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June 17, 2006

TIME:

Al-Qaeda terrorists came within 45 days of attacking the New York subway system with a lethal gas similar to that used in Nazi death camps. They were stopped not by any intelligence breakthrough, but by an order from Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman Zawahiri. And the U.S. learned of the plot from a CIA mole inside al-Qaeda. . . .

The news left administration officials gathered in the White House with more questions than answers. Why was Ali cooperating? Why had Zawahiri called off the strike? Were the operatives planning to carry out the attack still in New York? "The CIA analysts attempted answers. Many of the questions were simply unanswerable."

One man who could answer them was al-Ayeri — but he was killed in a gun battle between Saudi security forces and al Qaeda militants, who had launched a mini insurrection to coincide with the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Suskind quotes a CIA operative as questioning whether it was an accident that the Saudis had killed the kingpin who could expose a cell planning a chemical weapons attack inside the U.S. "The Saudis just shrugged," the source tells Suskind. "They said their people got a little overzealous."

Interesting.

TOM MAGUIRE has questions for Larry Johnson, and also bids a fond farewell -- well, okay, a farewell, or at least a goodbye -- to Dan Rather. Plus, Paul Krugman is sounding sensible.

DAVE HARDY: "Wonder if terrorist managers write CYA memos? 'I told them months ago things were going downhill, and made suggestions. Did anyone listen? Noooo....'"

A SADDAM-TALIBAN CONNECTION, according to captured Iraqi documents.

A HIGH SCHOOL with Forty-one valedictorians.

ROBERT KC JOHNSON looks at developments at Duke: "As the presumed 'facts' initially associated with the Duke lacrosse case have melted away, those on campus who aggressively condemned the lacrosse players have found themselves in an uncomfortable position. . . . In short, rather than admit that their initial attacks on the lacrosse players’ character contributed to what David Brooks correctly has termed a 'witch hunt,' the Duke administration and the players’ faculty critics have acted as if their negative judgments always revolved around the alcohol issue—despite clear evidence to the contrary."

THE CARNIVAL OF CARS is up!

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Taken from the veranda of That Place on 98, a terrific seafood place just east of Apalachicola on, natch, US 98. It was about 9 last night.

SCIENCE FICTION PUBLISHING LEGEND JIM BAEN has had a stroke. Please wish him well.

June 16, 2006

HERE'S MORE on Dennis Hastert's earmark-related dubious land deal. Read this post from Mark Tapscott, on Hastert and earmarker-in-chief Jerry Lewis, too.

WHAT SCHOOLS WOULD LOOK LIKE if they favored boys as much as current schools favor girls.

THE ECONOMIST SURVEYS THE STATE of search-engine competition and notes that Google's competitors are gearing up. I think that Google is vulnerable, since competition is just a mouse-click away.

On the other hand, when it comes to China censorship, Yahoo! is the worst.

DEMOCRATS MAKE CASE for voting Republican.

WHAT'S GOING ON IN BAGHDAD: Richard Fernandez of The Belmont Club interviews Iraqi blogger Omar of Iraq the Model.

UPDATE: Ralph Peters looks at the Zarqawi documents and finds a surprise.

Meanwhile, Michael Ledeen thinks the Zarqawi documents are fake. "I think the Iranians put out this sort of nonsense so that we’ll have trouble figuring out what’s real. And by the way, it wasn’t found in Zarqawi’s house, contrary to the triumphant announcement from the office of the Iraqi prime minister. So it’s certainly not a Last Testament. It’s just nonsense."

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Marc Landers emails:

Glenn, if the documents are fake, as some are now claiming, how do we account for the over 700 terrorists captured, 140 killed and 28 weapons caches discovered since the Zarqawi documents were found? Not the mention the near 500 raids mounted as a result of capturing those documents.

One could take each “inaccuracy” in the documents that Leeden points out and argue that Zarqawi was writing to his audience, not us, and was using his arguments to rally his troops. Zaraqwi could have been saying to his troops, look attacks are down, more countries are starting to support the US and therefore we need to do a better job of increasing attacks, infiltrating the National Guard and stop countries from supporting the US.

Then again, the documents could be both fake and real. The real parts led us to a lot of terrorists and weapons caches and our side could have inserted the fake parts, which makes us look good. It’s baffling though, that if the “inaccuracies” are as blatant as Leeden asserts, why did someone do such a poor job of faking them?

I blame Dan Rather.

