January 15, 2006
AUSTIN BAY writes that Walter Cronkite doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
AUSTIN BAY writes that Walter Cronkite doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
THIS IS COOL: “After a seven-year journey, a NASA space capsule returned safely to Earth on Sunday with the first dust ever fetched from a comet, a cosmic bounty that scientists hope will yield clues to how the solar system formed.”
CODE PINK and Nancy Pelosi: Gateway Pundit looks at a troubled relationship.
PAMELA ANDERSON’S BUST: I’ve always preferred thighs to breasts myself.
UPDATE: Original recipe, or extra crispy? I prefer original recipe, though extra crispy can be tasty, too.
DANIEL DREZNER announces a winner in his Senatorial-dumbness contest. It was a hardfought battle!
LAST WEEK’S INAUGURAL PODCAST featured music from Audra and the Antidote, both at the beginning and along with the interview with Audra Coldiron that appears at about 22:45. Lots of people liked it, and some people wanted to know where to get more. You can get it through their website (here’s a direct link to the downloads page) if you like. I first encountered the band back pre-InstaPundit, when I was running a series of now-defunct Internet radio stations, one of which (Nashtunes.com) featured some of their stuff. I’ve been a fan ever since.
I fell a bit behind with the carnivals last week, so here’s the Carnival of Education, and the Carnival of Homeschooling. Also, the Carnival of the Vanities. And there are lots more carnivals at BlogCarnival.com, of course.
HOWARD KURTZ has a report on the Republican leadership race, noting a resurgence of the spirit of 1994. The Republicans need to get in touch with that spirit, if they want to remain in power. “Shadegg has drawn his strongest backing from economic conservatives. CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow said on his blog that if Shadegg were to succeed Tom DeLay in the No. 2 House post, it ‘would stop the misbegotten march toward big government conservatism and budget excess which has gotten the Republican Congress into so much trouble.’”
I don’t know enough about Shadegg to be sure, but somebody needs to stop that “misbegotten march.” And regardless of who’s elected, we need to see reforms that will ensure a lot more transparency and accountability.
TIGERHAWK has thoughts on “Remembering May, the ‘gang of 14′ and the vindication of various people.”
TOP TEN BLOGGER LIES. Heh.
CHRIS ANDERSON looks at the demise of big-box music stores: Makes sense to me. I still buy CDs — usually through Amazon, or my local store, The Disc Exchange, which is very good at carrying local bands — but I haven’t darkened the doors of a Sam Goody’s, etc., in years. And I buy more and more stuff via iTunes. Ed Driscoll has similar experience.
And, by the way, my last album (Mobius Dick’s Embrace the Machine) is now available on iTunes. I don’t know whether Got Dick? or Indistinguishable from Magic will be going up later or not. I guess it depends on how Mobius Dick’s dozens of fans react!
THIS IS INTERESTING:
Female soldiers have long fought off perceptions that their bodies just aren’t equipped to handle the rigors of training and warfare. But a decade’s worth of research suggests that women are hardly as fragile as critics once thought.
A new study by military researchers found that many assumptions about female bodies are “astoundingly wrong.” Women are just as good as men — in some cases, perhaps even better — at handling intense exercise and decompression sickness.
The findings, reported in the Journal of Women’s Health, don’t change the fact that women — on the whole — are smaller and less powerful than men. Still, they suggest “that human physiology is more consistent than would be suggested by the social embellishments and exaggerations” that come about when there isn’t any actual research, said Col. Karl Friedl, commander of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine and co-author of the report (.pdf).
Read the whole thing.
“THE OXYGEN OF PUBLICITY:” Clive Davis notices something odd from the BBC.
AVIAN (AND REGULAR) FLU UPDATE:
The government, for the first time, is urging doctors not to prescribe two antiviral drugs commonly used to fight influenza after discovering that the predominant strain of the virus has built up high levels of resistance to them at alarming speed.
A whopping 91 percent of virus samples tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this flu season proved resistant to rimantadine and amantadine, a huge increase since last year, when only 11 percent were.
The discovery adds to worries about how to fight bird flu should it start spreading among people. Health officials had hoped to conserve use of two newer antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, because they show activity against bird flu, unlike the older drugs.
Now, because of the resistance issue, the newer drugs are being recommended for ordinary flu, increasing the chances that resistance will develop more rapidly to them, too, as they become more commonly used.
