Friday, December 31, 2004

Whither the Blogosphere, Nick Coleman?

Click here for AmazonIit's been only a few days since The Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Nick Coleman suffered a very public, very embarassing end-of-year breakdown. His attempt to insult Time Magazine's blog-of-the-year, Powerline, and tar them as insecure, highly compensated GOPeratives worked out about as well as a Denny McClain comeback attempt.

The blogosphere responded with a punishing barrage. The Powerline gang responded, of course, and a host of other bloggers took up the cause as well.

Given everything that's happened in 2004... heck, given just the real-time mobilization of the blogosphere to report upon and respond to the tragic aftermath of the tsunami, one would think that even Nick Coleman could grasb the obvious:

Comparing the blogosphere with the mainstream media...

o The blogosphere is more nimble, able to array credible reporters on every street corner and in every village
o The blogosphere is more scalable, able to redeploy resources at a moment's notice
o The blogosphere is more accurate, with every story of significance fact-checked and vetted by hundreds or thousands of competitors, hoping to uncover a gaffe or scandal (with experts ranging from forgery analysis *ahem* to military tactics)
o The blogosphere is more comprehensive, achieving more sensors, reporters, analysts and editors than the MSM could ever hope to amass

Whither the blogosphere, Nick?

The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind. Oh, and Nick, don't you love the smell of napalm in the morning?

Patterico on the LA Dog Trainer Times

Click here for AmazonThis is required reading for all media watchers. Patterico has compiled a litany of partisan hackery on the part of the LA Times for '04... and he's just getting started.

The LA Times: with all the credibility of Art Schlichter at the dogtrack... holding a Mastercard in the name of Pablo Rodriquez. I laughed, I cried, it changed my life.

Here's a quick taste:

...When CBS's "60 Minutes" program relied on forged documents to support allegations that Bush had been AWOL, the Los Angeles Times ran another front-page story, trumpeting the existence and content of the documents. But when the Washington Post (taking its cue from the blogosphere) ran a Page A01 story reporting that the documents were probably fake, the L.A. Times buried the news on Page A18. That's right: when documents damaging to Bush appeared authentic, that was front-page material -- but genuine questions about their authenticity were buried in the back of the paper.

Worse still, the L.A. Times portrayed the controversy about the forged documents as a "partisan" issue, and quoted Col. Killian's daughter as saying that Killian's family knew nothing about the authenticity of the documents. This was false, as the paper's editors should have known. The Times didn't tell its readers that the previous day, Col. Killian's son and widow had both publicly questioned the documents' authenticity.

When the Times finally put this story on the front page, no variant of the word "forgery" appeared in the entire piece, and the front page didn't contain even a hint that the documents might not be authentic. All the information showing the documents were probably fake was carefully buried on the back pages, on Page A18 -- the Page of Choice for embarrassing revelations about the forged documents.

While the rest of the media slowly accepted the fact that CBS had relied on forged documents, the L.A. Times followed Dan Rather's lead, and kept looking for that partisan connection. The results were occasionally comical...

Patterico: Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review '04 (and don't miss Part II)

The Rise of the Blogs

Click here for AmazonHugh Hewitt:

[Some bloggers on the Left] ...are missing the most important developments because they are focused on one symptom of the change --the fact that way left MSM gets clobbered pretty much every week for agenda journalism and undisclosed bias, as well as simple venom like Coleman's weird rant. When television arrived, radio got clobbered pretty much every week. If radio had been right wing, the rise of the box would have at first appeared as an attack by the left on the right, when in fact it was just the rise of a new technology.

Let me try one more time: William Safire and David Brooks are losing too, not just Dan Rather and Nick Coleman. I have argued before that Brooks' ascension to NYT columnist is like the French colonel being told in June, 1914 that he'd been given command of one of the fortresses of the Maginot Line. It looked like a plum assignment at the time...

Hugh Hewitt

IowaHawk's Predictions for 2005

Click here for AmazonHere are my favorites, but read the whole thing. IowaHawk contends that Barry Bonds is in for a rough '05 and that a John Madden wardrobe malfunction will mar the Superbowl...

January 19 - Presidential inauguration ceremony interrupted by masked ninja legal paratroopers from; ailing William Requist pummels helpless assailants with famed gavel 'El Diablo'

February 6 - Pittsburgh edges Green Bay in Super Bowl XXXIX; Steelers' big win overshadowed by controversial John Madden 'wardrobe malfunction'

April 5 - New DNC chairman Howard Dean announces official party name change to "Progressive Berserkers"

April 18 - Saddam Hussein convicted of crimes against humanity; Kofi Annan offers space in UN "Scared Straight" deliquent dictator program

April 23 - Barry Bonds passes Ruth with 17th homer; torso explodes

May 2 - Barry Bonds caps amazing comeback by winning Kentucky Derby; pays $18.50-$12.20-$6.40

May 22 - Martha Stewart appears on Today Show interview sporting teardrop tattoo, spurs homemaker fashion craze

July 20 - Iraq descends into chaos as I-25 construction, HOV lanes snarl Basra morning commute; Rumsfeld blamed for lack of Morning Zoo Crew traffic copters

August 9 - Violence wracks Iraq as US Marines battle insurgent Reuters staffers in Fallujah

November 28 - Chicago marks 500th homicide of the year, renewing calls for US withdrawl from Illinois quagmire

IowaHawk: Predictions for 2005 and Nick Coleman's First Draft

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Future of the Left: The Tar Pits

Click here for AmazonIncredible essay by Victor Davis Hanson. Read the whole thing.

The old critique of American policy in the Middle East was driven by charges of petro-imperialism — that we would do any and all things to secure fuel for our gas-guzzlers. But China now satisfies most of its skyrocketing oil appetite from Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Oman. Unlike the United States, there is no internal Chinese opposition to question the new superpower's oil politics, which are heating up global energy markets. The so-called Peoples Republic cares only about price and availability. It worries not at all about its petro-trade’s subsidizing Wahhabism, theocracy, or Islamic extremism.

We may still rant about the American rejection of Kyoto. But is anyone alarmed over the hundreds of coal plants sprouting up in India and China to ensure billions of people that there will be enough energy for a possible future lifestyle of the type we now take for granted in Santa Barbara and Nantucket? In short, we will soon enter an age in which China may well change the world's environment, affect the price of oil, and govern the world's trade as much as the United States — and will care almost nothing about what Western liberals say, secure either that its fraying socialist veneer or sheer size and power will earn it a pass from the censure of Western intellectuals.

If we thought indigenous liberationist movements of the Islamic world — who have beheaded and killed to be free of Western religious tolerance, equity for women and homosexuals, and voting and human rights — put an enormous strain on the ossified Left, wait until Mao's old socialist utopia begins to send ultimatums to the democracies of the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. What will Earth First do when this socialist behemoth sprouts its oil rigs in the Arctic tundra and pristine seas?

...Consider further: The United States runs staggering trade deficits with most of the world. Its dollar is at an all-time low. Its postwar international protocols — from the World Trade Organization to the United Nations — either favor the non-West or look unkindly toward the United States. The American military, at great risk and cost, alone in the world saved Kosovars, Afghans, and Iraqis from tyranny. For all the Vietnam-era rhetoric about American meddling, the elected Karzai and the provisional Allawi are a far cry from the Shah, Pinochet, or Somoza. We are doing things in the Middle East that make no sense in terms of traditional economic or political advantage — and yet still bring out 1960s-era stegosauruses alleging imperialism and hegemony...

Victor Davis Hanson: Into the Tar Pits

Arabs Fighting for Israel

Click here for AmazonA recurrent theme among what Clifford May has dubbed the "posthumanitarian left," often echoed by "realists" on the right, is that Arabs are congenitally or culturally incapable of democracy. But there are in fact some one million Arabs living in the Middle East under a democratic government. We refer, of course, to the Arab citizens of Israel.

