Investigators now think that the attacks were carried out by homegrown extremists using low-tech explosive devices.
The attacks of 9/11/01 were highly sophisticated and killed thousands. The attacks of 3/11/04 in Madrid were somewhat less sophisticated and killed hundreds. The attacks of 7/705 appear to have been the work of amateurs and killed dozens.
The army is scrutinizing every job they have, and deciding which could be done by civilians. While the media reports a “recruiting crises” in the army, they are missing the real story of how the army is reorganizing so that it can get along without the people it is having trouble recruiting. The people who actually do the fighting continue to join up, and stay in. . . .
The army’s solution is to go back to the past, when many of the “non-combat” troops were civilians. Way back in the day, these people were called “camp followers,” and they took care of supply, support, medical care, maintenance and “entertainment” (that’s where the term “camp follower” got a bad name). The majority of these people were men, and some of them were armed, mainly for defending the camp if the combat troops get beat real bad and needed somewhere to retreat to. The army is using a lot more civilians now. In a war like this, it’s cheaper to hire additional civilians, on short term contracts, than it is to recruit and train more troops.
UPDATE: Steven Den Beste emails:
A switch to the use of civilians by the Pentagon isn't necessarily good news.
It used to be that those job were done by civilians. Problem was that they were hired under civil service rules, and if they turned out to be incompetent, or lazy, or corrupt, it was damned near impossible to get rid of them. The structure ended up so rotted out that eventually the Pentagon switched over to using servicemen for those tasks. That meant that if they didn't do their jobs, they could be replaced or disciplined under military rules, so the organization did a better job overall.
Now they're switching back to civilians. In the short run, it will work fine. But if they go back to hiring those civilians under civil service rules, then in the long run they'll be back to the same rotted out useless structure they had before.
It may be that by using contractors instead of civil service hirees they can avoid that. That's really the question.
Yes, it is.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Thad McArthur emails:
Of course, Steven also just put his finger on why the use of private contractors is so widespread in the Pentagon. Hire Brown & Root, let them hire the people. If their people don't do the job, make them do the firing.
Yes, the harder you make it to fire people, the greater the likelihood that their jobs will be outsourced.
There are more thoughts here, including this observation about experience curves:
The primary reason is that the military duty cycle at a given position is one or two years. In extreme cases it can go as high as four to five, but that is truly extreme and requires special circumstances. On the Civilian side, we commonly work at in a given position 5 to 7 years just like in private industry. We don't stop being the new guy until a year or two in, but by that time the green suiters are already moving on to their next posting.
The military has realized this. They have been increasingly training civilians in technical and decision making fields because they realize civilians maintain the expertise in a program far longer than with equivalent members of the military. This is also why the National Guard is trained in a lot of technical fields like communications. Their deployment rotation is also much longer than the regular military so they can get very good at their jobs.
Read the whole thing. And reader Floyd Clark notes that Robert Heinlein was ahead of the curve with his novel Starship Troopers:
"While a few M.I. are on desk jobs you will always find that they are shy an arm or a leg, or some such. These are the ones - the Sergeant Hos and the Colonel Nielssens - who refuse to retire, and they really ought to count twice since they release able-bodied M.I. by filling job which require fighting spirit but not physical perfection. They do work that civilians can't do - or we would hire civilians. Civilians are like beans; you buy 'em as needed for any job which merely requires skill and savvy."
Heinlein, an Annapolis graduate, wrote that in 1959.
This gives me the chance to make another observation: If you are a man who likes code and software and things that plug in, and is perhaps having trouble finding a girl who likes Java (and knows it's not just a coffee) and understands your inner Geek, this might be the PERFECT place for you to spend a summer afternoon.
Sounds like it could be the beginning of some beautiful friendships.
Yesterday I talked about al Qaeda’s whitewashing of its own history with the claims that its actions were aimed at British withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many seem to be buying this line, apparently utterly unaware that al Qaeda long ago declared war on the west, well before we had a military presence in those countries. Today Robert Fisk of the Independent muddles history, misunderstands chronology, and confuses causality with correlation . . .
