June 10, 2006

ADVICE GODDESS Amy Alkon is blogging from the Human Behavior and Evolution Society conference at Penn, and offers information on things like worming your way to good health and the dubious utility of antlers.

AUSTIN BAY has thoughts on Iran.

ANA MARIE COX reports from YearlyKos:

Everyone knows that the attendance at Yearly Kos by so many traditional politicians (we’re also going to be treated to speeches by Tom Vilsack, Howard Dean and Harry Reid) assures bloggers’ place in the political universe. Shortly before Moulitsas’s speech, Joe Trippi gropes for the right metaphor, comparing politicians’ courting of this nascent movement to the presidential primaries: “No one wants to skip Iowa.” Yet the politicians especially seem to be figuring it out as they go along — fear of missing the boat outweighs doubt about its final destination. Clark gives his speech on American innovation to a well-attended science panel flanked by bloggers whose name recognition is high in this room and nowhere else. One of them is wearing a colorful, flowered hat. Clark's handler leans over: “Ten days ago, he had a street named after him in Kosovo, today he’s on a science panel with a man named ‘Darksyde’ and a woman in a bonnet. That is democracy.”

She also emails: "Bonus material: I saw Joe Wilson get not one but two standing ovations today; he was also called 'a true American hero.' People waited in line for his autograph. I'm going to begin drinking now."

The Bill Richardson / Victoria Principal story is funny, too.

ANGELA MERKEL is podcasting.


A former professor of French at the University of Northern Colorado has been cited for allegedly making a special delivery to U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave that reeked of political partisanship.

Kathleen Ensz, professor emeritus at UNC, is accused of depositing a Musgrave campaign mailer full of dog feces at the Republican lawmaker's Greeley office. Ensz was charged Thursday by Greeley police with criminal use of a noxious substance, a misdemeanor.

Okay, so it's not Ward Churchill, but still. . . . Oh, well, there's more than one way to stink up the place.

MICKEY KAUS: "I'm not saying GM has effectively used its web site to make the NYT letters editors look like self-protective twits of the sort you might expect would wind up editing the New York Times letters section. But I'm not saying they haven't!"

June 09, 2006

JOE GANDELMAN notes a serious fumble for James Webb. I've always liked Webb, based on his books, but his campaign seems a bit rocky.

Calling someone the Antichrist is right out, though.

UPDATE: James Joyner says it's much ado about nothing.

PROTEIN WISDOM SCORES the coveted post-death Zarqawi interview.

IowaHawk, meanwhile, features a Zarqawi op-ed.

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Captain Ed notes that things have gone pretty well for PorkBusters:

The conference committee on the emergency appropriations bill has reached agreement on the measure which had an original spending gap of $16 billion. The resulting bill will reach the White House at $94.5 billion, $2.5 billion more than the House-approved plan but much lighter than the heavily-porked version the Senate tried mightily to get. . . .

The Washington Post goes on to report what didn't get included in the final version. The first item to make an overdue exit, Trent Lott's Moveable Railroad, got left out and saved taxpayers $700 million. The committee didn't appear very sympathetic to funding a new railroad right next to the existing line the government just spent $250 million repairing. Also gone from Mississippi porkfests was the obnoxious Northrup bailout, contributing $200 million in savings. In the end, the committee trimmed $13.5 billion from the Senate's bloated budget-buster, or roughly $45 for every man, woman, and child this year.

Take the family out for a nice meal, and leave a tip. Have the pork roast; I'm sure it will be delicious.

This shows that we can have an effect on earmarks and the politicians addicted to them, as long as we remain vigilant. Organization and tenacity will leave a mark on those who defy voters for long enough. Lott has become the poster child for arrogance on Capitol Hill during this debate, not because he is a bad man -- he isn't at all -- but because he treated us as though taxation and appropriations were none of our business. That kind of politics went out when the first website went up, and more and more our representatives have begun to understand this.

Yes. Read the whole thing. I wish I'd packed my PorkBusters t-shirt for the beach!

His conclusion: "We made a difference this time, a difference of $13.5 billion. A few more of these, and we'll be talking about real money." Heh. Indeed.

TECHNOLOGY REVIEW has a contest with a $20,000 prize for:

any molecular biologist who could demonstrate that a much-publicized prescription for defeating aging by biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey was "so wrong that it was unworthy of learned debate."

They've gotten some submissions, and judges will announce their opinion next month. I predict that no prize will be awarded.

JOHN TAMMES ROUNDS UP more news from Afghanistan that you may have missed.

YES, NOT MUCH BLOGGING TODAY. We're en route to the beach, which means that blogging will be light -- though not nonexistent or anything -- for the next week-plus.

IN THE MAIL: Madison Smartt Bell's Lavoisier in the Year One: The Birth of a New Science in an Age of Revolution.

The Glenn and Helen Show: Divorce, American Style

It's not the movie, but an episode of The Glenn and Helen Show about divorce.

We interview family/divorce lawyer Lauren Strange-Boston about aspects of pre-marriage, marriage, divorce, and post-divorce life from a legal perspective. She talks about everything from common marriage mistakes to pre-nuptial agreements and custody battles, with lots of interesting insights. She and Helen also talk about issues and concerns of particular interest to men.

You can listen directly (no iPod needed) by clicking right here, or you can subscribe via iTunes (we like that since it helps us on the charts). There's an archive of past podcasts here, and you can get a lo-fi version for dialup right here.

Hope you like it -- and that you don't need the divorce advice part! But if you do, I think you'll find it useful.

As always, my lovely and talented cohost is soliciting comments and suggestions.

AUSTIN BAY looks at the strategic and political implications of Zarqawi's death. Plus, some thoughts on the operational implications.

UPDATE: Read this post by Rand Simberg, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More intelligence leaks.

And amid the good news about Zarqawi, it's also worth reading this NRO symposium about Somalia, where things aren't going so well. What's next there?

MORE: Bill Quick notes the spin reversal:

Two months ago, a Time-Warner hack said that Zarqawi was a "superstar." That was when he was a symbol of Bush "failure." Now, another Time-Warner hack says he was an easily replaceable nobody. That's because he's become a symbol of a Bush victory.

Given Time-Warner's fortunes at the moment, I wouldn't be raising the subject of easily replaceable nobodies. . . .

