Monday, March 31, 2003

Antitrust news

The Associated Press reports:

BOSTON - A federal judge has fined Boston Scientific Corp. more than $7 million for violating Federal Trade Commission instructions to preserve competition in the market for coronary catheters, a penalty the government called the largest ever related to an FTC order.

U.S. District Court Judge Patti B. Saris ruled Friday that Boston Scientific "harmed" people with heart disease when it failed to fulfill its obligation to license technology to competitor Hewlett-Packard.

The suit concerned tiny devices that, when inserted into coronary arteries, reflect images that allow doctors to observe damage.

The FTC had told Boston Scientific it would only allow its purchase of CVIS, another maker of the devices, if Boston Scientific agreed to share technology with Hewlett-Packard. Saris ruled that Boston Scientific dragged its feet in providing the technology and was "a substantial contributing cause" to HP's 1998 decision to leave the field.

When HP stopped making its new catheter, the Scout, "patients with heart disease were left with technology inferior to that available in 1995," Saris wrote.

The suit had sought $35 million, Boston Scientific said. The Justice Department said the previous record civil fine for violating an FTC order was $4 million.

"We respectfully disagree with the judge," Boston Scientific spokesman Paul Donovan said Monday. "We have the right to appeal and we're currently evaluating that option."

Donovan added: "We don't believe there is any credible evidence that we harmed public health."

It's hard to fault Boston Scientific for being less than eager to share its property with a competitor whose claim depended on the FTC's initiation of force. Still, Boston Scientific can look on the bright side: the FTC only got $7 million of the $35 million it was seeking in fines.

Craig Biddle to lecture at George Mason University

On Thursday, April 3, 2003, at 7:30 p.m. in Johnson Center Assembly Room E, the George Mason University Objectivist Club presents a live talk:

“The Morality of Life: An Introduction to the Principles and Implications of Ayn Rand’s Ethics" by Craig Biddle.

This lecture explains and concretizes the basic principles and broad implications of the Objectivist ethics. The discussion ranges from why man’s life is the standard of moral value, to why pure capitalism is the only moral social system; from why genuine egoism is factually moral, to why religious terrorists are committed altruists; from the supreme role of reason in human life and happiness, to the corresponding nature, source, and crucial role of one’s emotions; from the essence of moral virtue, to the fundamental requirements of a civilized society.

Craig Biddle is the author of Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It and a senior policy analyst with the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism.

This event is open to the general public. It is free for those with a GMU ID, a $5 donation to the GMUOC is suggested for those without a GMU ID.

For more information, e-mail
or visit:

Directions to GMU’s Fairfax campus and the Johnson Center can be found here:

Bad career move...

NBC News fired Peter Arnett after the veteran correspondent gave an interview to Iraqi state television claiming the U.S. war plan had "failed." At first, NBC tried to downplay Arnett's actions, claiming he gave the interview as a "professional courtesy." Today, however, NBC changed their tune and fired Arnett, saying in a statement: "It was wrong for him to grant an interview to state-run Iraqi TV, especially in a time of war." Arnett, to his credit, appeared on NBC's Today show this morning and apologized for his actions.

NBC clearly understood that even though Arnett gave the interview on his own accord, his actions still reflected on the integrity of NBC News, and thus the company had to exercise institutional control by firing Arnett. This is a lesson Columbia University should, but probably won't, heed in dealing with renegade professor Nicholas de Genova, whose actions I described in this previous post.
UPDATE: We've updated the page on our website dedicated to the University of Michigan cases.
Arnold Kling has questions. Too bad for Peter Arnett that he didn't ask these questions.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Among the many redundant amicus briefs supporting institutional discrimination (aka "affirmative action") in the University of Michigan case is a brief submitted by Howard University in Washington, D.C. The brief, co-signed by former Baltimore mayor and current Howard Law School dean Kurt Schmoke, repeats the common pro-Michigan party line:

But the diversity concept is really quite different. Its premise is that where there are, for example, only white people in a discussion, then the viewpoints, as seen through the eyes of persons of a different racial or ethnic background--meaning those aspects of difference or sameness from a person who has experienced life as a black person or as a Latino or as a disabled person, no matter how varied from black person to black person or Latino to Latino, will in fact be missing. This is true without regard to the diversity on other, non-racial or ethnic grounds, of the group. University officials seeking to create a rigorous intellectual environment as well as prepare students for leadership in a multi-racial world, determined that the one-race dimension that so many students get in their segregated elementary and secondary classrooms did not serve this purpose. Admissions programs to promote diversity recognize the salience of race and ethnicity without making any assumptions about the cohesiveness or sameness of viewpoint among members of any group. In fact, the more varied the viewpoint of those persons typically absent from the conversation, the better, which is why a critical mass of minority students is needed--to prevent the stereotyping that would be likely to occur if there were only a token number of minorities at the school.

