November 12, 2005

HEH: "I must say, I never knew 'astutely' was a synonym for 'disingenuously'."

THIS SOUNDS LIKE GOOD NEWS: "Al Qaeda on defensive as bombs begin to backfire."

As Bill Roggio noted a while back: "the more the Iraqis, even those opposed to a U.S. presence in their country, are exposed to the depravity of al Qaeda, the more they grow to despise them." For "Iraqis" substitute, well, everyone and you've pretty much got it.

TOMORROW'S NEW YORK TIMES has a nice review of James Lileks' new book, which seems to be doing quite well.

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT cracks down, with a twist, on racial discrimination in higher education:

President Bush's administration has threatened to sue Southern Illinois University, alleging its fellowship programs for minority and female students violate federal civil rights laws by discriminating against whites, men and others. . . .

"The University has engaged in a pattern or practice of intentional discrimination against whites, non-preferred minorities and males,'' says a Justice Department letter sent to the university last week and obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The letter demands the university cease the fellowship programs, or the department's civil rights division will sue SIU by Nov. 18.

(Via Josh Claybourn, who observes: "From my brief inspection of two of the fellowships, race appears to be the only factor. The outcome of this DOJ pressure, and any subsequent litigation, will have far-reaching implications on the scholarship culture and, in turn, higher education across the country.") This will certainly make waves.

UPDATE: Aaron at FreeWillBlog has further thoughts on what this is likely to mean.

ANOTHER UPDATE: LaShawn Barber has more thoughts on the subject, which are, as always, worth reading.

THE INSTA-WIFE will be on A&E's City Confidential tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern.

AVIAN FLU SPREADS TO PIGS in China. This is bad news, increasingly the likelihood of a strain that will jump to humans.

(Via Rand Simberg). Also there's this troubling news:

Experiments with human cells have found the H5N1 virus can trigger levelsof inflammatory proteins called cytokines and chemokines that are more than 10 times higher than those that occur during a bout of the common flu.

This massive increase in cytokine and chemokine activity can inflame airways, making it hard to breathe. It also contributes to the unusual severity of the avian flu, which can result in life-threatening pneumonia and acute respiratory distress. . . .

"This is basically a cytokine storm induced by this specific virus, which then leads to respiratory distress syndrome," Osterholm said. "This also makes sense of why you tend to see a preponderance of severe illness in those who tend to be the healthiest, because the ability to increase the production of cytokines is actually higher in those who are not immune-compromised. It's more likely in those who are otherwise healthy."

Perhaps inhaled steroids, such as are used in treating asthma, would help.

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Over at Baseball Crank, a pretty unsatisfactory answer from a Congressman:

You may recall my effort, in connection with the "porkbusters" campaign, to get my Congressman, Gary Ackerman, to commit to give back local pork-barrel transportation spending (including money for parking lots, sidewalks, bike racks and public parks in Queens) to help offset the cost of Hurricane Katrina. Well, yesterday I received his response, which is set forth in full in the extended entry. As you can see, Ackerman fails to even acknowledge the question; his response includes not a word about transportation funding. Instead, he scrolls through the usual hot buttons - Iraq, tax cuts, no-bid contracts, etc. - and appears to oppose any effort to cut any spending of any kind.

Follow the link to read the whole thing. Meanwhile, here's another unhapppy constituent:

It's been over six weeks since I asked Colorado's senators and representatives if they'd agree to cancel six specific Colorado pork projects to help pay for Hurricane Katrina relief. The blogosphere has moved on to PorkBusters v. 2.0. But today, I finally received a reply from my own representative, Dianne DeGette. Well, it purports to be a reply, although -- like Salazar, Allard, and Udall before her -- DeGette simply ignores my request for specific answers regarding six specific projects.

DeGette goes further, though, and has the nerve to actually misrepresent my position to me. I suppose she (or someone on her staff) thinks that if she tells me I agree with her, I will.

The full letter is reproduced, along with some more choice comments, and some kind words for Patricia Schroeder.

Karl Gallagher has another report:

I just got a call from Congresswoman Granger's office. They wanted to let me know that next week the house would be voting on a $50-70 billion budget cut, affecting both mandatory and discretionary spending. Granger supports that, but doesn't want to cut the $1m for economic development in Fort Worth next year. The problem with cutting that project is that the money wouldn't be cut from the budget, just transferred to another state that wants it. I complained about that as a "small government conservative" and got some sympathy. Apparently it's the "system" that drives it.

I'd have more respect for that argument if the system for appropriating that money wasn't under the control of the Congress. But they made it and they can fix it. If it's easier for them to go after the entitlements and do across-the-board cuts than give up single projects, great, but I'd like to see some real progress and it's usually easier to tackle small targets than large.

Meanwhile, here's an Alaskan perspective on pork: "Alaskans Can Be Proud...their congressional delegation is not only adept at Grand Larceny but also petty theft."

But Mark Tapscott notes a small victory for Senator Coburn against pork. It's pretty small, though.


The administration's overarching point is true: Intelligence agencies overwhelmingly believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, and very few members of Congress from either party were skeptical about this belief before the war began in 2003. Indeed, top lawmakers in both parties were emphatic and certain in their public statements.

(Via Paul Mirengoff, who wonders why it took Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus so long to admit that).

UPDATE: Bill Quick thinks he has the answer to Mirengoff's question.

And here's a roundup noting that the war started in 1998.


Talk about negative feelings, but according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, this is the first time since 1994 that a majority of Americans — as a generation proposition — want to dump their individual Member of Congress. Question: In the 2006 election for U.S. Congress, do you feel that your representative deserves to be reelected, or do you think it is time to give a new person a chance? Answer: Re-elect My Incumbent - 37%,. Elect a New Person - 51%.

1994, eh? Maybe if the Republicans in Congress stood for something, they'd have more support.

November 11, 2005

I JUST CAUGHT A BIT of New York Times publisher "Pinch" Sulzberger on Charlie Rose, and my reaction was pretty much as negative as Jack Shafer's.

Sulzberger was going on about how terrible it is that press reports of classified leaks are likely to spawn special prosecutors, without noting the role that the Times played in producing that situation -- not least by demanding an investigation in the Plame case -- and he made a lot about the public's right to know without, in the bit I saw, even trying to reconcile that with the fact that the whole Judy Miller dispute was about not telling the public what the NYT knew. It was a deeply unimpressive performance.

TIGERHAWK HAS THOUGHTS on dissent, responsible and otherwise, in a time of limited war. Read the whole thing.

IT'S A SPECIAL VETERAN'S DAY Carnival of Cordite.

UPDATE: And here's a special Veteran's Day Gay Cavalcade.


The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) said on Thursday that it had received an unconfirmed report that some 1,500 armed men had attacked and burned six villages in South Darfur, killing 18 people earlier this week.

UNMIS said the report indicated that on Sunday and Monday, the armed group travelling on camels, horses and in vehicles killed the 18 victims, wounded 16 others, and attacked and burned the villages of Dar es Salam, Jamali, Funfo, Tabeldyad, Um Djantara and Um Putrum in the Gereida area of South Darfur.

I think it's going to take more than U.N. commissions. Why can't we send these people some guns and trainers?

MORE ON BUSH'S SPEECH: A reader emails:

For supporters of the war (like me) the salient question about Bush's speech is: Is this just the beginning of a sustained, coherent counter-argument or just a one-off?

To use a baseball analogy, Bush is like the batter who hits for power and not average.

When he connects, he can a hit spectacular homer.

The problem is, he rarely connects.

The Democrats, by contrast, are playing littleball, whittling at the GOP with an investigation here, a misquote there, an MS Word doc from 1973 ...

It's the Texas Rangers against the Chicago White Sox--and we all know who won the World Series.

If the President keeps this up, then--great! Supporters have been waiting eons for the elephants to get back in this fight.

On the other hand, if this is another one of the President's "there, that oughtta hold the little buggers for the next six months" gestures, then things won't change except to get worse.

The GOP needs to realize that actions don't always speak louder than words, especially in politics, and especially for Republicans.

Yes, it's all about the follow-through.

UPDATE: Lorie Byrd has thoughts on Bush's timing.

IF YOU HAVEN'T CHECKED OUT Jim Bennett's blog, Albion's Seedlings, you might want to.


