August 05, 2003



Well, let's see: First, I'm 34 years-old, not 38. Second, I contributed $20 to Dean's campaign, not $25. Third, while I like and support President Bush I have never referred to him either in public or in private - and most certainly not on the record to a reporter from Newsweek magazine - as "my man."

That's 2 factual errors and a misquote in 62 words of copy. I'm sorry, but that's pretty shoddy journalism. . . .

I'm a bit shocked by the utter sloppiness of the reporting process. Newsweek is one of the nation's most widely read and "respected" weekly news magazines. I spoke to the reporter on Thursday afternoon and then again Thursday evening at about 9:00pm eastern time for a cover story that hit the web early Sunday and newsstands today. No one called me back to fact check.

There's lots more.


ZIRCONIUM AND DIRTY BOMBS: Jay Manifold has a post following up on something I linked to earlier.

FRATERS LIBERTAS THINKS that Republicans may be using gay marriage as an issue to split black votes away from the Democrats. That's an angle I hadn't considered.

UPDATE: Although The Bleat has been hors de combat this week, here's a James Lileks column on gay marriage that's worth reading:

No, if heterosexual marriage is threatened by anything, it's by heterosexuals. Famous heterosexuals in particular. We see them grinning from the covers of gossip mags, celebrating wedding No. 9 or dissolving marriage No. 14, or just having a hot fling with whatever good-gened, white-toothed cretin is the flavor of the season.

People don't get divorced because Demi did. That's not the point. But because the culture attaches no particular stigma to divorce or catting around, our pop-culture heroes don't even have to pretend anymore. Say what you will about gay marriage, it's nice to see someone taking the institution seriously.

I have, however, reported him for his anti-robot bigotry. Fortunately, some people are more enlightened.

WHO NEEDS HOMELAND SECURITY when you've got Frank's tips for airline safety? Plus, he offers some advice for Al Qaeda:

And their attacks are against planes again; these are like one note terrorists. You gotta switch things up, dudes. You know, Speed was on a bus, and Speed 2 was on a boat; that's how things work here in America.

More proof that we needn't fear the terrorists, because we're crazier than they are. Or at least, Frank is.

TALKLEFT has picked up on the story that I linked below regarding a man sentenced to prison for linking to bomb-building information on his website. There's this bit, which was also in the earlier story that I linked, but which I didn't play up: "Austin said he took a plea bargain because he feared his case was eligible for a terrorism enhancement, which could have added 20 years to his sentence."

The news stories don't say, but I believe the statute in question is 18 U.S.C. sec. 842(p)(2), which provides (key bit in italics):

(2) Prohibition. -

It shall be unlawful for any person -


to teach or demonstrate the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, with the intent that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence;

Hmm. The "intent" part doesn't fit these stories, but who knows what evidence they have. Still, this seems quite dubious to me -- in order to meet the Brandenburg test you would have to show both the intent that such criminal use would happen, and the likelihood that it would happen. And such criminal use would have to be "imminent." (Yes, this is a rather simplistic analysis, but I think it's correct in its essentials. I'd be interested in hearing what Eugene Volokh thinks.)

You also see in this case the way in which threats of "terrorism" are allowing prosecutors to extract plea bargains in dubious cases. One consequence is that when the Justice Department gets a plea bargain, you can't automatically assume that it's proof the underlying case was especially good, just that the accused was afraid to roll the dice.

Of course, this sort of thing applies in most other federal prosecutions, too, where the threat of drastic sentence enhancements produces plea bargains in quite flimsy cases at times.

UPDATE: Some of TalkLeft's commenters link to what are supposed to be mirrors of the site. It's pretty lame. Does it rise to the level of incitement? It's possible that it does, because of the combination of the explosives content with the rhetoric about fighting police, etc. It looks rather puerile and harmless to me -- unless you try to follow some of its bomb-making advice, which seems naive and unsound in places. This report suggests that the District Judge in the case took a rather active role:

But when Ron Kaye, Austin’s federal public defender, began making his appeal for the new plea agreement, Wilson’s stone-faced demeanor changed: He looked away or fiddled with his glasses whenever Kaye spoke. Before long, an agitated Wilson made it clear he thought even the latest arrangement was too lenient.

