Sunday, June 30, 2002

Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus
The Plumb Design Visual Thesaurus is an exploration of sense relationships within the English language. By clicking on words, you follow a thread of meaning, creating a spatial map of linguistic associations. The Visual Thesaurus was built using Thinkmap™, a data-animation technology developed by Plumb Design.
"Look at the Bush-Cheney budget plan, and tell me how is that different from the Enron profit and loss statement."

Perhaps Looking Ahead, Gore Reflects With Regret
Tonight, in a speech to members of the Shelby County Democratic Party, Mr. Gore indeed sounded like a candidate. He launched a new attack on the Bush administration, assailing its fiscal and foreign policy.

"Look at the Bush-Cheney budget plan, and tell me how is that different from the Enron profit and loss statement," he said.

He also criticized the course of the war on terrorism. "They haven't gotten Osama bin Laden or the Al Qaeda operation," Mr. Gore said. "They have refused to allow enough troops from the international community to be put into Afghanistan to keep it from sliding back under control of the warlords."
Israeli Defense Chief Unveils Jerusalem Fence Plan
Israel plans to erect a three-section 30 mile long fence and other physical barriers on Jerusalem's borders with the West Bank in response to Palestinian suicide bombings that have killed at least 80 people in the city since the Palestinian uprising began in September 2000.

The planned Jerusalem fence weaves in and out of land Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war and on which Palestinians want to establish a state.

Construction began a month ago, before the start of work on a separate project for a 180 mile fence straddling Israel's porous border with the West Bank.

Palestinians say fence-building will lead to Israeli expropriation of West Bank land and cause them more economic hardship by stopping an influx of thousands of Palestinian laborers who sneak across the frontier into Israel each day.
Israel Defense Chief Says Rogue Settlements Must Go
Israeli troops removed two Jewish settler outposts in the West Bank on Sunday after Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer vowed to dismantle rogue settlements vulnerable to the Palestinian uprising.

While Ben-Eliezer zeroed in on unsanctioned settlements, the army relaxed its clampdown on West Bank hotbeds of militancy by lifting a curfew in Bethlehem. But more than 500,000 Palestinians remained confined to home elsewhere.

A spokesman for the umbrella YESHA Council of Jewish settlements said two of the 10 outposts Ben-Eliezer slated for removal by Monday were dismantled peacefully on Sunday. Israel Radio said their inhabitants left before the army arrived.

Ben-Eliezer said the trailer clusters were too isolated to be protected.

Deputy Defense Minister Dalia Rabin-Pelossof told Israel Radio earlier that settlers had agreed to take down the first 10 designated outposts by Monday, and another 10 in coming days.

``If they do not, I understand from the defense minister that he has signaled he will evacuate them by force,'' she said.

Israeli peace activists opposed to settlements estimate there are at least 60 outposts -- often just a few caravans -- perched on hilltops throughout the West Bank.

Analysts said Ben-Eliezer's move against settler caravans, whose proliferation has helped inflame Palestinians, aimed to defuse a backlash in his center-left Labour Party over the current reoccupation of Palestinian cities.

Ben-Eliezer spearheaded the army's West Bank offensive in response to two Palestinian suicide bombings that killed 26 people in Israel on June 18 and 19, almost two years into a Palestinian revolt for statehood.

About 145 settlements with 200,000 people have sprouted with Israeli government approval in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since their capture in the 1967 Middle East war.

But a scattering of others has been established without government permission, often near sites where settlers have been killed in Palestinian attacks.

Settlers claim a biblical right to the land. The Palestinians and most countries regard the settlements as illegal and the overriding obstacle to Middle East peace.

Soon after taking office in March 2001, Sharon's government pledged under U.S. pressure not to found new settlements. But his rightist coalition said existing settlements could expand to accommodate ``natural growth.''

The 145 full-fledged settlements resemble affluent U.S. suburbs that stand out from the shabby, concrete-block cities, towns and villages where three million Palestinians live.
The Most Wanted Palestinian
By now, Israeli assassination operations against Palestinians have become as routine as Palestinian suicide bombings. Every terrorist act prompts an Israeli military response or what the Israelis call a ''targeted killing,'' which in turn elicits a murderous Palestinian retaliation -- particularly when the target is a leader of an armed wing like Al Qassam Brigades of Hamas; Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades of Fatah, Arafat's nationalist party; Islamic Jihad; or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The cycle has been spiraling unabated, with minor truces, for more than eight years, since Hamas launched its first suicide-bombing missions to avenge a massacre by an Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein. And it shows no signs of abating: in just the week before this article went to press, Jerusalem suffered two suicide attacks in which 26 were killed and retaliated by killing 2 militants, seizing Palestinian lands and sweeping up thousands of Palestinians.

Most Israelis had never heard of Qeis Adwan (pronounced kice ODD-wahn) until he was killed and the newspapers reported his rap sheet: how he masterminded the suicide attacks at the Matza restaurant in Haifa on March 31, two days after the start of Operation Defensive Shield; at a Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem last August; and on a crowded railway platform in the coastal town of Nahariya the following month. Altogether, 31 Israelis died in the bombings, and scores more were wounded. To Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service, Adwan had become one of the most dangerous Palestinian militants, threatening enough to merit a carefully calculated -- and expensive -- assassination plot, right in the middle of the army's first emergency call to war since the invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

One morning a few weeks after Adwan's death, I met with a Shin Bet officer in Tel Aviv to find out why Adwan was considered to be so dangerous. ''He had three outstanding characteristics which were catastrophic from our point of view,'' the officer said: his ability to manufacture ever more potent bombs, his logistical imagination in the plotting and execution of the attacks and his leadership potential.

Adwan had emerged as the most popular and inspiring leader of the student union at An Najah National University in Nablus, which is, with 13,000 students, the largest in the West Bank. But he was also a longtime member of Hamas, the virulently anti-Israeli Islamic group. So when the second intifada began, in September 2000, he moved quickly into a more militant role, assuming command responsibility in the northern military wing of Hamas.

He not only recruited and dispatched suicide bombers but led attacks against Israeli military positions. He also pushed to improve the Palestinians' crude and so far ineffective Qassam rocket, a homemade weapon with a range of about five miles. He coordinated military attacks and financial matters for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza (physical travel between the two is impossible for most Palestinians) and talked with affiliates in other countries. ''He's one of the few who were in touch with Hamas headquarters in Jordan and Syria,'' the Shin Bet officer said.

On March 31, two days after Israeli tanks rolled into Ramallah, Adwan produced his deadliest bomb yet and sent it off in an explosives belt with a young man from a village not far from his own. The bomber detonated himself in the Arab-run Matza restaurant, killing 15 and wounding more than 40. Among the dead -- many of whose bodies were disfigured beyond recognition by fire and shrapnel packed inside the bomb -- were several Israeli Arabs.

Listening to the Shin Bet officer's descriptions of Qeis Adwan's Haifa bombing -- ''an outstanding operation,'' ''he learns from his mistakes,'' ''he pulled off a difficult one, a first for Hamas'' -- I had the feeling that he almost admired his adversary in a professional way. But if he did, the feeling was tempered by moral revulsion.

''I've been in this business for 20 years,'' the officer said, ''and I've never encountered such a vicious and cruel terrorist as Qeis Adwan.''

It was an astonishing claim regarding such a young man barely out of college, given the long list of his predecessors -- among them, Yahya Ayyash, the prototype of the Hamas ''engineer'' (typically a bomb maker with an engineering degree) and originator of Hamas's suicide bombers.

Cross the Green Line into the West Bank, and not surprisingly, you find an entirely different portrait of Qeis Adwan. ''Kind,'' ''simple,'' ''flexible,'' ''polite,'' ''diligent,'' ''beloved.'' When I met his mother a few weeks after his death, she said, ''He never carried a gun.'' She was a tall, formidable woman, dressed in black with a white hijab tight around her face. Her eyes shone with pride in Qeis as she showed me a photograph of him crouching next to a snowman. ''He was an angel in a human body,'' she said. ''When he was young, he didn't even like to see insects die.''

One of Qeis's brothers, Nassar, a skinny 22-year-old studying civil engineering, told me he was taking an exam last summer when a friend passed him a newspaper with Qeis's name printed in a list of those most wanted by the Israelis. He raced home from Nablus. ''I opened the door, and Qeis looked at me and knew I knew, and that I wanted a reaction. He said: 'What they're saying is totally untrue. Is it possible I could be responsible for all this?'

''All of us knew it was the death sentence for Qeis,'' Nassar continued. ''In the past, if Israel suspected you, they arrested you. But in this intifada they send you a rocket.''
Rookies in the Schools
…in a report to Congress, Education Secretary Rod Paige stated accurately that teacher quality is a key determinant of student success. But his definition of a high-quality teacher was alarming in what it left out: it dismissed the need for any knowledge of teaching and child development — or even student teaching experience.

