Continuous commentary from The American Prospect

“, a weblog.

Tapped, though unsigned, is not, strictly speaking, the editorial voice of the magazine. Tapped frequently takes stances on issues where the magazine has no official stance of its own — and contributors may, from time to time, stray a bit from the magazine’s ideological bearings. Tapped may even, very occassionally, contradict itself. But such is the excitement of life at an intellectually vigorous publication where writers and editors struggle each day to figure out their take on world affairs and then pass those views on to our readers — and the world at large. With Tapped, we are pleased to be able to share our roughest rough draft with you.

Odds Same Despite Senator’s Death:

“If an online wagering forum is to be believed, the events of the past few days have not altered the ranking of expected outcomes for next week’s congressional election.

Speculators on the Iowa Electronic Markets — a real-money election option exchange run by the University of Iowa — continue to see a Democratic Senate majority and a Republican-controlled House of Representatives as the most likely outcome of the Nov. 5 election.” Wired

Urge UN Security Council to Oppose Resolution on Force in Iraq

ActForChange : Act Now: “It is essential that the U.N. be aware of the extent of domestic American opposition to a unilateral U.S. invasion of Iraq. Right now, President Bush is using the Congressional resolution giving him the right to use military force as evidence that he has the support of the American people.

Urge Secretary-General Kofi Annan to use his influence within the U.N. to block a resolution authorizing military force before the U.N. weapons inspectors have had sufficient time to do their job.” Sign and send an email from the site.


Richard Goldstein: What makes the pro-war progressives run? ‘There’s a real temptation to leave the chronic depression and ample masochism of the left behind. The war on terror can seem like an opening to build a muscular new progressivism with its feet on the ground. And speaking of feet, there’s an undeniable satisfaction in kicking a masochist while he’s down. Among the many rewards for sadism these days is the power it confers—and for progressives power is in terribly short supply. Finally, never underestimate the appeal to a critic of being taken seriously, and that means declaring your independence from left-wing “orthodoxies.” Village Voice Related: Via Rebecca Blood, Stand Down!, “the left-right blog opposing a war in Iraq.”

Where Are They Now?

Ellsberg: Still Rabble-Rousing

In the early 1970s, the Nixon administration was staggered when, as a Pentagon insider, (Daniel) Ellsberg leaked thousands of incriminating documents about U.S. lies and deception to the media regarding its foreign policy in Vietnam. The revelations of what came to be called the Pentagon Papers showed that at least four presidents had deliberately encouraged a war of dubious purpose in order to avoid the embarrassment of failure and to further their own agendas.

The parallels between the Vietnam War and the current pursuit of military action against Iraq are not lost on Ellsberg, who has remained on the lecture circuit since those infamous days.

“We were lied into Vietnam, and we’re being lied into a war right now,” he told a packed crowd at the Commonwealth Club Monday night… Wired

Microsoft to limit access to Office 11

“BetaNews on Tuesday reported that in a newsgroup posting for beta testers a Microsoft representative said Office 11 would run only on Windows 2000 with Service Pack 3 and Windows XP.

Limiting the final version of Office 11 to Windows 2000 and XP would potentially encourage users of older operating systems to upgrade, but it could further erode relations between Microsoft and business customers already stung by increases in volume licensing fees, analysts say. Some business customers have indicated that they may explore alternatives to Office, such as Sun Microsystems’ StarOffice and OpenOffice, because of Microsoft’s licensing plan.” c/net. Notably absent from the story is a description of any features of Office 11 that would make anyone want to upgrade…

Danger is his business

<a href=”http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/301/living/Danger_is_his_business+.shtml

“>Risk: A Practical Guide for Deciding What’s Really Safe and What’s Really Dangerous in the World Around You (Houghton Mifflin) by David Ropeik and George Gray of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis:

Risk touches upon the stuff of contemporary nightmares, such as biological weapons, but it is mainly a compendium of the data behind, and the safeguards against, scores of everyday risks, real and perceived: air pollution, medical errors, nuclear power, artificial sweeteners, solar radiation, cellphones, foodborne illness, pesticides. Ropeik, a former reporter for WCVB-TV (Channel 5) who now handles communications at the Harvard center, and Gray, the center’s acting director, maintain that in many cases ”our fears may not match the facts. We may be too afraid of lesser risks and not concerned enough about bigger ones.” What follows is an abridged conversation with Ropeik… [more] Boston Globe

Lethal Russian Gas Is an Opiate

“The mysterious gas Russian forces pumped into a theater to end a hostage crisis was an opiate, a chemical related to morphine, Pentagon officials said Monday.

The Bush administration, meanwhile, refused to criticize Russian special forces for using the gas, which killed 116 of the hostages as well as the hostage takers.” Wired

Tank Blown Away…

…by the Wind:

The British Army appealed on Monday for anyone hiding one if its borrowed inflatable tanks — which blew away in a weekend gale — to kindly return it.

“If anyone has seen a flying tank please contact us. We would like it back,” Army spokesman David Webb told Reuters from breezy Wales.

“We borrowed six of the inflatable tanks from the Royal Air Force and would very much like to give six back to them. At the moment we only have five.”

The dummy tank, which takes three men to handle, was being used in an exercise involving troops from Britain, the United States, Canada, Belgium and Poland high in the Brecon Beacon mountains.

The annual exercise is supposed to give troops a feel of what it is like to operate patrols deep behind enemy lines.

Inflatable tanks and artillery pieces are staked out in various locations for the patrols to find. Yahoo!

