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November 2003 Archives

November 30, 2003

Kaus' House

By Armed Liberal at 20:30
Mickey Kaus has a post up comparing & contrasting two NYT stories on the housing market. Since this (unlike, say, energy) is something I actually know something about, I'm just thrilled to lay out why both stories are true, and his concern misplaced. The stories he quotes can be found under his Friday, November 28 dateline, so scroll down. Does anyone out there know how to link directly to his stories? If not, Mickey, if you read this, could the MS folks help you out on this sometime? Helllp....
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  • Anthony: Housing prices on the coasts (and a few inland enclaves) read more
  • Mahatma: Lord where to start...Kaus is so wrong he makes my read more
  • Lydia: Kaus' confusion highlights something that habitually annoys me about the read more
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November 29, 2003

Science In the Middle East

By Joe Katzman at 06:39
Howard Lowy talks about some helpful efforts underway to conserve the richest untapped resource in the Middle East, and use it for good. He also offers a roundup of some of the real scientific progress being made. See esp. the multiple links concerning Israel.
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Hasidic Wisdom: The Calm Soul

By Joe Katzman at 06:24
In this corner, Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv... bq. "A person who has mastered peace of mind has gained everything." ...and in this corner, Rabbi Israel Salanter: bq. "As long as one lives a life of calmness and tranquility in the service of God, it is clear that he is remote from true service." So, who's right? How does one resolve the dilemma when confronted with these 2 conflicting pieces of wisdom? Follow the link for Alan Morinis' answer.
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  • jeanne a e devoto: Are we sure they conflict? Rabbi Israel Salanter might be read more
  • nancy reyes: The two sayings are complimentary, not contradictory... The person who read more

Sufi Wisdom: The Chicken's Transformation

By Joe Katzman at 05:41
Kathy K. of On the Third Hand offered this piece of Sufi wisdom in the comments section of another post:
"The chicken had his wish, and was magically transformed into a fox. Then he found he could not digest grain." -- The Magic Monastery by Idries Shah
Short and to the point, and reminds me strongly of a Joseph Campbell story about tigers and goats. So, what does the story teach us? If we believed that the chicken was a metaphor for a religious seeker, what would it teach us then? Use the Comments section and share your thoughts.
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  • Patrick Brown: Joe wrote: "Religious seekers often want X, without being able read more
  • Jon Cohen: When I posed this to my 8 year old, he read more
  • Joe Katzman: Mmm, I think everyone has good points here. Jon may read more

It's A Wonderful Life?

By Joe Katzman at 05:36
Your job goes away, because your contract expires and is not renewed. You pass on one job offer to take another, but it vanishes before you start. By then, the job you turned down is gone, too. Freelancing barely pays the bills. During this year, people you know die, and others are dying. You're too sick to visit your family for Thanksgiving, and your shoulder and knee are not fully rehabbed which limits you in other ways. Hypoglycemia means it would be irresponsible to fly solo or as pilot-in-command status, so you walk away from that part of your life too. Oh, yeah, and your better half... actually, you're still searching, and you're not getting any younger. So, what do you do in this situation?
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  • Nancy Reyes: Everyone has years like this... So you sit in the read more

Rocket Man's Thanks

By Joe Katzman at 05:29
Roger Clemens finished with a record 6 Cy Youngs, 310 wins, 4,099 strikeouts, and one gutsy final game. Mark 2008 on your calendars, because that's when he'll become a first-ballot member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. I had the pleasure and opportunity to watch Roger pitch for 2 seasons in Toronto, where he won 2 of those Cy Young awards as the best pitcher in the league. His intensity level was unbelievable, his workouts bordered on inhuman, and nobody ever gave more of himself on the baseball field. He retired at age 41, still throwing 95 mile-per-hour fastballs. "Rocket Man," indeed. It was inspiring to watch him work, for reasons that go beyond baseball or even sport, and I thank him for giving us the opportunity. Many others in baseball feel the same way. Now, Roger "Rocket Man" Clemens says thank you back, in his own words.
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  • Devin McCullen: Without getting into an "Is Clemens a jerk" argument (although read more
  • someone: Clemens is a punk. A cowardly punk. read more
  • John: Clemens sucks. From 1993 through 1996, he had a lofty read more

November 28, 2003

Howdy, Just Dropping By...

By Joe Katzman at 06:12
I think this one tops his aircraft carrier landing.
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  • SFC Ski: The President was also behind the steam tables serving food. read more
  • BadSanta: Hmm, Turns out that the turkey Bush was holding was read more
  • praktike: Ben, do you think English-speaking bloggers are a representative sample read more

Guest Blog: Rocking for the Free World (2/3)

By Joe Katzman at 04:53
This is a very special series for Winds of Change.NET. Thanks to the cooperation of András Bacsi and the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, Hungarian Ambassador Andras Simonyi's speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is being featured here on Winds of Change.NET as a Guest Blog. Ambassador Simonyi's speech tells a very personal story of music and freedom, and the enduring relationship between the two. It's a story that remains relevant today, and touches on topics we've addresed in articles like "G-d Gave Rock N' Roll To You..." and "Keep On Rocking for the Free World." Initiatives like Radio Sawa are proving every day that Rock n' Roll isn't just cultural fluff. In a very deep way, it has been - and remains - the essence of America's story. Jeff "Skunk" Baxter played for The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. He now works as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense, and added some fine stories of his own in yesterday's introductory remarks. Today, we feature the Ambassador himself...

"Rocking for the Free World: How Rock Music Helped to Bring Down the Iron Curtain"

(Transcript of Hungarian Ambassador Andras Simonyi's speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on November 8, 2003)
Ladies and gentlemen, good evening. Hey, hey, that's not good enough. Good evening! That's great. I used to play in a rock band when I was younger and we used to do this stuff so I can tell when it's quality. The second one was OK. Let me ask the first question. How many of you have not played air guitar, ever? Once more, please. That's better. I like people being honest. This whole thing we're talking about is about honesty. Preparing for this lecture, the funniest question I got – this was yesterday – they've asked me five times, "What tie are you going to be wearing? Are you going to be wearing a rock and roll tie?" And I said no, I'm not going to be wearing a rock and roll tie because I'm not here to pretend that I'm a rock artist. I'm here to tell you that I'm an ambassador of a country that is closely tied together with the United States today. We work hard to maintain our relationship. And there is a pillar that has been so important to me all my life when I was a kid, when I grew older, and now, which I think is one of the real ties between us. I want to make sure you understand that I'm not doing it because I want to pretend that I'm Skunk. I am not Skunk. I wish I was Skunk. And I think his next target is to be ambassador in Budapest. (Laughter.)
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  • Raul Bermundo: I salute Ambassador Simonyi's being so down to earth (read: read more
  • Ron Mader: Fantastic. Great article. I'll be linking to this from the read more
  • Joe Katzman: ...Something Simonyi notes in Monday's post. Yes, it is moving read more

November 27, 2003

Giving Thanks

By Joe Katzman at 22:28
Since I live up in Canada, Thanksgiving comes early. The 2nd Monday in October, to be precise. Thanksgiving is not a winter holiday, and since all of us live up north we picked a time that works with our climate. I'm thankful for that. Since I've just become aware that my American friends are celebrating Thanksgiving today, I thought I'd take a moment to give thanks here on Winds. # I want to thank our readers, for their intelligence and the value they bring this blog every day. Winds of Change.NET is a much better place because of you - and we will bust our butts to make it something you can be thankful for, too.

# I want to thank my friends in the blogosphere, left, right and otherwise, who make the effort to put their ideas out there on a regular basis and become part of the public debate.

# Finally, I want to thank the soldiers of all nationalities who are out there putting it all on the line to protect us from radical Islamists and others who seek our destruction. To all of you, the Winds of Change.NET team offers our sincere thanks.
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Guest Blog: Rocking for the Free World (1/3)

By Joe Katzman at 14:00
This is a very special series for Winds of Change.NET. Thanks to the cooperation of András Bacsi and the Hungarian Embassy in Washington, Hungarian Ambassador Andras Simonyi's speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on November 8, 2003 ("Rocking for the Free World: How Rock Music Helped to Bring Down the Iron Curtain") is being featured here on Winds of Change.NET as a Guest Blog. Ambassador Simonyi's speech tells a very personal story of music and freedom, and the enduring relationship between the two. The ideas he refers to remain every bit as relevant today, and touch on topics addresed here in articles like "G-d Gave Rock N' Roll To You..." and "Keep On Rocking for the Free World." Initiatives like Radio Sawa are proving that every day. In today's introductory remarks, Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, who played for The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan and now works as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense, seems to agree. As well he should. Rock n' Roll isn't just cultural fluff. In a very deep way, it has been - and remains - the essence of America's story.
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  • Joe Katzman: DURAN DURAN?!? Good lord. It frightens me that they've gathered read more
  • Garrett: Vote for your favorite deserving but overlooked artists into the read more
  • Jay Gilbert: A very moving story. But hey, Jeff ... it is read more

Testing The Standard, Part VI: Conclusion

By Dan Darling at 03:12
Opener | Iraq & AQ | Sudan Years | Afghanistan | World-Wide | Conclusion
By now, I expect that just about everyone in blogosphere has heard from one source or another about the memo that was leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard that provided a considerable listing of evidence regarding a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda. What I'm now going to do is to examine the memo excerpts that were provided by The Weekly Standard and endeavor to see whether or not the raw data is consistent with what we already know or can reasonably deduce from reported stories in the press. This is a far from ideal method of verifying the excerpts in the Standard's piece, but short of full declassification of all US intelligence in relation to al-Qaeda (something that might happen around 2025 or so), it's probably the best that we're going to get here in the blogosphere. Because of the length and detail required, this is a 6-part series. This final installment takes a critical look at some of the Iraq-related intelligence, then follows with some thoughts regarding the results of this research effort as a whole.
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  • Robin Roberts: To the contary, "Anyone...", that the Clinton administration rebuffed Sudan's read more
  • AnyoneButBush2004: Ahh, yes another one of those winger factoids comes out read more
  • Dan Darling: Andrew, I expect that this is very likely to read more

Dan's Winds of War: 2003-11-27

By Dan Darling at 00:30

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. In addition, we also have our in-depth Iraq Report. Today's briefings are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis.

TOP TOPICS * Abu Musab Zarqawi may have ordered the Istanbul bombings according to the Asia Times and CNN. The CNN story also establishes the first definitive link between al-Tawhid (Zarqawi's own organization, which is in of itself part of the larger al-Qaeda the same way that the Egyptian groups are) and the Turkish Hezbollah, which is not to be confused with the larger Lebanese organization of the same name. * Al-Qaeda military commander Saif al-Adel ordered the Riyadh bombings from Iran and we now know where he and 24 other top al-Qaeda leaders (along with over 500 others, according to the first article) are being harbored by the Qods Force of the IRGC. * Regular readers of this site already know about my analysis of the Weekly Standard memo that have been appearing on a daily basis over the course of the last several weeks. Several hours before the first of these was going to be published, I learned about Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball's Newsweek web exclusive and promised to address the points that it raised. You can find my rebuttal to Isikoff and Hosenball here as well as my conclusion that what they are putting forth is essentially a straw man argument.

Other Topics Today Include:Iraq Briefing; Iran Reports; USA Homeland Security Briefing; al-Qaeda's Algerian bases; Mohammed Hamdi al-Ahdal arrested in Yemen; 5 US soldiers killed in Afghan helicopter crash; Indo-Pakistani truce on Kashmir; reaping the fruits of al-Qaeda's training camps; a Turkish jihadi's interview; progress in the war on terror in East Africa; UN assessing security in Eritrea; JI regrouping; Bashir blames Australia; and more political correctness run amok.


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November 26, 2003

House Party, Anyone?

By Armed Liberal at 18:00
A friend of TG's just emailed us an invitation:
"With your help, on Sunday, December 7th, we'll hold thousands of house parties across the country to screen the new documentary Uncovered: The Whole Truth about the Iraq War. The parties will be brought together through a huge cross-country conference call. At 5:30p PST / 8:30p EST, party attendees will be able to dial in to a call featuring director Robert Greenwald, the MoveOn team, and guests from parties all over the country. You'll also be able to submit questions for Mr. Greenwald and the team online.

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  • triticale: JW - If M.Simon were getting payed for posting his read more
  • lunacy: AL, this is an excellent opportunity to explore whether communicating read more
  • Armed Liberal: JW - Nope. I think that it's critical that we read more

Well, I Asked For Dialog...

