While reading this Salon piece on Ashcrotification of America, and listening to all these congressional aides cry that they aren't getting the access their bosses so desperately desire, I am struck by an obvious irony. They shouldn't have voted for it in the first place. A drunken baboon could see that the Patriot Act was a bad piece of legislation, yet these cowards (with one exception) jumped all over each other in an effort to support this woebegotten piece of legislation. Just because you are Congressmen doesn't mean you should be screwed any less by you horrific law than the rest of us.
Good news on the Freedom Front (thanks instapundit):

Washington - House Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. said Thursday that he would fight any effort now to make permanent many of the expanded police powers enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks as part of the USA Patriot Act.

"That will be done over my dead body," said Sensenbrenner in an interview.

The Menomonee Falls Republican also said it was "way premature" for Congress to consider a new package of anti-terrorism proposals being drafted by the Justice Department - a so-called "Patriot Act Two."

Before that happens, he said, the "burden of proof" is on the Justice Department to prove the merits of what he called "Patriot Act One."


A Moscow-based organization was training Iraqi intelligence agents as recently as last September -- at the same time Russia was resisting the Bush administration's push for a tough stand against Saddam Hussein's regime

This according to documents found in Baghdad by San Francisco Chronicle reporter Robert Collier . The training of Iraqi secret police in spying and counterintelligence techniques is in clear violation of U.N. regulations.

When contacted by the Chronicle, the US State Dept. declined comment and the Russians denied the reports. As the story grew Russia later admitted to training Iraqi spies.

A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Boris Labusov, acknowledged that Iraqi secret police agents had been trained by his agency but said the training was for nonmilitary purposes, such as fighting crime and terrorism.

Yet documents discovered in Baghdad by The Chronicle last week suggest that the spying techniques the Iraqi agents learned in Russia may have been used against foreign diplomats and civilians, raising doubt about the accuracy of Labusov's characterization.

A U.S. intelligence source said, "The sole purpose of the Iraqi security services was to protect the Baath regime from its enemies inside and outside Iraq," he said. "That was their only reason for existence."

Russia and Iraq have a long and mostly economic partnership However offering aid via training to the Iraqi secret police in the days leading up to the United States battle with Iraq is unsettling more than a few American officials. An already testy relationship between Russia and the US is now about to face another challenge. Watchers are worried that remnants of the KGB may be reasserting themselves within Russia.
No one is above the Law.


Glenn Reynolds on the two fronts of the war. Abroad we are doing well, domestically, not so good. With little public and/or judicial oversight civil liberties remain at risk.

How can we trust them to police America when they’re so poor at policing themselves?
The answer, of course, is that we can trust them only so far as we can see what they’re doing. And at the moment, that’s not very far at all.
Ah the serenity of The Masters.

At no point did the protest turn violent, though officers escorted Heywood Jablome away after he held up a sign directly in front of Burk that read "Make me dinner" before shouting "Oprah rules."

Heywood Jablome?!?! Obviously this is one reporter who doesn't watch the Simpsons.
It's time to start the Colin Powell job watch. First he says that the military coup in Chile in 1973 was a mistake. "It is not a part of American history that we're proud of," Powell said. Then the State Dept. makes an announcement that the Sec. of State's views were not the Department's. As Rice and Rumsfeld's roles grow in post-war Iraq, it will be interesting to see if there is room for him going forward.

Who will be the next Sec. of State? How about Fareed Zakaria?
Classic. CNN Makes public the premature obits of Castro, Reagan, Cheney, and Bob Hope.
The Partisan Review has folded.
One of the media's favorite topic is always itself. During wartime extra scrutiny is directed towards reporting. The NY Times has published a piece decrying the "Fox Effect". In short, the ideological bent of Fox News has been a ratings bonanza for the network, and other networks are modifying their reporting as well.

Fox's formula had already proved there were huge ratings in opinionated news with an America-first flair. But with 46 of the top 50 cable shows last week alone, Fox has brought prominence to a new sort of TV journalism that casts aside traditional notions of objectivity, holds contempt for dissent and eschews the skepticism of government at mainstream journalism's core.

Ronald Bailey at Reason asks if 3.3 million viewers can be wrong? He also offers a workable model that may make polemic reporting seem less dire.

Another model of a partisan, but nevertheless free and vibrant press, is Britain, where readers know the political leanings of all the major papers and make their purchases accordingly. Leftists peruse the Guardian while right-of-center people scan the Daily Telegraph. Both groups go home happy.
According to the Gaurdian, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf has committed suicide.
Clinton blasts US foreign policy. Meanwhile, the Bush administration got a nice fopo win by getting N.Korea to engage in multilateral negotiations.
Have you ever wondered what the best minds think about the philisophical implications of the movie The Matrix? Wonder no more. Of note, John Patridge compares The Matrix to Plato's Allegory of the Cave.