Israeli Arabs, unlike Jews, are not subject to military conscription. But they can volunteer for the Israel Defense Forces, and Ha'aretz reports increasingly many are doing just that:

While Bedouin have been volunteering for the IDF, primarily as trackers, for dozens of years, Muslim and Christian Arabs have been doing so, on a very small scale, only since the 1990s. . . .

The number of Muslim volunteers in 2003 was 64.5 percent higher than in 2000, while the enlistment of Christians increased by 16 percent over the same period.

A senior source at the IDF's Personnel Directorate notes that incomplete figures for 2004 show a further increase, at a rate of some 20 percent, in the enlistment of youth from both sectors.

The numbers are still small; "it appears that the annual number of volunteers from both sectors together does not exceed 150." But if Arabs in Israel are willing to risk their lives for democracy, why should we expect any less of Arabs in Iraq or elsewhere?

Best of the Web: Arabs Fighting for Israel

It’s Just a Flesh Wound

Click here for AmazonNo Democratic nominee for president has won even the slightest bare majority of the national popular vote since Jimmy Carter won 50.1 percent – in 1976.

Since WWII ended, Republicans have won nine of the fifteen presidential contests; six of which by enormous, national landslides.

Over the past 14 years, the Democratic Party has lost: (i) sixty-six net U.S. House seats, (ii) twelve net U.S. Senate seats (despite the “Torricelli switch” and Mary “bring out the dead” Landrieu), and (iii) eight state governorships (including their recent “win” [wink, wink] up in Seattle).

What’s the relevance of all this?

Writing in the American Prospect, John Judis and Ruy Teixeira explain to their reality-denying followers that the “emerging Democratic majority” is not a myth they simply pulled out of their asses, but instead is a very slowly emerging Democratic majority, thank you all very much.

In other words:

Reality: “Your arm’s off.”
Judis/Teixeira: “It’s just a flesh wound.”

PoliPundit: It’s Just a Flesh Wound

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Dodged a bullet...

Click here for AmazonThis appears to be good news. The illustration represents, the 'Updated Set of Possible Positions of 2004 MN4 on April 13, 2029'. A letter on Jerry's Pournelle's site asks a very interesting question.

"Predictions are that it's going to miss us by about 25,000 to 50,000 miles with a relative velocity of about 4 miles per second with a mass estimate of about 100,000,000 tons (9.4e+10 Kg). With 25 years to prepare the least we could do is land a probe or two on it, but what would it take to deflect it into either an Earth or a Lunar orbit?"

Possibility of an Earth Impact in 2029 Ruled Out for Asteroid 2004 MN4
Don Yeomans, Steve Chesley and Paul Chodas
NASA's Near Earth Object Program Office
December 27, 2004

Over the past week, several independent efforts were made to search for pre-discovery observations of 2004 MN4. These efforts proved successful today when Jeff Larsen and Anne Descour of the Spacewatch Observatory near Tucson, Arizona, were able to detect and measure very faint images of asteroid 2004 MN4 on archival images dating to 15 March 2004. These observations extended the observed time interval for this asteroid by three months allowing an improvement in its orbit so that an Earth impact on 13 April 2029 can now be ruled out.

As is often the case, the possibility of future Earth impacts for some near-Earth objects cannot be entirely ruled out until the uncertainties associated with their trajectories are reduced as a result of either future position observations, or in this case, heretofore unrecognized, pre-discovery observations. When these additional observations were used to update the orbit of 2004 MN4, the uncertainties associated with this object's future positions in space were reduced to such an extent that none of the object's possible trajectories can impact the Earth (or Moon) in 2029.

In the accompanying diagram, the most likely position of asteroid 2004 MN4 is shown at the end of the blue line near the Earth on 13 April 2029. However, since the asteroid's position in space is not perfectly known at that time, the white dots at right angles to the blue line are possible alternate positions of the asteroid. Neither the nominal position of the asteroid, nor any of its possible alternative positions, touches the Earth, indicating that an Earth impact in 2029 is ruled out.

NASA JPL: Possibility of an Earth Impact in 2029 Ruled Out for Asteroid 2004 MN4

The Tsunami and the Blogosphere

Click here for AmazonOne thing that stands out about this fact is where the blogosphere has weighed in on this. This blogHugh Hewitt, and literally thousands of other center-right bloggers have been advocating for people to donate and give to the relief efforts.

Out of curiousity I wanted to see what the major center-left blog voices had to say about the disaster.

TALKING POINTS MEMO - Joshua Micah Marshall has spared nary even a word about the disaster...

WONKETTE - could not find time to discussthe disaster nor ask her very large readership to generously donate to any of the fine organizations listed above...

THE DAILY KOS - Kos himself has not mentioned the disaster. Though Armando (one of Kos' regulars) has posted twice on the subject in the last 3 days. It should also be pointed out that Kos did not ask his readers to assist - though some of the readers of the site eventually DID mention the International Red Cross and Red Crescent.

Without question these are three of the most heavily read blogs and for the lack of compassion that they communicate is disgusting in and of itself. But couple that with all the claims that they make year after year about how it is ONLY the left in America that "truly" care about the poor and disadvantaged and you begin to see what a huge lie this truly is.

WIZBANG, SLANTPOINT, REALCLEARPOLITICS, RADIOBLOGGER, POWERLINE, MICHELLEMALKIN, BLOGSFORBUSH, CAPTAINSQUARTERS, BROKENMASTERPIECES... (and many others) are good examples of significant center-right voices that are asking their readerships to make donations and help during this worst humanitarian disaster since Noah.

The observation for me is what I have always believed to be true. When push comes to shove - it is the compassion of the right that demonstrates the flimsiness of the claims of the left. The center-right's willingness to "act" to help others stands in stark contrast by the center-left to merely "talk" about it...and thereby enrich their political powerbase.


Crosswalk: Tsunami and the Blogosphere

What's the Baddest Tank of All?

Click here for AmazonDebate on which is the best tank in the world continues. Much of it has focused on western tank designs (the M1 Abrams, the Challenger, the LeClerc, and the Leopard 2), which are much better on a tank-for-tank basis than Russian designs like the T-64 and its descendants (the T-72, T-80 and T-90).

...The Leopard 2’s diesel is more efficient, giving the German tank more range (550 kilometers to 426 kilometers for the Abrams). That said, the gas turbine on the Abrams is quieter, meaning that opponents without infrared systems will have a harder time detecting the Abrams at night, which can mean their only warning an Abrams is around could be when the Abrams sends a 120mm candygram their way – most of the time, the result will be a direct hit.

...The matter of auxiliary power is another thing not always mentioned in the specs. The Leopard 2 has none. The Abrams features an auxiliary power unit, which allows it to shut off the turbine in some instances, allowing it to conserve fuel. In situations where the Abrams is on defense, this is a huge advantage – not only because the Abrams saves fuel, but because infrared sensors have a harder time picking it up. Again, the first indication the Abrams is there will be when it fires – and well-trained Abrams crews are very accurate. If you see an Abrams firing at you, it is probably the last thing you will see.

...The Abrams keeps its main gun ammo in a separate compartment and has a spall liner while using aluminum, reducing casualties when an Abrams is hit. This is important – an uninjured crew can fight back even if the tank is damaged. This was proven In Desert Storm, when an Abrams stuck in the mud continued fighting despite taking three hits from the main guns of Iraqi T-72 tanks – and promptly dispatched the offending T-72s. The tank defied American efforts to destroy it in place, and after being recovered had the turret replaced and was back with its unit in 24 hours. The damaged turret was sent back to the United States for analysis...

StrategyPage: ARMORED WARFARE: What’s the Baddest Tank of All?

A Unified Theory of the Old Media Collapse

Click here for AmazonHugh Hewitt pounds another nail into the MSM coffin. It's amusing to watch the icons of years past circle the drain and it reminds me a bit of Monty Python and the Holy Grail... as the MSM asserts that it isn't quite dead yet all the while being carted off to the morgue.

