July 15, 2006

JEEZ, the Middle East post is too depressing to finish the night with. So here's a picture I took Friday at the Downtown Grill and Brewery.



Can we put the Romans in charge of that region again? Granted, they didn't do much for the region, aside from roads, aqueducts, keeping the peace, and sanitation, but at least they united the factions against their common enemy: The Judean People's Front.

I suppose some might see joking about such things as bad taste, but although Kevin Drum is getting hammered for it, I actually understand why he might want to throw up his hands on this subject. It's not that I don't care -- I do -- and it's not that I don't hope that things will work out well. I do. But beyond hoping (and "hope" is probably the operative word) that we'll see a decisive end to Syrian/Iranian mischief-making in the region, I don't have a lot to contribute.

But here's a hopeful sign, anyway:

I can see pigs flying. The conference of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo are not, as usual, arguing over Israel, they're discussing the legitimacy of Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia is leading the camp of ministers criticizing Hezbollah.

And I might as well hope, because it's all I can do. One hopes, also, that those with more influence on the region are using it constructively.

UPDATE: A not-so-hopeful sign, in the form of a post from Michael Totten's co-blogger, now a refugee heading to, yes, Syria.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Dan Riehl says I'm wrong to be depressed. On the other hand, this guy (who I haven't read before) says I'm wrong to be hopeful. At least they agree that I'm wrong -- I'm a uniter, not a divider . . . .

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey sends this post to cheer me up. Thanks!

IT'S WEIRD: My earlier mentions of John Edwards (whose blog-boomlet continues!) have generated two types of email: "You bastard -- of course as a lawyer you'd support an Evil Trial Lawyer," and "You bastard -- of course as a Rethuglican stooge you'd push another southern white boy."

Yeah. I mean, I think I'd be okay about a ticket with Edwards and Warner on it, but how likely is it that two southerners from adjoining states could win the presidency for the Democrats? By even raising that point I'm some sort of Rovian stooge. And, worse, a lawyer!

[Well, aren't you a lawyer? -- Ed. I'm just on the side of justice!]

UPDATE: Several people email along these lines: "I suppose that someone has pointed this out to you already. But in 1992, two Dems from adjoining Southern states did win the presidency."

Er, yes. I even voted for them, the first time.

GREG BURCH has thoughts on Marx and Muhammad.

A MODEST DIPLOMATIC SUCCESS: The U.N. has condemned North Korea. Austin Bay has further thoughts.


I admit I doubted reading Lebanese and Israeli bloggers would be a very useful way to learn about the latest Mideast fighting. I mean, anyone with a modem can just spout off! But N.Z. Bear's Topics Page turns out to be a highly efficient and engaging way to get the flavor and texture of the conflict. (Example: The advice of Big Pharoah's dad.)

Yes, and between it and the Pajamas Media coverage, I get to take it easy and leave the heavy lifting to others. Which is a good thing, at the moment.


IN THE MAIL: Naomi Kritzer's latest, Freedom's Sisters. I haven't read it yet, but I've enjoyed the first two books in the trilogy (it starts with Freedom's Gate) ever since John Scalzi turned me on to Kritzer's work.

GAY MARRIAGE IN TENNESSEE: Not likely to happen in the near future, but some people are sufficiently upset at the possibility that there's a proposed amendment to the Tennessee Constitution that would define marriage as one-man/one-woman. I think that's a terrible idea: Such amendments are basically an attempt to block any change in political consensus by freezing things now, and that seems wrong to me in this context.

It's very hard to amend the Tennessee Constitution, and the amendment will fail unless it as many votes as would constitute a majority in the last gubernatorial election. An early effort to derail it on procedural grounds, brought by the Tennessee ACLU, failed on standing grounds. (Opinion here, short summary via Michael Silence here.) I'm not sure about that -- it seems to me that under Art 1 secs. 1&2 of the Tennessee Constitution there's a pretty good argument that any citizen has standing in these matters -- but it's certainly evidence that the Tennessee Supreme Court, despite its more-friendly-than-the U.S. Supreme Court treatment of abortion and sodomy, isn't grasping at any legal straw available in support of gay marriage, as gay marriage opponents fear.

I'm going to try to figure out what I can do to oppose this measure, though it's a tricky political calculus as drawing attention to it may actually help its passage, since a failure to vote on the measure at all is tantamount to a "no" vote. I suspect, though, that the anti-gay-marriage forces will make enough noise to ensure that it's not ignored.

My own sense is that this sort of thing belongs in the political sphere, and that efforts to insulate it from the political sphere, either by judicial fiat or constitutional amendment, are a bad idea.

UPDATE: This is part of a string of losses for gay marriage advocates, reports Dale Carpenter, who has detail on what's going on. As I've noted before, it seems to me that the big push on gay marriage came before the public was ready. You have to educate first; there's been good progress on public attitudes toward gays, but it actually seems to go faster when gay marriage advocates aren't getting a lot of publicity and calling people who disagree with them bigots. (Kaus has noted this, too -- scroll down due to lack of permalinks at Kausfiles.) Honey, vinegar, and all that.

My own feeling is that Americans are basically fair, and will come to support gay marriage on their own given a bit of time. And I think that -- despite claims that they're really just opposing "judicial activism" -- gay marriage opponents fear that I'm right.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Glenn Howes emails:

As a daily (actually many times a daily) reader, I think you have some obligations to explain your thinking in more detail about this issue. I think you should address the critics' of gay marriage heart-
felt beliefs. So I have a couple of questions for you.

1) Critics say that allowing gays to marry will grievously harm the institution of marriage as a whole. What are the odds in your mind that this is true? For example, what would be the odds that this change in definition will lead to a 20% drop in people who live together being married 20 years from now? How many gay marriages are we talking about, and how high would the odds have to be in order for you to say it wasn't worth it.

2) You use the "fairness" argument. If you were punditing 50 years ago, would you have supported the extension of welfare benefits to all single mothers, not just widows and orphans? The "fairness" argument was used on that occasion too, and the result was the near utter destruction of the black nuclear family. If so, would it have been worth it? In other words, is fairness more important than the family structure? If not, do you think you'd have been able to predict the effect with the same level of certainty you predicted the odds in question 1?

Hmm. Well, in answer to question (1), I don't see how this harms marriage at all. Will straight kids be more or less likely to get married because gay couples get married? It's hard for me to see the answer being "less likely." Why would it be? ("Eww, now marriage has gay cooties" doesn't seem to be a likely reaction.) Will straight marrieds be more likely to get divorces? Again, I don't see any mechanism for this. To me, gay marriage seems like a fundamentally pro-tradition move.

As for (2), well, that's hard to answer in light of my answers to (1). I don't know whether fairness is more important than family structure, but I'm at a loss to see why gay marriage threatens family structure -- but to the extent (doubtful) that it does, it's got to be orders of magnitude less damaging than easy welfare benefits or a culture (which we had for a while but don't really have any more) that treats divorce lightly.

Various other emailers ask variations on "what's more democratic than a referendum?" Well, but it's a referendum that's designed to take the question out of the purview of democracy thereafter. There are obviously subjects for which that's appropriate -- that's why we have constitutions, after all -- but this doesn't really seem like one of those to me. (But Polipundit disagrees.)

MORE: Another reader, Laurel Lowrey, writes:

A topic of this magnitude requires more than a few words to capture the scope of the argument. Society does not create marriage; the family precedes the clan which precedes the state. All a society can do is to offer support for the foundational block in a society, that grouping which offers the best hope of creating and raising the successor generation. Glenn Howes challenged your position, I believe hoping you'd offer some evidence of intellectual exercise in replying; I also believe you failed that miserably.

