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Prime-Number Breakthrough



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I hope nobody will think this TOO incongruous amid all the war news, but
there has been a major breakthrough in prime number theory this past few
days. I have written it up on my website in language I hope any
literate and patient non-mathematician can grasp. (But in haste, so you
must excuse the odd typo.) The result was got by two scholars working
together, Daniel Goldston of San Jose State University and Cem Yildirim of
Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. I should like to be able to tell
you that this is a Jewish-Muslim collaboration, but I don’t actually know
Yildirim’s confession. (And he might, of course, be Jewish himself–Turkey
has lots of Jews.) Any information on this would be appreciated. If it
**is** a Jewish-Muslim collaboration, that would be a very happy omen

The First Market Bombing Was Not Us



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Tony Blair on Abu Dhabi


On the question of civilian casualties, you will tell me that allied forces have not targeted at any time the Iraqi civilians?

PRIME MINISTER:

Absolutely not. Now two things I would say to you on that. The first is I would just ask people to be really cautious of these reports. Those Baghdad street market bombs for example, we are sure that the first one is not coalition forces. We are still trying to check out the second one. Yet I understand when people see the carnage and the bloodshed they feel very angry about it. But I ask people not to treat these reports as correct until they are actually proven. And the second thing is to realise yes there will be innocent civilians that are killed, but we have done everything we possibly can to minimise them, and as I say measure that against the things that people don’t see, the inside of Saddam’s prisons, the Shia Muslims driven from their homeland, those in the north persecuted and killed, had chemical weapons used against them. All I ask is that people have a sense of balance, and I think you will find that for most people in Iraq, and this is a judgement that will be made later, life will be better.

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A Union of Democracies



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Adam Garfinkle proposes one. I like the concept, but what do you do about liberal democracies that don’t think being a liberal democracy is important? Of how many countries can it be said both that they are liberal democracies and that they are interested in an organization composed only of liberal democracies? I suspect the list would be coterminous with the Anglosphere.

Web Briefing: January 26, 2015

Kelly Archives



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Here’s an archive of Michael Kelly’s columns, going back to 1999.
To give you a taste of the tremendous loss of talent, read his post-9/11 column here and this one, about a walk in the woods with his then four-year-old.

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Change of Status



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Al Jazeera has been allowed back into Baghdad. So they can get the promised martyrdom on the air?

Nbc Watch



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From the Media Research Center: MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann compared a free gas promotion in Lake Ronkonkoma, New York to suicide bombers in Iraq last night. Olbermann’s show-ending commentary last night attacked a Sunoco station for it’s promotion of free gas for cars with flags or other patriotic symbols. According to Olbermann:


“I don’t think I’m going way out on a limb here to assume that somewhere in that block’s long line of drivers near Lake Ronkonkoma waiting for their five free gallons, were a few who weren’t really that gung ho about the war but just stuck a flag in their windshield wiper to get the gasoline gratis. Unintentional or not, that’s purchased patriotism. And as we are reminded every time we hear about Iraqi human shields and forced suicide bombers, purchased patriotism is one of the things we’re fighting against.”

Keeping Out The Unwilling



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An amendment passed the House by voice-vote last night, sponsored by Rep. Mark Kennedy (R., Mn.). It would limit French, German, Russian, and Syrian influence in postwar Iraq. It would prohibit taxpayer money spent on reconstruction in Iraq from going to any companies in those countries. Here’s the text:


An amendment to provide that none of the funds made available in the bill for reconstruction efforts in Iraq may be used to procure goods or services from any entity that includes information on a response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) that indicates that such entity is organized under the laws of France, Germany, the Russian Federation, or Syria.

Nr Is Not Just The Corner!



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Where’s Beckham?



