May 28, 2005

PAJAMAS MEDIA QUESTION NUMBER TWO: How can we be an online Joe Friday?

HERE'S AUSTIN BAY'S MEMORIAL DAY SPEECH, and here's video of President Bush's commencement speech at the Naval Academy.

ELECTIONS IN LEBANON: Publius has a roundup. "Undoubtedly, Lebanon will never be the same after March’s Cedar Revolution, but that won’t stop the country’s professional politicians from pulling as many strings as possible to stay in power."

FRED THOMPSON: Dark horse candidate for 2008? I had him down as Chief Justice, but you never know. . . .

UPDATE: Several readers email to say that a Thompson/Rice, or a Rice/Thompson, ticket would suit them just fine for 2008. The GOP could do worse. And probably will!

HERE'S AN IMAGE, from Kaus: "If Johnny Apple and Andrew Sullivan had a love child, he might find this editorial highly persuasive."


JOURNALIST AND NEWSPAPER GUILD MEMBER HIAWATHA BRAY is challenging Linda Foley to back up her Eason-Jordan-like statements, or to apologize:

Since then, you have failed to provide supporting evidence for your remarks, but neither have you retracted them. I spoke with you at 11:10 AM today by telephone; union secretary-treasurer Bernard Lunzer was also on the call.

When I told you that I would publish your response to me on the Internet, you declined further comment--except for the following: "I am not going to discuss this with you on the eve of Memorial Day weekend."

This remark strikes me as extremely odd. I can't think of a better time to redeem the honor of the US military by beginning a serious investigation of outrageous conduct on its part. If our soldiers are deliberately killing journalists, it's our duty to publicize it, so that such a terrible stain on our nation's integrity may be quickly cleansed.

If, as I believe, your charge is false, I can think of no better time to retract this slander.

Read the whole thing.

May 27, 2005

ON TRAVEL: Back later.

PAJAMAS MEDIA QUESTION NUMBER ONE: What does it mean to be "fair and balanced?"


THE leader of France’s ruling party has privately admitted that Sunday’s referendum on the European constitution will result in a “no” vote, throwing Europe into turmoil.

“The thing is lost,” Nicolas Sarkozy told French ministers during an ill-tempered meeting.


THE DOG THAT DIDN'T BARK: Thomas Lipscomb notes another buried story in an Editor & Publisher column. "After all, Sherlock Holmes’s dog didn’t bark because he was good friends with the thief."

ANOTHER BLOGGER BOOK: Being Good, by Todd Anderson, who also publishes Popshot Magazine.

Some parts remind me of my own life, back when I was a single twentysomething guy.

FORMER INSTAPUNDIT CORRESPONDENT Major John Tammes has started a new group blog with some of his friends. High point: "Say, it has now been 2 months and 6 days since anyone shot at me! I think a glass of port is in order."


In this morning's coverage of Koran abuse allegations at Gitmo, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Boston Globe, Reuters, and Associated Press all mention in their lead paragraph that the Pentagon found no credible evidence that a guard flushed the Koran down a toilet. The Washington Post, on the other hand, does not bother to mention the Koran-flushing incident until its fourth paragraph and does not note until the thirteenth paragraph that the detainee who made that allegation has retracted it.

Tom Maguire, meanwhile, notes another omission that seems rather striking.

WITH THE RECENT WHITE HOUSE PHOTO-OP and discussion regarding "snowflake babies," I just want to point out that InstaPundit was on top of this story -- with original reporting, no less -- way back in August of 2001.

Now Walter Shapiro is doing some similar math.

FUTUREBLOGGING: This week's Carnival of Tomorrow is up, with an Ed Wood theme.

TIGERHAWK notes interesting developments regarding Syria.

NEAL BOORTZ is considering a career as a screenwriter.

53% OF AMERICANS say they're likely to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2008?

Well, if she wins, I hope she lives up to her billing as "the most uncompromising wartime president in the history of the United States."

More evidence of Hillary's growing influence here.

ETHIOPIAN ELECTIONS UPDATE: The E.U. observers are very critical:

Ethiopia's electoral board appears to have lost control of the vote counting for the May 15 legislative polls, European Union election observers said in a report obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The confidential report went on to say the EU might have to make a public denunciation of developments to distance itself from "the lack of transparency, and assumed rigging" of the vote

"Ten days after the polling day, the situation is of political uncertainty and informational chaos regarding the results of the election," according to the confidential report.

What's more, Jimmy Carter made the problem worse:

The EU report also said former U.S. President Carter, who led a team of 50 election observers, undermined the electoral process and EU criticism with "his premature blessing of the elections and early positive assessment of the results."

Unless there is a "drastic reverse toward good democratic practice" the observer team and EU "will have to publicly denounce the situation."

"Otherwise, the EU jointly with ex-President Carter will be held largely responsible for the lack of transparency, and assumed rigging, of the elections."

It's Venezuela all over again for Jimmy, apparently. Meanwhile, several thousand Ethiopian-Americans protested the elections, at the State Department.

YOU CAN LEARN A LOT SOMETIMES from reading people's websites.

May 26, 2005

BILL HOBBS has the indictments in the Tennessee legislative corruption cases.

JOE GANDELMAN says it's not nice to make fun of Arlen Specter's cancer.

He's right.

GREG DJEREJIAN says there's nothing to the Bolton NSA intercept story.

VIDEO-FILLYBLOGGING, courtesy of my sister. (QT version here).


In cyberspace, a whole range of opinions - individual or on behalf of trade unions and anti-globalists group such as ATTAC - can be freely accessed, while "No" campaigners appear much more at ease with the Internet than the traditional party campaigners.

With an estimated 24 million internet users in France (out of a population of 60 million), it is an increasingly powerful tool.

Stanislas Magniant, at Publicis Consultants Net Intelligenz told one newspaper that in this campaign, France was seeing the beginning of real grass-roots militancy on the Internet.

Stay tuned.


So check out the Carnival of Gamers, with game-related posts, and the Carnival of Comedy is, well, self-explanatory.

UPDATE: Don't miss the latest storyblogging carnival, either.