There is only one real problem with this interpretation: It is utterly wrong.
But of course -- it's from Fisk!
posted at 02:18 PM by Glenn Reynolds
WE'RE NOT AFRAID. A delightful collection of photographs.
Bin Laden's whole game plan is to turn the people of the democratic world against their governments. He thinks democracies are weak because their people, who are more easily frightened than their governments, can bring those governments down. He doesn't understand that this flexibility—and this trust—are why democracies will live, while he will die. Many of us didn't vote for Bush's government or Blair's. But we're loyal to them, in part because we were given a voice in choosing them. And if we don't like our governments, we can vote them out. We can't vote out terrorists. We can only kill them.
Eugene Volokh responds: "Can, should, and will. As they say, except for defeating the Nazis and the Japanese, killing the rapists or murderers who are attacking you, stopping North Korea from overrunning South Korea, and a few other things, violence never solved anything."
posted at 10:11 AM by Glenn Reynolds
MICKEY KAUS: Keep Oliver Stone away from 9/11! " Is Hollywood so out of touch it thinks Stone's version of 9/11 is what America is clamoring for? After Alexander, at that?"
Hollywood probably is that out of touch with America, which may have something to do with its falling revenues. But hey, the inevitable scene of Jewish office workers staying home will be well received in some other parts of the world. . . .
Because there is no obvious target to retaliate against, and because there are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists - if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings - or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way - by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent.
And because I think that would be a disaster, it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult. It takes a village. . . .
The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day - to this day - no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden.
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Cam Edwards emails that "Friedman is wrong . . . kinda." He observes:
Back in March, Spanish clerics issued a fatwa against Osama bin Laden. While it's not a huge group by any stretch of the imagination, it is the largest Muslim group in Spain.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Paul Schmidt says Friedman is right:
If there isn't a Million Muslim March this weekend, if there aren't crowds of muslims chanting and holding signs, "not in our name", then doubt as to the existence of moderate muslims will grow, and grow quickly.
I sincerely hope I'm wrong.
I do too. Meanwhile, Dick Aubrey writes about Friedman: "He's late to the party. We will win the WOT. The question is...will we respect ourselves in the morning?" So far we're waging the kindest, gentlest war in history. That could change, of course.
Reader Don Hertzmark says that Friedman is behind the curve, and should have been writing this stuff in the 1990s. "Let’s see some of those good British Muslims lead the cops to the bombers’ dens, and then I will believe that something has changed. My really close Muslim friends, mostly Indonesian, are quiet about these things, that is about all you can get. They want the government to repress or jail the Jihad boys, but they do not want to put themselves on the line with their peers, and these are our friends."
Londoners are seen on the city's vast amalgam of surveillance cameras an average of 300 times a day. Which means that the terrorists behind yesterday's bombings almost certainly knew they'd be caught on tape -- and went ahead with their attacks anyway. . . . As the AP, among many others, have noted, "the British capital's ubiquitous closed-circuit TV cameras may hold the key to determine who was behind Thursday's series of terrorist strikes." But as a preventive measure, the 7/7 attacks have shown the spycams to be flimsy, at best.
BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS: I'm much more a science fiction than a fantasy reader, but on John Scalzi's recommendation I read Naomi Kritzer's Freedom's Gate and liked it very much. That led me to order the sequel, Freedom's Apprentice, which kept me up later than I meant to stay up last night. Pretty good stuff. But then, it was recommended by Scalzi, whose recommendations are usually pretty good.
JIM DUNNIGAN: "Al Qaeda, and Islamic radicals, would not be a world terrorism problem were it not for global Islamic media, and media coverage that treated the goals of the Islamic radicals with seriousness and respect."
UPDATE: Reader Joseph Fulvio emails:
Since the ‘insurgency’ is as much about influencing the Western public as it is about destabilizing Iraq, one wonders just how virulent it would be without Al Jazeera and Western media life support. I suspect it would be far less potent absent the breathless, sympathetic ‘reporting’ of each act of barbarism. This notion is dismissed by war critics as ‘blaming the messenger,’ but that doesn’t make it any less true.
