Reason Express

Vol. 8 No. 47


In this issue:

1. This Week's Trial of the Century
2. China's Big Safety Accidents
3. Secret Prison Romance
4. Quick Hits
5. New at Reason Online - No, This Is the Story of the Hurricane
6. News and Events

1. This Week's Trial of the Century

The trial of the century has been postponed until next week. But let the record show that in matter of the world versus Saddam Hussein it has been resolved to let the defense have a pad and pen. Next up, genocide.

It would be a mistake to read too much into a few moments of courtroom action, but it is still important to note that the United States is not interested in mucking about in the little details of procedure-or evidence, really. If the prosecutors have to actually set out to prove Saddam is bad guy, watch out. The trial could head in any direction.

Saddam will, of course, attempt to make the U.S. invasion and occupation the overriding topic for the court, and that might generate a headline or two in the process. As tempting as it might be to squelch that tactic, the longer-term goal of convincing the world that Saddam is getting a fair shake argues against it. Now, on to the matter of a glass of water for the defendant.


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2. China's Big Safety Accidents

If there is a silver lining in the poisonous ooze of China's benzene spill, it is that Chinese media outlets seem to have functioned fairly well in reporting the accident. The news of the Songhua River contamination, the result of an explosion at a China National Petroleum Corporation site which sent chemicals streaming into the river, was widely disseminated to the public.

Yet as the coal mine explosion just a few days later in the same province demonstrates, China's big state-owned energy companies do not seem to place a high value on worker safety as the winter months close in and demand for energy ramps up.

On cue, following the mine blast, which killed 134, the Chinese leadership issued a call for measures to prevent "big safety accidents" in the future, but it is unclear what kind of incentives (or penalties) are in place to bring about any kind of change in behavior or outcomes. As long as production targets and quotas remain the same-and the highest value-expect more big safety accidents in the future.


3. Secret Prison Romance

Globalism and interconnectedness are jumping up to bite the Bush administration in the matter of the CIA's network of secret detention centers. Expansion of the EU into Eastern Europe has given the Brussels crowd leverage to pan, even punish, policies they do not like, such as CIA snatch-and-grab operations.

In turn, countries like Poland and Romania do not want to jeopardize their E.U. good-graces just for the sake of letting the CIA land one of its fleet of Gulfstreams in-country as part of some extraordinary rendition operation from the Middle East. The operation of actual prison sites in those former Warsaw Pact countries is possible, but they were likely only intended to operate on a short-term basis in any event.

The State Department will likely try to make the distinctions between installations and flights while confirming, as ever, as little as possible about the CIA's worldwide activities. But the secret is out.


4. Quick Hits

Quote of the Week

"They need our content, we need their technology" -CBS chairman Leslie Moonves on talks with Google for video search and on-demand video indexing services.


Military Blue-bloods and Red-necks

What happened to poorer and blacker? Not so much. The Heritage Foundation finds that the typical recruit in the all-volunteer force is wealthier and more educated, if more rural, than the average 18- to 24-year-old citizen. .


eBay America

The Pew Center finds that some 1 in 6 Americans has used the Net to sell something, quite possibly an Elvis plate, to someone else.


Neolithic Computers

Computer security experts complain that users are stuck back in the "stone age" of 2000 where most security issues require manual patching and updating.


5. New at Reason Online

No, This Is the Story of the Hurricane
For too many pundits, left and right, Katrina was just another front in the culture war. Cathy Young

The Looming Immigration War
Tancredo for president, and other battles. Jeff A. Taylor

Eggs and Ethics
Buying eggs is OK, Lying is not. Ronald Bailey

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!

Buy Reason T-shirts and coffee mugs!

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