Bellesiles affair. I've doubted that all along, but things like this make it less likely.

UPDATE: Reader Nick Ludlum writes:

I've been following the Bellesiles matter on your site for some time now, in no small part because I actually attended Emory and took one of Michael Bellesiles classes (freshman lecture course on American history to the antebellum period). My thoughts on the man aside, the fact that Zell Miller is speaking out so vociferously bodes well for the future of academic integrity. Senator Miller taught at Emory for about a year or so after he left the Governor's Mansion and a lot of old influential Georgians passed through Emory at one time. With Zell Miller coming out against him, its hard to believe this practitioner of fraud will have much time left. The only stumbling block may be the President of the University, William Chase, who's integrity has been questioned in the past (on seperate matters).

Nonetheless, Emory is a proud institiution in Georgia and it's hard to believe the alumni (if not the administration), will let Bellesisles dirty its name much longer.

CATHY YOUNG looks at an

CATHY YOUNG looks at an analysis of Women's Studies programs and finds bogus facts and weak or nonexistent scholarship.


MORE BAD NEWS FOR SWEDEN: They're poorer than the United States -- heck, they're poorer than Mississippi according to a Swedish study -- but they also have more crime! That's according to the U.N.-sponsored International Crime Victims Survey, which is hardly likely to have a pro-American, anti-Swedish tilt. Excerpt:

The ICVS allows an overall measure of victimisation which is the percentage of people victimised once or more in the previous year by any of the eleven crimes covered by the survey. This prevalence measure is a simple but robust indicator of overall proneness to crime. The countries fall into three bands.

Above 24%: (victim of any crime in 1999): Australia, England and Wales, the Netherlands and Sweden
20%-24%: Canada, Scotland, Denmark, Poland, Belgium, France, and USA
Under 20%: Finland, Catalonia (Spain), Switzerland, Portugal, Japan and Northern Ireland.
(emphasis added)
What's more, European crime is generally rising; North American crime is generally falling. Here's a story from the Telegraph on the survey with some interesting bar graphs listing the top-ten nations in four crime categories. The United States appears in only one -- for burglary -- where it's number eight. Excerpt:
After Australia and England and Wales, the highest prevalence of crime was in Holland (25 per cent), Sweden (25 per cent) and Canada (24 per cent). The United States, despite its high murder rate, was among the middle ranking countries with a 21 per cent victimisation rate.
Can you establish a linkage between welfare-statism and crime? Take it away, Mickey Kaus!

U.S. TROOPS must be getting

U.S. TROOPS must be getting close to something important along the Pakistani border. The Islamofascists are calling out the mullahs.


DON'T WORRY ABOUT THE U.N. REFUGEE SEX-ABUSE SCANDALS: The U.N. is investigating the matter.


OKAY, CHIRAC WON, LE PEN LOST: My prediction: the French Establishment will congratulate itself on having singlehandedly defeated fascism, and go back to business as usual, ignoring all the problems that Le Pen was trying to capitalize on and paving the way for either (1) someone worse; or (2) general social collapse.

Emmanuelle Richard weighs in with somewhat similar concerns. Also read this post by Matt Welch on French problems, and their resistance to American-style solutions. Additional problem: there are no "French-style" solutions to French problems.

JOSH MARSHALL reports that the

JOSH MARSHALL reports that the State Department told Arab leaders to give Cheney an earful when he visited. Sadly, it's all too credible. The State Department all too often forgets which side it's on. That's a cliche, I know, but like many cliches it's a cliche because it's so often true.


MICROBIOLOGISTS ARE DROPPING LIKE FLIES according to this report from the Globe and Mail. I can't quite come up with a plausible conspiracy theory to explain this, but I'm sure that someone else will be able to.


CHOMSKY: GETTING THE ATTENTION HE DESERVES IN THE BLOGOSPHERE -- well, no. It's much nicer than the attention he deserves, even though it's not all that nice. But Pejman Yousefzadeh is certainly paying attention.


THIS WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE wonders why Noam Chomsky is ignored these days. Well, he's not ignored in the Blogosphere! But one reason for not taking him seriously might be found in statements like this: "The positive side of [the Khmer Rouge] picture has been virtually edited out of the picture."

Chomsky's even out of favor with hard-core leftists, one of whom says: "He's become a phase that people on the left should go through when they are young." Yes, right after teething, and right before toilet training.

It's not a bad article, particularly its references to the "elastic math" Chomsky uses to claim that 9/11 wasn't as bad as Clinton's bombing of the Sudanese pharmaceutical factory.


A FIRSTHAND ACCOUNT of media bias in Jenin, via Charles Johnson.

May 05, 2002

ROBERT MUSIL continues his deconstruction

ROBERT MUSIL continues his deconstruction of Guardianista Will Hutton's critique of the United States economy in relation to Europe's. Excerpt:

Is the “market share” of companies in compared economic systems a good measure of comparative success? For example, Mr. Hutton compares Nokia with Motorola, suggesting that Nokia is the more successful company: “Nokia's success is legendary; it has 35% of the world market - twice that of Motorola.” But Motorola’s stock price is essentially where it was a year ago while in the same period Nokia’s stock price has lost about one-half of its value.

