Archive for October, 2006

October 31, 2006

HAVE A HAPPY SAMHAIN!

October 31, 2006

TIM BLAIR: “Bill Maher thinks he’s so politically incorrect. Then let’s see him in Mike Chaika’s Halloween costume.”

I mean, if you want to be brave and transgressive and all.

October 31, 2006

WHY THE REPUBLICANS think they can win.

October 31, 2006

MY EARLIER NEWS about the Addams Family coming out on DVD leads Fritz Schranck to email:

BTW, F Troop is also out in DVD, and my wife bought a couple copies.

Can Max Headroom be far behind?

Fritz has been waiting for that to happen for a while.

As for Max Headroom, I never watched that show much.

UPDATE: Peter Ingemi emails that he wants McHale’s Navy — and not the lame Tom Arnold film.

October 31, 2006

A LOOK AT the Panama Canal, version 2.0.

October 31, 2006

FOR A CONSTRUCTIVE RESPONSE TO KERRY’S REMARKS, how about donating to project Valour IT, which provides voice-activated laptops for injured troops?

You know, lemons, lemonade, etc.

October 31, 2006

HEH.

October 31, 2006

CAMPAIGNS HIRING BLOGGERS: Daniel Glover has a roundup of who’s hiring who.

October 31, 2006

MARY KATHARINE HAM posts a special Halloween edition of Ham Nation.

October 31, 2006

THE HOTLINE BLOG ASKS:

By making himself an issue, did Sen. John Kerry do the GOP a favor by giving them an issue to motivate their base? (Independents may not care, but the base hates Kerry… hates him.)

If Kerry is happy to let America know that he’s not going to take sleights, are Democrats happy to have Kerry in the spotlight seven days before the election?

Couldn’t Kerry have taken care of this imbroglio by admitting that he mangled his words?

Is it smart for any Democrat right now to take the spotlight? Shouldn’t the Dems want to keep the spotlight solely and totally on Bush and Iraq?

Does Kerry know how and when to pick his battles?

Lots more questions, basically boiling down to this one: “What was he thinking?

Austin Bay comments:

In the spare space of 24 hours Kerry has resurrected the Vietnam Syndrome –at least his and the left wing of the Democratic Party’s Vietnam (loser’s) Syndrome. This is stupid but particularly stupid in the last week of a national election. Doubly stupid in the midst of a long, grinding war. Kerry is trapped, in an odd sort of amber. He’s stuck on stupid and stuck in the past simultaneously. . . .

Why didn’t Senator Kerry just apologize? “I’m sorry for what I said. I meant to crack a joke and it came out sounding like an insult to US troops. Forgive me. We owe our defenders so much.”

But we know why.

Some questions answer themselves.

UPDATE: More:

I’ll bet Senator Clinton absolutely loves watching her potential ’08 rival shoot himself in the foot.

BTW, I’m another National Merit Scholar serving in the active duty military. I missed 4 questions on the SATs. But the real insult to my intelligence came when Senator Kerry tried to pretend he was talking about Bush.

That was a pretty unconvincing response. I don’t think he’s used to the power of YouTube in politics. Bill Frist, meanwhile, joins those demanding an apology.

And here’s some more background on the quality of the forces in Iraq:

Our review of Pen­tagon enlistee data shows that the only group that is lowering its participation in the military is the poor. The percentage of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods (with one-fifth of the U.S. population) declined from 18 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2003, 14.1 percent in 2004, and 13.7 percent in 2005. . . .

In summary, the additional years of recruit data (2004–2005) sup­port the previous finding that U.S. military recruits are more similar than dissimilar to the American youth population. The slight dif­ferences are that wartime U.S. mil­itary enlistees are better educated, wealthier, and more rural on aver­age than their civilian peers.

Recruits have a higher percent­age of high school graduates and representation from Southern and rural areas. No evidence indicates exploitation of racial minorities (either by race or by race-weighted ZIP code areas). Finally, the distri­bution of household income of recruits is noticeably higher than that of the entire youth population.

Just don’t wind up a clueless U.S. Senator.

Meanwhile, the American Legion is demanding an apology from Kerry, too.

MORE: Donald Sensing responds to Kerry:

In about 30 minutes I wll leave to attend the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Richard Buerstetta, killed in action in Iraq two weekends ago. He was a2004 graduate of Franklin High School, where both my sons knew him. He and my eldest son were actually scehduled to go to boot camp at Parris Island, SC, the same day, but a change by their recruiter sent them on different days. Lance Cpl. Buerstetta was a Marine reservist, enrolled in college at Middle Tennessee State University, when his callup came. Without a flicker of hesitation at being yanked from his college courses, he shouldered his seabags and went off to war. “His bags stayed packed,” according to a family member. He died about a month after arriving in Iraq.

Got that? High school graduate. College student. US Marine. Iraq. . . .

I dare you, Senator Kerry, to come to Lance Cpl. Buerstetta’s funeral and tell that to his parents. Tell them that their son, high school graduate, college student, was just too uneducated and too stupid to avoid enlisting in an all-volunteer military.

Read the whole thing.

STILL MORE: Brendan Loy is defending Kerry:

This is yet another example of a political kerfuffle where the response to the mistake is worse than the mistake itself. If Kerry had spared us the vitriolic bluster and just apologized for a poor choice of words — explaining that he absolutely, obviously never meant to insult the troops — this story might be dead by now. Instead, he’s given right-wing propagandists like Drudge a golden opportunity to run context-free headlines such as “I APOLOGIZE TO NO ONE,” implying that Kerry stands by an insult that he never intended to deliver. This is the very definition of an unforced error.