Just one more thing to worry about. And another reason to push harder for new, better antiviral drugs.
PEAKTALK: “One of the key factors in this ongoing federal election campaign has been the extraordinary about-face of the Canadian mainstream media.”
DO I GET ANY OTHER CHOICES? Phil Bowermaster looks at Singularity literature and asks if God is more like Zeus, or Bill Joy.
MONDO HOLLYWOOD is another PJ Media blog covering Hollywood, and it’s hosting the ongoing reporting from the American Film Renaissance by Andrew Marcus.
GREYHAWK AT THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE is flexing absolute moral authority.
I agree that Murtha’s Vietnam record isn’t the issue, and shouldn’t be. Rather it’s his behavior regarding the current war that’s the disgrace.
UPDATE: Afghanistan Veteran Sgt. Mark Seavey punishes Reps. Murtha and Moran, and gets a rather limp response.
MICHAEL TOTTEN reports: “Egypt doesn’t do many things better than Lebanon, but it does do the Internet better. Free wi-fi is both fast and ubiquitous. So I went to a cozy restaurant and pub, ordered a four-cheese pasta from the waiter, flipped open my laptop, and poked around the Web for contact information for the Muslim Brotherhood.”
STRATEGYPAGE on Algeria:
The most able and active Islamic terrorists have apparently fled the country, and they are being detected, and sometimes arrested, in Europe, Canada and some Arab countries. Some have been found (usually dead) in Iraq and Afghanistan. These Algerians overseas often operate as part of the Algerian GSPC, or the Moroccan Islamic Combat Group. The GSPC has more success recruiting among Algerians in Europe, where memories of the atrocities and terrorist tactics of the GSPC in Algeria are dim. In Algeria, GSPC is seen as a bunch of bloodthirsty fanatics.
Islamic terrorists: To know them is to despise them.
PENNSYLVANIA LEGISLATORS, angry about publicity that required them to forego a self-awarded 16% pay raise, are striking back with punitive new taxes that single out media organizations. The Steel City Cowboy is unimpressed: “You work for us, you sons of bitches, and don’t forget it.”
And maybe the media folks will acquire a bit of sympathy for Wal-Mart.
UPDATE: Link above changed — I direct-linked the video on Andrew’s site, which I thought he wanted me to do, but I was wrong. Hope I didn’t cause any server problems.
“SO THEN, Condi’s running, right?”
CATHY SEIPP writes on Richard Feynman, who is one of my wife’s heroes because (1) Her father knew and liked him; and (2) She admires anyone who stands up to stuffed shirts. And here’s a nice Feynman reminiscence: “I sat next to him at dinner once, and (since it was expected of those in such a setting) I asked him a physics question. Which, by the way, I now realize was not a very smart question, and I’m too embarrassed about that to repeat it. He answered my dumb question, however, with grace, clarity, and detail. One of life’s high points.”
THE COUNTERTERROR BLOG has a roundup on reports of Zawahiri’s death. I hope they’re true, but I’m not popping any corks just yet.
NATIONAL REVIEW is endorsing John Shadegg for House Majority Leader:
There are three imperatives for the House GOP in the current environment that threatens its majority: Can it clean up its image? Can it reform practices that have at best made for sloppy governance and at worst contributed to corruption? And can it pursue policies that restore the trust of its political base and restore a purpose to an often direction-less majority? Shadegg is the best candidate on all counts.
He also gets some grudging praise from the Left, as AZCongressWatch writes: “They could do a hell of a lot worse than Shadegg.” Which, based on experience, means they probably will . . . . But maybe not. (Via Blogometer).
SONIA ARRISON on nanotechnology regulation: “Not only can too many regulations strangle innovation in the cradle, but over-regulation can ironically cause under-regulation, leading to safety hazards.” Couldn’t have said it better myself!
A SHADEGG ENDORSEMENT over at RedState.
SHORTER ZHIRINOVSKY: “Make that scary woman stop scaring me.”
SCIENCE FICTION UPDATE: I’m reading Ken MacLeod’s Learning the World: A Scientific Romance, and liking it a lot so far. In its smart-but-low-tech aliens it’s vaguely reminiscent of Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky. One difference: The heroine is a blogger, though they call it “biologging” in the story. Is this a trend or something?
JOHN SHADEGG IS NOW IN the House leadership race. I don’t know a lot about him, but I think it’s good that the race is opening up.
