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23 Reasons for the War


William Raspberry reports that Devon Largio, a new graduate of the University of Illinois who will attend Vanderbilt Law School in the fall, had an interesting senior honors thesis: “Uncovering the Rationales for the War on Iraq: The Words of the Bush Administration, Congress and the Media from September 12, 2001, to October 11, 2002.” […]

Don’t Know Much About History


The Telegraph reports that 10-year-olds in the UK lack a detailed knowledge of the events of WWII, with some of them giving amusing answers. A compendium: It is 1899 and Denzel Washington, the American president, orders Anne Frank and her troops to storm the beaches of Nazi-occupied New Zealand. That honestly doesn’t bother me. The […]

Free Salon


Amusing: Salon.com is offering free one year subscriptions to its premium contents to anyone on active duty in the U.S Armed Forces with a .mil e-mail address. Do America’s servicemen and -women get the full story from American Forces Radio and Television? Not according to Eric Boehlert’s Salon cover story on Wednesday. Our soldiers get […]

You Are What You Eat

Radley Balko has a short piece in the current TIME arguing against government intervention in the “obesity crisis.” The upshot:* Whodda’ thunk that twenty or ten or even five years ago that a major news magazine could pose a question like “are you responsible for your own weight” and not only would there be actual […]

‘Baby Jessica’ Graduates


News that will mean nothing to anyone under 30: CBS News — ‘Baby Jessica’ Graduates She held the attention of the nation and the world as a toddler 17 years ago after she fell into an abandoned well. Crews struggled for 58 hours to rescue 18-month-old Jessica McClure from the eight-inch-wide pipe. On Friday night […]

Rolling Thunder Endorses Bush


WaPo — Focus Swings to Vietnam, With a Roar A younger generation of war veterans swept into town yesterday, shifting the tone of the city’s Memorial Day celebrations from the long-ago heroism of World War II to the still-raw wounds of Vietnam. Clad in leather, astride gleaming Harleys, they trailed American flags and the black […]

WWII Memorial Dedication Wrap-Up


I didn’t attend yesterday’s events; it wasn’t my day. I was, however, in Falls Church in the morning and in DC in the afternoon. One couldn’t have asked for a better day weather-wise. The oppressive heat and humidity–and afternoon rain–that are the norm for this region by late May were in abatement. Remarks by the […]

Clarence Thomas Family Flag Flap


AP — Man’s flag flies in face of apartment policy Every morning since 9/11, Donald Lamp has hung his American flag from the balcony of his Omaha apartment. The Omaha retirement community where Donald Lamp lives wants him to take his flag down. He refuses, having flown it since the Sept. 11 attacks. Lamp’s son-in-law […]

Pop Culture


Kevin Drum does what his mama tells him, publishing a joke that’s apparently going around about the Bush administration. It would, of course, be funnier if the persons involved were Democrats, but it’s not bad. He also passes along this amusing map of what people around the country call carbonated soft drinks. As a Southerner, […]

Kerry Says Global Democracy Is Not His Top Issue


WaPo — Kerry Says Global Democracy Is Not His Top Issue Sen. John F. Kerry indicated that as president he would downplay the promotion of democracy as a leading goal in dealing with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Russia, instead focusing on other objectives that he said are more central to the nation’s security. […]

Tillman’s Death Likely Friendly Fire


WaPo/AP — Army: Friendly Fire Likely Killed Tillman Former pro football player Pat Tillman was “probably” killed by friendly fire as he led his team of Army Rangers up a hill during a firefight in Afghanistan last month, the U.S. Army said Saturday. Tillman walked away from a $3.6 million NFL contract to join the […]

Fingerprint Fallability


Law professor Jennifer Mnookin argues that, as our database of fingerprints grows, we’re finding that identification based on fingerprints is not nearly as foolproof as we once thought. What is truly remarkable is that we simply do not know how often different people’s prints may significantly resemble one another, or how good examiners are at […]

Old Soldiers Fading Away


NYT — Old Soldiers, Fading Away at a Grim Pace [RSS] The roughly 4.3 million who remain from the original 16 million World War II veterans are dying at the rate of about 1,200 a day, along with 300 from the Korean War and 200 from the Vietnam era. Their remains are arriving at cemeteries […]

WWII Memorial Dedication


It appears as if the celebration marking the official dedication of the long-awaited World War Two Memorial will be a logistical nightmare nearly as daunting as D-Day itself: WaPo — A Very Big Band of Brothers Somewhere within that seemingly boundless sea of empty folding chairs on the Mall was the one meant for Barney […]

Blogging Software II

Steven Taylor gives the blow-by-blow of his experimentation with Express Engine and WordPress.

Caption Contest


It’s time for another OTB Caption ContestTM. Write your caption in the comments below.Courtesy Drudge Report Winners will be announced after noon Tuesday.