“I must tell you,” he interrupted Kaye,
“I see this case differently. I’m rather surprised the government hasn’t taken this case seriously.”

By “taking the case seriously,” Wilson said, he meant setting an example to deter other would-be revolutionaries. He hinted that he favored an 8-to-10-month sentencing range. “Maybe I’m just living in another world,” he said of the plea deal. “I just don’t understand it.”

Then Wilson turned to the federal assistant prosecutor, Rob Castro-Silva: “Has your recommendation been cleared with the Justice Department? I just find it shocking.”

“I don’t need their approval —” the prosecutor began.

“How old are you?” the judge suddenly inquired.

“Thirty-eight,” the surprised prosecutor replied.

“You look younger,” Wilson pronounced, before telling the court that Austin’s case “has national and international implications.”

Wilson then announced he was postponing sentencing until July 28 and ordered Castro-Silva to contact the Justice Department and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller for their views on the plea arrangement.

Filing out of the courtroom, Castro-Silva was heard to mutter, “Well, I have my marching orders.”

Interesting. There's more background here.

AFRICAPUNDIT is back off hiatus. Drop by for Africa news. In particular, he notes this column on Liberia by Mark Steyn. Excerpt:

With Iraq, there was no agreement on what the thing was about: it’s all about oil, said the anti-war crowd; it’s about the threat Saddam represents to the world, said the pro-crowd. But with Liberia there’s virtually unanimous agreement: the US has no vital national interest in the country; its tinpot tyrant is no threat to anybody beyond his backyard; the three warring parties are all disgusting and none has the makings of even a halfway civilised government. For many on the Right, these are reasons for steering clear of the place. For the Left, they’re why we need to send the Marines in right now.

It’s precisely the lack of any national interest that makes it appealing to the progressive mind. By intervening in Liberia, you’re demonstrating your moral purity. That’s why all the folks most vehemently opposed to American intervention in Iraq — from Kofi Annan to the Congressional Black Caucus — are suddenly demanding American intervention in Liberia. The New York Times is itching to get in: ‘Three weeks have passed since President Bush called on the Liberian President, Charles Taylor, to step aside, and pledged American assistance in restoring security. But there has been no definitive word here on how or when.

So the question for the Americans is not whether you want to send 2,000 boys in to get picked off for a few months, until whichever warlord is willing to be bought can be installed as head of a provisional government after a token ‘election’ for the benefit of the international community (Taylor held his in 1997). The question is whether you want to commit yourself to fixing West Africa.

West Africa needs fixing, almost as badly as the Middle East. But it's another case where patience will be required. Are people who already regard Iraq as a "quagmire" -- and have done so since April -- really willing to go the distance?

Probably. We're still losing soldiers in Bosnia and you don't hear much about that. It's only a quagmire, you see, when certain people are against being there in the first place.

NOW THIS is just plain disturbing. I might save the image, though, since Talk Like a Pirate Day is just around the corner.

NICHE MARKETING: A magazine for tall people? Why not? We're people, too. Just, er, taller.

BLOGGER BUSTED FOR INFIDELITY: Somehow, I think there ought to be a bigger lesson in this one than "clear your location bar."

UPDATE: The lady in question responds. She suggests polyamory. Polyamory is fine, by the way, if that's what you want (though my parents' generation's efforts to live by Open Marriage make me a skeptic). But then why hide things?

SPOONS SAYS I'M DUCKING THE REAL QUESTION that everyone wants to know the answer to. In the interests of full disclosure, I've answered in his comments section.


HERE'S MORE EVIDENCE that the war on terror isn't the main threat to free speech:

The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of Jesus Castillo, a man fined and on probation because he sold a comic book not suitable for children -- to a grown-up.

Yet another prosecutor who ought to be looking for a new job, but won't be.


"after 120 minutes of this cheerfully destructive narcissism you'll feel like you've swallowed a whole bucket of rat poison." -- Matt Welch

Blogs: not likely to be featured in movie ads any time soon.

ROBERT TAGORDA WRITES IN THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE on what bodybuilding teaches us about a Schwarzenegger campaign. What's more, he's annotated that with a blog entry giving citations.

THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES says that lie detectors don't work. But people still use them:

After a series of stormy public meetings in New Mexico, Congress mandated the testing of the 20,000 employees at both labs. But New Mexico senator Jeff Bingaman, for whom this was a constituent matter, forced into the bill the funding for the National Academy of Sciences report on the reliability of the polygraph when used for security screening. When it was released late last year, the study proved the most significant critique of the polygraph since the Frye decision.

The study determined that not only was the polygraph useless for security screening but that its use might actually be detrimental to the work of keeping the labs secure. It argued that the test was so vague that, to catch one spy, nearly 100 other employees might have to have their security clearances lifted. "Polygraph testing," the report concluded, "yields an unacceptable choice . . . between too many loyal employees falsely judged deceptive and too many . . . threats left undetected." . . .

"Why do we keep using it when we keep saying it's not reliable?" asks Bingaman. "That's an awfully good question. I think it just appeals to a lot of people's faith that there's a technological fix to every problem and, if you just get the right machine hooked up, you can determine all the right answers."

It's basically trial-by-ordeal with fancy printouts, and about as accurate. My own sense is that when somebody proposes a polygraph test, then either he's ignorant, or he thinks that you are.

UPDATE: A slightly disturbed reader emails:

Next thing you know, you'll want to deny me Benefit of Clergy. You are a damned communist, Glenn.

Do you know the "neck verse?" Anyway, I sentence him to the Ordeal of the Accursed Morsel, quite a few of which are available from the cafeteria downstairs. . . .

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: What's the "neck verse?" email a couple of readers. Ah, you may well ask. ("I am asking!" "And well you may!") It's here. I couldn't find a reference to the "ordeal of the accursed morsel" online. (Yes, not everything is on the Web, you know.) If I recall correctly, a priest said some words over a piece of dry bread that was then fed to the accused. If he choked he was deemed guilty. This was a sort of primitive lie detector, in that nervous people often have dry mouths. Of course, when you find yourself before Theodoric of York, Medieval Judge, you ought to be nervous, regardless of guilt or innocence. And that's the problem with lie detectors, too. As soon as someone gives you a lie detector test, you know your fate is in the hands of either idiots or charlatans, which should make anyone nervous.

MARK KLEIMAN EMAILS THAT HE'S "FISKING" ME for linking to a piece by Tony Adragna. In "Fisking," however, it's generally considered a major failure when you misspell the name of your major source, as Kleiman does when he repeatedly refers to "Tony Andragna." Especially when you do so in the process of accusing someone of carelessness.

So in answer to Mark's question: "When is the Titan of the Blogosphere going to start to hold himself to the same standards of accurate reporting he expects of the New York Times or the BBC?" -- the answer is: when you do, Mark!

But where both Mark and I are ahead of the NYT and the BBC is that both my brief item, and Mark's much, much longer one, contain links to the original documents in question, letting readers decide for themselves whether we've gotten it right.

On substance -- now that my snarking is out of the way -- Kleiman's right. My link was too hasty, and somewhat overstated the import of the Adragna post. (I suspect I was influenced in this by the email that I got containing the link, but that's neither here nor there; and Kleiman hasn't refuted the post, either.) But those who followed the link, as Mark did, got to decide for themselves. And that's where blogging is different from old media. The other nice thing about blogging is that you can also correct your errors, as I'm sure Mark will do pronto. And perhaps next time -- having already once accused me of deliberately inserting a bad link in a piece because he carelessly failed to notice that the piece was a year old -- Mark will be a little more careful himself, or at least a bit less quick to impute bad faith in cases of carelessness.

UPDATE: Mark Kleiman has fixed his mistake -- see, that was fast -- and says that I'm "thin-skinned." Hmm. I presumed that the email was intended to evoke a response. Should I just delete this post, then?

As for his question of whether I approve of hostage-taking, the answer is no. But it's not clear what happened in this case and, frankly, there's been so much wolf-crying and outright lying about U.S. "war crimes" that it has become very difficult for me to take those charges seriously.

Now I'm not an empirical guy, but somebody should do an experiment: write the New York Times or the BBC about a headline that you think is misleading, and see if you get a response this quickly. . . .

