November 05, 2005

JEFF JARVIS NOTES more bad news for the newspaper industry.

RIOTS SPREAD FROM PARIS to other French cities:

Hundreds of young people, including teenagers as young as 13, have been detained in the past 24 hours. Although the police have been unable to stop the violence because of its apparent spontaneity and lack of clear leaders, officials say they have also begun to detect efforts to coordinate action and spread it nationally. In remarks on Europe 1 Radio, the prosecutor general in Paris, Yves Bot, said Web sites were urging youths in other cities to join the rioting. . . .

"The republican integration model, on which France has for decades based its self-perception, is in flames," the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung declared. An editorial in Germany's Sьddeutsche Zeitung called the violence around Paris an "intifada at the city gates," a reference to the anti-Israeli uprising by Palestinians.

I hope that I'm wrong, but I'm afraid that this will get worse before it gets better.

UPDATE: More evidence for the "getting worse" analysis, from ЎNo Pasarбn!

Michael Lotus, meanwhile, offers some big-picture analysis.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's a troubling report from The Telegraph:

Police last night found a petrol bomb factory in a southern suburb of Paris, on France's tenth and worst consecutive night of violence.

Jean-Marie Huet, the Justice Ministry's director of criminal affairs and pardons, said the Police found: "150 bottles prepared for use as Molotov cocktails, of which 50 were ready to be used," and "tens of litres of gasoline and hoods".

Saturday night's rioting was the most destructive so far as 1,300 vehicles were set alight and 349 people arrested, despite an enhanced police presence. . . .

Cars were burned out in the historic centre of Paris for the first time on Saturday night. In the normally quiet Normandy town of Evreux, a shopping mall, 50 vehicles, a post office and two schools went up in flames.

An extra 2,300 police officers have been drafted in across the country but the unrest has shown no sign of abating. Authorities have struggled address a problem with complex social, economic and racial causes.

Austin Bay has more on this, including this observation:

Shops, gyms, nursery schools, and cars. That’s a broad target list. In Torcy a police station and a youth center suffered attacks. Attacks have also been reported in Cannes and Nice– so tourists, beware.

Poverty exacerbates all problems, but poverty in and of itself does not produce violence. Migrants from France’s former Muslim colonies initially came for jobs, not to assimilate or “become French.” But the migrants stayed. Now France’s “Muslim neighborhoods” are permanent “cultural islands.” The French government’s own duplicitous policy towards Salafist/Islamist terror has backfired.

Read the whole thing. I think this is also support for Mickey Kaus's welfare-causes-terrorism theory.

MORE: Roger Simon has another sad email from Paris:

I am absolutely astounded at the failure of this government to attack the problem of the riots. I don't see it as being primarily an issue of religion, but a turf war by drug criminals, who happen to be of muslim extraction. But the failure of the government to nip this in the bud has now opened the door for players who do have a religious agenda. Mid-week I was cautiously optimistic about the situation. Now I'm very pessimistic.

Ugh. If you missed it before, be sure to read this report from Joel Shepherd in Paris.

MORE: Further thoughts from Clive Davis, who warns against making too much of these riots, and from Brussels Journal, who thinks the riots stem not from anger, but contempt: "It is not anger that is driving the insurgents to take it out on the secularised welfare states of Old Europe. It is hatred. Hatred caused not by injustice suffered, but stemming from a sense of superiority. The 'youths' do not blame the French, they despise them."

ShrinkWrapped says that commentators misunderstand the rioters' grievances: "Finally, even if quiet can be restored to the ghettos, it will be a mere interregnum; nothing will have been settled and the unsustainable quasi-stability will be, necessarily, short-lived." Well, that's cheerful.

Mark Steyn:

For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America's Europhiles, France's Arab street correctly identified Chirac's opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.

Read the whole, rather pessimistic, thing.

Pieter Dorsmann: "The bitter irony is that rather than having his troops deployed in the Middle East, the French president may now need them at home."

The E.U. Referendum blog, meanwhile, reports that "things are stirring across the Continent."

FAMILY OF DEAD MARINE upset with New York Times. But only for hijacking his death in service of crass political ends.

UPDATE: Tim Blair: "Perhaps Starr’s family should camp outside of the NYT’s building until the editor agrees to meet them. How long might he hold out against the family’s moral authority?"

HERE'S A PETITION FROM THE COMMITTEE TO PROTECT BLOGGERS, "asking the Egyptian Interior ministry to free Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman, currently in an Egyptian jail for his critical blogging." There are several others that are worth your attention, too.

STRATEGYPAGE has more on the Muslim riots in France, Denmark, and elsewhere:

Many of the Moslem migrants, who began to appear in large numbers four decades ago, have not assimilated. Europe has long tolerated this, partly because of a belief in “Multiculturalism” and partly because Europe does not have a tradition of assimilation. This is in stark contrast to the United States, where the “melting pot,” while often operating more like a salad bowl, still results in far less ghettoization than is found in Europe. Another advantage America has is that, in many parts of the country, there are so many migrants that “everyone is a minority.” In Europe, homogeneity is preferred, and those who do not conform, are simply tolerated (and sometimes not) as “outsiders in residence.” That’s where the concept of “ghetto” came from in the first place. The ghetto is quite common the world over, but much less so in America. . . .

After September 11, 2001, when European intelligence agencies took a real close look at their Moslem populations, they were shocked at the percentage that approved of, or supported, Islamic terrorism. It was as high as ten percent in some countries. It was higher among the young, and often unemployed, Moslem males. The riots currently underway in France, Denmark and Britain are all an extension of that. No one has a solution to the problem, except to arrest the hard cases and try to make nice to everyone else. If that doesn’t work, the fires will spread.

Let's hope it works, then. Ralf Goergens has thoughts, too. So does Shannon Love.

UPDATE: Related thoughts from Victor Davis Hanson.


PETER INGEMI is claiming prescience for some comments about France and Islamists from 2002.

AN EMAIL FROM DENMARK, via Judith Klinghoffer.

MISREPRESENTATION FROM THE BRADY CAMPAIGN: Pretty much a dog-bites-man story, but still worth noting.


TODAY WAS HELEN'S Heartwalk, so we got up and moving earlier than usual for a Saturday and headed down to the World's Fair site, where there were several thousand other heart patients and their families. The weather wasn't great, but it was good enough.

The T-shirt Helen is wearing here is for people who have implantable defibrillators -- they've all had their heart stopped (at least) as part of the testing process when those are installed.

I may post some more photos later. We're at my mother's house now, watching my grandmother so that my mom can go up to my brother's for my nephew's first birthday party. Unlike Megan McArdle, I do have Internet access, but I don't have a cookie recipe to share.


UPDATE: She's posted more pictures on her blog.

LIBYAN BLOGGER IMPRISONED: Report, and Libyan Embassy link, here. Here's a list of Libyan embassies around the world.

THE U.N. AND THE INTERNET: Kofi Annan is trying to reassure us, but I remain uncomforted.

I FINISHED THE JOHN BIRMINGHAM ALT-HISTORY NOVEL the other day, and yesterday I started the new Harry Turtledove alt-history novel and found some interesting overlap. No spoilers here, though.

Birmingham is a blogger, and in this entry notes that his series was inspired by S.M. Stirling.

A REVIEW of right-wing blogs, from Jon Henke.

PHOTOBLOGGING A GLUT OF UNSOLD HUMMERS: Pretty interesting reporting, though I don't see why it's Alan Greenspan's fault. For that matter, I'd say that their rapid loss of marketability isn't a sign that America is bloated and inefficient, as suggested, but rather that market economies respond quite rapidly to changing circumstances. Hybrid SUVs, after all, are flying off the lots.

It's also the kind of reporting you're more likely to see on a blog than in your local newspaper, since blogs don't have to worry about offending all those ad-buying car dealers.

UPDATE: Linda Seebach emails that I'm unfairly generalizing about newspapers and car dealers, and notes that the Rocky Mountain News recently ran a story about an SUV glut. Perhaps, though I had a friend lose a job for reporting unfavorably on car dealers, and the unwillingness of newspapers to offend the car business is something I've hear about in quite a few places. (Then there's the Tribeca story).

