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  • Archive for September, 2004

    Round #1

    Posted by Andy B on 30th September 2004 (All posts by )

    And the early returns give a slight edge to John Kerry for Debate #1. Not only did the Bush InTrade numbers ease, but stock index futures also fell as Kerry eked out a thin margin of victory tonight. Last count: Dow down 20 points and S&P’s down 2 1/2, once again proving that free markets are unbeatable forecasting tools.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    Win/Lose

    Posted by Shannon Love on 30th September 2004 (All posts by )

    A lot of pundits have been saying that Kerry must present a clear plan for how he would “win” in Iraq or at least provide for an “exit” strategy. If he can’t do that then he is through, say the pundits.

    Well, Kerry is throughly screwed because he can’t offer a plan to “win” in Iraq.

    On the other hand neither can Bush.

    Nobody can provide a clear plan for “winning” in Iraq because the conflict in Iraq cannot be “won.”
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

    Meeting of the Leaders of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan on UN Reform

    Posted by Michael Hiteshew on 30th September 2004 (All posts by )

    On 21 September 2004, H.E. Mr. Luis Inacio Lura da Silva, President of Brazil, H.E. Mr. Joschka Fisber, Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, H.E. Dr. Manmoban Singh, Prime Minister of India, and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan met in New York to discuss the reform of the United Nations. Following is the Joint Press Statement of the Meeting:

    1. In order for the international community to effectively address the various threats and challenges that it presently faces, it is important to reform the United Nations as a whole.

    2. The General Assembly must be revitalized, as it represents the general will of all Member States. We must also enhance the efficiency of the UN agencies and organs in the social and economic fields in order to effectively address urgent challenges.

    3. The Security Council must reflect the realities of the international community in the 21st century. It must be representative, legitimate and effective. It is essential that the Security Council include, on permanent basis, countries that have the will and the capacity to take on major responsibilities with regard to the maintenance of international peace and security. There also has been a nearly four-fold increase in the membership of the United Nations since its inception in 1945, including a sharp increase in the number of developing countries. The Security Council, therefore, must be expanded in both the permanent and non-permanent categories, including developing and developed countries as new permanent members.

    4. Brazil, Germany, India and Japan, based on the firmly shared recognition that they are legitimate candidates for permanent membership in an expanded Security Council, support each other’s candidature. Africa must be represented in the permanent membership in the Security Council. We will work together with other like-minded Member States towards realizing a meaningful reform of the United Nations, including that of the Security Council.

    Let’s look at this statement in detail and see if we can determine its meaning. We’ll take them in order.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Politics | 7 Comments »

    Check-Kiters for a Clue

    Posted by Shannon Love on 30th September 2004 (All posts by )

    Mickey Kaus is a centrist Democrat, a good reporter, a good writer and an all around smart guy which is why his posting today on the Check 21 law is so revealing of a generalized leftist mindset.

    The Check 21 law frees banks from the requirement to keep paper checks in existence after they have been scanned and inputed into an electronic format. The law makes the electronic format the legal equivalent of the paper check for all purposes. Banks are still free to do everything the old fashioned way but the law will no longer require them to do so.

    Kaus believes that the Check 21 law could be used by the Democrats to demonstrate how they approach economic issues and regulation compared to Republicans and I think he is right. It demonstrates that Democrats like regulations driven by the ordinary person’s vague and largely emotional understanding of how an economic entity works (in this case banks), substituted for the detailed, market-disciplined understanding of people who work closely with that entity every day.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

    Objective Media?

    Posted by Shannon Love on 30th September 2004 (All posts by )

    Before the 1920s, the idea of an “objective” or “non-partisan” media did not exist. The previous 100 years had seen the reign of the newspaper as the primary news medium and newspapers of that era never portrayed themselves as objective or non-partisan.

    Newspapers evolved from the pamphleteers who considered themselves polemists. Their goal was to propagandize for their side. Most newspapers in the golden era of newsprint were publicly associated with a major political party or faction. Many newspapers had the words “Democrat” or “Republican” in their names. It was considered normal. Everybody who bought a paper knew what its biases were.

