November 15, 2003

THE BLOGOSPHERE IS, LIKE, TOTALLY INBRED: Er, except that I haven't ever heard of most of these blogs, which are nonetheless a big thing in their part of the sphere, I gather.

There are more things in the blogosphere, Jennifer Howard, than are dreamt of in your articles. . . .

UPDATE: Ralph Luker has more thoughts inspired by Howard's piece.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT MARK BYRON IS THINKING with this post, but it's well into Ted Rall territory, it seems to me. He should be ashamed. Perhaps he will be, when he sobers up. . . .

UPDATE: Kevin Holtsberry has another take.

SOMEBODY FROM AN OUTFIT CALLED "INFOTEL" is threatening to sue Justene Adamec. XRLQ has a roundup of blogosphere reactions.

Blogosferics calls it the boneheaded lawsuit of the year. (It's probably made more boneheaded by the fact that Justene is an attorney.) I don't know anything about the underlying facts, especially as the things they complained about are no longer online, which makes it quite hard to judge, but if the comments people are posting are true, perhaps law enforcement might want to look into things. And Steve Verdon says beware of how you answer questions from telemarketers.

ANKARA BLOGGER KRIS LOFGREN is blogging this morning's horrific synagogue bombings in Istanbul, which are apparently the work of Al Qaeda. Lots of links and photos; just keep scrolling for as long as you can stand it.

I REALLY should be watching Hardball:

U.S. TV network news about Iraq as distorted as al-Jazeera? Checking in from Iraq on Wednesday’s Hardball with Chris Matthews as part of that show’s look this week at “Iraq: The Real Story,” Bob Arnot highlighted a Muslim ayatollah in Iraq who “is furious at the press coverage. He says not only American television, but Arabic satellite TV, such as Al-Jazeera and the Abu Dhabi station, have mis-portrayed the great success that is Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.”

Arnot, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, documented how “Iraqis themselves are angrier than the American administration about the barrage of negative stories coming out of Iraq” on Arab television.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Reader Steve Hornbeck emails:

Regarding the Hardball story on Iraqis being angry over US media coverage, isn't it way past time that the news media started looking into the possibility that some of the negative feelings that the rest of the world has about the US are the result of the US news media's behavior? If you were an Iraqi who for years saw American reporters playing ball with the Hussein government and then saw that those same reporters had mostly negative things to say about your liberation, how would you feel about Americans?

Hmm. About like that, I imagine.

UPDATE: Here's an interesting letter from a soldier in Afghanistan, with more comments on the media coverage.

Meanwhile reader John Nevins emails:

With regards to Steve Hornbeck's comment on International opinion being against us because of media coverage, I think he is right on. In my travels to other countries, I find a lot of their opinions of us come straight from our own media coverage (because that is really all they have to base their opinions on). However, the problem is not just biased media coverage, but also our (good) quality of being very self-critical. I have found that dissent is a very American thing and not really found in other countries to the extent that we have it here. For the most part, though, dissent is good and important, because it forces us (and our leaders) to really watch what they do. (e.g. your constant critiquing of the Patriot Act for an American is a constant critique of one thing our government is doing that you disagree with, for outside observers not used to American self-critique, it would be seen as another example of how awful our government is). My favorite example was watching a German review of the movie Legally Blonde 2, in which the reviewer found it fascinating to see all the corruption in the U.S. government and how horrible our politicians are. Now, I'm no fan of politicians, and I do believe that there are issues of corruption in our government, but I think it's telling that the Germany reviewer is focusing on U.S. corruption (since it is put right there in
front of her in a movie), as opposed to the far more extensive corruption in the German and EU governments (about which, I'm not expecting much European comment or even a light-hearted comedy anytime soon).

I think it's telling that -- although we're always hearing how much more sophisticated and knowledgeable Europeans are -- a German reviewer thinks he can learn something about the actual operation of the U.S. government from watching Legally Blonde 2.

STEPHEN F. HAYES has a story in the Weekly Standard about the Al Qaeda / Saddam connection. Unfortunately, the Standard's site has been down since last night. But you can read excerpts here and here, where the interlineated comments add a lot of interest and perspective.

UPDATE: Read this, too.

And, though not precisely related, read this, as well.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Roger Simon observes that this is devastating evidence of how Big Media folks missed the Iraq/Al Qaeda story: "The other major media are lagging behind perhaps because this information cries out: WHERE WERE THEY? Well, they were reporting on our "quagmire" in Iraq while a ton of justification for our intervention was waiting for them to sift through. Why weren't they interested?"

Why, indeed?

MORE: Here's a link to the story.

STILL MORE: Robert Tagorda has links to various blog reactions.

MORE STILL: Hmm. This news release from DoD is interesting. It denies that DoD has found a connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda, but doesn't actually say that there isn't one. I think this is the key bit: "The classified annex was not an analysis of the substantive issue of the relationship between Iraq and al Qaida, and it drew no conclusions." I'm not sure what to make of that -- "Steve Hayes said it, we didn't" seems the best reading -- but no doubt it will get a full airing in time.

AND MORE: Josh Chafetz has more on this. Read it.

I'M CONFUSED. Mark Kleiman has a rather overwrought post in which he's angry at me for impugning Wesley Clark's patriotism. The only problem is that the only one doing so is, er, Kleiman. Here, in its entirety, is what I wrote:

ANDREW SULLIVAN IS FISKING WESLEY CLARK, who rather incoherently says that the war in Kosovo was "technically illegal" because the Security Council didn't approve it, but that it was still okay, while the war in Iraq wasn't:

Let's go back here. Clark essentially concedes that the war in Kosovo was, under international law, indistinguishable from the war in Iraq. Actually, even that's not entirely true. It should be recalled that the United States and its allies, particularly Great Britain, secured a 15-0 Security Council Resolution demanding complete and unfettered access to potential sites of WMD development--or else--in Iraq. The "else" was subject to debate, but the notion that it ruled out any military action is one only Dominique de Villepin would argue with a straight face. No such 15-0 vote occurred at any time before the Kosovo war. So, if anything, the war against Iraq had more international legitimacy than the war in Kosovo. If viewed as a continuation of the 1991 war--the terms of which cease-fire Saddam had grotesquely and systematically violated--it was impeccably legitimate. The 1991 war, after all, was one of very few post-World War II conflicts that had unimpeachable U.N. credentials.

The real problem with the Iraq war is that it's (1) waged by a Republican President; and (2) obviously in the United States' national interest. To some people, those characteristics are enough to brand it evil.

Sullivan goes on to call Clark's latest claims about Bush "Ross-Perot crazy." Read the whole thing.

But, just for the record, I had no thought of impugning Clark's patriotism when I made that post. Just his judgment and his fitness to be President. As has been widely discussed in the blogosphere, some Democratic foreign-policy types seem to regard military action that doesn't have any direct benefit to the United States as morally preferable to military action that does. I don't think that such a view is unpatriotic -- just unserious, and unsuitable for anyone who might be President.

November 14, 2003


I HAVEN'T PAID MUCH ATTENTION to the ongoing judicial-nomination fracas. But other people have observations on the subject.

GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS -- an ancient Native American tradition?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ancient Americans were changing corn genes through selective breeding more than 4,000 years ago, according to researchers who say the modifications produced the large cobs and fat kernels that make corn one of humanity's most important foods.

In a study that compared the genes of corn cobs recovered in Mexico and the southwestern United States, researchers found that three key genetic variants were systematically enhanced, probably through selective cultivation, over thousands of years.

The technique was not as sophisticated as the methods used for modern genetically modified crops, but experts said in a study released Thursday that the general effect was the same: genetic traits were amplified or introduced to create plants with improved traits and greater yield.

Next people will be blaming them for massive extinctions. Oh, wait. . . .

UPDATE: Some people are saying that, well, selective breeding isn't gene-splicing. No, it's not. (Duh). But it does involve rather drastic modifications to the genome over time. Just compare a Chihuahua to a Great Dane. And certainly there's nothing "natural" about the products of selective breeding.


Nina Joubran met her would-be husband on the Internet, a fitting footnote for a woman who spent much of her day tapping away at a keyboard.

For more than a year, the young librarian at Lebanon's Balamand University exchanged e-mails with her new cyberfriend. They chatted about everything, but the conversations often turned to Canada. Elie Joubran had studied here and he was anxious to return one day for good.

By the time the pair finally met face to face in early 2002 -- they were married by that summer -- moving to Canada had evolved into a mutual goal.

"They had their hopes to live a beautiful and prosperous life in Canada and they looked forward to it," Hazem Wehbe, Ms. Joubran's cousin, recalled yesterday. "She looked forward to escaping this style of life in the Middle East. They wanted to live a free life, independent."

The couple's plan was brought to a violent halt just before midnight on Saturday, when a group of terrorists unleashed a suicide bomb in the Saudi Arabian housing complex where they lived.