So, in conclusion, John Kerry an idiot. But he doesn’t think our troops are idiots. I mean, c’mon. Like Bush, he’s stupid, not evil.

Loy’s commenters don’t seem to be buying it. Tom Maguire notes a similar claim on Kerry’s behalf and comments:

As to the “context” question, the quote was clear enough and Kerry’s non-apology was absurd enough. The real explanation – the quip was a Bush-basher that went awry – is probably true, but how would we have known that (Kerry has not used a similar formulation in our presence)?

As to believing that Kerry meant this as a troop-basher – well, it is hard to believe that he would have reflected carefully and said this.

But, he notes, Kerry hasn’t been shy about bashing troops in the past. His bottom line:

Kerry should apologize for not being able to speak English as well as the typical recruit. But enough already with Kerry delivering “dumb” jokes.

Or, in another take: ” A Democratic congressman told ABC News Tuesday, ‘I guess Kerry wasn’t content blowing 2004, now he wants to blow 2006, too.’”

Indeed. Or are the Karl Rove mind-control rays just that overpowering?

FINALLY: Here’s a big roundup on this story, from PJ Media. And Chip Mathis reminds us that Kerry’s grades at Yale were worse than Bush’s. This explains a lot . . . .

And Ann Althouse comments:

The John Kerry “stuck in Iraq” story is dominating the news today. It’s rather unfair to the Democrats who are actually running in the election. I’d love to hear the behind-the-scenes cursing he so richly deserves. (And let me add that Kerry is outrageously lying when he says he wasn’t referring to the troops. This is only prolonging his time in the spotlight, when he should get out of the way and let actual candidates speak.) . . . . I’ve seen the video of the whole context, and it’s obvious what he was saying. His attempt to interpret it away is outrageous. It only makes it worse. I know exactly what he was saying and it is the sort of thing that antiwar people say, that the volunteer military is full of unfortunate, deluded souls.

They managed to stifle Dukakis. They can’t seem to keep Kerry quiet.

October 31, 2006

HUBBLE REPAIR APPROVED: “The 11-day rehab mission, likely launching in May 2008 using space shuttle Discovery, would keep Hubble working until about 2013. Its estimated cost is $900 million.”

October 31, 2006

NORTH KOREA agrees to return to the negotiating table regarding its nuclear weapons program.

October 31, 2006

A HALLOWEEN LOOK AT “slutty children’s characters fantasy costumes.” Which seem to be in plentiful supply these days.

October 31, 2006

NOW THIS IS A COOL HALLOWEEN PRESENT: I’ve complained in the past about The Addams Family not being available on DVD.

But now the first season is out, and presumably the rest of the show is coming. Woohoo!

October 31, 2006

JOHN KERRY — a gift that keeps on giving. Unfortunately, it’s a gift for the Republicans. . . .

Kerry’s suggestion that the troops in Iraq are dumb failures is not only reprehensible, but false on the facts. In other words, a typical Kerry performance, just in time for the elections. Democrats must be wondering what they were thinking to nominate him in 2004, and why he won’t go away now.

UPDATE: John McCain’s office sends this demand for a Kerry apology from Sen. McCain:

Senator Kerry owes an apology to the many thousands of Americans serving in Iraq, who answered their country’s call because they are patriots and not because of any deficiencies in their education. Americans from all backgrounds, well off and less fortunate, with high school diplomas and graduate degrees, take seriously their duty to our country, and risk their lives today to defend the rest of us in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. They all deserve our respect and deepest gratitude for their service. The suggestion that only the least educated Americans would agree to serve in the military and fight in Iraq, is an insult to every soldier serving in combat, and should deeply offend any American with an ounce of appreciation for what they suffer and risk so that the rest of us can sleep more comfortably at night. Without them, we wouldn’t live in a country where people securely possess all their God-given rights, including the right to express insensitive, ill-considered and uninformed remarks.

A major blunder for Kerry and the Democrats, timed to do maximum damage to them and maximum good for the Republicans.

Philip Klein observes: “What struck me about this comment beyond the obvious fact that it is insulting to our troops, is just how politically incompetent John Kerry is. Here we are, a week before Election Day, Democrats are favored to win back control of the House and possibly the Senate . . . But in this video Kerry, the party’s most recent candidate for President and one of its most recognizable figures, is out there calling troops fighting in Iraq a bunch of morons.”

MORE: Kerry responds to his critics: It’s a meltdown.

October 31, 2006

FIRST, they came for the gays. . . .

October 31, 2006

IN THE MAIL: Jesse Sage and Liora Kasten’s Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery.

October 31, 2006

DAVID BROOKS: Down on conservative bloggers? Well, thanks to Times Select, they can’t send him any traffic. . . .

UPDATE: Ali Bubba is blaming David Brooks for the GOP’s problems. Both assessments of blame seem a bit, um, narrow to me.

October 31, 2006

ANOTHER ELECTION POLL: It’s a week away, so let’s see how InstaPundit readers think things will turn out.

How will the midterm elections turn out?
Republicans keep both houses
Democrats win one house, Republicans keep the other
Democrats win both houses
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

For comparison, here’s last week’s poll.

UPDATE: Hmm. With over 5,000 votes in so far, 60% of InstaPundit readers think the GOP will keep both houses. 34% see a split decision and only 6% think the Dems will take both. That’s actually slightly more optimistic than last week’s poll — and both polls see the GOP’s chances more favorably than I do, or the political futures markets do. So who’s right? We’ll see.