HUGH HEWITT INTERVIEWED DANA MILBANK of The Washington Post. The transcript is posted here.

18 THINGS YOU CAN'T SAY ABOUT MUSLIMS IN ITALY, judging from the Oriana Fallaci case. (Via Volokh).

KURTZ CORRECTION: Note the email from Howard Kurtz, below.


THE BELMONT CLUB has moved to a backup location in response to more problems at Blogger.


Wherever you go, there you are. But at least in Arizona, you’re warmer, and CRIMINEY JUDAS I’m tired of being cold all the time.

Thus speaks a true Minnesotan. It's unseasonably cool here, too. But that means 70 degrees.


For more than four years - steadily, seriously, and with the unsentimental rigor for which we love them - civil engineers have been studying the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, sifting the tragedy for its lessons. And it turns out that one of the lessons is: Disobey authority. In a connected world, ordinary people often have access to better information than officials do.

(Via DefenseTech). Some of us have been noting this for a while.

DAVE PRICE is saying I told you so.

IT'S REFORM THURSDAY at Willisms. Social Security reform, that is.

UPDATE: More on Social Security here.

AVIAN FLU UPDATE: Nature has a special issue devoted to the subject. Interestingly, they've chosen to dramatize it with a fictional weblog ostensibly authored by a journalist in the thick of next year's epidemic. That's a testament to blogs' ability to capture news with immediacy and drama, I guess. (Via Effect Measure).

AN FBI STING OPERATION has resulted in the arrest of several Tennessee legislators. Bill Hobbs has a roundup.

HARRY'S PLACE worries that we're backsliding on democracy in Egypt.

LAURENCE SIMON: "Today, I learned that I am some kind of illegal Mexican narcoterrorist gunrunner." Well, yeah.

WHAT'S GOING ON WITH ZARQAWI? Austin Bay offers one theory:

Has Zarqawi been wounded or is he dead? Or is he being “withdrawn from the combat zone?” I raise these questions because at this point in time Zarqawi may be more valuable to Al Qaeda as a “mythic warrior” or “ghost.” It’s tough to kill a myth and darned hard to kill a ghost. Here’s the argument: Zarqawi’s damaged goods, physically and politically. From Al Qaeda’s point of view, and possibly Saddam’s henchmen, it’s time to get Z-Man out of Iraq, and then have Al-Jazeera and Newsweek turn him into Robin Hood.

Meanwhile, here's a report that Zarqawi has been replaced, though it's not clear what's really going on.


For the first time, fear really stalks the Rue de la Loi in Brussels, headquarters of the European Commission. It is visceral. We know this because of the increasingly hysterical register of the messages in which the commissioners are sending French and Dutch voters preparing (in their referenda on 29 May and 1 June respectively) to vote down the treaty establishing a federal constitution. If you do so, the European Union nomenklatura is saying, you will bring to Europe economic disaster, a return to internecine war or (most tastelessly and least forgivably) another Holocaust. It is ridiculous hyperbole and therefore all the more demanding of explanation. How did it come to this?

Read the whole thing for some suggestions.

HOWARD KURTZ THINKS THAT NEWSWEEK HAS BEEN VINDICATED, but it's not clear to me why that is:

Just to review: Newsweek made a specific error, saying this would be in a forthcoming military investigative report, and had to apologize and retract. But that never meant there was no Koran desecration--in fact, The Post reported such a charge in 2003 (as did other outlets later), but the charges were always attributed to detainees. Even these documents (which I'll bet were seen by Isikoff's source) atrribute the allegations to detainees. But that casts the outraged White House and Pentagon reaction in a slightly different light, doesn't it?

(Emphasis in original.) If you read the story that Kurtz references, though, it also says that investigators found no basis to the allegations. It seems to me that Newsweek's report -- that government investigation did support the claims -- was rather different, and that this constitutes something rather short of vindication.

UPDATE: Joe Gandelman has a survey of the issue, and agrees that this doesn't get Newsweek off the hook, even though it's being spun that way.

This report from the New York Times would seem to make that clear:

The accusation that soldiers had put a Koran in a toilet, which has been made by former and current inmates over the past two years, stirred violence this month that killed at least 17 people in Muslim countries after Newsweek magazine reported that a military investigation was expected to confirm that the incident had in fact occurred.

Newsweek retracted the report last week, saying it had relied on an American government official who had incomplete knowledge of the situation.

None of the documents released Wednesday indicate any such confirmation that the incident took place.

(Emph. added). I think that Newsweek's defenders would be wise not to make too much of this.

MORE: A reader notes a bit of goalpost-moving:

In a recent post, you quoted the NYT as writing this in a report:

"The accusation that soldiers had put a Koran in a toilet, ..."

Notice how it is now 'put a Koran in a toilet'. No longer is the phrasing 'flush a Koran down the toilet'. A subtle, yet important change. This version is _plausible_. And easier to get someone to substantiate (or at least say "well, I can't say that it didn't happen").

As Martin Peretz said, they've circled the wagons on this one.


I absolutely don't believe Newsweek has been vindicated, and if you got that impression, I must have been unclear. Newsweek made a bad mistake.

Here is what I'm writing for tomorrow:

"I don’t contend that these FBI papers, unearthed in an ACLU lawsuit,
get Newsweek off the hook. But you’d think they would be getting more

"Let’s parse the wording. Newsweek erred by saying in its ill-fated Periscope item that a forthcoming military investigative report would cite an allegation of the Koran being flushed down a toilet at Guantanamo. That was wrong, and Newsweek’s anonymous source backed off. The FBI documents don’t prove that these Koran incidents took place--indeed, it may be impossible to prove one way or the other."

I did get that impression, but I'm glad that I was wrong.

Meanwhile, Tom Maguire has a useful roundup of this much-ado-about-not-much story.

MORE: Bill Quick adds some historical perspective that does a better job of explaining why I misunderstood Howard than I did.

MAX BOOT: "At a time when the Army and Marine Corps are struggling to fill their ranks, many conservatives are determined to limit the ability of women and gays to contribute to the war effort. Are they more concerned with winning culture wars at home or winning the war on terrorism abroad?"


Is the press, properly understood, a political animal?