Ms. Joubran was among the 17 people killed in the attack. Her husband survived, but he remains in a Saudi hospital, recovering from both wounds on his body and the knowledge his new wife is gone.

Call me crazy, but I don't think this happened because the United States didn't ratify Kyoto.

ONE READER, a gentle soul, thought that I was too hard on Ted Rall when I called him a "loathsome human being." Well, I generally ignore Rall, so even fairly regular InstaPundit readers might not know much about him. You might start with this fairly typical cartoon in which Bush is a crazed dictator, while Colin Powell (I think it's Powell, but with Rall's drawing skills it's hard to be sure) holds a copy of a book entitled "Our Kampf."

But for the real Rall backstory, read this roundup of Rall stuff from Michele Catalano, and this update by Michele as well. Then read this piece by Eric Scheie.

Rall's only redeeming feature is as evidence that the talk about the crushing of dissent in Ashkkkroft's Amerikkka is entirely bogus. People got locked up in the Civil War, in Reconstruction, in World War I, and World War II, for milder stuff than this. Which is why, though I generally ignore Rall, it's worth turning over his rock occasionally: Just as a reminder of the state of dissent in 21st century America.

IT TAKES TWO BLOGGERS TO HANDLE A WHOPPER like this one. So, read what Andrew Sullivan and Kevin Holtsberry have to say on the subject.

Slate needs to improve the quality-control on its weekly features, or give 'em up as weekly features. This one is just embarrassing.

HERE'S AN INTERVIEW with former Reverse Cowgirl blogger Susannah Breslin. Her book, You're a Bad Man, Aren't You? is out now.

SADDAM HUSSEIN -- the blog interview. Don't miss it.


Due to an ongoing and escalating feud with her roommates, Jackson wrote the words in an attempt to get relocated to another room. According to the report, when told she was a suspect, she explained why she did it.

“I was requesting a roommate move, and I was given that advice that in order for the roommate move to be taken seriously, things needed to occur … issues needed to occur, and that if I really wanted, I could go ahead and pursue those issues, so the issue was basically that I wanted a roommate change.”

A similar seemingly unrelated incident occured in Mary Park Hall. After a supposed hate crime involving a watermelon in early September did not receive enough attention by campus authorities, freshman Leah Miller decided to write the word 'NIGG' on fellow resident Brandi Parr’s door on or around Sept. 20, according to a police report. Then she wrote a note bearing the same slur and claimed to her residential adviser that it was slipped under her door.

Miller said she was pressured into doing this by an older student, who claimed that she “had” to do it in order for the University to recognize racism in the community and that things like this had been done before.


PLAGIARIZING BLOGGERS? This has to be embarrassing for the New York Times. Venkat Balasubramani thinks it's poetic justice. Or something like that.

UPDATE: A Hollywood reader emails about Bernard Weinraub, subject of this flap: "One of the great on-going scandals hereabouts is that he still covers the Hollywood Beat for the NYT when he has been married for several years to Amy Pascal, studio head at Sony. It's extreme conflict of interest. Hard to fathom."

Yeah, Mickey Kaus had something on that recently:

So why is the spouse of Amy Pascal, who runs one of the biggest Hollywood studios (as one of three Vice-Chairmen of Sony Pictures) writing a New York Times profile of Jack Valenti, head of the movie studios' trade association and lobbying arm, the Motion Picture Association of America? It doesn't take much imagination to see the potential for conflict when Pascal's husband, Bernard Weinraub, covers his wife's business.

This seems to me to be a bigger ethical problem than sort-of lifting a paragraph from a blog. It's no surprise, though, that the latter gets more attention than the former. In fact -- as you can read in this chapter on plagiarism from the book on ethics that Peter Morgan and I wrote -- such an instinct for the capillary is typical.


Any hope that the report produced by an independent panel headed by for Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari on the August 19 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad would lead to some rethinking of the way that the UN secretariat in New York operates is now a thing of the past.

This is the opinion of many diplomatic observers in New York, as well as of a number of senior UN staff. In his report, Ahtisaari, a no-nonsense administrator indebted to no one, not only qualified the UN security system as "dysfunctional" but also referred to major shortcomings regarding "qualified professionals ... internal coordination ... threat assessment .. discipline ... and accountability". It was a damning indictment, not only of the way that security threats were addressed in Baghdad, but even more so on how Secretary General Kofi Annan runs his shop.

Many at the UN hoped that, confronted with this indictment, the secretariat would rise to the challenge and launch a process that would open the door to major reforms of the institution. It was not to be. On November 4, Annan decided to appoint a "team" to determine "accountability at all managerial levels" as it regards the Baghdad bombing. Many UN staff members, well versed in the art of reading between the lines of UN communiques, had one word to describe the decision: whitewash.

Color me unsurprised.


LYON, France, Nov 13 (AFP) - A representative of al-Qaeda bought enriched uranium capable of being used in a so-called dirty bomb from the Congolese opposition in 2000, according to sworn testimony quoted in a French newspaper Thursday.

An unnamed former soldier from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has told investigators looking into the murders of two Congolese opposition figures in France in December 2000 that he attended a meeting earlier that year at which the uranium was sold, the Lyon-based Le Progres reported.

The man "described a meeting which took place on March 3 in (the German city of) Hamburg between some Congolese men and an Egyptian by the name of Ibrahim Abdul," the newspaper said.

On the other hand, the story says that what was sold were "two bars of enriched Uranium 138." Most likely just a typo, but not credibility-enhancing. This bears further watching.

UPDATE: A reader sends a link to this story -- which I hadn't seen before:

James Astill in Nairobi and Rory Carroll in Johannesburg
Wednesday September 25, 2002
The Guardian

Iraqi agents have been negotiating with criminal gangs in the Democratic Republic of Congo to trade Iraqi military weapons and training for high-grade minerals, possibly including uranium, according to evidence obtained by the Guardian.

It comes as the dossier unveiled by Tony Blair accused Saddam Hussein of trying to buy African uranium to give Iraq's weapons programme a nuclear capability. The dossier did not identify any country allegedly approached by Baghdad but security analysts said the Congo was the likeliest, followed by South Africa.

Hmm. So why all the talk of Niger?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Tom Magure emails:

The excerpts from the National intelligence Estimate that were released in July also mention the Congo:

- Reports indicate Iraq also has sought uranium ore from Somalia and possibly the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

We cannot confirm whether Iraq succeeded in acquiring uranium ore and/or yellowcake from these sources. Reports suggest Iraq is shifting from domestic mining and milling of uranium to foreign acquisition. Link

And for a trip down memory lane, here is a US White Paper from Feb 1998 assessing Saddam's WMD program. Link

A hint, not quite buried all the way down in the second paragraph:

On the basis of the last seven years' experience, the world's experts conclude that enough production components and data remain hidden and enough expertise has been retained or developed to enable Iraq to resume development and production of WMD. They believe Iraq maintains a small force of Scud-type missiles, a small stockpile of chemical and biological munitions, and the capability to quickly resurrect biological and chemical weapons production.

The world's experts! And Clinton believed them! Well, he went on to bomb a pharmaceutical factory, so we know how shaky his grasp of intel was. The alternative view, that not every good faith mistake is a "lie", will never catch on.

Probably not.

ATKINS DIET UPDATE: The InstaWife and I had lunch at a Ruby Tuesday and noticed that they now have a low-carb menu catering to Atkins/South Beach/Zone etc.

Whether or not it'll take off pounds, the "Turkey Burger Wrap" was good.

ANDREW SULLIVAN WRITES that the BBC is fomenting chaos in London.

IT'S MORE A SCREED THAN A BLEAT TODAY, but whatever, go read Lileks if you haven't already done so.

MEDPUNDIT SYDNEY SMITH is questioning Howard Dean's medical credentials. On the upside, though, his Confederate flag statement seems to have attracted some supporters.

ON A BLOG-BREAK -- back this afternoon.

November 13, 2003

I WAS TOO BUSY TO GET OUT MUCH TODAY, but I did manage a brief walk around campus. It's probably the last pretty day with leaves on the trees, so I snapped a shot for you Knoxville expats out there and anyone else who cares. Enjoy!

UPDATE: It's not actually the goal of InstaPundit to drive highly compensated presidents of Big Media enterprises wild with jealousy. It's just, you know, a bonus!

COMMERCE CLAUSE NEWS: I haven't read the opinion yet, but Larry Solum reports that the Ninth Circuit has held that the federal government can't ban homemade machine guns under the Commerce Clause, since they're not in interstate commerce. He notes that this has implications for homegrown marijuana, too.

As I say, I haven't read the opinion, but it sounds like a defensible position to me. [Any position is defensible with enough homemade machine guns! -- Ed. I think you've had too many of those brownies. . . .]

UPDATE: Volokh says this is huge.