By Armed Liberal at 17:43
Backtracking through Technorati (which I do once a day), I came upon a post on a blog called 'Osama Bin Laden Is Winning' about my dialog with Calpundit.The author took intelligent issue with my prescription for perseverance as a path to success; I commented, and he replied, suggesting I read his essay on terrorism. I did, and think that we agree in a broad set of areas, and disagree in others - and definitely think that a dialog would be productive. I was going to make these points on a comment on his blog, but thought a post would send some other readers his way, and open a broader dialog.
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Robi's S. Asia Briefing: 2003-11-26

By Robi Sen & Nitin Pai at 09:52
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on South Asia, courtesy of Robi Sen. PAKISTAN AND INDIA CEASE FIRE * Tensions are starting to ease between Pakistan and India with the announcement by Pakistan of a unilateral cease fire last Sunday evening. India has responded favorably with further offers but, has made a point that the only way a cease fire can be lasting is if “cross-border infiltration ends”. Dan Darling makes some typically insightful comments about this on his blog here Other Topics Today Include: Pakistan jihadi update; Israeli drones patrol Indian borders; India's birthrate; Chinese and Indian relations; MI5 bugs Pakistan; Islamic terrorism throughout SE Asia; Nepal; and a new resource on South Asia & Kashmir.
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  • Joe Katzman: Or just open Word and go to "Tools > Autocorrect... read more
  • robi: Apologies to all. Ill use a text editor next time; read more
  • Joe Katzman: Yup. That's because Robi used "smart quotes" for the URLs, read more

Guest Blog: Winning the War of Ideas

By Joe Katzman at 09:04
I'm always on the lookout for sharp new blogging talent, and Darren Kaplan's blog fits the bill. This guest article is timely in light of our recent discussions about Dialogue. It will become even more timely when you read Hungarian Ambassador Simonyi's excellent Guest Blog later this week! The War of Ideas by Darren Kaplan Far too many well-informed and otherwise intelligent people have confused the "war of ideas" we are fighting in conjunction with the War on Terror with the question of whether or not the populations of Arab and Muslim countries have favorable opinions of the United States. Since survey after survey repeatedly shows that people in Arab and Muslim countries have exceedingly poor opinions of the United States, the corresponding but flawed assumption is that we must be losing the "war of ideas." Case in point: this piece in Slate by Daniel Benjamin. Benjamin correctly identifies the problem: bq. "Rumsfeld observes that we have no "metrics" for judging how well we are doing in the larger war on terror. Surely a key issue is whose ideas are gaining ground."
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  • miguel: Patrick: Also, your solution is extremely idealistic. I'd be great read more
  • miguel: Patrick: OK, so you've taken the position of internationalist intervention, read more
  • Patrick: Miguel, Let me try to clarify. Responsiblity for Human Rights---You read more

Levity Break

By Joe Katzman at 08:37
Armed Liberal's "Looks Like Prosperity to Some" was an excellent post. In response, a friend of mine in Seattle sent me this link about the next logical step in offshore outsourcing. The scary thing is, I'm not sure the part about the managers is new. Also on the recommended list today: "Mac Eye for the Windows Guy" (Hat Tip: Jon Reid)
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Saved By Technology

By Armed Liberal at 07:14
It's 11:00 pm, and Middle Guy (who just got a brilliant almost-perfect report card, and pretty darn good SAT scores as well) is wrapping up a study group in his bedroom downstairs. He's got two friends over, prepping for a math test tomorrow. They're playing their music kinda loud (small objects on my office floor are rattling), and I'd like them to turn it down; but they won't hear me from the top of the stairs, and they're on the phone (both lines, it appears) getting outside help, so I can't call...I may actually have to walk downstairs and knock on his door.
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  • David R. Block: Man, can I relate. But the router is in the read more
  • triticale: We have neither IM nor an in house network. I read more
  • Andrew J. Lazarus: ROFL. read more

A Little Help, Please?

By Armed Liberal at 05:57
An acquaintance of mine has just taken on the role of executive director and conductor of a classical music - thing which I can't explicitly talk about because of my damn pseudonymity thing. I've suggested to him that he start doing a blog about it, but can't point him to any blogs like what I'm talking about. Does anyone out there know of any blogs being done by working classical musicians or artists?I'd like to show him some examples.
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  • Drew McManus: I've written two series of articles, each focusing on the read more
  • Robert Tagorda: Greg Sandow is a classical music critic, but he also read more

Testing The Standard, Part V: World-Wide Jihad

By Dan Darling at 05:09
Opener | Iraq & AQ | Sudan Years | Afghanistan | World-Wide | Conclusion
By now, I expect that just about everyone in blogosphere has heard from one source or another about the memo that was leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard that provided a considerable listing of evidence regarding a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda. What I'm now going to do is to examine the memo excerpts that were provided by The Weekly Standard and endeavor to see whether or not the raw data is consistent with what we already know or can reasonably deduce from reported stories in the press. This is a far from ideal method of verifying the excerpts in the Standard's piece, but short of full declassification of all US intelligence in relation to al-Qaeda (something that might happen around 2025 or so), it's probably the best that we're going to get here in the blogosphere. Because of the length and detail required, this is a 6-part series. Part 5 offers a whirlwind tour from Qatar to Khobar, and into SE Asia.
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  • john kerry: Helpblood.com works on a principle of passive blood donation.Cord Blood read more

November 25, 2003

Uncertainty In Iraq

By Armed Liberal at 19:09
In reading up about energy, I've spent a bunch of time over at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (www.csis.org) - a Washington-based think tank with some apparent connections to conservative Democrats. I find their work interesting, and while I don't know them or their biases enough to decide where I stand relative to them, I do think they are looking at the right issues. In browsing around, I found an interesting paper on Iraq that echoes a number of my thoughts about the war, by Anthony Cordesman, called "Iraq, Too Uncertain To Call" (pdf). Here are a couple of quotes. It opens:
There is a tendency to see the situation in Iraq either in terms of inevitable victory or inevitable defeat, or to polarize an assessment on the basis of political attitudes towards the war. In practice, Iraq seems to be a remarkably fluid and dynamic situation field with uncertainties that dominate both the present and the future.

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  • Joe Katzman: Sean, The difference is between "could lose, but could also read more
  • sblafren: Joe, that's exactly what I am saying on my own read more
  • Armed Liberal: Well, Serving Patriot, I know just what you mean...the reaction read more

Dialogue Frustration

By Joe Katzman at 07:54
In "Calpundit on Terrorism," Armed Liberal writes: bq. "It's not that they don't like me - hell, lots of people in the real world don't like me, which tells me that I'm an actual person as opposed to a Beanie Baby - it's that I really and truly just don't get the worldview that they are speaking from. I spend a lot of time on the left side of the media and blog world, and am increasingly finding islands there where the words are English and yet I just don't understand the concepts laid out in those words, and I'm finding that depressing and frustrating, given my goal of creating constructive dialog." A.L., I wish I had a solution for your dialogue issue where the words are English but the meanings alien, and you want meaningful dialogue. What I do have is 2 alternatives, but here's the catch: the first is sometimes true, and only the second has any chance of creating real dialogue, and I can't guarantee either one.
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  • Lou Wheeler: Hi David, I run across the same issues. Motives seem read more
  • Lou Wheeler: Hi Steven, The two party system is too useful to read more
  • David Conner: The problem I keep running into when attempting to have read more

Calpundit on Terrorism

By Armed Liberal at 06:00
So Calpundit Kevin replied to my post on "sticking it out" below, and nailed me on one point that I thought I'd covered, but on rereading realized I truly hadn't. He interprets my post as suggesting that the reason to stay in Iraq was less to rebuild the country than to show determination. Note that I think that would be a silly damn thing to do, and a waste of lives and treasure (which I thought I'd pointed out with the Schaar quote) and wish I'd written more clearly to make that point. We're there to remove an evil dictatorship and to prevent the resources of that country from being used against us, against the people of the region, and against the people of the country itself. I believe that doing this will ultimately have a positive effect on a broader conflict which I perceive we are in. I think that to succeed in either of those efforts, we will have to both be determined and show determination.
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  • Tom Grey: We win when there are no more dictators in the read more
  • Ironbear: Hrmmm... I see basic fundamental stumbling blocks in concepts between read more
  • Kirk Parker: praktike, > particularly when I argue for more inclusion of read more

Testing The Standard, Part IV: Into Afghanistan

By Dan Darling at 04:05
Opener | Iraq & AQ | Sudan Years | Afghanistan | World-Wide | Conclusion
By now, I expect that just about everyone in blogosphere has heard from one source or another about the memo that was leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard that provided a considerable listing of evidence regarding a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda. What I'm now going to do is to examine the memo excerpts that were provided by The Weekly Standard and endeavor to see whether or not the raw data is consistent with what we already know or can reasonably deduce from reported stories in the press. This is a far from ideal method of verifying the excerpts in the Standard's piece, but short of full declassification of all US intelligence in relation to al-Qaeda (something that might happen around 2025 or so), it's probably the best that we're going to get here in the blogosphere. Because of the length and detail required, this is a 6-part series. Part 4 deals with the aspects of the leaked memo that deal directly with Afghanistan. bq. "According to sensitive reporting, Saddam personally sent Faruq Hijazi, IIS deputy director and later Iraqi ambassador to Turkey, to meet with bin Laden at least twice, first in Sudan and later in Afghanistan in 1999. . . ."
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Randinho's Latin America Briefing: 2003-11-25

By Beautiful Horizons at 03:28
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. TOP TOPIC * Trade versus aid: While Brazil and the USA, the two biggest nations in the Americas try to cut a side deal watering down the FTAA agreement at the recent FTAA meeting, the Ibero-American Summit taking place in Bolivia the week before puts a greater focus on aid. More inside... Other Topics Include: Past becomes prologue in Haiti; Former Bolivian President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada smacks back at his critics; Guatemala dodges a bullet - but for how long; Major shakeups in Colombia, how will it impact the violence?; Hugo Chávez takes a page from his opponents in Venezuela; A new group blog on Latin America starts up.
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November 24, 2003

Dean "Fedayeen"...

By Armed Liberal at 05:10
...get a whole new meaning as loathsome columnist and cartoonist Ted Rall endorses Dean, and the official Dean blog is thrilled (as are his commenters). If Dean takes this as a Sistah Souljah moment and bitch-slaps him tomorrow, it could be very good for his campaign. If not, buh-bye; if not in July 04, then in November. (a tip of the Shoei to Instapundit)
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  • praktike: My take on the post is that the blog is read more
  • Armed Liberal: praktike - So what's your take on the post itself? read more
  • Armed Liberal: Praktike - Nope, just a typo... A.L. read more

Andrew's Winds of War: 2003-11-24

By Andrew Olmsted at 04:16
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 of Andrew Olmsted.com. TOP TOPICS * Eduard Shevardnadze formally resigned as the President of Georgia Sunday in the face of a popular uprising, eschewing the option of trying to suppress the uprising through violent means. New elections will be held in 45 days. How this will affect the war on terror is open to question, although it's possible the West can use Georgia as an example of democracy triumphing, assuming the new elections occur on schedule. * JK: Orson Scott Card has a great summary of the war thus far. And yes, we can lose. * JK: Oskar at Logos has an interesting post about terrorists looking to target the Netherlands. Speaking of which, Oskar also links to a provocative report that looks at the role of the Bosnian conflict in helping al-Qaeda grow. Guess some of them still hold a grudge over Srebrenica... Other Topics Today Include: Iraq attacks; Iraqi debt relief; al-Qaeda-Iraq links; al-Qaeda evolving; New Iranian blog; Afghanistan reports; Georgia on our mind; Israel dismantling some settlements; Turkish bombing aftermath; al Qaeda's primary war; al-Qaeda adapts; Ceasefire in Kashmir?
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  • tagryn: Thanks for the Argus link, that was quite enlightening. When read more
  • Joe Katzman: Nor does the U.S. want to sit by as any read more
  • Dan: Why wouldn't Russia be please? It's FM , Ivanov, negotiated read more

Testing The Standard, Part III: The Sudan Years

By Dan Darling at 03:56
Opener | Iraq & AQ | Sudan Years | Afghanistan | World-Wide | Conclusion
By now, I expect that just about everyone in blogosphere has heard from one source or another about the memo that was leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard that provided a considerable listing of evidence regarding a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda. What I'm now going to do is to examine the memo excerpts that were provided by The Weekly Standard and endeavor to see whether or not the raw data is consistent with what we already know or can reasonably deduce from reported stories in the press. This is a far from ideal method of verifying the excerpts in the Standard's piece, but short of full declassification of all US intelligence in relation to al-Qaeda (something that might happen around 2025 or so), it's probably the best that we're going to get here in the blogosphere. Because of the length and detail required, this is a 6-part series. Part 3 looks at the Clinton years.
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November 23, 2003

Looks Like Prosperity to Some

By Armed Liberal at 18:59
Every so often, you read some stuff, see some connections and get a post that just writes itself. I've said in the past that one of the most serious issues we face (and are primarily ignoring) these days is what Neil Stephenson summarized so pithily:
Once the Invisible Hand has taken all the historical inequities and smeared them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani brickmaker would consider to be prosperity -- y'know what? There's only four things we do better than anyone else: music, movies, microcode (software), and high-speed pizza delivery.
We face an outgoing tide, in which the prosperity which had once been concentrated here, and shared widely between the classes of capital and labor, is going out. Owners of capital can invest abroad, and can, if they are clever and lucky improve their situation. Owners of labor find themselves in increasingly direct competition with lower-cost labor abroad, or with less-skilled labor which can compete because machines and systems make their skills redundant. Start here (note, intrusive registration required, use 'laexaminer'/'laexaminer'), with an article in this morning's L.A. Times about WalMart:
The Wal-Mart Supercenter, a pink stucco box twice as big as a Home Depot, combines a full-scale supermarket with the usual discount mega-store. For the 26-year-old Ferguson, the draw is simple. "You can't beat the prices," said the hotel cashier, who makes $400 a week. "I come here because it's cheap."