If so, what kind of politics should it have?

How do we know if the press has got the politics part right?

Jay also asks for opinions from others, including me. I don't usually blog on request, but this is interesting.

I think that the press is unavoidably political. What has bothered people (and what gets Kevin heated up about "the right wing press destruction machine") is that until recently the politics were pretty uniformly left-leaning, to the point that the press became a well-defined political player on its own. Not for nothing does Howard Feinman write about the "Media Party." Now that's changing (this is the part that has Kevin heated up) and things that used to go unchallenged and unremarked are now challenged and remarked upon. This makes things seem more politicized, but what's really changed is that people are talking about the politics, where before they were implicit.

What kind of politics should it have? Non-monolithic, and transparent. If, as First Amendment theory suggests, the marketplace of ideas is a check on the political power of an unelected press, then we need diversity of perspective and a willingness of press organs to criticize each others' reporting.

How do we know when the press has it right? When we've got news organs representing a diversity of perspectives. We're making progress in that direction, but we're a long way from getting there.

UPDATE: Ernest Miller: "No one asked me, but I'll go ahead and give my answers anyway."

EUGENE VOLOKH WRITES on the political uses of loving one's country.

GOOD QUESTION: "Is there an Italian law against defaming America?"

I MUST CONFESS that I've never thought of George Voinovich as a metrosexual.


Who else but reinforcement-craving Democrats would pay $49.95 a year to read Paul Krugman? ... The Times, of course, is supposed to be the un-Balkanized, common-ground information outlet, so its shift toward a caterpillar strategy should be the cause of much more respectable hand-wringing than, say, the emergence of ideologically targeted sites like and RealClearPolitics ... Also, Lucianne and RCP actually do a much better job of forcing their readers to confront what they don't want to see than the Times does.


UPDATE: Related thoughts here:

What's peculiar about the economics of news-and-views is that, by raising the price, the Times will not merely reduce demand for their product, they'll reduce its value, because the significance of an op-ed does not come only from the author, but from the audience as well. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech would have been much less interesting if it had been given at some obscure academic conference, rather than on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in front of an audience of hundreds of thousands. Likewise, John Tierney and Paul Krugman will be less interesting when they are no longer writing to the internet masses, to America and the world, but merely to the narrow, unrepresentative subscriber base of the Times.


May 25, 2005

GREG DJEREJIAN: "I have to say, reading this kind of risible crap gets me in the mood to say let's all get behind John Bolton, shall we, and send him to USUN soonest. Particularly the comments of the German Ambassador to Washington, Wolfgang Ischinger, so dripping with condescension, disingenuousness and hypocrisy: 'we tend to think of ourselves as more experienced in the way societies evolve,' '(t)his is very complicated, '(c)hanging the way people think often has to do with religious and cultural issues...Americans think, Let's solve the problem in the next four years!' I mean, how many silly, tired, protest-placard stereotypes can the good Ambassador mutter on about in one short interview with the New Yorker?"

RICH, BLOGGY GOODNESS: Don't miss this week's Carnival of the Vanities.

YOU'D THINK THAT HISTORIANS WOULDN'T RUSH TO JUDGMENT, but on the other hand, post-Bellesiles it's hard for me to be surprised by anything that they do.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies, on the other hand, seems to be taking a more positive view.

BLOGGER SUCKS: So Ann Althouse has set up a backup blog until it starts working again.

PEOPLE SOMETIMES CALL ME A NEOLIBERTARIAN. I'm not sure what that means, besides an effort to link me with neocons. [You don't look neo-ish! -- Ed.]

But if I were a Neo-Libertarian, then wouldn't InstaPundit be the "Instapundit for the Neolibertarian Network?" I mean, that only makes sense.


I left the Libertarian Party in 2004 when presidential candidate Michael Badnarik asked supporters to wear black on the anniversary of 9/11 "to mourn the deaths of the thousands of people who have died as a result of U.S. government policies".

Libertarians are often idealistic and myopic, ignoring the real world in pursuit of their goals, unable to compromise their principles. A little pragmatism is called for in the real world.

Yes, although I was a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party in the 1990s, their pathetic response to the 9/11 attacks caused me to lose confidence in the party. And "pathetic" is putting it kindly.

JON HENKE writes that 2006 might be the Democrats' 1994, as the Republican Congress grows less popular while not accomplishing much.

MICHAEL YOUNG: "Those who accuse the Bush administration of incompetence in the Middle East because of events in Iraq may soon have to temper that with an assessment of its shrewder behavior in Lebanon." Of course, the latter was made possible by the former.

RON BAILEY REPORTS on the Kansas Intelligent Design hearings:

Who needs to make monkeys out of the Kansas Board of Education when its members are doing such a good job of it themselves? . . .

The anti-evolutionists affect not to know who or what the "intelligent designer" of their theory might be. He, she, it, or they could be little green men or purple space squid or a race of intelligent supercomputers—or maybe, just maybe, an omnipotent God. Who knows? We're all just innocently asking "scientific" questions here.

But away from the glare of media attention, this pose of scientific objectivity cracks. "ID has theological implications. ID is not strictly Christian, but it is theistic," admitted board member Martin. The intelligent design proponents in Kansas ask: Why not let children in public schools hear arguments for intelligent design in biology classes? Schools could "teach the controversy."

Biologists retort by asking, "So it's OK then for high schools to teach astrology, phrenology, mesmerism, tarot card reading, crystal healing, astral projection and water witching, too?"

Personally, I'm a Tiplerite.


ROME (Reuters) - A judge has ordered best-selling writer and journalist Oriana Fallaci to stand trial in her native Italy on charges she defamed Islam in a recent book.

Fabrizio Quattrochi was unavailable for comment. However, Jeff Goldstein sees this as a "velvet insurgency."

Basically, where people warn about theocracy in the United States, we're seeing what amounts to a trial for blasphemy in Italy.