ANOTHER UPDATE: For some background on these issues, you might want to read this article that Brannon Denning and I wrote in the Wisconsin Law Review on Commerce Clause issues in the lower courts, and this followup piece from the Commerce Clause symposium issue of the Arkansas Law Review. (That symposium was terrific, but as far as I know the whole issue isn't online. Here, however, is Randy Barnett's contribution.) We have a long-term, quasi-empirical project looking at how the Lopez case is percolating through the lower courts, and back through the Supreme Court. This case will surely make the next installment.

BA'ATHIST SYRIA IS IN TROUBLE: How do I know? The French are cozying up. That's always a sign that your days are numbered. . . .

UPDATE: Conrad has some advice for the Administration on Iraq.


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office Thursday for refusing to obey a federal court order to move his Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state courthouse.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary unanimously imposed the harhest penalty possible after a one-day trial in which Moore said his refusal was a moral and lawful acknowledgment of God. Prosecutors said Moore's defiance, left unchecked, would harm the judicial system.

If judges don't obey court orders, who will? (Via Jeff Jarvis).

MORE BAD PRESS for the antiwar movement:

"I can't believe there are that kind of people in the United States," said Gerv Hansen, retired Sebastopol postmaster and a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3919.

"It makes me mad," said Rachel Schneider, who brought her two children to a Veterans Day ceremony sponsored by the VFW post and spontaneously became the hit speaker.

They were reacting to Monday's discovery of an apparent Iraq war protest by vandals who poured concrete into almost 200 holes that are used to hold flag poles on Veterans Day. The city spent more than $1,000 drilling out the concrete so Boy Scouts could erect flags along city sidewalks Tuesday morning.

Perhaps A.N.S.W.E.R. will take up a collection to reimburse the city. Still, there were voices of sanity:

As for the vandalism, Sebastopol police said Tuesday they had no new information. It was condemned by an anti-war group, Women in Black, which holds weekly silent-vigil protests in the county, and drew reaction throughout the day.

Maybe they'll condemn Ted Rall, next. . . . (Via Best of the Web).

UPDATE: Canada, too:

OTTAWA (CP) -- Vandals spray-painted anti-war slogans on the National War Memorial on Tuesday, just hours before Remembrance Day ceremonies were to begin.


ANOTHER UPDATE: In Australia, too:

At today's service at the Shrine of Remembrance, a bunch of "anti-war protestors" interrupted the service just before the minute of silence with their by now wearisomely familiar shrieks and slogans. According to the afternoon free newspaper here in Melbourne, MX, a war veteran was knocked to the ground in a scuffle with the protestors, two of whom were arrested.

How lame.

IN TODAY'S MAIL: A copy of John Scalzi's Book of the Dumb. It looks pretty funny: "a celebration of all things stupid."

REWRITING HISTORY AT THE NEW YORK TIMES: An amusing juxtaposition of passages.

Don't these people know about Nexis?

ANAEROBIC FITNESS: Jim Henley is defending S.U.V.'s, in a novel, but surprisingly persuasive, fashion.

Maybe Gregg Easterbook will post a response!

UPDATE: Roger Simon isn't Gregg Easterbrook -- but he's got a response.

THE LATEST VOLUNTEER TAILGATE PARTY is up, featuring blog posts on all sorts of things by all sorts of people. Expand your blog-horizons and check 'em out!

MORE ON 1946 AND TODAY: Robert Tagorda excerpts a piece by Walter Lippman on Germany that reads like, well, a piece from today -- except that Lippman's a better writer. "Our experience with the German occupation is a striking illustration of how a nation gets into trouble when it fails to balance its commitments and its power to carry them out."

A NEW IRAQI SPORTS BLOG IS UP. (Via Jeff Jarvis, who observes: "They had Saddam, we have Steinbrenner.")

EDWARD BOYD has more on the Credit Lyonnais scandal, which he's following closely. This bears watching, as the prospect of being prosecuted for fraud is reportedly re-igniting anti-Americanism among French elites. (Re-igniting? That's what it says. . . )

MICHAEL UBALDI has thoughts on the Iraqi reconstruction. And he's got links to stories on postwar Japan that reveal conditions worse than anything in Baghdad. Excerpt:

Tokyo endured [the] winter [of 1945-1946] on the workings of an illegal economy. The black market encompassed thousands of sellers and millions of buyers dealing in every commodity of daily life. It was also a vast jungle of lawlessness that began with thefts and led to gang killings, turf wars, and casual murders, becoming at last a criminal demimonde of immense proportions. It embraced all classes and kinds of people. When the war ended, sake, bread, clothing, shoes, sugar and blankets had disappeared from military depots all over the country, pilfered wholesale by officers and enlisted men alike. Small thefts were the routine of daily existence. A bicycle snatched at Ueno's railway station turned up repainted and for sale two hours later at the station in Shimbashi. Koreans and Chinese, forced-labor immigrants during the war, prospered with goods smuggled from Hong Kong and Taiwan, and by the Occupation's ruling, they could not be arrested by Japanese police.

It was the beginning for many mobster organizations, some of whose descendants still operate today. In Tokyo there were eight major syndicates, each with its own piece of turf around the major train stations...They fought amongst themselves and against other gangs, the Japanese mobs battling constantly for territory against the Koreans and Chinese. Guns were plentiful, another result of looted army depots. Unable or unwilling to intervene, police let gangs have at one another, and the shootouts continued for several years into the Occupation. One day in April 1948, two gangs - one Japanese, one Korean - fought it out with pistols in the Hamamatsu district. The next day, about one hundred Japanese returned to the attack on the Koreans' black market there and killed or wounded more than 15 men.

There's more. Read this, too.

FRITZ SCHRANCK offers another tale of local law enforcement gone awry.

JOE KATZMAN offers a communitarian defense of patriotism -- against the atomistic moral individualism espoused by liberals. . . .

November 12, 2003

MORE FROM AMERICA'S EDUCATIONAL QUAGMIRE: Backcountry Conservative points to some interesting comments on the Goose Creek raid from a law enforcement message board in South Carolina, as well as a news story on the raid. Michael Graham remains on top of the story, too.


MORE NEWS from the educational quagmire.

BOY, THIS didn't take long. I do, however, want to stress what I said in the update to this post.

UPDATE: Ted Rall, on the other hand, writes this like he means it. [LATER: That link is dead now: Go here to read the column.]

He really is a loathsome human being.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Bill Hobbs has identified a suitable Rall-related charity.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Armed Liberal has related comments.

MORE: Andrew Sullivan on Rall:

After 9/11, I was roundly criticized for daring to suggest that there were some people in America who wanted the terrorists to win. But if you read Ted Rall and others, there can be no mistake.

The antiwar left -- if it wants to be taken seriously, which is at best an open question -- should disavow the likes of Rall. But it won't, because too many of its supporters agree with him.

STILL MORE: Hmm. According to this, Ted Rall is an award-winning moderate. Sheesh. Remember this the next time antiwar folks say it's unfair to associate them with losers like Rall.

MORE STILL: An antiwar reader emails:

Now, if you're going to play gotcha with us everytime some member of the radical fringe of my side says something stupid on DU or Ted Rall decides to pipe up, I ask you: when will you repudiate Misha or the posters on FreeRepublic? It's a two way street.

Yeah, but this is a cop-out because they aren't comparable. Whenever I mention people who want the United States to lose, I'm told "yeah, but they're the fringe." But they're NOT. Misha and the freepers don't have syndicated columns. They're not winning awards from allegedly-mainstream outfits. They're not published with those views in allegedly-respectable newspapers. Rall is.

Ditto with ANSWER -- they're the indispensable core of the antiwar movement. You can try to dismiss them as a fringe, but no alternative group has been able to replace them because, in fact, they aren't the fringe of the antiwar movement. Their hostility to America, their desire for America to lose, is just a more distilled version of something we see all over. Look at what Gary Kamiya wrote last spring:

I have at times, as the war has unfolded, secretly wished for things to go wrong. Wished for the Iraqis to be more nationalistic, to resist longer. Wished for the Arab world to rise up in rage. Wished for all the things we feared would happen. I'm not alone: A number of serious, intelligent, morally sensitive people who oppose the war have told me they have had identical feelings.

Kamiya gave this a redemptive spin, but I see plenty of examples where that's entirely lacking. Here's Tom Robbins:

Quite probably the worst thing about the inevitable and totally unjustifiable war with Iraq is that there’s no chance the U.S. might lose it. America is a young country, and intellectually, emotionally, and physically, it has been exhibiting all the characteristics of an adolescent bully, a pubescent punk who’s too big for his britches and too strong for his age. Someday, perhaps, we may grow out of our mindless, pimple-faced arrogance, but in the meantime, it might do us a ton of good to have our butts kicked. Unfortunately, like most of the targets we pick on, Iraq is much too weak to give us the thrashing our continuously overbearing behavior deserves.

