February 26, 2005


You know, I love librarians. I really love librarians. I love librarians when they crusade not to be stereotyped as librarians. I love librarians when they're just doing those magic things that librarians do. I love librarians when they're the only person in a ghost town looking after thousands of books. I love the ALA and am proud to be on one of their posters.

On the other hand, I feel the love diminishing a tad when I read an article by the president-elect of the ALA, and find myself unable to decide whether it's mostly that a) he's simply a very, very bad writer, or b) he lacks any skills of a diplomatic nature, or it's just c) he really believes that statements like "Given the quality of the writing in the blogs I have seen, I doubt that many of the Blog People are in the habit of sustained reading of complex texts" are somehow going to disabuse people who keep blogs, journals and such from believing or repeating the calumny that "Michael Gorman is an idiot" (someone apparently said this on a blog, he tells us, expecting us to feel an outrage on his behalf I somehow wasn't able to muster).

Indeed. Did I mention how much I liked his American Gods?

I WISH I HAD ONE: Photo-enthusiast reader Jim Herd emails:

Nikon's new 12MP $5000 D2X finally released. Hardwarezone's 19-page review: "Nikon's Top Dog Arrives."

Amazon is backordered. So is B&H Photovideo, but at least they'll give you the price: $4,995.

I'd like one, but not at that price. (I hope this won't get me accused of Nikon-centrism again).

DEMOCRACY-SPREADING UPDATE: Here's a report, with photos, from a Free Lebanon protest in Canada.

And here's a Kyrgyzistan pre-election roundup. Observation: "One of the most counterproductive ways of reporting the story of the election would be to cast the affair as two cleanly defined sides fighting for power. On the one side there would be the local and foreign NGOs working together, allied with Western governments and protected by OSCE observers. On the other would be the CIS bodies, the Kyrgyz government, and its allies all working in concert. Sounds nice, but that’s not how it actually works."

Meanwhile, David Warren says there's a new wave going on. Read this, too.

UPDATE: From Ezra Levant: "There was a 'free Syria' rally on Parliament Hill. Still waiting for the CBC to give these folks a minute of airtime."


At last President George W Bush found some European fans yesterday. After three days of muted receptions, Mr Bush received a far cheerier welcome behind the old Iron Curtain as enthusiastic Slovaks applauded him for visiting them on the last stop of his tour across the continent.

Thousands of Slovaks defied swirling snow and a bitter wind to wait for several hours to hear Mr Bush speak in the heart of their capital, Bratislava.

The Slovak prime minister, Mikulas Dzurinda, set the tone when he introduced Mr Bush to the crowd with an implicit comparison to the late Ronald Reagan, who devoted much of his presidency to combating and denouncing the Soviet Union. For the White House, it was a reassuring reminder that Mr Bush's stock remains high in New Europe, as Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, famously described the more recent East European members of the EU and Nato.

(Via No Pasaran, which observes that this didn't get much coverage in Old Europe.)

UPDATE: Reader Chris Buchholz emails: "It didn't get much coverage here either. All day all I've seen on TV is how Bush wore his gloves."

ANOTHER UPDATE: Austin Bay thinks that this proves Mark Steyn wrong.

MORE: Reader Mark Hessey emails: "Hmm, I guess I read Steyn's closing sentence wrong: 'This week we're toasting the end of an idea: the death of "the West".' I thought he meant that the idea of the death of the West was what died; that Bush was glad-handing Chirac because anything else was futile, but smiling internally in his confidence that his initiatives are going forward, almost on auto-pilot at this point." Hmm. I never thought of it that way.

FAKE ART creates an angry reaction.

UPDATE: The Belmont Club says it looks as if Ward Churchill is taking the University of Colorado to the cleaners. On the other hand, the video linked above doesn't seem to portray the reaction of a man who's sitting pretty . . . .


YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Heh, again! That's quite ironic.

PLAME UPDATE: Tom Maguire observes:

There is nothing like the prospect of an imminent hanging to concentrate the mind; apparently, the prospect of having one of their reporters go to jail for eighteen months has concentrated the minds of the NY Times editors on the legal subtleties of the Valerie Plame leak investigation.

Shockingly, the leak may never have been a crime! And thus does the NYT catch up to a theory that has been circulating on the blogosphere for a year. As I've said before where the Times is concerned, better late than never!

HOSNI MUBARAK experiences Condi's displeasure.

FORGET TED RALL'S CHALLENGE, which seems to be bogus anyway, as he's bouncing the emails: Tom Maguire is running a more constructive contest.

UPDATE: Heh: "Ah, yes, Ted. Forgotten, but not gone."

D'OH! I forgot to post a link to this week's Blog Mela earlier. Be sure to check it out.

UPDATE: And here's a look at the Indian economy. Also, don't miss this South Asia roundup from Winds of Change.

February 25, 2005

ANDREW SULLIVAN on Gannon-Guckert: "The real scandal is the blatant use of homophobic rhetoric by the self-appointed Savonarolas of homo-left-wingery. It's an Animal Farm moment: the difference between a fanatic on the gay left and a fanatic on the religious right is harder and harder to discern."

UPDATE: Heh: "The NY Times has lost interest for now, but maybe the Right can keep this scandal alive a bit longer."

RATHERGATE UPDATE: Mary Murphy, one of the RatherGate producers, has resigned.

JIM BENNETT'S BOOK gets a favorable review (except for some criticism of his prose style) in Foreign Affairs, from Walter Russell Mead.

HEH. I guess the ratings strategy hasn't worked out as planned.

MY EARLIER MENTION OF Osama bin Laden targets produced this email (with photos) from readers Peyton and Debbie Randolph:

We've got one on our garage wall!

At the Protest Warrior get-together in January, here in Austin, one of the activities was visiting a local outdoor range. We did OK, not our best. The hits are at 7 meters with her Browning Hi-Power 9mm and my HK Mark 23 .45, also pictured.

I like the photos. And, you know, when I posted the link this morning, I thought: "Yeah, I think the Osama target is cool, but will any InstaPundit readers care about something like this?"

I should have known better than to worry . . . .

UPDATE: A veritable army of readers has emailed to complain about the poor firearms safety demonstrated in this photo (fingers should be on triggers only to shoot!). Well, yes, but I'm prepared to make an exception for a photo-op like this one, where the firearms appear to be pointed safely. But don't try this at home kids -- or on the range!

TSUNAMI PHOTOS recovered from a dead couple's digital camera.

MORE COMPLAINTS about WikiPedia.

UPDATE: More here.

I'M NOT SURE THAT THIS KNIFE HOLDER, sent by a reader, is quite my, um, idiom. But I have to admit, it's more interesting than this one.

POLIPUNDIT RESPONDS to a challenge from Ted Rall.

UPDATE: More from John Hawkins.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Still more, from Jon Henke. And still more, here. This challenge is no challenge at all . . . .

YALE LAW PROFESSOR PETER SCHUCK weighs in against Yale's exclusion of military recruiters:

Through his arguments, Schuck says that Law School opponents of the Defense Department's recruitment policy have been acting in a contradictory manner. The Law School itself discriminates against white and Asian applicants through the affirmative action process, he said.