Tom Wolfe once said that Fascism is forever descending on the United States, but that somehow it always lands on Europe. Perhaps the same is true with theocracy?

coalition_1.gifHERE'S AN INTERESTING PASSAGE from the filibuster-compromise memo:

We believe that, under Article II, Section 2, of the United States Constitution, the word “Advice” speaks to consultation between the Senate and the President with regard to the use of the President’s power to make nominations. We encourage the Executive branch of government to consult with members of the Senate, both Democratic and Republican, prior to submitting a judicial nomination to the Senate for consideration.

I suppose that I should see this as a sort of vindication, since I recommended just that approach in an article entitled Taking Advice Seriously: An Immodest Proposal for Reforming the Confirmation Process, published in the Southern California Law Review some years back, though I suspect that they're not willing to go quite as far as I suggested..

I guess that makes me a member of the Coalition of the Chillin'.

IN THE MAIL: An advance copy of John Scalzi's Agent to the Stars. It looks quite good, but it's not the sequel to Old Man's War. Scalzi's just started writing that one.

UPDATE: Reader Randal Carden notes something I had missed: Scalzi has made Agent to the Stars available for free online. Cool.

GATEWAY PUNDIT has more on Uzbekistan. Karimov is cozying up to China, whose leaders are understandably disturbed by the spread of democracy in the region, and untroubled by Karimov's Tiananmen-like massacre.

PARTY LIKE IT'S 1999: Reader Clark Ghitis sends this from the WSJ (subscription only):

The number of millionaires in the U.S. increased to a record last year, boosted by gains in stocks and global financial markets, according to two new studies.

The number of U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more rose 21% in 2004, according to a survey released yesterday by Spectrem Group, a wealth-research firm in Chicago. It is the largest increase since 1998, according to the study, which was based on data from more than 450 qualified respondents. There now are 7.5 million millionaire households in the U.S., breaking the record set in 1999 of 7.1 million. The study excluded the value of primary residences, but included second homes and other real estate.

The InstaPundit household isn't among those new millionaires, though.

UPDATE: No, sadly, we're not among those old millionaires, either.


The American chestnut, prized for its timber and its crop of glossy dark nuts, once dominated Eastern forests from Maine to Georgia. The graceful trees were virtually wiped out by blight starting at the turn of the 20th century.

That loss, Case said, "was the greatest environmental disaster in the Western Hemisphere since the Ice Age."

Now, after years of breeding, cloning and crossbreeding, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is ready to reintroduce disease-resistant chestnuts to Eastern forests next year.

Maybe we'll get the elms back, too.

UPDATE: Reader Greg Hlatky sends this link to elm-restoration efforts.

ZARQAWI, AL QAEDA, AND SADDAM: Austin Bay has some observations.

HOWARD FINEMAN SUGGESTS -- perhaps a bit hopefully -- that the filibuster compromise represents a political turning point:

A generation ago, voters turned against the Democrats for the excesses of their welfare-state, big-government thinking. Washington WASN’T the answer to everything.

But, voters may conclude, the Bible isn't either. They could turn against the GOP if they think the party is sacrificing the American tradition of pragmatism and respect for scientific progress – on, say, stem-cell research – in favor of religious fundamentalism, however sincere. Take a look at some of the key supporters of stem-cell research: Nancy Reagan, to name one – not to mention corporate executives who don’t want to see research money and energy drift away to other countries. Two religions are in collision, one of them secular and scientific, the other Biblical.

I've been warning of this for a while, and I think it bears repeating: Americans, for the most part, don't share in the reflexive hostility to religion found in the upper reaches of journalism and the academy. On the other hand, Americans don't like self-righteous busybodies -- whether of the PC left or the religious right -- telling them how to live, either.

There's a relatively small group -- under 20% of the electorate, I'd guess -- that would really like to recast American society under far more religiously determined lines. That's enough to steer the Republican party to disaster, as a similar group has done for the Democrats, but not enough to win elections much. The Democrats' problem, of course, is that they're even more dominated by their fringe than the Republicans, and the fact that the media establishment tends to share those views will make it harder for them to extricate themselves from this fix.

FUTURES MARKETS ELICIT INSIDER INFORMATION: I mentioned earlier that London bookmakers are giving odds on which character will be killed off in the next Harry Potter book. Now -- spoiler alert -- it seems that this has caused information to leak out. Tom Maguire has more, and notes that this supports the "futures on terror" idea.


I've got a modest proposal to Ted Koppel and "Nightline": why don't you read one day the names and show the pictures of the 170,000 or so American servicemen and women stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan who every day are working their hardest to ensure that democracy takes root, terrorists are defeated, and these two countries have a chance to build a better future for their people. That might convince a cynic such as myself that you really care for the troops generally, and not just only when they can be cynically used to embarrass the Bush Administration.

It would take more than that to convince me, but this would be a start.

Koppel might look here for some ideas, too. But not here, unless he wants to play to his strengths . . . .


May 24, 2005

PRODUCT DESIGN MEETS VERSION FATIGUE: My TechCentralStation column for tomorrow addresses this subject -- but for you, as InstaPundit PremiumTM subscribers (the only kind there are), it's available now!

BLOG ENTRY solves murder.

DEMOCRACY, WHISKEY -- can "sexy" be far behind?

EASONGATE II CONTINUES, with this observation:

At the Communications Workers of America, Candice Johnson said she could not provide any evidence for Foley's revival of the Eason Jordan charges. Linda Foley refused requests for an interview.

Retired Air Force General Thomas McInerney, a Fox News military consultant, was "frankly astonished."

"It may be legitimate to investigate whether there may or may not have been an incident in which U.S. troops have targeted journalists, but there is no question at this point that major media figures are targeting the men and women of the United States military in Iraq, repeatedly and with no evidence," he said.


MICHAEL TOTTEN says the Washington Post is misreporting on Lebanon.

A PARTY-VOTE ANALYSIS of the House stem-cell research vote.

BILL MAHER CAN RELAX, because Rob Smith is defending him against charges of treason.


ALPHECCA'S WEEKLY ROUNDUP OF BIAS in media reporting on guns is up.

WHILE I'M WISHING GAS GANGRENE ON ZARQAWI, I'm about ready to wish it on the bastards from "The Bullseye Network" whose miserable adware is on my daughter's computer.

