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Saturday, May 25, 2002

posted by gbarto at 11:45 PM:
Instapundit catching hell on the teen sex question. I have to confess that while I'm not for teens having sex willy-nilly, I have yet to find anything he's said particularly offensive or shocking. The TurkeyBlog has, of course, been following its own teen sex story as it appears in the Detroit Free Press and commenting aplenty. The main thing I would take from everything I've seen of late is that adults have no clue what's going on here (me included). On the one hand, teens are young and vulnerable and a lot of havoc is being wreaked as they grow up faster in the sex sphere than most other aspects of life (which is the real problem; if they grew up, the sex situation might not be a problem while if they stayed away from sex the not growing up would be less of an issue), but on the other hand they're a lot more savvy than either the law or our leading moralists give them credit for. In my view, we'd be better off if there were less teen sex, and there are probably things we could do to make an environment where there was. But the tack we're taking today alternately empowers kids to make these decisions then infantilizes them if we're unhappy with the choices they took. We're talking about an expression of self in search of pleasure that comes naturally at the physical level at this age. If we want teens to abstain, the key lies not in treating them like children (Don't, because I told you not to) because children do what they want and let their parents take the consequences to the greatest extent possible. Instead, adults must undertake a far harder task than disciplining their children: raising them and civilizing them. The 14 year-old I've written about shouldn't have been sneaking out when mom and dad went up to their room for the night because mom and dad should have been downstairs talking with her about their day, about her day, about what it all meant. And listening to her when she spoke, seizing on anything they could learn from her, for if teenagers are not treated with respect by adults, they get the impression that they aren't junior members in the fraternity of adulthood; they're something else, something adults cannot relate to, cannot understand. Too often parents who remember that they were like that once can't find it in themselves to admit it, can't admit that even as grownups they get confused, anxious. And so in order to maintain their respected position as parents, they cease to parent. Which is a damn shame, because a little humility would allow their kids to see that the grownups were sort of kids too. And it would allow them to see their kids were nearly grownups. And then the two groups might have something to say to one another. They might even be able to come to an understanding on this diciest of subjects. Maybe not. But you'd have a helluva lot better shot than with what we've got today and even when there were disagreements at least the parents wouldn't have to wait till they got hold of their child's diary to find that out.
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posted by gbarto at 11:11 PM:
Libé headline: The U.S. and Russia squish the mushroom! That refers, of course, to the mushroom cloud that looms less large in Russo-American relations, thanks to new agreements between the two countries; now if we could just get Pakistan and India to play along.
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posted by gbarto at 11:09 PM:
Le Figaro: The Pope pushes Bulgaria to Europe. Apparently the pontiff has called for the EU to admit Bulgaria (he's in Sofia right now). Also, After a rough 2001, a soft recovery for France. The economy is slowly coming back, led by "les stocks" (apparently the writer forgot to consult his Académie française style guide and use the French term, "actions"). Says the piece, France is currently the "European growth engine," growing faster than Germany and England even. No word on how Italy's black market compares.
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posted by gbarto at 11:00 PM:
French news: Le Monde is just a bit antagonized by the newest development in Europe: The Russo-American Holy Alliance. They note that from nuclear weapons to trade to the fight against terrorism, the agreements just keep multiplying. The story manages not to come out and say that Europe feels left out, but one gets that sense, given the emphasis on Bush's agreement with Putin that stabilizing the points east of the Caucasus is the critical mission of the moment. The UNers also can't be feeling too good that Bush suggested our operations in Afghanistan as providing the way for Russia to come to terms with Chechnya - a war fought to bring peace and a better life to the people there.

Le Monde is really having its fits over America though; there's also a snippy write-up of whether Jacques Chirac's time in America and friendships in America have had any impact:
En réalité, malgré la longue construction de cette image américaine, Jacques Chirac n'a pas laissé jusqu'ici d'empreinte fondamentale sur les relations franco-américaines. "Ce n'est pas de lui qu'il s'agit, c'est de la France", souligne Phil Gordon, un ancien responsable de l'administration Clinton. Hormis la Bosnie, sur aucun des dossiers, diplomatiques, commerciaux ou de défense qui opposent traditionnellement les deux pays, M. Chirac n'a eu d'impact décisif. "Pour nous, il est parfaitement français, ni plus, ni moins." / In reality, despite the long construction of an American image, Jacques Chirac has not to date left an important footprint on Franco-American relations. "It was not for him but for France that he acted," underlines Phil Gordon, once part of the Clinton administration. Outside of Bosnia, M. Chirac has not had any impact on a single dossier, be it diplomatic, commercial or military, where the two countries were in opposition to one another. "For us, he's completely French, nothing more, nothing less."
I suppose one could have said the same of Voltaire when he returned from England to preach the virtues of capitalism and freedom. There is a certain sector of French society that would prefer to believe that Chirac's American chapter is irrelevant, for the alternative is to recognize that his lower taxes, tougher on crime rhetoric, his toughminded dealings and his sometimes too un-nuanced speech represent how the American experience affected even a Frenchman who would one day be Président de la République française. As for citing a Clinton official on matters American, we're talking about a regime that favored French health care and German industrial planning in its earlier days. Chirac may not be enough to make America rally to the French cause, but had Jospin been elected president, we could have found out just how warm Franco-American relations are today.
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posted by gbarto at 8:31 PM:
Israel Enters Bethlehem
Troops impose curfew, hunt for militants, Islamic Jihad terrorists
JERUSALEM — Israeli troops fired tank shells and machine guns Saturday, killing a Palestinian woman and her 13-year-old daughter working on a farm in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian witnesses and doctors said. The army said the two were in a prohibited area near the Israeli border.
They've got to work on avoiding this stuff; it just does not make for good P.R. Then again, we have to wonder why the headline didn't deal with this:
In the northern West Bank, meanwhile, Israeli troops stopped a taxi and arrested a 16-year-old Palestinian boy with an explosives belt strapped to his waist, on an apparent suicide mission, the army said.
FNC notes that it was also a 16 year-old who killed two Israelis three days ago. In the meantime, a Palestinian woman says her baby died after she gave birth en route to the hospital, having been held up at an Israeli checkpoint. It's a truly terrible thing, but the fault lies with her Palestinian brothers who declare that they will use any means necessary to kill Jews. As with a Palestinian medical community and an International Red Cross that have turned a blind eye to the use of ambulances for smuggling explosives. If the latter two had lived up to the standards of their profession six months ago, ambulances might be viewed as on missions of mercy, not destruction. And if Palestinian leaders had proven worthy of the name, treating their people as citizens with rights and responsibilities, not pawns in a sick game, Israeli soldiers might have been able to take it on faith that they were looking at a human being in need, not a potential threat. It's a bit hypocritical to decry Israeli soldiers for failing to consider sufficiently the humanity of the Palestinian people when their own leadership does so not at all.
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posted by gbarto at 11:36 AM:
Che sarà, sarà Natalie Solent points out this hilarious Mark Steyn column in which Bush tries to navigate a multilingual world.
And yes, I'm sure that the "what evening, evening" is part of the joke.
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posted by gbarto at 10:50 AM:
Levy May Have Been Bound
Knotted leggings found at the scene add to hunch of foul play.