"It seems odd for the schools to insist that they may define merit in a way that disadvantages white, Asian and indeed straight applicants (if schools deem other minorities or gays 'diversity enhancing') but that the military may not define merit in a way that disadvantages gays," Schuck writes in his article.

Another irony Schuck presents is that those same faculty members who filed suit against the Department of Defense do not oppose the federal government's power to cut off funding from a university that itself discriminated, citing a case involving Bob Jones University in which law schools publicly opposed the government's subsidization of an institution that discriminated against blacks.

Schuck stresses in his article that he favors barring discrimination against gays and protecting academic autonomy, but that students themselves should be able to decide if they want to enter the military.

"We should not reward or punish the choices of our students but encourage them to make their own moral choices as informed as they can be by us," Schuck said.


JOSCHKA FISCHER IS IN TROUBLE, according to Der Spiegel.

WHAT HATH WARD CHURCHILL WROUGHT? Nothing good, in my opinion, but nothing surprising, either.

UPDATE: Come to think of it, I offered warnings and advice on this subject over three years ago.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Eugene Volokh notes that there's more to this story than tenure. He's right, but the big question is whether it's politically viable for the academy to adopt a generally hostile and dismissive stance toward the larger society. Eugene is right, of course, that the First Amendment prevents even untenured people being fired simply for "anti-Americanism," and he's very right that academic freedom, given the political tenor of most campuses, does more to protect politically-incorrect people than the reverse. But in fact, and entirely apart from the fate of individual faculty members, state legislatures, boards of trustees, and alumni have a lot of power over universities if they choose to exercise it. They've mostly chosen to let academic administrators, and faculties, run universities without a lot of outside interference. But there's no guarantee that this state of affairs will persist if those outsiders conclude that universities are being run badly.


Women with power easily unleash ideation about sex -- and sex and power. If the woman can't be contained by the thought that her powerfulness has removed her sexuality altogether, then the thought becomes that her sexuality has merged with her power. In the case of Condoleezza Rice, who has a high position of power and is distinctly attractive, she seems to become a strange new being -- a superhero – like Neo in "The Matrix"!

Is it wrong to talk about powerful women this way? I say no. Image, fashion, and beauty are all important. And we certainly didn't refrain from talking about how the male candidates for President looked in 2004. We obsessed over their ties, their hair and their makeup, and the bulges under their clothes. So go ahead and spout your theories about the meaning of Condoleezza Rice's high-heeled boots.

Mine is: these boots are made for running for President.

We could do worse.


I have a very simple suggestion for mainstream media types who feel in any way threatened by bloggers: whenever you hear the word “blogger,” think: “reader.”

After all, bloggers who aren’t discussing your newspaper are irrelevant to you. And bloggers who are discussing your newspaper are simply part of your readership.

In other words, they’re your customers. And, while the customer may not always be right, the customer deserves to have his complaints heard.

The main difference between your readers who are bloggers and your other readers is that your blogging readers have a voice – one that you can’t entirely control. . . .

Once you realize that bloggers are your readers, it may help you be less dismissive of bloggers’ opinions.

Let's hope.

SKBUBBA RESPONDS to the Slate piece comparing blogs and rap. Heh.

THERE'S LOTS OF HISTORY-BLOGGING, at the latest History Carnival.

HEH: Osama bin Laden targets for shooters.


BEIRUT -- Presidents and diplomats piled on the pressure for Syria to withdraw its troops from Lebanon yesterday, but for the hard-line Ba'athist leaders in Damascus, the most worrisome pressure may be coming from a scruffy tent camp near the Beirut waterfront.

In a land where civil war is endemic but political protest is almost unknown, long-feuding Muslims, Christians and Druze are camping out just blocks from the parliament saying they will not leave until either Syrian troops leave their country or the government falls.

Rajan Rishyakaran has thoughts on what this might mean.


MORE TEDIOUS AND SELF-SERVING ATTACKS ON BLOGGERS: Second-string talk radio host Mike Gallagher has been attacking bloggers. Not surprisingly, it turns out that he has his own reasons for disliking the open entry of the blogosphere:

He has a blog. And it's on the "Gallagher Gold" section -- the part you must pay to access.

Though why anybody would pay $49.95/year to read it is beyond me. No wonder he doesn't like the idea of people giving it away!

Then there's this tiresome elitist schtick from Michael Gorman, the President of the American Library Association. Honestly, all this does is give ammunition to the people who say that libraries and librarians are obsolete in the digital age. I've always disagreed with that position -- but if Mr. Gorman is a typical specimen I'll have to rethink my stance, given that, judging by his comments, Gorman isn't even very good at using Google.

UPDATE: Slashdot readers are comparing Gorman's screed to a bad blog entry. And there are more comments here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Librarian Michael McHenry emails:

Gorman's screed is another in the long list of reasons of why I refuse to be a member of the American Library Association - even though it's my boss who would pay the dues. I am a rare breed, a librarian who is both male and conservative, and I use Google (and blogs) for my job every single day. As you suggested, if Mr. Gorman isn't finding what he needs in Google, then he obviously isn't using it correctly. And I wonder how he feels about the number of librarians and libraries who blog...

I've only worked in libraries for 10 years, so maybe the elitism won't hit me until after another decade or two.

Heh. Well, my mother is a librarian, and she's not that much of an elitist. Neither is librarian / blogger Mike the Librarian, who isn't very impressed with Gorman's take.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More still from another librarian:

I'm a former member of ALA, and I read your post about ALA President Gorman
with interest but little surprise. Yet another case of "Free speech for me but not for thee." Mr. Gorman is / has been a member of ALA's Social Responsibilities Roundtable, the political-activist arm of the organization. A couple of years ago, ALA and SRRT refused to stand up for political dissidents in Cuba, because the dissidents had dared to open "independent libraries" (in reality little more than small private collections of banned books) and referred to themselves as librarians (without benefit of the hallowed MLS - horrors!). The Castro government arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced over 20 people for this activity, and the ALA said not a peep. They took Castro at his word that the dissidents were "American agents": Link

It meant more to the Association to be anti-US than pro-human-rights.

For me it was the height of irony that an organization that has a Freedom to Read Foundation, and that sponsors "Banned Books Week" here in the States, would not champion the freedom of non-Americans to read. This shameful episode convinced me once and for all that ALA Membership was not worth my hard-earned dollars. Many of my colleagues agreed; lots of us no longer belong to ALA because of their knee-jerk leftist politics.

A Carolina Librarian
(If you use this, I prefer that my name not be used, since my director's in tight with the Big Guys at ALA).

Wow, chilling of dissent in the library world.

MORE: Yet another librarian chides Gorman.

NORM GERAS has thoughts on war and international law.

UPDATE: More on the subject, from Opinio Juris.

February 24, 2005

IAIN MURRAY IS blogging again.

I'VE MEANT FOR SOME TIME to do a post on why blogging is like techno, with a mixture of rearranged samples and original riffs, but now Josh Levin in Slate has done a blogging-and-rap post that covers pretty much the same ground.

MORE CRITICISM of Thomas Woods' book.

