October 05, 2002

THOSE VIOLENT EUROPEANS: "Attacker Stabs, Injures Paris Mayor." No information on the attacker.

UPDATE: Claire Berlinski reports from the scene:

Hi Glenn,

I was, evidently, within 50 feet of the attack -- I was at the Hotel de Ville at exactly that time -- and had no idea, none at all, that it had happened until this morning. Neither did anyone else there. The mayor didn't want to ruin the good time everyone was having and insisted upon being escorted away discreetly. Today the French papers are reporting that the assailant appears to have been a random lunatic "known to the police" -- there's no evidence as yet that it was political.

Re. your headline "Those Violent Europeans:" This was such depressing news, because this event was otherwise inconceivably good-natured and civilized, by US standards -- imagine opening the White House doors to every US citizen for the night, having an open bar, live music, no security -- none -- at the gates, letting in anyone who wants to come in, and having an perfectly lovely evening where everyone listens politely to the music, admires the paintings in the Oval Office and is very careful not to damage the carpets. The whole city was having a good time and no one was behaving badly -- except for one lunatic. Really sad, especially since the mayor is such a *nice* guy -- he organized all of this just so that Parisians could have fun and feel that the public monuments really belong to them. That's why there was no security.

Sad, but the way of the world today, I'm afraid.

HERE'S A REPORT FROM READER GREGORY HILL -- unconfirmed as of yet:

Hasn't made any of the local newsites yet, but the 11pm teevee news is reporting that a body was found in Howard County (Northeast of Montgomery County) around 9pm tonite. Single shot. No witnesses.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Hill emails that it was on the 11 o'clock news on WBAL and WJZ, but there's nothing on their websites that I can find.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Turns out it was a false alarm -- a real death but not connected, apparently. Meanwhile, Orrin Judd asks: "Is this guy a suspect or not?"

DISCRIMINATIONS has moved, and has a fancy new site designed by you-know-who.

I guess there's somebody else out there doing classy site design for weblogs, but. . . .

UPDATE: Rand Simberg emails that he likes this guy.

JOHN TABIN SAYS THAT MARK SHIELDS shamelessly misrepresented an item from Best of the Web on Capital Gang tonight.

Knowing Shields' tendency to repeat himself, he'll probably do it again on another show.

UPDATE: Just caught the Capital Gang rerun and it's as Tabin describes. Shields gets steadily more embarrassing. But the big news on Capital Gang was what lousy reviews Al Gore's speech on the economy got from pretty much everyone but Shields. Even Margaret Carlson and Al Hunt were brutal.

ON THE OTHER HAND, THE BRITISH PRESS REMAINS LAME, especially on American reporting: Jim Henley is correcting an item suggesting that people were cowering in their homes, noting that:

This is all so last Thursday. Schools locked down, meaning cancelled recess and field trips, locked doors and, I think, drew blinds, Thursday only. "Shut down" makes it sound like schools closed. Nearly as I could tell, the killers were the only people who didn't get out today - every place we went was mobbed. I don't doubt you could find some people willing to tell a reporter they were scared, but watch what we do here in MoCo, not what we say. And "the last victim" at the time this story must have been filed was either the Petworth man or the Kensington Shell killing. Any place in Rockville is "close" to either place only on the transatlantic scale.

You tell 'em, Jim. He's got more updates, too, if you scroll down.

RULE BRITANNIA! Seems like there's some support for the war there. . . .

The prospect of war with Iraq is encouraging a record number of young Britons to join up.

Over the past six months 7,350 recruits have joined the Army, compared with 6,592 for the same period last year. Two years ago the comparative figure was 5,935.

The figures represent a rise of 11.5 per cent on last year and 23 per cent on 2000 and suggest that the Army is likely to recruit a record 15,000 new soldiers. The bulk of the increase is in the infantry, which has suffered most from recruiting problems.

The recruitment boost follows years of failing to attract enough new soldiers to keep the Army at full strength. Despite repeated advertising campaigns all three armed services - particularly the Army - had been unable to meet their targets until recently. The Army has also not been helped by potentially damaging setbacks such as the failure of the Army's new rifle - the SA80-A2 - in Afghanistan.

One senior military officer told The Telegraph: "There is a direct correlation between the increased recruiting figures and the prospect of a war with Iraq. History has shown time after time that as far as the British public is concerned, recruiting is never a problem when there is a war in the offing."

Why, that's an almost Tennessee-like spirit.

WELL, I CERTAINLY HAVEN'T PRAISED OLIVER NORTH, and I can't think of any leading "warblogger" who has. This hardly counts as praise.

UPDATE: Sawicky has responded to Dr. Weevil, and Dr. Weevil appears to have fact-checked Sawicky rather thoroughly.

THE GUARDIAN on the Maryland shootings;

The fear of sudden death hangs like a shroud over the entire State under which its hapless and anxious citizens scurry from cover to cover lest they be the sniper's next victim. This is the real America; rheumy-eyed, mistrustful and dangerous. A place where any passing stranger could be a stone-cold killer and where a violent and bloody death waits just around the next turning for its vulnerable and haunted citizens.

While the police search frantically to find the elusive marksman before he claims his next victim, maybe they should pause to consider whether they will ever really bring the guilty party to justice. For, regardless of who's finger is actually pulling the trigger, the real culprit here is America itself.

This hasn't been published in the Guardian yet, but it's only a matter of time, reports David Carr.

DAWSON RESPONDS IN KIND to the Social Security wheelchair ad.

I'M KINDA BUSY, but go read Fred Pruitt for all kinds of interesting news. I'll be back. Mickey Kaus has some cool new stuff, too.

HORSEFEATHERS has a new, Sekimori-designed site and a new URL. Adjust your bookmarks accordingly.

CENTRAL PARK JOGGER UPDATE: TalkLeft has the scoop.

AZIZ POONAWALLA distinguishes neoconservatives and neoWilsonians and others who support war.



"Okay -- got something smaller than a twenty?"

BAGHDAD DEMOCRATS: More on Bonior and McDermott:

IT'S A RARE POLITICAL MOMENT when Terry McAuliffe says no comment. Yet McAuliffe, the garrulous chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said just that last Wednesday at the Brookings Institution after a speech by Al Gore. Asked about the trip to Baghdad taken by three of his fellow partisans--Representatives David Bonior, Jim McDermott, and Mike Thompson--McAuliffe was nonplussed.

"Have we issued anything on that?" he asked DNC spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri, who shook her head.

"I don't think we have," he said with a shrug of his shoulders.

"We handle the politics, and leave those comments to elected officials," Palmieri explained. "But nice try."

Problem is, the elected officials aren't saying much either. Bonior was until recently the second-ranking Democrat in the House, and yet it's nearly impossible to get Democrats to say anything about his and the others' trip to Baghdad.

Yeah, and as I've said that silence will make it easy -- and not entirely unfair -- for Republicans to tar the entire Democratic Party apparatus as disloyal. Especially when you read the accounts of how their trip has been used in Iraqi propaganda.

DEAN has lots of information on the DC/Maryland shootings. He thinks it's domestic terrorism, or simple fruitcakeness, and has a police radio intercept looking for a white male named Robert Baker, said to be a cocaine user armed with a scoped hunting rifle, as evidence.

UPDATE: Jim Henley has more too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: William Burton agrees with Armed Liberal's take on what a proliferation of incidents like this might mean:

We have two ‘success’ stories in dealing with terrorism this go-round. Flight 93 and LAX. I’m not suggesting that we arm passengers with handguns (although I do think we’re crazy not to have immediately allowed pilots to have them). I am suggesting that the only form of defense that is likely to work while there the bodies are still breathing is to involve every one of us as an thoughtful, active observer of our environment, and someone who is willing to act appropriately when it is called for.

In some cases, that will involve larger numbers of people with guns.

They can be officers, standing on streetcorners, costing us tax dollars, and nosing deeper and deeper into our lives, or they can be citizens. Our pilot. The ticket agent. Our neighbors.

Some of then will screw up. Some of them will do bad things.

But the reality is that they screw up and do bad things right now. And as far as I can tell from other folks’ experience, it doesn’t get better as you try and take the guns away.

And it doesn’t get worse as you let people have them, either.

I think he's right, though fortunately we're not yet at the point of having to defend against that many dispersed attacks. Are we?

UPDATE: Gary Hudson replies to my comments just above:

"I think he's right, though fortunately we're not yet at the point of having to defend against that many dispersed attacks. Are we?"

Sure we are Glenn, it's called crime. Happens everyday.

Terrorism doesn't leave ordinary folk any less dead than a street mugging or a "stop and rob" store holdup. Everyone has the right to self defense, with or without the State validating that right. Encouraging and promoting the widespread use of arms will have benefits beyond any minor impact on the War of Terrorism. It would mean a safer and freer society.

Fair enough.

UPDATE: Justin Katz isn't persuaded by the "homegrown terrorist" arguments. And reader David Darlington writes:

Anyway, something I've been wondering: did the DC police ever catch the blowdart sniper from earlier this year? It seems this guy or guys have the same M.O. as the blowdart sniper, but a much more powerful weapon. He's shooting at random people from consealed locations. Maybe the blowdart sniper and Maryland rifle shooter are related.

Beats me. Anyone else know?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Vegard Valberg says this looks like a scenario he pointed out last summer.

STILL MORE: Now they're reportedly on the lookout for two "hispanic" looking men" -- is it just me, or are they trying awfully hard to avoid any reference to anyone looking middle-eastern here?

JAY FITZGERALD reports many interesting Harvard-related developments, including resistance to Larry Summers' initiative against anti-Semitism and a report on a speech by Cornel West continuing to whine about Summers' insistence that he do actual work.

He also links to this oped by Charles Jacobs of the American Anti-Slavery Group on why Israel gets criticized in ways other countries do not:

It is hard to explain why victims of slavery and slaughter are virtually ignored by American progressives. How can it be that there is no storm of indignation at Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, which, though they rushed to Jenin to investigate false reports of Jews massacring Arabs, care so much less about Arab-occupied Juba, South Sudan's black capital? How can it be that they have not raised the roof about Khartoum's black slaves? Neither has there been a concerted effort by the press to pressure American administrations to intervene. Nor has the socialist left spoken of liberating the slaves or protecting black villages from pogroms, even though Wall Street helps bankroll Khartoum's oil business, which finances the slaughter.

What is this silence about? Surely it is not because we don't care about blacks. Progressives champion oppressed black peoples daily. My hypothesis is this: to predict what the human rights community (and the media) focus on, look not at the oppressed; look instead at the party seen as the oppressor. Imagine the media coverage and the rights groups' reaction if it were ''whites'' enslaving blacks in Sudan. Having the ''right'' oppressor would change everything.

Alternatively, imagine the ''wrong'' oppressor: Suppose that Arabs, not Jews, shot Palestinians in revolt. In 1970 (''Black September''), Jordan murdered tens of thousands of Palestinians in two days, yet we saw no divestment campaigns, and we wouldn't today. This selectivity (at least in the United States, does not come from the hatred of Jews. It is '' a human rights complex '' - and is not hard to understand. The human rights community, composed mostly of compassionate white people, feels a special duty to protest evil done by those who are like ''us.''

I don't know. Still sounds racist to me, both in its definition of who qualifies as a moral actor, and its disproportionate effect on non-whites. He's right about this part, though:

The biggest victims of this complex are not the Jews who are obsessively criticized but the victims of genocide, enslavement, religious persecution, and ethnic cleansing who are murderously ignored: the Christian slaves of Sudan, the Muslim slaves of Mauritania, the Tibetans, the Kurds, the Christians in Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt.

Seeking expiation instead of universal justice means ignoring the sufferings of these victims of non-Western aggression and making relatively more of the suffering of those caught in confrontation with people like ''us.'' If the Israelis are being ''profiled'' because they are like ''us,'' the slaves of Sudan are ignored because their masters' behavior has nothing to do with us.


UPDATE: Rand Simberg offers another reason why the left's divestment efforts are so one-sided.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Jacobs piece has led Telford Work to post some thoughts on the Marxist roots of "progressive" thought about oppression, and the inadequacies thereof.

"IN IRAN, SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE." Interesting story on what's going on there. Excerpt:

Down in the basement, a man with an uncanny resemblance to the Sgt Pepper period John Lennon is recording a CD. With him, in the hot, stuffy studio, is a bassist dressed in black, a drummer and a 10-year-old Afghan boy playing small tambour drums. Behind the glass, a sound engineer is flicking switches and twiddling knobs. A girl in jeans, T-shirt and trainers is slouched on a sofa with a young man. Two other girls are watching the session. Not having visited the underground before, I am taken aback. The girls are not wearing the full, officially decreed women's dress code. This includes covering one's hair for fear of "stimulating" any man who might see it.

This discreet studio is one where Tehran's underground bands come to record. It is as if I have stepped through the looking glass into another country. Above us, in the streets, is the Iran of women in all-enveloping black chadors, vast murals of revolutionary martyrs and officially sanctioned demonstrations where thousands chant the old slogans of "Death to America" and "Death to Israel". Here, I am in another, freer Iran that exists in parallel with the Islamic republic. In Iran, there is the public face of conformity with Islamic rules and regulations and the private face, which, as often as not, shuns, ignores or even despises its strictures. . . .

Once a forgotten figure, the US-based pretender to the Peacock throne is now frequently seen repeating a mantra of democracy and secularism. This is not to say that the monarchy has a real chance of restoration, but Pahlavi on TV has had an effect - many young people, who have no memory of his father's repressive regime, have been favourably impressed. Muhammed, 19, who works in his father's restaurant, says, "Me and my friends like [Pahlavi] because we heard from our fathers that the time of the Shah was a time of comfort, not like now, so, if he came back, that would come back, too."

Two years ago, 500,000 Iranians had access to the internet. Today, that number is believed to be 1.75 million, and is expected to grow to five million in the next five years.

As the article reports, a lot of them are blogging, too.

JOSH CHAFETZ'S "IMMUTABLE LAWS OF DOWD" have made the jump from OxBlog to The Weekly Standard.

October 04, 2002

READER ABHIJIT JAIN notes Saudi Arabia's alcohol problem. I guess some people there have developed an Obsession.


I don't think I've actually shifted to the Right. It's just that since September 11 the Right has done a much better job of shutting up their lunatic fringe, while the common sense Left has gone into hiding and let their lunatics take over. So the Left is worried about the Right dominating the blogosphere. . . .