WELL, THE HATEMAIL HAS POURED IN after my earlier post on Bush's speech. For the record, though, I didn't say (and don't think) that anyone who opposes the war is unpatriotic. (In fact, only antiwar people seem to keep raising this strawman). But the Democratic politicans who are pushing the "Bush Lied" meme are, I think, playing politics with the war in a way that is, in fact, unpatriotic. Having voted for the war, they now want to cozy up to the increasingly powerful MoveOn crowd, which is immensely antiwar. The "Bush Lied" meme is their way of getting cover. This move also suggests that their earlier support for the war may itself have been more opportunistic than sincere, which I suppose is another variety of unpatriotism.

This bit of hatemail, though, seems to carry the flavor best:

Did you ever really think you'd be the kind of person who would be calling dissenters from a right-wing, gay-bashing, anti-evolution, incompetent war-making administration "unpatriotic"?

I'm not sure where evolution or gay rights come into this (I've "dissented" on those points myself, after all), but I think this illustrates that the "Bush lied" issue has more to do with anti-Bush sentiment than with anything having to do with the merits of the war.

But it's not "dissent" that's unpatriotic, something I've been at pains to note in the past. It's putting one's own political positions first, even if doing so encourages our enemies, as this sort of talk is sure to do. And that's what I think is going on with the sudden surge of "Bush Lied" stuff from Congressional democrats.

Of course, outrage over questioning of patriotism is kind of one-sided. You can say that Bush and Cheney started the war with a bunch of lies to enrich their buddies at Halliburton, and that their supporters are all a bunch of chickenhawks on the White House payroll. But that's different because -- because Bush is anti-evolution, and doesn't support gay marriage! Or something.

UPDATE: Thanks to the speed of the blogosphere, John Cole has responded to Kevin Drum's rather misleading quotation of my earlier post, before I even noticed it.

I suspect Kevin left out my bit about Democratic politicians pandering to the antiwar base because, well, it's obviously true and it kind of spoils his point.

John gets this part right:

Painting as unpatriotic those individuals who change their opinions simply for political reasons is wholly appropriate, and that is what Glenn stated. Reynolds is not, as Kevin Drum would have you believe, simply calling anyone against the war or anyone who believes that the the reasons used to go to war were inaccurate ‘unpatriotic.’

See, it's not so hard if you actually read the post. Jeff Goldstein has related thoughts.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Richard Samuelson emails:

The response to your posts is interesting. One question that might be interesting to ask. To what degree to your critics believe that patriotism is a good thing? To what degree do they believe it is proper to support one's own country ahead of others?

How to criticize one's country responsibly is a very interesting question, particularly with regard to an ongoing war. On the one hand, it is one's duty as a citizen to support one's country when it is engaged in a war. Even if one opposed the war at the start, it is one's job in a democratic republic to show faith in one's fellow-citizens, and give them the benefit of the doubt on the rightness of the decision. On the other hand, a good citizen has a responsibility to criticize the government when he finds it to be misguided.

I wonder if the passion behind the rhetoric here is existential. If this war is justified, it raises doubts about whether the world will ever become war-free. For that reason, it raises fundamental questions about the possibility of true progress in any grand sense. If this war is justified, it might mean that patriotism will always remain a virtue in some circumstances, because the world will always, in some ways, be divided between us and others. It might be, in short, an attack upon the implicit universalism of so much modern ideology. Giving that up might be too high a price to pay. Hence it's easier to dismiss the war as fundamentally corrupt from the start.

I don't know, but it's surprising the extent to which people who routinely make the Halliburton and chickenhawk slurs seem to require much greater delicacy from others.

MORE: Tom Maguire:

In any case, I believe there is a substantial difference between "Your false charges are undermining the troops" and "Your criticism is undermining our troops".

OK, I understand that for purposes of debating this point, war critics will have to insist that *all* their criticisms are perceived as false. However, that is simply not so. For example, a war opponent who argued that this war would not go well without international support and a specific UN resolution is entitled to that opinion, and I don't see how it could be proven to be either true or false. Consequently, I don't see how the specific passage offered by the Times could be viewed as an attempt by Bush to stifle that particular dissent, or to question that critic's patriotism.

But I am gloomily resigned to having it explained to me.

The Democrats do seem to be finding traction with the new approach. The old talking point - "I would have spoken out against the war, but Karl Rove and Bill O'Reilly would have been mean to me, and Arnold might have called me a girlie-man" - lacked a certain John Wayne quality.

Whether the new talking point - "I couldn't see through Bush's lies" - takes hold depends on just how empty-headed various Dems want to appear as they abase themselve before their base.

Heh. Indeed.

MORE STILL: Reader Dan Farmer emails:

How is the constant repetition of, ‘Bush fooled me, I didn’t know what I was doing!’, help the Democrats? How will they stand up to the perfidy and guile of our real enemies and sometimes allies? Maybe someone can work that into a winning campaign slogan, but it’s beyond me. How about “We’re Dumber than Bush!”?

That'll sell.

STILL MORE: Josh Wills emails:

Only one question comes to mind when I read your post on the hate mail you received in response to your comments on "unpatriotic" congressional Democrats- still nicer than the hate mail you got for your (still blasphemous) barbecue post?

Oh, the barbecue hatemail was much worse. But the spelling was better.

BEST HEADLINE OF THE DAY: "Will The DoJ Probe the CIA for CYA?"

UPDATE: Related CIA post here.

OVER AT THE BELGRAVIA DISPATCH, the senior Djerejian offers thoughts on what's wrong with our public diplomacy efforts, and what we ought to be doing: "[A] process of unilateral disarmament in the weapons of advocacy over the last decade has contributed to widespread negative attitudes and even hostility toward the United States and left us vulnerable to lethal threats to our interests and our safety."


READER DAVID BANKS EMAILS: "As a local and frequent reader of your blog, I surely would like to see more of the great around East Tennessee photos. After all the many references to digital cameras, I know you have them!"

Actually, I've been too busy book-writing, paper-grading, etc., to do my usual photo expeditions this year. But I did take a camera with me as I strolled around campus yesterday. Here's one picture, and I'll try to upload some more later.

DEMOCRATS DENY having pre-war intelligence.

GATEWAY PUNDIT has much more on Bush's speech, including links to video.


We would rather not be engaging in a tit-for-tat with Reps. Shays and Meehan following their latest response to the joint letter circulated by Markos Moulitsas and Mike Krempasky yesterday. Our preference has always been to work together with those representatives and outside groups sincerely interested in balancing the desire to stem corruption with the need to protect political activity online, and I will continue to speak with anyone interested in alternatives to H.R. 4194 as it is presently constructed.

But that letter demands a response, and it does because of what it reveals. For all their strutting about the "great virtue" of discourse on the Internet, Reps. Shays and Meehan repeatedly attack our letter for "circulating on the Internet" as though the medium alone somehow detracted from the truth of its message, almost as if we had posted it in a bathroom stall rather than faxing it to all 435 Members' offices before posting online.

Read the whole thing.


And read earlier posts on this subject here and here. Also here.

[And if you're coming in on a link from elsewhere, be sure to read this later post].

The White House needs to go on the offensive here in a big way -- and Bush needs to be very plain that this is all about Democratic politicans pandering to the antiwar base, that it's deeply dishonest, and that it hurts our troops abroad.

And yes, he should question their patriotism. Because they're acting unpatriotically.

UPDATE: InstaPunk looks at the origins of the big lie on Iraq. Meanwhile, Michael Ubaldi emails:

President Bush should revisit the media-distorted Duelfer report, which confirmed that Saddam Hussein changed his strategy in the latter 1990s and intended to rebuild his WMD capacity when the sanctions-regime-turned-bonanza was lifted.

Ending the Gulf War -- and by democratizing, aiding the prosecution of the war on terror -- was always about Iraq and the despotic government its authoritarian culture made possible.

Just read the items linked above.

UPDATE: Reader Kathleen Boerger emails: "Could you do me a favor and define 'patriotism' please?"

I think it starts with not uttering falsehoods that damage the country in time of war, simply because your donor base wants to hear them.

Patriotic people could -- and did -- oppose the war. But so did a lot of scoundrels. And some who supported the war were not patriotic, if they did it out of opportunism or political calculation rather than honest belief. Those who are now trying to recast their prior positions through dishonest rewriting of history are not patriotic now, nor were they when they supported the war, if they did so then out of opportunism --which today's revisionist history suggests.