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  • JB Elliott: Has anyone done a recent study of how much taxes read more
  • Teri Pittman: Calling for a way to make it unproductive to ship read more
  • Ann: RE: comments by Matt & Ken on managed economies. This read more

November 22, 2003

Sufi Wisdom: Shibli's Initiation

By Joe Katzman at 09:19
Recounted in Chapter II of Reynold A. Nicholson's "The Mystics of Islam":
Shibli was a pupil of the famous theosophist Junayd of Baghdad. On his conversion, he came to Junayd, saying: "They tell me that you possess the pearl of divine knowledge: either give it me or sell it." Junayd answered: "I cannot sell it, for you have not the price thereof; and if I give it you, you will have gained it cheaply. You do not know its value. Cast yourself headlong, like me, into this ocean, in order that you may win the pearl by waiting patiently."

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  • Samuel Tai: I must apologize in advance for the quotation, but this read more

Zen Wisdom: Ichikyo's Death Poem

By Joe Katzman at 08:17
Last week I recounted the story of The Monk & the General, and promised a follow-up that might help illuminate the Zen take on death. Zen teacher Kozan Ichikyo finished this poem, then died sitting upright with the brush still in his hand: bq. Empty-handed I entered the world Barefoot I leave it. My coming, my going – Two simple happenings That got entangled. Zen Masters often compose such poems on their deathbed, as Ichikyo did. A summa for a life, and one final teaching lesson.
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  • Todd B: Life is what happens while your busy making other plans... read more
  • Home Office: Kozan Ichikyo, died February 12, 1360, at 77. A few read more
  • Charlie: Samuel -- So many words. If Ichikyo is gone, where read more

James Taylor & The Dixie Chicks

By Joe Katzman at 08:09
I'm watching a performance right now that's showing me an example of real artistry, and what playing music can be. CMT's "Crossroads" is featuring James Taylor and the Dixie Chicks together in concert. I'm really enjoying it, and the thing I'm enjoying the most is watching how truly happy the Dixie Chicks are to be sharing the stage with someone who was part of the soundtrack of their lives. They're singing very well together, but every once in a while the mask slips and I get to enjoy the expressions on their faces. James, for his part, is right there with the music. Backup, lead, doesn't matter to him. Here we are together, let's play. The mark of the true artist. Togetherness and joy are infectious things.
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  • Joe Katzman: He doesn't, Mike. I have moved on, and actually prefer read more
  • Mike Finley: Tommy, that sounds borderline smug. How could you possibly know read more
  • Tommy Tompkins: i'm glad you're enjoying the music, because, um, we've all read more

The Mark of the Master

By Joe Katzman at 07:52
From LaughingWolf's "Way of the Wolf" series: bq. "If you are indeed a leader, an expert, a master, a lord or whatever, it will be seen in your actions. You will show your knowledge, and your wisdom, in your actions and will not have to brag about it. You will show your true status by how you share your knowledge, your wisdom, and the fruits of your efforts. By this you will be judged, and how you act, write, or do will show you for what you truly are in life. Let others award you titles." Wise words, excerpted from "What Are You In Life?"
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November 21, 2003

Pundit vs. Pundit (Prohias)

By Armed Liberal at 18:39
Calpundit busts Instapundit:
ANALOGIES....Just a note to my conservative brethren: any chance we can stop working our way through the microfilm archives of 1946 newspapers? If the analogy of Iraq to Vietnam is strained, the analogy to World War II is simply rubbish. There is literally nothing in common between the two. OK?
Actually, Kevin, I've gotta disagree here. There is a core lesson that we can take from the WWII papers, that the kinds of things we need to accomplish in Iraq take time. Even in the far more Western and 'organized' environment of post-war Germany and France, things looked challenging for the first year or so. Even in the highly hierarchical society of Japan, there was violence and chaos for a period of time. Those are important lessons, and we're right to be confronted with what the news and commentary of the time were saying to help us put our current situation into perspective. While I do think that Bush's team booted the postwar planning (simply by not having the resources, propaganda, and staffing prepared), I also think that the anti-war crowd, once they didn't get their way, have been far over the top in claiming 'failure' prematurely. And history exists exactly to help us make those kinds of judgments.
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  • Alex: AL, Regarding your original post... that is why I have read more
  • Robin Goodfellow: Translation of CalPundit's statement: "Hey, could you guys stop it read more
  • praktike: SDN, what are you talking about? You didn't get my read more

Soros Fisking: Snoozed, Lost

By Armed Liberal at 15:09
As noted below, I've been working on a critical commentary on George Soros' Atlantic Article, 'The Bubble of American Supremacy'. But, as the old blogging phase goes, "You snooze, you lose," and Matthew Stinson has written a better version of it already. There are one or two points left open, and I'll try and get to them today, but go read both Soros' article and Matthews great commentary...
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  • Jean Bart: JB: "It was hardly Gamelin who came up w/ the read more
  • Dean: JB: It was hardly Gamelin who came up w/ the read more
  • Jean Bart: BTW, when did the word "idiot" become vulgar? read more

Quote of the Week: MJ in Perspective

By Joe Katzman at 11:43
Richard Aubrey on the Michael Jackson affair, responding in the comments to Armed Liberal's excellent post asking why parents would allow their kids to sleep over there in the first place: bq. "Am I the only one seeing parents trolling for dollars with their kids as bait?" A Robin Hood class bullseye shot, Richard - so good, it just had to be shared.
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  • metaphysician: Heh. All we need now is a serial killer who read more
  • Eric Jablow: No, more like: Ripped from next year's headlines. read more
  • Richard Aubrey: What kind of a book blurb is that? "Ripped from read more

al-Qaeda's Strategy: A Debate

By Joe Katzman at 11:31
Donald Sensing and Steven Den Beste discuss al-Qaeda's strategy. Den Beste thinks they don't have one, beyond "waiting for God" to ensure their victory. Rev. Sensing, drawing on both his military and religious backgrounds, explains that this doesn't mean what Steven thinks it does. A very good and illuminating exchange, which Ray extends rather nicely.
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The Gweilo's China Briefing: 2003-11-21

By Gweilo Diaries at 11:06
Today's Regional Briefing focuses on China, courtesy of Conrad of The Gweilo Diaries, and features, among other things, China's crackdown on perceived internet dissent, its burgeoning AIDS crises, a first-hand report from the scene of recent anti-Japanese riots in Xi'an, the revival of a policy from the time of the Cultural Revolution, Hong Kong's ongoing governmental follies, and the continuing adventures of Gucci the elusive crocodile. * T-Salon links to a story about the 'Chinese Internet Revolution' and Beijing's response thereto, which is a must read for anyone interested in the effect of the Internet on China.
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Testing The Standard, Part II: Analyzing the al-Qaeda Alliance

By Dan Darling at 07:24
Opener | Iraq & AQ | Sudan Years | Afghanistan | World-Wide | Conclusion
Al-Qaeda training chief Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj to Saudi magazine al-Majallah, May 25, 2003: bq. "Allah has turned to him [Saddam Hussein] with forgiveness. He declared jihad and did not recognize Israel. There is nothing to bar cooperation with a Muslim who has made jihad his course and way for liberating the holy lands." By now, I expect that just about everyone in blogosphere has heard from one source or another about the memo that was leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard that provided a considerable listing of evidence regarding a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda. What I'm now going to do is to examine the memo excerpts that were provided by The Weekly Standard and endeavor to see whether or not the raw data is consistent with what we already know or can reasonably deduce from reported stories in the press. This is a far from ideal method of verifying the excerpts in the Standard's piece, but short of full declassification of all US intelligence in relation to al-Qaeda (something that might happen around 2025 or so), it's probably the best that we're going to get here in the blogosphere. Because of the length and detail required, this is a 6-part series. Part 2 deals with Iraq's alliance with al-Qaeda in more detail, esp. as it applies to Saddam's self interest and the defense of his regime. We'll also be returning to this topic in the final installment.
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  • Mark Eichenlaub: Dan should really come back and update this. read more
  • robi: great job Dan. read more

Oh, Julian...

By Armed Liberal at 04:49
I meant to reply in kind to Julian Sanchez' backhand of Rob Lyman for his defense of "communitarian patriotism," but it slipped through the cracks. I was reminded tonight, because his post is at the top of our Technorati list. Click on over and take a look; pay careful attention to the obvious respect and consideration with which he treats Rob. Then notice the giant mound of Swiss Cheese he erects as an argument. Simply put, Julian made two gross errors in his argument, and caps it with an even more gross error in his behavior.
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  • Rob Lyman: JB, I was trying to stay out of this, but read more
  • George Junior: “Soviet ‘patriotism’”, really? When I wrote the comment, I was read more
  • Jean Bart: George Junior, Your phrase reminds me of Soviet "patriotism." My read more

November 20, 2003

Dan's Iraq Report: 2003-11-20

By Dan Darling at 15:56
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Our Winds of War coverage of the global War on Terror is a separate briefing today, and both are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * Websites are popping up showing video footage of attacks on US forces in Iraq. If this Reuters story is accurate, these websites are likely at the very least ideologically affiliated with al-Qaeda - one of the other propaganda films purported to be listed on the website, "Russian Hell in Chechnya," is a propaganda film produced by the organization intended to recruit Muslims to fight Russian forces in Chechnya. * JK: On which topic, Dan Darling examines the memo excerpts that were provided by The Weekly Standard re: Iraq & al-Qaeda, and tries to see if the raw data is consistent with reported stories in the press over the last 8 years. Part 1 of a 6-part series. * General John Abizaid is reporting that the number of insurgents active inside Iraq is estimated at 5,000, though one might point out that similar long-running insurgencies in areas such as Chechnya, the Palestinian terrorities, and Aceh have been sustained for years with similar numbers of insurgent fighters. Other Topics Today Include: Nasiriyah bombing aftermath; Operation Iron Hammer; assassination attempt on Kirkuk deputy governor; the hunt for al-Douri; Shi'ites to form the bulk of the new Iraqi military; Iraqi police back on the job; law and order in Hilla; anti-terrorist demonstration in Nasiriyah; agreement between Coalition Provisional Authority and Iraqi Governing Council; no plans to pull US troops out of Iraq; Ramadi rethinking its position; Baghdad graffiti; UK may deploy more troops; Italians to stay in Iraq; Italian anti-war group sending cash to the insurgents; US to revamp MEK; Iraq isn't Vietnam; more data on Iraqi WMD program; Kay says two Iraqi scientists helping the coalition on Iraqi anthrax program.
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  • Dan Darling: There was some wackiness. I don't pretend to understand read more
  • Andrew J. Lazarus: Dan may need that verification: he and I exchanged some read more
  • p mac: Well, no kidding about the web sites. I ran accross read more

Why I Support Gay Marriage, and Why I Will Never Be Angry At Those Who Do Not

By Armed Liberal at 15:13

The part of my brain that does the writing can be annoying; it is often difficult for to sit down and write about what I mean to write about - often the topics seem to select themselves, and I just come along for the ride.

In this case, I meant to finish a pretty unfavorable commentary I'm writing on George Soros' article on Iraq in this month's Atlantic. 'The Bubble of American Supremacy,' and instead started writing about the recent Massachusetts court decision on gay marriage.

As is typically the case with me, I have three responses which somewhat collide, so writing this is a chance for me to try and set them out and see what evolves (probably why I'd rather write this than comment on Soros' article; I already know why that's wrong).

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  • jackhooper: What will be the long term effect on Gay marriages? read more
  • Iulia: With all the talk about gay marriage I, as someone read more
  • SoSo =]: i feel that gay marriage is so awesome dude! =] read more

Dan's Winds of War: 2003-11-20

By Dan Darling at 08:38

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. In addition, we also have our in-depth Iraq Report. Today's briefings are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis.

TOP TOPICS

  • Two suicide bombers attacked two synagogues in Istanbul on the Jewish Sabbath this last weekend. The Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Turkish and Israeliofficials are pointing the finger at al-Qaeda. Both suicide bombers are believed to have undergone training in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran before carrying out the attack. The mastermind of the attack has fled to Syria, where he may being trying to link up with members of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

  • The conservative Weekly Standard has leaked a memo dealing with evidence supporting the US assertion that Iraq and al-Qaeda have a long-standing relationship with Osama bin Laden. For more on this memo and whether or not the information contained therein is accurate, check out my special analysis on the topic.

  • Al-Qaeda leader Abu Salma al-Hijazi has claimed that the terror network plans to kill 100,000 Americans in upcoming attacks. Al-Hijazi (the surname likely denotes a Saudi nationality) also reinterated the order previously issued by Suleiman al-Dosari that the organization's primary target is currently the US, not Arab governments.

