Saturday, April 02, 2005
This week the presidential panel on intelligence pointed to the same failings found by other reports. It said intelligence analysts "displayed a lack of imagination." They created artificial specialties - separating regional, technical and terrorism analyses. They built layers of hard analysis on fuzzy and impressionistic information. This commission does what so many others have done. It tries to reorganize the bureaucratic flow charts to produce better results. ...
Individuals are good at using intuition and imagination to understand other humans. We know from recent advances in neuroscience, popularized in Malcolm Gladwell's "Blink," that the human mind can perform fantastically complicated feats of subconscious pattern recognition. There is a powerful backstage process we use to interpret the world and the people around us. When you try to analyze human affairs using a process that is systematic, codified and bureaucratic, as the C.I.A. does, you anesthetize all of these tools. You don't produce reason - you produce what Irving Kristol called the elephantiasis of reason.
The first paragraph is ridiculously liberal on its face: Greater understanding of the broad range of human behavior (on the part of Intelligence Analysts) will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to aid our understanding of North Korea's KIM JONG IL, or of the MULLAHCRATS OF TEHRAN, or of NEOJIHADIST-TERRORISTS.
I'll believe the intelligence community has really changed when I see analysts being sent to training academies where they study Thucydides, Tolstoy and Churchill to get a broad understanding of the full range of human behavior. I'll believe the system has been reformed when policy makers are presented with competing reports, signed by individual thinkers, and are no longer presented with anonymous, bureaucratically homogenized, bulleted points that pretend to be the product of scientific consensus.
I'll believe it's been reformed when there's a big sign in front of C.I.A. headquarters that reads: Individuals think better than groups.
There are COUNTLESS other examples of this phenomena; they all fundamentally reinforce what F.A. Hayek wrote about, and it's WHY free markets are more efficient than politburos and "wage & price boards."
As it happens, the possibilities of group intelligence, at least when it came to judging questions of fact, were demonstrated by a host of experiments conducted by American sociologists and psychologists between 1920 and the mid-1950s, the heyday of research into group dynamics. Although in general, as we'll see, the bigger the crowd the better, the groups in most of these early experiments—which for some reason remained relatively unknown outside of academia—were relatively small. Yet they nonetheless performed very well.
The Columbia sociologist Hazel Knight kicked things off with a series of studies in the early 1920s, the first of which had the virtue of simplicity. In that study Knight asked the students in her class to estimate the room's temperature, and then took a simple average of the estimates. The group guessed 72.4 degrees, while the actual temperature was 72 degrees. This was not, to be sure, the most auspicious beginning, since classroom temperatures are so stable that it's hard to imagine a class's estimate being too far off base. But in the years that followed, far more convincing evidence emerged, as students and soldiers across America were subjected to a barrage of puzzles, intelligence tests, and word games.
The sociologist Kate H. Gordon asked two hundred students to rank items by weight, and found that the group's "estimate" was 94 percent accurate, which was better than all but five of the individual guesses. In another experiment students were asked to look at ten piles of buckshot—each a slightly different size than the rest—that had been glued to a piece of white cardboard, and rank them by size. This time, the group's guess was 94.5 percent accurate.
A classic demonstration of group intelligence is the jelly-beans-in-the-jar experiment, in which invariably the group's estimate is superior to the vast majority of the individual guesses. When finance professor Jack Treynor ran the experiment in his class with a jar that held 850 beans, the group estimate was 871. Only one of the fifty-six people in the class made a better guess.
And as Michael Ledeen wrote earlier today:
"... even those of us who do not share his faith have been ennobled and inspired by much of what he said and did. But for the entire world, he will forever stand as a symbol of the power of individuals standing firm for freedom. "Be Not Afraid" is indeed the phrase we will associate with him, as it was the phrase that inspired millions of people to risk all against tyranny. "
She is quoted as having said (to a meeting of the American Society of International Law):
After a strongly worded dissent in a juvenile death penalty case from Justice Antonin Scalia last month that accused the court of putting too much faith in international opinion, Justice Ginsberg said the United States system should, if anything, consider international law more often.