Cuban Missile Crisis Documents from The Washington Post:

“The Washington Post has announced a special seven-day opportunity to view newspaper articles written between October 22 and October 29, 1962 — the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

You can get to the newspaper sections here. Every day a new edition of the newspaper will be added [currently October 22 through 31 are available — FmH]

The papers are in PDF format. Click on a date and the paper will load. The paper is presented as it originally appeared — ads, comics, and all. The October 22 paper was 45 pages long. A pull-down menu at the top of the page allows you to choose the page you want to view (there are also forward and

back arrows next to the pull-down menu.) A zoom of 100% allowed me to read anything I wanted to read, though you can zoom in closer if you like just in case you didn’t quite get everything in the Peanuts cartoon.” Legal Research Buzz [via Dave Farber’s Interesting People mailing list]

‘The enemy within’:

Gore Vidal claims ‘Bush junta’ complicit in 9/11: “America’s most controversial novelist calls for an investigation into whether the Bush administration deliberately allowed the terrorist attacks to happen

…Vidal’s highly controversial 7000 word polemic titled ‘The Enemy Within’ – published in the print edition of The Observer today – argues that what he calls a ‘Bush junta’ used the terrorist attacks as a pretext to enact a pre-existing agenda to invade Afghanistan and crack down on civil liberties at home.” Guardian UK

Love My Country, Change My Country:

Michael Kazin, co-author of America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s, seeks A Patriotic Left

There’s no need to mouth the Pledge of Allegiance or affix a flag pin to your lapel or handbag. But to rail against patriotic symbols is to wage a losing battle-and one that demeans us and sets us against the overwhelming majority of Americans for no worthwhile moral or political purpose.

Instead, leftists should again claim, without pretense or apology, an honorable place in the long narrative of those who demanded that American ideals apply to all and opposed the efforts of those who tried to reserve them for favored groups. When John Ashcroft denies the right of counsel to a citizen accused of terrorism or a CEO cooks the books to impress Wall Street, they are soiling the flag and ought to be put on the patriotic defensive. Liberals and radicals are the only people in politics who can insist on closing the gap between America as the apotheosis of democratic strivings and the sordid realities of greed and arrogance that often betray it.

There is really no alternative. In daily life, cultural cosmopolitanism is mostly reserved to the rich and famous. Radical environmentalists and anti-IMF crusaders seek to revive the old dream of internationalism in a version indebted more to John Lennon’s “Imagine” than to V. I. Lenin’s Comintern. But three years after bursting into the headlines from the streets of Seattle, that project seems stalled indefinitely in the Sargasso Sea that lies between rhetorical desire and political exigency. Dissent

Hostage negotiation, Russian-style:

Siege survivors ‘suffer poisoning’. CNN: Freed hostages were carried out of the theatre ‘inert and unmoving,’ and have all been hospitalized. Footage of the hostage-takers slain by Russian special forces showed them slumped in their seats in the theatre with bullet holes in their heads, apparently executed after they were rendered unconscious. Russian authorities have so far refused to reveal what gas was pumped into the theatre, even to doctors treating survivors. It is not clear how many of the more than one hundred hostages who died were killed by the Chechen guerrillas and how many succumbed to the gas. WBUR

Pictures from the siege’s end. BBC

CDC Issues New Hand Hygiene Guidelines

“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new hand hygiene guidelines here Friday that recommend that healthcare facilities across the nation begin to use alcohol-based hand rubs to cut the risk of spreading germs to patients. Related: “So-called antibacterial soaps are no better at killing germs than ordinary soaps, according to a study presented here Thursday at the Infectious Disease Society of America’s annual meeting.” Reuters Health

The spread of germs from hospitalized patient to patient on the hands of caregivers has been deemed the greatest single contribution to the contemporary epidemic of hospital-borne infections.

Missing a hellraiser:

Richard Harris irreplaceable, says Potter producer:

“The producer of the Harry Potter movies on Saturday hailed hell-raising Hollywood legend Richard Harris as “irreplaceable”.

“He will be greatly missed,” David Heyman said of the flamboyant star who died of cancer on Friday at the age of 72.

Harris, twice married, twice bankrupt and a firm believer in living life to the full, was twice nominated for Oscars in a career that spanned 70 movies, including Camelot and Gladiator.

He won a whole new generation of young fans playing Professor Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies.” ABC

…and he really did seem to be having fun with the role, my son and I agreed after seeing the first of the films.

In other Potter news, the second film in the series opens next month. Director Chris Columbus lauds the lack of “starry nonsense” from cast members BBC

. Leading actor Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry, envies the wizard’s invisibility cloak his character uses in the film — it would be great for slipping free into roock concerts. Reuters

HRT on the Mat:

Doubts Grow About Post-Menopausal Hormone Use

Although the hormones have both good and bad effects — raising the risk for heart attack, breast cancer and blood clots while lowering it for osteoporosis and colon cancer — their net effect is harmful in terms of disease prevention. They still have a role in the treatment of symptoms of menopause. But how large a role is a matter of dispute.

Those were among the conclusions that emerged from a two-day meeting held this week at the National Institutes of Health. The gathering was called to assess the immediate consequences of the hormone study results and talk about what new research may be needed. Washington Post

"Life’ll Kill Ya"

[Warren Zevon]

At one time a long time ago (around the same time as my Jackson Browne phase) I was a Warren Zevon fan. We’re talking first or second album. Now it turns out he’s known, and announced to his fans, for several years that he is dying of lung cancer. This passed me by until Chuck’s comment

that people should catch him on David Letterman on October 30th because it might be their last time. I’ll try, Warren, but in any case fare thee well…

Mentioning him in the same breath as Jackson Browne is ironic because of my favorite JB story. One day I entered an unfamiliar record store and went to browse the Jackson Browne bin, to find that someone had written on the tabbed divider for his section, “Somebody please shoot this guy and put him out of his misery.” I guess you had to be there…