Other Topics Today Include: Iran Reports; USA Homeland Security Briefing; Taliban forming committees; new tape by Mullah Omar; letter from Afghanistan; possible al-Qaeda threat in the UK; Saudi conspiracy theories; Zarqawi's Italian associates' assets frozen; new Algerian attack on the GSPC; grim UN report on al-Qaeda; JI training in Mindanao; Filippino communists deny recruiting for JI; new JI supremo in Southeast Asia; Yemen releases 92 al-Qaeda members; Saudi cleric renounces violence; Arafat's slush fund; and computers can't recognize a Southern drawl.


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Special Analysis: Testing The Standard, Part 1/6

By Dan Darling at 03:42
Opener | Iraq & AQ | Sudan Years | Afghanistan | World-Wide | Conclusion
Taken from an Osama bin Laden audiotape, February 12, 2003:
"Under these circumstances, there will be no harm if the interests of Muslims converge with the interests of the socialists in the fight against the crusaders, despite our belief in the infidelity of socialists. The jurisdiction of the socialists and those rulers has fallen a long time ago. Socialists are infidels wherever they are, whether they are in Baghdad or Aden. The fighting, which is waging and which will be waged these days, is very much like the fighting of Muslims against the Byzantine in the past. And the convergence of interests is not detrimental. The Muslims' fighting against the Byzantine converged with the interests of the Persians. And this was not detrimental to the Companions of The Prophet."
Al-Qaeda training chief Abu Mohammed al-Ablaj to Saudi magazineal-Majallah, May 25, 2003:
"Allah has turned to him [Saddam Hussein] with forgiveness. He declared jihad and did not recognize Israel. There is nothing to bar cooperation with a Muslim who has made jihad his course and way for liberating the holy lands."
By now, I expect that just about everyone in blogosphere has heard from one source or another about the memo leaked to the conservative Weekly Standard that provided a considerable listing of evidence regarding a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda. What I'm now going to do is to examine the memo excerpts that were provided by The Weekly Standard re: Iraq & al-Qaeda, and endeavor to see whether or not the raw data is consistent with what we already know or can reasonably deduce from reported stories in the press. This is a far from ideal method of verifying the excerpts in the Standard's piece, but short of full declassification of all US intelligence in relation to al-Qaeda (something that might happen around 2025 or so), it's probably the best that we're going to get here in the blogosphere. Because of the length and detail, this will be a 6-part series. Part 1 deals with The Pentagon Memo, and begins to look at the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda, in particular Zawhiri's Egyptian Islamic Jihad.
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  • shahrukhkhan: pakistan is a great country and we are a forefront read more
  • shahrukh: pakistan is a great country and we are a forefront read more
  • Jean Bart: lewy14, Re: the qoutation: Well, the problem with that particular read more

November 19, 2003

Nathan's Central Asia "-Stans Summary": 2003-11-19

By Nathan at 05:14
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Central Asia's "-stans" courtesy of Nathan Hamm, whose creds include a stint in Uzbekistan as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer. Nathan's regular blog is The Argus. TOP TOPIC * Georgia held parliamentary elections on November 2nd. Hold on to your hats, the fallout has been a wild ride that is mercifully summarized here (PDF file). [More inside...] * Arash of Afghan Voice comments on Afghanistan's opium boom and the important role that poppy cultivation played under the Taliban. * Crisisweb reports that in Central Asia, where half the population is under 30, youth are being lost and that there is a long list of needs that must be addressed. Why? Young people are turning to violence, extremist politics and/or religion, and migration as a way out of societies that offer them little opportunity. If you want to see an example of this frustration, read this email from an Uzbek acquaintance of mine. Other Topics Today Include: Russia's Quest for a Liberal Empire; India Marches North; Special focus: Afghanistan; A Landmark Agreement on the Caspian; World Bank Backs BTC Pipeline & Rebukes Uzbekistan; Karimov is not Hussein; and much more.
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  • http://www.newscentralasia.com/: http://www.NewsCentralAsia.com Central Asia Speaks: Rewriting History: Emerging Identities and Nationalism read more
  • http://www.newscentralasia.com/: Central Asia Speaks: Rewriting History: Emerging Identities and Nationalism read more
  • www.newscentralasia.com: http://www.newscentralasia.com/ read more

November 18, 2003

No Kool Aid Today - Jonestown 25th Anniversary

By Celeste at 19:03
Today marks 25 years since Jim Jones staged a mass murder/suicide, killing over 900 people. Arguably, the BATFs response to the Branch Davidians and David Koresh can be blamed partly on this earlier experience. As the Washington Post reports:
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  • jb: err. screwed that one up. sorry. read more
  • jb: On the subject of Jonestown, do yourself a treat and read more
  • Brett Bellmore: I suspect they were actually more concerned about a Ruby read more

Robin's Iraq Reconstruction Report: 2003-11-18

By Joe Katzman at 07:43
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... but there were some technical difficulties yesterday, so we're running it today instead. Today's Iraq Reconstruction Report is brought to you by sometime Guest-Blogger Robin Burk. Note that this briefing offers only her own opinions, and does not reflect any official position of the U.S. Army, DoD or the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. TOP TOPICS * A leaked intelligence report details longstanding contacts and recent cooperation between Iraq and al Qaeda. Money quote from before the start of the war: bq. "Sensitive reporting indicates senior terrorist planner and close Al Qaeda associate al Zarqawi has had an operational alliance with Iraqi officials. As of Oct. 2002, al Zarqawi maintained contacts with the IIS to procure weapons and explosives, including surface-to-air missiles from an IIS officer in Baghdad. According to sensitive reporting, al Zarqawi was setting up sleeper cells in Baghdad to be activated in case of a U.S. occupation of the city" * Check out Sgt. Stryker's new Iraq: The Good, Bad and Ugly blog for links to a wide variety of the newspapers in Iraq and surrounding countries. Other Topics Today Include: Iraqi newspapers; Full reconstruction roundup; Iraqi Council reports; Iraqis take the initiative; Basra on the rise; oil through Israel?; Oil to Jordan; Transforming the US military; a bride for Dennis.
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  • roulette: 6241 http://www.e-roulette.info read more
  • roulette: 8598 http://www.e-roulette.info read more
  • roulette: 5497 http://www.e-roulette.info read more

Guest Blog: Transformation's Genesis

By Joe Katzman at 07:43
By Robin Burk While the Coalition forces work to suppress the attackers in Iraq and help reconstruct that country, U.S. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his new Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Peter Schoomaker are working to transform that service to better match the conflicts we are likely to see in this century. Schoomaker's arrival address back in Augst makes it clear he sees both the critical need for transformation and the work we have ahead of us: bq. "Twenty-three years ago I stood in another place... in the Iranian desert on a moonlit night at a place called Desert One. I keep a photo of the carnage that night to remind me that we should never confuse enthusiasm with capability. Eight of my comrades lost their lives. Those of us who survived knew grief... we knew failure... but we committed ourselves to a different future.
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  • Joel: Thanks, rkb, for adding your valuable perspective, and thanks, joe, read more
  • Joe Katzman: Second that motion re: Petraeus. All indications are that he's read more
  • rkb: One of the seminal papers in EBO was written by read more

November 17, 2003

So How Was Your Weekend?

By Armed Liberal at 18:55
One of the downsides of blogging under a pseudonym is that you can't fully leverage the two parts of your life; I can't use this blog to point out personal things in quite the ways non-pseudonymous bloggers can. I'll crack that a bit to publicly thank the various doctors, nurses, and staff at Torrance Memorial Hospital, where Littlest Guy, our 7-year old, wound up Saturday night with a bad enough case of viral enteritis that he spent the night getting fluids intravenously. TG and I were at dinner at Ann Salisbury's, enjoying her great food and company along with Henry and Mr. and Mrs. Calpundit when Littlest Guy's mother called and we unceremoniously bolted for the exit and the 405.
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  • Henry: Apology not necessary -- leaving when you heard the news read more
  • Robert Tagorda (Boomshock): My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. read more
  • Ananoymous Coward #8: Yow. Your weekend was much worse than mine. I hope read more

The Infotel Affair

By Joe Katzman at 16:31
You're sitting at your desk one day, and you get a call. Someone is assembling a business directory, and wants to confirm your information. Is this correct? And this? and this? Thank you. Several weeks later, your business gets a bill for $300. What for? You ask. For the directory you ordered, they say. We have audiotapes of you saying "yes" to it. They may also note that someone at your shipping dock has signed for it. Pay, or we'll send it to a collections agency and affect your credit rating. If the perpetrators reach 1,000 businesses a day, and 20% pay up to avoid hassle or trouble, how profitable is this? XRLQ (good summary, see comments), and Jay Solo are blogging about a company called Infotel, which may be employing just such a scam. Blogger Calblog was apparently the victim, in a drama that escalated into attempts to get her blog shut down and nuisance legal threats. If you or someone you know is thinking of cutting a cheque to an operation like the one described above, communications to the Better Business Bureau, the fraud department of your local law enforcement, and your state's Attorney-General may be a better use of your time. The odds of actually being taken to court by a scam like this are low (tough for a national company to file and pursue a case in your local jurisdiction). Furthermore, collection agencies can usually be scared off if there's already a paper trail associating their account with a fraud complaint, plus a counter-threat to include them in the action and letters to authorities unless they not only desist but send you a letter renouncing the collection claim and certifying its removal from their records.
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  • Infolie: I thought I might get some answers on a BOGUS read more
  • Ken Hall: This is a fairly old scam. I work in marketing read more

Carnival of the Capitalists

By Joe Katzman at 06:26
Looking for writing that covers economics & business, their effect on you, and what makes them tick? From management fads and the "theory of the second best" to globalization and mercanitilism, this week's Carvinal of the Capitalists has some thought provoking posts for you.
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November 16, 2003

Huh?

By Armed Liberal at 01:25
From CNN:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraq will have a new transitional government with full sovereign powers by the end of June 2004, the Iraqi Governing Council said Saturday, and will have a constitution and a permanent, democratically elected government by the end of 2005.
My first reaction: sha-WHAT? On reconsideration: shaaaa-WHAT? OK, time to calm myself down. There really isn't enough information there for me to start testing Dean banners on the site yet. But the first sniff certaily does sound like a big departure from "we're done when we're done," which I've argued is the right approach. If so, it's a diplomatic disaster unparallelled during my lifetime. If we didn't have the bottom to do this, we should have stayed home. We'll know more next week. But it sure could make my decision about who I'll vote for in '04 much, much simpler.
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  • b-psycho: ^^^^this is something I will never understand. Ann Coulter seems read more
  • Zhang Fei: James Emerson: This administration has always substituted short term political read more
  • b-psycho: Praktik: If so, then those forces weren't too "isolationist" to read more

November 15, 2003

Rebuilding the Buddhas

By Joe Katzman at 17:49
They were two giant (174 ft. & 125 ft.) statues of The Buddha, chiseled into the mountainside more than 1,500 years ago in the Bamiyan Valley on the ancient Silk Route linking Europe and Central Asia. Afghanistan's fundamentalist Taliban rulers considered them "idolatrous" and against the tenets of Islam, and destroyed them in March 2001. They would soon move on to bigger game. Now some engineers are using the most advanced software tools to build 3-dimensional models of the Buddhas from old records, photographs, etc. They think they've succeeded with one of the statues, and are working on the second. The Buddhas can probably be restored exactly, they say, for about $30 million each.
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  • Joe Katzman: Zhang... Westerners also see them as among the last and read more
  • Zhang Fei: On the subject of ironies... Buddhism is supposed to be read more
  • Joe Katzman: Actually, Kevin, if the money is raised from Buddhist communities read more

Why Nano Isn't Just A Fad

By Joe Katzman at 07:44
Rob Paull of the Forbes/Wolfe blog talks about why he thinks nanotechnology is only going to accelerate. Meanwhile, we've got you covered if you need an intro. to nanotechnology and what it's all about.
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  • mitch: Microbes are molecular replicators, and they seem to manage quite read more
  • Rob: A great article - thanks for the link. I feel read more
  • Anthony: Nanotechnology is not a fad, but it's also not a read more

Sufi Wisdom: Holy Men

By Joe Katzman at 07:14
Ala'uddin 'Attar: bq. "How long will you worship at the tombs of holy men? Busy yourself with the works of holy men, and you are saved!"
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Hasidic Wisdom: The Chandelier

By Joe Katzman at 06:40
The Sufis aren't the only ones who use "wisdom stories" to teach. So do Judaism's own Chasidim. For instance, here's one that the famed Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav used to tell:
"Once there was a young man who travelled through many distant countries in search of a master craftsman from whom he could learn a trade. After a while he returned home and announced to his family that he had become an expert designer of chandeliers. "I have become so talented in my new-found trade," he explained, "that my work far surpasses even the greatest masterpieces of my teacher." Then, realizing that the family was a bit dubious about the measure of his success, he asked his father to invite the leading chandelier craftsmen in the city to view a sample of his own creation. The craftsmen came and carefully examined the young man's work. They all agreed that they had never before laid eyes on such a monstrosity...."
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  • FH: Good one! Makes you think, especially when it concerns your read more