Secretary Paige concluded that while states' licensure of teachers should require more verbal and subject-matter competence, "burdensome education requirements" should be eliminated.

This is a recommendation that all but guarantees that our poor and minority youngsters living in the inner cities will continue to be left behind. It is a promise to maintain the achievement gap in academic performance between rich and poor, urban and suburban, and black/Hispanic and white/Asian children.

At one extreme in America's separate and unequal public systems are schools for affluent suburban children in places like Scarsdale, N.Y.; Lake Forest, Ill.; and Pacific Palisades, Calif. These school systems treat teaching as a profession, not to be practiced until after careful training. At the other extreme are the schools in our inner cities, like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, largely for poor and minority children. They treat teaching as a trade — something to be learned while doing the job.

By buying homes in wealthy communities, parents in the affluent suburbs pay entrance fees of hundreds of thousands of dollars to send their children to the schools in the first group. These schools, recognizing that children's performance depends on effective teachers, pay far higher salaries than inner-city schools do. They also expect much more in teacher preparation. They ask their teachers to exhibit not only verbal ability and subject matter proficiency, but also knowledge of teaching. They want their teachers to know about teaching methods, classroom management, child development, differences in how children learn, curriculum design, assessment of student performance, learning disabilities, educational technology and much more.

In these school systems, the job of teacher is seen as something akin to the job of a doctor. It is not enough to have strong basic intelligence or mastery of basic science to be a doctor. We require doctors to be educated in medical theory, have substantial clinical experience and learn in internships.

In the inner-city schools, teachers typically come with a rudimentary level of knowledge and then learn how to handle a classroom on the job. Accordingly, salaries are low. The reality is that a growing proportion of the teachers being hired in these schools are unable to meet their states' certification requirements. They often lack adequate preparation and knowledge in their subject fields and may not have any knowledge of education.

What Mr. Paige's recommendation means is that for poor and minority children we are willing to accept something far less under the definition of a "highly qualified teacher." This teacher can be a rookie with absolutely no prior experience teaching — or even time in a classroom. The research shows that such novice teachers have very high attrition rates in inner-city schools. Requiring no professional training should assure a continuing line of inexperienced teachers learning by trial and error and making their mistakes with the children who need the best teachers in the country.
Looking for X in the Algebra of Leadership
…Dr. Arnold M. Ludwig, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at the University of Kentucky, has come along with his "Political Greatness Scale" — the latest in a long line of scholarly attempts to measure political leadership with the cool objectivity of science.

Dr. Ludwig devoted 18 years of research to the effort. He says his study of 377 rulers from the last 100 years — published last month as "King of the Mountain: The Nature of Political Leadership" (University of Kentucky Press) — is certainly ambitious. He insists that his Political Greatness Scale — in which rulers are awarded points for, among other things, creating or liberating countries, winning wars, expanding territory, improving the economy, promoting an original ideology, staying in power and serving as a moral exemplar — is a reliable, bias-free tool for comparing leaders' achievements.

On this scale, Yasir Arafat scores 17 out of a possible 37 points, placing him a couple notches above Bill Clinton and on a par with Dwight D. Eisenhower and Fran├žois Mitterrand. The scale's real overachievers, however, are for the most part a motley crew of despots and tyrants, including Hitler (25), Mussolini (26), Stalin (29), Mao (30) and Kemal Ataturk of Turkey (31), as well as a lone American president, Franklin D. Roosevelt (30).

Dr. Ludwig says the numbers reflect a leader's impact on the world, not his personal virtue. On this scale, for example, warmongering turns out to be critical to one's long-term historical standing. "No American president can be regarded as great unless they've been involved in war and been responsible for the death of many," Dr. Ludwig said.

The belief that dominant personalities shape the course of history is known as Great Man theory, after the Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle, who argued that "the history of the world is but the biography of great men." And in the fledgling discipline of leadership studies, Great Man theory — like almost everything else about the field — is hotly contested.

"The study of leadership is so fragmented, it's almost pulverized," said James MacGregor Burns, the 83-year-old political scientist and Roosevelt biographer, whose 1978 book, "Leadership," is regarded as one of the field's founding texts. While some leadership scholars try to plumb the depths of rulers' psyches — or measure specific traits like charisma, motivation and emotional intelligence — others ignore personality altogether, emphasizing political systems and institutions, the reciprocal benefits of leader-follower interactions or any number of economic and social variables.

The first important modern studies of the American presidency, for example, implicitly endorsed a Great Man approach.…

The body of scholarship devoted to the first executive's psyche continues to grow. At the University of Michigan, for example, David G. Winter, a psychology professor, uses an elaborate scoring system to rate presidential speeches and statements for their "motivational" content. (Speechwriters are only a minor impediment, he says.) He has scored inaugural addresses by every American president, including George W. Bush, whose "motive profile," he says, "suggested a more aggressive and less entrepreneurial version of his father."

In Mr. Winter's assessment, the presidency may be best suited to those who get greater satisfaction from exercising power and socializing than from achieving policy goals. "Based on past research about presidential motives and performance, we can predict that Bush will enjoy being president," Mr. Winter wrote in his analysis of the speech. (Mr. Bush also distinguished himself by using the word "not" almost 17 times per 1,000 words — more than any previous president — which Mr. Winter says is a measure of "activity inhibition," typically high in people who have given up alcohol or do not drink.)

Mr. Winter also studies the minds of foreign leaders. His current project involves scoring statements by senior officials in India and Pakistan to determine the likely outcome of the crisis in Kashmir. He said his analysis was still incomplete. "Like all academics, we're going to predict whether war will occur or not a couple of months after it did or didn't," he said.

Saturday, June 29, 2002

Israel Minister: 10 Settlements to Go
Ten illegal settlements in the West Bank will be dismantled in the next 24 hours, Israeli Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said Saturday.

Earlier in the week, Ben-Eliezer vowed to remove 20 of the hilltop outposts, even if he had to send in the army to forcibly remove the settlers, many of whom say they have a biblical right to the land they believe God gave the Jews.

``By the end of the day tomorrow, 10 outposts are to be taken down,'' Ben-Eliezer told a gathering of his Labor Party.

The Defense Ministry must approve any new settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- lands Israel occupied in the 1967 war and which Palestinians want for a future independent state. The illegal outposts have never received government approval.

Ben-Eliezer told Israeli television the outposts that will be dismantled initially are those that are most dangerous. Some are far removed from the larger settlements, have no security fence around them and consist of nothing more than a mobile home and an Israeli flag. The army has said the outposts are vulnerable to Palestinian attacks.

Peace Now, a leading watchdog of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, has said that there are nearly 40 illegal outposts. Other organizations put the number higher. The discrepancy results from differing definitions of what is an illegal outpost.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak reached an agreement with the council in 1999 to dismantle several illegal outposts. But more than 100 settlers at a small ranch called Havat Maon refused to leave. Television pictures of soldiers dragging and carrying men, women and children onto buses were broadcast worldwide.

Since the start of a Palestinian uprising in September 2000, settlers have been targeted by militants. Several illegal outposts have been built -- some just a caravan on a hilltop -- in memory of settlers killed in the violence.
Mideast Snapshots
Jimmy Carter:
Camp David was the first time a U.S. president sequestered leaders in cabins in the woods until they cried uncle - a practice President Clinton emulated.

The agreement offered historic recognition of Palestinian rights but something was lost in the translation. In the ratified Hebrew version, there were no ``Palestinians,'' only ``Arabs of the Land of Israel.''
Trying to Roust Militants, Israel Blasts Building in Hebron
Hebron, like all but one of the eight major cities in the West Bank, remained under strict curfew, part of a major Israeli military operation to curb suicide bombing by rounding up suspected militants. The operation has confined 700,000 Palestinians to their homes.

Despite the curfew, tanks and police patrols, many Palestinians here ventured cautiously into the streets. Some scattered when cars drove by, but others pointedly kept on playing soccer on streets imprinted with the marks of tank treads, or shopped furtively at vegetable stands tended by children.

"The people of Hebron have been under four days of curfew, being humiliated," said Fawzi Owaiwi, 79, who has not left his home, which is in view of the battered Palestinian compound, since Tuesday. "How would Americans feel if they were under this situation? Our people are asking for one thing: their legitimate rights. Americans should be fair."

Mr. Owaiwi's comments reflected a surge in anti-American sentiment around Palestinian areas, an ever-present anger sharpened since President Bush's speech on Monday calling for the ouster of Yasir Arafat as a condition for American support for a Palestinian state. Many Palestinians say Mr. Bush sided exclusively with the Israelis in his speech.

