In this issue:
Hard to tell which is scarier, the bloviating windbags on the Senate Judiciary Committee or that John Roberts can sit in front of them for more than five seconds and not throw a chair at the bunch. His supernatural, faintly un-American, calm should be a disqualifying attribute.
But since it is not, we are left to parse the wisdom of the likes of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) where we find the Democrats' sing-songy theme: consensus, compromise, mainstream. Feinstein also appointed herself Guardian Protector of half the population.
"As the only woman on the Committee, I believe I have an additional role in evaluating nominees for the Supreme Court. This entails representing the views and concerns of American women throughout this process," she said in her opening statement.
Oh happy day.
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The world at large has finally caught up to the fact that the United States is radically reshaping its nuclear war-fighting doctrine to allow for preemptive use of nukes against states that are attempting to develop their own nuclear arsenal. These changes would obviously be of great interest to states like Iran and North Korea, who might be on the receiving end of nuclear bunker-buster as a result.
The Pentagon is trying to apply a doctrine of nuclear deterrence against non-nuclear states as its capability to deter weapons research or other bad acts via conventional forces is greatly reduced due to the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, Air Force and Navy air assets and conventional missiles would have to supply the bulk of offensive capability in many other spots around the globe.
The very obvious nuke-rattling must also be calculated to give UN Security Council members notice that unless they go along with what looks like a future program of sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program, the U.S. reserves the right to act in the most unilateral fashion imaginable.
At REASON changes in America's nuclear stance were evident back in the spring.
Analysts need to take a second, breathe deep, and actually think to figure out what it means when EBay buys its way in the voice over IP (VoIP) biz. Spending up to $4.1 billion for Skype, depending on performance goals, could prove cheap if-and if again-EBay is able to convert millions of its auction freaks to its branded VoIP offering.
What do we absolutely know about EBay people? That they are extremely price sensitive. What else do we know? That they are somewhat technologically savvy, in a means-to-an-end way. They will use technology that helps them save money, but are not gadget-happy early adopters.
You have to believe that EBay did some market research on just how many of its users would be interested in saving money on their phone bills. Plus, Skype's wide international footprint dovetails with EBay's likewise big international following. So those "synergies" everyone loves are there, just further up the conceptual ladder than usual.
Quote of the Week
"Had that brigade been at home and not in Iraq, their expertise and capabilities could have been brought to bear." -Lt. Gen. Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, on the possibility that response to Hurricane Katrina could have been quicker and more effective.
Freedom Takes a Walk
The march from the Pentagon to the National Mall comes off without a hitch. Or much of a point.
Start the Blame Game?
Don't look now; the war hawks are beginning to wonder about Iraq and the Bush administration. Still many "focus," "heart," and "will" weasel-words but the reality-based world is starting to intrude.
Cos Reclaims Fat Albert
The World Intellectual Property Organization has ordered that Bill Cosby owns the fatalbert.org domain name and not some outfit in Tennessee.
Atta bombshell looks more like case of mistaken ID. Paul Sperry
Dhalgren in New Orleans
What an old science-fiction novel can tell us about the Big Easy. Bidisha Banerjee
The Search for Real Absinthe
Like Tinkerbell, the Green Fairy lives only if we believe in her. Jacob Sullum
And much more!
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