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A Lawyer’s Right For Once



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From a reader:

You’ve given me an opening with your juxtapositioning of journalists and doctors and lawyers. I am a lawyer. I was required to complete a lengthy education and to pass a rigorous exam in order to become one. I am licensed to practice law, and if I break the ethical rules of my profession, I will be severely disciplined, and even disbarred (that is, I lose my license and thus my livelihood). Along with that responsibility, I have the power to defend my clients in certain extraordinary ways, such as refusing to give testimony where the attorney-client privilege applies and my client exercises it.

Journalists claim a version of this right and many others (for example, the right to be flown around war zones by the Pentagon and to photograph, but not help, the wounded), but if a journalist violates the journalists code of ethics, he faces nothing more than a media handwringing session, which may HELP his career (see Geraldo). All rights, no duties — the sanctimoniousness (yes, it is a word) is breathtaking.

Kipling



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Rick, as I’m sure you know, it was Kipling who wrote the epitaph that is carved on the graves of unidentified British WWI dead, “A Soldier of the Great War – Known Unto God”. His own son, John, was killed in that war, something that led Kipling to write the heart-breaking “Have You News of My Boy Jack”:

“Have you news of my boy Jack?”
Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.
“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind -
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide.

Re: Gupta



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From a reader:

Uh, I think the Hypocratic Oath is what Tom Daschle, Jesse Jackson et al subscribe to. You’re thinking of the Hippocratic Oath.

The G-File Is Up



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Discriminations



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John Rosenberg has some very interesting additional considerations to add to my take on the arguments before the Supreme Court in the Michigan affirmative action case. And be sure to check out his further discussion of potential dangers in a Court endorsement of diversity here. By the way, Rosenberg’s blog, Discriminations, is a must read for anyone interested in the problems surrounding “diversity,” preferential treatment, etc. I have it bookmarked, and go there frequently.

Kelly



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I have written for the Atlantic occasionally over the years, most recently in the current issue (“The Mind of George W. Bush”). Curiously I was at a dinner last night in New York that the Atlantic hosted for media types and friends of the magazine. I never worked with Michael Kelly, nor even met him, yet I knew him, and depended on him, through his passionate writing and tremendous reporting.
Rudyard Kipling wrote a series of epitaphs for people who died in World War I, some actual, others imagined types. They are brief and haunting, like the small poems in the Greek Anthology. For a panel in the Hall of the Institute of Journalists Kipling wrote this: “We have served our day.”

Cue Day Dream Sequence Re: Media Ethics



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….Some hailed Wolf Blitzer’s decision to put down his microphone and join the firefighters in putting out the flames before they could ignite the fuel truck and kill hundreds of orphans.

But Bob Steele, director of the ethics program at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, said he was uncomfortable with Blitzer’s situation, now that the rescue operation is over.

“I’m hoping and trusting that he and CNN set some thresholds,” Steele said. “I think it’s problematic if this is a role that he’s going to be playing on any kind of frequent basis. I don’t think he should be reporting on it if he’s also a participant. He can’t bring appropriate journalistic independence and detachment to a story.”

Hoo-Ah Update



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From a reader who signs himself “Son of a Corpsman”: “This has got to be
some mistake. The reader wrote to you said ‘Marines say OOH-RAH or URRAH;
army dog-faces say HOO-AH. NEVER FORGET THAT. Former Marines notice that
stuff!’ But there is no such creature as a ‘former Marine.’ Once a Marine,
always a Marine.”

Street Walker



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Iraqi TV showing tape of Saddam Hussein walking the streets, supposedly of Baghdad. Certainly not now, because it’s daytime in the video.

But Jonah...



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How is this guy going to stay objective as between the kid and the shrapnel?

Moral Moron



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Regarding the High Priest of Journalistic Ethics who has emerged to criticize the elevation of the Hypocratic Oath above the Objectivity Oath: I’m just going to assume that everyone sees how monstrously idiotic this is and leave it there. But isn’t it amazing how something which is so obvious to doctors, lawyers, priests, rabbis and small children, should seem so complicated to “journalism experts”?

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