The Israeli military said it detained nine suspected militants overnight Thursday in the West Bank, including a member of Mr. Arafat's Fatah movement, at his home near Bethlehem. Late on Thursday, the Israeli military reported that three children in Qalqilya were wounded when troops opened fire on people breaking the curfew. One, a 9-year-old boy, was shot in the head. Palestinian officials said the children were shot as they ventured out to buy school supplies for final exams, believing that the curfew had been eased for that purpose.

The army said in a statement that "preliminary investigation shows that the soldiers acted improperly, and the army expresses its regret."
but as usual, no one will be punished A.I.
Trying to Roust Militants, Israel Blasts Building in Hebron
The Israeli military blasted away a section of the huge and sturdy Palestinian Authority building in Hebron late Friday night, in an attempt to end a four-day standoff with some 15 Palestinian militants who are believed to be inside hiding from heavy Israeli fire.

Details were sketchy, but journalists at the scene and local residents described a large explosion not long before midnight that rattled houses around the hilltop where the building sits. Early this morning the Israeli military confirmed that it had "detonated in a controlled manner" part of the four-story building.

Early today, a second explosion brought down the rest of the building.

There was some question about deaths or whether anyone was still inside. About 150 people have emerged from the building since Israeli tanks moved into Hebron on Tuesday night in search Palestinian militants and weapons. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the "assumption" was that people remained inside.

But earlier Friday, a former Palestinian minister, Talan Sidr, was permitted to go inside the already heavily damaged with a bullhorn to negotiate with the holdouts. He came out saying he had found no one.

"I kept searching, but no one responded," Mr. Sidr said after leaving the building. "I didn't find anybody."
The Scout Report -- Volume 8, Number 24
The Price of Paying Taxes: How Tax Preparation and Refund Loan Fees Erode the Benefits of the EITC [.pdf]

The Price of Paying Taxes: How Tax Preparation and Refund Loan Fees Erode the Benefits of the EITC [.pdf]
For the first time scholars and researchers have gotten together and prepared an analytical survey on the relationship between Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) recipients and the location of tax preparation services (such as H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt) that offer e-filing and tax returns. Available in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), and co-authored by the Brookings Urban Center and the Progressive Policy Institute, this report "analyzes information on the commercial tax preparation industry and the spatial distribution of its firms." The report also contains information regarding the concentration of "fast cash" refund loan facilities within low-income communities throughout the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, and provides an estimate of the total amount spent on tax preparation and loans by EITC recipients.

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2002.
Serious OpenSSH Flaw Detected
Serious flaws have been detected in OpenSSH on the OpenBSD operating system, the open-source tool used as a secure alternative to Telnet and FTP and security experts are recommending IT administrators upgrade to OpenSSH version 3.4 immediately.

Friday, June 28, 2002

Largely Spared by the Israelis, Jericho Is Quiet, Too Quiet
The casino is dead. The cable cars that once took tourists up to where the Bible says Jesus faced down the Devil now dangle pointlessly, like a clump of dates just out of reach. Half of this city, which claims to be the world's oldest and the lowest in elevation, is now out of work.

So there is no real sense of jubilation that Jericho, which held so much promise during peace, is also the only one of the eight major cities in the West Bank not locked under curfew by Israeli tanks.

Many Palestinians here worry that it is only a matter of time before Jericho too is caught up in Israel's new military campaign to stop suicide bombings by moving back into much of the West Bank. Tonight, that worry was behind the hustle of a 45-year-old woman named Khitam Shihadeh, who was sneaking herself and her four children back into Jericho, which is more or less sealed off, after only a few hours visiting her mother in a nearby village.

"I wanted to stay with my family for longer than that," she said after weaving through a line of military concrete barriers on the city's outskirts. But she said, "If they invaded Jericho, I would be in one place and my husband would be in another."

"It's very quiet there, and that's why we don't go in there," said Jacob Dallal, a spokesman for the Israeli military. "I wish we could say that about more cities."

He said Jericho had not been a source of unrest or suicide bombers, and so there was no reason for a greater military presence. This was by design: at this point in Jericho's 12,000 years of continuous habitation, its most relevant feature is the Allenby Bridge, which leads to Jordan and is now the only way for Palestinians in the West Bank to leave for the outside world.

Not long after September 2000, when the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis erupted again, local officials and the Palestinian Authority agreed to keep the bridge open by keeping Jericho calm.

"Whenever anything happened in this city, the Israelis directly closed the bridge," said Abdel Karim Sidr, the mayor. "And that's a problem for Palestinians."

So far Jericho, separated from much of the rest of the West Bank by desert and mountains, is still viewed by Israel as less militant. So much so that this month, Israel allowed six top terror suspects holed up in the Ramallah headquarters of Yasir Arafat to be placed in a jail here monitored by American and British wardens (though some Israelis accuse the men of continuing to play a covert role in terror activities).

But Jericho has been far from immune from the 21 months of conflict. All the roads leading into Jericho are manned by Israeli soldiers, and few Palestinians are permitted in or out. The fabled wall of Jericho has a modern-day replacement: a ditch the Israeli military dug around the city to prevent cars from sneaking in and out.

Even the mayor has had problems. About three weeks ago, Mr. Sidr said, he left on a back road to attend an official meeting of the region's electricity company, but was stopped by soldiers, searched and stripped down to his underwear.
Largely Spared by the Israelis, Jericho Is Quiet, Too Quiet
The casino is dead. The cable cars that once took tourists up to where the Bible says Jesus faced down the Devil now dangle pointlessly, like a clump of dates just out of reach. Half of this city, which claims to be the world's oldest and the lowest in elevation, is now out of work.

So there is no real sense of jubilation that Jericho, which held so much promise during peace, is also the only one of the eight major cities in the West Bank not locked under curfew by Israeli tanks.

Many Palestinians here worry that it is only a matter of time before Jericho too is caught up in Israel's new military campaign to stop suicide bombings by moving back into much of the West Bank. Tonight, that worry was behind the hustle of a 45-year-old woman named Khitam Shihadeh, who was sneaking herself and her four children back into Jericho, which is more or less sealed off, after only a few hours visiting her mother in a nearby village.

"I wanted to stay with my family for longer than that," she said after weaving through a line of military concrete barriers on the city's outskirts. But she said, "If they invaded Jericho, I would be in one place and my husband would be in another."

"It's very quiet there, and that's why we don't go in there," said Jacob Dallal, a spokesman for the Israeli military. "I wish we could say that about more cities."

He said Jericho had not been a source of unrest or suicide bombers, and so there was no reason for a greater military presence. This was by design: at this point in Jericho's 12,000 years of continuous habitation, its most relevant feature is the Allenby Bridge, which leads to Jordan and is now the only way for Palestinians in the West Bank to leave for the outside world.

Not long after September 2000, when the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis erupted again, local officials and the Palestinian Authority agreed to keep the bridge open by keeping Jericho calm.

"Whenever anything happened in this city, the Israelis directly closed the bridge," said Abdel Karim Sidr, the mayor. "And that's a problem for Palestinians."

So far Jericho, separated from much of the rest of the West Bank by desert and mountains, is still viewed by Israel as less militant. So much so that this month, Israel allowed six top terror suspects holed up in the Ramallah headquarters of Yasir Arafat to be placed in a jail here monitored by American and British wardens (though some Israelis accuse the men of continuing to play a covert role in terror activities).

But Jericho has been far from immune from the 21 months of conflict. All the roads leading into Jericho are manned by Israeli soldiers, and few Palestinians are permitted in or out. The fabled wall of Jericho has a modern-day replacement: a ditch the Israeli military dug around the city to prevent cars from sneaking in and out.

Even the mayor has had problems. About three weeks ago, Mr. Sidr said, he left on a back road to attend an official meeting of the region's electricity company, but was stopped by soldiers, searched and stripped down to his underwear.
Israeli Forces Hit Palestinian Offices in Hebron in Effort to Dislodge Gunmen
Israeli troops pounded the Palestinian Authority offices in Hebron for a third day today, firing heavy machine guns and rockets from helicopters to dislodge 15 gunmen they said were holed up inside.

[An Israeli army bulldozer punched a hole in the side of the Palestinian headquarters building in Hebron on Friday, as the Israelis demanded the surrender of gunmen inside, The Associated Press reported.]

The seven Palestinian cities on the West Bank into which Israel has sent troops remained shut down for the fifth day, leaving about 700,000 Palestinians locked in their homes under round-the-clock curfews and more than a million others in surrounding villages cut off from food, medicine and commerce. Jericho is the only major city not taken over by the Israelis.

