[star]The American Mind[star]

February 28, 2003

Daniel Libeskind's design for Ground Zero is the winner. It beat out THINK's strange scaffold gardens that reminds one of the fallen towers but without a soul. That's not to say I'm real hot on Libeskind's design. The spire rising over the ruins is a positive American idea, but does it have to be filled with gardens? What's wrong with making the tallest structure a place of commerce? One of the reasons the twin towers were targets is because they were symbols of America's economic nce. Libeskind's spire implies that there's something wrong placing a vibrant economy on a pedestal.

"New Phase Starts to Rebuild Ground Zero"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

Frazier Moore has a positive personal experience with Fred Rogers. The same can't be said for a friend of mine.

Years ago, this friend--I'll call him Sam--worked at a record store in Manhattan. It was one of the largest record stores in New York City, maybe even in the country. They had lots and lots of records--the old vinyl kind. One day a man came up to Sam and asked him where the Fred Rogers records were. Sam went to the section and began digging around. No Fred Rogers records to be found. Sam told the man and suddenly the man burst out shouting, "God damn it! I want to see your manager now!"

Sam went to the manager's office and got him. After being informed of the situation, the manager said to the man, "Yes, Mr. Rogers, I take care of this myself. I'll order more records immediately."

Even Mr. Rogers can have a bad day.

"Fred Rogers Was The Same On and Off Air"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:00 AM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2003

I grew up with Mr. Rogers. His gentleness soothed me after watching the more energetic Sesame Street. The world's lost a gentle man with a big heart. Godspeed Fred.

"'Mister Rogers' Dies of Cancer at 74"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

Since we're down to yellow alert, what should I do with all the duct tape and plastic sheeting I bought?

"U.S. Lowers Terror Alert Level to Yellow"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2003

Noah Shachtman defends his Los Alamos security (or lack thereof) piece with e-mail comments and a link about a special forces mock attack that stole a wheelbarrow-full of nuclear material.

Two thoughts on Shachtman's break-in:

  1. Based on comments from other people who have been at Los Alamos, I'm not as worried as Noah. Unless he took pictures of classified stuff or stole something, the lab's security wasn't breeched. It may be vulnerable, but Shachtman's story doesn't demonstrate that for me.

  2. The special forces attack happened in 1997. Another successful mock attack took place in 2000. Has security been improved since then? We don't know, and a reporter jumping over some barbed wire and sneaking around abandoned buildings doesn't prove there is a problem. This is gotcha journalism.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2003

Saddam's offer to debate President Bush is 11-year-old recycled pap, and CBS gobbled it up with glee.

"CBS's Rerun Publicity Gimmick: Saddam Floated Debate Idea in '90"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

HUMOR: Scott Ott hits a home run with this one. It's the best thing Blix has done.

"Blix Orders Iraq to Destroy Human Shields"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)


More feeling out between the U.S. and France. France's U.N. Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere met with the 10 non-permanent security council members. The U.S.'s John Negroponte came back from talks in Russia. The U.S. ambassador to France did hand out a solid shot to the gut by saying a French veto would be "very unfriendly."

Then suddenly out of no where, Canada comes out with its compromise resolution. They want Iraq to meet a list of benchmarks by the end of March. The U.S. just brushes the idea aside. President Bush reiterates that he doesn't need another resolution to go to war.

On the French plan for months of continued inspections, Condi Rice jabbed the French by calling the plan, "worst of both worlds."

No haymakers are being thrown. Both sides know the seriousness of their actions. An early misstep could mean quick victory for their opponent. The U.S. and U.K. plan for a final knock-out punch in two weeks; but in a world moving at Internet time, anything could happen.

The U.S.'s next challenger, Iraq, is trying to win public sympathy by trickeling out weapons information to U.N. inspectors.

To Be Continued...

"U.S. Warns France in Struggle Over Iraq" [via Blaster's Blog]

"Blix Says Iraq Signaling Real Cooperation"

"Bush Says Only Full Iraqi Disarmament Will Avert War"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:12 PM | Comments (0)

Cyanide was sent to a foreign embassy in New Zealand in opposition to the war with Iraq. I'm waiting for the anti-war movement to denouce this terrorist attack. I won't be holding my breath.

"Iraq-Related Cyanide Threatens America's Cup Finals"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:46 PM | Comments (0)

As an introvert, I completely agree with Jonathan Rauch:

The only thing a true introvert dislikes more than talking about himself is repeating himself.

Put me in front of a computer screen and I'll babble until the early morning sun. But put me in a bar with friends and I have the tendency to clam up. Of course, put a few drinks in me and all bets are off.

"Caring for Your Introvert" [via Reflections in D minor]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

Hey, bin Laden and Saddam,

If any of your agents haven't been into Los Alamos yet, the security's pretty lax. The guards at the main gate are unarmed, and there are places where only some barbed wire is the only thing between the lab and the rest of the world.

Hello, Mr. Ridge, we have a problem. Since one of your agency's missions is to "Reduce America's vulnerability to terrorism," you've got some serious work to do in New Mexico.

"Nuke Lab Can't Keep Snoops Out"

UPDATE: There's more to Los Alamos' security than meets one reporter's eyes. A local writes, "I can assure Mr.
Shachtman that any area the lab truly regards as sensitive, he will not be able to get in."

Replies to Noah Shachtman's "How I Snuck Into Los Alamos"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:22 PM | Comments (0)

Fellow warmongers, sign on the bottom line.

I believe that it is the just right -- and sovereign duty -- of the United States to prosecute terrorists aggressors and their state sponsors around the world. I believe that Patriot Americans should register support for our Commander-in-Chief and our military forces standing in harm's way in defense of our liberty. While military action must, necessarily, be a last resort, I support preemptive war when faced with a clear and present danger to the security of our country, our heritage of liberty, our communities, our families and our posterity. In the case of Iraq, I recognize that this is not a new war -- it is the prosecution of a dangerous but necessary war front in our nation's ongoing offensive against terrorist aggressors and their state sponsors around the world. I support our President and armed forces in their effort to enforce "regime change" in Iraq, to eliminate the serious threat posed by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, and to liberate the Iraqi people. I reject the rhetoric of anti-American celebrity, academic and political opportunists, whose real objective is to tear down all that is good and right with America.

Let it be said that, when our President and Congress declared war on terrorism in defense of our nation, American Patriots responded with overwhelming support.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)

Ladies and gentleman! Today, we have for the world's entertainment, 12 rounds of diplomatic boxing.

In the red, white, and blue corner is the once great power and ocean-spanning imperialist, now multilateral-obsessive. Weighing in at 60 million people, 9% unemployment, and a vicious security council veto. The masters of wine, cheese, and surrendering...France! France!

In the star-spangled corner is the world's remaining superpower (hyperpower to the French). Weighing in at 280 million people, 5.7% unemployment, and the most powerful military in world history. The land of the free and the home of the brave...the United States of America! (Hometown NYC crowd chants, "U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!")

After months of trash talking where the French called the U.S. reckless cowboys, and the U.S. called the French "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" and "weasels" it's come to this confrontation in the U.N. Security Council. The stakes are high but paradoxical. Should France stand firm and resist the body blows of a United States intent on ridding the world of Saddam Hussein it will show the world it can withstand the world's most powerful nation. But by doing so, France severely weakens the legitimacy of the security council and loses future influence in international crises. Should the U.S. bob and weave past France's veto, its war with Iraq will have international backing, but popular opposition worldwide could explode.