I come across lefty blogs all the time. I've even linked a few of them. The "problem" is not that the blogoshpere is dominated by the "Right", it's that the blogosphere is dominated by common sense. Let a blogger from the far right start preaching their own brand of lunacy - (Sept. 11 happened because God is angry...Creationism is just as valid as evolution etc.) - and that person is just as likely to get a severe fisking as any of the loonies on the far left.

She then offers some advice for lefties who fear that the blogosphere is hostile to them and their views.

UPDATE: Lynn wonders what I mean by reinventing anti-idiotarianism. I just thought her post resembled this one, from which the term originated:

What bloggers are more than anything, I think, is anti-idiot. That makes life tough for Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, and the Revs. Falwell, Robertson, Jackson, & Sharpton, for reasons that transcend traditional partisanship and ideology.

That's all.

JIM HENLEY REPORTS that another shooting is now said to be connected to the earlier shootings. Sorry -- this looks like terrorism to me. And Jim's last observation is troubling.

This would seem to add a bit more support to reader Ken Price's theory.

UPDATE: Justin Katz suggests an Oregon connection, though the evidence isn't especially strong in my opinion.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Tucker Goodrich invokes Pipebomb Boy from last spring and notes:

Just 'cause it looks like terrorism doesn't mean it can't be one of our many home-grown, garden-variety nut jobs.

Besides, the guy's a good shot: to my mind, that argues for home-grown. The al-Qaeda don't seem to be very competent, with a few exceptions.

Yes, though many excellent shots are found among the Afghans. And, of course, home-grown terrorists might well be working hand-in-glove with Saddam Hussein and/or Al Qaeda; they tend to agree on a lot of things, like hating the Jews. Heck, you might even be able to find some Lefty terror types who hate the Jews nowadays -- and the Black Panthers, with whom just-arrested Al Qaeda suspect Patrice Lumumba Ford has a connection, have a tradition of excellence where firearms are concerned.

JUST NOTICED THIS POST by Daniel Drezner on why Communism gets better press than Nazism. It's worth a read.


Just as a matter of interest, how many countries does George W. Bush have to have on board before America ceases to be acting ‘unilaterally’? So far, there’s Australia, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Qatar, Turkey.... Romania has offered the use of its airspace to attack Iraq. The Americo-Romanian Coalition Against Iraq has more members than most multilateral organisations. But no matter how multilateral it gets, it doesn’t count unless it’s sanctioned by the UN. If France feels the need to invade the Ivory Coast, that can be done unilaterally. But, when it’s America, you gotta get a warrant from the global magistrate. . . .

Imagine any previous power of the last thousand years with America’s unrivalled hegemony and unparalleled military superiority in a unipolar world with nothing to stand in its way but UN resolutions. Pick whoever you like: the Soviet Union, Imperial Japan, the Third Reich, the Habsburgs, Tsarist Russia, Napoleon, Spain, the Vikings. That’s really ‘frightening’. I’ve now read a gazillion columns beginning, ‘He’s a dangerous madman with weapons of mass destruction. No, not Saddam. George W. Bush.’ It barely works as a joke never mind a real threat. The fact that, in all the torrent of anti-Americanism, there’s no serious thought given to how to reverse it nor any urgency about doing so tells you precisely how frightening and dangerous these folks really think the Great Satan is.

But the problem is this. Before 11 September, most Americans tolerated the anti-Yank diatribes from Europe as a quaint example of the local culture. Filtered through the smoke of the World Trade Center, it’s no longer quite so cute. The real phenomenon of the last year is not Europe’s anti-Americanism, which has always existed, but a deep, pervasive and wholly new American weariness with Europe.


BILL QUICK on the DC/Maryland shootings:

I think this is a terror attack. And I think it is being downplayed to the point of coverup.

I could be wrong, but that's how it looks to me, too.

UPDATE: Reader Ken Price writes:

I've had the disturbing thought that the single-shot assassinations in Mongomery County are, in effect, a response to Ari Fleisher's observation that a single shot could resolve the situation in Iraq. Could this be intended as a warning that capable agents are already in place and ready to cause chaos if war breaks out?

Hmm. This seems (1) too fast; and (2) too "poetic" (well, at least in an Amiri Baraka sense) to be a response to that statement. But it's an interesting suggestion.

SOME INTERESTING BACKGROUND on one of the acccused American terrorists arrested today.

WHAT WARGAMES ARE TEACHING AMERICANS ABOUT WAR: Some valuable stuff, according to an article in Salon by Wagner James Au:

And what's impressed him, playing America's Army, is how many competitors he's fought who come to the game without his experience base, but learn usable tactics on the fly: "You could tell in some cases you have significantly younger people, probably junior high or so ... they'd be saying things back and forth that indicated to me that this was sort of an extension of guys who grew up on Rainbow Six and other first-person shooters ... the techniques they would use just by figuring it out would end up being very similar to what we would do in real life." He found himself up against kids staggering their formations, using smoke to cover their approach, closing on the enemy with fire and maneuver, individual movement techniques (IMT) -- in short, acquiring through gameplay knowledge that was once available only through military training.

If this interests you, you might also like this piece that Dave Kopel and I wrote just over a year ago on the impact of wargaming on the citizenry.

TODAY IS THE 45TH ANNIVERSARY OF SPUTNIK. Rand Simberg has some observations.

JACOB SULLUM POINTS OUT how U.S. and European trade barriers are hurting poor nations, and how not enough people seem to care.

STILL ON BLOGSPOT? Consider moving here instead. I can't vouch for this particular service because I don't use it. But it's provided by the folks at HostingMatters, and I've been very happy with them.

And since, just now, when I tried to visit Geitner Simmons' blog all I saw was the "Blogspot Plus" ad -- but no blog, which kind of undercuts its selling power -- I decided to encourage people once again to leave Blogspot behind.

ANDREA SEE has something to, er, celebrate.

THE UNITED NATIONS IS ON THE JOB AGAIN, taking care of what's really important in the world:

Britain should repeal a 142-year-old law giving parents the right to spank their children because it violates an international treaty, a United Nations committee said Friday.

The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, which oversees a 1989 accord protecting youngsters, said it welcomed British legislation abolishing corporal punishment in schools.

But it also called for the repeal of an 1860 law that allows parents to use "reasonable chastisement" to punish their children.

Take it away, Stacy Tabb. . . .

UPDATE: Oops. Stacy's busy tracking down a renegade Marine who's threatened her on her comments board. I have great respect for the Marines but (1) I'll bet Stacy is more than a match for this guy; and (2) this is the second Marine / blogger incident and while the first one didn't bother me since it was aimed at me, I don't think that Marines are supposed to threaten ladies.

CHEESY PUBLICITY CASH-IN ALERT -- from the Family Research Council:

The killers left no trace--and even fewer clues--about their motives or whereabouts. Police say that they aren't ruling out terrorism or an ethnic clash. One thing is certain. These acts of violence are a reflection of a lack of respect for human life. The victims were loved ones caught in the cross fire of a frontal assault on human dignity. In a fit of rage or malice, they were murdered, not for something they did--but simply because they existed. One could argue that our society is guilty of similar disregard for the sanctity of human life when it condones the killing of unborn babies and assists in the suicide of elderly patients. FRC mourns with the families of the victims who are desperately trying to make sense of their untimely loss. We will continue to work toward and pray for a culture that not only sees, but also respects and protects, the value of every person--big and small, young and old.

Meanwhile, not to be bested in this race to cash in before the bodies are cold, the Violence Policy Center is touting a 1999 study on the growth of the "sniper subculture."

Have these people no shame? Why am I bothering to ask? We know the answer.

BELLICOSE WOMEN UPDATE: I think that Rachel Z. Jurado counts as such, as this article in The American Enterprise should demonstrate.

EUGENE VOLOKH WRITES ON CANADIAN CENSORSHIP and includes this chilling warning:

Note to Canadian readers: Be careful about clicking on that link; while I'm not acquainted with the details of the Canadian law, and whether it applies to downloading, I would assume that if the government concludes that the newsletter is illegal to import, it may prosecute you for downloading it, too.

That he needs to give this warning makes his final comment even more significant:

Remember this when people condemn American "absolutism" about free speech, and urge the supposedly more "nuanced" and "balanced" European and Canadian approach.

Canada should be ashamed of this.

UNVERIFIED: Here's a report of another shooting, this time in Fredericksburg. No confirmation yet.

UPDATE: It's confirmed now:

Authorities have confirmed a shooting at Michael's Craft Store in Spotsylvania County. They have no additional information at this time, as they have recently arrived on the scene. . . .

Police have NOT yet connected this shooting with the shootings in Maryland. We will keep you posted as the investigation unfolds.

More as it's available.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's the latest.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's the Post's sum-up as of 5:00 ET.

ZELL MILLER SAYS it's 1972 all over again for the Democrats.

This is unfair. In 1972, there was a Democratic position on the Vietnam war. Right now, there's no Democratic position on Iraq. But Miller's conclusion makes it sound like he's giving the Democratic Party one last chance:

I believe this tale demonstrates that no matter how it is articulated, no matter how laudable or well intended, the antiwar, peace-at-almost-any price position is a loser for Democrats.

Oh, it will stimulate the extreme left, no doubt about that. And they are the key to the primaries. They will put their money, their emotions, their make-believe president Martin Sheen and even Ms. Streisand's vocal cords behind it.

But before we suffer, as Yogi Berra said, dйjа vu all over again, let's rewrite the ending of this movie. Let's send the message that our party realizes the country faces a threat far different and far more deadly than it did in 1972. Today's war is on our own soil with terrorist cells lurking perhaps even in our own states and neighborhoods. Let's respond with strength and boldness, not with the same old failed script that doomed us 30 years ago.

I've pooh-poohed talk of him switching over to the Republican side -- but if the Democratic Party lurches in a McGovernite direction, it might happen.

Matthew Yglesias points out this article on Saudi Arabia that makes clear that, well, Saudi Arabia still stinks, despite getting less attention in recent weeks. Excerpt:

But there will be no committee of inquiry into the rips in the social fabric that shaped 15 of Saudi Arabia's young men as terrorists and which make Abdullah Al Gathani and many of his campus colleagues respond to the attacks as they do. And there will be no royal commission into the making of Osama bin Laden and the thousands who fell in behind him for jihad in Afghanistan.

Instead, Saudis seek refuge in a parallel universe, a place where answers to questions about what is rotten in Saudi Arabia dwell on the faults of the US and Israel; a place where inquiries about the shortcomings of its schools and universities provoke mockery of the American education system; a place where criticism of the security authorities meets mirth over US intelligence failures; a place where the democratic void is championed as protection for the rights of individuals.

As the House of Saud is pulled this way and that between its military alliance with the US and its religious partnership with the keepers of Saudi Arabia's strict Wahabi Islamic creed, economists are rating it as a brittle Third World economy - despite its massive oil wealth.

Arguably, problems with Iraq are more pressing -- but Saudi Arabia is at the root of Islamofascism everywhere, and the Saudi regime in Arabia, along with its collection of hate-spewing preachers, will have to be removed root and branch before it's all over.

AMIRI BARAKA UPDATE: A.C. Douglas has some comments on New Jersey Governor James McGreevey's apparent inability to fire Baraka.

READER ROBERT MOUNCE forwards a political ad that gun-controllers won't like.

THE USUAL SUSPECTS: A group of law professors who took out an ad denouncing the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore are now circulating a letter in opposition to war in Iraq.

MICKEY KAUS IS ENDORSING SCRAPPLEFACE -- Oh, and he has some stuff to say about Paul Krugman, too.

JUSTIN KATZ has links and a response to the Democratic web ad showing Bush pushing an old lady in a wheechair off a cliff.

THE INDEPUNDIT HAS CONTINUING UPDATES on developments in the DC/Maryland shootings. There's been another one, though it's not clear whether it's connected. From the description, there's reason to think it might be.

SCIENCE BY ANECDOTE: Eric Lindholm, better known as the guy behind SmarterHarpersIndex, has a piece in TCS Europe.

TERROR ARRESTS INVOLVING U.S. CITIZENS: We'll have to see the evidence, of course, but if these guys are guilty they should get the book thrown at them.

UPDATE: Here's more.

SORRY, BUT THIS LAME PROFILING EFFORT ON CNN isn't as good as the one from Susanna Cornett that I posted last night.

My wife's a forensic psychologist, and has limited respect for this profiling stuff. As she says, you just guess that it's a white male, 20-45, with an interest in violence, then dress it up however you like. Yeah, sometimes people do better than that -- but not often, and the ones who do usually aren't doing it for quickie TV coverage.

UPDATE: SKBubba is doing better than CNN, too, especially when you take the budget differential into account. And Donald Sensing has useful observations here and here.

MAX BOOT WRITES (in the New York Times!) that preemption is neither unusual nor in violation of international law.

SO DOES THIS mean the whole Michigan divestment conference was phony? Apparently not. Just the nasty promotional email. Here's a story from the Michigan Daily, and here's an earlier story on the same affair.

JAMES LILEKS MAY NOT LIKE JESSE VENTURA, but he's not that hot on Paul Wellstone, either. The conclusion is devastating.

NOAM CHOMSKY SPOKE AT PENN YESTERDAY and not everyone was impressed. (Via Maurice Black).

KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ observes: "Can't help but notice that this sniper(s) is loose in a county that is synonymous with gun control." Apparently, though, the local authorities are beginning to mention the possibility that terrorism may be involved. Imagine.




Aid workers are increasingly concerned about a humanitarian catastrophe if a new war is launched against Iraq.

A recent statement by a number of charities warns of mass civilian deaths and an exacerbation of an existing humanitarian crisis.

Hey, haven't I heard this before? Somebody cue up the Chomskybot --it's almost time for the "silent genocide" routine -- right after Jesse Jackson offers to mediate. . . .

I HAVEN'T FOLLOWED THIS, but if you're interested Robert Prather has an update on the Ann Coulter wars.

JUST HEARD NPR on the Washington shootings. They didn't breathe a word about the possibility that terrorism might be involved.

Weirdly, this was followed by a reviewer praising the Veggie Tales.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

It was indeed terrorism. We in Montgomery County were absolutely terrorized: kids locked into schools, people afraid to leave home, police everywhere. But terrorism doesn't equal Al Qaeda, you know......we breed plenty of our own terrorists right here in the US (Oklahoma City, high school massacres, racist murders, and so on). In fact, this country has a long and proud history of domestic terrorism.

