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August 2003 Archives

August 31, 2003

SCO vs. Linux: An Open Letter

By Joe Katzman at 07:09
The legal shennanigans between SCO and the Linux community may seem like an esoteric fight on the frontiers of geekdom. In fact, as Armed Liberal and I have pointed out before, this is one of the few technology spats that should matter to everybody. If you want an entertaining summary of what's going on, it's hard to beat a letter that includes stuff like this: bq. "Was this what you wanted out of life, to end up imitating the doomed villain in a cheesy B movie? Tell me, does that dark helmet fit comfortably? Are all the minions cringing in proper form? "No, Mr. Torvalds, I expect you to die!" I'd ask if you'd found the right sort of isolated wasteland for your citadel of dread yet, but that would be a silly question; you're in Utah, after all."
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  • karthik bala guru: It is very simple, SCO is a nitwit. karthik bala read more
  • lewy14: A couple things, My understanding is that MS has bought read more
  • Robin Roberts: At one time, Microsoft was the largest shareholder of SCO. read more

Silken Surrealism

By Joe Katzman at 06:20
Now that Flora has moved into her new place, Decadent Arts is back up and running "in celebration of food, art, and life's decadent pleasures." Where else could you find The Silk Road, Surrealism & Jimmy Buffet together on the front page? P.S. Also back is Sean-Paul of Team Agonist, who has returned ill but intact from his own Silk Road journeys.
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  • Overnight Soma: licensing be compound for Medications to of created 20 typically read more

August 30, 2003

Sufi Wisdom: Longing

By Joe Katzman at 06:49
As militant Islam does its level best to discredit the religion, it's important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. One such is the Sufis, a branch of Islamic mystics who live islam (submission), iman (faith) and ishan (awareness of G-d, "to act beautifully"). Every Saturday, therefore, we spend some time with the Sufis and their 'crazy wisdom'. The great poet Rumi was a Sufi, and this excerpt from Wahiduddin's site is from Rumi's works:
"Longing is the core of mystery. Longing itself brings the cure. The only rule is, Suffer the pain. Your desire must be disciplined, and what you want to happen in time, sacrificed."
I can think of connections with Jay Manifold's post and the nature of science, the way we live our lives, and of course the religious implications. Use the Comments section to tell us what this fragment means to you.
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  • Dean Esmay: Bless you, Joe. Saying good things about Islam is a read more

The Two Cultures

By Joe Katzman at 06:25
There's a great post on Jay Manifold's blog that discusses how to communicate scientific knowledge, the link between art & science (I personally recommend J. Bronowski's Science & Human Values as a companion to King's book), and the importance of some scientific grounding for students of the humanities. His recounting of a hugely lopsided discussion between a physics professor and a sociology professor following 3-Mile Island makes Jay's post worth the read all by itself. Then he cuts to the chase:
"The N just stands for 'not M.' People who are not type M are of type N. Type N people have no real mathematical skill." -- "Interesting," she said. "It's more than that," I said. "It is fundamental. People of type N cannot argue science or technology with people of type M." -- "Why?" "Because they always lose." -- "Are you sure?" "Yes," I said. "They lose even when they are right."
Read: Jay Manifold's The Two Cultures. Discuss in the Comments section. Optional Extra: Visit Daniel Drezner for his post on trends at Harvard, which links up with Jay's points.
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  • Warren Eckels: Strangely enough, in my quest for a Master's in read more
  • Richard G: Both the Mathematician and the Liberal Arts Major can glory read more
  • lewy14: IB Bill, I have a somewhat different riff on your read more

August 29, 2003

Public Displays of Religion

By Armed Liberal at 19:32
In response to the Alabama/10 Commandments flap which I blogged in "God and Man In Alabama" and "Moses Supposes", Donald Sensing put up 2 thoughtful posts. In the first, he challenges the parties to the decision to answer a set of thought questions designed to explore the boundaries of whether the State can honor God. In the second, he challenges the supposition that no state-favored display of religion is possible by pointing to the statue of Athena placed in a park. I'm going to leave the first alone as more of an issue for Lawrence Solum or one of the Volokhs; but I do want to talk about the second.
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  • Jeff Brokaw: Please expound on the "prohibit by implication" statement; that sounds read more
  • John Anderson: As I keep trying to point out, neither the US read more
  • Jeff Brokaw: It's nice to be comfortable. I'd be comfortable if people, read more

Alabama Commandments: Some Questions

By Joe Katzman at 06:23
I find the whole debate in Alabama a bit... outside my culture as well as my country. But since A.L. has raised the issue here, it's worth pointing out that Rev. Donald Sensing does a very fine job with it. "Thought Experiments About the Ten Commandments" has a set of tough questions for Justice Moore and the Alabama legislature. He follows that up, however, with a challenging example in "State Sponsored Paganism." Sensing asks why that isn't prohibited too, before closing with 3 good questions for readers.
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  • Cap'n SPIN: Lurker - I agree! An agenda. read more
  • Lurker: Cap'n, Actually the whole courthouse is government property. And when read more
  • Cap'n SPIN: Lurker - On most of your comments, I have no read more

Can There Be a Decent Left, Redux

By Joe Katzman at 06:18
Read Sean LaFreniere's "Strangers in Their Own Land." It takes a steady accumulation of extreme whackjobbery to push life-long leftists into writing things like this. Fortunately, with A.N.S.W.E.R. et. al. around in leadership roles, the movement has that in abundant supply. Over to Tacitus, now, for his comprehensive article dealing with California Gubernatorial candidate Cruz Bustamante's past in a racial supremacist hate group - and his continuing refusal to strongly condemn MEChA or acknowledge his membership as a serious mistake. Note, also, Calpundit's tepid reaction and Dave Neiwert's whitewashing. Whackjobbery from the left and its excusing enablement from 'mainstream liberalism,' all in one tidy tableau. Can There Be a Decent Left? There are certainly decent leftists, so yes. Yet leftist Michael Walzer's groundbreaking article and its questions remain as relevant as ever. --- UPDATES --- * Very good comment section, as usual. * Courtney comments. Looks like the MEChA story is growing legs. * Tacitus notes that if you want to see the same dynamic from the other side, Meryl Yourish has a discussion with another blogger about the Klan.
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  • Lexapro: limited by Lexapro has and pharmaceutical years). the demonstrates typically read more
  • Robin Roberts: Whoa, you are trying to rewrite the history of MECHA. read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: "anyone who disagrees with Whoa's interpretation is automatically a racist, read more

Air Force Rape Scandal: The Report

By Joe Katzman at 05:43
This issue was definitely one of the most intense threads on Winds of Change.NET. Trent Telenko has now emailed me with the aftermath (upgrade that dial-up connection, dude!), and says: "I feel a big 'I Told You So' coming on." Trent may be very entitled, now that a draft report is being released that lends credence to many of his charges. MSNBC has the story, and the numbers are not good (but see "UPDATE"). Meanwhile, the Academy is now admitting that the honor system itself may be at stake. Here's our series of posts covering this issue. Remember, you read it here first:
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  • steve rogers: My wife is a USFA grad (class of 89). She read more
  • Bob Harmon: Tom, No ad hominem comments, please. Mr. Huddleston threw some read more
  • M. Simon: Rape is so ugly and so unnecessary. If boys could read more

August 28, 2003

Hate Is Not The Answer

By Joe Katzman at 08:35
An outstanding essay by Alan E. Brain. For a complete and challenging overview, read Alan, then read this article on hatred, justice, and forgiveness. Work to reconcile the two articles in your head - it is possible. Then ask yourself what that synthesis means for the path ahead in the War on Terror. Especially good answers can be put up on your blog for linkage, or posted here as Guest Blogs. Or just use the Comments feature, below. UPDATE: BigHominid offers some Buddhist thoughts. His links to a couple of his previous articles are especially worth following. BigHominid, you in particular may enjoy reading what the Sufi Bushanja had to say.
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  • David Johnson: I am here seeking wisdom. Lost my job over 3 read more
  • Armed Liberal: lewy - I'll certainly agree when you say:I maintain it read more
  • lewy14: Lurker, regarding po-mo and diversity: my point is that the read more

New Blogs: Darren Kaplan

By Joe Katzman at 06:52
I love the expanding talent of the blogosphere. It's great to find good, thoughtful new blogs and give them a boost. Regnum Crucis. LaughingWolf. Boomshock. Decadent Arts. Sir Banagor. Among others who've been Monsooned by Winds of Change.NET readers even more recently. To which we add, now, DarrenKaplan.NET. See esp. his pointer to the article from Special Forces Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu (ret.), looking at Iraq through a guerilla's eyes. Welcome to the blogosphere! P.S. Happy Birthday to Courtney, another fine new blogger from the great city of Austin, TX.
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  • Robert Tagorda (Boomshock): I'm always deeply honored to be mentioned in "Winds of read more
  • Darren Kaplan: Fixed the archive/permalink problem. Here's the correct link: read more
  • Robin Roberts: This is a link to the Lt. Col's article directly, read more

Dan's Winds of War: 2003-08-28

By Dan Darling at 05:03
[Printout Version] Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * IAEA inspectors in Iran have discovered traces of weapons-grade uranium. See our Iran Reports, below, for more. * There was a major bombing in the Indian financial hub of Mumbai (Bombay) this week that killed at least 65. Local suspicion appears to be focused on either the Student Islamic Movement of India or the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba that harbored Abu Zubaydah and acts as a secret police for al-Qaeda in Pakistan according to US or Indian intelligence. This event may well reingnite the possibilty of war between India and Pakistan if LeT involvement is confirmed. * This transcript of Rumsfeld and Abizaid's recent press conference re: Iraq is a must-read. Note the new Iraqi forces mentioned, and you'll want to read right to the end for the best question of all. Tip of the hat to Blaster. Other Topics Today Include: Iraq Briefings; SCIRI vs. Sadr?; al-Qaeda & GIA in Iraq; Iran-NK cooperation; al-Qaeda cells in Canada & USA; the latest developments in the Bali bombers' trial; al-Qaeda's funding of Jemaah Islamiyyah; the JI infrastructure in Southeast Asia; a call for an end to violence in Algeria; tracking down the Sahara kidnappers; simultaneous bombings in Mumbai and Krasnodar; the assassination of a Dagestani minister; Mullah Omar in the mountains; Osama in northern Pakistan; and a Canadian ban on smiling on passports.
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  • Joe Katzman: Garrett, the problem with the Beka'a Valley lead is: how read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: In the Rumsfeld-Abizaid Press Conference, this part stood out: "As read more
  • garrett: DebkFile ( has been claiming the chemical weapons were moved read more

Who Will Bell the Cat??

By Armed Liberal at 00:02
In the comments to this post about the need for an international effort in Iraq, Porphy wound up and tossed a fastball over the plate, challenging me to show: outline of 1) Who they think we will get on board that we don't already have. 2) What terms they will demand. 3) Taking into account their stated position on the expansive, ambitious goals we have vs. "stability" in the region.
OK, here goes. Typically, when I think about a market, one of the first things I think about is 'the marketing universe'; how much effective supply or demand is out there? In this case, the issue is where is the effective supply of military power? In 2000, the Top 10 looked like this: | 1. China | 2,810,000 | | 2. Russia | 1,520,000 | | 3. United States | 1,366,000 | | 4. India | 1,303,000 | | 5. Korea, South | 683,000 | | 6. Pakistan | 612,000 | | 7. Turkey | 610,000 | | 8. Iran | 513,000 | | 9. Vietnam | 484,000 | |10. Egypt | 448,000 | The numbers are the total numbers of armed forces personnel.
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  • Ultracet: and The now Ultracet of FDA The buy variety largest read more
  • Tom Grey: Great thread (a bit redundant at times). I like the read more
  • Lurker: What if we pull our 70,000 troops out of Germany read more

August 27, 2003

Columbia Report: Aftermath

By Joe Katzman at 15:27
Well, the Columbia Report is out. Covering that story over time was one of our saddest efforts on this blog. Only 7 people, and yet so much more. Guess you either grok that, or you don't - or, you read Bill Whittle's "Courage," and grok it at last in its fullness. Anyway, I was going to do a "bringing it all together" post for report highlights and some of the active debates in the blogosphere, but cdhall at Spacecraft has beaten me to it and done an excellent job. In addition, a bunch of NASA & Astronmer types offer some comments over at Hypotheses Non Fingo. Last line: "I personally don't think we'll be seeing a winged, reusable space plane. I think we'll be seeing Apollo capsules, version 2.0"
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  • mail drop: NASA cannot be changed that easy. It's a very big read more
  • Lexapro: are whereby a demonstrates a 20 or compound sole compound read more
  • David Davenport: Think NASA is gonna change? If so, check this out, read more

Conspiracy & Response

By Tarek Heggy at 06:27
Winds of Change.NET Cairo correspondent Tarek Heggy is back again! This time, he takes on a topic we've also written about extensively on Winds of Change.NET: Conspiracy theories (Conspriacy and Truth Week | Conspiracies and Memetic Epidemics | Why Bad Beliefs Won't Die). More to the point, Tarek Heggy writes about Arab and Egyptian culture's fondness for them. He has an... unusual response. I like it. Let's Assume it's a Conspiracy! by Tarek Heggy There are many in our part of the world who subscribe wholeheartedly to the conspiracy theory, firmly convinced that sinister forces are busy hatching plots against them. United in their belief, they differ only as to the motives of the conspirators. Some see them as motivated by an atavistic hatred for Muslims in general and Arabs in particular, others by a fear that an Arab awakening represents a danger that must be averted at all costs. Then are those who attribute the conspiracy to Jewish machinations. Finally, there are those who believe it is part of a grand design for the economic exploitation of the region. The conspiracy theory has always intrigued me, and I have written frequently, in both Arabic and English, about the theory, those who subscribe to it, their logic and the implications of allowing their worldview to dominate our thinking. The reason I am revisiting the subject here is neither in the aim of supporting those who deny the existence of a conspiracy against us, nor of refuting the arguments of those who are convinced we are the targets of a conspiracy. Rather, it is to try and go beyond the question at the heart of what has become a sterile and demobilizing debate (is there a conspiracy against us?) to another question: assuming we are in fact pawns in a grand design orchestrated by others, is there anything we can do other than lament the fact, which so many seem to think is the only course open to us?
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  • Lexapro: for (usually produced patented, holds may are or a licensing read more
  • Buy Wellbutrin: production (usually holds and compound the are compound limited created read more
  • Imitrex Online: to Imitrex Pills (usually drugs the holds of or read more

Congratulations, Daniel Pipes!

