November 09, 2002

ANOTHER AMERICAN LAWYER story on blogs -- this one about lawyer-blogging in general, and featuring Denise Howell, who even rates a photo.

UPDATE: Here's another article on law-related blogs featuring Ernest Svenson.

CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER: Maureen Dowd's latest column contains the sentence: "I missed John Ashcroft desperately." It does not appear to be ironic.

MATT WELCH says that Gray Davis is reminiscent of another California politician who despite some setbacks went on to national greatness.

ANTI-AMERICAN PROTESTERS IN FLORENCE ARE "singing communist anthems." Go figure. Most of the "anti-war" protests in Italy seem to have been the product of communist organizers, which -- as David Corn has written -- seems to be the case in the United States, too.

What this protest demonstrates is that it was a waste of time, at least in terms of satisfying anti-American critics of "unilateralism," to go through the United Nations. Anti-American protesters won't be satisfied by that sort of thing. And these are, in fact, anti-American protesters, not anti-war protesters.

UPDATE: Steven Den Beste isn't impressed, either.

CASS SUNSTEIN IS WORRIED about conservatives "taking over" the courts. By this, I presume, he means "being appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate."

Well, I certainly hope that Bush won't appoint any Borks, and I'll oppose them if he does. (You can read this article for a lengthy summary of my problems with Bork). But if Sunstein's op-ed is the best case in opposition to conservative judicial appointments, well, it's not much.

Sunstein seems worrried that we will see "judicial activism," which apparently occurs when courts are willing to strike down legislation that has bipartisan support. (Absent from Sunstein's characterization of such action as "activism" is any concern for whether such striking down is based on, you know, the legislation being unconstitutional. The flag-burning bill had bipartisan support, after all.)

Sunstein is worried, though, that the courts might start thinking about the constitution more. At least he's worried that "conservative courts might well rule that the Second Amendment raises constitutional questions about gun control legislation." He doesn't bother to explain why such raising such questions might be wrong, or anything: I guess, on the New York Times op-ed page, such arguments are superfluous, though Sunstein has in the past expressed the view that the individual-rights interpretation of the Second Amendment is one that has some intellectual force behind it.

It seems to me that discussions about "activism" are beside the point. When courts enforce the Constitution, they are doing their job, whether that leads them to strike down laws or to uphold them. When courts fail to enforce the Constitution, they are not doing their job. Sunstein doesn't offer an explanation of why conservatives might be wrong about which laws should be upheld and which should be struck down, but without such an explanation, talk of "activism" means little, and sudden enthusiasm for deference to legislatures and to precedents that Sunstein no doubt finds generally more congenial seems like special pleading.

UPDATE: John Rosenberg has some comments, too. Another law professor emailed to me that the piece seemed to have been "phoned in." Yeah, Sunstein's capable of better than this.

ADD THIS STORY to my earlier comments about racism on the left: racist attacks on Condi Rice:

"Does they like how you shine their shoes, Condoleezza? Or the way you wash and park the whitey's cars."

The Greaseman got fired. What'll happen to this guy? Answer:

Niger Innis, spokesperson the Congress on Racial Equality, said he sees a double standard at play.

"If Rogers, instead of being a white liberal, were a white conservative like Rush Limbaugh using the type of language that Rogers was using, he'd be kicked off the air," Innis said.

It's a controversy that's been brewing on radio for a while now.

Or is Dale Amon right that it's all a question of who does the talking, not of what is said?

UPDATE: A reader points out this piece by Dinesh D'Souza, which I hadn't read, but which has already been savaged by Arthur Silber and Michele of A Small Victory. I think his point -- though it was hard to be sure -- was that the Right says dumb things, too. Yeah, well, you don't see me defending the "social conservative" crowd very much.

D'Souza's piece is just dumb, revolving as it does around this statement: "The Democrats should stop hiding behind 'freedom of choice' and become blatant advocates for divorce, illegitimacy, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, and pornography." Actually, I've got nothing against these things, so long they're consensual -- "adultery" can be taken different ways, I guess. (I don't share Peter Singer's enthusiasm for bestiality, but since I'm happy to eat animals it's hard for me to consider people having sex with them to be, you know, more exploitative.)

If the Republicans buy into this social-conservative line, they'll lose. I think they know it. But this doesn't get the Left off the hook. See, the Left has already shown itself utterly wrong with regard to communism, national defense, the economy and -- by the Clinton era -- worthless on civil liberties except to the extent they're important to core Democratic constituencies. So the only real claim to moral legitimacy that the Left has, well, left is the claim that it's tolerant. But it's not anymore. Remarks like the one aimed at Condi Rice above are just the icing on the cake. The trend has been obvious for years.

The reader asks me to name one major leftist commentator who has made comments at D'Souza's level. Well, I guess Neil Rogers, the DJ above, isn't really major, though he's probably bigger than D'Souza. And what about the many folks on the Left implying that Bush engineered 9/11? Does that count? Or Barbra Streisand's suggestion that Bush engineered Paul Wellstone's plane crash? Or the widespread claims (and political cartoons) during the DC sniper affair to the effect that the NRA favors the murder of small children? I could go on, but frankly anyone who really thinks that there's nothing on the left worse than D'Souza's remarks above is beyond rational discourse.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jason Soon says D'Souza's column is silly.

JOHN HILER OF MICROCONTENT NEWS HAS PICKED UP ON the story of Diana Hsieh being sued by the Front Sight folks, and the possible Scientology connection. (It's not entirely clear that Scientology is involved directly, though it would be consistent with stuff reported here.)

Regardless of whether the Church of Scientology is formally involved, as I said in my earlier post, I've always had a high opinion of Front Sight in the past, but this lawsuit is changing that. And judging by Arthur Silber's reports, it's changing it for a lot of people in the gun community.

HERE'S A SITE that lets you show your appreciation to the U.S. Military, as part of military appreciation month. Send your online thank you note today!

I'M RATHER SURPRISED that the rumors of Trent Lott's ouster seem to have faded. Apparently, I'm not the only one.

ORIANA FALLACI is expressing her contempt for anti-globalist demonstrators in Florence.

I DO NOT APPROVE OF FISTICUFFS, but I find it hard to fully disapprove of this.

UPDATE: Reader Trent Telenko writes:

You missed the real point.

We just saw a Hollywood director -- as "Blue Zone" as you can get – play a violent, honor impugned, Jacksonian, at the cost of his movie's distribution in the British film market. He did this when an “idiotarian” British distributor said Americans deserved the 9/11 attacks just as much as the Israelis deserve children-suicide attacks from the Palestinians while within arms reach.

It is time for you to begin a “Jacksonian Watch” because this will not be the last time this happens.

Walter Russell Mead's book "Strange Provenance" goes on at great lengths about the "Jacksonian tradition" in American foreign policy as he describes it and three other "foreign policy schools."

I prefer the term "cultural meme" because Americans are a mixture of all four of Mead’s schools. The 'Jacksonian traits' of Mead were also touched on in two recent American social histories. The first is by Gary Gerstle, "The American Crucible," and second is by David Kennedy, "Freedom From Fear."

Mead points out in his book that the Jacksonian traits surface most strongly when America is at war.

Trent Telenko also suggests that political correctness in the media makes actual violence along these lines more likely: "Those who make the rhetorical defense of western culture impossible, make the violent defense of it by Americans inevitable." His comments along these lines are interesting, but too long to excerpt here. I agree, though, that the setting and participants make this brawl particularly noteworthy.

ISNTAPUNDIT reports from Salon's Table Talk, where people are unhappy about the election results.

TONY PIERCE is selling a book based on his blog. I just ordered one.


UPDATE: Moira Breen has a Fisk-related comment, too.

BELLESILES UPDATE: Here's a Scripps column by Jay Ambrose that gives Clayton Cramer some credit for discovering Bellesiles' misdeeds.

CLICHE-O-RAMA: Steven Chapman is explaining British movie cliches, Teresa Nielsen Hayden is explaining aboriginal-culture movie cliches, and Sour Bob is trying to figure out which cliche he's living.

DON'T SEND HATEMAIL TO THE ACIDMAN unless you are prepared for the consequences. I can't tell you how often I've wanted to post something like that, but this is a family blog.

COPY-PROTECTED CDS NOT WORKING FOR YOU? BMG doesn't care, and neither does EMI. Note to Karl Rove -- it's stuff like this that explains why Big Entertainment is such a good target for efforts that will demonstrate that Republicans can side with the little guy against big corporations.

GUNS AND GAYS: Teresa Nielsen Hayden observes: "Basically, I figure guns are like gays: They seem a lot more sinister and threatening until you get to know a few; and once you have one in the house, you can get downright defensive about them."

THE MARC HEROLD DISCUSSION just keeps going on over at Angry Cyclist. Keep scrolling. . . .

NOW THAT SOME ISLAMIC CHARITIES have been identified as fronts for terrorism, American Muslims are giving to charities that keep the money in the United States. Though the article mostly spins it as bad, this seems like a good thing to me. It's unfortunate that some legitimate charities helping people in need will get less money as a result, but this is what happens when people are scammed. In fact, it's a good thing over the long term as it will give legitimate Islamic charities an incentive to root out the frauds.

TURNS OUT THAT JEFF COOPER'S APPLE PROBLEMS, which I linked to a while back, were mostly his fault. Though in a way that doesn't really support the "Apple is easier to use" argument.

SOCIOLOGISTS OF THE BLOGOSPHERE TAKE NOTE: Ron Rosenbaum describes his treatment of Gore Vidal's latest conspiracy screed as a "combination of fisking and misting." This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first Legacy Media use of the term "misting," though I agree with Charles Johnson that it doesn't really apply: "You can’t have a MiSTing without robots. Everybody knows that. And Rosenbaum’s essay, excellent as it may be, contains no robots whatsoever."

Yep. It's still worth reading, though. And despite a distressing absence of robots, there are multiple references to Richard Nixon's penis, something you don't see every day. The references, that is. Well, or the penis. And thank goodness on both counts, actually. Anyway, here's an excerpt:

In any case, much subsequent Vidal verbiage follows designed to prove the Sherlockian discovery that this is all "The Case of the Afghan Pipeline," that the "Bush junta" countenanced or caused the murder of thousands of Americans in the hopes of provoking a war to expedite an oil pipeline that might increase the profit margins of their oil companies. Standard boilerplate Left conspiracy theory.

But then our essayist assumes a disingenuous passive voice and takes one passive-aggressive step beyond all that, into Protocols territory. That step can be found in this sentence: "Osama was chosen on aesthetic grounds to be the frightening logo for our long-contemplated invasion and conquest of Afghanistan …. "

It’s really the first three words that give the game away: "Osama was chosen …. " Poor Osama isn’t even given any credit for "agency," as the postmodernists say. Couldn’t think it up by himself. He "was chosen"—implicitly by his white masters in the West, the "Bush junta"—to commit the mass murder of Americans (although remember: "we still don’t know" who did it).

Osama was chosen. Not a word about fundamentalist Islam’s hatred of America, of Jews, of the West. No, it was the West—we did it to ourselves. Well, the Bush cabal did it in our name. Is comparing Mr. Vidal’s screed to The Protocols extreme? Not as extreme as Vidal comparing George W. Bush to Hitler.

ROBERT FISK says that the strike against Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen was murder. William Sjostrom says that Robert Fisk is a moral degenerate.

EXTREMIST ISLAMISM IN AUSTRALIA: James Morrow has an unsettling report.

I TOLD YOU SO: There's an interesting thread on Nanodot about proposals for an international treaty to ban nanotechnology research, and about the possibility that nanotechnology research might be moved entirely into the "black" military world.

ORRIN JUDD calls Garrison Keillor a "Gutless Weasel" for his nasty insinuations regarding Norm Coleman. The language is harsher than I would have used, but in fairness to Judd Keillor's remarks are weasely.