October 31, 2006

I FINISHED Arthur Chrenkoff’s new book last night. It’s terrific, with an interesting twist on the grandfather paradox at the end.

October 31, 2006

FRANK WARNER OBSERVES the eighth anniversary of the Iraq Liberation Act.

October 31, 2006

THOUGHTS ON TRUST, ELECTRONIC VOTING, AND MORE: My TCS Daily column is up!

October 31, 2006

AN INTERESTING STORY ON LONGEVITY RESEARCH in the New York Times starts off with calorie restriction but quickly moves on to the larger topic:

Recent tests show that the animals on restricted diets, including Canto and Eeyore, two other rhesus monkeys at the primate research center, are in indisputably better health as they near old age than Matthias and other normally fed lab mates like Owen and Johann. The average lifespan for laboratory monkeys is 27.

The findings cast doubt on long-held scientific and cultural beliefs regarding the inevitability of the body’s decline. They also suggest that other interventions, which include new drugs, may retard aging even if the diet itself should prove ineffective in humans. One leading candidate, a newly synthesized form of resveratrol — an antioxidant present in large amounts in red wine — is already being tested in patients. It may eventually be the first of a new class of anti-aging drugs. Extrapolating from recent animal findings, Dr. Richard A. Miller, a pathologist at the University of Michigan, estimated that a pill mimicking the effects of calorie restriction might increase human life span to about 112 healthy years, with the occasional senior living until 140, though some experts view that projection as overly optimistic.

According to a report by the Rand Corporation, such a drug would be among the most cost-effective breakthroughs possible in medicine, providing Americans more healthy years at less expense (an estimated $8,800 a year) than new cancer vaccines or stroke treatments.

That’s absolutely right. Calorie restriction is unlikely to work in humans — and I’m not sure it’s worth it anyway — but drugs that mimic its effects are another thing entirely.

Of course, some critics say that this is going for the low-hanging fruit when we should be working on stopping or reversing aging, not just slowing it down. I figured I’d find a discussion of that issue over at FightAging.org, and sure enough I was right. I think, though, that it’s nice to see that people are getting interested in this field at all, and if there’s a prospect of antiaging drugs that work better, lots of companies will jump on it as the financial incentives are huge.

Via FightAging I see that there’s also an article in the Wall Street Journal today (subscription required, but this link may work for nonsubscribers). Excerpt:

Still, some experts on aging doubt that enough is known about CR to guide the development of drugs that mimic its effects. “We know a lot about CR’s effects,” says Edward Masoro, a leading gerontologist. “But what bothers me is that I don’t think we’ve figured out CR’s basic mechanism yet.”

Dr. Sinclair’s idea that resveratrol mimics CR has come under heavy fire. His main adversaries are two researchers who used to rub elbows with him when they all studied together with MIT’s Dr. Guarente. The skeptics maintain that resveratrol’s mode of action is still murky; instead, they are looking at other mechanisms that may account for how CR works.

The resveratrol doses used in the life-span-extension studies in animals were far higher than the amount people can get by drinking wine — they were roughly equivalent to hundreds of glasses a day. Resveratrol is available as a dietary supplement, but to replicate the doses used in the studies, a person would need to take scores of pills a day. (Sirtris says it is developing prescription drugs that work like resveratrol but are hundreds of times more potent.) The dietary supplements haven’t been tested in clinical trials, so their efficacy isn’t proven, nor is it clear what dose might make people live healthier or longer. And although they seem safe at modest doses, megadoses may not be.

Nevertheless Dr. Sinclair, a 37-year-old Australia native, thinks taking small doses over time may yield health benefits and has been taking the supplements for three years. . . .

Sirtris, the company Dr. Sinclair co-founded, says it has made progress. Test-tube and animal studies suggest that its early-stage drugs may help treat various neurological killers as well as diabetes, says Dr. Westphal. The company plans soon to begin testing a drug in people with MELAS syndrome, a rare metabolic disorder that afflicts youngsters with potentially fatal brain and muscle deterioration.

At a recent meeting on aging research, a Sirtris scientist reported that SIRT1-activating compounds, including resveratrol, dramatically lowered blood levels of glucose and insulin in mice that get diabetes on high-fat diets, as well as helped to keep their weight down — just as CR does.

It’s easy to get overexcited about early research, but let’s hope that this succeeds. The economic boost of extending people’s healthy lifespans would be huge, and of particular value to countries with big unfunded pension obligations and low birthrates, which is most industrial countries. Such research is likely to be politically popular with an aging electorate, too. (But note the usual man-wasn’t-meant-to-do-this line from Leon Kass at the end of the NYT story.)

I’ve got a pretty lengthy discussion of the topic in An Army of Davids, and I’ve also addressed it in articles here and here, and in a lengthier review essay here. It’s a huge issue for coming decades.

October 31, 2006

GRAND ROUNDS is up!

October 31, 2006

A PRE-ELECTION PODCAST INTERVIEW with Jonah Goldberg.

October 31, 2006

DEMOCRATS: Seeking victory, not a mandate. This part seems plausible: “the ongoing non-success of Nutroots darling Ned Lamont in Blue Connecticut certainly suggests that the power or the progressives is less than they might have thought.” If the anti-war guy can’t win in Connecticut . . . .

October 30, 2006

CBS IS LOOKING FOR people who are nervous around Muslims.