Hmm. He is looking for a new job . . . .

THE PAJAMAS MEDIA Blog Week in Review podcast is up!

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PEOPLE wonder if I'm using the Nikon for these pictures. Nope -- just this little Sony pocket camera. Every year I say I'm going to do some serious photography, but every year I just bring the little camera and snap a few pictures along the way. It's vacation!

AUSTIN BAY: "The Iraqis know what their enemies want. Their enemies want (1) capitulation to fear and hopelessness and (2) civil war along sectarian lines (with that war possibly expanding into a regional war with Sunnis fighting Shias). But the Iraqis also know their enemies are failing. The courage and determiniation of people like Mr. al-Saghir are one very important reason."

GEORGE W. BUSH: Gun felon?

MICHAEL BARONE:

It has been a tough 10 days for those who see current events through the prisms of Vietnam and Watergate. First, the Democrats failed to win a breakthrough victory in the California 50th District special election--a breakthrough that would have summoned up memories of Democrats winning Gerald Ford's old congressional district in a special election in 1974. Instead the Democratic nominee got 45% of the vote, just 1% more than John Kerry did in the district in 2004.

Second, U.S. forces with a precision air strike killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, on the same day that Iraqis finished forming a government. Zarqawi will not be available to gloat over American setbacks or our allies' defeat, as the leaders of the Viet Cong and North Vietnam did.

Third, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald announced that he would not seek an indictment of Karl Rove. The leftward blogosphere had Mr. Rove pegged for the role of Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman. Theories were spun about plea bargains that would implicate Vice President Dick Cheney. Talk of impeachment was in the air. But it turns out that history doesn't repeat itself. George W. Bush, whether you like it or not, is not a second Richard Nixon.

Nope. Read the whole thing.

WILLIAM JEFFERSON UPDATE:

Democrats voted last night to strip Rep. William J. Jefferson (La.) of a plum committee assignment while he is embroiled in a federal bribery investigation.

The 99 to 58 vote followed weeks of public and private wrangling, as Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) sought to take a strong election-year stance on ethics, while Jefferson's allies -- mainly fellow members of the Congressional Black Caucus -- protested that he was being singled out for unfair treatment.

It's that culture of corruption in Washington.

IS REP. MURTHA in trouble at home?

June 15, 2006

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VARIOUS PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW what I think about the Supreme Court's decision in Hudson v. Michigan, the knock-and-announce case. Being on vacation, I haven't read the opinions yet, just the SCOTUSBlog summary.

I think, though, that it's defensible legally, but not morally. That is, it's not much of a stretch from the existing caselaw, but it produces a rule that seems inconsistent with the original meaning of the constitution, and common sense.

However, the exclusionary rule is a lousy remedy for these kinds of things, since it doesn't protect those innocent of any crime. (If you're innocent, there's nothing to exclude). I'd rather see a rule that disciplines officers for improper behavior without regard to the exclusion of evidence.

I don't see the Supreme Court fixing this any time soon. Congress could limit officers' ability to barge in without announcing themselves (by banning it, say, except where there's a serious risk of danger to people's lives) by legislation. I doubt it will, though. States could do the same, of course, as regards state law enforcement. I think that they should.

If the fourth amendment's right to be secure against unreasonable searches means anything, it should mean that citizens shouldn't be at risk for having their doors kicked down unannounced except in truly extraordinary circumstances -- and it should mean that when that happens, those citizens should have a remedy against the offending officers for any misbehavior without the judicially-created, and constitutionally unrooted, barriers of official immunity and the like. If it were up to me, I'd make the officers strictly liable for any damages resulting from any misbehavior. But I think we'll only see this sort of thing, or any remedy at all, if Congress acts. I don't think the Supreme Court is likely to fix this mess any time soon.

For some other stuff, which I generally agree with, see Radley Balko here and here.

ANOTHER LEGISLATIVE DEFEAT for the pullout crowd:

The Senate rejected a call for the withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq by year's end on Thursday as Congress erupted in impassioned, election-year debate over a conflict that now has claimed the lives of 2,500 American troops.

The vote was 93-6 to shelve the proposal, which would have allowed "only forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces" to remain in 2007.

93-6. Kind of makes you wonder what all the fuss is about.

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Andy Roth reports that Brian Bilbray has broken his word, voting for a bill full of secret earmarks after opposing them during his election:

Despite these strong words to clean up the earmark process, Bilbray promptly voted YES on the T-THUD appropriations bill yesterday, which contained over 1500 earmarks ($), most of which weren’t even in the final bill, but secretly hidden in committee reports.