Judging from the lefty hatemail this post has created, I have to observe that it's odd -- people who have spent the past year saying that Bush took us to war to enrich Halliburton somehow now think it's beyond the bounds of civilized discussion to question people's motives on the war. That's part of the big lie, too.

More on historical revisionism, here.

If Democrats were smart, meanwhile, they'd be taking Bob Krumm's advice:

Instead of looking backward to question why we're at war, Democrats should focus on winning by increasing the size of the military, portraying a positive message, supporting not just the troops, but also their mission, and showing the world a united homefront in the midst of war.

There's precedent for this counterintuitive approach--1992. When Bushes win victories abroad, the focus returns quickly to their failures at home. And as far as many Republican voters are concerned, there are domestic deficiencies aplenty in this Bush administration. Just as there were in his father's.

So, Democrats, stop running against the war. You serve only to unite an otherwise disenchanted Republican base. If you take the war off the front page by winning it, Republicans will have to depend on their domestic record for victory. And, unfortunately, there's little there to rally the base.

The desire of so many on the left to relive the Vietnam era is Karl Rove's secret weapon.

MORE: The full text of Bush's speech is here. Excerpt:

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate — who had access to the same intelligence — voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power. (Applause.)

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. (Applause.) These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.)

(Applause.) Er, and (about time).

And read this post by Tom Bevan at RealClearPolitics, too. Excerpt: "In the end, the story of the run-up to the Iraq war is about intelligence, but not in the way most people think. Intelligence is always flawed and imprecise, even more so when you're dealing with a closed, paranoid and authoritarian regime like Hussein's. It's foolish to suggest Bush should have bucked consensus estimates on Iraq WMD built from more than a decade of intel, and it's even worse to suggest he lied for not doing so."

STILL MORE: Don Surber says it was Bush's Gettysburg Address.

THE NEW GALLOWAY BROTHERS DOCUMENTARY, Why Wal*Mart Works and why that makes some people C-R-A-Z-Y! is coming out next week. There's a trailer online now. I guess it's the one they edited in the car.

I've never understood why Wal-Mart makes some people crazy, but it clearly does. I prefer Tarzhay myself for its more upscale ambience, but my discomfort with Wal-Mart is purely aesthetic, and I think it's odd that some people see it as evil incarnate. As I said when they interviewed me for this film (I haven't seen it, so I don't know if I wound up on the cutting-room floor, which is probably where I belong), I think there's a class issue: Wal-Mart is unavoidable evidence that the American working classes don't think, or live, the way the American thinking classes want to imagine. For this sin, Wal-Mart can never be forgiven.

Of course, they could really get my loyalty with a Samuel's. With Hebrew Nationals and free wi-fi!

BE YOUR OWN HOTSPOT: A solar-powered, EVDO-based backpack wi-fi setup.

FATHERS AND SONS: This Veterans Day piece in NRO mentions InstaPundit reader John Lucas and his son David.

ANDREW BREITBART: Al Qaeda killed my friend. Read the whole thing.

JEFF JARVIS: "Google wants the rest of the world to put its stuff online to be searchable by Google. Will the stuff Google creates be searchable by everyone else?"

I'M DEEPLY UNIMPRESSED WITH "INTELLIGENT DESIGN," but this NPR story on the harassment, firing, and intimidation of scientists and academics who support intelligent design, or even seem like they might, is pretty appalling. (More accurately, the story is very good, but what it reports is appalling). This is pretty much scientific McCarthyism, and it ought to be stopped.

Listen to the story, and read this letter from the Office of Special Counsel on the Smithsonian Institution's behavior in a particularly disgraceful episode

Of course, with friends like Pat Robertson, Intelligent Design hardly needs enemies.

MARY MAPES UNLEASHED: More reports and video of her continuing help-remind-people-how-CBS-reelected-Bush tour!

RALPH KINNEY BENNETT remembers Veterans' Day.

JOANNE JACOBS' NEW BOOK is still way up on Amazon. Congratulations, Joanne!

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: It's the Porker of the Month!

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) Porker of the Month for working to thwart a budget reconciliation package that could save taxpayers $53.9 billion over five years. As ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Rep. Spratt preaches fiscal restraint yet refuses to offer savings proposals and even held a mock hearing to misconstrue miniscule spending reductions as deep cuts. . . .

Mandatory spending currently accounts for 54 percent of the federal budget. Left unchecked, it will absorb 62 percent in just 10 years and will eventually crowd out all other federal priorities. Rep. Spratt prefers to bury his head in the sand and punt the problem to future generations to deal with. He claims to favor across-the-board spending cuts as an alternative to the GOP plan. But Rep. Joel Hefley (R-Colo.) has proposed seven across-the-board cuts -- of one percent each -- to appropriations bills this year, and Rep. Spratt voted against every one.

For ignoring the looming crisis in mandatory spending, for using scare tactics to portray modest spending restraints as deep cuts, and for refusing to cut wasteful spending to offset hurricane recovery and reduce the deficit, CAGW names Rep. John Spratt Porker of the Month for November 2005.


IT'S ALL ABOUT THE OIL: Another peace activist with oil-for-food interests.

November 10, 2005

MEGAN MCARDLE is blogging about abortion. She keeps posting, so just keep scrolling.

MARK STEYN on the Paris riots, the Jordan bombings, and more. Excerpt:

I do think that what's pathetic about all Western countries, including the United States, including France, including Canada, and a lot of other countries, is that they make these sort of high school sophist arguments about terrorism, as if it's some sort of theoretical debate. It's not. We're dealing with a very difficult situation here. And if you accord to terrorists all the rights of somebody who gets arrested for holding up a liquor store in Des Moines, you are going to lose to the terrorists, because when you accord them the full rights of somebody who is a criminal, you make it impossible to prosecute this as a war, which is what it is.

Read the whole thing, which is another of those handy instant transcripts from the Hugh Hewitt show.


Mapes does a pretty good job of discrediting herself, too.


GIVING AL FRANKEN the credit he deserves.


Nissan Motor Co. announced Thursday it is moving its North American headquarters and nearly 1,300 jobs from California to the Nashville area to take advantage of the lower cost of doing business in the Southeast.

"The board of Nissan decided to relocate our North American headquarters, and we're coming to Tennessee," Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said at a news conference at the state Capitol attended by Gov. Phil Bredesen and other top state officials.

The headquarters, which has been based in Gardena, Calif., will relocate to Williamson County, a suburban area south of Nashville. . . .

Ghosn cited lower real estate and business taxes as major reasons for the move.

"The costs of doing business in Southern California are much higher than the costs of doing business in Tennessee," he said.

Plus, housing is much cheaper for employees, and there's no state income tax.

UPDATE: Reader Daniel Aronstein emails:

Your title - and take - on the Nissan relocation from California to Tennessee is unfair and inaccurate.

Nissan left for reasons that Ahnold has been trying very hard to change.

And the Democrats and unions have stopped him.

An accurate and unbiased title would have been "BREDESEN 1, Kalifornia Democrats & unions 0."

I wasn't really picking on Arnold, I just thought that was cute. But a fair point.


Small correction to your Nissan post (which is great news, by the way). There IS an income tax in Tennessee. It's called the Hall Tax. Check it out. It particularly sucks for small business people like me
and the Mrs. who organize as Sub-S corporations. It isn't mentioned in the chamber of commerce brochures. Not sure why Tennessee penalizes small businesses, who create about 80% of the jobs here.

Yes, the Hall Tax sucks though it probably has no relevance to decisions like Nissan's.


Why Republicans don’t say more about the tax-cut related economic expansion is beyond me. And whether Tuesday’s disappointing election results provide a wake up call for the GOP remains to be seen. But they need a wake up call. Young Turks in the House like Mike Pence, Jeff Flake, and Marsha Blackburn should be represented in the House leadership. Ideas matter. Dick Armey was a great idea man. Speaker Dennis Hastert doesn’t seem to be a great idea man. The Tom DeLay period is probably over. New blood in the leadership is essential.

And speaking of new blood, where exactly is the White House proposal for budget cutting? Last week Bush said he was open to deeper budget cuts. But no new budget-cutting list has so far been unveiled by the OMB. The White House is not using the bully pulpit to lead the effort. . . .

Specific policies will beat inertia. But without specifics, the Democrats will gain more ground simply because the Republicans now running government are failing to meet taxpayer expectations.