This reminds me of Dateline’s unsuccessful efforts at trolling for racists at NASCAR events.

October 30, 2006

ROSIE O’DONNELL lives up to my expectations.

October 30, 2006

BOO! Something really scary for Halloween.

October 30, 2006

MORE BAD NEWS FOR THE NEWSPAPER BUSINESS:

The Audit Bureau of Circulations FAS-FAX report for the six-month period ending September 2006 released this morning confirmed yet again that major metros are struggling to show growth. The losses are steep while the gains are meager.

This is the fourth consecutive semi-annual report to register a severe drop in daily circulation and — perhaps more troubling to the industry — Sunday copies. While the estimated decline 2.8% for daily circulation for all reporting papers may seem negligible, consider that in years past that decrease averaged around 1%. Sunday, considered the industry’s bread-and-butter, showed even steeper losses, with a decline of about 3.4%.

Big cities like L.A., Miami, and Boston are feeling the effects of the Internet and the trimming of other-paid circulation. In New York, however, a 5.1% surge for the New York Post allowed it to leapfrog past its rival, the Daily News — and The Washington Post — into fifth place in daily circ.

The Los Angeles Times reported that daily circulation fell 8% to 775,766. Sunday dropped 6% to 1,172,005.

And I suspect that the news would be worse still if it weren’t for the various gimmicks used to inflate the circulation figures.

October 30, 2006

K.C. JOHNSON has more on the Duke rape case, which should probably be renamed the “Duke prosecutorial mosconduct case” at this point.

October 30, 2006

ROGER SIMON INTERVIEWS Chuck Todd of The Hotline.

October 30, 2006

“I’LL JUST ENTER THAT CODE:” The New York Times has one for everything.

October 30, 2006

BRANNON DENNING EMAILS THIS LINK to Prof. Indiana Jones’ tenure denial letter. Read the whole thing.

October 30, 2006

ORDINARY PEOPLE: Or not.

October 30, 2006

AIRSTRIKES IN BAJAUR: Bill Roggio has a report, and a followup.

October 30, 2006

STEVEN LANDSBURG: “Does pornography breed rape? Do violent movies breed violent crime? Quite the opposite, it seems. . . . The bottom line on these experiments is, ‘More Net access, less rape.’ A 10 percent increase in Net access yields about a 7.3 percent decrease in reported rapes. States that adopted the Internet quickly saw the biggest declines. And, according to Clemson professor Todd Kendall, the effects remain even after you control for all of the obvious confounding variables, such as alcohol consumption, police presence, poverty and unemployment rates, population density, and so forth.”

Can’t say I’m surprised.

UPDATE: Hey, this is certainly an argument against Harold Ford Jr.’s proposed Internet porn tax!

October 30, 2006

FRENCH “YOUTHS” — from burning buses to burning people.

October 30, 2006

MARTYRDOM as a weapon of mass destruction.

October 30, 2006

MORE PROBLEMS FOR NIFONG in the Duke rape case:

The second dancer in the Duke rape case has said for the first time that the accuser told her to “go ahead, put marks on me” after the alleged attack.

Dancer Kim Roberts made the new allegation — which she has not shared with authorities — in an interview with Chris Cuomo that aired today on “Good Morning America.”

Roberts’ allegation comes after Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong’s admission in court last week that he has not yet interviewed the accuser “about the facts of that night.”

This case seems awfully weak.

October 30, 2006

SO IS THIS GOOD NEWS OR BAD NEWS FOR THE REPUBLICANS?

A quarter century after the Reagan revolution and a dozen years after Republicans vaulted into control of Congress, a new CNN poll finds most Americans still agree with the bedrock conservative premise that, as the Gipper put it, “government is not the answer to our problems — government is the problem.”

The poll released Friday also showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans perceive, correctly, that the size and cost of government have gone up in the past four years, when Republicans have had a grip on the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House. . . .

Queried about their views on the role of government, 54 percent of the 1,013 adults polled said they thought it was trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. Only 37 percent said they thought the government should do more to solve the country’s problems.

I think the answer is “yes.”

October 30, 2006

MAX BOOT IS GUESTBLOGGING at The Volokh Conspiracy. His first post is here.

October 30, 2006

A FAKE AD? Or a fake fake ad? Or a fake, fake, fake . . . . the mind reels.

October 30, 2006

A “JESUS-LOVING GUN-SUPPORTING” SENATOR from Tennessee! I was talking to one of my colleagues about Harold Ford’s run to the right, and he said he’d vote for Ford in spite of his disapproval of Ford’s opposition to gay marriage, support for posting the ten commandments, hard stance on immigration, etc. Anything’s worth it, he decided, to get a Democratic Congress. Ford’s strategy is obviously to hope that a lot of left-leaning Democrats feel that way, while pulling in people who would otherwise vote Republican. It could work.

But what do the Dems do if they win?

UPDATE: Heh: “Afterwards, we hear tell he went a’swimmin’ with Ellie Mae and Jethro in the cement pond.”

October 30, 2006

WILLIAM BEUTLER looks at Ned Lamont, the Netroots, and Barack Obama.

October 30, 2006

JOSH TREVINO HAS THOUGHTS on being unselfconscious.

October 30, 2006

TIGERHAWK IS READING IAN BURUMA’S NEW BOOK, Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance, and has a post on what he thinks so far.

And, in the spirit of writing book reports on books one hasn’t finished, I’m about halfway through blogosphere legend Arthur Chrenkoff’s new novel Night Trains, and so far it’s terrific — it’s like a mixture of Harry Turtledove and Ken MacLeod. Is there anything he isn’t good at?