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL'S NUMBERS GUY looks at ethanol as an alternative fuel. (Free link.)

In case you missed it, here's our podcast interview of Popular Mechanics editor-in-chief Jim Meigs on ethanol and other alternative fuels, with a link to the PM article on the topic.

ROGER SIMON proposes a successor to Kofi Annan.

His proposal is a bit more, um, ruthlessly pragmatic than mine.

WHY THEY HATE US: I blame Hollywood. So do Muslim women, according to a Gallup survey:

The most frequent response to the question, "What do you admire least about the West?" was the general perception of moral decay, promiscuity and pornography that pollsters called the "Hollywood image" that is regarded as degrading to women.

No doubt antiwar Hollywood producers and talent will begin self-censorship at once to remedy this problem. Look for remakes of those wholesome Bing Crosby Irish-priest movies.


Well, a Khomeini. Not the dead one, though. That would be bigger news.

June 08, 2006

HUGH HEWITT accuses Washington Post blogger Joel Achenbach of engaging in moral equivalence regarding Zarqawi and American forces in this post, but I have to say that I didn't read it that way. To me, it seemed that Achenbach was juxtaposing the bestial approach of Zarqawi with the matter-of-fact tradesmanlike approach of the U.S. military.

Now some of the comments below Achenbach's post, on the other hand, are just pathetic -- but not surprising.

VIRGINIA POSTREL WRITES on How massage went from the strip club to the strip mall.

I had some semi-related thoughts here.


This is a classic yet rare win-win-win-win scenario. The new Iraqi government is happy because he’s dead. The Americans are happy because he’s dead. Even his friends and coworkers are happy. Al-Qaida issued a statement saying, “We want to give you the joyous news of the martyrdom of the mujahed sheik Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The death of our leaders is life for us. It will only increase our persistence in continuing holy war so that the word of God will be supreme.” . . .

I’m also happy for the pilot or drone operator that dropped the bomb on him. That guy has a story to tell. “You know that al-Zarqawi terrorist guy? I killed him on Scott Adams’ birthday.”

So Scott Adams is happy, too.


CLAUDIA ROSETT: "What matters at least as much as the killing of al-Qaeda top terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq is that we, in America, appreciate it for the important battlefield victory it truly is."

Meanwhile, on another front in the war on Islamist violence:

The publishers of Indonesia's version of Playboy magazine defied militant Islamists yesterday by producing their second issue. . . .

Playboy's publishers said they were producing the magazine to defend democracy and freedom of expression against fear and intolerance.

An editorial called for "the absence of a monopoly set of values and views in our beloved country".

And rightly so.

DONALD SENSING: "I think that more and more Muslims will decide that Ashraf al-Akhras is right: Allah is in the game, but not on al Qaeda's side."

SOME PHOTOS of Iraqis celebrating Zarqawi's death.

FORGET ZARQAWI, HERE'S THE REALLY BIG NEWS! An email from Professor John Banzhaf at GWU:

NYC's Women Celebrate 1st Potty Parity Anniversary [06/08/06]
Porcelain Proportionately Comes Slowly to Big Apple and Elsewhere

New York City's Women's Restroom Equity Bill, which went into effect one year ago, has provided ripples rather than gushers of relief to women in the Big Apple weary of waiting in long restroom lines, but it has also focused attention on the problem and triggered legislation both here and abroad, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, whom the media has dubbed "the father of potty parity."

Zarqawi's dead, but life goes on. And "Potty Parity" should have gotten more attention, on Women's Confidence Day!

DEAR HOME FRONT: Letters from Iraq.

MORE ON ZARQAWI and a host of other topics, at the Pajamas Media blog week in review podcast, with Austin Bay, Richard ("Wretchard") Fernandez, Eric Umansky, and Tammy Bruce.

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: This sounds worse than embarrassing:

A political fundraising committee headed by a defense contractor has paid thousands of dollars in fees to the stepdaughter of House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands) at a time when the contractor has been lobbying Congress for funding.

Lewis' stepdaughter, Julia Willis-Leon, has been paid more than $42,000 by the Small Biz Tech Political Action Committee, according to campaign finance records. The PAC is led by Nicholas Karangelen, founder and president of Trident Systems Inc.

Records show the company received at least $11.7 million in earmarked funds in recent defense spending bills over which Lewis' committee has jurisdiction.

But read the whole thing, as it gets worse.

FLIPPING THE BIG BIRD: Extreme Mortman on the Democrats and PBS.

RYAN SAGER IS AT YEARLYKOS, listening to people talk about how to spin Zarqawi's death.

QUOTE OF THE CENTURY? Maybe not. But funny.


By his own account, al-Zarqawi is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqis and many Coalition forces and contractors. An acolyte of Osama Bin Laden, al-Zarqawi was, to many, the face of terrorism in Iraq. This was partly the result of Bin Laden’s annointment of him as chief deputy there, but more so because of his sophisticated manipulation of the media and internet. His slick campaign videos, widely distributed and broadcast by media outlets around the world, depicted al-Zarqawi as a hands-on, stealthy military leader; but clearly, he was not a tactical genius. His greatest victories were public relation coups that catapulted him into the role of figurehead for terrorists. Our courageous friends in Jordan, who have also suffered at the hands of al-Zarqawi, are said to have aided in his destruction.

Terrorism is an information operation disguised as a military one. Zarqawi was better at the former than the latter.

DANIEL DREZNER: "Is Mark Malloch Brown really a diplomat?"

I wager to say that Bolton is hopping mad about this. How do I know? Because I, a lowly blogger, was e-mailed this story by Bolton's deputy press secretary. And I'm guessing others were as well.

Bolton might be mad, but he's also right -- the speech will hurt the UN more than it will help it in this country. Brown's speech will do for U.S. attitudes towards the UN what Mearsheimer and Walt's "Israel Lobby" article did towards elite attitudes towards U.S. policy towards the Middle East -- it will roil everyone up, but the kernels of insight contained in the speech (Brown makes a good point about the merits of UN peacekeeping) will be safely ignored because of the rhetorical and conceptual overkill.