Yes. Though increasing links between Islamic fundamentalism and home-grown American terrorists (part of David Carr's global convergence of idiocy) make the distinction less meaningful all the time.


YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Charles Austin emails:

As I was driving into work and listening to Morning Edition, they noted that, "authorities now believe the shootings may be related." Isn't it funny how selective that old aphorism of "Question Authority" can be at times? What better reason to question authority than when authority refuses to display a firm grasp of the bleeding obvious?

Yeah. That reminds me of the LAX shooting and the response to questions about terrorism. It's one thing to say we don't know. It's another to make a big deal out of ignoring the obvious.

CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER: Andrew Sullivan says he agrees with almost all of Paul Krugman's column.

And scroll down for this shameful example of antisemitism among the Euro-elite.

UNFAIR: Berkeley alumnus Isaac Clemens writes that " After the Daily Cal did 'Sex on Tuesday' for years, suddenly Yale does it and it's hip enough for the New York Times."

"Hip enough for the New York Times" isn't all that hip, but what's worse is that this is a shamelessly Yale-centric reprise of a story from The Chronicle of Higher Education last spring. And the Times story doesn't even try to answer my question on the phenomenon.

UPDATE: The Times may have dropped the ball, but Erin O'Connor is on top of things with an answer to my questions.

AMERICA'S MOST ELITE ANTI-TWIT COMMANDO is taking the war to the enemy as Christopher Hitchens tells British Labour they're idiots for making a fuss over Bill Clinton -- and telling them in the Mirror, no less:

Hardened as I am to Clintonian hypocrisy, I sucked in my breath when he went moist about Rwanda. On the eve of the genocide there, all the plans for the impending slaughter were conveyed to the UN by its commander on the ground.

He pleaded for a small increase in the protection force, and for a warning to the bloodthirsty authorities that they had been detected in their plan. This was vetoed by Clinton's then-ambassador to the UN, Madeleine Albright. Thus, he comes before us as the man who acted rashly when in the wrong, and acted like a coward when he would have been in the right. And Labour ate it up and begged for more...

You want more? As Clinton modestly said, he knows what it's like to order the bombing of Iraq. He ordered a pointless four-day bombing in December 1998, which started as his Senate trial for impeachment began and finished when it was over.

This action put an end to the inspection process. It takes nerve to bite the lip again and talk of the importance of inspections now. But then, it takes nerve to claim credit for bombing Kosovo without a UN mandate, while insisting his successor acquire a mandate for action in Iraq.

At least we can be sure of one thing - after yesterday's abject performance, Labour forces who jeer at Bush and take a holy attitude to the UN must admit they do not do so consistently, or out of principle.

But at the last, Hitchens is unfair. They're being consistent, all right: American Republicans are always rash treated as cowboys. American Democrats, being closer to Labour, are not. Actions? Consequences? Who cares about those? This is politics.

HEH. My suggestion about Gary Hart, below, seems to have generated some interest. . . . Well, sort of.

MAYBE SOME GOOD NEWS: I've installed a bunch of new music-related software on my computer -- Acid Pro. 4.0, Sound Forge, Vegas, Cool Edit Pro 2.0, and a bunch of VST softsynths -- and everything seems to be coexisting happily. It wasn't nearly so easy on the old machine. I'm not sure how much credit goes to Windows XP and how much to the individual programs (since they're mostly new versions). But since I'm quick to complain when things don't work, it's worth mentioning that some folks seem to have done their jobs.

October 03, 2002

YESTERDAY, I asked who had registered Now someone has the answer.

UPDATE: A reader writes:


Its the name Schaefer Construction that gets my attention. As in '
Schaefer ' ... the former Governer and current comptroller for the State of
Maryland ...


YOU KNOW, the Democrats should run Gary Hart for President in 2004. No, I'm serious.

Sure, there was once a "zipper problem." But it's ancient history -- and, post-Clinton, Hart's issues look minor, for those few who can even remember them. He's a smart guy, and he's intellectually honest, especially for a politician. And he's good on defense, he's an excellent public speaker, and he's been out long enough that he's not in hock to special interest groups.

Heck, I might even vote for him.

HERE'S THE LATEST on the D.C. shootings. Not much real news, except that people heard the shots quite loudly, meaning that the shooter was nearby. That supports the theory that he was shooting from the truck, I suppose.

THE THAW: A German reader writes:

I've not seen it reported in the English-speaking media, but Bush sent a letter of congratulation to the president of Germany on the anniversary of reunification.

At the celebration in Berlin, which included the unveiling of the newly renovated Brandenburg Gate, German president Johannes Rau gave profuse thanks to America for it contributions to German reunification.

Spiegel is talking about a thaw...

Here's a story that echoes the comments above. Yes, Bush seems to have calculated that Schroder has sweated enough, and that with his fragile coalition facing serious budget problems he'll be ready to display a little cooperation. Schroder has seen that there's a price to pay when you cross the United States, and Bush thinks he's learned his lesson, and is extending the olive branch in a way that subtly reminds the Germans of the American role over the past many decades.

Pretty subtle stuff, for a dumb cowboy who doesn't know anything about diplomacy.

HERE, VIA HOWARD BASHMAN, is a link to the Republicans' petition for Supreme Court review of the New Jersey decision.

TALKLEFT AND LAWMEME seem to like my FoxNews column on robotic law enforcement. I'm glad; I think it's going to be a big issue down the line.

THIS STORY has a picture of the "white van," which is more like a moving truck.

THE OTHER SHOE: I suppose this explains why Torricelli finally decided to resign.


Steve Kim, the man who allegedly fired five gunshots at the United Nations building in New York this morning, was released by U.N. security guards this afternoon. After a hasty vote by the Security Council, the U.N. also imposed sanctions upon Mr. Kim.

The sanctions include a 'no-walk zone' around the U.N. building, and Mr. Kim must allow weapons inspectors access to his home with appropriate advance notice.

"We feel certain that these sanctions will keep Mr. Kim from ever again threatening the U.N. building," said General Secretary Kofi Annan. "He has also given us his word that he won't attack us again."

That'll show him.

SCOTT KOENIG has some observations on the DC/Maryland shootings. And World Wide Rant says the reporting on the subject is unimpressive.

UPDATE: Susanna Cornett has a lengthy post that's worth reading.

EUGENE VOLOKH RESPONDS TO JERRY FALWELL, whom longterm readers will recall was a prototype for the term "idiotarian."


MORE ON YALE AND THE MILITARY: The Yale Law School blog Kitchen Cabinet has updates. Start here and scroll up.

DANIEL DREZNER points to some evidence that the war against Al Qaeda is going pretty well.



Like Mr. Henley, I live and work within a few miles of these attacks. Three points:

First, if the reportage is accurate, the shooters are extremely well trained. Five shootings, five kills, all apparently at some distance; no reports (at this point) of unsuccessful attempts or woundings. The last victim was killed with a single shot, again by someone far enough away to have disappeared by the time the nearby witness arrived at the scene. In the typical random shooting spree, there are two or three wounded for every person killed, and bullets or shot tend to be sprayed around indiscriminately. These facts point to hunters, soldiers or other experienced killers.

Second, the Post does its local readers a grave disservice by failing to disclose not only descriptions of the killers but also the race, sex and other characteristics of the victims. If the victims were all Asians, doesn't the Post owe its Asian readers that information so they can take special precautions? On the other hand, if the killings are random (we know only that the killers targeted three men, then three women), that would fit with the terrorist MO.

It's interesting that the shooters' vehicle is a white van. I don't know about your city, but DC and its suburbs are chockablock with them. As we all know from watching too many spy movies, they are favored by law enforcement surveillance teams. Just the kind of car for stirring up suspicions in neighborhoods already leery of cops.

Indeed. Another emailer who knows something about such matters calls these "mobile sniper" attacks. That does seem like a good term for the approach that seems to be involved. As for the descriptions, it's interesting that the Post has none. It's possible that no one was able to give a good description, but it's surprising that the Post isn't reporting that fact, if so.

UPDATE: The Baltimore Sun identifies victims by race. No obvious pattern. No description of the killers, though. The Sun report says there's no description available. It also says that police don't think there's a terrorism connection.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Louis Zurr writes:

I suppose it's too much to hope from the almost uniformly boneheaded law-enforcement personnel of our nation, that they should keep in mind that these random shootings might possibly be intended as a diversion while something even worse goes down....

Well, I hope that people are smarter than that.

TED BARLOW IS FINALLY BACK after a long absence, and from his blog I learn that LL Cool J has endorsed George Pataki.

Ted learned that, I should say, from Cal Ulmann, one of the many bloggers whose sites I should visit more often. And would, if there were three of me.

DAWN OLSEN HAS LEFT THE BLOGSPOT and moved to a slick new Sekimori-designed site that's now here. A problem with Blogger was the immediate cause of the move: "I am shocked at how dependent I have become on the technical tools that I take for granted. Without them I feel helpless. I feel the walls closing in on me."

Look, I am incredibly grateful for what Pyra, Blogger, and Blogspot have done for the blogosphere. But now I cringe whenever I see a blogspot link -- or even the telltale URL that tells me the site is blogger powered. Because I know that the link may not work, or that if it works now it probably will stop working later.

Really: if you can afford to move, do. You'll be doing yourself, and the rest of us, a favor.

These folks have done it, too.

UPDATE: Misha has made the move too!

BUNCH OF UPDATES ON THE DC SHOOTINGS by Dean at Blogs4God. And here's a link (via Dean) to a map and chronology from the Post.

THE WEB SEEMS VERY SLOW TODAY, and I notice that other people are making the same complaint. What gives?

UPDATE: Ah, apparently UUNet is having some serious problems. That seems to be happening a lot lately.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's a story on what's wrong.

Oh, and this link shows graphically that people aren't imagining the problem.

EUGENE VOLOKH has a long post on potential federal constitutional arguments against the New Jersey decision, as well as a shorter one indicating that the Republicans are making those very arguments in the Supreme Court.

UPDATE: Here's the New York Times story.

SHOOTINGS UPDATE: A Maryland/DC reader sends:

Two contradicting thoughts on the possible terrorism angle:

1. The Montgomery County police spokeswoman said they have no indications that there was any political message attached to the shootings. No words were exchanged between shooter(s) and victims, according to witnesses. Just gun shots from close range.

2. HOWEVER, it seems that all the victims died from a single gun shot. Also, in at least one case (according to local TV), witnesses didn't see any bleeding -- the gun shot was discovered by paramedics doing CPR. Which makes me fearful that these guys are armed with guns/ammo that is a little more lethal than those carried by your average street punk.

Yes -- though usually "more lethal" ammo produces more visible damage. Could just be a lucky shot (er, well, several lucky shots), but it's something to watch.

Meanwhile, read this article by Bryan Preston on Al Qaeda tactics:

The tapes also suggest that the group is shifting its tactics to take into account post 9/11 realities. During the past decade, al Qaeda established a pattern of always trying to top its last feat: A mostly failed attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 led to larger and deadlier attacks on a U.S. installation in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. embassies in Africa, the near-sinking of the USS Cole, and culminated on 9/11. But the U.S. bombing and ground campaign in Afghanistan has, by all accounts, decimated al Qaeda and scattered it across dozens of countries. Following that pattern of bigger and deadlier, we should expect al Qaeda to try a mass-destruction attack on an even higher-profile target than the WTC and the Pentagon, though few landmarks fit that description. But if the training tapes are our guide, a weakened al Qaeda would be planning a series of smaller attacks spread around the West, targeting soft targets which would offer little or no resistance. The purpose of such a spread attack would be to demonstrate that al Qaeda is still capable of carrying out attacks on our soil, and to instill fear and panic around the world. It would be successful on both counts, if we aren't prepared for it.

Hmm. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Reader Jim Hogue emails that he's seen this effect with prefragmented rounds like the "Glazer Safety Slug":

In 1988-89, I conducted a murder investigation in which the victim, a U.S.A.F. NCO, was shot in the right chest at a relatively close range, 8 feet, with one of these rounds. The projectile completely fragmented and dispersed inside the body with little outward sign of trauma, except the entry wound. The victim bled less than a cup of blood and death was almost instantaneous, rare for a thoracic wound. Without several detailed X-rays taken during the autopsy, it was impossible to determine what had killed him since there was no big radiological "shadow" of a normal round. On the X-ray it looked like his chest was full of small metal shavings, something not normally considered fatal.

The current round of information available on your site i.e. "Also, in at least one case (according to local TV), witnesses didn't see any bleeding -- the gun shot was discovered by paramedics doing CPR" sounds to me to be very much like a GSS type of ammo. Especially in light of no reported massive body trauma and copious amounts of blood associated with other type of man stoppers like Federal's "Hydra-shok" etc., which leave horrific wounds on both sides of the equation; entry and exit wounds.

Anyway, as is almost always the case, most of what's being speculated - including this - are probably wrong!!! :)

Interesting -- and the final point is very much worth keeping in mind. Though I'd say that this is almost certainly an act of terrorism, one way or another. The real question is what kind of terrorism?


P.S. Glaser also makes rifle rounds, .223 (M-16 type) 7.62, (WARSAW PACT ammo for AK-47's, etc.) .308 (sniper rifles) 30-06 (for good ol' American deer hunters!!) I've seen what the handgun versions of the GSS do; I can't even imagine the rifle ammo version!!!

I don't really want to.

READER ROBERT MOUNCE wonders why no one has mentioned terrorism with regard to this incident of sabotage at Camp LeJeune, in which parachute lines were stealthily cut:

The inspections determined the suspension lines had been severed on the 13 affected main parachutes in such a manner that pre-jump inspections would not detect any signs of tampering," according to a statement from Camp Lejeune.

All parachutes were being re-inspected at the base before further jumps.

Yeah. On the other hand, if this is the worst they can do. . . .

UPDATE: Donald Sensing doubts that terrorism is involved here.

NOBODY'S MENTIONING TERRORISM in connection with these apparently motiveless shootings in the DC area. Why not?