What's interesting to me is that members of the press are exquisitely sensitive to the dangers of being manipulated by our own government, but so much less so in other cases.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Zelda Aronstein emails:
I bet if the media voluntarily stopped showing any pictures of all terror attacks, that the terror would stop. Thus ending the GWOT without a shot.
This policy would be NO DIFFERENT than how they cover folks who run on to baseball fields: they do NOT show them on TV; they ignore them.
Would the media ever put peace above their ratings/profits? Never.
IT WAS BURIED in all of yesterday's events, but this column by Max Boot on aid to Africa deserves not to be ignored:
In the last 50 years, $2.3 trillion has been spent to help poor countries. Yet Africans' income and life expectancy have gone down, not up, during that period, while South Korea, Singapore and other Asian nations that received little if any assistance have moved from African-level poverty to European-level prosperity thanks to their superior economic policies.
Economists who have studied aid projects have found numerous reasons for the failures. In many instances, money was siphoned off by corrupt officials. Even when funds did reach the intended beneficiaries, the money often distorted local markets for goods and labor, creating inflation that drove local businesses out of business. . . .
Oddly enough, Sachs ignores the most obvious obstacle to Africa's escape from the "poverty trap," what his pal Bob Geldof has accurately described as "corruption and thuggery." (This was also Sachs' blind spot when he tried to reform the Russian economy in the 1990s.) Yet not even Sir Bob has offered any plausible ideas for addressing these deep-rooted woes.
Africans continue to be tormented not by the G-8, as anti-poverty campaigners imply, but by their own politicos, including Sudanese President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, who is abetting genocide in Darfur, and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who is turning his once-prosperous country into a famine-plagued basket case. Unless it's linked to specific "good governance" benchmarks (as with the new U.S. Millennium Challenge Account), more aid risks subsidizing dysfunctional regimes.
Any real solution to Africa's problems must focus on the root causes of poverty — mainly misgovernment. Instead of pouring billions more down the same old rat holes, maybe the Live 8 crew should promote a more innovative approach: Use the G-8's jillions 2 hire mercenaries 4 the overthrow of the 6 most thuggish regimes in Africa. That would do more to help ordinary Africans than any number of musical extravaganzas.
In this predominantly Kurdish city on Syria's border with Turkey, a growing movement of Kurds is demanding recognition and representation in Syria's government.
Emboldened by their brethren in Iraq and inspired by Lebanon's opposition movement, which helped force Syria out of that country, some advocates are even calling for Kurdish administration of Kurdish areas.
"There is a kind of anxiety and restlessness now," said Hassan Salih, secretary general of the Yekiti Kurdish party based in Qamishli. "We are disappointed with all the unfulfilled promises."
For the Ba'athists in Syria, I think it's not a question of if, but when.
posted at 09:11 AM by Glenn Reynolds
CHARMAINE YOEST was in London yesterday, and reports on what she saw and heard. And here's a roundup from The Times.
I think part of me wanted to see hordes of people marching to work under a Union Jack, clutching a cigar in one hand and using two fingers to give one sort of message or another. But that's not the way London works. That would be dignifying the terrorist message with a response, I guess.
Nonetheless, I can report with confidence that panic has not seized the north and the south of Britain, if central London is taken as representative. This pleases me.
As it should.
posted at 08:41 AM by Glenn Reynolds
JOE GANDELMAN responds to some poorly thought-out criticism of the war effort.
Iraq certainly does seem to be drawing terrorist sympathizers out of America.
Never give them anything without a clear acknowledgment that they'll keep it secret. Then you've got a breach of contract action if they don't. Otherwise, you're trusting their discretion rather more than is wise.
posted at 11:17 PM by Glenn Reynolds
LOTS OF INTERESTING STUFF AT VODKAPUNDIT: Just keep scrolling.
posted at 11:09 PM by Glenn Reynolds
THEY RAISED THE BRITISH FLAG AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT: "It was the first time a foreign flag has been raised at the State Department."