Consider: in the last fifty years, there has been a steady deterioration in the centrality of marriage in our society. The initial event was the introduction of the 'Pill' in 1961. I won't cover the disastrous entirety of the 60's, but the easy acceptance of a new abandon regarding sexual mores was clearly the result. The early 70's saw the introduction of 'no-fault' divorce as well as the legalization of on-demand abortion, and the race was on. By the time a single and pregnant Murphy Brown hit the airwaves - recall the public mocking of Dan Quayle when he rightly warned of the consequences of Hollywood undermining the social value of marriage - the end seemed to have been all but fated.

So, where are we today? Marriage is wavering under the relentless attack from so many directions. Tax codes penalize married couples. Hollywood, the only royalty we have, treats marriage as a great time, one which they seem eager to use like cheap shampoo - rinse and repeat. Divorce laws now allow partners to swap faster than at a square dance. Face it, marriage is under assault today, in many ways and for many reasons.

Our society has weakened its foundational stone, marriage, by breaking it free from procreation; we've accepted 'casual sex' and 'starter marriages'. The worst of all may just be 'blended' families - and egad, but what is this latest drumbeat of 'it takes all kinds of people to make a family'? Have we so forgotten the nuclear family that any accumulation and quantity of people together for any period are given the same status? Delusional.

So, you're wrong. Gay marriage will do two things simultaneously and result in a final devastation subsequently. It will 'prove' that the male/female relationship is not unique and valued in our society. It will 'prove' that marriage is not optimal for the healthy rearing of children. Finally, it will be the foot in the door to polygamy. Once we no longer require opposite gender relationships, you cannot legitimately defend the arbitrariness of the number of partners. You know that, as do I.

I have no doubt that gay marriage will become the new normal in our country, though I use the word advisedly. The selfish nature will have its way.

Will that society, easily freed from all interpersonal obligations, shedding relationships like worn clothing, children likened to vanity license plates, truly be better?

Okay, more words -- but I still don't see the connection between allowing gay marriage and a society "easily freed from all interpersonal obligations, shedding relationships like worn clothing, children likened to vanity license plates." Where's the causal relationship here?

With Glenn Howes' example, it was predictable that if the government subsidized illegitimate children we'd get more of them. But what's the government subsidizing in the case of gay marriage? It's not promiscuity, or the casual production of children -- we already have plenty of both, and there's no reason I can see that gay marriage makes them more likely.

Meanwhile, Howes responds:

Thanks for printing my e-mail. It was quite surprising and gratifying to see my name up on Instapundit.

So I take it your answers are:

1) 0% (in which case I will be bet you a dollar versus all the money
in the universe that you are wrong)

2) Yes, but you are more certain this time.

Fair enough, and thanks again for taking the time. Messing with one of the pillars of human civilization is not something conservatives like myself do lightly if at all; it's sort of what defines a conservative, at least as Jonah Goldberg would define conservatism.

Well, I'm not a conservative -- whether you use Jonah's definition, Ramesh Ponnuru's definition, or even (I think) Andrew Sullivan's definition, and I'm happy I didn't get dragged into that argument . . . .

But I'm not sure that putting something beyond the reach of anything but a pretty big supermajority -- because, as I mentioned, it's very hard to amend the Tennessee Constitution, harder than with most state constitutions -- is exactly modest, if that's part of being conservative. It seems to me to be a fairly extraordinary bit of hand-tying. Right now, there's no chance that a majority of Tennessee voters will adopt gay marriage. But an amendment to the Tennessee Constitution says that if a majority of those voters change their minds later, we're (or at least the amendment's proponents are) are so sure that we know better now than they will then that we're willing to require a very substantial supermajority to make any changes.

STILL MORE: More comments on my post here. And Chris O'Donnell also doesn't see the threat to marriage from gay marriage:

Even as I type this I'm making plans to leave Michelle for a 21 year old Hooters waitress. If Kenny Chesney and Renee Zwelleger can only last 4 months, why should the rest of us even bother trying?

Hollywood royalty? Pleeeze. Hollywood folks don't fail at marriage because they they are part of the liberal gay conspiracy to undermine traditional American values. They fail at marriage because they are self-centered idiots unable to put anybody else ahead of themselves. You sort of have to be that way to make it to that level of Hollywood in the first place.

Yes, and they do more damage to marriage than gay marriages are likely to do. Meanwhile, reader Shirley Taylor emails:

Please satisfy my curiosity. You talk about the push for gay marriage came before the public was ready - "You have to educate first." How would you do this educating? I get the impression that you think anyone who is against gay marriage is a bigot and I think that is far from true. I am against this but both my daughters, in their thirties, are for it. I think it's a gereration thing as people I work with, who would cut off their right hand rather than vote Republican, are very against it too, but given time, in my opinion, it will become acceptable - more's the pity.

For what it is worth, I have been a tax preparer for 20 years with a well known Firm and it wasn't until Congress started to do away with the marriage penalty that gay marriage advocates started their campaign in earnest, at least down here in South Florida, and I am not the only preparer to notice this trend. Before that, gays were better off taxwise being single (and you would be amazed at how so many people live their lives, to a fanatical degree, with regard to taxes e.g. no way would he/she get married and miss out on the earned income credit to name just one) but now they realize it is to their advantage to be able to marry and they are determined to get their way on this.

Just because you do not think 100% the way I do, will not make me stop visiting your blog which I find educational and enjoyable.

I agree that it's a generational thing, though I don't think that's bad. I think it's more the result of people becoming more familiar with "out" gays and not being threatened by them. And I rather doubt that this whole thing is being driven by tax concerns. I don't think that "anyone who is against gay marriage is a bigot," and I think that such notions have done more harm than good to the cause of gay marriage.

AUSTIN BAY has still more on Lebanon.

DOES THIS FAST make me look fat?

MEANWHILE, in Iraq: "Iraq approved this week the transition of its second province from the Multi-National Forces to full provincial control."

ALTHOUGH, AS MENTIONED BELOW, Dave Weigel and Michelle Malkin have joined hands in defense of Joe Biden over his dumb Indian remarks, it's worth mentioning that Biden deserves a lot more scorn for his sponsorship of the miserable "RAVE Act."



UPDATE: Daniel Drezner describes the situation as "fluid."

READER STEPHEN CLARK has a question:

A simple question asked in the context of recent events and prior discussions of the Geneva Accords: Why hasn't the International Committee of the Red Cross demanded access to the Israeli soldiers taken in Gaza and in northern Israel? The same could be asked for any other relevant organizations as well as governments who've recently been concerned with the treatment of non-uniformed combatants.

Certainly the soldier taken into Gaza is the responsibility of the quasi-Palestinian state and surely deserving of Geneva protections. Hezbollah while not a state or quasi-state has at least as much stature as Al Qaeda and it seems that the international community believes that Geneva extends to Al Qaeda's representatives; so, why would it not also extend to uniformed soldiers held by Hezbollah which, I believe, has declared itself to be at war with the state of Israel.

Because, of course, the Geneva Conventions only apply against Israel, and the United States, never to their benefit. You can look it up.