    This standard began to change in the 1920s with the arrival of radio and the socialization of broadcast spectrum. Instead of auctioning off broadcast spectrum the dominant ideology of the time led to the creation of a system wherein broadcasters functioned as public utilities. The government decided who could and could not broadcast, using a politically sensitive process.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

    R&D and Drug Costs

    Posted by Ginny on 29th September 2004 (All posts by )

    Some of the issues relating to drug research and costs (and the politics of these issues) discussed a few weeks ago on Chicagoboyz are analyzed in a new TCS article by Sally Pipes and Benjamin Zycher.

    Posted in Science | 3 Comments »

    Maroon Haze

    Posted by Jay Manifold on 29th September 2004 (All posts by )

    U of C College and GSB alum Bill Roule sends Tell us about Wednesdays, a Sun-Times piece about what it takes to get accepted:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Chicagoania | 4 Comments »

    Just Another Random Crime by Arab Muslims?

    Posted by Jonathan on 29th September 2004 (All posts by )

    Reuters is on the case. The key sentence:

    The attacker said he was Algerian, police said.

    Those wacky Algerians! Of course it could have been anyone who randomly attacked an airplane crew with an axe: a Chinese, a Brazilian, an orthodox Jew. The guy was probably just upset because his reindeer died or something.

    Random violent crime is rare in the Nordic nation, but one person was killed and five others wounded last month when a knife attacker stabbed passengers a tram in the capital Oslo.

    In case we haven’t gotten the point, Reuters added this gratuitous paragraph to make clear that the last Norwegian mass-stabber was an immigrant nutcase (i.e., not an obvious Islamist terrorist). It appears that readers are expected to infer, though there is no logical reason to do so, that the plane attacker isn’t a terrorist either.

    But we don’t know the attacker’s motives. Maybe they weren’t Islamist, but that’s not the way to bet nowadays. Reuters, rather than merely presenting facts, seems determined to force the story into an editorial template. However, most readers probably are not going to accept Reuters’s version of the story at face value, and will read between the lines and use common sense to draw their own conclusions. The truth will out, even if it isn’t a truth that ideologically-engaged media operators like.

    Posted in The Press, War and Peace | 3 Comments »

    Message From Planet Barbra

    Posted by Jonathan on 29th September 2004 (All posts by )

    Jeez, what an idiot. Her tone is hysterical, her assertions are wrong and her premise (the press is intimidated but she isn’t?) is ridiculous. I can’t explain her apparent belief that she will succeed in SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER where lesser mortals fail. Maybe where she lives they don’t have Google and people still get their news from the afternoon paper. Whatever. Call me reckless but I don’t think she’s going to change many voters’ minds. I can’t imagine how Dick Gephardt was able to put up with this kind of nonsense when he was fundraising in Hollywood.

    I gotta knock it off with the posts bashing lefty fools. It’s just too easy. I would say that it’s like shooting fish in a barrel, but it’s really more like fishing in a barrel with dynamite and the fish are already dead.

    Posted in Politics | 4 Comments »

    What Would We Do Without Dan Rather?

    Posted by RDBrewer on 28th September 2004 (All posts by )

    I’m serious. I would not have felt this way five years ago, but conservatives have gained so much ground through alternative media sources, including the blogosphere, that our voices are being heard regardless of major media bias. At this point, they have been completely countered.

    With people like Rather on board, they will remain constrained because we have learned how to deal with them. Their politics will remain obvious, and they will continue to embarrass themselves. The games they play with bias will continue to appear absurd and provide fuel for conservative pundits. Most importantly, with these dinosaurs in place, they discredit and marginalize the liberal political message.

    What more could we want? Even with Rather and his type gone, major media bias will remain. But it will take a more stealthy form. More subtle bias from replacement anchors who might convincingly appear to be in the political center would be worse than the status quo. Right now, Rather is our weapon; he has become our moral cudgel. His name is a call to arms. He is a living, breathing meme—a walking advertisement for liberal media bias.

    The only thing better than Dan Rather at CBS would be more Dan Rathers—one for each network and maybe even a couple more for weekends.

    (originally posted at The Perfect World)

    Posted in Media | 8 Comments »

    With friends like these. . .