A hunch, you say? Boy they're clever, these investigators. It is the policy of TurkeyBlog to avoid this case and if you're looking for the latest breathless report about what we're not sure about now, you might want to check elsewhere. But hunches that there was foul play? C'mon.
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posted by gbarto at 10:46 AM:
Safety Regulator Warns About Collapsing Red Devil Gas Grills

Check your grills before lighting them. Or if you're in western Michigan, enjoy the rain and cook inside.
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posted by gbarto at 10:38 AM:
FNC says Pakistan did a ballistic missile test this weekend. Pakistan says it's routine, but it's also a handy reminder that they have the technology. And that was probably the point of this "routine" test. The Indian prime minister was quite visible last week for the arraying of Indian forces. Pakistan has its own visibility now. The only question: Is this part of gearing up for war? Or signaling to India that both sides should stand down.
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Friday, May 24, 2002

posted by gbarto at 11:42 PM:
Lots of good stuff at Little Green Footballs. Go take a look.
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posted by gbarto at 10:26 PM:
Glad I put in a hyperlink for Reynolds. Virginia Postrel points out his terms of service. For anyone who ever sees "Instapundit" without a hyperlink, please note that the site is linked not once but twice in the left-hand column and you don't need a specific link anyway because you should read the whole thing.
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posted by gbarto at 9:57 PM:
USS Clueless is writing about the "internet twins" that the mother offered to multiple adopters; he says the judge finally came to the best decision possible for the kids: they're staying in foster care since none of the "adopters" seemed legally entitled or sufficiently responsible and the mother and father were worse.
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posted by gbarto at 9:53 PM:
Reynolds is all over teen sex too. Try the main page (link at left) and scroll down for lots more.
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posted by gbarto at 9:15 PM:
Figaro leads with U.S. and Russia enter a "new era". Print headlines: Word Cup: Can the Blues lose?; Bush-Putin: less arms, more oil; the disturbing arsenal of the Emerainville armed robbers (they took out a Brink's truck)

And Libé says that 'Bush and Putin are liquidating "the heritage of the cold war"'.
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posted by gbarto at 9:02 PM:

Attack of the clones?

-for real

Naissance annoncée de clones humains
Dans un entretien au "Monde", le professeur italien Severino Antinori affirme que trois enfants conçus par clonage verront le jour en décembre 2002 ou en janvier 2003. Le gynécologue-obstétricien romain confirme sa volonté de développer la pratique de cette technique dans l'espèce humaine afin de pallier certaines formes, aujourd'hui incurables, de stérilité. Il vient de créer une "association mondiale de la médecine reproductive", forte de plusieurs dizaines de spécialistes qui partagent son point de vue. Interrogé par "Le Monde", Bernard Kouchner, qui considère Severino Antinori comme un "docteur Foléthique", souhaite que les Nations unies interdisent le clonage reproductif dans l'espèce humaine. / In an interview with Le Monde, the Italian professor Severino Antinor asserts that three childred conceived by cloning will be born in December 2002 or January 2003. The Roman gynecologist-obstetrician confirms his intention to develop the practice in the human species in order to palliate certain today incurable forms of sterility. He has just created an "a world association for reproductive medicine", counting several dozen specialists who share his point of view. Questioned by Le Monde, Bernard Kouchner, who considers Severino Antinori a "Mad Doctor", hopes that the United Nations will forbid reproductive cloning of the human species.

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posted by gbarto at 8:40 PM:
Says the sister with regard to statutory rape, 14 year-olds having sex together is ok because the law is to prevent older people from preying on the innocent, not preventing young teens from having sex. I'm not sure the prosecutor in the cases below would agree with this, but it's the only view I can come up with that would justify his application of the law.

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posted by gbarto at 2:32 PM:
Bravery and Breakdowns in a Ridgetop Battle
7 Americans Died in Rescue Effort That Revealed Mistakes and Determination

A not bad account of a bad day for our guys. There are a few parts where the author starts to drift toward consumer safety reporter mode, assuming combat can be made safe, but the point is made that Spec Ops is evaluating what happened to prevent future losses of this nature. Still, it is incredible, is it not, to read about the U.S. experiencing the most combat losses in a single day in nearly a decade and have the number be seven. Our leaders and our soldiers alike deserve commendation for the incredible job they've been doing.
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posted by gbarto at 2:24 PM:
Bush, Putin Ink Nuclear Pact
Treaty cuts warheads by two-thirds over 10 years.

At least one conflict is receding as the new one starts, though that point has been made before.
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posted by gbarto at 2:22 PM:
Weekend (and Traffic) Begins
Roads are starting to block up as travelers head out.

And if I were a terrorist, that's where I'd be focusing my efforts. Is the administration thinking about this? Is Daschle drafting his memos about why they should have thought harder?
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posted by gbarto at 2:19 PM:
FBI Agents Cite Lapses In Pre-Sept. 11 Probes
Field office says top agency officials hampered investigations.

So much for the "renewed confidence in big government" line; it seems like every revelation shows how top-heavy Washington needs streamlining with more power spun away from that town. The real question should be "What did the FBI know, and when did it know it knew it?"
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posted by gbarto at 2:14 PM:
Small planes and scuba divers Those are two of the threats we're told to watch for this weekend, though there's no word of where or how.

Scuba diving? Sure. Places: Riverboat Casinos (talk about taking your chances), select bridges and navy or coast guard boats in the dock. The main thing is that a scuba diver can't carry a lot of explosives so he (or she) would have to pick a target with a weak point. Boat with holes in them sink, so that could work. And while blowing up a bridge is unlikely, damaging a piling at a time when there's a lot of weight on the bridge (or will be) could make for disaster. Scuba divers could also slip something into a water supply with time release so that effects would be harder to track. As for small planes, they could threaten the same places though they would require speed, not invisibility, to achieve their objective. They could also hit public gatherings, though flying a small plane into a larger one as it crosses a major metropolitan area would also be a possibility.

The likelihood of anything happening? Small, but real. So keep your eyes open.
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posted by gbarto at 12:28 PM:
With reference to the below, I'd just like to note that while I see the girl as a victim, the question is of what. Clearly she needs counseling, as does her whole family if they were totally unaware of a problem until her mom found the diary (and even if they weren't; most families would have a lot of things they needed to sort out after something like this). The question is whether statutory laws really protect (they didn't protect this girl very well) and whether we as a society are really interested in protecting, or just having a strict law so we can pretend we're actually doing something.
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posted by gbarto at 11:54 AM:
Prosecutor refuses to turn over sex diary despite judge's order. New developments in the Who's a victim, who's a predator? story we mentioned the other day. To briefly recap, distraught parents turned over to police a diary in which their 14 year-old daughter claimed to have had sex with 22 men. While the prosecutor's office let this number slip, they had refused to let defense attorneys see the whole diary, only the pages on which their clients were mentioned. A judge has now ordered that defense attorneys be allowed to see the whole diary and the prosecutor has refused. Now I'm aware that history of the victim is to be excluded in these cases, but if the prosecutor's main evidence is the diary and the defense's contention is that the diary is made up or inaccurate, defendants have a right to put the evidence against them in context. A judge in any trial has to restrain attorneys who cross the line in asserting that "the victim had it coming," regardless of how the evidence is arrayed and if defense attorneys argued that the girl's promiscuity meant she didn't deserve protection, they'd be wrong on the law and - in my view - on the facts. But if they argue that the diary is too fantastic to be taken as credible, they need to be permitted to show why it is not credible, including its scope.