Plus, he voted NO and NO and NO and NO on each of Jeff Flake’s anti-pork amendments.

Bilbray claims to be a fiscal conservative, but so far he’s off to a bad start.

Not very impressive in a guy who's only been in office for a couple of days. But maybe he'll do better, now that he realizes people are watching. If not, there's another election in November.

Matthew Hoy is saying "I told you so."

UPDATE: In the comments to Hoy's post I see that some people in Bilbray's district are talking about putting up a write-in candidate against him in November as a result of these shenanigans. Hope his office takes note.

HOWARD KURTZ featured this comment from USA Today Baghdad correspondent Cesar Soriano:

To all the Chairborne Rangers advancing the vast 'negative media' conspiracy from the safety and comfort of their parents' basements: If you think you can do better, I've got a spare bed in the Baghdad bureau.

Blackfive offers a tart response. And here's an email from Bill Roggio:

Hello Cesar,

I'd take you up on the offer of "the spare bed in the Baghdad bureau" but this Chairborne Ranger is currently embedded in Kandahar, Afghanistan. I'll head back to Iraq for the second time this year after I make my next stop in the Horn of Africa. No doubt Michael Totten and Michael Yon, two other notable Chairborne Rangers, have similar plans.

You should also ask another group of Chairborne Rangers, such as Smash, Greyhawk, OpFor, and the other military bloggers who did their blogging from the combat zones to see if they need a rack. Oh, and I'll be bypassing Baghdad to go outside the comfort of the hotel, so you can keep the spare bed.

Best wishes, be safe and enjoy the pool!

Ouch. I don't know what J.D. Johannes would say. Appropriately enough, the title of Kurtz's post is "Overshadowed" . . . .

UPDATE: Reader Michael Russo notes why this matters:

Notice strategy number one for Al Qaeda based on the Zarquawi safe house documents:

"1. To improve the image of the resistance in society, increase the number of supporters who are refusing occupation and show the clash of interest between society and the occupation and its collaborators. To use the media for spreading an effective and creative image of the resistance."


Interesting that leveraging the western media before all else is (and presumably has been) Al Qaeda's top strategy. And shitty how many people have bit hook line and sinker. I bet this will be head line news... or not.

Terrorism is an information war disguised as a military operation. The press plays a symbiotic role, and isn't willing to address that.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More email here:

The folks who have screamed the loudest about the biased and negative media coverage of the Iraq War are by and large people like myself, servicemembers who have spent their time in the dustbowl of Iraq and know firsthand what an exceptionally poor job the media has done covering our actions. How poor do those who have been to Iraq perceive the coverage? Well, speaking for myself, there have been many times I have wondered if the reporters in Iraq were on the payroll of the insurgency. . . .

I don't speak as someone who was confined to the relative safety of a basecamp during my deployment. I commanded a company running convoys throughout Iraq, and while on the roads we saw the worst of the insurgency - IEDs, mortars, and a couple of large ambushes. Despite the numerous engagements with hostile forces that I was involved in, I still have no doubt that the media coverage has been excessively negative, and I know that my opinion is shared by the overwhelming majority of folks who have worn the uniform in Iraq.

Read the whole thing.

MORE: What do I mean by "symbiotic?" Something like this:

More ink equals more blood, claim two economists who say that newspaper coverage of terrorist incidents leads directly to more attacks.

It's a macabre example of win-win in what economists call a "common-interest game," say Bruno S. Frey of the University of Zurich and Dominic Rohner of Cambridge University.

"Both the media and terrorists benefit from terrorist incidents," their study contends. Terrorists get free publicity for themselves and their cause. The media, meanwhile, make money "as reports of terror attacks increase newspaper sales and the number of television viewers."

The researchers counted direct references to terrorism between 1998 and 2005 in the New York Times and Neue Zuercher Zeitung, a respected Swiss newspaper. They also collected data on terrorist attacks around the world during that period. Using a statistical procedure called the Granger Causality Test, they attempted to determine whether more coverage directly led to more attacks.

The results, they said, were unequivocal: Coverage caused more attacks, and attacks caused more coverage -- a mutually beneficial spiral of death that they say has increased because of a heightened interest in terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001.