    Posted by Jonathan on 28th September 2004 (All posts by )

    Another Karl Rove plot?

    John Kerry’s secret weapon, no doubt. It would be a grave error to underestimate the numbers and political influence of ex-USMC officers who have Che stickers on their cars and spell America with a “k”. Oh yeah.

    Posted in Humor, Photos | 8 Comments »

    He’s Tan! He’s Rested! Kerry in ’04

    Posted by Shannon Love on 28th September 2004 (All posts by )

    So I’m flipping channels last night and catch a picture of Kerry on the News. The guy has a tan like an Oompa Loompa.

    I point this out to my teenage daughter who says, “Tan in a bottle. It’s too dark, too even and too orange to be natural.”

    I scoffed at the idea, not because I know anything about chemical tans but because I didn’t think Kerry would be so dumb as to dye himself. The potential blow-back would be enormous were it ever discovered. The mocking would never end.

    Then I remember that I had initially dismissed the idea that the CBS Memos were crude forgeries because I reasoned that CBS and Dan Rather would not be that incompetent. Whoops.

    Today The Drudge report has a story that the tan appeared suddenly before Kerry arrived in Michigan. He also has a neat before-and-after collage image.

    It is said you can’t grow broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. I am beginning to think that you cannot go wrong underestimating the arrogance and poor judgment of our institutional elites.

    (Update: I realize I got carried away with the Oompa Loompa thing. (but boy does he look orange). I have no real idea whether Kerry’s tan is legitimate or not. My real thought was that previously, especially before Rathergate, I would have assumed that the tan was real because I had more confidence in the judgment of major figures at least when it comes to political acumen. Now I’m no longer so sure.)

    (Update: Best of the Web stole my Oompa Loompa bit! Plus, possibly for karmic reasons, I’ve had bits and pieces of the Oompa Loompa songs stuck in head all day.)

    Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

    CBS, Journalists, David Broder, Etc.

    Posted by Jonathan on 28th September 2004 (All posts by )

    Re: The Press

    When I first saw “The Front Page” I thought it was a dark comedy. Now, of course, I realize that it was a documentary.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

    There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come …

    Posted by Mitch Townsend on 28th September 2004 (All posts by )

    There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come – and gone. One perennial favorite of the left is stakeholder theory as a system of business ethics. Under this theory, suppliers, customers, employees, stockholders, and the local community are defined as stakeholders. A corporation is obliged to act in the best interests of all stakeholders, and all stakeholders must participate in the decisions of the corporation that might affect them. Note that stockholders are outnumbered five to one by category, possibly even more by head count. Without a theoretical limit to how remote the connection of a stakeholder, or how small the impact, before they can be disregarded, the number of stakeholders is impossible to determine.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

    Worthwhile Endeavor

    Posted by Jonathan on 27th September 2004 (All posts by )

    Our friend Jay Manifold announces 411blog.net, a service designed to connect inquiring journalists with bloggers who have expertise in particular topics. Sounds like a great idea.

    Jay explains his new project here.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    Three Questions On Iraq

    Posted by Shannon Love on 27th September 2004 (All posts by )

    Over at the The Volokh Conspiracy, Orin Kerr asked three questions for bloggers who support the war and ask them to post their answers and send him links. His questions are in italics below followed by my answers. This is a big subject and I have tried to be brief so the usual caveats about generalizations apply. I may also tweak and update this as the day goes on.

    First, assuming that you were in favor of the invasion of Iraq at the time of the invasion, do you believe today that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea? Why/why not?

    I still believe it was a good idea. The case for invading Iraq can be divided into two sections: A narrow case based on the direct threat posed by Saddam himself and the wider case based on the regional effects of destroying his regime.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

    Do We Never Learn

    Posted by Ginny on 25th September 2004 (All posts by )

    Update: (One of those a-ha moments of recognizing the mote in other’s eyes and not my own). Here are the links I should have begun with: Allawi’s speech. And here. And here. To download video and audio go to C-SPAN .
    He concludes it with

    As generous as you have been, we will stand with you, too. As stalwart as you have been, we will stand with you, too. Neither tyranny nor terrorism has a place in our region or our world. And that is why we Iraqis will stand by you, America, in a war larger than either of our nations, the global battle to live in freedom. God bless you and thank you.