And the point isn't that I -- or, I think, any blogger -- is holding him- or herself out as better than these Big Media oufits. Rather, we wonder why they aren't better than they are, given how many more resources they've got.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Tom Maguire calls my defense here "timid and ineffectual." Well, that's just how I am, I guess. Those are not, however, words that anyone would apply to Maguire.

TREASURY'S ABOUT-FACE ON SAUDI MONEY: I'd really like to know what's going on here:

The Treasury Department said yesterday that it would decline to provide the Senate with a list of Saudi individuals and organizations the federal government has investigated for possibly financing Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

The action was the second in two weeks to set the White House and Congress at odds about the Saudis and federal intelligence-gathering related to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Moreover, the move contradicted an assertion made on Thursday by a senior Treasury official, Richard Newcomb, who told the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a hearing on Saudi sponsorship of terrorism that the list was not classified and that his agency would turn it over to the Senate within 24 hours.

I still don't understand why the Democrats aren't making a bigger issue of this stuff.

UPDATE: Reader Harry Helms emails:

Answer: because if the Saudi government provided financial, organization, and/or logistical support for the September 11 attacks, that constitutes an act of war against the United States by a foreign nation and the American people will demand military action against Saudi Arabia.

And most elected Democrats are so far into the "no war is ever justified" mindset they can't risk making an issue of the increasingly clear Saudi connection to 9/11; they correctly sense most Americans wouldn't be satisfied with a formal condemnation of Saudi Arabia by the United Nations.

I feel the Bush administration is well aware of the Saudi links to 9/11, and is merely waiting until Iraqi oil is at full production and suitable replacement custodians for Mecca and Medina are aboard (Jordan's Hashemites?) until moving against the House of Saud. 2005 might be a very interesting year for the Saud royal family.

I hope he's right about the Administration, and I'd be disappointed to think that he's right about the Democrats. As for the Hashemite idea, well, where have we heard that before?

UPDATE: Chuck Schumer, who as I mentioned earlier might be a bellwether on this issue, has now released a letter cosigned Sam Brownback and by a bunch of Democratic Senators, calling for release of the censored pages about Saudi involvement in 9/11. (Via Kleiman.)

A MAN DEFENDS HIMSELF from gun-firing drug dealers. The police say he hasn't committed any crime -- but they confiscate his guns anyway. Publicola and Rachel Lucas are unhappy.

Police are rather free about confiscating guns -- and, as any lawyer who deals with such matters can attest, often refuse to return them even when they have no legal basis for keeping them. (What's more, those confiscated guns often "disappear" and wind up in the hands of . . . . police officers!)

The police chief here, Reuben Greenberg, is well-regarded, which makes it likely that either there's more to this story than has been reported, or that swift corrective action will be taken. Stay tuned.



SAN DIEGO, Aug. 4 — Dozens of investigators on Monday were probing a $20 million arson that appears to be the work of the Earth Liberation Front. If front activists are responsible, it would be the costliest attack ever by environmental extremists.

Funny: The Earth Liberation Front has an arson manual on the front page of its website, but this guy got sent to jail for simply linking to sites with bomb-building information. How come the ELF site is still in operation? Do environmental terrorists get some sort of pass?

In my opinion, linking to bomb-making sites shouldn't be a crime, and punishing someone for doing so is a First Amendment violation. But at least one District Judge apparently disagrees.

UPDATE: Bill Hobbs has more on domestic terrorism.

THE MENTOS CONSPIRACY: I knew it had to be something like this.

August 04, 2003


The award - which is vying for a place among the aviation prizes of the early 20th century that propelled major advances in speed, distance and technology - has sparked a space quest akin to the great race for flight in the early 1900s that drew in European and American inventors, including bicycle mechanics Orville and Wilbur Wright of Dayton, Ohio.

A century later, garage rocket scientists across four continents heed the call, joined by notables such as missile pioneer Robert C. Truax and aircraft designer Burt Rutan. At its current pace, X Prize officials say, the award could be won by December, in time for the 100th anniversary of the Wrights' Kitty Hawk flight.

Ultimately, the prize aims to do for spaceships what the Orteig Prize did for airplanes.

I remember when this idea was first floated. It's done quite well.

LILEKS' SITE IS STILL DOWN, but Kim du Toit is -- well, in Hollywood they'd call it paying homage. Somehow, though, it's just not quite the same. . . .