There is one big difference, however -- Mearsheimer and Walt were academics trying to be provocative -- Brown is ostensibly a UN diplomat. He says his speech was meant as, "a sincere and constructive critique of US policy towards the UN by a friend and admirer," but in characterizing Middle America as moronic xenophobes, he's creating the very attitude he seeks to change.

I think that Brown should address "root causes." Perhaps an end to rampant corruption and incompetence -- and puerile anti-Americanism -- at the United Nations would do some good. But how likely is that?

UPDATE: A Malloch Brown Fisking at L'Ombre de l'Olivier.

PERRY DE HAVILLAND looks at Kos's "libertarian Democrats" approach.

UNTIL I NOTICED THIS ZARQAWI AIRSTRIKE VIDEO REMIX, it hadn't occurred to me that the Bush Administration probably scheduled Zarqawi's death so as to distract the media from YearlyKos! But now I'm questioning the timing.

UPDATE: More timing questions.

ROBIN HANSON: Forget the "creative class" -- intelligent machines are coming!


ZARQAWI'S DEATH: IraqPundit has thoughts on what it means for Iraq.

IN THE MAIL: Ed Halter's From Sun Tzu to Xbox: War and Video Games.

I've got a chapter on video games in An Army of Davids, but his treatment is considerably more detailed.

A LOOK AT China, oil, and Latin America.

GAWKER IS AGOG at the wisdom of Times Select.

LOTS MORE ON ZARQAWI at the CounterTerrorism Blog. Rolling news summary here. Walid Phares on the Arab media's treatments here. And Bill Roggio reports here.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sanity is rounding up reactions from the "reality-based community."

PATTERICO: The video doesn't lie. Or does it?

MURDOC ONLINE wonders if Michael Moore is sad at the loss of a "minuteman."

HEH: "Let us hope that Zarqawi is greeted in the after life with a giant, tasty, bowl of white raisins."

Though I was actually hoping for something more like this.

ZARQAWI'S HEIRS, IF HE HAS ANY, PROBABLY WON'T' BE PAYING THE "DEATH TAX" -- but Andy Roth has been saturation-blogging the issue all week.

ALPHECCA NOTES a major civil rights victory in Florida.

ZARQAWI IS DEAD: Good. Unlike previous reports this one seems very likely to be true. I hope his end wasn't entirely painless, though it seems likely that it was swift. Austin Bay has a roundup and some thoughts.

Excerpt: "The new Iraqi government is building a political process. Removing Zarqawi forwards that process. Maliki has also promised the Iraqi people he will improve the internal security situation. Maliki can use Zarqawi’s death to help heal sectarian (Sunni-Shia) rifts in Iraq."

Bush's statement is here. And there is much rejoicing at Iraq the Model.

UPDATE: Here's a big Zarqawi death roundup from Pajamas Media -- and featuring a podcast interview with Omar from Iraq the Model on what it means for Iraq.

The Media Blog is rounding up -- and rating -- press coverage.

Video here, plus a report that oil prices are dropping in response.

Tim Blair looks at the Robert Fisk angle.

Samizdata: "This is brilliant news."


It's sad that within minutes of announcing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's death, the network morning shows were already carrying criticism of the Bush administration. Not only did NBC invite Sen. Joe Biden so he could attack Bush incompetence (funny day for that!), ABC's Bill Weir reminded the audience that Zarqawi beheaded American Nicholas Berg, and then replayed Berg's left-wing dad saying at the time that he had no desire for his son's killers to be killed. Weir then reported that he spoke to Berg's father this morning, and he condemned the Zarqawi killing as part of an endless cycle of retribution.

It's transparent stuff like this, of course, that gets them accused of spinning war news to make things look worse than they are, and to hurt Bush. Because, you know, that's what they do, every day. It's just more noticeable at times like this.

Meanwhile, in a development that, along with the PJM instant podcast, should worry Big Media, Tim Worstall posts a blog report from Baghdad on reactions. My favorite bit:

A Shia friend may have said it best, “Zarqawi would not listen to ballots, today there is no mistaking that he listened to the bombs.”

Observers will note three elements which are combining to make today’s feeling of hope different from the numerous other times here in Iraq; the death of al Zarqawi, the confirmation of new Ministers of Defence and Interior, and the strong possibility of a political breakthrough with the Sunni insurgency are combining.

Read the whole thing. Of course, as the Texas Rainmaker notes, not everyone is happy.

STILL MORE: Bad news for the press, though. Howard Kurtz goes out of his way to note that "Loud applause broke out among the reporters" when Zarqawi's death was announced. That should be a dog-bites-man story, but Howard seems to know better. (Would it have been news if reporters had cheered the death of Heinrich Himmler in 1943? I doubt it.)

Unfortunately, it appears that there's even less to this story, as NBC's Richard Engel reported that it was Iraqi reporters who were doing the cheering. That really is a case of dog bites man.

EVEN MORE: Jim Wooten writes:

This has always been the way that the war on terrorism would be won. One bad guy or one small group of them at a time, just as President Bush explained to the nation after Sept. 11th.

Patience. Patience in supporting the men and women of the free world who are taking the Al-Zarqawis out. That’s all that’s ever been required of us. It’s been clear all along. The war will be won on the ground; if it’s lost — if our great grandchildren still live under threat of the al-Qaida offsprings — it will be because we lost our will at home.

Yes. And of course it's true -- as Austin Bay notes in the post linked above -- that no single event like this is decisive. It's all part of a long process of ups and downs. But, of course, that's also true of the bad news. Funny that when something bad happens, the press doesn't hedge it with qualifiers and contrary views the way they do when something good does. And it's too bad that I have to spend so much of a post on a Zarqawi's death talking about the misconduct of the American press. But terrorism is an information war for the most part, and the press is, in various ways, empowering the terrorists. I wish it would show as much awareness of nuance, and the tendency of people to manipulate the media, where the enemy is concerned as it does in some other settings where, I think it's fair to say, it cares more about the impact of its behavior.

Some people who feel they have more at stake seem to get it, though. Laura Lee Donoho of The Wide Awake Cafe emails:

Hi Glenn, As I was just up drinking coffee, and reading the great news that Zarqawi is dead my son called. He is training at Camp McCoy for his deployment to Iraq later this summer. He wasn't anywhere near internet access but had his cellphone and wanted to learn the details. He told me that one of the guys in his unit learned the news from his cellphone. They were all tremendously excited. My son said it is a big moral victory.