    We should have learned one lesson from Vietnam – the battle is about Iraq, not us. So Mark Steyn describes the press conference with Allawi and Bush:

    They’re six feet from Iraq’s head of government and they’ve got not a question for him. They’ve got no interest in Iraq except insofar as they can use the issue to depress sufficient numbers of swing voters in Florida and Ohio.

    If the press (and Kerry) must obsess, why don’t they obsess about what is really going on in Iraq, why do bloggers have to point out where the deaths are and ask more whys – as Shannon does? The stories in this newspaper from Iraq could have provided a score of questions that we would like (in a real sense need) to see answered. How are things in Basra? What do we need to know about the destruction of the oil pipe lines? How important is the new electricity to the economy? Why, how and by whom were the eighteen professors assassinated? What is the effect of the attacks on police stations? How long before the Italians can get the marshes back to their original state? It could be that the American press would dismiss these as slanted, but, these are hardly pr projects – they are the heart of whether this whole “occupation” is going to work or not.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

    See All the Green?

    Posted by Shannon Love on 25th September 2004 (All posts by )

    To hear the media tell it, Iraq is disintegrating. Violence is widespread and progress made since the fall of Saddam has stagnated or even reversed. Others, like Iraqi bloggers or returning US military tell a different story. I decided to try to map the violence in the country to try to get an visual idea how widespread the violence was. I wanted to see how much of the country of Iraq was shooting at the Coalition.

    First here is a map of Iraqi population distribution. Notice that most of Iraq’s population lives east and north of the Euphrates river which nearly bisects the country. The greyish areas in the east between the Tigres and the Iranian border are analgous to the American mid-west, with lot of contiguous habitation, small farms and towns and no major dead zones. The areas east of the Tigres turn rapidally to desert. Population hugs the rivers. Most of the area south and west of the Euphrates is functionally uninhabited. The Al-Anbar province in particular is nearly completely deserted except for the river valley.

    I mapped all 58 U.S. combat fatalities for the month of September to date using data made available at GlobalSecurity.org. The map color codes the number of U.S. fatalities resulting from enemy action in each of Iraq’s 18 provinces. Only four of the provinces had any U.S. fatalities. 14 of the provinces had zero fatalities. (The British down in Basra had zero fatalities from combat in September).

    Here’s the map.

    See all the green?
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments »

    I wonder why

    Posted by In-Cog-Nito on 25th September 2004 (All posts by )

    It argues the European Union have been gravely damaged by three core problems – economically it is falling far behind the U.S. and Asia, politically it is deeply divided on issues like Iraq, the new EU constitution and the euro and its legitimacy has been shattered by a crippling ‘lack of popular understanding and enthusiasm’.

    ‘Europe’s share of the world economy is shrinking as the United States constantly outstrips European growth and the Asian economies surge ahead,’ it warned.

    Idiots… when are the Eurocrats going to realize that you can’t tax and grow at the same time.

    I’ll be happy to see the EU go.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments »

    The likely consequences of letting Iran get nukes

    Posted by ken on 24th September 2004 (All posts by )

    They probably won’t set off a nuke in Manhattan, or “lose” one of their nukes to their terrorist subsidiaries, at least unless they’ve got a really surefire way to get away with it.

    But observe that they are already backing at least part of the “insurgency” bedeviling Iraq. If they go hog-wild, we can always muster support for an invasion – for now – so there’s limits to what they can do there.

    But with a nuke, they’ve suddenly invasion-proofed themselves. Like the Pakistanis, the Chinese, and the Russians, they’ll either get nuked or scolded and/or embargoed, but almost certainly nothing in between.

    All of a sudden, the limits to their insurgency-backing activities in Iraq are gone. We’re going to enter a nuclear exchange because they’re vigorously backing insurgents? Not bloody likely.