Zen Wisdom: The Monk & The General

By Joe Katzman at 05:26
Here's a touch of Zen humour, courtesy of my friend Flora. "Monks always get the coolest lines" she says. Flora, it's all in the delivery:
"During the civil wars in feudal Japan, an invading army would quickly sweep into a town and take control. In one particular village, everyone fled just before the army arrived - everyone except the Zen master. Curious about this old fellow, the general went to the temple to see for himself what kind of man this master was. When he wasn't treated with the deference and submissiveness to which he was accustomed, the general burst into anger. "You fool," he shouted as he reached for his sword, "don't you realize you are standing before a man who could run you through without blinking an eye!" "And do you realize," the master replied calmly, "that you are standing before a man who can be run through without blinking an eye?"
Points to any readers who can use the Comments section to explain some of the layers of meaning in this story, from the cultural level of effective response to the deeper zen meaning of the Master's statement.
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  • C/Jones: The General is the Monk. "I'm looking at the man read more
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  • ckb: Marcel: "The death of any one man has absolutely no read more

November 14, 2003

Some Reading For Today

By Armed Liberal at 15:03
I'm busy all day today, but two things you ought to go take a look at while I'm gone. Den Beste makes my point about what happens if we don't succeed in tempering Islamist rage - and it isn't pretty for the Middle East. He seems to suggest that total war is new (it isn't - think Troy), but he makes good points, and in case anyone wonders what I'm so damn afraid of, he nails it. Julian Sanchez demonstrates once again that libertarians seem to have spent waaay too much time in logic class and not enough studying history or political theory, as he backhands Rob Lyman's post below. I'm out till this afternoon, but watch this space for a fisking.
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  • Anonymous Coward #8: M. Simon: I hope you don't mind if I pick read more
  • Anonymous Coward #8: Thanks Rob, I was getting a bit confused with Armed read more
  • Rob Lyman: Tony, I disagree strongly with everything you wrote. But I read more

Dialog w/Calpundit, Part 1

By Armed Liberal at 02:29
As agreed, Calpundit and I will have a back and forth on the six points I raised in my post a week or so ago, plus the thorny issue of internationalization. Buckle up...
First, we're not going anywhere in Afghanistan or Iraq until we're done. Afghanistan will not turn into Vermont any time soon, but we will make sure that the power of the warlords is checked, and that it doesn't collapse again. Iraq could be the leader of the Middle east, and we intend to help build it into that; My comments from this post.

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  • Phil Winsor: obliw: Although the vast majority of Palestinians (VMOP)aren't "fighting", they read more
  • obliw: "Our objective needs to be to break the effective will read more
  • Anonymous Coward #8: While "victory can be our only exit strategy" it seems read more

November 13, 2003

Chickenhawks And Other Interest Group Politics

By Armed Liberal at 15:03
I had an "aha" moment about the chickenhawk debate this morning. It wasn't about the fact that it's used as a slur, with the intent of shaming people into silencing debate (which I obviously think of as a bad thing). It was a moment in which the argument also illuminated what I have trouble supporting at the core of progressive values (and I'm not talking about self-righteousness). Think of it in terms of a 'community of interest groups,' rather than 'a community' and find the parallel arguments: * No one who could be and isn't serving should speak out on Iraq; * No one except women of child-bearing age should speak out on abortion; * No one who isn't poor should speak out on welfare; * No one who isn't in school should speak out on education; * No one who isn't (I can't decide on this one between 'a criminal' and 'a victim of crime') should speak out on criminal justice. It's a fun game and all can play; add your own in the comments below. And it's horribly destructive, if you see the tie that connects us as Americans as the bonds of common obligation and 'reverence' that Schaar talks about below. Just thinkin'...
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  • joeldm: But isn't it interesting how so MANY of the Conservatives read more
  • joeldm: But isn't it interesting how so MANY of the Right-Wingers read more
  • Gorevotinghawk: Joe Katzman, Voting for Gore was the right thing to read more

Dan's Iraq Briefing: 2003-11-13

By Dan Darling at 05:45
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Our "Winds of War" coverage of the global War on Terror is a separate briefing today, and both are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. Top Topics: * At least 26 are dead in a suicide bombing directed against an Italian police base in the Iraqi city of Nassiriyah. Al-Qaeda's UK-based political wing al-Muhajiroun has issued what appears to be a veiled claim of responsibility for the attack, citing bin Laden's previous singling out of Italy (as well as numerous other European countries) as potential targets for al-Qaeda. This attack represents the worst single loss of Italian military personnel since World War 2. * Iraqi blogger Alaa over at the Messopotamian has his own Nov. 11 thoughts on those who are dying over in Iraq as well as an outstanding rebuttal to the "Iraqi resistance" and its cheerleaders in the Muslim world [Nov. 10, 8:55am]. Definitely worth a read. * JK: The Voodoo Lounge has amassed an impressive collection of positive news stories about Iraq - 43 of 'em! (Hat Tip: Kesher Talk) Other Topics Today Include: Hospital attack in Fallujah; Operation Iron Hammer; al-Jazeera admits its offices were used by anti-coalition forces; at least 20 al-Qaeda apprehended in Iraq; Sadr City governing council chairman dead; Abizaid says he'll get tough; Governing Council orders Baathist assets seized; success, traced in cement; PKK to disband after clash with the US; 43 good things that are happening in Iraq; Berlusconi promises that Italy will stay the course; King Abdullah implies that Iraq may be better off with a constitutional monarchy; and post-WW2 press negativism.
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  • Dan Darling: Last time I checked, we haven't slated large numbers read more
  • A: I was pointed here by the Score Bard's Periodic Table read more
  • evariste: Muhannad is an Arabic name, so no need to have read more

Dan's Winds of War: 2003-11-13

By Dan Darling at 04:36
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. In addition, we also have our in-depth Iraq Report. Today's briefings are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. TOP TOPICS * BBC News reports that Saudi Arabia is in talks with al-Qaeda to cease attacks inside of the Kingdom in return for numerous concessions, pointing to yet another possible motive for the Riyadh bombings - al-Qaeda's desire to demonstrate to the Saudi royals that they were a force that House Saud had best cater to - or else. The "militants" referenced in the article are likely under the command of Abu Hazim, who was appointed al-Qaeda's new leader in the Gulf to replace Abd Rahim al-Nashiri. * Rmeember that force of 2,500 Taliban fighters on motorcycles massing in Pakistan, with the Baluchi government's connivance (my Oct. 9 mention | Nathan's Oct 24 mention)? Well, they just showed up in Afghanistan, recapturing 4 districts (counties) in Zabul province. Zabul deputy governor Maulavi Mohammed Omar has told the Afghan Islamic Press that the Taliban may well be planning to launch an offensive to take the provincial capital of Zabul itself. * The Indonesian island of Sulawesi, long a focus of cultural and sectarian tension, has had yet more violence to rock the fragile peace between the island's Christian and Muslim inhabitants that was established after the wave of sectarian violence from 1999-2000. Indonesian authorities believe that Dulmatin, a high-ranking Jemaah Islamiyyah leader, is masterminding the killings as part of concerted effort to stir up more problems on the island. Other Topics Today Include: Iran Reports; al-Qaeda wannabes say Jews are to blame for Riyadh bombings; US launches Operation Mountain Resolve; Taliban PR offensive; Karzai warns of more attacks; Saudi Arabia's Keystone cops; Jemaah Islamiyyah leaders on the run; al-Qaeda wants to poison your water; Brigitte planned to irradiate Sydney; the Mombasa bombing in retrospect; Pakistan arrests 150 Taliban and HeI members; Janjalani escapes; and spam is bad for the economy.
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  • tagryn: The news of the Taliban resurgence is worrisome. Hopefully our read more

A Question of Targets - A Reply to Tony and Nick Foresta

By Dan Darling at 02:03
(JK: This post was originally composed on Oct. 3rd, 2003, and mistakenly left as a Draft. Though late, I believe that recent events have given it new relevance.) Like many regulars here at Winds of Change, I read Tony Foresta's column and reacted rather strongly to it, as can be evidenced from the comments thread. My basic argument against Tony was that it was necessary to attack Iraq rather than Saudi Arabia in order to remove the greater threat to the United States. One of the things I have noticed during my travels through blogosphere is that there seem to be a number of differing opinions as to which state must be removed in order for al-Qaeda to be either decapitated or sufficiently injured to the point where the finishing the remnants of the network off will be peanuts by comparison. For many people the answer was evidently Iraq, while for Michael Ledeen it is Iran, while noted readers of such websites as Rediff will no doubt come back with the opinion that all roads lead to Islamabad. In each case, the perception is that there is a central pivot around which the survival of al-Qaeda as a global terror network depends. For Tony and Nick Foresta, that pivot is Saudi Arabia. My own opinion is that this judgement is erroneous.
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  • Oscar Jr.: Andrew: Right, the Clinton administration was duped, the Bush administration read more
  • Andrew J. Lazarus: The Weekly Standard article seems to have enjoyed a shelf read more
  • Oscar Jr.: A laundry list of uncorroborated (or in some cases discorroborated) read more

November 12, 2003

"...No Worse Than Your Average Dictator"

By Armed Liberal at 22:54
You have to go over to Roger Simon's to check out this thread (started by the snarky Tom Tomorrow cartoon at Salon on 'Chickenhawks'). I only have a limited amount of snark, so can't see wasting it here, but I did want to make sure that no one got left out of the fun. I'm always being busted for talking about the 'irrational left' without pointing to any examples; so here's one. Folks, click over and meet Matt:
As far as Saddam's cruelty goes, it is greatly exaggerated. By world standards, particularly in the Middle East, he wasn't that bad. As long as you didn't oppose him politically you could pretty much carry on your regular life. I'm not defending him, mind you. I'm saying that he is no worse than your average dictator, and I don't see the hawks clamoring to topple, say, the president of Uzbekistan, who boils his political opponents live. Saddam quashed a rebellion and killed a bunch of people in the process. As I said before, standard practice for a head of state. Try taking up arms against the government with a few thousand people and see if you don't get killed and dumped in a mass grave.

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  • Porphyrogenitus: Joe wrote: "Matt is an isolated example, and you can't read more
  • praktike: Joe, as always, I'm impressed by your logic. I think read more
  • Joe Katzman: Yes. The folks in Riyadh know a thing or two read more

Selective Service

By Armed Liberal at 18:24
In my ill-tempered post responding to Matthew Yglesias, I made the statement that
...I think they opposed the war because they believe they can have the benefits of modern liberal society without getting their hands dirty. They value moral purity and self-satisfaction above everything else - with the possible exception of creature comfort.
Two people recently wrote things that - to me - perfectly expressed this issue.
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  • Elliot: The draft has become a hot issue in this year's read more
  • Chris: The selective service bureaucracy has become unnecessary because its read more
  • Randy Paul: Steve, I'm going to bet that Elie Wiesel would have read more

Iraq & Iran: Good Questions

By Joe Katzman at 15:18
MommaBear has noticed the recent posts by Iraqi bloggers, who seem to have intelligent feedback about what the USA needs to do in their country. Unlike many members of America's Democratic Party, they seem to want the USA to succeed. Question: how can we make sure these Iraqi views get passed on and heard? My second question concerns Iran. Remember our oh-so-moral Belgian "friends"? How come they seem so solicitous of the rights of al-Qaeda members and suicide bombers, but are just fine with deporting Iranian refugees back to face possible torture and worse in Iran? If you want to support the Iranian refugees, here's the petition.
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  • Persia: i've heard that many of them are now on hunger read more
  • linden: If you think that's bad, check out this report from read more
  • Joe Katzman: I wouldn't dismiss it so quickly, Homer. The dynamic described read more

Happy Brithday to a Vet

By Joe Katzman at 07:03
Rocket Man Blog sent me an email about his dad, a retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant who served in WWII, Korea, and then Vietnam. RM wondered if it was too late to make it into my Remembrance Day / Veteran's Day post, and it was - but how could I resist a story that included this passage: bq. "...So on Hitler's last birthday in this world, my father helped destroy his birthday cake and used his billy club to subdue some of his most fanatical supporters." If you want to get the full story on that one, you're just going to have to go read Rocket Man's post. And wish Rocket Man Sr. a belated Happy Birthday.
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Guest Blog: Patriotism's Moral Duty

By Joe Katzman at 06:34
Rob used to have his own blog. I liked his stuff, and when he gave it up I offered to let him show up here and Guest Blog on occasion. Recently, he took me up on my offer. It's a nice extension of the Veterans Day / Remembrance Day posts we ran yesterday. The Moral Duty of "Tribal Patriotism" Rob Lyman I had a long conversation about the war on terrorism with an academic expert on Tibetan Buddhism this weekend. Given that I'm a typical gun-totin' conservative, you may guess that we disagreed on more than a few points. As I considered some of his thoughts I started to write a piece about patriotism, then saw that Armed Liberal had modified and re-posted last year's Veteran's Day piece. I agree, heartily, and I have a bit to add as well. Here's a question for U.S. citizens: Does it matter that 3,000 Americans died on Sept. 11, rather than 3,000 Russians, Iraqis, or Bolivians? My response: Yes. It matters an awful lot. I'd like to make the case that this sensitivity to the murder of one's countrymen - I've been trying to think of a word, and all I can come up with is 'tribal patriotism' - isn't just acceptable, or desirable, but rather is morally mandatory.
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  • Conchis: Rob, Interesting post. I confess I have some sympathy with read more
  • praktike: Rob, i think there are some utilitarians out there who read more
  • Rob Lyman: Praktike, Questions #1 and #2: Yes...with the proviso that we read more

Defining A Liberal Hawk's Policies

By Armed Liberal at 03:09
A little over a week ago, I wrote a series of suggested position statements for Democratic hawks. Kevin Drum and I agreed to have an interblog discussion, which I hope will widen to other blogs; we'll have a back-and-forth on these and see where we agree, where we disagree, and possibly lay out some ground to all stand on together. Here's what I wrote:
First, we're not going anywhere in Afghanistan or Iraq until we're done. Afghanistan will not turn into Vermont any time soon, but we will make sure that the power of the warlords is checked, and that it doesn't collapse again. Iraq could be the leader of the Middle east, and we intend to help build it into that;

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  • Tom Grey: AL - dependency on ME oil: raise gas taxes. Monthly. read more
  • FH: I agree with Howard, it is ultimately racist. To say read more
  • Howard Owens: When I see sentiments along the lines of "Iraq can't read more

November 11, 2003

Lest We Forget...