UPDATE: Ran the MS antispyware beta and seem to have gotten rid of it, along with a bunch of other crap -- but I had to do manual surgery before I could even access the Internet to download the program from MS. (I've used AdAware for this before, but wanted to give the MS version a try; seemed fine.)

Kids' sites seem to be especially infested with this crap, which is particularly unforgivable.

UPDATE: Yep, reader Ben Cooper sends a link to this report confirming my suspicion that even reputable kids' sites are adware nightmares:

Mainstream children's Web sites host a glut of adware, a security firm said this week, proof that spyware makers are targeting kids in an attempt to slip by parents and get their software onto home computers.
Over a three-month period, said Kraig Lane, a group product manager in Symantec's consumer division, his lab took new PCs out of the box, connected them to the Internet without monkeying with any of the default settings in Windows XP SP2, then surfed well-known sites in several categories, ranging from kids and sports to news and shopping.

"Our testers went to name-brand Web sites, and spent 30 minutes to an hour reading or interacting with sites," said Lane. Testers tried to emulate real-world browser by reading articles, interacting with the site's features, but not explicitly looking to accumulate files by downloading. "Then they ran spyware detection software and counted up what kind of security risks and how many files had been installed on the machines," Lane said.

Children were the biggest target for spyware makers, by far. The trip to several kids' sites installed a whopping 359 pieces of adware on Symantec's PCs, five times more than the nearest category rival, travel. Popup ads proliferated on the machines after that, making them virtually unusable.

Message to the folks at NeoPets: Clean up your act.

AUSTIN BAY POINTS TO a useful article on security in Iraq.

IN A HOLE, NEWSWEEK keeps digging. "We retracted, but we didn't really mean it!"



What was the last "big one" that secular, small-government, constitutionalist conservatives won under the GWB administration?

If you give me a week, I might think of something.

UPDATE: Interesting discussion in Bill's comments. Reader Thomas Manning sends this link to a post by Virginia Postrel on the Bush Administration's regulatory philosophy, which is better than its predecessor's.

Meanwhile, reader James De Benedetti answers Bill's question: "That would be Social Security privatization, which you don't seem too thrilled about."

Er, we've "won" that one? I'd be thrilled if we did, but I don't think it's ready to go into the victory column.

CHUCK SIMMINS has a report, with photos, from an anti-Bush protest over Social Security.

MICROMEDIA challenging dictatorship in North Korea.


ARABS ARE DOING MUCH BETTER IN AMERICA than anywhere else. This raises questions:

This census data should prompt soul-searching in many quarters. Cultural determinists may want to revise their theories of Arab backwardness. Arab leaders should be ashamed when they see their emigrants prospering in the United States while their own people are miserable. And Europe should wake up to the possibility that it may have less of an “Arab problem” than a “European problem.” Then again, maybe the cultural determinists have an explanation for why Europeans are so predisposed against Arab success.

(Via Daniel Drezner, who advises "read the whole thing" -- good phrase! -- and who has some interesting stuff in his comments, too).

IF THE SAUDIS DON'T LIKE HIM, I'm inclined to think he might be OK.

NOAM SCHEIBER on the filibuster deal:

So a deal has been struck on the filibuster. Republicans will allow Democrats to keep the filibuster as long as Democrats never use it. This way, both sides win (except for the Democrats).

Once again, the Republicans have shown their skillfulness when it comes to resetting parameters. Until recently, the perception had been that Bush had consistently filled the courts with extreme conservatives, with only a handful of truly batty nominees failing to meet the standards of Democrats. Now, facing the threat of the "nuclear option," Democrats have backed down on these as well.

Well, the compromise certainly seems to have produced bipartisan unhappiness. I don't know if that's a mark in its favor or not.

UPDATE: Josh Trevino is unhappy, too, but for different reasons.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Oops, my mistake. That's not Noam Scheiber, but T.A. Frank, who's filling in for him at &c.

FORENSIC ACCOUNTANTS are testifying on the Canadian scandals. Newsbeat 1 is covering it.

THE DUTCH ARE LOSING INTEREST in the E.U., according to this report in The Guardian. Daniel Drezner, meanwhile, notes that the French aren't exactly brimming with enthusiasm, either.

THE NEXT HARRY POTTER BOOK will reportedly kill off a major character.

London bookies have been giving odds on which character it will be, and Chris Lynch has been keeping track.

AL QAEDA SAYS ZARQAWI IS WOUNDED, and asks for prayers.

Is it unChristian to pray for gas gangrene?

UPDATE: Reader David Cushing emails:

Of course it is un-Christian to pray that Zarqawi gets gas gangrene. The correct thing to pray for is that he is captured immediately, so that he has the resources of modern western medicine available to him to assist in his speedy recovery. After all, we want him healthy for his trial.

Well, OK, I guess.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Another prayer from LT Smash.

MORE BLOG BOOKS: Cam Edwards emails that the folks at the Surviving Grady baseball blog have a book out, too. It's called Surviving Grady.

Judging by its Amazon rank, it's doing pretty well, too. Of course, the obvious blog-spinoff book would be one by Steven Den Beste. Publishers take note.

BIG-MEDIA GUESTBLOGGING: Michael Silence is traveling, and is turning his Knoxville News-Sentinel blog over to three guestbloggers -- SKBubba, SayUncle, and Les Jones -- who will be posting unfiltered. I think this is the first time something like that has happened.

WANT HEALTH-CARE BLOGGING? This week's Grand Rounds is up!

DEATH BY A THOUSAND BLOGS: Nick Kristof writes on the impact of citizen media:

The Chinese Communist Party survived a brutal civil war with the Nationalists, battles with American forces in Korea and massive pro-democracy demonstrations at Tiananmen Square. But now it may finally have met its match - the Internet. . . .

Mr. Li travels around China with an I.B.M. laptop and a digital camera, investigating cases of official wrongdoing. Then he writes about them on his Web site and skips town before the local authorities can arrest him.

His biggest case so far involved a deputy mayor of Jining who is accused of stealing more than $400,000 and operating like a warlord. One of the deputy mayor's victims was a businesswoman whom he allegedly harassed and tried to kidnap.

