Bald Eagle Picture


11:05 PM
Have any physics grad for friends? Get a few together over some beers, and you might come up with a serious plan for making a nuclear weapon. As Carey Sublette shows, much of the information is public knowledge.

Engineering and Design of Nuclear Weapons

Sean Hackbarth |


12:08 AM
Thomas Sowell notes that the Academy shuns REAL diversity: diversity of thought.

"Diversity Versus 'Diversity'"

Sean Hackbarth |


11:34 PM
While Safire is too harsh in his opposition to military tribunals, I do approve of his solution:

The solution is to turn his cave into his crypt. When fleeing Taliban reveal his whereabouts, our bombers should promptly bid him farewell with 15,000-pound daisy-cutters and 5,000-pound rock-penetrators.

I have no desire to see bin Laden or members of Al-Qaeda on trial. They should be destroyed before we even need to deal with that problem.

"Seizing Dictatorial Power"

Sean Hackbarth |

11:11 PM
The "universal shout" for freedom was heard loud and clear in Kabul. And in order to keep that love of freedom alive economic liberty must be promoted--even at the expense of political liberty.

"'America, America!'"

"Afghanistan After the War" [via Silicon Central]

Sean Hackbarth |

10:58 PM
Let's be clear about the military tribunals that could try terrorists: they would be more fair than anything our opponents would have. Remember, the Taliban are the same people who were going to put American relief workers on trial for the horrible crime of preaching Christianity. A U.S. military tribunal would be made up of people fully emersed in a culture of liberty and justice. Will they be perfect? Of course not, but John Ashcroft put it correctly that we are in a (unofficial) state of war.

"Bush Plan for Terrorism Trials Defended"

"War Crimes Are Different"

Sean Hackbarth |

10:28 PM
Bin Laden and his Taliban allies have no desire for peaceful coexistence. Mullah Omar made his feelings perfectly known when he said, "The real matter is the extinction of America, and God willing, it will fall to the ground."

There is no more need to "understand" these people. It's clear they want to destroy us. In the case of bin Laden, he's even been working on plans to build nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. Unconditional surrender and complete victory are the only things that will protect America from this threat.

"Omar Wants 'Extinction of America'"

Sean Hackbarth |

1:54 AM
I know Strom is doing his best to finish out his term so the GOP doesn't lose another seat in the Senate, but it's time to retire when you have to move into a hospital. Strom, you've had a good run. It's time to say good bye.

"Thurmond Moves Into Hospital"

Sean Hackbarth |

12:55 AM
I don't care that uber-snob Jonathan Franzen won the National Book Award for Fiction for The Corrections. Surprisingly, he didn't say anything bad about Oprah in his acceptance speech. I'm really happy that Andrew Solomon won for The Noonday Demon. It literally hurt to read it. The prose is powerful, touching, and deeply emotional. It covers genres such as memoir, straight-ahead journalism, and science writing with a strong, broad stroke. Solomon got a well-deserved award.

"'Corrections' Is Winner of Top Prize for Fiction"

Sean Hackbarth |


11:30 PM
Jeffery Hart has written a new book, Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe: Toward the Revival of Higher Education. Carol Iannone calls it an "excellent syllabus for a one-year introduction to the Great Books." It's a brief survey of some of the ideas and thinkers that form the basis of Western Civilization.


Sean Hackbarth |

11:14 PM
Bernard Lewis writes:

One also sometimes gets the impression that the offense of imperialism is not -- as for Western critics -- the domination by one people over another but rather the allocation of roles in this relationship. What is truly evil and unacceptable is the domination of infidels over true believers. For true believers to rule misbelievers is proper and natural, since this provides for the maintenance of the holy law, and gives the misbelievers both the opportunity and the incentive to embrace the true faith. But for misbelievers to rule over true believers is blasphemous and unnatural, since it leads to the corruption of religion and morality in society, and to the flouting or even the abrogation of God's law. This may help us to understand the current troubles in such diverse places as Ethiopian Eritrea, Indian Kashmir, Chinese Sinkiang, and Yugoslav Kossovo, in all of which Muslim populations are ruled by non-Muslim governments. It may also explain why spokesmen for the new Muslim minorities in Western Europe demand for Islam a degree of legal protection which those countries no longer give to Christianity and have never given to Judaism. Nor, of course, did the governments of the countries of origin of these Muslim spokesmen ever accord such protection to religions other than their own. In their perception, there is no contradiction in these attitudes. The true faith, based on God's final revelation, must be protected from insult and abuse; other faiths, being either false or incomplete, have no right to any such protection.