This is all well and good, but what gives Howard the standing to make this case? Howard University's student body is 86% African American. Less than 5% of their campus is white or Asian. Is Howard thus implicitly saying diversity is valuable for schools where the majority of students are white, but has no value to majority-black schools? This is a particularly hypocritical argument coming from Howard, which as a private university could impose racial quotas without regard to the constitutional issues Michigan faces. Howard also receives special funds from the federal government as a "historically black college," meaning they actually benefit from practicing a mild form of racial segregation.

Now, this is not to suggest Howard should start altering admissions criteria to admit more white people. Such an argument would be absurd on its face—"a critical mass of white students is necessary to prevent stereotyping." But this only further erodes the Michigan supporters argument.

When you judge people as members of a racial collective, as the Michigan policy does, you send the message that they must tie their personal identity to said race. Once you de-individualize people that way, regardless of their race, then of course they're going to argue they need a "critical mass" to express themselves. After all, mobs only have power when they act in numbers.

No tear gas for oil!

We can bomb Iraq. We can kill Iraqi soldiers in combat. We can overthrow Saddam Hussein's murderous regime. But we can't use tear gas? So it would seem according to international law.

Under the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, which the U.S. Senate ratified in 1997: "Each State Party undertakes not to use riot control agents as a method of warfare." This means using nonlethal chemicals—i.e. tear gas and pepper spray—to subdue enemy troops is a violation of international law. Even if such an act was used in order to minimize non-combatant casualties, something which is a concern in Iraq, where paramilitary Saddam loyalists are taking refuge in civilian areas.

There's also the question of why the Convention permits the use of nonlethal chemicals for "riot control" purposes, but not as a means of warfare. Practically speaking, most nations would have been reluctant to ratify the Convention had it attempted to dictate domestic law enforcement practices. Still, it's ironic that we can use tear gas against anti-war protesters, but not against the regime we're actually waging war against.

Defending the indefensible

S.M. Oliva continues to take the Federal Trade Commission to task for its attack against “superpremium” ice cream manufacturer Nestle-Dreyer’s and its recent criticism of antitrust opponents. Read about it at Initium.

Mmm.. salmon...

The Bush administration says they'll continue to push for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. ANWR drilling opponents remain equally committed to stopping the administration. Among my favorite arguments against ANWR drilling is this statement from an engineering professor: "Wildlife refuges ought to be the one place where wildlife interests come first."

So what exactly are "wildlife interests"? It's not as if wildlife are an organized lobby like the AARP. Frankly, different wildlife segments likely have conflicting interests. For example, if you're a bear living in ANWR, you're biggest concern is probably acquiring more salmon to eat. The salmon, by contrast, would probably prefer laws that protect their right not to be eaten by bears. You see the dilema?

And they didn't ask France for permission...

A group of American figure skating figures got so fed up with the corruption of their support's worldwide governing body, the International Skating Union, that they formed their own rival sanctioning group, the World Skating Federation. The WSF hopes to convince national figure skating bodies to join their cause, and eventually to force the International Olympic Committee to dump the ISU in favor of the WSF.

What's interesting about this dispute is the difference in governing philosophies. The ISU is composed of two separate sports—figure skating and speed skating—while the WSF is devoted exclusively to figure skating. The ISU's current president comes from the speed skating side. Why is this important? Because figure skating generates the overwhelming share of the ISU's revenue, but the organization splits those proceeds equally with both sports, essentially subsidizing money-losing speed skating with the figure skating profits.

Hmm.. an international body largely funded by one group that's at the mercy of another group which suffers from systematic corruption. Sound like any international "peacekeeping" organization we know?

Why am I not surprised?

Columbia's faculty not only loves Saddam Hussein, but Josef Stalin as well.

Bigotry and the law

If there was any question which side is right in Lawrence v. Texas—a constitutional challenge to a state law banning homosexual sodomy—syndicated columnist Cal Thomas answered it:

Before the Supreme Court rules that the Founders had the right to practice sodomy in mind when they wrote the Constitution, we should ask where the chipping away at law and morality is leading us.