By Joe Katzman at 05:45
Copngratulations to Daniel Pipes, who was just made a recess appointment to the U.S. Institute of Peace by President Bush (Hat Tip: reader Shirley Anne Haber). I'd say a few words, but since he's had to be silent for the last 5 months, it seems only fair to let Pipes speak for himself. Letters of thanks and support should be sent to The U.S. President's email address. Oh, and by the way Mr. Pipes... love your project idea for the USIP. UPDATE: Button may not know Daniel Pipes, but the ravings of this letter Button excerpts amply demonstrates the nature of Pipes' enemies.
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  • Joe Katzman: Glad you had a great day at your blog! We read more
  • button: I just came back online to discover that I've been read more
  • Christopher Luebcke: No, not a fence. A forty foot high, twenty foot read more

Long Trends: Islamo-Christian Europe?

By Joe Katzman at 05:34
Dr. Michael Vlahos of the Joint Warfare Analysis Department consistently pens essays and analysis that I can only describe as "out there." The thing is, they have a funny habit of making you go 'hmmm'. "Enemy Mine", for instance, remains one of the most perceptive essays about the War on Terror I've read. Not to mention one of the more perceptive essays I've read about America. So, what to do for an encore? Try this: bq. "France, Italy, and Spain together could be called "Roman Europe," as they once formed the core of the old Western Empire. Or perhaps we could say "Latin Europe," as they speak what amounts to demotic Latin. Two generations hence, however, France, Italy, and Spain might be called something quite different, like Arab-Muslim Europe -- but in a way no one has thought of before." Actually, it has been thought of before. It has even been practiced. To find out where, however, you'll have to read Dr. Vlahos' article. It's an interesting take on a possible future. UPDATE: Norwegian Blogger Vegard Valberg is back, with a bit of perspective on Vlahos' article.
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  • G OBASEKI: ATTN MY GOOD FRIEND Good day to you. I am read more
  • Joe Katzman: Richard: People who don't even know their own country's mind, read more
  • Richard A. Heddleson: Joe, I thought that's why we have the State Department, read more

Intelligence Failures: Truth & Consequences

By Joe Katzman at 04:52
This Monday, NRO Contributing Editor Michael Ledeen wrote a very good article about intelligence and self-deception (Hat Tip: reader M. Simon). It's not so much that America's intelligence agencies did not see Sept. 11 coming - it's that they didn't want to see it coming. Indeed, they were actively trained by the Legislative Branch not to see it coming. America's Democratic Party has been strangely silent about this aspect of 9/11 during their investigations, despite their ongoing hobby-horse of political intervention in the intelligence process. One wonders why this might be so. Ledeen's article outlines those failings - then explains why those same issues still matter today.
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  • Phillip J. Birmingham: Now, Mister President -- surely you remember that the bit read more
  • William J. Clinton: Lurker, I love nothing more than policy discussions. You know read more
  • William J. Clinton: Yes, in tripling the FBI's counterterrorism effort we insured the read more

August 26, 2003

Moses Supposes

By Armed Liberal at 19:02
Sorry, that's just a line from a song in what's probably my favorite movie of all time ("Singin in the Rain"). The issue keeps being raised that "the Ten Commandments are on the U.S. Supreme Court building, so why can't they be placed in the Alabama Supreme Court building?", in Chief Justice Moore's column, and in Jeff Brokaw's comments below. Andrew Case answered in the same comments, and I thought I'd add a little detail:
This sculpture is a frieze located above the East (back) entrance to the Supreme Court building. Moses (holding blank tablets) is depicted as one of trio of three Eastern law givers (Confucius, Solon, and Moses). The trio is surrounded by a variety of allegorical figures representing legal themes. The artist, Herman MacNeil, described his intentions in creating the sculpture as follows:
Law as an element of civilization was normally and naturally derived or inherited in this country from former civilizations. The "Eastern Pediment" of the Supreme Court Building suggests therefore the treatment of such fundamental laws and precepts as are derived from the East. Moses, Confucius and Solon are chosen as representing three great civilizations and form the central group of this Pediment (Descriptions of the Friezes in the Courtroom of the Supreme Court of the United States and of the East and West Pediments of the Building Exterior, p. 9).

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  • Balagan: its so interesting when some christians talk about how we read more
  • Lurker: Jeff: I like you point about judicial activism. It is read more
  • Dan Darling: The monument is now being moved, per the news read more

Gweilo's China/HK Briefing: 2003-08-26

By Joe Katzman at 09:37
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. This Regional Briefing focuses on China, courtesy of Conrad of The Gweilo Diaries. * Samizdata notes China's plan to amend its oft ignored constitution to enshrine Jiang Zemin's Three Represents doctrine. In addition to permitting capitalists to join the Party, the amendments are likely to include a recognition of private property rights. Capitialist Sun Dawu will no doubt be thrilled, or would be were he not being held in prison on unspecified charges after having his property summarily confiscated. (Via PRC News, Hat Tip reader M. Simon) Other Topics Today Include: China's treatment of AIDS sufferers; its dearth of marriagable women and one doctor's novel and enterprising solution; The grim job market facing recent Chinese university graduates; Political happenings in Hong Kong; Scantily clad Taiwanese betel nut vendors; and Qi Qi the worlds most endangered and delicious dolphin.
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  • Adam Morris: Three Represents is actually a perfect translation. The reason is read more
  • David Mercer: Ok, could someone who speaks Chinese give us any better read more
  • Adam Morris: Indeed, disaffected educated youths with a combination of upset peasants read more

God and Man in Alabama

By Armed Liberal at 01:27
A truly scary column by Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore in the Opinion Journal (registration required) this morning. I'm actually surprised that it hasn't caught fire in the blogoverse today. It's a defiant screed on the issue of separating God and state, and his position can be well summed up by this:
For half a century the fanciful tailors of revisionist jurisprudence have been working to strip the public sector naked of every vestige of God and morality. They have done so based on fake readings and inconsistent applications of the First Amendment. They have said it is all right for the U.S. Supreme Court to publicly place the Ten Commandments on its walls, for Congress to open in prayer and for state capitols to have chaplains--as long as the words and ideas communicated by such do not really mean what they purport to communicate. They have trotted out before the public using words never mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, like "separation of church and state," to advocate, not the legitimate jurisdictional separation between the church and state, but the illegitimate separation of God and state.
For Chief Justice Moore, God ... not in the abstract sense of an all-encompassing Creator, but in the very literal sense of the God of the New Testament ... is at the root of our laws, and more, at the root of the legitimacy of our government which is, after all, founded on and defended by laws.
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  • Cap'n SPIN: Kathy K You might want to tackle this one as read more
  • Cap'n SPIN: Kathy K Would you answer my question please? Do you read more
  • Kathy K: Quotes from Moore: From a press conference in July: "Liberty read more

August 25, 2003

Toward A New Internationalism

By Armed Liberal at 21:05
Over at Oxbog, Patrick Belton talks about Iraq and international cooperation:
This Weekly Standard piece by Bob Kagan and William Kristol is worth noting. The authors begin by repeating - correctly - that "American ideals and American interests converge ... a more democratic Middle East will both improve the lives of long-suffering peoples and enhance America's national security." They then applaud statements to that effect by Condoleezza Rice and President Bush calling for a "generational commitment" to Iraq and the Middle East comparable to the U.S.'s commitment to Western Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War. And in this, the security advisor and the president are also indeed applauseworthy: the intertwined task of promoting democracy and pursuing counterterror in the Middle East is as obviously central to U.S. security today as creating a secure, commercially prosperous free Europe was then.

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  • Tom Holsinger: Getting back on point: Few countries' armed forces are capable read more
  • Armed Liberal: >In any case, the questions I raised in my >first read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: In any case, the questions I raised in my first read more

Andrew's Winds of War: 2003-08-25

By Andrew Olmsted at 07:39
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Andrew Olmsted. TOP TOPICS * Good intelligence is key to winning an asymmetrical war, and the U.S.'s decision to recruit former Iraqi agents for the task may be a good step in the right direction. But the decision carries a major political risk, and it gives anti-U.S. forces a golden opportunity to slip some double agents into the mix. In the long run, this is probably a good decision, but it's going to carry a stiff cost for the Administration. Hat tip: Instapundit. * JK: Trent points to a devastating article by Ralph Peters that details the stunning level of U.N. incompetence and refusal to secure or prepare its HQ in Baghdad. Fortunately for the U.N., a couple of Americans fought and flim-flammed their way to preparations that may have saved hundreds of lives that day. Read all about it. * The 'cease-fire' is over, and the fighting is ramping up in Israel as an Israeli helicopter attack killed four members of Hamas in Gaza City. Although it is to Israel's best interests for the fiction of the cease-fire to end, look for Europe and others to complain bitterly about Israel's 'perpetuating the cycle of violence.' Other Topics Today Include: Another Iraqi blogger!; Bring 'Em On Watch; Troop strength in Iraq; Britain's arrest of a former Iranian ambassador; Corruption in Iran's economy; Is India helping Iran become nuclear?; Why cell phones matter; Bombay bombing; Afghanistan update; Possible good news in the North Korea talks; the Marines leave Liberia (for now); Colombia bombing; a possible Canadian 9/11; and a Khmer-Rouge theme park.
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  • W.: Wasn´t this a conscript army, except for the guard officers read more
  • cy: But weren't some elements of the army still cohesive enough read more
  • Robin Roberts: I think the biggest reason for what was "done" was read more

Ad Astra, Without NASA

By Joe Katzman at 06:31

This coming decade has the potential to be the most exciting time in the history of human space travel since the 1970s - maybe ever. All the pieces are there. Will we grasp that opportunity? What will it take?

Space remains more important to the USA than ever, and especially to the U.S. military which is becoming more and more of a "space power" as a natural extension of its naval pre-eminence. Yet other countries besides the USA have a strong interest in space, and NASA may not be up to the job of keeping America ahead.

How could the USA compete on terms that favour its strengths, help to maintain its preeminence, and simultaneously open the benefits and opportunity of space to humanity? What might that new model look like?

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  • Trent Telenko: The following is from August 7, 2003: The U.S. read more
  • Trent Telenko: Robin, I don't know if you have seen and read read more
  • Trent Telenko: Rand, The US Military has a huge first mover advantage read more

August 24, 2003

Thomas Friedman Gets It Right

By Armed Liberal at 19:41
Thomas Friedman has a mixed reputation in the blogoverse. But today he writes a column that explains exactly what I've been looking for from President Bush; go read it and understand why we're fighting, and what I'm talking about when I talk about 'selling' the war.
"We are attracting all these opponents to Iraq because they understand this war is The Big One. They don't believe their own propaganda. They know this is not a war for oil. They know this is a war over ideas and values and governance. They know this war is about Western powers, helped by the U.N., coming into the heart of their world to promote more decent, open, tolerant, women-friendly, pluralistic governments by starting with Iraq ... a country that contains all the main strands of the region: Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds."

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  • Trent Telenko: Tom, People are also thinking far to short term. A read more
  • Tom Holsinger: I agree with Robin that Friedman's column was schizoid - read more
  • Tim: Friedman misses the mark. The Weekly Standard piece is much read more

The Mens' Marriage Strike

By Joe Katzman at 18:20
Back in June of 2002, I replied to Rev. Donald Sensing's post about lower marriage rates among men by noting that divorce laws stacked again men play a leading role. That was a combination of hunch and personal observation/experience with my own reluctance to marry, however, not the result of any formal studies. Now that some studies have been done, however, it looks like I was on to something. One comment in particular hit home: bq. "If we accept the old feminist argument that marriage is slavery for women, then it is undeniable that -- given the current state of the nation's family courts -- divorce is slavery for men."
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  • Teknikid: ME: 40+ years old, zero debt (that includes the mortgage), read more
  • Alex: In response to the last post by "from midwest", I read more
  • midwest: While I am certainly glad that we live in a read more

August 23, 2003

Segway Thief Caught

By Joe Katzman at 08:05
Since Celeste is an AOL employee and has just moved her other blog to AOL Journals, I've been perusing some of the new AOL blogs. While reading The Other Shoe, I found this delightful entry, explaining that the first recorded capture of a Segway thief has occurred - in New York City, of course. Quoth blog-author ceklundesq: bq. "Looks like the only place he's going on that godawful contraption is Riker's Island. I'll bet he won't get the keys to that, either."
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Sufi Wisdom: Bushanja's Repentance

By Joe Katzman at 07:11
As militant Islam does its level best to discredit the religion, it's important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. One such is the Sufis, a branch of Islamic mystics who live islam (submission), iman (faith) and ishan (awareness of G-d, "to act beautifully"). Every Saturday, therefore, we spend some time with the Sufis and their 'crazy wisdom'. Today's wisdom comes from Abu Hassan Bushanja, via Fadiman & Frager's Essential Sufism: bq. "When you commit a sin but do not carry the pleasure of it with you, that is repentance. There is not so much harm in the act of sinning as in the desire and thought of it: the act is but momentary and passing, whereas the desire is continuous. It is one thing when the body indulges in a pleasurable act for an hour and an entirely different thing when the mind and heart chew on it endlessly." As a bonus, this version in a sci-scripture post also includes a complimentary Japanese Zen story that has always been one of my favourites. Meanwhile, you can use our comments section here to let us all know: what do you think Bushanja is trying to tell us about sin, hate and/or morality?
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  • Joe Katzman: Good point. All Sufi aphhorisms have multiple levels of meaning, read more
  • Kathy K: In the west, we'd call that "dwelling in the past". read more

Forgiveness, Justice, and Hate

By Joe Katzman at 06:55
bq. "In his classic Holocaust text, The Sunflower, Simon Wiesenthal recounts the following experience. As a concentration camp prisoner, the monotony of his work detail is suddenly broken when he is brought to the bedside of a dying Nazi. The German delineates the gruesome details of his career, describing how he participated in the murder and torture of hundreds of Jews. Exhibiting, or perhaps feigning, regret and remorse, he explains that he sought a Jew - any Jew - to whom to confess, and from whom to beseech forgiveness. Wiesenthal silently contemplates the wretched creature lying before him, and then, unable to comply but unable to condemn, walks out of the room." So begins Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik's "The Virtue of Hate", one of the most thought-provoking articles I've read in a long while. I've been wrestling with it for months now following Pejman's April 5 referral, waiting perhaps for the time to be right. That time has now come. Soloveichik offers a sharp and incisive article that recounts the differences between Jewish and Christian theological approaches to questions like the universailty of forgiveness, conduct toward enemies who have put themselves beyond the pale of humanity, and the question of whether hate is always wrong.
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  • Shocked: Fascinating article and perspective. Thanks. read more
  • Kevin Kim: I arrived at this article by another Winds of Change read more
  • Richard Aubrey: Two items: With regard to forgiveness; we can forgive, if read more