Interesting piece from Slate about how the Carlyle Group has quietly reinvented itself.
After leading the Kansas Jayhawks to two consecutive Final Four appearances, Roy Williams tearfully announced he will be leaving to coach his alma matter North Carolina. Once again we are left asking, "What about the children"?

The options left to the current or future players is to continue playing at Kansas for whatever coach eventually gets the job, or tranferring to another program and having to sit out a season in an NCAA mandated penalty. Understandably many players are bitter.

(Kansas) guard Keith Langford, who seemed more angry than sad. Asked whether he planned to return to KU next season, Langford said : "They're looking for a new basketball coach. As for my future, I don't know. My future is uncertain".

Another top prep recruit was torn between Carolina and Kansas and ultimately chose the Jayhawks because of the bond he developed with Williams.

Some argue that the kids have little to complain about. They are getting a free ride to a major university, and the opportunities that are afforded with it. However, when we celebrate programs that "win" with abysmal graduation rates (like current national champs Syracuse and their 0% graduation rate for black players and 17% overall graduation rate), when we punish kids for using their achievement as an avenue for networking, all the while allowing universities and coaches to sign lucrative endorsement deals, it's clear the burden and the bounty aren't being shared equally.

Once again the call comes up for alternatives to a system that keeps kids from transfering after their coach leaves. Perhaps the last word comes from Williams himself:

Leaving Kansas after 15 seasons and four Final Fours was, Williams said, "the right thing to do." But "sometimes the right thing is not necessarily what you want to do, but it's the right thing to do."


Perhaps Cinderella said it most succinctly, "Don't know what you got til it's gone". It's important to count one's blessings, to be thankful for the greatness that is a part of our lives, rather than waiting to spread a patina of nostalgia once it's gone.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Leonard Koppett outlines the accomplishments of Barry Bonds, and asks (once again) the question, "Is he the greatest baseball player of all time?"

His stats are mind-boggling. A rare combination of power and speed, he is soon to become the first man to have 500 homers and stolen bases. Koppett compares Bond's career stats with 16 major milestones and finds that he has reached 12 of the lists:

-- 600 home runs: Aaron, Ruth, Mays, Bonds.
-- 1,900 runs batted in: Aaron, Ruth, Mays, Gehrig, Foxx.
-- 1,200 extra-base hits: Aaron, Ruth, Mays, Musial, Bonds.
-- 400 stolen bases: Cobb, Bonds.
-- .500 slugging ave.: Ruth, Gehrig, Williams, Foxx, Cobb, Hornsby, Mantle, Bonds.
-- .400 on-base percentage: Ruth, Gehrig, Williams, Musial, Foxx, Cobb, Hornsby, Mantle, Bonds.
-- 2,000 runs scored: Cobb, Aaron, Ruth, Mays.
-- 2,000 bases on balls: Ruth, Williams.
-- 60 multiple-homer games: Aaron, Ruth, Mays, Bonds.
-- 30-30 homer-steal seasons: Mays, Bonds.
-- 10 consecutive 30-homer years: Foxx, Aaron, Musial, Bonds.
-- 10 times 100 runs batted in: Ruth, Gehrig, Aaron, Mays, Musial, Bonds.
-- Two times .500 on-base percentage: Ruth, Williams, Bonds.
-- Two times .800 slugging average: Ruth, Bonds.
-- 3,000 hits: Cobb, Aaron, Mays, Musial.
-- 3 MVPs: Musial, DiMaggio, Foxx, Mantle, Bonds (who has 5).

He has the single season home run record and recently completed what some consider to be the best single offensive season ever. (And followed it up with a batting title and a season in many ways more impressive) In his younger days he was a defensive bulwark in left field and still uses verve and experience to make base runners hesitant.

The major "knock" on his career? Like Ted Williams, he's had a tumultuous relationship with fans and the media.

At 38, and the reigning NL batting champ, he appears to have a few years left in him. But if his career ended today he would be one of the greatest players ever. My question is simple, if Bonds isn't the greatest baseball player in the history of the game, who is?
David Reed compares TIA to ESP.

The DoD, by the way, supported a bunch of ESP research that tended to confirm the potential of ESP in predicting behaviors of our cold war enemies.
Now this idea of extracting reliable and meaningful information from massive data collection arises. A scientist might ask, what would falsify the underlying hypothesis? Is there a null hypothesis at all?

In fact, the privacy and liberty folks, by expressing concern in the form of risks to "privacy" tend to reinforce the belief that there is any real investigatory information that can be extracted by inference from a very noisy and randomly selected pile of information.

The problem with statistical inference is that it is not neutral with respect to hypotheses you are testing, nor with respect to control of the sampling process.
Let's hear it for the kids. 10 years ago the Mosaic browser started a revolution.