(Via MediaBistro.) Yet the press -- which can be exquisitely sensitive about being manipulated when it cares -- isn't worried about the way it's being used here, at least not enough to matter in its coverage. But why should it be? Ethics might cost money.

God help 'em if the trial lawyers get ahold of this information. . . .

MORE: I wondered what J.D. would say, and he emails:

Bunk in the Baghdad Bureau?

A bunk? Air conditioning? Warm food? Cold water? Internet access?Satellite phone?

That sounds more comfortable than my mother's basement.

I should be back in Iraq for a hitch this Fall and will probably spend most of my days and nights outside the wire--baking in the sun, eating MRE's, sleeping in the dirt and enjoying nature in the fertile crescent.

Maybe you can drop in on Cesar and beg a cold beer.

AN INTERVIEW with independent military documentarian J.D. Johannes.

EUGENE VOLOKH: Stop playing so well, Harrison Bergeron!

ISLAMISTS RUN RAMPANT, but the Belgian authorities are cracking down on homeschoolers -- including Paul Belien of Brussels Journal.

MICKEY KAUS: "Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias are skeptical of the Daily Kos crowd's enthusiasm for Virginia's ex-Gov. Mark Warner. Indeed, isn't Warner a Democratic Leadership Council type of the sort the Kossacks ordinarily loathe? (The one time I've seen Warner in person was at a DLC event during the 2004 Democratic Convention, where he was proudly presented by DLC chief Al From)."

I had a phone call from Warner a couple of weeks ago, and found him fairly engaging. I think this is just more evidence that Kos is tacking to the center!

UPDATE: Related post on Kos and Warner from Chris Nolan. (Via Ed Cone).

June 14, 2006

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Bill Frist proposes "bold structural reform" to stop over-spending:

First, the Stop Over-Spending Act would give President Bush the line item veto. Pork thrives in Washington because it can be tucked away inside massive appropriation bills without any public deliberation or meaningful transparency. But, armed with special, fast-track procedures guaranteeing an up-or-down vote in Congress to specific spending cuts that the President proposes, we can subject pork barrel spending to the bright light of public scrutiny. Governors in 43 states have the line item veto and so should President Bush.

Second, the Stop Over-Spending Act would also put the American government on a two-year budget cycle – a proposal that I’ve strongly supported ever since I first entered the Senate eleven years ago. The American people deserve careful oversight of their tax dollars. Yet, over 15% of all federal spending, $160 billion, takes place without oversight or even formal permission to be funded. And the Office of Management and Budget reports that over a quarter of all federal programs either don’t work or can’t show any evidence that they do. Under biennial budgeting, Congress would have more time to cut bad programs, expand good ones, and root out waste.

Third, the Stop Over-Spending Act would reestablish statutory caps for discretionary spending – enforced by automatic, across-the-board spending reductions – as well as mandate a cap on the federal deficit (as a percentage of our GDP) – ultimately enforced by automatic, across-the-board reductions in entitlement spending.

Hmm. The line-item veto is pretty clearly an ineffectual gimmick, even if it can be done Constitutionally by statute. I'm not sure about the other proposals. Thoughts?

Meanwhile, Bill Allison says that Dennis Hastert has an earmark problem.

UPDATE: Reader Jonthan Hamlet likes the two-year budgeting program:

I'm a Federal Contracting Officer, so I actually spend the goverment's money myself by awarding contracts and doing purchases, and I can say with authority that a two-year budget would do so much to cut down on federal expenditures and waste that it would eclipse any anti-pork movement. Why? Well, currently we have the infamous end of the fiscal year crunch in September where you have to spend all the money by the 30th or it "expires." This leads to spending decisions at the program level that are apallingly stupid, like the warehousing of computers and cell phones and furniture and ordering pointless studies and mounds of unnecessary software or generally just hiring a bunch of contractors to perform unnecessary support services.

Aside from the general fact that the government isn't the best at deciding how to spend its, a lot of this is driven by how little planning time program managers have. Before Congress actually passes a budget, they can't do anything and what they're going to get is up in the air. Usually the money doesn't roll in until a budget is passed, passes through OMB, and then passes through whatever equivalent Department Secretary there is, which is usually sometime around March. This gives them about a six month window to spend what is supposed to be a year's worth of money, as the rest of the time they are on continuing resolution funding, which is usually a deeply cut version of last year's budget that prevents them from actually doing any new projects or activities. Six months is barely enough time to actually get together a plan for spending the money at all, let alone in a smart way.