Yes, and unlike some other "moral victories" I can think of, it's also, you know, an actual victory.

FINALLY: William Arkin has it right:

What are we to make of the death of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi?

The hopeful view is that the death of this important commander and inspirational figure will deflate the terrorist influence in Iraq.

The cynical view is that this it is just another announcement of progress from the administration at a time when it is down and out.

Then there is the anti-everything view, the one that cannot recognize that Zarqawi was a real foreign terrorist in Iraq, there to foment chaos and death. The anti-everything view cannot see beyond loathing for the war and for all things Bush to recognize an achievement, even if it is only a little step. . . .

There is no denying, nonetheless, that an Iraqi national military, government and people are slowly moving in the direction of some semblance of normalcy and security. This is good news, because it is imperative that the United States leave Iraq and leave its security to its own people -- and that can only happen when Baghdad has assumed enough responsibility to allow an exit. . . .

Looking at the ages of the American special forces veterans who have died in the hunt, it is clear that these are not kids, nor amateurs. That should both tell us how difficult the fight has been and also the sacrifices others are making to fight a ruthless and anarchic foe. In a climate where Haditha suggests only American murder and lawlessness, even the cynical should be able to see that.


June 07, 2006

SPOOK 86 SAYS we're in a new space race with China and explains why.

I've written a bit on this topic myself. You can read some pieces online here, here, and here. And, of course, there's a fair amount on the subject here.

HEZBOLLAH hates Zarqawi. Overall, his popularity seems rather low.

UPDATE: And Zarqawi hates Hezbollah!

Is it just me, or is the Middle East a lot like 7th Grade with RPGs?

"JACQUES CHIRAC'S long, hard fall."

HEH: "Top 11 Things That Anti-War Protesters Would Have Said At the Normandy Invasion on D-Day (Had There Been Anti-War Protesters At Normandy)."

Plus, What if the New York Times covered the Yankees like it covers Iraq?


THE MONKEY-CHOW DIET: Blogged, of course.

ED MORRISSEY: "Ann Coulter, meet Ted Rall."

Hugh Hewitt: "Ann Coulter owes an apology to the widows of 9/11, and she should issue it immediately. This is beyond callous, beyond any notion of decency. It is disgusting."

My general strategy these days is to ignore Coulter (Ted Rall, too), and if everyone did that things would be better. But yes, this deserves to be condemned. Of course, she's managed to troll Hillary into condemning her, probably assuring a bestseller slot.

Don't feed the trolls.

UPDATE: Much more from The Anchoress.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Yeah, yeah, I post this and then there's a big ad for Coulter's book over to the right. That's just proof of the strict separation between advertising and content here at InstaPundit!

DARFUR UPDATE: "Fear and mistrust as people of Darfur turn against peacekeepers."

DON SURBER ON MORAL VICTORY: "a loser’s spin."

Sometimes those are the only victories you can manage.

UPDATE: California appears to have shown something of an anti-tax mood.

DOUG WEINSTEIN: "No, Glenn is not the antichrist. And no, that's not a comb-over, either."

Trust me, Doug's an expert on one of those topics.

ED MORRISSEY HAS MORE on the William Jefferson corruption case.

ED WHELAN is paying a lot of attention to the ABA.

MEDIA DEATH WATCH IN ACTION: Bill Roggio reports from Kandahar:

If this is a false report, as it likely is, the propaganda machine of al-Qaeda and the Taliban has succeeded yet again in manipulating the Western media into doing their bidding.

That's not terribly hard to do. He also reports: "Elsewhere in southeastern Afghanistan, there is real news to report, and it is the Taliban that is taking the brunt of the casualties."

UPDATE: The kidnap story turns out to have been bogus.

MORE THOUGHTS ON CALIFORNIA POLITICS from Professor Bainbridge: "This blog's battle against Phil Angelides' California gubernatorial campaign starts now. On the issues I know best, corporate governance, Angelides was consistently wrong when he was Treasurer."

ISRAELLYCOOL looks at those wacky MSM photographers.

SALAFISM as a utopian ideology.

LEGAL ACTION AGAINST LEAKERS: No, not of national security data, but of really important stuff -- information about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Plus, bonus anti-blogger spin:

This is all part of the blog culture where people are stealing pictures from photographers and agencies and putting them on the Internet.

Yes, it's that damn Internet. Because magazines never steal photos from bloggers. . . .

HEY, IF YOU WANT VOTES, you have to go where the voters are: "Recruiters for the Democratic National Committee sought to sign up new supporters outside of a Washington, DC strip club, Camelot, today's issue of ROLL CALL reports."

A LOOK AT NONCHALANCE, and the attacks that didn't happen.

THE ANTI-GAY MARRIAGE AMENDMENT HAS DIED, and this AP lede shows why it was not only wrong, but stupid: "The Senate on Wednesday rejected a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, dealing a defeat to President Bush and Republicans who hoped to use the measure to energize conservative voters on Election Day."

DAN RIEHL notes an excellent sign from Canada.

IN THE MAIL: David Danelo's book, Blood Stripes: The Grunt's View of the War in Iraq. It looks pretty good, and has a foreword by Steven Pressfield, whose Thermopylae novel Gates of Fire was very good.

CLIVE DAVIS: "No, I'm not trying to minimize the awfulness of what is said to have happened at Haditha. But I don't care, either, for the lip-smacking, self-flagellating tone of some of the coverage." Neither do I.

Read the whole thing for some historical perspective.

THE LATEST NANO-HYSTERIA COLLAPSES: I talk about the implications for nanotechnology generally in my TCS Daily column.

YES, this radio-controlled airplane video is genuinely amazing.

THE D.C. EXAMINER EDITORIALIZES that Bush and the Congressional Republicans should shelve the Marriage Amendment in favor of actually doing, you know, their jobs. And, unlike me, they actually support the idea. This is really shaping up as another ham-handed political effort that's likely to prove a debacle.

JEFF GOLDSTEIN faces a moral dilemma.

JUDGE ROY MOORE is a loser in Alabama.

FROM COLD WAR "CONTAINMENT" TO A "FORWARD STRATEGY OF FREEDOM:" Austin Bay looks at where we're going.