UPDATE: A reader emails that based on this review of Al Qaeda training tapes, such attacks might well be terrorism. There are a number of scenarios that seem reasonably close to what's supposed to have happened, along with this observation:

There is information to the effect that the "perfect day" as seen by Al Qaeda would combine attacks designed to produce the maximum number of casualties with attacks that would give them the opportunity to get "face time" on the news channels to deliver their rhetoric. For maximum effect these attacks would take place nearly simultaneously at multiple geographically separate locations.

This does seem to have gotten maximal news attention for minimum risk and effort -- the sort of thing that a cut-off terror cell, or a group of freelancers with minimal resources, might do. We'll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile reader Mitch Berg writes: "And yet again - a mass shooting in a state without a shall-issue concealed-carry law."

Well, there are two lessons from the LAX shooting: that people on the scene with guns can bring such things to a prompt end, and that authorities will be very slow to blame such attacks on terrorism. But at the moment this is all speculation -- we'll have to wait on evidence, if any materializes. I'll leave you with these comments emailed by Jim Henley:

Glenn, no one's talking about terrorism yet because it's a developing story - no one fucking knows right now. I can tell you that these shootings are way way too close to home in a literal sense, all occurring in places where the Henley family actually shops or drives. Latest word from the schools (currently locked down, which means my son hasn't had recess, sure to be a root cause of terrorism on HIS part I don't know what will) is that they're going have police supervise the loading of the buses, but not apparently taking the crushingly obvious step of putting police ON the buses. The other concern is all the parents who will be congregating on corners WAITING for buses.

I suppose in Knoxville people would just bring their guns to the bus stop. Alas, here in Montgomery county only outlaws will have guns (more because of cultural cringe and relative safety than local laws). Since it's been quiet for a few hours, police think the killers are in hiding, according to my wife. (I work over in Virginia, so I'm getting all my updates from her.)

It sounds like a Starkweather-style spree. It may yet prove to be terrorism. The only things I see that incline me in that direction right now are that it's two guys, not one, and the report that they've gone into hiding. (Default assumption in a spree case is that one guy really wants to be shot dead himself and keeps going until he is.)

I guess there's one more thing that makes it worth speculating about a terrorist angle - the Post report you cite omits any, even fragmentary description of the killers. The Post has a tendency to do that when they're afraid such descriptions will inspire what they think of as retrograde reactions.

Yes, I noticed that omission from the Post account myself.

ANOTHER UPDATE: And now there's a similar shooting incident at the U.N. though no one appears to have been hurt, and the M.O. is different. Asparagirl has blogged it.

VIA VIRGINIA POSTREL, I also found this article by Walter Russell Mead on Bush foreign policy:

Despite the public disagreements between the Pentagon and the State Department, the most striking thing about this administration's foreign policy is its intellectual consistency. The ideas that Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, outlined in a Foreign Affairs article in 2000 shape the administration's foreign policy today. In particular, Ms Rice laid down an approach to multilateralism versus unilateralism to which the administration has returned at every important moment since - and that forms the basis of the new US national security strategy.

This is absolutely right. I was reading that article just the other night, and planning to do a post on it. Now I don't have to.

VIRGINIA POSTREL likens the New Jersey decision to "Calvinball" and asks:

If they're so worried about giving the voters "the choice they deserve," where were the New Jersey Supreme Court and the NYT in 1984, when my ballot offered the choice (I am not making this up) between Tip O'Neill and a Communist?

Howard Kurtz, meanwhile, observes that:

Bob Torricelli is no longer a New Jersey issue.

He's an albatross that conservatives want to hang around the neck of every breathing Democrat.

He's their new symbol of self-indulgent sleaze, rule-bending and evading responsibility.

Judging by what I heard of Neal Boortz's show on my drive into the office, I'd say he's right.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: The federal government subsidizes a lot of work in Middle Eastern Studies, in the hopes that it will produce knowledge useful in war and diplomacy. Martin Kramer says we're not getting our money's worth. Excerpt:

Now no one can object to lectures on clothes and sex. And reading through the program, I confess that many of the more obscure subjects appeal to my antiquarian tastes. But there is very little in this program to justify the notion that Middle Eastern studies serve the national interest, or that they deserve the massive increase in federal funding authorized by Congress last January. Given the fact that the conference is meeting in Washington, the omissions are even more striking.

Actually, it looks as if much of the work is worse than merely useless:

The words "al-Qaeda" and "Osama bin Laden" are nowhere to be found. The word "terrorism" is either between quotation marks or in the context of "Arab Responses to America's War on Terrorism."

I hope some journalists will attend, and ask about this stuff. (Link via The Corner).


HARKIN SCANDAL UPDATE: Iowa blogger David Hogberg has the latest.

COMPUTERS ENFORCING THE LAW? Yep. And doing it badly, in association with clueless and irresponsible humans. It's in my FoxNews Column today.

STACY TABB offers a full-frontal Fisking to a study on child discipline. Nutshell version: " More free advice from the U.N. If they knew their asses from their elbows, they might actually use their power to put an end to the murder, prostitution and enslavement of children around the world instead of denouncing spankings." (Heck, I'd be happy if the U.N. would just stop participating in the prostitution and enslavement of children).

Speaking of the U.N., I heard an NPR story earlier on a global violence survey from the WHO. The main cause of death by violence around the world is . . . suicide!

Now, as soon as I heard this, I lost all respect for the study. Suicide is, usually, a Bad Thing. But it's a sufficiently different thing from, well, murder, that when you lump the two together it's because you want to make the numbers bigger. And when you want to make the numbers bigger, it's out of self-promotion and bureaucratic aggrandizement -- or worse, as when gun-control advocates lump suicide into their figures on "gun deaths," which they do because, well, there are a lot of suicides, which actually make up the majority of "gun deaths." (In 1999, according to James Jacobs' new book Can Gun Control Work? from Oxford University Press, there were 17,400 firearms suicides and only 9,000 firearms homicides. So naturally gun-controllers want to combine these, since it almost triples the size of the number of "gun deaths.")

This kind of obvious bogosity is why "public health" studies have lost so much credibility over the past couple of decades: they're full of distortions, misrepresentations, and outright lies. They've branched out into this stuff because they decided some time ago that infectious disease was no longer a problem, and they had to do something to keep the grant money flowing.

Do something about AIDS and biowar, guys, or start selling insurance. This stuff is a waste of time and money.

I JUST VISITED TED BARLOW'S PAGE (don't bother, he still hasn't posted anything new -- come back, Ted! What does work have to offer compared to blogging?) and I noticed his link to The New Republic's house blog &c bears the notation "prounounced 'Prince.'" Heh.

BONIOR / MCDERMOTT UPDATE: Chris Suellentrop writes in Slate that Bonior and McDermott have their pluses and minuses. Minuses:

When it comes to foreign policy, Democrats have a reputation as credulous stooges whose reflexive anti-war leanings make them willing dupes for murderous dictators. That didn't happen in this case (at least not yet),[It didn't? -- Ed.] but the charge is so effective that it doesn't matter whether it's true. Bonior and McDermott may not have played into Saddam's hands, but they did play into the GOP's.

Also customary is anti-war Democrats' tendency to cry "Vietnam" and "quagmire." . . . Of this, McDermott is particularly guilty. He criticized the early airstrikes in Afghanistan last October, raising the specter of the war in which he served as a Navy psychiatrist at Long Beach Naval Station: "There are some eerie parallels that trouble me." McDermott has repeated similar fears during the buildup to war with Iraq. At times, the opposition to war from the Party That Cries Vietnam appears to stem more from '60s and '70s nostalgia than from moral or political beliefs.

On the upside, Suellentrop says:

If Maureen Dowd is to be believed, Hillary Clinton is keeping her private doubts about an Iraq war to herself in order to preserve her "political viability" in the 2008 presidential race. She's not the only Democrat with similar motives. Say what you will about Bonior and McDermott—they're naive, they're too trusting of an evil tyrant, their decision to condemn Bush from a foreign land was ill-timed and foolish. All that is true. But at least they're sincere. And at least they're not silent.

So they're useful idiots, but in their defense, they're idiots -- unlike the other Democrats, who are political opportunists. With this being what defenders of Democratic positions on the war are saying, I think the Democratic Party is in real trouble here. Which explains why Bush is facing so little opposition on this question, I guess.

Meanwhile, back on Bonior and McDermott in specific, rather than the Democrats in general, Bill Herbert has looked at the transcript of yesterday's press conference and points out a howler that other commentators missed.

UPDATE: Here's a story on how Daschle got rolled on the war resolution. Does this have anything to do with Dick Gephardt's presidential aspirations? The story of the intra-Democratic infighting on this subject isn't getting the attention it deserves -- though it sounds as if Bonior and McDermott's action, and the bad publicity it created, played a role here too.

Hmm -- puts the old "if you want peace, prepare for war" saying in a new light, doesn't it?

PATRICK RUFFINI thinks that Forrester can still win in New Jersey. Reason: "On the whole, Lautenberg has been a pretty lousy politician."

Yes, Forrester's big advantage has been that he's Mr. Not Torricelli. But, of course, that's Lautenberg's main claim to fame, too. Yeah, he used to be a Senator, but, well, that can cut both ways.

Ruffini has a lot more analysis. Check it out.

ARE NGOS THE MODERN AXIS OF RACISM? This would support that theory.

October 02, 2002

VIA BILL QUICK, this fascinating story:

Media heads face prosecution in Iran over a ground-breaking opinion poll on mending relations with the United States.

It showed a large majority of the population in favour of dialogue with the "Great Satan" and nearly half showing sympathy with US policy on Iran. . . .

According to the poll of 1,500 Iranians, conducted by three separate institutes including the National Institute for Research Studies and Opinion Polls (NIRSOP) and published by Irna on 22 September:

74% of respondents over the age of 15 support dialogue with the US

45.8% believe Washington's policy on Iran is "to some extent correct".

But the judiciary has responded by charging NIRSOP director Behrouz Geranpayeh and Irna's Abdollah Nasseri of "publishing lies to excite public opinion", the Iran newspaper reports.

Advice to mullahs: Switzerland is nice this time of year.

AS A SUBSCRIBER TO "INSTAPUNDIT PREMIUM" (premium grade's all we got here) you get access to my FoxNews column for tomorrow, tonight! That's something you couldn't get otherwise unless you went to the FoxNews site, er, on your own.

THE DEVASTATING REPUBLICAN RESPONSE to the New Jersey decision is now public. I should have seen this one coming.

READER THOMAS MANNING WRITES: "Who is S. French of Baltimore, Maryland, and why did he register the domain name on Monday?"

Good question.

AMPERSAND links to this article on antisemitism and seems to think (well, actually Meryl Yourish seems to think that Ampersand thinks) that I won't link to it because it mentions antisemitism by right-wing extremists.

Sigh. As a grizzled weblog ancient, I should point out that I've been doing it all along (see, for example, this link from 9/11/2001 about the Posse Comitatus, and the various anti-Nazi sneers in response to the mail they're always sending me, which I'll let interested readers find by themselves). But the hardcore antisemites of the right are isolated. They're members of tiny loser groups like the Posse Comitatus. The hardcore antisemites of the left are professors at Ivy League schools, or high-profile "black leaders."

REP. ZOE LOFGREN'S Digital Choice and Freedom Act is analyzed over at LawMeme. They like it!

ANIMAL RIGHTS TERRORISM is condemned in an NRO article that cites a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. One of the points made is the extent to which "mainstream" animal-rights groups serve as fronts, fundraisers, and facilitators for animal-rights terrorism.

RECORD COMPANIES FACED TOUGH QUESTIONS about the way they're ripping off artists for royalties. I'm glad to hear that people are looking at legislation, but criminal investigations seem called-for here. Perhaps the U.S. Department of Justice, or some state attorneys general, will look into this.


I HAVE A WEIRD LIFE: I spent the day blogging and rewiring the studio (crawling in confined, dark spaces trying to read the tiny legends on the back of things that other things are supposed to plug into: is that the input or the output? Hmm. . .) and installing a bunch of new music software which, surprisingly, all seems to be working properly. Then I got ready to cook dinner, only my wife needed a box of books taken to the shipping center for the small publishing company we run on the side (don't ask) so I wound up picking up Chik-fil-A. Then a quick review of the New Jersey case before going on Hugh Hewitt's show. Now I'm running my daughter a bath, while back on the Web.

I remember reading that the division of workplace and home was a modern phenomenon. I guess it's gone away in the post-modern era. . . .

I'M JUST ABOUT TO BE ON Hugh Hewitt's show.

HERE'S THE TEXT of the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that allows Torricelli to be replaced on the ballot. Here's a link to the New York Times story, here's one to the Washington Post's report, and here's one to the Philadelphia Inquirer story. Based on a quick read, I don't have much to say about the opinion except that I don't see why the "two party system" deserves such legal stature.

Eugene Volokh also has little to say in response to such a sketchy opinion. Solly Ezekiel rules out partisan bias.

UPDATE: Volokh has more now. Read it!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Orrin Judd says the New Jersey Democrats should have suffered for not picking Cory Booker.

STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: Mickey Kaus sums up the opinion this way:

I would add that the court doesn't appear to have made any effort to discern a statutory scheme here. The operative rule seems to be: "We're going to do what we think is right unless there's an incredibly clear black-letter statute saying we can't. And then we can always declare it unconstitutional." Does the elected legislature have any role to play here at all? (It's ironic that the court pays such attention to finding what it thinks is the most democratic way to pick a lawmaker, even as it brushes aside the actual work-product of those democratically-elected lawmakers, namely statutes.)

Well said. Tony Adragna adds this observation:

I don't see how those interests couldn't have been served by simply leaving Torricelli on the ballot notwithstanding that he's a loser — that he's a loser threatens not the two party system. limits not participation, the party had a candidate on the ballot — chosen through the primary process — and "most importantly" voters still had a choice on Election Day... hmmm... I think this ruling is bad law....

There's more.

Tom Maguire is unhappy, and so is IMAO. On the other hand, Jonathan Adler, whose post on this yesterday at The Corner seems to have hit pretty close to the mark, emails that the decision isn't out of character for New Jersey courts in election disputes: "There's a bunch of New Jersey case law on stretching election law to ensure voter 'choice' on the ballot." Yeah, but if they really cared about voter choice, they'd have a line for "none of the above."

Here are the choices the voters would have had. And here's what one of the "choices" had to say.

BEN FISCHER HAS POSTED PART TWO of his response to Ted Rall's windy screed.