Once sodomy is made legal, what's next? How about polygamy? As we have been reminded in the case of Utah's Elizabeth Smart and her abduction by a practicing polygamist, there are people who believe they have a right to that sexual and relational preference. If sodomy is legalized, can polygamists then ask the Supreme Court to end the prohibition against their "right" to engage in sex with and "marry" multiple partners? If not, on what legal grounds will they be refused? To listen to the attorneys for the Texas men seeking redress of their sexual grievances, a decision to strike down the Texas anti-sodomy law should be based on "changing times" and public opinion polls.

Right away, Thomas invokes Elizabeth Smart in order to foreclose rational debate on the question at hand. By invoking the slippery slope, Thomas employs fear over facts to make his basic case, which is nothing more than "I don't like gay people, and society should reflect my personal value judgments, so gay sodomy should be illegal."

Thomas goes on to argue that opponents of the sodomy ban are likely pedophiles. But that's not the worst of it. Not content simply to have the government enforce his prejudices, Thomas next proposes to redefine the concept of law:

In the past, the law has been viewed as something that flowed from a Law-giver, outside of the reach of humankind to create or manipulate. But since humanity now sees itself as the law-maker (the breaking of that ancient Law is now celebrated in personal behavior and encouraged in film, in magazines and on TV), who is to say whose morality, if any morality, should prevail? Having made "choice"

He has this backwards: If man is not to be the Law-giver, than who is? God? Which God would that be? Even among Christians, there's a wide disagreement as to which divine laws are applicable and which aren't. But since man is not morally entitled, according to Thomas, to judge for himself which laws are necessary, which God are we then to sacrifice our minds to? I suspect Thomas has an answer for that, and it's not one most of us would likely agree with.

Thomas concludes his bigoted remarks with a wholly illogical declaration: "If the Texas sodomy law falls, "marriage" will be redefined and the demise of the human family will be complete." Funny, many states have long repealed their sodomy laws, and families continue to function within those jurisdictions. Perhaps Thomas should have produced some proof to support his sweeping claim. Then again, that's asking too much: as mere men, we're not to seek evidence or reason, but simply accept whatever claims are made by those claiming to represent Divine will. Hey, it worked out pretty well for Iran, didn't it?
. . .and now they will march for racial preference. The Detroit Free Press says 100,000 demonstaters are expected to come to Washington on Tuesday to support the University of Michigan as it argues in favor of affirmative action before the US Supreme Court.

In an unusual move, the Court announced last week that it will release the audio recording of oral arguments immediately after arguments conclude. This has only been done once before, in Bush v. Gore.

We of course are monitoring this case closely. In the mean time, read the Center's amicus to the Court opposing racial preferences.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

Teaching by Intimidation, Part Deux

Thomas Sowell on the intellectual foundation of today's government schools:

It is bad enough when someone takes the position that he has made up his mind and doesn't want to be confused by the facts. It is worse when someone else makes up his mind for him and then he dismisses any facts to the contrary by attributing bad motives to those who present those facts.

Creating mindless followers is one of the most dangerous things that our public schools are doing. Young people who know only how to vent their emotions, and not how to weigh opposing arguments through logic and evidence, are sitting ducks for the next talented demagogue who comes along in some cult or movement, including movements like those that put the Nazis in power in Germany.

At one time, the educator's creed was: "We are here to teach you how to think, not what to think." Today, schools across the country are teaching students what to think -- whether about the environment, the war, social policy, or whatever.

Terrorism remains the greatest threat to America's security. But "public education" may rank a close second.

Teaching by intimidation

Columbia University anthropology professor Nicholas DeGenova abandoned reason at an anti-war "teach-in" held on Columbia's campus earlier this week. New York Newsday reports:

"The only true heroes are those who find ways that help defeat the U.S. military," Nicholas De Genova, assistant professor of anthropology at Columbia University told the audience at Low Library Wednesday night. "I personally would like to see a million Mogadishus."

The crowd was largely silent at the remark. They loudly applauded De Genova later when he said, "If we really believe that this war is criminal ... then we have to believe in the victory of the Iraqi people and the defeat of the U.S. war machine."
This is not reasoned dissent, but open support for Saddam Hussein's regime. While I do not consider—as a judgment of law—De Genova's actions to be treason, he came dangerously close. Openly advocating the murder of U.S. soldiers is, in no context, a legitimate argument to make in the course of debating the merits of the war.