UPDATE: Another Buruma review, and more on Van Gogh, here.

October 30, 2006

IT’S JIHAD, Charlie Brown!

October 30, 2006

KARL ROVE’S SECRET PLAN, REVEALED:

Rove is giving a virtuoso performance designed to prevent the Democrats from taking control of the House and Senate or, if that is no longer possible, to hold down the size of the Democratic victory to make it easier for the GOP to come back in 2008. His plan is three-pronged: to reenergize any conservatives who may be flagging; to make sure the GOP’s carefully constructed campaign apparatus is functioning at peak efficiency; and to put the resources of the federal government to use for political gain. . . .

In 2002, Rove’s system outperformed the Democrats’ in mobilizing voters and is credited with giving GOP candidates the narrow edge that secured victories for the party in 2002 and 2004.

For 2006, Rove and Mehlman hope a turnout advantage could help them eke out victories in tight House and Senate races that they believe will determine control of both chambers.

Will it work? We’ll know in just over a week.

October 30, 2006

DICK ARMEY on where the GOP went wrong.

But Ali Bubba says Armey’s leaving something out.

October 30, 2006

ELIOT SPITZER’S sugar Daddy.

October 30, 2006

MICHAEL BARONE: “What’s with the polls?”

October 30, 2006

HOWELL-O-WEEN: This week’s Blawg Review is up.

October 30, 2006

THE PRO-NUCLEAR HAROLD FORD: I think he’s right on this, and I’m glad to see more Democrats — as Mark Warner did in our interview last week — looking seriously at nuclear power.

October 30, 2006

THE NETROOTS ARE ALREADY assigning blame for a Lamont defeat: “The American people know this. They know that Democratic Senators are moral lepers, weaklings, and that is the only reason we aren’t further ahead when the Republicans screw everything up. The Democratic Senate leaders will sell us out at every opportunity, be it torture, Iraq, Alito, Lieberman, the Bankruptcy Bill, or stopping war with Iran. They aren’t poll-driven, they aren’t fear-driven, and they aren’t driven by strategic differences. They are simply driven to beat us down, their voters, by any means necessary. That’s why they cheered Joe. . . . We can win this fight, as the polls are tightening. But it would be a whole lot easier without that knife in our back.”

UPDATE: TigerHawk emails:

The Matt Stoller piece you linked is the traditional rant among defeated true believers. Although I was but a toddler at the time, my recollection of the history is that Barry Goldwater’s supporters had much the same reaction in 1964. On the one hand, they spent a lot of years in the desert after that. On the other hand, it inspired them to build a dominant political force 15 years later. The question is, will today’s lefty activists accommodate themselves to the compromises necessary to do that, as conservatives did?

Well, they haven’t lost yet, though calling Democratic Senators “moral lepers” and “weaklings” just before a big election on which the balance of power rests is probably unconstructive. . . . But I think that the Netroots blogosphere will probably make the kind of necessary political compromise that TigerHawk describes harder to achieve. When you’ve got an empowered and connected network of boss-haters it’s much more difficult to pull that sort of thing off.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader James Somer emails:

I had to laugh at the rant you linked to assigning blame for Lamont’s expected loss in Connecticut. I live in Connecticut’s Farmington Valley, which up here is what passes for a Republican redoubt. You wouldn’t believe how many yards I’ve seen in my town this fall that have a “Sticking With Joe” sign right next to a sign for the GOP incumbent congresswoman, Nancy Johnson. Meanwhile, the Republican candidate for Senate, Schlesinger, may not even hit double-digits on election day. The Netroots wanted to punish Lieberman so they saw to it that he was booted in the primary. But in so doing, they drove up Lieberman’s popularity with Republicans and independents who are dubious of such ideological hatchet jobs. Even worse (or better, if you’re Karl Rove) the Angry Left’s savaging of the moderate Lieberman also gave Connecticut’s three endangered GOP congresspersons cover, as it created a confusing, three-way Senate race in a state where a very popular, moderate Republican governor (Jodi Rell) was already running at the top of the ticket. In a year where Democrats should be insisting on a black-and-white referendum between Republicans and Democrats, the netroots filled Connecticut’s politics with many shades of gray.

I’ve never understood how targeting Lieberman squares with the goal of getting a Democratic majority.

October 29, 2006

A PROFOUND TWELVE MINUTES, courtesy of Major John Tammes.

October 29, 2006

SOME ALMOST-FORGOTTEN HISTORY: “On one wall of the plaza is a sculpture of a lunch counter with several people sitting at it. It’s so very life-like that in nice weather people routinely sit down on the empty stools to eat their lunches at the counter. There is no plaque to explain the sculpture.”

October 29, 2006

A DIALOGUE CONCERNING PROGRESS, at Burchismo.

October 29, 2006

CARNIVAL-O-RAMA: Haveil Havalim is up. So is Radiology Grand Rounds, the Carnival of Cinema, the Disability Blog Carnival, and the Working at Home blog carnival.

Lots more at BlogCarnival.com, with highlights in the BlogCarnival box in my right sidebar — click here and look right.

October 29, 2006

REPUBLICANS DON’T LOVE THE LORD? If a Republican said something like that about Democrats, it would be a national scandal. We’re seeing a lot of unforced errors from Harold Ford all of a sudden. I think he and his campaign could use a good night’s sleep.