Then there's Chrissie Hynde:

Between songs, the pugnacious Hynde, in a classic black T-shirt and jeans, bantered and battled with the crowd. She dedicated "You Know Who Your Friends Are" to "all you junkies and f--," gave a shout-out to the late Joe Strummer, opined that she hopes the United States loses if it goes to war with Iraq ("Bring it on! Give us what we deserve!"), and introduced the song "Fools Must Die" with the self-deprecating quip, "I'll show you how it's done."

If these people were on the "fringe," they'd be repudiated -- as they'd be if they were, say, calling black people by racist terms. But wishing for America to lose, apparently, is unexceptionable. Fringe? Of society, maybe. Of the antiwar movement? Doesn't sound like it. They may not reflect majority opinion, but they're clearly not regarded as beyond the pale.

YET MORE STILL: Tacitus has more links on this. Some of his commenters accuse me of deliberately blurring the line between antiwar and anti-America. But I don't think I'm the one doing that.

I've drawn the distinction repeatedly, but the fact is that the real energy in the antiwar movement comes from people who don't like America. A.N.S.W.E.R. is central to the movement. Nobody else can organize the protests or turn out the bodies. It's as if the religious right relied on Fred Phelps to do their organization, then tried to claim that they weren't like him. But they've been very careful to distance themselves from guys like him. I don't see similar care from the antiwar movement -- I see happy solidarity until someone makes an issue, followed by righteous indignation when this stuff is pointed out.

If you're embarrassed to be in bed with these guys, here's my advice: Get out of the bed. Meanwhile LT Smash has more on this.

YESTERDAY I MENTIONED A RATHER ONE-SIDED SYMPOSIUM sponsored by the International Society of Political Psychology. John Ray was until recently a member of the ISPP and writes:

I was a member once. And I have had quite a few articles published in their journal. It is in many ways a fairly typical academic association but they have moved further and further to the Left over the years -- making their journal so boring that I discontinued my subscription a couple of year ago. I am still on their mailing list, however, and did get the email Instapundit refers to but it was so normal for them that I did not think to remark [on] it.

Sad, isn't it, that this sort of thing is so unremarkable in academia?

A WHILE BACK, I joked that Fred Phelps might as well be a paid agent provocateur for the ACLU. This Slate article by Emily Bazelon explains why at considerably greater length.

HELP, HELP -- I'm being stalked.

Er, but not, you know, "actually, personally stalked" or anything.

I DIDN'T SEE this episode of Hardball, but I wish I had. Read the whole thing, which offers a lot of interesting insight into what's going on in Iraq.

MORE ON THE EDUCATIONAL QUAGMIRE: If you're not reading Erin O'Connor's blog, Critical Mass, you probably should be.

GHOSTS OF OCCUPATIONS PAST: Here are some fascinating clippings about resistance to the American occupation in Germany, including the murder and mutilation of American soldiers and clashes with German gangs.

Meanwhile, Justin Katz comments on war critics' ignorance of history.


VIENNA (Reuters) - Arms experts say a U.N. nuclear watchdog report on Iran supports U.S. claims that Tehran has a secret atomic weapons programme by detailing a two-decade cover-up of research possibly linked to bomb making.

Despite Iran's secretiveness and the array of activities possibly associated with weapons, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded there was no evidence to date Iran had a weapons programme. Iran has always denied the charge.

"The report is a stunning revelation of how far a country can get in making The Bomb, while pretending to comply with international inspections," said Gary Milhollin of the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, a U.S.-based non-profit think-tank. "This is a classic case of a bomb in the basement."

"Iran has secretly enriched uranium, made plutonium, and hidden the evidence of it from the world," he told Reuters. "There's only one reason why anybody would do that -- because they want to make the bomb."

And what's an appropriate response to that?

JIM MILLER POINTS OUT another similarity between GWB and JFK.

EDUCATIONAL QUAGMIRE UPDATE: Joanne Jacobs remarks: "The Ody brothers are black, like 70 of 107 students searched at the majority white school. The ACLU is investigating. It's going to be lawsuit time in Goose Creek, South Carolina."

I certainly hope so.

FRANCE'S ELF PETROLEUM CORRUPTION SCANDAL has produced jailtime for several:

Stiff sentences were handed out on Wednesday to the three central figures in France's biggest ever corruption trial involving the diversion of Ђ300m from Elf, the former state oil group, for personal enrichment and bribes during the late eighties and early nineties. . .

Elf, set up as a state run company by Gen Charles de Gaulle to ensure French independent sources of oil, had long been used as an unofficial arm of French foreign policy, as well as to provide under-the-table funds to political parties.

There's also a roundup here.

Stay tuned for developments in the Credit Lyonnais scandal, which may produce trials in the United States!

GEORGE SOROS AND ANTISEMITISM: The New York Daily News says that Soros is twisting history.

UPDATE: Meryl Yourish comments on Soros: "The brainwashing took on this man. He's a relic from an earlier age, a classic example of the Jew that is taught to hate what he is and what he stands for."


Juhl, 18, is still wondering what authority allowed the Clark County School District to punish him. His journal was not a school assignment and was not posted using a school computer or a school message board.

"The dean told me that what I'd written wasn't school appropriate," said Juhl, who was Valley's homecoming king this year and also was president of its drama club. "He said it wasn't appropriate for a journal. I just feel like I've been violated, like they've punished me for expressing my personal opinion."

And that's because they have. (Via Joanne Jacobs).


Now we've come to the long trial in Iraq. Dictatorships are the biggest cause of terrorism and the biggest cause of poverty on this planet. The Iraqi people have a truly blessed opportunity -- the chance to build a democracy in the politically dysfunctional Middle East. However, defeatist poobahs chant, "No one told us the job would be tough."

Malarkey. Early on, defense and policy analysts publicly vetted post-Saddam challenges. In a recent column, I trotted out a quote from an article I wrote in The Weekly Standard's Dec. 9, 2002, issue. Forgive me, it must trot again:

U.S. and allied forces liberating Iraq will attempt -- more or less simultaneously -- to end combat operations, cork public passions, disarm Iraqi battalions, bury the dead, generate electricity, pump potable water, bring law out of embittering lawlessness, empty jails of political prisoners, pack jails with criminals, turn armed partisans into peaceful citizens, rearm local cops who were once enemy infantry, shoot terrorists, thwart chiselers, carpetbaggers and black marketeers, fix sewers, feed refugees, patch potholes, get trash trucks rolling, and accomplish all this under the lidless gaze of Peter Jennings and Al Jazeera.

Winning a war is difficult. Ask the World War II generation.

Every experienced strategist understands warfare is, at its most basic level, a clash of human wills. The motive will of a man who spends years preparing to smash a jet into a skyscraper is large in big letters. His cohorts are betting that America is a sitcom nation with a short attention span. We'll change channels, cut and run.

Mature Americans recognize that everyone has a leadership role, especially in times of crisis. The cooperation and common trust demonstrated by Americans evacuating the World Trade Center not only saved thousands of lives, it was indicative of America's capacity for individual leadership.

Self-critique is one thing, the acid of self-doubt spurred by lies is something else. It's time for every American to be a leader, to bury these lies -- from unilateralism, to quagmire, to "no one told us" -- and get on with the hard business of winning the War on Terror.

Read the whole thing.

PORPHYROGENITUS has a good post on war, anti-war, and the stereotypes that anti-war people have about pro-war people. Read it all, but here's an excerpt:

One of the bits of conventional wisdom that vexes me is the widely-held assumption that people who are in favor of fighting this war (or any given war) just love war and/or have no conception of the consequences of war, of the suffering involved, the sacrifices that we are asking people to make, the loss people will experience as a result, and the fact that many of those we are sending to fight, and quite possibly innocents elsewhere, will never be the same even if they live.

Over the last several days I have been particularly melancholy. Yesterday was the hardest Remembrance Day of my life. I'm deliberately using the name for the holiday that is common in other countries, because its connotations are apt in this case. I couldn't stop tearing up. I couldn't stop weeping. Which is sort of a problem when one is at work, so I kept to myself and I left early.

I couldn't stop thinking about the lads in their trench. I couldn't stop thinking about the men and women who are not only fighting, but dying or suffering horrible wounds in a war I supported and continue to support. About people in hospital beds with their faces or limbs blown off. About people who, even if they are not injured in this fight, will see things - see things they do to others - that are difficult to live with. This is of course only appropriate.

My belief is that it is the pro-war people, not the anti-war people, who tend to have a deeper understanding of exactly these things. Frankly I hope this belief is correct because it must be correct, because it is a responsibility we bear and must accept when we favor such a course of action. In some moral sense, those who oppose the war do not have to have it to the same degree, because they aren't asking people to face this. In other ways, I think it would be better if they did have a greater knowledge of both war and the alternatives to war than I think many of them do, because they bear a different moral responsibility, one that is no less grave, as a result of their opposition. And the consequences are really not as dissimilar as they seem to assume.