Meanwhile, reader Joe Faughnan thinks this may not be a case of slow sales, but of vehicle stockpiling in anticipation of a Delphi strike.

November 04, 2005

ARE PATENTS HOLDING BACK hybrid car technology? I'm not sure whether I'm persuaded by this.

DANIEL DREZNER: "For me, the big question remains -- if New Orleans was such a stagnant economy that those displaced to Houston don't want to return, just how much money should be committed to reconstruction efforts?"


RAY KURZWEIL WAS ON CHARLIE ROSE earlier this week, talking about his new book, the Singularity is Near. You can see the video here.

TWO QUESTIONS FOR GEORGE TENET: I think that's just a start.


The whereabouts of blogger Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman who was abducted from his home by Egyptian state security on Wednesday Oct. 26 is still not known. The police refused to answer questions by AP, the first wire to run the story. The last report about his whereabouts said he was on his way to an unknown detention center.

It was 3 a.m. when seven police officers took the 21 year old blogger away from his family home in Alexandria. His mother, Yousseira, says the house was searched; books and copies of Seliman’s writings were confiscated.

His friends and family says Seliman was targeting radical Islam in his writings, despite his strong connections to the Muslim community. Seliman is a student of law at Al-Azhar, the world’s highest seat of learning for Sunni Muslims. His pious Muslim family had returned from a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca just days before his arrests. . . .

Another blogger who closely followed Seliman’s detention says it is the fundamentalist Islamic Salafi movement that is behind the arrest. The blogger, Malik Moustafa, said Seliman recently had accused the Salafis of inciting the latest sectarian tensions in his neighbourhood of Mouharm Bay.

Read the whole thing, for an extensive roundup. And Global Voices has more.

MORE ON MUSLIM RIOTS IN DENMARK as well as France. (Via NewsAlert).


On both ends of the political spectrum, however, there has been wide praise of Fitzgerald's restraint and professionalism in focusing on a relatively clear-cut case of false statements rather than indicting officials or reporters for disclosing official secrets.

But it's important for journalists (including me) who vigorously opposed the Kenneth Starr investigation to state the obvious: The Fitzgerald indictments are an embarrassing confirmation of the old Washington rule that, when special prosecutors can't prove a crime, they indict the target for obstructing the investigation. Far from being typical behavior, indicting suspects for nothing more than false statements or perjury is a vice largely restricted to special prosecutors and independent counsels. And, although Libby's alleged lies to protect his boss may appear more serious than Bill Clinton's self-interested lies about sex, neither Clinton nor Libby prevented the special prosecutor from proving an underlying crime. In fact, there's strong reason to conclude that no underlying crime was committed. Unlike the Starr investigation, moreover, the Fitzgerald investigation represents a disaster for the First Amendment and may do long-lasting damage to political discourse in Washington.

Rosen is right about that. We've set a precedent -- egged on by the editorialists at the New York Times and those who follow their lead -- that leaking classified material to journalists should be prosecutable. If I were the Bush Administration, I'd be sorely tempted to start subpoenaing journalists right and left when they reported on classified information. You want it? You got it.

Some people are worried about that, which is why there's some support for a shield law. But those damned bloggers are complicating things:

Steven Clymer, a law professor at Cornell University, shared Rosenberg's concerns, according to the draft transcript. Clymer warned that a federal shield law "would signal that illegal disclosures of classified or otherwise sensitive information ... are immune from criminal prosecution as long as they are made to a recipient who could qualify as a reporter under the privilege." And he added that the pending bill is so broad that it could apply to "a disclosure of sensitive or classified information to an Internet blogger."

When quizzed by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, about the bill's application to blogs, Clymer said courts ultimately would have to decide the issue if the current language becomes law. "They may decide that you cannot favor one group of media over another group of media," Clymer said. "And so if you are going to give the privilege to The New York Times, you necessarily have to give it to the Internet blogger as well."

Sen. John Cornyn disagrees: ""Internet bloggers, and perhaps others, don't observe the same professional ethics and have the same review by editors and others that are trying to make sure that they are performing their job in a responsible and accurate sort of way."


Rosen makes pretty much the same point, adding the suggestion that it's only "vanity" that makes bloggers care. (I'm resisting the temptation to invoke RatherGate and Stephen Glass here). Yet putting the many famous cases of journalistic breakdown aside, bloggers don't presume to tell us important things about national security on a "trust me" basis very much. You find those unnamed anonymous sources with hidden agendas in the work of mainstream journalists, for the most part, not bloggers -- remember how this whole thing got started? -- and the point of shield laws is to let them continue. How exactly does this serve the public interest?

UPDATE: Reader Michael Gebert emails:

So basically, The New York Times screwed up the old arrangement between government secrecy and the press for short-term partisan reasons, and now it wants a new arrangement limited to journalistic institutions like itself because, unlike the rabble of bloggers, they can be counted on to be responsibly non-partisan?

Pretty much.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Heh: "you can very clearly see where the makers had optimistically put 'shield law' but then had to cover it up with 'denim.'"

MORE: Dave Johnston:

So let me get this straight…

We’ve got White House staff now doing conference calls with bloggers, and at the same time Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) still feels the need to drop an al Jazeera-comparison to make his point that we should be fearful of “a certain irresponsibility” that apparently occurs when bloggers exercise their freedoms.

Do I really need to point out how ridiculous this all sounds?

Not really.

Interestingly, this Wall Street Journal story on environmentally-conscious Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page's purchase of an enormous Boeing jet for personal use includes this credit:

Mr. Page wouldn't say whether or not the Qantas plane was the one they bought. The 767 purchase was first brought to public attention by a blog written by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Jeffrey Nolan.

This kind of thing happens all the time now, and yet people pretend bloggers don't do reporting.

FINALLY: Good news and bad news for Karl Rove.

HERE'S A REPORT on the blogger conference call with White House Advisor Steve Schmidt on the Alito Nomination. And here's another.

LOTS OF NANOTECHNOLOGY NEWS over at NanoDot. Just keep scrolling.

VICENTE FOX douses Hugo Chavez.

GETTING READY FOR THANKSGIVING EARLY: Bill Quick has his weekend cooking thread posted.

AN ELEVENTH AMENDMENT FISKING: You don't see very many of those.

EGYPT'S ARREST OF BLOGGER Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman seems to be getting some attention around the world. The website of the Egyptian embassy to the United States is here.

SAN FRANCISCO POLICE COME OUT against a handgun ban:

Adding a timely twist to the debate, those opponents warn that a major earthquake could lead to chaos and anarchy, akin to post-Katrina New Orleans.

"What happens when the police leave town, just like they did in New Orleans?'' asked John Mindermann, a retired San Francisco police officer who keeps a handgun in his home in the low-crime area of West Portal. Only active law enforcement and military personnel would be exempt from the ban.

And even though its officers fight violence daily, the San Francisco Police Officers Association is also opposed to the ban, saying it cannot back a measure that takes away "the personal choice of city residents to lawfully possess a handgun for self-defense purposes.''

Good for them.

IN THE MAIL: Tom Baker's The Medical Malpractice Myth, which argues that medical malpractice litigation isn't doing much to drive up health care costs.

ALLISON HAYWARD WRITES on the House's rejection of the Online Freedom of Speech Act:

The bill itself was reasonable and modest in scope. It would have codified existing regulations — which are currently the law under which we labor — exempting the Internet from special rules that apply to “public communications.” These rules have the most impact for political parties (especially state and local parties), and groups like some PACs that “allocate” — that is, use money raised outside the federal rules for some general expenses. They also affect which messages require disclaimers — the little “Paid for by” tag you see on direct mail and TV ads.