CYNTHIA MCKINNEY UNMASKS the dark conspiracy that cost her her seat, an ethnic group generally known for nonviolence, hard work, and an avoidance of politics, but not this time. . . .

JOHN COLE has some observations on the Bonior/McDermott visit.

IT'S COSTING OUR ECONOMY A BILLION BUCKS A DAY, but they've still got time for fart jokes.

Well, hell, who doesn't have time?

HEY -- IF IT WORKS IN NEW JERSEY why not try it in California!

HERE'S A PERFECT SUMMATION of the McDermott/Bonior visit to Iraq.

CATHERINE SEIPP on what's happened to feminism since 9/11. Nothing good -- but then, not much good was happening before, either.

HERE'S A GREAT IDEA from Jonah Goldberg. Sign me up! . . .

THE NEW YORK TIMES' LEGAL THEORY that people have a right to a "competitive race" could reach way beyond New Jersey. If, that is, it were to be taken seriously across the board. (Via The Power Line).

KEEPING THEIR ANTICS IN THE NEWS, Reps. Jim McDermott and David Bonior are now defending their behavior in a press conference.

This'll keep it alive for a second weekend of Sunday political talk shows. How many of those are there left between now and the elections? Democratic leaders ought to be fuming over this.

UPDATE: And here's someone who says their "Vietnam-era veteran" claim is, well, a dodge. There's also a link to a transcript of their This Week appearance.

MORE ON THE MILITARY AT YALE: Here's an interesting piece from last week that I found via The Corner:

Benjamin Klay '03, who completed Officer Candidates School and has decided to join the Marines after graduation, said he felt Yalies' opinions of military service shifted after Sept. 11, 2001.

"Before Sept. 11, many people would practically laugh in my face," Klay wrote in an e-mail. "Many people seemed to think that Yalies are too good for the Marine Corps."

Some of his friends tried to convince him not to join, others just called him crazy.

But some were supportive, and after Sept. 11, Klay said, the majority of reactions shifted from incredulity to respect.

Worth reading.

THE NEW STATESMAN has an article on weblogs and politics that's sort of interesting. But it also reveals that they don't quite get the game:

The journalist Stephen Pollard, the only British political blogger on the left, notes: "There are plenty of new British political blogs. And they are all - all - on the right." But political blogging is in its infancy here. It remains up for grabs. Got a computer? Got a view? Get blogging. There is a war to be won.

This is wrong on several levels , but most interestingly, the piece seems to view the whole political battle -- including the blogging part -- as essentially religious warfare. But blogging's political bias is not so much left/right as anti-idiot. Indeed, the original post that led to the term "anti-idiotarian" named Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as examples of the idiotarian crew. Of course, like many British leftists, they have a certain pre-rational, religious attitude toward politics. But that's the point.

UPDATE: Clayton Cramer has blogged a response.

ANOTHER UPDATE: So has Brian Micklethwait of Samizdata.

ONE MORE: Nick Denton observes: "How appropriate. The right blogs out of amusement and rage; the earnest left urges its members to blog more to demonstrate political commitment."

DEREK WILLIS, who's a reporter for CQ, sends this link to the text of the Iraq resolution as it's to be marked up this afternoon.

"I WILL MISS BOB TORRICELLI:" Michael Barone bids him a sort-of-fond farewell.

BTW, I'm continuing to update the New Jersey election issue here, and will continue to do so for as long as I can stand it. My sense is that a lot of people are arguing past each other, but I don't have the time -- or frankly, the energy -- to do a lot of thinking about this myself and try to unravel all the tangled strands of debate so far, so I'm just linking to other people's stuff. Maybe tonight.

I found it harder than most people to get heated up about the 2000 election, and this seems to me like a single-A-ball version of that dispute. Okay, maybe double-A. But at least it's a change from the war, I guess.

MAKING PROGRESS: Dick Gephardt emails me the latest Flash commercial from the House Democratic Caucus. Leaving aside the merits, I have to say that the production values have improved a lot since the first effort, which I posted here a while back. The music is well used, and the whole thing just seems better done. I still don't think it's quite up to the production standards of FlashBunny, but there's a steep learning curve here.

UPDATE: I've gotten some emails (some angry, some just confused) asking why I'm giving free publicity to Dick Gephardt, the enemy.

Well, you know, I'm not actually a Republican. I'm disgusted with the Democrats, and have been since the early Clinton years, for political opportunism and cheesiness of the sort mentioned by fellow ex-Democrat Shiloh Bucher below, but that doesn't make them "the enemy." And I'm pretty interested in the use of the Web for political purposes (duh). Back when I was a yellow-dog Democrat (back, that is, before the Democrats found something worse than a yellow dog) I managed to get along just fine with Republicans. I'm not one anymore, but that hardly means I don't get along with Democrats. My own politics are such that if I only got along with people who agreed with me on everything, I wouldn't get along with much of anyone.

The worst thing about the whole New Jersey mess is that it's going to make this kind of polarization worse. Of course, I have to point out that if the federal goverment limited itself to its actual constitutional powers, there would be a lot less to fight over and national politics might be a bit less vicious. . . .

UPDATE: Dave Weinberger, who's blogging from the Mac conference has put up a terrific flash ad of his own. Don't miss it. Er, and I hope Gephardt's folks will check it out, too.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON SUGGESTS that growing rifts in U.S. / European relations aren't something new, but rather the reappearance of traditional pre-World War II attitudes. I think he's probably right about this, and it makes for interesting reading in conjunction with this piece by David Gelernter, who argues that Europe is psychologically returning to the 1920s. Perhaps America is, too.

HOWARD KURTZ has the Torricelli-aftermath roundup and also manages to use the words "cheap trollop," which is no small accomplishment, though -- well, just read it.

WATCHING MCDERMOTT AND BONIOR FROM ABROAD, Austin Bay reports that he wasn't impressed -- and that their behavior may well have made a war more likely:

I still believe the United States hopes to remove Saddam via the 9mm ballot -- a coup d'etat triggered by intense diplomatic and military pressure. Sources here in London indicate Mauretania and North Korea might offer Saddam asylum. Exile isn't execution (his deserved fate), but it avoids expanded war. Like other psychological gambits, dangling exile could exert pressure within Saddam's regime. The true soft underbelly of every dictatorship is internal rebellion. . . .

Then there's the war Reps. Jim McDermott and David Bonior are waging, at the moment via embarrassing phone calls from Baghdad.

These men epitomize that slice of my generation trapped in a terrible quagmire. "Peaceniks" like McDermott and Bonior are still fighting the Vietnam War, and they are sadly indicative of how peaceniks have morphed into appeaseniks. Instead of principled Eugene McCarthy's opposing LBJ's War of Body Counts, they've become Neville Chamberlains -- men who fail to comprehend radically changed circumstances.


MY ALMA MATER, YALE LAW SCHOOL, is now going to allow military recruiters on campus, in accordance with the law -- though it is challenging the law in court.

I disagree very strongly with the don't-ask-don't-tell policy (which from the coverage one might almost forget originated with the Clinton Administration) but I think that barring military recruiters on campus is a stupid and unpatriotic response, one that allows law faculties and students who are uninterested in military careers to feel good about themselves at the expense of students who are interested in military careers, and of the nation as a whole.

Here's an on-the-scene report from Lily Malcolm at Kitchen Cabinet, and here's a report from the Yale Daily News, which among other things makes clear that Lindsay Barenz, who is identified in the Newsday story linked above only as "a second-year student at Yale Law School," is in fact "the chairwoman of OutLaws, the Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Law Students." Nothing wrong with that, or with quoting her, but the way she's presented in the Newsday story does tend to give the impression that she's just another Yale Law student, rather than a significant figure on one side of the debate.


FRAUD IN SCIENCE AND ACADEMIA -- what to do, and what not to do. My TechCentralStation column is up.

MICHAEL KELLY is landing one more blow on Al Gore:

There was Al Gore, telling the world that the killers of Sept. 11 had "gotten away with it" and broadly (if, in his trademark weaselly fashion, coyly) suggesting that the president of the United States was pursuing war for the selfish purpose of winning votes in November. Two days later, there was Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle picking up on Gore's repulsive slander and vastly amplifying it on the floor of the Senate. A few days later, there was House Democratic leader Richard A. Gephardt, in a mostly reasonable op-ed column, echoing the calumny: "President Bush himself has decided to play politics with the safety and security of the American people."

And, last Sunday, there were -- most memorably, most indefensibly, most obscenely -- two Democratic congressmen, former whip David E. Bonior of Michigan and Jim McDermott of Washington, beamed live from Baghdad, to literally parrot Hussein's line -- to tell Americans that, as McDermott said, "the president would mislead the American people" in order to get his war, but that, by contrast, "you have to take the Iraqis on their value, at their face value."

This is not a little cabal of contributors to the Nation telling the world that the American president is not to be believed and that he wishes to send Americans off to fight and possibly die in Iraq because war is good for his party. These are men in the leadership ranks of the Democratic Party. This is the party's mainstream. This is what it, again, has revealed itself to be. Parties do the darnedest things. To themselves.

I think that some Democrats were hoping the Torricelli flap would at least push these things out of the news. Hasn't happened yet. As I said Monday: What were they thinking?

NOW THAT THE ELECTION IS OVER, Germany is changing its tune. What's interesting is that the pressure seems to be as much economic -- based on fears of an angry reaction by American consumers -- as diplomatic:

GERMANY edged closer to a U-turn on its policy towards Iraq yesterday by making clear that new evidence of President Saddam Hussein’s weapons plans could dilute its resistance to a war.

Statements by two Social Democrat foreign policy specialists have indicated a shift as Berlin begins to buckle under the strain of its argument with the Bush Administration.

The German business community has been piling the pressure on Gerhard Schrцder, the Chancellor. German exports to the US are already suffering from a strong euro-dollar rate and weakening American demand. Now there is the fear of a consumer boycott.

Underberg, producers of a herbal digestive drink popular in the US since the days of Prohibition, have been the first to react. The company has sent an open letter, signed by 370 employees, to the White House apologising for a German minister’s comparison of President Bush with Hitler.

Other German companies are said to be considering taking out advertisements in US newspapers, a move that would seriously embarrass Herr Schrцder’s Government. The city of Hamburg recently bought space in The New York Times to declare: “America — Hamburg stands by you.”

I wonder how many German companies have heard complaints about the Schroder regime's anti-Americanism? Quite a few, I'd imagine.

October 01, 2002

ASPARAGIRL LOVES THE TRAILER for The Two Towers. I just watched it, and I do too.

JUST IN CASE YOU DIDN'T HEAR: Democrats want to replace Torricelli with Frank Lautenberg.

Why do I think I'll soon be tired of hearing about this?

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt, who had Dave Kopel on his show tonight, adds another twist: the military absentee ballots have already gone out.

I repeat what I said yesterday: How does history repeat itself when it was farce the first time?

MERYL YOURISH tracks just how much attention the UN has paid to Israel since the beginning. Rather a lot, really.


This point brings home another feature of today's post-9/11 pro-Europeanism: it is exclusively elite-driven. Zizek's European Dream, like that of his intended audience, is largely mere theory in the minds of the tiniest of intellectual minorities. Recently a poll suggested that about half of Great Britain would like to emigrate, for one reason or another, and the most popular destination was - you guessed it - America. Today's 'huddled masses' - now huddled under umbrellas rather than in doorways begging for sixpence - are ready to vote with their feet in favour of that same American Dream that Zizek rejects. (Just imagine the consequences for a future Europe were America to adopt an 'open door' policy towards European immigrants as it once did..!)

I think we should do it -- except that what the ensuing brain drain might do to Europe might cause us more trouble than we want down the line.

SHILOH BUCHER explains why she's leaving the Democrats behind:

What kills me is that being a Democrat means never having to pay for a mistake. The New Jersey Democratic Party knew all about the allegations against Torricelli when they nominated him. On the last legal day to change the ballot, they gambled that they had a better chance with Torricelli than with anyone else. Now they suspect they were wrong.

Sentiments like these may be the most potent check on the doings of both parties in New Jersey, and elsewhere.

UPDATE: Or maybe not. But here's another former Gore voter's perspective.

THE THIRD WORLD AS SAFARI PARK: This one hits the nail on the head.

NICHOLAS THOMPSON WRITES THAT pharmaceutical companies aren't innovating, and blames over-patenting.

UPDATE: Derek Lowe responds.


CRYPTO-TERRORISM? Ken Layne is suspicious of some disclaimers.

RAMESH PONNURU HAS A PIECE in the latest issue of National Review (the dead-tree version, not the online version, alas) about libertarians and the war. The blogosphere plays an important role. Here's an excerpt:

The anti-war absolutists tend to depict less doctrinaire libertarians as sellouts. But this time, the anti-war crowd is facing a new and aggressive challenge: the rise of the blogosphere. There are bloggers -- i.e., individuals who offer regularly updated commentary via their websites ("weblogs") -- of all political descriptions, even Luddites. But libertarians, and articulate hawks, seem to be disproportionately represented among them. Glenn Reynolds, one of the most important bloggers, is a fellow traveler of libertarianism and a proponent of regime change in Iraq. A small army of like-minded web pundits have made the case for what might be called a muscular libertarianism. Indeed, someone whose knowledge of libertarianism came from the web might be forgiven for assuming that it is a fighting faith. One gets the sense, reading the anti-war sites, that these bloggers are the final straw: Now they really feel beleaguered.

Reynolds sums up the differences this way: "I think there's a split among libertarians between those who view government as the enemy and those who view individual self-defense as the most important right. There's a lot of overlap in political positions between people who take those views. To a lot of libertarians, the war looks like self-defense writ large. Whereas to another class of libertarians, anything that strengthens the state is wrong, even in self-defense."

On his site, Brink Lindsey has taken on the anti-warriors' premises. He argues that they are wrong to regard foreign military intervention as analogous to governmental intervention in domestic markets. The case against the latter rests on the existence of equilibrating mechanisms that intervention would disrupt. By contrast, "there is no invisible hand in foreign affairs." Other libertarian bloggers have declared themselves agnostic on the question of Iraq. Jacob T. Levy probably speaks for many libertarians when he writes that "the last year has made me more interventionist than I had ever thought conceivable, by convincing me that even the internal affairs of other states can pose a mortal threat."