By Joe Katzman at 17:03
(see posts on Remembrance Day 2004, Remembrance Day/ Veteran's Day 2005) Today is Veterans Day in the USA, and Remembrance Day in the British Commonwealth countries. Too many others said it better than I can, so I'll just let them do so: * Armed Liberal's post about Veterans Day, liberalism & patriotism is exceptional. Be ye left or be ye right, you need to read it. * Here's a guy who understands. Tanker Schreiber sent me this Veteran's Day link: Muslim Defends U.S., Land That He Loves. Sgt. Wasim Khan is with 1st Armored Division in Iraq and was badly wounded, but it looks like he's going to recover - and re-enlist. * This is the best page for Canadian Remembrance Day resources. The famous poem "In Flanders Fields" is here, along with the poetic reply to it and many informative links. My favourite: please scroll down a bit and read the "Wear a Poppy" poem on the right. * P. notes that they're still pulling bodies out of Flanders' fields, almost a century later. * Canadian blogger David Mader has a great photo, with an even better caption. Best wishes to our boys in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and elsewhere. * David Aaronovitch has some Remembrance Day words to ponder in Britain's Guardian Observer (Hat Tip: Instapundit). Read it, then see this 1941 Dr. Suess cartoon. * Rev. Donald Sensing. Major Donald Sensing (ret). They're one and the same, which makes him superbly qualified to offer a Veterans Day Sermon to his congregants, a Veterans Day blog post to his brothers and sisters in arms, plus some tips on pastoral care for those suffering from combat trauma. Excellence all around. To all who take time this day to remember the debt we owe, thank you.
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  • magpie: It's no longer the British Commonwealth; we're members of the read more
  • John Elliot: I can never read McRae's poem without a tear or read more

Help A Blogger Out

By Armed Liberal at 15:15

Arthur Silber is a Los Angeles-area blogger who is hitting some hard times because of the transit strike. While I don't see eye-to-eye with him on many things, I know that I've had hard times in my life, and people have stepped up and helped me through. I can't do less.

He says he needs a thousand or so (more like two, from reading it) to get his car running again, so along with a number of other bloggers, I'm running his PayPal button, and asking my regular readers to click through and donate a few bucks (or more). A number of L.A. based bloggers and I may also use this as an excuse to get together and in so doing raise some more funds for him, if they're needed.


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  • Ken T: I am a fan o' Rand and I think read more
  • Armed Liberal: Eric - And I'm sure that will matter to all read more
  • Eric: Aren't the Randinistas opposed to the concept of personal charity? read more

Eyes On Korea: 2003-11-11

By The Marmot's Hole at 05:16
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. Appropriately, this Veterans' Day Regional Briefing focuses on Korea, courtesy of Robert Koehler of The Marmot's Hole. Top Topics ALSO ON TAP TODAY: North Korea, North Korea, and MORE North Korea, fecklessness at the South Korean Ministry of Unification, the debate on sending South Korean troops to Iraq, unionists turn downtown Seoul into a "sea of fire," moon pies (yes, moon pies), and much, MUCH MORE.
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  • DC: Everyone should read The Hidden Gulag. It does a good read more

"Mind of Man" Moving Notice

By Joe Katzman at 05:00
Robert Prather has done some excellent blogging over at Mind of Man. He recently moved house for what he promises will be the last time, and can now be found at Insults Unpunished.
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I Once Wrote Something About Veteran's Day...

By Armed Liberal at 04:26
...over at Armed Liberal. Here's what I wrote in 'I Started To Write About Veteran's Day...':
...and to thank the veterans alive and dead for protecting me and mine. And worried that what I wrote kept coming out sounding either too qualified or would be interpreted as being too nationalistic. And I realized something about my own thinking, a basic principle I'll set out as a guiding point for the Democrats and the Left in general as they try and figure out the next act in this drama we are in. First, you have to love America. This isn't a perfect country. I think it's the best county; I've debated this with commenters before, and I'll point out that while people worldwide tend to vote with their feet, there may be other (economic) attractions that pull them. But there are virtues here which far outweigh any sins. And I'll start with the virtue of hope. The hope of the immigrants, abandoning their farms and security for a new place here. The hope of the settlers, walking across Death Valley, burying their dead as they went. The hope of the 'folks' who moved to California after the war. The hope of the two Latino kids doing their Computer Science homework at Starbucks. I love this country, my country, my people. And those who attack her...from guerilla cells, boardrooms, or their comfy chairs in expensive restaurants... better watch out. I don't get a clear sense that my fellow liberals feel the same way. And if so, why should 'the folks' follow them? Why are we worthy of the support of a nation that we don't support? So let me suggest an axiom for the New Model Democrats: America is a great goddamn country, and we're going to both defend it from those who attack it and fight to make it better.

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  • mie nguyen: that's so true. i'm a vietnamese and came to this read more
  • alchemist: Correction: the article is on IF we should use american read more
  • alchemist: George Orwell wrote: "By 'nationalism' I mean first of all read more

November 10, 2003

Kos' Take On The Democratic Situation

By Armed Liberal at 22:44
There's a great discussion on Democratic politics and strategy started by Chris Bowers going on over at the Daily Kos. I don't at all agree with his prescription, and will get a post together on it, but I think he's asking all the right questions.
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  • M. Simon: Will some one tell me what a "progressive" is these read more
  • Scott (to Lazarus): Is the American consensus completely dead? Pretty much, replaced read more
  • Joe Katzman: "A House divided against itself cannot stand." read more

Kristallnacht: 65th Anniversary

By Joe Katzman at 18:51
Just a reminder that yesterday & today are the 65th anniversary of Kristallnacht, often seen as the opening act of the Nazi Holocaust. Thank you Jeff Jarvis, for remembering. "Kristallnacht: Shimon's Story" contains a personal remembrance of my own, plus links to Jeff and to other valuable sources. UPDATE: Of all things, some happy synchronicity. IG Farben, manufacturers of the Zyklon-B poison used in the gas chambers, is filing for bankruptcy (Hat Tip: Phil at... Good Riddance)
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  • Michael J. Totten: Jeremy Brown also has a good post on his blog read more
  • Phil: You might also be interested to know that *IG Farben* read more

Andrew's Winds of War: 2003-11-10

By Andrew Olmsted at 05:00
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. In addition, we also have our in-depth Iraq Report. Today's briefings are brought to you by Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com. TOP TOPICS * Despite millions of Saudi dollars flowing into al Qaeda coffers, the Kingdom is not immune from al Qaeda's terrorism, as a suicide bomber killed at least 17 and wounded more than 120 in Riyadh. Is it possible al Qaeda can accomplish what the U.S. State Department cannot, and bring the Saudis over to the West's side of the war? Fellow Winds of War writer Dan Darling offers his analysis. * In case you missed it, Armed Liberal's post on Veteran's Day and American liberalism is a must-read. I'll also plug my own The Reasons Why (which I certainly didn't write, only compiled), a collection of quotes, historical vignettes, and stories that try to answer the question, what are we fighting for? * JK: The participation of DJ Persia means we have a full "Iran in Focus" briefing today, with Andrew's Winds of War material identified and added to DJ Persia's briefing. Other Topics Today Include: Iran's official acceptance of nuclear inspections; al Qaeda looks at cargo planes; Saudi Arabia goes after terrorists in Mecca; North Korea updates; Israel rewards terrorism; and future warfare ain't like the movies.
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  • Umbriel: Most of Easterbrook's points are on target, but he misses read more

Andrew's Iraq Report: 2003-11-10

By Andrew Olmsted at 04:59
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Today's Iraq Report and Winds of War coverage of the wider conflict are brought to you by Andrew Olmsted of Andrew Olmsted dot com. TOP TOPICS * Are we losing the peace in Iraq? Not according to Josh Chafetz, whose speech before the Oxford Union is a must-read. * JK: An infantry battalion commander reports on his experiences in Iraq to date. It's some valuable information about the challenges and successes U.S. forces are seeing. Not to mention useful commentary from Andrew Olmsted about the report. * Saddam Hussein's government is believed to have buried as many as 300,000 opponents in 263 mass graves that dot the Iraqi landscape. Vodkapundit has the report, and links to a post that puts this number in perspective. Jay Manifold, meanwhile, crunches the numbers in earnest and thinks the final toll may be higher still. Other Topics Today Include: pattern analysis in the war; losing the propaganda war; a civilian reports on his experience in Iraq; an after action report from the U.S. Army; and what Iraqis think of the occupation.
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  • Chuckg: The laws against intimidating a witness are intended for use read more

Iran In Focus: 2003-11-10

By Joe Katzman at 03:28
This special briefing focuses on Iran, courtesy of D.J. Persia of Project: FREE-IRAN!, with additions from today's Winds of War host Andrew Olmsted. TOP TOPIC * "THE REGIME IN TEHRAN MUST HEED THE DEMOCRATIC DEMANDS OF THE IRANIAN PEOPLE." - George W. Bush * Nov. 5th was Persian Blogging Day. Read Iranian blogfather Hossein Derakhshan to find out why that matters, and how far we've come. * JK: Arash Bateni of Freethoughts.org offers "Iran's Nuclear Plan: A Matter of Fact Review." Very good job, with good links. Other Topics Today Include: Nukes update; State Dept. perfidity; Freedom & Democracy supporters strike back; Many question Nobel winner Shirin Ebadi; Anniversary of US Embassy seizure; Son of Zahra Kazemi accepts award and rejects Ebadi's help; 1994 car bombing of a Argentine Jewish facility; More demonstrations in Iran; Islamic Reformation; Iranian Freedom & Democracy Movie.
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  • DJ Persia: Babak - I just read your piece "Hacemi vs. Ebadi". read more
  • Babak Seradjeh: Thanks folks for a very detailed and interesting briefing on read more
  • Andrew J. Lazarus: Ledeen is attacking the State Dept. now because he feels read more

Special Analysis: Riyadh Bombings Retrospective

By Dan Darling at 02:02
For the last 6 months since the Riyadh bombings, Saudi Arabia has been in something of a state of flux. The latest bombings in Riyadh simply underscore that shift. For the last 14 years, there has been something of a gentleman's agreement between House Saud and al-Qaeda: the latter will not target the former, in exchange for the Saudi government turning a blind eye towards al-Qaeda's activities in the Kingdom. That appears to be changing somewhat. On both sides.
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  • Martin: [Sorry, a tedious drive-by Islam-Sucks message doesn't make the grade read more
  • Mary Martini: 66 Days of Torture in Saudi Arabia Slush funds Lies read more
  • Usman Sayed: The part I don''t like is calling eastern philosophies read more

November 9, 2003

Kristallnacht: Shimon's Story

By Joe Katzman at 23:33
I've spent the day in cemetaries, walking amongst the gravestones surrounded by the crispness of fall and the fuzzy shades of memory. Some of it was for people I knew and loved. Some of it was for people I never knew. Like Shima. Shimon Cholewa came from Shedlov, a small town in Poland near Kielce. When her stepmother abused her, my grandmother would go to Shimon's mother - her older sister - to hide out. There was no fairy godmother in this Cinderella story, just a kindly relative or two. No pumpkin coach, just a ship so dirty and unstable that several of my relatives got off at England and vowed to face any punishment rather than continue even one more day on board. "Shima" wasn't on that voyage. Unlike many of their relatives, his family never left Poland. But my grandmother would see her nephew again one day. Sort of...
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  • Marvin Shedlov: Joe, you say Shimon came from Shedlov, a small town read more
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High School Kids Today...