All of this ignores the secondary question as to how statutory laws should apply. In Michigan, conviction for statutory rape carries a minimum sentence of one year in prison and 25 years on the sex offender registry - even if the conviction is expunged. Brian Dickerson argues that our statutory laws are a Victorian relic used less for protecting young girls than assuaging the consciences of their parents:
The typical statutory rape prosecution is propelled by parents reeling from the discovery that their teenage daughter has become sexually active. Desperate to discharge their feelings of anger, fear and embarrassment, they turn to police and prosecutors in an effort to hold someone -- ideally someone outside their own family -- accountable.

But the police and the prosecutor's office are neither responsible for, nor equipped to provide the kind of help these families need. Those law enforcement agencies exist to protect the public, and they should resist bringing criminal charges whose only real purpose is to appease distraught moms and dads.
That would appear to be the case here, since the girl was sneaking out of the house without their knowledge and the parents learned about the alleged sexual activity from the diary, not the girl. One may argue that this proves nothing since she was still too young to know what she was doing. Fair enough. But this still doesn't answer a) why other "children" the same age are being charged as adults and b) why a 14 year-old with a 10 year-old suddenly ceases to be an unknowing child and becomes a sex offender in his or her own right.
Defense attorneys have questioned why no one under age 16 has been charged, including a 15-year-old boy who told police he had sex with the girl.

And no charges have been brought against the girl.

Gorcyca said it makes no sense to charge the underage boys.

"If they're both 14 and they've both violated the law, then they're both victims and they testify against each other?" Gorcyca asked, shaking his head.
Well, yes. If one minor having sex is bad, two having sex can't be alright, can it? Put another way, is it better for a sophmore to have sex with her freshman boyfriend or a junior to have sex with her sophomore boyfriend? Gorcyca says the second is a felony and the first is unfortunate. Which says to me that under the Gorcyca regime, prudent freshmen will only have sex with other freshmen. This is progress? If young adolescents being lured into sex is a bad thing, we need to send the message that sex with a 15 year-old can lead to as much heartbreak as sex with a 16 year-old. Unfortunately, the law isn't designed to protect kids; it's designed to punish whomever the state deems at least somewhat grown-up. Which is why, for all his protestations, Gorcyca isn't really seeking to use the law to keep kids from becoming sexually active before they're ready. He's just selectively releasing evidence and selectively choosing prosecution targets to maximize convictions. The prosecutor may get his 18 or 19 separate trials in which he acts shocked that this particular defendant or that one had sex with a 14 year-old while doing all he can to suppress evidence about her other 21 partners and that may allow him to send a message about having sex with someone under 14. But it won't do a thing to explain why a 14 year-old would follow this girl's path, knowingly or unknowingly, and it won't do a thing to keep her from having 20 14- and 15-year old partners next year.
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Thursday, May 23, 2002

posted by gbarto at 8:56 PM:
French news:
Le Monde:
Near-East: Return of the bombings
The bombing at Rishon Letzion May 23 is the third suicide act since the end of operation "Wall of Protection." It illustrates the failure of the intervention of Tsahal in the autonomous Palestinian zones, characterized as "terrorist" by Yasser Arafat. Friday morning, the most important fuel depot in Israel was the target of a new attack. This return of violence comes without any prospect of new negotiations. The Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, is confronted with a political crisis. Since Wednesday evening, his coalition government has been reduced to 60 out of 120 seats in parliament. At Berlin, GW Bush repeated that peace in the Middle East would come with the existence of "two states living side by side."

Le Figaro print headlines: Doctors: the conflict gets worse [dispute about staffing on nights and weekends, etc. turning into political war]; John Paul II pardons the Bulgars; Brink's truck robbed

Libé: Refugees from Sangatte not to be let into France, Brink's truck robbery
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posted by gbarto at 6:27 PM:
The Dreaded Purple Master notes that while college students and graduates may be clueless about life, the colleges aren't doing anything about it, and in fact have an interest in making sure their students don't put together one hard truth: the recruitment brochures guaranteeing a good job at the end lie.
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posted by gbarto at 6:09 PM:
Interesting question about a unified European foreign policy asked at Libertarian Samizdata. Read to the end.
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posted by gbarto at 6:02 PM:
Hear, hear! It's a little old, but Brian Micklethwait explains at Libertarian Samizdata that the government that can act preemptively against something like 9/11 is a bit too empowered.
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posted by gbarto at 5:55 PM:
The end of Arafat?
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posted by gbarto at 1:58 PM:
I've said before that military response to terrorism should be measured and appropriate, that widening the war to cover just anyone who disagrees with us is dumb (if not criminal), and that International Law must be respected because law and ideals are pretty much the only things that separate us from both animals and the jungle. But thinking about it, thinking about the kind of appropriate response to any person or group that uses sheer terror on such a vast and final scale to cower, level and dominate, the only kind of response that makes any sense is of a kind that is even more savage, more vicious and of such finality that nothing is left to be questioned. - Naked Writing

A while back, Benjamin Netanyahu began offering the death tolls of Israeli civilians in percentages, not raw numbers, in order to suggest that Israel had sustained far greater proportional losses from suicide bombers than had the U.S. Naked Writing is correct that military responses should be measured and proportionate; the question is on what basis one judges the proportions. The objective of the terrorist was not (only) killing people, it was terrorizing those who survived. A measured and proportionate response will not seek to replicate casualty figures, even on a percentage basis. It will seek to instill in the terrorists the same terror that they sought to instill in us. The terrorists sought to convince us that our civilization was fragile, ripe for harm, even annihilation. A measured and proportionate response will show them the futility of their enterprise, demonstrating that it is fragile, vulnerable and headed fast for extinction.

Naked Writing need not fear he has lost proportion. He has intuited what constitutes proportional response more correctly than he knew.
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posted by gbarto at 1:22 PM:
The below just to note that it's an interesting world out there.
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posted by gbarto at 1:22 PM:
Car Bomb Explodes, Wounding Two in Spain
Outlawed Basque separatist group ETA claims responsibility

Indian PM Consults Army in Kashmir
Troops exchange fire with Pakistanis along perilous border
• Pakistan May Shift Troops, Affecting War on Terror
• Powell Confers With Pakistan's Musharraf

Elsewhere, in Mid-East news, Yasser Arafat has pulled back from his demand that Israeli troops be completely pulled out before he'll agree to election. Perhaps the fact the latest suicide bombing was from Al-Aqsa - an offshoot of one of his own groups - and not Hamas makes it harder to portray the Israelis as the bad guys with him caught between Sharon and Arab extremists.
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posted by gbarto at 7:40 AM:
Our friends, the Saudis. Didja know they jail Christians? LGF has the story.
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posted by gbarto at 7:29 AM:
A Dog's Life wonders what happened to the anti-nuke activists now that India and Pakistan seem to be on the brink.
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posted by gbarto at 7:04 AM:
"No comment" The Israeli Ambassador to France, Elie Barnavi, withdrew to his home to "get back to work," leaving very strict orders: "No commentary and nobody is to approach it." Despite the Ambassador's affirmations above - "We have good reason to believe that this was an accidental fire," he asserted on Europe 1 [a tv station] - the hypothesis of a terrorist attack is on everyone's mind. "The simple fact that the hypothesis of a bombing could be considered shows clearly in what state of mind France now finds itself," regrets General Darmon, president of the Franco-Israeli Association. - from Libération
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posted by gbarto at 6:46 AM:
"It burned like a matchbox"
- Israeli Ambassador to France of the burning of the Embassy last night.