    So what we end up with is a proxy war against another nuclear armed power. We don’t have the option to take the fight to the backers no matter how much they escalate the situation, because they’ve got nukes. So we’re stuck blasting away at their agents (who quickly get replaced by the backer) and taking significant numbers of casualties in return for years on end, making life awfully rough for the locals in the meantime, until one side finally runs out of patience and throws in the towel. If it’s us that throws in the towel, then life gets really rough for the locals and our reputation goes in the toilet.

    That sounds awfully familiar. Didn’t John Kerry make a passing reference to the time he was in that situation a few decades back? As I recall, it didn’t turn out too well last time around…

    Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments »

    Why you should vote even when all the choices suck

    Posted by ken on 24th September 2004 (All posts by )

    Because once you vote, you are seen by present and future politicians as someone whose vote can be swayed by policies that you like.

    For instance, people over the retirement age vote in huge numbers, while younger people vote in lesser numbers. This leads politicians to fall all over themselves to give younger peoples’ money to older people. If turnout among younger people skyrocketed, regardless of who they voted for, politicians might decide that it might be worthwhile to oppose giving younger peoples’ money to older people to get a piece of that action and win despite the opposition of the older people. They might also try repealing the current selective alcohol prohibition targeted at younger voters, in an effort to appeal to them.

    This isn’t to say that people should vote randomly or without serious reflection. And there’s always the danger that the politicians will switch to giving older peoples’ money to younger people instead. But if the politicians abandon the idea that they can screw you over to satisfy their constituents that actually vote, this is all to the good. If you have good ideas that you want to see enacted, or bad ideas that you want to see repealed, voting for the “lesser of two evils”, while frustrating, at least puts you on their radar screen and encourages aspiring new politicians to look for ways to appeal to you. Staying home just leads them to think that you don’t care and won’t resist when your money is taken and used for the benefit of voters.

    Answering telephone polls might also be a good idea.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    Right On Iraq

    Posted by Shannon Love on 24th September 2004 (All posts by )

    Guess who said this:

    “We know we can’t count on the French. We know we can’t count on the Russians,” said Mr. Guess-Who “We know that Iraq is a danger to the United States, and we reserve the right to take pre-emptive action whenever we feel it’s in our national interest.”

    Go ahead guess!

    Give up?

    Bwaa ha ha ha!

    Jeez, I just laughed so hard I schadenfreuded my britches!

    (Update: The quote is looking increasingly dodgy. In fact, it doesn’t seem to be so much a quote as a creative reconstruction. It is sort of like what the press does to Rumsfield all the time. *Sigh* It was just to funny to doublecheck.)

    Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

    The Land of Freaks and Weirdos

    Posted by James R. Rummel on 24th September 2004 (All posts by )

    See the title? That’s what I call California.

    I know that it’s unfair to the tens of millions of people who live there that aren’t F&W’s, but I figure that they don’t vote. If they did, then the California government wouldn’t be so freakin’ insane.

    What’s that? You don’t think that they’re completely nutbag?

    Well, howsabout some proof.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments »

    Britney Spears vs. The Terrorist!

    Posted by Shannon Love on 23rd September 2004 (All posts by )

    How do you hide, obscure or otherwise manipulate the availability of information in the Internet age?

    If you don’t want somebody to know something, how do you stop them? In the past, one could just physically secure the information and watch the bottlenecks that occurred at the physically large facilities used for mass dissemination. That won’t work anymore. Digital technology makes copying information and disseminating it to virtually everybody on the planet a trivial task.

    The question has profound implications for everything from national security to e-commerce to personal privacy. I think the answer comes from that person who has provided so much guidance for the citizens of the 21st Century.

    Of course, I am talking about Britney Spears.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

    Spam of the Day

    Posted by Shannon Love on 23rd September 2004 (All posts by )

    Just got an email from a Scotsman (I mean it’s written in dialect like somebody channeling grounds keeper Willie) who is threatening to eat a rabbit named Bernned (actual spelling) on New Years Eve if people don’t deposit a total of a 1,000,000 pounds by said date into his account.

    For the first time in my decade long reading of spam I am sorely tempted to follow up on Spam link to just on the chance something creative might be going on.

    In any case I am jealous.

    I want to eat the Rabbit.

    Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »