Vol, 9, No. 7


In this issue:

1. Gunning for Trouble
2. Batman vs. bin Laden
3. Iran: Brilliant or Batty?
4. Quick Hits
5. New at Reason Online—The Age of Corporate Environmentalism
6. News and Events

1. Gunning for Trouble

Only the relatively minor injuries of Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting companion make this weekend's hunting accident, in which the V.P. inadvertently unloaded a round of birdshot into Austin attorney Harry Whittington, remotely humorous. For once again we are confronted with the almost indestructible bubble in which the upper tier of the Bush administration conducts its day-to-day affairs.

Had the owner of the ranch at which the accident occurred not phoned the local paper with the story, and had a reporter for the local paper not followed that call up with a call to the White House demanding some response, the world might still be unaware of the incident. No huge to-do was required: Just call the pool reporter within a few hours and put out a brief, factual release about an embarrassing but minor snafu. That did not happen, and now the irked press corps smells a story, which it will doubtless proceed to beat into the ground.

Everyone comes off worse as a result, not to mention that public trust in this administration takes another hit. A few pellets, really.

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2. Batman vs. bin Laden

No joke. The Dark Knight mastermind himself, Frank Miller, is deep into writing a new graphic novel featuring the caped crusader defending Gotham City from al Qaeda. Miller is unabashedly saying he intends the work to be anti-terror propaganda, a throwback to the days when Captain America battled Nazis, the Red Skull, and Hitler himself.

Miller says the work is an emotionally raw story featuring a hero reacting to an attack on his beloved city. He also intends the book to be "a reminder to people who seem to have forgotten who we're up against." To that end, it seems likely Miller's previously complex Batman will have to give up some of his demons to throw the evil of al Qaeda into sharper relief.

Or maybe Miller can keep his hero dark while making the enemy darker still, sending a more subtle message about the nature of dirty shadow wars.

3. Iran: Brilliant or Batty?

Iranian leaders are either pursuing some kind of feigned psycho routine designed to keep its nuclear negotiating partners off balance while playing for time, or there is truly some sort of huge power struggle in the regime that keeps whipsawing nuke policy back and forth.

Just weeks after Iranian negotiators indicated that a compromise involving Russia enriching uranium for Iran might be acceptable, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad mocked the very concept. "You are telling us not to produce our nuclear fuel and that you are going to produce it somewhere else instead and then give it back to us. Wow. Do you think we believe you?" Iran News quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

Meanwhile, Iran has supposedly started to feed uranium hexafluoride gas into centrifuges. Once impurities are spun out, the end product is enriched uranium, the building block for both nuclear power generation and, with additional enrichment and explosive lensing research, nuclear weapons. Just brilliant.

4. Quick Hits

Quote of the Week

"I support the free press, let's just get them out of the room." -President George Bush, heading into a closed door briefing with fellow Republicans. Bush then gave GOP lawmakers the exact same spin he gives the rest of the world in public.

Blackberry: Squished by Redmond?

Microsoft is ready to unleash it own push-email device and software. Cue Darth Vader theme music.

Alabama Burning

Someone is burning churches in rural Alabama. A total of 10 churches have been torched, suggesting that several copycats may be at work.

New and Improved, the Taliban

North and South Waziristan are now home to a Taliban-led Islamic republic, or so say the Taliban. This may or may not be a surprise to the government of Pakistan.

5. New at Reason Online

The Age of Corporate Environmentalism
Surprise—big business has learned that it's pretty easy being green. Katherine Mangu-Ward

Reading is Fundamental
What Good Are the Arts? Plenty. Nick Gillespie

High Praise for Low Blows
Negative campaigning and the accidental benefits of campaign finance reform. Kerry Howley

And much more!

6. News and Events

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.

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