The Spectacle Blog

Hear, hear, Quin

By on 4.19.06 | 11:59AM

I'm with you on John Batchelor's prognostications, Quin. I've listened to John's show a long time, and I think he regularly reveals information virtually nobody else has, or pays attention to, and that's important. I take the trouble of driving my car to the nearest high ground so I can tune in WABC to listen to him most nights, I consider his show so important (Boston radio doesn't carry him any more).

But you're right, he's short on solutions. For a fact-filled long read about Iran and its relationship with the U.S., both past and going forward, see Edward Luttwak's Commentary essay here.

Luttwak is fairly sanguine -- and makes a good case -- about how soon Iran could develop The Bomb. He overlooks the possibility that China or the Norks could short-circuit that laborious process and move the Persians much closer much quicker. But his analysis of the historical interest of Russia in Iran is fabulous, as is his lengthy reminder of why Iran is so important to the U.S.

McClellan Out

By on 4.19.06 | 10:27AM

As press secretary. Probably a smart move on a few levels.

Solutions, John???

By on 4.19.06 | 10:07AM

To John Batchelor -- You keep posting informative (and very scary) reports about Iran. The next question, though, is: What do you recommend the United States (or anybody else) DO in response???!???! Please enlighten us.

Cat Jumping

By on 4.19.06 | 8:59AM

Let's hear it for housecats and free time.

Just Sit There and Take It

By on 4.19.06 | 8:53AM

David Cloud’s piece on Donald Rumsfeld in today’s New York Times is par for the course on how this administration’s players are treated whenever they attempt to answer their critics. This customary and necessary practice for a political official somehow acquires a taint of scandal and intrigue when that official is employed within the Bush administration. The article’s title says it all: “Here's Donny! In His Defense, a Show Is Born.” But evidence for this “show” is rather thin. Cloud describes the Defense Secretary’s rebuttals to calls for his resignation as “a daily ritual,” before noting that yesterday’s Rumsfeld press conference was merely the third in five days. He describes the “extraordinary parade of generals,” including a “bevy of retired officers,” who have joined the plot to defend Rumsfeld, but names only Generals Myers and Franks.  

Coke Liable For Fizz

By on 4.18.06 | 9:01PM

Remember the McDonald's hot coffee lawsuit? Double the absurdity, and you get Coca-Cola, Kroger, and the manufacturer-distributor being sued for a can spraying fizz when opened. And an appeals court agrees. (via Overlawyered)

PLA Prolferation as War-Making: Appendix Part 4

By on 4.18.06 | 6:24PM

1. Iran's atomic bomb-making and missile production are the direct result of ruthless and self-serving Chinese (PLA) proliferation.

1a. Following the successful containment of the Chinese anarchy of the 1980s, the PLA's concern was that it must prepare for the US response come the day the PLA moves to retake Taiwan. China's special sense of vulnerability was that the southeast of China, the industrial heartland, is vulnerable to US air strike, including nuclear weapon airstrike.

2. After the first Gulf War, Jiang Zemin and the PLA chose a policy to create multiple hotspots for the United States targeting, since the US nuclear warchest was locked into treaty limited production. China saw that every hotspot created outside of Russia and China was one more target away from the industrial heartland of China. Therefore, the PLA decision was to turn on proliferation. The first stage of the plan began with the Benazir Bhutto visit to China in 1993, when the transfers began into the hands of A.Q. Khan. An adjacent step was to transfer weapons technology to Kim Il Jung, the old man, in North Korea.

Placenta Stew

By on 4.18.06 | 2:44PM

This deserves a cross-magazine chime-in, if for no other reason than my ability to pull journalistic seniority on the NRO crew. On The Corner, Jonah Goldberg has taken off on the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes declaration that they intend to eat the placenta from their baby-to-be. In 1972, I hitchhiked from L.A. to San Francisco, and stayed overnight near Santa Cruz in a commune devoted to all things natural. This group had self-published a book on their various creeds and practices. Said book included a recipe for placenta stew, together with photographs of said dish in process of preparation. I wrote a story about it and sent it of to the long-forgotten news service for which I was stringing at the time. As I recall, I got paid, but I don't know when or where or even if the story appeared.

The Rumsfeld Question

By on 4.18.06 | 12:27PM

Jim Geraghty makes a good point: Can the Rummy-must-go crowd suggest a realistic replacement who would be an improvement?

WSJ on Oil

By on 4.18.06 | 12:07PM

Today's Wall Street Journal has an important front-page article on why oil is at an all-time (non-inflation-adjusted) high even though inventories are at an eight-year high. It's well worth a read.

The short answer is that refining capacity hasn't kept up, and that federal policies are a large part of the problem. Drilling is banned in an important part of Alaska, banned off the Virginia shore even though Virginia seems to want drilling, and banned so far off Florida's shoreline that Floridians themselves should be embarrassed by the amount of ridiculous deference shown to them. And regulations of all sorts have made new refineries for 30 years a losing proposition -- and until last year's largely execrable Energy Bill, which at least had a few good provisions in it, nuclear power was similarly burdened and therefore far too little used. Then, of course, there's this: "Even as crude stockpiles have swelled, U.S. inventories of gasoline have fallen as refiners have shut down operations to perform maintenance and prepare to meet new government-mandated fuel formulas...."