By Armed Liberal at 16:08
Read this article on CNN or this one at the Charleston Post and Courier (intrusive registration required) about a weapons-drawn sweep by local police looking for drug dealers at Stratford High School in Goose Creek, S.C., in which children in a hallway were arrested (sorry, when you're detained by a LEO(Law Enforcement Officer), it meets the standards of an arrest) without probable cause while the police searched them and their possessions for drugs with a dog. My primary response is to project my reaction had it been my son's high school, and had my son faced officers with weapons in low-ready who told him to sit with his back to the wall and put his hands on his head. It wouldn't be pretty. it would probably start with a lawsuit against the school, the department, and the local government, and end with a movement to recall any and all of the local officials to whom the police chief of that agency reports. They could fire him, and maybe then I'd back off...
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Testing Bush's Iron Butt

By Armed Liberal at 08:24
When Yglesias, Reynolds, and I agree, is the world in danger? I sure hope not... Matthew Yglesias (who links approvingly to my post on the ebbing of downballot Democrats, and who wrote a thoughtful and polite email concerning our recent contremps) has a post in which he points to a column by Bill Kristol and Robert Kagan, and links it to the following theory:
To make a long story short, the president is trying to cover his right flank with tough talk (i.e., the National Endowment for Democracy speech) while, in fact, withdrawing US troops from Iraq. Meanwhile, Democrats who do not agree with this strategy are being unfairly castigated as cut-and-runners.
Now this is my personal nightmare - one of the ones where you're in the room, invisible and unhearable as something horrible goes down. Instapundit shares my concern:
[Megan McArdle] But there are actually rumors that the White House is contemplating accelerating our departure, which seems lunatic to even discuss when the country doesn't appear to have a functioning anything.
[Instapundit] I hope those rumors are false. Because if the White House -- by which, in this case, I mean George W. Bush -- decides to drop the ball on this, I'll probably vote Democratic, even if Kucinich is the nominee. A half-hearted war is the very, very worst kind. I think that Bush understands that. He'd better.
Look, for me it's simple. I'm willing to overlook a lot of what I don't like about the Bush Administration because I believe that he's the only candidate whom I believe (today) is resolute about this whole war thing. The second it looks like he's planning to 'declare victory and leave,' I can promise you that Atrios will look like Karl Rove in comparison to me. That's because I'm convinced that decision leads almost certainly to nukes in the U.S. and then the real possibility of a genocidal war abroad.
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November 8, 2003

Sufi Wisdom: Abu Ben Adhem

By Joe Katzman at 05:59
This poem was written by an Englishman in the early Victorian era, and I still have fond recollections of memorizing it in class with our English teacher Dr. Montgomery. It's actually a poetic elaboration of a story from the 12th century Sufi poet Farid Ud-Din Attar, who was featured last week in "The Painting & the Painter." Attar's version was about Ibrahim (Abraham) and the angel Gabriel, but the story itself may predate him. I suspect it had become a common cultural tale by the time James Henry Leigh Hunt came along and invented the poetic character Abu Ben Adhem. If I have any writing skill at all, Dr. Montgomery is the man to thank. Sir, wherever you are, this one's for you: bq. "Abu Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase) Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace And saw, within the moonlight of his room Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom An angel writing in a book of gold. Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold And to the presence in his room he said 'What writest thou?' The vision raised its head And with a look made of all sweet accord Answered: 'The names of those who love the Lord 'And is mine one?' said Abu. 'Nay not so' Replied the Angel: Abu spoke more low But cheerily still and said 'I pray thee then Write me as one that loves his fellow-men' The angel wrote and vanished. The next night It came again with a great awakening light And showed the names whom love of God had blessed. And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest." Attar's tale was different in an important respect, in that the issue was a list of the friends of G-d and Abraham said to the angel Gabriel: "I am a friend of the friends of G-d". What do you think it means to be a "friend of the friends of G-d"? Use the comments section to offer your thoughts.
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  • Tote: To be a friend of the Friends of God is read more
  • Yousef Salem: Salaam to all. As a Muslim, and and Arab one read more
  • sally: The whole of mankind is a friend of God (whether read more

The Axis of Elvis

By Joe Katzman at 04:51
bq. "The wind of change Blows straight into the face of time Like a stormwind that will ring The freedom bell for peace of mind Let your balalaika sing What my guitar wants to say..."    - The Scorpions, "Winds of Change" Mike Daley sends this irresistable tidbit along. Apparently, tonight will feature a very special speech at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Hungary's ambassador to the United States. To quote from the Hall of Fame's official news release:
"Mr. Simonyi will discuss his personal experiences with rock music and the impact that it made in Communist-ruled Hungary and other Soviet Bloc countries. The free flow of American and British rock music – and the revolutionary ideas it represents – over the airwaves in Central and Eastern Europe was instrumental in loosening the Communists' grip on power and contributed to the eventual downfall of dictatorships in that area of the world. Ambassador Simonyi’s speech is entitled “Rocking for the Free World: How Rock Music Helped Bring Down the Iron Curtain.” The Ambassador, an accomplished blues guitarist himself and formerly the member of several Hungarian rock groups, will be introduced by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, former lead guitarist with the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan.

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  • Josh Carr: Rock & Roll playing the beat of freedom during Prague read more
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November 7, 2003

Bush's Democracy Speech

By Joe Katzman at 08:07
Figures. We publish our Iraq Report yesterday, and suddenly there's just a deluge of great Iraq stuff out there. We'll round it all up Monday, never fear. Meanwhile, Bush's words at the National Endowment for Democracy are correctly seen as an important public acknowledgement of a policy that firmly aims to shatter the Middle Eastern status quo. The USA's public aim is to transform the Middle East by transforming the way it is governed, and Bush's speech explains both the policy and the thinking behind it. Armed Liberal may finally be getting his wish: * Oxblog's Patrick Belton has a link to the speech, plus multiple excerpts. As you might expect from his status as a founding member of the Oxford Democracy Forum (Oxdem), he's very happy with this speech. * P. has President George W. Bush as his guest blogger today. We've had some good ones at Winds of Change.NET, but how do you top that? * The Arabic translation of the speech. To which I add: Insh'allah. * Boomshock has the best roundup of reactions to the speech that I've yet seen, plus some thoughts of his own. Worthwhile, as usual. * Instapundit has a partial roundup of reactions from the center-right, with broad agreement that this was a major speech. Drezner in particular understands where Iraq fits in, quoting Clinton-era NSC staffer Pollack to make his key point. * Totten: "In other words, he's pitching the Kissinger doctrine over the side. “Stability,” “our bastards,” and the rest of the old right ideology is finished. We cannot and will not liberate every oppressed population at once. But we'll do what we can when we are able... 'Freedom for others means safety for ourselves. Let us be for the freedom of others'." * I wonder why the media didn't pay more attention to the speech. Mind you, the European media did pay attention - they just didn't get it right. As we've come to expect from their parallel universe. * Donald Sensing puts it all in context with an Oct. 29th post called "The Big Picture." It delivers on its title in every way. The speech certainly throws down the gauntlet to many of the tyrannies in the region, and the implications of stating these aims so publicly are significant - consider the impact in Egypt, Syria, and Saudia Arabia, for instance, not to mention Iran. Consider, too, the speech's timing, which may be the only real surprise to people who've been paying attention. Now what we need is some execution.
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Follow-up: PFC Jessica Lynch

By Joe Katzman at 04:26
Trent Telenko ended his July 13, 2003 "Pfc. Jessica Lynch, Again with this: bq. "You already know what I think happened. We shall see with the fullness of time exactly what is the truth and what is conjecture." Here's what was published in the NY Daily News today, excerpted from Lynch's authorized biography. Follow the link and read it for yourself. Trent isn't happy to be right on this one, but he was. Armed Liberal's Freeing Jessica Lynch, meanwhile, noted what he saw as the 4 key questions: # Did Lynch battle fiercely before being captured? [A: No. Her weapon jammed.] # Was she mistreated when captured? [A: Yes. See above link.] # Did the hospital staff give her exemplary treatment and try and return her to U.S. lines? [A: Yes. See above link.] # Was the dramatic 'dynamic entry' into the hospital necessary? [Yes. A.L.'s post explaining why still holds up.] And now you know the rest of the story... some of it, anyway. Donald Sensing has some good thoughts, good links re: women in combat, and a poll. I'll leave the last words to Gabriel Gonzalez in Paris, France, who noted that: bq. "Jessica Lynch is not some missing bit of WMD. We did not fight for Private Lynch. She fought for us."
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  • linden: In a round about way, I think the accusation that read more
  • Trent Telenko: The media types have gotten some Iraqi doctors that claim read more
  • Joe Katzman: Jay, The helmet cams are already in partial use, and read more

Why Presidential Candidates Tend To Be Like Bad Movie Sequels

By Armed Liberal at 02:47
So let's start with this: Howard Dean says "I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks..." Then in the debate, he's challenged to apologize:
My question is for Governor Dean. I recently read a comment that you made where you said that you wanted to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks. When I read that comment, I was extremely offended. Could you explain to me how you plan on being sensitive to needs and issues regarding slavery and African-Americans, after making a comment of that nature? (APPLAUSE)
...and doesn't.
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November 6, 2003

Dan's Iraq Report: 2003-11-06

By Dan Darling at 15:28
Welcome! Our goal is to give you one power-packed briefing of insights, news and trends from Iraq that leaves you stimulated, informed, and occasionally amused every Monday & Thursday. Our Winds of War global coverage of the War on Terror is a separate briefing today, and both are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. Top Topics * Iraqi Shi'ite leader Moqtada al-Sadr has executed an apparent 180 degree ideological shift away from opposition to the American military presence in Iraq, referring to the American military as peace-loving people and guests and calling upon Iraqis to focus on the real enemy - the Baathist remnants of Saddam Hussein's government. * Former Iraqi Vice President Tariq Aziz has told the US that Saddam Hussein refused to order a counter-attack because his Franco-Russian contacts informed him that the US invasion was a ruse or a feint. Aziz also sheds some light on the lack of planning or the Iraqi side as well as some of the statements made before the war on the alleged "red line" perimeter that existed around Baghdad. Other Topics Today Include: CIA gets the Mukhabarat stash; Iraqi judges assassinated in An Najaf and Mosul; Iraqi Neighborhood Council member killed; al-Douri connection to the Chinook attack; European Muslims traveling to Iraq; and Saddam Hussein's plans for long-range missiles.
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Dan's Winds of War: 2003-11-06

By Dan Darling at 15:25
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. In addition, we also have our in-depth Iraq Report. Today's briefings are brought to you by Dan Darling of Regnum Crucis. Top Topics * Al-Qaeda is reportedly regrouping and recruiting in Kashmir (both Pakistani Azad Kashmir and Indian Jammu and Kashmir) before moving sending jihadis to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. * As AfricaPundit already noted, al-Qaeda elements in East Africa led by Faisal Abdullah Mohammed are using Somalia as base from which to launch attacks throughout East Africa with the assistance of its Somali affiliate al-Ittihad al-Islamiyyah. * Rohan Gunaratna, widely considered one of the foremost experts on al-Qaeda in the world, is warning that Europe may be attacked by terrorists in retaliation for the war in Iraq. Other Topics Today Include: Iran Reports; USA Homeland Security Briefing; al-Qaeda regrouping in Yemen; US posting bounties in Somalia; 3 Pakistani soldiers busted fighting with al-Qaeda; Maulavi Akhter Mohammed says down with Musharraf; jihadi minimum wage; Sri Lankan parliament suspended and military on call; an al-Qaeda plot in Kyrgyzstan thwarted; Bhutan's prince off to war; and an Eminem knife fight in Istanbul.
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  • Ralf Goergens: "We try to end on a lighter note if possible" read more

Matrix ToBeAvoided

By Armed Liberal at 09:18
I think the title says it all. Middle Guy, TG and I saw it. People laughed - at parts that weren't supposed to be funny. Lawrence Fishburne, who I respect beyond all belief, had that anxious Michael Caine "I'm just here getting a paycheck" look in his eyes for the whole film. Believe me, any movie you imagined this to be is much, much better than this. It's almost as bad as 'Signs.'
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  • Jaybird: I thought that the theme of Signs was something much read more
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November 5, 2003

Is That An Iceberg?

By Armed Liberal at 17:53
OK, I'm missing something here. My party, the Democrats, just lost three statehouses in the last 60 days, and are on track to possibly lose another in a bit over a week. The smart Democratic blogs ... Kevin Drum, Matthew Yglesias, Daily KOS ... not a peep about this or what, if anything it means. My reaction is twofold: First, I think that the Democrats may have suddenly taken a page from hapless L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who has believed for years that if he can only buy one great player, he can have a contending team.
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Let's Put On A Show!