While the technical reach of the bill was modest, the impact of its defeat may not be. The Federal Election Commission is currently rewriting the existing Internet rule under a court order. It may be that the FEC’s approach will be modest — say, to require disclaimers on paid advertisements and spam on the Internet. But it is also possible that regulators will look at the bill’s failure as some endorsement of the need for greater regulation, because the FEC has also opened the question of whether Internet journalists are exempt from regulation as “press” — an issue not addressed by the legislation but one of great significance to bloggers. Certainly, the bill’s passage would have preempted the legal necessity for the FEC to involve itself in Internet rulemaking. . . .

Why did the measure not pass? Perhaps, in part, because the campaign against the bill was rife with falsehoods about the effect of the exemption. “Reform” supporters like Democracy 21’s Fred Wertheimer, the Campaign Legal Center’s Trevor Potter, and the American Enterprise Institute's’s Norm Ornstein castigated the bill’s motives (and supporters) in harsh terms. They maintained that it would open up the federal system to soft-money abuses. They alleged that corporations could spend unlimited sums on campaign ads at the behest of candidates. The same claims were made by Rep. Marty Meehan (D., Mass.) and many of the bill’s critics on the House Floor, in what appeared to be a serial recitation of the “reform” talking points.

Read the whole thing.

ANN ALTHOUSE LOOKS AT Alito on the Family Medical Leave Act.


A week of riots in poor neighborhoods outside Paris gained dangerous new momentum Thursday, with youths shooting at police and firefighters and attacking trains and symbols of the French state.

Facing mounting criticism, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin vowed to restore order as the violence that erupted Oct. 27 spread to at least 20 towns, highlighting the frustration simmering in housing projects that are home to many North African immigrants.

As Ed Cone notes this has been a long time coming. Similar to Ed's story, when Helen and I went to visit her sister in the 20th Arrondissement, the cab driver gave us a long diatribe on how that neighborhood was no good because of all the blacks and Arabs. I actually thought it was rather pleasant. By all accounts, however, the suburban housing projects where the riots are taking place are not.

UPDATE: Meanwhile some people are noting that the BBC is covering the riots far less vigorously than it would cover similar riots in the United States. The Economist comes in for criticism, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Much more from Amir Taheri:

When the police arrive on the scene, the rioters attack them with stones, knives and baseball bats.

The police respond by firing tear-gas grenades and, on occasions, blank shots in the air. Sometimes the youths fire back — with real bullets.

These scenes are not from the West Bank but from 20 French cities, mostly close to Paris, that have been plunged into a European version of the intifada that at the time of writing appears beyond control.

The troubles first began in Clichy-sous-Bois, an underprivileged suburb east of Paris, a week ago. France's bombastic interior minister, Nicholas Sarkozy, responded by sending over 400 heavily armed policemen to "impose the laws of the republic," and promised to crush "the louts and hooligans" within the day. Within a few days, however, it had dawned on anyone who wanted to know that this was no "outburst by criminal elements" that could be handled with a mixture of braggadocio and batons.

By Monday, everyone in Paris was speaking of "an unprecedented crisis." Both Sarkozy and his boss, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, had to cancel foreign trips to deal with the riots.

Read the whole thing. Meanwhile, here's more on the subject from the New York Sun:

Back in the 1990s, the French sneered at America for the Los Angeles riots. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 1992: "the consensus of French pundits is that something on the scale of the Los Angeles riots could not happen here, mainly because France is a more humane, less racist place with a much stronger commitment to social welfare programs." President Mitterrand, the Washington Post reported in 1992, blamed the riots on the "conservative society" that Presidents Reagan and Bush had created and said France is different because it "is the country where the level of social protection is the highest in the world."

How the times have changed. Muslims in Paris's suburbs are out shooting at police and firefighters, burning cars and buildings, and throwing rocks at commuter trains. Even children are out on the streets - it was reported that a 10-year-old was arrested. The trigger for the riots was the electrocution of two teenagers last Thursday, which the rioters say came following a police chase, a charge the police deny. But even if the charge by the rioters is true, that the police are culpable in the deaths of the two youths, the fact that such an incident would spark a riot is a sign of something deeper at work - no doubt France's failure to integrate its immigrant Muslim community.

It turns out that France's Muslim community lives in areas rampant with crime, poverty, and unemployment, much the fault of France's prized welfare system.

Read the whole thing here, too. Worrisomely, the riots are spreading beyond Paris.

Lots more coverage at ЎNo Pasarбn! Just keep scrolling. And Johnathan Pearce has some thoughts.

The Belmont Club looks at what's next and observes:

The riots have already reached 20 suburbs of Paris. The Reuters story suggests they may now be spreading to other cities. French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy is hinting darkly of conspiracies. Should one conclude even more serious developments are in the offing? I don't know. I think that neither Sarkozy nor the conspirators he refers to understand the exact potential of this thing, which is behaving like a chaotic system whose trajectory is difficult to predict except in the very short term.

Ideally, Sarkozy would be looking to simplify the situation by fixing some variables so that the remainder of the system will behave in a more linear manner; gradually damping it down until it can be controlled. But splits within the French cabinet have done the opposite: they have added more variables to the mix and now it's shake, rattle and roll.

In these situations, as most rabble-rousers know, there is typically a race on the ground to see who can 'harness' the energies unleashed to best advantage. My own guess, without any special knowledge, is that 'community moderates', ideological radicals and even gangsters are in a derby to see who can control events. The French government by contrast, seems tied up in knots and is casting around for leverage, a way to get a handle on the events of the past week. Things could stop tomorrow or zoom off in some unexpected direction.

I'm hoping for "stop," as I think this could get really ugly if it doesn't.

Could Australia be next?

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Could we be seeing some signs of movement from the Administration?

The Bush administration's highest economic priority for its remaining three years is to control the growth of federal spending and bring down the US budget deficit, John Snow, US Treasury secretary, said.

“The clear priority of the administration right now is the deficit, making sure that we achieve the president's objective of cutting the deficit in half by the time he leaves office,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times. This would put the deficit below 2 per cent of gross domestic product, low by historical standards.

“This administration knows that deficits matter,” he added. “We know they're unwelcome.”

Welcome words. Now the action, please. (Via The Armchair View).

MICKEY KAUS looks at Kristof's correction.

HERE'S A TRANSCRIPT OF MARK STEYN, talking about the riots in Paris on Hugh Hewitt's show last night.

November 03, 2005

MESSAGE TO DERBYSHIRE: No, we don't all believe this.

A MONROE DOCTRINE for the Internet. I like that.

THE THREE MILLION DOLLAR MOUSE: A prize like that may spur some serious work in aging research.

ZELL MILLER WRITES on the advantages of marriage.

(Via Bill Quick).

UPDATE: More here.

I'LL BE ON HUGH HEWITT'S SHOW at about 7:30, talking about avian flu. Listen online here.

UPDATE: Here's a link to my book on Amazon, as promised on the show.


Egyptian blogger Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman who runs the blog Kareem Amer was arrested on October 26h from his home. According to his family, his arrest might be a result of his writings. His brother said that Abdolkarim has a tense relation with Islamists in his hometown of Alexandria. He added that the Islamists might be the ones behind filing a complaint against his brother.

The webpage for the Egyptian Embassy in the United States is here.

More here.


UPDATE: At IMAO, a declaration of quagmire amid mounting casualties.


A blogger's depiction of Lt. Gov. Michael Steele in minstrel makeup has brought to surface issues of race — and fidelity to one's race — as the Republican seeks to become Maryland's first black senator.

A black man in New York who runs a left-leaning news commentary site created the image and condemned Steele last week as "Simple Sambo."

It's interesting that "race-loyalty" has become an important campaign issue.

ABORTION, PATERNITY AND ALITO: Jeff Goldstein responds to Kevin Drum, and reminds us of the difference between judges and legislators.

DANIEL GLOVER: 47 references to "blogs" in yesterday's campaign-finance debate.

MICHAEL MALONE looks at the future of the blogosphere, through the lens of journalistic criticism:

Let me make a prediction. Five years from now, the blogosphere will have developed into a powerful economic engine that has all but driven newspapers into oblivion, has morphed (thanks to cell phone cameras) into a video medium that challenges television news, and has created a whole new group of major companies and media superstars. Billions of dollars will be made by those prescient enough to either get on board or invest in these companies. At this point, the industry will then undergo its first shakeout, with the loss of perhaps several million blogs — though the overall industry will continue to grow at a steady pace.