UPDATE: Reader Del Eastman emails: "Glenn Reynolds, right-of-center? Sorry, Prof. I very much like your website but you're much more to the left, IMHO."

The entire right/left continuum has become shorthand for pro/anti-war in most people's minds, I'm afraid. I've pretty much given up fighting it.

A CHALLENGE to the Cult of the iPod. Reader Anthony Williams emails:

A few weeks ago you mentioned the iRiver H320 as an alternative to the iPod. This was new to me, but I investigated and now own two! It has a first-class screen, excellent sound, good form-factor, and even plays videos made from ripped DVDs. Another bonus--I don't have to support the Steve Jobs Reality Distortion Field.

I am finding the ability to play many codecs very valuable, especially OGG Vorbis, which seems superior for spoken word material. For music, I generally use WMA.

Cool. Competition is good. Though I doubt that it will make Andrew Sullivan any happier.

UPDATE: Reader Kenneth Anderson writes:

I like my iRiver. Its a little bigger than an iPod, but just as portable. The sound is indeed good, and though I haven't yet tried to play a movie on mine, the color screen is excellent. My brother, a tech guy, suggested it because its file loading program meshes a bit better with Windows than iPod's.

I use mine on the walk & subway to and from work in Manhattan. Most people at my firm, Davis Polk, carry iPods, so I can't speak for any trend. But the iRiver is a pretty worthy system.


ANOTHER UPDATE: More iRiver vs. iPod thoughts here.

SOME PEOPLE ARE GETTING DESPERATE, as this example from David Gingrich illustrates:

I cannot help but notice that you have failed to mention anything about Jeff Gannon on instapundit or your MSNBC blog. Whats up with that? I thought you were all for destroying political bias in our nations media, oh that only applies to Dan Rathers and those pesky so called liberal journalists. Mr male escort couldn't have had any bias right. Yeah I know that there is no improtant information in that story. No big deal the white house allowed a gay escort into white house press briefings with faulty credentials, although you have to admit that sure is a lot of irony. You spend weeks attacking Dan Rathers for his sloppy journalism and because he trusted faulty documents. But it's not the same thing when Mr. Bubble Boy allows a fake journalist (with fake documentation) into his press briefings, all the while he couldn't gain access to capitol hill, to lob softball questions. Man that is sure some irony if I have ever seen it. Hypocrite.

Actually, I have blogged about Gannon/Guckert quite a few times, as a simple search would illustrate. But I agree with Rik Hertzberg that it's a nothinggate. Or, as Marc Cooper says, a "big yawn." I don't think it's in any way comparable to the use of forged documents in an attempt to swing a Presidential election -- and I think that anyone who does think so is pretty much beyond rational discourse.

I also think that the people who are trying to inflate this into a big issue are making a dreadful mistake. I eagerly await the reaction when the White House responds to this criticism by requiring everyone who attends a press briefing to make a full financial and sexual disclosure, and starts rating news outlets as "real" or "fake" according to bias. (If I were Rove I'd make some rumblings about this to the press corps, and I'd explicitly cite the lefty bloggers by name, just to stir up trouble . . . .)

But don't listen to me. Listen to David Corn:

But throughout this scandal, I have wondered if the Gannon affair may be smaller than it seems. I expressed several concerns in an earlier column. Still, in response to the emails, I decided to heed the call and look further. What I found leads me to ask--gasp!--if Gannon/Guckert, on a few but not all fronts, has received a quasi-bum rap. . . .

Bloggers should think hard when they complain about standards for passes for White House press briefings. Last year, political bloggers--many of whom have their own biases and sometimes function as activists--sought credentials to the Democratic and Republican conventions. That was a good thing. Why shouldn't Josh Marshall, Glenn Reynolds, John Aravosis, or Markos Moulitsas (DailyKos) be allowed to question Scott McClellan or George W. Bush? Do we want only the MSMers to have this privilege?

If Gannon/Guckert did receive preferential treatment--because of his ideological bent or any other reason--that would be wrong and a matter for the White House to explain. But let's move on to his personal (or other professional) life. Bloggers have made much of his apparent effort to earn a buck as a prostitute for men. This is not gay-baiting, they say, it's hypocrisy. The question is, hypocrisy on whose part?

Read the whole thing. I think that the gay-baiting from some of the lefty bloggers -- and my emailers -- does them no credit. And it really is gay-baiting. And the focus on the gay angle, which nearly all this email features, also betrays a rather deep misapprehension of how I feel about stuff -- do I look like a social conservative? As James Lileks wrote:

I just find it amusing that people think that because I support less aggressive taxation and the War I must therefore believe gays should be driven into a pit lined with sharp stakes, and therefore I’m a hypocrite. How does that work? It’s like saying “you oppose partial privatizing of Social Security? Well, then you obviously want abortion legal up the moment when the baby crowns.” Doesn’t follow.

Nope. Not to anyone with a clue, anyway. I think the Gannon-bashers are diminishing themselves by overplaying this issue. As Salon's Wagner James Au (who also sent the Cooper link) emailed:

2004: "Bush lied, people died!"
2005: "Bush brought Guckert, people, uh, got suckered!"

Glenn, what a striking degradation of topics to get outraged over. But the amazing thing to me is, many people seem equally exercised by both topics. At least the question of WMD intelligence abuse is a topic of international importance. . . .

One year, you're the indomitable warrior of dissent waving the fiery sword of truth in the halls of the powerful. Year later, you're Verne Troyer on amyl nitrate biffing the shins of the powerful with a wooden dowel.

Or something like that.

UPDATE: It could be worse. And it is!

LT SMASH: "Come into my parlor . . . ."


DAVID CORN is accusing Howard Dean of self-defeatism.

DAVE WINER says that Google's new toolbar is bad for the Web.

UPDATE: Anil Dash disagrees.

IS BLOGGING A MALE GAME? Ann Althouse has thoughts for Kevin Drum, over at -- where blogging, obviously enough, isn't always a male game . . . .

UPDATE: Snarky advice for Kevin, here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Christine Hurt has an action plan.

TOM MAGUIRE RESPONDS TO A CRITIC, and offers advice: "Since I never get to say this to any other blogger, and I hear it all the time - sometimes less is more."


READER SEAN FITZPATRICK notes an interesting passage from the BBC reporters' blog on Bush's Europe trip:

The president is wonderfully un-European - refreshingly so in the view of those of us who have worked in Brussels.

He is unsmooth. He stumbles over his sentences. He uses short, plain, sometimes almost babyish words, while the sophisticated multilingual Euro crowd prefer obfuscatory long ones.

And he gets a clear message across, like it or not. He has no need of spin.

It was interesting that on the White House bus back into town, the journalists did not need to compare notes or discuss the president's words and what they meant.

On the other hand, for Chirac and Schroeder there was a discussion that would have made an old-style Kremlinologist blush. . . .

Some people think Schroeder said one thing about Nato and some think he actually meant another. Others claim that Chirac really believes Schroeder wanted to say... etc etc.

Welcome to Europe, Mr Bush.


HOW TO BLOG: Some good advice from Atrios.