Best bit: "No .22 ammo there either. Not even a lousy box of the Federal 500-in-a-carton crap which clogs the innards of the Marlin like gum in the Mac hard drive (don't ask)." If Lileks wrote stuff like this, he'd write, er, stuff like this.

DAMIAN PENNY ASKS: "Am I alone in thinking this story - that the former President of South Korea effectvely bought himself a Nobel Peace Prize by funnelling millions of dollars to the world's most insane dictator - should be getting a lot more attention?"

Why no, Damian. You're not.

WANT TO INTERVIEW UT LAW STUDENTS? If you're a law firm in New York City, UT will come to you.

WHICH IS MORE DAMNING? If Tony Auth didn't realize that his work was virtually identical to a Nazi cartoon, or if he did?

DANIEL DREZNER HAS SOME OBSERVATIONS on reform of higher education in Iraq.

CONDI FOR VICE PRESIDENT, Dick Cheney for Secretary of State: The ducks are lining up.

WHO IS SCARED OF HOWARD DEAN? A lot of people, all of a sudden, it seems. At least, I turned on the radio while driving around this afternoon, and heard Rush Limbaugh dumping heavily on Dean and saying that (1) Democrats are scared of Bush because his relatively big-government policies (which Limbaugh compared to Nixon's) are stealing their issues; and (2) Dean's too far to the left to win.

I'm not so sure. Bush's comparatively liberal spending policies are alienating a nontrivial number of his supporters, but will they win Democratic votes? Bush talks a somewhat better game on guns than Dean, but not much better, and his actual actions on that front haven't been especially impressive. DoJ is still defending the D.C. gun ban, which seems to conflict rather clearly with its interpretation of the Second Amendment, nor, to my knowledge, is the new interpretation affecting actual policy around the country. Will some GOP supporters conclude that there's not that much difference between them?

The biggest difference between them is the war. That'll help Bush unless the war either goes so well that it drops out of public consciousness, or so badly that Dean looks good. The latter isn't likely, though I suppose it's possible. The former seems somewhat more likely, though by no means assured.

But although Democrats' claims about the "Bush deficit" aren't getting a lot of traction -- nobody takes the Dems seriously on the restraining-spending issue -- Bush's big-spending ways are probably demoralizing a lot of people who supported him as a smaller-government Republican. It's worth remembering that Nixon's foray into big-government led to the creation of the Libertarian Party, a split that has cost the GOP some close races. Does Bush want to be remembered (even by Republicans) as the next Nixon?

On the other hand, Nixon was re-elected in a landslide against an antiwar Democrat. . . .

UPDATE: Doc Searls thinks that lefty electoral-bloggers are taking the kind of lead that warbloggers took on, well, the war. He may be right.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Devereaux Cannon emails:

For what it is worth--today I saw my first Democrat presidential bumper sticker for the 2004 election (discounting the "re-elect Gore in '04" stickers). On my way into Nashville this morning I passed a Mercedes sporting a Howard Dean for President sticker.

I've seen a Kerry and an Edwards, but no Deans so far.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Gerard Van Der Leun thinks that Howard Dean is the beneficiary of blogosphere narcissism.

Well, hey, but if that gets you on the cover of Time and Newsweek, then . . . .

THIS ABUSE OF ANTITERROR LAWS is unpatriotic, because it perverts a vital part of national defense.

The prosecutor in question, Jerry Wilson of Watauga County, North Carolina, should be ashamed. He should also be out of a job.


More frightening than the demise of the program, however, was the manner of its demise. Not only have we been deprived of the information the program would have given us, but we have sent a powerful message to those on the front lines of defense against terror. That message is "Don't think. Don't Innovate. Don't take risks." It's not as if these characteristics have been so predominant in the civil service that we can afford to suppress them gratuitously.


I BOUGHT THE RX-8 ON THURSDAY. It then rained every day. Today the weather was perfect, so after going in to the office and doing a couple of things that had to be done today, I took off and went to the mountains, driving on the Foothills Parkway, hiking up to the Look Rock fire tower, etc. It was great, and made me wonder why I don't do that more often -- I'm close enough to do it on a long lunch. (The RX-8 is great. Full report later.)