It's interesting that this took place at Columbia, a school which recently named Lee Bollinger its new president. Bollinger's name will soon go down in history as the respondent in the two Michigan affirmative action cases scheduled for argument before the Supreme Court on Tuesday. Bollinger was Michigan's president at the time the cases were first brought. More to the point, Bollinger is an impassioned defender of institutional racism, at least in the guise different admissions standards based on skin color or ethnicity.
Bollinger (and much of organized academia) believes diversity qua diversity is a virtue. For this reason, it is unlikely Bollinger will take any action against Professor De Genova, who after all was only "celebrating diversity" in declaring Saddam Hussein to be America's moral superior. Yet at the same time, the antiwar "teach-in" was anything but a model of intellectual diversity. Consider the Columbia campus newspaper's editorial on the event:

The goal of the event, presumably, was to spark intellectual, scholarly discussion about the war in Iraq. But last night's event was not a serious debate. It was a forum where professors could express their views unopposed.

Even if the event was designed for the very legitimate purpose of advocating only an anti-war perspective -- and not, as Professor Ira Katznelson suggested at the beginning of the evening, "to teach" -- one of the surprising things about the teach-in was the assumption on the part of several speakers that no one in favor of the war (or even anyone ambivalent) was present. Professor Jack Snyder said he felt comfortable speaking at Low last night because he knew there would be little opposition. The speakers were not out to change anyone's mind about the war; instead, they reveled in an atmosphere of intellectual conformity. . . .

While some professors did present articulate and sophisticated reasons for disagreeing with the war, the possibility of disagreement was never taken seriously; no "teaching" took place. Too many students left the teach-in feeling intimidated not by the overwhelming opposition to the war, but to the way an academic forum became a fervid presentation of an exclusive viewpoint. In the future, the University should be wary of advertising a "critical" forum that is so uncritical of its own perspective.
If President Bollinger values the ethical and intellcetual credibility of his university, he will dismiss Nicholas De Genova immediately. If Bollinger can't bring himself to do that, then Columbia's trustees should fire De Genova and Bollinger.

Friday, March 28, 2003

Untrustworthy Trust Accounts

The US Supreme Court says interest on lawyer trust accounts belongs to the poor. S.M. Oliva says it belongs to clients. Read about it at Initium.

Roll call of the honored dead

Fox News is keeping a list.

Read this poem by Theodore O'Hara (1820–1867) to remember them.

Statue of Liberty copy in France defaced

Link. Better that then a terrorist bomb destroying the real one in New York.

Antitrust news

From Reuters:

NEW YORK - Checkpoint Systems Inc. said on Friday a federal judge has annulled an antitrust verdict against the labeling system maker but upheld another ruling, lowering damages to be paid by the company to $13 million from $80 million.

A judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania annulled an verdict handed down by a jury last May for Checkpoint's allegedly antitrust activities in the market for electronic article surveillance tags.

The judge upheld a verdict on charges of violating state laws on tortuous interference and unfair competition, but reduced the award for these infractions to $13 million from $19 million.

Checkpoint, based in Thorofare, New Jersey, makes source tagging, bar code labeling systems and retail merchandising systems.

Shares of Checkpoint rose 47 cents, or 5 percent, to close at $9.85 on the New York Stock Exchange.

TIGER WOODS supports the war:

I have great respect for the men and women fighting overseas to protect our way of life in Iraq and other parts of the world. As the son of an Army officer, I understand the strength, courage and discipline required to successfully carry out their missions in hostile environments and feel tremendous pride they are representing us.

Obviously, no one likes war. Our Congress and President tried hard to avoid the use of force, but ultimately decided it was the best course of action. I like the assertiveness shown by President Bush and think we owe it to our political and military leaders, along with our brave soldiers to be as supportive as possible during these difficult and trying times. I just wanted to take this opportunity to let our forces know that I am thinking about you and wishing you and your families the best.

I left my heart in Iraq

Michelle Malkin is disgusted with Helen Thomas.

American Patriotic Songs and Hymns

We've posted the lyrics of American patriotic songs and hymns at I'm partial to the Marines' Hymn, for obvious reasons, but I also admire the sentiments expressed in the 2nd stansa of the Air Force Song.