By Armed Liberal at 17:51
Well, my part of the presentation got done this morning at 3:00, and I'm up and don't have much to do until this afternoon, so a bit of blogging and then back to reading documents. Kevin Drum and I have agreed to do a cross-blog discussion, which I hope will widen, starting on the policy positions I took in my piece chastening the Democrats. We'll work out some structure for it over the next day or so and maybe start it next week (if that works for him). Tristero and I have also been having a damn civil email dialog, and have cooked up something which I then proposed to Kevin, and which he reasonably shot down as impossibly burdensome. But...I'm thinking we might try to make it into a collective project, and so a feasible one. And if nothing else if it fails, it will fail spectacularly. Here's what I'm thinking about as a start. An encyclopedia of information on the policies of each of the major candidates in a specific set of areas.
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  • Yehudit: Talk to Command Post - they now have a 2004 read more

British State Dinner, With Bush

By Joe Katzman at 07:07
So, it appears that British TV cooking goddess Nigella Lawson [photo | video] will be preparing the state dinner for President Bush's visit to Britain. Boy, does Bill Clinton ever wish he had thought of this. Hey, hey, Bill - easy with the kicking there buddy. You're gonna hurt yourself doin' that...
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  • driverdave: Nigella would have been such a better catch than Monica, read more

AfricaPundit's Regional Briefing: 2003-11-05

By AfricaPundit at 02:06
Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on Africa, courtesy of AfricaPundit. TOP TOPICS
  • In Liberia, a new transitional government has finally assumed power. The new president is Gyude Bryant, a Monrovia businessman. Liberia's road to peace will be long and difficult, but putting Charles Taylor on trial might be a good start.
  • The Anglican church creeps closer toward schism with the recent appointment of Gene Robinson, the American Episcopal Church's first openly gay bishop.
  • "DD" comments on this briefing, and talks about a recent trip to Kenya. Want to know why the continent is an economic basket case? Listen to his story.
Other Topics Today Include: War on Terror Africa update; Reports on Mugabe's madness in Zimbabwe; Homosexuality in Uganda; Sudan update; Namibia's Nujoma; France's Ivory Coast debacle; Somaliland news; Kenyan deportations; Nigerian vaccinations.
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  • JC: RE: "some Muslims in Nigeria are rejecting polio vaccines, saying read more

November 4, 2003

...The Oddest Thing. (My Stupidity)

By Armed Liberal at 14:39
Over the last day, I distinctly recall that I left three comments over at Matthew Yglesias' in the thread responding to my post here. Don't see them this morning. I've emailed Matthew, asking what's up. [Update: And he graciously replies that "he certainly did not" and assumes he has a technical glitch, which I'd encourage him to investigate - I find the back-and-forth in comments to be the best part of blogging. And commented 'bendover' (is that in Maine?) adds that I have three comments in a differnt post of Matthew's than I recalled. Which means either a) I'm not getting enough sleep, of b) that Matthew's technical glitch moved the posts, which is unlikely. I'll pick "a)" and offer an immediate apology to Matthew. OK, that's it. No more blogging until I get my presentations done and get some sleep. See everyone Thursday.]
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  • bendover: A.L., I see three posts of yours in the "Striking read more

3 Volleys From the Left

By Joe Katzman at 05:28
In the wake of yesterday's round-up of the War on Terror and U.S. National Security Liberal blog-fest, I just couldn't resist tossing in a few heavyweights of my own. Here are 3 leftist columnists I sometimes diagreee with, but always read with respect and appreciation for their skills. Julie Burchill, The Guardian (Nov. 1/03): Mind the Gap. Ms. Burchill's razor-tipped pen slices into "hipocrisy". Sean Penn, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Uma Thurman, and quite a few more famous hipocrites get their just comeuppance - but they're hardly alone in these pratices, which nearly define the cultural left. UPDATE: Marcus at leftie Brit blog-team Harry's Place says "You've Missed One Julie." Johann Hari, The Independent (Oct 29/03): The Real Threat to Iraq... Of all the unlikely places to find something like this. But he's right. Hat Tip to Oxblog for the find: bq. "A bomb will always get bigger headlines than a slowly refilling marsh or a burgeoning school, but we must keep focusing on the big picture. Nobody wants the occupation to continue indefinitely. Iraqi democracy is getting closer every day. We must keep siding with the Iraqi people, not the bombers who want to drive away their doctors and peacekeepers." Christopher Hitchens, NY Times (Sept 8/02): It's a Good Time for War. This column has been unforgettable for me ever since the day I read it: bq. "...I am not particularly a war lover, and on the occasions when I have seen warfare as a traveling writer, I have tended to shudder. But here was a direct, unmistakable confrontation between everything I loved and everything I hated. On one side, the ethics of the multicultural, the secular, the skeptical, and the cosmopolitan. (Those are the ones I love, by the way.) On the other, the arid monochrome of dull and vicious theocratic fascism. I am prepared for this war to go on for a very long time. I will never become tired of waging it, because it is a fight over essentials. And because it is so interesting." [q.v. Boston.com]
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  • Joe Katzman: Sorry, David, Julie still has a valid point. "...You expect read more

Guest Blog: Trippin' in Court

By Joe Katzman at 04:39
Many of you will recognize 'klaatu' as a sparring partner from our comments section. During a discussion of my Sept. 23 article 'Homeless', klaatu talked about some of the things he had seen in court. I thought they made for great stories, and invited him to guest blog on a topic from his working life. This is the result. Life as a Criminal Attorney by 'klaatu' First, thanks to Joe for the offer. I've always found WoC to be an interesting place, even when I disagree. I'd like to tell you a couple of things you might not know about criminal practice, as it is lived in courts. This is not easy, because the subject of criminal practice saturates the media environment, as entertainment (Law & Order, The Practice, NYPD Blue, Boomtown, etc.), as infotainment (Court TV's trials and the numerous reality-based shows), and as news (e.g. your local news on crime, Jeffrey Toobin as a writer and a talking head on the current cause celebre like the Lacy Peterson case).
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November 3, 2003

The Physics of Extra-Terrestrial Civilizations

By Joe Katzman at 09:15
This is not a joke, it's an excellent article by Michio Kaku. Appropriately, Jay Manifold of A Voyage to Arcturus has the link, and some thoughts of his own as well. As Michio's article notes:
"Although any conjecture about such advanced civilizations is a matter of sheer speculation, one can still use the laws of physics to place upper and lower limits on these civilizations. In particular, now that the laws of quantum field theory, general relativity, thermodynamics, etc. are fairly well-established, physics can impose broad physical bounds which constrain the parameters of these civilizations. This question is no longer a matter of idle speculation...."
Especially when new telescopes may be able to start finding other solar systems that could theoretically support life. Michio talks about different levels of advanced civilization (it's a function of their energy usage level), why SETI may not find any messages even if they're out there, how a really advanced civilization would explore the galaxy, and more. Fascinating read.
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  • Joe Katzman: ...otherwise known, Joel, as J. Michael Straczynski's TV series "Babylon read more
  • Joel: Interesting to those of us who enjoy sci-tech news, but read more

Liberal Blog-Panel: Democrats & National Security

By Joe Katzman at 02:49
It's a Liberal blog-panel on the U.S. Democratic Party & National Security! This started as a feature in today's Winds of War roundup of the global War on Terror, and has now grown into its own full-scale roundup of a thoughtful and impressive debate. Participants include Armed Liberal, Calpundit, Harry's Place, Bill Herbert, Sean LaFreniere, Roger L. Simon, Michael Totten, Matt Yglesias, and Oxblog; plus some additional material from the Esmays and Porphyrogenitus. So pull up a chair and get comfy, 'cause here we go...
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  • Joe Katzman: Personally, I pray Elvis wakes up. That would be the read more
  • Elvis Presley Jr: In my mind, Bush and Cheney needs to be impeached. read more
  • M. Simon: p mac, Actually if you consider Germany and Japan we read more

Hippercritical's Iraq Report: 2003-11-03

By Hippercritical 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. Our "Winds of War" coverage of the global War on Terror is a separate briefing today, and both are brought to you by Glenn Halpern of HipperCritical. TOP TOPICS * A tough week stretched into the next. Iraqis braced for a day of hell and a US military helicopter got shot down over Western Iraq. In response, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld stated that "the people who are firing off these surface-to-air missiles are the same people who are killing Iraqis ... and they're going to be beaten eventually." * Meanwhile, The Daily Star reports that Iraqis are blaming foreigners for the daily carnage, and there certainly appears to be supporting evidence. That's foreign as in "Europe." * JK: Much of the progress so far in Iraq has come via Commanders Emergency Response (CERP) funds used directly by troops on the ground. Like the 101st Airborne, for instance. Now it appears that CERP has been cut off. WTF??? More here from a USMC Lt. Col.. I'm trying to get the full story, but if true this looks like a dumb decision that's wrong on a number of levels. Other Topics Today Include: Post-war Iraq progress reports from different angles; Powell takes it easy on the Red Cross and UN; Syria's diplomatic blunder; Iraqis continue to settle old scores; Which cards have we captured; Support the Toy Drive; Support the Troops; Wanted: human shields.
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  • Robin Roberts: Misrepresents the argument praktike, and your conclusion about arousing "the read more
  • praktike: If you believe that ending the $25,000 of support for read more
  • Jeff B: ***The benefit from the Iraq war on the Palestinian / read more

Hippercritical's Winds of War: 2003-11-03

By Hippercritical at 00:02
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. In addition, we also have our in-depth Iraq Report. Today's briefings are brought to you by Glenn Halpern of HipperCritical. TOP TOPICS * Just 2 weeks ago, Russia announced that it would delay the launch of the Bushehr plant and EU ministers stated that they were 'deeply concerned' over the human rights situation in Iran. But all those sticks are history. Already, Russia sees no obstacle to the delivery of nuclear fuel to Bushehr and continues to train Iranian nuclear scientists. Meanwhile, the EU is looking forward to the expansion of economic relations with Iran. * JK: It's a Liberal blog-panel on the U.S. Democratic Party & National Security - Roger L. Simon, Calpundit, Armed Liberal, & Matthew Yglesias. Plus a hundred or so commenters in A.L.'s blog posts alone, many with intelligent things to say. Other Topics Today Include: Iran reconciles with all its friends; the Iranian people want a referendum; the latest Iranian interrogation methods; Homeland Security spends; Immigration reform; The counsel of allies; Afghanistan remains dangerous; S. Korea faces up to N. Korean reality; Self-criticism for everyone; Israel's Chief of Staff criticizes current policies.
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November 2, 2003

Oh, Matthew!

By Armed Liberal at 05:53

Matt Yglesias has a cute post up on my discussions with Kevin Drum.

Now, Kevin and I have met, and while I think a Venn diagram of our views would overlap by about 85%, we do have some significant differences - we've just agreed to have a cross-blog discussion and try to identify and clarify them - but I have found that wherever he & I disagree, our discussions typically come from a point of mutual respect and a genuine belief that each of us means what we say, that we're entitled to have an opinion, and that our arguments aren't somehow codes for something else.

That's not true of everyone participating in these discussions, sadly.

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Baseball Free Agent Tracker

By Joe Katzman at 04:17
Over the next 7 weeks, as many as 1/4 of all major league players could be on the market. No wonder many fans just throw up their hands. "Just tell me who shows up for Spring Training," they say. For serious baseball fans already dreaming of next year, however, MLB.com offers the Free Agent Tracker. Who's available? What's their status? Where do they go? All that, plus one click to player stats or simple sorts by position and more.
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  • Robert Tagorda: I have to say: anyone he would pay $10 million read more

November 1, 2003

Sufi Wisdom: The Painting & The Painter

By Joe Katzman at 06:26
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'. This week's entry comes from the 12th century Persian poet Attar, via Fadiman & Frager's "Essential Sufism": bq. "When the paintings are hidden, you will see the Painter." Now, what do you think he means by that? Use the Comments section to tell us. UPDATE: T.L. James blogs about some of his insights.
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  • Kwaku-: when one gets past the illusions of this temporal world,("when read more
  • Kwaku-: when one gets past the illusions of this temporal world,("when read more
  • Kwaku-: when one gets past the illusions of this temporal world,("when read more

The Seas of Distant Titan

By Joe Katzman at 06:13
Uber-reader Mike Daley forwarded this one on to me. Apparently, the 2003.10.17 issue of the journal Science has an article "The Glitter of Distant Seas," reporting the results of the recent Arecibo/Green Bank radio telescopes' radaring of Saturn's giant moon Titan. Michael McNeil of Impearls has the synopsis and the full citation, and he notes that the Cassini spacecraft arrives in that area in October 2004. If it should find distant seas in the far reaches of our solar system - well, that would be something wouldn't it?
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  • Jay Manifold: Not to be a blog-parasite or anything, but I commented read more
  • Samuel Tai: The comment about distant seas stirred my recollection of T. read more

A Boston-Ethiopia Love Story

By Joe Katzman at 05:36
He was cracking calculus equations at the elite Phillips-Andover Prep School near Boston, the alma mater of John F. Kenndy and George Bush. She was walking barefoot across the desert with her family, on a trek hundreds of miles long that would kill over 30% of those who undertook it. When they came together, both lives would change... twice.
Akiva, Rachel, & baby

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  • Zemen: THIS IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL PICTURE. I HAD AMERICAN BOYFRIEND read more
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