IF OLD MEDIA -- the "legacy media" of the big papers and old networks plus the newsweeklies -- was a city and not simply a set of gasping institutions, it would look like Stalingrad circa 1944. Parts of most of the virtual buildings are still standing, but the devastation is pretty complete.

And the pummeling just keeps coming. On Sunday last, Power Line's John Hinderaker undressed the New York Times biggest big foot, Thomas Friedman, for all the blogosphere to see, The Belmont Club was scissoring the Associated Press's credibility, and I was pointing out the many defects in a Washington Post front-page story on an "Intelligent Design" controversy -- in the process discovering that reporter Michael Powell, who came from a background of tenants' advocacy, had written extensively on tenants' issues without disclosing to the reader his past background.

And that was just three posts on a single day of the new world of accountability for the old media...

...In legacy media there is now much dismay. Many of their biggest names appear not too understand that they are distrusted by more than half of America, and don't even seem to recognize their own contempt for majoritarian positions...

Read the whole thing.

Hugh Hewitt: A Unified Theory of the Old Media Collapse

Oh, that liberal media

Click here for AmazonHerein I present several diverse but related missives, which may prove of interest to media watchers, pundits, journalists, editors, and to those who, whether by good fortune or ruinous happenstance, may work with them in various capacities.

Poll: Few See Crisis in Social Security
Body of article, 12 paragraphs in: "[In the poll...] 25 percent say Social Security is in crisis... Another 49 percent, though, do say the system has "major problems," adding up to a net negative diagnosis from 74 percent of the public.
ABC News: Few See Crisis in Social Security

Election Season Opens for the Palestinians
His full beard signaled his affiliation with a radical Islamic movement that rejects the existence of Israel, but Ayyad also sounded like a garden-variety grass-roots policy wonk who said he wanted to "bridge the gap between the citizens and the local authorities."
Washington Post: Terrorist, Wonk... whatever

Time Selects Bush as Person of the Year
...Bush has changed dramatically since he was named Person of the Year in 2000 after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency... (Ed: refresh my memory, how many recounts did Al Gore win?)
AP: Time Selects Bush As Person of the Year

The Naivete Award Winner
On Sept. 11, 2001, the World Trade Center towers collapsed and angry clouds of dust chased U.S. citizens through the streets of New York City... (Ed: They just "collapsed"? The clouds were angry, and hunted down US citizens? I can just imagine your description of Pearl Harbor: "A boat sank and angry water drowned sailors.")... So, why did they do it? Because "they hate freedom?" Come on -- that's ridiculous... (Ed: Oh wait, did you mean you think they don't hate freedom? Hmm. You might want to try to tell Osama you're bringing a Bible to Mecca some time. You might try to tell Al Qaeda that the women of Saudi Arabia should be allowed to drive or remove their abaya cloaks)... The United States' overwhelming global dominance is unprecedented in human history. Many Muslims fear the Americanization of their culture... (Ed: Guess they might try not seeing our movies, buying our CD's, etc., then, eh? While they're at it, stop using our medical research, foreign aid, technological advances)...

In addition, the United States declares natural resources (such as oil) in Muslim countries "vital to its national security." ... (Ed: Are you suggesting they don't want to sell the oil? OPEC begs to differ. What would the Middle East do for its economy without it?)... It's clear that maintaining our dominance by force is costly in civil liberties, our moral standing in the world, tax dollars and human lives. (Ed: By all means, let's take a back seat. Cultivating weakness will surely preserve our civil liberties, tax money, and our lives. It's always worked before in history, right?)...

So my Burning Question is: Could we more effectively fight terrorism by understanding what motivates it and then taking away the source of the anger? Wouldn't it be cheaper and wiser to just face our enemy, ask "Why?" and respond constructively? (Ed: hands-down winner, 2004 Naivete Grand Slam!)
Seattle PI: Can we fight terrorism constructively?

Oh, That Liberal Media

Drug Companies on Lookout for Michael Moore

Click here for AmazonLos Angeles - Some pharmaceutical companies are telling employees to keep an eye out for filmmaker Moore, according to published reports in the Los Angeles Times.

Moore's next film, "Sicko," will reportedly focus the American healthcare industry -- including HMOs, insurance companies, the FDA, and drug makers -- prompting several companies to issue internal memos to deny access to him and his cameras.

"If you see a scruffy guy in a baseball cap, you'll probably know it's him," read one internal memo from drug giant Pfizer. "If you want to make perfectly sure, look for speckles of congealed alfredo sauce sparkling in the wispy beard growth on his enormous 30-pound neck goiter."

A memo from Astra-Zeneca instructed building security to "be on the lookout for a disheveled man with a camera, microphone, and man-boobs the size and consistency of the bags inside a cheap bag-in-box wine, after drinking three or four glasses." The memo goes on to suggest that "oh, yeah, there's also a kind of a not-so-good peanut smell."

At Glaxo Smith Kline, an internal security memo set out a precise screening protocol for Moore. "If subject fits profile, request him to lift shirt," reads one item on the flowchart. "If visual inspection identifies buttcracks in front AND back, escort out."

Iowahwak (Satire): Drug Companies on Lookout for Michael Moore

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Big Picture

Click here for AmazonBill Roggio provides an outstanding overview of the current war on terror, framed by his agreement with liberal pundit Juan Cole. Yes, that Juan Cole. The bottom line? Bin Laden's latest message demonstrates all the strength of Pee Wee Herman on Vicodin. The war on terror... Iraq... and the Bush Doctrine of extending democratic freedom to Arab lands... are all synonymous. Even an ultra-liberal like Cole is starting to get it. Check and mate, my liberal friends.

It is a rare occasion when I agree with Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan and Middle East scholar, as he has done much to damage his credibility of late. In the past few months alone he has threatened a lawsuit against MEMRI’s Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes for compiling his writings and statements (under the pretext of harassment); labeled the assault on Fallujah as counterproductive; misrepresented the history of British action in Fallujah (debunked by Ali of Iraq The Model); insinuated the intrepid bloggers Mohammed, Ali and Omar of Iraq The Model are tools of the CIA and outside of the mainstream (by using an April poll) in the Iraqi political sphere (debunked by Iraq The Model's Ali and Armed Liberal); issued a tepid back down from his accusations against the Iraq The Model bloggers; and advocated setting aside “a generous 25 percent of seats [in the Iraqi assembly] for predominantly Sunni Muslim parties,” even if they boycott the election.

Despite my many disagreements with Professor Cole's views on American foreign policy, Iraq and the Middle East in general, he provides an excellent analysis of the impact of Osama bin Laden’s latest tape calling for a boycott of the upcoming Iraqi elections. He states that Osama bin Laden's admonishment for Iraqis to boycott the elections will backfire badly on al Qaeda.

Bin Laden's intervention in Iraq was hamfisted and clumsy, and will benefit the United States and the Shiites enormously. Most Iraqi Muslims, Sunni or Shiite, dislike the Wahhabi branch of Islam prevalent in Saudi Arabia, and with which Bin Laden is associated. Nationalistic Iraqis will object to a foreigner interfering in their national affairs.... It appears that Bin Laden is so weak now that he is forced to play to his own base, of Saudi and Salafi jihadists, some of whom are volunteer guerrillas in Iraq. They are the only ones in Iraq who would be happy to see this particular videotape.... It is a desperate, crackpot hope. The narrow, sectarian and politically unskilfull character of this speech is the most hopeful sign I have seen in some time that al-Qaeda is a doomed political force, a mere Baader-Meinhof Gang or Red Army Faction with greater geographical reach.

Critics of the Iraq War fail to recognize Iraq is a major component in the overall war on terror, and Iraq has presented the opportunity to draw al Qaeda out into the open and fight the United States military in a theater of our choosing. The American invasion of Iraq has forced al Qaeda’s hand, as the organization was obligated to resist an American incursion into the heart of the Middle East and fight any attempts to establish democracy.