UPDATE: A tax on Internet porn?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Dean Barnett thought that Harold Ford looked tired on the Sunday shows. It’s tempting to go all-out and shortchange yourself on sleep, but that drastically increases your risk of saying something damaging.

October 29, 2006

AN INTERNET EMBARRASSMENT FOR GREECE:

The administrator of Blogme.gr, a Greek blog aggregation website had his house raided, his hard drive seized and was himself arrested by the Greek cybercrime division last week, after having been served with a libel lawsuit without prior notice, because a public figure was offended by a satirical blog that was linked to by his site. The outraged response by Greek bloggers was immediate and unprecedented, reaching in the hundreds of posts within two days of the raid. The developing story coincides with the Internet Governance Forum being hosted in Athens this week, to be attended by Internet luminaries, entrepreneurs and activists like Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn and Joi Ito and featuring panels on Openness and Freedom of Expression.

Sounds like they need those panels. (Via Slashdot).

October 29, 2006

JONATHAN ADLER: “An analysis of state-wide records by the Poughkeepsie Journal reveals that 77,000 dead people remain on election rolls in New York State, and some 2,600 may have managed to vote after they had died. The study also found that Democrats are more successful at voting after death than Republicans, by a margin of four-to-one, largely because so many dead people seem to vote in Democrat-dominated New York City.”

UPDATE: According to Mark Kleiman, there’s less to this story than appears above.

October 29, 2006

HERE’S MUCH MORE ON MEXICAN VIOLENCE in Oaxaca, from PJ Media.

UPDATE: Here’s an interesting blog chronology in the form of a repeatedly updated post.

October 29, 2006

IS THE EURO “slowly killing half of Europe?”

October 29, 2006

THE IRON LAW OF THE MEDIA:

I felt outraged on behalf of Muhammad Yunus, 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose photo was not even a tenth as big. My dad told me not to feel so bad, that no one, not even a Nobel Peace Prize winner, gets a photo as big as mine unless his story involves boobs. Note to future Nobel Prize winners: fight poverty and cure diseases with your shirt off.

It does seem to work that way.

October 29, 2006

MORE ON LIVEJOURNAL AND RUSSIAN POLITICS: I have to say that if I were a Russian blogger, I’d want to use a foreign hosting service.

October 29, 2006

IT’S NOT THE ETHANOL:

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva didn’t celebrate the oil independence milestone out in an Amazon sugar field.

No, he smashed a champagne bottle on the spaceship-like deck of Brazil’s vast P-50 oil rig in the Albacora Leste field in the deep blue Atlantic. Why? Brazil’s oil independence had virtually nothing to do with its ethanol development. It came from drilling oil.

Hey, maybe we should try that . . . .

October 29, 2006

ANOTHER REASON TO WORRY ABOUT ELECTRONIC VOTING:

The federal government is investigating the takeover last year of a leading American manufacturer of electronic voting systems by a small software company that has been linked to the leftist Venezuelan government of President Hugo Chávez.

The inquiry is focusing on the Venezuelan owners of the software company, the Smartmatic Corporation, and is trying to determine whether the government in Caracas has any control or influence over the firm’s operations, government officials and others familiar with the investigation said.

See, with paper ballots you don’t care who owns the paper company . . . .

October 29, 2006

I HAVE SOME THOUGHTS on why there’s no such thing as a “foreign press” any more.

UPDATE: Michael Totten has more on this subject. “It’s all one Internet now. Even offline dead-tree newspapers in Iraq are plugged into it.”

October 29, 2006

THE ACLU HAS DROPPED ITS LAWSUIT AGAINST THE PATRIOT ACT:

The ACLU said it was withdrawing the lawsuit filed more than three years ago because of “improvements to the law.” The Justice Department argued last month that amendments approved by Congress in March 2006 had corrected any constitutional flaws in the Patriot Act.

Rob Port thinks there’s a political angle, too. Regardless, I guess this means the end of the Patriot Act as an election slogan.

October 29, 2006

LOOK AT HOW TONY SNOW HAS BEEN DOING since taking the job as White House Press Secretary. I think he’s helped Bush, but I think it’s a bit like George Allen’s hiring of Jon Henke — it would have helped a lot more if he’d made the change sooner.

October 29, 2006

MORE ON PROBLEMS WITH ELECTRONIC VOTING, at Ars Technica.

October 29, 2006

BILL ROGGIO says we need to be worrying a lot more about Pakistan.

October 29, 2006

MARK STEYN:

What gives you a better grasp of the realities of Europe today? The front-page reports on the G8 and the U.S.-EU summit? The in-depth profile of Jacques Chirac or Dominique de Villepin? Or the small space-filler about a French police lieutenant promoted to captain despite spending 12 of the last 18 years on “paternity leave,” in the course of which he wrote three books about the Beatles.

As a summation of contemporary Europe that could hardly be improved.

(Via Tim Blair).

Meanwhile, in a testament to the power of clicks over bricks, reader John MacDonald notes that Mark Steyn’s book, America Alone is Number Two on the Amazon Canada bestseller list (apparently swapping back and forth with Richard Dawkins), meaning that he’s selling a lot even though it’s not being carried in many bookstores there: “the major book chain -Indigo-hasn’t really stocked his book (The owner-Heather Reisman and her husband Gerry Schwartz were major financial donors to the Liberals).”

October 29, 2006

AUSTIN BAY ROUNDS UP the violence in Oaxaca and explains why Vicente Fox is acting now.

October 29, 2006

HEH: “Why would you Ozzies need nuclear weapons? I’m sure the Vegemite crisis can be solved diplomatically.”