In the Balata refugee camp, near Nablus, two Palestinians were shot dead today in clashes with Israeli Army troops, and about 10 others were wounded, both sides reported. In Qalqilya there was gunfire from soldiers after Palestinians came out for a break in the curfew and Palestinians reported that a child was shot dead. The Israeli Army said it was investigating.

In Nablus itself, Israeli troops stormed a jail being used as a security headquarters and took about 20 Palestinians into custody, most of them members of the Palestinian Navy Police, which has its headquarters in the landlocked city.

At the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, armored bulldozers backed by Israeli troops entered the Rafah refugee camp and destroyed about 10 houses, Palestinians said.

In the course of the assault on Palestinian offices in Hebron — a fortresslike structure known as the Imara that was once used as a barracks by the British — about 120 people have surrendered.

The Israeli Army is still holding about 20 of those who surrendered, officials said, including one person they described as a senior Hezbollah leader from Lebanon who had slipped in to train Palestinians in guerrilla warfare and, presumably, bomb attacks.

Israeli prosecutors today charged a Lebanese-born Israeli, the 35-year-old son of a Jewish mother and a Shiite Muslim father, with being a spy for Hezbollah. Identified only as Nissim, he was accused of making maps of gas and electricity installations in the Tel Aviv area and of trying to obtain information from the army.

Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, who is chairman of the Labor Party as well as an uneasy partner in Mr. Sharon's government, said in a statement today that he did not believe there was a military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian standoff.
News: Feds fear all-out cyber-war with Al Qaeda
WASHINGTON--U.S. government experts, wary of Al Qaeda's skills on the Internet, are concerned that Osama bin Laden's guerrilla network may be planning cyber-attacks targeting nuclear power plants, dams or other critical structures, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

An FBI investigation of suspicious surveillance of key computers discovered ``multiple casings of sites'' nationwide, the report said, citing a Defense Department summary of the probe.

Routed through telecommunications switches in Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan, the visitors studied emergency telephone systems, electrical generation and transmission, water storage and distribution, nuclear power plants and gas facilities, the Post said.
WDVL: Designing Usable Forms
Forms are an integral part of many web sites, whether they are registration forms, feedback forms, or order forms. However, forms are time consuming for the site user to fill out, and need to be implemented to be as usable as possible, otherwise they can be frustrating and annoying, spoiling the user experience.

This book takes all the hassle out of implementing forms in whatever way you wish, dealing with client-side forms in HTML and Flash, client- and server-side form validation, and server-side data processing. It provides code samples fully adaptable to your own needs, along with walkthrough tutorials on how they work, and an HTML form element reference.
Open Source Intelligence The Open Source movement has established over the last decade a new collaborative approach, uniquely adapted to the Internet, to developing high-quality informational products. Initially, its exclusive application was the development of software (GNU/Linux and Apache are among the most prominent projects), but increasingly we can observe this collaborative approach being applied to areas beyond the coding of software. One such area is the collaborative gathering and analysis of information, a practice we term "Open Source Intelligence". In this article, we use three case studies - the nettime mailing list, the Wikipedia project and the NoLogo Web site - to show some the breadth of contexts and analyze the variety of socio-technical approaches that make up this emerging phenomenon.
Public Agenda Online: On Thin Ice Americans may — after they learn more about the idea — be open to vouchers, but they tend to see them as a limited solution (and a relatively modest one at that). Few see school vouchers as an ultimate lifeline for American families; nor do they fear them as the death knell of public education. Most people believe vouchers would benefit some students, but they also see possible drawbacks. After careful explanation, most seem positively disposed to the idea — particularly if other communities have served as guinea pigs — yet people generally see them as a partial solution at best.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

How Middle East Realities Unravel the Best-Laid Plans
"Shattered Dreams of Peace: The Road From Oslo," a two-hour edition of "Frontline" on PBS, provides a crystalline timeline of the setbacks that have undermined the promise held out by the Oslo Peace Accords in 1993. This extraordinary documentary doesn't break news, but rather illuminates the tragedy and absurdity with theatrical force. If only it were fiction.

Shattered Dreams of Peace: The Road From Oslo

On most PBS stations tonight
(check local listings)
Saudis Support Bush's Policy but Say It Lacks Vital Details
"People are sick and tired of interim plans, interim solutions," said Mohamed Kamal, a political science professor at Cairo University. It was for that reason that Arab governments had pressed for a detailed American plan that would address specific issues like the status of Jerusalem, a timetable for withdrawing from settlements, and the return of Palestinian refugees.

"The political process is essential to curb the violence," Prince Saud said. "Without this political process, violence can be stopped for awhile, but not curbed forever.

"Therefore it is our sense that a political process that will be convincing to both sides will also be convincing to curb the violence," he said. "Without that, nothing can be done, which is why we think it is important to identify the sequences to the ideas that were in the president's speech."
Resistance Thins Out at Palestinian Offices in Hebron
The Israeli military kept up pressure on the West Bank today, firing thousands of rounds into an old British police station here in a standoff with suspected Palestinian militants that has ground on now for two days.

The standoff was one of the few instances of violent resistance to Israel's new major military operations in the West Bank. Seven of the eight major Palestinian population centers remained under almost round-the-clock curfew today, as part of an Israeli campaign to curb suicide bombings.

Throughout the day here in Hebron, bullets and tank shells spattered concrete walls, and fires smoldered.

At least 13 of the Palestinians who emerged from the standoff were arrested as terror suspects, and the military said that more than 100 explosive devices had been found in the area.

But Palestinians, who have for days now been confined to their homes, called the operation here an example of Israeli heavy-handedness.

"You see?" asked Sahayb, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy, crouching behind a stone wall near the building as gunfire hammered away. "No peace. No sleep. Not any life."

In the Jenin refugee camp, a 6-year-old boy was killed after an Israeli soldier opened fire into a group of youths throwing stones at tanks enforcing the curfews. The boy, identified as Bassam Saadi, was hit in the chest. Another boy, 12, was shot in the legs, Palestinian officials said.
Here in Hebron, where 450 Jewish settlers live under heavy guard in a city of 120,000 Palestinians, the streets remained largely empty, even though the Israeli military presence seemed confined to the outskirts and the hilltop Palestinian Authority building.

Military officials said they began a siege of the building on Monday night, after reports that several hundred militants had holed up inside as Israelis began their West Bank campaign. Gun battles killed four Palestinian police officers here on Tuesday, and residents reported that regular firing continued today.

"We are happy there is some resistance," said one Palestinian man, who gave his name as Abu Abed, 60, as he watched the standoff from a nearby building.
Palestinian Authority Sets a January Vote
Hussam Khader, a Palestinian legislator and one of the most passionate critics of Mr. Arafat within his Fatah movement, said that Mr. Bush's comments had guaranteed that Mr. Arafat would stay in power for years to come.

Paraphrasing Mr. Bush, he went on: "When he said `I don't want Yasir Arafat, and I want a new leadership,' then he emotionally pushed the Palestinian people to re-elect Yasir Arafat. This is the worst thing he mentioned in his speech. This will give new life to Yasir Arafat and his corrupt people."

In a sign of how difficult Mr. Bush's vision of a mature Palestinian democracy may be to achieve, Mr. Khader said that he did not plan to run for re-election himself, having given up on the possibility that the Legislature could be a meaningful, independent voice. He added that after Mr. Bush's speech even he was now reluctant to call for Mr. Arafat's replacement.

Mr. Arafat "will run, sure he will run," Mr. Khader said. "No one will beat him. Yasir Arafat, he's still the symbol."

Palestinian officials warned that they would not be able to conduct elections until Israeli forces withdraw from the West Bank towns they have occupied and take up the positions they held in September 2000, before the latest conflict began. In his speech, Mr. Bush suggested that Israel withdraw, but only after violence subsides.

In a further complication, Palestinian officials said that they expected Palestinians living in Jerusalem to vote in the elections, as they did in 1996. But Prime Minister Ariel Sharon calls Jerusalem Israel's eternal, undivided capital, and might resist such an expression of alternative sovereignty.

The "100 Days Plan" of reform released today, which confirmed details reported previously, was drawn up by a committee of ministers appointed by Mr. Arafat. It was forwarded to Washington and Arab capitals on Monday, in anticipation that Mr. Bush would call for thorough changes in Palestinian governance.

The plan calls for sharp separation of powers, new consolidation and discipline of the multiple security agencies and school curricula renouncing fanaticism and emphasizing democratic values.

In particular, all tax revenue and other income to the Palestinian Authority would be deposited in one treasury account; official commercial and investment operations are to be run by a single "Palestinian Investment Fund" with strict, independent auditing.

