April 08, 2008

Well, it’s morning—in San Francisco, at any rate—so let’s wipe the sand from our eyes and take a look at today’s links:

Hey, remember the anthrax attacks? It’s funny, but practically no one does. That’s because the media—having tried, framed, and convicted the wrong man—got bored with the story, and dropped it. Also: the government seems to have done the same thing. We haven’t heard from them in regard to the anthrax mystery in quite some time, but now Fox News reports:

“The FBI has narrowed its focus to ‘about four’ suspects in the 6 1/2-year investigation of the deadly anthrax attacks of 2001, and at least three of those suspects are linked to the Army’s bioweapons research facility at Fort Detrick in Maryland, FOX News has learned. Among the pool of suspects are three scientists “€” a former deputy commander, a leading anthrax scientist and a microbiologist “€” linked to the research facility, known as USAMRIID.

“The FBI has collected writing samples from the three scientists in an effort to match them to the writer of anthrax-laced letters that were mailed to two U.S. senators and at least two news outlets in the fall of 2001, a law enforcement source confirmed.”

Unlike the rest of the media, I’ve been covering the continuing anthrax mystery: here, here, here, here, and here. Hint: it wasn’t Steven Hatfill. Another hint: they initiailly tried to blame in on this guy, and that’s the key to getting at the core of the conundrum.

The Hundred Year War John McCain yearns for is going to be formalized by a “status of forces” agreement that neither Congress nor the Iraqi parliament will be allowed to vote on. According to the Guardian:

“A confidential draft agreement covering the future of US forces in Iraq, passed to the Guardian, shows that provision is being made for an open-ended military presence in the country. The draft strategic framework agreement between the US and Iraqi governments, dated March 7 and marked ‘secret and ‘sensitive’, is intended to replace the existing UN mandate and authorises the US to ‘conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security’ without time limit.”

Without time limit—or cost limit. And we’re getting the bill ….

The long journey of the Olympic torch is getting even longer, it seems, as wackos, attention-seekers, and acolytes of the Falun Gong nut-cult throw themselves in front of it, douse it, and stage violent protests along the route. Here in San Francisco it’s a big deal, with protestors more numerous and fanatical than anywhere else: a recent demonstration against the Chinese government culminated in the fire-bombing of the Chinese consulate. What gets me is this: how come these crazies didn’t climb the Golden Gate Bridge with their protest banners when Congress passed the mis-named “PATRIOT” Act and the very similar Military Commissions Act, which basically suspended the Constitution and gave the US government as much power as the Beijing government routinely exercises over its own people?

The Ron Paulians aren’t going away, it seems—and neither is Bob Barr.

Speaking of Ron Paul and the libertarians …

Whenever I come across one of Reason‘s endless pieces on some “hip” cultural phenomenon, my eyes glaze over and I move the cursor hurriedly down the page, mostly out of embarrassment. To watch these typically nerd-geek types—a libertarian archetype—trying to be cool is painful, and I have to look away. 

This time, however, a piece on “break-dancing” caught my curiosity, as I wondered: What in the name of all that’s holy is “libertarian” about “break-dancing”? I remembered Ayn Rand’s endorsement of tap-dancing as philosophically “correct,” according to her lights, and wondered if this might be a variation on that particular form of kookiness. But no, it’s worse. I skimmed it, and discovered—a hate crime! To wit:

“The French, in the words of one promoter, have an unmatched sensitivity for music and flow. The Japanese dream up the most innovative, conceptually complex show. The Americans have a knack for individualizing their dancers, shaping characters out of movement. The Koreans dominate the competition with a combination of robot-like synchrony and gymnastic prowess. And the founder of the competition, the guy in charge of the logistics? German.”

Crude ethnic stereotypes in the flagship journal of libertarian political correctness, where the awful “racism” of those Ron Paul newsletters was “reported” for weeks—a non-scandal they’re still belaboring? Does Jamie Kirchick know about this?





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