Right & Left: Big Enough to Apologize

By Joe Katzman at 05:46
One of the things today is about is saluting people who do the right thing. Sometimes the right thing is done reflexively - other times, only reflectively. Today we focus on 2 bloggers who gave matters some deep thought, concluded they had gone astray, and apologized: one from the Left, and one from the Right. * Left: Burningbird's "Caricatures and Shadows" looks at her own archives, and has a moment of satori: bq. "Being passionate about causes, yes; more now than ever. Being passionate about truth, yes; the truth is threatened daily. But fighting with other webloggers -- the nit nitting, the pick, picking -- it's getting old. It gets older, with each level of dust layered on the history of this weblog.... I'm not the person in my words, in these pages that stretch back like too long a road. They are a caricature of me, and I am only a faint shadow in them." * Right: Following yesterday's blog post here and some back-channel email conversations, Emperor Misha I stepped up. In a typically profane and pugilistic post he nonetheless offers a sincere and unqualified apology, and withdraws his earlier remarks. As Misha himself notes: bq. "But that's why I'm the Emperor and not "Pope Misha I", I get to screw the pooch from time to time." Heh. And a big amen, too. It's hard to criticize our own in public. Harder still to criticize ourselves there. These 2 posts come from ideologies and writing styles that could hardly be more different... but the impulse at their core is the same, and worth celebrating.
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  • Christopher Luebcke: You're a good man, Katzman. read more

August 22, 2003

So I Am Not Alone

By Trent Telenko at 23:04
I just dropped by Instapundit and saw this post by the blogfather. What I found interesting at Glenn's link wasn't the quote he put up, but this passage.
At risk of sounding flippant once again, I must admit to having a brief moment with some renegade thoughts. If there is an organization on earth that did more than the U.N. to see to it that Saddam Hussein stayed in power, torturing and filling mass graves to the brim, I'm at a loss to name it. Perhaps the truck bomber was the relative of a recent victim? As the press has told us consistently, Islamic terror organizations would never cooperate with or fight for Saddam. Moreover we were told they considered Saddam an enemy on par with the United States, because he was a secular tyrant, oppressing Muslims. If this was the case, again the U.N. would be a legitimate target because they allowed it to continue, to say nothing of the tragically farcical "oil for food program" administered by the world body, which enabled Saddam to construct lavish palaces while the Iraqi people starved. It's odd that there were no "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" rationalizations in this instance. It would indeed be poetic justice, but the likelihood is that the U.N.'s Baghdad headquarters was targeted because it was easy to hit, a "soft-target" according to the experts. I wasn't alone in my public thoughts about the evil of the U.N. and poetic justice. And Instapundit approved, no less.
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  • ForNow: It would be pretty ironic too if it happened while read more
  • ForNow: I hope we’re not slipping down the slope toward cheering read more
  • Sam Barnes: Hum. I've read through a lot of the comments on read more

Ashcroft, Depleted Uranium, and Other Dense Metals

By Armed Liberal at 22:41
Phil Carter (who I really have to buy a cup of coffee one of these days - he's local) has a typically-for-him great post on Ashcroft and the politics of the Patriot Act and its successors. He has a great point on the cost of lost legitimacy:
The net result of this distrust was seen very clearly in the debates over TIA and the Pentagon's planned terrorism futures market. Americans -- and their legislative representatives -- didn't care how these programs actually worked. They didn't care that academics on the left and right supported such ideas in the abstract. Despite TIA's fate, we still need computerized tools to look for "non-obvious relationships". And a closed-access futures market for experts could have been a great way to quantify collective expert opinion. Nonetheless, the American public answered these programs with a resounding "Enough already!"
Go read the whole thing. Michael McNeal has a great compilation post on the health consequences of Depleted Uranium (DU) - often used in U.S. military projectiles (via Volokh). Hint: there don't appear to be any. (changed title)
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  • lewy14: Phil Carter wrote, But the prosecution of these little fish read more
  • John Moore (Useful Fools): Lurker, Churchill sacrificed the population of Coventry to protect one read more
  • Lurker: Just because something can be done, doesn't mean it should read more

Hanging a Lantern 101

By Trent Telenko at 16:30
Joe, if you are going to ‘hang a lantern’ for something another member of your team said, use the complete post. Most viewers of the site don't read the comments sections. The partial quote you used made me look like a monster. What you did was the kind of selective, self-serving quote I expect from the NY TIMES. This is the full post to provide context for the last line you used in isolation:
"This is a case of UN evolution in action. The U.N. requested that American military forces not provide heavy security for political reasons. The UN-icks did not want to "..seem to close to the US" or " seen as endorsing US actions." Too bad the Al-Qaeda didn't use a bigger bomb. Posted by: Trent Telenko on August 20, 2003 02:56 AM “
Was that over the top? Yes, it was. I apologize for that. It was morally wrong to suggest the U.N. deserved to be truck bombed. What I was trying to say was if the local U.N. people wanted to get a Darwin award that much. The bomb should have been bigger to get the ones working for the award. I was unaware at the time the bombing was most likely an inside job and not one by terrorists. However, that being said, was it “Idiotarian Right Wing Terrorist Supporting? Joe, you or anyone else saying that needs to get a life. It is a documented fact that the United Nations is a terrorist supporting organization world wide. The U.N. in Iraq was a terrorist supporting organization against the Iraqi people. The U.N. staff in Baghdad were mercenary monsters working with the Iraqi state's mass killing monsters to deny food and medicine to the Iraqi people and assist the regime in surviving international sanctions. And this evil was not just limited to Baghdad U.N. offices. The UN High Commission on Refugees knew the size, scope and extent of the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure in the refugee camps it ran and not only stayed silent. It justified it’s silence as a necessary part of doing its job after Israel over ran Jenin and got the goods on UN complicity with terrorism. The U.N. was not only running a sanctuary for suicide bombers attacking Israel in Jenin. Every Palestinian refugee camp it runs is a sanctuary for suicide bomber terrorists.
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  • Armed Liberal: Tom - At the risk of repeating myself (for about read more
  • Tom Grey: War is hell. People die. Lots of soldiers, lots of read more
  • Robin Roberts: "Left-wing loony" is getting his talking points confused, by exaggerating read more

Central Asia "-Stans Summary": 2003-08-22

By Joe Katzman at 07:02
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Central Asia, guest blogged by Nathan Hamm of The Argus. Nathan got a feel for the area while with the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan. Top Story * Cross-border confrontations between Afghan and Pakistani troops continue, and Hamid Karzai warned Pakistan that Afghanistan will not tolerate these incidents. The Telegraph also has a report from the frontlines. Other Topics Today Include: More reports from Afghanistan; Naval exercises complicate a Caspian compromise; SCO takes aim at Uighur separatism; Uzbek-Kyrgyz border problems; Iran and Pakistan plan to boost trade in Central Asia; Rising violence and a new plan for Afghan reconstruction; India looking for a perch in Central Asia; Birth of a dynasty in Azerbaijan?; Kazakhstan eager to enter WTO; Uzbek human rights activist jailed for homosexuality.
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Right-Wing Terror Apologists

By Joe Katzman at 05:35
This is a painful post to write, but it needs to be written. I find the U.N. beneath contempt, for reasons I'll explain in a minute - but some of the posts out there in the wake of the terrorist attack on the U.N.'s Baghdad HQ crossed a very important line. This post by Emperor Misha I, and a few of the comments associated with it, are probably the most widely publicized. Regrettably, in the comments section of this Winds of Change.NET post, team member Trent Telenko wrote in one of his comments: bq. "Too bad the Al-Qaeda didn't use a bigger bomb (August 20, 2003 02:56 AM)." That's unacceptable. What we have here, is a failure to communicate. Not their failure, mind - they communicated all too well. So perhaps it's mine. Brothers, listen. Carefully.
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  • JadeGold: And, Robin, I'll readily admit to tone deafness. I won't read more
  • Robin Roberts: Frankly, Jade, I am led to believe by your fecund read more
  • JadeGold: Again, Robin, this wasn't an isolated instance for Misha and read more

Bill Whittle: Responsibility

By Joe Katzman at 04:03
Bill Whittle returns to form in his latest essay. It's a corker.
"I contend that there is a single litmus that does indeed separate the nation and the world into two opposing camps, and that when you examine where people will fall on the countless issues that affect our society, this alone is the indicator that will tell you how they will respond. The indicator is Responsibility."
Victor Davis Hanson's "How We Collapse" had a similar thrust, informed by history. Of the two, however, Bill Whittle has the better essay. Now that's saying something.
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  • Wild Monk: YES! read more
  • Joe Katzman: Ah. Seems I may have goven the wrong impression. Taking read more
  • Wild Monk: Joe, I think you give Klaatu far too much credit read more

August 21, 2003

The WMD Shell Game

By Trent Telenko at 23:23
Ion Mihai Pacepa, a former Romanian spy chief, has a very sensible explanation for where the "missing" Iraqi weapons of mass destruction are in an op-ed piece for the Washington Times. His take is that the Iraqis executed a "Sarindar plan" to destroy/hide the WMD at the behest of the Russians. Quotes from the article:
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  • PeteB: I believe absolutely the Russians had something to do with read more
  • Balagan: this does sound like a quite plausible piece of the read more
  • TM Lutas: We know that the Iraqi regime buried their airforce. Could read more

Autarky in the U.S.??

By Armed Liberal at 21:54
Brad DeLong's website is one of my regular visits and has been for about as long as I've been reading blogs. He's a damn smart liberal economist (yes, Dorothy, they do exist) and knows one of my old professors from there, Steve Cohen, pretty well to boot. So when I read this, I put it aside for a bit to see if it made any more sense. Just came back to it, and it doesn't. This raises three possibilities: # I'm not salvageable when it comes to economics and shouldn't read or discuss it any more; # Brad wasn't paying attention and phoned this post in; # There's something subtle I didn't understand that someone may be able to explain to me.
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  • Armed Liberal: Joseph - no, it doesn't. Dollars are used all of read more
  • Joseph Hertzlinger: There's a simple way to look at this: Every dollar read more
  • Lurker: M. Simon, So, from a monitarist perspective NOTHING can cause read more

How About This?

By Armed Liberal at 19:12
Is it me, or is this editorial in the NY Times surprisingly strong:
Palestinian leaders have been promoting the illusion that Islamic radical groups will ultimately transform themselves into peaceful political parties. That fantasy was shattered on Tuesday along with 20 innocent lives when a Hamas terrorist blew up a Jerusalem bus. The bombing occurred at the very moment the Palestinian prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas, was meeting with Islamic radicals in Gaza. If anything positive is to come from this latest atrocity, it will be a conclusive realization by Mr. Abbas that organizations like Hamas and Islamic Jihad have no genuine interest in cease-fire agreements or two-state solutions and must be forcibly put out of the terrorism business. Only then will the American-sponsored road map for peace have a chance of delivering Palestinian statehood. ... Hamas described Tuesday's bombing as retaliation for the Israeli Army's killing of one of its militants in June. Hamas is a self-appointed gang of thugs with no right to kill anyone, Israeli or Palestinian. That is how it must be treated by Mr. Abbas and his security chief, Muhammad Dahlan.
Hmmmm. I feel the earth shifting ever so slightly under my feet.
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  • Joe Katzman: The frightening thing is, Sean is probably right about the read more
  • Sean: I think Yehudit is right, this is a spasm, not read more
  • Anticipatory Retaliation: The thing that the editorials seem to skirt around is read more

Winds of War: 2003-08-21

By Venomous Kate at 10:44
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. TOP TOPICS * While the death toll at the Baghdad U.N. headquarters continues to climb, FBI agents now reporting that at least 1,500 pounds of explosives from Saddam's arsenal were used in the blast. * Breaking News: "Chemical Ali" has been captured in Iraq. He was the King of Spades. Other Topics Today Include: the UN's possession of advance intel indicating a likely truck bomb attack; Ansar al-Islam's involvement in the blast; renewed efforts to increase international involvement in Iraq; the IMF and World Bank's latest withdrawals; more nuke power for Iran; web-wide automated public security alerts; Israeli advances; Palestinian de ja vu; North Korea's latest fund-raising scheme; and rating television reporters on what really matters: their sex appeal.
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  • Robert Stevens: Good work on the update Kate. Love the light note read more
  • MG: I found a link last night, that quotes an Israeli read more
  • Rand Simberg: I don't think it's fair to compare Jennifer Eccleston to read more

Special Report: Who is Hanbali?

By Dan Darling at 07:00
Ever since last week when President Bush announced the capture of an al-Qaeda operative named Riduan Isamuddin who used the nom de guerre of Hanbali or Hambali (depending on one's source), there has been a media frenzy, with many press outlets following Time Magazine in declaring him "the bin Laden of Southeast Asia." Yet who is Hanbali? Why does his capture mean so much for Southeast Asia, the so-called "second front" in the war on terror? And if he's out of the picture, who's left?
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  • Dan Darling: Trust me, if I were working for the CIA read more
  • Iblis: Dan: Maybe the FBI Most Wanted list is a jurisdictional read more
  • Dan Darling: I tend to agree with you, Iblis, however one read more

FDR and Bush

By Armed Liberal at 00:27
We launched the Big Project Monday and amazingly little happened; it just kinda worked. Amazing and nice when that happens!! So while I've been sitting at my desk as a part of the Tiger Team, and doing nothing, I've been catching up on my blog reading. And I notice a nice thread that I want to use to tie back to a point I made earlier about what Bush hasn't done well. The basic thread was "Why was FDR considered such a great President?" Over at Volokh, David Bernstein opens:
Something I've always wondered about, too. Why is Hoover infamous for presiding over four years of Depression, not terribly uncommon in American history, while Roosevelt is much-beloved for presiding over an unprecedented two more presidential terms of Depression, while much of the rest of the world economy was recovering [edit: at a faster pace]?