The plan also requests new regulations spelling out the duties of Palestinian governors, who are appointed by Mr. Arafat and sometimes clash with local officials. The governors will now report to the minister of interior — who, under the proposed reforms, would be a powerful official overseeing internal security in the West Bank and Gaza, a senior Palestinian official said.

In a sign of the basic level at which Palestinians are seeking to rationalize their governance, the plan commits the Palestinian Authority to "put into force all laws that have been passed."

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

The Palestinians are compelled to have a democracy, as long as it does exactly what Bush and Sharon want. Like keeping people locked up without charge. Looking the other way while their people are killed. Pretending there is no such thing as state terrorism.
State Court Says Pledge of Allegiance Is Unconstitutional
For the first time ever, a federal appeals court Wednesday declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional because of the words ``under God'' added by Congress in 1954.

The ruling, if allowed to stand, means schoolchildren can no longer recite the pledge, at least in the nine Western states covered by the court.

In a 2-1 decision, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the phrase amounts to a government endorsement of religion in violation of the Constitution's Establishment Clause, which requires a separation of church and state.

``A profession that we are a nation `under God' is identical, for Establishment Clause purposes, to a profession that we are a nation `under Jesus,' a nation `under Vishnu,' a nation `under Zeus,' or a nation `under no god,' because none of these professions can be neutral with respect to religion,'' Judge Alfred T. Goodwin wrote for the three-judge panel.
Israeli Curfews Expand Hardships Imposed on Palestinians
They came walking across the scrubby hillside this afternoon in long, ragged lines, hundreds of Palestinians, mostly women, picking their way along dirt paths under a burning sun, back to their home villages after mostly unsuccessful efforts to get food or medical treatment during a brief lifting of the curfew in Bethlehem.

Sakiena Abed al-Qader was one who succeeded. She said she had walked for nearly an hour with her 17-year old daughter-in-law, who was about to give birth to her first baby, to get her to the hospital.

"I had to walk — there wasn't any other way," said Ms. Qader, 50. "It was very, very difficult because she couldn't walk. It was the most difficult moment of my life because it was very dangerous."

The Israelis have imposed curfews on Nablus, Tulkarm, Jenin, Qalqilya, Ramallah and Bethlehem, in addition to Hebron, leaving only Jericho, which had been quiet and thus, army officials have said, unlikely to be seized.

More than 700,000 people in the seven cities are confined to their homes under Israeli curfews that are only lifted every two or three days, usually for about two hours.

But the clampdown, which includes barbed wire barricades separating village from village, affects roughly two million people in the West Bank because Palestinian society is structured around villages spreading out from central cities, where there are markets, schools and medical facilities.

Today, for example, scholastic tests had been scheduled to determine who could go to college. Few managed to take them, Palestinians said.

In Hebron, where about 450 Jewish settlers live in a fortified enclave among 120,000 Palestinians, and where there has been frequent conflict between them, Palestinian residents were nowhere to be seen.

At every turn of the main city road that branched off into Palestinian neighborhoods, military checkpoints, big concrete blocks or bulldozed earthworks barred the way.

Iron doors were pulled down and Palestinian families, who have repeatedly been placed under curfew here for several years, stayed inside. Israeli soldiers in the red berets of the Paratroop Regiment supervised checkpoints, while others in helmets and full combat gear were on patrol.

Jewish settlers drove through the streets unhindered, and their children rode bicycles.

…in Hebron today, four Palestinian police officers were killed in an exchange of fire with the Israeli troops as the Israelis tried to take over the fortresslike hilltop municipal building, a relic built by the British after World War I. Afterward, the local Palestinian security chief, Nizam Jaabri, surrendered, along with a score of other Palestinian police officers.

On the outskirts of town, glimpses could be seen of men wearing black-and-white blindfolds as they were taken off for questioning after being detained on a bus with blacked-out windows.

A tour through both the northern and southern sections of the West Bank today found the main roads deserted, except for a single car containing Jewish settlers.

The main route, Highway 60, going north to Nablus, was virtually deserted. At the Arab village of Sinji, north of Ramallah, where there is a welcome sign on an arch, someone had replaced the Palestinian flag with a blue-and-white Israeli banner.

Outside Nablus, in the northern stretch of the West Bank, two trucks bringing flour to a United Nations refugee depot were delayed at a checkpoint for four hours, a driver said.

Israeli tanks were atop a nearby hill, and a four-story apartment building overlooking the Balata refugee camp had been taken over by the army, military officials said, with about 20 residents held on one floor, their cellphones confiscated.

"It's hard to enforce the curfew in Balata," said Capt. Kobi Veller, the Israeli commander of the post. "People are very undisciplined. They go out during curfew.…
Bush, in Canada, Is Facing Skepticism on Arafat's Role
France, Germany and the European Union all criticized some aspects of Mr. Bush's approach before their leaders arrived here, even while praising the president for setting a loose timeline of three years for the creation of a Palestinian state and for calling for Israel's eventual withdrawal to its pre-1967 borders.

But it was clear that Mr. Bush, who obviously hoped for an endorsement of his Mideast approach by the leaders here, will have to argue his case. "I would not be surprised if the leaders discussed with the president their thoughts about the speech," Mr. Fleischer said.

Among the skeptics it is clear he will have to convince is Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, who is due here late on Wednesday. Mr. Annan warned today that the American insistence on free elections among the Palestinian people could easily backfire. "You could find yourself in a situation that the radicals are the ones that get elected, and it would be the result of a democratic process and we have to accept that," Mr. Annan said.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who will join the political discussions here but not the economic strategy sessions, said before he left Moscow that it would be "dangerous and mistaken" to remove Mr. Arafat because doing so "would only radicalize the Palestinian movement."

What makes the dynamic at this meeting potentially the most interesting, though, is that Mr. Bush and the rest of the leaders will be arguing not only over Mideast policy, but also over a broad agenda of other differences that were submerged for months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

At the summit meeting last year in Genoa, Mr. Bush and his allies promised to pick up the pieces on their differences over the Kyoto protocol on global warming, but in the year since there has been little progress.

Trade tensions have worsened: European leaders made it clear they believe Mr. Bush has turned his back on his commitment to free markets by blocking steel imports and raising subsidies to farmers.
Europe Lauds Bush Speech, but Rejects Arafat Ouster
Even the British, Mr. Bush's staunchest allies, parted company with his rebuke of Mr. Arafat, saying they would accept whomever the Palestinians chose as their leader. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told the House of Commons that if Mr. Arafat were re-elected, Britain "would deal with him."

"We deal with the leaders that are elected," he said, "and, in the case of dictatorial regimes, with those that are not elected."

Asked specifically about Mr. Arafat's future, Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman said, "The key point is that there needs to be somebody who can represent the views of the Palestinian people, who can take up this vision and deliver." He said that Mr. Blair shared Mr. Bush's view that Mr. Arafat "has let the Palestinian people down."

Mr. Arafat has been a frequent visitor to European capitals, and Europeans have helped finance the elections and activities of the Palestinian Authority. The European public has generally found more favor with Mr. Arafat than Americans have. But while the leaders of the 15-nation bloc have continued to recognize Mr. Arafat as the legitimate leader of the Palestinians despite Israeli and American efforts to marginalize him, they have cooled toward him as suicide bombings carried out by Palestinians have continued.

Significantly, officials did not defend Mr. Arafat's record but stressed only that it was up to the Palestinians to choose their own leader. They also supported calls for sweeping reform of the Palestinian institutions.

"I think it's positive that he is so strongly confirming the idea of a Palestinian state," said the Swedish foreign minister, Anna Lindh, before adding, "But I can't support the idea of having as a condition that Arafat will leave as the leader of the Palestinians." Norway, host of the secret talks in 1993 that led to the now-abandoned Oslo peace accords, also took issue with the argument that Mr. Arafat must go.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, prime minister of Denmark, which takes over the presidency of the European Union on July 1, also said that Mr. Arafat has not done enough to stop the violence. But, he added, "We will not demand that Arafat or any other leader in the region is removed."
Moderates in Arab Lands Accentuate the Positive
"This is a catastrophic speech that provided the Arabs with nothing," said Emad Fawzi Shueibi, a political analyst and professor at the University of Damascus. "Bush did not offer a solution — he gave new conditions that the Palestinians have to meet in order to start negotiations."

Officials in Syria kept silent, and government-run newspapers there ignored the fact that Mr. Bush had demanded that Syria expel militant Palestinian groups that Washington accused of terrorist activity and that Syria cut off its support for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Saudi Arabia, which often takes its time in formulating official reactions, kept quiet at home, although a spokesman appeared on various American television channels to support the idea of a Palestinian state.