"Judges in the United States are free to consult all manner of commentary," she said in a speech to several hundred lawyers and scholars here Friday. She cited several instances when the logic of foreign courts had been applied to help untangle legal questions domestically, and of legislatures and courts abroad adopting United States law. Fears about relying too heavily on world opinion "should not lead us to abandon the effort to learn what we can from the experience and good thinking foreign sources may convey," Justice Ginsburg told members of the American Society of International Law. ...
"The notion that it is improper to look beyond the borders of the United States in grappling with hard questions has a certain kinship to the view that the U.S. Constitution is a document essentially frozen in time as of the date of its ratification," Justice Ginsburg said. "Even more so today, the United States is subject to the scrutiny of a candid world," she said. "What the United States does, for good or for ill, continues to be watched by the international community, in particular by organizations concerned with the advancement of the rule of law and respect for human dignity."
In A Matter of Interpretation, Justice Scalia acknowledged that his textualist approach is regarded in "some sophisticated circles" of the legal profession as "simpleminded -- 'wooden,' 'unimaginative', 'pedestrian'" (Scalia, p. 23). He rejected this characterization and denied that he was "too dull to perceive the broader social purposes that a statute is designed, or could be designed to serve, or too hidebound to realize that new times require new laws;" he merely insisted that judges "have no authority to pursue those broader purposes or to write those new laws” (Scalia, p. 23). For his eleven years on the Supreme Court, Scalia has stuck to the "text and tradition" of our written Constitution and has rejected the intellectual fads and novel theories of interpretation that have the invariable effect of transferring power from the popular branches to the judges. In so doing, Scalia reminds his colleagues of the most important right of the people in a democracy -- the right to govern themselves as they see fit and to be overruled in their governance only when the clear text or traditional understanding of the Constitution they have adopted demands it.
CITIZEN Z has more - including some other links; GO THERE.
The expansion of freedom is a scary prospect for the Left.Let's reneg on all our commitments, and pull the rug out from under every brave Iraqi who ever took a risk on behalf of his country against terrorism and Ba'athism. Let's sell them down the river.And the elections? Let those be the last in Iraq. Let those be the last in the Middle East. ....They have no moral cognizance. They have no higher-level ethical reasoning skills. What the Left once was died long ago. All they have is reflex now. The left is morally brain-dead.They don't believe in taking a stand for the security of the only democracy in the Middle East until this year. They lifted not a finger to bring democracy to anywhere else. They don't even particularly believe in intervening to secure vital natural resources. "No blood for oil" has been a rallying cry for the ignorant for 15 years now.They no longer believe in the advancement of freedom. They no longer believe that people everywhere should have a voice. They no longer believe in people power. They no longer believe in democracy, or the idea that freedom is worth risk or sacrifice. They abandoned Kennedy long ago.
Friday, April 01, 2005
Syria maybe exiting, but perhaps they and Iran and their foot-soldiers in Hizballah are trying to fill the void by fomenting a civil war along the sectarian lines of the one that seems to be FAILING in Iraq.
A mockery of logic
If Michael really thought Terri was a vegetable, then why bother with the cradling and the stuffed animal?The legal and moral reasoning involved in this case is the soundest since Dred Scott.
EXACTLY. Gotta read COUNTERCOLUMN everyday...
Although I've always tried to be pleasant to the Christian Right folks even where we disagree, I really think it's best if I don't weigh in right now.
Well, I always hope that people can disagree without being disagreeable. The people who can't usually wind up losing.
You know that the nasty folks [folks who attack Glenn's stand on the Schiavo case] are unrepresentative, but they're so damned energetic about it that it's hard to keep that in mind at times.
I don't think that they're [the Schindler supporters] nascent Mullah Omars, and I think that calling them that just makes the problem worse. This is a tragedy, and it's become a circus. Name-calling just makes you one of the clowns. [Emphasis added.]
But Glenn has been nasty, too. Glenn has called conservatives and the devout bad names.