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON exercises a bit too much Internet triumphalism regarding speedy coverage of the London bombing. The NYT's website was on the story fast. But the first mention I could find on the HuffPo's newspage was from 9:17 a.m.
Just a few comments in the aftermath of the attack on London. The first and most important hard fact to grasp is that this Al Qaeda strike, their first against an Anglosphere city since 9/11, has caused much less damage than that on New York. This despite the fact that Al Qaeda has had nearly four years to brood on its humiliations and losses and to plot its revenge. The reasons for this are simple: the enemy is now operating in a much more hostile environment. The accessible methods of mass destruction, such as wide body aircraft, have been secured; not perfectly, but for a defense to work it must only be sufficient to blunt the onslaught of the enemy. Increased surveillance, tighter controls on movement, etc have all played their part. The second reason the enemy is weaker is Iraq. It is widely accepted that thousands of Al Qaeda fighters, the cream of their rancid crop, is fighting to expel the American infidel from the Land Between the Rivers. A moment's reflection will show that if they are there they cannot be elsewhere -- in London, Paris, Rome or Boston -- sowing bombs on buses and trains. Furthermore, fear in formerly smug circles within Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Libya at sharing the fate of Saddam have left terrorists have fewer powerful confederates.
7 July 2005; 12:54 ET: Preliminary reports from a source inside the Pentagon indicate that one of the operatives involved in this morning's bombings in London was recently released from the prison at Guantanamo.
I have not found the Homelandsecurity.us site especially great in the past, so I'd wait for confirmation on this.
posted at 08:22 PM by Glenn Reynolds
TERRY HEATON forwards a report from an American media executive on local coverage of the London bombings. Excerpt: "Some of the most profoundly memorable pictures of this tragic event were not shot by professionals, but rather by folks with cell phone cameras." Until the authorities shut down the cell network.
TOM MAGUIRE hasn't let other events put him off the Plame / Wilson / Miller / Cooper scent. "Yes, post-London this topic seems utterly lame, but momentum is carrying me now." Plus, praise for Atrios!
UPDATE: Kaus thinks the case against Rove is getting stronger.
posted at 08:02 PM by Glenn Reynolds
HERE'S AN EDITOR'S NOTE from the New York Times about the liberties taken with Phil Carter's oped. Michael Barone emails:
I have one or two unanswered questions about the New York Times opinion editor adding two sentences to Phil Carter's opinion article.
(1) Is the editor still working at the Times?
(2) If so, why?
Adding these sentences is totally irresponsible journalism. It is particularly offensive when it attributes these sentences to Carter who seems, from my reading of his work, to be very thoughtful and creative.
If the current editors of the New York Times want to convince us that they're trying to run a fair newspaper, they could make some progress toward that goal by firing the editor responsible.
I worked on the editorial page at the Washington Post under Meg Greenfield. She also edited the opinion pages. I have a fairly good idea of what she would have thought of this. But perhaps Gail Collins has different standards.
I've never had an editor try to do anything like that to one of my pieces, but I've gotten emails from other people who've had similar experiences. My advice to editors who want to publish their own ideas under another name: Get a blog!
posted at 04:59 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MARK STEYN will be on Hugh Hewitt's show tonight at 6 p.m. Eastern, talking about the London bombings.
UPDATE: Here are some interesting observations about the location of the attacks in London. "I have talked to a few people who have pointed out that Edgware, Aldgate (and Moorgate) and King's Cross all are in or adjacent to Muslim communities. King's Cross is the locale of The School of Oriental and African Studies, a highly respected institution teaching and researching Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It is possible that the attacks were as much directed at the Muslim population as much as the city at large."
Didn't Rove get excoriated by the Dems because he said Liberals have a
weak response to terror? Does Kos and the Gang know they are proving Rove right at this very moment? Does Kos and the Gang know every quote on their sites will be PDFd and used against them in every election from here to eternity?
I don't think they worry about things like that. But Ken Livingstone is sounding tough!
Bloggers call for protests and solidarity
By Rhys Blakely, Times Online
Bloggers have called for a mass protest against today's bombings and have insisted that Londoners will not be intimidated by the string of attacks on their city.
