Faster history, faster democracy?

A mostly political Weblog.
March 15 2005 6:16 AM

Faster History, Faster Democracy?

Plus--Who cares who runs Disney?

(Continued from Page 5)

Have U.S. generals ever been through a U.S. roadblock in Iraq? Drudge briefly linked to this excellent CSM piece which asks that question after describing how easy it is for innocent, law-abiding Iraqi drivers and their passengers to get killed by U.S. fire. There's also a  horrifying account in Evan Wright's Generation Kill. ("[A U.S. Marine] asks the father, sitting by the side of the road, why he didn't heed the warning shots and stop. The father simply repeats, 'I'm sorry,' then meekly asks permission to pick up his daughter's body.") ... Can average drivers detect so-called warning shots? Wright writes:

In the dark, warning shots are simply a series of loud bangs or flashes. It's not like this is the international code for "Stop your vehicle and turn around." As it turns out, many Iraqis react to warning shots by speeding up. Maybe they just panic. Consequently, a lot of Iraqis die at roadblocks.

Surely our roadblock practices have done muchmore to alienate Iraqis than the Abu Ghraib abuses. Roadblocks wind up killing innocent families, not humiliating suspected insurgents. ... Wright does describe some efforts by Marines to improvise a better policy, with spotty results. ... Update: WaPo, NYT. ...  1:12 A.M.

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Not-on-Time-Warner: Am I the only person having persistent trouble getting emails through to people with "aol.com" addresses? ... Answer: No! Here are some responses [emphases added]:

As I've been traveling around Europe I've sent a half dozen "mass emails" home to my friends and family. The AOL recipients always reject the message. When I try to send individual emails to AOL accounts I have about a 50 percent success rate; moreover AOL doesn't seem to like anything I send with hyperlinks. I thought I was the only one.--F.


No, you aren't.  Particularly annoying for me because I have an editor with an aol.com address.--T.

You have identified a real problem.  A while back (maybe 7 or 8 months ago) I discovered that I could not reliably send messages from my MSN hotmail account to AOL addresses.--P.

I get bounce reports back ("email delivery failed" or some such) -- but then find that the recipient actually did get the email.--L.

[S]ome people on AOL seem to have inadvertently gotten their spam filters set a little too high. They might not be accepting email from free providers such as msn and yahoo, where a lot of ghost addresses come from. You might need to contact specific people ahead of time to have them unblock your particular address, or use a non-msn account if you're replying to people you can't otherwise forewarn.--H.

Hmm. I will try to get to the bottom of this tomorrow. But it seems like a potentially big story--If "H" is on the right track, is AOL blocking a high proportion of emails from its corporate archrivals on the grounds that they might be spam? To talk to an AOL person you now have to get a non-Microsoft account? Or is Microsoft punishing its users by allowing its email service to become a playground for spammers, thereby inviting obstruction by anti-spam filters? It's a clash of corporate titans, I tell you! Maybe even a clash of corporate cultures! ... Assigned to: John Schwartz, Walter Mossberg. If you can beat me. ... Update: For AOL's explanation see  kf I-Team Report. ... 10:43 P.M.

Friday, March 4, 2005

David Smith hasn't forgotten the Fannie Mae scandal, which now includes "off-balance-sheet entities." Where have we heard that concept before? ... See also this Smith blogiography. ... P.S.: And of course former Fannie Mae CEO ex-Kerry/Mondale aide Jim Johnson  has been held fully accountable for his role. ... Oh, wait. He hasn't. Sorry. ... 2:33 A.M.

What's the pro-Bush number in the latest NYT poll story--"New Poll Finds Americans Actually Despise President They Just Re-Elected," or something like that--that  Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder don't tell their readers about?  You know it's there somewhere! Answer: Bush's approval rating for "handling the campaign against terrorism." 61% approve; 38% disapprove. ... That's a 10 point net gain in a little over a month. ... P.S.: Matthew Yglesias says "the poll doesn't find much support for the notion that a dash to the right on cultural issues  is the way out" for Democrats. I'm not so sure. What percent of respondents thought gay couples "should be allowed to legally marry"? Answer: 23%, virtually unchanged from March, 2004. Whether or not gay marriage is right, those numbers don't say "winning issue" to me. Why doesn't the Times ask voters, in its loaded way:

Do you have confidence in the Democratic Party's ability to make the right decisions about the legal status of gay couples, or are you uneasy about its approach?

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