Agence France Presse reports that the police and other investigators say it's too early to pinpoint a cause and nothing is being ruled out, but that it looks like the fire started where the building - whose structure was largely wood according to the reports - was being renovated, suggesting an electrical short or some similar accidental cause. The Israeli Ambassador has suggested the fire was probably accidental, noting as well that he had received no threats against him or the building.
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Wednesday, May 22, 2002

posted by gbarto at 11:46 PM:
Returning to an earlier theme, Libé tells us about:
Ados, porno, bobo
Nourris d'images X dès leur plus jeune âge, les ados ont un rapport de plus en plus trouble à la sexualité.
jeudi 23 mai 2002
«L'objet du désir est transformé en chose»
Un substitut au dialogue avec les adultes
Câble et satellites, les robinets du sexe /
Raised on X-rated images from a young age, teens have a more and more troubled relationship to sexuality...
Libé particularly worried that people are being changed from, well, people, to objects with a monetary value and that children are learning about sex from tv, not their parents.
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posted by gbarto at 11:39 PM:
Figaro: L'ambassade d'Iraël à Paris ravagée par les flammes / Israeli Embassy in Paris Ravaged by Flames
Evoquant l'origine du sinistre, il [l'ambassadeur israélien] a déclaré: «A première vue, ce serait plutôt accidentel, peut-être un court-circuit» d'après ce qu'ont dit les pompiers. / Evoking the origin of the blaze, the Israeli ambassador said: "At first glance, it seems to be accidental, perhaps a short-circuit," this based on what the firemen said.
In other words, the headline and the first thoughts it triggers appear far worse than the reality, though the reality is bad enough: the whole building and much of what was in it appears to have been lost. Incidentally, the Prime Minister and Interior Minister both went to the scene while the President of the French Republic spoke by phone with the Ambassador.

In other news, Valery Giscard-d'Estaing, a former president now flitting about EU politics, wants to redraw France's regions so they'll fit into new EU structures more advantageously. It seems to me that the regions have typically been redrawn not to augment regional power - as VGE insists he is doing - but to make administration easier, as was the case with Napoleon. Hmmm...

Elsewhere, Figaro notes that things are heating up on the India-Pakistan border and that Raffarin has started his campaign against cohabitation, arguing that the people should support the Union for the Presidential Majority rather than continuing with divided government.

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posted by gbarto at 11:19 PM:
French news:
Le Monde leads with Bush's warnings about the terrorist threat during his European tour. Secondary leads: The Pope says he will push for peace till his last breath, the Socialists start their campaign in Paris and the Bushies are in the dock over Enron.
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posted by gbarto at 11:01 PM:
After reading Woolsey's article the other day calling for more creative thinking about the terrorist threat, my mind went back to the assassination of the Duc de Guise on December 23, 1588 at the Chateau de Blois. At the time, the wars of religion had reached a fever pitch in France between those who wanted to slaughter the protestants... and those who wanted to do so more slowly for political rather than religious reasons. The former of these groups was ascendant, and Henri III, leading the second, felt the need to act. Forced to convene the General Estates, he and his court hatched a plot. When Henri de Guise, leader of the Ligue ( i.e. the group more forcefully opposed to protestantism) arrived at Blois, he was promptly shown to a room where meetings were underway. As he entered the room, the doors were bolted and he was soon set upon, killed and burned.

The General Estates brought together two parties deeply suspicious of one another for the purposes of working out a power arrangement. And as it turned out, the suspicion was warranted. This led me to think of a similar situation with a slight twist. Here is the TurkeyBlog's Terrorist Scenario.
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posted by gbarto at 6:07 PM:
Clinton White House Ignored Terror Chart

Apparently Clinton's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs got a memo that our special forces could have disrupted Al-Quaeda's organizational structure, presumably to get info and prevent them from making new attacks. But the people in place were too busy responding to the Cole attack to address the report. We'll say again, hindsight is 20/20, and there are far better reasons to criticize the Clinton administration than failing to follow up one of the thousands of reports of this nature that probably show up every year. But this should remind Democrats to think twice about just how much the White House can really do before criticizing Bush again, which is why Curt Weldon went public with the info. Did Gephardt know this was coming and is that why he backtracked? And if Democrats knew this was out there, where did they get the audacity to launch their criticisms of Bush?
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posted by gbarto at 5:54 PM:
White House Was 9/11 Target
Abu Zubaydah says crashed Pennsylvania flight headed to D.C.

You know that Bush would have acted if he'd known about this.
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posted by gbarto at 5:45 PM:
For the record:
Chandra's Remains Found
Skull and other bones discovered in Washington's Rock Creek Park; police chief says dental records identified missing intern

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posted by gbarto at 2:32 PM:
India PM: 'Decisive Battle' Coming
Tells troops to get ready to fight
1,000 Die in India Heat

So are one's chances better living in the south or fighting in the north? Things are looking bad for the subcontinent and it's at least seemingly possible that the world will see its first nuclear exchange sooner or later. I read someplace - wish I could remember where - that the greatest danger in a war is that one side will so surprise the other that ordinary battle gives way to madness, creating a far more dangerous situation than a typical war. This is one such case; if the Indians and Pakistanis are well-prepared and well-matched, a) both may stand down or b) the two might fight each other to a draw. But if either appears ready to move beyond Kashmir deep into the other's homeland, this could get ugly. I'll leave it to others to determine how or whether it's possible for any outside parties to influence events so that this doesn't happen. The TurkeyBlog has far more opinions than expertise in these matters.

Update: I've remembered the anecdote but not where I read it. At issue is the battle at Camlann, in which King Arthur and his Knights met an opposing force and were working out peace when a snake bit one of the men and he drew his sword to strike it. Seeing the sword drawn, the opposing army charged and a melee ensued. The point was that well-ordered forces in battles where the ground rules are understood can perform reasonably well, but that in the absence of known conventions and mutual understanding of how battles are to be fought, unnecessary bloodshed and destruction ensue.
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posted by gbarto at 1:58 PM:
Yet another one:
Homicide Blast Kills Three in Israel
At least 19 injured after explosion in suburb south of Tel Aviv
You can read our earlier commentaries on whether Arafat is a party to terror or an irrelevant old fool; either way we hold that it's time for a truly democratic government in Palestine, whoever leads it, so that the Palestinians can clean up their society or legitimately be held accountable for not doing so.
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posted by gbarto at 1:48 PM:

Sex victim or predator?