I worked at the EPA for awhile, and they had so-called two year money. It was spent in an infinitely smarter way. Managers had a chance to plan the expenditures and take their time finding the best goods or services. They didn't pointlessly buy stuff they didn't need just so the money wouldn't disappear. Switching the whole government over would make the financial management and the planning of all the expenditures much more sound. Right now it's pretty much six months of guessing what we'll get then an absolute feeding frenzy once we get it.

Are things really this bad? If so, then maybe this is more than a gimmick. Wouldn't we lose a lot in terms of flexibility, though?

Another reader is less enthusiastic: "While a two year budget cycle may have some merit, I can't see how it reduces spending. The issue here is a lack of discipline and will power, not a lack of time."

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader who asks anonymity -- but who knows a lot about budgeting -- emails:

Hey Glenn – I thought I’d weigh in very quickly on the two-year budgeting debate. The immediate goal of two-year budgeting is not necessarily to cut spending (if Congress just wanted to cut spending, it has the means to do it right now!).

The immediate goal of two-year budgeting is to dramatically increase oversight of money that is spent by the government. Congress barely gives itself enough time each year to spend all of your money, let alone investigate how your money was spent last year. By requiring Congress to spend an entire year doing oversight (two-year budgeting requires Congress to do appropriations in one year and oversight in the next year), two-year budgeting will result in greater spending oversight and accountability.

One more thought – the overall reform bill is fantastic. It also includes “PAYGO” for emergency spending above a specified limit, multi-year statutory spending caps, and BRAC-style sunset commission for federal programs. Whatever one thinks about the line-item veto, the overall reform bill is definitely a step in the right direction.

Other thoughts, anyone?

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Ed Morrisey has much more on Hastert.

IS GOOD NEWS FOR BUSH GOOD NEWS? Not for everyone.

EMILY YOFFE: "In our society parents do a wonderful job of portraying the difficulties of having children: the financial burdens, the time drain, the guilt, the exhaustion. But we do a lousy job of getting across something else about parenthood: It's fun!"

Read the whole thing, which is quite good, especially her comment on a guy who says he's childless because he read Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb. ("This man didn't have children because of a book that turned out to be wrong! Even Paul Ehrlich, who predicted that by the 1970s the world would be in the grip of catastrophic famine, had a child!")

Related items here and here.

KARL ROVE SPEAKS OUT: Patrick Hynes has the video.

MORE KIDNEYBLOGGING, from Virginia Postrel.

AMAZON IS SELLING GROCERIES NOW: If anybody can make the Internet grocery business work, it's them.

ILYA SOMIN: "I don't often agree with Alan Dershowitz. But he is absolutely right to note the double standards inherent in the near-universal praise for the the recent targeted killing of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi when contrasted with the near-universal condemnation of Israel's very similar targeting of top Hamas terrorists."

Personally, I'm okay with targeting both.

UPDATE: More thoughts from Austin Bay.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Here's an article on targeted killing as legitimate self-defense from the Case Western Law Review.

SOME COOL "HURRICANE BLOGGING" from Rick Lee, whose photos are, as always, amazing.

A MODEST civil rights victory in San Francisco, as a gun-ban bill is struck down in court.

RYAN SAGER REPORTS that Rudy Giuliani is going nuclear:

There's a reason Giuliani outpolls Sen. John McCain regularly when it comes to who conservative Republicans prefer for the presidency - while also maintaining great popularity with centrists - and it was on full display in this Manhattan Institute-hosted talk on energy policy. . . .

Drawing on his experience managing New York City's power problems, Giuliani spoke of the government red tape that makes it virtually impossible to build power plants, oil refineries and (especially) nuclear-power facilities.
Summing up U.S. energy policy since the 1970s, he was blunt: "We haven't done anything." We haven't drilled in Alaska. We haven't built oil refineries. We haven't ordered a nuclear power plant since 1978.

We need to start doing these things, he said, to diversify. Energy independence, he said, is simply the "wrong paradigm," despite the idea's popularity in quarters of both the Left and the Right. Instead, in a global economy, "We have to diversify, that's our strength . . . You can be independent by being diversified."

And there's room to reach out to the Left on building more nuclear plants now. The technology has grown safer - and nuclear use could reduce emissions that lead to global warming.

Read the whole thing.

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MORE of Alberto's awful aftermath.

June 13, 2006

D'OH!