The gap between supportive government pronouncements on the speech and the anger voiced by the public at large sometimes made it seem as though the two had listened to different speeches.

"And the Americans wonder why do the Arabs hate them!" said Ahmed Abdel-Salam, a 28-year-old banker, sitting with his friends in downtown Cairo cafe. "The answer in one word is Bush. If his message succeeded in one thing, that is telling the few Palestinian voices that still had hopes in the Americans as a fair broker that they were completely wrong."
Arafat Says Ballot, Not Bush, Will Decide His Leadership
"The fact that free-market economies and legal systems are not viable for a people under occupation appears to be of no concern to Bush," he wrote. "The fact that the blood of hundreds of civilians will continue to flow here every month while these contradictions bang into one another also appears not to cause Bush any loss of sleep."
Arafat Says Ballot, Not Bush, Will Decide His Leadership
While officials tried to sound upbeat, some Palestinian analysts and reformers expressed consternation. They accused Mr. Bush of seeking indefinite postponement of substantive negotiations toward Palestinian statehood by setting impossible and even self-defeating conditions.

In the vacuum, those Palestinians suggested, violence might only intensify in the coming months. Today four Palestinian security officers were killed by Israeli forces as the troops moved into Hebron, the seventh town to be reoccupied by Israel in response to suicide bombings last week.

On the streets of Gaza, Palestinians said they were pleased to hear Mr. Bush describe the Israeli presence there and in the West Bank as an "occupation" from the 1967 war.

But they bridled at the demand that Mr. Arafat, 72, be replaced. "I am for reform," said Muhammad Hussein, 31, a computer engineer. "There is corruption. But I'm against change and reform imposed by an external force."

Referring to Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, Mr. Hussein said: "We don't have a Karzai, like America imposed on Afghanistan. We would refuse such a thing."

Palestinian offficials said that demanding Mr. Arafat's removal might only increase his popularity, prompting Palestinians to rally around the familiar leader they call "the old man."

The reviews in Israel of President Bush's policy were strikingly consistent. The leading analysts for Israel's two mass circulation Hebrew dailies — echoing a view widely held by Palestinians — declared that the president's speech could have been written by Israel's right-wing prime minister, Ariel Sharon, or by Mr. Sharon's political peers.

On Israel's right, Mr. Bush's demand that Mr. Arafat be replaced was enthusiastically received. Avigdor Lieberman, one of the most hawkish ministers in the government, called the speech mostly "positive and constructive."

Others were less cheered. Avraham Burg, the speaker of the Israeli Parliament and a critic of the Sharon government, called the speech "strong and determined" but warned that it left too much uncertainty about how to ease the conflict now.

"The president leaves the State of Israel alone facing the violence and the loss of life caused by the terrorist attacks without any clear commitment, without a sponsor for peace and without a roadway leading to his vision," Mr. Burg said.

Writing in the daily Maariv, Hemi Shalev, a political correspondent, called Mr. Bush's vision of reform "fantastical" and mocked it as "Jefferson-style democracy, New England on the banks of the Jordan River."

"Bush's speech might have been a giant step for Ariel Sharon, but it was probably a very small step for the chances of peace," he wrote.

…Foreign Minister Shimon Peres had been undercut by the speech, because he has been a consistent advocate of intensive diplomacy with the current Palestinian leadership in parallel with the use of force. Mr. Peres was reported by the daily Yediot Ahronot to have walked away from a broadcast of the speech, declaring that Mr. Bush had made a "fatal mistake" and that "a blood bath can be expected."

But in public today, Mr. Peres was more restrained, telling reporters the speech "contained some very clear and important things." But he added, "Problems still remain that need to be handled, and handled seriously."
Aides to Bush Say Arafat Financed a Terrorist Group
One Egyptian diplomat, referring to Mr. Bush's recent meeting with President Hosni Mubarak, said: "At Camp David, President Bush said Arafat is not the issue, and we interpreted this to mean that he is not the issue. So why did he make him the issue?"
Palestinians Confirm Their Plans to Hold Elections Next January
Under Oslo, the Palestinians and Israelis were supposed to have reached a final agreement, presumably creating a Palestinian state, by Sept. 13, 2000 — just before this conflict broke out.

The "100 Days Plan" of reform released today, which confirmed details reported previously, was drawn up by a committee of ministers appointed by Mr. Arafat. It was forwarded to Washington and Arab capitals on Monday, in anticipation that Mr. Bush would call for thorough changes in Palestinian governance.

It calls for sharp separation of powers, new consolidation and discipline of the multiple security agencies, and school curriculums renouncing fanaticism and emphasizing democratic values.

It calls for all tax revenue and other income to the Palestinian Authority to be deposited in one treasury account and for official commercial and investment operations to be run by a single "Palestinian Investment Fund" with strict, independent auditing.

It also requests new regulations spelling out the duties of Palestinian governors, who are appointed by Mr. Arafat and sometimes clash with local officials. The governors will now report to the minister of interior — under the proposed reforms a powerful official who will also have oversight over internal security in the West Bank and Gaza, a senior Palestinian official said.

Palestinian officials have repeatedly said that Israeli blockades and military attacks have crippled their institutions; for example, many legislators, like Mr. Khader, are unable to travel from their home cities to Ramallah to meet.

But Mr. Arafat has also ignored the legislature when it suited him. Only last month did he sign a so-called Basic Law, a sort of constitution guaranteeing basic rights to Palestinians, that the legislature passed five years ago. It is still not known for certain what version of the law he signed.

The Palestinian Authority's plan for reform declares that "the Basic Law will be published in the Official Gazette no later than" July 15.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

There are lies, damned lies, statistics, and the things G. W. thinks are true.
The Reality Thing
…the distinctive feature of all the programs the administration has pushed in response to real problems is that they do little or nothing to address those problems. Problems are there to be used to pursue the vision. And a problem that won't serve that purpose, whether it's the collapse of confidence in corporate governance or the chaos in the Middle East, is treated as an annoyance to be ignored if possible, or at best addressed with purely cosmetic measures. Clearly, George W. Bush's people believe that real-world problems will solve themselves, or at least won't make the evening news, because by pure coincidence they will be pre-empted by terror alerts.

But real problems, if not dealt with, have a way of festering. In the last few weeks, a whole series of problems seem to have come to a head. Yesterday's speech notwithstanding, Middle East policy is obviously adrift. The dollar and the stock market are plunging, threatening an already shaky economic recovery. Amtrak has been pushed to the edge of shutdown, because it couldn't get the administration's attention. And the federal government itself is about to run out of money, because House Republicans are unwilling to face reality and increase the federal debt limit. (This avoidance thing seems to be contagious.)

So now would be a good time to do what the White House always urges its critics to do — put partisanship aside. Will Mr. Bush be willing to set aside, even for a day or two, his drive to consolidate his political base, and actually do something that wasn't part of his preconceived agenda? Oh, never mind.
Bush's Mideast Plan Draws Israeli Praise, Arab Ire
Asked for a response to Bush's call for a new leadership, Arafat, who has announced plans for elections by early next year, told reporters in Ramallah: ``This is what my people will decide. They are the only ones who can determine this.''

Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday the United States would respect the electoral choice of the Palestinian people. If they choose Arafat, he said, ``we will deal with the circumstances as we find them.''

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told reporters Bush's call for Palestinian elections could backfire.

``You could find yourself in a situation that the radicals are the ones that get elected, and it would be the result of a democratic process, and we have to accept that,'' he said.

Radically differing reactions from the warring sides to Bush's blueprint for peace underscored the depth of hostility that has built up during nearly 21 months of bloodshed.

Ordinary Palestinians, who have long accused the United States of bias in favor of Israel, minced no words.

``We also believe the Americans deserve a better leader than Bush. He is an obstacle to peace,'' said Ali Mohammad-Ali, a 35-year-old electrician, in Gaza.

Some moderate Arab governments offered lukewarm praise for the Bush initiative, pleased with deeper U.S. involvement in peace making and a call for creation of a Palestinian state within three years.

But a strong undercurrent of scorn and disappointment ran through the Arab world.

``It is absurd. The Americans have changed their priority from ending the violence to changing the Palestinian leadership, which is Sharon's priority,'' Lebanese commentator Michael Young said in Beirut.
Bush Demands Arafat's Ouster Before U.S. Backs a New State; Israelis Welcome Tough Line
A senior administration official said that an earlier draft of the speech did not include an explicit call for Mr. Arafat's removal, but that the back-to-back Palestinian suicide bombings last week had "crystallized" the American resolve that there be new leadership.