I was both, girl says

She was 14. And, according to her own words and police reports, she had oral and anal sex from October 2000 to June 2001 with 22 boys and men who ranged in age from 14 to 20. Is she a sex victim or sex predator? Although the answer may lie in Michigan's straightforward law, the Bloomfield Township case has raised some complicated questions on the moral difference between right and wrong.
The Free Press is selling at quite a clip today, owing to the above with an upper left headline in type the same size as appears on the blog, and with a photostat of one page out of the girl's diary. Said diary, the basis of the charges being considered, was turned over to police by the girl's parents, who apparently did not realize their daughter was sneaking out of the house at night.

The feature story runs through the sordid details matter of factly, but Brian Dickerson's column does a better job of explaining that "moral difference between right and wrong" that the lead graf mentions. He notes that a year ago, we convicted an 11 year old with the mentality of an 8 year old on murder charges and sent him to prison for life; the killing was cold-blooded enough that Nathaniel Abraham was tried as an adult. But now a 14-year old who at least thought herself to be more savvy than many 18 year-olds are is taken as a hapless victim, lacking in all responsibility. Maybe, maybe not, but the law feels the same way about 14 and 15 year-olds that she was involved with, making her victim and victimizer. Will they charge them all? Will they charge none of them in those cases? Either way, the law looks pretty incoherent; the larcenous equivalent would be a couple kids pooling their money, then holding themselves up and divvying up the proceeds.

Now, I'm not advocating 20 year-olds dating 14 year-olds. But a while back a 14 year-old faced charges for doing things with a 10 year-old. In that case, the state clearly understood the 14 year-old to be savvy enough to be responsible for sexual conduct. So if I've got this straight, 14 year-olds involved with 10 year-olds are morally cognizant actors liable for their actions; 14 year-olds involved with 14-15 year olds may or may not be responsible but since they're all victim and victimizer, we usually split the difference and don't press charges (though charges have been filed in one or two cases, mostly when a pregnancy was involved). And 14 year-olds involved with 16 year-olds are moral idiots. It's amazing how many things a 14 year-old can be, and how little it has to do with the 14 year-old himself.

Our society has been pushing sexuality downward for years (or has it? Cute little Cosette was 15 when Marius the law student started courting her in that book and musical we know and love, Les Misérables, published in 1862; in the new musical, Javert lets Valjean go to haul in Marius who in the end convinces an incredulous jury that he and Cosette really hadn't gone all the way) and our society is going to have to decide whether to again rediscover morality, uncool as it sounds, or let the law slide along with society. Because when Planned Parenthood, the school counselor and the parent who wants to be hip empower young men and women to discover their sexuality and the prosecutor can't decide whether a crime is taking place or society is becoming more progressive until he sees birth certificates (Johnny, 16 years, 1 month: felon; Tommy, 15 years, 360 days: young kid learning about the birds and the bees), the law and our social custom alike have ceased to be about protecting kids and become little more than a soapbox from which prosecutors can start their bids for the state house.

Bottom line: 14 year-olds probably shouldn't be having sex. And if society believes that, we should have the nerve to say so. But if the culture can't find it in itself to tell young teenagers that sex is wrong for someone their age, not a personal decision - wouldn't want to step on anyone's individuality - then cases like these are going to keep coming along, and while they may get some prosecutors' names in the paper that doesn't mean our kids are being protected. Just that we want a way to pretend they are without having to be the fuddy-duddy grown-ups telling kids that they're still kids.
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posted by gbarto at 10:42 AM:
Palestinian democracy? Sounds like a good idea to me. It does to the WSJ too. While there is pressure on Arafat, the US and the rest of the world need to stay the hell out of the way. If the Palestinian people do elect Hamas officials to run their country, at least we'll know what we're up against. Odds are better that they won't. But if the US or others meddle, whatever government comes will be in the same place as Arafat: perceived by the extremes as a puppet of the West, not the voice of the Palestinian cause. We don't need to help legitimize their grievance by trying to put in our man, preaching democracy while fostering something else. Our history on the other side of the border is instructive: When the Clinton administration sought to oust Netanyahu at all costs, they gave Barak the reins for the short term and he did all he could to fulfill Clinton's Nobel Peace Prize desires in turn. Seeing that they'd been had, the Israelis picked Sharon next time out. I shudder to think who the Palestinians might come up with if four or five years down the way they decide to show their independence from US do-gooders.
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posted by gbarto at 10:36 AM:
Holman Jenkins and the Wall Street Journal editorial board weigh in on the Merril Lynch settlement and Morgan Stanley arbitration victories (Merril settled out of court for $100M with NY Atty Gen Spitzer for what boils down to pumping up stocks; Morgan-Stanley, in the mean time, has convinced several arbitrators that clients ignored their recommendations for investing for retirement and that its analysts simply blew the same call that I and so others were able to blow on their own - that techs would not go up forever but would eventually hit a wall). The main thrust of what they note is that both individuals and investment firms made some wildly foolish calls and took some hits, but that appearing sympathetic and being the genuine victim of an investment firm are very different things. As for the one scandal, sales forces pushing investment banking clients, I'd say that it's true something needs to be done. But what? Several firms had successfully kept the investment banking side from whispering in brokers' ears; those firms got berated for not warning clients about Enron because the investment bankers - who knew there might be a problem - weren't talking to the brokers. Which is why the best place to sort this out is not a thousand legal actions on behalf of investors who should have known better but the marketplace, which is already giving a boost to Fidelity, Schwab, etc., who weren't involved in these shenanigans, while downgrading those who were.
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posted by gbarto at 12:45 AM:
Fine lines penned by Will Warren (first seen at Instapundit).
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posted by gbarto at 12:13 AM:
Delightfully Inappropriate response at Natalie Solent's blog.
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posted by gbarto at 12:10 AM:
Speaking of sleep deprivation... anyway, here's the French news:
Le Monde leads with the Threat of a New War in Kashmir, noting recent tensions leading up to the assassination of a Muslim leader Le Monde characterizes as moderate (the TurkeyBlog is not an expert in subcontinent politics and has no opinion on the matter). Secondary leads are more follow-up on the Phoenix memo (about suicide hijackers) and the new leader of the RPR (center-right) has announced that if the Union for a Presidential Majority and one of his candidates wind up in a three-way race with a Socialist or left-wing candidate, he will support the UMP because a defeat of the Socialists is more important than an RPR triumph.

Figaro's print headlines: Bush's European Campaign (also the web lead); First Polemic (Policy planning) between RPR and UMP for three-way races (see Le Monde head above); Magistrates want to patch things up with ministry (of justice, an executive branch institution with which the courts have been feuding on a variety of matters; Figaro got some exclusive documents about the courts' wishes, notably more independance for judges and control of judges in the hands of the courts, not the executive).