Neo-Cons Their Own Worst Enemy


Dan Drezner has an interesting piece in TNR in which he argues that, while it has been much derided, the neoconservative vision of a democratic Iraq was quite achievable, but was undermined by poor execution by Team Bush. He fears that most people will come away thinking it was the goal, rather than its execution, […]

Beltway Traffic Jam

I’ve been home much of the day, since the computer network at the office was down. A good thing, too, as I’m sure the traffic out there was nightmarish. Friday afternoon traffic is pretty tight from about 2-7 Fridays; it’s got to be worse before a three-day warm weather holiday. The pre-Memorial Day weekend Traffic […]

Dershowitz on Torture


Many of us have been wondering when Alan Dershowitz would weigh in on the Abu Ghraib scandal, given his surprising advocacy of the limited use of torture in the war on terrorism a couple years ago. (See, for example, this LA Times op-ed written shortly after 9/11, Chronicle of Higher Education interview, and his book […]

Defending Chalabi


Christopher Hitchens offers an interesting rebuttal of some of the arguments made in the previous post and, astonishingly, defends Ahmad Chalabi, who has become the token whipping boy for all sides. After a few paragraphs explaining why he was personally impressed with Chalabi after a long-ago meeting and pointing out what courage it took for […]

20-20 Hindsight


Clive Crook has a very provocative piece in the current National Journal arguing that, in hindsight, the Iraq War was the wrong decision even though we’re now stuck seeing it through: If America and its allies are going to stay the course in Iraq, their leaders can hardly admit that the intervention was a mistake […]

Beware the Pizza Boy


AP – Delivery People Urged to Rat Out Minors Police in Portsmouth [NH] hope to enlist pizza delivery people and hotel clerks to help cut into underage drinking and parents who allow it. Under a new law, it’s illegal for the owner or occupants of a home or hotel room to host a gathering of […]

Blogging Software

Of interest to bloggers and would-be bloggers only: Asymptomatic has a rather exhaustive chart with the technical specifications and other comparisons of several blogging software systems–including several I’ve never heard of. Via Venomous Kate

Beltway Traffic Jam (Outsourced Edition)

I had some errands to run after work. It’s a little late for a traditional Traffic Jam, so I’ll let Taegan Goddard “guest host” for me: Check here to see what the Wingers are saying. And here to see what the Southpaws have on their minds. To join in, link and send a TrackBack to […]

Terrorist Mustafa Arrested


Fox — U.S. Indicts Radical Muslim Cleric Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri (search) has been arrested and charged by the United States in an 11-count indictment in Manhattan federal court, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced on Thursday. Al-Masri, also known as Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, was arrested Thursday morning in Great Britain on an extradition […]

Kill the Hackers


Steven E. Landsburg makes a plausible econometric argument for executing the people who write computer worms, viruses, or Trojans, noting that it’s more advantageous than executing murderers.

Richard Biggs, R.I.P.


“Babylon 5” Star Dies Babylon 5 spanned galaxies. In a way, so did Richard Biggs‘ fan base. Biggs, who played Dr. Stephen Franklin on the 1994-98 series and in three subsequent TV movies, died Saturday, his Website said. He was 44. In a message posted to a Babylon 5 newsgroup Saturday, show creator J. Michael […]



Newsweek has in interesting interview with Tom Selleck, who plays Gen. Dwight Eisenhower in an A&E television movie that will debut on Memorial Day. Even with his head shaved and hair died gray, he doesn’t exactly evoke images of Ike. Selleck’s now 59 years old. Magnum PI went off the air sixteen years ago. Did […]

The Real Story Of Fallujah


[WSJ-$] — The Real Story Of Fallujah Robert Kaplan recounts the bravery and restraint of the men of Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment in their operations in Fallujah. He notes the irony that, just as the 1st of the 5th’s heroic actions in Hue City were overshadowed by the […]

I Wish I’d Said That


Apparently, Max Boot reads OTB.

U.S. Agencies Engaged In ‘Data Mining’


NYT — Survey Finds U.S. Agencies Engaged In ‘Data Mining’ [RSS] A survey of federal agencies has found more than 120 programs that collect and analyze large amounts of personal data on individuals to predict their behavior. The survey, to be issued Thursday by the General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress, found that […]

Europeans Say The U.S. Cannot Leave


Philadelphia Inquirer — Europeans Say The U.S. Cannot Leave Despite strong opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and a continued nervousness about a European presence there, few European foreign-policy experts believe the United States can withdraw its troops from Iraq without creating global chaos. Asked recently what the United States should do about Iraq, […]