HERE ARE JUST A FEW RECENT EXAMPLES OF GLENN'S NASTY NAME-CALLING:
"If you don't want to be confused with a movement led by theocrats, don't let actual theocrats be seen as your spokesmen. It may be impossible to shut Randall Terry up -- though if I were Karl Rove, I would have tried really hard -- but he needs to be loudly and regularly denounced as a nut."
"As I said about the antiwar people, you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. Randall Terry's a dog."
"I think that first crack is unfair to the snake-handlers."
"... not rushing to overturn all the rules because we don't like the outcome, seems to me to be part of being a member of civilized society rather than a mob. As I say, I thought conservatives knew this."
So when Glenn complains about the name-calling he's been the target of, it's a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. This makes Glenn Reynolds a HYPOCRITE, and a weenie. And a nasty clown - to borrow HIS words, HIS characterization.
HEY GLENN: If you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the blogosphere! HEH! Indeed.
Thursday, March 31, 2005
The attack has also been hysterical. After Congress acted--ineffectively, it turned out--Maureen Dowd proclaimed that "theocracy" had arrived in the land. Paul Krugman warned that assassination of liberals by extremists was not far off. And the Internet frenzy on the left was even more extreme.
"The current mania for any story with a religious angle is just the latest index of the post-election angst in executive suites about the terror of being out of touch with suburban mega-churches and other manifestations of the supposed Real America. God forbid, so to speak, that anyone should stand up and suggest that Mozart might be as worthwhile as NASCAR, or that it might be as important for the soul to read Philip Roth as the hokey bromides of 'The Purpose Driven Life.'"
Judges and courts are NOT infallible and the courts were NEVER intended to above the law.
Congress has specified, enumerated Constitutional authority over the federal courts. The Congress passed a Constitional law - (UNANIMOUSLY IN THE SENATE AND BY 75% IN THE HOUSE!) - which was signed by the president. This LAW ORDERED the federal courts to do a DE NOVO. A majority of the judges refused to do their duty. NOT ALL: a few Clinton appointed justices agreed that they MUST make a de novo review. AND LET ME REMIND YOU: years later, minority opinions (dissents) often turn out to be right. But the judges FAILED TO DO THEIR DUTY IN FLAGRANT DISREGARD OF THE CONSTITUTION. This is OUTRAGEOUS. DO THEY THINK THEY ARE ABOVE THE LAW!?
The majority of judges acted very badly. AND WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?! Well, the LIBERALS will tell you the judges acted well. AND IF THEY DIDN'T, THEN WHAT!? What do we do then!? How many judges - justices of the SCOTUS get voted out of office!? NONE. Which is to say: the judiciary is not as accountable as the Congress. Which proves that the judiciary is the branch of the federal government which we must be very VERY wary of.
ARE YOU SURE!? HEY YOU LIBERALS OUT THERE: ARE YOU SURE!? 100% SURE!? And what if you are wrong. Then what is it that you just did to her!?
Terri was helpless and voiceless - like a fetus. Terri was aborted by her husband - who was given auhority by a judge. The liberals do not care for fetuses or for voiceless, brain-damaged people. YEAH: PEOPLE!
The potential perps sound like they might be non-Arabic (and very European/European-looking) men and/or women who would be VERY hard to PROFILE. Stay tuned...
UPDATE #3: JAWA makes this point, and has MORE: A chemical weapons lab was found in Fallujah shortly, but no quantities of WMD were located. Fallujah was Zarqawi's headquarters until it was liberated by U.S. troops late last year.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
NEW YORK - A Web site with connections to the Iraqi insurgency posted a schematic map of JFK International Airport in New York City, along with a manual on how to use shoulder-fired missiles. ... NBC News obtained the information showing potential terrorists how to down civilian airplanes by using the missiles. The Internet posting also contained a simple map of JFK Airport, plotting flight paths of planes and the security perimeter. The Web site also showed a sketch of a terrorist shooting a missile at a plane from a rooftop. New York officials say they take this seriously and have alerted security at the airport. The FBI is still analyzing the information, but terrorism experts tell us there's no suggestion this poses any immediate threat.