RAND SIMBERG says that the

RAND SIMBERG says that the Oracle scandal involving Gray Davis is going to get a lot worse:

When a Democratic governor can't get the SF Chronicle behind him, he's in such deep kimchi that he can't even see a way out.
This hasn't gotten a lot of national play yet, though.

ONE DEATH in Ramallah can

ONE DEATH in Ramallah can be a "massacre," we're told. But 60 or more murdered by FARC guerrillas in Colombia doesn't count as one, Richard Jahnke reports. Apparently the Swedes are sympathetic to FARC and are pulling strings on its behalf.

I guess those impoverished third-worlders have to stick together.


WHY IT WOULD BE A DISASTROUS MISTAKE to send U.S. troops to the West Bank as peacekeepers. I agree. I'm all for peacemaking, which one accomplishes by blowing the crap out of people causing trouble. (As one Keith Laumer character remarks, "Nothing so peaceful as a dead troublemaker.") But peacekeeping is pretty much a game for suckers in any situation where one of the parties feels it has something to gain from war.


MATTHEW ENGEL, AUTHOR OF THE Alabama Olive Garden reportage that inspired so much amusement among the weblog community, is now back doing the same thing for Mississippi. Hey, who knows: maybe someday Sweden will be as rich as Mississippi!

And Lee Ann Morawski doesn't like Engel much.

JOSH CHAFETZ (of Oxblog) writes

JOSH CHAFETZ (of Oxblog) writes to point out an error in the John Leo column on weblogs that I mentioned earlier: Leo seems to think there's more than one of me, based on his description: "InstaPundit was started by Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee. Its bloggers chime in on anything and everything related to political happenings around the world." Well, he was probably just reacting to all my well-informed and interesting reader emails.


JUDITH SHULEVITZ has a piece entitled At Large in the Blogosphere in today's New York Times. It's not bad, but it has one omission: Shulevitz talks about how the Blogosphere "convulses" in response to pieces like Alex Beam's in The Globe -- but fails to explain that a lot of people were convulsing with laughter over Beam's inability to figure out that this page by Bjorn Staerk was an April Fool's joke. But hey -- she's using Bill Quick's word "blogosphere" in the headline, which is tribute enough.

Actually, Shulevitz's whole column is a rather typical New York Times piece: coming to the topic late, and missing the story. John Leo's piece is a lot better. What do you think accounts for the difference?

JIM BENNETT looks at why

JIM BENNETT looks at why there's no British Le Pen.


VICTIMS OF FALSE CONSCIOUSNESS: Though they think of themselves as prosperous, Swedes as a group are actually worse off than black Americans, according to this Swedish study. Swedes are trained from birth to view their society as a compassionate one in which everyone prospers, while the harsh capitalism of the United States makes some people rich and leaves other people destitute. Er, except that what it really does is make some people really, really rich, and leave other people just, well, richer than the Swedes. Best excerpt, highlighted by reader Todd Bass who sent this link:

"Black people, who have the lowest income in the United States, now have a higher standard of living than an ordinary Swedish household," the HUI economists said.

If Sweden were a U.S. state, it would be the poorest measured by household gross income before taxes, Bergstrom and Gidehag said. . . .

The median income of African American households was about 70 percent of the median for all U.S. households while Swedish households earned 68 percent of the overall U.S. median level.

This meant that Swedes stood "below groups which in the Swedish debate are usually regarded as poor and losers in the American economy," Bergstrom and Gidehag said.

Between 1980 and 1999, the gross income of Sweden's poorest households increased by just over six percent while the poorest in the United States enjoyed a three times higher increase, HUI said.

Hmm. Maybe the Mississippi Chamber of Commerce will start agitating to have Sweden admitted as a state, so that there'll be one that ranks lower than Mississippi.

UPDATE: Reader Marten Barck writes from Stockholm to say that it's worse than the statistics make it sound, since unemployment and layoffs are hidden behind disability figures:

I read your post about Sweden and would like to add some statistics. Sorry for the bad English, but I've never used these terms in English. Prepensioned means people who are pensioned before they are supposed to because of illnesses (or because they can't get jobs).

Sweden is the sickest nation in the world. At least according to statistics and costs for healthinsurances. In reality I would guess that Swedes are among the healthiest populations in the history of mankind. But the rise in costs for healthinsurances are staggering. Longterm notification of illnesses have tripled since 1997. One in six of Swedes of working age are listed longterm sick or prepensioned. That's about 800 000 yearjobs in a population of 9 million. The cost is 10 billion dollars per year. The
wellfare state has turned into an illfare state.

You'd think that the Swedes would get lower crime out of this, but as this post indicates they've got substantially higher crime rates than the United States, too.

OKAY, so it's been "intermittent,"

OKAY, so it's been "intermittent," not "nonexistent." Back late tonight.

MICKEY KAUS has an interesting

MICKEY KAUS has an interesting observation on why the FBI turns out to have dropped the ball in the pre-9/11 investigation.


RAND SIMBERG WEIGHS IN on the NRA / Gays issue.

JOHN LEO has an excellent

JOHN LEO has an excellent column about weblogs in U.S. News & World Report.