Vol. 8 No. 44
In this issue:
1. The Latest French Fashion
One tiny positive to flow from almost two weeks of rioting in Paris and across France is that maybe, just maybe, would-be city planners from America will pause for a second before simply assuming that Euro-style living is the best thing ever. Or to put it bluntly, would some front-load garages come in handy when the New Urbanist, pedestrian-friendly on-street parking is just a bull's-eye for a firebomb?
The occasional three-day trip to the French countryside is probably responsible for more bad ideas about zoning and land-use than all advanced degrees put together. The ugly images of the past few days should not be more persuasive than common sense, but they might puncture Euro trendiness among America's planner set all the same.
That might at least balance out the truly senseless violence that was met by an almost Katrina-esque response from French officials. Presumably Jacques Chirac had a reason for waiting 11 days to comment on the riots, but needing time to come up with great oratory surely was not among them. The situation seems ripe for some real leadership to bubble up from below the ossified political structure and point France back toward sanity.
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2. Two Days and Three Sleepless Nights in Baghdad!
Running a close second to events in France in the "most bizarre reaction to a crisis" category must be plans to turn Baghdad into a destination location, complete with a ritzy hotel and a theme park in Tikrit. In fact, the grab for tourist dollars suggests nothing so much as those same trendy land-use dreams of America's central planners run amok.
Ignoring basic needs like roads and police in favor of convention centers and sports arenas is the bread-and-butter of modern city planning in the U.S. Most every city of any size has an under-utilized, publicly funded convention center in its midst. Iraq is just applying this notion slightly more aggressively. Not only is the public infrastructure ignored, it is non-existent in places. Not only is public safety an afterthought, tourists are advised to travel with their own armed body guards.
Come to think of it, maybe American cities have a thing or two to learn from the Iraqi way of running municipal services. Build the attractions, and to hell with civil society.
3. Libby's Fibby: A Motive?
Watergate principal John Dean, a man who presumably knows his way around a White House cover-up, fisks the Scooter Libby indictment and advances the ball a little, but does not quite score. Call it a nice first-down pick up for Nixon's former lawyer.
Dean follows the "protect Cheney" meme popular among lefties searching for an explanation, but does so with a great deal more detail than most. Dean posits that Libby lied to Patrick Fitzgerald in order to obscure exactly how he came to have the knowledge that Val Plame worked for the CIA. The claim that journalists were in the loop along with the VP, although easy to disprove via the journo testimony that allowed for that perjury charge, nevertheless builds a "firewall" around Cheney as far as possible violations of the Espionage Act go. Or so Dean believes.
But to bring charges on Espionage Act grounds, Fitzgerald would have to show that not only did Cheney discuss Plame with Libby, he directed him to leak her name in a truly Tricky Dick move. It just can't be a violation of the law for two people with the proper clearances to discuss secret stuff without having a good reason to, or half of D.C. would be guilty of breaking the law. Dean doesn't seem to get that, and he thinks a Cheney indictment is in the cards.
4. Quick Hits
Quote of the Week
"The grenade struck two decks above and about four rooms further forward. I could tell the guy firing the bazooka was smiling." -Charles Supple, one of the passengers aboard the cruise ship Seabourn Spirit that was attacked by RPG-toting pirates about 100 miles off of the Somali coast.
The Supremes on Tribunals
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought by Osama bin Laden's supposed driver on the legality of the military tribunals set up by the Bush administration to try accused terrorists.
Officials in Westchester County may ban operating a wi-fi network without securing it first with a firewall and encryption. Otherwise "somebody parked in the street or sitting in a neighboring building could hack into the network and steal your most confidential data," County Executive Andy Spano explains.
Killed dead by Hollywood and music industry, with a big assist from U.S. courts.
5. New at Reason Online
Casey at the Bench
Samuel Alito's controversial abortion ruling. Cathy Young
How motorcyclists won the right to feel the wind in their hair. Jacob Sullum
Democrats—Not for Free Speech Anymore!
Once again, the party that thinks it's pro-expression demonstrates that it's not. Matt Welch
And much more!
6. News and Events
An Evening with Milton and Rose Friedman
Please join the The Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in celebrating 50 Years of an Idea. This 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner on December 5, 2005 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles, California will honor Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman, who first proposed the school voucher idea in 1955.
The Friedmans will participate in a Q&A session, answering questions submitted by the audience. The Friedman's will be joined by several honored guests, who will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information on the dinner and how to attend, visit here.
Get liberated with Ronald Bailey's brave new book for a brave new world!
In his new book, Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution, Reason's Ronald Bailey examines the scientific and ethical controversies surrounding everything from stem cell research to therapeutic cloning to longer life spans to genetically modified food.
Buy Liberation Biology in hardcover from Amazon for just $18.48!
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