JAMES WEBB is reported to have won the Democratic primary in Virginia. That's probably bad news for George Allen.

UPDATE: More here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails: "Don't you think it's also bad news for the left fringe of the Democrat party? I think it shows that voters will not support the Howard Dean-Kos-fringe and it makes for interesting times as Democrats try to find a presidental candidate for 2008." Yes, when Democrats move to the center, it's bad news for both Republicans and the Democratic far-left.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Jonathan Hamlet writes:

I know you like Jim Webb. I like him too, and I even was a campaign volunteer for him, but I find your characterization of him as centrist a little off. I find it off, because frankly I WISH Jim Webb was more centrist. In the primaries he has opposed free trade and hammered his primary opponent for saying outsourcing might not be such a bad thing, opposed the Iraq War (saying he would have voted against authorization of force if a Senator), and he also is a supporter of gay rights. While I think that's far from being really "liberal" or "left," he arguably was the less centrist of the two people running.

Yes, I knew he was antiwar, though I haven't followed his campaign very closely -- I'm mostly a fan of his books. (More here.) And other readers (including Markos) write to note that Kos endorsed him, so I guess Kos and I like the same guy, though I suspect we see different virtues in him. And if supporting gay rights makes you a left-liberal, then what am I?

Upside for the Dems -- they've got a Kos candidate with crossover appeal! Like fellow Democrat Phil Bredesen, he doesn't exude contempt for Red-State America. It'll be interesting to see if they can keep that going through November.

STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: On the other hand, maybe -- as Mickey Kaus is claiming -- it's really Kos who's tacking toward the center!

Of course, David Boaz says the whole election is a battle for the libertarian center!

AND MORE: Further thoughts on the "libertarian center" from Brink Lindsey. Responding to a post by Jonah Goldberg, Brink writes: " whether Jonah likes it or not, libertarians are in the center of the American political debate as it is currently framed. In the red vs. blue culture wars, libertarians find themselves in the middle, along with that large, nonideological chunk of the electorate that is equally squeamish about the religious right and the countercultural left. This is a new and unaccustomed position for libertarians to be in, but I am coming to believe it represents a unique opportunity for us if we can figure out how to take advantage of it." Centrism is in the eye of the beholder, I guess.

I'm not sure that Webb really fits this -- like me, he's pro-gay rights and pro-gun rights, but he's also (I think) anti-free-trade, which isn't really a "libertarian" stand. (Libertarians split on the war, so I don't think his position on the war tells us much either way.) But I may be misstating his position on trade since I'm not all that familiar with his political career, as opposed to his writing.

Conn Carroll at the National Journal Blogometer blog scores me -- fairly enough -- for not knowing that Kos was backing Webb. On the other hand, Carroll apparently thinks that I don't like Webb. I don't know where that idea came from, as I've been pretty positive in my treatment of him, and certainly wasn't unhappy with his primary victory. It's certainly wrong to lump me in with those who "want no part of a Webb candidacy."

MORE: Virginia blogger John Rosenberg has more thoughts on Webb as a centrist, or maybe former centrist. And Conn Carroll emails:

Yeah, I know you are pro-Webb, and re-reading the tag I put above your first quote, it probably does read like you don’t like him, but…I was trying to underscore sentiment on the right that Webb is a formidable candidate who can give Allen a real campaign, I wanted to use some non-NRO quotes, and I don’t get to quote you as often as I would like (what with the more campaign/inside politics subject matter of the Hotline). So forgive me for taking a shortcut at your expense.

No sweat -- campaign/inside politics stuff isn't among my chief interests. But obviously I should be reading Blogometer more to keep up.

MORE BAD NEWS FOR BUSH: "Aided by surging tax receipts, President Bush may make good on his pledge to cut the deficit in half in 2006 — three years early."

The New York Times headline: "Bush deficit reduction plan falls off-schedule."

STEPHEN HAWKING:

The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy the Earth, world-renowned scientist Stephen Hawking said Tuesday.

The British astrophysicist told a news conference in Hong Kong that humans could have a permanent base on the moon in 20 years and a colony on Mars in the next 40 years. . . .

"It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Hawking said. "Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."

I agree.

The Glenn and Helen Show: Alberto Armageddon!

We're podcasting from the eye of the storm. Er, or we would be, if it had an eye. Anyway, it's a spur-of-the-moment podcast from the vicinity of Apalachicola, Florida, where we've tried to equal the Big Media folks in hurricane hysteria. (Besides, it was still a bit too chilly for the beach this morning). You can listen right here if you want to see how we did. You can get it on iTunes by clicking right here, and there's a lo-fi version for dialup right here.