In arguing for pre-emptive action against Iraq, the bloggers have not only broken with the anti-war libertarians. They have also implicitly gone beyond organized libertarianism (to the extent that such a thing exists or can exist). The Cato Institute, the Libertarian party, and Reason are all against a pre-emptive strike. Small as their numbers are, then, the libertarians have divided into three camps of roughly equal strength: the anti-war absolutists, the hawks, and a libertarian mainstream that endorsed action in Afghanistan but opposes war with Iraq.

Ponnuru suggests that this debate is more important to conservatism than many might think.

"The Final Straw" would be a pretty cool name for a blog, wouldn't it?

IAIN MURRAY is debunking a lot of hysterical reportage about teens and alcohol.

IS THE U.S. A CHRISTIAN NATION? That depends on whether you ask Mark Shields, Pat Robertson, or Corsair. But regardless, it looks like China may be well on its way.

MAYBE I'M JUST SLOW, as I just got home and I'm cooking dinner. But this post by Hesiod assaulting Dave Kopel makes no sense. Kopel says a Senate term can't be extended to 8 years. Hesiod says: what about Jean Carnahan. But Jean Carnahan is defending her seat right now against Jim Talent, just two years after being named to fill the vacant seat.

UPDATE: Okay I've reread Hesiod's post and I think I understand where he's gone wrong. He thinks that if Torricelli resigns, that creates a vacancy that extends beyond January of 2003. But it doesn't. Remember -- even though Torricelli's withdrawn, there's still an election in November, and whoever wins it will be New Jersey's Senator in January of 2003. That won't be Torricelli if he's off the ballot, but that doesn't make the seat vacant. Torricelli's term expires this year, and nothing that the New Jersey legislature does can make the term last any longer. When it's over, it's over.

If Torricelli won the election and then resigned, the Governor could appoint someone to fill the slot until the next general election. But he' d have to win, and then it would be the next seat, after the election, that would be vacant. New Jersey can't take away Forrester's right to run for the Senate, and take office if he wins, just because Torricelli decides to resign. But that's what Hesiod seems to think the law does. For the Carnahan analogy to work, Torricelli has to be elected and then resign -- or die when it's too late to take his name off the ballot, and be elected anyway, which is what happened with Carnahan. Or else I'm still misunderstanding him, which is entirely possible. But right now the issue isn't filling a vacant seat: it's whether the Dems can fill a vacant spot on the ballot after the deadline for doing so has passed. If they fail to do so, there still won't be a vacancy next year -- it'll just be filled by Forrester. But there's no way for the Democrats to avoid an election next month -- though presumably if they could get someone both named as a replacement (if they could get Torricelli to resign) and put on the ballot, that person would be more competitive.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jay Caruso has a post on this, too. So does Deinonychus antirrhopus who apparently shares Hesiod's passion for Greek blognames.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mickey Kaus, on the other hand, seems to agree with Hesiod. But I think that the whole "vacancy-filling" argument based on the 17th Amendment fails when you realize that there is no "vacancy" in the next Senate term even if Torricelli resigns now -- because there will be an election that will fill that seat in November, meaning that it will never be vacant. (Later: Kaus has updated -- the email from the New York Times is delightful.)

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Eugene Volokh is echoing my analysis here. Also, I did poke around on Westlaw and couldn't find a case in which a governor was able to cancel a Senate election under these circumstances.

POSITIVELY THE LAST UPDATE ON THIS POST: The Green Papers has a lengthy piece on this. Actually, more than one -- follow the links.

ONE MORE UPDATE: Jonathan Adler writes in The Corner that the Democrats may have an argument under New Jersey law -- though I don't see that this answers the "vacancy" issue above.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Robert Prather is suggesting that now would be a good time for Zell Miller to switch parties. I don't think it's going to happen, but you can read Prather's post and decide for yourself. And Porphyrogenitus has a long post on the political maneuverings involved, of which he doesn't think much. And fellow prof-blogger Jacob T. Levy has some thoughts that are worth reading. I like his conclusion.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here are more thoughts from Robert Musil and The Indepundit says that Hesiod is in "full Florida mode."

And Eugene Volokh has more too. Scroll both up and down from this post for additional information, including a discussion of whether some New Jersey Supreme Court Justices should recuse themselves because they donated to Torricelli.

Oh, and I just noticed this post from Patrick Ruffini and this one from Josh Marshall.

Here's the latest from Taegan Goddard's Political Wire. And how could I have missed James Lileks' take on the situation?

If the law is upheld, then “democracy” is thwarted. Really? There will be an election with a ballot whose names are the ones chosen by voters in the primary. Sounds “democratic” to me. After all, Toricelli didn’t quit because he discovered an eight-pound neoplasm in his small intestine, or had his brain turned into a fine red mist when a marble-sized meteorite from the Oort cloud struck him in a 7-11 parking lot. He’s not even under indictment. He resigned because there was such a bad odor coming from him and his campaign that actual wavy cartoon stink lines were coming off him, and the cameras were starting to pick it up. He was going to lose. So he quit.

"Actual wavy cartoon stink lines." You gotta love that, because it's dead-on accurate.

Deroy Murdock has a column.

THIS REALLY IS THE LAST UPDATE: The New Jersey Supreme Court has decided, the Indepundit is dissing Hesiod and all the updates on the post-decision reactions are here.

LARRY TRIBE IS DEBATING SEAN WILENTZ over at the Jurist site. The topic: Antonin Scalia.

TAPPED is assigning blame for delays in the Homeland Security bill. But I'm not so sure that the word shouldn't be "credit."

Since I have never been a fan of this new cabinet department, I'm inclined to think that delays in getting it passed may be a sign of the system working as it should. It's not that our current approach doesn't need work -- it does, -- but I'm not at all convinced that the bill before Congress will solve the problems. Perhaps the foot-dragging and infighting over the bill is evidence that the White House and Congress don't think so either.


It is possible that Germany is undergoing a deep cultural change, and also beginning a slow economic spiral down to a standard of living below that of its neighbors. One can also wonder about its role in the world. The anti-American messages with which Schroeder wooed his newly Central European country may subside, and there may be a period of calm ahead for the German-American alliance. But why assume that Schroeder's distrust of America--and the West?--is a temporary rather than a heartfelt thing? Perhaps it is--but even if it is, something has changed. Should Germany's economic problems prove insoluble, should relations sour with its European neighbors, the United States has now been established as Germany's scapegoat of first resort.

Yeah, and people are going to remember it.


WHO IS THE SMARTEST SUPREME COURT JUSTICE? Stuart Buck wonders why we care.

WHY I LIKE WHAT I DO: Just met with a student from my National Security Law seminar. He's writing a paper on the FBI's response to the Moussaoui case, and where it went wrong. He's a West Point alumnus, and is applying some organizational theory -- of the "normal accidents" variety -- to the various breakdowns in communication and analysis. I'm looking forward to reading it.

BUYING IRAQ: Tom Holsinger writes about a possibly surreal invasion.

HERE'S A REASON why Barbra Streisand should read InstaPundit!

DAVE KOPEL HAS AN ANALYSIS of New Jersey election law as it applies to the Torricelli succession.

Hmm. That sounds like a Robert Ludlum title, doesn't it? The Torricelli Succession.

NEW YORK SAYS THAT BUDDY HACKETT NEEDS A GUN to protect himself, but you don't. Er, unless "you" are one of a list of celebrities and politicoes with the juice to get a special privilege denied to ordinary people:

"Bobby De Niro went down there, got fingerprinted, and the next day picked up his license," Chambers said. "Celebrity status makes it much easier."

Richter disputed this. Movie stars - like De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Steven Seagal - and millionaires - like Donald Trump and Winthrop Rockefeller - have to meet the same requirements as anyone else, he said.

"We've had a number of celebrities apply who don't get it," he said.

Well, there you are, then. Look at the list (it's at the end of the story) and see if you think this is based on "need."

THIS LETTER IN TODAY'S NEW YORK TIMES is almost a parody of soccer-mom-themed opposition to the war:

The American people do not want war. They want a loving home, healthy children and good jobs with a minimum wage you can live on. They want good, safe public or private schools. They want a happy vacation time with family and friends.

They do not want war. They do not want fear.

Yeah, not like December 8, 1941, when they wanted nothing but blood, toil, tears and sacrifice. Back then, nobody wanted "happy vacation time" anyway. Jeez.

Wanting war is one thing. Seeing it as necessary is another. People who can't tell the difference -- well, they belong on the editorial page of The New York Times, apparently.

UPDATE: Reader Robert Crawford sends this quote from The Lord of the Rings, which he hopes Peter Jackson has left in the movie:

"It takes but one to make a war, not two, and those who do not have swords may still die upon them." -- Eowyn

Yes, I've quoted that one before. Apt, isn't it?

TOO LITTLE COMPETITION produces fat, happy execs and a lousy product. It's true for radio, according to this article by Todd Spencer in Salon.

"EVERYONE SHOULD QUOTE NEAL STEPHENSON," says a certain techno musician in a recent Web interview. Eugene Volokh is following that advice.

TAEGAN GODDARD writes that the maneuvering over the New Jersey elections is not such a big deal:

The Democrats seem to have a pretty safe alternative if the courts do not allow them to replace Torricelli on the ballot. Under New Jersey law, if Torricelli resigns before his seat before Monday, Gov. James McGreevey can call a special election on November 5. Doug Forrester would then run against the person McGreevy names to fill Torricelli's seat for the remaining two months of his term.

Yeah, but that's if you can get the Torch to resign. Is he that loyal?


As I ran around Lakeshore park this morning (lovely with the sun rising across the river and the mist rising from the water) I listened to NPR on the issue. The story by Mara Liasson was quite fair, which made me realize that NPR seems to be much more balanced lately. Maybe the criticism has had some effect.


He said, in effect, that we trade with China, and they’re full of dictators, so what’s the big deal about Cuba.

It is not possible to be a world leader and avoid engagement with China.

It is possible to be the governor of a small Midwestern state and not deal with Cuba.

Jesse wanted to go to Cuba because he thought it would just plain ROCK to meet Castro - not because he loved him or admired him, but because few people got to do so, and Jesse is drawn to those things that set him apart from lesser mortals. This doesn’t make him different from other politicians - sometimes it’s refreshing that the naked self-interest is presented, nakedly. But his egotism, thin-skinnedness and mulish belief that his critics are motivated by envy and party politics made him a tiresome figure in the end. As I’ve said before, I was in his corner when he started. I knew he was a canny man. You could throw any issue at him and you’d get a fresh take presented without spin, without an eye to the polls. I disagreed with him on a few issues, but I knew that he held those views out of conviction, not because his party required him to salaam before their chosen altars. But the qualities that got him elected were not the qualities that helped him govern, and he made an ass of himself over and over and over again.

Yeah. Not that my governor is any prize, either. But that's another post.

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT THE BONIOR/MCDERMOTT STORY was going to be eclipsed by the shenanigans in New Jersey, George Will hits them again:

Hitler found "Lord Haw Haw" -- William Joyce, who broadcast German propaganda to Britain during the Second World War -- in the dregs of British extremism. But Saddam Hussein finds American collaborators among senior congressional Democrats.

Not since Jane Fonda posed for photographers at a Hanoi antiaircraft gun has there been anything like Rep. Jim McDermott, speaking to ABC's "This Week" from Baghdad, saying Americans should take Saddam Hussein at his word but should not take President Bush at his. . . .

Bonior, until recently second-ranking in the House Democratic leadership, said sources no less reliable than Hussein's minions told them that inspectors would have an "unrestricted ability to go where they want." McDermott said: "I think you have to take the Iraqis on their value -- at their face value." And: "I think the president would mislead the American people."

McDermott and Bonior are two specimens of what Lenin, referring to Westerners who denied the existence of Lenin's police-state terror, called "useful idiots."

Yes. And in their idiocy, as useful to the Republican Party as to the Republican Guard.

UPDATE: Michael Crowley thinks the same thing:

You can be sure some Democratic Party leaders were choking on their coffee this morning. At a time when Democrats are trying to raise questions about a war with Iraq without appearing unpatriotic or pacifistic, ABC's "This Week" featured an interview with two liberal congressmen who probably convinced plenty of viewers they are both. . . .

Both Bonior and McDermott seem genuinely moved by the human toll of economic sanctions against the Iraqi people, and there's nothing wrong with their efforts to remind us about the real human suffering in that country. But trusting Saddam Hussein to be a nice guy is not the way to end it. And so when the conservative Republican Senator Don Nickles of Oklahoma later suggested that Bonior and McDermott had sounded "somewhat like spokespersons for the Iraqi government," he wasn't entirely out of line. And chances are, some surely dismayed senior Democrats would privately agree.

Privately, yes. But I was hoping for a bit more public repudiation from the Democrats. They may just be hoping that this issue will go away, but by not speaking out they're making it easier -- and fairer -- for Republicans to paint the entire Party as matching Bonior and McDermott.


Like some of the overblown conglomerates of US capitalism, Iraq needs to be unbundled. Nation-unbundling, not nation-building. Support a separate Shiite state in southern Iraq, which would at least be legitimate. And let the Sunni ruling class discover the price of defiance is not merely a readjustment in the clan hierarchy, but the dismemberment of their local empire, and the alienation of their oil revenues. Now that at least would be a salutary warning to the Saudi regime, which also contends with a Shiite population on top of its oil fields.

As for lighting the beacon of Arab democracy, a fine goal in and of itself, try somewhere else, like Tunisia, Jordan or Qatar -- some place that hasn't been lobotomized by vicious dictatorship.

I don't think I agree with this, but it's an interesting angle.

QUITE A FEW OF MY READERS believe that Torricelli's withdrawal -- delightful as they find it in itself -- represents an underhanded Democratic strategy to win a seat they've done everything, up to now, to lose. Some of these theories are a bit elaborate, but now Orrin Judd says he smells a rat:

New Jersey's Democrats knew full well what they had in Mr. Torricelli when they just recently nominated him to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate that he'd disgraced. The Senator's unethical behavior was well known when he won the nomination and there's been no material change in his circumstances. The only thing that we know now that we didn't know then is that the voters of NJ seem to care more about the Senator's character than did the Democrat voters who nominated him. But, if those Democrats didn't care about the brazen choice they were making then, why is it our duty to get them off the hook now? Just because they made a mistake?