Here's an excerpt:
Borne of a desire to rid Cuba of the US supported dictator Fulgencio Batista who ran Cuba as a Mafia-controlled "Latin Las Vegas," the Cuban Revolution was a popular rebellion of the masses led by the charismatic Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.
Reagan was right: the USSR was the Evil Empire.
(Welcome JAWA readers; please checkout a few other HOT short posts.)
The Spanish prime minister has defended a plan to sell arms to Venezuela amid US concern that the deal could destabilise countries in Latin America. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is expected to finalise the purchase of ships and planes worth 1.3bn euros ($1.7bn) in Venezuela on Wednesday. He said the military equipment was designed to help regional security and to counter drug trafficking. The proposed deal has been denounced by Mr Zapatero's political foes in Spain. Spain's conservative opposition leader Mariano Rajoy described the plans as a "monstrous error" and said Venezuelan opponents of President Hugo Chavez had also criticised the proposal. The row in Spain follows international concern over Venezuelan plans to buy 100,000 AK-47 assault rifles from Russia. The US state department has accused Venezuela of starting an arms race and has suggested the rifles could end up in the hands of Colombia's left-wing Farc rebels.
Rumsfeld is still on the job, and Powell is GONE - which proves that the president knows who served him and the USA well, and who did not.
Here's the proof - from an interview he gave in GERMANY, of course (FOX/AP):
" BERLIN — Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said the Bush administration was sometimes "too blustery" in its rhetoric during the buildup to the Iraq war but he still believed toppling Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do, according to a German magazine interview published Wednesday. I suppose we sometimes were too loud, too direct, maybe too blustery," Powell was quoted as saying. "That must have had the Europeans shuddering quite a few times." He also said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's famous jibe at France and Germany, when he labeled them "old Europe" for refusing to join the war in Iraq, did not help. "Terms like 'old Europe' didn't exactly have a confidence-building effect," Powell was quoted as saying, "and clearly helped turn public opinion in Europe against us."
The human race is living beyond its means. A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries - some of them world leaders in their fields - today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure. ... "Human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted," it says.Didn't Paul Ehrlich say this in 1970!? Sheesh.
I have concluded that Greer erred in ruling that Terri would have wanted to be starved to death rather than live, and that therefore the feeding-tube should have stayed in. And it saddens me that the federal courts have - up to now - thumbed their noses at any and all attempts to re-open the case so that this critical determination could be properly re-examined, and justice be done. In the absence of proof positive, I think the court must NOT act, or condone any act which will cause Terri to die.
If that makes me a right-wing theocratic wacko, then so is Joe Lieberman and Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader and Tom Harkin and Harry Reid
"I believe in the vows I took with my wife, through sickness, in health, for richer or poor. I married my wife because I love her and I want to spend the rest of my life with her. I'm going to do that."
Michael Schiavo admitted in a November of 1993 deposition that earlier in the year, he had requested that doctors not treat a urinary tract infection that was potentially fatal to Terri. The doctors were not able to comply with Michael's request because it would have been illegal.
According to the The Times Leader, Michael Schiavo first claimed that Terri had told him she wouldn't want to live at this point, but most other sources that I've seen point to that information first being revealed in 1998.
In 1998, Michael said that while watching a movie, Terri had once opined that she wouldn't want to live if she were ever in a coma. Michael's older brother, Scott Schiavo, and Michael's sister-in-law, Joan Schiavo also claimed Terri had a similar conversation with them after a funeral.
"Diane Meyer can recall only one time that her best friend, Terri Schiavo, really got angry with her. It was in 1981, and it haunts her still.
"She went down my throat about this joke, that it was inappropriate," Meyer says. She remembers Terri saying she wondered how the doctors and lawyers could possibly know what Quinlan was really feeling or what she would want. "Where there's life," Meyer recalls her saying, "there's hope."