THIS ATTACK in Iraq is bad news. Well, all of them are. That the other side has an offensive going, of course, doesn't mean the war's going badly -- the Battle of the Bulge is proof of that. But it's important to learn from what's going on and adjust tactics to match. Learning faster is one of the keys to victory in war. Unfortunately, the poor quality of reporting from Iraq, coupled with obvious military secrecy concerns, makes it hard for me to know how well we're doing in that regard.

Do we need more troops? I don't know that, either. Josh Chafetz thinks we might. On the other hand people who are a lot closer to the situation than me seem to feel otherwise.

I suspect that these attacks are being sustained by Syria, Iran, and elements in Saudi Arabia, who want the United States thinking about problems in Iraq, and hence more reluctant to move against them. I wonder if this is a good move for them, though, given that the obvious response is to get them busy thinking about problems at home. . . .

UPDATE: Somebody just sent me a "but Bush said the war was over!" bit of snarkmail. Uh, no, he didn't. Bush actually said that major combat was over in Iraq. The war on terror -- really the war on fundamentalist Islamic terrorists, and those who back them -- is nowhere near over. Bush knows that, and he's said it repeatedly.

I actually got several variations on this theme, from antiwar types who always seem glad when people die in Iraq, so long as they're Americans or our allies. They're usually the same people who puff up if you "question their patriotism."

I don't question it. They've put its existence beyond question by wishing for America to lose.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Aziz Poonawalla emails to ask if I meant that all antiwar people are anti-American. Uh, no, and I've said that plenty of times. Just the ones who dance on the graves of our soldiers, and our allies. And I get plenty of email from them, so I know they're out there.

Meanwhile Charles Austin emails:

like your analogy to the Battle of the Bulge, but I'd like to extend it a bit. I've been trying to point out for some time that we are engaged in a War on Terrorism, of which Iraq is merely a prolonged battle. We do not refer to the War of Midway, the War of Sicily, the War of Okinawa, the War of Monte Cassino, the War of Stalingrad, or, as you noted by extension, the War of the Bulge. All of these battles were extended activities within the context of a larger war, some of which lasted longer than the major combat actions of the Battle of Iraq. So why should we continue referring to the War of Iraq?

Good point. And, to be fair, the Administration has made pretty clear that this isn't the end.

IF I WERE PARIS HILTON, I'd be deeply hurt by this report.

UPDATE: Reader Edward Baer emails:

No, if you were Paris Hilton you'd just be waking up with a wicked hangover (it's 4 p.m. EST) next to some vapid rich (or famous) prettyboy on some yacht or in some fancy hotel somewhere exotic (or expensive) thinking "What in the world can I do next to try to get my parents (or, failing that, the media) to pay attention to me?!"

Good point.

ROGER SIMON RESPONDS to the Tom Tomorrow item I mention below.

WINDS OF CHANGE has a Korea roundup that's chock-full of interesting (and disturbing) information. Also, here's a new Korea blog that's worth checking out.

In a non-Korea-related development, blogger Arthur Silber is in a spot of trouble, and Armed Liberal, among several other L.A.-based bloggers, is trying to help him out. If you've enjoyed Silber's blog, you may want to join in. You can read more about it here.


Sixteen-year-old Ryan Richter got kicked out of school Monday morning for a stick-figure drawing that another student thought was a violent threat.

Richter, a LaBelle High School sophomore, sketched a figure shooting another figure. He did the sketch in a recent geometry class and passed it along to a friend and thought nothing else of it.

The classroom doodling, however, got him suspended for a week and as of Monday’s disciplinary hearing, got him kicked out of LaBelle High and recommended for a 45-day stint in Hendry County’s alternative high school.

Violent drawings -- though this one doesn't sound like it qualifies anyway -- ought to be looked at as potential warning signs, something that might lead to appropriate treatment of kids who are genuinely troubled and dangerous. Instead -- because school administrators are, basically, stupid and lazy -- they're often treated as disciplinary problems and subjected to "zero tolerance," a bogus solution that only makes things worse.

(Via Matt Welch, who observes that "Based on today's lunatic standards, the material in my early-'80s high school notebooks would probably qualify me for the death penalty in a dozen states.")

RANDY BARNETT'S PROPOSAL for mass recess appointments in response to Democratic filibustering on judicial nominations is getting serious play on the Hill, reports Larry Solum, who thinks we're in a "downward spiral of politicization" regarding the judiciary.

UPDATE: Randy Barnett replies that a wave of recess appointments might be what it takes to end the downward spiral.

I would have a conflict of interest on this -- I'd actually rather be a recess-appointment federal judge than a life-tenured one -- but I'm spared from that by the fact that nobody would appoint me. I'm pretty sure that my views are equally unpalatable to both Republican and Democratic administrations.

KENT BROCKMAN ON UNEMPLOYMENT: My new TechCentralStation column is up -- and it's got the coolest graphic ever.


November 11, 2003

CAPT. HARRY HORNBUCKLE: A Veterans' Day story that's worth reading.

RESEARCH CHEMIST DEREK LOWE is Fisking a New York Times editorial on drugs. "So, your editorial bungles its key scientific and legal points. Then you follow that up by lecturing academic and industrial researchers who actually know what they're talking about. . . . Well, speaking as a member of the vaunted American research establishment, I find it irritating to be harangued by the New York Times about a subject you've clearly made little attempt to understand."

HERE'S A SUGGESTION that policymakers in Washington ought to be reading Iraqi blogs -- starting with this one and this one.

It's a good idea. Bloggers aren't necessarily representative, of course, but they're an additional source of information, one with a different agenda than either government folks reporting up the chain of command, or media folks reporting, well, what they report.


I have a sneaking suspicion that if the U.S. were manipulating tariffs in an attempt to influence European elections, reporters would be putting it a little higher in the story than the final paragraph.

I suspect that this tactic would likely backfire, though the Bush Administration looks likely to put an end to the offending steel tariffs, which is a good thing.


PARIS -- Political kickbacks, luxury villas bought with public money, illegal party funding. The corruption trial surrounding oil company Elf has already tarnished the French establishment and ruined careers.

Now the decade-long investigation into the former state-owned company comes to its climax on Wednesday, with the announcement of verdicts in France's biggest-ever graft scandal.

I hope that justice is done.

UPDATE: But if the end of this scandal makes you sad, don't worry: Edward Boyd points out new developments relating to Credit Lyonnais. And this may lead to trials in the United States, he says. Hmm. . . .

DAVID BROOKS, WRITING IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, PLUGGED Daniel Drezner's Slate piece debunking the Center for Public Integrity's rather, um, integrity-challenged claims about Iraq reconstruction contracts.


Baghdad, Iraq -- At least two of the four suicide bombers who struck Baghdad on Oct. 27 appear to have been Saudis, another sign of the growing role of foreign fighters in the Iraqi insurgency, a senior Iraqi security official said. . . . A fifth would-be suicide bomber, who was shot by Iraqi police on Oct. 27 as he approached his target, is a Syrian national who was born in Yemen.

Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia all have reasons to want the United States to stay busy in Iraq. Of course, they could experience blowback. . . .

UPDATE: Hmm. Now we're hearing new reports of Syrian and Iranian nuclear programs.

JULIAN SANCHEZ has a link-rich piece on problems with Diebold and electronic voting, over at Reason.

There's a technological solution available.

KRUGMAN COMPLAINS ABOUT LUSKIN, but he doesn't know the half of it. At least I'm starting to get apologies! Er, and like Krugman, my critics sometimes use graphics. . . .

LT SMASH says that Tom Tomorrow just doesn't get it.

No, he doesn't. Maybe he should visit MilBlogs, a collection of military blogs with the slogan "Free Speech From Those Who Help Make It Possible."

You can learn all sorts of things from reading those blogs.

UPDATE: I notice that some people are comparing Tom Tomorrow to Ted Rall. I think that's quite unfair. Rall is a loathsome human being. Dan Perkins, who does Tom Tomorrow, seems to be a decent -- if deeply misguided -- guy. I think there's a big difference there, and one that we shouldn't lose sight of.

ANDREW SULLIVAN IS FISKING WESLEY CLARK, who rather incoherently says that the war in Kosovo was "technically illegal" because the Security Council didn't approve it, but that it was still okay, while the war in Iraq wasn't:

Let's go back here. Clark essentially concedes that the war in Kosovo was, under international law, indistinguishable from the war in Iraq. Actually, even that's not entirely true. It should be recalled that the United States and its allies, particularly Great Britain, secured a 15-0 Security Council Resolution demanding complete and unfettered access to potential sites of WMD development--or else--in Iraq. The "else" was subject to debate, but the notion that it ruled out any military action is one only Dominique de Villepin would argue with a straight face. No such 15-0 vote occurred at any time before the Kosovo war. So, if anything, the war against Iraq had more international legitimacy than the war in Kosovo. If viewed as a continuation of the 1991 war--the terms of which cease-fire Saddam had grotesquely and systematically violated--it was impeccably legitimate. The 1991 war, after all, was one of very few post-World War II conflicts that had unimpeachable U.N. credentials.