France comes out with its resolution calling for more inspectors with months of more time to run around the Iraqi desert. At the same time, the U.S. comes out with its own resolution declaring, "Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it." Both sides are feeling out one another. U.S. trainer/Secretary of State Colin Powell is trying his best to convince countries like Mexico and Cameroon that the U.N. must take a strong stand. While Powell persuades, U.S. manager/President George W. Bush warns that the U.S. will go to war with or without the U.N. Strong words for a man many thought to be a foreign policy lightweight. France's Jacques Chirac rejects the need for such tough rhetoric. Instead, he wants extended timetables so Iraq can peacefully disarm. He hopes he can prevent war, weaken the U.S., and keep his dream of a Franco-dominant EU from fading away.

And while this fight is taking place, Iraqi challenger, Saddam Hussein told Dan Rather that he wouldn't destroy his illegal missiles, and he wants a pre-fight debate. At the same time, he prepares for his mother of all matches. U.S.A. fans hope this bout ends more conclusively then their previous fight in 1991.

To Be Continued...

"U.N. Readies for Heated Debate on Iraq"

"U.S.: Iraq Failed Last Chance"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:12 AM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2003

Well, I'm off to watch the new-look, Gary Payton Milwaukee Bucks. I'll post later tonight. It will probably be a screed on the new U.S./U.K. U.N. resolution. I'll also bite my lip and mess around with MT some more.

One last thing: here's my last call for anti-anti-war slogans. No one has offered anything. Here's your last chance.

UPDATE: The Bucks lost because they couldn't stop Kevin Garnett.

"Steam Shipwreck"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:26 PM | Comments (0)

Orin Kerr thinks that the music business will want a Norah Jones effect of their own. So, they'll "start to put their money into pleasing older listeners who might actually buy music, and who also tend to have more sophisticated tastes. Ergo, more sophisticated artists will be signed to the major record labels, and we listeners will get more sophisticated music to enjoy." Since older listeners "don't know how to download" music, the plan will boost music sales.

That's a short-term solution until the Napster generation gets old and music downloading becomes so easy, my grandmother could do it.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2003

If I had a broadband connection, I'd really dig the ability to rent games over the Internet. Instead of plunking down $40 dollars for Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 only to find it lame, I'd risk $4.95 for three days of play.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:27 AM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2003

Still looking for clever anti-anti-war slogans. The easiest way to create one is to take an anti-war slogan and twist it into something more to a pro-warrior's liking. Funny's the best, but bonus points go to slogans including the French.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2003

I have a question for my MT-using readers: MT has this fascination with titles for posts. If you've read TAM for any significant amount of time, you know my posts are title-less (and I don't mean golf balls). I imported my Blogger Pro posts into MT (here's the import file and here's my test weblog), but the software gives each post a title. Does anyone know of a way around this so my old posts don't have goofy-looking titles? If I can't figure out a solution, I may just have to abandon my attempt to import my Blogger Pro entries into MT. By the way, have I told you how much I just love MT?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

Jim Schwab has plenty of

Jim Schwab has plenty of links about the Great White club fire.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

German Christian Democratic Union leader

German Christian Democratic Union leader Angela Merkel sees the need for the war with Iraq. She also wants to retain the post-WWII link between her country and the U.S.

This is a grave matter: Peace is a supreme good, for the sake of which every effort has to be made. But it is also true that responsible political leadership must on no account trade the genuine peace of the future for the deceptive peace of the present. The determination and unity of the free nations will, in the Iraq conflict, have a decisive effect not only on the outcome of the crisis but on the way in which we shape the future of Europe and its relationship with the United States. They will have a decisive effect, too, on how we guarantee peace, freedom and security, and how we find appropriate answers to the new threats of our time. Will it be alone or together, with determination or in despair, with our partners or against them?

I am convinced that Europe and the United States will have to opt for a common security alliance in the future, just as they did in the past. The United States is the only remaining superpower, but even so it will have to rely on dependable partners over the long term. Germany needs its friendship with France, but the benefits of that friendship can be realized only in close association with our old and new European partners, and within the transatlantic alliance with the United States.

"Schroeder Doesn't Speak for All Germans" [via Shark Blog]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

The first ever Critiquees have

The first ever Critiquees have been announced. I'm happy to say that as a reviewer for Blogcritics.org, I got to throw in a vote here and there. Too bad none of my choices won. Bruce Springsteen got too many votes, but The Chemical Brothers did take the fifth spot for best Electronic Album. But do the Critiquees match the world famous TAM Music Awards? I'll let you be the judge (just be nice in the comments).

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

We pro-war types should be

We pro-war types should be prepared for the next round of anti-war/anti-American protests. I'm not any good at coming up with witty things off the top of my head, so I'll open this up to the vast TAM audience. I want pithy phrases that fit on protest signs. The funnier the better, but it will be hard to top "Except for ending slavery, fascism, Nazism, and Communism, war has never solved anything." Just put your entry into the comments or e-mail me.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:34 AM | Comments (1)

War can begin. The troops

War can begin. The troops are in place with or without Turkey. The only thing left is one last try at the U.N. I predict that war will begin with two weeks.

"Anti-Iraq Force Ready; New UN Resolution Possible"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:13 AM | Comments (0)

February 20, 2003

Martin Sheen cut a commerical

Martin Sheen cut a commerical where he tells the world, "Don't invade Iraq. Inspections work; war won't." He opposes a war where U.S. interests (national and economic security) are deeply involved, yet his West Wing character orders the invasion of an African nation that appears to be based only on human rights concerns. So, for Sheen it's alright for the U.S. to go to war as long as she doesn't benefit from it.

"Sheen Leads Antiwar Forces"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)

A pro-war guy joined the

A pro-war guy joined the San Fran peace march last weekend with a great sign that read, "Saddam Kills his own people. It's none of our business." I wonder if any of the A.N.S.W.E.R. people and their sheep caught the joke?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:22 AM | Comments (0)

It looks like the Department

It looks like the Department of Homeland Security hired the same people who make airplane emergency graphics. [here], [here], [here], [here], and [here]

I'm glad the government is giving citizens some preparedness information, but for me if terrorists decide to hit my little town, I'm toast. No plastic sheeting and duct tape for me. I'll take my chances.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:57 AM | Comments (0)

Turkey still hasn't agreed to

Turkey still hasn't agreed to host the 80,000 troops needed to create a northern front against Baghdad. Here are the key paragraphs from the AP:

Washington had originally offered $4 billion to $15 billion depending on the scope of the war, and has now reportedly raised the offer to a minimum of $7 billion in grants and debt forgiveness with additional money in loans.

When asked whether the U.S. proposal was a "final offer," Fleischer said: "I think that's a pretty good way to describe it."

Turkey's leaders brushed aside the offer.

Turkey's "demands have to be met," Erdogan said. "Only then can we put the authorization on the agenda. These demands are not being met, and Turkey is constantly being expected to make compromises."

Turkey is trying to squeeze as much money out of the U.S. as they can. There in a position to do it, but they could end up with nothing if the U.S. abandons the Turkey plan. Donald Rumsfeld told reporters that war without a Turkish front is "doable...There are work-arounds." This is a very expensive game of chicken.

"U.S., Turkey Fail to Agree on Iraq Plan"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:44 AM | Comments (0)

February 19, 2003

The Iraqi National Congress is

The Iraqi National Congress is worried about how the U.S. will reconstruct a post-Saddam Iraq. Ahmad Chalabi writes:

As deliverance approaches, we therefore intend to be full participants in shaping the future Iraq. American help is essential--and is welcomed--in winning the fight against Saddam. But the liberation of our country and its reintegration into the world community is ultimately a task that we Iraqis must shoulder.