This is a real problem. It ain’t going away.


PLAME UPDATE: Tom Maguire has questions for, and about, Andrea Mitchell.

JORDANIANS TO ZARQAWI: "Burn in Hell." Sounds good to me.

He's not much at winning friends, but he sure has managed to influence a lot of people.

ANOTHER JUDICIAL-PICK DROPPED BALL? When I heard that there were two candidates for the Ninth Circuit named Smith, I figured that surely one of them had to be San Diego law professor and blogger Tom Smith. But, alas, I was wrong.

JOANNE JACOBS' BOOK has certainly rocketed up on Amazon. She's in the three-digit rankings now. I hope it's a bestseller.


Are you impressed that TimesSelect has attracted "approximately" 135,000 paying customers?** At $45 a head (halfway between the introductory price and the regular price) that's $6.1 million. Bigger than Arianna! But if someone--say, Richard Mellon Scaife--had come along a year ago and offered the NYT $6.1 million to radically limit the reach of its (largely) liberal columnists, would the paper have taken the deal?

Good question.

LANCE FRIZZELL IS BACK FROM IRAQ, and posts a request.


WHY THE REPUBLICANS SHOULD BE WORRIED, and the Democrats should be seizing opportunities: Driving in to work this morning, I heard this guy talking on the Hallerin Hill show, and he noted that he votes for the Republicans because of their stance on money and taxes, but that he agrees with the Democrats on a lot of other issues. If the Democrats would just lose their hostility to the idea of people getting rich, he said, they'd have his votes and millions of others.

I think that's probably right -- and I'd guess that Gene Sperling does too. That's why, as I suggested in my column yesterday, it's important that the pro-growth Democrats get a hearing. And while Republicans might prefer that they lose out, the truth is that sooner or later the Dems will be back in, and we'd rather see them sensible on economic matters when they are.

Of course, there's still the whole national-security issue, which for me is more of a dealbreaker than the economics. But I'd like to see more sense on that front, as well. Karl Rove may prefer the Democrats to chase the Democratic Underground vote and marginalize themselves, but I think the country would be better off if they moved in the other direction.

CATS AND DOGS, LIVING TOGETHER? Well, it's Mike Krempasky and Kos on the same side:

The campaign finance regulation lobby is trying to muddy the waters by offering a sham alternative to the Online Freedom of Speech Act. Their bill is HR 4194, and they're trying to convince the Congress that it provides protection for online speech.

Not so. For details on why, check out Adam Bonin here.

In response - the Online Coalition is asking the 3000+ bloggers and activists that signed on to our early comments to the FEC to light up the phones on Capitol Hill - and send a trackback to this post.

Even more significant, in a "didn't think I'd see that" kind of moment - Markos and I have co-signed a letter to every Member of the House this morning. It's below the fold - and useful for communicating with Congress.

Remember - in order to get the bill we WANT - we need to kill the sham substitute. HR 4194 does NOT protect speech, and it DOES increase regulation of the web. This time, let's not let them have the field all to themselves, eh?

Follow the link to read the letter.

KURDISTAN THANKS AMERICA: Gateway Pundit has the story, with video.

Check out the Kurds' website, too, for links to several TV ads they'll be running in America to say thanks.


Various people are happy. Including me.

PUBLIUS ROUNDS UP French and British media reaction to the French riots.

HAPPY 230TH BIRTHDAY to the Marine Corps.


The House is voting on the “Deficit Reduction Act of 2005” today. It is arguably the biggest vote of the year.

Read the whole thing to find out why this is so important.

GOOD QUESTION: "Why are we supposed to believe the Times about stories to which they are not a party when the paper so boldly lies about a story the facts of which are 100% within its control?"

UPDATE: Ron Coleman thinks this question is unfair:

To the contrary, in the law at least — and I think in life, too — we expect almost everyone with an interest in a situation to be biased, on some level, as to how they report it. It is a presumption that colors how a finder of fact weighs the testimony of an interested person. In contrast, when it comes to “stories to which they are not a party,” peoples’ bias has to be proved, either directly or by implication.

Certainly, nobody thinks the Times is unbiased here. But stuff like this -- or, more notably, the bit about not being able to reach Miller for comment on a story about her departure -- the New York Observer seemed to manage -- is pretty hard to ignore.

OOPS, MY BAD: I misread Joanne Jacobs' email, and I wasn't supposed to plug her new book on education reform until today. Oh, well.

INTELLIGENT DESIGN: Non-science, or just bad science? Uriah Kriegel examines the question.

A HUGO CHAVEZ / VICENTE FOX CATFIGHT? More from Miguel Octavio and Venezuela News. I'll just add to the fun by pointing out that Chavez seems to be packing on the extra pounds.

JOSEPH BRITT has more on Zimbabwe.

November 09, 2005

CHRIS ANDERSON RUNS THE NUMBERS and declares a mainstream media meltdown.

UPDATE: Reader Frank Hujber emails:

Regarding your post on the media meltdown, every six months or so, we encounter an article disparing why the loss of the male audience. Every time, I parse the article and try to find the organization responsible for the survey, and I send them an email pointing out to them the possibility that perhaps they are not showing men enough respect. I might be wrong, but in my view, the media gives so much to the women's point of view that they demonstrate disrespect, or at the very least, dismissiveness, for men and masculinity and fatherhood. I'm convinced that this is the reason men are no longer interested in watching anything but sports.

Anyway, whether I'm right or wrong, I never even get the shortest of replies. It occurs to me that they're so well steeped in their own view that they won't even listen to the notion that they might be wrong.

It seems like there MIGHT be some significant business opportunity there.

You'd think. This is a theme that's been addressed here before. Send 'em a link to Doris Lessing! Or, if you're really angry, to Steve Verdon. Yeah, people notice this stuff.

HAVING FUN WITH MARY MAPES' BOOK: Like Robert Bork and Al Gore, she's working hard after-the-fact to make clear that she never deserved that job to begin with.

MAZDA INTRODUCES a hydrogen-powered rotary-engine sports car. There's also a hybrid version, combining two of my automotive interests in one!

Sadly, they're just concept cars at present, though the hydrogen-powered RX-8 will be available for lease next year.

MICHAEL BARONE was on Hugh Hewitt's show talking about yesterday's elections. Here's the transcript.

There's more on Barone's blog.

NORM GERAS REPORTS on problems faced by the opposition in Zimbabwe as it faces a crackdown by Robert Mugabe, the Pol Pot of Africa.

EDUCATIONBLOGGER JOANNE JACOBS' NEW BOOK, Our School : The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea, and the School That Beat the Odds, is out. Don't just sit there -- buy it!


Judy Miller has been fired from the New York Times, and one of the Times's crack pavement-pounding reporters writes that "Ms. Miller could not be reached for comment."

What, they lost her phone number? And couldn't walk down the hall to the desk she was cleaning out?

Did I say "heh?" Yes, I did.

SCOTT BURGESS offers a pretty thorough debunking of the "U.S. used chemical weapons in Fallujah" story -- though it was pretty obviously bogus on its face.

UPDATE: More on the "white phosphorus" claims here, leading to this conclusion: "I guess there is a place for 'Mary Mapes-style' journalism in the world after all."

And a pretty big one, by all appearances.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Fred Ray emails:

Just wanted to comment on the allegations going 'round about "indiscriminate" use of white phosphorus against civilians. I'm a former armor officer and Vietnam vet who has used WP on quite a number of occasions. So far as I know it is no longer made for tank (or Bradley) guns, but is fired by artillery and at times by mortars.

We use WP as a marking round, because it makes a nice column of white smoke that's easy to see. The most common use is with air strikes and helicopters -- you can direct them in relation to the smoke column and thus avoid hitting your own troops or civilians. I suppose you could use it as an incendiary (and it says so in the book) but I've never seen it used that way, because it's not very efficient.

So did we use WP in Fallujah? Maybe -- but the effects would have been quite limited because the burst radius is about 150' (that for a 155mm shell), and it only affects people who get some particles of it on them. We also have a non-WP smoke round that we use for screening.