And some useful stuff on blogging, and videoblogging, from The New York Times.

BLOGGER DIPLOMACY: A meeting with the French consul.

HEH: Somebody does seem to like Condi. And it's a hell of a picture.


Just finished John Scalzi's Old Man's War, which was very good. I bought it in hardcover; cheapskate that I am, I rarely do this except with authors whose work I know well, but I made an exception because of Instapundit's and Professor Bainbridge's recommendations. They steered me well; really good science fiction, fresh and well-crafted.

I liked it.

MAN BITES DOG! David Kaspar has photos of the pro-Bush demonstrations in Mainz yesterday.

And reader Jack Lillywhite emails from Belgium:

My wife and I are in Belgium for a family wedding (her side) and have been watching the mostly Eurocentric, left-leaning, anti-Bush coverage about the President's visit (and that is just CNN International). But one of the more prominent Flemish networks brought a good report of the pro-American demonstration held in Brussels today in which hundreds if not thousands of Iraqi expatriates and pro-American Belgians as well as expat Americans attended. If you go to weblog you can get more. Luc was one of the organizers.

I couldn't make much of the blog, as I don't read Flemish. But I wonder if these will get any notice from American media?

UPDATE: D'oh! There's an English version of LVB net. I didn't see the tab before. Cool stuff.

TOM MAGUIRE has observations on the New Yorker's "Nothinggate."

WARD CHURCHILL MISQUOTED? This report from the Denver Post says so, and that he didn't actually admit that he's not Indian. As I noted below, I got an email from a journalist working on the story who raised that possibility last night.

UPDATE: Here's the Honolulu Star-Bulletin's correction. Churchill's claims about the Keetoowah band's policies and his relationship to them seem inconsistent with what I've read elsewhere, but no doubt those who are following this story more closely than I am will get to the bottom of that.


BAGHDAD — Iraqi state television aired a video yesterday showing what the U.S.-funded channel said was the confession of a captured Syrian officer, who said he trained Iraqi terrorists to behead people and build car bombs to attack American and Iraqi troops.

He also said the terrorists practiced beheading animals to train for decapitating hostages.

Later, Al Iraqiya aired another round of interviews with men it said were Sudanese and Egyptians who also trained in Syria to carry out attacks in Iraq.

This isn't very difficult to believe. There's lots more interesting Syria-related information at this Lebanon blog, too. [LATER: Bad link before; fixed now.]

UPDATE: More on Lebanon here:

Leaders of Lebanon's banking, industrial and commercial sectors said they would shut down next Monday to demand the country's pro-Syrian government resign and that a "neutral" one replace it.

The strike would coincide with an expected vote of confidence in parliament, two weeks after the murder of former premier Rafiq Hariri in a bomb blast for which the opposition has pinned blame on the government and its Syrian backers.

Things are getting interesting.

UPDATE: More background here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Syria says it will withdraw from Lebanon:

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - Syria will withdraw troops from mountain and coastal areas in Lebanon in line with a 1989 agreement, Lebanon's defense minister said Thursday amid international pressure following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Lebanese Defense Minister Abdul-Rahim Murad said the troops will be withdrawn to the eastern Bekaa Valley on the Syrian border, but he gave no timeframe.

Hmm. No timetable, There are a lot of interesting reports about the Bekaa valley. (Via PajamaHadin).

February 23, 2005

INDEED: "But their secret is no secret. It's money. Arab money. Saudi Arab money. . . . With that money they promote the Arabization of our Islam in Southeast Asia. Object and you face personal violence."

And not just in Southeast Asia.

UPDATE: In fact, reaching to the United States, as this report makes clear:

Abu Ali is also a familiar figure to U.S. law-enforcement officials and terrorism experts. In mid-2003, federal authorities shut down a Northern Virginia a network of born Muslims and American converts to Islam, headed by convert Randall (Ismail) Royer.

Known as the "paintball jihad," the defendants in the case were supporters of Lashkar-i-Taiba, a violent Wahhabi militia fighting against Indian authorities in Kashmir. They practiced for jihad by playing paintball in the woods, went to Kashmir to carry and use weapons, and then tried to explain away their weekend activities near Washington as harmless fun.

In April 2004 Royer was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Of his codefendants, six pled guilty, three were convicted and two were acquitted. One got a life sentence and another got 85 years.

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, described by federal prosecutors as a member of the group, escaped the initial crackdown and fled to Saudi Arabia, where he was arrested later in 2003.

I was among those harassed by this group; some of us were inclined to write them off as marginal cases, but Saudi dissident al-Ahmed warned me at the time of their arrest that the group was capable of killing people. Now we know how far their sinister ambitions extended: to the president of the United States himself.

The real issue remains official, Saudi-backed terrorist teaching, financing, recruitment and other support on American soil. Civic organizations examining the materials available in American mosques, as well as the textbooks used in Islamic schools, recognize that an amazingly-extensive network of such indoctrination centers exists right here, three and a half years after the horrors of 9/11.

Read the whole thing.

IN RESPONSE TO ANN ALTHOUSE, Donald Sensing is dietblogging.

"THIS BLOGPOST WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IN FIVE MINUTES" -- It had better, because it's just too explosive to last.

DER SPIEGEL: "Could George W. Bush be right?"

President Ronald Reagan's visit to Berlin in 1987 was, in many respects, very similar to President George W. Bush's visit to Mainz on Wednesday. Like Bush's visit, Reagan's trip was likewise accompanied by unprecedented security precautions. A handpicked crowd cheered Reagan in front of the Brandenburg Gate while large parts of the Berlin subway system were shut down. And the Germany Reagan was traveling in, much like today's Germany, was very skeptical of the American president and his foreign policy. When Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate -- and the Berlin Wall -- and demanded that Gorbachev "tear down this Wall," he was lampooned the next day on the editorial pages. He is a dreamer, wrote commentators. Realpolitik looks different.

But history has shown that it wasn't Reagan who was the dreamer as he voiced his demand. Rather, it was German politicians who were lacking in imagination -- a group who in 1987 couldn't imagine that there might be an alternative to a divided Germany. Those who spoke of reunification were labelled as nationalists and the entire German left was completely uninterested in a unified Germany. . . .

When the voter turnout in Iraq recently exceeded that of many Western nations, the chorus of critique from Iraq alarmists was, at least for a couple of days, quieted. Just as quiet as the chorus of Germany experts on the night of Nov. 9, 1989 when the Wall fell.

As the article notes, German foreign policy is based on differentiating itself from the United States. Sounds a bit adolescent to me. (Via TKS).

And lots of people are making that Berlin Wall comparison today. Meanwhile, Arthur Chrenkoff has a roundup of Lebanon / Syria news that's worth your time.

WARD CHURCHILL says he's not an Indian. "Churchill did address the issue of his ethnicity, admitting that he is not Native American. . . . 'Let's cut to the chase; I am not,' he said."

Matt Duffy thinks he wants to be fired.


Go here to find Ward Churchill -- admitted Pale-Face WASP -- whining that universities won't give out more tenured positions to "indigenous peoples."

"Indigenous peoples" -- you know, like Dick Cavett, Stone Philips, Anderson Cooper, etc. People indigenous to the Hamptons and Aspen, I guess.