And, at about that moment, Forbes will announce that the blogosphere is the Next Big Thing for investors. Maybe they'll even invite me back to Forbes on Fox.


ROGER SIMON has a firsthand account on happenings in Paris.

TOM MAGUIRE is parsing Nicholas Kristof's response to Jack Shafer.

HERE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE COLLEGE OF LAW, we're looking to hire a new Dean and a new faculty member for next year. Descriptions for both positions are here.

IN THE MAIL: Robert Sherrill's First Amendment Felon : The Story of Frank Wilkinson, His 132,000 Page FBI File and His Epic Fight for Civil Rights and Liberties.

What's sad is that campaign finance "reform" threatens to create a whole new generation of "First Amendment felons" whose only crime is writing about things that Congress would rather they didn't.

MEDIA MATTERS RESPONDS to the Jake Tapper item I posted yesterday.

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Alaska's Congressional delegation is getting bad press in Alaska:

Sen. Ted Stevens rails on the Senate floor against Sen. Coburn's assault on Alaska spending. The response? From nationally syndicated conservative writers such as Cal Thomas and John Stossel comes word that Stevens' departure would be welcome. They don't see him as Alaskan of the Century. They see him as a poster-senator for runaway spending and skewed national priorities.

How would Alaskans feel about sending a big share of their federal taxes to another state whose residents keep taking more than they give to the federal treasury, insist on paying no state income or sales tax and receive hundreds of millions every year in payments from their state government for individual shares of their state's resource wealth?

In Illinois and Louisiana and West Virginia and elsewhere, it's logical to ask: More than $31 billion in the Alaska Permanent Fund, generating interest and dividends, and you want the rest of America to bankroll your bridges? Death grip on your state dividends and a zealot's passion against taxes, and yet you demand the taxes of others to pay for things you won't pay for yourself? How long do you think you can play this game?

We're getting closer to the day when the rest of the country says: "You want the goodies? Pay for them yourselves."

Could be. Though I doubt West Virginia will be taking a lead role in denouncing pork . . .

LARRY KUDLOW has a new website, and he's podcasting now.

THIS SEEMS LIKE A WORTHY CAUSE: Laptops for wounded soldiers. (Via TTLB).

CATHY YOUNG WRITES on abortion, fathers' rights, and equality.

MICHAEL TOTTEN REPORTS from a ghost city in Cyprus.

THE INSTA-WIFE has a review of James Lileks' new book, Mommy Knows Worst.

KOS JOINS IN CONDEMNING CONGRESS: Along with some interest groups.

GATEWAY PUNDIT has more on the French riots.

UPDATE: Meryl Yourish writes that Christopher Caldwell predicted this three years ago.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Rand Simberg notes similar riots in Denmark, and has some translated reports.

MICKEY KAUS is cruelly mocking CNN's Jonathan Klein over Aaron Brown's departure. Meanwhile, there's this: "Anderson Cooper is designated as the new star of CNN and, as much as I enjoy Cooper's work, it seems a risk to me. There is, to be honest, a sort of local news quality to Cooper." Ouch.

ALL ALITO, ALL THE TIME: At N.Z. Bear's new Alito topic page.


If stealing and destroying secret documents, stuffing them into your pants and then lying about it isn't a crime worthy of jail time, why is having a different recollection of events than Tim Russert?

I guess the pushback has begun.

UPDATE: Tigerhawk is unconvinced: "The question, I think, is backwards: isn't the real mystery why Sandy Berger got off with a small fine and no jail time?"

November 02, 2005

J.C. WATTS: "Republicans in just 10 years have developed the arrogance it took the Democrats 30 years to develop."

SO I'VE BEEN GRADING my Administrative Law assignments. Every year I pick a set of proposed regulations from the Federal Register, and have my students draft comments on them, which I then file so that they become part of the rulemaking docket. I don't tell the students what to say; they get to pick their positions. I just grade them based on their logic, research, avoidance of typos, etc. I'm usually quite impressed with what they produce, and this year is no exception. My experience has been that law students are better at projects like this than at taking exams. That's good, since one hardly ever takes an exam as part of practicing law.

DAFYDD AB HUGH wonders what's going on in Paris.

UPDATE: Brussels Journal has some reports.

Meanwhile, reader Steve Donohue emails:

Rhetorical question: why is it that largely imagined riots in New Orleans receive almost non-stop coverage, but actual riots in France receive absolutely no coverage?

Well, it's not quite "absolutely no coverage" -- but compared to the New Orleans coverage, I guess it would seem that way.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Joel Shepherd emails:

It's not an intefada. I'm an Australian SF author temporarily living in Paris; sadly I don't have my own blog (yet), but I'm writing a freelance article on liberte-cherie, the French libertarian organisation ( I'm no expert, but I'm learning some things.

The problem in France is not the same as in the UK or the Netherlands. There, there's been an overdose of PC multi culturalism... but American critics are wrong to assign that to France. France HAS insisted on integration, as seen by the controversial ban on headscarves in French schools. And most French muslims do consider themselves French, to varying degrees, and Islamic extremism is pretty small thing here (there was far more protest against the headscarf ban outside of France than inside). So it's not an intefada.

There's just no damn jobs. White college grads can't get jobs, what hope do immigrants from regions with bad schools have? I think this is more like the LA Rodney King riots -- there's people there who want the French dream, just as in LA people wanted the American dream, but they just don't see it when they look around, and they resent the fact enormously. They can't change schools to get a better education because the government says you have to go to the school where you live, and they live where they do because of the zoning laws... which I'm no expert about, but I do know that the government owns 30 percent of all housing in France, and poor immigrants basically live where they're told. The government tries to give them everything and does it extremely badly, there's no upward mobility, and it doesn't breed a happy community. Religion exacerbates the feeling of exclusion, I'm sure, but the rioting seems mostly driven by economics and bad social policy.

So yeah, it's a stupid French government problem, but not the one some American critics are ascribing... however attractive it might be to do so.


CATHY SEIPP writes on books and holiness.


WASHINGTON (AP) - Online political expression should not be exempt from campaign finance law, the House decided Wednesday as lawmakers warned that the Internet has opened up a new loophole for uncontrolled spending on elections. . . .

The vote in effect clears the way for the FEC to move ahead with court-mandated rule-making to govern political speech and campaign spending on the Internet.

You might not like what they say. (Via Steel Turman).

UPDATE: Andrew Roth:

With spending out of control, this vote shows that not only do politicians take our money, they take our freedom to speak against them as well. That should scare the pants off of anyone.


Power Line:

What is happening here is that certain people--the editorial board of the New York Times, the Democrats on the Federal Election Commission--are trying to put sites like this one out of business.


ANOTHER UPDATE: A somewhat more positive take from one of the bill's sponsors:

As many of you might have just witnessed on CSPAN, the House voted 225 to 182 on the Online Freedom of Speech Act (H.R. 1606) -- a majority but less than the two-thirds required for a "suspension" bill to clear the House.

I am encouraged that this important legislation received the support of a clear bipartisan majority. Most Members of Congress support protecting free speech on the Internet. . . .

We proved that we can pass this bill in the House under regular order. Working with leadership, I hope we can achieve this worthy goal before the FEC issues new regulations that will prohibit Americans from exercising their First Amendment rights over the Internet.

I hope so, too.

MORE: Via an update to the Power Line post above, here's the roll call vote. If you're unhappy with how your representative voted, let 'em know.

I'VE CHANGED MY MIND: The Bush Administration should have known that there was a problem with its analysis of Saddam's weapons program. The tipoff: when it found that it was on the same page as Jimmy Carter.

ANNOUNCING a Carnival of Arnold. (This Arnold, not this one.) Get your submissions in!

JACK SHAFER is waiting for a Kristof correction.

UPDATE: Shafer gets results -- see his update.

THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE wonders why the New York Times can't seem to quote soldiers accurately.