UPDATE: My snark is in error. Reader Eric Levy-Myers notes that the ICRC has made some noise on behalf of the kidnapped Israeli soldiers, though I hadn't seen any coverage before.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Stephen Clark responds:

Thanks for posting my question! I found the response and link provided by Eric Levy-Myers interesting. However, my question still stands and your comment remains relevant for two reasons: First, my question while directed principally to the ICRC was also directed to the many other individuals, organizations, and governments who have participated in the recent discussions of Geneva and its relevance to Al Qaeda and non-uniformed combatants generally; their relative silence now and in the past speaks volumes. Second, note that in the linked article from the JPost you find the following passage: "Outside the Middle East, Stillheart said, 'we are often able to visit hostages. I remember a case in Peru when an embassy was occupied for a long time and we were allowed to see them. But in this context here, we have never been allowed to visit Israeli soldiers captured by a group.'" It is noted in the opening paragraph that Hezbollah refuses to provide even the names of the soldiers they hold much less the contact requested by the ICRC. Consider too the past cases also described in this article. If anything, the linked article reinforces the basic thrust of the question I asked as well as your accompanying comment.

Well, it's certainly true that Hezbollah isn't following the Geneva Convention. (And that's leaving aside the whole deliberately-targeting-bar-mitzvahs thing.) But that's true in a lot of ways, and it's certainly also true that the volume of outrage directed at them is much lower than the volume of outrage directed at Israel and the United States for far less serious infractions.

July 14, 2006

WHY I AM LIKE MUSSOLINI: Photographic evidence, plus a missing link!

WANT TO KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON IN LEBANON? N.Z. Bear has set up a Lebanon blog aggregation page.

Plus, here's another roundup from Pajamas Media.

UNSCAM UPDATE: Tongsun Park has been found guilty in his oil-for-food trial.

DOUG WEINSTEIN has more blog interest in an Edwards candidacy. It's an Edwards boomlet!

YES, BLOGGING'S BEEN LIGHT TODAY: Helen and I took this gadget out and did podcast interviews at a local brewery and at the UT Nutrition institute. You'll have to wait until next week for the results, though.

TAMMY BRUCE: The world selectively criticizes Israel.


THIS is just surreal. From the Brokeback to the Future guys.

DAVE WEIGEL: "Michelle Malkin is absolutely right."

THE PAJAMAS MEDIA BLOG WEEK IN REVIEW PODCAST IS UP, featuring me, Eric Umansky, Austin Bay, and Tammy Bruce.

CHRIS MUIR'S DAY BY DAY CARTOON is now available by cellphone. It's that Long Tail thing again.

TIM ADAMEC HAS SET UP A PROJECT ON SOURCEFORGE to develop protections against DoS attacks for bloggers. If you have the requisite skills, check it out.

CHRIS ANDERSON'S THE LONG TAIL is still in the top 10 at Amazon, and it's getting good reader reviews -- though why it's of such interest to DEA and narcotics-agent types isn't entirely clear. [Drug dealing is a long-tail phenomenon! -- Ed. I guess.] Our podcast interview with Anderson is here, in case you missed it.

In a further illustration of Anderson's thesis, David Pescovitz reports that Geek Entertainment TV has taken the Boeing, with a buy-out from Robert Scoble's Podtech.


UPDATE: Reader Michael Russo emails from Beirut:

So I arrived in Beirut on Sunday after a weekend in Cyprus thinking it would be a fun place to watch the world cup as I have many friends in Beirut. 5 days later I am stranded with what seems to be quite a lot more tourists than I was expecting. A few observations

1) the U.S. embassy has been anything but helpful these last few days. When i finally got through to a human being last night he told me the embassy was closed, to try back tomorrow, and made me feel that I was crazy for even asking about an evacuation plan. Needless to say I spent the night terrified listening to fighter jets and bombs and awoke to an endless busy signal whenever I call their number. This is a common experience among all other Americans I've run into here.

2) The Lebanese people seem to be more than turned off by Hizbollah. Their fears are greater, however, that the Lebanese government would turn entirely against Hizbollah. This lies in the fact that they trust the Israelis to hit fewer civilian targets more than they trust a desparate renegade Hizbollah on their soil. There is a lot of fear over another civil war.

3) War is both nerve-racking and boring. Its hard to explain being shaken awake at 4:00 am by a bomb. Or just sitting around all day watching the news as your electricity comes in and out. Nothing really happens but you're chewing your nails the whole time. Excluding the new generation, the Lebanese people are eerily accustomed to this and know things I could never dream about, like cracking the windows at night to avoid shattering from sonic booms...

4) Pajamas Media is the most accurate coverage I've found so far.

Hoping there's a way out soon...

We're all hoping that. And we're hoping that it's a way that leads to a lasting peace in Lebanon and the whole region. And I'm glad you like the PJ Media coverage. Gerard van der Leun took over as editor a couple of months back, and I think he's worked some real improvements.

CLICKING BY THINKING: A successful brain-computer interface.


Those who think that the 9/11 hero would be a formidable candidate are forgetting about the 9/10 Rudy. Meaning, this is a guy who is pro-choice on abortion, pro-gay rights and moved in with a gay couple after a messy breakup with his wife that came as he was dating another woman. None of that is likely to sit well with Republican primary voters (although Giuliani would be a strong general-election candidate with appeal to Democrats if he could ever win the GOP nod).

He's polled very, very well among InstaPundit readers, who probably aren't typical Republican primary voters. But he's also polled very, very well among Hugh Hewitt's readers, who probably are.

RANDY "SKBUBBA" NEAL has posted a blog interview with John Edwards. Don't miss it. I think, by the way, that if Edwards had topped the Democratic ticket in 2004, it might have made the difference. Bush was (as I said repeatedly) vulnerable, but Kerry was a self-inflicted wound.

TRANSPARENCY IN GOVERNMENT SPENDING: Mark Tapscott reports on upcoming hearings.


The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to prohibit the confiscation of legally owned guns during an emergency like last year's Hurricane Katrina, marking another victory for the gun lobby.

By a vote of 84-16, the Senate embraced an amendment by Sen. David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican. He attached his measure to a domestic security spending bill for the fiscal year starting October 1 that the Senate is expected to pass soon.

Although last year's illegal gun confiscation in New Orleans was eventually overturned in federal court, that kind of relief obviously comes too late for people who need to protect themselves in an emergency. This seems like an appropriate legislative response to me, though as Alphecca notes it still has to pass the House.

ANOTHER ROUNDUP on the Israeli/Hezbollah war.

UPDATE: Dan Riehl has more, too.

DOES RUSSIA BELONG IN THE G8? "Nearly a decade later, the sanguine predictions about Russia's bright future no longer exist. Although the economy has expanded remarkably -- GDP, income, the stock market, and foreign exchange reserves have all grown exponentially -- political freedom under President Vladimir Putin has been heavily curtailed."


UPDATE: No, the link's not bad, the site's just down. I don't know if it's one of those pesky DOS attacks, or just insta-traffic. The gist, anyway, was that Andrew is taking his talking points about me from the Townhouse crowd these days, something I've noticed myself, which is why I read his site less and less.

OOPS: Disabled the link above, as I got this email:

This morning you linked to a post by Conor Friedersdorf defending you against Andrew Sullivan. I run the site,, and the no-talent [censored] who evidently run my server have decided that the traffic generated by your link violates my terms of service. I must therefore ask you to delink so that they will restore service long enough for me to retrieve my blog and move it elsewhere.

"No-talent [censored]" is a bit strong (it's my "censorship," not his!) but what kind of hosting service kills your site when it gets noticed? A lousy one, I guess.

LATER: While you're waiting, some moving thoughts on insufficient condemnation of, well, everything!