Did I say "heh?" Oh, right, I did.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A journalist writes that questions have been raised
about the accuracy of the quote; they're trying to run them down.

DARFUR UPDATE: Nick Kristof presents photographic evidence.

RANDY BARNETT: "In hindsight, I think that the creation of the Libertarian Party has been very detrimental to the political influence of libertarians."

VARIOUS BIG-MEDIA TYPES have been suggesting that it's time to ask some tough questions of bloggers. Frank J. is leading the charge.


FREE LEBANON PROTESTS in Los Angeles: The Lebanese expat community is large, rich, and spread around the globe. If they get behind this cause, it's bad news for Assad.

UPDATE: BoiFromTroy has a photo of the L.A. protest. Will we see more of these?

HEALTHCAREBLOGGING: This week's Grand Rounds is up.

IN THE MAIL: David Bollier's Brand Name Bullies: The Quest to Own and Control Culture, about intellectual property overreach and the threat it poses to culture.



I went out with some of the 3/116th Infantry on a patrol today. When we got to Gojurkhel, the village elder told us that there was “some ammunition” by a field. I was thinking we were going to find some cartridges, or maybe a box of ammo somewhere. Wrong. Someone had dug out a tank round and dragged it over to a tree and left it there. We got the EOD team out to the village and got everyone well out of the way for what the old cartoon character, Marvin the Martian, would have described as an “Earth-shattering Kaboom.” The village was thankful we got rid of a very dangerous item, and we were glad to be rid of some IED fodder. Talk about win-win…


STEPHEN GREEN ISN'T SOLD on Bush's Social Security reform plans: "Really, I should be easy to sell on SS reform. . . . And as a libertarian crank, I understand that me having control over more of my money is just plain right." But he concludes, "Bush isn't serious enough."

Yeah, I'm with him on principle, but still in the "we'd all love to see the plan" phase on practice.

TIM BLAIR HAS A SCOOP, on White House media manipulation.


Great writing –absolutely brilliant writing– BUT, wrong conclusion, unless you’re like the French and you think “Europe” is another word for “France.” . . .
The Iraqi election smacked Monsiuer Chirac and Herr Schroeder. The Chirac-Schroeder axis smells defeat and their “western front against America” is folding. The Iraqi people’s Jan 30 electoral show of force sealed Chirac’s defeat. Even in the benighted Bastilles of Paris and Berlin, those ink-stained indicators of democracy in the line of fire – purple fingers – point the way to the future.Besides, Chirac and Schroeder’s “Greater Europe” is simply too divided, as I point out in my column this week.

Read the column, too. I certainly hope that he's right.

UPDATE: Reader Kjell Hagen emails:

Many Americans discuss this. My input as a European (comment also left on Austin Bayґs comment section):

As a pro-US, pro-Iraqi liberation European, I would say both are right, but mostly Steyn. Yes, it was a defeat for Chiraq and Scroder. And, yes, Chiraq is corrupt and unloved even by the French. But, the French and a large part of Europe envy and resent the US and its power, just as much as Chiraq does. This will go on. Europe will never play together in any significant way militarily, with the US. And Europe will never build any worthwhile military capacity, given the political, economical and technological limits that Europe faces.

NATOґs big idea was to stop the Soviets. It worked, and it is finished. What is left is the girlfriend-like rhetoric, that Steyn points out. I think we will see an environment which is more like pre-WWI, with each larger power playing as best it can in its own interest, and with alliances shifting on a case-by-case basis. E.g., we see that in Lebanon, the US and France are allied to get the Syrians out.

Sigh. I would hope for more maturity from Europe, but there's not a lot of history in support of such hopes.

DEMOCRACY IN LEBANON: Jim Geraghty notices Lebanese crediting the U.S. invasion of Iraq for jump-starting interest in liberating Lebanon from Syrian influence:

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

Those damn idealistic neo-cons. Don't they realize that Arabs don't care about democracy?

UPDATE: Via The Belgravia Dispatch, we get this:

I must say, that those who mock haven't been paying attention to the empirical data that's been piling up. First, we had the Afghan election last fall with this extraordinary turnout. Then we had the Palestinian election. Then we had the Iraqi election. We're going to have a parliamentary election in Afghanistan in the spring. So this isn't a theory anymore, this is actually happening on the ground in the Middle East and it is absolutely revolutionary, these free and fair elections.

It's true, of course, as I've noted before, that democratization is a process, not an event. But the process is under way. We need to be sure it keeps going.


Plus, Chris Muir can draw.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF EDUCATION IS UP, featuring education-blogging from all over.

THIS WEEK'S CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES IS UP: Branch out in your blog-reading.

MY BIONIC WIFE: Discussed in this week's TechCentralStation column. She"s up and seems to be doing well this morning, with just Tylenol for pain. Now I get to take my daughter to the pediatrician for an ear infection followup . . . .

ED MORRISSEY AND THE DEACON are rejoicing in their recent choice of enemies. Just make sure they get the URL right . . . .

ANN ALTHOUSE is writing about fat and sin over at

February 22, 2005

"BLOGGERS RALLY FOR JAILED IRANIANS:" Nice that people are noticing. I hope it does some good.


But, in the broader sense vis-а-vis Europe, the administration is changing the tone precisely because it understands there can be no substance. And, if there's no substance that can be changed, what's to quarrel about? International relations are like ex-girlfriends: if you're still deluding yourself you can get her back, every encounter will perforce be fraught and turbulent; once you realise that's never gonna happen, you can meet for a quick decaf latte every six – make that 10 – months and do the whole hey-isn't-it-terrific-the-way-we're-able-to-be-such-great-friends routine because you couldn't care less. You can even make a few pleasant noises about her new romance (the so-called European Constitution) secure in the knowledge he's a total loser.

Heh. The conclusion, however, isn't funny at all.

WILL THEY CLAIM A FIRST AMENDMENT PRIVILEGE? More people are saying that CNN broke the law in the course of doing a story on guns. Given the complexity of federal gun law, that could easily be done with innocent intentions, of course. But it's certainly an embarrassment -- and perhaps more than that.

OUT OF THE EAST: Arthur Chrenkoff notes some significant developments in Eastern and Central Europe.


HELEN, WHO WAS SUPPOSED TO BE DISCHARGED ABOUT 2, is now home, having been discharged a bit after 8. This was a paperwork issue -- as some people have observed: "So, paperwork takes time to fill out and you enter the world where everything seems to move like molasses (what happened to all that fast action you always see on ER? ... sue Hollywood)."

I went over there after my class, waited until I had to go pick up my daughter, then went back after dinner. More waiting.

But she's home now, propped up in bed checking her email on a laptop. She'll have 4-6 weeks to fully recover, but she's glad to be out of the hospital. So am I.

UPDATE: Docs hate the paperwork, too. The InstaWife, herself a health-care provider, of course, despises HIPAA.

POWER LINE remembers George Washington's birthday, which is easy to forget these days. (It's not even a holiday at my university). Still, there's some revival of interest in Washington, spurred by Richard Brookhiser's biography Founding Father, which I thought was excellent. I also recommend David Hackett Fischer's recent book, Washington's Crossing, which uses the famous painting as a way of exploring society's changing attitudes.