"The outrages in London are the work of enemies of humanity. There should be massive demonstrations throughout Britain this weekend to show our solidarity against them," said Paul Anderson on the libsoc blog.
This should not have come as a surprise, though attacks like this always come as a shock. With the successful London Olympic bid and Live 8 and the long-planned G8 meeting, London was an obvious target. The world’s attention is on this part of the world, never moreso than now. But London, England, the UK will not be cowed. Tony Blair is clearly resolute. The world will rally behind the British people. Al Qaeda, or whoever did this, will not win, though in the short-term they were able to turn one of the most exciting times in recent British history into one of the most tragic. . . .
I certainly will not be deterred from going to the capital, and if anything, I am probably likely to go there more often, not less, as the next month-and-a-half progresses.
TREY JACKSON has video of Tony Blair, London mayor Ken Livingstone, and George W. Bush denouncing the terror attacks in London.
UPDATE: Ann Haker wonders if Ken Livingstone is learning. We'll see.
posted at 01:38 PM by Glenn Reynolds
THERE'S LOTS OF STUFF at the Counterterrorism Blog. And I've been updating the earlier London bombing post, so scroll down. And there's more here: "The London bombings are likely part of a wider al Qaeda summer offensive."
London closed its subway system and evacuated all stations after emergency services were called to explosions in and around the financial district.
Police said blasts occurred in ``multiple locations.'' A bus exploded near Russell Square, causing ``numerous casualties,'' a police statement said. A policeman on the scene at Liverpool Street said fatalities had occurred.
Liverpool Street station, Aldgate, Edgware Road and King's Cross are among stations evacuated after blasts were reported on underground train links. Scotland Yard said the first blast was reported at 8:50 a.m. local time.
Josh Trevino, who is enroute to London, has more. And Tim Worstall has a roundup, including links to firsthand accounts by London bloggers. Check out the UK blogs aggregator for more, too. The British government seems to be suggesting that anti-G8 activists are behind this, but it sounds more like Al Qaeda.
Pepperdine Law student Alexander Smart sends this email from London:
I'm a Pepperdine law student studying in London right now. I'm presently sitting in effective lock-down in South Kensington, due to a "suspicious package" found on the street in front of our building. As of now, official count (the bbc) is seven explosions, six on the tube and one on a double decker. There are two confirmed deaths, and "a high number of casualties." The tube is completely closed, and right now, there are no buses moving around in central London, and it looks like the center is closed to all traffic.
MORE STILL: Reader Neil Richards emails from London:
A few blocks away from the initial bomb blast, the offices of my company have remained open. In many ways it's the safest thing to do, best to stay where people can keep track of you. Everybody at the office is trying to get their work done as best as possible (difficult with a number of staff unable to get in this morning). Life goes on, and everybody is making plans of how to deal with the crisis in a calm manner. Nobody is trying to leave the office. Unless we're specifically targeted we'll stay put and do our best to ignore the threats.
And a reader notes that the Abu Hamza trial opened Tuesday in London and suggests that's a more likely connection than the G8 conference. One hopes that the British authorities will respond to these attacks by cracking down on the rather large number of Muslim extremists who have set up shop in London.
Indian blogger Amit Varma notes that we're all in this together: "This isn't just an attack on the UK, but, like the attacks of 9/11, they're an attack on a way of life and a value-system, one that is dear not just to Western countries, but to millions in the developing world, like me. Concepts like personal freedom, equality of women and, in fact, human rights are alien to those behind the attack, and they must be defeated."
I'm quite struck by the strategic cynicism of attacking public transportation, and then after an interval, the crowded bus lines once commuters had been diverted to them. But several friends I spoke with this morning who have lived in Israel say that this pattern - an initial attack, followed by a staggered attack on emergency services once they'd arrived - isn't at all uncommon. (My friends living abroad are kindly texting to see if i have all of my relevant body parts, attached in the appropriate fashion.) I find that such an attack on commuting civilians completely unengaged with the machinery of government, war, or administration is striking me as stomach-turning and revolting in a way I could not have previously imagined.