This is why the proposed U.S. occupation and military administration of Iraq is unworkable and unwise. Unworkable, because it is predicated on keeping Saddam's existing structures of government, administration and security in place--albeit under American officers. It would ultimately leave important decisions about the future of Iraq in the hands of either foreign occupiers or Saddam's officials. Unwise, because it will result in long-term damage to the U.S.-Iraq relationship and America's position in the region and beyond.

The current U.S. plan proposed for Iraq, as outlined by senior officials in congressional testimony and in discussions with the Iraqi opposition, calls for an American military governor to rule Iraq for up to two years. American officers would staff the top three levels of Iraqi government ministries with the rest of the structure remaining the same. The occupation authorities would appoint a "consultative council" of hand-picked Iraqis with non-executive powers and unspecified authority, serving at the pleasure of the American governor. The occupation authorities would also appoint a committee to draft a constitution for Iraq. After an unspecified period, indirect elections would be held for a "constituent assembly" that would vote to ratify the new constitution without a popular referendum.

Now, it's vital that an Iraqi democratic republic is built from the bottom up to best reflect the nature and circumstances of the Iraqi people. Also, an American imposed government would only further the imperial arguments of America's opponents in Islamdom and the world. But in the near term, a post-Saddam Iraq has to be prevented from falling into dissaray or forced again under the thumb of another Saddam. If chaos were to break out or another dictator took over Iraq while ABC weapons were still in existence, then the war would have been a waste. Yet another attack would have to happen.

The goal of a post-Saddam Iraq must be a democratic republic that protects the rights of Iraqis. Such a government will send the very important message to rest of the Middle East that Muslims and Arabs are capable of self-government. Once the ABC weapons are destroyed and Iraq's territorial integrity is stabalized, groups like the INC can forge together the public will needed for a new government.

"Iraq for the Iraqis"

UPDATE: OxBlog comments on the INC and doesn't trust them to build a stable post-Saddam Iraq.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

Michael Kelly on last weekend's

Michael Kelly on last weekend's war protesters:

To march against the war is not to give peace a chance. It is to give tyranny a chance. It is to give the Iraqi nuke a chance. It is to give the next terrorist mass murder a chance. It is to march for the furtherance of evil instead of the vanquishing of evil.

"Protests: Give Tyranny a Chance"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:11 AM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2003

Jacques Chirac might be cracking.

Jacques Chirac might be cracking. Getting told off by Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, then hearing Tony Blair make it plain, "There is no intelligence agency of any government around this table that does not know that the government of Iraq has weapons of mass destruction" doesn't help in building a united Europe in opposition to the U.S.

"Chirac Finding Pro-US Stances Hard to Stomach"

UPDATE: Tony Blankley gets into Chirac's blackmailing of Eastern European countries that signed letters backing the U.S. "If France doesn't want to do business with the Eastern Europeans, we should invite them to join our free trade union. It would be an honor for us to trade freely with people who know the value of freedom."

I'd sign them up anyway.

"France the Bully"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

So, Arkansas can pump enough

So, Arkansas can pump enough drugs into a man to make him sane just so they can kill him off. A dissenting judge used the words of Justice Thurgood Marshall by calling such an act "the barbarity of exacting mindless vengeance."

"State Can Make Inmate Sane Enough to Execute"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)

Occasionally I read fiction. Usually

Occasionally I read fiction. Usually it has to be something unique in its premise, but there are always exceptions. I recently finished William Gibson's Pattern Recognition. Unlike his famous Neuromancer, PR is set in the here-and-now. September 11 has happened. Cayce Pollard, the protagonist, lost her father that day in that very city, but no body was ever found. She works as a freelance coolhunter who's allergic to logos.

The story revolves round finding the creator of video clips that has achieved cult status on the Internet. An ad exec considers this "footage" to be the greatest marketing idea of the young 21st Century and hires Cayce to find the maker.

Her hunt takes her from London, to Tokyo, back to London, then to Russia. Gibson paces the story well. If he wanted to he could get bogged down in the intricacies of steganography, viral marketing, or signal intelligence. He doesn't. Instead, we follow Cayce running into interesting characters who's lives all revolve around late 20th. Century technology.

There are references to old calculators and old computers, and there's the Net itself playing a supporting role without any lines. The global linking of computers, digital devices, and minds allows the story to even exist. The footage first appeared on the Net. That's where obsessive fans analyze every pixel on message boards. We read Cayce's e-mails to friends, business partners, and her mother.

PR isn't an action-filled novel. There is a small fight and chase through Tokyo. What drives the story is the intrigue: who's really working for who? what are someone's motives? what is the purpose of the footage?

These questions do get answered. What Gibson also addresses is the role of Media in our lives. It permeates our every waking moment, whether we know it or know. We're not just passive, only consuming, we also produce media by how we communicate with others to how we wear our clothes. The constant questioning of the Man/Media relationship threads itself throughout.

A problem with Gibson's books are they get dated quickly. Neuromancer founded the cyberpunk genre, but I laugh reading his guess of a vast global network far into the future (we're already there). The same thing will happened with PR. There are just too many references that fit perfectly in 2003, but will get stale in a few years (characters "Google" each other). Fun, yes, but not timeless.

"Gibson Looks to the Future"

Ian Kaplan's review

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:41 AM | Comments (0)

The Nation's publisher, Victor "Alger

The Nation's publisher, Victor "Alger Hiss is innocent" Navasky thinks Fox News Channel bought an ad in his magazine as a publicity stunt. It got attention, but it also ticked off a bunch of readers.

"A Fox News Ad Roils Some Readers of The Nation"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:47 AM | Comments (0)

I'm not winning. All I

I'm not winning.

All I want to do is start over from the beginning, but could MT either have an uninstall feature or some documentation to quickly do that? No. And then there are the geeks with attitude at the MT "support" (found little) forums.

Before MT lauds the world with a new update filled with whiz-bang new features I have no idea what they're for they have to make the installation and importing method easier. Whether it requires better documentation or better software (I want the latter--make it more automatic), it makes little difference to me. Also, they must put in a "select all" feature to be able to select lots (even 1800+) of entries instead of having to click on check boxes over and over and over...

Even if I get MT working, I may never recommend it to someone. This has been, by far, the worst comptuer experience of my life, and it's still not over. The Google-Blogger monolith is looking better and better every time I play around with MT.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2003

Jonathan Gewirtz uses Google more

Jonathan Gewirtz uses Google more than online tech support to fix his computer problems. He thinks this is a good thing. It may be, but it might encourage software companies no offer even less documentation and support. Instead, they'll rely on users to do the work they should be doing. [via InstaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:31 PM | Comments (0)

During the Spanish Civil War,

During the Spanish Civil War, anarchists used modern art to torture prisoners. I knew some of that stuff was bad, but that bad?

"Anarchist Cells"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)

Reuters has a story on

Reuters has a story on the Google's purchase of Blogger. It's one of the rare big media stories on weblogging that doesn't mention Glenn Reynolds. But the story mentions an Ariana Huffington weblog, but I haven't found it.

"Google Buys Popular Web Publishing Tool"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:39 PM | Comments (0)

NATO is finally supporting its

NATO is finally supporting its ally, Turkey. It required going to a committee that didn't include the French.

"Europe Struggles to Close Rift Over Iraq"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:30 AM | Comments (0)

Kevin's done some serious remodeling

Kevin's done some serious remodeling of Reductio Ad Absurdum. It looks really nice, but just you wait until the new TAM revamping (assuming I don't buy Google to buy Movable Type so I can get some engineers to get it to work for me).