For the life of me, I haven’t heard anything from any national Democrat that leads me to believe they’ve cracked the code on the South. Poor U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman tried — and for his efforts, he gets primary opposition from the left. For now, the national party seems to be attempting to build a majority on the terrorist threat that global warming represents and on opposition to tax cuts and Iraq. Won’t sell down here, folks.

Democrats could have a chance if they had a voice that inspired confidence on national security, if they presented a credible alternative to big-spending Republicans, and if they could be trusted to do anything domestically other than grow government. Get there and the Dems could win in the South.

He's asking for reader input on what the Democrats should be doing.

A BILBRAY VICTORY IN CALIFORNIA: "A former Republican congressman narrowly beat his Democratic rival early Wednesday for the right to fill the House seat once held by jailed Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a race closely watched as a possible early barometer of next fall's vote. . . . The race - one of dozens of contests Tuesday in eight states - was viewed by Democrats as an opportunity to capture a solidly Republican district and build momentum on their hopes to capture control of the House."

I tend to think that special elections are generally less important as barometers than punditry usually suggests. I suspect that will be the Democratic line today, too. . . .

UPDATE: A reader emails that this makes the Kos Krowd 0 for 20. I haven't been counting -- can this be right?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mike Krempasky thinks that's wrong, and it's 0 for 19:

Well - here's 0-16 in 2004, if you count John Kerry

Then you have Hackett, Ciro, and Busby.

I don't guess it makes a big difference either way.

Meanwhile, Patrick Hynes comments on the result, and the media treatment. "It would have been quite a different story had liberal Democrat Francine Busby pulled it off, but she was probably never as close as the polls made her out to be. Please recall that it is a central thesis of this blog that the polls are not measuring public opinion appropriately and the resultant exaggerated level of expectation is causing disappointed liberals to go nuts."

MORE: Dave Weigel emails:

In fairness, Kos won big in the Montana Democratic primary last night. Since the month after the presidential election he had been loudly supporting Jon Tester, a liberal state senator and organic rancher, to challenge Republican Sen. Conrad Burns. The Democratic establishment supported John Morrison, the more moderate state auditor. Morrison was backed by more DC Democratic consultants and led big in early polling. He started to lose ground after a sex scandal, but the last poll on May 28 showed him edging Tester by one point. Last night Tester beat him, and it wasn't even close. It was a 25-point landslide.

So Kos picked and loudly supported a candidate who won last night. Of course, what does it say that Kos' biggest success has come from beating a conservative Democrat with a liberal one in a primary?

It says he's got some distance to go yet. Still, 1-19 is better than 0-20!

June 06, 2006

ANN ALTHOUSE: "First, fire all the law clerks."

When I was a law clerk, I sometimes imagined I was indispensable. I'm pretty sure that I was wrong, and even then I had my doubts.

THE LONDON TIMES mislabelled a photograph, but I agree that some critics are attacking the wrong target.

BLOGOMETER: "It's official, nobody in the blogosphere like the Federal Marriage Amendment." Since, as I said earlier, it's nothing but a (lame and ineffectual) pander, I haven't had much to say about it besides, well, that.


Stepping into a research area marked by controversy and fraud, Harvard University scientists said Tuesday they are trying to clone human embryos to create stem cells they hope can be used one day to help conquer a host of diseases.

"We are convinced that work with embryonic stem cells holds enormous promise," said Harvard provost Dr. Steven Hyman.

The privately funded work is aimed at devising treatments for such ailments as diabetes, Lou Gehrig's disease, sickle-cell anemia and leukemia. Harvard is only the second American university to announce its venture into the challenging, politically charged research field.

Good for them. As I've noted before, and, in fact, in the very earliest days of InstaPundit, I find the Bush Administration's position on this neither defensible nor terribly honest.


JUN. 6 7:19 P.M. ET Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin acknowledged Tuesday the dominant Internet company has compromised its principles by accommodating Chinese censorship demands. He said Google is wrestling to make the deal work before deciding whether to reverse course.

Meeting with reporters near Capitol Hill, Brin said Google had agreed to the censorship demands only after Chinese authorities blocked its service in that country. Google's rivals accommodated the same demands -- which Brin described as "a set of rules that we weren't comfortable with" -- without international criticism, he said.

"We felt that perhaps we could compromise our principles but provide ultimately more information for the Chinese and be a more effective service and perhaps make more of a difference," Brin said.

Read the whole thing.

PAUL CAMPOS MAKES NO SENSE: At least, I don't quite understand how my agreeing with Peter Beinart about Haditha and the importance of bringing offenders to justice makes me a "Bush dead-ender" and a "jingoistic right-wing ideologue."

Perhaps, nowadays, all that's necessary for that is to regard My Lai with something less than nostalgia. Since, unlike Campos, I've actually helped to call attention to war crimes by U.S. troops that the Big Media failed to notice, I think I'll just add Campos to the rather large list of newspaper columnists who lack moral and intellectual seriousness on the war.

Meanwhile, unlike Campos, Roger Fraley has actually read what I've written about Haditha. And -- even more unlike Campos -- he appears to have understood it.

Campos, meanwhile, might read Michael Yon on the subject. And perhaps ruminate a bit on the presumption of innocence. (Via Hugh Hewitt, who I gather had Campos on his show tonight.)

UPDATE: Here's the Hewitt transcript. Campos seems to have trouble pointing to any actual, you know, evidence to support his propositions. I guess we should be glad he's a law professor and not a prosecutor. Hewitt, on the other hand, seems pretty good at cross-examination.

Hey, I should just be glad Campos didn't call me the Antichrist.

HIJACKING HADITHA: Michael Yon writes:

In the absence of clear facts, most people know that a rush to judgment serves no one. What word, then, properly characterizes the recent media coverage of Haditha, when analysis stretches beyond shotgun conclusions to actually attributing motive and assigning blame? No rational process supports a statement like: “We don’t know what happened, but we know why it happened and whose fault it is.”

Read the whole thing, for a more sensible view than I've seen most anywhere else.


MAKING HYDROGEN on the cheap.

GERARD VANDERLEUN interviews Mary Cheney.


