Great! But Avoid Open-Top Cars

by Kieran Healy on April 13, 2004

I’m in Ireland at the moment, on leg #4 of a round-the-world trip. Lead item on the news tonight, and lead story on the news analysis program afterwards, is Corkman and folk-hero “Roy Keane’s”: decision to end the civil war in Irish football and “make himself available again”: for selection to the international team. After reaching the agreement, Keane’s solicitor issued the following statement:

bq. Following discussions with “Brian Kerr”: and “Alex Ferguson”:, Roy Keane has agreed to make himself available for selection international games in the future.

I tell you I have signed my own death warrant,” Keane did not add.

Gay marriage

by Henry Farrell on April 13, 2004

Via my colleague David Rayside, this extremely helpful “compilation”: of survey results on US attitudes to gay rights over time. _Mirabile dictu_, it’s a product of the American Enterprise Institute, which is apparently making itself useful for once. On a related note, Brett Marston offers “a further data point”: regarding the effects of gay marriage on heterosexual behaviour.

Fact-check, v.2

by Ted on April 13, 2004

I haven’t seen this anywhere but Unfogged, so I’m going to take the liberty of restating his post:

The famous August 6th briefing contained this sentence:

The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full-field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related. (my emphasis)

But commisioner Roemer said the following when Rice was testifying:

We have done thousands of interviews here at the 9/11 Commission. We’ve gone through literally millions of pieces of paper. To date, we have found nobody — nobody at the FBI who knows anything about a tasking of field offices.

We have talked to the director at the time of the FBI during this threat period, Mr. Pickard. He says he did not tell the field offices to do this.

And we have talked to the special agents in charge. They don’t have any recollection of receiving a notice of threat.

Nothing went down the chain to the FBI field offices on spiking of information, on knowledge of al Qaeda in the country, and still, the FBI doesn’t do anything.

Roemer brought this up before the briefing was released- he had read it, but the press had not. The apparent discrepancy has slipped past everyone but Ogged. 70 full-field investigations is a significant investment of manpower. It’s the kind of thing that the commission should have been easily able to verify, but Roemer is saying that they haven’t. Ogged charitably suggests that it may just be a difference in classification, but I find that hard to believe. Not if the number “70” bears any relationship to reality.

Unfortunately, his subsequent question (“Isn’t that some of the responsibility of the national security advisor?”) just put Rice on the defensive about her responsibilities vs. the FBI’s. It’s a shame, because there’s an important point there: was the person who prepares the President’s Defense Briefing deceiving the President?

I do hope that we get an answer to that.

UPDATE: Dave Neiwert points to a Newsday article addressing the “70 investigations” number.

FBI spokesman Ed Coggswell said the bureau was trying to determine how the number 70 got into the report…. Coggswell Friday said that those 70 investigations involved a number of international terrorist organizations, not just al-Qaida. He said that many were criminal investigations, which terrorism experts say are not likely to focus on preventing terrorist acts. And he said he would “not characterize” the targets of the investigations as cells, or groups acting in concert, as was the case with the Sept. 11 hijackers.

Check it out

by Ted on April 13, 2004

National Review is possibly the most popular target for media criticism from liberal bloggers. Part of the reason is surely The Corner, which gives NR writers a chance to let their hair down in an easy to link (and easy to parody) format. Part of it is the strong personalities of the writers; between John Derbyshire, Donald Luskin, Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry, and so on, they sometimes seem more like characters than pundits. (The Rich Lowry link, I should mention, hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves.)

But part of the reason is surely that they just plain get things wrong with some frequency. Brad DeLong is fond of asking, doesn’t anyone over there even care?

I’m sure that they care. But that isn’t really the right question.

[click to continue…]

More in search engines news

by Eszter Hargittai on April 13, 2004

With all the comments I make about search engines, I can’t help but link to this article about a new Yahoo feature.;-)

Hoping it will push them to the top of an increasingly competitive market, Internet portal Yahoo has added soul-search capabilities to its expanding line of search tools, company executives announced Monday.

. . .

Europe a province of Islam

by Chris Bertram on April 13, 2004

Every so often I read a prediction on the op-ed pages of certain newspapers or in the ravings of some blog or other that France or even the whole of Europe is destined to become a province of Islam due to a combination of low fertily among the natives, high fertility among immigrants and Muslim immigration. Randy McDonald does a sterling job of swatting away this silly idea via “a sober assessment of the demographics”: . (Hat tip “Scott Martens”: )

That Rousseau broadcast

by Chris Bertram on April 13, 2004

The programme about Rousseau that “I blogged about”: the other day “is available on-line”: (though I think this link may only work for about a week). I thought it was pretty good on the whole. Though it didn’t resolve the Derbyshire–Staffordshire controversy, it should have made listeners curious to read or re-read Rousseau’s autobiographies and there were some entertaining musical excerpts as well as contributions from such eminent Rousseau scholars as John Scott and John Hope Mason. Recommended.

Webshop ’04

by Eszter Hargittai on April 13, 2004

For Ph.D. students, it’s not too late to apply to Webshop ’04

where graduate students interested in the intersection of technology and human behavior meet with leading experts for [a week] of seminars, discussion, and social activities that promote the production of high quality research.

The WebShop is committed to promoting scientific research and collegiality between young scholars to understand the transformative effect—both positive and negative—that the Internet has on human behavior and how the emerging persistent behaviors enable and constrain activities, understanding, knowledge, and culture.

Students get help with travel expenses and room & board is covered by the program. It’s a great opportunity!