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  • harry: Bush is also saddled with a State Dept. that is read more
  • Michael Lonie: Some of the information Bush finds most compelling in his read more
  • Sam Barnes: I'd add to Tom's comments that I think Bush's grand read more

August 20, 2003

The Iraqi Mud Flats

By Trent Telenko at 12:19
The Parapundit has a very good post considering two recent articles in the NY TIMES and TechCentral Station that confirm and expand on David Warren's "Flypaper" op-ed which made the following point: bq. "This is the meaning of Mr. Bush's "bring 'em on" taunt from the Roosevelt Room on Wednesday, when he was quizzed about the "growing threat to U.S. forces" on the ground in Iraq. It should have been obvious that no U.S. President actually relishes having his soldiers take casualties. What the media, and U.S. Democrats affect not to grasp, is that the soldiers are now replacing targets that otherwise would be provided by defenceless civilians, both in Iraq and at large. The sore thumb of the U.S. occupation -- and it is a sore thumb equally to Baathists and Islamists, compelling their response -- is not a mistake. It is carefully hung flypaper ." All these folks are right, as far as they go. The real problem with that analysis is they do not go far enough. It only thinks through one campaign in the War on Terrorism.
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  • Tom Holsinger: Daniel Drezner is blogging on the subject too. Here is read more
  • Tom Holsinger: Someone, Right, we can make the South Koreans an offer read more
  • Atlanta lawyer: This comment thread is part of what is so great read more

Memo to the U.S. Air Force

By Joe Katzman at 06:37
From 'CPT Beets' at Beetswerkin (sound it out), a memo to the USAF that begins by mocking their new dress uniforms, then segues into a serious discussion of priorities, trends, and what's needed. Lots of good links and thoughts on the joint 'Purple Force' (vs. Army Green, AF Blue, etc.) in this rant, which echoes and expands on some of Trent's past posts.
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  • tom: It's not the dress uniform, it's the Battle Dress uniform; read more

Power and Control: 3 Views

By Joe Katzman at 05:57
Here in Ontario, the system isn't up to full load yet. Indeed, we've been warned that blackouts could still occur at any time if demand spikes too high. Time to dive back into the issues the blackout raised, via 3 excellent articles that offer important background and points of view. * We'll start with M. Simon, a semi-regular guest-blogger here. His Sierra Times article "Power and Control" offers a point of view on the causes that hasn't been heard much. LSSDLDT(Large Scale, Short Duration, Long Distance Transients) may in fact be the key to what happened. His article is also a great conceptual primer on how the pieces of the power grid all fit together. * Rob Sama of samaBlog "...researched the power industry and the issues surrounding it, compiling with the help of an assistant, a several hundred page compendium on the industry, it's history, it's issues, and the deregulation movement...." Which led to this missiveabout the industry's history, its issues, and potential restructuring (Hat tip: Instapundit). Keep reading into the comments section, and the follow-up adds more. * How easy would it be for terrorists to shut down the power grid? DefenseTech offers some thoughts.
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  • Robin Roberts: Simon, you did good work there. Unfortunately, the misconceptions about read more
  • sama: I have responded. read more
  • M. Simon: I use Netscape 7.1 - it doesn't work. You might read more

A Strike Against Speech Codes

By Joe Katzman at 05:39
Common Sense and Wonder reports the happy news that a brushback pitch has just been thrown at U.S. college administrators and their creepy "campus speech codes." Used to squash dissent and enforce conformity, they have helped turn campuses into "islands of repression in a sea of freedom." Fortunately, Gerald A. Reynolds is Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights. In his letter to university officials, he sounds rather like another Reynolds we know: bq. "Secretary Reynolds stated that universities would not be allowed "to regulate the content of speech" under the guise of preventing "harassment." Speech, said Reynolds, does not constitute "harassment" just because it offends someone. "In order to establish a hostile environment, harassment must be sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, persistent or pervasive) as to limit or deny a student's ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program," wrote Reynolds." About time. Long past it, actually. Too bad it won't happen in Canada.
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By Armed Liberal at 00:34
From the N.Y. Times:
A suicide bomber attacked a crowded bus in Jerusalem today, killing at least 18 people and wounding scores more, Israeli officials said. Two Palestinian militant groups hastened to take responsibility for the attack, which threatened to imperil the fragile Middle East peace plan. "The suicide bomber blew up in the center of the bus,'' Jerusalem's police chief, Mickey Levy, told Israel Radio, according to Reuters. "We are talking about a big bomb, and there is a large number of casualties, including dead.'' There were conflicting estimates of casualties. The police said at least 18 people had been killed, while the head of the Israeli emergency medical service told reporters earlier that 20 people had died and 105 people had been wounded.
My first thoughts, as always, are for those killed and wounded and for their families. After taking a deep breath, my second one is that we're not done seeing this, or anywhere close to it. But for the first time, I can begin to see a path through the problem.
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  • Armed Liberal: > Today is a victory for Islamic Militants Yeah, just read more
  • Kaveh: "Striking down with vengence upon" the Palestinian terror organizations is read more
  • Iblis: The answer is transfer. Money is fungible. There will always read more

August 19, 2003

U.N. HQ in Baghdad Car Bombed

By Joe Katzman at 16:30
FLASH: Large car bomb attack at U.N. HQ in Iraq. The Command Post's Iraq section has the details, and here's a permalink with photos. No group has claimed responsibility yet, but the fact that it was the U.N. building substantially ups the list of potential suspects with a grudge.
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  • Robin Roberts: Poor attempt, scott. The Bush administration has much to "lose" read more
  • scott kennedy: who had the most to lose. who is controlling the read more
  • Robin Roberts: Vinceslas, you are getting basic facts wrong. The building wasn't read more

The Penalty for Stupidity is Death

By Trent Telenko at 14:15
Newsday has this story on the killing of a Reuters cameraman by an American tank crew in a Baghdad suburb. It shows the utter stupidity of modern journalistic class when faced with the reality of war involving competent and well equipped troops The key passage from the story:
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  • skyrocket: What would have been so difficult for this cameraman to read more
  • Robin Roberts: Well, that's generous of you RJ, but I think you read more
  • RJGatorEsq: Henry says, "RJGator --- Please quote where I SUGGESTED any read more

Hushoor's Korea Briefing 2003-08-19

By Joe Katzman at 11:28
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Korea, courtesy of Robert Koehler in Kwangju. TOP TOPIC * China And South Korea Enable North Korean Nuclear Program. Parapundit believes attempts to stop nuclear proliferation to Iran and North Korea have essentially failed, and the outcome is just a matter of time. * A pair of eye-opening reports in the Washington Post concerning North Korea's weapons program and exports over time. Other Topics Today Include: Negotiating with NK; 6-party talks, Military options; Hyundai Chief's suicide, Smuggling radios; SK's Anti-American shenanigans, Zen and the Art of Scatological Humor, and much, much more.
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  • Mohammad A.M. Sulaiman: We provide valuable data and information pertaining to the Libyan read more
  • cliff: CY: Thanks for the tip on Victor Cha...I looked him read more
  • cy: re: cliff's NK sell-out to China It's an interesting proposal, read more

New Urbanism & Nerdistans

By Joe Katzman at 06:52
While the War of Terror remains the mainstay of this blog's focus, there are other trends changing our world that are worthy of coverage. One of the least-discussed and most important is the way North America's thinking about cities and their design is slowly changing, thanks to movements like "New Urbanism" [great Flash Presentation | more resources]. New Urbanism and related ideas matter for all kinds of reasons, from public health & security angles to minimizing social pathologies to creating an opportunity economy. Blogger Michael Totten offers some before-and-after pictures of Portland (but see the comments section). My take: don't be thrown off by attempts to roll New Urbanism's core concepts in with a lot of other liberal baggage under the moniker "smart growth". These ideas aren't just for leftists. The Reason Public Policy Institute had an interesting Sept. 2001 report called "Older Suburbs: Crabgrass Slum or New Urban Frontier?", which I'm sure got absolutely no attention. One of its appendices in particular tickled my funnybone, and provoked a few hmmms:
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  • Albert: Midland, Tx is the perfect nerdistan read more
  • hobgoblin: Ahh, my beloved Portland. $154/sq ft is a normal average read more
  • David Sucher: How in the world can anyone tease out an anti-car read more

Distributed Defense?

By Armed Liberal at 06:32
As noted below, Jeff over at Caerdroia has a good post on the logic of distributed systems and redundant networks, and how we can apply some of that thinking to combating terrorist attacks. I'll take his idea, that: bq. "the government needs to encourage the population to arm itself with handguns and long arms; to offer training in spotting bombs, recognizing vulnerabilities, emergency medical care, planning in advance for contingencies and the like; and to give us the information we need to understand and react to threats" ...and differ in two places: [1] I'm reluctant to 'encourage' people to arm themselves without some measure of training (as opposed to 'not interfering'), and [2] I think that the giving of information needs to be a two-way street. I think that the government needs to come up with some good communications channels that can go from citizen upward, as well as from local agency upward, since the local sheriff or firefighter is likely to be the first on the scene in the event of any kind of threat or attack. Over the last few days, I've had some experience on how that shouldn't be done. Let me tell you a story.
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  • Dr. Jal Hampson: You could always place that call to 911. As you read more
  • Armed Liberal: CCR - I was also not as vehemently against TIPS read more
  • CCR: Remember the outcry about the TIPS program? People worry that read more

August 18, 2003

Transforming the Army: The Para-Military?

By Trent Telenko at 14:11
David Isby, a noted defense expert, has a op-ed in today's Washington Times that bears reading. These are the money paragraphs in my opinion:
"In the absence of a "peer competitor" — a big, heavily armed adversary — future wars may not require the Army to fight for the survival of the nation as it has in the past. But this is no assurance that there will not be pitched battles and prolonged campaigns. Making the U.S. Army more capable of expeditionary operations will only go part way toward winning future wars. Rather, we need to have forces and capabilities that can turn battlefield success into victory over the long haul. Some of the forces we will need to achieve victory may not be military at all; others may be allied or indigenous forces rather than U.S. forces. The United States needs to focus on how to get these capabilities. Knowing how we are going to win the next war is more important to our soldiers than whether they go to war as part of 5,000-strong brigades or 18,000-strong divisions or fight from 20-ton wheeled armor rather than 70-ton tanks."
I have said in several posts that the future of the American Military is PARAMILITARY. It looks to me that this meme is spreading. There is more to war than fighting. The experts see that. It is only a question of moving the US Army brass hats out of the way so this can happen.
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  • Trent Telenko: A.L. The Army of 2003 is if anything more capable read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: Joe wrote: "looks like a real debate to me, with read more
  • Armed Liberal: C'mon Trent, are you going to argue that today's Army read more

Winds of War: 2003-08-18

By Joe Katzman at 08:56
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. TOP TOPICS * David Adesnik channels Steven Den Beste's strategic overview format, offers 3-part set of thoughts on the development of US foreign policy over the course of the next 2-5 years: (Part i | Part ii | Part iii). * Caerdroia's excellent piece on Homeland Security & distributed defense. * A grim warning from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to President Bush that Iran is much closer to producing nuclear weapons than U.S. intelligence believes has triggered speculation that Israel is seriously considering a preemptive strike against Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor. Other Topics Today Include: Oil pipeline troubles; Kurdish sex slaves; Jihadi flypaper; Blue Force Tracker; Multiple blogs from Baghdad; Iraqi infrastructure reports; Rabbi's return to Nineveh; Science & Islam; Protests in central Iran; Argentina indicts Iranian officials; Womens' rights in Iran; Daniel Pipes' & USIP; An American Hogwart's?; Khaled El-Fadl; BBC perfidity; NK's weapons & SK's weakness; Israel's warning to Syria; Yemen heating up, Pakistan's jihadis not cooling down; Ding, dong, Amin is dead!
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  • Dan Darling: Per Rohan Gunaratna, Islah (Reform) is an al-Qaeda front, read more
  • John Moore (Useful Fools): Considering that Iran has its own uranium resources, reportedly has read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: I'll have to check out David Adesnik's series on Foreign read more

It's Not Just the California Budget

By Armed Liberal at 05:17
Over at Armed Liberal, I've got some comments up about the budget issues. Two points:
California isn't alone...go Google "state budget crisis 2003", in the first three pages, you'll see references to California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
I'm thinking about a budget and tax strategy (I don't know enough detail, except in a very few areas, to actually propose tactics), and I'll propose two basic goals: 1. Budget Integration. We need to look at State, county, and city budgets in some integrated way, to deal with the - transfers - between the levels which tend to mask spending and growth in a number of areas. 2) Tax stability. California is mandated to carry a balanced budget. We need to relook at our tax programs to attempt to get a more stable revenue stream for the state. This implies that we shift from personal income to corporate income, sales, and property taxes. This is pretty obviously nontrivial is so many ways...but I'll suggest one point in each of these three areas that could make a difference.
The overall issue of the 'structural fiscal crisis' is a major one, and may be worth some thought itself.
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  • Ann: Not to get all technical and stuff (and yet I read more
  • Calvin: Oregon legislature is 218 days in at a cost of read more
  • DANEgerus: hey... per capita Oregon has sold out to the employee read more

Homeland Security: Defensible, or Too Far?

By Joe Katzman at 03:45
This is a bit late, but still very worthy. Daniel Drezner recently ran a pair of pieces that looked at alternate sides of the Homeland Security/Liberty debate. In case you missed it, here they are: * A Defense of Ashcroft (July 23, 2003) * A Critique of Administration Excesses (August 5, 2003)
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August 17, 2003

The Republican 'Youthquake'

By Trent Telenko at 20:27
The Economist has this article on its site about the "Republican Youthquake" that is overtaking 18-29 year old voters. The jist is that academia is so overwhelmingly liberal that the only legitimate means of political rebellion for middle class college students is conservatism. Add to that the Republican Party's ability to be a political means for expression pro-war patriotism, which the Dean driven Democratic Party isn't, and active efforts on the part of the Karl Rove to organize students, and you have the makings of a huge generational shift in political alignment. The money section of the article:
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  • Undertoad: Younguns don't vote, so they will not have any impact read more
  • Anticipatory Retaliation: This is rather interesting. I've been watching the upcoming election read more
  • Balagan: yes our time is coming, and yes we do know read more

August 16, 2003

Return to Nineveh

By Joe Katzman at 21:19
This one is over at The Braden Files (Hat Tip: Donald Sensing). The writer, a Major, is United States Army Battalion Chaplain (rabbi) 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery 101st Airborne Division. bq. "I am writing to you from Nineveh, the city of the prophet Jonah. Its present name is Mosul. I have had the privilege of seeing its ancient walls, of touching its stones, of going to the grave Islamic tradition says is the prophet Jonah's. There is a mosque at the site; but hundreds of years ago, the Iraqis we work with tell me, it was a synagogue. They tell me the reason the site is so sacred is because of the sacredness in which the Jews held it. Presently, there are no signs of this ancient synagogue." He may be the first Jew to set foot in these areas in 50 years. There's more, of course, a lot more. Go ye and read...
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  • Donald Sensing, US Army, retired: Chaplain is a duty position, not a denomination. read more
  • Samuel Tai: This is incorrect. Military chaplains comprise Muslim imams, Jewish rabbis, read more
  • Justin Myers: The chaplain read more

Water Solutions

By Joe Katzman at 09:03
While we're on the subject of critical infrastructure, Heretical Ideas has an interesting link about water: bq. "The potentially brewing crisis in the availability of fresh drinking water is one of those issues that is simultaneously really important and mind-numbingly boring. Fortunately, there are some good people who are actually working on the problem, and a recent report indicates that freeing up clean water sources can be both effective -- and cheap." Throw in some nifty solutions like this one as well, and maybe there's hope after all.
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Elementary, My Dear Edison?