The sun's coming out now, so we'll be on the beach soon. Let's hope that all of this year's storm news amounts to as little.

As usual, my lovely and talented cohost is soliciting comments.

UPDATE: Yes, this whole thing was done with this Olympus digital recorder that I reviewed for Gizmodo a while back. Just copied the files over into the laptop, strung 'em together with Acid, and uploaded them. Quick and dirty -- which is all this deserves. . . .

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ALBERTO'S DEVASTATION: One of several chairs blown over on our deck. A reader writes: "You're in the middle of a hurricane and blogging about Rove?" Well, the two added up to about the same thing -- lots of noise on cable news and not much underlying substance.

FROM FITZMAS TO FIZZLEMAS: Karl Rove won't be indicted.

John Podhoretz weighs in: "Karl Rove won't say it, and his lawyer won't say it, but I'll say it: Patrick Fitzgerald's conduct in the Rove matter has been disgraceful." Any comments from Jason Leopold?

There's a big Rove non-indictment roundup right here, and Austin Bay has some further thoughts. And there's lots more from Tom Maguire.

And there's this: "Rove Cleared, Zarqawi Dead, Bush doomed." Well, I predict he won't be reelected in 2008, anyway. But he's in Baghdad at the moment.

And while Bush is in Baghdad, Hillary's getting booed by the left, according to Dave Weigel. The Republicans are doomed!

MORE: Jim Lindgren observes: "It would be interesting to compare the false statements made by Rove and Libby to the investigators with the false statements made by Joe Wilson to the press and the public."

June 12, 2006

ANN ALTHOUSE is guestblogging over at GlennReynolds.com this week.

"GOING TO HELL" in the court of public opinion.

WITH WAL-MART SELLING ORGANIC FOOD and fair-trade coffee, what new reasons will the haters find for hating 'em? I'm sure they'll come up with some.

MICHAEL YON'S FIGHT with HFM/Shocked magazine continues.

"RUM, SODOMY, AND THE LASH:" Heh. Well, two out of three ain't bad.

Meanwhile, after attending YearlyKos, Ryan Sager thinks that what the Kos Krowd needs is another good run of defeats: "Nothing smothers a growing movement of the politically disaffected quicker than premature victory."

UPDATE: I think it's Tim Blair who's providing the lash. . . .

And I would say that this Davey Jones has nothing to do with "rum, sodomy and the lash" -- but he was probably intimately familiar with at least the first two. . . .

And Eric Scheie has thoughts on politics and child-rearing.

AUSTIN BAY covered the Zarqawi autopsy briefing.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Iraqpundit autopsies Juan Cole's treatment of Zarqawi.

Mary Katharine Ham is conducting a post-mortem on Haditha coverage.

And Thomas Lipscomb is conducting an autopsy of sorts, too.

MORE: Jihadis become JiHasbeens.

And though they're not dead yet -- they're feeling better, in fact, and think they'd like to go for a walk -- Michael Barone issues a troubling diagnosis for the Democrats.

And at Wizbang it's an Amber Alert for pollsters.

SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE EMAILED TO ASK IF I'M OK: Yes, actually, though we're on the Florida Gulf Coast and keeping an eye on the hurricane warnings, which have gotten considerably stronger all of a sudden. Looks like we'll miss most of it.

The "High Speed Internet" at our beach house doesn't work, though, and there's no Verizon coverage. I've used that as an excuse to take a break; right now I'm in a wifi-equipped cafe in Apalachicola. I've been reading Andy Kessler's The End of Medicine : How Silicon Valley (and Naked Mice) Will Reboot Your Doctor. It's really good, and we're going to try to get Kessler on for a podcast interview soon. I certainly hope his vision for the future comes true, and soon!

UPDATE: The Cafe is called Veranda's -- it's got a nice wine bar, too, but it's a bit early for me. I can recommend the Key Lime pie, though.

Meanwhile, speaking of matters medical, some interesting kidneyblogging from Jeremy Floyd.

June 11, 2006

THE CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES is UP!

So is the latest Haveil Havalim.

SO IF KNOX COUNTY'S CHARTER has been ruled invalid, I guess it's too much to hope for that I won't have to pay my property taxes.