UPDATE: The USAF Heritage of America Band has a web page where you can download a host of American patriotic songs and hymns at no charge. They have all the service hymns, and much much more in both RealMedia and Mp3 formats.

Power to the Producer

Instapundit contemplates Lou Dolinar's proposal for Iraq's oil. Dolinar writes:

Our government should announce -- soon -- that the new postwar Iraqi administration will "personalize" the nation's oil revenues by establishing an Iraqi national investment trust -- The Iraqi People's Freedom Trust -- that will receive a major share -- say, 50% -- of all future Iraqi oil earnings.

The rest can go to central government and federal regional governments on some per capita basis.

I think Dolinar's proposal is a terrible idea. Iraq's oil is not the property of all Iraqis---it's the property of those who harvest it. Apply Dolinar's proposal to an industry like farming, with 50% of the profits going to the Iraqi people and the other 50% going to the government, and I think it's easy to see just how defective such a proposal would be.

I say Iraq’s nationalized industries, including its oil production facilities, should be privatized by auction to the highest bidder, and all auction proceeds should go to the Iraqi treasury. No distinction should be made between Iraqi and international bidders, and under Iraqi law, foreign ownership rights should be enforced with the same strength as domestic ownership rights.

Iraq has lived under bloody socialism for too many years. The antidote is not more socialism, but freedom and individual rights, including property rights. Instead of "power to the people," Iraq needs "power to the producer."

Congress abandons 'faith-based' initiative

The AP reports congressional sponsors of President Bush's faith-based initiative have given up on legislation that would make it easier for churches and religious groups to get government grants.

No word on the progress of reason-based initiatives. We'll keep watching.

The Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction

Ayokunle Ogunshola says it's not nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. Read about it at Initium.

That was quick

FOX REPORTS every useable air base in Iraq is under coalition control.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Make sure that chicken has a visa...

Tyson Foods was acquitted yesterday on several counts of conspiring to smuggle illegal immigrants into the U.S. to work as Tyson employees. It took less than five hours for the jury to find Tyson and three of its managers not guilty on 12 of the 36 original charges brought by the Justice Department (the judge threw out the other 24 for lack of evidence.) Basically what happened was a few local Tyson managers hired illegal immigrants, and the government decided to prosecute the entire company, despite the lack of any substantial evidence that corporate leaders knew what was happening. Indeed, Tyson made every effort to comply with immigration and labor laws, but given the company's high employee turnover (about 75% of their 120,000 workers leave each year), it was almost inevitable that some undocumented workers would slip through the cracks.

The jury forewoman was blunt in explaining the verdict: "I was appalled that the government didn't have more hard evidence than they had...It was so obvious that they needed more evidence."

Lucky for Tyson this wasn't an antitrust case. They might not have had the luxury of an impartial jury then.

That other useless international organization...

Sports Illustrated reported last week on the reign of terror imposed by Uday Hussein—Saddam's oldest son—as head of the Iraqi National Olympic Committee. Here's what happened to an Iraqi boxer who failed to win a regional competition:

With a wave of Uday's arm the manacled boxer was led into the room by Iraqi secret service. Sitting behind a dark wood desk beneath an oversized portrait of himself, Uday began his tirade. "In sport you can win or you can lose. I told you not to come home if you didn't win." His voice rising, he walked around the desk and gave the boxer a lesson. "This is how you box," he screamed as he threw a left and a right straight to the fighter's face. Blood dribbled from the athlete's nose as Uday launched another round of punches. Then, using the electric prod he was famous for carrying, Uday jolted the boxer in the chest.
There are dozens more stories like this one, yet the International Olympic Committee has sat on its hands for months, refusing to even consider expelling Iraq from the Olympic movement. Canadian IOC member Richard Pound went so far as to cast aspersions on evidence of Hussein's torture, saying the IOC has "to make sure this is not all tied to the Iraq-U.S. dispute, that we are not being used for propaganda." Apparently, Pound has no problem with Iraq—and dozens of other dictatorships—from using the Olympics for political propaganda.

Coalition Will Call the Shots in Iraq, Says Powell


"We didn't take on this huge burden with our coalition partners not to be able to have a significant dominating control over how it unfolds in the future,"

"We would not support ... essentially handing everything over to the U.N. for someone designated by the U.N. to suddenly become in charge of this whole operation,"

Powell did allow for the possibility of a UN humanitarian assistance role. We can't have everything, at least not all at once.


Shade of Things To Come?