Now, WP is nasty stuff, no doubt. If you get it on you it will burn you badly and it's very difficult to extinguish. But it's not a "chemical" weapon except in the sense that any non-nuke is a chemical weapon i.e. it works by means of a chemical reaction. Nor is it in any sense banned by any sort of international convention. Some of the drivel coming from these so-called human right organizations is unbelievable -- that people can be burned or "caramalized" (what does that mean?) without their clothes burning. WP will burn anything it comes in contact with.

Or...that WP creates a killing toxic "cloud." I'm sure breathing the smoke isn't the best thing for you, but Sarin it ain't. Both these statements ought to be your clue that you're dealing with pure BS.

It always amazes me what people will believe, but apparently there is a segment of the MSM that will believe anything as long as it's anti-American.

Yes, and it's a sizable one.

MORE: Reader Henry Gowen emails:

Look for the next breathless reporting about weapons in Iraq to include the startling news that bullets are being used, and they hurt people. White phosphorus has been around at least since World War II--and it was used as an antipersonnel weapon. Like napalm, it was useful against targets protected from conventional explosives. In my Army days, 1959-61, we fired WP ("Willie Peter") shells from 4.2 inch mortars for practice. When the round lands, it produces a cloud of white. (Watch for this in WWII documentaries, especially from the Pacific.) Nasty stuff, we were told, because the dispersed particles stick to cloth and skin and cannot be extinguished with water. Bad, but certainly not new. This is what happens when news staffs have nobody with any military connections. Reminds me of a Wall Street Journal headline from decades ago that referred to a .30 caliber cannon. That would be an accurate descriptor, of course, only in the Lilliputian army.


MAX BOOT is saying I told you so to Jacques Chirac. Or something like that. But he finishes on a hopeful note:

The outlook for the Continent may appear hopeless, but it's not. Britain faced an equally severe crisis in the winter of 1979, when a series of strikes left the dead unburied and the garbage uncollected. Things got so bad that voters tossed out the Labor government and brought in free-market firebrand Margaret Thatcher. Today, Britain is the envy of Europe. France and its neighbors could make a similar rebound. Perhaps the flames emanating from Clichy-sous-Bois will illuminate Europe's problems and burn down some of the barriers to change.

If we're lucky.

TOM MAGUIRE is parsing Nick Kristof, and wonders: "Hmm - might the Times sue me as a promotional stunt? I'll believe anything about Times Select." Sounds like it could use the help.

Mickey Kaus chimes in on Maguire's analysis, and comments on blog-revisionism:

I'm not saying bloggers should never revise after hitting "publish." Maybe they shouldn't, but I rewrite sentences all the time--if an emailer makes a good objection or I just have second thoughts. But it does become Orwellian at some point--i.e. when you redo a column after you've been publicly attacked for some stupidity to make it look as if there was never any stupidity to attack. ... P.P.P.S.: Luckily, I have a printed-out hard copy of Kristof's original, presumably dumber,** version, which I will mail to anyone who wants it for only $49.95.! Call it TimesSelectClassic.

Yeah, stuff looks different on the screen, and it's okay to fix things once published, but once people are commenting on your posts, it's time to make changes in a clearly labelled update.

A BAD NIGHT FOR REPUBLICANS? Or a bad year? Evan Coyne Maloney has thoughts.

VARIFRANK POSTS A TRIBUTE to failed prophets of doom. And, along those lines, here's a list of Jeremy Rifkin's failed predictions.

DAVE KOPEL notes the anniversary of Kristallnacht.

MICHAEL BARONE has a lengthy post on yesterday's election results, and promises more soon.

UPDATE: Larry Kudlow: "Last night’s election results were a stinging blow to the Republican party."

MASSIVE PRO-DEMOCRACY PROTESTS IN AZERBAIJAN: Gateway Pundit has a roundup, with photos and lots of links.

IT'S NOT JIHAD, AND NEVER HAS BEEN: Jim Dunnigan on the French riots:

Thus, the street violence is partly a lark, because the kids know the cops are not going to use lethal force, and anyone who gets caught will, at worst, do maybe a year in the slammer (for burning cars looting stores). The drug gangs encourage the violence as a way to intimidate the cops. When the violence dies down, the gang bosses can threaten the local cops with a revival, if the cops do not back off (when it comes to the drug trade).

There are some Islamic radicals running around in all this, but they are a minority. The Moslem kids like to talk about respect and payback, but very few see this as a religious war. It’s become a sport, with various groups competing to cause the most destruction. Text messaging, Internet bulletin boards and email made it possible for the rioters to stay in touch and compare notes. The media coverage also encouraged the violence, giving the kids some positive (for them) feedback.

But now, nearly two weeks of street violence have thoroughly embarrassed the government so much that curfews and more arrests have taken some of the joy out of these Autumn antics. But it’s not jihad, and never has been.

I certainly hope he's right.


Related post here.


Among the many distortions, misrepresentations, and outright falsifications that have emerged from the debate over Iraq, one in particular stands out above all others. This is the charge that George W. Bush misled us into an immoral and/or unnecessary war in Iraq by telling a series of lies that have now been definitively exposed.

What makes this charge so special is the amazing success it has enjoyed in getting itself established as a self-evident truth even though it has been refuted and discredited over and over again by evidence and argument alike. In this it resembles nothing so much as those animated cartoon characters who, after being flattened, blown up, or pushed over a cliff, always spring back to life with their bodies perfectly intact. Perhaps, like those cartoon characters, this allegation simply cannot be killed off, no matter what.

It keeps coming back because it's politically expedient for many Democratic politicians, and the media.



WE HAD A SCHOOL SHOOTING not far from Knoxville yesterday. That's not my area of interest, but the InstaWife, who's written a book on the subject, has weighed in.

THERE'S A LOT OF GOOD POST-ELECTION NEWS rounded up at the Hotline Blog -- results, spin, demographics, etc.

I tend to leave that kind of analysis to people like Michael Barone, who actually know things. But it seems as if the GOP voters didn't turn out for Republicans the way they did in 2004, and I think that can be laid at the feet of the White House and the Republican leadership.

I also think that I may have been right in suggesting that the GOP had lost its mojo with the Terri Schiavo affair. Things seem to have started to go south then, not only because of the issue itself, but because of the divisive venom that so many Schiavo partisans aimed at people who disagreed with them. I think it was very damaging to the GOP coalition, and they've continued to pay a price.

Meanwhile, I'm sure he'll have more later, but here's Barone's take on the elections.

UPDATE: Howard Kurtz thinks it's a mistake to draw national lessons from these elections: "What journalists often fail to appreciate is that state and local races turn on state and local issues and personalities."

On the other hand, Patrick Hynes says it was a "values election" -- and that this is bad news for the GOP.

And here's a big roundup from Michelle Malkin.

PATRICK BELTON has more blog-reporting from Paris.

PRO-GROWTH PROGRESSIVES AND 2008: My TechCentralStation column is up.

A LOOK AT EVENTS IN WESTERN IRAQ, from the Officers' Club.

REUEL MARC GERECHT writes on the sloppy spooks at the CIA. Read the whole thing, which is yet more evidence that a lot of people there should be losing their jobs.

UPDATE: Related thoughts on the CIA, here.

November 08, 2005

ANOTHER LEAK PROBE is getting started. I think these may become a regular thing when classified information is published. Thank the New York Times!


Yesterday was the first time that I heard race or immigrant status mentioned on broadcast television with respect to the recent uprisings and protests ocurring in poor and working class suburbs across France. Finally! I thought to myself, and then wondered why it took almost two weeks for the elephant in the room to be mentioned, at least on U.S. television. (And even that was CNN international.)

There is something terribly wrong with the notion that it is impolite to reference race, an idea that seems to have a great deal of currency in the United States.

Read the whole thing.

DANIEL DREZNER LOOKS AT Rep. Sherrod Brown's plagiarism problems.

On plagiarism generally, here's a chapter from the ethics book I wrote with Peter Morgan, The Appearance of Impropriety: How the Ethics Wars Have Undermined American Government, Business, and Society, a book that seems timely again. In that chapter, Joe Biden is defended. I suspect that the pithiest defense of Biden quoted there -- "at worst, Biden purloined piffle" -- applies to Brown, too.

MICKEY KAUS busts Joe Klein. I liked it better when Klein was lying about his own writings. . . .


AN ENERGY STORY that seems too good to be true.

And, apparently, is.

BILL ROGGIO: "This afternoon I conducted an interview with Colonel Stephen W. Davis, the Commander of Marine Regimental Combat Team - 2 currently operating in western Iraq and engaged in Operation Steel Curtain in the border town of Husaybah." Read the whole thing.