Events over the past two months demonstrate al Qaeda's operations in Iraq are having a negative impact the organization. The loss of the terror bastion of Fallujah demonstrated that al Qaeda is unable to occupy territory and is in reality the weak horse in this race. Leaders of jihad are livid over the unwillingness of young Muslims to fight against the infidels; proof that the power of the Arab Street is nothing but a myth. Al Qaeda is having manpower problems after being forced to fight against the Americans in two major theaters. Al Qaeda has become unpopular among the indigenous Iraqi insurgents. Osama’s speech inciting violence in Saudi Arabia indicates his organization is taking a beating in the country and now has no alternative but to advocate the overthrow of the House of Saud.

Professor Cole has been a major critic of the invasion of Iraq, the actions of American soldiers in country and American policy in the Middle East in general. It is high time he recognize the invasion of Iraq, coupled with the invasion of Afghanistan and military actions elsewhere, have set up the conditions for Osama bin Laden's political and military failures.

Bill Roggio's The Fourth Rail: Osama bin Hamfisted

Ten Errors about Rathergate in One Paragraph

Click here for AmazonThere are few things as delicious as seeing the mainstream media continue on its path of dissimulation and, therefore, self-destruction. I provided a set of ESPN-worthy highlights of MSM disintegration a couple of days ago. And to see it occurring again and again -- blindly and with malice aforethought -- is akin to watching Ron Artest charge the stands in Detroit while Jermaine O'Neal punches out fans. In the pit of your stomach, you know it's wrong and inherently recognize that there will be consequences far beyond the here and now.

Tom Shales of the Washington Post makes 10 errors in writing about CBS's Memogate...

...All in a single paragraph:

"...Tireless press critics during war or peacetime, the conservatives were handed a valuable new weapon when CBS News fumbled(1) a report detailing(2) the president's(3) shoddy record(4) as a member of the National Guard back in Texas. The report was attacked (5) virtually the moment it aired(6) on "60 Minutes"; documents used to bolster(7) the allegations were condemned by conservative(8) critics as phony and forged(9), though no forging has yet been proved(10)." ...

Scylla & Charybdis (hat tip: LGF): Ten Errors about Memogate in One Paragraph

Europe's Model and the Future

Click here for AmazonVia Winds of Change, James C. Bennett's Dreaming Europe in a Wide-Awake World is outstanding. I have excerpted it for purposes of readability, but it is worth reading in its entirety.

The world today is a vastly different place from what it was thirty years ago. Then the picture was dominated by the stark contrast between the generally prosperous and free First World, the economically stagnant and drably totalitarian Second World, and the seemingly hopeless Third World. Today, that disturbing but fairly simple tripartite classification has been replaced by a much more complex picture. What stands out in this new picture is the way winners and losers are emerging within each of the former categories. Within the former Third World, erstwhile basket cases such as China and India have become awakened giants, economically dynamic and increasingly more assertive on the international stage, while other Third World locations have become more of a Fourth World... Making sense of this complexity and illuminating a path forward is the intellectual task of today, one which becomes a metric for judging all international trends and policy analysis.

One of the most interesting analytical problems is that presented by the divergent paths taken by the developed nations of the First World, and their respective degrees of success. These are sometimes segmented out as Europe, America and Japan, but the more useful division is probably one of Japan, Continental Europe and what are variously called the "Anglo-Saxon" economies or, increasingly, the Anglosphere. In the early 1970s, all three of these regions were seen to be facing roughly the same set of problems: first, stagnation of a modified market economy defined by substantial economic regulation, high marginal tax rates, and a fairly high percentage of GDP captured by the public sector, as well as high wage levels and inelastic industrial structures reinforced by strong unionism; second, a declining birthrate, which promised trouble downstream for pay-as-you-go pension and benefits programs; and third, a weakening of the old sources of social cohesion, particularly religion, patriotic narratives in education and the media, and (in some countries) ethnic homogeneity.

From the end of World War II to the early 1970s, all three sectors of the developed world enjoyed a general economic expansion. Continental Europe and Japan in fact each experienced more rapid growth and development than the English-speaking nations, mainly from the spur of postwar reconstruction. However, as more and more of the Third World began adopting aggressive, export-driven industrialization strategies, the old cozy collaboration of government protection and passing wage increases on to the consumer began to fall apart.

The Anglosphere nations, led by the United States and Britain, reacted by reducing marginal tax rates, privatizing and deregulating markets, and refusing to subsidize declining smokestack industries. High levels of immigration were accepted, reversing the demographic patterns of decline. Continental European nations responded by increasing European integration, thus expanding internal market opportunities but retaining and even reinforcing the "social market economy"--legislated job protection and generous social benefits, particularly for the unemployed.

A wave of European Union-mandated privatizations ended the most egregious boondoggles, and small, protected national companies were absorbed into a smaller number of EU-wide champions, which were protected more subtly by disguised subsidies and ingenious non-tariff barriers. Meanwhile, most European nations accepted "guest workers", increasingly from North Africa and Turkey. But their assimilation into European national cultures was never aggressively pursued.

Finally, Japan addressed essentially the same set of problems through aggressive use of automation and offshore production, honing their competitive capabilities, and continuing a rather blatant policy of domestic protection. Japan also employed other labor-saving strategies and a minimal number of temporary foreign workers, though making clear that they were expected not to become permanent residents.

So the world economy must today be considered as one vast experiment. The object of this experiment is to determine whether the developed nations might continue to enjoy at least their current levels of prosperity, while the large developing nations of India and China become major economic players and a host of smaller, newly industrialized countries acquire the capability to offer almost every sort of manufactured good and advanced service at the same quality and lower price.

...It is in this global and historical context that we must examine Europe's present and future, and what they may mean for the United States. Any static view of Europe today, or one that merely contrasts Europe and the United States in a less-than-global context, is worse than useless....

...Rifkin's [analysis] is a two-level critique of America contrasted with virtuous Europe. First, he asserts that Europe is surpassing America on the conventional criteria of prosperity. But he then adds that where economic success is absent in Europe, that's okay too, because progress is bad for you anyway.

Rifkin, therefore, requires critiquing on both levels. Gersemann... provides an excellent analysis of Rifkin's surface level. The case for the coming European triumph over America is quickly refuted. Gersemann, himself a German financial journalist (currently Washington correspondent for Wirtschaftwoche), convincingly refutes all of the prevailing Euro-legends about America, from the supposedly collapsing middle class to medical care to income inequality. He likewise documents the growing structural and demographic crisis of a Europe that has created more unfunded obligations than it can fulfill--while producing too few children to pay the bills their parents are racking up.

...Young, mostly Muslim families struggling under ever-increasing payroll taxes will hear calls from ethnic-based politicians to repudiate the checks that old rich white Europeans had written to themselves. To the extent that Rifkin holds up Europe as a model for Americans to emulate, he is in effect urging the purchase of a ticket on the Titanic.

...Rifkin presents a distillation of the positions of a number of European intellectuals over the past decade or two (but with roots in a Europeanist tradition going back much further). This argument states, roughly, that the entire idea of progress--of autonomous individuals possessing stated constitutional rights in a contract-based market society--is a historical aberration, and an unfortunate one...

In Rifkin's narrative, medieval people lived a collective lifestyle, in which individuals were embedded in a web of connections and did not think of themselves as apart from their colleagues. It was only the introduction of the proto-capitalist mentality that shattered this comfortable universe of family, congregation and community and transformed mankind into alienated individuals. The coup de grace was provided by extreme Protestant sects in the English Civil War, who used the new invention of printing to shatter the last stands of community by preaching the direct link, via the Bible, between man and God. These individuals went on to develop capitalism and technology, destroy the environment, subdue the Third World, and create our current world of SUVs, beef eating, obesity, and excessive punctuality... America is of course the ultimate example of this alienated world, while Europe is on the path back to connectedness, mostly by creating vast, unaccountable bureaucracies and substituting positive rights (things the state must do for you) for negative rights (things the state cannot do to you).