Libé leads with the Bush visit; their second headline is about a father Killed in a dispute among High Schoolers. At first, it was thought that he'd been beaten and kicked to death; a coroner's report says he took a brick to the head. As Joe Lieberman might say, "Only in America," except that this happened in Evreux, France, amid a wave of youth violence that makes the American scene look as dull as the Cleavers-style '50s.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2002

posted by gbarto at 6:06 PM:
Something to sleep on. The Washington Post has an interesting article on sleep patterns and sleep deprivation.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 2:50 PM:
Lieberman Urges Delaying Tax Cuts

Could the "What did the President know..." line of questioning have been a mere smokescreen while the Dems set up their real agenda?
* * *
posted by gbarto at 2:46 PM:
Kashmiri Separatist Leader Killed
Muslim shot during memorial rally; India, Pakistan tensions mounting

Here we go again.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 2:43 PM:
Had the information been acted upon, the Syrians would have been massacred before the Purple Line for all their lavish collection of tanks and guns - and there is little glory in massacres. The failure of intelligence has never been adequately explained. Did the fabled Mossad fail so utterly to discern the Arabs' plans? Or did Israeli political leaders fail to recognize the warnings they received? - Tom Clancy, The Sum of All Fears
Thought the above sounded kind of familiar to our time. Any lessons for Bush? Golda Meir was the Israeli Prime Minster at the time. OU.org offers this from Colliers Encyclopedia:
However, in 1973 and 1974 disputes over the blame for Israel's unpreparedness for the Yom Kippur War led to demands for new leadership and increased the divisions in the Labor Party.

Although Meir was able to form a government following elections in December 1973, she could not get her cabinet to agree on policies; she resigned in April 1974. She died in Jerusalem on Dec. 8, 1978.
In this sense, the Bush team is wise to keep pushing the "an attack could come any time" line; it reinforces the idea that they can only be expected to accept some culpability for 9/11 and redirects attention to their response as the most important thing to watch.

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posted by gbarto at 11:08 AM:
Incidentally, Instapundit is complaining that the switch to his new site isn't complete so he has to keep the old site up as a pointer. He probably should anyway. I did the first two weeks of the TurkeyBlog on blogspot, then moved it to the server where my other stuff lives so I could update when blogger's down (typing in the old-style HTML, nothing as sexy as MT). That was three or four months ago and I'm still getting 3 to 4 visits a month referred by the old site.
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posted by gbarto at 11:04 AM:
Not serious about the war? No, it's not Congress. Instapundit can tell you who it is at his new address.
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posted by gbarto at 10:56 AM:
Excellent Wall Street Journal column by James Woolsey. Woolsey builds on points that have been floating around the blogosphere for a while, but fills in details as to how the intelligence community works - or rather, doesn't - and hits on one point that hasn't been getting enough play: While various reps and senators have been rapping the administration for not putting the pieces together, many of the agencies that should have been working together can't - because the legislation congress wrote to create and fund them puts strict limits on where they can operate, etc. Learning that congress created by design (accidentally or on purpose, it matters not) some of the turf wars and compartmentalizations that are messing us up does not surprise, but it's not a datum that has been getting much play. Shame on them and their predecessors for the way they put things together; shame on them for blaming the administration for following idiotic guidelines that were the making of their branch of government.
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posted by gbarto at 8:00 AM:
India Border Violence Kills 5

Offered just in case you were getting bored with the Middle East violence.

* * *
posted by gbarto at 7:58 AM:
Routine Screening for Depression Urged
The recommendation is the latest manifestation of the growing recognition that depression is one of the most common -- and most commonly undiagnosed and untreated -- chronic illnesses. About 19 million American adults suffer from depression, and estimates suggest that as many as two-thirds do not get treatment.
When the pancreas secretes the wrong amount of insulin, we know that a diabetic is supposed to take an injection to help rebalance his system. But curiously, when the brain is so poorly balancing serotonin and other neurotransmitters that the person can look at a career and family and much more and conclude she has nothing to hope for in life other than death, some people would rather watch the person die than admit that there might be a real problem in need of better treatment than a call to "get over it" and not just a character defect. That some people are so ready to sacrifice the countless hours given to feelings of hopelessness, indeed are so ready to sacrifice the lives of fellow human beings, strikes me as callous and foolish. I suppose I'll give the Christian scientists a pass; they disdain all medicine. But I find only wrongheaded foolishness in those who unthinkingly accept treatment for their physical problems below the neck yet disdain treatment for physical problems above the neck. Sadly, this group includes many of the depressives, themselves, who blame themselves for their ailment and don't get the treatment they need. They need to know that there is a place in this world for them, that the contribution they have to make is valued and we, as a society, can't afford to lose it for something so foolish as to hang on to the illusion that one illness counts but others don't. If you or someone you know shows signs of depression, encourage them to get help. Time's a wastin'. Literally.
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posted by gbarto at 7:44 AM:
President Retains Strong Support
But More Say U.S. Cannot Halt Attacks

Specifically, 76% approve of Bush's performance as president; 46% still think the government can prevent future terrorist attacks. I'd still like to see the latter number lower; there are limits to what the government can do, other than squishing enough terrorists at the source that they lack the organization and human resources to undertake future acts. This we are doing, but it's best that the public be prepared to deal with what may come in a world where the government is just a mass of people, doing their best, not an omnipotent and omniscient god.

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posted by gbarto at 7:37 AM:
Jury Chosen in North Carolina Hezbollah-Cigarette Case
Two men accused of smuggling smokes in U.S. to fund fighters in Lebanon

If slaughtering Jews isn't enough, will involvement with the likes of Filthy Morris be enough to convince Fisky leftists these are bad guys.
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posted by gbarto at 7:31 AM:
Stripper's Daughter Returns to Christian School

This is the follow-up a story we covered here, in which a woman's daughter was expelled from a Christian academy a month before the end of the school year because the mother paid the tuition out of her income as a stripper. Now the academy was certainly legally entitled to undertake these actions, but it didn't set itself up as friend of the downtrodden in immediately condemning the mother rather than reaching out to find out why she'd chosen that line of work.

In any case, she's giving it a rest the last month of school because she's more reasonable about the welfare of her child than the church, which said no dancing or the kid can finish elsewhere and that's tough breaks, screw that "suffer the little children" and stuff. Incidentally, the daughter will not be returning next year - mum says she wants her daughter in a school that's a little more accepting and understanding.

Still no word on whether they've expelled the parishioner who turned mum in, but their philosophy indicates they ought be having doubts about having a congregant who knew how to find any naked women on the net, never mind a specific parishioner.
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Monday, May 20, 2002

posted by gbarto at 11:35 PM:
Mac's Temporary Blog was wondering this weekend if Western Civilization still exists. We missed it then, but in case anyone's still wondering, yes it does. One need only compare Le Monde and the Arab News to see how much even the statist liberal element in France is tuned in to the same fundamental issues that move us in the U.S. while there is a completely alien perspective elsewhere. And let's face it, even the Guardian uses relatively compatible terminology; they may have a bizarre take, but they're still valuing life and wanting it to be good as possible, even if they have a warped conception of what that is and how to get there. They aren't talking about turning peoples into unified masses to do God's bidding as determined by theocratic inspiration (though the left's collectivist environmentalism can be worrying). So Europe is heading off in its own direction. So there are questions about the Anglosphere versus the continent. Notice these notions are competing with one another; is anyone competing with the Arab world to find the best (not purest) way for the citizenry to find fulfillment? Of course not. We're competing with each other to see which strain of thinking born of the confusions of the move from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment to Romanticism will win. It's all very Western, and it's all very different - not least for the competition and the analytical means of comparing who's winning - from non-Western Civilization.
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posted by gbarto at 11:21 PM:
Lots of commentary on the Dalai Lama's visit to Australia over at Martin Roth's place. Running a Christian blog, Roth is not 100% in favor of the adulation for the Buddhist leader, and shares his perspective and others on this. He also provides lots of commentary and article excerpts on the visit, on Australian hypocrisy vis-à-vis China and on the fact that the Dalai Lama has competition in his homeland: Christianity's influence is spreading. An interesting read.
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posted by gbarto at 11:09 PM:
And then there was one. Den Beste says the thirteenth Palestinian bad guy is in Cyprus, but they don't want him there either.
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posted by gbarto at 11:06 PM:
French news:
Le Monde leads with Suicide Bombings in Israel, specifically the Palestinian who blew himself up the day after the latest attack in Netanya. Secondary stories are the threat of another terrorist attack in the US and Bush's vow to maintain the Cuban embargo.