By unilaterally taking Lebanon into a conflict with Israel, Hezbollah sought to stage a coup d’йtat against the anti-Syrian parliamentary and government majority, which opposes the militant group’s adventurism.

Hezbollah holds seats in the 128-member Parliament but has an uneasy relationship with the majority, which has been on the defensive as Syria has tried to reassert control over Lebanon after its military withdrawal last year. Hezbollah hoped to humiliate the anti-Syrian politicians by forcing them to endorse the kidnappings and showing how little control the government has over the party.

As I noted below, if Israel can chase the Syrians out of Lebanon it will be acting in consonance with the goals of the Cedar Revolution.

THOUGHTS ON THE ABA, DIVERSITY, AND admission to the bar.


Police say they logged numerous complaints of straight people being called ``breeders" by gays over the July Fourth holiday weekend. Jamaican workers reported being the target of racial slurs. And a woman was verbally accosted after signing a petition that opposed same-sex marriage, they said.

The town, which prizes its reputation for openness and tolerance, is taking the concerns seriously, though police say they do not consider the incidents hate crimes. . . .

``I've been here for eight years, and I think in that time the population has changed a bit and there is a little less tolerance," said Simply Silver store owner Bill Mitchell, 53, who said he is gay. ``There has been a little more tension."

Meanwhile, Jamaicans say the intensifying debate over immigration is making racial issues worse.

Winsome Karr, 45, originally from Jamaica, has worked in town since 2002. Lately, she said, the off-color comments stem from gay visitors who mistakenly believe that all Jamaicans share the views of an island religious sect that disagrees with homosexuality.

Karr's strong accent reveals her Jamaican roots.

``After a while people from here get used to you, and it changes," said Karr, who works at a Tedeschi Food Shop not far from Commercial Street. ``It's just because of the image that gay people have of Jamaicans. People -- no matter who they are -- get defensive of their lifestyle."

On same-sex marriage, the clashes have occurred as the state Legislature grapples with whether the electorate should vote on a measure to limit marriage to heterosexuals. A group that supports gay marriage, knowthyneighbor, has created a website displaying the names of more than 100,000 signers of a petition that calls for the state Constitution to be amended to prohibit same-sex marriage.

Knowthyneighbor's tactics are controversial, with critics alleging that knowthyneighbor is making the names of same-sex marriage opponents public in an effort to expose or intimidate them. The group's founders say they are simply promoting civic discourse.

I hope that Provincetown's leading residents will encourage calm, understanding, and a freedom from racial and other stereotypes. (Via Squaring the Globe).

July 13, 2006

JEEZ, I HOPE THIS COMES TRUE: "Allergy Battle Could Be Won In Five Years, Says Scientist." Knoxville is one of America's most allergic cities, a downside of biodiversity that you don't hear much about.

THINGS IN LEBANON CONTINUE TO UNFOLD, and as I've been too busy to blog in real time, I've tried to think about what it means.

After the excitement of the Cedar Revolution, this is depressing, of course. But it's interesting to see that many Lebanese are angry at Hezbollah, and of course getting Syrian influence out of Lebanon was one of the main points of the Cedar Revolution, and something that was only partially accomplished. The Israelis may finish what the Lebanese started, and that would be a good thing.

Looking at the many countries who are, for a change, siding with Israel here I'm beginning to think that what's unfolding now is something that was prepared for, as part of the next stage in the war on terror -- isolating terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and punishing their patrons like Syria and Iran. If I'm right, that will be very good for the Lebanese, and, eventually, for pretty much everyone in the Mideast except jihadist loonies and their backers. I hope that's true, anyway.

A PLAME/WILSON CIVIL SUIT? This seems quite unwise to me, as I think all sorts of things will come out in discovery.

UPDATE: Jim Rose: "It's not about winning or losing the lawsuit, it's about keeping the story going."

And reader Gabriel Pentelie writes: "It's only unwise if one believes the MSM is going to cover it fairly. And what are the chances of that?"

MORE: Another reader emails: "The suit is akin to Oscar Wilde's defamation case against the Marquis of Queensbury." That didn't work out well.

AN ONGOING ROUNDUP on events in Lebanon.

JOSHUA TREVINO REPORTS on his week in Africa with Ashley Judd.

BLOGOMETER HAS HIGHLIGHTS of the McCain podcast. That's nice for people who don't want to listen, and wish we had transcripts. (Sorry -- I type too much as it is!)

I think, however, that their comparison of Hugh Hewitt to Daily Kos in terms of tone is rather unfair. Hugh's pretty unhappy with McCain, but I don't think you can compare his treatment of McCain to the Kossacks' treatment of Joe Lieberman. And -- as I recall quite clearly from when I was at cross-purposes with the social-conservative right over the Terri Schiavo affair -- Hugh can and does show courtesy to people he disagrees with (and he and I disagree on plenty, actually). That's even true where he talks about the Kos Krowd, as he recently reminded his readers: "They aren't our enemies, only our opponents."

The Kos Krowd doesn't show that spirit, as evident in the response to my favorable comments on James Webb -- instead of welcoming me into the pro-Webb tent, they aimed scorn my way because I wasn't sufficiently respectful to the Kos Krowd. When it comes to issues, I probably disagree with Hugh on as many as I disagree with Kos. But when it comes to tone I think we're closer. I do think that people who, in Blogometer's words, emphasize common ground where it's possible to do so are more likely to do better in politics and life than those who look for divisions, and I'm pretty sure that Hugh feels that way, too.

Related post here. And, sort of, here.

DESPITE GUN-CONTROLLERS' CRITICISMS of Florida laws on handgun carrying and self-defense, Florida's crime rates are way down.

Meanwhile, in the District of Columbia, where gun laws are much stricter, it's a crime emergency.

A SUCCESSFUL anti-missile test.

NOT SO SWIFT: Jacob Weisberg writes on why the New York Times was wrong to publish.


Britain has handed over responsibility for security in one of Iraq's 18 provinces to local forces for the first time since the country was invaded. An agreement transferring power in Muthanna was signed by Major General John Cooper, who commands coalition forces in southern Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who was present, said the handover "will bring happiness to all Iraqis".

It ends the long-term presence of coalition troops in the province.

UK Defence Secretary Des Browne said it was a "milestone" for the people of the region and of Iraq.


porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The Hill reports on a planned porkfest:

House Republicans are struggling to move a labor, health and human services (HHS) appropriations bill containing more than 1,700 earmarks that would help lawmakers of both parties in their November reelection bids.

The district-specific projects, totaling about half a billion dollars, are tied to a Democratic minimum-wage increase that is anathema to the GOP, and no proposed solution has taken root. . . .

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said leadership will be under pressure to move the bill before the November election.

“Democrats and Republicans are going to want to pass this bill,” said Flake, who has threatened to offer amendments to strike each of the 1,700 earmarks for which a sponsor is not identified.

“We’re in an election season, and members have come to believe that the path to reelection is paved with pork,” Flake said. “This bill is full of it.”

Few, if any, lawmakers expect the largest domestic spending bill to become law before the election, but many would like the House to pass it by then.

It's called buying your votes with your own money. I hope we'll see a lot of pushback on this.

MORE ON EVENTS IN LEBANON HERE AND HERE: Also, Chester looks at the prospects for war between Israel and Syria, and Jeff Goldstein comments: "It’s like watching a Frederick Forsyth novel unfold in real-time. Only with heavy casualties and the remote chance of a nuclear winter in July." I like novels better. But we're seeing the result of the "international community's" inability -- and, frankly, unwillingness -- to bring Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism under control.