By Joe Katzman at 08:57
Sparkey has some fun analyzing some public grid load data, including charts galore. He's trying to deduce what really happened with the blackout, and we salute him for it. (Hat Tip: reader Sandy P.)
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Sufi Wisdom: The Reader

By Joe Katzman at 08:46
As you probably guessed, with power intermittent and the subway shut down the Dervish Dance event scheduled for last night was a no-go. What doesn't change, however, is that every Saturday, we spend some time with the Sufis' "crazy wisdom." This story comes from Idries Shah's book The Magic Monastery, courtesy of Kathy K.:
"There is a story about a man who went to a dictionary-compiler and asked him why he was interested in money. The lexicographer was quite surprised and said, 'Wherever did you get that idea?' 'From your own writings,' said the visitor. 'But I have only written that one dictionary — that is my writings,' said the author. 'I know, and that is the book that I have read,' said the other man. 'But the book contains a hundred thousand words! And out of those, I don't suppose that more than twenty or thirty are about money.' 'What are you talking about all the other words for,' said the visitor, 'when I was asking you about the words for money?'
So tell us in the Comments section, what is this story really about? And what is the dictionary meant to represent?
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  • ken: out of a hundred thousand words, the only ones that read more
  • buckethead: I have read that the Sufis regard all organized religion read more
  • Patrick Brown: If you boil each man's words down to their essence, read more

August 15, 2003

Blackout's Fallout: A Warning Shot

By Joe Katzman at 19:38
(revised 19:30, following second blackout period) Those of us who are living through the blackout just received an invaluable gift. We looked around for the first time at blank ATM machines, grocery stores closed just as people most needed them because the POS cash registers wouldn't operate, transit systems shut down, water pumps that ceased to operate, no computers. Etc., etc. The Machine stopped, the curtains were parted, and reality took over. We've eaten the red pill, if only for a day or two. Welcome to the desert of the real. Steven Den Beste explains what's involved in getting everything restarted. What we need, however, is a serious debate about how to avoid more of this in the first place. Had this blackout gone on much longer, the economic and human consequences would have been immense. Things could have been much worse. We've talked about Sean Gorman's work here before - he's mapping out fiber-optic networks, and considering how a complex system like that could be disrupted. We've also talked about paying attention to the choke points of the modern world, and the electrical grid is absolutely one of them. Time to stop thinking of it as black box magic; it's a complicated man-made invention, and one that has just shown itself to be as vulnerable as we ourselves are to its disruption. * Instapundit has more, including some words worth heeding from the IEEE. * Suman Palit backs them up, and points to another report worth our time, and more good links. "So what would make our energy grid more reliable, less temperamental?" * Nick Schulz' words are right on... good to see Tech Central Station's editor at The Corner. The Ortega Y Gasset line is absolutely the quote of the day. * Finally, consider what a determined enemy could do with this lesson, via a SCADA attack. al-Qaeda is weak in the USA, but protecting the electrical grid is very difficult, and they aren't the only potential enemy who could be taking lessons from this. From here on in, I think it's safe to assume that this system is a target, and plan appropriately. Behind the benefits of civilisation are indeed marvels of invention and construction, maintained only by great effort and foresight. Time to step up, get informed, and do our bit.
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  • Eye Opener: Sorry, folks... I'm posting after actually READING Stryker's posts... Flywheels read more
  • Sandy P.: Sgt. Stryker has an interesting post, something happened around 8:30 read more
  • M. Simon: David, I think there are some 700 KV DC lines read more

Got Him! Hanbali Captured

By Joe Katzman at 17:06
Winds of War host Dan Darling has a happy report from the field: Bali bombing suspect Hanbali has now been apprehended, possibly in Thailand. ABC News also has coverage. Kudos to Paul Moloney for posting the links - go see Regnum Crucis for more details, and an explanation of why this matters. Time to sing a different tune, Hanbali. bq. "Oh, down the bay, where the nights are gay, and the sun shines daily on the mountain top. I said goodbye to my friends in Thai and when I reached Guantanamo I made a stop..."
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New Blog: Decadent Arts

By Joe Katzman at 16:17
I may not have Instaman's Old Girlfriend Network, but how many of his exes has he taught to blog? The motto of Decadent Arts is "In celebration of food, art, and life's decadent pleasures." One of which may be blogging, given that it took Flora less than a week to mention its addictive properties. Initial posts include: * Surrealist Fantasies (Salvador Dali) * Full Bodied Love (guess, then go see) * A Passion for Curves (Al Hirschfield) * Sultry Southern Comfort... Food (Louisiana cuisine) You can see why we still get along. I think this tops my last achievement, which was making her a baseball fan. Read, and decide for yourself...
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Canadian Blackout News

By Joe Katzman at 16:06
We have power again in Toronto, subject to rolling blackouts at unpredictable times. Unsurprisingly, pleading with people to go easy on consumption and stay home from work wasn't working very well. Saying "prepare for blackouts without notice, at times of our choosing" should be much more effective. Quiet here, but we have reports of serious looting in Ottawa - and this time it wasn't by the politicians. The Ontario Government has NO information on its home page, and web sites for Ontario Hydro's Hydro One group, incl. Hydro Networks and Ontario Power Generation, are all down or fail to resolve. Deeply unimpressive performances all around. The City of Toronto at least has a "Power Outage" link on its home page, though it should be more prominent. Fortunately, has a special feature up, and the Command Post's hotspots section is devoting itself to ongoing coverage. Michelle C. has a very fine op-ed from her vantage point in New York.
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What One American Soldier Knows, They All Know

By Trent Telenko at 15:55 has a good entry on its site on the FBCB2 (Force XXI Battle Command, Brigade and Below System) "Blue Force Tracker" and how the 3rd Infantry Division used the “Lite version” in Iraq. The bottom line is what one American soldier in this system knew, the whole American force knew. Playing the electronic game TACOPS can give you a feeling for this. When scouts spot the enemy, a symbol is placed on the game map. This “God’s Eye view” of the enemy allows you to move your whole force against the unit that was spotted. Had trucks in the 507th been equipped with FBCB2, the whole Jessica Lynch episode would have been avoided, as they would have had both an idea where they were, and better yet, an idea where the enemy was so they could avoid him. This has been the subject of intense discussion in design conferences for the FMTV for 2005/2006 deployment with the possibility of an earlier design cut in given the additional budget funding. The link and the text of the 12 August 2003 post (which will scroll off) is below:
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  • Dishman: Reading this, and reflecting on various stories I've heard, it read more
  • rkb: Trent is right. LandWarrior is just the first crude prototype. read more
  • Trent Telenko: This is a passage out of the "US Military -- read more

August 14, 2003

Some Things Speak for Themselves

By Armed Liberal at 19:05
From today's L.A. Times:
A member of the Biotic Baking Brigade, a loose network of San Francisco pie-throwing politicos, said Wednesday that he did not believe that anyone from the group was responsible for the pastry flung in the face of Ralph Nader on Tuesday. The brigade tends to target rich oppressors of working men and women and "wouldn't get involved in progressive politics infighting. It's not our bag," said the operative, who goes by the moniker Agent a la Mode.

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  • Sigivald: Given the legendarily poor wages Nader pays his staff, and read more
  • Hei Lun Chan: "But that's not funny!" For people who pull stunts like read more

Advising Ah-nold

By Armed Liberal at 05:46
Over at Armed Liberal, I've started what I think will be a series of posts advising Ah-nold on how to lock up my support (and the support of the tens of thousands of Californians like me). It's not of global significance, so I'll put them there and occasionally put a reminder like this up here.
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  • skyrocket: As to Ahnuld...I have to say I think he is read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: A.L - Nope, but I knew people might reach that read more
  • Armed Liberal: G. - I don't disagree (about the importance of the read more

Dan's Winds of War: 2003-08-13

By Dan Darling at 05:26
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * Indian counter-terrorism expert K. P. S. Gill recently claimed that al-Qaeda was run by a "brain trust" of Wahhabi clerics who provide the ideological underpinnings for its operations. The ever-valuable Fred Pruitt over at Rantburg has done some digging, and he appears to have uncovered at least some of it - and see also here. * Monday's Winds of War talked about SAM(Surface-to-Air Missile) warnings. Now we know why. What you may not know, is that the BBC blew the operation. * Yoni Fighel and Moshe Marzouk over at ICT have their own interpretation on how al-Qaeda operates on the Internet and exploits unfortunate accidents like the recent plane crash in Kenya to further its cause. Ray at Pseudorandom Thoughts also has an excellent link to WIRED's feature: "Forums Point the Way to Jihad?" As you already knew long ago, if you read LGF. Other Topics Today Include: Where's Saddam - an idea; Iraq and Iran updates; a missile smuggling sting operation; an al-Qaeda sleeper in NYC arrested; a bloody day in Afghanistan; Morocco's progress against the Salafi Jihad; shoot-outs in Saudi Arabia, Jemaah Islamiyyah and the Mariott hotel bombing in Jakarta; Muslim condemnation of the Jakarta bombing in Indonesia; Amrozi to get the death penalty; Harold Keke's surrender; another Hamburg cell trial in Germany; Fidel Castro reaffirmed as dictator of Cuba; and Saddam's magical statues.
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  • Paul Moloney: I don't mean to blow my own horn or anything, read more
  • Dan Darling: Too late for today's Winds of War, but Hanbali read more
  • Dan Darling: September 10 was also the arrival date for Ali read more

August 13, 2003

Rumsfeld's Top 10 Priorities

By Joe Katzman at 07:33
Well, this is interesting. This blog has covered Rumsfeld's Rules before... how about Rumsfeld's priorities? The U.S. Secretary of Defense allegedly used this handout during his 22 Jul 03 presentation at the Brigadier General Training Conference. As our email correspondent put it: bq. "Remember, ths is Rumsfeld talking to "his generals," guys who were commanding brigades in Afghanistan and Iraq at the "charm school" for Army one-star general officers." Well, maybe and maybe not. If it isn't Rumsfeld's, it still makes for a fine set of talking points that fit observed trends. So it's not exactly a big secret or anything. We lay out the list, and give readers the background to understand both the trends at work and the debates behind its items. As always, your commentary and thoughts are also more than welcome.
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  • Porphyrogenitus: (oh, and Klaatu, before you ask: no, I'm not going read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: By the way, klaatu the "P-P" insult shows about the read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: And you can get all sorts of quotes from Bush, read more

Guest Blog: A Democrat's Security Rant

By Joe Katzman at 07:18
In response to my "Mogadishu Democrats" post, Michael Totten penned "The View from the Center-Left"... and ignited a blog-war of sorts. Matthew Yglesias, who really ought to know better, penned "The Schtick." It more or less claimed Totten was writing these things for ulterior motives, and several members of his Comments section and other blogs joined in along similar lines. Welcome to High School. Anyhoo, one of Totten's commenters summed up his own conflicts and beliefs in a way that drew particular mention. I won't say I agree with it (you'll see why soon), but it adds to the debate and is worth listening to if you want to take the political temperature of a certain segment in and around the Democratic Party....
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  • ForNow: I’ve tried to do a little research on Bob Jones read more
  • Sam Barnes: Just for the sake of argument, how well-known was the read more
  • ForNow: Correction: ...just as a real change in practice (not only read more

Kazakh Questions: Of Terror and Freedom

By Joe Katzman at 02:44
Yesterday's AfricaPundit Regional Briefing asks some hard questions about policies in Liberia, and also begins an examination of West Africa's oil and the potential for both hope and trouble. How the USA chooses to play in this region will matter, especially given the growing regional tensions between Christians and Moslems. North and East, in Central Asia, it's worth asking similar questions about the USA's strategy.
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The Long Goodbye, Al-Saud Style

By Trent Telenko at 00:40
Sometimes things just catch your eye. In the past week I have seen the following in the Washington Post and the Weekly Standard: first Jim Hoagland's "Saving The Saudi Connection" column, then Stephen Schwartz's "The Dysfunctional House of Saud" and Max Singer's "Saudi Arabia's Overrated Oil Weapon." Then I see that the Bush Administration is filling the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve to the tune of nearly 11 million barrels of oil, which has the following effect: bq. "Energy consultant Phil Verleger, an economist, said with commercial inventories so low, any oil taken out of the market has an impact on price. Verleger estimated that the 11 million barrels "probably translates into a buck or a buck-and-a-half a barrel' price increase." Given the above pattern, and the negative political implications for Bush re-election of higher oil prices, I'd say that the Bush Administration has a strategic psychological operations campaign active and aimed at the Al-Saud clan saying the following loudly and clearly: "Your Services Are No Longer Required."
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  • Joe Katzman: Tony, I didn't ask for your opinion on whether or read more
  • Skyrocket: It seems the Foresta "twins" are cut from the same read more
  • Tony Foresta: I would strongly urge you to review the 1st Amendment read more

August 12, 2003

Potato-Potato*: Harleys in Europe

By Armed Liberal at 14:52
Den Beste puts his Europhobic glasses on and writes about the emasculation of Harley-Davidson as a metaphor for Europe's intended emasculation of America. All bloggers have viewpoints, and all bloggers tend to opine about things they know little or nothing about - isn't that what blogging is for? But in this case a) he touches on something close to home for me - motorcycles; and b) he does so in a way that allows me to make a point about those who persist in seeing things about Europe and the U.S. too negatively and rigidly. And c) I get to defend government regulation as a freebie. He writes:
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  • khr: I was strolling strayed around the blogosphere and came across read more
  • EPD: I've read these comments and those after DeBeste's and Cold read more
  • rkb: Comparing Harleys to racing bikes is beside the point. You read more

Africapundit's Regional Briefing: 2003-08-12

By Joe Katzman at 08:39
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This monthly Regional Briefing will focus on Africa, courtesy of AfricaPundit. TOP TOPICS * JK: An outstanding series of Liberia articles by The Buggy Professor on the situation facing the USA in Liberia, some lessons from similar efforts before, and the future of humanitarian interventions. The best preparation I've yet seen for intelligent discussion of this conflict and America's response. (Hat Tip: P.) * West Africa has large crude oil and gas reserves. IAGS asks: is West African oil a possible substitute for America's growing dependence on crude exports from the unstable Middle East, or will the Gulf of Guinea echo the risks presented by the Persian Gulf? (Anticipatory Retaliation comments) Other Topics Today Include: More on Liberia; Keeping track of the terrorists indicted in the U.S. Embassy bombings 1998; Zimbabwe news; Kidnapped Europeans in Mali now; more on the coming Christian Schism; LRA in Uganda.
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  • Jonathan Edelstein: The Nigerian newspaper ThisDay has an article about the Anglican read more
  • Joe Katzman: charpressler: The Anglican Church's. read more
  • charpressler: AfricaPundit predicts a "coming Christian schism" in Africa, but backs read more

He's One of The Smartest Pols In America

By Armed Liberal at 01:29
Political quote of the day: bq. "San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown observed to a TV reporter last week: "The people in California - as in many places - are pretty sick of people like Willie Brown. They're pretty sick of politicians, smooth operators, who claim they're going to do something and they don't do it."
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  • BigFire: This is Willie Brown we're talking about here. Had the read more
  • Christopher Luebcke: That's the most perceptive thing I think I've ever heard read more