Says Figaro:
Législatives : la droite commence la course en tête
La droite parlementaire part à la bataille législative avec un net avantage sur la gauche, jugée désormais peu crédible, mais la progression du Front national pourrait brider l'ampleur de la victoire du camp du président le 16 juin prochain : tels sont les principaux enseignements [d'un nouveau] sondage. / Legislative elections: The Right starts the Race in Front The right in parliament heads off for the battle for the legislature with a net advantage over the left, which is considered less than credible right now, but the progress of the Front national could pose problems for the victory of the president's camp in the June 16 elections: such are the conclusions [of a new] poll.
Finally, Libé leads with the death of the son of the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in a car bomb explosion.
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posted by gbarto at 3:39 PM:
Too cool. Another copy protection scheme goes by the way side. (via Ken Layne)
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posted by gbarto at 3:31 PM:
Blair attacks animal activists, says Natalie Solent.
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posted by gbarto at 2:43 PM:
The Guardian acquiring sanity? Instapundit has the story.
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posted by gbarto at 2:35 PM:
Scientist Stephen Jay Gould Dies
* * *
posted by gbarto at 2:34 PM:
Sex Offense Law Gets Review
Supreme Court will consider a challenge to sex criminal registries.

The fundamental question is: are these people redeemed and redeemable? Can they again live in society without the risks to those around them being too high? If yes, then the registries and the like only constrain them from making a successful integration that our society implicitly believes to be warranted, else they wouldn't have been released.

On the other hand, if they pose such a great danger that they need to be pointed out and tagged, what are they doing on the streets anyway?

The answer is not the registries and such; it's a coherent approach to treatment and sentencing that keeps those who are dangerous under proper supervision, not the peering eyes of the neighborhood watch, while giving those truly considered safe a chance to start again.

Final question: Have we proposed anything like this for repeat murderers? Repeat car thieves?
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posted by gbarto at 2:22 PM:
Sept. 11 Probe Mired in Partisan Politics, Strife
Bipartisan House-Senate committee can't even agree on its goal.

But that won't stop Gephardt, Daschle and Nadler from coming to the mikes to denounce the inefficiency of the executive branch.
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posted by gbarto at 2:20 PM:
Cheney: More Attacks 'Almost a Certainty'

Just a reminder. Don't say you weren't warned.
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posted by gbarto at 2:18 PM:
WASHINGTON — Rep. Jerry Nadler insists it isn't political... - Fox News

This reminds me of the old saw that when they say "It's not the money, it's the principle..." Of course this is political. Jerry Nadler hasn't had an apolitical thought in years. That being the case, what's called for is a reminder that if politics is the art of the possible, people playing politics must give a plausible vision of "the possible" that better serves than what currently exists. Nadler hasn't offered this precisely because he's not trying to fix the problem, just to pin the blame on Bush.
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posted by gbarto at 1:00 AM:
Steve Den Beste has an up-with-people moment. I'm always glad to see stories like this one.
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posted by gbarto at 12:42 AM:
Fine Christians Mitch Albom's Sunday column carried the eye-catching headline:

Nude dancing, the Bible and kindergarten

The story was even more outrageous. It seems a 5-year old has been kicked out of her parochial school kindergarten because her mom pays the $400/month tuition out of her wages as a nude dancer. The Church knows this because a thoughtful parishioner showed the minister the club's website, which included the mother's picture. No word on whether the minister and parishioner are getting the boot for looking at such things, but Albom has some very pointed remarks about the difference between the minister's and school's approach and what a more open-hearted view of Christianity might suggest. The whole thing should be read for an appreciation of the difference between lay-Christianity and the we're-saved, screw-you philosophy that governs some churches, but here's the closing:
What about parents who disrespect their mothers and fathers? Or who privately covet their neighbor's new car? Aren't those violations of the Ten Commandments?

When I asked Cole whether a child would be expelled for any of the above reasons, he said, "We don't get into everyone's personal life."

You could have fooled me. The Bible says, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." But in this story, the one without sin is the little girl.

And she's the one getting tossed.

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posted by gbarto at 12:34 AM:
Pretty sure I was gbarto the whole time, but I noticed the outage too. A Dog's Life, on the other hand, underwent a mysterious transformation. But Greg, as is often the case, is too hard on himself about his blog. Or is he just fishing for compliments?
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posted by gbarto at 12:26 AM:
Le Monde leads with Dick Cheney's warnings about Al-Quaeda; the story is called Al-Quaeda: an alert in America. Secondary leads include the Netanya homicide bomber (with other info on politics in the region, notably the announcement by 20 PA cabinet members that they were prepared to step down if Arafat dissolved the government of the PA) and the start of the parliamentary elections.

Le Figaro leads with a Red Alert against Al-Quaeda. The print headlines are America fears a "devastating" terrorist attack; Legislative elections: the battle begins; and Bombing in Israel.

Libé leads with Increased Party Cohesion from the LCR to the RPR: since the first round of the presidential elections, parties have seen increases in donations, party activism and willingness to follow the party line. Secondary headline: Latin-America and Europe: an ocean separates them. Europe comes in for criticism after the Madrid summit for refusing to open its markets.
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Sunday, May 19, 2002

posted by gbarto at 6:35 PM:
Tony Wiener: When the Palestinians take delivery on 50 tons of weapons including rockets, that doesn't just threaten El-Al flights; that can threaten United Airlines Flights. And when the Israelis go door to door looking for weapons and terrorists, they're not just protecting Israel; they're protecting us.

Wiener's not all bad.
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posted by gbarto at 6:33 PM:
Dave Dreier: It's easy for a nation to be secure; it's tougher to be secure and free.

I know which way I prefer.
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posted by gbarto at 6:32 PM:
On FNC: Bob Gates, former CIA director, makes the point that you can't tell what theories or leads or hypotheses demand immediate attention, which ones to follow up, and which ones to ignore - until after the fact. The bottom line is that the threat of another terrorist attack that Cheney evokes also can only be dealt with within limits: Such an attack could come tomorrow and a year later we'd know exactly which memo we should have consulted but didn't, but the day after tomorrow we'd still feel blindsided.