What astounds me about the Left over the past few months is the way in which racism, antisemitism and homophobia have become the stock-in-trade of its house provocateurs. Some are still trying to deny that this is so, but the evidence just keeps piling up. It's a downward spiral into nastiness that goes a long way toward explaining the election results all by itself.

I thought the Left was supposed to be against this stuff, but apparently it all depends, as Dale Amon suggests, on who's doing the talking. I'm beginning to think that it was all just a scam -- just as the Left's enthusiasm for free speech on campus was a lot higher when the main beneficiaries of free speech protection were communists.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

For me, it was the Clinton sex scandals. Watching Susan Estrich falsely say on TV that what Clinton allegedly did to Juanita Broaddrick was not rape in Arkansas at the time--torture her by holding her down and biting her lip until the pain and bleeding were so great that she submitted to rape--literally made me ill. To think that these were the same people who thought that Clarence Thomas shouldn't be confirmed because he was so far over the line for discussing dirty movies with a staff person and asking her out twice!

I took Anita Hill's side in the Thomas hearings and I naively thought that feminists did so too as a matter of principle. But I learned in the Clinton rape allegations that most feminists (Gloria Allred being a notable exception) didn't really care about what Thomas or Clinton had done--just what suited their politics. The feminist movement in the US may never recover the moral high ground--and when I hear Hillary Clinton sounding off about violence against women, I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Yes, I think the moral high ground was lost for all time over that one -- or, more accurately, was revealed never to have existed at all.

Estrich has recanted now. But, of course, not until after the political moment had passed.

MORE HUMAN RIGHTS CONCERNS over the air transport photos.

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: Reading between the lines in this story, I think that there may have been cooperation from other Palestinian groups in setting this guy up. Wouldn't be the first time.


Georgia Republicans' roll continued Friday, as the GOP converted a third Democratic state senator and handed Gov.-elect Sonny Perdue control of half of the Legislature.

State Sen. Rooney Bowen of Cordele said in an interview he would leave the Democratic Party and join the Republicans because it would be the best thing for his South Georgia constituents.

Also Friday, Democratic Sens. Don Cheeks of Augusta and Dan Lee of LaGrange formally announced their decision to switch to the Republican Party.

Adding those three senators will give the Republicans a 29-27 majority, their first in the Georgia Senate since Reconstruction, to go along with their first governor since that era.

I'm not an election-trend tea-leaf reader, but this seems significant to me. Along with GOP successes in a number of other state legislatures, it certainly suggests that the elections were about more than the war.

November 08, 2002


The U.S. citizen killed by a missile launched from a pilotless drone aircraft over Yemen was the ringleader of an alleged terrorist sleeper cell in Lackawanna, N.Y., administration officials said yesterday.

Kamal Derwish, one of two unindicted co-conspirators in the Lackawanna case, died along with the intended target of the attack, senior al Qaeda leader Abu Ali al-Harithi, who is accused of masterminding the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in which 17 sailors died.

That would seem to strengthen the Buffalo case, wouldn't it?

BLOGGERS ARE EVERYWHERE: Tom Maguire has a mole in the drug-war advertising establishment and he reports on the stupidity, er, plans.

TAPPED and TomPaine.Com are jumping on the Gary Hart 2004 bandwagon. Go for it guys. Just remember who was saying it over a year ago.

Advantage: InstaPundit!

HEY, MOXIE'S GOT A NEWSPAPER COLUMN NOW. Well, they do say you should write what you know.


DATELINE has a pretty interesting segment on about the airline passengers and crew who subdued Richard Reid. Turn it on, if you're interested.

POLITICIANS, MUSICIANS, AND SMALL PLANES: Eric Olsen has some observations.

THE POWER OF THE INTERNET: Reader Jim Herd points out that the successful roundup of the Symbionese Liberation Army was largely the result of pressure by one guy with a website. I haven't followed the case closely, but that seems to be largely correct.

UPDATE: Reader Dale Wetzel points out that this website deserves a mention, too.

STUPID (ANTI) RAVE TRICKS: TalkLeft reports on what happened in Wisconsin.

UPDATE: A reader notes that judges and prosecutors tend to go to more traditional music venues, where you'd never find anyone using drugs.

VEGARD VALBERG has posted what he calls "The Grandmother of All Mistings."

MATTHEW HOY is pushing a bone-marrow registry drive for a friend. And The Indepundit has more information on bone marrow donation generally.

BILL QUICK explains how Bush can blow it by 2004. Not that I think it's likely to happen.


The post-9/11 animus from a Norman Mailer (the Twin Towers were like ugly buck teeth), Noam Chomsky (America planned to kill "millions" in Afghanistan), or Michael Moore (there were few Bush voters at the World Trade Center) — followed by gleeful predictions by others of U.S. failure against the Taliban — is now come to logical fruition over the toppling of the odious Saddam Hussein. And what one has to conclude from the present venom is that anti-Americanism is neither logical nor empirical. Indeed, it is a fundamentalist secular religion, not a reasoned stance, one entirely inconsistent and unpredictable in its choice of friends and foes — except for one constant: Whatever America does, it hates.

We are learning that resistance never really entailed opposition to fascism at all, much less the need for intervention to support democracy, but was simply a strange desire to vent displeasure with our own culture. That so many of these ideological teenagers mad at their opulent and indulgent parents are affluent suburbanites suggests the deleterious effects of leisure and wealth; that so many enjoy the appurtenances of nice cars, houses, and travel denotes abject hypocrisy; that so many mindlessly repeat cant and fad reflects the power of belonging to a clique that promises status by being more "sophisticated" and "subtle" than ordinary Americans; that so many demand utopian perfection reminds us that their god Reason is an unforgiving totem; that so many are shrill and angry suggests that they seek global causes to assuage personal unhappiness and anger at a system that has not met their own high demands upon it. . . .

Face it: Slobodan Milosevic, Mullah Omar, Yasser Arafat, and Saddam Hussein — not the ghosts of the thousands of their innocent dead — all prefer Ramsey Clark to George Bush. We are seeing nothing less than quite literally the end of an era — witnessed by the intellectual suicide of an entire generation, who in their last gasps are proving they have been not very moral people all along.


UPDATE: A reader sends this link to a Tom Wolfe essay that's worth reading.


Political Correctness is not a matter of what is said; it is a matter of who says it. The anointed are "allowed" freedoms of speech unavailable to the hoi polloi. Had it been myself on ITV news, making the same remark, I would be pilloried for it.

Do not get me wrong: I am not castigating Michael Moore for this remark. I am merely pointing out there is an inherent asymmetry and illogic to the Left's position on Freedom of Speech. The fact is, I agree with Michael Moore. Laura Ingraham is better looking than he is.

No argument here.

GARRISON KEILLOR, NORM COLEMAN, AND WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE DEMOCRATIC LEFT: Minnesota blogger Mitch Berg has some observations.

Rachel Lucas, meanwhile has some of her own regarding Terry McAuliffe, author of the Wellstone rally debacle.

THE TRIP TO NYC WAS FINE: Nice, smooth nonstop flight. Got into Newark before 8:30, was in Manhattan by 9. The taping for PBS's "Media Matters" program on weblogs went well. When the producer originally called, I told him that I thought the story idea was great, but that they were going to have a hard time making it visually interesting.

This is why they're TV pros and I'm not. The taping was a far cry from Larry King Live: in fact, it's probably as close as I'll get to making a rock video unless my music hobby really takes off. They had fog machines, various bizarre lighting effects, front- and back-projection setups, and a bunch of stuff that, had it been describe do me, would have seemed dumb but that actually looked pretty good when I saw it on the monitors. We'll see how the program turns out, but I was impressed with what I saw.

Oliver Willis was there, too. I missed Anil Dash, who was there the day before, and Megan McArdle, who got there after a I left to catch my flight home.

Alas, I might as well have stayed. My flight home, along with a lot of other flights, was cancelled because of weather and I wound up spending the night at the Newark Airport Mariott. Not bad at all, as airport hotels go, but not where I would have chosen to spend the night. Got back this morning about ten.

I could have blogged from the Mariott's "business center," but at some outrageous per-minute rate. They had high-speed connections in the rooms, but I didn't take the laptop, since I didn't expect to have any free time anyway. Oh, well.

More later. Here's the Media Matters homepage, though they don't have anything about the show up there yet. They're promising quicktime video clips soon; the show itself will run in January.


November 06, 2002

BLOGGUS INTERRUPTUS: I may manage a post or two later tonight or tomorrow morning, but I'm catching an early flight to NYC tomorrow to be interviewed by the PBS show "Media Matters" -- about weblogs, no surprise. If I get some free time I'll post a few things, but since it's an up-and-back in one day, free time may be at a premium. In my absence, visit the many fine weblogs in the links to the left. And don't miss this special edition of Will Vehrs' Punditwatch on FoxNews.

UPDATE: I've heard from Blogosphere favorite Rachael Klein! She emailed to let me know that she's still at Berkeley, but that she's given up her column because she's trying hard to finish her senior thesis and graduate. She misses it, though, and I've encouraged her to start a weblog or start writing for Blogcritics or something. Anyway, I asked her to weigh in on the Great Cornell Vibrator controversy, and she's sent some comments by email. I've posted them over at InstaPundit EXTRA! Also, Austin Bay has a comment on how Al Qaeda zealots find themselves fighting American robots -- and losing.

And sheesh, over 100,000 pageviews yesterday, the day after the election. Go figure.

SOME ADVICE FOR BUSH: Jonah Goldberg warns that the Republicans need to avoid overreaching, as Republicans have done in the past when things went unexpectedly well. (I linked to a similar warning from John Ellis earlier today). Democrats and their friends in the media, after all, will be waiting to pounce on anything that will let them paint the Republicans as corrupt pawns of greedy big business.

I think he's right, and in particular I think that the Bush Administration needs to do something dramatic that will position it on the side of consumers against Evil Big Business. And I have just the thing: The Bush Administration should take on the crooks and thugs of the recording and movie industries. And it should do so on the side of artists and consumers.

It's widely believed that the recording industry shafts its artists. As Ken Layne has pointed out, when 9,000 artist accounts were audited, 8,999 were found to have involved underpayments to the artists. Artist retirement funds have been underfunded, too -- sometimes to ridiculous levels. And the record companies recently settled a price-fixing suit brought by state attorneys general.

Meanwhile the entertainment industries are trying to take control of people's computers, televisions, and stereos. Consumers are gouged for ticket prices, radio is ruined by payola and other shady practices, and pretty much everyone knows that the whole industry is rotten to the core. (Heck, it was the topic of the very first post on InstaPundit). And by siding with artists, the Administration will be able to split an industry that's usually united against the Republicans right down the middle. And voters identify with actors and musicians much more than with the suits who run the record and movie industries.

By taking on this big business that everyone has come to hate, the Bush Administration can position itself as a tribune of the people against greedy corporate interests. (And make media assaults on the Administration easy to discount as a self-interested response to its efforts to enforce the law). That they happen to be greedy corporate interests that give generously to Democrats will only make it more appealing.

A BLOGGER GETS SUED. Scientology is involved.

This looks pretty thuggish to me. And it's certainly lowering my opinion of Front Sight, an organization that I've always thought well of up to now.

READER BRIAN ERST says he's found my secret identity. Damn, I thought dropping the "n" from my first name would throw people off.

MICHAEL MOORE is a failure as a prognosticator:

Sunday, November 3rd, 2002
Years from Now, They'll Call It "Payback Tuesday"

Dear Friends,

Well, folks, Tuesday is the day! The day that George W. gets taught a long overdue lesson. The day that we, the MAJORITY -- the 52% who never elected him -- get our chance to reclaim a bit of our former democracy (back when ALL the votes used to be counted).

What if, on Tuesday, all of us, regardless of our political stripe, and just for the fun of it, decided to serve one big-ass eviction notice that said, you have two years to remove yourself from the premises-and you had better not damage anything on your way out?