Warning: if you hear screams today that sound like they're coming from the general direction of Wisconsin, that's me losing in my battle with MT. May the force be with me.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:08 AM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2003

The Stalinists of ANSWER were

The Stalinists of ANSWER were out and about in NYC yesterday.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:49 AM

Australia's John Howard understands the

Australia's John Howard understands the need to rid Iraq of Saddam now:

But I know that if the world community walks away from this issue, we could well have to confront it in a few years time at an infinitely greater cost.

He also said that an alliance with the U.S. is more important than supporting the U.N. Right before our eyes we may be seeing the death of the U.N. as a force in international relations.

"Australia Leader: U.S. Alliance Important"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:36 AM | Comments (0)

Google bought Blogger. Their vast

Google bought Blogger. Their vast server farms should help prevent future outages and give Evan Williams plenty of money to make the software really good. Since Evan has found some deep pockets should I even bother with the MT move? I haven't played with MT in a few weeks because just the thought of my past problems infuriates me.

"Google Buys Pyra: Blogging Goes Big-Time"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:10 AM | Comments (0)

Samizdata.net covered the London protests.

Samizdata.net covered the London protests. I'll let the pictures do the talking...and they're saying a lot. [via InstaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:41 AM | Comments (0)

In contrast to the millions

In contrast to the millions of anti-war, knee-jerk anti-American protesters all over the world, the NY Times editorial page gets it that Iraq isn't disarming.

A protester in NYC said, "We need to leave Iraq alone." However, the Times has the intellectual honesty to see what the situation in Iraq really is:

There is ample evidence that Iraq has produced highly toxic VX nerve gas and anthrax and has the capacity to produce a lot more. It has concealed these materials, lied about them, and more recently failed to account for them to the current inspectors. The Security Council doesn't need to sit through more months of inconclusive reports.

Does that protester think that if we leave Saddam alone, he'll stop make ABC weapons and sing "Cum By Ya" with all the peace-nik? What will the protester say after thousands of Americans are killed when Islamist terrorists used those weapons? Will he continue the vapid, Noam Chomsky-response that the U.S. deserved it?

Protester call for more inspectors--talking points from the French. You could have thousands of inspectors running around Iraq, but without Saddam's compliance, they'll find little.

Then there's the call for another U.N. resolution. What's the point of another threatening one toward Iraq when 1441 is being ignored? Friday, the Security Council showed it's more concerned with checking U.S. power than with stopping a dangerous man from having very deadly weapons. Anti-American sentiment killed the U.N., not the U.S. who's bent over backwards to build multilateral support.

Moral leadership sometimes requires doing the right thing when the rest of world tells you otherwise. President Bush does possess that moral backbone to move forward with his plans to make the world safer. After all the bombs have fallen and Iraq is liberated, the world may still not agree with the war. But who cares? What really matters is that the world is a little bit safer.

"Disarming Iraq" [via Andrew Sullivan]

"Protesters at U.N. Rally Against Iraq War"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:02 AM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2003

U.S. business economists come to

U.S. business economists come to a similar conclusion as a British business group: there could be good economic growth if the Iraq War is short. The NABE also concur with Alan Greenspan: the economy is sputtering because of uncertainty surrounding the war.

"Possible U.S. Economic Rebound Predicted"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2003

I second Johnathan Pearce's idea

I second Johnathan Pearce's idea to open the world's markets to Iraqi goods if Saddam and his cronies were booted (hopefully killed). Maybe that would be an incentive for Iraqis to rise up and reject the years and years of suffering caused by that brutal thug. I doubt it, but could it hurt?

I'll take Johnathan's idea one step further. After the war (it will happen), part of Iraq's reconstruction should include a free-trade pact with the Allied forces. After 12 years of economic sanctions, those people will need lots of opporunity to rebuild the economy. If Iraqis are as enterprising and resourceful as some think, access to U.S. markets would certainly put Iraq on the right path.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:14 PM | Comments (0)

Robert Lane Greene is pretty

Robert Lane Greene is pretty sure France won't veto a war resolution.

But given that France is a mid-ranking power lucky to enjoy far more clout than its population, economy, and history merit, which is more likely: That France will ratify its own irrelevance by vetoing U.N. action, thus forcing America to circumvent the United Nations--the most enduring source of French influence--and act alone? Or that France will hold out until the last, bending the wording of an eventual resolution as close as possible to its own position before jumping onto the back of the inevitable American victory? Anyone unsure of the answer would be advised to read up on the deliberations leading up to the first Gulf war--which France, after initial objections, supported.

Even without using their veto, the Iraq War has shown a considerable rift in U.S.-Europe relations. The U.S.'s strongest European allies are in the east while the E.U. tries to develop an independent military but without paying for it. To put it lightly: things won't be the same.

"Plague of Frogs"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:00 PM | Comments (0)

TNR on the death of

TNR on the death of NATO:

The petulance of these European states seems farcical, but in fact it is the expression of a profound historical transformation. It is not clear that the Europeans are entirely cognizant of this transformation, but it is essential, if the United States is to manage its global responsibilities effectively, that Americans be cognizant of it. For it is not the strategic impertinence of Europe that we are beholding, it is the strategic obsolescence of Europe.

France's and Germany's last place as serious international players is at the United Nations, the rotary telephone of international relations.

"Wither Nato?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

David Frum on Valentine's Day:

David Frum on Valentine's Day:

I've never liked the Valentine's Day holiday. Our culture celebrates romantic love morning, noon, and night 364 days a year -- and then sets aside one special day every February to really rub the lovelesses' noses in it. Not so nice. So: if you are lucky enough to have a sweetheart, of course you must kiss her (or him) today. But if you want to do a good deed, give a thought to the many lonely people around you: the divorced, the widowed, the unlucky -- and maybe, if you have a spare dollar or two, you might want to send a small anonymous bouquet to one of them. Oh -- and send it to the office, where everybody can see.

All Frum wrote is good except for the flowers. Don't send someone an anonymous bouquet. It might get their hopes up. As for me, I'll be deciding among white zinfandel, New Glarus Brewing's Spotted Cow, or tequilla.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

Gregory Breisger had a problem

Gregory Breisger had a problem with a library's computer catalogue. His wife was interested in checking out a video. She called, and they said they had it. Gregory sauntered down to the library only to discover "we only have it here, but we don't have it here." Computers are wonderful things, but total reliance on them is foolhardy.

When a customer asks me if a book is in the store, I not only look it up in the computer, but I also check to see if it's on the shelf. There are a bunch of reasons the computer could claim we have a book, but we don't: it could be shelved incorrectly; someone else could be looking at it; it could be on hold for another customer; or the computer could just be wrong. I try my best to get the book the customer wants into their hands. It definitely cuts down on the frustration.

In Gregory's case, the public library has little incentive to improve their customer service. There's no competition. At least if one of the big bookstores doesn't have the book when they claimed they did, you can saunter to another one.

"Not in Stacks"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:34 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2003

Can you say Rep. Tom

Can you say Rep. Tom DeLay is a little ticked with the French?

I was at a celebration of India's Independence Day, and a Frenchman came walking up to me and started talking to me about Iraq, and it was obvious we were not going to agree. And I said, 'Wait a minute. Do you speak German?' And he looked at me kind of funny and said, 'No, I don't speak German.' And I said, 'You're welcome,' turned around and walked off.

"U.S. Lawmakers Weigh Actions to Punish France, Germany" [via The Corner]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:34 PM | Comments (1)

Last week, I posted on

Last week, I posted on big companies coming out in favor of university race-based admissions. Thomas Sowell goes after them:

Why does big business want racial quotas? Because it is in their own self-interest.

If a corporation does not have enough minority employees to satisfy government agencies, that can lead to racial discrimination lawsuits. But if they hire by quotas and quotas are outlawed, they can be sued by whites for reverse discrimination. Keeping affirmative action legal solves their problem.