Mr. Li's Web site published an investigative report, including a series of photos showing the deputy mayor kneeling and crying, apparently begging not to be reported to the police. The photos caused a sensation, and the deputy mayor was soon arrested.

Heh. Tim Worstall thinks that this is an argument for Pajamas Media. So do I.

UPDATE: Mark Daniels has a somewhat less sunny take.

THINGS ARE GETTING WORSE IN ZIMBABWE, hard as that might be to believe. It's the Cambodia of Africa.

May 23, 2005

GARY FARBER POSTS the inevitable Sith post-mortem, including a rather detailed look at the script.

ARTHUR CHRENKOFF ROUNDS UP more underreported news from Iraq.


THERE'S A FILIBUSTER COMPROMISE, but John Hinderaker is deeply disappointed.

UPDATE: Stephen Bainbridge is happy. Ed Morrissey is not.

As I've said before, I'd probably care more about this issue if Bush looked likely to appoint some small-government libertarian types to the bench. Since he doesn't, I don't.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some people are saying I told you so. "I said they didn't have the votes on 29 April. The hard core Republicans need to be nicer to the RINOs. They aren't going anywhere without them."

MORE: Hugh Hewitt is happy that Nan Aron is unhappy. Crooks and Liars has a video roundup.

EUGENE VOLOKH CRITICIZES people who are undermining trust in the judicial system.

BILL ARDOLINO notes some shady photo-cropping at the Washington Post. This wasn't in the Web version, so I missed it.

Maybe this is part of some devious plan to boost print circulation . . . .

JEFF GOLDSTEIN has a rare serious post on where South Park Republicans really stand. Not being one of those myself, I can't say, but he seems to hit the right note -- though the first commenter expresses disappointment at a lack of "dick jokes."

UPDATE: Related thoughts here, with a thought on how the blogosphere needs to develop:

However, while the pure number of bloggers might actually rival the number of individuals making up the MSM, their disadvantage has more to do with organization and resources than pure number.

Fox News has not realized its significant growth because it riffs on CNN and ABC fodder everyday. It has developed into a MSM organization with its own view and brand while market dynamics have revealed a vast audience for its content. I suspect the same would or will be true when blogs finally get around to generating original news content, as opposed to a rehash of the day's MSM offerings.

I'm not faulting Goldstein or Cole, there's more right than wrong in both their essays. But until blogs develop into a form capable of genuinely reporting news, as well as standing for and not just against something, they're destined to occupy a compartmentalized fringe on both sides of the political equation.

There's a lot of truth to that, which is why I've been boosting the idea of original blog-reporting. Call it news without newspapers.

UPDATE: Bill Quick discovers that in-progress crime reporting is harder than he thought. Don't feel bad, Bill -- even Big Media folks have problems with this. But never be shy about shoving a camera in people's faces.

ANOTHER UPDATE: BlackFive joins the conversation.


If the United States reacts to the Uzbek uprising based upon its articulated principle of supporting democracy, is it not repeating the mistakes of the Carter era, undermining an ally, and potentially paving the way for something worse?

Though there is some legitimacy to this concern, casting 2005 Uzbekistan in the role of 1979 Iran is an error. First, though Uzbekistan has been a meaningful ally in the War on Terror, Uzbekistan cannot be considered a staunch, long-term ally of the United States. Over the past several years, Uzbekistan has actively moved away from the West, towards an alliance of authoritarian states. Second, not all revolutions in Islamic countries are alike. The uprising in Uzbekistan is part of a larger international trend. The Iranian revolution was not. It inspired no imitators. No government outside of Iran has been toppled by a revolution based on the Iranian model. Uzbeks, on the other hand, have been observing a string of revolutions in countries with which they share a common history. . . .

China and Russia are standing behind their Shanghai Cooperation Organization partner. The foreign ministries of both countries have expressed support for Uzbekistan's methods of maintaining order. Those who believe that the word "multilateral" automatically legitimizes any international action need to consider the situation in Uzbekistan very carefully. Uzbekistan is now the focal point of a multilateral effort of authoritarian powers trying to stop the international wave of democratization from progressing any further.

I can understand why they'd feel that way.

ROGER SIMON: Only the red know Brooklyn.

JULIE FIDLER HAS A BLOG, and now her first book is coming out. It's called Adventures in Holy Matrimony: For Better or For Absolute Worst, and I gather it's based on firsthand experience.

I think we'll be seeing more books by bloggers. Which will probably range from better, to absolute worst . . . . Just like the rest of 'em.


IT'S MEDIA-VS.-BLOGS in Frank J.'s latest.

UPDATE: On a more serious note, Ann Althouse observes:

Is anyone counting the number of articles in the NYT that assert that bloggers aren't as influential as you might think? They can't stop looking at us and talking about us, but they always conclude that we aren't really worth much.

Heh. Personally, I think they know as much about blogs as they do about NASCAR, but then, so what? Nobody listens to me, as you can tell by reading the Times . . .

JOHN LEO: "[T]he biggest flaw in mainstream journalism today is the lack of diversity."

THE BLOGOSPHERE: "Half forensic lab and half tavern."

I like that.

FUTUREPUNDIT LOOKS AT PROSPECTS FOR HYBRID CARS: I'm deeply skeptical of the claim that most increases in fuel economy are simply "consumed" as people drive more miles. Most people I know drive as much as they want to already, and I don't think a decline in fuel prices would make much of a difference. I'm sure it would make some difference overall, but I doubt it's as substantial as claimed.


To venture into the Arab world, as I did recently over four weeks in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, is to travel into Bush Country. I was to encounter people from practically all Arab lands, to listen in on a great debate about the possibility of freedom and liberty. I met Lebanese giddy with the Cedar Revolution that liberated their country from the Syrian prison that had seemed an unalterable curse. They were under no illusions about the change that had come their way. They knew that this new history was the gift of an American president who had put the Syrian rulers on notice. The speed with which Syria quit Lebanon was astonishing, a race to the border to forestall an American strike that the regime could not discount. I met Syrians in the know who admitted that the fear of American power, and the example of American forces flushing Saddam Hussein out of his spider hole, now drive Syrian policy. They hang on George Bush's words in Damascus, I was told: the rulers wondering if Iraq was a crystal ball in which they could glimpse their future.