I think we can give Bush the Mother of all Shellackings on Tuesday.

I think this is on a par with a lot of Moore's other factual claims. Better read it before he takes it down. . . .

UPDATE: Some readers say that Moore's screed should be read as a call to arms, rather than a prediction. Of course, just makes it a different kind of failure.

ANOTHER UPDATE: And quite a failure it was: UPI says the race overall went 53-47 for the GOP over the Dems. Hmm. . . think the people who set so much store by the popular-vote totals in 2000 will be talking about this figure? Nope. They're in too great a state of denial. Which will only help the Republicans long-term, of course. Eric Raymond has some thoughts on the Dems' disconnect with reality, and why it's a deeper problem than most commentators seem to have realized.

DAN HANSON probes the darkside of the election results.

IN ANSWER TO A QUESTION POSED BY A READER BELOW, Gerhard Schroder has called President Bush to offer his congratulations. It's not clear, though, whether Bush took the call. . . .

THE BARBARIANS AT THE GATES: Of Paris, that is. This is the logical consequence of a general policy of appeasement, and of the state telling everyone not to get involved in matters that it then proceeds to neglect itself. It's New York, 1977, all over again. Only worse.

THREE PAKISTANI MEN HAVE BEEN ARRESTED for trying to buy Stinger missiles on behalf of Al Qaeda.

UPDATE: Here's more. Ashcroft is wrong, though -- this isn't a reason to join the war on terrorists to the war on drugs. It's a reason to get rid of the war on drugs, and thus deprive terrorists of a covert source of funds.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Andrew Stuttaford agrees, writing:

Uncle Sam's drug warriors have trashed thousands of lives and squandered billions of dollars in their pointless and self-defeating crusade. They are also now, it is clear, a growing menace to national security. It's long past time to say no to them.

Yes, it is.

VINOD VALLOPPILLIL has a link-filled post on what should come next with Iraq. Excerpt:

If Saddam were a white guy named Milosevic, the entire friggin' EU, NATO, and US military would already be in the country saving the populace from this him. Alas, Milosevic didn't have the Race Card, the Religion Card, and the Anti-West Cards working for him. The usual Euro/leftist voices of humanitarianism fall strangely silent when dealing with "brown tyrants for brown people."


HERE'S THE TEXT of the proposed U.S. resolution on Iraq.

WHIGGINGOUT emails to point out that his November 2 predictions held up better than those of the experts. Yep.

UPDATE: Dodd Harris is claiming vindication too!

No email from Dick Morris yet. . . .

READER EMAIL: Here are a few excerpts from my voluminous inbox:

While I agree that National Security was the big stick that enabled the Republican success in this election, I don't think you can overstate the repugnance with which many independents viewed Wellstone's memorial service. I think there is a strong possibility that mobilized many folks to vote against the Democrats.


Minnesota folk have a strong sense of decency and and watching Democrats make politics into a tasteless political rally offended us to the core. The Wellstone rally was all people talked about here last week. Poll lines were 3 hours long yesterday; I am guessing the final totals will set a new record for voter turnout.


OK, so it's not really a revolution everywhere. Here in Georgia it is nothing short of that: the collapse of a 130-year-old structure of Democratic control of the state government that nobody saw coming, outside perhaps of Sonny Perdue's immediate family and maybe Ralph Reed.

One local trend that a lot of people missed is that in some key states, including Georgia, Massachusetts and Maryland, Republicans were able to run as outsiders critizing an entrenched Democratic political establishment that voters resented more than everyone thought. This kind of thing can cut both ways, of course, but outside of Illinois and maybe Michigan it didn't. Even in Wisconsin, where Tommy Thompson's successor got turned out, the Republicans took over both houses of the state legislature.

On the national level, the big issue that Democrats still haven't come to grips with may not be the economy at all, though I agree with what Josh Marshall says today about their emphasis on tactics over ideas. The big issue that the end of the Cold War and the 1990's boom obscured may be that Democrats are still not trusted on national security/foreign policy issues. The last election where they were, really, was the one in 1964. Elections they have won since were those where the electorate's attention was focused elsewhere: on the aftermath of Watergate (1976), or on the economy (1992 and '96).

Plenty of criticisms can be made of how Republican administrations have handled defense and foreign affairs, but as with economic issues you cannot beat something with nothing. Democrats are for the most part still identified with weakness, as they have been since the McGovern candidacy in 1972, and with putting interest group politics ahead of national security. One of the most effective GOP attacks on Democrats this year was about applying civil service rules to the new Dept. of Homeland Security -- the Democrats never came up with a good reason for their position other than that it was what the public employee unions wanted. To most people it looked like doing what the unions wanted was the thing they were really serious about.


On the national scene, I think this is relief from the constipation that has gripped us for the last two years. Before the elections, big media was touting that this election would be a referendum on the Bush Presidency and I think it was. Look for those same pundits to back quickly away from that statement now. I think it also shows, much to the pundits’ dismay, that the American people are paying attention.


As the fallout becomes clearer, I think the Dems are going to see that there are a LOT of people like me: Registered Democrats who have previously been party faithful but who jumped the fence based on the war on terrorism. I talked to a little old man while in line for the polls and he told me he was in this category, and was voting Republican for the first time in 20 years. "Those Democrats are going to get more Americans killed," he said.


This past Saturday I was in a townie pub in a 'burb of Boston. I knew then that O'Brien was toast. Her behavior in the last debate turned off the local and blue collar vote, as did the fact that three of her relatives are "on the payroll". The final straw, I think, was her stand on allowing 16 year olds to have abortions without parental consent -- it turned off many "moderate" pro-choicers. She came across as Hillary Clinton would if she only could, and that's a sure-fire loser anywhere.

So without the "townie"/blue collar vote, O'Brien didn't have a chance because MA is being transformed by it's high-tech, entrepreneurial economy. The liberal base is being sapped by a new breed that wants low taxes, increasing property values and a continuing supply of high paying, high tech jobs. But the kicker is that the "townies" are now recognizing that this is in their best interest too and are defecting from this base.


Interesting spin in the NY Times that says that President Bush must account for all of those waving hands that voted for the Dems. I don't recall them saying that when the Dems won big in 1998. Then it was a mandate.


You voiced some wonder that Ehrlich won in MD despite his position on guns (or perhaps despite KKT's position on guns).

I would suggest that during the sniper episode more than a few otherwise liberal or liberal-minded people went to buy a gun and came up against the waiting period and the State Police background checks and the Federal forms answer truthfully on penalty of a felony) and rethought their positions on guns and gun control.(Hey, I'm a law-abiding guy/gal, why can't I have a gun to protect myself, and what if I need one during the waiting period? What if I made a mistake by accident on the forms and get in trouble? Hey, I vote for Connie Morella, therefore I am ok, right?) Maybe some cognitive dissonance set in....

A statistic that came out during the campaign was that thousands of guns were fingerprinted in the last two years (since the law was passed)and not a single crime has been solved on that basis. Meanwhile, the state archivist was found to have declared that MD would not be cooperating with other states' firearms background checks "for lack of resources", calling into question the commitment of the administration to doing something sensible about gun ownership by criminals with the existing laws. Further, I believe there was a brief period of time when even the background checks for Maryland gun purchasers were not done properly. When the sniper's weapon was found to have been brought in from out of state maybe some realized the futility of the exercise.

All of this makes it more than reasonable to assume that what we do about guns is a reasonable question, not an automatic "yes" to more gun laws.


I'm the state chairman of the Massachusetts Libertarian Party.

I spent the whole day yesterday at the polls, talking to voters and to the political operatives for the Democrats and Republicans.

What Jay Fitzgerald fails to mention is that the anti-income tax initiative was completely a Libertarian initiative, and one that every Republican (Mitt Romney included) opposed.

Tell me again how this is supposed to be victory for conservatives?

This is a stunning victory for the Libertarians; we have demonstrated our ability to set the agenda.

Meanwhile, some members of the Republican state committee (who shall remain unnamed to protect their privacy) have complained to me on numerous occasions of the leftward tilt of their own party, and of the constant witch hunts to eliminate "real" conservatives. . . .

In the mean time, the Libertarian Party is the fastest growing party in
Massachusetts, and we have only just begun.


1. Terry can claim all he wants that the Democratic base didn't come out, but the places they DID come out is where they got hammered worst (congratulations, Jeb!)

2. Jeffords just lost everything he sold his soul for, and I think milk AND cheese will be getting much cheaper in the coming months. . . .

9. Look for Maureen Dowd to make inappropriate comparisons to this mandate for Bush to the 100% turnout/vote for Saddaam in Iraq. She'll make it fit, trust me. If she doesn't then Molly Ivins will.


The consensus on the Street is that the Fed will have to cut rates again today to provide stimulus to the economy. Yet Democrats have tried to claim that they have a better economic plan -- raise taxes!

If Greenspan does cut rates today, it will serve as an exclamation point to the message voters gave Democrats yesterday -- that they don't have a clue when it comes to a plan for the future.


The question I'm trying to ask is: "Can the Senate refuse to seat Lautenberg based on the violation of state election laws?"


Voters in South Carolina elected Mark Sanford governor. He proposed a plan to phase out that state's income tax.

Voters in liberal Massachusetts nearly passed an initiative to repeal the state's income tax. It failed only 55-45, a shockingly close margin in liberal Taxachusetts.

Voters in liberal Oregon overwhelmingly defeated a ballot initiative to create universal healthcare in the state because it would have caused massive increases to the state's income tax.

Clearly, anti-tax sentiment is brewing.


Ehrlich skillfully finessed the gun issue and made it into the crime issue. According the FBI's data Maryland is the third most violent state in the nation. (I've not seen the more recent data, but at the census bureau site, Maryland was the fourth most violent state in 2000, up from sixth in 1990. Violent crime rates in Maryland did drop, just not as fast as in most other states during the 1990's.) Ehrlich advocates bringing Richmond's Project Exile to Maryland to fight gun crime. (Both the NRA and anti-gun groups supported Project Exile.) I know it's a cliche to say that we need to control criminals not guns, but it's true. Given Townsend's spotty record on controlling crime - she was in charge of fighting crime in the administration - Ehrlich's win also suggests that simply passing more gun control laws is an abdication masquerading as fighting crime.


How would you like to be Frank Lautenberg this morning?

78 years old and back in the Senate in the *minority* party. Yeah, that'll get him jumping out of bed every morning.


It seems to me that the combination of (i) the President's ability to aid his party's candidates and (ii) his ability heretofore to keep Senate Dems on the ropes on Iraq, executive privilege, etc. flatly disprove the sentiment running high circa 1999 that the rabid Clinton-haters had irreparably damaged the presidency for all time.

Of course, the speed with which those same persons began to blast the Administration's "unilateralism" sort of gave the lie to that "damaged presidency" thesis earlier. Even Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. was recently trumpeting the return of the Imperial Presidency a few weeks ago.


I wonder if German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has placed a congratulatory call to President Bush yet?

This just scratches the surface of what I've gotten.

DEMOCRATS LOOKING FOR A MODEL could do worse than to study Phil Bredesen's campaign. Bredesen looked like a loser early on -- having been beaten by the not-very-impressive Don Sundquist in 1994. The Republican, Van Hilleary, was in a strong position and had a good campaign organization. But Bredesen won convincingly in a state that is trending Republican. He even pulled a lot of Republican votes out of East Tennessee, which should have been a Hilleary stronghold.

Bredesen is pro-choice, and generally seen as less anti-tax than Hilleary. He ran as a strongly pro-gun candidate, attending NRA events -- I even saw a flyer for a charity skeet-shoot between him and Hilleary. And (though of course it's easier to do as a gubernatorial candidate) he kept a strong separation between himself and the Barbara Boxer wing of the Democratic Party.

BUSHISM OF THE DAY: N.Z. Bear's got it.