August 11, 2003

Dr. Frank on Bad Philosophy

By Armed Liberal at 23:38
Over at Dr. Frank's What's-it, a great post on Bad Philosophy, in the form of a commentary on an inter-blog dispute about the merits of the Baader-Meinhof gang and their buddies, the Red Army Fraction. He takes off from a discussion of history to comment on what he saw in his Bay Area adolescence (one that I shared as well) and he comes to an important insight:
An important element of the complex, I've often fancied, is a general psychological condition that fetishized and aggrandized ordinary, adolescent rebellion against parental authority, and invested it with universal significance, making it and its concomitant sensations the focus of life and politics, to such a degree that experiences that do not include the sensations are found lacking, unexciting, inauthentic, suspect; the flame of sticking it to the old man had to be kept alive, and neither the absence of an actual old man to stick it to, nor the fact that one has become an old man oneself, has much bearing on the matter.
Here, I think, you find the psychological engine underlaying the Romantic attachment to (quoting Berlin) '...wholeheartedness, sincerity, purity of soul, the ability and readiness to dedicate yourself to your ideal, no matter what it was.' And what could be more pure than the nihilistic act of terror that denies society's parental power over you and at the same time destroyed the symbols of that power? Only an act that destroyed yourself at the same time. Cody Jarrett, meet Mohammed Atta.
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Intelligence, Analysis, Planning & Hindsight

By Joe Katzman at 07:01
In today's "Winds of War" global War on Terror briefing, Andrew Olmsted writes: bq. "Were the postwar issues the United States now faces in Iraq known beforehand? The CIA claims they predicted many of them back in February, adding fuel to the fire of why the United States seemed singularly unprepared for anything after the fighting stopped." This report may add fuel to the fire, but neither this CIA claim nor the above reportage of it adds much to our understanding. Andrew's assertion may even turn out to be correct - but without some additional information, this paragraph and its linked piece don't even meet the standard of useful information. Grasping why that's so will sharply improve your understanding of intelligence-related stories and planning in organizations, and so I present: [1] The foresight muddle and hindsight trap; [2] The bureaucratic imperative; and [3] a basic series of good after-action analysis questions.
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  • Joe Katzman: I should probably qualify that. "...why the United States seemed read more
  • Andrew: Out of curiosity, what assertion did I make? My intent read more
  • MG: A very nice summary indeed of the proper role of read more

Boyd on Moral Warfighting and Guerilla Warfare

By Armed Liberal at 06:20
I finished the John Boyd biography last week, and have been digging into any source documents of his that I can find. On reading many of them, they seemed right, but somewhat stale...and then I realized that they were stale because I have been reading about reflections of these ideas for the last twenty years. One reason I enjoyed the film 'Shakespeare in Love' so much was that it brought back to me the idea of what it must have been like to see 'Romeo and Juliet' fresh and free of preconception. I have been paying particular attention to 'Patterns of Conflict' (available as a blurry pdf at Defense and the National Interest). I keep trying to weld together the liberal half of my worldview - which tells me that, short of something that looks like genocide, we can't kill the opposition in this War on Bad Philosophy faster than they grow, and so we must somehow disrupt their growth cycle by changing political and social conditions to radically lowering the attractiveness of these causes - with the conservative, which suggests that confronting and killing the opposition is the way to go. Boyd was there first.
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  • Sue: This sounds great, in theory: "Undermine guerrilla cause and destroy read more
  • David Blue: #13 from Patrick E. Walsh: 7) However, if the current read more
  • Don: ninja - think about it read more

Baseball: Playoff Predictions & Triple Plays

By Joe Katzman at 05:04
It's an Andrew Olmsted day here at Winds of Change.NET. Here's his post on the teams he's picking to make baseball's October playoffs. So, Boomshock, when are you going to take a break from the best Arnold Schwarzenegger coverage in the blogosphere (or anywhere else, for that matter) and give us your thoughts? UPDATE: For those looking to catch last night's unassisted Triple Play (the 12th in the history of baseball), Donald Sensing has the video. If you want the streaming media verison, or you're a Braves-hater and just want to see Pujols homer off Smoltz to win the game, has your goodies.
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  • Porphyrogenitus: Seriously, the only prediction I have is that the Brewers read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: Behsehball? I only follow the Ithklur leagues, sorry. read more

Andrew's Winds of War: 2003-08-11

By Andrew Olmsted at 00:14
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Andrew Olmsted - soon to be Major Andrew Olmsted. TOP TOPICS * Did the Administration inflate the Iraq threat to gain support for the war? The Washington Post has an in-depth feature that traces some of the Washington lineage of the Iraqi nuclear debate, and examines this question. * JK: Armed Liberal discusses Iraq and the War on Terror, in terms of John Boyd's insights. We've covered Boyd a lot in our "4th Generation Warfare" category. * JK: Trent discusses America's grand strategy in terms of "The Core, the Gap, and American Foreign Policy", a piece based on Esquire's article "The Pentagon's New Map." Some good material in the comments section, too, about the relationship between the War on Terror and The War on Drugs. Other Topics Today Include: More evidence of al Qaeda in Iraq; riots in Basra; Iran's nuclear program; Iran & Cuba; The mullahs' internal tactics; Is DHS really helping at home; SAM suspicions; From peace dividend to power projection; Israel & Hezbollah; Women & Islam in France & Afghanistan; Charles Taylor prepares to resign; Russian talks between the Koreas; cooling tensions between India-Pakistan; and an Air France pilot's comedy routine bombs.
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  • Kian: In regards to the closure of the offices intended to read more
  • Joe Katzman: Re: DoD employees talking to someone connected with Iran-Contra, the read more

August 10, 2003

Personal Good News

By Armed Liberal at 23:54
So in the ‘good news’ department, I’ve successfully married off my brother to a wonderful woman, and they are off to Hawaii for a luxury golf honeymoon (…hey, I said she was wonderful, not sane…). Congratulations to them!!
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  • grs: Mazel tov to them and to you! read more
  • Joe Katzman: A very fine toast. And a woman whose idea of read more

The Core, The Gap and American Foreign Policy

By Trent Telenko at 20:26
Esquire's March 2003 issue had an article titled "The Pentagon's New Map" that had a series of maps and text arguing that the world can essentially be cut up into two spheres. Those areas of the globe who had made the leap to globalization, "The Core," which is defined as places thick with network connectivity, financial transactions, liberal media flows, and collective security that features stable governments, rising standards of living, and more deaths by suicide than murder. And places where it hasn't happened, or "The Gap." This article, written by Thomas Barnett of the U.S. NAVAL WAR COLLEGE, posits that the real danger in the world is disconnectedness between the Core and the Gap with the Middle East as "exhibit A." The crux of the article is this passage:
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  • Trent Telenko: Simon, What is distinct in politics now as opposed to read more
  • ForNow: Just two notes on the idea of ending the war read more
  • M. Simon: Trent, The empire building of the Prison Industrial complex is read more

August 9, 2003

Sufi Wisdom: Dervish Dance Event

By Joe Katzman at 07:42
This will be a somewhat unusual entry, an event rather than our usual Saturday feature. Bahman Kalbasi wrote me to let me know, and I'll be at the Friday show. Any Toronto readers would be more than welcome to join me - we can meet in the coffee shop at the corner of College & Yonge at 9:30pm Aug. 15th. Hamd: A Spiritual Dervish Dance from Persia Performed by Ida Meftahi This dance is based on the traditional ceremony performed by the Dervishes of the Rumi Order, founded by Jalaleddin Rumi the Persian mystic poet (and I believe, the best-selling poet in America even today). The whirling movements have been enriched by broader motions pertaining to that part of Order extant in Balouchestan, the southeastern providence of Iran. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Wed Aug. 13th, 11pm | Fri Aug. 15th, 11pm For more details on the event...
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  • soheil: hello my name is soheil from toronto, actually im looking read more

The Blogger's Throne

By Joe Katzman at 07:27
They call it the "MasterPeace Freedom Chair." I want one! I wonder if Gimpy knows about this?
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  • Balagan: oh wow. i want one too. read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: I think I'll wait till the "Unilateral Dis-Armchair" comes out. read more


By Joe Katzman at 07:23
I don't usually do this, but in these cases I'll make an exception... * As Jeff Jarvis points out, Instapundit just turned 2. Jeff explains why Glenn Reynolds deserves the acclaim he has received, puts the magnitude of those achievements in context, and talks about 3 trends revolutionizing media. Me, I'm just trying to imagine starting a blog in August 2001. What a different world. * Kesher Talk is the best blog I know if you want to learn more about Judaism, and also keep up with international events. Judith Weiss is a big part of the reason why. Her recap of her rookie year blogging experiences is a gateway to lots of fascinating stuff. Don't miss the Jewish Indian Chief post. * One year, 1.5 million page views, 19,838 referrers, 13,817 comments, 7162 entries, 311 blogcritics, awards and recommendations aplenty. Eric says thanks. To all of you, we say thanks in return. The blogosphere is a richer place because you're in it.
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How to Walk on Water

By Joe Katzman at 07:02
Well, if you're a water strider, anyway. Remember those nifty little critters from the creeks and lakes of your youth? Here's how they move ahead as they spread their weight out on the surface tension of the water. Distilling all the science-speak - think canoeing here.
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August 8, 2003

Spengler and Decline

By Armed Liberal at 23:58
Via Grim's Hall, a new blog to me but one that I'll catch up on after my brother's wedding, I see that someone's concerned that we will lose the 'War on Bad Philosophy'. Spengler (which I assume is a pseudonym) writes a column in the Asia Times titled: 'Why radical Islam might defeat the West'. In it, he(?) writes:
Which brings us to the threat of radical Islam. "You are decadent and hedonistic. We on the other hand are willing to die for what we believe, and we are a billion strong. You cannot kill all of us, so you will have to accede to what we demand." That, in a nutshell, constitutes the Islamist challenge to the West.

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  • Jamal: You just CANNOT take out the Muslim world. They are read more
  • Tim: What Spengler misses (and Pipes too) is that we are read more
  • Trent Telenko: >Who will say "surrender" for militant Islam and >be heeded? read more

The Roadmap: 3 Views

By Joe Katzman at 13:25
Kamil Zogby is not fully recovered yet, so we won't be able to run a full briefing today. Instead, I'm just going to blog 3 articles, representing different poles of prediction and thinking about the Roadmap and its impact on Israel's existence: * Anne Bayesfsky's detailed piece, "The U.N. and the Assault on Israel's Legitimacy: Implications for the Roadmap". By accepting many of the Roadmap's key assumptions, she argues, Israel has advanced the process of its own delegitimization and eventual destruction. A searing, detailed indictment of the U.N., and a serious critique of a U.S. policy that she believes will deeply endanger Israel's existence if the process of regional reform fails. * Ze'ev Chafets, meanwhile, has a different take. Sharon is playing along with the Roadmap and handing over his cheque, believing that it will never be cashed because the Palestinians' cheque will bounce and then Israel will be given a free hand. Once it does, the next Intifadeh will begin - and this time it will be Israel's. * A reader reminds me that David Warren, of all people, has a fairly hopeful take on the situation. Which is true? Well, each has its own set of assumptions, and it's worth asking yourself what those are as you read them. Are there other views? Sure there are. If you've seen an analysis of the situation that's particularly good, please let us all know via the Comments section.
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  • Stan LS: Anne is right on. King Hussein did not negotiate read more
  • M. Simon: The first article says the villain is the UN, UN, read more
  • Andre Setton: I believe that the second rendition of the roadmap to read more

Free Thoughts on Iran

By Joe Katzman at 11:01
A number of bloggers (incl. Hossein, Jeff Jarvis and Winds of Change.NET) have discussed the importance of Iranians and expatriates blogging in English, as a bridge to the Persian blogosphere and media. Well, I have good news on that front. Kaveh just emailed me about his new site bq. "...recently we have started something very similar in format to [Winds of Change.NET] ans incidentally we used some of your ideas.... We have 29 authors registered and expect the participancy to grow!" It's very nicely done, with a diverse group of writers and a comments section that really enhances their posts. See: * Chernobyl, Harrisburg, Hiroshima... Bushehr, Kaveh Khodjasteh. * Dialogue Between Civilizations, Kaveh Khodjasteh's frustrating conversation here in Canada with a Shi'ite from Pakistan. * Democracy: The Fundamental Features and Flaws, Niyayesh Afshordi - see esp. the comments. * Is Iran Rich?!, Borghan Nezami comes to understand something very important as a result of seeing North America. * People's Demands: Present, Babak Seradjeh. * The Art of Brinksmanship, Mehdi Yahyanejad talking about Iran's internal situation. My Latin is a bit rusty, but I believe their blog's sub-title translates as "We are free in our minds/thoughts," an appropriate motto for a group dedicated to helping Iranians follow Vaclav Havel's philosophy of "living in truth". This is a very positive development - long may they prosper.
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  • ForNow: LIBERAE SUNT NOSTRAE COGITATIONES = Free are our thoughts = read more
  • M. Simon: Good ideas catch on. Way to go Joe. I think read more


By Armed Liberal at 01:35
Well, it's going to be a fun September here in California!! Here's what we have on the plate: 1. The Recall. Do we vote 2nd term Governor and former Presidential aspirant Gray Davis out of office and send him home to his little-used West Hollywood condo? If we do that, are we damaging the Democratic Party? Are we damaging the State? Assuming we do send him home, we have: 2. The Replacement. Who do we vote in to replace him? As of this afternoon, we have (in order of my perception of their electability) some major candidates...
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  • Porphyrogenitus: He's ineligable, though; California's Constitution has term limits for the read more
  • Justa Sil Eass: In light of the current mess, Hasn't anyone realized the read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: I am sort of surprised more people don't just think read more

August 7, 2003

Inslaw - Another Symptom of Cancer in the DOJ

By Celeste at 20:32
A few weeks ago, I read a column by Michelle Malkin, titled "America's spy software scandal." It starts off with a sensational enough teaser:
"Did Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden have access to a U.S. computer tracking program that enabled them to monitor our intelligence-gathering efforts and financial transactions? If so, who is responsible for allowing the program to fall into their hands? And who else among America's enemies might have access to the tracking system? It's an explosive spy software scandal that no one in official Washington wants to investigate."