MAN BITES DOG: A pro-Bush protest in Germany, scheduled for tomorrow.


The global web log community is being called into action to lend support to two imprisoned Iranian bloggers.

The month-old Committee to Protect Bloggers' is asking those with blogs to dedicate their sites on Tuesday to the "Free Mojtaba and Arash Day".

Arash Sigarchi and Mojtaba Saminejad are both in prison in Iran.

Blogs are free sites through which people publish thoughts and opinions. Iranian authorities have been clamping down on prominent sites for some time.

"I hope this day will focus people," Curt Hopkins, director of the Committee, told the BBC News website.

Here's the website. (Via Jeff Jarvis).

WILL THERE BE A SPLIT between libertarian and social conservatives? Ryan Sager says that libertarians were poorly received at CPAC, which produced this response from Ramesh Ponnuru, this reply from Sager, and this rejoinder from Ponnuru. Libertarians' influence, of course, has been reduced by the split over the war among libertarians, but I think that a shift toward religious conservatism is likely to cost the Republicans votes. As I warned in Reason, people on both the Left and the social-conservative Right are exaggerating the power of religious conservatives, and that poses a real risk for the GOP:

There’s no question that incidents like the Janet Jackson breast episode have angered a lot of Americans who feel that the entertainment industry doesn’t respect their values. And gay marriage polls badly even in the bluest of blue states. But there’s little reason to believe Americans eagerly cast their votes in November in the hope that busybodies would finally start telling them what to do.

In their book The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge explain how the Republican coalition could go wrong: “Too Southern, too greedy, and too contradictory.” Taking the advice of advocacy groups left and right is likely to send the Bush administration in that direction. Is Karl Rove smart enough to realize that?

I think that he is, even if some people at CPAC are not.

UPDATE: Mary Katherine Ham is pouring on the love:

As one of the conservatives in the audience at CPAC who didn't boo libertarians, I'm with Amy in thinking that relations are a lot better than those boos suggest. On the last day of CPAC, for instance, I sat at The Heritage Foundation's booth with a libertarian colleague, across the aisle from The Objectivist Center's booth, and next to Americans for Tax Reform. There are certainly differences between these groups, but there was no booing or throwing of objects (which could have been very bad, as the Objectivists always have a hefty edition of "Atlas Shrugged" handy). It was almost as if we were a coalition...

As a conservative, and a social conservative in most regards, I'm thankful for libertarians. As far as I'm concerned, people who love free markets, guns, and America are welcome in a coalition with me. Perhaps I'm more apt to embrace libertarians because I spend a lot of time with our real opponents-- my liberal, sometimes-dang-near-socialist friends. Debating (and I use the term loosely)20-something socialists will teach you to LOVE talking to a libertarian.

I also think the street-cred of "libertarianism" as opposed to "social conservatism" does a lot to attract young, counter-culture types to the center-right coalition who might otherwise be lost to loony leftism. That's a win for all us liberty-lovers. I know when I focus on the libertarian aspects of free markets, lower taxes and other conservative positions, I'm able to talk to folks who wouldn't go near me if I used the word "conservative" to characterize them. "Libertarian" overcomes a lot of stereotypes young people have of conservatives, and it's always made for more productive political conversations in my experience. That seems like a good thing to me.

So, consider this my bear hug for both social conservatives and libertarians. We need each other, and I think we'll stick together. At least from my perspective, out in the CPAC audience, there was a lot more getting along and good debate than booing.

Well, libertarian leanings sell better to people who care about liberty because they're libertarian . . . . But I'm glad to hear that people were getting along, and the point about civility and mutual respect is an important one. My experience is that I probably agree with the Left on more issues (certainly more "social" issues) than I do with social conservatives, but the Lefties, for the most part, have very little tolerance for disagreement on anything, while the Righties tend to stress areas of agreement. I suspect that this is a more effective strategy over the long term.

More thoughts here and here.

FISHING IN IRAQ, complete with solunar tables for Baghdad.

PUBLIC TAKING OF PRIVATE PROPERTY FOR PRIVATE PURPOSES: Stephen Bainbridge looks at the Kelo case argued before the Supreme Court today:

The Supreme Court has held that private property can be seized via eminent domain as part of an urban renewal project when the property is blighted, a loophole that local authorities have greatly abused to seize private property. Yet, in this case, the government doesn't even bother trying to hide behind that fig leaf. They assert baldly the power to seize private homes because they think some other user can put them to a higher tax generating use. Except, in this case, they don't even know what the land will be used to do!

As Bainbridge notes, this is no minor technical dispute.

JUST GOT TO THE OFFICE, having visited Helen at the hospital for a while. She's doing pretty well, and hoping to get out this afternoon. I've got to get ready for class, but if you're looking for delightful bloggish diversion, head over to Tom Maguire's place, where he lays out a link-rich post on Gannon / Guckert for dummies. Emphasis on the "dummies" part, it looks like.

WHEN THE INSTA-DAUGHTER packed her bag for her various family travels this weekend she took a book, but I slipped this Harry Turtledove book into her suitcase, too, just in case. Sure enough, she finished her own book and started reading it. Her conclusion: "It's really good!"


THIS POST by Jonah Goldberg on blogger triumphalism is probably on-target -- but his quotation from Daniel Drezner is wildly out of context, which is amusing since Drezner's point was precisely the danger of cherry-picking quotes. The good news is that you can follow the link, as I did, and spot the error pretty fast. [Is it "blogger triumphalism" to point that out? -- Ed. More like "HTML triumphalism."]

UPDATE: Jim Geraghty, on the other hand, has not one, but two posts on the obsolescence of newspapers.

INTERESTING ARTICLE on nanomaterials from the New York Times, whose reporting on nanotechnology has -- as I've noted before -- been quite good over the years.

ENDGAME IN AFGHANISTAN? Things must be going well, because it's not getting much press coverage . . . .

ANTI-MUBARAK PROTESTS seem to be growing:

About 500 protesters gathered outside Cairo University Monday to urge Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to abstain from seeking a fifth term.

The protest was organized by the Egyptian Movement for Change, which warned Mubarak against grooming his son, Jamal, "to inherit him."

The protesters shouted anti-Mubarak slogans and called for amending the constitution to allow the election of the president by universal suffrage instead of a referendum on a single candidate approved by Parliament.

Interesting development. Omar thinks it represents a trend in the Middle East.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, here's more on Lebanon, from Amir Taheri:

UNTIL a week ago, the courtyard of the Muhammad Ali-Amin Mosque in central Beirut was a quiet place where elderly citizens took time off to feed the pigeons. Yesterday, however, it held the largest gathering Lebanon has ever seen.

This was the culmination of a week in which an endless flow of people from all walks of life and different faiths had continued in and out of the mosque united by a single purpose: to call for a restoration of Lebanon's freedom and independence as a nation. . . .

Did Damascus see Hariri as the only politician capable of uniting the Lebanese opposition against Syria's continued domination of virtually all aspects of Lebanon's life?