The real problem with the Iraq war is that it's (1) waged by a Republican President; and (2) obviously in the United States' national interest. To some people, those characteristics are enough to brand it evil.

Sullivan goes on to call Clark's latest claims about Bush "Ross-Perot crazy." Read the whole thing.

GREGG EASTERBROOK'S Tuesday Morning Quarterback has a new home at FootballOutsiders.

ANOTHER PERFECT FALL DAY, but I'm in my office reading rough drafts of student papers. I should be outside, shouldn't I? I got out for a bit earlier, but now I have office hours. Maybe I should stick a note on my door: "Look for me under a tree."

OKAY, I haven't actually seen the results of this Gallup poll on Iraqis' attitudes (it's subscription-only) but a generally reliable media reader sends this summary:

Wanted to pass along the results of the latest Gallup Poll Tuesday Briefing Baghdad survey regarding Baghdadis' priorities for a new Constitution.

Virtually without exception (98% "agree," 1% "disagree"), Baghdadis agree that the new constitution should guarantee all Iraqis the right "to express their opinion on the political, social, and economic issues of the day." No demographic group appears to view freedom of speech as anything other than the most basic of civil rights.

To a large extent this freedom is already realized, even in the absence of a formal constitutional guarantee. Seventy-five percent of Baghdad's residents told Gallup they now feel freer to express their political views in public than they did before the invasion that ousted Hussein's regime.

Similarly, the vast majority of Baghdad's residents -- nearly 9 in 10 (86%) -- agree that the country's next constitution should include a provision "allowing all Iraqi citizens to observe any religion of their choice and to practice its teachings and beliefs."

The proposed constitutional provision receiving the least popular approval is freedom of assembly -- a guarantee "allowing all Iraqi citizens to assemble or congregate for any reason or in support of any cause." Approximately two-thirds (68%) of those interviewed support such a guarantee, while 25% do not.

Interestingly, I suspect that there's more support for free speech in Baghdad than on many university campuses these days. Further proof, I guess, that we're facing an educational quagmire! [98%? -- Ed. That's what it says.]

REAPING WHAT YOU SOW: More on the Goose Creek incident, here.

UPDATE: It's yet another example of America's educational quagmire!

ACADEMIA IN ACTION: A reader notes these calls for papers from a planned meeting of the International Society of Political Psychology on "The Political Psychology of Hegemony and Resistance:"

The events of September 11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and their aftermath continue to affect the political situation in the world. The role of the US as a hegemonic power brings into sharp focus the political psychology of hegemony through the exercise of power over politics, media and discourse. At the same time we are seeing increasing contestation of such hegemony among both Western and non-Western societies, as witnessed through terrorist activities, popular resistance, nationalist/religious politics, cultural diversity and through the growing importance of the politics of recognition. Submissions that address any aspect of these themes, as well as those which address the full range of theory and research in political psychology, are welcomed.

Then there's this:

The failure of the Bush administration's facile assumptions about the ease and speed with which post-invasion Iraq could be transformed into a secure democratic state and thriving free market economy was painfully apparent by late summer, 2003. Especially egregious was the lack of serious planning for nation building in Iraq where all eyes were on the United States that could not walk away as it had in previous military adventures in Lebanon in 1983 or Somalia in 1993, or get away with quarter measures in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003. Opponents of American hegemonic policies used the weapon of the weak, terrorism, to great and depressing effect. The long apparent ideological difficulty of European Zionism to recognize the moral and psychological requirements for a humane accommodation of the Arab inhabitants of Palestine continued to exact a costly and bloody toll on Jews and Palestinians alike. The United States bore heavy responsibility in the eyes of the world - but especially Muslim - opinion for the failures of Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy. The terrible attacks by Arab terrorists on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, were powerful evidence that American engagement in the Arab and Muslim world had to be reconceived. Moral debts incurred by successive Washington governments as they fought the Cold War with the Soviet Union and ignored the implications of alliances of convenience with corrupt and authoritarian regimes required a reckoning.

The failed foreign policy of the Bush administration based on Hubris called for a major transformation in American domestic thinking on the way to enhance regional and international security through respectful collaboration with the UN and other multilateral organizations, through extending the rule of law, including the International Criminal Court, and recognition of the complex tasks of nation building and transformation of brutalized political and economic systems in post-conflict and recovering nations.

This workshop invites submissions on the flawed thinking behind hegemony and the institutional political, economic and moral dimensions of a caring community of nations. It also welcomes prescriptions on the most creative and effective role the United States could play in working toward this vision of a caring international community.

Those beastly Zionists. They're behind everything! And their hubristic American lackeys!

Bear in mind that this isn't an opinion piece -- it's a call for papers. The International Society of Political Psychology is, according to its constitution, "a nonprofit scientific, educational, and non-partisan organization." Sounds kind of partisan to me.

But, hey, this is just one conference. Perhaps next they'll sponsor a symposium on "Academics' Tendency to Identify with the Enemies of Civilization: Treason, Psychopathology, or Entirely Justified Self-Hatred?"

Now that would be interesting.

UPDATE: Is it an educational quagmire? I think it may be.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Jim Hogue emails:

“The terrible attacks by Arab terrorists on the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, were powerful evidence that American engagement in the Arab and Muslim world had to be reconceived.”

Huh? I thought that was what our military action in Afghanistan and Iraq were all about, “reconceiving” our engagement in the “Arab and Muslim worlds.”

Personally, I’d like to continue “reconceiving” in Saudi Arabia and Iran next!

Yes, "root causes" analysis was supposed to produce inaction, not action. . . .

THE PERIODIC TABLE OF THE BLOGGERS? Someone has too much time. . . .

GOOSE CREEK UPDATE: Here's some more on what happened:

Then the principal, George McCrackin, patted him down, checked his shoes and took out his wallet, asking him where he got the approximately $100 he was carrying, Sam said. The student said he told McCrackin he had just gotten paid at his job at KFC.

"The people I hang out with are not drug dealers," Sam said. "We play basketball. We have nice clothes because we have jobs."

Down the hall, Josh was standing with his friends when he heard a rustling and felt something hit him in the back. When he turned around, he said, he saw a police officer standing behind him with his gun drawn.

"He told me to get down on the ground," said Josh, who then was instructed to put his hands behind his head and stay down.

Sam and Josh said that when the search was over, police told them that any innocent bystanders in the crowd should blame the search on the people bringing drugs to school.

Bah. Tar and feathers are looking better all the time. This guy should be fired, now, as should the police and prosecutors who approved this raid and these tactics. Michael Graham notes:

What makes this even more problematic is that this kid, and about 70% of the kids who had guns pointed at them, was black. At a school where most of the students are white. So now we have a scene straight out of "In The Heat Of The Night," with the white principal asking the black kid "Boah, where'd YOO git yo'se'f a hunnert dollars?"

Fired. Now.

STEPHEN GREEN: "Will someone please remind me again what the Campaign Finance Reform Act was supposed to accomplish?"


Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate two cases, reported by The Washington Post, in which NBC affiliates in Tampa and Jackson, Miss., have charged as much as $2,500 for companies and individuals to tout themselves and their products. He also cited a New York Times report on Sky Radio Network, which serves several airlines, charging organizations as much as $5,900 for interviews.


THE EUROPEAN UNION CONSTITUTION: Another loser at the polls:

Support for the 230-page document was negligible among key states certain to hold a vote, falling as low as five per cent in Holland and three per cent in Denmark, said the EU-wide poll yesterday.

Most people with any view on the matter wanted the text "partially" or "radically modified" or abandoned, though most supported the abstract principle of an EU constitution.

Britons were the most hostile, with 35 per cent calling for outright rejection. But citizens in all of the EU's current and future states appeared disdainful of the document.

Support for the draft stands at 11 per cent in Germany followed by France (10 per cent), Spain (seven), Austria (six) and Finland (four). . . .

The survey is a blow to Valery Giscard d'Estaing and the EU establishment, who have insisted that the text elaborated by the 105-strong drafting convention of MPs and MEPs reflects the collective will of Europe's peoples and must not be "unpicked" by national capitals.

Ah, the "collective will of Europe's peoples." So much more convenient than, you know, what people actually want, as it always seems to coincide with the "collective will" of Europe's apparatchiks. Prediction: They'll try to find a way to approve it without a vote. Another prediction: The legitimacy of the EU will be further tarnished.