The official said Mr. Bush inserted the sentence calling for the removal of Mr. Arafat as a precondition to Palestinian statehood late Saturday afternoon in his private office in the White House residence.

Some Palestinian leaders complained that the demands were so broad — from free elections to an end to corruption to the breaking up of terrorist groups targeting Israel — that Mr. Bush's speech could only be viewed as a stalling tactic.

Notably missing from the speech was any firm timetable to move toward Palestinian statehood, which President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt had pressed on Mr. Bush during a meeting at Camp David earlier this month. But the lack of a timetable was another victory, for Mr. Sharon, who has long said that talk of statehood is "premature."

Mr. Bush and administration officials were vague about the practicalities of how the United States would help the Palestinians pursue those reforms. An administration official would say only that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell would put together a "work plan" that could include the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other donor countries to build a Palestinian state, similar to the process that the United States is leading in Afghanistan.

Administration officials did not specify the standards for determining whether the reforms have been met, and they left unclear who would be the final judge — the United States, Israel, the United Nations or another group.

Officials also refused to answer questions about whether the Bush administration would now cease all contacts with Mr. Arafat, who regularly talks to Secretary Powell. "We'll have to see," one senior official said. But some administration officials said they would be willing to consider allowing Mr. Arafat to remain as a figurehead leader of the Palestinian people, an idea Israeli officials have suggested they will support.
Speech Stuns Palestinians and Thrills Israelis
Delighted with President Bush's speech, Israeli officials expressed the hope tonight that perhaps, at last, Yasir Arafat would be ousted and a new, peace-seeking Palestinian leadership installed.

But Ismail Abu Shanab, a leader of the militant group Hamas, which has been behind several recent suicide bombings, expressed a different hope: that perhaps, at last, Yasir Arafat and his Palestinian Authority would let real Palestinian violence explode.

"I hope the Palestinian Authority will now understand that it should support resistance and not chase after the West," said Mr. Abu Shanab, an engineer in Gaza City, observing that Mr. Arafat had now "lost the support of the American administration" along with that of average Palestinians.

Palestinian officials were as stunned by the speech as Israelis were pleased. The Palestinians had hoped that Mr. Bush would urge an Israeli withdrawal, but they heard him talk instead about Israel's need to defend itself.

Indeed, Mr. Bush softened previous demands on Israel. In a speech on April 4, Mr. Bush called for "immediate action" to ease Israel's blockades of Palestinian areas. Since then, those blockades have tightened. But tonight Mr. Bush asked only that Israel restore freedom of movement to "innocent Palestinians" as "violence subsides."

"The choice here is stark and simple," Mr. Bush said, invoking a biblical injunction to choose life over death. "The time has arrived for everyone in this conflict to choose peace and hope and life."

But some Israeli politicians said that things in the Middle East were not necessarily simple. "I am willing to take my chances and say that the speech will not result in anything," Shlomo Ben Ami, a former foreign minister who opposes the current government, told Israel Radio. "At times I think he is talking about Switzerland and not about the Middle East."

Mr. Bush went far further, calling not only for new elections but also for a specific outcome, the election of a new leadership "not compromised by terror." For the first time, an American administration made the creation of a Palestinian state conditional on the removal of Mr. Arafat.

Mr. Bush made his speech on a day that Israel stepped up its latest West Bank offensive and killed six Palestinians with a missile strike on Palestinians it said were militants in the Gaza Strip. Once again tanks and troops were dispatched to encircle Mr. Arafat's compound in Ramallah.

[Early on Tuesday, three Palestinian policemen were killed in the West Bank city of Hebron when Israeli troops stormed the Palestinian government headquarters there, The Associated Press reported.]

After invading Ramallah, Israeli forces held six of the eight major Palestinian cities and towns under round-the-clock curfew. After two suicide bombings in Jerusalem killed 26 Israelis last week, the Israeli government announced plans to seize Palestinian-controlled territory until the attacks cease.

Mr. Bush's call for a new Palestinian leadership uncompromised by terror raised one immediate quandary. There are no Palestinian leaders with any sizable following today that Israel regards as free of links to terrorism, either by long association with the Palestine Liberation Organization or as a result of their roles in the present conflict.

Indeed, the conflict has so embittered both peoples that it is conventional wisdom among Palestinian politicians and analysts that anyone who replaced Mr. Arafat now, lacking his history and credentials, would have to be even more extreme to sustain broad support.
President's Speech Is Criticized for Lacking Specific Proposals
The Arab world, hoping for a detailed American proposal for peace and a Palestinian state, instead found a speech short on a specific timetable and long on demands for Palestinian reform.

"You cannot put his speech down on the negotiating table and make a plan out of it — we will implement this tomorrow and this the next day," said Jamal Khashoggi, an editor and columnist at the Arab News daily. "He just completely adopted the Israeli analysis of the situation, that it is terror forcing them to maintain the occupation, not that occupation is leading to terrorism."

Few in the Arab world believed President Bush's speech went far enough in offering the kind of incentives needed to stem the rising violence and death toll on both sides.

In his speech, Mr. Bush demanded that Israel cease building settlements in Gaza and the West Bank and eventually pull back to the boundaries prior to the 1967 war. Mr. Bush said he envisioned a provisional Palestinian state until full, permanent statehood could be achieved, perhaps in three years.

However, Arab governments have in recent days rejected the idea of a provisional state attached to only a vague timetable.

Mr. Bush gave his speech just before midnight in the Arab world and because the region's leaders are in the habit of consulting with each other before speaking publicly, there was little official reaction.

Some analysts noted that in the absence of more concrete American promises to the Palestinians on how the occupation might end, even transparent elections now in the Palestinian territories would likely only produce a leadership far more radical and confrontational than the Palestinian leader, Yasir Arafat.
Clear Terms, Murky Future
Mr. Bush declared the price of statehood for 4.5 million Palestinians, and it will be high: the removal of Yasir Arafat as the Palestinian leader.

Once that occurs, and "with intensive effort by all," Mr. Bush said, an agreement to create such a state, with an elected leadership, a rule of law, and an open economy "could be reached within three years from now, and I and my country will actively lead toward that goal."

With this address, Mr. Bush opened a new period of American diplomacy in the Middle East that immediately raised the question of whether it can succeed, since it defers indefinitely the political negotiations that Palestinians, backed by Arab leaders, have been demanding to end Israel's occupation of the West Bank and to reach a final settlement on statehood. An important question is whether Mr. Arafat, whom Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel would like to exile and Mr. Bush would like to remove from office, will have any incentive to cooperate with this new American policy.

The policy is still short on the details of how a cease-fire could be put in place — how the Israeli Army might be coaxed out of the West Bank or how Palestinian security institutions might be rebuilt to prevent suicide bombings. Those are important factors in creating conditions for a political process that could move forward.

For all the risks in a policy that sends a sharp message to Mr. Arafat that he is irrelevant, the recent track record of splitting differences in the Middle East has been a dismal failure. "Everything is shoved down the road so, and it was so conditional," said Richard W. Murphy, a onetime assistant secretary or state for the Middle East who served Democratic and Republican administrations. He added that Mr. Bush could face a "dilemma" if — in defiance of American pressure to remove the icon of their national movement — Palestinians re-elect Mr. Arafat at the first opportunity, which is expected to be next spring.

A significant risk is that while Mr. Bush waits for Palestinians to live up to the benchmarks he set forth from the Rose Garden of the White House, the violence will simply continue, or even intensify.

It was also unclear how changing the Palestinian leadership would actually proceed after the United States and European countries helped Palestinians carry out local and national elections over the next year, or how those elections would be carried out at all if violence and Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories continued.

…sooner or later, consumers are likely to bear some of the financial burden of cleaning up after their electronics habits. What everyone's trying to figure out now is how and when.

Monday, June 24, 2002

In Fights Over .Com Names, Trademark Owners Usually Win
Researchers analyzing an arbitration system set up to resolve disputes over Internet addresses have found that decisions made through the system have substantially broadened the rights of trademark holders in cyberspace.

The study represents one of the first attempts to examine the circumstances and outcome of more than 3,800 disputes handled by online arbitration procedures established in 1999 by the private corporation that manages the Internet's address system.

The goal of the arbitration system, known as the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, was to provide an efficient, low-cost alternative to litigation for trademark holders who were trying to obtain the .com equivalent of their trademarks — in many cases, from speculators hoping to sell those names at a profit to deep-pocketed corporations.

Although the researchers concluded that the system had been effective in combating these so-called abusive domain-name registrations, they also found that the system had "tipped the scales too far" in favor of trademark interests.

Milton Mueller, an associate professor at Syracuse University who conducted the study, said that in about 80 percent of the disputes examined, the party that filed the complaint, generally a trademark holder, prevailed. In more than half the cases, the party asked to defend a domain name registration did not bother to respond to the complaint and therefore lost the right to the name.