Well, that's who we're fighting here.
I think the attacks were a strategic mistake. They've got even Ken Livingstone sounding Churchillian. I'm assuming that they're Al Qaeda-related, though I suppose we don't know that for sure yet.
In the past decade, the United Kingdom’s undisputed political, economic, and cultural center has also become a major world center of political Islam and anti-Semitic, anti-Israel, and anti-American activism. Through its Arabic-language newspapers, magazines, and publishing houses, not to mention its flourishing network of bookshops, mosques, and community centers, radical Islam has taken full advantage of what British democracy has to offer for its anti-Western goals, reaping the benefits of London’s significance as a hub of global finance, electronic media, and mass communications technology.46 The effect of this with regard to anti-Semitism and virulent anti-Zionism has therefore been quite different from that found elsewhere in Europe: Although Britain’s Muslim population of about 1.5 million is only a quarter of that of France, the growing influence of London’s Muslims has given the most inflammatory of ideas a greater legitimacy in the capital’s political and cultural discourse than they enjoy virtually anywhere else.
I suspect that will change.
YET MORE: Bill Roggio has an analysis of what the attacks may mean. And here are more photos from London, via Flickr.
LOTS OF INTERESTING STUFF AT VODKAPUNDIT: Just keep scrolling.
posted at 10:19 PM by Glenn Reynolds
SOMEBODY FEED 'EM SOME CAT FOOD: "If you're going to serve up a conspiracy theory--without any evidence, of course--shouldn't the theory at least make some kind of sense?"
posted at 10:07 PM by Glenn Reynolds
IAIN MURRAY WRITES ON CHIRAC VS. THE ANGLOSPHERE. "Having attacked Tony Blair and Britain itself at the recent EU summit, Chirac has inadvertently driven Blair towards a Euro-skeptic position, something that has proved very popular in the U.K. As the Jacques attack was completely unprovoked, it is unlikely that the prime minister will be in conciliatory mood."
SHIELD JOURNALISM, NOT JOURNALISTS: Matt Welch has some thoughts on how we should respond to the Miller/Cooper affair:
Offer the protection to any citizen who is in the process of conducting journalism. Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper clearly identified themselves as working on articles they hoped would be published. That's journalism. Similarly, freelance writer Vanessa Leggett—who was shamefully jailed for 168 days a few years back for refusing to cough up notes on a Houston murder she was compiling for a book, after the Justice Department successfully argued she was not a "working journalist"—would have also qualified.
Non-"professional" bloggers, too, could qualify, in the extremely unlikely event that A) they were actually compiling original data worth subpoenaing, and B) they had identified themselves to interview subjects as working on something to be published. Making this determination would be far less complicated than the current federal shield bill's messy attempt to define a "covered person" by publication or outlet.
That's right, though the current journalism establishment hasn't seemed especially interested in that approach. That's funny, because as I noted in my piece on the Vanessa Leggett affair (which Matt links), there's already a statute that does that in other contexts:
At any rate, a more relevant standard than "professional journalist" (though also not a First Amendment doctrine) would seem to be found in 42 U.S. Code section 2000aa, which forbids law enforcement agents from seizing "work product materials" or "other documents" possessed by a person "reasonably believed to have a purpose to disseminate to the public a newspaper, book, broadcast or other similar form of public communication."
This statute (which, oddly enough, neither the Justice Department nor Ms. Leggett's lawyers mentioned in any press accounts I could find) speaks to purpose, not status. Whether or not you're a "real" journalist might, I suppose, have some small relevance in deciding whether you really plan to disseminate the work to the public, but that's not the test: So long as you have the necessary purpose, that's enough. (Interestingly, Ms. Leggett had in fact written two previous nonfiction works, both published by the FBI). There are exceptions to this statute, involving child pornography, national security, and immediate threats to life, but none would seem to apply here.
The statute isn't relevant to this case -- which is very different from the Vanessa Leggett case -- but it certainly demonstrates that Congress has managed to grok the difference between being a member of the Journalists Guild and being a journalist in the past.