And “heh” again: “This is all because South Park dissed Steve Irwin, isn’t it?”

October 29, 2006

THOUGHTS ON PREVENTING SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES, from Regina Lynn at Wired.

October 29, 2006

WANT PRESS COVERAGE? Apparently, you have to run attack ads to get it, leading Bill Hobbs, after reviewing the research, to comment:

A story about the 21st district race would be a story about a clash between old and new, and between the entrenched elites and the next generation – a youthful challenger taking on 36-year-incumbent; a challenger using the Internet to discuss issues, raise money and find supporters while the incumbent hides from voters, avoids public debate and gets his money from special interests.

So, then, why isn’t the Nashville news media covering the 21st district race between Bob Krumm and Sen. Henry?

The only answer seems to be the lack of negative attack ads.

That doesn’t reflect positively on the news media.

Nope.

October 28, 2006

GLOBAL WARMING, defeated.

October 28, 2006

SHOOTING YOUR FANS — and yourself — in the foot.

October 28, 2006

I MENTIONED THE RETIEF STORIES EARLIER, but via Scalzi I see that you can get them for free via the Baen Free Library. I prefer books to downloads, even free downloads, but you can’t complain about free.

October 28, 2006

MICHAEL DEMMONS thinks that Karl Rove is right about Republican prospects in November: “Rove is good at this kind of thing. I very much hope he’s wrong. But, if anything, I’m going out on a limb and saying that his skepticism of the nation polls is factoring into my predictions. I think it’s going to be extremely close. The race for the House will go either way. Rove is no idiot. If he says Republicans are going to win, you’d better take him seriously.”

Democrats had better hope that movie box offices aren’t a predictor . . . .

October 28, 2006

A MICHAEL STEELE STEM CELL AD that’s pretty hard-hitting. (Via The Captain.)

October 28, 2006

TOM SMITH: “Is there anything wrong with spending gobs of money on yourself?”

UPDATE: In a classic blog-fallacy, Sloppy Thoughts thinks I’m approving Smith’s analysis by linking it. Er, no — surely anyone who reads InstaPundit much would know me better than that!

Just to be clear, though, the answer to Tom’s question is “no.” And, furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with other people spending gobs of money on me, either! Just in case Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos or somebody is wondering about that . . . .

October 28, 2006

ASTROTURFING THE MILITARY: The Mudville Gazette notes another bogus antiwar story:

As of this writing, over 200 newspapers have carried the story; The Boston Globe, al-Jazeera, The Washington Post, ABC News, Reuters, The (UK) Guardian… but none of the stories acknowledge the orchestration of the event by Fenton Communications.

If Wal-Mart were behind this, they’d be calling it disgraceful and manipulative.

October 28, 2006

MUCH MORE on the Duke rape case here. And just keep scrolling.

October 28, 2006

THE INSTAWIFE IS LOOKING FOR ADVICE on Seasonal Affective Disorder.

October 28, 2006

IN THE MAIL: An alt-history thriller novel by blogosphere legend Arthur Chrenkoff, Night Trains. At the moment, Amazon’s pairing it with Mark Steyn’s America Alone, which ought to help his sales even though Steyn’s book is nonfiction. Er, it’s nonfiction unless we’re lucky . . . .

October 28, 2006

LOADS OF INTERESTING STUFF over at Tom Maguire’s place. Just keep scrolling.

October 28, 2006

THINGS ARE HEATING UP IN OAXACA: PJ Media has a roundup on developments.

October 28, 2006

NOSTALGIA for Western Electric telephones.

I wish I had one. I was doing a radio interview with the CBC once while visiting my brother’s and they didn’t like the sound quality. My brother dug out an old Western Electric phone from the closet, plugged it in (via an adapter that turned its 4-prong plug into an RJ11) and the CBC engineer exclaimed “You sound wonderful! How did you do that?”

October 28, 2006

APPARENTLY, THE VIRAL-MARKETING VIRUS ATTACKS THE BRAIN, at least at Universal Pictures:

“What happens when a film studio and a fanbase get into bed? Fans of Joss Whedon’s Firefly, and the movie by Universal Studios — Serenity — are not amused. After being encouraged to viral market Serenity, the studio has started legal action against fans (demanding $9000 in retroactive licensing fees in one case and demanding fan promotion stop), and going after Cafepress. The fans response? Retroactively invoice Universal for their services.”

This, of course, poisons the viral-marketing well for Universal Studios in perpetuity. Nobody will cooperate the way Firefly fans did, now that this has happened. Naturally, people have the right to protect their trademarks — but when you do viral marketing you also have to relax on that a bit. The Serenity PR people sent me lots of images and art, with the obvious expectation that I’d use them in publicity. When you do that sort of thing, it filters out. This was a bad time to lawyer up. Plus, it violates an important rule of the Internet: “Don’t annoy someone who has more spare time than you do.”

Joss Whedon’s attitude seems more sensible. Viral marketing works both ways . . . .

October 28, 2006

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE in Virginia.

UPDATE: Heh. “Yes, politics does certainly make for strange bedfellows.”

October 28, 2006

THIS ISN’T VERY IMPRESSIVE: “The district attorney prosecuting three Duke lacrosse players accused of raping a woman at a team party said during a court hearing Friday that he still hasn’t interviewed the accuser about the facts of the case.”

