Saturday, January 25, 2003
Suki Kim on her recent visit to North Korea.
Jonah Goldberg on France's "principled" anti-war position.
Bryan Keefer on the Bush administration's use (mis-use?) of numbers in defense of the Bush tax plan.
John Merline's defense of SUV's.
Julia Keller: Is PowerPoint the devil?
Read and discuss.
Friday, January 24, 2003
Over the past decade, commentaries in the Arab media have repeatedly argued that the US follows a double standard in the nuclear realm. The common complaint has been that what is allowed to Israel is denied to the Arab states. But in the past few months, the public debate in the Arab media has undergone an interesting evolution. The initial impulse was to continue this same line of argument but to substitute North Korea for
Israel and focus on Iraq as the exemplification of the Arab case. The basic argument was that the US persisted in its double standard by relying on diplomacy in the case of North Korea, even though this state is a clear nuclear proliferator, while pursing a war option against Iraq, even though it has denied possession of WMD and has agreed to international inspections. However, there are also indications of a realization that the two equations are actually quite different, and that North Korea might in fact be an example to the Arab states. The lesson sometimes drawn is not that Arab states have a right to redress the lack of balance in the Middle East due to the US adoption of an unjustified double standard, but rather that nuclear weapons may have real strategic value beyond the Arab-Israeli context.
North and South Korea ended an all-night negotiating session here today with South Korea acknowledging that the talks had "not produced a progressive position from the North over the nuclear issue."
Papering over differences after three days of talks, the two sides issued a statement before dawn. "The South and North fully exchanged each other's positions regarding the nuclear issue and agreed to cooperate toward a peaceful resolution to this problem," it said.
Wednesday, January 22, 2003
The talks here between South and North Korea, meanwhile, will be watched closely for indications of whether the North is willing to modify its behavior in return for South Korean economic and diplomatic support, or whether it simply seeks to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul.
South Korea's president-elect, Roh Moo Hyun, has been an outspoken advocate of dialogue and engagement with North Korea, to the point of irritating Washington, diplomats say. In a live television interview over the weekend, for example, he said that he worried about war plans being entertained by senior American officials.
Japanese leaders said Wednesday they hoped humanitarian measures will be taken to deal with the growing number of North Korean refugees in China and blamed the problem on Pyongyang.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters at the Diet building, "I hope for humanitarian measures" to deal with the refugees, who reportedly include Japanese nationals, without elaborating.
Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe told a press conference as a government spokesman North Korea only has itself to blame for many people trying to leave their homeland.
"It is a grave decision for people to abandon their country," Abe said, adding that the North Korean government is entirely responsible for the fact that so many people are fleeing the country.
Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Channel Six News has learned that Colonie Police arrested former UN Weapons Inspector and Delmar resident Scott Ritter two years ago as part of an Internet sex sting operation. Sources say Ritter was charged in June of 2001 for trying to lure a 16 year-old girl he met online to a Burger King. But that 16-year old girl was really a Colonie Police investigator. Sources say Ritter was charged with a misdemeanor, but the case was adjourned in contemplation of dismissal and a judge sealed the record.There's enough conspiracy fodder here for a variety of plots, intrigues, and allegations.
UPDATE: more here and here
The Nation reports the following:
Despite temperatures which hovered in the mid-20s throughout the day, an energetic protest drew appromixately 200,000 people to Washington, DC's National Mall for an event which DC Police Chief Charles Ramsey said was, "one of the biggest ones we've had, certainly in recent times."See here for more
The Washington Post reports the following:
Tens of thousands of antiwar demonstrators converged on Washington yesterday, making a thunderous presence in the bitter cold and assembling in the shadow of the Capitol dome to oppose a U.S. military strike against Iraq.And, later
Organizers of the demonstration, the activist coalition International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), said the protest was larger than one they sponsored in Washington in October. District police officials suggested then that about 100,000 attended, and although some organizers agreed, they have since put the number closer to 200,000. This time, they said, the turnout was 500,000. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey would not provide an estimate but said it was bigger than October's. "It's one of the biggest ones we've had, certainly in recent times," he said.and finally
Regardless of the exact number, the crowd yesterday on the Mall was the largest antiwar demonstration here since the Vietnam era.
It may just be me, but it would help the credibility of protest organizers and their supporters if every once in a while they admit something along the lines of the following: "This time we didn't get as many protestors as we had hoped for." This would help me accept their always-higher-than-the-media-or-official-reports estimates of crowd size.
UPDATE: Pictures of the DC protests can be found here as well as the following:
There were certainly tens of thousands of people there and just as certainly not hundreds of thousands. I cover marches in DC pretty frequently, and I'd say Saturday's march was perhaps 50,000 to 70,000 people. That is, it was a little larger -- though not that much larger -- than the October 2002 protests in DC.
MORE PHOTOS HERE
LAST OF ALL, THIS PICTURE PRETTY MUCH SPEAKS FOR ITSELF