As for Tony Wiener's argument that when you've got a bunch of young Arab males wanting to learn to fly but not land, the FBI should act, Geraldo Rivera's fourth guest, whose name I keep missing (he used to be counterterrorism director of the FBI), makes the point that pre-9/11 you couldn't simply start rounding up Arab-Americans in flight school because someone had a bad feeling about some of them. Hell, post-9/11 there's been a hue and cry every time information came out about Arab-Americans or visiting foreign nationals getting picked up for questioning.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 2:25 PM:
Boycott France? Instapundit has been rounding up views on the matter, and thankfully now has some good counterarguments posted and/or linked. The truth of the matter is that the more open we are to France and the more eager we are to bring our societies together, the harder it is for a socialist old guard to cling to power in the face of a people who know there's something better out there. Look at Chirac's platform: Lower taxes, tougher on crime. These are proper issues for center-right Republicans in the US; to see them in an electoral program in France, however insincerely felt, says our message and England's message are getting through. The average French citizen watches our movies, buys our products and shares far more of our values than he or she would be willing to admit, shouted down by the elitists who run the country. Going into the polls, privacy assured, the French picked lower taxes and a tougher regime on crime and turned up their noses at the fine socialist solutions they're supposedly so in love with. There's a reason why (as Den Beste notes halfway down this post) the Eurocrats are trying to kick socialism upstairs; even the supposedly left-wing French are rejecting it and - dare we say it - assimilating parts of the Anglosphere's worldview. So no, don't boycott the French. If you want a French product, for God sakes, buy it. Seeing as it's a matter of international commerce, the money will most likely land in the pockets of those slowly taking apart socialism - or even help bring one more ordinary French person to the cause as he or she tries to hang onto his or her euros.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 2:00 PM:
Also on Fox News, an interview with David Duke that is idiotic and repugnant; but is should warm the hearts of those who support Israel to see which side Duke is on. Of course the blogosphere already knew, after that Arab News article.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 1:58 PM:
Awwww. On FoxNews, a report on a Palestinian family with an Al-Aqsa headband and an official martyr's certificate. But a few weeks after the son opened fire in a Tel Aviv restaurant, the neighbors have stopped coming to visit, the townspeople are no longer bringing gifts, and all they've got is a missing family member. Truly heartbreaking to see that his 9-year old sister says she wants to grow up to kill Jews too. Will her family give her a little perspective before she gets older? Or will her family push aside the cognitive dissonance to convince themselves this was for the best?

If Arafat wants to fix things, he'll show reports like this to show that suicide attacks aren't the glorious thing they've been proclaimed to be. The problem is that having applauded them in the past, he's setting himself up for a bullet from someone who feels betrayed that their son was a martyr for Arafat but Arafat suddenly has declared his death foolish and wrong.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 1:17 PM:
Tony Wiener, on FNC, is pointing to the pieces of info we had and throwing his fit about things not being put together correctly. Has he considered how many thousands of pieces of information come into these agencies on a daily basis? It's very nice for him to bitch about the agencies not doing enough, but it's coming from a guy whose colleagues readily admit to not knowing every provision of the bills they pass, even when they have the text in their office, because there's too much to read and process.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 1:11 PM:
Hmm, does Dicky Gephardt get it? He says on FNC that 9/11 was "a failure of government, we all failed," and insists that he's not apportioning blame but looking for a way that "we all can do better" and need to for next time. This is exactly the TurkeyBlog's view, though, like Cheney, he continues to hold that government is not all-wise, all-seeing, all-knowing and that sometimes government will fail to catch one of these. Anyway, given Daschle's pull-back (see Robert Musil's take on this), the question is whether the Dems will now go into full retreat on the "what-did-the-president-know" game and whether their media allies will follow. CNN was saying that 52% had doubts about the way the Bush team had responded to the 9/11 warnings, but if the Democrats are suddenly disavowing the notion they're after a smoking gun, this tells me that either their own polling says otherwise or they've determined that there's not enough evidence to accuse the president of screwing this up without it looking political and raising questions about what they should have done based on their own more limited briefings. I'm not Mickey Kaus, so I'm not going to make predictions about this going away, but Gephardt and Daschle's insistence that they aren't accusing the president of knowingly let this happen are more heartening for Bush than the current headlines suggest.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 1:01 PM:
Hmm, Le Monde's headlines were indicating the Pakistani ambassador to India was recalled; Fox says he was booted out.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 11:21 AM:
They've placed the Ramallah 13 - all over Europe. The worst is apparently staying in Cyprus. Den Beste has the story.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 10:58 AM:
The bombing led Bush administration officials to renew demands that Yasser Arafat rein in Palestinian militants, though they acknowledged Arafat cannot control all of them.

"I think there clearly is a class of bombings that he can't" rein in, Vice President Dick Cheney said.

He cited groups supported by Syria and Iran, and named the militant organizations Hezbollah and Hamas as two "that don't come under his purview and that have in the past indicated they're prepared to do everything they can to destroy the peace process." - FoxNews
Poor Mr. Arafat, the noble peacemaker forever stymied. He must be very angry that Syria and Iran are funding groups that upset his hope for Palestinian statehood. Do you think he would name them enemies of the Palestinian cause and give rhetorical backing to a U.S. effort to oust their regimes? Do you think he'd call his pals at the UN and ask them to give us the green light to clean house in Syria and Iran because they're undermining Middle East peace and the cause of Palestinian statehood? This should be the real test of Arafat's committment: Not will he round up local Hamas, but will he join the U.S. and Israel in condemning nations that export terror. Is Arafat genuinely offended by the actions of Hamas and Hezbollah, or are they pieces of a larger strategy to play the peacemaker while secretly plotting the destruction of Israel. His willingness to stand with the U.S. against Iran would be a major signal that he could be taken seriously. But I doubt it will happen, because he wants his authority undermined exactly to the degree that it allows him to simultaneously wound Israel and maintain his tenuous grip on power.
* * *
posted by gbarto at 10:48 AM:
Suicide Bomb Kills 1 in Israel
28 wounded; Peres outlines peace plan including Palestinian state

Hmm, Israel was reporting 2 dead, 56 injured a few minutes ago; wonder if they combined the AP and Reuters wires or if this is just a fluke. In any case, there it is again, another suicide bombing. As you can see, in a period of time when Israel's foreign minister is still trying to find a way to give these people their own state and society, if only they'd stand down long enough to take it.

Hamas takes credit; where does this put Arafat? Did he allow this? Or was he impotent to stop it? Neither one speaks well for the prospects of Peres' plan, though to be fair, no president can control everything on every occasion. The question, then, is whether Arafat will crack down on Hamas and round up everyone he can associated with it or try to get by with isolated arrests for publicity while letting the core of the movement remain intact.
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posted by gbarto at 12:05 AM:
And Natalie agrees that Instapundit is being too hard on the government.

Incidentally, while we're talking about government muck-ups and terrorism, I'll note that I recently picked up Tom Clancy's Shadow Warriors, which pretty early on addresses the Disaster in the Desert way back in '80 when we tried to rescue the hostages in Iran. We do of course fault the Carter Administration for being so far off the mark in terms of what was needed for the time, but not for failing to anticipate such a massive taking of hostages and the chain of events that would follow; again, it hadn't been done quite that way before. And the Reagan administration had similar problems dealing with Flight 847 and the Achille Lauro, all of which serves to remind that governments are made of people who make mistakes and misjudgments for reasons both understandable and idiotic.

Readers of Natalie will know where this book is currently to be found; I'll spare the rest of you the details, lest the TurkeyBlog be accused of becoming Sullivanesque.
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