MICHELLE MALKIN, MICHAEL LEDEEN, MARC COOPER, and more, profiled over at the Pajamas Media site.

SOME OUT-OF-THE-MAINSTREAM CRITICISM of protection for criminal defendants.

IN RESPONSE TO MY COLUMN TODAY, Patrick Eickert emails: "Will your army of davids fix our immigration policies in a time frame that matters? How about our energy policies? Or our intelligence institutions?"

Actually, I've got a chapter on private antiterror efforts, expanding on the theme presented here. I didn't write about immigration, which I agree is a core question of sovereignty and one that doesn't lend itself readily to self-help, though the Minutemen are an early sign of what we might see if the federal government remains ineffectual on the subject.

As for energy, well, all those people out there buying more efficient cars, etc., are doing their parts, and I think there's more movement in that direction than is generally recognized. I had a beer with a friend yesterday -- a lifelong Republican and no Green -- who's running his new Dodge 2500 pickup on biodiesel. Why? It's cheaper, and he likes the idea.

(He also notes that his new Dodge gets about 2mpg more than the old one, and has more horsepower, suggesting that the folks at Chrysler are holding up their end, too, at least somewhat.)

And speaking of influencing the government, he told me that he's gotten two calls from the GOP fundraisers asking him to give $1000 or more and he's turned them both down. Why? "They haven't delivered what they promised." That's another army of Davids that's not getting noticed as much as it might. Yet.



SOME advice for Prince Charles that will surely go unheeded.


The Moose does not have to trust George W. Bush to hold that view. He believes Tony Blair. For that matter, most of the Clinton national security team was convinced that Saddam posed a threat to American interests and security. It was hardly a vast neo-con conspiracy that brought us to war.

Will the American people have faith in and trust a party that claims that it was gullibly duped, or as George Romney claimed about another war - that it was "brainwashed."? Moreover, should the objective be re-fighting the reasons to go to war and making the Democrats the official anti-war party or should the goal be achieving reasonable success in Iraq? If you believe in the former than you would encourage more efforts like the one Senate Democrats undertook yesterday. If you believe in the latter, you want the opposition party to present a better plan for winning this war.

While the war is increasingly unpopular, the Democrats should be careful that they are positioning themselves as a party that is gullible, feckless and indecisive on national security. It may provide immense partisan satisfaction to flummox the Republicans on a procedural maneuver, but beware of the long-term impact on the party which already suffers from a perception of being weak on national security.

"Weak," at the very least.

GAS PRICES AND ENERGY POLICY: Some lessons from the 1970s.

At least we're not turning oil into all those polyester leisure suits, this time around.

HEARD MICHELLE MALKIN on Neal Boortz's show, plugging her new book (which seems to be doing quite well on Amazon). I noticed that she was careful to credit Perry deHavilland of Samizdata for originating the term "moonbat." Good for her.

Meanwhile she's getting racist and sexist Amazon reviews from lefties. I like this response, from another Amazon reviewer: "What better way to affirm Michelle Malkin's beliefs than to review the histrionics in many of the posted reviews."

Yes, it does pretty much prove her point.

UPDATE: Related thoughts here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reviewing the reviewers: "Michelle couldn't have paid for better advertising."


After all, when it comes to the Internet, money hardly translates into influence. Plenty of expensively produced Web sites are flops, while some of the most popular Web sites and blogs cost virtually nothing to run.

The real problem, it seems, is that the speech police don't like any speech that they don't get to . . . well, police.

The Hensarling-Reid approach is the best way to head off an assault on the Internet — for now.

The next step is to start reconsidering whether regulating political speech is a good idea under any circumstances.


PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Robert Samuelson writes in the Post that both parties are fiscal phonies. The fact that we can't trust elected officials on this suggests to me that we'll see more pressure for structural solutions.

MAX BOOT writes that Joe Wilson is Plamegate's real liar, and offers an extensive list of Wilson misrepresentations.

ONE YEAR LATER, Dutch blog PeakTalk is remembering Theo Van Gogh's murder.

UPDATE: More here, in the WSJ:

We have tended to see jihadist terrorism as something produced in dysfunctional parts of the world, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan or the Middle East, and exported to Western countries. Protecting ourselves is a matter either of walling ourselves off, or, for the Bush administration, going "over there" and trying to fix the problem at its source by promoting democracy.

There is good reason for thinking, however, that a critical source of contemporary radical Islamism lies not in the Middle East, but in Western Europe. . . .

Many Europeans assert that the American melting pot cannot be transported to European soil. Identity there remains rooted in blood, soil and ancient shared memory. This may be true, but if so, democracy in Europe will be in big trouble in the future as Muslims become an ever larger percentage of the population. And since Europe is today one of main battlegrounds of the war on terrorism, this reality will matter for the rest of us as well.

Read the whole thing.

A ROUNDUP ON QUOTE-DOCTORING AT THE NEW YORK TIMES where 2000th casualty Cpl. Jeffrey Starr is concerned.

Maybe they're taking their cues from Media Matters these days . . . .


It depends on the cooperation of foreign intelligence services, and on keeping even basic information about the system secret from the public, foreign officials and nearly all members of Congress charged with overseeing the CIA's covert actions.

But somehow the Washington Post found out. I think we need a special prosecutor to subpoena the reporter and prosecute the leakers.

THE NEW HISTORY CARNIVAL is up. So is the latest Carnival of Education. And don't miss the latest Carnival of the Vanities, or The Tangled Bank, a science carnival. The Carnival of Computing, meanwhile, is about, er, computing.

And here's the Blawg Review, a carnival of law-bloggers. It's getting harder and harder for me to keep up with all these carnivals, but if I've missed yours it's not because I'm ignoring you -- sometimes nobody sends me a link, and sometimes it just gets buried in my massive volume of email. When I try to catch up, I search the word "carnival," so please be sure you use that word in your email.

UNFLATTERING PUBLICITY for Jay Sekulow: "a financial empire that generates millions of dollars a year and supports a lavish lifestyle — complete with multiple homes, chauffeur-driven cars, and a private jet that he once used to ferry Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia." (Via The Corner).

JEFF JACOBY WRITES on news from Iraq that's not fit to print.

ANN ALTHOUSE: "Sovereign immunity law is difficult, so it is not surprising that people misread what Samuel Alito wrote about the Family Medical Leave Act."

JAKE TAPPER SAYS THAT MEDIA MATTERS IS MISQUOTING HIM: "The dishonesty inherent in their truncating my quote may help satisfy their partisan martyrdom and help fill their professional coffers, but it does a disservice to the American people."

SECOND INTIFADA UPDATE: Tim Blair has more on the riots in Paris.

UPDATE: Some readers write that this should count as the third intifada. Whatever. Meanwhile, reader David Mosier thinks it's more than that:

If the rioting goes on for another couple of nights and spreads to other areas of the country, you've got 1968 all over again. France is ready to explode, as it was in 1968, and the all-night riots are lighting the fuse. Will Chirac be able to prevent an explosion that shakes the whole country? I doubt it. There's too much pent up frustration in France, and not just among young Muslims. They might be the group that kicks off the insurrection, but once it's kicked off, everybody in France with a beef (and that's everybody)will join in. Just like they did in 1968. University students started it with student strikes in Nanterre (note, not in Paris)and it spread from there. Before it was done, almost every organized, or unorganized,
group in the country had joined in to bring down deGaulle. It would seem Chirac's time is short. France hasn't had a proper Gallic explosion since 1968; it's long overdue.

Interesting. We'll see.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Jerry Davis emails: "I'm figuring the MSM will start reporting on the riots shortly after they find some way to tie it to our presence in Iraq."

Good bet.


Tony Blair appeared last night to undermine more than 15 years of climate change negotiations when he signalled a shift away from a target-based approach to cutting greenhouse emissions. Speaking at the end of the first day of a summit in London of environment and energy ministers, the prime minister said that legally binding targets to reduce pollution made people "very nervous and very worried".

He said when the Kyoto protocol expires in 2012, the world would need a more sensitive framework for tackling global warming.

