~ Friday, February 28, 2003
Olonga update

So now the the Zimbabwe cricket team selectors are determined to keep Henry Olonga out of the squad. Nothing to do with protests, mind you, they claim, just so you don't get the wrong idea. Uh huh. Did I mention that the guy they're keeping in the squad in his place is too crippled by injury to field?

Well, if you find the Zimbabwe Cricket Union credible, then I'm sure you'll believe that Glen Hubbard has resigned as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers because of "family needs."

The idiocy of Donald Rumsfeld

Remember when Donald Rumsfeld threatened to punish Germany by pulling our troops out and sending them eastward. Of course, it was stupid because it was a clumsy threat, one more likely to convince Germans to oppose us than join us. But that's not the only reason it was stupid. As Cass Freeman pointed out in the New York Times on Wednesday, the Germans actually contibute a pretty hefty subsidy to keep those bases open. So, whatever those bases are contributing to the German economy is basically being paid for by the Germans to begin with. They're not going to quake in their boots when we threaten to save them a lot of Euros.

~ Thursday, February 27, 2003
Why telemarketers want to call you if you're really hard to get to

Calpundit asks why telemarketers go to so much trouble to defeat systems that screen out marketing calls.

I think marketers want folks withTeleZappers for the same reason that credit card companies want debtors just out of bankruptcy court: it's virgin territory. People who just filed a Chapter 7 have no debts, and the TeleZapper-equipped aren't getting calls from anyone else.

To see why that's important, think about why you really hate telemarketers. For me, anyway, it's quantity. It's getting those damn calls six, eight, ten times in a day. If you haven't had any telemarketing calls in a long time, you're a lot less likely to just bang the phone down in annoyance and rage.

Undercover police officer shot by fellow officer, sparking some thoughts on race and gun control

An undercover Minneapolis police officer was shot by a fellow officer on Tuesday.

I'm not sure how often this happens, but it sure seems to happen a lot to officers from minority groups. This time the victim, Duy Ngo, was a Vietnamese-American. But the press here isn't asking any questions about that angle, and the police department sure isn't going to bring up the subject on their own.

Now, even if minority cops suffer disproportionate friendly-fire casualties, that doesn't prove race prejudice is the cause (although police departments should give it a long, hard thinking-over). Maybe a white officer would be just as likely to get shot in the same situation, but whites are just much less likely to work undercover. After all, a pretty significant percentage of undercover work in cities surely involves infiltrating minority gangs, and it's probably a lot easier to do that with minority officers. And I do sympathize with police officers who truly are making split-second life-and-death decisions. There really are bad guys out there, and a lot of them really do have guns, and if you err on the wrong side of caution, you could be dead.

But this shows that ubiquitous guns and scared cops are a particularly volatile and deadly brew for minorities. After all, if minority cops are more likely to be undercover, it's because minorities are more likely to be suspects. That means that confrontations betweens minorities and police officers are especially likely. If police departments can't protect their own undercover cops from the consequences of this predicament, then minorities in general are going to have it even worse.

Now, the one thing that would make this situation better is a lot fewer guns. For that reason, minorities in the United States would really have the most to gain from thoroughgoing gun control.


All right, we know that folks at the New Republic hate Kerry and Dean. Moreover, they're entitled to push their views. They're an opinion mag: it's kind of their job to be "unbalanced."

But there is a difference between unbalanced in the journalistic sense and unbalanced in the psychological sense. Frankly, the latest spin on Dean in the etc blog has strayed into the latter meaning: you would have to be completely unhinged to believe it.

The short version: Kucinich hurts Dean more than anyone else because they are both "unconventional" liberals. Dean wants balanced budgets and opposes gun control; Kucinich is anti-abortion and for an anti-flag-burning amendment.

Of course, those positions are unconventional in exactly opposite ways. Dean appeals to crossover voters as a fiscally conservative social libertarian. Kucinich appeals to the kind of populist voters who are conservative on social issues and liberal on economic ones. Now, there probably aren't a lot populist voters in this sense in Democratic primaries to begin with, but it's pretty freaking obvious that none were voting for Dean.

Defense Unintelligence

In a recent New Yorker article, Jeffrey Goldberg reports

The Defense Department had asked [its intelligence analysts] to
re-examine evidence collected by the C.I.A.
about the relationship between terrorist
networks and their state sponsors, including
Iraq and Al Qaeda, and to re-analyze the data
in the manner suggested by Rumsfeld's
ballistic-missile-threat commission; that is,
to build a hypothesis, and then see if the data
supported the hypothesis, rather than the

There is a name for this kind of thinking, and it is not intelligence, but conspiracy-theorizing.

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