Al Gore Unglued


NYT — Citing A ‘Shamed America,’ Gore Calls For Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet And 3 Others To Resign [RSS] Declaring that the Bush administration “shamed America” with its policy on Iraq, former Vice President Al Gore yesterday called for the resignations of six high-ranking officials, including the secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld; the director of […]

Blogging Public Intellectuals

Matthew Yglesias argues that bloggers are the new media, but not quite like people think: It’s not the case that weblogs let everyone be a journalist, but they do let everyone be a public intellectual — spouting off their ideas on whatever whether or not they have any particular expertise. The flipside, though, is that […]

Beltway Traffic Jam

The linkfest: Robert Prather has been blogging two years as of today. Congrats! Cam Edwards ain’t none too happy. Steven Taylor points to some “not good” developments on the Venezuala-Colombia front. King of Fools provides a glimmer of hope about the intelligence of Americans. Rob Tagorda wants to know why NYT is only apologizing for […]

Caption Contest Winners


The most recent OTB Caption ContestTM is officially over. The winners:



Dean Esmay solves the world’s overcrowding problem by moving all seven billion people to Alberta, Canada, noting the population density would still be lower than in several very livable cities. Now, granted, the daily commute is going to be a bear, especially for those in agribusiness. But as long as they don’t force me to […]



I’m rereading a superb article by Robert Kaplan called “Supremacy by Stealth” that appeared in the July/August 2003 Atlantic Monthly. His thesis is that the future of warfare is embodied by U.S. Special Operations Command soldiers that were, at the time, conducting nearly 170 missions a year with an average of “nine quiet professionals.” The […]

Instant Generals


WaPo — Prison Investigator’s Army Experience Questioned Maj. Gen. George R. Fay, who is leading the Army’s investigation into the role of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib prison and other detention facilities in Iraq, is an insurance company executive who has been on active duty for five years. Fay, the Army’s deputy chief of staff […]

Iraq Death Toll


New York Daily News — Terrible Tally: 800 U.S. Deaths In Iraq War America is about to pass – or may already have passed – another sad milestone in Iraq: 800 dead soldiers. The Pentagon’s official death toll, usually a few days behind the actual number, stood at 797 yesterday. But a reliable count maintained […]

Memorial Day


Blackfive: “Memorial Day is like any other day when you’re in an Army at War.”

Spinning for Al Qaeda


Michael J. Totten has a new column at TCS charging that, in its quest for neutrality, the media actually “spins for al Qaeda” Journalists don’t put Al Qaeda’s spin on the news because they sympathize with it. No one sits around the copy desk thinking of clever ways to shill for the enemy. It gets […]

Weather Idiots


What’s with local stations pre-empting broadcasts of network shows to give me weather reports? I sort of understood it when I lived in Alabama and we had a heavy tornado season, but even then I thought it was assinine. Let me know if there are any new developments but don’t turn the tornado report into […]

The Clancy Vote


Steve Bainbridge argues that, despite the recent speculation that President Bush is in trouble with the libertarian faction of his base, a more worrisome issue is losing the “resolutely pro-military, devoutly Catholic, and moderately anti-abortion” Tom Clancy vote.

IRR Call-Up Scam IV


Joy Larkin e-mails this ABC News plea, posted yesterday: Are You a Member of the Individual Ready Reserve? E-mail Us Army Reserve officials recently screened the records of thousands of members of the Individual Ready Reserve and drew up a list of 22,000 people with skills that are in demand given the military’s current manpower […]

NYT Apology for WMD


Jack Shafer reports, Sources inside and close to the New York Times say that the newspaper is preparing an “Editors’ Note” that will reassess its pre-Iraq War coverage, particularly its coverage of weapons of mass destruction. The note is said to address the reporting failures of Times staffers, including Judith Miller, and could be published […]

Beltway Traffic Jam

The Tuesday linkfest: Kathy Kinsley rounds up the Iraqi blogs. Kevin Aylward publicizes a celebrity cause we can all get behind. Kate McMillan has something she wants you to see. Steve Verdon notes that Atrios’ failure to issue a retraction proves tax cuts are good for the economy. Dean Esmay ponders gender differences and abortion. […]

One Out of Three Ain’t Bad


Dodd Harris notes that .367 was a great batting average for Ty Cobb–but not a good accuracy record for journalists.

Grasso Speaks Out


Former NYSE Chairman Richard Grasso has an impassioned column in WSJ defending his innocence and denouncing his critics, including New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who is suing him for making too much money. I must admit that this one strikes me as even more bizarre than the Martha Stewart case. It’s bad enough to […]

Base Realignment


Federal Times — Base Realignment: New Approach To Delicate Task Previous base-closure efforts, known as base realignment and closure, or BRAC, began in the 1990s after the end of the Cold War. Four closure rounds shuttered 97 major military installations and 352 smaller ones across the country. But Congress and the Clinton White House brought […]

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