Reporters Without Borders noted the release on 4 June of bloggers Malek Mostafa and Asmaa Ali. Mostafa was arrested on 26 April while Ali was arrested on 7 May. The authorities have meanwhile ordered that three other bloggers - Alaa Abd El-Fatah, Mohamed Sharkawy and Karim El-Shaer - should be held for two more weeks. All five were arrested for taking part in demonstrations.

Big Pharaoh has more.


MORE REPORTS OF UNREST IN IRAN: I'm really surprised this isn't getting more media attention.

GOOD NEWS FOR WOMEN? ER, OR FOR MEN? "An alcoholic drink a day can significantly reduce the risk for heart disease in men, a new study finds, but women get almost the same benefit with only one drink a week."


Nigeria's vice president sought up to $500,000 and a stake in a technology venture in his country, according to statements Rep. William Jefferson made to an FBI informant that were detailed in court documents filed in a bribery probe of the congressman.

Jefferson allegedly told the FBI informant that he had delivered "African art," which authorities believe was code for cash, to the Potomac, Md., home of the wife of Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar at midnight last July 31.

Details of the alleged deal were included in an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court to secure a warrant to search Abubakar's house in Potomac. The affidavit was unsealed Monday by the federal court in Greenbelt.

The affidavit says delivery of the money came shortly after Jefferson allegedly received $100,000 in cash from the FBI informant that was supposed to help smooth the way for a Kentucky telecommunications company, iGate Inc., to conduct business in Nigeria.

I think this case will continue to get more interesting.

AUSTIN BAY looks at Mexican politics.


One of the suspects in a Toronto terror plot is accused of wanting to behead Canada's prime minister, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Lawyer Gary Batasar says the allegations against his client are very serious and include his personal threat against the prime minister.

Steven Chand is also accused of plotting to storm and bomb various buildings, he says.


UPDATE: A Canadian blogger asks:

Where are the urgent cries from our Muslims to disband the virulent terror blog sites, or to investigate the anti-western rhetoric flowing out of their mosques and education (indoctrination) centers? Or even for a call to Muslims to end their self-imposed exile from mainstream Canadian attitudes? What we are getting instead is this self-serving pap about Canadian racism and Islamophobia. Meanwhile Fahim Bukari, the Director of the Missasauga Islamic Center admitted that Qayyam Jamal, a volunteer there, was a close friend of five of the arrested youths. He had been warned by numerous people, including a Liberal MP, that the man was dangerous radical. Bukari admitted he wasn't surprised by the raid and Mr. Jamal's role in it. Yet no attempt was made to ban him from the center. Rather suspicious behaviour for a director who claims to be a moderate.



BACK FROM AFGHANISTAN, Barry McCaffrey reports.

APPARENTLY, I'm the Antichrist.

You'd think it would pay better.

THE STANFORD LAW REVIEW'S symposium on Justices Rehnquist and O'Connor includes Rehnquist's 1948 thesis on Contemporary Theories of Rights.

IT'S 6/6/6, and Ann Coulter has a new book out. Coincidence?

CATHY YOUNG LOOKS AT antisemitism, academic boycotts of Israel, and the American Association of University Professors.

UPDATE: A version with hyperlinks can be found here.

STRATEGYPAGE: A win for Al Qaeda in Somalia.

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH: "Today, we are seeing mistakes in lawyerly overreach on the part of the Bush Administration."

"A VERY FRUSTRATING AND INFORMATIVE EXERCISE IN COALITION BUILDING:" Daniel Glover reports on how Online Integrity -- a left-right initiative encouraging bloggers to respect personal privacy -- worked out.

ANA MARIE COX visits Darkest Kosistan. Excerpt:

The left lacks many telegenic spokespeople, he says, "It's the difference between the Fox News anchors — you know, blond, put-together — and our people. It's like, 'You know, lady, put on a bra. Would it kill you to put on a bra?'" Moulistas is sponsoring a media training session at Yearly Kos; one can only hope that Maidenform is on the agenda.

Though the Maidenform-free approach can have its charms.

June 05, 2006


Flawed emergency planning and communications breakdowns, including jammed cell phone networks and radio failures, hampered rescuers' response to London's deadly transit bombings last year, an inquiry said Monday.

The official report highlighted confusion in response to the July 7 bombings after cellular networks became overloaded and radio communications from street level to rescue workers in the subway failed. The attacks killed 52 commuters and four bombers, and injured about 700 people.

Some hospitals had to rely on staff running to and from bomb sites to gather information, according to the 700-page report, published by the London Assembly's July 7 review committee, one of several inquiries into the attacks.

Hardened and interoperable communications systems -- as we learned on 9/11, in the NYC blackout, during Katrina, and in London -- are both very important to disaster response and not really extant in many places.

NEW ORLEANS, NINE MONTHS LATER: A lengthy, and not very pretty, photo essay from Duane "Radioblogger" Patterson. Note the house with the Allstate banner -- not very good PR.

VARIFRANK IS DRAWING CONNECTIONS between the Canadian terror arrests and various other incidents.

UPDATE: Also, Dan Riehl has more -- including video -- on the Washago terrorist training camp.

Meanwhile, Andrew McCarthy examines the media template for covering stories of this sort.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Jeff Jarvis: "Maybe we need a nickname for terrorists to get around the new PC effort not to offend anyone except Americans."

I don't think that his proposal will fly at either Times though.

WILD ANIMALS: My sister lives on Knoxville's eastern fringe, almost in Sevier County. She says that just in the past year the number of coyotes, wild turkeys, and deer has exploded. People are also reporting bears.

That seems to be a trend. This article from the Wall Street Journal reports:

Nationwide, however, the real things -- wild animals and birds of many species, including such people-shy critters as bears, coyotes, moose, elk, cougars and turkeys -- are multiplying, spreading and learning to live near people. Conflicts are on the rise.

The cause, many people think, is sprawl encroaching into wild habitat. That's true only in part, say wildlife biologists. While sprawl is moving out, the forests in which many species once flourished is moving in, covering over millions of acres of abandoned farmland that once served as a buffer. Also, much modern sprawl is built, unconsciously, to be wildlife-friendly -- what wildlife biologists call "enhanced habitat," with more food, shelter, water, hiding places and protection from predators than exist in the wild.

People, meanwhile, make sprawl even more inviting, wittingly and unwittingly. They're increasingly ignorant of how wild nature works -- what author Richard Louv calls "nature-deficit disorder." Just as they treat pets as children, so to do many treat wild animals as pets, leaving out birdseed and pet food, tossing a cookie to a backyard bear.