Link. US Ambassador to the UN John Negroponte walked out of a UN meeting as the Iraqi Ambassador ranted on about a US plot to wipe out the Iraqi people. IT was just one meeting, but we can dream.

Appealing to the masses

Microsoft is gearing up for a return to the federal appellate courts. Next Thursday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond will hear the company's appeal of a preliminary injunction ordering Microsoft to carry rival Sun Microsystems' software as part of Windows XP. And on March 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit announced that the never-ending government antitrust case will be heard, once again, by the entire court sitting en banc, rather than by a three-judge panel. The D.C. Circuit appeal was brought by Massachusetts and West Virginia, two states that refused to sign on to the federal government's settlement with Microsoft.

Esta fusión es mala!

The Justice Department is getting in the way of the planned merger of Univision and Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation (HBC), two of the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcasters. In an odd twist, the DOJ is forcing Univision to divest its 30% interest in a third company—Entravision Communications—as a condition of permitting the HBC acquisition. The government argues that since Entravision and HBC directly compete in some radio markets, it's unfair that Univision should own a stake in both companies.

The terms of the DOJ's forced "consent decree" is particularly harsh. Univision must surrender its two seats on Entravision's board of directors, and must exchange all of its voting stock "for a nonvoting interest with limited rights." This is so, in the DOJ's words, Univision won't try to "improperly influence" Entravision's radio business.

As usual, the government admits they consider the interest of consumers—in this case purchasers of radio advertising—more important than the rights of producers. That's hardly news. But what is notable is that radio mergers are gaining more attention now from antitrust regulators and members of Congress. Sen. Russ Feingold, Wisconsin Democrat, is shilling legislation to impose new federal limits on the number and size of radio stations one company can own. Even Hispanic activist groups, such as the National Hispanic Policy Institute, are demanding the DOJ act to ensure more "local ownership" of Spanish-language radio and television stations. NHPI recently ran a series of newspaper ads touting 90% support in the Hispanic community for "local ownership" of radio stations. If that is the case, then why isn't this 90% putting together some capital to actually buy their own radio station? I guess it's just easier to try and take somebody else's through regulation.

America the Liberator

JEFF JACOBY says Saddam will fight dirty to the end:

[it] will go down fighting, and it will remain brutal and fascist to the last. And how do brutal fascists fight? They shoot POWs in the head and flaunt their corpses on camera. They site military hardware near hospitals and schools, turning civilians into human shields. They wave a white flag to indicate surrender, then open up with machine guns or rocket-propelled grenades. They order noncombatants in front-line cities to attack allied troops, threatening to kill them if they refuse. They build a military bunker under the hotel at which foreign reporters are required to stay.

Jacoby is undeterred.

As is the case in nearly every war, brave soldiers have been captured or killed, armor and aircraft have been destroyed, and Mother Nature - this time in the form of furious sandstorms - has refused to cooperate with military planners.

But the losses and setbacks have been vastly greater for Saddam Hussein's military than for the forces fighting to topple him. With the war only a week old, Iraq's southern oil fields and its only port city are in American hands; thousands of Iraqi soldiers are in custody; Republican Guard divisions are being ripped from the air; an anti-Saddam uprising, aided by British troops, is reportedly underway in Basra; and the American-led alliance is nearly at the outskirts of Baghdad. If Gulf War II will not be a second Six Day War, neither is its outcome in doubt: Saddam's brutal fascist regime is going to be destroyed.


The Red Ball Express

A lot of hay has been made in the news about stretched US logistic lines. There shouldn't be. In WWII, the famous Red Ball Express kept the fast moving armored columns supplied. The Red Ball route ran from the supply depots near Normandy to just south of Paris, about a 600 mile round trip. Drivers of the Red Ball worked round the clock and had to face mines, air attack, and infantry ambushes.

Today's battle in Iraq will call on the same courage. Today's Red Ball drivers won't have to worry about attacks from the air, but they will have to worry about mines and ambushes. That's warfare. They know it, and we should know it too.

There's wisdom in moving fast to Baghdad. When Saddam is deposed, the Iraqi war machine will crumble. Dictatorships are inherently unstable and don't do well without their dictator. Kill Saddam, and the US will win in Iraq.

War coverage

Rupert Cornwell says the the dilemma is whether to use decisive force or fight humanely.

I say decisive force is humane--for our troops.