UPDATE: Reader John Bell emails:

I was a prosecutor for sixteen years before heading out into private practice. From my experience, Nifong is in an awkward position here in regards to interviewing the victim. From what little I have followed on this case, she looks like the kind of victim who has trouble telling the same story the same way twice in a row. The more versions she gives the weaker Nifong’s case. If he interviews her and she strays from previous versions of her story, he generates exculpatory material which goes straight to the defense. If he doesn’t interview her, he looks incompetent. If he does a thorough interview, he runs into all her prior contradictory statements and then has to decide which version of events is the “official” one, boxing him in before trial. Nifong, as I said, is in a bad position, but then, he has no one to blame but himself.

Indeed. And it’s getting worse:

A woman identified as the accuser in the Duke lacrosse rape case performed an athletic pole dance at a Hillsborough strip club at the same time that the accuser was visiting hospitals complaining of intense pain from being assaulted.

A time-stamped video shows a woman at The Platinum Club on March 26. The club’s former security manager, H.P. Thomas, identified her as the accuser.

The video, reviewed by The News & Observer, shows a limber performer. The same woman told doctors at UNC and Duke hospitals around that time that she had been beaten and assaulted and was racked with pain.

This case is looking more and more pathetic.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader John Schedler emails:

OK, it has been nearly 30 years since I did my short stint as a prosecutor. But, I am still perplexed at the notion Nifong is in a “bad position.” It is only “bad” if the objective truth and justice to the parties is irrelevant to your thinking.

As I understand it, the duty of the prosecutor is to do justice, prosecuting crimes being the principle means to that end. One cannot ascertain just how justice will be served unless and until one has the facts in hand. A prosecutor doing his or her duty would interview the complainant & get to the bottom of the matter. If the allegations hold up, then he or she can assess how justice would be served by prosecution. If the allegations collapse under investigation, then justice admits of only one course: dismissal.

Avoiding the facts and leaving innocent people hanging out is, in my view, a disgraceful abdication of duty.

Yes.

October 28, 2006

I FINISHED JOHN SCALZI’S NEW BOOK, The Android’s Dream last night. I thought it was quite good, though it was nothing like Old Man’s War or Ghost Brigades, it was more lighthearted and focused on interstellar diplomacy. Not quite in the vein of Keith Laumer’s Retief stories, but occasionally I got a bit of that feel.

We did a podcast interview with Scalzi a while back: It’s here.

October 28, 2006

DEFENDING AMERICA FROM THE AUSTRALIAN NUCLEAR THREAT?

October 28, 2006

HERE’S MORE ON HAND SANITIZERS AND POLITICS:

Like so many other people involved in politics these days, Mrs. Ryun has become obsessive about using hand sanitizer and ensuring that others do, too. She squirted Purell, the antiseptic goop of choice on the stump and self-proclaimed killer of “99.99 percent of most common germs that may cause illness,” on people lined up to meet Vice President Dick Cheney this month at a fund-raiser in Topeka.

When Mr. Cheney was done meeting and greeting, he, too, rubbed his hands vigorously with the stuff, dispensed in dollops by an aide when the vice president was out of public view.

That has become routine in this peak season of handshaking, practiced by everyone from the most powerful leaders to the lowliest hopefuls. Politics is personal at all levels, and germs do not discriminate. Like chicken dinners and lobbyists, they afflict Democrats and Republicans alike. It would be difficult to find an entourage that does not have at least one aide packing Purell.

They’re playing catch-up, but at least they’re on the story. Meanwhile, according to this unreliable report, Purell has released a new product for politicians — mouth sanitizer:

While the hand gel is shown to kill 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria which are often spread by human contact, the new mouth sanitizer was formulated to prevent the viral spread of dirty, bitter and vitriolic political speech.

According to a news release from the company, “Just a quick squirt, swish and spit before stepping up to the microphone and Purell Mouth Sanitizer eliminates not only the words that make others sick, but it even protects a politician from speech that can harm one’s own career, thanks to a special ingredient we call Gaffe-B-Gone.”

If only.

UPDATE: More on sanitizer here. And is the Times story above a “rowback” of its hand-sanitizer item about Bush and Obama last week?

October 28, 2006

VAL MCQUEEN: “In the last few days in Britain, three events have caused what was already a small crack in the paper-thin edifice of ‘multiculturalism’ in Britain to widen to a noticeable fissure.”

October 28, 2006

MY RELIGIOUS EDUCATION is now many years in the past, but I was never taught that Pontius Pilate was a great moral thinker. Rather, he was portrayed as a man who used superficial doubt as a means of avoiding responsibility.

UPDATE: Frank J. emails: “I hope Pilate is a great moral thinker. He’s running for judge in my county.” Heh. That’s got to be something of a handicap.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Mark Przekwas emails:

If you read Mr. Judge’s original story, in particular the transcript of the conversation, you would notice that just before the Pilate comment Mr. Hewitt is discussing Plato’s Allegory of the Cave – the name Plato being mentioned several times. Now, is it not possible that in Mr. Sullivan’s reply he misspoke and said Pilate instead one Plato – when referencing Plato’s comments on the unveiling of truth in the Allegory of the Cave?

Well, that would make more sense.

MORE: A reader emails:

Yeah, except…um, why would he misspeak and say “Pilate,” while meaning to say “Plato,” when in fact quoting Pilate?

I said it would make more sense. I didn’t say it was likely.

October 28, 2006

YEAR-ROUND DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME? I’m all for it. Morning sucks regardless, but I like the extra hour of light in the evening. If it saves as much power as a big nuclear plant would generate, well, so much the better.