If so, it was correct — but only in the context of Lebanon's elite-dominated politics. Yet Hariri's murder has ended elite politics by bringing into the picture a new element.

That element is people power, the same force that swept away the totalitarian regimes of Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s and, more recently, led Ukraine into a second liberation.

Let's hope that this phenomenon is repeated.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Javier Solana says that Arab despots are panicked at the spread of democratization. He says that like it's a bad thing.

Meanwhile, it's democracy-promotion for Togo, too to the surprise of some. I believe it was Cavour who said that the preferred method for deceiving diplomats was to tell them the truth, since they would never believe what you said . . . .

ORIN KERR looks at replacements for Rehnquist, but unaccountably fails to mention Eugene Volokh.

RUNNING THE NUMBERS for Frank Rich, who apparently doesn't read the Times much.

February 21, 2005

SOMEHOW, I haven't been able to get as excited over the Larry Summers flap as a lot of people. Arnold Kling explains why I'm wrong.

A BUNCH OF PEOPLE want me to comment on Bill Keller's latest blog-dissing, but I think Mickey Kaus has it covered: "That's too much gay bathhouse imagery for me to deal with right now. ... Take it away, Wonkette. ... "

Though this IMAO post seems relevant, somehow . . . .

UPDATE: Some useful advice for Daniel Okrent, from Tom Maguire.

HOME: Left the hospital about an hour ago and picked up the Insta-Daughter from my sister-in-law's. I'll take her to school tomorrow, and by the time she gets home, with any luck, her mom will be home, too. Helen's doing quite well, and we're happy to follow the advice of Doug and Sissy.

I'VE BEEN WITH HELEN for the last several hours. She's doing fine, and says thanks for all the nice messages and emails.


UPDATE: Bush is on the offensive:

President Bush and French President Jacques Chirac said Monday they had patched up their differences over Iraq as Bush appealed for European unity in helping to spread democracy across the Middle East.

At the same time, Bush prodded Russia to reverse a crackdown on political dissent, suggesting Moscow's efforts to join the World Trade Organization could hinge on it. He said he would press the point when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin later in the week.

"I intend to remind him that if his interests lie West, that we share values and that those values are important," Bush said. "They're not only important for people who that live within Russia, they're important to have good relations with the West."

He also demanded that Iran end its nuclear ambitions and told Syria to get out of Lebanon.

They'd be well-advised to comply, I think.

UPDATE: More on Bush's speech here, and the transcript is here.

MORE: Sort-of related thoughts on China and North Korea, here.

MORE STILL: "Good cowboy." Heh.


And Ann Althouse is guest-blogging over at

JUST SPOKE TO THE CARDIOLOGIST: The surgery went well, and Helen is in the recovery room. It'll be a while before I can see her, but he says that everything went fine and that she should have a smooth recovery.

UPDATE: Well, we won't be needing one of these, now that it's built-in. But it does make me wonder if Amazon knew something. . . .

$820,000 FOR INSTAPUNDIT? Hmm. That might be undervaluing things, but I'd be willing to enter into discussions, I guess. . . .

JEFF JARVIS AND BILL KELLER OF THE NYT go back-and-forth. And Roger Simon weighs in.

Not quite so edifying is round two of the Estrich / Kinsley debate . . . .

INTERESTING PIECE on the Dartmouth Board of Trustees race, which includes Todd Zywicki of The Volokh Conspiracy.


The U.N.'s top refugee advocate resigned Sunday amid a festering controversy over allegations that he sexually harassed several female employees at the U.N. refugee agency. . . .

U.N. diplomats said Lubbers had become a political liability for an organization already striving to demonstrate its willingness to hold senior officials accountable after damaging scandals involving corruption in a U.N. humanitarian program in Iraq and sexual misconduct by U.N. peacekeepers in Congo.

Annan is bracing for a report next month by a U.N.-appointed panel probing allegations of influence peddling in the U.N.-administered oil-for-food program in Iraq by his son, Kojo Annan. Those charges have triggered calls for Annan's resignation from some legislators, including Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

On the other hand, this story of rape and child abuse by U.N. peacekeepers in the Congo seems like much bigger news.

THEY'VE HAULED HELEN OFF TO PRE-OP, and I'm waiting in the Surgery Lounge, where at least they have (sort of) comfy chairs. She was surprisingly chipper this morning, and quite ready to have it over with. She sends thanks to all the people who emailed with words of support.

My earlier comments about hospitals and sleep deprivation led to quite a few posts by medical bloggers. You can read their observations here, here, here, here, and here. Interesting reading.


James Lileks: "File under Capote, Truman – meaning, whatever you thought of the latter-day persona, don’t forget that there was a reason he had a reputation. Read 'Hell's Angels.' That was a man who could hit the keys right."

February 20, 2005

I'LL BE UP EARLY TOMORROW: Got to be at the hospital at 5:30, as the Insta-Wife is scheduled for early surgery. (Our daughter is with her grandmother tonight). I spent a few hours there tonight, and she's in good spirits. I rubbed her feet, and helped her scrub her chest with Betadine.

PATRICK RUFFINI AND OLIVER WILLIS will be on C-SPAN tomorrow morning, 7:45-8:30 (Eastern) tomorrow morning. I've always said that Oliver was made for TV.

UPDATE: And Lance Frizzell will be on Teddy Bart's show tomorrow morning. Listen live here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Caught the last few minutes via streaming video. Oliver: "I'm just not willing to launch a headhunting campaign against someone based on secondhand reports."

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Oliver emails: "Now, am I willing to launch a campaign based on firsthand knowledge? You bet."

I never doubted it.

CHARGES OF RATHERGATE CONSPIRACY AGAINST KARL ROVE, from Congressman Maurice Hinchey (D-NY). Charles Johnson has audio and a transcript. If Karl Rove is really this smart, the Democrats are doomed. (Hmm, maybe spreading that idea is the real conspiracy. Somebody ask Hinchey who he's working for. The truth is out there! . . .)

UPDATE: Comments here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More thoughts from Roger Simon, with an interesting Karl-Rove-as-Loki angle in the comments. Or is he Coyote?

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: More background on Hinchey, here. He's "big on gun rights." Obviously a Karl Rove mole!

SOME PEOPLE ARE WONDERING if a CNN reporter broke the law in the course of doing a story on guns.

UPDATE: A couple of readers think this concern may be premature. We'll see.

DOING RESEARCH FOR MY TECHCENTRALSTATION COLUMN this week, I ran across MedGadget, a sort of Gizmodo-for-medical-devices. Pretty cool.

HERE'S A VERY POSITIVE REVIEW for MSNBC's new show, Connected Coast-to-Coast, saying that:

Connected Coast to Coast is surely (and finally) the concept that the founders never even knew they were thinking of when MS (Microsoft) & NBC joined hands for a little experiment called MSNBC. The concept was ahead of its time and MSNBC's ‘new twist’ was years ahead of the information-flow reality…until the sudden emergence of millions of blogs and bloggers finally brought that vision into focus. So, it is only appropriately fitting that MSNBC is the outlet to first embrace the paradigm that is the new law of information flow.