UPDATE: Fritz Schranck looks at how privilege works in Delaware, which may provide a useful model. He's very impressed that Delaware's privilege applies to "polemicists."
The editor-in-chief of Time Inc. made news the other day by offering to do what most of us take for granted: Obey the law. It's about time. . . .
The only protection that might help is an absolute shield, akin to the attorney-client or doctor-patient privilege. But as University of Chicago law professor Geoffrey Stone notes, even those have exceptions. If a client asks his lawyer how to get away with robbing a bank, the conversation is not protected because the privilege was never meant to facilitate violations of the law.
The sort of privilege sought by the news media, however, would do just that. Reporters who are witnesses to a crime could evade the normal duty of citizens to tell what they know.
Journalists like nothing better than exposing self-seeking behavior by special interests who care nothing for the public good. In this case, they can find it by looking in the mirror.
In Washington, New York Times reporter Judith Miller has been sent to jail for disobeying a court order to testify before a federal grand jury to protect her source. In New York, Lil' Kim has been sent to jail for testifying falsely before a federal grand jury to protect her friends.
PHIL CARTER'S OPED, missing in action this morning, is now up on the New York Times website, with a correction and an apology. (And the error corrected seems a bit, um, odd. Do editors usually do this? Not to my pieces.)
If you ask me, the whole episode is a tribute to the power of Tom Maguire.
UPDATE: Bill Quick has more thoughts on the Times' editorial slip:
The only thing you need to decipher this bit of self-aggrandizing code masquerading as a "correction" is to ask yourself, "An editor added these statements in quotes? Why? And they were supposed to be "removed" before the piece was printed? Why add the false quotes in the first place, then?
French President Jacques Chirac, who flew to Singapore to present Paris' bid to host the 2012 Olympics, came away empty-handed, suffering his fourth defeat in 15 months. . . .
For Chirac, 72, the defeat is yet another setback after the French on May 29 rejected a referendum on the European constitution and his political party was routed in regional and European parliamentary elections last year.
It's a petty pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless. And no, it doesn't bother me that Bloomberg didn't get it for NYC, either.
posted at 01:18 PM by Glenn Reynolds
PODCASTING WITH NAPSTER: "Bottom line: To fill an MP3 player with music today - and variety is what I want - I could spend $1000 for 1000 songs over at iTunes, or $15 per month at Napster. I'm going with Napster."
BILL QUICK on Alberto Gonzales: "I don't have a major opinion about the necessity to immediately overturn Roe v. Wade, but I can never support a Supreme Court nominee who thinks the Second Amendment doesn't exist."
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's a report that Chirac's assault on English food may have cost Paris the deal. Heh. I hope it's true.
posted at 08:23 AM by Glenn Reynolds
RIDE ALONG WITH AUSTIN BAY IN AFGHANISTAN as he discusses the war with veteran war correspondent Mike Hedges in this video. (Quicktime version here).
Austin shot a lot of cool video, but this project is definitely demonstrating things that can go wrong. In this case it was a bad third-party audio codec. Thanks to blog video god Trey Jackson for fixing this one!
Confirmation hearings for nominees to the high court only make matters worse, for the would-be justices are forced to sit before the cameras, under oath, as senators ask them questions they cannot ethically answer, on how they would vote on cases that might come before them. This process began not in the early Republic but in the battle over Jim Crow. In the 1950's, the Southern Democrats who controlled the Senate Judiciary Committee decided to require every nominee to appear in person in order to grill them about Brown v. Board of Education. Before Brown, it was almost unheard-of for a nominee to testify. When the Dixiecrats changed the rules, the liberal position was that inquiries about such matters as judicial philosophy posed a threat to the independence of the judiciary.
The left of that era was correct. The spectacle we have made of confirmation hearings reinforces the public notion that the justices exist to decide cases the way political movements want them to. Liberals think the right started it, and conservatives think the left started it, but the important question is not who started it but who is going to stop it.