Read the whole thing.

SADDAM, OSAMA: What's the difference?

UPDATE: Yeah, it's a minor slip -- but if Bush had made it, it would be a bigger slip than most of what makes Slate's "Bushism of the Day" feature. I mean, come on: This is, basically, the only talking point he's got on the war, and he blows it completely.

It's not as good as Ted Kennedy's confusion of Osama bin Laden and Barack Obama, though.

THIS WEEK'S Carnival of the Capitalists is up!


Is a country really like a family? Isn't that an idea with a ... checkered history? A family is a relationship between inherently unequal, not-completely-free people--parents and children. A country, at least in one American conception, is the relationship of equal, autonomous people. Using the family as the template for politics stacks the deck against social equality (the value I'd suggest as the liberal touchstone). For one thing, it lends itself all too easily to the condescending liberal notion of compassion, an anti-populist idea if there ever was one. . . . Aren't there values that aren't family values?

Yes, there are.

May 22, 2005

"THERE IS A THREAT. YOU NEED TO ACT." Here's a post from RedState on how to comment (you can do it by email) on the FEC's proposal to regulate bloggers. [Relocated to keep this at the top a while longer.]

UPDATE: I should stress just how bipartisan and broad-based the blogospheric resistance is.

AIDS AND INDIA: An interesting grassroots Internet journalism project, organized by Sandeep Junnarkar.


PHOTO-FOALBLOGGING: Here's my sister's new foal, a lovely female who is, as of yet, un-named. She was born last night without incident, much to my sister's relief.

MARK TAPSCOTT says that some media folks still don't get it, and probably never will.

It's worth reading his piece together with this one on Newsweek by Jay Rosen, though Jay posted before the latest Newsweek flap.

UPDATE: And it's especially worth reading this Mark Steyn column. Also, don't miss Ernest Miller's take.

And, while not directly related, this column by Keith Thompson is relevant, and is also a must-read.

And doesn't this item say it all? (Via Kaus). More here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reacting to the latest Newsweek story, reader C.J. Burch emails:

The media machine is turning out debacles so quickly that it's hard to react to them all. Maybe that's their strategy. Simply overwhelm the rest of us with the sheer scope of their bias, dishonesty and incompetence.

That's so crazy it just might work!

MEG KREIKEMEIER WRITES IN THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE on the uses and abuses of polls:

In early October 2004, Newsweek released a poll immediately after the first presidential debate, which showed a dramatic shift in public opinion in favor of John Kerry.

Did Kerry narrow the gap with his debate performance? Was he really the closer that many in the media had suggested he was? Newsweek was basing its headline "The Race is On" and accompanying story on a comparison between its two most recent polls. The problem, though, was that the polling data was inconsistent.

The October Newsweek poll sampled more Democrats than it did Republicans.

And the first poll, conducted in September 2004, sampled more Republicans than Democrats, not at all reflective of the historical composition of registered voters. . . .

Given the swing in demographics between the two Newsweek polls, of course Kerry saw improvement in his results. In fact, if he hadn't he would have been in deep trouble.

And while President Bush's support among Republicans eroded a bit between the polls, his support among Democrats actually increased. Kerry's support among Republicans went up slightly, and his support among Democrats remained flat.

So why the breathless headlines?

Why did the news media report the data without first thoroughly reviewing it?

Why did the change in poll results pique the curiosity of a stay-at-home mom like me but not the much-ballyhooed investigative instincts of the reporters covering the election?

Read the whole thing. And congratulations to the Tribune for addressing the issue.

CHRIS NOLAN is calling Bush's stance on stem cells "UnAmerican."

I'm not sure that applies, but I do think that it's wrong, and counterproductive.

MORE PROBLEMS AT THE HUFFINGTON POST, this time with their blogroll. I guess the "shakedown" period is still underway. . . .

BILL QUICK has put together a blog reporter's kit that's very similar to one I was writing about earlier. He's quite pleased with it.

EXCELLENT ADVICE: "So, in the conclusion, please be kind to our internet friends. The sphere of the blogs it is big enough for all."

ANTI-AMERICANISM hasn't saved Gerhard Schroeder, as he just suffered another electoral defeat. More here.

NEWSWEEK puts the American flag in a trash can? And yet they're complaining about Koran-in-the-toilet reports.

I suspect that they're going to hear about this now. But there probably won't be, you know, riots or anything.

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll notes, correctly, that many American journalistic enterprises engage in more America-bashing abroad than at home. I suspect that the Internet will make that much harder, as people are starting to pay attention, and to compare this stuff.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Brian Dunn has more thoughts.

MORE: Some readers wonder if it's a photoshop. Well, you're always right to acknowledge the possibility, but I doubt it. First, the blog it's on has been around a while. Second, I got this email from Hong Kong reader Mac Overton:

Yep, the American flag in the garbage can showed up here as well. They asked me to "resubscribe" a couple of months ago, but I've refused. I'm simply exhausted from all the negativity. I used to like Fareed Zakaria, but I've found him to be annoying, self-righteous, and downright unpleasant of late.
Funny enough, they still send me a copy of Newsweek every week even though I'm no longer paying for it. I wonder if there are enough others like me reading the International edition who are now simply "fed up." Yet, they continue to mail copies simply to keep up their "circulation" figures? Just another wild conspiracy theory in my little backyard....

A lot of newspapers seem to be doing that last, as I've noted before. Meanwhile, reader Jason Davis emails from Jakarta:

I'm an American living in Jakarta, Indonesia. On the whole Indonesia is a very friendly, moderate country where Muslims, Christians, and Hindus generally get along far better than news reports (from the left and right) would lead you to believe.

However, since the Newsweek story I have been worried for the first time since I've been here. The crazies now have an issue (true or not does not matter). I don't mind America having to answer for things we ACTUALLY did but this is ridiculous. What really worries us the additional stories that will come in effort to defend Newsweek.

We have receieved a large number of official warnings over the last week from our corporate security group and our working group's various embassies. [Warning emails from the Embassy and reports of Americans being stalked and harassed omitted.]