I haven't seen the show -- they invited me on Friday, but I was otherwise engaged.

SHOW PEOPLE A PICTURE OF YOUR WIFE WITH A LAPTOP, and some of them comment on . . . the laptop! Reader Jason Watts emails:

Is that the Dell 700m? I just set one of those up for a doc at the medical school I work at. I am sold on that model. I have the Inspiron 8600, I was sold on the big wide screen but did not consider the size and weight, especially when you have to carry it across campus with books as well. The 700m is small and powerful from what I could tell. Plus I will hopefully attend law school in a year so the 700m will work nicely for that as well.

Bill Hobbs and reader Robert Berry also emailed last week to ask about the Dell -- there's some sort of coupon promotion going, apparently. I've had it for a few months now, and I'm quite pleased. Battery life with the extended-life battery (a must-buy accessory, as far as I'm concerned) is good at 5-6 hours even while using wifi or the Verizon card, which both drain battery power faster (especially the Verizon card). The display is excellent, and there are lots of ports, etc. My only real complaint is the absence of a hardware volume-control knob, and the presence of a 4-pin rather than a 6-pin Firewire port. This works fine, but it's a nonstandard cable, and though it'll connect to an iPod it won't charge it.

Here's my earlier post on the subject.

UPDATE: Bill Hobbs emails:

I just ordered the 700M with 1.8 gig, 512 mb ram, 80GB hard drive, CD/DVD burner, extended life battery and 4 year warranty with at-home service and 4-year complete care accidental damage warranty. The total was just $1553 before tax because there is a great $600 off coupon floating around. Word to the wise: Google "Dell coupon codes" to find the coupon.

He'll like it.

THIS COLUMN BY DAVID SHAW in the Los Angeles Times adds to the bloggers-as-lynch-mob meme that a lot of Big Media folks are peddling:

Bloggers can be useful. They did a good job, for example, in bringing the Rather/CBS screw-up to public attention. But some bloggers are just self-important ranters who seem to wake up every morning convinced that the entire Free World awaits their opinions on any subject that's popped into their heads since their last fevered post.

Unfortunately, when these bloggers rise up in arms, grown men weep — and news executives cave in. That's much more alarming than anything Jordan said.

What's funny, though, is that Shaw's views on the Eason Jordan controversy seem to be exactly the same as those most commonly found throughout the blogosphere:

Although the official word is that Jordan's resignation was voluntary, I have to believe that the top brass at CNN, instead of rejecting his resignation, as they should have done, gave him a not-so-gentle push toward the door to defuse the increasingly nasty controversy.

What I don't understand is why they — and he — caved in so quickly. I wish he'd asked — begged, demanded — that the organizers of the Davos forum release the videotape of his panel. I can only assume that he said what he's accused of saying and that he doesn't want those remarks in the public domain, even if they were followed by his quick backtracking.

If Jordan did say American troops target American journalists, he should be ashamed of himself. But he shouldn't have lost his job.

Well, whether he should have lost his job was always CNN's decision, of course. But we wanted to see the tape. As I've noted before, bloggers wanted the tape made public more than they wanted to get rid of Jordan. CNN, on the other hand, decided it would rather be rid of Jordan than see the tape made public.

The funny thing, though, is that the herd-mentality among media executives will probably make the "bloggers as irresistible force" idea truer, as the result of pieces like this one, than it was before.

UPDATE: Prof. Bainbridge has thoughts on why Shaw's lynch-mob meme is likely to catch on: "Blaming others for one's misfortunes is always easier than considring whether one's own conduct may have caused them. So I expect the MSM to go right on whining about blogs, even if those of us in the blogosphere really don't have anywhere near the amount of influence we would like to think we possess."

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader David Jones emails:

If the blogs are the lynch mob, and Eason Jordan was not guilty of a hanging offense, then CNN's role is that of the cowardly sheriff who gives in to the mob. So why doesn't the MSM investigate that? Could it be that the sheriff has something to hide?


SHANTI MANGALA is hosting this week's Blog Mela. Check out what the Indian blogosphere is saying!

UPDATE: And Tim Worstall rounds up the BritBlogs.

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE IN ENGLAND: "Many hunters claimed to be staying within the law by not actually pursuing foxes, although it was not clear how they communicated that intention to the hounds."

REPORTS OF LIFE ON MARS, noted earlier, seem to be premature.

JUST TALKED TO THE INSTAWIFE: I reclaimed the Insta-daughter from my sister, who had kept her for the past couple of nights, and we went shopping (Abercrombie!) and out to dinner (sushi!), both her choices of activities. We had a nice evening, while Helen entertained visitors from her family and mine.

We just spoke on the phone today and she sounded good -- except that the hospital routine is wearing her down with the constant sleep interruptions. They really do come in every couple of hours, and while some of the stuff makes some sense, I guess -- like checking temperature or even EKG -- they came in yesterday, and today, at about 5 AM to check her weight. Er, why not a couple of hours later?

The people at the hospital are very nice, but this leads me to wonder what would happen if you did the equivalent of those mental-hospital experiments, where normal grad students tested out as crazy after 6 weeks in a mental hospital. If you took 100 healthy people, then put them in a hospital for 2 weeks of this sort of thing and tested them again, I'll bet that they'd be significantly worse off. People joke about the sleep interruptions, or about the bad food, but it's really no joke when you're in there for a while. I wonder why they don't do better?

MEGAN MCARDLE: "Incidentally, having read Larry Summers' remarks now, I think it's pretty embarassing for academia that this scandal got as far as it did."

UPDATE: Interesting observation from her comment section: "Larry Summers, politically much more adept than his critics here, seems to have pulled off a great example of 'rope-a-dope' by delaying the release of his remarks. The US college professoriate is currently driving its collective credibility off a cliff. Summers helped them along by offering them a 'door to nowhere', and they marched right through it."

ANOTHER UPDATE: David Bernstein comments: "I would add that if Summers' quite measured comments have gotten him into such hot water, imagine how regular faculty, untenured faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates whose views don't reflect the politically correct mainstream are treated, and how much their careers can be placed in potential jeopardy."

It seems to me that this is more reason to encourage intellectual diversification at places like Harvard.

2008: THERE'S A CONDI RICE FOR PRESIDENT BLOG, there's a Draft Condi website, and you can already buy the T-Shirt. And bumper stickers!

The juggernaut is already rolling.

UPDATE: Another Condi blog! And another! And there's more here, and here. But not everyone is on the bandwagon.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jim Geraghty reports from CPAC: "Many folks are wearing 'I support Condi in 2008' buttons. Interesting..."

MORE: Blogs for Condi is rounding up examples of Condi-enthusiasm around the blogosphere.

STILL MORE: Even more Condi 2008 stuff here and, especially, here.

WIKIPEDIA WARS: Involving LaShawn Barber. (Via The Baron).

ALTERNATIVE HISTORY: Bill Dyer wonders what would have happened if the RatherGate forgers had had a clue.

ARTHUR CHRENKOFF rounds up news from Lebanon, where all sorts of things are going on.

UPDATE: And here's more interesting stuff from East Asia.