Since it's quite clear that the United States will never ratify Kyoto, and Europe will never actually abide by it, it's time for some rethinking.

SADDAM'S WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION make Harry Reid's head explode -- over at

THOUGHTS IN RESPONSE TO PEGGY NOONAN: My TechCentralStation column is up.

UPDATE: Reader Don Rylander emails:

Glenn, I think you're right to be hopeful that the influence of these "elites" is on the wane; I just think it's wise not to be too sanguine about its inevitability. The attitude Noonan describes in her Ted Kennedy anecdote reminds me of Britain's Bloomsbury Group of the first part of the 20th century. Steeped in the decadence of their own subculture, lacking both vision and moral courage, they romanticized Britain's decline as inevitable, and consequently helped bring it about.

The democratization of information brought about by the internet offers hope, but the desuetude of certain elites is no less a threat to civilization.

Yes, we still have to do the necessary work to pick up the slack.

November 01, 2005

IT'S LIKE A SECOND INTIFADA: Muslim immigrants continue to riot in Paris.


The city's red-light cameras haven't been working since June and could remain idle for several more months, a Los Angeles official said Monday. The contract for operating the cameras, which take photos of drivers who plow through a red light, expired as the city was deciding which company to choose for the next contract, Councilman Dennis Zine said. "I'd say it's a victim of bureaucracy," Zine said. "I'd be surprised if any of them were online before next year."

That's just as well, in light of this report:

A Fort Collins, Colorado intersection has suffered an 83 percent increase in accidents since a red light camera system was installed in 1997. The city's program generates $734,000 in annual revenue from $75 citations issued at the intersection of Drake Road and College Avenue. Despite the lack of demonstrable safety benefit, officials are planning to add at least one speed camera this year and possibly another red light camera next year.

According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan analysis, which considered ten years of accident data, the collision rate at the intersection with a red light camera jumped from 1.31 per million vehicles entering the intersection in 1994 to 2.4 in 2004.

Philadelphia, too:

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania began its red light camera program last year claiming the device would reduce accidents, but accidents have actually increased betweeen 10 and 20 percent since the cameras began issuing $100 citations.

But traffic-ticket revenues are up, and that's more important than your safety!

RAY KURZWEIL WILL BE ON CHARLIE ROSE TONIGHT, talking about his new book The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, at 11 pm Eastern.

BLOGGERS AS JOE NAMATH: As long as I don't have to wear pantyhose.

THE DEMOCRATS OF 2005, turning into the Republicans of 1998? Something like that. Earlier thoughts on what's going on, here.

UPDATE: Reader J.D. Johannes emails that Harry Reid must have forgotten this Senate Intelligence Committee report.

A CHARITY BLEG from the Insta-Wife.

SPYWARE from Sony? Let the lawsuits commence . . . .


MICHAEL BARONE thinks that Democrats won't want to oppose Alito very hard.

GIVE ME A BREAK: Some people are against the cervical cancer vaccine because it could lead to more sex. Coming soon: New "helmets" opposed because they lead to more motorcycle riding . . . .

With both, there's a legitimate question about whether it should be mandatory, of course. But I don't think that's really what's motivating this.

UPDATE: Blogs4God writes:

Folks, I have to agree on this one. This isn't like handing out condoms to under-aged kids without their parent's knowledge and/or consent. This is a reasonable preventative measure for an opportunistic killer - specifically the second most common cancer in women worldwide and the leading cause of cancer-related death in women in underdeveloped countries.



I didn't mention this in the original piece, but there is sometimes an undercurrent of punitive prudery running through these arguments. One can make a good-faith argument against the vaccine, but sometimes people do seem to be thinking, way back in their skulls, "Well, you're a dirty whore. A little cervical cancer'll learn ya."

Again, not to indulge in ascribing bad faith to any particular opponent, and certainly not to opponents in general. There are good arguments to be made on both sides of most hot-button social issues. I'm just saying that sometimes, from some, I get the vibe that unwanted pregnancy, AIDS, and even cervical cancer can serve as useful object lessons for women of easy virtue.


MICHELLE MALKIN'S new book is out. She's celebrating with a photo essay and hoping for a chance to plug the book on Air America.

HERE'S A CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE REPORT on problems with testing procedures at the ATF.

I FINISHED JOHN BIRMINGHAM'S DESIGNATED TARGETS last night. Very enjoyable alt-history, and he focuses interestingly on the differences (and similarities) between the Greatest Generation of 1942, and the generation of just-after-today. Birmingham also has a blog, where he notes that he's gotten a lot of grief for making Hillary Clinton (in the first book of the series, Weapons of Choice) "the most uncompromising wartime President in the history of the United States."

I thought that was quite funny, and not entirely implausible. (That they put her name on a George Bush-class aircraft carrier is funny, too.) There are lots of criticisms you can make about Hillary, but even her critics don't accuse her of lacking backbone, or a killer instinct. Birmingham's book is full of insider references, including several to the works of Steve Stirling and Eric Flint. You don't have to get them to enjoy the book, but they're fun.


Three of every four Americans support paying for Hurricane Katrina and Wilma recovery by transferring "items from the recent highway funding bill not directly related to road construction," according to the latest George Washington University Battleground 2006 Survey.

Transferring the pork from the highway bill was chosen by 73 percent of 1,000 registered likely voters interviewed Oct. 9-12, with a margin of error of 3.1 percent. The Battleground 2006 survey is a joint effort on behalf of the university by The Tarrance Group and Lake, Snell, Perry, Mermin, and Associates. The former is a Republican firm and the latter is a Democrat firm.

Can't say I'm surprised.

UPDATE: On the other hand, Tim Chapman has published an internal Senate email that illustrates what we're up against.

CANADIAN SCANDAL UPDATE: The Gomery Report is now online. Here's a post on it by a Canadian blogger. Chretien comes off badly.

SOME POSITIVE NEWS in the Christian Science Monitor:

Last January, Baquba was symbol of everything going wrong in Iraq - and its neighborhood of Buhritz was a symbol for everything going wrong in Baquba. . . .

But today, US commanders are pointing to Baquba as a symbol of what might go right. Every polling place stayed open all day for the Oct. 15 referendum that approved Iraq's new constitution earlier this month. Violence was light, while voter turnout was high.

While Sunnis, Shiites, and ethnic Kurds of the city all have different visions of Iraq's future, and bombs like the one that killed at least 30 civilians Saturday in a town near here are still common, Baquba is a reminder that at least short-term security gains are being made in many Iraqi cities, particularly ones outside volatile Anbar Province.

Asked why, Lt. Col. Rob Risberg, commander of the 1st Battalion of the Army's 10th Field Artillery Regiment, scratches his head, then says it hasn't been rocket science. "The Iraqi Army and the Iraqi police have really come along - they can handle most of what comes their way now,'' says Colonel Risberg, from DeLeon Springs, Fla. "We're here to back them up, but I think we're seeing the benefits of getting cops on almost every street corner."

Read the whole thing.

CANADIAN SCANDAL UPDATE: The Gomery Report comes out today. Here's the Gomery Commission website. I expect we'll see updates on NewsBeat1.

LYNNE KIESLING: "U.S. auto manufacturers, sit up and pay attention: the long-run effect of these high gasoline prices may be a change in the preferences of customers." That's what markets are for.

Read this post on oil prices, too.

JOHN HINDERAKER takes umbrage at an alarming statistic. I say it's not a bug, it's a feature!

JIM HOFT EXHUMES a Joe Wilson speech that a lot of people would probably prefer he hadn't. He has audio.

ALTHOUSE ON ALITO in the New York Times:

Well, quite aside from the tedium of clichй, we might want to consider whether Judge Alito really is all that much like Justice Scalia. If you're old enough, you might remember how savvy it once seemed to respond to the nomination of Harry Blackmun by lumping him with Warren Burger and calling them "the Minnesota Twins." . . .