Read the whole thing. It appeared over the holiday weekend and I missed it; I suspect others may have missed it too.
posted at 10:52 PM by Glenn Reynolds
I'VE ALWAYS HAD MY DOUBTS about the expansive view of the treaty power in Missouri v. Holland. Nicholas Rosenkranz has doubts, too, and has a highly recommended article on the subject. (Via Volokh).
posted at 10:37 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MORE OF THIS, PLEASE: "American troops on the Syrian border are enjoying a battle they have long waited to see - a clash between foreign al-Qa'eda fighters and Iraqi insurgents. Tribal leaders in Husaybah are attacking followers of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born terrorist who established the town as an entry point for al-Qa'eda jihadists being smuggled into the country."
EVERYONE COMES TO KNOXVILLE EVENTUALLY: Tonight it was Sasha Volokh and his blogger wife Hanah (Metchis) Volokh. I was a bit under the weather from allergy attacks, but we had a very nice dinner overlooking the lake.
FORGET CAT FOOD: For some bloggers, it's baby food.
posted at 03:46 PM by Glenn Reynolds
TECH-ADVICE BLEG: Austin Bay has sent me some video files, with the extension .asf. They won't open in Vegas. I can open and edit them in Windows Movie Maker -- but I can't save the resulting video to a separate file. What's wrong, and what can I do about it?
UPDATE: The problem seems to be with a 3d-party codec that will let me play, but not save, the files. I may just have to get Austin to resend, but alas he's on travel and probably can't.
One more similarity is worth noting, and it's one that should give pause in the midst of all the praise. If Powell and O'Connor had a single defining characteristic as judges, it was this: Both were very comfortable--too much so--exercising power.
As with all of Stuntz's pieces, read the whole thing. I think, however, that the problem with the Supreme Court is that it hasn't exercised enough power, relative to the Courts of Appeals, anyway.
Plus Carnivalesque, on early modern history, and the Carnival of Personal Finance. You should really check these out, as they're a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers you may want to read. Don't count on me to find 'em all -- I try, but there are just too many good blogs out there.
CHARLES STROSS'S SINGULARITY NOVEL, Accelerando, is finally out. I got an advance copy and thought it was quite good.
UPDATE: I should have mentioned that you can still download the book for free at his website. However, I read it in electronic form and I think I enjoyed it less than I would have enjoyed a real book. Maybe it's because I spend so much time on a laptop already, but reading a book on a laptop screen isn't that enjoyable to me.
"Some have suggested I want to abandon Europe's social model," Blair told the European Parliament last month. "But tell me: what type of social model is it that has 20 million unemployed in Europe, productivity rates falling behind those of the United States; that is allowing more science graduates to be produced by India than by Europe; and that, on any relative index of a modern economy -- skills, R&D, patents, IT -- is going down not up."
I MENTIONED STEVE LEVITT'S BOOK, Freakonomics, a while back, and I thought it was pretty interesting. Arnold Kling, however, is a lot less positive:
If readers come away from this book thinking that they have discovered how economics ought to be done, I would indeed consider it a "sad development." The book is most notable for its willingness to pass off speculative and tentative findings as though they were well-vetted, settled facts.
TOM MAGUIRE takes a long look at the latest Rove / Plame discussion and asks the question that has been bothering me: "Did the various editors at the Times, the WaPo, and Time magazine really sit on evidence that would have incriminated Karl Rove all through last fall's campaign? . . . Either they are awfully dumb (possible!), or the story is not there. Or both."
posted at 01:55 PM by Glenn Reynolds
UPDATE: Several readers point out that attacks on blogs and bloggers are behind the times, now that all the cool kids are publishing online magazines instead. Good point!
THE LAST CALL thinks that Big Media folks are trying to delegitimize bloggers. Seems to me that what they're doing to bloggers is a pale shadow of what they're doing to themselves. And even they seem to know it.
Note that it is a right to the pursuit of Happiness, not to Happiness itself, and that despite the messages of our consumer culture, Happiness is not always the same thing as Fun. And nothing makes some people unHappier than the prospect of other people being Happy in a way that does not suit them. Yet this right to a personal definition of Happiness, and the right to pursue it, remains at the core of what Americans want their country to be. It is the Declaration's most profound idea.