UPDATE: Austin Bay looks at the strategic implications:

The Middle East –the entire world– has changed since 1982. There is no Cold War, there is no Saddam. Lebanon has also changed. Many Lebanese are ready for Hezbollah to enter history’s dustbin. The Lebanese have also experienced twenty years of Syrian occupation and thuggery. Hezbollah remains a creature of Syria– a Syrian tool bought and paid for by Iran.

Read the whole thing.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Bill Roggio has more on a possible Iranian angle.


An experimental spacecraft bankrolled by real estate magnate Robert Bigelow successfully inflated in orbit Wednesday, testing a technology that could be used to fulfill his dream of building a commercial space station. . . .

Bigelow hopes to use inflation technology to build an expandable orbital outpost made up of several Genesis-like modules strung together like sausage links that could serve as a space hotel, science lab or even a sports arena.

"We're ecstatic. We're just elated," Bigelow said in a telephone interview from Las Vegas. "We have a sense of being on a great adventure."

The goal of the maiden Genesis mission will focus on the inflation process — a key element to determining the feasibility of constructing an expandable space habitat. Future Bigelow missions will test docking among spacecraft.

Bigelow has committed $500 million toward building a commercial space station by 2015. So far, $75 million has been spent on the project.

I wish them success.

SIGNS THAT the Singularity has arrived.

July 12, 2006

WIDENING INTO WAR? More on Israel in Lebanon. Of course, it's been war all along, really. And Egypt is blaming Syria. Austin Bay wonders if there's a deal.

NOVAK ON PLAME: Here's the video.


The Glenn and Helen Show: Interviewing John McCain

mccain.gifWE TALKED WITH JOHN MCCAIN, Republican Senator from Arizona and likely 2008 Presidential candidate, about a variety of hot button topics: Immigration (which got a pretty lengthy treatment), the Second Amendment, blogs and campaign finance reform, leaks from the CIA and other intelligence agencies and, of course, earmarks and PorkBusters.

Helen also asked him about rumors that he's considering Condi Rice or Jeb Bush as a 2008 running mate, and whether he'd support federal legislation banning gun confiscation of the sort that happened in New Orleans after Katrina.

You can listen directly by clicking right here, or you can get it via iTunes. There's a low-fidelity version for dialup users right here, and an archive of all our podcasts is at

Music is "Status No" by Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere, from their album Heartbreak and Duct Tape.

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

UPDATE: Comments on the interview from Jim Geraghty and Daniel Glover.

DON SURBER WONDERS WHY Bill Keller wasn't defending Robert Novak. And he's pretty hard on his fellow newspaper professionals:

TV is run by pretty faces. The Internet by people in pajamas. Newspapers have to stand up for the rights. We’re the heirs of Voltaire.

Newspapers let Novak down.

Those pajamas aren't looking so bad.

TURNING THE TABLES: I'm a podcast interviewee over at the new site.

AMERICAN JIHADISTS: Connecting the dots, over at Hot Air.

ISRAEL ENTERS LEBANON: Here's a big roundup from Pajamas Media.

THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE offers journalistic advice to the Washington Post.

VARNAM HAS MORE UPDATES on the Mumbai bombing.

UPDATE: Gateway Pundit has more, too.

JULES CRITTENDEN: "Sixty-one years after the end of World War II, Japan is on the verge of becoming a mature, responsible democracy."

These things take time.


A converted missile blasted off Wednesday carrying an experimental inflatable spacecraft for an American entrepreneur who dreams of some day building a commercial space station, officials said. . . .

The launch was a first for Bigelow Aerospace, founded by Las Vegas real estate mogul Robert Bigelow, who owns the Budget Suites of America hotel chain.

Bigelow envisions building a private orbiting space complex by 2015 that would be made up of several expandable Genesis-like modules linked together and could be used as a hotel, or perhaps a science lab or college. He has committed $500 million toward the project.

"We're ecstatic. We're just elated," Bigelow said in a telephone interview from Las Vegas. "We have a sense of being on a great adventure."

Despite the successful launch, the spacecraft still faces challenges.

No kidding. I hope it works, though.

BIZZYBLOG looks at TV news viewership.

Maybe all those missing viewers are watching vlogs.

UPDATE: Bizzyblog link changed to the cross-post at Newsbusters, as he emailed that I was killing his server again. Sorry!

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Mona Charen is warning the Republicans, and I think she's right:

Does anyone remember the heady days of 1994 when Republicans took control of the House? Does anyone remember one of the grand themes that enabled Newt Gingrich to grasp the Speaker’s gavel? Why, it was corruption. The Republicans were going to clean house. No more smarmy House bank scandals. No more cozy perks. No more exemptions for Congressmen from the laws they enacted for everyone else.

Clearly Speaker Denny Hastert has long forgotten that bit of lore. His response to the FBI search of Democratic Congressman William Jefferson’s office could not have been more maladroit. Hastert rushed before the cameras to defend the privileges of the House, thereby lending his prestige to the vacuous Democratic argument that large principles are at stake here. They aren’t. Jefferson froze cash in his freezer and kept ill-gotten gains in his House office. Those are very quotidian crimes. His reach for the “Speech and Debate” clause was laughable.

And so was Hastert's defense, which only caused people to wonder what Hastert has to hide.

TECHNOLOGY REVIEW EDITOR JASON PONTIN emails: "You were so right! NO ONE won the SENS Challenge!"

NOVAK SPEAKS, Tom Maguire listens.

REBOOTING YOUR DOCTOR: My TCS Daily column is up.

A LOOK AT what's going on in Iraq.

MICKEY KAUS: "Kos explicitly endorses 'the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms.'"

Looks like my long-term plan to win him over is working!

So those 12 nervous moderate Democrats can probably breathe easier as the change takes hold. . . .

UPDATE: Bill Quick says it's not a move to the center -- it's just the left returning to its roots.

TOM MAGUIRE POSTS a contest for journalism students.

MORE ON MUMBAI: Amit Varma writes on avoiding the backlash.

UPDATE: Daniel "Guess I picked the wrong week to quit blogging" Berczik posts a letter from his daughter who was in Mumbai for the blasts.

"RED CARDS" in the blogosphere.

I think Dan Riehl is ready to throw one on Glenn Greenwald.

UPDATE: Various people are piling on Greenwald, rather harshly.

I'm no fan of Greenwald, who tends to misrepresent what I say and then explode in outrage over his own version of my views, to the delight of his readers who are mostly too lazy to follow the links. But I'm saving my condemnation for Frank J. He's not only a right-wing hater, he's got people in the Bush Administration dancing to his tune!

ANOTHER UPDATE: More questioning of Greenwald's reading comprehension. But I'm pretty much over Greenwald. I quit reading Misha, the ostensible root cause of this latest kerfuffle, because, although his schtick amused his audience it got old for me fast. (And ironically, I think Misha still blasts me for being too sympathetic to the ACLU.) Greenwald's not much different, he's just more earnest, and not funny.

MORE: Patterico isn't laughing. It's comedy -- it's just not good comedy.

July 11, 2006

NICK GILLESPIE LOOKS AT CleanFlicks vs. Kate Winslet's breasts. I'm not surprised to discover that Kate Winslet's breasts had the victory.

THE TIMES OF INDIA REPORTS: "The terror attack on Mumbai trains was carried out by Lashkar-e-Toiba and local Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) activists and was designed to trigger communal conflagration in the country’s financial capital, intelligence sources said."