Businesses may worry about needing "diversity" in the workplace because of "diversity" in society. If that's so important, how does Japan compete with the rest of the world?

How do companies in Japan manage to sell everything from cars to cameras, in countries around the world, without having that mystic "diversity"? How does a country with such a racially homogeneous population even manage to educate its young people if "diversity" is such an essential factor in education?

What university race-based admissions do is mismatch minority students with universities. Ending Michigan-type affirmative action wouldn't keep minorities away from higher education. It would redistribute them.

"Big Business and Quotas"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:39 AM | Comments (0)

Gov. Doyle is doing something

Gov. Doyle is doing something a Republican governor would get blasted for: he said the public schools shouldn't expect the same portion of state aid they've been getting since 1995. Because of Wisconsin government's financial mess "[t]he state simply cannot afford the two-thirds commitment."

No word from the teachers' union, one of Doyle's biggest backers.

"No 'Open Checkbook' for Schools, Doyle Says"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:17 AM | Comments (0)

John Keegan doesn't see the

John Keegan doesn't see the death of NATO:

Several Nato members are unshakeable in their loyalty. They include this country, Turkey and probably Italy and Spain. Several of the new Nato states, Poland foremost, would be eager to offer basing facilities to troops withdrawn from Germany soil. The Belgians do not count. The Dutch seem solid. Denmark and Norway are, with reservations, good Nato citizens.

A map of Nato with a hole where Germany had been would look odd; but the map has looked odd for 40 years since the French went their separate way. Now that the Soviet threat is no more, Nato does not really need Germany, except for purposes of internal communication. Germany's armed forces are in disarray, as are those of France.

An Anglo-Saxon Nato, plus Turkey, plus Scandinavia, plus Italy and Spain would still have the bases necessary to command the key strategic positions and the strength to keep the peace in the northern hemisphere.

He concludes that France and Germany aren't "serious about denying weapons of mass destruction to rogue states."

"Angry America May Feel 'Old Europe' Has Gone Too Far this Time" [via Samizdata]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:44 AM | Comments (0)

Virginia Postrel's next book will

Virginia Postrel's next book will be entitled The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness. It doesn't have the zip and flare of Look and Feel. I should claim that title. Now, I only need a book idea for it.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:32 AM | Comments (0)

February 11, 2003

Jack over at SCSUScholars echoes

Jack over at SCSUScholars echoes my thoughts on diversity and the university:

Where I grew up the cliche about the Missouri River was that it was a mile wide and an inch deep. In that campus diversity resembles the river in one of two ways: though it isn't very wide, it's only an inch deep. "Diversity" means almost exclusively skin color and country of origin. These are things of very limited human significance, and ironically precisely the things modern campuses say they want to render insignificant in human activities, but they make them the only things that are significant.

The irony isn't surprising. We've come to accept that those who demand diversity the most are least tolerant of any real diversity of opinion, thought or philosophy; those who demand "sensitivity" are the least sensitive to any who fall outside their domain; and those who demand tolerance are the least tolerant (My campus' slogan is "No Tolerance for Intolerance." Really).

"Inch-deep Diversity"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:51 PM | Comments (0)

This NY Times story gives

This NY Times story gives Enron's Ken Lay a defense that looks like reasonable doubt to me.

"Company Man to the End, After All" [via Man Without Qualities]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

Alan Greenspan told lawmakers that

Alan Greenspan told lawmakers that geopolitical uncertainty is the reason for the economy's sluggishness. Until war with Iraq is settled one way or another, he thinks it's uncertain whether economic stimulus is needed. Greenspan's concerned about growing budget deficits, but supports ending the dividend tax.

"Greenspan Questions Need for U.S. Economic Stimulus"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 05:39 PM | Comments (0)

NATO's still dying before our

NATO's still dying before our eyes. Colin Powell told a Senate committee, "The alliance is breaking itself up because it will not meet its responsibilities." Sen John Warner (R-VA) suggested Congress reduce funding for NATO. France and Germany, way to go.

"Powell: NATO Risks Breakup Over Iraq Rift"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)

Since I gave up on

Since I gave up on The West Wing this year (notice that any character can say any line and it fits), I'm up for newly engaged Patrick Ruffini's Republican version.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 05:24 PM | Comments (0)

Congratulations to Jonah and Jessica

Congratulations to Jonah and Jessica on the birth of their daughter.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

The former director of Iraq's

The former director of Iraq's nuclear weapons program has an answer for France's and Germany's opposition to war: they've both profited heavily.

"The Inspections Dodge"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2003

Affirmative action may be preventing

Affirmative action may be preventing more minorities from becoming professors:

In the mid-1990s, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported, Stephen Cole, a sociologist at the State University of New York at Binghamton, and a colleague asked the three august bodies to help him answer one of academia's most vexing questions: Why are there so few minority faculty members? The three groups-stout supporters of affirmative action all-wrote checks totaling $555,000.

The fruits of that study are available this month in the form of a book, Increasing Faculty Diversity: The Occupational Choices of High-Achieving Minority Students(Harvard University Press). But to the chagrin of its funders, the study appears to undermine the case for racial preferences in admissions.

Cole found that, at elite colleges, roughly the same proportion of black undergraduates as white had thought of becoming professors (about 10 percent-a surprising discovery in itself). Within the subset of students aiming for academia, only 19 percent of African Americans had grade averages of A or A-minus, compared with 43 percent of white students. Without affirmative action, he suggests, more black students might have attended less competitive colleges. There they would have excelled and become more likely to continue on to get PhDs.

This fits right into Thomas Sowell's argument that affirmative action causes a mismatch between student and university.

"Advantage Card: William F. Buckley's Affirmative Action Legacy"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

People like Eric Schlosser and

People like Eric Schlosser and George Ritzer fear the "McDonaldization" of society. However, looking at how regional foods like Krispy Kreme doughnuts and New York bagels have conquered the nation, what's really happened is that people are open to new foods. We like the stuff from the big brands because we're confident in what we're getting (even if it isn't that great), but we're also looking for new tastes out of natural curiosity.

I wonder what the next big food trend will be? My two guesses are up-scale sandwich shops like Panera and Cosi; and burrito shops like Qdoba.

"True Grits"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

Rich Galen might have a

Rich Galen might have a book up his sleeve.

The Mullings Book

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:09 PM | Comments (0)

What weird time-space continuum is

What weird time-space continuum is Andrew Sullivan Living in? I'm writing this post at 10:40 PM on 2.10.03. Sullivan has a post dated 12:15:37 AM on 2.11.03. Even with the one-hour difference between central and eastern times, it means Sullivan is living in a world at least 35 minutes ahead of mine. It some tweaking of how Blogger handles time stamps, but why bother?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

I haven't been a Sen.

I haven't been a Sen. John McCain fan since he went off on his campaign finance (i.e. First Amendment restriction) crusade, but his speech in Europe was very good. McCain's correct that we may be watching NATO die right before our eyes.

The French and German objection, for reasons of calculated self-interest -- a very flawed calculation, I fear - to a routine American request to the North Atlantic Council to upgrade Turkey's defenses against the military threat from Iraq was a terrible injury to an Alliance that has served their broader interests well. For nearly three weeks, the United States, with fourteen of our eighteen European allies in the North Atlantic Council, has supported this necessary action, but has confronted a new unilateralism conceived in Paris and Berlin, a unilateralism that exposed the sneering in those capitals about the impulsive cowboy in the White House for the vacuous posturing and obvious misdirection it is. Whatever NATO decides, Franco-German unilateralism will have a lasting impact on trans-Atlantic security calculations. If this minority French-German obstruction is not overcome by NATO's deadline of Monday, France and Germany will have to answer to those who argue that Iraq could be to NATO what Abyssinia was to the League of Nations.