"That raises procedural and equity questions about the process," he said. "If lots of domain holders feel intimidated or feel it's too expensive to respond, the whole process becomes simply a way for trademark holders to grab domain names."
Israeli Operation Engulfs Ramallah Without a Battle
Israeli tanks and troops surrounded Yasir Arafat's battered compound at dawn this morning, extending the shutdown of nearly all of the Palestinian West Bank, as President Bush's advisers said he was tentatively planning to announce his new Mideast policy — including a path to creating a Palestinian state — this afternoon at the White House.

…more than 100 Israeli armored vehicles were seen moving into Ramallah, the Palestinian intellectual, political and commercial capital, expanding an operation that has left more than 600,000 people confined to their homes in the cities of Nablus, Qalqilya, Jenin, Tulkarm and Bethlehem.

It was unclear whether the latest Israeli action would once again force the White House to put off Mr. Bush's speech, which has been the subject of constant debate among his national security team. The suicide bombings last week, and Israel's reaction, have reopened a long-simmering discussion about how quickly Mr. Bush should advocate moving toward the broad goal of creating a state called Palestine, and what kind of conditions he should declare that the Palestinians must meet before that state would come fully into existence, with defined borders and a seat at the United Nations.

In Ramallah, the Israelis were reported to be tightly gathered around Mr. Arafat's compound, much of which lies in ruins from earlier Israeli attacks. A Palestinian official inside the compound said at 6 a.m. that there had been no gunfire.

Armored bulldozers were pushing rubble barricades high enough around the headquarters to effectively lock Mr. Arafat inside, witnesses said, and Israeli riflemen had taken up sniper positions in some parts of the ruined buildings. Apache attack helicopters flew overhead, firing in at least two places. Several explosions were heard. Loudspeakers atop the armored vehicles warned the city's population, about 55,000 people, to stay indoors.

The move into Ramallah came at 4 this morning, after a day in which the Israeli Army called up a brigade of reservists to bolster its forces in the West Bank and the government struggled with a number of strategies to stem the tide of suicide bombers, ranging from building a wall to deporting bombers' families.

Palestinian officials accused Israel of reoccupying the West Bank, scrapping the Oslo peace accords, under which limited control of parts of the West Bank and Gaza was transferred to the Palestinians, and preparing to reimpose the old Civil Administration — actually military rule — that existed before Oslo.

"It is their fatal mistake, to reoccupy again these Palestinian territories," Mr. Arafat said in Ramallah on Sunday. "They are agreeing to cancel what was agreed upon from Oslo until now."

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said: "It is obvious the Israeli government is resuming fully its occupation. We have been saying this is the endgame of Sharon for many months."

But Israeli officials insisted that they had no intention of assuming the politically loaded and costly burden of maintaining services like garbage collection, electricity and water in the Palestinian areas.
At Boy's Memorial, a Blasted Bike and a Candy Bar
Ahmed Abu Aziz was 6 and owned a purple bicycle. On Friday, this locked-down city began to stir to rumors that the curfew was being lifted for a few hours. Ahmed asked his father for a shekel, worth just under 25 cents, for a trip to the store by bike with two brothers.

Today, his bicycle sat in the yard of his parents' house, the seat and right handlebar blown off. A little memorial of stones and seashells to Ahmed includes the Coco Dance candy bar he had bought with the shekel just before stray Israeli tank fire killed him, along with his brother, Jamil, 13.

The curfew, it turned out, was still in force. Israeli tanks shelled the central market, where residents had rushed in to shop, leaving 4 people dead, including 3 children, and wounding 26. Later, the military said the shelling was a mistake, committed during a week of especially violent attacks against Israelis.

"Do they think that will bring back my kids?" the boys' father, Yousef, 49, a driver for the United Nations, asked today. "What is my guilt if someone blows himself up? It's their responsibility to look for these people. It's not their responsibility to kill my kids."

The tank shooting, which also killed a 6-year-old girl and a 60-year-old man, occurred at the central market as troops were searching house to house for a bomb laboratory. One shell apparently strayed perhaps half a mile to kill Ahmed and Jamil Abu Aziz as they rode home. A third brother is in a hospital.

A 12-year-old boy was killed overnight on Friday in Jenin when a ceiling collapsed as soldiers destroyed what they said was a bomb laboratory next door.

Also since Wednesday, residents said, hundreds of men have been rounded up and detained — including Akram Abu Sbaa, who said he was taken to a nearby military camp on Wednesday and held for 48 hours along with others in tents before being released.

"This is collective punishment," said Mr. Abu Sbaa, 39. "It is because we are Palestinians. They want to humiliate us."

Today, Jenin itself was largely quiet, though Palestinian official said Israeli forces had entered the nearby village of Yamun, killing a Palestinian policeman and wounding another. Residents took advantage of several hours without the curfew, shopping for what many said they believed would be a long period of not being allowed to leave their homes.
Case Against Seven Tied to Group Labeled Terrorist Is Dismissed
After deliberating for months, Judge Robert M. Takasugi of Federal District Court in Los Angeles ruled on Friday that a 1996 law passed by Congress to classify foreign groups as terrorist organizations is "unconstitutional on its face," and thus cannot be used as the basis of criminal charges.

That antiterrorism law, a cornerstone of the government's case against John Walker Lindh, the American accused of aiding a foreign terrorist group, makes it a crime to provide "material support" to any foreign organization that the State Department deems a threat to national security. But the law gives these groups "no notice and no opportunity" to contest their designation as a terrorist organization, a violation of due process, Judge Takasugi ruled.

"I will not abdicate my responsibilities as a district judge and turn a blind eye to the constitutional infirmities" of the law, Judge Takasugi wrote.
Slave 'Railroad' Buffs Question Museum Site
"There was a fake grave over there where the abolitionists had the runaways climb down into the tunnel," Ms. Laveck explained. She was delving deep into the historic past, where the cramped tunnel, barely wide enough for a slave's shoulders, snaked darkly below what is now a paved road.

Right here in Ashtabula County was the nation's hotbed of abolition, the place that produced 13 of John Brown's 21 anarchist raiders," Ms. Laveck said. She belongs to a legion of history buffs in Ohio and beyond who are busy dusting off the tales, relics and heroism of the surreptitious paths to freedom called the Underground Railroad, which drew thousands of runaway slaves north.

"The slave catchers were hot on the trail of two of them," Ms. Laveck said, continuing a beguiling narrative of how the Ashtabula sheriff made a show of arresting the two slaves but then quietly released them to resume their night flight.

Such was the antislavery spirit in Ashtabula County before the Civil War. Such is the enthusiasm now to revive the Underground Railroad in a $110 million National Underground Railroad Freedom Center scheduled to open in two years — on the riverfront in Cincinnati, in the southwest corner of Ohio across the state from Ashtabula, in the northeast corner.

But not all history buffs envision Cincinnati as the ideal site in what was a constellation of transit points and safe houses for fugitive slaves that are flung across several states.

"I think the Underground Railroad is just a surface premise in a project whose real goal is to save Cincinnati's waterfront," said Ms. Laveck, who fears the center will be more a tourist theme park than an authentic place of history. She is a member of Friends of Freedom Society Ohio Underground Railroad Association, a dedicated group of Ohio residents who have been researching far-flung historic points for years.

"It's contrived," Ms. Laveck said of the Cincinnati project, complaining that one exhibit, a holding pen for recaptured slaves, would lose its authenticity in being transported to Ohio from Kentucky. "The money could be better spent preserving and protecting the real sites of history," she said. Hundreds of safe houses and hiding places were used by the runaways.
News: Open, closed source security about equal?
"Other things being equal, we expect that open and closed systems will exhibit similar growth in reliability and in security assurance," Anderson wrote in his paper.

The research is unlikely to quell the long-running debate between proponents of open-source software and corporations that believe closed-source software is better. While providing ammunition for each side's arguments, the paper also undermines each coalition. Supporters in the Linux community have maintained that open-source programs are more secure, while Microsoft's senior vice president for Windows, Jim Allchin, argued in court that opening up Windows code would undermine security.

"The more creators of viruses know about how antivirus mechanisms in Windows operating systems work, the easier it will be to create viruses or disable or destroy those mechanisms," Allchin testified in May.

Anderson rebuts those types of arguments in his paper.

Idealizing the problem, the researcher defines open-source programs as software in which the bugs are easy to find and closed-source programs as software where the bugs are harder to find. By calculating the average time before a program will fail in each case, he asserts that in the abstract case, both types of programs have the same security.
con·cept: June 2002