THE DAY AFTER: John Ellis has some thoughts, and a warning against hubris.

LAST WEEK I GOT A MESSAGE containing an email exchange between an Air Force Academy cadet and a professor who responded very rudely to a polite request for information. I didn't run it because I couldn't verify it and the professor's response seemed so stereotypically rude and anti-military that I wasn't entirely sure it was real:

From: Peter Kirstein
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 1:46 PM
To: Kurpiel Robert C4C CS26

Subject: Re: Academy Assembly

You are a disgrace to this country and I am furious you would even think I would support you and your aggressive baby killing tactics of collateral damage. Help you recruit. Who, top guns to reign death and destruction upon nonwhite peoples throughout the world? Are you serious sir? Resign your commission and serve your country with honour.

No war, no air force cowards who bomb countries with AAA, without possibility of retaliation. You are worse than the snipers. You are imperialists who are turning the whole damn world against us. September 11 can be blamed in part for what you and your cohorts have done to Palestinians, the VC, the Serbs, a retreating army at Basra.

You are unworthy of my support.

Peter N. Kirstein
Professor of History
Saint Xavier University.

It was, in fact, genuine, proving that some stereotypes have a basis in fact. Neal Boortz has been on top of it and has the whole story, ending with an apology from Professor Kirstein. All I can say is that the students and faculty of the U.S. Air Force Academy have shown far more maturity and civility than their antimilitarist critic. Again.

Although Professor Kirstein has apologized, I can't help but feel that his initial letter was a more accurate reflection of his feelings than the apology that came out after this letter received widespread attention. And I think that the identification of people like Kirstein with the Democratic Party helps to explain yesterday's election. While I would defend Kirstein's right to spout his insulting twaddle -- just as I defend the right of fraternity members to wear blackface, which I regard as behavior of equivalent intellectual and moral seriousness -- I am embarrassed that the academic profession claims so many people who think like Professor Kirstein, and talk like Professor Kirstein -- and that the academic profession, for the most part, isn't embarrassed about that at all. Indeed, he would have been likely to receive more censure from academics had he impersonated Michael Jackson.

That the email is barely literate, of course, adds insult to injury.

UPDATE: A reader directed me to Kirstein's website, which he characterizes as "almost a parody." The picture of Karl Marx's grave appears to have been removed, but Kirstein does advise fellow professors to "Be prepared for occasional frustration when students don't always respond to your enthusiasim [sic] and dreams." He's also blasting Campus Watch for "McCarthyism," but the fact that Campus Watch has named him an apologist for terrorism seems to do more to enhance than to detract from Campus Watch's credibility.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Nope, the Marx picture is still up -- it's here.

ONE MORE: Some liberals in academia are catching on, as this piece from the Duke University Chronicle illustrates. (Via LGF).

LAST UPDATE, REALLY: Reader Tom Donahue writes:

Peter Kirstein's response to the Air Force Academy cadet is completely in keeping with what those who knew him in graduate school would have expected. Peter and I were in the St. Louis University doctoral program at the same time in the late 60's, early 70's. His every day conversation then was filled with ideological cant and he was viewed as a largely harmless if somewhat annoying buffoon. Too bad that the passage of 30 plus years has brought such little intellectual development.

Unfortunately, there is a whole generation of annoying buffoons, hired back when standards were much, much lower, still occuping positions in academia. People like that would be screened out today.

I PLUGGED THE WEEKLY STANDARD'S SUCCESS in getting so many actual articles online so fast, but I should point out that the folks at The Corner pulled an amazing journalistic all-nighter, too.

EUROPEANS FRET, FEARING A BOLDER BUSH: Reader John Chang sends this link, and notes that Gerhard Schroder should be as worried about his prospects as Jim Jeffords. Not much evidence that it's sunk in, though:

"The likelihood that the American president will feel even more self-confident about his own views than prior to the election is great," Karsten Voigt, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's U.S. affairs coordinator, told Reuters.

"But on the other side, I think that he needs to convince Europeans. And so far as military action (in Iraq) is concerned, he has not convinced the Germans -- yet."

The question that the Germans and the French need to be asking is not "what will Bush do to win us over," but rather "what can we do to minimize the paybacks for our backstabbing?"

BILL HOBBS has a post on the Massachusetts anti-income tax initiative, and its surprisingly light coverage outside of Massachussetts. And scroll down for a lot of coverage on the Tennessee elections.


Fraud, errors and complacency in the management of the European Union's Ђ98bn (Ј61bn) budget were yesterday laid bare in ahard-hitting annual report by the EU's court of auditors.

The report confirms many of the allegations made by Marta Andreasen, the suspended EU chief accountant, who claimed the European Commission's accounting system is deeply flawed.

For the eighth year in a row, the court was only able to certify that 5 per cent of the EU's expenditure - mainly relating to internal administration - was legal and regular. The remaining 95 per cent, including the sprawling farm and regional aid budgets, was not given a positive statement of assurance "due to the incidence of errors found".

Incidents of fraud detected include the usual bizarre assortment of fraudulent subsidy claims, including those paid for non-existent sheep and for imaginary Alpine pastures.

Hmm. Remember the tut-tutting about "American-style capitalism" from Euro-politicos when the Enron scandal broke? Somebody call them for comments on this. . . .

POSTMORTEM: Josh Marshall has it about right, I think:

There will be a lot of talk about poorly executed tactics in various races. And there does seem to have been a late wave for Republicans -- probably just enough to seal a number of contests, and quite likely related to the president's election swing. But I think the issue here isn't poor tactics so much as an over-emphasis on tactics in general. The Democrats have lots of long-term political and demographic trends in their favor. But they don't really have a politics, a vision, or a message -- or perhaps, better to say, the courage and imagination to get behind one. And I suspect that that is the underlying issue.

Tactics can make a difference, and they're easy to focus on because they're discrete and -- in the warfare mode -- they're fun. But they're supposed to be an adjunct to the message, not a substitute for the message. When you let them take over, you look like you don't have a message, and like you'll do anything to win. That was the import of the Wellstone funeral-cum-rally, and of a lot of other things that the Democrats have done, and it hurt them.

The Democrats need to fix themselves. Marshall predicts that a lot of heads will roll, and they should.

NO BIAS HERE: The current BBC headline: "Congress falls to the Republicans." Even the Guardian is more neutral, with "Clean Sweep for the Republicans."

Meanwhile reader Peter Schiavo writes:

I think on a certain level the broad middle is afraid that the Democrats don't take terrorism seriously. Plus I think the mandate given to the President to bypass the UN and attack Iraq is clear. Let's see if the French get the message.

I think that's probably right.

UPDATE: The BBC has changed its headline to "Triumph for Bush in Congress Elections" -- hmm.

TACITUS responds to blogospheric sour grapes.

MICKEY KAUS says that the big story is the New York Times' blowing of its own scoop -- its polls over the weekend forecast the outcome, but the Times was too busy spinning for the Democrats to notice.

He has some choice words for VNS -- which apparently was showing Florida too close to call even as Jeb Bush racked up a big victory -- too. But to be fair, even VNS doubted those numbers.

Jay Fitzgerald, meanwhile, has some Massachussetts insights:

Ronald Reagan wins Massachusetts in '80 and '84. The last four gubernatorial races here have been won by Republicans (granted, not of the Rest of the Nation variety). A radical anti-income tax measure nearly wins tonight (and it's still not counted out as of now). President Bush has a surprisingly strong approval rating here, especially after he rattles the old sword. But what does the rest of the nation still think of Massachusetts? McGovern, '72. Message to the country: Massachusetts IS more liberal than the rest of the country, but not nearly as liberal as people think. There's a Democratic machine here that most out-of-state observers just don't get -- nor appreciate in terms of the way it shapes politics here. Think: Cook County of the Daley era. The patronage. The nepotism. The one-party lock. That's Massachusetts. The Dems draw the legislative and Congressional maps here. That's why they control the legislature and all the Congressional seats here. But it doesn't necessarily reflect the mood here. Yes, again, Massachusetts is, without question, more liberal than the average state, but tonight's results show ... well, figure it out yourself. Now if we could only have a Republican party that could get its act together ... Hell, I and a lot of other people would even vote Green or French Socialist to get these clowns off our back.

The Massachusetts GOP has been lame for years. Maybe they'll sieze this opportunity. Maybe they won't.

NORM COLEMAN IS PRONOUNCED THE WINNER IN MINNESOTA: That's what the New York Times says in a 7:05 alert on its front page.

This is bad news for Terry McAuliffe. He's likely to be out of a job soon, which paradoxically is probably bad news for the Republicans.

UPDATE: CNN has called it for Coleman too now. I think it was the tasteless rally that made the difference.

INSTA-PUNDITRY: Sheesh, the Weekly Standard already has four articles up on its site analyzing the election. I just couldn't stay up until the end last night, after spending the previous evening at Children's Hospital.

I almost felt embarrassed by being one-upped this way, but then I remembered: they get paid for doing this. You know, with real money and everything!

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan, who routinely keeps later hours than me anyway, has a lot of good points. I especially like the observation that Howell Raines is a mole for Karl Rove. He might as well be.

ANOTHER UPDATE: And Stephen Green has loads of interesting observations.

LILEKS NEEDS A MAID: Go to his site and hit the tipjar.

AS I SAID, a good night for the Republicans. And I suspect that it's Bush's campaign swing that made most of the difference. Even some of the winning Republicans seemed surprised, though, at the difference between the vote and their final tracking polls. I think that indicates -- as with the VNS debacle -- that polls are becoming increasingly unreliable for a variety of reasons.

I think it's a good thing that polls are becoming unreliable. Maybe as that becomes clear, politicians will stop paying so much attention to them in between elections.

November 05, 2002

WITH 68% OF THE VOTE IN, Massachusetts' initiative to abolish the state income tax still has 47% of the vote.

UPDATE: Okay, it's finished at 45% of the vote. I noticed that CNN was covering the failure of the medical-marijuana referendum in Arizona, but didn't mention this one at all.

Call me crazy, but I think that a 45% vote to abolish the freakin' income tax -- and in Massachussetts of all places -- is a bigger deal.

FOX IS CALLING IT FOR EHRLICH IN MARYLAND. Amazing that Townsend's anti-gun theme fell so flat, in Maryland of all places.

A THOUGHT: The Republicans are doing a lot better than people expected a couple of weeks ago, and a lot better than parties usually do in midterms when they control the Presidency. Bush has been campaigning like hell the last couple of weeks.

This was a big gamble for him -- if he had stayed in the Rose Garden, they probably wouldn't have done nearly as well, but his spinmeisters could have used history to deflect a lot of the criticism. But once he went out to campaign, it was a gamble: if Jeb Bush had lost, and if the GOP had gotten creamed in some of these other races, he'd look much weaker as a result, and the war effort might have been in danger, leaving him likely to be a one-termer.

But he took the risk, and though at this hour it's not clear how big the victory is, he's clearly won a victory.

Do you think he'll pursue a similarly audacious strategy on the war?

NECN IS PROJECTING ROMNEY THE WINNER in Massachussetts. And Fox is calling it for Saxby Chambliss in Georgia. Looks like a pretty good night for the Republicans after all.

UPDATE: With 62% of the vote in, support for the anti-income-tax initiative in Massachussetts is steady at 47%. That's big news.

Donald Sensing is tracking referenda around the country.

IN MARYLAND, Ehrlich is currently leading over Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, 51-48 with 82% of the vote in.

UPDATE: Now it's 52-47 with 93% of the vote in. They're not calling it yet, but it's looking good for Ehrlich.

WITH 39% OF THE VOTE IN, Massachussetts' initiative to abolish the state income tax is at a stunning 47% -- this could be the sleeper story of the night. I still doubt it will pass, but this kind of support in "Taxachussetts" bodes ill for people like Garry Wills and Sean Wilentz who maintain that America's appetite for big government is unslaked.