INSTAPUNK FOCUSES on what's really important: Sweeps Week and classic TV history, though a chilling lesson is drawn.

CONVERGENT THEMES: Reader Bruce Batista emails, in light of this story:


France -- and the UN -- will use the riots as an excuse to censor "hostile" bloggers and/or the internet in general.

They may try.


There is, in speaking with its people at its cafes and on its streetcorners, a sense of malaise these days in Paris, which I think you could probe further by juxtaposing the despair of the banlieu rioters with the stories of the increasing numbers of graduates of Paris's leading business schools who go to Britain upon graduation, or those of postgraduate degree holders working as postmen. All have in their way given up on the French dream, a comfortable lifestyle sheltered by an extensive and humane welfare state. The Dalrympean take, I suppose, would be to say that in both cases it's the unproductivity of the French economy that's partially to blame, particularly after the massive explosion in the size of the state during the early Mitterand years. People who during their days at Science Po took easily for granted the superiority of the French model, with its educated technocracy and comfortable standards of living, now despair over it. . . .

The police presence of the French state is everywhere: if not in Clichy and Aulnay, then at very least along the Champs and by the Place de la Concorde. Last night I was surprised to count ten police cars by the Elysee metro station (in a row, to cite a song from the wrong side of the Channel), then by the American embassy two entire large buses of Gendarmerie (painted blue, no police light on top though, however cool though that might have been) and the odd plainclothes unit (they being the ones who look like cops in suits, rather than French people in suits.)

Read the whole thing, and stay tuned for more.

HERE'S A LINK to interviews with Robert Freitas, author of Nanomedicine.

JUDGMENT DAY: Here's another roundup on the California elections.

A LOOK AT SEX AND CONTRACTS, over at the ContractsProf blog.

JOEL KOTKIN says that welfare states produce riots and terrorism, by trapping immigrants in a dirigiste economy with few opportunities.

I've always admired Kotkin for writing this contrarian book at the height of the Japan-will-conquer-us doomsaying of the early 1990s. Kotkin's analysis there, arguing that U.S. adaptability would trump Japanese planning, has certainly been borne out by events.

STRATEGYPAGE on the latest campaign in Iraq:

Husaybah has long been a major transit point for terrorists coming in from Syria. For the last month, American smart bombs have acted on intelligence information to destroy safe houses and bomb workshops. The current offensive is to clean out the remaining terrorists, and turn the town over to the Iraqi police and civil authorities. Previously, there had been enough al Qaeda terrorists in the town to dominate the local government. The Sunni Arab population has been, over the last year, moving from pro-terrorist to pro-government. The foreign terrorists were cruel and arbitrary, insisting that civilians adhere to a strict version of Islam. The terrorists also became increasingly paranoid as they became aware of growing pro-government attitudes. This led to some violence against some local civilians. All this was a replay of the rise and fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan. There, the al Qaeda arrogance, and cruelty towards who were not Islamic enough, made the terrorists unpopular with civilians, and contributed to the rapid collapse of the Taliban government in October, 2001. . . .

If a Sunni Arab tribe wants to avoid a war in their backyard, they have to gather their own militiamen together and toss the local terrorists out. American and Iraqi troops can be made available to assist in these operations, and often do. But if the terrorists dominate a town or neighborhood, and the locals will not, or cannot, deal with the situation, then the troops come in. The al Qaeda groups have not got many places left to run, at least in Iraq. What makes the Syrians nervous is the possibility that al Qaeda will be driven out of Iraq, and will then try to operate from Syria. This could lead to American and Iraqi raids against these bases.

I think that we'll see that soon. Bill Roggio has more.

CLIVE DAVIS HAS MORE ON THE FRENCH RIOTS, which he says are being overblown. I hope he's right.

LIVEBLOGGING THE VIRGINIA ELECTIONS -- over at Commonwealth Conservative. Meanwhile, Josh Trevino has a roundup post on the California elections.

ALAN ALDA for President?

LAWPROF BLOGS are busting out all over, according to this new census. Interestingly, the presence of blogging faculty seems to correlate with higher rankings.



UPDATE: Lawprof Adrien Wing thinks the French need to think about changes in their legal system once this is over.


Four years into the Terror War, "What's the most important element for victory?" is a question long overdue. It's also a question our national leadership, nearly all of our intellectuals, and none of our mainstream media have yet to answer.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: A related item from Arnold Kling: "I am skeptical of the Bush doctrine. However, I want to be clear from the outset that my purpose is not to endorse the main alternative, which is the Mush Doctrine." Read the whole thing here, too. Especially, in both cases, if you work in the White House or the Pentagon.

November 07, 2005

CHUCK SIMMINS remembers an ordinary hero.


Louisiana will spend $45 million on sports and livestock facilities and other new projects in spite of a looming deficit, frustrating some officials who say the frivolity reinforces the state's history of political patronage.

"We're in Washington with our hands out asking for $2 billion plus, and rather than holding on to the money to see what the needs are, they're spending it on local projects financing goat shows and lawn-mower races," says state Sen. Robert Barham, Oak Ridge Republican.

Supporters of the $4 million Morehouse Parish Equine Center say it will give a much-needed boost to the economy.

Perhaps it will provide a job for Michael Brown.

And I think Sen. Barham meant "$200 billion plus."


LT. SMASH is conducting a wife auction.


To anyone familiar with the long, often fruitless search for cancer's cure, or the unfulfilled promise of nanotechnology, this may seem far-fetched. But in recent years, scientists have learned more about how cancer works at the cellular level. They have also learned to build molecules that could detect and destroy cancer cells, making today's painful and often-ineffective treatments a thing of the past.

Though the jump from lab to patient is long, scientists are confident that it can be made.

"Developing any drug or diagnostic is a long process, and that's still going to be the case," said Greg Downing, director of the Office of Technology and Industrial Relations at the National Cancer Institute. "But these technologies have the potential to overcome challenges we can't overcome now."

The technologies now being developed are not the complex miniature machines usually associated with nanotechnology, but particles a few nanometers wide.

Don't start smoking just yet, though.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON was on Hugh Hewitt tonight talking about the French riots. Here's a transcript.


The U.S. Department of Defense sees urban schools as ones of its biggest recruiting obstacles. Not because leftist teachers in some of those schools try to keep recruiters out, but because so many potential recruits have to be turned down because of the poor education they have received in those schools. While only 21 percent of Americans live in rural areas, 44 percent of the qualified recruits come from these areas. What’s strange about all this is that the rural areas spend much less, per pupil, on education, but get much better results.


FRENCH BLOGGERS ARRESTED for inciting riots.


I DON'T KNOW WHETHER I AGREE with the McCain bill completely -- I'm against torture, but torture consists in applying electrodes to people's testicles, not "mocking their religion," wrapping them in Israeli flags, or frightening them with fake menstrual blood, and the McCain bill may be read as forbidding those non-torture activitities. They might be a bad idea, for a variety of reasons, but they're not torture, and one of the reasons the "torture" issue has gotten less traction than it might have is that too many people have blown their credibility by conflating things they don't like with things that are of a different order entirely -- and by letting their desire to bash Bush, or to distance themselves from him, become all too obvious.

But I think that it's Congress's role to define this sort of thing, which means legislation. The President may have this power in the first instance when Congress doesn't act (I think the area falls in what's known as "Jackson Category Two" after Justice Jackson's Youngstown concurrence), but Congress ought to act once there's time, and there's certainly time now. There was, in fact, time before the 2002 and 2004 elections. Having Congress act also forces members of Congress to take responsibility -- both for what behavior they approve, and for what behavior they forbid. That's a good thing.

But regardless of what rules Congress adopts, I'm certainly against the Cheney proposal to exempt the CIA.

First of all, if this sort of thing is too wrong for Americans to do, it's too wrong for any Americans to do, period. Right? Second of all, if we are going to trust any agency with such extraordinary powers, surely it shouldn't be the CIA, which has established, repeatedly, that it's not to be trusted, either in terms of competence or in terms of, well, trustworthiness. I'd sooner entrust the power to the District of Columbia parking enforcement people. At least they're respected for their zeal.

Earlier thoughts here, here, and, from 2001, here.

UPDATE: J.D. Johannes thinks I'm wrong:

I think we are making a huge tactical mistake on the torture issue.