When I got home, the blow-off gods had punished me, as the DSL was out. So I'm working at Borders, which now has wireless Internet. [So how does this count as being "punished?" -- Ed. My cappucino is a bit too frothy. . . .]

More later.

NORMAN GERAS'S BLOG POST on the antiwar left, popular throughout the blogosphere, has made the WSJ OpinionJournal.

STANDARDS ARE SHIFTING: The New York Times has long been known for lifting stories from smaller papers. But in the wake of the Blair scandals, it's news:

John Sutter, publisher of the Villager, says the New York Times has been stealing story ideas from his small Greenwich Village paper. There's no hint of plagiarism here; in each case, Times staffers did their own reporting and filed stories that read very differently. And it's hardly unusual for big-city papers, including The Washington Post, to follow up on reports in smaller community papers.

But in this case there appears to be a pattern of lifting ideas without credit.

Sutter cited 32 articles over the last three years on subjects that appeared first in the Villager. In 11 cases, one or more people quoted by the Villager are also quoted in the subsequent Times piece.

Now that this sort of thing is easier to check and to point out, I suspect that smaller papers will be more insistent on credit.

FLASH MOBS come to Boston!

INTERESTING CHRIS BERTRAM INTERVIEW with Michael Walzer. Walzer proves that it was possible to thoughtfully oppose the Iraq war, even if very few war opponents managed to pull it off. It largely defies excerpting, but here's good bit: "It can't be the case that when we try to figure out whether a war is just or unjust, we are predicting how the Council will vote. Indeed, justice would be independent of UN decision-making even if the UN were a global government."

THIS EDITORIAL in the Christian Science Monitor takes the Bush Administration to task for its handling of terrorist prosecutions to date. Meanwhile this column by Jacob Sullum takes the government to task for its "enemy combatant" detentions.

As Virginia Postrel notes:

In my mind, the single most important guide to security policy is that the government must never have the right to hold individuals within the United States, particularly (but not exclusively) citizens, secretly or incommunicado. That power inevitably turns first into the power to torture, and eventually into the power to detain and torture people whose danger to the general population is far less than their danger to the decision-making officials.

She's absolutely right, of course. Sadly, the Bush Administration's best friends in all this are those who have repeatedly cried wolf, and who now cast Bush as Hitler, thus discrediting the more serious civil libertarians who raise valid concerns like these.

UPDATE: Of course, a bigger point is that injustices aren't limited to the terror war. In fact, they're endemic.

August 03, 2003


I HAVE OFTEN SEEN disagreements between the BBC and British governments, whether Labour or Conservative. But the battle going on now is quite different. It is a struggle for power between the two. Incredibly, it has all the hallmarks of an attempted coup d'état by the BBC. . . .

The serious story here is the spectacle of the BBC brass, lined up like a row of colonels in a banana republic, trying desperately to unseat a government which pursued a policy of which they disapprove. It is, to say the least, an unedifying spectacle.

Things are getting ugly. Actually, they already have.

A LAWYER EMAILS that this story is a reason not to automatically disbelieve your client when he says he has no idea how that stuff wound up on his hard drive:

A man has been cleared of child porn charges, after investigators found that an Internet attacker was responsible for the presence of illicit images on his PC

A man accused of storing child pornography on his computer has been cleared after it emerged that his computer had been infected by a Trojan horse, which was responsible for transferring the images onto his PC.

Julian Green, 45, was taken into custody last October after police with a search warrant raided his house. He then spent a night in a police cell, nine days in Exeter prison and three months in a bail hostel. During this time, his ex-wife won custody of his seven year old daughter and possession of his house. . . .

Green told The Evening Standard that the experience wrecked his life because he was treated like a depraved sex fiend. "I had never been in trouble before. In cases like this it is not innocent until proved guilty, but the other way around," he said.

I wonder what the authorities will do to make him whole. Nothing, I expect.


1) Whose idea was the Department of Homeland Security?

2) Who suggested the US use pre-emptive action against States harbouring WMD?

Nope, no hints here. But you might read this.

CHARLES AUSTIN HAS MOVED. Check out his new digs.

Christopher Johnson has moved, too!

ALGERIAN TOURIST UPDATE: Thomas Nephew notes that the remaining hostages appear to have been moved to Mali. The rest of the news isn't very encouraging.