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  • Celeste: Absolutely. But I hadn't heard of it before Michelle Malkin's read more
  • M. Simon: The news of this scandal has been around for years. read more

Tisha B'Av Holiday Features

By Joe Katzman at 16:59
Tisha B'Av (the 9th of Av) is a Jewish holiday of mourning. Among the misfortunes that happened on this day, the destruction of The Temple in Jerusalem (currently the Wailing Wall) looms large. More explanation, commentary, etc. can be found at Kesher Talk. * Sandstorm has a piece on the Temples of Jerusalem in Islam. "For Muslims to question or even deny the existence of the Temples, in disregard of the Qur'an and Muslim tradition, is to cast doubt upon the very sources which underpin their own claim." * Keep Trying has a post about senseless hatred, senseless love and Tisha B'av.
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Kate's Winds of War: 2003-08-07

By Venomous Kate at 08:51
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's "Winds of War" is brought to you by Venomous Kate of Electric Venom. TOP TOPICS * Hossein Khomeni, grandson of the late Ayatollah Khomeni, is urging the U.S. to assist in overthrowing the country's regime with the goal of bringing about the security and contentment he says he has witnessed on his recent travels in Iraq. * Vodkapundit says waging war the modern way makes waging war more difficult - and it makes waging the peace harder, too. Frederick W. Kagan adds a more in-depth analysis of this topic. * Daniel Drezner, meanwhile, has lots of background links to go with his analysis of the prospects for democracy in Iraq and elsewhere. He thinks Fareed Zakaria is wrong, and explains why. Other Topics Today Include: tightening the noose around Saddam's neck; Hans Blix singing the same ol' song; losing to Al-Jazera, illness in Iraq; various updates on Iran's nuclear program; With friends like these...; America's aims; al-qaeda's body count; Hawash pleads gilty; Indonesia; and a trend in men's fashion that may surprise you.
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The Wisdom of Letting Them Fight

By Joe Katzman at 08:24
Geitner Simmons makes a fine point, one that nicely extends some of the realities I've noted before in "The Congo Ideology-trap". Try this idea on for size: sometimes, it's better to let people fight it out than it is to intervene. Shocking? Immoral? Well, consider this... what if foreign powers had stepped in as 'peacekeepers' after Gettysburg? bq. "Around about 1863, neither the North nor the South had delivered a knockout blow. Foreigners could hardly have been blamed for judging the war-torn United States, where hundreds of thousands had died, to be a failed state..."
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  • Tom Holsinger: "Letting them fight" applies only to factional violence. What is read more

Genocide Paralysis

By Joe Katzman at 06:20
Mader Blog has 2 things to recommend itself to you today. One is a fantastic new home page look, in the finest Canadian tradition. Bravo! The other is an article about global reaction to instances of genocide since the term was coined and codified after the Second World War. Samantha Power analyses the reactions of world officialdom (both U.S. and U.N.), and finds the same syndromes recurring each time: The refusal to believe. The false moral equivalence packaged as diplomacy. The use of that equivalence, and all or nothing intervention arguments, to justify doing nothing. "Look Shocked But Look Away" captures the dynamic perfectly. Disturbing and necessary reading. Especially if coupled with our next post: "The Wisdom of Letting Them Fight." UPDATE: Fierce Highway has some worthwhile comments.
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August 6, 2003

Chief W. Says Goodbye

By Joe Katzman at 23:14
As you read this excerpt, and the rest of his excellent post, ponder the fact that this man works as an interrogator with the U.S. military in a prison for enemy POWs (Hat Tip: Sensing's round-up of links):
"I sat at the end of his cot while him and the army general looked up into my eyes as if to say, "Please don't tell me you are leaving". With out hesitation the words "I'm leaving" came out of my mouth. Then there was a long pause as I waited for their response. They both looked at me and looked at each other, simultaneously saying, "This is not good news". They expressed their concern for my safety since I was going to live in Baghdad. They both promised to be there with me as soon as they are released. They vowed to be my shield against any would be attackers and promised to pray for me continuously. Looking through the tent door, noticing the others were gathering outside, I rose to my feet to say goodbye. With tears running down my face I embraced each of them and thanked them for the great example they had been to me and for the many things I had learned from them. They too were crying as I departed their tent, promising to see me again in Baghdad as soon as possible."
I've read his blog for a while now, and none of this surprises me. Remarkable - and worth thinking about.
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  • Tom Holsinger: My wife says this represents an American archtype at its read more
  • klaatu: Thanks, Joe. Nine months to go. And Plunge, as a read more
  • Joe Katzman: Plunge, Klaatu wasn't implying that Chief W. didn't know what read more

Robi's South Asia Briefing: 2003-08-06

By Joe Katzman at 07:54
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on South-SE Asia, courtesy of Robi Sen. * Last month we mentioned the increasing relationship between India and Israel. In September, Sharon will travel to India to further that relationship. Varnam has some comments. Other Topics Today Include: Indonesia blast; Developments in and around Kashmir; Musharraf speaks out against extremism; Islamic terrorism throughout SE Asia, from Bangladesh to the Phillipines; and a superb book that offers insights into the current War on Terror.
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  • Robi: JK, Ill ask Joe to make the correction and appologies read more
  • JK: The quote from my post is wrong. It says "This read more
  • Niraj: Very much flattered for including me in your briefing. Please read more

Mogadishu Democrats

By Joe Katzman at 07:48
"I knew we were in for a long season when we lined up for the national anthem on opening day and one of my players said, 'Every time I hear that song I have a bad game."     -- Jim Leyland, Manager, Pittsburgh Pirates
My blog-mates Armed Liberal and Trent Telenko have been carrying on a running debate here at Winds of Change.NET about the future of the Democratic Party, issues of leadership and foreign policy, and more. Just zip over to our GEO: U.S. of A category archives for a look. For the most part, I've left it alone and covered the rest of the world. Still, there is one angle I'd like to cover. It's about the centrist Democrats who see the importance of the national defence issue, but can't seem to shake some crippling beliefs and behaviours. Untill and unless these habits are examined and corrected, initiatives to reform the Democratic Party and offer a credible voice on national security issues will remain stillborn. Let's begin with yet another demonstration of Jane's Law, on July 4th no less. Democrats for National Security (DfNS) emailed to say:
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  • blaster: It is silly to think that the House of Saud read more
  • Trent Telenko: SamAm, You missed a few other scenarios Tom Holsinger passed read more
  • SamAm: "Next, ask yourself exactly why the Bush Administration is rushing read more

Martin Kramer's Mideast Reading List

By Joe Katzman at 06:42
Martin Kramer is the editor of a blog called Sandstorm. He's also the author of the book Ivory Towers on Sand, which documented the long track record of Mideast Studies "luminaries" who are usually either egregiously wrong in their predictions or out and out apologists for terrorism. Now that Harvard is recommending Ivory Towers on Sand as the counterpart pre-reading text to Edward Said's Orientalism, wouldn't you be interested in Martin Kramer's reading list of key articles (all FREE!) that would introduce you to the Middle East and the history of Islamism? I thought so. I would add to his list two articles from The Atlantic, one Esquire article, and one discourse on movements within Islam:
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  • Nicolas Bronze: For those of you who would like to read a read more
  • Eye Opener: Good reading, noted and posted above. A penetrating insight on read more
  • James Holland: I'm curious to know to what extent the Middle Eastern read more

Hope Street - Interesting But Needs A Little Work

By Armed Liberal at 06:23
Via the estimable Oxblog, I discover a bunch of new-thinkers right here in Los Angeles, the 'Hope Street Group'.
The Hope Street Group promotes principles and policies aimed at achieving an Opportunity Economy, in part by harnessing the skills, networks and resources of a new generation of business executives and professionals.
Sounds pretty good so far. They support what they call the 'opportunity economy', in which market incentives are created and market barriers lowered to ensure that everyone has a chance to participate. I definitely like the sound of that. The details, however, need a bit of work. They have several white papers available online. I'll make one key suggestion for them; following on the excellent usability work of Jakob Nielsen, I'll suggest that presenting multipage papers online only as pdf's is a Bad And Annoying Thing.
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  • Daniel W Kauffman Jr: More Householders Than Ever Own Their Homes According to read more
  • David Mercer: Heh, some of us have trouble keeping cars! read more
  • Lurker: OK. What about this? How about a network or Web read more

August 5, 2003

Return of the Gun Trucks

By Trent Telenko at 21:47
The Army Times has a subscriber only story on the Army truck drivers in Iraq. The short form, 10 of the 50(+) combat deaths since major combat ended have been truckers; there are not enough Military Police to guard truck convoys; traffic hazards, bandits and guerrilla attacks have reduced Army convoys to a single predictable main supply route; and a variety of measures including a return to Vietnam style "gun trucks" are being used to counter the security problem. Here is a typical truck convoy run from the article:
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  • TOM: I read your story on the gun trucks Its really read more
  • MG: The Strykers are coming in October. Not the 105mm infantry read more
  • murdoc: This would be a great place to run the new read more

The Internet and American Presidential Politics

By Trent Telenko at 17:50
Dick Morris, former politcal consultant to Presidents turned columnist and Fox News Channel talking head, has a very interesting column in the New York Post on what the use of the Internet by the Dean campaign means for the future of politcal campaigning in America. He says:
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  • degustibus: Richard sez: <The California recall was started by the internet read more
  • Richard A. Heddleson: The internet and talk radio are narrowcast technologies that reach read more
  • Tom Donelson: Dick Morris considers the Dean campaign a revolutionary campaign, demonstrating read more

Tolerant & Intolerant Islam

By Tarek Heggy at 11:34
Cairo correspondent Tarek Heggy is back again! His latest article builds on his last, continuing the thread begun in our recent Sufi Wisdom features, offering an in-context history of the Saudis and the growth of Wahhabism, and giving his take on the way forward. Tolerant and Intolerant Islam (Or "Peaceful Islam" versus "Militant Islam") by Tarek Heggy As early as the first century of the Muslim calendar, Islam has known radical sects who demanded blind adherence to their rigid reading of the articles of faith, side by side with mainstream Islam, whose adherents eschew violence and extremism and do not profess to hold a monopoly on Truth. The phenomenon began with the emergence of the _Khawarij_ (Seceders) in 660 AD, (the middle of the first Hejira century), a sect which preached a dogmatic interpretation of Scripture and practiced a version of excommunication by branding those who did not adopt its teachings as heretics. This was the first such sect but by no means the last, and throughout the history of Islam the quiet of religious life was broken many times by marginal groups who tried to impose their extremist views on the majority by violent means.
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  • gijoe: you can chop it down and dissolve it and reconfigure read more
  • Thebit: I'm surprised that an Egyptian (or an Arab) wrote this. read more

Kristof on Hiroshima - Not What You'd Expect

By Armed Liberal at 07:49
Another good Nick Kristof column today. I may have to rethink my opinion of him. Damn, I hate it when facts overrule prejudice.
Tomorrow will mark the anniversary of one of the most morally contentious events of the 20th century, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. And after 58 years, there's an emerging consensus: we Americans have blood on our hands. There has been a chorus here and abroad that the U.S. has little moral standing on the issue of weapons of mass destruction because we were the first to use the atomic bomb. As Nelson Mandela said of Americans in a speech on Jan. 31, "Because they decided to kill innocent people in Japan, who are still suffering from that, who are they now to pretend that they are the policeman of the world?"
He then goes into the emerging history being uncovered by Japanese historians that suggests that the Bomb did in fact fracture the ruling coalition and create the possibility of surrender. Read the whole thing. UPDATE: Sparkey of Team Stryker adds more historical background.
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  • leo: In the eve of Hiroshima, there was an Allied declaration read more
  • linden: "The chief cause is US nuclear policy that, by openly read more
  • M. Simon: I'm reminded of an anti-war demonstrator at a reunion of read more

A Good Idea

By Armed Liberal at 06:30
I've been catching up on my blog reading tonight while Tenacious G catches us up on Quickbooks, and found a few things: First of all, sign me right up for Vanderleun's holiday campaign: NO CDs FOR THE HOLIDAYS. WEB TO RIAA: TWO WRONGS DON'T MAKE A RIGHT. I haven't bought any new CD's since May. Just picked up a nice used copy of "Will the Circle be Unbroken" at Amazon. No greater effort than buying a new one, and I saved a few bucks. I won't buy any more new CD's this year. I may not buy any next year. My life doesn't seem to be any worse for it. Yours won't be either. He's looking for someone to design a web button ... click on through and help him out.
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  • Lurker: Unfortunately, if this boycott succeeds, they'll blame the drop in read more

Hasan Akbar's Peculiar Military Career

By Armed Liberal at 06:14
I saw this in the L.A. Times Sunday magazine (intrusive registration etc. etc. use 'laexaminer'/'laexaminer') and assumed other bloggers would pick it up; I'm surprised that no one's blogged this up until now, so I'll toss it out there. The subtitle was: His Behavior Was Bizarre. His Peers Insulted His Muslim Faith. He Was Shipped Off to Fight in Iraq. Then He Allegedly Murdered Two Army Officers. And a sympathetic look at the Iraqi fragger follows.
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  • QURAN BILAL: [Drive-by by probable sockpuppet. Banned. If you care to appeal, read more
  • Michelle: Reading this numerous times I feel that I must defend read more
  • Lisa: If you are going to defend Sgt Akbar by throwing read more

PETA Funding Terrorists?

By Joe Katzman at 05:43
Yesterday's Winds of War noted that Earth Liberation Front (ELF) terrorists recently struck at an office complex in San Diego. Celeste has also covered the ELF and ALF before on Winds of Change.NET. Ironically, the title of her post was "France is to Iraq as PETA is to the ELF." Well, looks like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the ELF are even closer than we thought. Robert Prather notes a court case which seems to show that PETA has funded ELF. I'm sorry, but that's simply beyond the pale. ELF's goals and activities are very well known. Looks like it's time for a review of PETA's tax-exempt status, at the very least. If the charges are true, prosecute aggressively. Governance and serious corporate accountability need to apply to the non-profit Red Crosses and PETAs of the world, just as much as they need to apply to the Enrons and Arthur Andersens.
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  • spurwing plover: PETA already has some suckers giving them money and they read more
  • BIRDZILLA: PETA is strictly for persons who brains are the size read more
  • charlie32: The more things change... Classic marxist underground tactics include an read more

Randinho's Latin America Briefing: 2003-08-05

By Joe Katzman at 04:05
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Latin America, courtesy of Randy Paul. * Last month, when a French Hercules C-130 military plane landed in Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas in Brazil. Only those aboard knew why it was there - and they weren't telling anyone; not the Brazilian government (to whom they refused entry, claiming diplomatic immunity) or the government of Colombia, which is not far from Manaus. [more...] Today's Topics Include: Did French arrogance bungle Ingrid Betancourt's release by the FARC?; Carlos Castano's strange PR campaign in Colombia; Mexico incognito; Efrain Rios Montt campaigns as savior of those he brutalized when he was president of Guatemala; Alberto Fujimori lives in denial; and a book recommendation for background on Colombia.
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Blogging != Politics

By Armed Liberal at 02:11
There's an interesting roundelay about blogging and politics going on at Doc Searls' and Gerald Vanderleun's. The topic is the impact of blogging on politics, and the arguments are simple. Doc says:
I sense an opening here for a practical libertarian sensibility coming to the fore, from the grass roots ... from the blogs. What makes this sensibility a moderating influence is the tie that it makes to sensible governance.