UPDATE: And, at home: "The Lebanese man arrested in an alleged plot to bomb New York transit tunnels under the Hudson River had been recruited by al-Qaeda three years ago and members of his cell had been attempting to seek help from the organization for the attack, U.S. and Lebanese officials said yesterday."


CHINA'S SECRET ARMS TRADE: It's based on stolen U.S. technology.

The Glenn and Helen Show: Interviewing Chris Anderson About the Long Tail

andersoncov.jpgLONG TAIL RADIO! We interviewed Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine, about his new book, The Long Tail : Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, a book that I liked a lot and that has a pretty strong Army of Davids resonance in places.

Anderson talks about how the future is going to be oriented more toward smaller markets, individuals, and cottage industry. He also stresses that, notwithstanding some reviews, he's not proclaiming the end of hit movies, hit records, or big businesses, just a different kind of market running alongside the old fashioned one. Plus, we talk about non-monetary incentives, how many people will nonetheless manage to make money in niche markets, and how little it takes to be branded a techno-utopian Pollyanna type these days. Also, why blogging is like DJ-ing!

You can listen to the podcast directly -- no iPod needed -- by clicking right here. You can subscribe via iTunes here, there's a lo-fi version for dialup here, and there's a complete podcast archive at

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

Music is by The Opposable Thumbs.

UPDATE: Chris Anderson says the podcast bumped him into the Amazon Top 10. He probably exaggerates our influence but I'm glad the book is doing well; it's good.

A WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTER witnessed the Mumbai bombings and reports on her experience here. (Free link.)

A NETROOTS CIVIL WAR? They said they'd be greeted as liberators. . . .

Meanwhile, Mickey Kaus observes: "Can a cheap headline featuring hot-button words 'Kos' and 'Coulter' goose a blogger's hit count? The stats are in and the answer is ... unfortunately ... yes."

I guess it's all about Blog Sweeps Week Month! Call me crazy, but I prefer the bikinis.

CHINESE BLOGGER HAO WU has been released:

Hao Wu, an independent filmmaker and blogger arrested by Chinese police in February, was released from detention Tuesday, according to his sister Nina Wu.

"Thank you, everyone, for your concern, but he needs some silence for now," his sister wrote on her personal blog, adding that updates on him would be posted later.

Mr. Wu was unavailable for comment, and the terms of his release and his degree of freedom remain unclear. A person close to the matter confirmed that Mr. Wu was at home with family in Beijing.

Well, that's good news as far as it goes.


Undercover officers with the New Mexico Department of Public Safety that were out Saturday night trying to bust drunks leaving bars arrested three men for videotaping them. . . .

The men’s attorney Paul Kennedy told KRQE News 13 that they were videotaping on a public street and there is nothing illegal with what they did.

“Every citizen has a first amendment right to videotape public officers in the performance of their duties on public property and that's all that was going on here,” said Kennedy.

Deputy Director of the Special Investigation Division Jim Plagens spoke with KRQE News 13 regarding the arrest.

“These three individuals were arrested for obstruction of the administration of the liquor control act. To comment any farther at this point, I think would be inappropriate,” said Plagens

Kennedy plans on filing an injunction in state court and a civil rights lawsuit.

I think it should pretty much always be legal to videotape the police, and I think that police who arrest people for videotaping them ought to lose their jobs.

U.S. NEWS REPORTS that gun control is a political loser. Democrats seem to have caught on to that.

THE SUNLIGHT FOUNDATION is now announcing mini grants:

The Sunlight Network, our affiliated advocacy group, is announcing today a series of "mini-grants," in the $1,000 to $5,000 range, for local or regional nonprofit organizations and non-affiliated groups that have innovative approaches to strengthening the relationship between Members of Congress and the citizens they represent. (Note that the website for the Sunlight Network is not yet live.)

We are particularly encouraging applications from existing small nonprofits, local or regional chapters of national organizations and groups of individuals. Grants are available to augment existing projects or to jumpstart new ones. Grants will be made available on a rolling basis starting July 15. Sunlight believes that open, honest, sincere representation is possible, and that engaged citizens can make it happen. These are grants designed to stimulate your action!

Follow the link for more information.

ADVICE TO BLOGGERS from Sister Toldjah. I've been getting requests to do a post like this myself lately, but I think this fills the bill as is.

UPDATE: More tips -- plus links to lots of other blogging-tip posts -- here.

BLASTS HIT COMMUTER TRAINS IN MUMBAI: Follow the link for a big roundup from Pajamas Media. It's being continuously updated.

UPDATE: Indian blogger / journalist Amit Varma has much more. And here's a new group blog devoted to the topic.

Hugh Hewitt:

Those killers and their allies would gladly deliver the same destruction on American trains, planes and in American buildings.

That they have not been able to do so within our borders since 9/11 is because of the success of law enforcement and intelligence agencies, a record made more difficult to maintain with every press revelation of methods and sources.

He seems pretty angry. [What do you expect from a "nutty but lovable crank?" -- Ed.]

ANOTHER UPDATE: Daniel Berczik has heard from his daughter in Mumbai:

Caitlin is in Bombay. I have just spoken to her. She is reporting that the scene is in chaos and that there is She is making her way to her friend's house where she is staying, but has become separated from him. She sounds okay, but rather shook up.

I can imagine. [LATER: Note that text messages are getting through where cellphone calls aren't. This is common in disasters, and worth remembering.] And Gateway Pundit has photos and video.

More from Pratyush Khaitan. Plus, Bob Owens finds a moment of honesty.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Bill Roggio has more on Mumbai, including maps.

And Chester has poetry and questions.

MORE: Here's a big roundup from Indian blog Varnam.

ANN ALTHOUSE HAS MORE on 9/11 denialist Kevin Barrett.

THE INSTA-DAUGHTER IS READING the All of a Kind Family books, and she just finished Madeline L'Engle's Meet the Austins. Like the Henry Reed books I mentioned earlier, some of these are available new, and some are only available used. It's been very cool, though, to be able to get these things used over the Internet, something that wasn't possible until recently. I always hated ordering books via bookstores. She, of course, takes it for granted that any book she might want is readily available -- and cheap -- via the Internet. Why wouldn't it be?

UGH: "Falling concrete slabs crushed a car inside one of the city's troubled Big Dig tunnels, killing a woman and tying up traffic Tuesday with another shutdown in the massive building project that has become a central route through the city."

UPDATE: More on the Big Dig's problems, here.

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Investor's Business Daily says put the pork online:

Information is power, right? Transparency makes for good government, right? So why all the congressional foot-dragging over a bill to expose how our tax dollars are spent?

Sure, the question sort of answers itself. These are congressmen, after all, and even their party affiliation doesn't curb their impulse to conceal as best they can all the grants and contracts for which their constituents ultimately must pay.

Unless you're a maverick such as Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn. He's pushing a bill to create a database where taxpayers, using popular search engines from home PCs, can easily find which companies and which nonprofits have been awarded their money.

Read the whole thing. I'm for it! (Via NewsBeat1).

UPDATE: A journalist reader who (tellingly) requests anonymity emails on the novelty of Coburn's amendment:

It would highlight all the pork that sneaks out asgrants to non-profits, advocacy groups and professionals. That’s novel, because nearly all previous media discussions of pork focused on the pork delivered to industry via obvious, signed, published, announced contracts.