CRAIG HENRY WONDERS if the popular "men are dumb" theme in advertising is one reason why male viewers are deserting TV in droves.

I certainly find it a turnoff, and I'm unlikely to buy a product whose advertiser portrays me as stupid. I don't know if I'm typical that way, though.

UPDATE: Reader Ronnie Schreiber emails:

It's not just commercials. Borrowing, at some risk, a little from Naomi Wolf and other feminists who harped about the unreasonable expectations that society places on women and how they look, the image portrayed of the average man in popular culture on one hand is such a loser and the ideal male being pushed by the media/entertainment complex on the other is unattainable for most (the 'metrosexual' thing is just another way of saying that today's 'ideal' male, a sensitive guy who knows how to dress well and has a hairless buff body with a six pack and small tuchas, is gay) has led many men to abandon traditional media sources.

I happened to watch the new reality tv show, Average Joe, where a former beauty queen has to pick from a variety of geeks, 'nice guys', nerds, and other guys who have experienced plenty of rejection from average women, let alone beauty queens. One guy had a partial hearing loss, another was at least 6' 5" tall and maybe 350 lbs. with a bad case of eczema. You get the picture. The show is edited to show them to look as pathetic as possible.

I asked a friend if he could see a show being made called Average Jane, where average looking women compete for a rich, good looking guy. His response was "that would be cruel". Of course Average Jane would have a hard time finding an audience today. Average Joe can find an audience because average men will tune in to watch the beauty queen and engage in the fantasy of winning a competition like that while ignoring how pathetic the men look. Women, average or otherwise, will always tune in to watch men be pathetic losers. On the other hand, with Average Jane, who would watch? Average men won't watch a show with a good looking guy and a bunch of average women and average women wouldn't be comfortable watching the behavior of the women on the show. I think that in today's culture you just can't say anything bad about women or show a woman in poor light.

I think that double standard is what most men find most irritating.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ann Haker writes:

Believe me, it's not just the guys who are turned off! Women are looking for partners in life, not another baby to care for, but that is how so many men on TV are portrayed: as bumbling fools who have to have their wise and long-suffering wives clean up after their messes.

Women don't want to see long-suffering wives on TV! They want to see mature, responsible men.

One hopes.

MORE: Megan McArdle thinks that it would help if men shopped more. Hmm. Maybe. But I don't think that excuses the double standard.

COUNTING THE COST of the war in Iraq -- here's a counter featuring a running death toll. I wonder how he gets those numbers?

CAPTAIN ED REPORTS that the Rock The Vote debate was not just lame and uncool -- according to the Los Angeles Times it was scripted by CNN: "CNN, which has marketed itself as an outlet for serious news, planted a question about computer preferences at last week's debate of the Democratic presidential candidates, according to the student who posed the query."

UPDATE: On the other hand, the LAT's coverage of Europe gets a bad review from Spanish blogger Franco Aleman.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Kevin Aylward isn't surprised: "the whole event just seemed too contrived."

IRAQ: The good news is that the bad news is dead:

The death of an American soldier is front page news, while the death of his attacker is buried deep inside the paper, if reported at all. But there's another reason why the response to attacks are rarely reported. The military judiciously applies force, which means there's often no big explosion to show the viewing public back home. The enemy blows up civilians, while coalition forces use precision strikes to remove enemy combatants. But more to the point, the media are a lazy beast and, it seems, the Pentagon hasn't been doing a good job feeding it.

They're probably afraid of looking too "bloodthirsty." But I wonder if some of those people Katie Couric cites as disapproving the President's handling of Iraq might be unhappy because they think we're being too gentle, not because they want to bring the troops home. I can think of a few.


The EU has done a grand job of trumpeting its weakness as strength, but the fact remains that there's something hollow at the heart of European identity. You can't be a great power without great power: Slobodan Milosevic called the EU's bluff on that a decade ago.


CORI DAUBER DECONSTRUCTS KATIE COURIC on Iraq polling data, which she says Couric misrepresents:

Look what she's done there. She uses the question about the president's handling of Iraq as if it is the only available proxy for people's attitudes for whether or not Iraq is worth the cost -- when in fact, there is specific on point polling data that speaks to that question. Remember, by 58 to 38, the Washington Post poll shows people thinking it's worth seeing Iraq through even with continued casualties.

Another attempt to convince people that, whatever they think, other people think Iraq isn't worth the cost now.

Yes. We're seeing a lot of that sort of thing. Glad it's being pointed out.

UPDATE: Reader Leslie Spiller has abandoned The Today Show because of Couric:

I have a confession to make: this morning I turned on Good Morning America... and I watched it without once changing the channel. That's big stuff for me because I have watched NBC morning news, especially the Today Show, for years. However, my disgust with Katie Couric has been deepening daily and this morning I just couldn't go there again.

What happened to her, anyway? She used to be (at least appeared to be) charming, fresh and down-to-earth. She used to do decent interviews that actually involved real give-and-take dialogue. I guess when she got the whopping big pay raise she got the mother of all egos to match.

To me, she has become smug, self-righteous and downright smarmy. Salon-tanned, highlighted, porcelained, Simonized and buffed to a high sheen -- she appears totally unnatural. Blech. And she doesn't do interviews any more -- instead she gives passionate, theatrical monologues and *occasionally* allows the person about whom she is giving the monologue one or two words to agree with her pronouncements. Cripes, she steers her "interviewees" so blatantly that you can practically see the training wheels and handlebars attached. There is no flow -- just torque, and lots of it. Even more disturbing, time and again she has shown deep personal biases, most strikingly against GWB and the war in Iraq in her selective use of polling numbers (for example, your post at and "facts" (hah). If I'm going to get editorial opinion instead of solid news reporting, I wish the networks would make it clear from the outset that's what they're delivering.

Yes, the networks all show some bias -- but Her Lip-Glossiness has gone way over the top. This is NOT what I turn on the morning news for.

Heaven help me, on November 11, 2003 I became a GMA gal. I hate having to give up my Al Roker and Matt Lauer -- but I just can't stomach That Woman any more and I refuse to turn on the Today Show again until she reenters the atmosphere -- let alone lands on Planet Earth. Care to join the boycott?

I'm already there.

AL QAEDA'S STRATEGY: Andrew Sullivan and Donald Sensing both think that things are going poorly for the terrorists.

MICKEY KAUS announces the winners of his "Krugman Gotcha Contest." My favorite remark: "Time horizons get short when your intellectual marketing strategy is conspicuously dependent on disaster."

November 10, 2003

I'LL CLOSE OUT TODAY with a link to Donald Sensing's Veteran's Day post. See you tomorrow.

WELL, HE'S DONE IT: Clayton Cramer has set up a new blog devoted to news reports of civilians using guns to defend themselves.

REPORTEDLY, the United Nations would like to take over the Internet. I'll bet it would.

UPDATE: Lawguy is unimpressed. Me too.

IS SHEVARDNADZE going down? Could be.

ERIC S. RAYMOND has moved off Blogspot. Drop by and check out the new digs.


We put them in those rowboats — we antiwar demonstrators, we sophisticated, smart guys. The war was nearly over when I graduated from high school. But high school students were old enough to demonstrate. They were old enough to feel superior to the fools who were running the government. And they were old enough to have known better. They were old enough to have understood what communist regimes had cost the world in suffering, from the prisons of Havana to the death camps of Siberia.

Today we are haunted, in thinking about Iraq, by the fact that a noisy, self-important, narcissistic minority talked the United States into betraying its allies. (Loyalty didn't mean a lot to antiwar demonstrators; honor didn't mean a lot.) We betrayed our allies and hurried home, to introspect. They stayed on, to suffer. We were eager to make love, not war, but the South Vietnamese weren't offered that option. Their alternatives were to knuckle under or die.

It was my fault, mine personally; I was part of the antiwar crowd and I'm sorry. But my apology is too late for the South Vietnamese dead. All I can do is join the chorus in shouting, "No more Vietnams!" No more shrugging off tyranny; no more deserting our friends; no more going back on our duties as the strongest nation on Earth.

Read the whole thing.

AN IMPORTANT ASPECT of diplomacy is rewarding your friends and punishing your enemies.

Matt Welch notes that we're not doing a very good job of rewarding our friends. Meanwhile, Rich Lowry notes that we're not doing a good enough job of punishing our enemies.

Both need to change, pronto.


I'M BUSY, but there's lots of good stuff over at The Volokh Conspiracy. And Winds of Change has a lot, too. Also, don't miss Alphecca's weekly media gun-bias roundup. For Indian blog goodness, check out Blog Mela. And The Carnival of the Capitalists is up, with lots of business and economic posts.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the Marines!

LYNN KEISLING summarizes her Wall Street Journal piece on California and energy pricing.

BARBARA AMIEL REPORTS an interesting conversation in The Telegraph:

It was left to the head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, to get to the key point.