I don't think this argument will fly at the New York Times.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan seems to agree:

Above all, Torricelli's exit unfairly denies the voters a chance to punish him. Such votes are a critical part of the political system. They help cleanse the electoral palette, they allow the body politic to make a formal statement about what matters, and they drive the point home by humiliating the ethically challenged. Torricelli's final, cynical move is of a piece with his entire career. It's a scam and a duck. This time, surely New Jersey's courts shouldn't let him get away with it.

And Mickey Kaus observes:

Where does it say New Jersey voters have a right, not just to a choice of candidates, but to "a competitive race" -- a right so important it must override trivial concerns like state laws about when names can be removed from a ballot? Is an election like a basketball game that has to be kept close in order to keep it exciting? The NYT editorial board seems to think so. ... (It's way too cheap and obvious to note that if it were the Republicans who had nominated a sleazeball headed for defeat, then ensuring a "competititve" race might not be the highest Times priority. So I won't make that point. But others will!)

Sounds like another brisk day of Times-bashing in the Blogosphere. They do kind of bring it on themselves, though.

RUSSELL WARDLOW CONFESSES that he's just too demanding of his fellow netizens.

HARKIN SCANDAL UPDATE: David Hogberg has an article on the Iowa Senate race at The American Prowler.

September 30, 2002

SUMAN PALIT IS UP IN ARMS about Kofi Annan's international gun-control agenda.

UPDATE: Rachel Lucas tells Kofi that he'll get her gun when he pries it from her cold, dead fingers.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Clayton Cramer says this isn't the first time this approach has been tried.

APPARENTLY, TED BARLOW IS TAKING the long way home. Come back, Ted -- we miss you!

Maybe he's just having a beer with Edward Boyd and Ginger Stampley.

TNR'S BLOG BIDS a not-so-fond adieu to Robert Torricelli: "Rarely is there ever more cause for public glee than when a scoundrel gets his due. In Trenton this afternoon, the Senate's most loathsome character got his."

UPDATE: Rich Galen won't miss him either: "Bob Torricelli's career is over. It came to an abrupt and undignified end, which is fitting. Bob Torricelli is an abrupt and undignified person."

Excerpts from The Torch's undignified, but sadly not abrupt, farewell speech are here.

A NON-WAR PLAN to bring down Saddam. Donald Sensing offers one, which is more than most war critics have done.

NICE ARTICLE ON ROBOTS and humanity, on Alternet. Personally, I say, "Do not rage against the machine -- embrace the machine!" (Okay, actually it's Ngozi Uti who says that.)

Or as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Robots says: "Robots are people too! Or at least they will be, someday."

AN UNSYMPATHETIC ACCOUNT of this weekend's protests in Washington, from a blog run by students at GWU and elsewhere.

COLLIN MAY, who works in Geneva for a big NGO, explains his view of the EU mindset.

"IF NEW JERSEY HAD BETTER BEACHES, it would almost be Florida." Jeez. If the first time was farce, what will it be this time?

HASHEMITE UPDATE: Here's more on a Hashemite role in Iraq. Sounds like the idea is being taken quite seriously in some circles.

I can imagine a role for a transitional monarchy (think Juan Carlos) in Iraq, though I don't see a Hashemite Restoration as a long-term option there. Besides, the Hashemites will be busy enough in Saudi Arabia. Though the Saudis sure have gotten more cooperative lately. It's almost as if they were worried about something along those lines . . . .

READER ABHIJIT JAIN SENDS this link to an "unbelievably xenophobic" article from the Arab News denouncing guest workers, who now have the temerity to actually bargain for wages:

As if it were not enough for them to drain the resources of this country by sending millions of riyals annually to their home countries while spending very little locally, foreign workers have now learned the technique of bargaining. They bargain in order to satisfy their strong desire for wealth. In doing so, they outsmart even the most talented and able managers.

This doesn't say much for Saudi managers, that they can invariably be outsmarted. But those "greedy expatriates" are all looking for work, and they want to be paid. The horror. Yeah, it's xenophobic, but it's mostly just clueless.

MATTHEW YGLESIAS WAS INTERVIEWED FOR A SALON PIECE, but he's not very happy about the way it turned out.

FISKING A WOULD-BE FISKER OF FISKING? Sometimes the Blogosphere really does get a bit self-referential.

RAZIB K SAYS WE'RE CONDUCTING A GIANT SOCIAL EXPERIMENT the likes of which have never been attempted before. So far, so good, as best I can tell.

ROSENBERG ON "that other Senator Schumer" and what he apparently believes.

Hey, maybe Schumer is another victim of a Tikkun-like campaign to discredit him!

TIKKUN IS REPORTING that someone is sending out emails in their name designed to make them look stupid. Rishawn Biddle has more, but without the snarky comments that this seems to call for.

THE REAL TORRICELLI SCANDAL, according to John Cole.


Let's review: The record companies complain to Congress that their revenues are down because people are stealing music from them. Meanwhile, they're no longer allowed to fix prices.

Could it be that's the reason revenues are down? No more price fixing allowed? The whole piracy thing is a just a lie to coverup a revenue decline? Nah, they'd never do that.

The amazing thing is that revenues weren't down more...

Interesting observation.


But the Castro-worship just fascinates me. Why? Some applaud the way he thumbs his nose at the US, which always strikes a certain crowd as the hallmark of integrity; if you wrap your derision in the big red flag you’ll always have a claque of bootlickers eager to excuse whatever you do. (The enemy of my enemy is my President for Life.) . . . .

My favorite defense, though, is “free health care” and “literacy.”

Take the second one first. There’s no excuse for not being literate in America. Oh, we could impose literacy on the illiterate here, but it wouldn’t be pretty. We could make English proficiency a requirement for jobs, institute nationwide standards for graduation that mandated a high degree of literacy - and made the students' fulfillment of those standards a criterion for advancement in the educational establishment.

Let us pause to cogitate how well that would go over.

Health care: supposedly, it’s universal; supposedly, it’s high quality. Egalitarian. (muffled laugh.) Ask yourself this. You’re poor. You have a heart attack. Do you want to be in Havana or New York? Which phone system summons the EMTs faster? Which emergency response team is better equipped? Which hospital is better staffed with highly-paid doctors who have come from all over the world to work here?

Somehow I suspect that a heart attack in Havana at 3 AM means bundling Uncle Raul into your block captain’s ‘57 Belair and hoping it doesn’t break down before you get to the hospital.

But let’s assume that health care in Cuba is the equal of health care in America. If this is the reason to admire Cuba, then this is what some American citizens believe is more important than anything else. Free health care. They will give up elections, the free press, the freedom to travel, the freedom to dissent, the freedom to own a personal computer, for heaven’s sake - they’ve been banned for personal use. But for some, all of those freedoms are negotiable. They’ll give it all up for free health care. That’s their price. . . .

The same people who lecture me about the dark reign of oppression Bush, Cheney and Ashcroft are wreaking on the land are often the same who’d love to meet Castro. They pride themselves on being the champions of freedom, but they celebrate a man whose hands hold the reins of power so tightly they’ll have to saw them off at the wrist when he dies.

Oh, hell, read it all before I wind up excerpting the whole thing. That's what I hate about Lileks. You excerpt a sentence or two because they're gems, then you notice that the next sentence or two are gems, too, and then, well, the game's over, you might as well just give up.

ALTERMAN'S GONNA LOVE THIS: A potential replacement for The Torch.

I STILL CAN'T GET OVER having the Tennessee Attorney General's office refer me to BlogCritics for more information.


In response to the increasingly dictatorial nature of the Zimbabwe regime, the European Union early this year enacted a number of sanctions against Zimbabwe, including a ban on travel by members of Zimbabwe's government.

But, of course, they didn't mean it. This month Zimbabwe's Trade Minister was allowed to travel to Brussels, Belgium -- which houses the headquarters for the European Union -- for a series of talks related to issues in developing nations (previously Zimbabwean officials made trips to France and Italy).

Striking the right pose is what matters. Results are for those crass Americans.

IOWA BLOGGER DAVID HOGBERG says that TAPPED has the Harkin scandal all wrong.

HOW TO CRITICIZE ISRAEL WITHOUT BEING ANTI-SEMITIC: Mike Silverman observes that a lot of people seem to need help in this department, and generously offers some advice.


UPDATE: Heh. Pretty interesting in conjunction with this speculation. . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Oh noooo. . .

THE AMERICAN PROSPECT IS all over the antiglobalization protests, and they don't like them much.

TORRICELLI MAY DROP OUT OF THE RACE, according to an AP report.

PORPHYROGENITUS is unfazed by the comments of Bonior and McDermott.

THE COMICS JOURNAL is critiquing Ted Rall and his "web of half-truths." His cartoons suck, too.

There's a discussion here. Rall's already playing martyr.

DANIEL DREZNER has a long rant about U.S. foreign economic policy: "If our national security strategy is devoted to the building up of weak states into open economies with strong governments, our foreign economic policy seems designed to thwart that goal at every significant opportunity."

NOTE: The University is having major Internet problems, and my access is intermittent. So response to emails, etc., may be delayed.

BIG NEWS ON THE RECORD-COMPANY PRICE-FIXING FRONT: Here's a press release I just got by email from the Tennessee Attorney General. It's not on their website yet, (UPDATE: Now it is) as far as I can tell:


Tennessee Attorney General Paul G. Summers announced today that five of the largest U.S. distributors of pre-recorded music CDs and three large retailers agreed to pay millions of dollars in cash and free CDs as part of an agreement on price-fixing allegations.

The companies will pay $67,375,000 in cash, provide $75,500,000 worth of music CDs, and not engage in sales practices that allegedly led to artificially high retail prices for music CDs and reduced retail competition as part of the agreement. Tennessee’s share is an estimated $993,948 in cash and $1,507,852 in CDs.

“The lawsuit and settlement demonstrate our commitment to halting corporate misconduct,” Attorney General Summers said. “Such illegal activity causes our citizens to pay higher prices and distorts our free market economy.”

Tennessee, along with 41 other states and three territories filed an antitrust lawsuit in federal court in August, 2000. The lawsuit alleged the five music distributors (including their affiliated labels) and three large music retailers entered into illegal conspiracies to raise the price of pre-recorded music to consumers. The defendants in the lawsuit are music distributors Bertelsmann Music Group, Inc., EMI Music Distribution, Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Corporation, Sony Music Entertainment, Inc., Universal Music Group and national retail chains Transworld Entertainment Corporation, Tower Records, and Musicland Stores Corporation. The defendants deny these allegations.

You bet they do. I suspect that this is just scratching the surface. Can you say RICO? And where's the United States Department of Justice on this issue?

UPDATE: Well, this makes being wrong worth it: The Tennessee Attorney General's office emails me to note that actually the feds were on the case first -- and, get this, refers me to this post on Blogcritics for more information on the subject. Is that cool, or what?

HESIOD THEOGENY THINKS I'VE "finally figure[d] it out," but actually he's the one behind the curve, as this entry from last December illustrates ("Radiological scam artists -- freedom's first line of defense!"). Don't teach your grandpa to suck eggs, Hesi.

VIRGINIA POSTREL ADVISES ME to "mention the tipjar more." Okay. It's over there on the left.

N.Z. BEAR thinks he's figured out another instance of rope-a-dope on inspections. Interesting. Michiel Visser isn't so sure.

CATHY YOUNG DEFENDS HARVARD PRESIDENT LARRY SUMMERS and notes the antisemitism that more and more marks the "peace" movement:

Anti-Israel commentary in Europe not only winks at this virulent anti-Semitism (and refuses to consider it as the context for Israel's actions) but sometimes stoops to hateful language of its own. British poet and Oxford professor Tom Paulin has said that American-born Jewish settlers on the West Bank ''should be shot dead.'' Sometimes, this rhetoric unabashedly substitutes the term ''Jews'' for ''Israelis'' or ''Zionists.''

Even on college campuses in the United States, the anti-Jewish ''blood libel'' has resurfaced in posters of cans labeled ''Palestinian children meat, slaughtered according to Jewish rites under American license.'' . . .

Whether anti-Semitism plays a central role in hostility toward Israel (especially in Europe) is a complicated question. Sympathy for the Palestinian struggle - even when it takes the form of violence targeting civilians - stems largely from the knee-jerk instinct to romanticize the ''wretched of the earth,'' the ''oppressed'' of the Third World. Perhaps, too, as Rosenbaum argues, demonizing Israel is partly a way to assuage Europe's collective guilt over letting the Holocaust happen. And some may use Israel-bashing as a respectable smokescreen for socially unacceptable anti-Semitic bias.

But ultimately, motives matter less than consequences. ''Traditional'' anti-Semitism, too, often involved motives other than simple hostility toward Jews as Jews - including anticapitalism, since the Jews were seen as the epitome of the money-grubbing bourgeoisie. For whatever reason, extremist anti-Israeli rhetoric today has become, all too often, a vehicle for the kind of Jew-bashing that one might have hoped was extinct in the civilized world. For drawing attention to this issue, Summers deserves praise.

Also writing in the Globe, Robert Leikind makes a similar point:

When the United Nations hosted the Third World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, last year, the world community had an opportunity to address the hatred that afflicts hundreds of millions of people. Instead, the conference focused almost exclusively on allegations of Israeli wrongdoing. When protesters compared Israelis to Nazis and called for the killing of Jews, the silence from all but a few delegates made it evident that anti-Semitism was losing its capacity to evoke outrage.

Since then, that dynamic has repeated itself many times. It has three elements. First, in the name of ''human rights'' or ''justice,'' advocates decry Israeli actions, while also depriving them of any context. In their view, Israelis are wanton occupiers, who violate Palestinians' rights and impose cruel conditions on a subject population. The fact that the occupation is a product of a relentless, half-century campaign to destroy Israel, that Israelis have sustained thousands of casualties from terrorism and are involved in a desperate effort to save the lives of their citizens, or that the Palestinians and many of Israel's other neighbors continue to foment a hatred of Israel and Jews that serves as a solid barrier against efforts to arrive at a just and lasting settlement, seldom enters into their narrative. It is this absence of balance, not the criticisms (which sometimes may be warranted), that has been so troubling. . . .

Evidence is mounting that demonization of Jews is gaining respectability and that the struggle in the Middle East is providing cover for the expression of such hatred. This does not justify reflexively labeling all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic. It does, however, compel us to ask why some critics seem interested in investing all their moral capital in attacking embattled, democratic Israel. Asking this question is not intended to chill honest debate. It is intended to create it.