Al-Jazeera's english website hacked

For about an hour on Sunday, CAC's website, along with 15,000 other websites at Interland were hacked and their main page replaced with a vulgar anti-Bush message. Other websites hacked included the Ayn Rand Bookstore. Interland says the hackers used a vulnerability in Microsoft FrontPage extensions.


Wednesday, March 26, 2003

The liberation of Augusta continues...

Martha Burk's break with reality is now complete with her pronouncement today that holding the Masters constitues "an insult to the nearly quarter million women in the U.S. armed forces."

This statement is irrational on its face, and hardly deserving of a serious reply. But there was one interesting statement to come from Burk's New York press conference today, and it was this: "It's appalling that the women who are willing to lay down their lives for democratic ideals should be shut out of this club. ... Democratic ideals do not include discrimination.''

Burk actually raises an interesting point. Augusta's membership policies aren't "democratic" for sure; but then again, the purpose of America is not to promote "democratic" values to the exclusion of all else. After all, if a society is organized around the principle of individual rights, it shouldn't matter whether one private golf club chooses to exclude women. We simply respect Augusta's right to govern their own membership, and proceed to carry on with our own lives. But Burk is long past the point where she can simply let this go. Thankfully, a few more statements like the one she made today, and even her allies in the media will finally abandon the "liberation of Augusta" crusade.
In the Book of Genesis, the Tower of Babel represented the folly of humanity attempting to defy the will of God. The historical kernel of that story was somewhere in the Mesopotamian plain, where our armies fight today.

In 1281, typhoon winds and fierce Japanese resistance led to the loss of the Mongol fleet and the death of around 100,000 Mongol warriors. This was seen by the Japanese as a Divine Wind, or the original "Kamikaze."

In 1588, a fierce windstorm was instrumental in the victory of the (Protestant) English fleet over the attacking (Catholic) Spanish Armada. For centuries, Englishmen celebrated the "Protestant wind" that had brought victory through divine intervention.

According to press reports, the Iraqi armies have decided to meet the Americans and British in open battle, while covered by the sandstorm. Saddam Hussein hopes for a victory assisted by the weather, for an Act of God which would bring him victory in his self-proclaimed jihad. He is gambling much of his remaining army on these battles, and trusting to Allah to bring him victory.

Our Islamist enemies believe that, despite all of our wealth and our technology and our power, that they will triumph against us because it is the will of God that they prevail. They believe that jihad will triumph over the United States by the will of God, just as it destroyed the Soviet Union by the will of God. Today, many of them believe that the sandstorm in the desert, reducing our ability to operate, is the will of God.

When the sand clears, we will see which is destroyed and which will prevail, the United States or the mechanized forces of the jihad.

Link More bad news, pretty much buried in the story. The Pakistanis, among the league leaders in the Islamist Lunatic Sweepstakes, now have a missile which can carry a nuclear warhead up to 132 miles. Previously, the Pakistanis were thought to only be able to deliver nuclear warheads via fighter planes.
Link. Elsewhere in the Axis of Evil, a commentator for an Iranian newspaper speculates on the future of Iran's nuclear program.

Source unknown, reliability unknown, etc.

And they put someting in that water too

For some reason, the City of San Francisco is now selling bottled water. I bet the for-profit bottlers appreciate that. And I expect we'll see more financially strapped cities operating businesses (and putting other business out of business).

Friends of America Network

Fredrik Norman has started a good trend. Be sure to let him know you are grateful.

How about our new look?

Just in case you didn't notice, we've updated the look of our website. Some changes are still coming, but I I like what we've done thus far. What do you think?

It's their philosophy, stupid

Paul Berman takes an in-depth look at Islam's philosopher-terrorist.

An Axis of Valor

The "Uni" in "Unilateral" now means "fifty" according to Condoleeeza Rice in the Wall Street Journal.

The Rule of Reason

Welcome to the Center of the Advancement of Capitalism's new weblog, "The Rule of Reason." In antitrust law, the "rule of reason" is the judicial principle the Supreme Court fashioned to cover for the fact that if the Sherman Act is interpreted literally, it prohibits every commercial arrangement. As early as 1911, the Court took a bald evasion and labeled it as reason.

We at the Center takes a different view of reason, and this weblog is one of our efforts to restore its correct use in our institutions. This weblog will supplement our online journal at Initium. Often we see things in the news that deserve instant commentary, and that's what bloging is all about.

For all of us at the Center, I hope you enjoy our efforts.