Those Democrats who are already insisting that Judge Alito's record on the bench makes him unacceptable should keep in mind that someday they, too, will have a president with a Supreme Court seat to fill, and it would serve the country well if that president wasn't forced to choose only among candidates with no paper trail. To oppose Judge Alito because his record is conservative is to condemn us to a succession of bland nominees and to deprive future presidents of the opportunity to choose from the men and women who have dedicated long years to judicial work.

Read the whole thing.

MICKEY KAUS detects a Tim Russert lobbying campaign.

October 31, 2005

MORE ENHANCEMENTS to the PorkBusters site, including links to blog posts on the topic. Add yours!

THE NEW YORK TIMES has a rather positive profile of Judge Alito in tomorrow's edition. "Judge Alito's jurisprudence has been methodical, cautious, respectful of precedent and solidly conservative, legal scholars said. In cases involving the great issues of the day - abortion, the death penalty and the separation of church and state - Judge Alito has typically taken the conservative side. Yet he has not flaunted his political views inside or outside the courthouse. Friends say Judge Alito seems to have inherited a distaste for shows of ideology from his father, an Italian immigrant who became research director for the New Jersey Legislature and had to rigorously avoid partisanship."

On the other hand, there's this smoking gun: "As for Judge Alito's trumpet skills, the former band leader said, 'he certainly was no virtuoso.'"

HERE'S AN INTERESTING PROFILE of anti-debt crusader Dave Ramsey, who I recently discovered once lived in Maryville, Tennessee, where I went to high school. We may even have been students at UT at the same time, though I never knew him. But I've enjoyed his show, which provides a lot of interesting insights into how people get in trouble with money. And the piece notes something I've noticed: His debt counseling is often marriage counseling, too. Another thing we have in common: We both hate the new bankruptcy bill.


GREG DJEREJIAN OFFERS advice for President Bush.

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Sissy Willis is working the phones.


As President Bush prepares to make a new appointment to the Supreme Court, the lessons of the failed Miers nomination are still being absorbed.

One that deserves study is how a lightning-fast news cycle, a flat-footed defense and the growth of new media such as talk radio and blogs sank Ms. Miers's chances even before the megabuck special-interest groups could unload their first TV ad. Ms. Miers herself has told friends that she was astonished at how the Internet became a conveyor belt for skeptical mainstream media reports on her in addition to helping drive the debate.

It seems like the GOP is catching on. Ken Mehlman, who waited a week and a half to talk to bloggers last time around, had a conference call with Republican bloggers this afternoon. I wasn't there, but Michelle Malkin has links to posts from people who were.

HYBRIDBLOGGING: So, I went ahead and bought the Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV this weekend. So far I'm quite happy.

One thing I've noticed is that the mileage depends a lot on driving style. Yesterday I drove into campus and it got (based on the trip computer) 22.6 miles per gallon -- not bad for an SUV in town, but nothing huge.

Today I drove in, late enough that there was no more traffic than on Sunday morning, and made a point of watching the little indicator that tells you whether you're running on gas or electric power. Still driving about the same speed as yesterday (typically around 40-45) and taking the same route, but driving so as to maximize the amount I was on electric power, I got 37.7 miles per gallon. Coming home at rush hour, with stop and go traffic, I didn't do as well, finishing up at 30. One problem with the Highlander is that it's so peppy that you tend to drive it harder unless you think about it. Okay, that's not really a problem.

Somebody told me the other day that a hybrid car was a good "branding" thing for me, because I'm a "political hybrid" blogger. I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but it 's kind of cool. What I really am is a gadget-head, which made the hybrid more appealing -- in fact, I realized that I now don't own a normal car at all: The Mazda has a rotary engine. Maybe I'm just odd. But at least I get good mileage!

The other interesting thing is that despite the Libbygate affair this weekend, and the Alito nomination, I've gotten more SUV-mail than I've gotten email on any other topic. I guess people care about this stuff.

UPDATE: Reader John Henry emails:

I have an Escape Hybrid and love it. It takes a bit to get used to driving a car without the engine running though...

I have been asked, by everyone that found out I bought a hybrid, if I thought it would pay off (gas savings vs extra initial cost) in the long run. I did the math and at $3 a gallon, it will take about 60-70k miles to pay off the initial cost with the gas savings. I drove over 100k on my last car and over 200k on the car before that, so it is likely to pay off in that respect. Personally I chose it because it is much cleaner than the conventional version. I have several requirements on my 4 wheeled vehicle, including the abilty to carry 4 adults comfortably and a large volume of carrying capacity covered. The choice between the Ford and the Toyota was actually a matter of the dealerships I have available. I have an exceptionally good Ford dealer available and have an exellent relationship with the entire staff (sales, sevice, management, and even the detailer), and I have not been impressed with the other dealerships (including the other Ford dealers) in my area.

I would be interested to hear (or more precisely, read on your blog) your thoughts on the subject.

I feel pretty much the same way. I hope, for the sake of the country, that gas prices don't reach the point where my hybrid pays off quickly via fuel economy. I'm glad to hear good things about the Ford Escape. My local Ford dealer, alas, isn't up to that level -- some years ago we walked after agreeing to a price on a Ford Focus and returning a couple of hours later to pick up the car, only to have the salesman "apologize" and tell us that due to a "mistake" it would cost us $1500 more than we agreed to. I'd never patronize them again, after that. That's one reason why I didn't bother trying the Escape. The Explorer, however, is a pretty good SUV if you don't mind the terrible mileage. (More on that here).

MIKE KREMPASKY has a must-read item on Internet free speech.

CITIZEN JOURNALISM being rolled out via the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Read this, too.

CATHY SEIPP writes on her lung cancer. Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: A response.


MARK LEVIN: "On ABC's 'Good Morning America,' Linda Douglass reported that Sam Alito 'is another white male.' Actually, as I think about it, he's less white than the show's anchor, Charles Gibson. Alito's skin tone appears to me to be more olive."

Actually, in the New York Times it appears to be more of a lime green.

UPDATE: SCOTUSBlog has a roundup of Alito decisions, and here's a roundup by Shannon Duffy, reported to be the inventor of the "Scalito" nickname.

ERIN CHAPIN VIDEOBLOGS beer-related difficulties in Knoxville.

ALITO UPDATE: Orin Kerr looks at an Alito abortion decision that's getting less attention. I spoke to a colleague in the hallway a few minutes ago who has argued before Alito and likes him. He said Alito was way too conservative for his taste (not surprising), but that Alito is fair and smart. He thinks Alito is a lot like John Roberts as a pick. Ann Althouse, meanwhile, thinks he's a stronger choice than John Roberts. More here from Julian Sanchez.

UPDATE: David Hardy looks at Alito and the Second Amendment.

KATRINA RELIEF MONEY being diverted to Alaska?

IT'S AN ALITO-NOMINATION POLL over at Hugh Hewitt's.

IN THE MAIL: My law school classmate Gene Sperling's new book, The Pro-Growth Progressive : An Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity. This looks quite interesting, and seems in some ways to resonate with things I'm saying in my forthcoming book. I'll be writing more about it after I've had a chance to read the whole thing. Just the notion that "pro-growth" and "progressive" should go together, of course, will seem radical in some quarters.

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: PorkBusters has entered Version 2.0. N.Z. Bear explains Senator Coburn's new bill to cut spending, and what's going on. (More on that bill here).

N.Z. Bear has also set up a new interactive PorkBusters tracking page that records support from Senators, bloggers, and the like in graphic form. Weigh in!

And here's a snazzy new PorkBusters graphic, by Karl Egenberger. Feel free to use it. Note that the pig is starting to look worried. . . .

MORE ON OIL SANDS: "The Julian Simon effect is already occurring."

STUART BUCK POSTS on the origins of "Scalito."

THIS WEEK'S Carnival of the Capitalists is up!

ABORTION AND SPOUSAL NOTIFICATION: As several people point out, that's going to be an issue with regard to Alito. I'm not sure what I think about this issue, but looking at the Pennsylvania statute I notice a lot of exceptions, one of which is this: "Her spouse is not the father of the child."