McCain then echoes the thoughts of many that Iraqi liberation would bring a positive shake-up to the Middle East.

Our regional allies who oppose using force against Saddam Hussein warn of uncontrollable popular hostility to an allied attack on Iraq. But what would really be the effect on Arab populations of seeing other Arabs liberated from oppression? Far from fighting to the last Iraqi, the people of that tortured society will surely dance on the regime's grave. Perhaps that is what truly concerns some of our Arab allies: that among the consequences of regime change in Iraq might be a stronger demand for self-determination from their own people.

"The Global Fight against Terrorism: Status and Perspectives"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

France and Germany have said

France and Germany have said the U.S. is being shortsighted in its rush to war with Iraq. But what about the Franco-German alliance's reluctance to even allow NATO to plan for a possible Iraqi attack on NATO member Turkey?

What NATO is is a U.S. defense umbrella. That's because only the U.S. has the ability to project massive amounts of military power quickly. The Europeans spend very little on their defense. They rely on the thousands of U.S. troops stations there for protection. Since the end of World War II this situation worked fine for all parties. Western Europe could focus on building their welfare states with the confidence that the U.S. would stop the Soviet Union in an invasion. For the U.S. a pacifistic Western Europe prevented another war. France, Germany, and the U.K. didn't fear each other because none of them were building up their militaries. Instead of conflict and division, Western Europe moved toward economic and political union--all under the umbrella of U.S. military power. (See Robert Kagan's Of Paraside and Power or "Power and Weakness" for more on this trend and the pschological differences between the U.S. and Europe in the international ring.)

Right before our eyes we're seeing an alliance die. Turkey joined NATO to improve its security and it more closely associate itself with Europe. They took the chance of abandoning the political economic wasteland of the Middle East for the hope of West. And what have they gotten in return? An indefinite pause to EU inclusion and a rejection of a sensible defense request. Some allies NATO are!

Rejection of Turkey's request for NATO help comes months after plans to bring the Muslim nation into the EU were tossed aside. With fears from the large Muslim populations already in their countries, are France and Germany afraid of closer union between Europe and Islam?

"Rifts Over Iraq Plunge NATO Into Crisis"

UPDATE: Peter Brownfeld writes on Turkey and the EU. He writes,

An examination of the ideals of the EUís founders reveals that their desire for peace would cause them to help bring the Muslim Middle East and Christian Europe closer togetherónot push them further apart. Thus far in the debate over Turkey and principles of expansion in general, the EU seems to be in danger of abandoning the vision of its founders.

"A Lesson from the EU Founders"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 06:48 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2003

As The Agonist shows, for

As The Agonist shows, for being a unilateralist, the U.S. has gotten a lot of other countries to support war with Iraq.

I just wish we could get those Haitians to commit.

[via TTLB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:21 PM | Comments (0)

Kofi Annan said Iraq ha

Kofi Annan said Iraq ha to show they want to disarm, yet he said the U.S. should avoid war. The two go together. Either Saddam disarms or the U.S. goes to war. It's that simple.

Annan then made this remark at the College of William and Mary:

When states decide to use force, not in self-defense but to deal with broader threats to international peace and security, there is no substitute for the unique legitimacy provided by the United Nations Security Council.

The man is quite mistaken. War with Iraq would be in defense of the U.S. Since the U.S. is the dominant world power any nation with an arsenal of ABC weapons has them to even the odds with the U.S. Also, when an enemy of the U.S. has ABC weapons and connections to terrorists, there's a reasonable chance that some nasty bomb will end up killing thousands of Americans.

And what should we make of the U.N. Security Council's "unique legitimacy?" It only has legitimacy if it can employ force to back its resolutions. To make idle threat after idle threat and to demand additional inspections when there's a history of disception robs the security council of moral force. Every time France asks for more inspections I laugh. Either they're fools, or they're using more inspections as a diplomatic weapon against the U.S. Such a pitiful world player doesn't deserve a permanent place on the security council.

"Annan Urges U.S. to Avoid Gulf War"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2003

I've been thinking of going

I've been thinking of going on a trip to Turkey in the next few months, but with a war happening in next door Iraq, that wouldn't be the smartest thing for an American to do. (TAM versus the Turkish Street, who would win?) Ever since I got my passport a few years ago, I've wanted to use it. I doubt I will this year. Bummer. Heck, maybe the war will dampen the travel industry so much that I'll find a good deal to England, Germany, or *gasp* even France. I'd love to spend a few more days wandering through Paris.

"State Dept. Warns Americans Abroad"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:31 AM | Comments (0)

Rod Dreher on Michael Jackson:

Rod Dreher on Michael Jackson:

Oh man, did you see the Michael Jackson special on ABC tonight? The dude is even more of a sicko than you may have thought. Martin Bashir, the BBC interviewer, is on Primetime Live now, saying that Michael Jackson is so rich and well insulated there on Neverland Ranch that nobody, not even authorities who might want to look into his extremely disturbing relationship with children, can get to him without an appointment -- "and that means he is a law unto himself in his house." Scary. When does the mob of torch-bearing villagers gather outside the gates? Doesn't matter; this freak's career is over.

The King of Pop treated as Frankenstein. Not a bad comparison. They both are freaks of science.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

February 06, 2003

Economist Edward Castronova has studied

Economist Edward Castronova has studied the economy of Norrath, the world of Sony's EverQuest. Some interesting findings are that the currency of Norrath, platinum pieces, is worth about one penny which makes it stronger than the yen or lira. The average wage is $3.42/hour, but deflation is boosting the real wage.

In writing about Castronova's paper, Robert Shapiro comes to this conclusion about what we may learn about real economies from virtual ones:

In this virtual world, a powerful government appears only briefly at the start, in the iron rule that everyone starts out with roughly equal assets. Then it retreats and lets economic nature take its course. In Norrath, more equality permits freer markets. This may provide the most important lesson of all from the EverQuest experiment: Real equality can obviate much of a democratic government's intervention in a modern economy. Many of our own government's current policies?progressive taxation, securities regulation, social insurance?are aimed at offsetting some form of inequality. If EverQuest is any guide, the liberal dream of genuine equality would usher in the conservative vision of truly limited government.

"Fantasy Economics"


Daniel Drezner links to the Shapiro article and talks about political science and computer simulations.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:44 PM | Comments (0)

My God, a story in

My God, a story in Big Media about weblogs with no mention of Glenn Reynolds. Unfortunately, there wasn't any mention of TAM either.

"New Kids On the Blog"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

The foam is still a

The foam is still a possiblity, though small, as a cause of the Columbia's demise. Since NASA hasn't found shuttle pieces crucial to the investigation, they don't have much to go on.

"NASA Still Considering Foam Launch Damage"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

A bunch of big companies

A bunch of big companies are coming out in support of race-based admissions in universities. Steelcase CEO, James Hackett told the AP, "If you're going to be a global company and you're going to attract and retain the best people, then the mirror you have to present is that you're a very diverse company." An Intel spokesman said, "Is a diverse work force something we feel we need to work for? We do."

Well, even if the Supreme Court rules that race can't be used at all in college admissions (it won't happen, too radical for O'Connor and/or Kennedy to back) that wouldn't stop companies' affirmative action programs. If Steelcase and Intel think treating the races unequally is good for their businesses, fine. It's their decision. What isn't right is the government, through state universities, treating individuals differently depending on their skin pigment.

This is just an example of why Big Business isn't always an effective way to promote conservative pubic policy.