Coburn’s amendment is particularly noxious because it allows much easier oversight of the pork handed out to our peers, our fellow professionals, not those distasteful businessmen working in weapons companies, the road-building industry, etc. Our professional pork includes grants for diversity training, anti-smoking campaigns, peace promotion, voter registration, ad nauseam. . . .

I'm guessing there will be less media support for this aspect.

PATRICK HYNES compares the states of the Republican and Democratic parties.


The field of tissue engineering is large in this endeavor, with researchers like Dr. Atala exploring a basic approach. To repair or replace parts, they seed a biodegradable scaffold with cells and insert it into the body, where the cells, if all goes smoothly, mature into functioning tissue. . . .

In the long term, the scientists hope, patients may no longer have to wait on the national transplant list “for someone to die so they can live,” as Dr. Atala puts it. Organs could be tailor-made for people.

A more immediate goal is to improve upon a multitude of smaller therapies: transplantable valves for ailing hearts, cell-and-gel preparations for crushed nerves, injections of skeletal muscle cells for urinary continence or new salivary gland tissue to rescue radiation patients from dry mouth.

“The reason this technology works: It’s not really surgery,” Dr. Atala said. “We’re just priming the pump” by putting the appropriate cells into the appropriate place and asking the body to do the rest.

Bring it on.

"SO LONG, AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FRISCH:" Protein Wisdom is back up, and Jeff Goldstein gets a good line out of it.

PAMELA HAS PHOTOS AND VIDEO from yesterday's protest at The New York Times over leaking of national security secrets.

UPDATE: Here's a report from the New York Sun, and here's a roundup of coverage from CBS Public Eye.

It's amusing to see Bill Keller dismissing this as political -- as if all the other protests that the NYT itself covers don't have a political agenda, too.

July 10, 2006

MICKEY KAUS mocks self-referential bloggers.

UNSCAM UPDATE: Claudia Rosett continues to blog on the Tongsun Park trial. Excerpt:

Today, yet another witness testified about yet more cash. This time it was $100,000, not in an envelope, not in a bag, not in a sack, and definitely not in anyone's underwear — but this time in a "small, medium-sized suitcase."

The extent to which corruption is an ordinary part of international-organization business hasn't gotten nearly the attention it deserves.

GOOD NEWS / BAD NEWS: Good news -- Bush looks like he'll finally veto a bill.

Bad news: It's a stem-cell research bill.

PHOTOS from the "Free Gilad" protest in front of the Syrian Mission in New York.

UPDATE: More pictures, and video, here.


WASHINGTON - An FBI raid on a Louisiana congressman's Capitol Hill office was legal, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan said members of Congress are not above the law. He rejected requests from lawmakers and Democratic Rep. William Jefferson (news, bio, voting record) to return material seized by the FBI in a May 20-21 search of Jefferson's office.

In a 28-page opinion, Hogan dismissed arguments that the first-ever raid on a congressman's office violated the Constitution's protections against intimidation of elected officials.

Jefferson's theory of legislative privilege "would have the effect of converting every congressional office into a taxpayer-subsidized sanctuary for crime," the judge said.

Indeed. (Via Ed Morrissey who has more.)

UPDATE: Another story here. Full opinion, worth reading, here.

MEXICAN ELECTION UPDATE: Michael Barone sees a NAFTA pattern.

John Fund says we could learn a lot from Mexican anti-fraud measures. And Dick Morris and Ellen Gann say it's a defeat for Chavez and Castro.

IT'S THE 81ST ANNIVERSARY OF THE SCOPES TRIAL: Here's an interesting roundup from Nick Gillespie at Hit & Run, including a Bewitched angle I didn't know about.

For those interested in the subject, I recommend Ed Larson's A Summer for the Gods. It's a useful corrective if all you know comes from Inherit the Wind.

Plus, here's a documentary film on the trial, featuring Larson, along with me, John Siegenthaler, Arthur Miller, and various others. You might also want to read this post from Jim Lindgren. And here are some Smithsonian photos of the trial.

NO GREAT LOSS: "Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, responsible for modern Russia's worst terrorist attacks, was killed Monday when a dynamite-laden truck exploded in his convoy, Russian officials said. . . . Basayev, 41, was behind some of Russia's worst terror attacks, including the seizure of a Moscow theater in 2002 in which dozens of hostages and militants died, the 2004 school hostage taking in Beslan that killed 331, and the seizure of about 1,000 hostages at a hospital in Budyonnovsk that killed about 100."

To borrow a phrase from the BBC, may he rot in hell.


WHY JOE LIEBERMAN must be defeated. "If the LeftNet cannot elect a candidate of its own choosing in a Democratic Primary in one of the most liberal states in the Union, then they can't win elections, period."

UPDATE: Marc Danizger writes in the Washington Examiner that he doesn't like Lieberman, but that trying to get rid of him is a big mistake. "Why are the leading progressive blogs pushing so hard for something that will objectively set back their ostensible goal — Democratic victory in ’06 and ’08?"

LIKE ME, JASON COYNE WENT FROM A PASSAT TO A TOYOTA HYBRID: He got a Camry Hybrid and posts a blog review here.

MAYBE THE ALARMISM IS JUSTIFIED AFTER ALL: Those "Christianists" seem to be everywhere -- even, according to the June issue of Mixmag, at London's Fiction, which advertises itself as the "birthplace of polysexual partying." Excerpt:

The pretty brunette is hovering by the speaker stand explaining why she's slightly worried about enjoying herself at Fiction. "I was gay for 13 years but I recently found Jesus," she confides out of nowhere. "Yes, most of these people are going to hell." Not much surprises us in clubs these days, but we buy her a drink for sheer originality.

Judging from the photo, however, she hasn't exactly gone the full Falwell. . . .

At any rate, I wonder if this will inspire a new chapter in The Clubber's Survival Guide? Perhaps one on fresh drink-cadging scams . . . .

UPDATE: Several readers complain that I'm dropping the ball on Blog Sweeps Week Month by not linking the photo. Alas, however, it's not linkable -- it's only in the print issue, and while I guess I could scan it, I do try to maintain some respect for people's intellectual property. Here's a link to their rather rudimentary website (it's got a blog, though).

INSIDE HIGHER ED has a story on the Frisch/Goldstein affair that seems to me to understate Frisch's conduct somewhat. Jeff Goldstein -- whose site still seems to be down -- has posted a response in the comments. It's a long way down, so I'm reproducing it here. Click "read more" to read it.

UPDATE: More background regarding threats on campus.

Read More ?

ERIC SCHEIE: Bush should pardon Hillary now. Let bygones be bygones!

HERE'S VIDEO OF JOE BIDEN defending his remarks on Indian-Americans and Dunkin' Donuts. Meanwhile, reader Sid Sharma emails:

As an Indian-American, ( I use this term, even though, I dont like hyphenated terms - I think we should think of ourselves as just Americans, period. Not playing identy-politics is what I like), I found Sen Biden's comments rather funny. Heck, I am Indian, I and yet, I have to speak in Indian-accented English sometimes when I go into a gas-station or a 7-11, or a convenience store!!!!! Because, if I speak the way, I normally do, my local Indian grocer, for example, doesnt seem to understand me. I have to start discussing Bollywood movies and cricket in order to keep a conversation going.

I wonder what my other fellow-Indians are so offended about? Or have some of us decided to play the cynical game of pretending to be the newest "aggrieved" minority group? I have seen some leftist academics of Indian ethnicity trying to play the identity-politics game, and it would be sad if Indians in the US quit working hard, and just became a bunch of whiny complainers playing the "I am a minority" card at the drop of a hat.