We have a problem with bears leaving the Big South Fork and showing up at people's homes, too. I've written about this stuff before, (also here) and I highly recommend David Baron's The Beast in the Garden: The True Story of a Predator's Deadly Return to Suburban America, which reads like a thriller novel even though it's nonfiction.

Plus, there's this essay from Kirsten Mortenson, which defends animal rights. Specifically, the right of animals to be thought of as animals.

UPDATE: Related thoughts from John Hinderaker.

And Tom Spaulding certainly encountered plenty of wildlife.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More here, from not far from the setting for Baron's book:

A mountain lion narrowly missed taking a bite out of Shaffer Warner's legs as the man rushed through his front door on a recent night.

A week earlier, the mountain lion crushed Indigo, the family's Siamese cat, in its jaws in front of Warner's wife Carrie as she pummeled it with firewood a few feet from their home near Cub Creek Park.

But what disturbs the couple the most is that the big cat has crouched outside the bedroom window of their 6-year-old son Schylure and stared at the boy.

"We're scared out of our minds," Carrie Warner said. "There is something very strange about the way this lion is hunting us. I'm at the end of my rope."

The Warners are worried that, just as a boy was mauled by a mountain lion near a popular trail in Boulder about a month ago, their nightly tormentor will eventually attack their son or them.

My advice: Buy a gun, make a rug. (Via ChicagoBoyz).

JIM GERAGHTY: "The mainstream media has lost interest in the war on terror."

That must mean that we're winning.

VIRGINIA POSTREL has more on organ donation incentives.

HAS GOOGLE PEAKED? Some thoughts at

UPDATE: More thoughts from Ed Driscoll: "General Motors thought they were invulnerable, too."

CATO UNBOUND looks at the future of work.


America's motto is "E pluribus unum," Latin for "Out of many, one." Some U.S. senators seem to be reading it backward. This week the Senate will consider legislation that would create an independent, race-based government for Native Hawaiians. If the bill becomes law, it would create a racial spoils system that would hand special privileges to up to one-fifth of the state's population--including many with only a trace of Hawaiian blood. It could inspire mainland groups such as Hispanic separatists to seek similar spoils, should they ever gain enough political leverage.

Sounds like shameless prejudice against immigrants to me. . . .

DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER MARK BLUMENTHAL is Fisking RFK, Jr. Really, this is an embarrassment for RFK and for the Rolling Stone.

GUILTY UNTIL PROVED INNOCENT? And maybe not off the hook even then. That seems to be the attitude of the German media where U.S. soldiers are concerned -- and of some folks in the United States, too.

PATRICK HYNES says it's not 1994 again. Republican Party leaders had better hope he's right, since Republican elected officials seem to be doing their damnedest to prove him wrong . . . .

THE NEW YORK TIMES WANTS more photos of American corpses.

Meanwhile, the London Times is apologizing for mis-labeling photos of Iraqi corpses so as to blame Americans instead of insurgents for their deaths.

BARRY MCCAFFREY REPORTS ON IRAQ, and thinks things are going better than the news reports suggest. Full report is downloadable at the link.

UPDATE: Read this post from Zeyad about Balkanization in Baghdad, too. It's not inconsistent with McCaffrey's report, since he identifies the same problem, but the two can be profitably read together. (Via PJ Media).

JOHN KERRY, off the record. Er, or not quite.

EUGENE VOLOKH says that the San Francisco Chronicle is still airbrushing Pete McCloskey's antisemitic comments.

COLUMNIST JIM WOOTEN is now blogging.

BILL ROGGIO sends a report from Kandahar. Click "read more" to read it. You can also hear an interview with him and with Matt from BlackFive over at Pundit Review Radio.

Read More ?

PODCASTING IS NOT BLOGGING: Some thoughts on the way different forms promote different content.

ROBERT F. KENNEDY, JR. debunked in Salon. Put that together with the debunkings in Mother Jones and on NPR, and that puts RFK, Jr. in a pretty uncomfortable place. And congratulations to all these outlets for refusing to lend any credence to silly conspiracy theories.

LESSER OF TWO EVILS: A Peru election roundup.

THE MU.NU SERVER is under a DDOS attack. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Andrew Maizels emails: "With the help of our hosting provider we've managed to block enough of the nasties out that we're back on the air. Slightly wobbly, but definitely alive."

IN THE MAIL: Jeremy Lott's new book, In Defense of Hypocrisy : Picking Sides in the War on Virtue.

I blurbed his book quite favorably, but the blurb doesn't really do it justice as it doesn't account for my delight in the excellent writing, which produces laugh-out-loud zingers on almost every page. I found it a really enjoyable book.


Two weeks ago, I pointed out that we live in something close to the best of times, with record worldwide economic growth and at a low point in armed conflict in the world. Yet Americans are in a sour mood, a mood that may be explained by the lack of a sense of history. The military struggle in Iraq (nearly 2,500 military deaths) is spoken of in as dire terms as Vietnam (58,219), Korea (54,246) or World War II (405,399). We bemoan the cruel injustice of $3 a gallon for gas in a country where three-quarters of people classified as poor have air conditioning and microwave ovens. We complain about a tide of immigration that is, per U.S. resident, running at one-third the rate of 99 years ago.

George W. Bush has a better sense of history.

Read the whole thing. Back on September 11, I remarked that we could expect a lot of bad stuff to happen, and that things were likely to be that way for a while, because that's the historical norm. The 1990s were a fool's paradise -- which I liked, too, but then I was one of those fools. That things aren't like the 1990s now, other than economically, is a case of returning to norms, not of an unusual deviation from them. That doesn't mean anything specific with regard to particular policy disputes, of course, but it does mean that people who are shocked and appalled that the situation isn't like the 1990s are missing the point.

MORE IRANIAN UNREST: Gateway Pundit has a roundup.

ARNOLD KLING: "If the tendency of government were to expand on its successes and cut back on its failures, then I probably would not remain a libertarian."

MATT SHERMAN WRITES THAT GOOGLE is not living up to its own rhetoric on "net neutrality."