"Firms: Affirmative Action Helps Recruits"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

Gerhard Schroeder may have to

Gerhard Schroeder may have to really charge up the anti-American rhetoric to dodge his economic disaster.

"German Jobless Rate Rises to 11 Percent"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:28 AM | Comments (0)

February 05, 2003

Add Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia,

Add Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia to the list of Allied forces against Saddam.

Still no France, German, Russia, or China, but who cares?

Statement of the Vilnius Group Countries [via InstaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)

After making a case for

After making a case for war with Iraq, Secretary of State Colin Powell finished by asking the Security Council to do what needs to be done:

The United States will not and cannot run that risk to the American people. Leaving Saddam Hussein in possession of weapons of mass destruction for a few more months or years is not an option, not in a post-September 11th world.

My colleagues, over three months ago this council recognized that Iraq continued to pose a threat to international peace and security, and that Iraq had been and remained in material breach of its disarmament obligations. Today Iraq still poses a threat and Iraq still remains in material breach.

Indeed, by its failure to seize on its one last opportunity to come clean and disarm, Iraq has put itself in deeper material breach and closer to the day when it will face serious consequences for its continued defiance of this council.

My colleagues, we have an obligation to our citizens, we have an obligation to this body to see that our resolutions are complied with. We wrote 1441 not in order to go to war, we wrote 1441 to try to preserve the peace. We wrote 1441 to give Iraq one last chance. Iraq is not so far taking that one last chance.

We must not shrink from whatever is ahead of us. We must not fail in our duty and our responsibility to the citizens of the countries that are represented by this body.

UPDATE: Courtesy of Stephen Den Beste, here's a link to the State Department website with slides and video used in Powell's presentation.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

In last week's State of

In last week's State of the State address, Gov. Jim Doyle reaffirmed his pledge not to raise taxes. He also told lawmakers that the deficit problem was from too much spending, not too little taxing. Sen. Alberta Darling, a Republican, called the speech a "Republican message."

Doyle may have an easier time dealing with the state budget deficit than if Scott McCallum would have gotten re-elected. Because of Doyle's insistence on education as his top priority, his no-new-tax pledge is keeping liberals quiet. There is also the possibility that with Republicans in control of both houses of the legislature Doyle has to give them something or nothing will get passed.

"Wisconsin Governor, a Democrat, Sounds Positively Republican"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

NASA doesn't think foam from

NASA doesn't think foam from the main fuel tank caused damage that led to Columbia's demise. The fallen piece wasn't big enough or moving fast enough to do that much damage.

"NASA Says Foam Likely Not Cause of Shuttle Disaster"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:32 PM | Comments (0)

LeBron James can play again.

LeBron James can play again. A judge issued a temporary restraining order that allows him to play. Another hearing is scheduled for 2.19.

"Lebron James Cleared to Play, for Now"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2003

A sad thing about Michael

A sad thing about Michael Jackson's revelation is that he could still fill up Madison Square Garden like he and his brother's did two years ago. People may not buy any new albums, but they'll come out to see the King of Pop perform his hits.

"Jackson Faces Ruin After Admitting: I Sleep with Boys" [via Right Wing News]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

The space shuttle is yesterday's

The space shuttle is yesterday's technology. It's too expensive ($500 million per launch) and hasn't brought space travel anywhere near something available for the average American. (The Russians have done more on that front.) Despite the efforts of really smart people at NASA, the shuttle program has failed.

As Gregg Easterbrook points out, many experiments that take place on the space shuttle and the space station could be done on unmanned space probes. Of course, that isn't as romantic as having someone risk their life by riding atop a rocket.

If the U.S. is serious about manned space travel, then easing restrictions on private firms is the answer. If the government thinks its role is to expand human knowlege by funding space research (one I don't necessarily agree with), then rely on unmanned space craft. But if the U.S. insists on government-funded manned space travel, then look for a goal much more lofty than keeping three people floating around in earth orbit. A bold goal would be a mission to Mars.

"The Space Shuttle Must Be Stopped"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2003

Horlick High School in Racine,

Horlick High School in Racine, WI is remembering its former student, Laurel Clark.

"Her legacy is one of an outstanding graduate of Horlick. She had a goal set for her life, and she wanted to achieve it. It was a sad ending, but we can say she did reach her goal," said Horlick teacher Bill Frayer, who taught clark anthropology and international relations.

"Sadness Shrouds Racine Horlick"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)

I'm back. Here's the latest:

I'm back. Here's the latest:

  • Shuttle manager Ron Dittemore said the crew wouldn't have been able to repair tile damage.

    There's nothing that we can do about tile damage once we get to orbit. We can't minimize the heating to the point that it would somehow not require a tile. So once you get to orbit, you're there and you have your tile insulation and that's all you have for protection on the way home from the extreme thermal heating during re-entry.

  • The shuttle didn't have their robot arm and couldn't use its camera to examine the damage.
  • NASA didn't ask for telescopes to look at the shuttle, but they might not have helped anyway.
  • In October, pieces of insulation from the main fuel tank fell off during an Atlantis lift off.

"Columbia's Problems Began on Left Wing"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

I've been at this for

I've been at this for almost seven hours, and I'm suffering with a cold. I need a few hours of R n' R.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

The second NASA briefing does

The second NASA briefing does point to a damaged wing. There was a loss of temperature sensors on the left wing just before NASA lost contact with the shuttle. The left wing was the one damaged at lift-off.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

Iraqis (presumably pressured by Saddam's

Iraqis (presumably pressured by Saddam's government) praised God for the Columbia explosion. "God is avenging us," said a government employee.

Arafat was smart. No anti-American demonstrations like after Sep. 11. Instead, Arafat offered his condolences.

"Iraqis Call Shuttle Disaster God's Vengeance"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

President Bush speaks: The same

President Bush speaks:

The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home.

President Addresses Nation on Space Shuttle Columbia Tragedy

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)

Dale Amon is still theorizing

Dale Amon is still theorizing on what happened:

The contrail goes spiral after the first bit comes off. That almost clinches it in my mind. The first bit to break off had to be large from what the image shows: I would think it more likely a wing than the vertical stabilizer; the subsequent spiral looks like a violent roll to me, which is what a would expect after losing a wing.

Since, like Rand, I do not feel fatigue failure of the spar as highly likely, I'd say it is a burnthrough on the wing, possibly abetted by the insulation loss from the ET damaging the thermal protection system (TPS) on takeoff as reported earlier.

"Columbia Breakup Over Texas"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 01:43 PM | Comments (0)

Welcome, Scripting News readers. Too

Welcome, Scripting News readers. Too bad it's an awful moment to get a link.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)

David Janes is doing play-by-play

David Janes is doing play-by-play of the television coverage including tv screen shots.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)

Here's a story on fallen

Here's a story on fallen shuttle debris in Nacogdoches, TX. There are pictures too [here and here]

"Shuttle Debris Falls in Nacogdoches" [via Poynter Online]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)

Laurel Clark was a local

Laurel Clark was a local woman who couldn't wait to get into space. Here are some pictures of Laurel floating around the shuttle.

"Racine's Clark Among 7 Astronauts Killed"

"Racine Astronaut Takes off with Family Close"

UPDATE: Here's Space.com's bio of Clark

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

Dale Amon hypothesizes on what

Dale Amon hypothesizes on what happened:

I suggest there was damage to the TPS on one wing, causing a burn through and structural damage leading to failure of the wing structure when aerodynamic forces built. The shuttle has very high wing loading, so any loss of margin would be disastrous. If one wing fails, the shuttle will immediately roll violently into the direction of the failed wing followed by god only knows what sort of tumble. It would break up into major components almost immediately. That is what we saw on the clip.