Muslims must rule because Islam is the true faith. There is no concept of the separation of church and state under Islam. For muslims, the political is the personal is the religious. Just as Mohammed was both religious and political leader of the first muslims, many Muslims feel the need for religious and political law to be as one. This idea is antithical to Western Political thought.

But think of Western imperialism not as political, but as cultural. Mass communication and world trade has brought Western ideas and products to Muslim lands. Some can coexist with Muslim beliefs while others offend. Lewis makes a similar point when we writes, "More than ever before it is Western capitalism and democracy that provide an authentic and attractive alternative to traditional ways of thought and life." Muslims hate America because of our political, economic, and technological power. The source of this power is liberty. So it's not a stretch to say that America is hated because she is free.

What is most unfortunate is that the West can do little to change the Muslim theo-political worldview. This is an internal struggle amongst Muslims themselves. The best we can do is provide a shining example of the benefits of political and economic liberty while providing an adequate defense.

"The Roots of Muslim Rage"

Sean Hackbarth |

10:28 PM
A divided Miami community elects Manny Diaz as the city's new mayor. Prior to this, Diaz claim to fame was his work for Lazaro Gonzalez, Elian Gonzalez's uncle.

"Cuban-American Vote Lifts Diaz to Miami Mayor's Post"

Sean Hackbarth |

7:14 PM
Chelsea Clinton was raised by two very smart (although amoral) parents and was surrounded by intelligent people. With all the opportunity for intellectual development, she's so shallow as to be concerned about the consequence of President Bush's tax cut while watching the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

I had sympathy for Chelsea growing up in the White House. I thought she could rise above the dismal level of honor, honesty, and decency in her environment. Now, I'm not too sure.

"Chelsea Clinton Feared Bush Tax Cuts as Twin Towers Fell"

Sean Hackbarth |

7:09 PM
The most important scholar alive on Islam and the Middle East is Bernard Lewis. His books are selling (his The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years is patiently sitting on my bookshelf), and leaders seek his insight. Emily Yoffe profiles him for Slate and defends him against the orientalist critique of Edward "Palestinian rock thrower" Said.

"Bernard Lewis"

Sean Hackbarth |


4:13 PM
Peggy Noonan's When Character Was King just came out. She talked about the book on Hannity & Colmes.

"How Would Reagan Have Done It?"

Sean Hackbarth |

3:29 PM
I'm not sure what I would do with an 8MB key chain, but I still want one. [via Evhead]

Sean Hackbarth |

3:23 PM
Michael Lind's and Ted Halstead's new book The Radical Center may be the most provokative political book of the year. It's reached the pages of The Washington Times, and I'm sure plenty of self-described "moderates" will go ga-ga over it. I've added it to my wish list.

"Bold Centrism"

Sean Hackbarth |

3:12 PM

Despite gripes from pundits, progress is being made in Afghanistan. With Kabul under the control of the Northern Alliance, a peacekeeping force should be brought in to prevent the anarchy that led to the rise of the Taliban in the first place.

"Afghan Opposition Fighters Roll into Kabul as the Taliban Abandons the Capital"

Sean Hackbarth |


2:11 PM
This is pretty simple: Bush won. The Supreme Court didn't choose the President as people like Alan Dershowitz would like you to think. The only way Gore could have eked out a victory in Florida was to have a state-wide recount (something the Gore campaign opposed).

The NY Times's story is interesting in that they write that Bush would have won if the Supreme Court would have allowed Gore's limited recount of selected Florida counties. The story also ends by stating that if the counties would have used their individual ballot standards in a state-wide recount, Bush would still have won. But throughout the rest of the story, it explains that Gore really should have won using the consortium's arbitrary standard (the Times even admits that the consortium's examination wasn't a "real- world situation"). The Times skirts around questioning Bush's legitimacy, while seriously questioning his victory. Reading between the lines, the paper doesn't want to appear unpatriotic, but deep down, they think Gore won.

In a related commentary, John Lott and James Glassman discovered that Florida Republicans were more likely to have a spoiled ballot than Democrats. You won't hear much about this from race-baiters like Jesse Jackson, because it won't conform to their faith that the Florida election was a deeply racist affair.

"Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding Vote"

"GOP Was the Real Victim in Fla. Vote" [via Reductio]

Sean Hackbarth |

When I'm not pondering the fate of the universe, I'm reading, writing, or selling books. Here you'll find comments on politics, culture, books, and music. Not necessarily in that order.


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