...[related] theorists posited a world characterized by universal laws of cultural evolution: Everyone was once tribal, then agricultural, then feudal, then modern (or is destined eventually to become so). The Marxists posited subsequent stages of socialism and communism, and others debated how, when and why peoples moved from one stage to another. Rifkin's novel contribution is to identify the emerging European postmodernist society as the next stage. Instead of a proletarian revolution ushering in central planning, we are to have a centralized bureaucratic revolution that will plan proletarian immobilization.

...[Refuting Rifkin,] Macfarlane and his associates have demonstrated very convincingly that English society back to Anglo-Saxon days has been characterized by individual rather than familial landholding; by voluntary contract relationships rather than by inherited status; and by nuclear rather than extended families. Individuals were free of parental authority from age 21 on, and daughters could not be denied their choice of husband (unlike on the Continent). The English nobility, regularly churned by elevation of commoners and marriage of younger sons to non-titled families, tended to mix freely with the rest of society, rather than being a separate caste, again as on the Continent. Rather than the English Reformation being the event that caused this change, it seems to have been (for the majority of the population) the event that brought formal theology and church government more in line with the pre-existing customs of the country. So the English "peasant" that Hollywood is fond of depicting turns out to be the figment of a 19th-century Marxist's imagination.

Macfarlane's body of work represents a momentous intellectual revolution. The implications of this revolution have not yet been fully realized, or even generally understood. It suggests that modernity and its consequences came particularly easily for the already-individualistic English. Conversely, it came particularly hard for the Continental Europeans, whose societies were characterized by all the non-individualistic features England lacked. It was to these Continentals that the intrusion of individualist, market-oriented relations was particularly disruptive and shocking. With medieval traditions of representative government moribund or long vanished, it is not surprising that Continental states had a particularly difficult time adjusting to parliamentary government, experiencing instead frequent coups, revolutions and periods of authoritarian rule, spiraling down to the abyss of fascism and communism.

...Although certainly the majority of most Continental populations made a perfectly successful transition to modernist life, a significant minority never fully bought in to the psychology or assumptions of liberal society, and thus were easily recruited into the darker visions of fascism. That may explain why Anglosphere nations never developed significant fascist movements, despite experiencing the same traumas of postwar disillusionment and economic depression.

...One must then ask, if the divide between les Anglo-Saxons and the Continentals is genuinely deep rooted, why have Atlantic relations over most of the past fifty years been so relatively tranquil? It may be because the Cold War years, with their combination of Soviet threat and open American markets for recovering Continental industries, and with the Third World economically invisible, provided a period of unique military-political stability and economic opportunities that provided uniquely strong incentives to smooth over problems. With the end of the Cold War, the first incentive has disappeared. With the rise of the newly industrialized countries, the European share of the American export market continues to shrink. Japan now competes for the luxury markets Europe used to dominate, India targets software, while China and the East Asian Tigers take the low-cost manufactured-goods slot from Japan. The Anglosphere nations have navigated this tightrope with a combination of maintaining the high-technology pioneer slot, aggressively combining offshore, low-cost labor with their managerial and financial talents (a strategy followed by Japan as well), and growing their domestic services sector, primarily by entrepreneurism. Continental Europe has so far proven too slow and inflexible to follow this pattern. In this environment, the Anglosphere-Eurosphere divide promises to widen, not shrink.

Rifkin's analysis either ignores or trivializes this problem, despite his frequent invocation of the term "globalization", which in his eyes becomes primarily a justification for European-style multiculturalism. Fortunately, this global context is becoming more widely recognized...

...Given this recognition of the genuine case for an Anglosphere identity and dimension, two questions for Britain regarding Europe arise. First, is Britain a European nation with a special relationship to the United States, or is it an Anglosphere nation with a special relationship to Europe? Second, given that it must interact with both spheres, what should the exact nature of the institutional ties with each be?

....Are the structures of the EU the best vehicle for resolving Britain's need to maintain both cross-Channel and intra-Anglosphere ties? And are the structures of the European Union adequate to the task of maintaining the integration of Europe in the wider Euro-Atlantic world, and in the world in general?

...Draw a circle on the map of a thousand miles radius, centered on Brussels. Within that circle the states are free and democratic, and military conflict is virtually unthinkable. Now draw a similar thousand-mile circle centered on Tokyo. Within that circle or very near lie a half-dozen states. Three of them have nuclear weapons and the rest are close. These states are rising economic, technological and industrial powers. In contrast to Europe, it is highly conceivable that such weapons, or other weapons of mass destruction, could be used at any time. The transnational institutions and agreements that preclude war in democratic Europe have little purchase in this region.

Europeanists have maintained that Europe's model is the world's future, but while Europeans were combining nation-states into a wider entity after World War II, northeast Asians were taking an existing single-market area (pre-war Japan, which integrated Korea, Taiwan and Manchuria) and turning it into separate nation-states, with equally prosperous results. Even today there is no visible movement to a Northeast Asian Union, although many writers automatically assume that other regions will imitate European structural models. Both Free World and The Great Deception suggest the conclusion that the EU is probably a one-off happenstance from unique historical circumstances. Once one leaves the immediate neighborhood of Brussels, transnationalism does not seem so inevitable.

America faces both Brussels and Tokyo, and must act in both of these universes. It deploys troops and nuclear weapons in both theaters. Is it any wonder that America cannot wholeheartedly adopt the Europeanist outlook?

Yet it is this global environment that we must consider as we contemplate Thomas P. M. Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map. Barnett describes a world in which the historically industrialized nations are the Old Core, the new industrial powers are the New Core, and the bulk of the old Third World that has not achieved takeoff is the Gap. He sees the task of the 21st century as stabilizing the Gap enough for it to adhere to the Core through "connectivity"--flows of capital, people and trade goods. In order to sustain these flows in a stable world, he would combat anti-globalization jihadis (not all of them radical Muslims) with a combination of hard military power, "soft" economic-political power, and a new synthesis of the two: a "nation-building" capability which he calls the "System Administrator." This last would have been called a colonial constabulary and colonial civil service in the 19th century. Its mandate today, however, would not be an imperial one, but would emanate from the web of transnational institutions that have sprung up, and the bulk of its power would be provided by the United States.

...A much more significant weakness is that Barnett's focus on the Core-Gap dichotomy leads him to minimize the importance of the existing links that connect particular Gap countries with particular Core nations. Given cheap air transport and telecommunications rapidly moving to a worldwide flat rate, the old paths of empire and emigration have given rise to a series of fluid, overlapping worldwide network civilizations. In the place of the British Empire there is now a demotic Anglosphere of Birmingham curry houses and Indo-American software engineers, a son of Jamaican emigres becoming Secretary of State, and Filipino immigrants commanding British, Australian and American troops together...

...The key point here is that these new constructs all cut across Core-Gap lines, yet they are almost always the most effective lines along which the money, people, goods and services will flow to bring connectivity from the Core to the Gap. Rather than striving for universality of approaches, we would do better to work with the grain and maximize the use of these existing channels.

...The most important fact of the 21st century may be the fact that the educated and ambitious of India have made of English not merely a useful foreign tongue, as have the Chinese, but a language they have taken into their homes and their literature, and into their heads and hearts by creating their own version of it. The new rising generation of well-educated, tech-savvy Indians increasingly regards this intertwining of India and the Anglosphere not as a colonial relic, but as a valuable card that history has dealt to their country, and one that should be played. Evidence that it is being played can be seen in both the quietly accelerating Indo-American military cooperation and the rapidly accelerating economic interpenetration between India and America...

...Continental Europe in general, but especially "Old Europe", has tended to see this emerging world as a game in which they are dealt a progressively worsening hand with every shuffle of the cards. Thus they have concentrated on cashing in chips for short-term gain, while trying to trip up stronger players when the opportunity strikes. At present, the costs of being in the coalition would probably include making major and painful structural adjustments to their economies. Domestic European electorates might therefore be tempted by the alternative of a Euro-Islamic alliance, in which Middle Eastern oil states would prop up unreformed European economies in return for international support, high-tech weaponry and open access to Europe for Islamic economic migrants. The growing "Eurabian" bloc of Islamic voters would thus combine with anti-reform pensioners to veto any other political alignment, driving politics in the direction of the Euro-Islamic solution.