UPDATE: The percentage is holding steady with 43% of the vote in.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Roger Bournival sends this link to NECN which is updating the results more often. And with 47% of the vote in , the percentage of support is the same.

Jay Fitzgerald is blogging through the night on the Massachussetts returns.

ONE MORE UPDATE: 68% of the vote's in, and it's still at 47% support. This is amazing.

MERYL YOURISH is a disenfranchised voter. Jesse Jackson, call your office!

CNN is calling Lindsey Graham the winner in SC.

UPDATE: Fox is calling New Hampshire for Sununu. It's too early to say that this will be a good night for the Republicans, but it's pretty clear that it won't be a bad one.

MICKEY KAUS says that I'm a "cutting-edge, tech-savvy Web entrepreneur." Hmm. To be an entrepreneur, don't I need to, you know, make money? Oh, wait, he said "Web entrepreneur." Never mind.

DRUDGE is reporting that Dole has won in North Carolina. And Fox says Alexander will take Tennessee.

PAPA'S GOT A BRAND NEW BLOG. John Bono, to be precise.

THE STANFORD/STALIN/WTC BOMBING CONNECTION: You'd think this was exaggerated, but it's not.

DRUDGE is reporting that Jeb Bush has been re-elected.

UPDATE: Jay Caruso calls this an "embarrassing loss" for Terry McAuliffe.

TURNOUT: Polls sure seemed crowded here. And that's the report I'm getting via email from a lot of places.

UPDATE: The mysterious Tacitus reports from the electioneering front lines.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I don't think it's driven by results yet, but TNR is sounding pretty thoroughly defeatist.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Michele has exit poll results. And Nikita Demosthenes has first hand reports of the Maryland voting machine snafu.

RETURN OF THE ISI: More bad news about Pakistan:

The U.S. State Department praised the Pakistani elections as "an important milestone in the ongoing transition to democracy." One of the Bush administration's ranking national security officials confided privately, "better to have the crazies in than out of government."

But the reality is, that to call Pakistan an ally in the war against terrorism has become an oxymoron. Rehman and his cohort Sami ul-Haq were the tutors to most of Taliban's top leadership. Two years ago, Omar and bin Laden delivered joint commencement addresses at the University for the Education of Truth -- one of Pakistan's principal Islamic seminaries or madrasas -- in the township of Akora Khattak near the border city of Peshawar. Then, Pakistani and Afghan mujahedin or holy warriors came and went as they pleased across the porous frontier.

Now Taliban cadres are free again to come and go without fear of arrest. Because the Oct. 10 elections also gave control of the regional governments of two of Pakistan's four provinces -- Northwest Frontier Province and Baluchistan -- to those who guard the friends of the prophet. The entire length of the Pak-Afghan frontier is now once again the dominion of anti-American religious extremists. . . .

Some 300 ISI officers who had been working with Taliban prior to 9/11 and were transferred to regular army units have now been returned to the intelligence agency. NWFP and Baluchistan are once again privileged sanctuaries for al Qaida -- a clear and present danger for president Bush's war on terror.

Hmm. I'm not as pessimistic as this analysis, yet, but it's a reason to keep our relations with India close. In a worst-case scenario, it may take a U.S. / Indian effort to clean out Pakistan and Afghanistan. Though if Saudi Arabia is neutralized the rest will probably take care of itself, and if Saudi Arabia isn't neutralized then successes elsewhere won't matter. Saud Delenda Est!

IT'S ALWAYS A MISTAKE to make too much of these experiments, whether they "succeed" or "fail" -- but a laser that can shoot down an artillery shell in flight is a big deal.

NICK DENTON DEBUNKS THE POST-POSTELECTION SPIN: And if that's not a reason to love the blogosphere, I don't know what is. Excerpt:

One prediction about the mid-terms: within a day of the results the commentators will be saying the elections demonstrate the divide in the US. A country, split down the middle. Ignore them. The precision of the results will have less to do with public opinion than the skill of modern politicians in positioning themselves close to the median of their constituencies.

Yep. Meanwhile Orrin Judd is already handicapping the 2004 elections.

If that's too far ahead for you, there's always Patrick Ruffini's exit poll, which looks to be about as accurate as the VNS. . . .

WELL, IT'S NOT THE PINK PISTOLS, but it's a move in the right direction:

On the morning of Friday, Oct. 25, two men, Fidel Serrano, 23, and Martin Hernandez, 21, were arrested for battery and the commission of a hate crime, after they tried to attack a gay man outside a West Hollywood bar on Santa Monica Boulevard. The man, who has not been identified, fought back when Serrano and Hernandez jumped from their car and began hitting him in the face and head with their hands. In a surprise move, the victim struck Serrano, knocking him to the ground.

Serrano and Hernandez jumped back in their car and tried to flee, but were stopped by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies less than a block from the attack.

It's amazing how much less people enjoy this kind of thing when the victims fight back.

HOWIE CARR REPORTS VOTER FRAUD AND PRESS INTIMIDATION IN BOSTON and he's got video on this link. There were multiple people in the voting booth, and they sure looked to me like they had something to hide.

JUST GOT A PHONE CALL a little while ago from a friend I haven't seen in nearly 20 years, who found me via InstaPundit. I like it when that happens.

MY PREDICTION of voting-machine problems is looking pretty good.

JOSH MARSHALL is posting early numbers on some of the races.

UPDATE: Drudge appears to have more and more recent numbers.


FRENCH AUTHORITIES HAVE ARRESTED men said to be behind the Tunisia synagogue bombing. They're thought to be affiliated with Al Qaeda.

I'M GOING TO BE ON KNRC RADIO, DENVER in about an hour (3:35 pm eastern time) talking about the advantages of paper ballots. You can stream live audio here.

BLACKFACE UPDATE: Eugene Volokh is sharply criticizing the University of Tennessee's administration over its response to the blackface incident last week, and all I can say is that he's right to do so. (Of course he's right -- he's a famous authority on the First Amendment. I have his text sitting on my desk now.) Suggesting that the University needs to create a "speech code" -- of the sort that were stylish ten years ago and that have repeatedly been found unconstitutional -- is absurd. Here's what Volokh says in another post on the University's statements here:

I think the University certainly has the right, and sometimes the moral obligation, to speak out against speech that it finds offensive. But here it seems to be threatening administrative punishment -- the message seems to be that if people engage in speech that is "racial[ly] insensitiv[e]," the University may take action (for instance, by refusing to reinstate the organization) unless the speakers prove their "commitment to uphold our expectations for civility, ethnic diversity and racial harmony." Speakers who have dissenting views about what is racially insensitive (not just racists, but those who believe -- rightly or wrongly -- that it's OK for white people to dress up as the Jackson Five), or about what should constitute "racial harmony" or respect for "ethnic diversity" or "civility," had apparently better watch out. . . .

Not a word about free speech, and not a word acknowledging that students might have the right to express dissenting and even offensive views.

I'm very unhappy that the University's first instinct here was to respond in a punitive fashion. It has always been a point of pride to me that the University of Tennessee has been largely free of PC absurdities. It's doubly embarrassing to me that this stuff is appearing just as the rest of the world seems to be waking up to how wrong such behavior is.

WHAT WOULD BUGS BUNNY DO? Dave Trowbridge and Dale Amon are reviving a thought from last year. And it's a good thing.

SCIENCE FICTION PIONEER ANDRE NORTON (real name: Alice Mary Norton -- her mother is the Mary Norton who wrote The Borrowers) is rather ill and could use some cheering up. Here's an email from Mercedes Lackey:

After being sworn to secrecy, I have just been permitted to release this information. One of the seminal authors of our field, Andre Norton, is gravely ill. She was admitted to the hospital last Monday for surgery, and is still there. More to the point, her spirits have sunk to a life-threatening low. She needs to know just how highly regarded she is in our community, and she needs to know now.

"We" are keeping the location of the hospital and room "secret", because she cannot have visitors and we don't want to overwhelm her with autograph-hounds when she needs to be getting stronger, not being disturbed---this is already a problem as word of her illness has percolated into the local community in Tennessee. The hospital in question will deny that she is there.

Please send cards and letters to:

Andre Norton
114 Eventide Drive
Murfreesboro TN 37130

If you wish to send flowers, you may also send them to this address, but direct the florist to leave them on the porch if no one is home. Andre's two friends who are caring for her will make sure they are brought to her, but they are spending most of the time at the hospital, and so may not be there. (If this gets to be a problem, arrangements will be made for frequent pick-up!) Please do not send food, as she is on a liquids-only diet.

You may send e-cards to:

Andre Norton
E-mail Address:
[email protected]

Again, her friends will make sure she gets to see them.

I read a lot of her stuff when I was young, and I imagine that many of you did too.

ELECTION REFORM: Iain Murray sends this link to an article he wrote in 2000 whose suggestions overlap to some degree with the observations in my TechCentralStation column today.

It occurs to me that one problem with election reform is that we tend to discuss this issue on and just after election day -- the very time when that discussion is least likely to lead to any actual legislation.

HOW STUPID IS THE FBI? Earlier I ran reports, gleaned from gun-related chatboards, that the FBI was calling up gun owners and harassing them. Now I find this story, reporting that the FBI was "miffed" when one of the people it called responded appropriately:

So, when FBI Special Agent Greg Metzger and his partner arrived at Brown's home for their scheduled meeting, they were greeted by Brown and his wife, Mary, along with reporters and photographers from various media outlets.

As Brown described the situation, the agents were "a little bit miffed."

"They were not happy," he observed. "They just were not interested in being around any cameras."

The agents asked Brown to step outside the home, away from the television crew, to talk.

"Can we, uh ... come here," one of the agents said to Brown. Obliging, Brown stepped away from the door to speak with the agents, but still within view of the camera.

Brown began recapping the agreement he had made with Special Agent Metzger. But when one of the agents realized Brown was wearing a wireless microphone, he stopped the conversation short.

"Do you have a microphone on?" the agent asked as he reached toward the microphone clipped to Brown's shirt. Brown backed away and continued talking, but the agent interrupted him again.

"Can you do me a favor?" the agent asked. "Can you take the apparatus off that you have on? I'd like to speak to you privately."

Brown complied, but only after summoning his wife to serve as a witness to the conversation with the agents. Out of the camera's view, and believing they could not be heard, the agents challenged Brown about the presence of the media.

"They were belligerent, at that point, with me. They weren't threatening me or pushing me around or touching me or anything like that, but their mannerisms and attitude quickly became offended and belligerent," Brown recalled. "I was thinking to myself, 'See, this is what I was afraid would happen if you guys came into my house, especially if I was alone.'" . . .

During that conversation, the agents reportedly admitted that they had seized other rifles, allegedly with permission, to compare them to the ballistic evidence gathered from the crime scenes.

"They said, from some people, they do 'request' to take the gun with them and do 'ballistic fingerprinting,' as they call it," Brown recalled. "I just did not want to have my gun disappear."

Pratt believes the agents "developed an attitude," because Brown challenged their attempts to violate his constitutional rights. . . .

Mary Brown believed the agents were attempting to agitate her husband, hoping he would say or do something to justify their confiscation of his rifle.

"I could tell that they were doing it on purpose and I didn't like what they were doing to you," she told her husband. "So, I decided to just jump right in."

The agents left the couple's property, as they were ordered to do.

Okay, how stupid do you have to be to call -- as apparently was done -- thousands of people and expect it not to be noticed? Especially when those people are gun owners, who tend to be more vigorous in asserting their rights, and harder to intimidate. Haven't these guys heard of the Internet?

Meanwhile -- as I wrote at the time -- the whole project was an obvious exercise in futility. Had they, through some stroke of luck, actually managed to reach the sniper they just would have tipped him off. But, of course, they were following the "angry white male gun owner" profile and had it all wrong anyway. Result: FBI agents wasted their time, the FBI's credibility suffered yet another blow, and the next time FBI agents ask for cooperation from otherwise-patriotic people, they're less likely to get it because people won't trust them. And, based on this behavior, they'll be right not to.