Mr Ailes was taken with Mr Prodi's declaration that the EU would not give any money to the reconstruction of Iraq. "Did the Europeans realise," he asked, "that American taxpayers spent billions reconstructing Europe?" "They did," replied Mr Prodi expansively, "but friends could differ."

"Did the Europeans realise," continued Ailes, unabashed, "that their position in supporting the elimination of sanctions against Saddam when he was in power and refusing to aid rebuilding Iraq when he was gone, appeared 'odd'?"

Mr Prodi's English became more Italianate and his arm gestures more expansive. He appeared to be conducting Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries . It was not the case that the EU did not want to help reconstruction, he said, but there was no legitimate government in Iraq to which the EU could give any money.

Ailes continued: "The United States has some reservations about organisations the EU gives money to as well as regimes it supports. In Iraq we are trying to build a new government with some democratic standards. Why won't you help us?" he asked. "No, no, no," Prodi said theatrically. "We will not give money when we don't know to whom." Which of course explained the hundreds of millions given to the Palestinian Authority by the EU. They must have known it would end up in Mr Arafat's Swiss bank account. I had fleeting visions of jolly African dictators cashing their Euro-cheques.

One sympathises with Mr Prodi. If you have the dual goal of acting against the US while maintaining the image of acting in friendship, one's charms get stretched. The problem is the way that the EU developed and is continuing to develop. Now it stands for Western values in name only. In substance, it stands for accommodation with those forces of the world that are the opposite of such values.


BLOGGER MUSIC: You can buy a copy of Ken Layne and the Corvids' new CD here. I haven't heard it (except for what's streamed from the site), but it's bound to be good.

HERE'S AN INTERESTING INTERVIEW with Vodkapundit Stephen Green.

ON THE UPSIDE, THIS WOULD GIVE US AN EXCUSE TO INVADE: "Al Qaeda aims to topple Saudi royals."

CORI DAUBER: "The words 'Ritz-Carlton' and 'war correspondent' simply do not belong in the same sentence."

DEMOCRACY IN THE MIDEAST: OxBlog has a roundup of who's for it, and who's not.

VETERAN'S DAY READING -- and it's worth reading.

BLOGOSPHERE FAVE MISS AFGHANISTAN has won "beauty for a cause" in the Miss Earth pageant, though some folks back in Afghanistan aren't too happy about it.

NICK DENTON'S FLESHBOT -- which Halley Suit calls "a veritable InstaPundit of porn" -- is up and running now. Er, probably not work-safe.

THE GOOSE CREEK INCIDENT -- a commercial for homeschooling and vouchers? I discuss the question over at MSNBC on

MATT LABASH REPORTS that "Rock the Vote" is lame and uncool.

Of course it is.

UPDATE: So I got to thinking: If I were a candidate, what would my 30-second spot for "Rock the Vote" look like? Probably something like this. I might wear a tie, though.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Former TV critic Jeff Jarvis reviews my commercial: "Sounds like the Gore campaign."

Ouch. Well, there's a reason I'm not a candidate. Er, actually there are lots of reasons. . . . And at least I didn't try to rap, or anything.

Still, not much of a debut. Guess I'd better fire my Campaign Manager!

MORE: Reader Colin Fraizer emails: "Instawatchers want to know: was this filmed with the XL-1S, the GL-2 or the unnamed Sony?"

Actually, it was filmed with the Toshiba. Not bad for video from a digital still camera. I even used the built-in microphone, not an external one.

STILL MORE: Hey, I picked up Dave Winer's endorsement! Well, sort of.


ETHICS AND NANOTECHNOLOGY -- some interesting developments.

LOTS OF POSTS BELOW have been updated, so just keep scrolling!

WHAT TO DO ABOUT BIASED REPORTING: Who would have thought of this approach?

POLITICIZING INTELLIGENCE: Professor Stephen Bainbridge interprets the Democratic Intelligence Committee memo and suggests that defenders of the Senate Dems are, um, stretching things a bit. And he's got nifty tables!

November 09, 2003

OVER AT WINDS OF CHANGE, Dan Darling has more on the Riyadh bombings -- and it's long, link-filled, and informative.

UPDATE: Sullivan thinks it's overreach by Al Qaeda.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Virginia Postrel writes: "I wonder if Al Jazeera had its usual gory pictures?" She notes that its English-language web coverage (falsely) says the bomb targeted expats.

Yeah, if you had much doubt about where Al Jazeera's sympathies lie, the coverage of this story should lay it to rest.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader John Chilton thinks I've over-read Virginia's post and the Al Jazeera story:

Again: a "compound of ARAB expatriates."

As an American living in the UAE I have become well aware that the Gulf States are full of expats both western and Arab. Terrorists want to get rid of all expats regardless of whether they are westerners, Arabs, or those from the sub continent. Expats simply refers nonnationals of any nationality. It goes on to highlight this quote from a survivor: "This is a crime against Arabs and Muslims and innocent people and those who carried out this evil act are defiling Islam"
And it shows a picture of a bloodied male victim who could be an Arab.

Hmm. Either I misread this entirely or it's changed. More likely it's the former. I apologize for the error.

CLAYTON CRAMER is thinking of creating a separate blog just for civilian defensive gun uses, because they're so common that they're taking over his regular blog. And he didn't even mention this one:

Two suspected robbers are dead after a former police officer and owner of a Detroit bar fired a single shot, Local 4 reported. . . .

Police say the 49-year-old woman who owned the restaurant -- a retired Detroit cop who was a former member of Mayor Coleman Young's security team -- tried to hold the suspects in the parking lot until police arrived. But when the two men attempted to speed away, and nearly ran over one of her employees, she fired a single shot that apparently struck both men, according to police.

Don't mess with her.

UPDATE: D'oh! He did mention it, here. There are just so many that I missed it, proving his point.

I MENTIONED IT BEFORE, but enough people are still emailing to tell me about the new Iraqi blog called The Messopotamian that I'll mention it again. (No, that's not a typo -- it's a pun. I guess.) The first mention obviously didn't take.

Also, don't miss Iraq At A Glance, which is even newer, and Healing Iraq, which isn't, but which is still pretty new.

ARMED LIBERAL remembers Veterans' Day.

UPDATE: Donald Sensing liked the Jessica Lynch TV movie. (Former TV critic Jeff Jarvis didn't.)

FOR THE 65TH ANNIVERSARY OF KRISTALLNACHT, Jeff Jarvis offers some interesting links.

JOHN SCALZI IS BLOGGING FOR LITERACY: Follow the link for the details.

GLENN FISHBINE has an interesting PowerPoint-based course on nanotechnology available for download. There are PDF versions, too, for people who don't do PowerPoint.

UPDATE: And there's loads of nanotechnology news over at Howard Lovy's Nanobot blog. Don't miss it!

PLAYING MEETUP OR PLAYING CATCH-UP? Either way, Bush supporters plan a Bush Meetup using, something already pioneered by the Dean campaign, of course. It's scheduled for Tuesday evening at various locations around the country. (Via BlogsforBush).

It'll be interesting to see whether this approach will work as well for an incumbent as it has for an insurgent.

VITRIOL IN POLITICS: Michael Barone has an interesting observation:

What we are seeing is a civil war between the two halves of the baby boom, the liberal half that basked in national publicity in the late 1960s and the conservative half that smoldered in resentment for many years until its more recent rise to prominence.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Roger Simon says Barone's analysis is too simple: "You can be for gay marriage and democracy in Iraq, even if you're over forty." And read this, too.

LOTS OF NEW POSTS worth reading over at Jeff Jarvis's and at OxBlog. Check 'em out.


After the US elections a year ago, I decided that "liberal media bias" was far more harmful to liberals than conservatives. In fact, if I were a Democrat, I'd be getting a little miffed at the recurring pattern of the past two years: throughout the election campaign, my newspaper produces a poll showing my guy way ahead; finds "typical voters" (choreographers of environmentalist dance companies, etc) anxious to blame Bush for the worst recession since Hoover; runs front-page features on how Clinton's flown in to campaign with my man, exuding the rock-star glamour that so enthuses the base, etc.

And then the morning after election night, I wake up to discover that, in a stunning upset utterly predictable to anyone but the expert media analysts, the Democrat got hammered.

But not to worry. Just as your rattled Democratic supporter is beginning to feel a harsh jab of reality in what Slate's Mickey Kaus calls the "liberal cocoon", the media rush to lull him back to the land of make-believe, assuring us that the Democrat defeat is attributable to strictly local factors and is definitely not part of a trend.

Oddly enough, all these non-trends seem to trend the same way: November 2002 - Democrats lose control of the US Senate; October 2003 - Democrats lose the California gubernatorial race; November 2003 - Democrats lose the Mississippi and Kentucky gubernatorial races.

If it weren't for media bias, Steyn suggests, Democrats might be trying to do something about this.