This alignment might then attempt to pick off one other major player from the grand coalition. Russia would probably find this unattractive, given their problem with radical Islamic separatists, and Japan would gain little from it. China might be tempted by access to energy, European weapons technology and the European market, so long as their access to the American market was not entirely precluded. China might not be so much a partner as a semi-detached fellow-traveler, careful never to fully alienate either side. Russia might well try to play a similar semi-detached role to the Anglosphere-India-Japan group.

Under this scenario, we might see the world gradually align into several loose competing politico-economic alliances whose elbow-jostling would not rise to the level of war, or even cold war. The above scenario may in fact be emerging now, with an Anglosphere-plus-India-plus-Japan-plus-Russia team contending with a Euro-Islamic-Chinese bloc. Within such a framework there would still be a need for high-level international agreements and organizations to bind the major players together within a limited framework--to facilitate world trade and prevent any major conflagration among the major powers. But a new world order it would not be, and the transnational elements in it would probably wield about the same amount of influence as during the Cold War.

All in all, the European model is unlikely to be replicated on the world stage--and it may be scaled back and even dismantled in Europe itself when the evidence that India and China are overtaking it becomes too embarrassingly clear. As for the really big picture, instead of problematic schemes for transnational governance on the European model, we are likely to see the gradual rise of associated commonwealths, achieving more modest goals more effectively on a basis of cultural, legal and linguistic affinity. Rifkin's "European Dream" is likely to remain exactly that.

The National Interest: Dreaming Europe in a Wide-Awake World

Duke University hosts pro-terror organization's conference

Click here for AmazonIf this isn't enough reason to boycott Duke University and its related marketing collateral (e.g., logo apparel), I don't know what is. Powerline reports, you decide. And if it ticks you off, email Richard Brodhead ( or call him (+1 919 684 2424) and politely take issue with his tacit approval of Jihadists.

The January issue of Commentary is out, and it contains a disturbing piece (no link is available yet) by two Duke University graduate students, Eric Adler and Jack Langer called "The Intifada Comes to Duke." The authors are referring to Duke's recent hosting of the annual conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM). One of PSM's stated principles is that it refuses to denounce any terrorist act committed by Palestinians. But that doesn't mean PSM is agnostic about such terrorist acts. One of the scheduled speakers at the Duke conference, Charles Carlson, has openly called for lethal attacks against Israelis -- "each wedding, Passover celebration, or bar mitzvah [in Israel] is a potential military target." (The seminar Carlson was scheduled to lead eventually was cancelled with no explanation). One PSM organizer, Fadi Kiblawi has written of his urge to "strap a bomb to his chest and kill those Zionist racists." Another spokesperson, Hatem Bazian has called for "an intifada in this country." And Sami al-Arian, who has been active in the movement, is awaiting trial in Florida for racketeering and terrorism.

"None of this was of concern to Duke president Richard Brodhead. He found the decision to host the pro-terror organization to be "an easy one" given "the importance of the principle free expression." It is true that after the PSM's statements and deeds were spelled out in detail for Brodhead, he modified his position. Now the "deepest" reason for hosting the conference was no longer free speech, but "the principle of education through dialogue."

The dialogue, as Adler and Langer show, was a one-sided and darkly anti-Semitic affair. Keynote speaker Mazin Qumsiyeh (a Yale professor of genetics) presented a short history of the virulent Zionist "disease." Israel was pronounced "racist" and a greater abuser of human rights than South Africa in the days of apartheid. One speaker defended the terrorist acivities of Hamas. At a workshop, Huweida Arraf of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) urged students to join her group, which she acknowledged cooperates with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and offered them tips on how to enter Israel surreptitiously. Thus, in the name of dialogue, did Duke University assist in the recruitment of accomplices to terrorism.

When it was all over, and after the dialogue had inspired a columnist on the Duke student newspaper to attack American Jews and their "shocking overrepresentation" in academia, President Brodhead pronounced himself satisfied. More than that, he expressed gratitude and pride at seeing his university involved in such a "constructive event."

Powerline: Duke University hosts pro-terror organization's conference

Hiding their Heads in Sand Francisco

Click here for AmazonHoward Nemerov of MichNews:

"We know that for even law-abiding folks who own guns, the rates of suicide and mortality are substantially higher. So while just perceived to be a crime thing, we think there is a wide benefit to limiting the number of guns in the city." – Bill Barnes, aide to Supervisor Chris Daly (1)

With this erroneous claim to bolster them, San Francisco supervisors kicked off a campaign to get voters to approve a city-wide handgun ban to take effect in 2006. What they are ignoring, besides statistical data, is history...

...Internationally, the US compares even more favorably, rated 24th overall in murder rate. All countries with higher rates have far more gun control... there is [also] no relationship between civilian disarmament and suicide rates. As with murder rates, the US is 27th overall in suicide rate, and countries with higher rates have more gun control. (6) ...a study that collated a United Nations report... found no positive correlation between gun ownership and higher levels homicide or suicide...

...In 2003, our nation’s capitol experienced a murder rate of 44.2 per 100,000 population, about 10 times the rates of nearby states and nearly 8 times the national rate. (8) This is a continued trend begun in 1976, when D.C. instituted a gun ban, claiming the dubious title of “Murder Capital of the World” 14 of the last 15 years. (9)

...Since it has been in vogue for cities to sue firearms manufacturers for criminal use of highly-regulated, non-defective products, it would seem legal ground has been prepared for similar suits in the reverse direction: that city politicians should be held accountable for death and destruction of public safety resulting from the flawed policies they enact. Perhaps we need to start a new holiday: Take a Politician to Court Day.

Gun Control: Hiding their Heads in Sand [sic] Francisco

Monday, December 27, 2004

Some opinions count more than others

Click here for AmazonCheck out this Military Times poll:

Among active duty military, 63% approve of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. Two-thirds of combat vets think the war is worth fighting. A whopping 87% are satisfied with their jobs. And one of my favorites: "60% blame Congress for the shortage of body armor in the combat zone."

None of this is a surprise to those who have been paying attention. But if all you read is the mainstream media, wouldn't you be puzzled as to how all of these military personnel could be enthusiastic about a war in which nothing good ever happens?

Powerline: Troops Support War


Click here for AmazonIt is with a general sense of awe -- and perhaps a thimble-full of wistfulness for the good old days -- that we watch the mainstream media continue to self-destruct. The cold, hard proof comes in the form of falling Nielsen ratings for the likes of CBS News, rattlingly low subscription renewal rates for the LA Times, the continued ratings rise of Fox News and talk radio, and the accelerating importance of the blogosphere as a legitimate news outlet.

The latest, most devastating salvos -- all raining down on the MSM in the last few hours --come in the form of:

* Powerline's eviscerating takedown of Thomas Friedman's latest op-ed.

...Friedman... recapitulates, in a sentence or two, ten recent news stories, all of which are intended to reflect badly on the Bush administration; the general theme--reminiscent of leftism of the 60s and 70s--is that there is plenty of money for defense, while social programs are being cut. Friedman concludes:

So what is the common denominator of all these news stories? Wait, wait, don't tell me. I want to tell you. The common denominator is a country with a totally contradictory and messed-up set of priorities.

There is a fundamental problem, however, with Friedman's attempt to show that our national priorities are wrong. The news stories he cites are largely either false, or mischaracterized by him. Let's take them one at a time...

Ed: here Powerline shreds Friedman on nearly every point, highlighting a level of intellectual dishonesty on his part that is as stunning as it is blatant.

...Friedman concludes: "If we were actually having a serious national debate, this is what we would be discussing, but alas, 9/11 has been deftly exploited to choke any debate." Actually, Tom, there is a debate going on. The New York Times just isn't part of it, because it operates at too low a level of information to be useful to knowledgeable news consumers.

* As a bonus, the Palm Tree Pundit effectively slams Friedman for another major oversight.