People should be fired for this. But it's just one more among a long, long list of things that people at the FBI should be fired for, but won't be.

Go here and here for my earlier posts on this subject. And don't miss this item on teams of guns-drawn FBI agents swooping on people who dare to open the lid on their cable modems. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

BILL QUICK HAS AN UPDATED LIST OF LINKS to bloggers who are covering their home-state elections. Very cool.

Here in Tennessee, I just heard a commercial from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Bredesen attacking the Tennessee Department of Transportation's roadbuilding program. Given that entity's tendency toward lots of projects that are finished slowly, it's a good target. The Libertarian candidates are doing saturation commercials on talk radio, too, and their commercials are pretty good -- though they're hitting late enough that I don't know how much they'll accomplish. It suggests that their fundraising is doing better this time around, though.

LILEKS HAS HIS TAKE on yesterday's Norm Coleman / Walter Mondale debate. Excerpt:

I’m not kidding. Pitched a question about getting broadband to rural areas, that’s what he says. One word was noticeably absent in Mondale’s reply: INTERNET. Or, for that matter, Fiber, or broadband, or any other aspect of that amusing diversion we call the Web. . . .

To me, this was the most important moment of the debate - not because it concerned a particular issue, but because it showed who inhabits the current century. Fritz just didn’t get it - which means he’s likely to have a nice steak dinner with The Other White Meat, Fritz Hollings, and sign on to some Disney-paid bill to install copyright protection at the hardware level. Then all the suburban yups who voted for Fritz because, well, you know, Paul and all that, will find himself putting a CD in his computer to rip tunes for personal use - and the disk will be spat out. Or he’ll pop in a DVD he got from a friend, and have to get a new DVD driver with security certificates that establish him as the True Legitimate Owner of the disc - enter your access code now, please, and wait while we access the Warner Brothers / Suncoast database to ensure you are the rightful owner. And the guy will sit there and think: hey, how did this happen?



Defendants in a corruption appeal trial that began yesterday are threatening to blow the whistle on the alleged shady dealings of successive French governments in selling arms and negotiating oil rights in Asia and Africa.

The most complex and the most colourful corruption saga in recent French history resumed yesterday with the start of an appeal by the former foreign minister Roland Dumas, 80, against a conviction and six months' jail sentence for influence peddling.

Four other defendants in the case of the alleged pillaging of the Elf-Aquitaine oil company in the 1980s and early 1990s – including Christine Deviers-Joncour, 55, the former mistress of M. Dumas and self-styled "Whore of the Republic" – are also appealing against the convictions and jail sentences handed down 18 months ago.

Given the obstreperous behavior of the French lately, I think that U.S. intelligence agencies should start leaking information on this stuff to the press.

UPDATE: A reader writes: "This explains the French behavior - Saddam is threatening to reveal his payments to Chirac if he supports the war..."

AIRBRUSH AWARD: Eugene Volokh points out how a history newsletter (the NCC Washington Update, from the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History (NCCPH)) is handling the Bellesiles scandal -- by pretending it's just a question of a few unfortunate mistakes.

If we can't trust historians to be honest about the past week, how can we trust them to be honest about things that happened years ago?

Here's the link to the newsletter.

UPDATE: Geitner Simmons has some observations on how is dealing with Bellesiles.

WHY WAS I POSTING at 3:14 a.m.? I was fresh back from a (thankfully pointless) stint at the Children's Hospital emergency room. I figured it was unnecessary, but, you know, better safe than sorry.

AN AMAZING NEW VOTING TECHNOLOGY: I've got a special election-day TechCentralStation column up.

November 04, 2002

IN ABOUT 24 HOURS, SOME CANDIDATES will need this book. Others will wish they did.

TELL MISSY that it's her duty as an American to vote. Just in case she hasn't gotten an automated phone call from the President.

UPDATE: Check the comments on this post for Missy's report on ballot integrity in the District of Columbia:

Well, I'll have everybody know that I did get extra sleep, BUT, as I was walking out the door picked up my voter registration card (which they didn't ask to see, or any sort of identification, for that matter) and voted.

Jeez, that's pathetic.

MICHAEL BARONE looks at long-term trends in the electorate.

BILL QUICK IS COLLECTING LINKS to bloggers covering elections in their areas.

IT'S OVER BETWEEN US, PHIL -- STOP CALLING! Sitting here in the last few minutes I've gotten three calls in a row from Phil Bredesen, the Democratic candidate for governor. Two were recordings. One was somebody trying to get me to vote, I think -- I hung up before they had a chance to get into the spiel. I've gotten several calls from Phil over the past couple of days, and I'm almost starting to wonder if this isn't a clever Republican plan to irritate voters and turn them against him. If so, well, it's clever.

UPDATE: Hey, the President just called and asked me to do my "duty as an American" and vote tomorrow. I think there was more about who I was supposed to vote for, but I hung up. I wanted to keep the line open if Phil called back. . . .

IT'S A "MISTING" involving the Norwegian Progress Party and the Guardian's reportage thereon. If that's not inside blogball, I don't know what is.

UPDATE: Oliver Willis has sent an email implying that he invented the term "inside blogball."


The sniper is a former military man who leads a quiet life. He likes peanuts, praying to Allah, and playing checkers. He roots for the Mets, The Islanders, and Islamic terrorists who blow up the World Trade Center. In his spare time, he collects stamps and shoots up synagogues. It is still completely unclear why he might have committed the attacks.

Those same pundits who were so quick to point the finger at right wing culture when the Oklahoma federal building was bombed do not dare to similarly connect the dots and point out the contributing role that might have been played by the multitude of Islamofascist and/or anti-American statements and sentiments that have been so insistently expressed since last year’s September 11 attacks.

If the media thought Wayne LaPierre’s badmouthing federal agents was enough to cause Timothy McVeigh to commit his atrocities, then why aren’t they blaming Noam Chomsky’s badmouthing of America after September 11th for Mr. Muhammad’s attacks? Why aren’t they targeting Maxine Waters’s anti-American rants? Has no member of the media considered the impact Louis Farrakhan’s speeches about “white supremacy” and Judaism (“a gutter religion”) have had in creating an atmosphere in which the hate and violence demonstrated by Muhammad thrive?

A lot of people have been asking that question.

YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: And it looks like a pretty good bargain:

Six al-Qaida suspects were killed, including a top operative of Osama bin Laden, when their car was blasted with a Hellfire missile fired from a CIA-operated drone in northwest Yemen, U.S. officials told NBC News on Monday.

U.S. OFFICIALS told NBC News that Ali Qaed Sinan al-Harthi, a senior al-Qaida member, was among the dead. According to NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski, the car had been observed by the drone — an unmanned aircraft — for a period of time before it was attacked on Sunday. Secondary explosions were seen after the missile hit the vehicle, indicating there were explosives inside the car. Officials said they don’t know what the explosives were or why they were in the vehicle.

I think there's a lot more going on in Yemen than is making the news, and I suspect that the troops in Djibouti, about whom we're not hearing a lot, are playing a role. (Here's a thought: What if the whole Iraq thing is misdirection? I don't think so, because the diplomatic costs are too high. But if it is misdirection, it's working!)

UPDATE: CNN's poll (lower right) asks if the U.S. was right to "execute the terror suspects without a trial." The U.S. was "attacking enemies," not "executing suspects," in my opinion. But even phrased the way CNN did it, the answer is running at 73% "yes."

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some thoughts on what this means about the state of the Yemeni government, at Sheep Free zone.

MICHELE AT A SMALL VICTORY blogs an open letter to Rachel Elbaum of MSNBC, whose puff-piece on antiwar websites got a brief mention here the other day. Excerpt:

In this article, you link to three anti-war sites and not one site with an opposing point of view. You interview two people who run anti-war sites but not one person who has a site that takes a pro-defense stance.

If this debate is playing out online, as your title suggests, you do not show it at all. The only reference you give to “pro-invasion” sites is to say, “There is a pro-invasion presence on the Net, but it is much smaller and exists mainly on message boards and in chat rooms..”

Had you attempted to do any research on this, rather than submit an obviously biased article, you could have come up with many “pro-invasion” sites. In fact, a quick search on Google would have landed you at sites like Andrew Sullivan or Bill Quick’s Daily Pundit.

Yeah, and then there's yours truly. I get about as much traffic in a day as the ANSWER site she plugged gets in a week. Then there's the matter that ANSWER itself is -- according to non-warmonger David Corn of The Nation -- a front group for the North Korea and Milosevic-supporting Worker's World Party:

The party advocates socialist revolution and abolishing private property. It is a fan of Fidel Castro’s regime in Cuba, and it hails North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il for preserving his country’s “socialist system,” which, according to the party’s newspaper, has kept North Korea “from falling under the sway of the transnational banks and corporations that dictate to most of the world.” The WWP has campaigned against the war-crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. A recent Workers World editorial declared, “Iraq has done absolutely nothing wrong.”

Officially, the organizer of the Washington demonstration was International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism). But ANSWER is run by WWP activists, to such an extent that it seems fair to dub it a WWP front. Several key ANSWER officials — including spokesperson Brian Becker — are WWP members. Many local offices for ANSWER’s protest were housed in WWP offices. Earlier this year, when ANSWER conducted a press briefing, at least five of the 13 speakers were WWP activists. They were each identified, though, in other ways, including as members of the International Action Center.

It seems a bit, er, unprofessional to blandly mention ANSWER as "an international coalition of organizations devoted to ending war and racism" without providing this sort of context. Does Elbaum know this stuff? (To coin a phrase, don't these people use Google?) Or does she just consider it non-newsworthy?

And Kim Du Toit's National Ammo Day site is getting over a million hits a week. Wonder when MSNBC will do a story on that?

UPDATE: Justin Raimondo emails:

How well-informed could this reporter be if she neglected to mention -- which gets around 25,000 unique visitors a day? Instead she mentions some hippie out in Vermont that nobody ever heard of. Go figure. It's not a sinister conspiracy: just plain old stupidity.

Hmm. You know, I think he's right. And it's not like you have to be a rocket scientist to think of that URL.

DON'T MISS THE BANSHEE STUDIOS MAGAZINE -- a certain bloggoddess is involved.

JIM BENNETT has some thoughts on sovereignty and transnational progressivism.

IS MARK KLEIMAN endorsing illegal voting procedures? He has a proposal for "express lane" voting, and responds to a suggestion by Jacob T. Levy that such a system would probably be illegal by saying:

Jacob T. Levy points out that the proposal above wouldn't survive judicial scrutiny on equal protection grounds. He argues that it would impermissibly discriminate in favor of the literate or those voting straight tickets. (My expectation was that most of the people who took the quick option would simply vote for a limited number of offices, but clearly some people can do more in three minutes than others.) . . .

Still, it's quite likely that Levy is correct about what a court would say about the proposal. But would a court enjoin an administrative decision, made in what is clearly an emergency setting, and would it do so fast enough to matter? I'm not sure. And if it didn't, then it's not clear what the court could do about it afterwards, other than enjoining a repetition. The votes would count.

The same applies to the Secretary of State: he could clearly rule that the procedure was improper, but it's not clear what he could do about it.

So it's illegal, but we can get away with it? Can this be what Kleiman meant to say? I certainly hope not.

UPDATE: Kleiman has posted an update, stressing that no voter would be disadvantaged by his proposal. I'm not sure that's true, but okay, and I probably should have made that clear.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jacob T. Levy has blogged more on this too. Read the whole thing, but here's the part that's relevant to the above:

So if this were a Broward-only-election, I think that would be the end of the story; express-voting would be impermissible. The catch is that it's not. If we were to resurrect the avowedly one-time-only equal protection claims made in Bush v Gore, then the variation across counties might outweigh the variation within Broward. That is, the unfairness to Browardites relative to the rest of the state could count for more than the unfairness to less-literate Browardites relative to more-literate ones. If Broward is more black or Hispanic than the rest of the state (which I assume but don't know) then the VRA might push the same way, meaning that we wouldn't need the Bush v Gore argument at all.