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Andy Roth reports that we can't look to Democrats for relief from earmarking:

At a recent gathering for Democrats, Congressman Jim Moran (unfortunately, my congressman) promised to bring home more bacon if the Democrats re-capture the House and he gets re-elected. And he isn’t shy about admitting it. Here’s what Moran said according to a report in the Arlington Sun-Gazette:

“When I become chairman [of a House appropriations subcommittee], I’m going to earmark the s—t out of it,” Moran buoyantly told a crowd of 450 attending the event.”

Well, that's encouraging. Sheesh.

A SUPER PRIUS is on the way.

STRATEGYPAGE: "Smart dust" stalked Zarqawi." Well, it is the 21st Century.

TOM MAGUIRE:

Two weeks ago when I quoted Dan Abrams as saying "Drop the charges" on the Duke rape debacle, I thought the prosecution case could not get any weaker.

I was wrong - it could get a lot weaker.

All the publicity, of course, will make it difficult for the DA to climb down, even if he should want to. Which is yet another reason why prosecutors should generally avoid big press conferences, even when there's an election looming.

SOME CORRECTIONS FROM TIME on Haditha.

UPDATE: Here's much more from The Mudville Gazette.

And Dan Riehl has thoughts, too.

I suspect that something bad did happen at Haditha, but the press reports have run way in advance of the evidence, and have been marked by a readiness to believe the worst in advance of the evidence, as the backtracking demonstrates.

EGYPTIAN BLOGGER ALAA has another blog entry from prison. He's worried about Hosni Mubarak's health.

COLUMNIST PAUL MULSHINE OF THE NEWARK STAR-LEDGER IS BEING DISHONEST. Writing about a post of mine on Zarqawi's death and the press reaction in Baghdad, Mulshine writes:

Sure enough, there was Reynolds holding forth on the MSM's insufficiently obsequious coverage of the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It seems that during the news conference in Iraq at which the killing was announced, the Iraqi reporters broke into cheers but the American reporters didn't. After deep rumi nation, Reynolds lumped this in with other perceived MSM offenses as symptoms of "the misconduct of the American press."

What Mulshine leaves out -- because, being an old-media columnist who doesn't have to provide links, he can leave it out -- is what my post actually said. You can read it here.

When you do, you'll see that the mention that it was Iraqi reporters, not U.S. reporters, who were cheering was there as a correction to Howard Kurtz, who was quoting a report of cheering reporters as evidence that the U.S. press was properly patriotic.

The sad thing about guys like Mulshine isn't that this sort of dishonesty is new. It's that they keep doing it even when it's easy to catch them. But "old media" isn't necessarily "bright media," as we've seen.

UPDATE: Reader Brian Weigand emails:

I narrowly avoided a spittake at this part of the column:

"The lawyer, on the other hand, tends to take one side of an issue and then make the evidence fit the argument."

He actually does what he wrongly accuses you of doing. I suppose it's no wonder that he did not provide a link to your post. (Maybe he just doesn't know how.) Further I see no link to email him.

Maybe we have a new MSM motto here:

We're Big Media. Not only don't we feel any need to provide evidence to support our specious conclusions, but we don't want to hear from you peons about it. So f*** off (but continue to subscribe.)

it's a bit long, but it'll do.

It's a bit harsh, but it'll do, too. Meanwhile, a new Jersey blogger writes that I've been trolled:

The funny thing is, more people will now read a Mulshine column because widely read blogger, Glenn Reynolds, linked to his piece. It looks like Ann Coulter isn't the only one stirring up controversy for the sake of publicity.

Well, I certainly hadn't paid any attention to Mulshine before.

Meanwhile, Mark Hessey emails:

Mulshine's conclusion strikes me as bit odd and decidedly unfunny:

"Anyone can travel to a war zone and write about it. I would strongly recommend this for any of the critics of the MSM who are seeking to get out the real truth about Iraq. Go for it, guys. War coverage is great fun. One word of caution, though: Don't lose your heads in all the excitement."

It sounds as if he's completely unaware of Yon and Roggio, to name but two that have done just that, and whose reporting runs circles around anything produced by the MSM.

I think he's unaware of a number of things.

By the way, the link in my older post unaccountably points to a later Kurtz column. The correct link is here.

The Philadelphia Enquirer's Frank Wilson thinks that the future of newspapers won't be bright if this sort of thing continues.

As Fausta notes, at some papers, the present isn't very bright . . . .

BAD INTERNET -- back later.