I think sadism, intentional infliction of pain for the sake of amusing the perpetrator, should be a felony/courtmartial offense.

Torture may not be the most effective interrogation technique, but the threat of it can be very, very effective.

If terrorists know for a fact they will never ever have to face physical pain, discomfort or cognitive disruption through humiliation and capricious situations, they are less likely to give up the information needed to prosecute the war.

Unlike most journalists and policy makers, I have looked into the eyes of real life terrorists. One was a member of the Green Battalion. The Green Battalion is known for their propensity to saw people's heads off.

A person who is that deranged, is not going to break under the threat of confinement and mere questioning.

To break a person like that, you need to break their mind through the creation of an arbitrary and capricious world where the possibility of things getting much, much worse is always a possibility in their mind.

If the terrorists know exactly how far we can go, there will be a fixed point, a limit, and the ability to create an arbitrary and capricious world is reduced.

There are no guaranteed costless decisions here.

MICKEY KAUS: "I'm going to vote for Proposition 77, which would try to end gerrymandering in California by giving the job of drawing district lines to a panel of retired judges. (There's a similar ballot proposition in GOP-controlled Ohio. There, unlike in California, it's the Democrats pushing reform.)"

N.Z. BEAR has a topic page on the French riots.

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Here's a report on the latest conference call with Sen. Coburn.

LARRY LESSIG talks about U.N. control of the Internet in Foreign Policy.

HERE'S A MAP showing the spread of riots to as many as 300 towns in France.

HERE'S MORE on the jailing of Egyptian blogger Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman: Reportedly, hostility toward him stems in part from his efforts to protect the rights of Muslim women by starting a human rights law firm. "Can't imagine why the Egyptian government would want to suppress a human rights law firm before it takes root in Egypt. Not a clue. It's a complete mystery, an utter bafflement."

It's certainly getting a lot of attention in the blogosphere.

DAVID BERNSTEIN: "[I]f the Republican Party had shown a continued interest in federalism, I think Raich might have come out the other way. It's no coincidence, in my mind, that Lopez was decided just after the "Republican Revolution" of 1994, and no coincidence that Raich was decided when the Republican Party was no longer paying lip service to a limited federal government."

THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE notes that the drive to the Baghdad airport has become largely uneventful.

JONAH GOLDBERG: "But I'm wondering: Where did Jimmy Carter get the reputation of being a savvy political operator?"

Carter does seem to be undergoing a modest revival of influence lately, which probably bodes poorly for the Democrats.

PARISBLOGGING: BoiFromTroy has posts from a Paris correspondent. And Patrick Belton of Oxblog is in Paris and will be posting reports regularly.

UPDATE: More on Paris, here. "So, are we in a clash of civilizations, or aren't we? . . . I tend to think the evidence is quite strong that if we aren't in a clash of civilizations at the moment, we are at least teetering on the brink."

A FISH, A BARREL, A SMOKING GUN: Ann Althouse on Larry Tribe on Sam Alito: "The 'nearly identical' Chittister case didn't involve caring for a family member. It involved self-care. Tell me, Professor Tribe, when men are sick, don't they stay home? I'm really having a hard time seeing what gender discrimination Congress is dismantling there."

NORM GERAS takes an uncharitable look at liberal-hawk backtracking on Iraq, which he regards as a political dodge.

HYBRID UPDATE: I've driven the Highlander over 500 miles now, and filled the tank up to figure (from actual consumption, not just the trip computer) that it's gotten about 30.5 miles per gallon average over the past week. That's about right, given the mix of highway and city driving I've done. I'm surprised to find that it seems nimbler than the Passat wagon, even though it's (very slightly) longer.

The Insta-Wife finds the size intimidating when parking in the garage, though. Maybe I'll get one of these gadgets if she doesn't get over that.

As I've said before, if you just want to save money, a hybrid isn't the way to go, yet. With SUV prices depressed at the moment, you're better off buying a gas-powered SUV at a steep discount or -- better still -- getting, say, a 3-year-old Ford Expedition on a lease turn-in. But I'm very impressed that the Highlander hybrid has more pickup, and better handling, than most SUVs, and I also have to say that I like the electronic continuously variable transmission a lot more than I thought I would. Some people don't like the absence of shift points, but I don't miss 'em.

UPDATE: Reader Jeff Quade emails:

Don't spend the money! Park the car in the garage, just where you want it. Hang a tennis ball from a string from the ceiling, so it just touches the windshield right in front of the driver's seat. Viola! When the insta-wife pulls in, she pulls in till she sees the ball just kiss the windshield - perfect!

Cool. The Highlander, by the way, has a backup proximity-alarm that I thought was silly, but that actually turns out to be useful. But the obvious solution -- back in to the garage -- doesn't appeal.

Meanwhile, reader Chris Runhaar emails:

Regarding the CVT: we've got a Nissan Murano with a CVT and also love it. It makes for better gas mileage and better acceleration. But when I loved it the most was when I was towing a 3300 lb trailer from San Jose to Austin (moving due to real estate prices). Set the cruise control, and the transmission smoothly adjusts the RPM to match the grade. No abrupt downshifts, no need to disable overdrive. It was so much smoother than any automatic I've been in, even when the automatic wasn't pulling almost four tons of car, trailer, and cargo.

But I do tend to accelerate too long when merging onto a freeway, etc. because the constant-rpm engine noise doesn't give any aural hints of acceleration. Pretty soon, I'm doing 10mph or 20mph faster than I intended, but the tach needle is still at 4000. If it weren't for arbitrarily low speed limits, I'd consider that a bonus!

They are arbitrarily low, aren't they?

DANIEL GLOVER wonders why bloggers aren't more upset about U.N. efforts to regulate the Internet.

UPDATE: More here, on why this deserves more attention. And here's a warning from Sen. Norm Coleman about a "digital Munich."

But shouldn't the "digital brownshirts" want that? . . . .

TRACY QUAN AND KERRY HOWLEY look at prostitution, sweatshops, and human rights.

THE CARNIVAL OF PERSONAL FINANCE is up! So is the Carnival of Computing, the Carnival of the Recipes, and Haveil Havalim.

MUSLIMS MARCH IN MOROCCO to denounce terrorism and Al Qaeda:

Holding banners and chanting "Muslims are brothers. A Muslim does not kill his brother" and "Yes to freedom, No to terrorism and barbarity", the protesters on Sunday marched through Casablanca, a city of six million and Morocco's financial capital.

Al-Qaida has said it decided to kill the Moroccan embassy employees, Abderrahim Boualem and Abdelkrim al Mouhafidi, because of Morocco's support for the US-backed Iraqi government. . . .

Morocco's influential organisation of Islamic scholars, known as the High Council of the Ulema and the Councils of Ulema in the Moroccan Kingdom, dismissed al-Qaida's argument that its verdict to kill the two embassy employees was "God's judgment".

"The two Moroccans would be considered martyrs if this iniquitous verdict were to be carried out, as they were carrying out a duty assigned to them by their nation and legitimate state," the Moroccan Islamic body said on Saturday.

(Via ATC).

UPDATE: Gateway Pundit has much more.

"IT HURT, IT REALLY HURT:" The New York Times' dishonestly selective quotation from a letter by 2000th casualty Cpl. Jeffrey Starr draws this reaction from his girlfriend:

The girlfriend of a Marine killed in Iraq said she was devastated when she saw how The New York Times cherry-picked a letter her "first love" intended her to read in case he died.

"It was sad that we had to go through this some more. I was upset about what they took out of that letter," said an emotional Emmylyn Anonical, 22, whose boyfriend Cpl. Jeffrey Starr died in Iraq earlier this year.

The Mudville Gazette has more.

MORE ON THE RIOTS IN FRANCE: Clive Davis has a two-part roundup that to some degree contradicts conventional blogospheric wisdom. Here's part one, and here's part two.

UPDATE: Greg Djerejian comments:

Having taken in a good deal of the French press this Sunday--I sense that there is a genuine sense of crisis and helplessness and demoralization at the current hour through the French polity. . . . Now, I am not one who believes that some pan-Eurabian intifada is in the offing, or that the implications of these riots rival 9/11, or that Shamil Basayev's guerilla tactics are being adopted off la Place de la Republique--as breathless, under-informed 'commentary' has it in some quarters of the blogosphere. But we certainly have a pivot point here, one where the ruling elite's inefficacy and ineptness is being laid crudely bare for all the world to see. They have been tone-deaf and caught off guard by the depth of the alienation in their midst, and it has now caught them very much unawares and seemingly clueless on how next to respond.