* The Mudville Gazette torches CNN and the MSM in general for demonstrating egregious bias in Iraqi reporting -- on a daily basis. Read the whole thing.

* In another pointed attack, Tim Blair notes more evidence of Maureen Dowd's disintegrating skillset (part 183 of a long series of MoDo's continuing woes).

* Captain Ed takes Glenn Kessler of the WaPo to task for ignoring one minor detail in European criticism of the US regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians have still not acknowledged Israel's right to exist and appear dedicated to a course of continued terror. That Europe's history of monstrous anti-semitism bears directly on this issue is casually obfuscated by Kessler, as the Captain eloquently points out.

* And Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs rightfully slams the Chicago Tribune for encouraging dhimmitude while willfully ignoring the real threat of jihadists. Don't these people visit MEMRI? Haven't they heard of Robert Spencer?

The term 'out of touch' isn't sufficient. The MSM is unwired and unplugged.

Hugh Hewitt's new book entitled Blog, due out January 15th, will likely paint the new topographic map of the media: with the seismic recast of the balance of power, both East and West coasts are sinking into the sea.

Actually, the Titanic might be a more apt analogy. Blinded and unrealizing, the MSM continues to frantically rearrange deck chairs while their once unsinkable ship has surpassed the maximum number of flooded compartments capable of keeping it afloat. The compartments - CNN, NYT, LAT, CBS, et. al. - must have their seawater pumped out, quickly, if the ship is to survive.

The odds don't look good.

Update: Hugh Hewitt noticed the trend as well and had a good suggestion to boot:

But if they were so inclined, the very first step would be publication on the internet of biographies of every reporter/producer on the news team along with that individual's responses to a series of questions on important issues of the day. Everyone brings baggage to the reporting of the news. Some of us lay that background out for the world to see --most reporters don't. A sure sign of something to hide is the hiding of something, and the unwillingness of MSM to tell us about their staffs is a giveaway that the lack of intellectual diversity in the newsroom is a scandal.

What questions would I like answered? Very simple ones: For whom did the reporter vote for president in the past five elections? Do they attend church regularly and if so, in which denomination?...

It's a great idea and therefore one certain to be ignored by the MSM. But the power of the blogosphere is still capable of dealing with this issue. How about the following?

Let's have the 800 pound gorillas -- Instapundit, Powerline, LGF, etc. -- agree to publish the same survey. The question the survey asks of readers is to identify the MSM's currently most biased "journalist". When we have a weekly winner, the entire blogosphere gets together and orchestrates a "bias bash", highlighting the person and their obvious prejudices.

Journalist by journalist, we can change the MSM ourselves.

p.s., I'll volunteer to run the Hall of Shame blog site, which will list the weekly losers.

Second Update: Instapundit provides a review of Blog and offers his favorite quote from the book:

"Blogs are built on speed and trust, and the MSM is very slow and very distrusted."


Sunday, December 26, 2004


Click here for AmazonLatest estimates indicate that more than 12,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands left homeless by tsunami waves that may have measured as high as 150 feet. The waves were generated by an enormous undersea earthquake, which measured about 8.9 on the Richter scale; the largest recorded quake in 40 years (the '64 Alaska earthquake was similar in size).

"I just couldn't believe what was happening before my eyes," Boree Carlsson said from a hotel in the Thai resort of Phuket.

"As I was standing there, a car actually floated into the lobby and overturned because the current was so strong," said the 45-year-old Swede.

"I heard an eerie sound that I have never heard before. It was a high pitched sound followed by a deafening roar," said a 55-year-old Indian fishermen who gave his name as Chellappa. "I told everyone to run for their life."

In Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands, one official said nearly 4,500 people had died. The worst affected area was Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province, where 3,000 were killed. More than 200 prisoners escaped from a jail when the tsunami knocked down its walls.

In Sri Lanka, the death toll also reached 4,500 and 1 million people, or 5 percent of its population, were affected. It was the worst natural disaster to hit Sri Lanka.

In southern India, where at least 3,000 were estimated to have died, beaches were littered with submerged cars and wrecked boats. Shanties on the coast were under water.

Thai government officials said at least 392 bodies had been retrieved and they expected the final toll to approach 1,000.


In Los Angeles, the head of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said U.S. officials who detected the undersea quake tried frantically to get a warning out about the tsunami.

But there was no official alert system in the region, said Charles McCreery, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's center in Honolulu.

"It took an hour and a half for the wave to get from the earthquake to Sri Lanka and an hour for it to get ... to the west coast of Thailand and Malaysia," he said. "You can walk inland for 15 minutes to get to a safe area." ...

...The tsunami was so powerful it smashed boats and flooded areas along the east African coast, 3,728 miles away.


Aid agencies said with communications cut to remote areas, it was impossible to assess the full scale of the disaster.

The Geneva-based International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it was seeking 7.5 million Swiss francs ($6.5 million) for emergency aid funding...

Asian Tsunami Kills 12,300, Many More Homeless and Red Cross

Deadly consequences

Click here for AmazonThese [bodybuilders] were Schwarzenegger’s heirs, modern behemoths who had been inspired by the movie Pumping Iron, which was distributed in 1977 and made bodybuilding briefly glamorous. They existed in a hermetically-sealed sport in which they exhibited themselves to other people interested in bodybuilding while the rest of the world ignored them...

...Even the tiny few blessed with genetics that let them respond to the training, diet and drugs like almost no-one else alive found that the damage could be incremental, progressive and unpredictable.

Andreas Munzer was from Pack, a village in Styria a few miles from where Schwarzenegger had grown up in Austria. He died in 1996, 12 days after finishing sixth in the Arnold Classic, the Terminator’s own tournament. Andi’s body had suffered a catastrophic shutdown brought on by the use of steroids and diuretics. His liver had melted, his heart had failed.

Mohamed Benaziza perished in 1992, suffering a heart attack on the European tour after abusing the diuretics Lasix and Aldactone. Mike Matarazzo collapsed at the Arnold Classic in 1993, but recovered after prompt treatment [DR: Matarazzo has since undergone a triple bypass]. Paul Dillett "froze" on stage at the Arnold in 1994, too dehydrated to move.

Steve Michalik, a former Mr America, narrowly survived his preparation for a contest called Night Of Champions in 1986. He had cysts in his liver the size of golf balls.

The Mentzer twins, Mike and Ray, died within a day of each other in strange circumstances.

Bodybuilding remains extreme.

By the time we reached Las Vegas for the Mr Olympia show of 2003, the extremity of it was apparent, but I did not really care. Bodybuilders were wildly-interesting characters, unlike the usual monosyllabic modern sportsmen. They lived lives that were hard and obsessive, that pushed them towards their limits; they were as determined and driven as any competitors I had met....

The Scotsman: Muscling in on exotic universe can build up to deadly consequences

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Blog Power Rankings

Click here for AmazonThe December 25th Blog Power Rankings (computer-generated votes in parentheses):

December 25, 2004 Blog Power Rankings
1) Instapundit (41)
2) Buzzmachine (32)
3) Hugh Hewitt (30)
4) Daily Kos (24)
5) Boing Boing (15)
6) Talking Points Memo (13)
7) Powerline (7)
9) Little Green Footballs (6)
9) Tim Blair (6)
10) Belmont Club (5)
11) Eschaton (4)
11) Patterico (4)
11) Volokh Conspiracy (4)
14) Scrappleface (3)
14) Wizbang (3)
16) Talkleft (2)
17) Memepool (1)
17) Oxblog (1)
17) Polipundit (1)
17) Prestopundit (1)
17) The Truth Laid Bear (1)

How to Implement your own Google Suggest Interface

Click here for AmazonAre you wondering how you might implement your own Google Suggest-style web interface, which automatically populates a listbox based upon characters entered into a text-box? Okay, maybe you're not, but if you happen to be (a) a geek, (b) with nothing to do on Christmas afternoon, and (c) not otherwise engaged, you might have a look at the following.