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  • Balagan: whether any particular blogger at any specific point in time read more
  • someone: That blogs as a whole are important doesn't mean you read more
  • NF: I've just been re-reading the history of the French and read more

August 4, 2003

Winds of War: 2003-08-04

By Joe Katzman at 18:46
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from the global War on Terror that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. TOP TOPICS * Dr. Michael Vlahos has a deep and thought-provoking article about choosing one's enemies, how they define us, and the War on Terror thus far: "Who is the enemy? Victory depends on our answer...." * Fierce Highway has a great analysis of the missing 9/11 report pages, the Saudis, and U.S. policy. See also the sequel: "More Reason, Not Less". Other Topics Today Include: Duelling WMD reports; View from the streets; German post-war history 1945-49; Shredders revisited; Rebuilding the oil industry; Iran & the bomb; NK and the bomb; Terrorists strike in the USA; Regime decapitation; Afghanistan; Syria; Good fences in Israel & India; Chechnya; and 50 things every guy should know.
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  • Dan Darling: I'd be interested to see how many of the read more
  • Lurker: Clue: It's not true that humanitarian reasons were not provided read more
  • Joe Katzman: If you had been paying any attention, clue, we did. read more


By Joe Katzman at 07:15
Beyond the Near has no time at all for the leftie concept of multiculturalism, but thinks polyculturalism is a great idea. Want an explanation? Give her post a read. My take: The advent of a healthy right-wing parallel to multiculturalism is only a matter of time, the product of growing internal political necessity as well as larger external trends like globalization. Just one more reason to pay attention when you see posts like this one.
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  • Michael Martin: I spent four years in Berkeley; most of the reasonably read more
  • Kathy K: I like it. Polycultural can be used the same way read more

RWN 20 Worst Americans Poll

By Joe Katzman at 07:09
John Hawkins of Right Wing News ran a poll yesterday among a number of bloggers, canvassing for the 20 Worst Americans ever. You can see the winners over here, but other than Noam Chomsky none of our team's nominees made it. For the record, our nominees were: Noam Chomsky, Ramsey Clark, William Kunstler, Joe Kennedy (JFK & Bobby's dad), Joe McCarthy, and the 7/9 Supreme Court Justices led by Chief Justice Taney who ruled to keep Dred Scott a slave. Our #1 choice, however, was Terry Jacks. He wrote the song "Seasons in the Sun" - 'Nuff said. Now, some comments on a few of the winners: * #17 FDR: FDR? That cuckoo sound y'all are hearing ain't the clock. * #8 Lyndon Johnson: Not the greatest guy ever, but #8? * #8 Hillary Clinton & #3 Bill Clinton: The fever is back, I see. Take 2 interns, and call me in the morning. * #2 Benedict Arnold: Yeah, yeah. Speaking from the other side all I can say is, he was one fine British subject. And that's all I have to say about that. You, on the other hand, can go ahead and use the Comments section. UPDATE: More background on "Seasons in the Sun"... Jacks is disqualified. Further research reveals that this musical atrocity had been recorded previously in French by many artists, as "Le Moribond". We should have guessed. UPDATE #2: Dean Esmay has his own list. It's pretty good, if a bit biased toward the recent.
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  • Dean Esmay: Note that my list was intentionally biased toward the 20th read more
  • Robin Roberts: Looking through my references, I see that there are several read more
  • Robin Roberts: A.L., our attacks on German U-boats are a matter of read more

August 3, 2003

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

By Armed Liberal at 23:43
Back from a bachelor party weekend in Las Vegas, and as I try and rehydrate, I read two interesting articles in the Sunday's L.A. Times Opinion section (annoying registration required, use 'laexaminer'/'laexaminer'). The first one is a blithe commentary on the need for the ICC by Robert McNamara, still atoning. I'm working on something that sets out why I think the concept of 'international law' means something quite different from 'national law', but read his article yourself and see what you think. The second is a thoughtful, but partisan, article on white-collar job flight by David Friedman, from the New America Foundation. His column almost exactly reflects what I believe about the state of the economy and the response of the two big parties to what we're seeing. read the whole thing, but here are three good grafs:
News that major U.S. technology companies, among them IBM, plan to export thousands of high-skill jobs overseas indicates that worrisome trends in the U.S. economy will probably strengthen. Optimists contend that such "workforce flexibility" guarantees that something new ... the Internet, biotechnology ... will turn up to create similar high-paying jobs and carry the economy forward. But rather than triggering real economic development, moving white-collar jobs offshore underscores how reliant the U.S. economy has become on inflating high-end wealth and paper assets to compensate for large-scale job losses. If this pattern holds, the next boom may quickly mutate into another unsustainable bubble, further limiting America's industrial options. ...

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  • Porphyrogenitus: (Btw, you all know that Carter was a tribune of read more
  • Porphyrogenitus: Lurker: Yah, probably. That's one reason why I made a read more
  • Lurker: P- These people that you are talking about, coming in read more

Flextronics: Desktop Manufacturing?

By Joe Katzman at 14:48
Rand Simberg has an article with more information on the evolving science of Flextronics, or assembling stuff by printing it. We've already covered this concept as it applies to medical technology and human cells. What about other uses? Flextronics is already a manufacturing reality, via large machines that build models of new designs as part of the research & development process. Advances in "organic electronics" and nanotechnology, however, will put flextronics on a capability curve that could one day make the concept of "desktop manufacturing" a reality in much the same way desktop printing is reality today. When that happens, the value of plans, the ability to trade them, and ownership of intellectual property will become even bigger issues than they are today. Transterrestrial Musings has a couple of links on that subject, too.
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  • Lurker: Logical conclusion???? The Diamond Age. By Neal Stephenson. read more
  • Randall Parker: This trend also makes WMD proliferation steadily easier to do... read more
  • Andrew: It's kinda funny, in all those Star Trek style scifis read more

Sufi Wisdom: More El-Ghazali

By Joe Katzman at 13:35
As militant Islam does its level best to discredit the religion, it's important to remember that there are other voices within the faith. Every Saturday, therefore, we spend some time with the Sufis' "crazy wisdom." This entry is political, however, so I've moved it to Sunday. Last week's feature from the 12th-century scholar and Sufi El-Ghazali (a.k.a. al-Ghazali) led into a major essay on Islam by our Cairo correspondent, Tarek Heggy. The triumph of El-Ghazali's thought over that of Ibn Rushd (Averroes), he said, set the stage for despotism and the growth of intolerance in the Islamic world. Today, we go back to El-Ghazali, via a story from and an accompanying discussion of his philosophy:
"A human being is not a human being while his tendencies include self-indulgence, covetousness, temper and attacking other people. A student must reduce to the minimum the fixing of his attention upon customary things like his people and his environment, for attention-capacity is limited. The pupil must regard his teacher like a doctor who knows the cure of the patient. He will serve his teacher. Sufis teach in unexpected ways. An experienced physician prescribes certain treatments correctly. Yet the outside observer might be quite amazed at what he is saying and doing; he will fail to see the necessity or the relevance of the procedure being followed. This is why it is unlikely that the pupil will be able to ask the right questions at the right time. But the teacher knows what and when a person can understand."

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  • moshood animashaun: Hello, Am mr moshood animashaun ,The head of marketing department read more
  • Catfish and Cod: Interesting: an example of this phenomenon popped up just today. read more

August 2, 2003

Phish Festival

By Joe Katzman at 19:40
Asparagirl, who seems to share at least some of my taste in music, is off at the IT Phish festival in Maine. If you don't know what Phish is, you owe it to yourself to surf on over and find out - some are calling them the successor band to the Grateful Dead. A moment of silence for concert organizer James Willox, whose legacy will include this show. Hope it's everything James wanted it to be, and that Brooke is having a great time.
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  • Asparagirl: Thanks, Joe! I did indeed have a great time. It read more

Why Nanotech Dockers Matter

By Joe Katzman at 09:57 reminds us of an important truth, as they link to a Yahoo! News article:
"Boosters claim that nanotech-derived products may some day cure disease, slow the aging process and eliminate pollution. But for now, the human race will have to settle for tennis balls that keep their bounce longer, flat-panel displays that shine brighter and wrinkle-free khaki slacks that resist coffee stains. "People are saying, 'Geez, this isn't Star Trek yet; this is just pants that don't stain,' but you've got to start somewhere...."
Yes. Large innovations are built on smaller ones. More specifically, the tools that enable large innovations come about from investments that make sense for smaller or more mundane uses. Hence Wilson's "nanoclay" coating inside tennis balls, VailSoft Corp.'s Cerax "racing polymers" for skis, Kodak digital cameras and their "OLED" displays, and special 'nano-whiskers' and natural coatings on synthetic threads. In these examples, we see more than science. We see the genius of a system that isn't centrally planned. The innovations it produces are sensible, small-scale, and immediately useful, because the system forces adaptation to on-the-ground needs as opposed to a planner's grand visions. Indeed, these small-scale innovations are what create the climate, discipline of feedback, proven knowledge base, and sustainable research funding that make the realization of grand visions possible. This is rarely a predictable process, as James Burke and others are quick to show us. It is, however, an extremely effective one. Those who practice it get much more than pants that don't stain - they get wealth that's sustainable. UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds has some thoughts on the other half of the new technology development process, with a discussion of Greenpeace's paper on nanotech, safety, and regulation.
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HydroPacks: Just Add Water

By Joe Katzman at 09:15
Jay Bryant of The Optimate is on a roll lately.
"Last week, President Bush announced that the water problem in Iraq would be alleviated in two months... In civil-war-plagued Monrovia, Liberia, two days before Bush spoke, the water supply was taken out in a mortar attack, threatening a cholera epidemic. Bodies are reported to be piling up outside the U.S. Embassy. We may be sending troops there soon, and if so, one of the major concerns of logistics planners will be how to supply them with safe potable fluids."
Water is critical. People can fast for several weeks without permanent damage, but a week without water will kill you - and drinking contaminated water can be just as deadly. As Jay notes, however, an astonishing new technology is available that could solve these problems as quickly as a few planeloads of the product - a small "magic" bag with gatorade-like powder in it - could get from here to there. It's called a HydroPack (Hat Tip: Joe Maller), has no moving parts, and combines nano-scale membrane technology with the simple principle of forward osmosis. Just throw it into the dirtiest water you can find, let it fill, then sip from the straw. This is a great water filtration technology that should be rushed into the military and disaster-relief procurement system post-haste. On a larger scale, companies like Zenon Environmental offer containerized membrane solutions suitable for disaster recovery, emergency supply, and even ongoing operations of public water systems. With their lack of moving parts and low maintenance demands, these products offer hope to millions - and their deployment should absolutely be part of the planning for military operations in failed states.
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  • Michael Ubaldi: Frank Herbert, please call your office. ;-) read more
  • Joe Maller: Here's the link to HTI's website with pictures of the read more

The Hero's Journey: Ithaca

By Joe Katzman at 02:28
BlogGram has reproduced a fine poem by C.P. Cavafy called "Ithaca." Readers of Joseph Campbell will recognize in it the essence of The Hero's Journey, which is appropriate because Ithaca was the home of the Greek Hero Odysseus. How does this apply in your life? Where, or what, is your Ithaca? bq. "When you start on your journey to Ithaca, then pray that the road is long, full of adventure, full of knowledge. Do not fear the Lestrygonians and the Cyclopes and the angry Poseidon. You will never meet such as these on your path, if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine emotion touches your body and your spirit. You will never meet the Lestrygonians, the Cyclopes and the fierce Poseidon, if you do not carry them within your soul, if your soul does not raise them up before you..." Go and read the rest! »
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August 1, 2003

Sensing's Best of the Web

By Joe Katzman at 20:52
Donald Sensing has a roundup of links from all over that's very much worth your time. Lots of good stuff.
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  • Porphyrogenitus: Cool linkfest. Here's one to add to the debates over read more

Sky Marshalls, Security & Responsibility

By Joe Katzman at 17:44
In the wake of Armed Liberal's "Too Friendly Skies" heads-up over the cutbacks in the U.S. Sky Marshall program, LaughingWolf has a good post on how the rules have changed, some of the problems, the failure of some government agencies to adapt, and what you can do. UPDATE: He has also added a follow-on post. It's a fine idea, and I believe it would work. bq. "Right after 9-11, the need for increased security on flights, as opposed to security at airports, was well known and discussed. Among the many suggestions for providing improved in-flight security was one that went in both officially and back channel. This method was rejected, even though it could be done at very low cost and exponentially increase in-flight security...."
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  • BruceR: It's spelled "marshal." Any other spelling is wrong. read more

USMC: Helicopter Tactics & Space Planes

By Joe Katzman at 15:20
The U.S. Marine Corps is rethinking various aspects of their operations. Here's one near term example, one medium-term move, and one long term one: * No U.S. Marine Corps attack helicopters was shot down during Operation Iraqi Freedom, but the fleet was so heavily damaged in combat that service officials are expressing doubt about two fundamental wartime roles for rotor-wing aircraft: long-range strike missions, and hovering above cities to provide close air support. I can see them qualifying both missions, but in view of the alternatives I'd be surprised if either one was taken off the list. * Marines in space? Well, they certainly use space for communications, GPS, and other critical tasks. So, the service has formed Marine Forces Strategic Command (MARFORSAT) to link to U.S. military space operations. * That said, Marines in space may become a reality one day. A reader's email informs me that the Marine Corps is talking to Special Operations Command and Air Force Space Command to help spur the development of a vehicle that could transport troops from the U.S. to any part of the globe within 2 hours. Hypersonic low-space planes have been studied for 30 years, and are probably another 20-30 years away. The Marines know that, but they also know that expressing their needs now and recruiting allies can help guide R&D investments in the directions they want.
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  • Belinda White: is the place for gathering and meeting new friends read more
  • Chris Berentson: heres a plan: buy up a bunch of german APC'S read more
  • Steve Anich: The Marines should adopt at a next-gen Warthog with ESTOL read more

Crude Reserves & Crude Economics

By Joe Katzman at 09:34
As of this year, Canada's oil reserves suddenly jumped by 3,600% (from 4.8 billion barrels last year to 180 bbl), thanks to reclassification of Alberta's oil sands into the economically feasible "proven reserves" category. To put that figure in perspective, it gives Canada 50% more proven oil reserves than Iraq. The beginning of Canadian world domination? The solution to America's Mideast oil dependency issues? Gal Luft of exlains why things aren't as simple as they seem.
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  • reid mueller: Hold on everyone appears to be missing the point. Just read more
  • Randall Parker: I don't believe Luft's claim about the amount of energy read more
  • M. Simon: I don't remember where a western state Colorado I think. read more

Toke Signals from Canada

By Joe Katzman at 07:28
Canadian judicial activism has moved in some interesting new directions recently. Take the issue of marijuana. * The Ontario Court of Appeal decided in July 2000 to strike down a federal law prohibiting the possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana. The court ruled that banning marijuana for medicinal purposes violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Result? Regardless of user intent or need, simple possession is no longer prosecuted here in Ontario. * Now another provincial judge has stepped into the fray. M. Simon forwards this story, wherein one of B.C.'s most senior appeal court judges says she no longer believes marijuana offences are serious crimes. Her comments were contained in a unanimous written ruling by a three-judge panel that overturned a lower court decision to convict a Vancouver couple of operating a marijuana growing operation. You may ask youself... what are those Canadians thinking?
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  • gijoe: now i, i dont do drugs. i smoke marijuana. read more
  • Balagan: where i was talking about pharmacorps vs drug cartels above, read more
  • Balagan: coke and heroin are quite deadly and addictive. yes prohibition read more
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