Read the whole thing.

Michael Totten writes from Lebanon:

They say Beirut is the Paris of the Middle East. Does that mean Paris is the Beirut of Europe? Or is that an insult to Beirut? . . .

The Lebanese people threw off the yoke of Syrian occupation, oppression, and de facto annexation while committing no violence. The Western model of civil disobedience and protest worked beautifully and, more important, it worked rapidly.

The disgruntled of Paris, on the other hand, are inviting a brutal crackdown from a state infinitely less oppressive that the Syrian Baath regime. While some parts of the Middle East import liberal “Western” political ideas into their culture, some parts of Europe import pathologies from the illiberal places in the Middle East and North Africa. Ah, the ironies of globalization.


ANOTHER UPDATE: A "land for peace" solution? Ed Morrissey, meanwhile, says people are forgetting something.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: A Clockwork Orange reference, plus this observation: "France's entire urban policy has failed, massively failed. The riots are proof. In a world of scooters, cell-phones, and satellite television, no longer can poverty be isolated in high-rise blocks. . . . This is not yet a political or organized assault on French society … but it could rapidly become one."

MORE: Here's an argument that there's more afoot:

The American Revolution started as a tax protest. The Civil War was a dispute over states' rights and the role of the federal government. World War I began because of a single radical with a gun.

In each case, the resulting violence transformed the conflict, radicalizing the participants until by the final objectives were unthinkable when the conflict began.

The alarming surge of violence in France and Western Europe indicates that even if the riots die down, it will only be because the perpetrators are reorganizing and preparing for the next stage.

Let's hope he's wrong.

MORE: Strategy Unit looks at the riots from the perspective of Flash Mobs and netwar.

Jonathan Gewirtz, meanwhile, thinks the rioters are emulating the Intifada.

HUGH HEWITT has more bad news on bird flu.


November 06, 2005

STEPHEN SCHWARTZ: "The French and British have deliberately ignored many opportunities to rationally deal with the issues posed by Euro-Islam."

IF YOU'RE A LAW PROFESSOR CANDIDATE who will be interviewing at the AALS "meat market" this week, be sure to read this advice, which is pretty good. Here's one tip I think is worth stressing: "Despite the fact that this is a ruthlessly competitive environment, be courteous to absolutely everyone you meet. In the best of all worlds, you will get the law faculty appointment of your dreams, and you can put the meat market unpleasantness safely behind you. Still, your scholarly reputation across the profession will begin at the Marriott Wardman. You will encounter many of your interviewers and many of your fellow candidates in the future, as colleagues at other law schools. Give each of them every reason to respect you when they see you or hear about you again."

You'll meet a lot of people at the conference, and a surprising number will remember you years later. Be sure that's a plus, regardless!


And, yes, it's this Arnold, rather than the other one.

It's not this one, either, though I can imagine him in a carnival . . . .

OVER AT SINCE SLICED BREAD, an ideablog where I'm guest-blogging periodically, I've got an idea for energy efficiency that's, at least, better than the usual nostrum of tightening CAFE standards.

SOME GOOD NEWS for Daniel Drezner, and for the Fletcher School!

"CHIRAC VOWS ORDER AS FRENCH RIOTS SPREAD:" I was wondering if the blogosphere was making too much of this, but now I'm pretty sure the answer is no. Note the reference to other European nations being "unnerved." (Maybe they should offer to send troops. It's supposed to be the European Union, right?) Earlier roundup here, or just scroll down.


Are natural disasters increasing? Apparently not.

ANOTHER FRAUDULENT ANTI-WAR VETERAN? Looks like it. After Micah Wright, I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

At the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Ron Harris asks: Why did the press swallow Massey's stories? I think we know.

Looking on the bright side, Bruce Kesler says that these guys get exposed a lot faster than they used to. As Ken Layne put it, we can "Fact-check your ass."

SHOOTING FISH IN A BARREL -- with a machine gun.

MARK TAPSCOTT THINKS that Karl Rove's usefulness has come to an end:

For the past two weeks, Congress has been roiled by a conservative revolt demanding that billions of dollars worth of pork barrel projects approved in the transportation appropriations bill earlier this year instead be used to pay for hurricane recovery on the Gulf coast.

Senate votes forced by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, and public attention generated by the Porkbusters campaign in the Blogosphere have exposed the hypocrisy of Congress and its putting Members' selfish political interests ahead of the national and humanitarian interests.

That exposure creates a giant opportunity for the President to seize the political high ground and effectively challenge Congress to get back on track enacting needed reforms, starting with getting federal spending under control and making storm recovery a vivid national demonstration project of the power of individual choice.

But it's an opportunity not taken. Instead, the White House goes on with mixed messages, a defensive crouch and hardly even a peep of protest when Senate Democrats manhandle the GOP "majority" into delaying Judge Alito's Supreme Court confirming hearing to next year.

It seems clear now that Karl Rove is indeed preoccupied with defending himself in the Plamegate scandal and avoiding indictment by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. That means Rove can't do what he has always done - keep Bush and the administration focused and moving forward on the basis of a coherent, aggressive political strategy.

I don't know if he's right, but I think that there are no essential people, only essential ideas. The Bush Administration seems short of the latter these days.

A WHILE BACK, I mentioned my law school classmate Gene Sperling's new book, The Pro-Growth Progressive: An Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity. (Perhaps more significantly than having been my law school classmate, he was also National Economic Advisor and head of the National Economic Council under President Clinton).

Sperling will be debating economic policy over at the TPMCafe book club starting tomorrow. It's important to recognize this book, and debate, for what it is: An effort to recapture the debate over economic policy from the anti-growth types who dominate economic discussion on the left these days, something that has huge importance for the 2008 campaign. Although I don't agree with all the specifics in Sperling's book -- about which I'll be writing more later -- he's got the most important part right. Economic growth is good, and it's actually especially beneficial for those at the bottom of the economic ladder.

HERE'S MORE on jailed Egyptian blogger Abdolkarim Nabil Seliman.

MICKEY KAUS: "It's not that NBC's 'reporters' aren't telling the whole story. They aren't even telling the minimal, basic gist of the story that others are telling. It's getting cult-like and creepy!"

UPDATE: Reader Fletcher Hudson emails:

It’s not that Russert is telling a minimal story to the public, he negotiated a deal to tell only a minimal story to the FBI investigator who took his “statement”. This “statement” serves as the credited version of the false statement alleged in the indictment.

Had he been a mere blogger, not a journalist, he may have been required to give a complete account that may not have differed that much from Libby’s. On the day of the indictment , I heard Russert tell Brian Williams that the FBI interview lasted only 20 Minutes and that he only answered two questions. Without saying what those questions were, he said that he told the FBI that did not ask Libby if he knew “Plame”, Wilson’s wife, worked at the CIA. And that he did not receive a leak from Libby. As a former federal investigator ( after UT Law’ 63) , it’s hard to believe this part of the indictment can be based on so little.

It's interesting that Fitzgerald was willing to accept such narrow limits.

CLIVE DAVIS has a review of David Kline and Dan Burstein's new book, Blog!: How the World of Blogs And Bloggers Is Changing Our Culture. I haven't read the book, but the review's worth your time.

Best line quoted from the book: "Blogs are good for companies that are good, and bad for companies that are bad."

VICTORIA TOENSING'S WSJ COLUMN on Wilson/Plame is now a free link at OpinionJournal.


You have to wonder about Republicans' state of mind of late. Did they wake up one morning and confront an unfamiliar face in the mirror? Like some bad political Botox, gone is Ronald Reagan's face; staring back in his place is Teddy "I will spend your money like a drunken sailor" Kennedy.

Republicans are knee-deep pork barrelers practicing the fine art of fiscal irresponsibility. Who passes the baton that began with Goldwater, took root with Reagan and gained power through the "Contract with America"?

Contrary to popular belief, the core of conservatism does not spring from "life" issues; those just suck up all of the air and make all of the noise. Conservatives are, first and foremost, proponents of limiting government's power and strengthening national defense.


Meanwhile, pork makes the cover of Parade Magazine.