So, on reconsideration, I think it's at least legally plausible that express-voting might be permissible. Administrative personnel and government officials have an obligation not to knowingly act in violation of the constitution, even if what they want to do is reasonable and democratic, and even if a court wouldn't be able to stop them in time. (That, I take it, is InstaPundit's point.) But if there's room for legitimate legal and constitutional doubt, the officials' own best understanding of the constitution can allow them to try things, even if a court might later disagree with them. And, having had an extra day to think about it, I now think there would be such doubt. That means that I think I side with Mark; this would be a reasonable thing for Broward officials to attempt, under the circumstances. The best interpretation of equal protection and the VRA might rule the experiment out; but this is not so certain as to require constitutional bad faith on the part of those who might attempt it.


THIS PIECE from yesterday's Washington Post, on the declining meaning of citizenship, is worth reading.

NANOTECHNOLOGY yields smart camouflage for military vehicles. It's not clear how far along this actually is, but it's cool.

DAVE KOPEL OFFERS A Second Amendment Senate voting guide. That sort of thing may matter to voters like this guy from Minnesota:

I'm an ACLU liberal. I'm pro-choice, pro-labor, pro-equality (races and sexes) and I favor strict church-state separation. I will not be voting those issues this time, because I also believe that the campaign for "gun safety" is the greatest threat to American liberty since the "war on drugs," to which it is politically very similar.

In 1968, President Nixon recognized that a crusade against drugs, coupled with appropriate scare tactics, could become a potent political cause, and that Democrats were poorly positioned to respond in kind. Today, many Democrats (mostly urban) use the gun issue in precisely the same way, including the mindless scare tactics, knowing that Republicans cannot turn their backs on gun owners.

Should this strategy prove effective, we can anticipate the same escalating cost, proliferation of ineffective law, and swelling executive agencies (not to mention the erosion of civil liberties), which have characterized the self-defeating drug war.

If you are a gun owner (sportsman or otherwise) or a critic of the war on drugs, this prospect alone should scare you. If you are also a historian, with a grasp of the intent and purpose of the Second Amendment and its part in keeping the locus of political power among the people, you have a far better reason to join me.

Join me where? Mine is a simple standard. I will not vote for any candidate who supports gun control. It matters not whether the motive is cynical political ambition or well-meaning shortsightedness; the damage to the republic is the same.

I'm happiest when voting for a Democrat who respects gun rights, but until the national party renounces this divisive, destructive stance, I'll be casting a lot of Republican votes. Other issues can wait. Ground lost on this one will never be regained.


How many voters like him are there? We'll find out tomorrow, I guess.

VOTER TURNOUT? Reader Jim Hogue emails:

I keep hearing all the press comments about “low voter turn out.” Well, here in Texas (Dallas area) it’s anything but low. My wife and I tried to vote early last week and wound up “poll location shopping” to find ONE polling place that wasn’t a 30 – 45 mins wait!

I spoke with several election clerks and they all remarked that in 2, 5, & 8 years respectively they had never seen some much “early voting” activity.

Have you experienced the same type of thing in Tennessee? My mother, a Florida resident - Northwest Florida I hasten to add, where the predominantly conservative voters seem to have mastered the knack of voting – also commented that she had to wait longer than usual to vote.

Maybe turnout won’t be as low as the ‘proper’ media is claiming?

Early voting is very heavy here, based on what I've heard on the news and on my own experience -- I tried last week and couldn't do it as the line was way out the door and I hadn't allowed enough time. Whether this will translate into higher turnout overall is beyond me.

UPDATE: Justin Katz is suspicious. I don't favor conspiracy theories myself.

THE SIMPSONS ON GUN CONTROL: I'm sorry to say that I missed The Simpsons last night, but a reader sends this synopsis:

I'm surprised you haven't blogged on this yet today, but the Simpsons last night had a story on gun control and self defense. It was a Treehouse of Horror Episode, with 3 stories. The second story had Lisa agitating for gun control after seeing a gravestone for someone who dies in the 1880's with the inscription "I dream of a world without guns." She imagines that he was a peaceful soul and convinces Springfield to ban guns.

As soon as everyone turns in their guns, Mayor Quimby announces to cheers that Springfield is defenseless. Then the dead guy who inspired Lisa rises from the dead and turns out to be Billy the Kid. He is joined by other old west villains and Kaiser Wilhelm. Together they terrorize Springfield until Homer gets a time machine from the Jerry Lewis-inventor guy, goes back in time to the day of the ban guns referendum, and gets everyone to shoot the graves of the returning dead just as they revive.

Wish I'd seen it.

UPDATE: Reader Steven Shivell says this description leaves out the ending:

After Future Homer came back in time to make everyone shoot the graves of the Dead people ANOTHER Future Homer wearing a very very cool future outfit (with a visor!!) comes back in time to tell everyone to throw away their guns, and that they were responsible for the end of the world. Moe (If i remember correctly) gets rather irritated and says "Enough Already" or something like that, and shoots the new Future Homer. The end of the story is that they have their guns.

Lane McFadden, meanwhile, has blogged the episode, noting: "So there's no moral to this story. The people of Springfield needed guns to defend themselves, but preserving their guns also preserved great danger and risk of destruction. Hmm, sounds like...real life. No easy answers." He also points out Moe's attaction to "caveman hookers," which was omitted from the accounts above. Porphyrogenitus meanwhile, emails on another Simpsons episode about weapons:

The best one was the one from years back with the Monkey's Paw where Lisa
wishes for world peace, resulting in the elimination of all weapons, so
Koto at al (the tentacled aliens) take over armed with nothing better than

If I recall correctly, they were beaten by a board with a nail in it, and left prophesying that mankind would one day make a board and nail so big we would destroy ourselves. . . .

Boy, you want email, blog about The Simpsons.

UPDATE: A reader points out the devastating conclusion to Lane McFadden's post: "Unfortunately, that leaves those of us in the Real World to come up with those answers, instead of relying on cartoons to explain complicated issues. Drat." Drat, indeed.

"THE WORST CODERS IN WASHINGTON" is a list of legislators who have supported lousy anti-Internet legislation -- with information on who's paying them to do it. Worth reading, though it's still something of a draft. Help 'em out in the comments section.


THIS BOLD STAND against the "denial of sexual rights" isn't what you might expect from the phrase.

INSPIRED by the popularity of Jim Lindgren's article on Michael Bellesiles' Arming America, the Yale Law Journal has started putting some of its articles online. Here is one, by Jed Rubenfeld on copyright law and the constitution, which concludes that "copyright's central prohibition of piracy is fully constitutional, but its prohibition of unauthorized derivative works is not."

"Freedom of imagination" plays an important role, too. Doesn't Disney own the rights to that phrase?

TALKLEFT reports that Muhammad and Malvo will probably be tried in Virginia first. TalkLeft also thinks it's unseemly to be basing trial strategy on where it's easiest to get the death penalty:

We think deciding where to prosecute by the likelihood of the success of the death penalty is wrong and makes us look barbaric. . . . In addition, it's unseemly to be talking as if death is a foregone conclusion. Doesn't anyone remember that the two defendants have not yet had a trial or been found guilty? This is like a scene out of Alice and Wonderland: "No, No" said the Queen. "First the punishment, then the verdict."

While I usually agree with TalkLeft on criminal-justice matters, this seems overwrought. Basing strategy on the death penalty is "barbaric" only if you already agree with TalkLeft that the death penalty is barbaric. (I don't -- I have problems with what Charles Black called "the inevitability of caprice and mistake," but that's entirely distinct from the character of the penalty itself). Nor does it seem inappropriate to me for prosecutors to base their strategy on getting the punishment that they believe the crime deserves. And doing so before the trial makes sense, as it's not possible to do it after the trial.

TalkLeft will be on FoxNews this afternoon at 2:30 Eastern time. Perhaps we'll get a more nuanced view then. Sadly, my campus cable system doesn't get Fox, so I'll miss it.

EURO-ANTISEMITISM ALERT: There's a new poll of European attitudes, and it's pretty sad. William Sjostrom has the scoop. Excerpt:

To statement 2, which essentially asks whether you agree that Jews are cheats, they get agreement from 33% in Spain, 28% in Austria, and 27% in Italy. 63% in Spain agreed with statement 4. Read it and smack the next European who tells you that Europe isn't anti-Semitic, it is just anti-Israel.


UPDATE: Nick Denton says Sjostrom is wrong. But I think Nick is straining here when he says: "Muslims are no longer protected by political correctness; but Jews are beyond criticism. It's an untenable distinction." In Europe -- historical home of antisemitism and slaughter of Jews -- it is indeed remarkable that, as Nick notes, "some European countries have managed to maintain high levels of anti-semitism without any significant Jewish community." When such nations show high degrees of stereotyped prejudice without any actual examples before them, it seems to be more attributable to prejudice than to "criticism." Complaints about, say, suicide bombing, on the other hand seem to me like "criticism," since they're based on actual behavior rather than historical stereotypes -- and critics of suicide bombing seem quite willing to say that such behavior represents the beliefs of only some Muslims.

UPDATE: Reader Dan Jacobson emails:

But the distinction isn't at all untenable, most obviously because Denton has built into his comparison a description of the Muslims (as fundamentalist) but not the Jews.

Just try saying "Muslims are violent" and see if you don't get smeared, with some justification, and told about Sufism, the diversity of worldwide Islam, etc. The claim that Muslims aren't protected by political correctness is nothing less than bizarre: just look at the treatment of the sniper and the LAX shooter by mainstream media (not to mention the FBI).

However, *fundamentalist* Islam does tend toward violence, in that one of the fundamental -- which is not to say essential -- tenets of Islam is the establishment of Islamic law and forcible conversion of infidels. That's not a tenet of Orthodox Judaism, and even though evangelism is a prominent feature of fundamentalist Christianity, its missionaries aren't into coercive measures any more.

No, they're not. Though Ann Coulter is working on that. . . .

RACIAL PROFILING and the D.C. sniper: John Leo joins with those who think that the press wanted it to be a white male:

We have been down this road before. The Atlanta child murders of 1979-81 were a big story, but the press dropped it quickly when the killer turned out to be black. The church burnings followed the same pattern–a big story when arsonists were assumed to be white racists, an instant media departure when they turned out to be black. The Unabomber was a disappointment–white, but (alas) a killer from the far left. But the press rallied with let's-understand-the-Unabomber stories pointing out that he had the courage of his convictions and was not out for personal gain (a press courtesy not extended to antiabortion killers). In contrast, the Oklahoma City bombing was a pure pressroom delight–a white, right-wing bomber who could be tied to the antigovernment "climate" represented by Newt Gingrich and other conservatives.

I think he's right about this. And Cynthia Tucker certainly isn't shy about admitting that she felt that way:

As the newscaster read the suspect's name, "John Allen Williams, aka John Allen Muhammad," skeins of dread knotted in my gut, pushing back the relief that had welled up with first news of the sniper's arrest. I waited for the inevitable mug shot to pop up on my television screen.

I stared, trying through sheer willpower to alter the suspect's racial identity. But it was no use. A man whose mother gave him the name "John Allen Williams" and who later changed it to "John Allen Muhammad" could only be black.

Since that Thursday in October, many African-Americans have struggled to make sense of this grim note in black history: If convicted, Muhammad and his alleged accomplice, John Lee Malvo, will become America's most notorious black serial killers, forever changing the conventional wisdom that serial murder is a white man's sickness.

But even Tucker notes:

If convicted, Malvo and Muhammad would not be the first black serial killers. While there have been few studies of serial killers by race or gender, criminologists believe that black serial killers exist in rough proportion to the number of blacks in the population: about 13 percent.