As I noted before, the episode is mostly interesting as evidence of Biden's tendency to talk first and think later.

IF I WERE THE CHINESE, I'D BE UNHAPPY ABOUT THIS: North Korea's missile tests have Japan talking about remilitarizing.

MARKOS: "The media glare is not something I crave."

An amusing response: "I suddenly recall the Onion headline: Woman tired of men staring at her breast implants."

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IRAN: A debate at Cato Unbound.


EXPLOSION IN NEW YORK: Sounds accidental: "Con Edison was investigating the smell of gas in the area at the time of the explosion this morning."

Stay tuned.

WELL, THIS SUCKS: "We can now say the the Orange Revolution is officially over. . . . A year and a half later, politically Ukraine is in the same place it was before."

UPDATE: Nathan Hamm says that I shouldn't be so depressed. Good point!

JIM GERAGHTY: "How could I entrust a Democratic lawmaker to stand up to al-Qaeda, Iran, North Korea or some other angry extremist, if he or she won't stand up to Daily Kos?"

TWO DEMONSTRATIONS IN NEW YORK TODAY: One at the Syrian Embassy to demand the release of Gilad Shalit, at noon, and one in front of The New York Times offices, protesting publication of national security information, at 5 pm.

MORE BAD PRESS FOR THE IAEA: "The Nobel Peace Prize-winning chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency effectively fired his lead Iran investigator this spring at the request of the Iranians, according to a new report in the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag. . . . The news could have explosive consequences for America's policy of entrusting Mr. ElBaradei to negotiate an end to Iran's uranium enrichment."

Gee, do you think?

WHAT'S GOING ON IN IRAQ: StrategyPage reports:

The Shia terror against Sunni Arabs has a name, Abu Deraa. He's being called the "Shia Zarqawi" for organizing death squads to take revenge after Sunni Arab suicide bombs kill Shia. . . .

But now, with Zarqawi dead, and most of the country at peace, more and more Sunni Arab tribal chiefs, politicians, business leaders and clerics are resigned to Shia domination. That means giving up the Sunni Arab warlords, gang leaders and terrorist chiefs, the people that make most of the violence happen. It's not like the Sunni Arab leadership can just push a button, and make their bad guys go away. In Arab culture, the process moves a lot more slowly, and involves lots of talking, coffee, promises, deceit and drama. Apparently the drama has been convincing, because the Shia politicians running the country have persuaded Shia military and police units to go after Shia death squads. All of this is going to take months to play out. There will be cries of "Betrayal!" from the Shia community. Some Shia cops and soldiers will balk at busting fellow Shia, even if the perps are stone killers with dozens of bodies on them. However, the national leadership has agreed that peace with the Sunni Arabs, and an end to the vengeance killings, is necessary. Making this happen is the next crucial battle in the war.

There was more on this in Friday night's podcast. Meanwhile, Iraq the Model reports on what Iraqis are saying.

N.Z. BEAR wonders what can be done about DoS attacks on bloggers. He has some ideas.

A LOOK AT POVERTY IN EUROPE and the uncertain success of the "French social model."

DAVE KOPEL: "If a person likes Green Day's sound, but not their politics, what other bands might the person enjoy?"

Not much of a fan myself, but even the hipsters have given up on Green Day's politics.

UPDATE: Matt Sherman emails: "We should care about Green Day's politics about as much as we care about Donald Rumsfeld's guitar tone."

I see Rumsfeld as a Super Reverb guy, but I'm sure he'd hotrod it with a Bassman transformer.

July 09, 2006

CATERINA FAKE EXPLAINS what to do in an emergency.

DAVID BROOKS goes after the "netroots."

MAYBE IT'S BLOG SWEEPS MONTH: Power Line is blogging about beauty pageantry, and Amit Varma has more on bikinis. And the history of south Indian porn.

A PYTHON STRATEGY AGAINST NORTH KOREA: And if you were offline this weekend and missed it, check out our podcast interview with Austin Bay and Jim Dunnigan, which spends a lot of time on North Korea and the surrounding region.


IN LIGHT OF THE SOLAR ENERGY DISCUSSION last week, some people might be interested in this solar home blog from Popular Mechanics, describing one family's effort to be (nearly) self-sufficient in energy at home.

IN CASE YOU WERE THINKING OF THE 1990S AS A HEYDAY OF CLEAN GOVERNMENT, Ed Morrissey has some evidence that suggests otherwise.

EDWARD BOYD: "I know quite a few people in law enforcement. A few of them are narcotics detectives with local law enforcement agencies and one is with the DEA. About two weeks ago, one of the local detectives (with the Phoenix Police Department) told me that the street price of methamphetamine, cocaine, and non-hydroponic marijuana has risen since the Feds deployed national guard troops at the border. He also said that large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine are a lot harder to find right now. He said that a rise in the price of marijuana is common during the summer because of the growing/harvesting season, but he thought that the price spike for cocaine and methamphetamine was unusual. After he told me that, I made a point to ask my friend in the DEA if he was observing the same thing. He said that he only been working methamphetamine investigations lately, so he couldn't comment on cocaine and marijuana. He confirmed that the price of meth has risen lately and that he's aware of at least one large-scale undercover deal that fell through because the suppliers claimed that they couldn't get that much product up from Mexico."

Hmm. I'd be surprised if it made that much of a difference.

JEFF GOLDSTEIN EMAILS: "My new host is undergoing a DoS attack, so my site is down again. Just FYI."

This is really getting out of hand.

UPDATE: Heh: "Achieving Malkinesque levels of hate mail is a noteworthy event; achieving Malkinesque levels of hate mail that actually reference Malkin, racism and chipmunks has got to be some sort of milestone in the annals of online animus." Especially the chipmunk part.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Dan Riehl is worried about the blogosphere.

MORE: More on what's going on at Flopping Aces.

NORMAN GERAS looks at root causes. And selective memory.

TOM MAGUIRE: "Is the Times kidding? The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is "convinced" that a CIA faction is intent on discrediting the Administration and that the Plame story is part of their scheming, and the Times can barely mention it?"

MICKEY KAUS ON IMMIGRATION: "I suspect the pro-legalization forces have vastly underestimated the symbolic ability of fences and walls--especially real, as opposed to 'virtual' fences and walls--to placate the Tancredo anti-illegal faction."

ATLANTIC REVIEW says that an earlier report that I linked here is in error:

"Deutschland ьber alles" ('Germany above all') is not the national anthem, but the first stanza of the Deutschlandlied (Song of the Germans) written in 1841. Because the Nazis misused and reinterpreted the first stanza, Germany's national anthem consists now only of the third stanza of the Deutschlandlied, i.e. the crowd was singing "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit" ('Unity and rule of law and freedom'). In fact, singing the first stanza, "Deutschland ьber alles", is associated with the Nazis only. It is the Nazi anthem. More background in the box to your right:

This means Matthew Beard, the reporter for The Independent, did not listen very well and does not know much about the country he is reporting about. Winds of Change and Instapundit did not notice the mistake, but unintentionally spread it on the internet.

I lived in Germany as a kid, when my dad taught at Heidelberg, but didn't absorb enough to notice that mistake. (Thanks to Joerg Wolf for the tip.)

I'LL BE ON CNN'S RELIABLE SOURCES around 10:30 Eastern time this morning, talking about new media and old.

UPDATE: Illustrating the topic of our discussion, Ian Schwartz has the video for your perusal.


IAEA: "How high?"

High enough to fire an inspector at the Mullahs' demand, according to this report.