People unhappy with Google can always try, or I've been using Ask -- including Ask News -- quite a bit lately and I've found it quite satisfactory.

MICKEY KAUS notes Al Gore's "withdrawal from Kosistan."

Just as well. It's a small country, of which we know little and care less. . . .

LASHAWN BARBER OPPOSES GAY MARRIAGE, but isn't impressed with Bush's support for the Federal Marriage Amendment. There are times when I've found Bush's transparent lack of enthusiasm for this measure comforting, but of course it just makes it more obviously pandering when they trot it out at this point. Or maybe I should say "attempted pandering," since if LaShawn's reaction is typical it's not a very successful effort.

UPDATE: Message to Karl Rove: When you're being double-teamed by LaShawn Barber and Dave Weigel, you're probably working from the wrong playbook.

Given the WSJ poll that showed earmarks and immigration as the #1 and #2 concerns of voters, why not try addressing those issues sensibly, instead of trying to run on symbolism? Just a thought . . . .

June 04, 2006

THOMAS LIPSCOMB: "The Truth, John Kerry, and The New York Times."

The Glenn and Helen Show: James Lileks and Cathy Seipp on Parenting

We talked to James Lileks, author of Mommy Knows Worst : Highlights from the Golden Age of Bad Parenting Advice, and blogger and frequent reporter on the "Mommy Wars" Cathy Seipp about parenting, how it's changed since the mid-twentieth century, and where things might be going in the future. As you might imagine, both James and Cathy had lots to say on the subject.

You can listen directly by clicking right here (no iPod needed!) or you can subscribe via iTunes here (we like it when you do that). A low-fi version can be found here, and an archive of previous podcasts is here.

Hope you like it! Music is by The Nebraska Guitar Militia ("69365) and Todd Steed and the Sons of Phere ("IWDWIST").

As always, my lovely and talented cohost is soliciting comments and suggestions.

CHINESE BLOGGERS REFLECT on the Tiananmen Square massacre's anniversary.

Plus, a memorial video at YouTube. It's entitled "Not Settled," and it's pretty strong stuff.

ALAN GARCIA appears to have won big in Peru. Background on the election here.


In short, just about everything Bush said in February 2004 to justify his support for a federal amendment has been undermined by subsequent experience.

Now, the stunning news. In light of experience, it appears President Bush has rethought the question. He’s called a press conference Monday to address the issue of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Heh. Read the whole thing.

TIANANMEN SQUARE remembered in pictures, over at Slate.


DID YOU KNOW that the Zapatero administration (you know, the "no blood for oil", "Bush is killing innocents" and "let's get out of this illegal war" one) just gave Spain's highest military decoration to... gasp... can hardly say it... to... to the US Army Chief of Staff?

He observes: "Maybe things are not going so bad there, after all."

IRANIAN OFFICIALS torturing protesters to get them to say that the United States is behind the protests, according to this report.

DON SURBER IS FISKING THE NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL on Haditha. Read the whole thing, and fire off a copy to Bill Keller.

The clearly evident Bush-bashing glee over this stuff is both pathetic and poisonous.

UPDATE: Dan Riehl compares the amount of coverage of Haditha and the terror busts.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails: "So how long before Anderson Cooper reports that the mayor of Haditha has stated that there are rampant murders and rapes going on inside the Haditha Superdome?"

That hasn't happened yet?

Look, this is a serious matter. But the gleeful piling-on -- and there's a lot of that, as Surber demonstrates -- makes it seem less serious, not moreso. Those who would reduce war crimes to mere partisan footballs are not manning the bulwarks of moral seriousness, however much they might adopt that pose.

I recommend this column by Mark Steyn, too: "A superpower that wallows in paranoia and glorifies self-loathing cannot endure and doesn't deserve to." I could say the same thing for alleged "flagship" media operations.

"YOU DON'T NEED PAPERS FOR VOTING:" Just for really important things, like buying sudafed.

AS I SUSPECTED, the Canadian terrorist arrests seem to be part of a transnational operation involving law enforcement in Canada, Britain, and the United States. And communications intercepts do appear to have played an important role.

AUSTIN BAY looks at Haditha diplomacy.

It all goes down to what Peter Beinart said in our interview the other day (beginning about 12:00 in):

The way we show the world that we mean what we say about democracy and human rights is by acting well. That means on a thing like Haditha by not trying to cover up, by being absolutely open and saying 'We are capable of being barbaric like other peoples are, under conditions of extreme stress and without legal restraint. But what makes us different from them is the way re respond to that.' We use it as an opportunity to show that we're different from our enemies because we bring our own people to justice.

That's right, and I note that it has been the pattern of the U.S. military in this war. Compare this to the record of, say, the United Nations where troop misbehavior is concerned.

Not that the critics will do so.

UPDATE: Here, by the way, is an oped by Beinart in today's L.A. Times.

Also, reader Kern Parker asks: "I'm interested in your thoughts on how Abu Ghraib fits in to this pattern."

Well, in a word -- perfectly. In fact, though media folks took credit for "breaking" the story, it was already under investigation by the Pentagon. See this timeline of events from The Mudville Gazette. In fact, if I recall correctly, the Pentagon had even issued a press release about the investigation, which was ignored, before the story "broke."

It was then carpet-bombed by the press, which chose to treat it as emblematic of the entire war effort, with much mutual back-patting for the coverage, while barely admitting that the matter had been under investigation already.

I don't claim that the military is perfect, of course. I just think that those who claim that anything less than perfection constitutes a pandemic of evil are being dishonest and unfair.

MORE STILL: Hmm. Speaking of the United Nations:

THE United Nations has ordered staff in East Timor not to co-operate with Australian Federal Police investigating the massacre of 12 unarmed Timorese officers by renegade soldiers, prompting allegations of a cover-up.

An email from the UN's deputy representative in Timor, Pakistani General Anis Bajwa, had been circulated to all staff, including employees evacuated to Australia, directing them not to assist AFP detectives investigating the worst atrocity since the violence of 1999.

A copy of the email had been passed to Australia's Embassy in Dili, outraged diplomats and AFP sources confirmed to AAP.

Earlier today the UN denied the email existed, but UN spokesman Bob Sullivan tonight contacted AAP and admitted a directive had been sent out in an email to all staff.

I eagerly await an outraged editorial from the Times.