(Via Jay Fitzgerald).

UPDATE: Here's more from the Harvard Crimson.

HOWARD KURTZ REPORTS some complications in the Peretz / Gore relationship. Peretz apparently "advised" Gore on the speech, even though The New Republic editorialized quite harshly against it.

Hmm. Of course, maybe the Gore people didn't take Peretz's advice, which would explain why Peretz is so "uncharacteristically tight-lipped" on the subject.

James Robbins, meanwhile, writes in NRO that the speech was "superb." No, really:

The most immediate intra-party effect of the speech is to make other Democratic leaders look weak, vacillating, and prone to compromise principles for political expediency. This is an important objective, because these are Gore's likely opponents in the 2004 primary race. Gore has to separate himself from the pack, and make himself relevant despite the fact that he is a private citizen and has no direct input in the policy or legislative arenas. Opposing the president's war agenda is the best tool available.

Call it reverse-triangulation. For Clinton, this would work. For Gore, I don't think so. Mark Steyn, meanwhile, isn't as impressed with the speech as Robbins.

I JUST HOPE THAT SOME AL QAEDA GUYS are starving to death in a shipping container because of this.

Bonus points for conspiracy theorists: Explain why this isn't really about labor issues at all. That's just a front, you see, for . . . .

The rest is left as an exercise for the reader.

MICKEY KAUS says the antiwar Democrats are snared in a contradiction:

No, unless Bush is planning to invade Korea and Iran after Iraq, the optimal cynical strategy for maintaining anti-terrorism as the "master narrative of American politics" would seem to require Bush, once the midterms were safely over, to keep delaying the Iraq invasion for a year or two, so that the real military crisis comes closer to the next presidential election..... In other words, to the extent that Bush is the purely cynical, self-interested dog-wagger that some Democrats (not me!) charge, he can't also be the irresponsible cowboy who is going to rush into war in January. It's not in his political interest.

My only question: January is "rushing?"

TALKLEFT HAS A ROUNDUP on studies concerning the dangers and benefits of Ecstasy.

JIM HENLEY ASKS what the heck the Turkish-uranium incident was really all about, and comes up with some alternatives of varying degrees of plausibility.

Regardless, I think it's becoming clear (remember how Osama was duped?) that nuclear scam artists may be doing more good than many government programs against nuclear proliferation.

WILLIAM SAFIRE WRITES that the Administration is selling out the war on terror for a mess of corporate pottage:

Bush can say that in his 2000 campaign he promised business leaders to lift export controls. But that was before Sept. 11. Now those controls — which worked well for decades against the Soviets — need strengthening, not weakening. Perhaps our National Security Council has been getting pressure from India and Pakistan, each of which wants our missile technology. By accommodating these nuclear powers, we might gain two allies but would make the world more dangerous.

America does not need this dirty business. It amounts to only a few billion dollars in sales, and its military misuse — through copycat "reverse engineering," a Chinese specialty — costs American taxpayers far more than that to defend against.

There's something to this -- but I should point out that export controls aren't as simple as this makes it sound. At best, they're porous, and there's not much point trying to control technologies that are in widespread civilian use. In a few very advanced areas the United States has a monopoly. In the others, it doesn't, and there's much, much less we can do there -- especially when other sources of the technology, like France, Germany, and Russia, take an, ahem, more relaxed view toward such matters.

The only really successful non-proliferation effort was the Israeli raid on the Osirak reactor.

THE ANTISEMITISM OF "PEACE ACTIVISTS" -- Jonathan Alter points out the obvious:

Some argue that the blindness to Palestinian blame is merely misplaced romanticism, not anti-Semitism. The students and professors on campus with a weakness for this kind of politics also champion other oppressed peoples fighting entrenched power, and overlook their abuses. But at a certain point, persistent double standards start to smell of something more malignant. Funny how campus activists never seem to mention, say, Syrian occupation of Lebanon. They bemoan capital punishment in the United States but say nothing when the Palestinians routinely execute suspected collaborators, including the mothers of young children. They single out Israeli human-rights abuses that pale next to those of their Arab neighbors, which we know less about because of press restrictions. Anti-Zionism isn’t anti-Semitism—until it reaches a certain pitch.

Yes, and it's reached that pitch in quite a few places.

DOUBLE STAR: Bigwig has a theory about Saddam.

KEN LAYNE uncovers a conspiracy. What's frightening is that this makes perfect sense.

ANDREW SULLIVAN joins the list of those who regard Bonior and McDermott's statements as near-treason:

At a time when the U.S. government is attempting some high-level diplomatic maneuvers in the U.N., when Saddam is desperate for any propaganda ploy he can muster, these useful idiots play his game. I think what we're seeing now is the hard-core base of the Democratic Party showing its true colors, and those colors, having flirted with irrelevance and then insouciance are now perilously close to treason.

I wonder about this whole thing. We saw Gore's speech last week, which was roundly denounced, followed by Daschle's overheated speech, followed by this. A bunch of my readers think this is a cleverly orchestrated plan. I'm not sure about the "cleverly" part, but what could the plan be? Are the Democrats' tracking polls so bad that they think they're going to lose everyone but the Nation/NPR hard core among their base, so they're just trying to energize that regardless of the cost among swing voters? This seems hard for me to believe.

The other possibility is that these guys are just idiots, and there's no organizing principle beyond generalized hostility toward America.

This is a risky game. It's likely to do a lot of damage in the coming elections. And if there's another big terror attack, it's going to kill the Democrats for years. What are they thinking? Are they thinking?

UPDATE: Reader Brian Jones emails: "'We've lost on the war, so we'd better pray the war goes badly so we can look all prescient and stuff.' That's what they're thinking." How very patriotic.

Bob Bartley's take is a bit different:

A good many Democratic Party cadres cut their teeth as anti-war protestors marching against Vietnam. Passion still runs too hot among many liberals, Democrats and intellectuals to allow mere political calculation to stand in the way.

I'm inclined to agree that it's knee-jerkiness rather than calculation. Whether knee-jerk behavior that undermines American diplomacy at a crucial moment (and hence makes war more, not less, likely) is better or worse than calculated behavior that undermines American diplomacy at a crucial moment (and hence makes war more, not less, likely) is a matter of opinion. My opinion, to paraphrase a line from The Beverly Hillbillies, is that to me, they'll always be jerky.


September 29, 2002

VIDEO KILLED THE POLITICAL STARS: Martin Devon has some TV commercials planned. And it turns out that David Bonior is getting his own prime-time special.

THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUNNY, but it's just realistic.

WOW, just checked downloads for Jim Lindgren's piece on errors and misrepresentations in Michael Bellesiles' Arming America, and it's up to 96, 823. I guess the additional downloads are the result of new developments in the Bellesiles matter. Given that the piece is also available elsewhere, it seems sure to have passed the 100,000 downloads mark overall. It'll pass it on this site alone before everything's done, I'd guess.

FOUR PROTESTERS ARRESTED IN WASHINGTON were carrying explosive devices. Draft these guys -- they seem to like violence an awful lot for antiwar types.


As the Second World War and its aftermath fade, they reveal a "new world order" that is strangely familiar--amazingly like the Western world of the 1920s, with its love of self-determination and loathing of imperialism and war, its liberal Germany, shrunken Russia, and map of Europe crammed with small states, with America's indifference to Europe and Europe's disdain for America, with Europe's casual, endemic anti-Semitism, her politically, financially, and masochistically rewarding fascination with Muslim states who despise her, and her undertone of self-hatred and guilt.

The self-hatred part, at least, seems more understandable all the time.

HEY, I JUST NOTICED that Thomas Nephew is back. Another prodigal returns!

EUROPEAN ANTISEMITISM ALERT: What else explains "peace" protestors in Spain dressed in suicide-bomber bikinis? It's not pacifism -- it's just siding with the enemy.

And they wonder why Bush "doesn't give a shit" what they say?

I wish Iberian bloggers John and Antonio would offer some comments.

BILL HERBERT HAS SOME PHOTOS from various peace marches. My favorite one is of a sign that must have been smuggled in: "Save the Iraqi People: Kill Saddam."

UPDATE: Here's a contrast between now and then in DC:

My point? We will forever remember the 1963 March on Washington because in holding and maintaining the moral high ground, they won their argument. Of course, this implies having the moral high ground in the first place. A lesson seemingly lost on this current generation of spoiled brats who’s only legacy will be sophomoric boast of "dude, remember when we shut down D.C.?" … Big deal, so do ice storms and budget battles.

The Left has lived off the moral capital of the civil rights era for decades, but that's pretty much over now, except in their own minds.

HMM. Either of these stories could just be an oddity, but happening closer together, I wonder. . . . Here's a man with concealed knives and boxcutters in his luggage, and here are two guys who when caught said they were "just testing."

PUNDITWATCH IS UP, and has this to say about Bonior and McDermott:

ABC’s This Week had the most controversial coverage. Host George Stephanopolous interviewed Congressmen Jim McDermott, D-Wash, and David Bonior, D-Mich, live from Baghdad. A seemingly incredulous Stephanopolous heard McDermott claim that the President was misleading the world and that he should take the Iraqis’ word at face value.

Bonior brushed aside questions about Saddam Hussein’s past behavior. “We could go back and play the blame game. I wish you would focus on what’s happened to the people of Iraq—the children.”

During This Week’s roundtable, George Will called the McDermott-Bonior comments, “The most disgraceful appearance in my lifetime.” ABC’s Michele Martin just shook her head, noting, “This is why the Democrats are having such a hard time.”

Not as hard as it's about to be. What's wrong with these guys?

I DIDN'T WATCH THIS WEEK TODAY (why bother when there's PunditWatch to give me the scoop within an hour or two anyway?) but Michigander Joe User doesn't think David Bonior acquitted himself very well. I'll be interested in the PunditWatch take on the same appearance.

I did see Mark Shields describe the United States as a Christian nation on CNN's Novak, Hunt & Shields (which I was watching from the treadmill at the gym). I don't agree with Shields that the United States is a Christian nation, and I'll thank him and Pat Robertson to keep those opinions to themselves. . . . .

UPDATE: A.C. Douglas is unhappy as hell with Bonior & McDermott too. Excerpt:

In what they had to say, they couldn't have been more damaging to the United States, or acted more like Iraqi sycophants, had they been paid agents of Saddam Hussein himself. I mean, surely they can't seriously believe all they said concerning taking Iraq at its word in its promise to give free access to weapons inspectors under old UN rules, and that the U.S. ought not to even consider going to war against Iraq until it's proven Iraq's not to be trusted, and in such a case then the United States should still not go to war against Iraq, but talk more about what should be done.

If these congressmen really do believe all they said, then they ought both to be tried on charges of manifest imbecility (if not outright treason), and relieved of their House seats posthaste.

A reader emails along the same lines:

Not sure if you saw This Week w/Stephanopoulos but if you didn't you MUST get a transcript. Jim McDermott and David Bonior are in Baghdad and made the most outrageous and appalling comments about Bush I've ever heard any member of Congress make. As George Will commented, not since Jane Fonda has anyone done more to undermine this country or to challenge the veracity of a president.

In effect, McDermott and Bonior are more trusting of the honesty of Saddam than they are of Bush.

Astonishing performance that's going to be the buzz of the country for the next week.

And scrolling down my email, here's another reader:

I'm still recovering from the literal shock of seeing, on This Week, David Bonior and Jim McDermott get to the left of China with regard to Iraq and announce that Saddam Hussein is more trustworthy than George Bush. Glenn, this is jaw-dropping. Shameful. Despicable. Almost treasonous. I really have never in my life seen a display like the one that took place this morning on ABC. Get thee a tape if you haven't seen this yet.

Just looked for a transcript, but there's not one online for either show yet, but these accounts suggest that the Democrats' hopes for the midterm elections just took a fatal blow -- from Democrats.

URANIUM UPDATE: Looks like there's less of it than originally reported. I suspected as much.

BLOGGING FROM MUNICH, Eamonn Fitzgerald reports that some Germans are catching on at last:

Finally, an editorial in the Sьddeutsche Zeitung in which realism trumps idealism. Wolfgang Koydl's "Ein Moralist im WeiЯen Haus" makes clear that Europeans who call President Bush a "cowboy", a "Rambo" or plain "berserk" are missing the point of what's happening in Washington today. Koydl says they should accept instead that Bush is a "revolutionary, a visionary and a moralist." Naturally, many of the paper's anti-American readers will have spilt their morning coffee in outrage upon reading this, but Koydl sets out convincing reasons for his interpretation of the situation. . . .

The Bush doctrine of preemption is a concept that's going to make the world more dangerous before it is more secure, argues Koydl, but at least it is a concept and Europe will have to live with until it can provide an alternative.

Koydl concludes by saying that if Europe wishes to prevent another American Century it must do something other that whining about the "sheriff in the White House."


EVE TUSHNET has an article on Islamic women bloggers in the Weekly Standard. She also has an interesting post on "rock and roll conservatism."

"RELENTLESS PERSECUTION:" Eric Burns says the media feeding-frenzy over Madelyne Toogood has gone too far.

Yeah, you'd hardly know that her kid was unhurt from all the coverage and finger-pointing, would you? It's all about a picture that looks bad. Meanwhile if you try -- as I can attest -- to get protective services to do something about a kid who's actually suffering serious physical harm, but with no TV, it's a whole different story.

MOSQUITOES INFECTED WITH MALARIA have been found in Virginia. And there have been two human cases nearby.

Bioterrorism? Doubtful, Pat Leahy's comments on West Nile notwithstanding. Though my brother once mailed me a mosquito from Nigeria that survived the trip. He had smacked it hard enough (he thought) to kill it, but leave it intact, and dropped it in the envelope with his letter to illustrate just how big they were. When I opened the letter it came fluttering drunkenly out. I smacked it, and it left a smear of blood on my hand. Chance that it was carrying malaria, given its source: high. Interestingly, another guy he mailed one to the same day had the same experience.


Anybody who thinks a 5.7 percent unemployment rate (a number considered very close to full employment not so many years ago) is more important than the fact that Saddam Hussein may either already have nuclear weapons, or be on the [verge] of obtaining them, is just plain nuts.

There's more.

GERMAN EXPORTS TO THE UNITED STATES ARE SUFFERING as a spontaneous informal boycott seems to be underway.