I'm not sure about Pennsylvania, but in many states her spouse -- even if he's not the father of the child -- would still be on the hook for child support. Likewise, if he didn't want children, but she disagreed, lied to him about birth control, and got pregnant. And he certainly couldn't force her to have an abortion if she did so, even if his desire not to have children was powerful, and explicitly expressed at the outset. (The usual response -- "he made his choice when he had sex without a condom" -- never comes up in discussions of women and abortion.)

So where's the husband's procreational autonomy? Did he give it up by getting married? And, if he did, is it unthinkable that when they get married women might give some of their autonomy up, too?

The problem here is that you can say "my body, my choice" -- but when you say, "my body, my choice but our responsibility," well, it loses some of its punch.

Somewhat related earlier post, here.

YOU DON'T TUG ON SUPERMAN'S CAPE: Brian Maloney reports that some people, afraid of Michelle Malkin's new book, are launching preemptive attacks. This strikes me as unwise . . . .

UPDATE: Amazon-review flamewar underway!

MAUREEN DOWD MAY NEED A DATE, but Meryl Yourish needs a job. If you can't help out one, see if you can help the other!

SO MUCH FOR MY KOZINSKI BOOMLET: Reports are that Bush will nominate Judge Samuel Alito of the Third Circuit.

Orin Kerr: "I'm very pleased."

Ann Althouse: "I welcome hearing something more substantial about the man than that people call him 'Scalito' to signify his similarity to Scalia and because his last name is similar enough to Scalia that people just can't hear 'Alito' without wanting to say 'Scalito.'"

Kathryn Jean Lopez: "I just got the White House talking points on Alito. Nowhere in them does it say that he is one of the best male lawyers in New Jersey."

UPDATE: Law Dork notes that Bush is stressing the credentials, this time.

Meanwhile, Patterico says that Alito's Casey dissent will be the main issue. More on that here, from Shannen Coffin.

October 30, 2005

JEFF GOLDSTEIN looks at Supreme Court candidates.

RAND SIMBERG has thoughts on "predatory fascism" that's "trying to take over the globe."


THE BIG LOSER in the Libby affair, it would seem to me, is the CIA. At least it will be if anyone pays attention.

Consider: Assuming that Valerie Plame was some sort of genuinely covert operative -- something that's not actually quite clear from the indictment -- the chain of events looks pretty damning: Wilson was sent to Africa on an investigative mission regarding nuclear weapons, but never asked to sign any sort of secrecy agreement(!). Wilson returns, reports, then publishes an oped in the New York Times (!!) about his mission. This pretty much ensures that people will start asking why he was sent, which leads to the fact that his wife arranged it. Once Wilson's oped appeared, Plame's covert status was in serious danger. Yet nobody seemed to care.

This leaves two possibilities. One is that the mission was intended to result in the New York Times oped all along, meaning that the CIA didn't care much about Plame's status, and was trying to meddle in domestic politics. This reflects very badly on the CIA.

The other possibility is that they're so clueless that they did this without any nefarious plan, because they're so inept, and so prone to cronyism and nepotism, that this is just business as usual. If so, the popular theory that the CIA couldn't find its own weenie with both hands and a flashlight would appear to have found some pretty strong support.

Either way, it seems to me that everyone involved with planning the Wilson mission should be fired. And it's obvious that the CIA, one way or another, needs a lot of work.

UPDATE: More thoughts here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ed Morrissey is correcting Wolf Blitzer, who seems to have a poor grasp of the facts.

MORE: Don't miss this must-read post from Tom Maguire, either.

And Brian Dunn has more questions about why Wilson was sent.

ONE OF THE THINGS I'VE NOTICED in the Judy Miller / Scooter Libby coverage is the development of a new history that's very convenient for a lot of the people peddling it. The new story is that:

1. We only went to war because of WMDs -- that was the only reason ever given.

2. Bush lied about those.

3. He told his lies to Judy Miller, who acted like a stenographer and reported them.

4. Everyone else gullibly went along.

There are lots of problems with this, beginning with the fact that it's not true. I've addressed much of this -- especially parts 1 & 2 -- in earlier posts like this one, this one, and especially this one. It gets tiresome having to repeat this stuff, but the new history, despite its falsity, is just too convenient for too many people to be stopped by anything as simple as the truth.

Democratic politicians who supported the war want an excuse to tack closer to their antiwar base. Shouting "It's not my fault --I'm easily fooled!" would seem a substandard response, but it is a way of changing position while pretending it's not politically motivated. Meanwhile, journalists, most of whom were reporting the same kind of WMD stories that Miller did (because that's what pretty much everyone thought -- including the antiwar folks who were arguing that an invasion was a bad idea because it would provoke Saddam into using his weapons of mass destruction), now want to focus on her so that people won't pay much attention to what they were reporting themselves. This makes Judy Miller a handy scapegoat.

But, as I say, the biggest problem with this revisionism is that it's not true. I guess we'll just have to keep pointing that out.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Rand Simberg wonders if Scooter Libby will get a harsher sentence than Sandy Berger if convicted.

ANOTHER UPDATE: J.D. Johannes notes that what people were saying in the 1990s seems to raise problems with the revisionist history. "The final authorization for use of force in 2002 cited the legislation from 1998. But what was conventional wisdom and uncontroversial in 1998, became hotly debated in 2002 and beyond." Especially "beyond."

MORE: Still more revisionist history, from Barbara Boxer.

MORE STILL: Dean Esmay writes:

Having been part of those debates when they were happening, I am utterly appalled at people I used to think of as intelligent and well-informed who keep repeating falsehood after falsehood after falsehood about it. And I am utterly exhausted with having to, at least once a month or so, go back and rehash the same arguments because some people are not simply honest enough, diligent enough, or caring enough to go back and look at the historical record and just be honest about it.

I find having to rehash it all about as pleasant and satisfying as chewing on aluminum foil. It's not disagreement I can't stand, it's the constant repetition of falsehoods that makes me want to scream.


SUPREME COURT UPDATE: It's a Kozinski boomlet!

DON SURBER: "They wanted a Hog but got a Scooter." (Via Gateway Pundit, who has a big roundup on the weekend's Libbygate coverage.)

BILL ROGGIO: "Late Friday I conducted an interview with Colonel Stephen W. Davis, the Commander of Marine Regimental Combat Team - 2, who is responsible for fighting in western Anbar province, also known as AO Denver." Read the whole thing.

WHO'S GETTING THE MOST FROM YOUR GASOLINE DOLLARS? TaxProf reports: "Since 1977, governments collected more than $1.34 trillion, after adjusting for inflation, in gasoline tax revenues—more than twice the amount of domestic profits earned by major U.S. oil companies during the same period."


I MEANT TO POINT TO THIS EXCELLENT COLUMN BY LANNY DAVIS yesterday, but forgot until I saw the reference over at the "original" Roger Simon blog. Indeed, I made similar points in this book, along with Peter Morgan.


I'LL BE ON "RELIABLE SOURCES" ON CNN in just a few minutes, talking about the week's events.

UPDATE: Ian Schwartz has the video. It's me, Jeralyn Merritt, and the "other" Roger Simon, the one from U.S. News.

STRATEGYPAGE: "After two years of work, the Iraqi Sunni Arabs are seeing their worst nightmare come true. And that is an Iraqi army and police force that can do the job, and is not led by Sunni Arabs."

CHENEY SENDS JOE WILSON to find CIA leaker. Results to be published in the New York Times, presumably -- which, if they're behind the Times Select subscription wall, will be kept more secret than the CIA seems able to manage . . . .

JIGSHA DESAI videoblogs from Knoxville's only biker tearoom.

READER JIM HERD sends this link to a review of something new -- a wifi-enabled digital camera from Canon. (Not Bluetooth, wifi.)

DPReview isn't that impressed, though: "[P]ersonally I'd like to see manufacturers spending more R&D on important things like low-noise, high sensitivity sensors, better compact lenses, better automatic white balance and improved performance."

SEE, THE NICE THING ABOUT BLOGGING instead of writing for Big Media is that my bad review of the Subaru Tribeca didn't get me fired.

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Here's a Richard Smalley obituary.