"Pearse said he was troubled by the fact that Michael waited until 1998 to petition to remove the feeding tube, even though he claims to have known her wishes all along, and that he waited until he won a malpractice suit based on a professed desire to take care of her into old age. As her husband, Michael would inherit what is left of her malpractice award, originally $700,000, which is held in a trust fund administered by the court. Accounting of the fund is sealed. But Michael's lawyer, George Felos, said most of it has been spent on legal fees associated with the custody dispute. Pearse also said he did not find Joan and Scott Schiavo's testimony credible."
The Schindlers had contacted a woman Michael dated in 1991 who told them Michael had confessed to her he did not know what Terri would want. Although the woman refused to sign an affidavit, it bought the Schindlers some time. And with it, they found Trudy Capone. A former co-worker of Michael's, Capone signed an affidavit on May 9, 2001, stating "Michael confided in me all the time about Terri ... He said to me many times that he had no idea what her wishes were."
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
"Hugh's right that it's hard to ascribe the Congressional legislation to "theocrats" when it was supported by Tom Harkin (and Ralph Nader!). There's much more going on than that; this is a matter on which all sorts of people, of all sorts of persuasions, can be found on both sides. On the other hand, here's some advice, very similar to advice I gave to the antiwar movement: If you don't want to be confused with a movement led by theocrats, don't let actual theocrats be seen as your spokesmen. It may be impossible to shut Randall Terry up -- though if I were Karl Rove, I would have tried really hard -- but he needs to be loudly and regularly denounced as a nut.
HOW DARE THE LEFTIES OF OLD EUROPE criticize our efforts in Iraq - where, in two years we have instituted democratic self-rule. Especially considering that compared to Iraq, Bosnia is a tiny nation. Here're the facts - you compare:
Bosnia = 51,000 sq km; POP.: 4 million - surrounded by EU countries.By comparison our accomplishment in Iraq is a HUGE SUCCESS! Heck; our Iraq efforts are a huge success even when compared to post-WW2 Germany and Japan!
Iraq = 435,000 sq km; POP.: 25 million - surrounded by unstable nations.
So the next time you hear any criticism of Iraq from the euroweenie Left: just say BOSNIA and flip them the bird!
If the momentum keeps up, Lebanon will be democratic - and Syria-free by June.
THE BUSH DOCTRINE RULES!
Is this a theocratic right-wing mob? No effin' way it is! And those who say it is are talking pure bullshit. And I mean: Glenn Reynolds, James Joyner, Andrew Sullivan, Greg Djerejian, and Jeff Jarvis. They're assholes for charging that the pro-life/pro-Schindler crowd is a theocratic right-wing mob that threatens the GOP and/or the USA. See below.
VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II may have to return to the hospital to have a feeding tube inserted, an Italian news agency reported Tuesday. It stressed that no decision had been made. The APcom news agency, citing an unidentified source, said the 84-year-old pope might have to have the tube inserted to improve his nutrition since he is having difficulty swallowing with the breathing tube that was inserted Feb. 24. APcom said the idea of inserting a feeding tube was a hypothesis that was being considered. The procedure involves inserting a tube into the stomach to allow for artificial feeding.
Good thing the Pope ain't married to Michael Schiavo. Heh.
The closest parallel I can think of to current American politics is Israel. There was a time, not that long ago, when moderate Israelis downplayed the rise of religious extremists. But no more: extremists have already killed one prime minister, and everyone realizes that Ariel Sharon is at risk. America isn't yet a place where liberal politicians, and even conservatives who aren't sufficiently hard-line, fear assassination. But unless moderates take a stand against the growing power of domestic extremists, it can happen here.
And there are many people who testified under oath that Terri is indeed aware of things - including pain, and that Terri was a devout Catholic who belived in the sanctity of life, and often said "where's there life there is hope."
SO: What if Terro does feel pain, and doesn't want to die?
Then what have you done to her?
The Schindlers have seen the courts systematically rule in a way that guarantees their daughter dies a slow torturous death, and YET... in spite of that fact, and in spite of the fact that the court-sanctioned murder violates their most deeply held religious beliefs, they are stoically obeying the law!