Northwestern University law professor Anthony D'Amato has issued a strong caution to universities, calling on them to consider students' privacy before shipping them off to the RIAA sponsored legal gulag. Lawyers could turn Loyola's willingness to work with the RIAA into a black mark against students suspected of trading copyrighted files. More than that, however, D'Amato questions why Loyola - unlike MIT - was so ready to help the RIAA instead of its own tuition-paying kids.

Here's another: why would you want to go to a school that cares so little for your privacy?

OUTSOURCING: Here's the last word on the subject.

SWEDISH PAPERS ARE REPORTING a WMD discovery. Is it true? Beats me. There's more here.

There's also this report originally from The Times (but you need a subscription to read it there):

London - David Kelly, the British weapons expert at the centre of the Iraq dossier row, had amassed firm evidence to show that Saddam Hussein built and tested a "dirty bomb."

Designed to cause cancer and birth defects, the radiological weapon could have been used by terrorists to create panic and widespread contamination in a crowded city.

Kelly, who committed suicide last month, presented evidence of the bomb to the government in 1995 and recommended to Foreign Office officials that it feature in the government's intelligence dossier on Iraq. However, despite secret Iraqi documents being produced to prove its existence, it was not included. . . .

Iraq's dirty bomb was made from a material called radioactive zirconium which was packed into a bomb casing with high explosives. Iraq had access to zirconium stored at its Al-Tarmiya reactor site - under United Nations safeguards - ostensibly for use in its peaceful nuclear power program.

Interesting. My goodness, it would certainly undercut the credibility of an awful lot of the Bush Administration's critics if this sort of information turned out to be true, wouldn't it? I've been skeptical of those who have theorized that the Administration was holding back on this stuff so as to draw its critics out and then embarrass them, but this makes me wonder. And how very convenient, to have it come out via the Swedes. . . .

Meanwhile, in a somewhat-related issue, here's a report of Al Qaeda connections to the ongoing attacks in Iraq.

UPDATE: A couple of readers say that zirconium is an unlikely candidate for a dirty bomb. I don't know. But I did find this CNN transcript:

MCEDWARDS: And what about what we hear called a dirty bomb?

DUELFER: Iraq acknowledged to us in 1995 that [in] fact they had designed and tested what is called, popularly, a dirty bomb, which is essentially a conventional explosion, but designed to spread radioactive material. We reported this in some detail in December 1995. The material which they were using them was zirconium.

Interesting. That's Charles Duelfer, deputy UNSCOM chairman. He's supposed to know about that stuff, right? On the other hand, this transcript is from 2002, which makes the story old news, to the extent that it was news back then.


In a statement worthy of the French diplomat he apparently aspires to become, World Bank President James Wolfensohn concluded his meeting with the Iraqi Governing Council with the disdainful remark that "a constitution and an elected government would constitute a recognized government, but what do we do in the meantime?"

Whoaaa there, Daddy Warbucks! Hold the sauterne and the foie gras!

I don't recall that Saddam's regime was elected. Or that it governed by a constitution. Yet that terror-state was recognized as legitimate by the world's diplomats and international bankers. Every slithering, interest-bearing one of them.

And now Iraq's interim Governing Council doesn't deserve the level of recognition accorded Saddam Hussein?

Saddam seized power in a coup, slaughtered his opponents, started successive wars of aggression, pursued weapons of mass destruction and never held a single honest election. But he was just fine with foreign ministries, the United Nations and world financial institutions.

Yet Iraq's representative Governing Council lacks legitimacy as it seeks to build democracy? And Iraq doesn't qualify for reconstruction loans?

This is a double standard of such a disgraceful magnitude that the only appropriate adjective is "European."

Wolfensohn is American (though I think he's a naturalized citizen of Australian extraction). And I'm not sure a Eurocrat would say that particular stupid thing.

Come to think of it, those Eurocrats aren't exactly elected, are they?

Meanwhile, Reporters Sans Frontieres is learning that the U.N.'s hostility to freedom isn't just an annoyance to the United States.

I'VE BEEN SAYING FOR QUITE A WHILE that Algeria deserves more attention. Now Amir Taheri gives it some.

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