From the JoelOnSoftware discussion board, Gavi Narra points to his own implementation of a dictionary application with a complete (and nicely done) description of how it was implemented in ASP.NET.

Update: Robert Plank points us to this PHP tutorial: Google Suggest with PHP.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Best of the Hughalanche

Hmmm... care to see the results of a "Hughalanche"? Yeah, I know, I've got a long way to go to reach even "third tier" status in the blogosphere, but...

...when Hugh Hewitt's blog (worth reading every day, BTW) posts a link to your site, you'll know it.

I first came across Mr. Hewitt on, I believe, Fox News. Interviewed in typical Fox "boxing match" fashion, with a Left-leaning pundit opposite him (it might have been Newsweek's Jon Meacham), Hewitt laid down an eviscerating rap that left his opponent -- literally -- speechless. It was a devastating victory in a difficult venue and one which doesn't often happen on television.

I was like, "who is that guy?". That led me to the Hewitt site and, of course, his Liberal-punishing daily missives that combine simile and historic perspective in concise, expansive, and often breathtaking fashion.

Hewitt on a Richard Stevenson article:

It isn't surprising that the New York Times intends to attack the president throughout his second term and to try and turn Iraq into Vietnam. What's surprising is the baldness of the tactics, and their lack of art. Peddling the same old story line with the same old tired sources isn't going to impress anyone outside of the fever swamp.

On Roger Ailes' comments on the MSM:

The anti-Americanism of many elite media is palpable, and increasingly resented by Americans of all backgrounds. Ailes knows this, and knows as well that any network that simply does not attack America on a nightly basis will be ahead of CNN.

On Time Magazine's naming a blog of the year:

Time has named a first-ever "blog of the year," and it is the very blog that not only nailed Rather, but also helped propel Christmas-Eve-not-in-Cambodia into the mainstream... Look a little closer and you'll find three extraordinarily credentialed legal professionals who have been writing on serious subjects for years... The Minneapolis Star Tribune ought to have locked these guys up a year ago, but the self-importance of the always-ignored editorial board has probably intimidated the time-servers there from raising the subject of the bloggers who have generated more news and sparks in one year than the Strib has in 50.

In short, Time has identified the hot blogger(s), and any media property looking for eyeballs ought to be beating a path to their collective door to try and sign the free agents.

Just a thought. A profitable, market-driven thought, so it will probably not occur to the dopes running CNN, to cite one example of legacy media trying very hard to reclaim audience.

On JP Blecksmith, a US Marine who died fighting terrorist insurgents in Fallujah.

"Good versus evil" I put those words in bold above because that is the only way to communicate the stakes --in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in the Netherlands, in the Ukraine, in countless struggles across the globe. JP Blecksmith gave everything, including his life, for "the good," and as Lincoln said 141 years ago, we must agree "that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain." That "we" means "us," and that means freedom for the Iraqis and the Afghanis, and nothing --nothing-- less for the children of the Netherlands. JP believed in "the good." That is why we honor and grieve his sacrifice, and pray for the comfort of his family.

The bottom line is simply this: if you're not reading Hewitt, you should be.

Instrumenting Code

Here's an example of how I've instrumented code in the past. The main focus of this logic is to provide peer-to-peer services for the BadBlue software. The server can listen for connection requests, which can come in either of two formats: HTTP or Gnutella. HTTP requests are dispatched to web services processing, not covered here.

Gnutella protocol requests are dispatched to, among other places, the snippet of code, below. Each request operates in its own thread (this is Win32, which uses a threading model - not the forked process model of Unix/Linux). Multiple threads are thus connected to multiple peers, simultaneously, all exchanging messages, relaying query results, performing discoveries, etc.

The net result can be a system of some complexity. In order to debug this code -- and to get a glimpse into activities of a running production box -- a tunable logging system was added.

The beginning of the snippet notes that we are initializing, with a logging level of 7. This means that if the administrator has "turned up the instrumentation dial" to 7 or above, this message will be sent to the system log.

A little bit further down, we report errors: a bad port number (logging level of 7, we really don't care too much during normal operations) and an attempt to connect to a restricted IP address (which we always want to report as a noteworthy error).

Note that rather than throwing exceptions, the code breaks out. This enables us to dispense with the overhead of exception processing and provide inline instrumentation of any noteworthy events and errors. But exceptions could be thrown just as easily once the instrumentation has done its job. In C++, there appears to be some overhead for using exceptions (and they're forbidden in certain types of real-time or mission-critical systems), so I trap for miscellaneous exceptions - but don't rely upon them for normal error-handling activities.

The log method, below, provides tunable logging consistent with what I've already described.

I suppose the key point here is not whether you're returning error-codes or throwing exceptions; it is, instead, to have sufficient discipline to provide paranoid levels of error-checking and instrumentation so that you can always determine what kinds of things are happening in your code. Even if you think things are hunky-dory.

	// beginning of snippet...

do { try {

// Mark initialization.
strLog.Format("[%8.8lX] Thread initializing",
m_pEXTObject->Log(strLog, 7);

// Initialize our socket.
if (!m_sockID) {

// Do we need to connect ourselves?
if (!m_strConnectAddress.IsEmpty()) {
if ((nCursor = m_strConnectAddress.Find(':')) >= 0) {
i = atoi(m_strConnectAddress.Mid(nCursor + 1));
strTemp = m_strConnectAddress.Left(nCursor);
if (!i || (UINT) i > 0x7FFF) {
strLog.Format("[%8.8lX] Error, bad port (%s)",
m_hThread, m_strConnectAddress
m_pEXTObject->Log(strLog, 7);
if (!m_pEXTObject->CheckIP(strTemp)) {
strLog.Format("[%8.8lX] Connection forbidden: IP address %s",
m_hThread, m_strConnectAddress
m_pEXTObject->Log(strLog, 0);
} else {
strTemp = m_strConnectAddress;
// ...

// ...end structured processing.
} catch (...) {
} } while (0);
m_bTerminating = TRUE;
m_dTerminateStarted = COleDateTime::GetCurrentTime();
if (m_bBaseThread) {
strLog.Format("[%8.8lX] BT: Error %d, base thread closing",
m_hThread, rc
m_pEXTObject->LogEvent(rc, EVT_WARNING, strLog);
} else {
strLog.Format("[%8.8lX] Thread closing (%d)",
m_hThread, rc
m_pEXTObject->Log(strLog, 3);
if (m_SocketID != INVALID_SOCKET && m_SocketID != 0) {
// SD_SEND, don't allow any more sends
m_Thunk_p->shutdown(m_SocketID, 1);
m_hFile = (UINT) CFile::hFileNull;
// Array locking should not be necessary (terminating flag)...
for (i = 0; i < m_cpaOutboundQueue.GetSize(); i++) {
pcbaTemp = (CByteArray*) m_cpaOutboundQueue.GetAt(i);
if (pcbaTemp != NULL) {
delete pcbaTemp;
strLog.Format("[%8.8lX] Thread closed",
m_pEXTObject->Log(strLog, 7); //

// ...end of snippet

// Gnutella logging.
// Multi-threaded tunable logging facility.
VOID CExtExtension::Log(
LPCTSTR pMessage,
DWORD dwLoggingLevel,
BOOL bFlush
) {

// SP...
CTime timeTemp;
CString strLogEntry;
do {

// Not available? Forget it.
if (m_fileLog.m_hFile == CFile::hFileNull) {

// Logging level not sufficient? Forget it.
if (dwLoggingLevel > m_dwLoggingLevel) {

// Get our timestamp.
timeTemp = CTime::GetCurrentTime();

// Format a log entry.
"%s %s\r\n"
timeTemp.Format("%y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S"),
m_strLog += strLogEntry;
if (bFlush || m_strLog.GetLength() > MAX_LOG_CACHE_BYTES) {
m_fileLog.Write(m_strLog.GetBuffer(0), m_strLog.GetLength());
m_strLog = "";

// ...end SP.
} while (0);