The real MOB is the LEFT. They are - like Romans in the Colosseum - turning their thumbs down and demanding that Terri die. And the Judges - like obedient Emperors satisfying the blood-lust of the MOB - have obliged and have ordered that Terri be starved to death.
I'd say that the news from Iraq is GREAT: they're SHOUTING to resolve their political conflicts and not SHOOTING! Sure, it's a messy process - BUT THAT'S WHAT DEMOCRACY IS! I have faith that the human beings who live in Iraq can make the difficult transition into self-rule as well as we did beginning in 1789.
Iraqi parliament clashes over speaker - Globe and Mail, Canada - 2 hours ago Baghdad — Iraq's fledgling parliament failed Tuesday to agree on who would be its speaker, with the interim prime minister and interim president storming out
2nd Iraqi Assembly Meeting Breaks Down Amid Accusations - New York Times - 2 hours ago BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 29 - The second meeting of the new Iraqi constitutional assembly descended into a series of contentious exchanges today, as some members ...
Iraq Lawmakers Fail to Agree on Speaker - ABC News - 3 hours ago Iraqi workers are seen preparing for the Iraqi National Assembly session in the heavily fortified Green Zone area in Baghdad, Iraq Tuesday March 29, 2005. ...
Iraqiparliament in uproar over stalemate - Independent Online, South Africa - 3 hours ago By Khaled Yacoub Oweis and
Glenn opened a recent post thus:
Then he closed the very same post thus:
"I APPRECIATE Andrew Sullivan's quoting me, but he's wrong: Unlike Andrew, I don't think that America is in danger of being taken over by religious Zealots, constituting an American Taliban and bent on establishing theocracy. I think that -- despite their occasionally abusive emails (and most aren't abusive, just upset) -- the people that Mickey Kaus is calling "pro-tubists" are well-meaning, sincere, and possessed of an earnest desire to do good." I don't think that they're nascent Mullah Omars, and I think that calling them that just makes the problem worse. This is a tragedy, and it's become a circus. Name-calling just makes you one of the clowns.
"If I were in charge of making the decision, I might well put the tube back and turn Terri Schiavo over to her family. But I'm not, and the Florida courts are, and they seem to have done a conscientious job. Maybe they came to the right decision, and maybe they didn't. But respecting their role in the system, and not rushing to overturn all the rules because we don't like the outcome, seems to me to be part of being a member of civilized society rather than a mob. As I say, I thought conservatives knew this."
I think this proves on the Schiavo Case that Glenn's a phony and a CLOWN.
Glenn is so verbally agile and his snarkiness is so cute that most people fail to see how hypocritical he is on the Schiavo Case. When Glenn says, "I thought conservatives knew this" he is is saying that conservatives are a mob, but saying it in a cute/snarky UNDERHANDED way! And it fooled a lot of people. I think most people saw this double-pleading (above) as reasonableness; "On the one hand BLAH, and on the other hand BLAH."
Well, on the Schiavo Case I think Glenn's in the MUDDLE, not the middle, and I think to try to muddle through a case of such great public import, and of such profound moral nature (as the Schiavo Case is) is pathetic. And his position, (essentially that "the courts did a legal job" and so we should all just "move along; there's nothing to see here") is as meaningless as it is amoral.
And (accorrding to the NYTIMES) it reveals that his aide destroyed documents.
And now (according to the WASHPOST), the UN is backtracking: and WON'T pay Benon Sevan's legal fees.
Monday, March 28, 2005
YUP, and OJ is innocent.
There is a striking parallel between the Terri Schiavo and the Elian Gonzales cases:
In each case, the victim is under the legal control of a man who is no longer living with the victim, who in fact has run off with another woman and fathered her children, and who no longer plays an active role in the victim’s life.
The outgoing interior minister also predicted the insurgency was nearing an end.
"It think it will collapse very soon," he said, adding: "Maybe by the end of this year, we will see a change, depending on the political situation." MORE AT JAWA!