Once around the blogosphere

by Ted on July 9, 2004

* Katherine of Obsidian Wings is hanging up her blogging spurs. I’ll miss her. She’s written a long, thoughtful swan song about why we should care about U.S. human rights abuses towards people we suspect of terrorism.

* Tim Dunlop at The Road to Surfdom argues that right-wingers probably shouldn’t crow about this story. According to the Financial Times, a British governmental report is about to say that the British claim that Saddam was trying to buy uranium from Niger was “reasonable and consistent with the intelligence.”

The famous sixteen words in Bush’s State of the Union, “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”, are arguably technically correct. However, the use of the word “learned”, and the context (in the SOTU, as part of an argument for war on Iraq) strongly implies that the United States believes that the substance of the statement is true.

Tim points out, in great detail, that the best intelligence in American hands said otherwise. (It wasn’t just Joe Wilson.) He points out that the CIA had successfully removed the claim from previous speeches. He also points out that the Administration already apologized for using the claim when Ari Fleischer said “This information should not have risen to the level of a presidential speech.”

(Also, Tim reminds me to mark my calendar. July 14th is the one-year anniversary of the outing of Valerie Plame by two senior Administration officials. Congratulations to the lucky felons!)

* From Reason’s Hit and Run, Tommy Chong is out of jail, having served nine months for selling bongs over the internet. He’ll be on the Tonight Show this evening. According to the Drug Policy Alliance:

Tommy Chong was arrested and indicted following a series of DEA raids in February 2003 as part of the Government’s “Operation Pipe Dreams” crackdown on illegal drug paraphernalia. The crackdown involved at least 1200 officials, including hundreds of DEA agents, and at least 103 US Marshals. The operation led to 60 arrests. It occurred during an Orange Alert against terrorist attacks.

* The Poor Man is right about everything.

Finally, at least two evangelical Christians have written about Focus on the Family’s decision to distribute Michael Moore’s home address to their email list.

* David Wayne at Jollyblogger has a very good post arguing that FOTF is only hurting the Christian cause.

* Joe Carter at the Evangelical Outpost thinks that the concern is overblown. He thinks that the real issue is (surprise!) the hypocrisy of the left. I agree with him that politicially motivated outings of gays are shameful. However, I don’t understand how Carter can dismiss the right-wing invasion of privacy, condemn the left-wing invasion of privacy, and then feel secure enough in his own righteousness to condemn the left for selective outrage.

There ought to be a word for these kinds of arguments, in which one simultaneously displays and condemns hypocrisy. They happen a lot.

I should note that Carter doesn’t seem to have much support in his comments. If you choose to comment, please be polite.

Rock and roll all night

by Ted on July 9, 2004

The local alt-weekly, the Houston Press, has a good piece about the woes of the summer’s major concert tours. They do a good job of laying out all the fees in going to see (say) Kid Rock, concluding:

So let’s say you plan to take a date to go see the Kid. That’s $56 for two tickets, plus $42.15 in fees, of which Ticketmaster takes $18.15 and the Woodlands folks $24. Ring-ring, that’s $98.15, please, all before your first expensive beer or soggy nacho…

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