If this is what happened, the damage may have taken place during launch.

"Columbia Feared Lost"


Rand Simberg also speculates and mentions that building another shuttle is impossible because all the tooling is gone.

"History Repeats"


Space Flight Now has a small video (animated gif) which appears to show something coming off the main fuel tank during lift-off.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)

Ilan Ramon gave Israelis something

Ilan Ramon gave Israelis something to cheer about after years of fear and saddness. On Israeli television, a commentator said Ramon "is fulfilling everyone's dream, to be the first Israeli in space."

Ramon was one of Israel's best pilots. Interestingly, he took apart in the 1981 attack on an Iraqi nuclear reactor.

The attack, in which eight F-16 warplanes obliterated the French-built Osirak reactor near Baghdad, was a milestone for Israeli aviation because the planes flew over enemy Arab territory for hours without detection. The pilots flew in a tight formation to send off a radar signal resembling that of a large commercial airliner.

"First Israeli Astro Brought Joy to His Troubled Nation"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

The BBC's Dr. David Whitehouse

The BBC's Dr. David Whitehouse reports that during re-entry "the crew have no means of escaping from the Space Shuttle."

"Analysis: Nasa Emergency"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:08 AM | Comments (1)

NBC reports that a US

NBC reports that a US satellite picked up a 'spike' at the time Columbia exploded. I don't know what that means.

"NASA Confirms Columbia Exploded on Reentry (UPDATE)"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

Spaceflight Now's Stephen Clark gives

Spaceflight Now's Stephen Clark gives us this account of Columbia over Texas:

We were outside and my Dad said "there it is!" in one piece. Then a tiny, tiny piece came off and I was somewhat perplexed. That wasn't supposed to happen. Then bigger pieces rained away from the main piece. It looked very similar to the video we saw of the Russian space station Mir reentering. Later, there was one loud boom and accompanied by smaller booms. Normally we hear two distinct sonic booms when shuttles pass over during entries.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)

Here's more on the shuttle's

Here's more on the shuttle's damaged wing:

"We did our normal flight control systems checkout. ... All the systems we use for entry, we had no problems, the vehicle performed flawlessly today as it has the entire mission."

The only issue - and Cain said it was not significant - is a bit of possible tile damage on Columbia's left wing. Video of launch shows what appears to be a piece of foam insulation from the shuttle's external tank falling away during ascent and hitting the left wing near its leading edge.

But Cain said engineers "took a very thorough look at the situation with the tile on the left wing and we have no concerns whatsoever. We haven't changed anything with respect to our trajectory design. It will be a nominal, standard trajectory."

I have a bad feeling they should have took this more seriously.

"Shuttle Columbia to land in Florida on Saturday"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

NASA has lowered flags to

NASA has lowered flags to half staff in Florida and California. The mourning has begun.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

American "arrogance" may have led

American "arrogance" may have led to the Columbia's demise? I think not, but someone should analyze Canadian anti-Americanism. [via InstaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

The AP has a brief

The AP has a brief profile on all 7 astronauts. Here's Ilan Ramon's

Ilan Ramon, 48, a colonel in Israel's air force and the first Israeli in space. His mother and grandmother survived Auschwitz death camp. Father fought for Israel's statehood alongside grandfather. Ramon fought in Yom Kippur War 1973 and Lebanon War 1982.

He served as a fighter pilot 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, flew F-16s and F-4s. He was chosen as Israel's first astronaut in 1997, then moved to Houston the next year to train for shuttle flight. His wife and four children live in Tel Aviv.

"Profiles of 7 Astronauts Aboard Shuttle"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

A CBS Radio reporter is

A CBS Radio reporter is seeing a smoking piece of wreckage in a field.

Body parts may have been found near St. Augustine, TX. Ick!

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

NASA has sent out search

NASA has sent out search and rescue teams. The Department of Defense Manned Space Flight Support Office is running that operation.

In the current Space Shuttle Program, DDMS has the responsibility for astronaut rescue and recovery, contingency landing site support, payload security, medical support, coordination of airlift/sealift for contingency operations, as well as other support services required in the event of a shuttle emergency. To carry out these responsibilities, DDMS receives and validates NASA requests for DoD support. The support office then selects assets best able to provide the required support, tasks selected units through appropriate command channels, and provides tactical control of those DoD forces supporting a specific Space Shuttle mission.

In the Kennedy Space Center area, U.S. Air Force air-refuelable H-60 helicopters, HC-130 tanker aircraft, pararescue and medical personnel; and U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships are deployed to support launch contingencies and astronaut recovery. Additionally, the Navy provides a KC-130 tanker for helicopter air refueling, E-2C aircraft for enhanced air traffic control and P-3 aircraft for search and rescue operations in the mid-Atlantic region. To support the potential for a Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL), NASA has selected four TAL sites in Spain and Africa. These sites are Moran and Zaragoza Air Bases in Spain; Ben Guerir, Morocco; and Yundum International Airport, Banjul, The Gambia. Three of these four TAL sites are activated for each shuttle launch. DDMS supports these TAL sites with C-12 or C-21 aircraft for on-scene weather reconnaissance and in-flight checks of Space Shuttle unique landing aids; C-130 aircraft with pararescue and medical support personnel; and DoD fire/crash/rescue equipment and personnel.

"When Trouble Comes to Shuttle, DoD Comes to Rescue"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

Haaretz's story doesn't add any

Haaretz's story doesn't add any details about the explosion, but they focus on Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon.

"NASA Declares Emergency After Losing Contact
with Columbia"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

Racine, WI's Laurel Clark was

Racine, WI's Laurel Clark was one of the crew members of Columbia. She loved being in space:

This has been a great experience for me. The first couple of days you don't always feel too well. I feel wonderful now. The first couple of days you adjust to the fluid shifting, how to fly through space without hitting things or anybody else. But then after a couple of days you get in a groove. It's just an incredibly magical place.

Godspeed, Laurel.

"Racine Astronaut Finds Space to be Magical"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

Early speculation should focus on

Early speculation should focus on what happened during take-off of the Columbia:

On launch day, a piece of insulating foam on the external fuel tank came off during liftoff and was believed to have struck the left wing of the shuttle. NASA said as late as Friday that the damage to the thermal tiles was believed to be minor and posed no safety concern during the fiery decent through the atmosphere.

"Shuttle Landing in Question"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)

Glenn Reynolds links to the

Glenn Reynolds links to the Spaceflight Now log for the Columbia mission. It's chilling.

1401 GMT (9:01 a.m. EST)

Columbia is out of communications with flight controllers in Houston. Now 15 minutes from landing time.
1404 GMT (9:04 a.m. EST)

We're getting reports from Texas of debris behind the shuttle's plasma trail during reentery.
1405 GMT (9:05 a.m. EST)

THERE HAS BEEN NO COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE SHUTTLE. Mission Controllers waiting for tracking data from the Merritt Island station.
1406 GMT (9:06 a.m. EST)

Mission Control waiting for C-band tracking data and UHF communications with Columbia through MILA. Houston lost communications with the shuttle a few minutes ago over Texas. We have gotten reports of debris in the sky.
1409 GMT (9:09 a.m. EST)

Still no contact with Columbia or crew.

CBS Radio is reporting that sonic booms were heard over Dallas.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)

The space shuttle Columbia is

The space shuttle Columbia is gone. At about 8 AM, NASA lost contact with it. CNN has shown video of streaks that looked like large meteors flaming through the sky over Dallas. NASA is now telling the public that debris over Texas could be considered dangerous.

Almost 17 years ago, the Challenger exploded soon after take off.

"NASA Loses Touch With Shuttle Columbia"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)