Imagine that.

UPDATE: Several readers point out that Tucker's statistic conflicts with this statement in Leo's piece: "Blacks account for about 12 percent of the U.S. population and 22 percent of serial killers." Which is right? I don't know.

A UN R.W.A. WORKER has been charged with diverting medicine from Palestinians to Syria. Nice. "Officials of various Palestinian factions at Ain al-Hilweh have in the past accused UNRWA officials of corruption."

A LEADER OF THE RED BRIGADES has been arrested in Argentina. Apparently there has been some move to reconstitute this lame and stupid relic of the 1970s. Hell, next it'll be "T.J. Hooker: The Movie."

JOSH MARSHALL is running an election-calling contest over at his site. Personally, I don't have a clue how it's going to turn out.

UPDATE: Dwight Meredith has a bunch already up. SKBubba, meanwhile, has some shocking poll data.

HOW MUCH ADVERTISING IS TOO MUCH ADVERTISING for a weblog? Bill Quick is trying to find out the answer.

JAMES LILEKS HAS ADVICE for political candidates:

When your opponent sets up a straw man, set it on fire and kick the cinders around the stage. Don’t worry about losing the Strawperson-American community vote.

Here's my advice: If you're running for office, try to hire Lileks as your speechwriter.

OODLES OF ELECTION-RELATED STUFF at Kausfiles and Andrew Sullivan.Com -- I especially like Kaus's prediction that the "new Mondale" will be unveiled at 4:15 p.m. today.

November 03, 2002

DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY -- HIGH: Trojan Horseshoes is Fisking a church bulletin, and doing a good job.

Somebody should send a copy to the IRS.

I COULD BE WRONG, but I wonder if Kuwait's closing of its Al Jazeera office isn't a sign of impending war.

AZIZ POONAWALLA RAINS on the wrap-them-in-pigskin parade:

The reason that these murderers are not going to heaven is because they killed innocent men, women and children. They were engaged in harabah, not jihad.

Wrapping them in pigskin to "prevent" them from entering Heaven implicitly gives credence to the idea that these murderers were engaging in jihad, and had performed an act worthy of admittance to Paradise.

This is probably right, though it assumes a degree of rationality not in evidence.

UPDATE: Vegard Valberg is cool to the idea, too.

THE IMMORALITY of the anti-war position, via Salman Rushdie.

INCRIMINATING PHOTOS from Global Conspiracy HQ. Er, well, one of them is pretty incriminating, anyway.

HMM. Here's a study suggesting that the economic future for blogging might turn out to be quite bright. Of course, I don't tend to believe this sort of forecast. . . .


Diplomacy has failed – meaning that only a revolutionary advanced technology will save the Earth from relentless global warming driven by greenhouse gas emissions, scientists warned yesterday.

Avoiding a catastrophic effect on climate from the burning of fossil fuels would require political will, international cooperation and huge resources, said the team from a group of American universities. But "no amount of regulation" could solve the problem, they said.

Well, yeah. Of course.

UPDATE: This story from Time says that nanotechnology is making money. And, not surprisingly, there's investor interest.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More nanotechnology links at FuturePundit.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: And here's a linkfest from Robert Prather.


ON BEING A PROFESSOR: I'm in the office, as usual on Sunday except when I take the laptop to my "other office" at Borders. I've finished my TCS column, replied to a couple of hundred emails on my office account that I can't access from home for some reason, and gone through a stack of mail that includes a lot of junk, offers for textbooks in areas where I don't teach, invitations to conferences that take place in three days (what's the point of mailing those things?) and so on.

I got my annual review from the Dean (we get those even when we're tenured full professors, like me) and discovered that I "exceed expectations" in all categories. InstaPundit even gets a favorable mention. I got a "conflict of interest" form that doesn't seem to apply to me, but I emailed the Dean to make sure. (The joy of being a Dean is that you get lots of email like that. . . .) I accepted an invitation to speak at a panel on "Communitarian Approaches to Cyberspace." I threw away a bunch of accumulated paper left over from doing tenure reviews -- where other schools send you the scholarship of people up for tenure or promotion for comments, thus requiring you to read hundreds of pages and write a letter about them. Sometimes they pay you an honorarium of $100, which works out to burger-flipping wages or less. Other times they don't even do that. The library wants back its copy of David Brin's "The Transparent Society." And the mailing list software for the list that I run for my National Security Law seminar keeps kicking one of the students out for some reason. I think that's fixed now.

People sometimes write to wonder how I spend my time, so here you are! And, despite the way the above sounds, I love my job. It's just amazing how much underbrush I have to clear just to get to the point where I can actually do the stuff that's actually supposed to be my job. Next week I'll get rough draft papers back from my seminar -- I don't grade those, but I do comment on them. And the students in my Administrative Law class will turn in their comments. I pick proposed regulations from the Federal Register each year and have them draft comments, which are actually filed with the agency and become part of its rulemaking docket. This is a great exercise, except, of course, that it means I have to read and grade them all. The class is reasonably sized this year, so it'll only be about 300-400 pages, plus perhaps half again that many in seminar rough drafts, for me to read this week.

Will blogging be lighter as a result? Could be.

HURRAY! PunditWatch is back!

Big scoop -- Gary Hart is thinking of running in 2004! Well, I guess it's a big scoop for those TV shows, but it was predicted here over a year ago! Well, sort of.

ANOTHER BUMMER. Charles Sheffield died yesterday.


UPDATE: Here's an earlier, somewhat more conventional treatment of the subject.

BACKLASH? A poll conducted by Minnesota Public Radio and the St. Paul Pioneer Press says that Mondale is now trailing Norm Coleman by six percent. I don't know how much stock to put in these last-minute polls, but given who's conducting it, this can't be written off as wishful thinking by Coleman partisans.

If Mondale loses, I think that the Wellstone rally will be the reason. And I imagine it will cost Terry McAuliffe his job.

UPDATE: Hmm. I guess Terry McAuliffe is worried about the same thing, which is why he's blaming the Wellstone family.

That's how you can be sure the whole thing was a bad idea -- people are casting blame, not taking credit.

ORRIN JUDD HAS NOTICED an interesting confluence of bin Laden stories. He thinks the war on Al Qaeda is going better than we realize.

ANDREA SEE SAYS THAT LOOKS MATTER. Of course not smoking matters, too.

WHAT THE FBI IS DOING INSTEAD OF STOPPING TERRORISTS: Latest in an apparently endless series. Does this suggest that they've got their priorities right?

WELL, THIS SUCKS: I just got an email saying that Terry Hill died Friday night. Terry was one of the great unknown figures of underground punk and new wave in the late 70s and early 80s. He was very ill and awaiting a liver transplant; last year I remastered some of his stuff and put it up on the web for him. (You can hear it here.) I don't know anything about funeral plans yet, but I'll make the information available when I do.

UPDATE: There will be a small memorial service for friends, followed by what Hector Qirko describes as a "more musical and fitting memorial" at a later date.

WHERE HAVE THE YOUNG PACIFISTS GONE? Not to join antiwar protests, apparently:

Across the country, college professors spearhead anti-war protests as America prepares for a possible attack on Iraq.

They organize forums and lectures critical of war.

And they sign petitions calling an attack on Iraq morally unjustified.

Meanwhile, their students seem to care less. Few organize marches or rallies. Even when asked, only a smattering write letters to their campus newspapers. Many worry more about tomorrow's literature quiz than the burgeoning international crisis over Iraq's potential to build weapons of mass destruction.

It's the 1960s revisited, only this time the professors — not the students — wear their conscience on their sleeves.

Read the whole thing, which is fascinating. Perhaps it's the intense advocacy by professors that explains why students aren't so motivated: It's not rebellion when the professors are leading the way.

UPDATE: Of course, the problem could be, as David Corn argues, with the antiwar movement itself.

SPEAKING OF EXPLODING ROUSSEAUVIAN MYTHS, Derek Lowe points out that life wasn't so great in pre-Columbian America:

The study found a long-term decline in health as the populations grew in different areas, which is interesting. But any surprise people have at the general results surprises me. When my brother and I were small children, we accompanied our parents to achaeological digs back in Arkansas. My father was a dentist, and he was there for some forensic work on the teeth of the Indian remains. What he told me back then has stayed with me: these folks had lousy teeth. They had cavities, they had abcesses, impactions, the lot. (The weakened condition of their gums due to lack of Vitamin C probably had a lot to do with it.)

So, growing up, I knew that the Hollywood depiction of Indian life was rather idealized. For one thing, all the movie actors had great teeth. And the young braves weren't like those 24-year-old actors - they were maybe 14. And the ancient medicine man, he wasn't 80 years old at all. He was in his 40s; he just looked 80. You never saw extra tribesmen in the background, hobbling around because of poorly set broken bones or clutching their jaws in pain. No skin problems, no infections, not even so much as a bad allergy - no doubt about it, the tribe to belong to was MGM.

You can imagine how I feel about the rest of the cheap thinking that goes along these lines. Oh, the way preindustrial cultures loved the land, lived in harmony with it while everyone ate the wholesome diet of natural purity and stayed true to those simple values that we've lost touch with. . .spare me. I'm with Hobbes: the life of man in the natural state was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. And let's not forget it.

Sadly, too many people have a vested interest in presenting bogus arcadian images to keep this clearly in mind.

CHARLES MURTAUGH says that Stephen Pinker is getting a bum rap from critics of his new book. I haven't read the book, but I saw Pinker on CSPAN2 last night, lecturing at the National Academy of Science. It was an excellent presentation, and seemed quite well-received.

ANOTHER MICHAEL MOORE FISKING -- soon we'll have to call them "Mooreings."

UH OH. Jay Zilber wonders if we living in a bearded-Spock world. Well, it would explain a lot. . . .

UPDATE: James Rummel has a plan, though in all honesty he'd probably favor the plan regardless of what universe he lived in.

AL GORE WILL BE guest hosting Saturday Night Live in December. There's no musical guest for that show yet. Any suggestions for who it ought to be?

UPDATE: Oh, silly me. It should have been obvious!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Brian Erst notes in the comments, below:

I know this one is probably TOO freakin' obvious, but I'm sure they've already played SNL and would be welcomed back...


If you had Gore doing some sort of call-and-response with Gavin Rossdale, it could even be Bush v. Gore...


READER MICHAEL GERSH was appalled to discover that the "Jeff Cooper" link on my blogroll leads to the law professor Jeff Cooper, rather than this Jeff Cooper.

APPARENTLY, voting machine manufacturers are upset about this website claiming conflicts-of-interest and other problems in their business. I don't know anything about this story beyond what's on these pages, but I'm thinking of writing a piece on the inherent superiority of paper ballots, so this caught my eye. Make of it what you will.

UPDATE: Here's another page devoted to election mistakes.

CAN THE BLOGOSPHERE GET AN AUSSIE BLOGGER a date when he visits the United States? Well, I can think of someone who might be available. . . .

THE TIMES REPORTS that the FBI is investigating a John Muhammad / Richard Reid link:

Reid, 29, from south London, was arrested last December when he tried to ignite explosives in his shoe on a flight from Paris to Miami. He had an onward ticket to Antigua, where he claimed he was intending to visit relatives.

The suspected snipers, John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo, were living on the island at the time. Later they returned to Washington, where they are alleged to have been responsible for a killing spree that left at least 10 people dead.

Both Reid, who is currently awaiting sentence in America after admitting the attempted bombing, and Muhammad had converted to Islam and were known to hold radical views.

Reid has been linked to Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network, while neighbours of Muhammad and Malvo have claimed the duo expressed support for the September 11 hijackers. . . .

It also emerged that when Muhammad first entered Antigua, he stayed with a woman called Jeanette Reed (or Reid).

Could just be a coincidence, of course.

UPDATE: Here's more. Justin Katz is suspicious.