We are sitting here hoping the MSM in the U.S. will learn some small lesson from all of this and stop lobbing bomb shells our way. Stories like this are nothing more than toxic by product not very different from a 1930's factory belching smoke. Back then the factory operators ignored all the external effects of their actions in the name of profit. The factories eventually cleaned up their act, will the reporters?

We'll see.

And a note to the journalists: Davis's email is a reminder that "free enterprise" and "freedom of contract" once seemed just as sacrosanct as "freedom of the press" does today.

MALAYSIAN TEX-MEX CHEF RAJAN RISHYAKARAN WRITES: "BTW, the cooking side of me doesn’t mean that I’m gay or (I wish) metrosexual. It just means I’m perpetually fat."

Actually, I think you do a lot better cooking at home than eating out. I made shrimp provencal last night, and it was delicious and (relatively) low fat -- certainly much healthier than it would have been at a restaurant.

VIOLENCE IN AZERBAIJAN: Gateway Pundit has a roundup on the pro-democracy protests, and what happened.

BLOGGLEDYGOOK notes Frank Rich's cognitive dissonance over Islam.

This related post at The Belmont Club is worth reading, too.


And this weekend's Carnival of Cordite is up, too.

SISSY WILLIS blogs on commencement speeches, successful and otherwise.


For a certain segment of the population, Nascar's raid on American culture -- its logo festoons everything from cellphones to honey jars to post office walls to panties; race coverage, it can seem, has bumped everything else off television; and, most piercingly, Nascar dads now get to pick our presidents -- triggers the kind of fearful trembling the citizens of Gaul felt as the Huns came thundering over the hills. To these people, stock-car racing represents all that's unsavory about red-state America: fossil-fuel bingeing; lust for violence; racial segregation; run-away Republicanism; anti-intellectualism (how much brain matter is required to go fast and turn left, ad infinitum?); the corn-pone memes of God and guns and guts; crass corporatization; Toby Keith anthems; and, of course, exquisitely bad fashion sense. What's more, they simply don't get it. What's the appeal of watching . . . traffic? It's as if ''Hee Haw'' reruns were dominating prime time, and the Republic was slapping its collective knee at Grandpa Jones's ''What's for supper?'' routine. With Nascar's recent purchase of a swath of real estate on Staten Island, where it intends to plop down an 80,000-seat racetrack and retail center for the untapped New York City market, the onslaught seems poised on the brink of full-out conquest. Cover your ears, blue America. The Huns are revving their engines.

As a reader suggests, "Replace 'NASCAR' with 'Hip-hop,' and then ask yourself whether this would have run in the Times." Certainly the editors would have objected to the condescension and stereotyping that run throughout.

On the other hand, perhaps this NASCAR stuff has gone a bit too far. . .

UPDATE: My race-car-driving brother notes that if you want real diversity, you should forget NASCAR and check out drag racing. Note the very cool photos. Meanwhile, reader Tom Carter emails:

Wow - what an article. Jonathan Miles has it all wrong. I'm having a hard time accepting the fact that a contributing writer for what is typically held as a good paper would fall into such blantant prejudices. Once again this smacks of the "blues" having a free pass at throwing stones. I wonder if Miles has ever been to a NASCAR function or even driven a stock car.

"The cars the drivers pilot -- modified Chevy Monte Carlos, Ford Tauruses, Pontiac Grand Prix -- are not so different from the cars Nascar fans use daily to pick up their groceries, shuttle their kids and get themselves to work."

Statements like that are just an indicator that this man has absolutey no idea of what he's writing about, and this just fuels the granishing disatisfaction with traditional media and their inability to effectively research their material.

Yeah. There's not much overlap between a NASCAR "stock" car and the actual stock vehicle of the same name, and hasn't been in ages.

I don't mind these articles in which the Times tries to explain red states to its readership (and unlike my brother, I don't care much for racing as a spectator sport) but I'd like them to do a better, and less-condescending, job of it.

ANOTHER UPDATE: SSgt J.P. Dawson emails:

Hey InstaDude,

In the Air Force (I'm active duty) I encounter a small group of hip-hop fans and a couple of Nascar fans every night at work on the midnight shift. There are conversations about Jay-Z and Nelly, as well as Dale, Jr. and Jeff Gordon. I tease both crowds, as we all tease each other about something. My New Yawk accent and thinning hair are the targets for them.

I'd never be so condescending of either group. Perhaps those of us in the military are just much more tolerant than the staff at the NY Times.

I think so, actually.

ELECTIONS IN MONGOLIA: Publius reports that things are going pretty well. That's excellent news.

COMING SOON, new research on the health benefits of whiskey and cigars:

The vitamin is D, nicknamed the "sunshine vitamin" because the skin makes it from ultraviolet rays. Sunscreen blocks its production, but dermatologists and health agencies have long preached that such lotions are needed to prevent skin cancer. Now some scientists are questioning that advice. The reason is that vitamin D increasingly seems important for preventing and even treating many types of cancer.

In the last three months alone, four separate studies found it helped protect against lymphoma and cancers of the prostate, lung and, ironically, the skin. The strongest evidence is for colon cancer. . . .

So the thinking is this: Even if too much sun leads to skin cancer, which is rarely deadly, too little sun may be worse.

No one is suggesting that people fry on a beach. But many scientists believe that "safe sun" - 15 minutes or so a few times a week without sunscreen - is not only possible but helpful to health.

One is Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a Harvard University professor of medicine and nutrition who laid out his case in a keynote lecture at a recent American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

His research suggests that vitamin D might help prevent 30 deaths for each one caused by skin cancer.

"I would challenge anyone to find an area or nutrient or any factor that has such consistent anti-cancer benefits as vitamin D," Giovannucci told the cancer scientists. "The data are really quite remarkable."

It's actually no surprise. Indeed, I've long been suspicious of the "all sun is bad for your" attitude of dermatologists, which has always seemed way over the top.

UPDATE: Bill Ardolino has a much longer post on dermatologists and sun from last year.



Here is my pie.

UPDATE: It was strawberry. Yum. No wonder some people are jealous.