I’d like to see the candidates talking about how they’re going to reform the House to make it more transparent and accountable. So, I suspect, would a lot of other people. More on that later, but these suggestions from Mark Tapscott are a good place to start, and I’d like to see the candidates talking about them.
Beneath the rumble of the Abramoff scandal and the Alito confirmation, a pretty spirited argument is taking place within the Democratic Party: not just the usual soul-searching about finding a winning message for 2008, but about the war and national security and the essence of what the party stands for.
You can’t build a successful party around Bush-hatred, even though it’s good for fundraising.
CONSERVATIVES MAY BE HEADING FOR A MAJORITY in Canada, according to Ed Morrissey.
CALIFORNIA — The one-cow state: “Now taxing the hell out of the Malibu Mafia to pay for improving healthcare for the poor emotionally hits the all the right notes for me (I’m the Armed Liberal, remember). But I’m grown-up enough to notice that what feels good emotionally doesn’t necessarily make for good policy.”
MY RESPONSE TO JARON LANIER is up now, over at Cato Unbound: Coming up next: John Perry Barlow and David Gelernter.
RED ON RED in Iraq.
FORGET THE NSA: Look at what the USDA IS DOING:
While fewer than 100 cases have been prosecuted using satellite imaging since the RMA started its crackdown in 2001, data mining _ coupled with satellite imaging _ pinpoints about 1,500 farms annually that are put on a watch list for possible crop fraud, Hand said. Ground inspections are done on the suspect farms throughout the growing season.
The agency says its spot checklist generated by the satellite data has saved taxpayers between $71 million and $110 million a year in fraudulent crop insurance claims since 2001.
The agency stepped up its enforcement after the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 mandated it use data mining to ferret out false claims, Hand said. Every year, it ships claims data to the Center for Agriculture Excellence at Tarleton State University in Stephensville, Texas, where analysts look for anomalies in claims. They generate a list of claims for further investigation, with satellite imaging pulled on the most egregious cases.
Just as U.S. satellites kept track of things like the wheat harvest in the former Soviet Union, other countries have also launched satellites to monitor American crops. Germany, France and others have satellites monitoring crop conditions, and many other private firms sell those images in the U.S.
“Everybody spies on everybody. I was stunned to hear that myself,” Edwards said. “Someday, I may have to rely on a French satellite to convict an American citizen.”
David Brin’s The Transparent Society is looking more prophetic all the time.
A SHAKE-UP at the Boston Globe?
GUILTY AFTER ALL: A while back, I linked to a story about efforts to get DNA testing to find out if executed convict Roger Coleman was guilty after all.
Well, they’ve done the test, and here are the results:
A new round of DNA tests that death penalty opponents believed might finally prove that an innocent man was executed in the United States confirmed instead that Roger Keith Coleman was guilty when he went to the electric chair in 1992.
In a case closely watched by both sides in the death penalty debate, Gov. Mark Warner announced that testing on DNA taken from sperm proved Coleman committed the 1981 rape and murder of his sister-in-law, Wanda McCoy.
In a way this is a “dog bites man” story, but on the other hand, there’s this bit from the same report:
Coleman went to his death proclaiming his innocence, and a finding that he was unjustly executed would have been explosive news that almost certainly would have had a powerful effect on the public’s attitude toward capital punishment.
Not this time, though.
A TIMELINE for nanotechnology development. I can’t vouch for its accuracy (who could?) but it looks plausible.
NIKON is dropping its 35mm cameras almost completely. This will bum a lot of people out, but it was inevitable.
BRIAN ANDERSON warns of efforts to crush dissent in America.
PROTESTS in Mongolia. Registan has a roundup with links and photos.
Look. It’s tough coming out of Ivy League schools to New York and making your way in the world. The notion that you can be—and have to be—the author of your own destiny is both terrifying and exhilarating. And for those without marketable skills, who lack social and intellectual capital, the odds are indeed stacked against them. But someone like Kamenetz, who graduated from Yale in 2002, doesn’t have much to kvetch about. In the press materials accompanying the book, she notes that just after she finished the first draft, her boyfriend “proposed to me on a tiny, idyllic island off the coast of Sweden.” She continues: “As I write this, boxes of china and flatware, engagement gifts, sit in our living room waiting to go into storage because they just won’t fit in our insanely narrow galley kitchen. We spent a whole afternoon exchanging the inevitable silver candlesticks and crystal vases, heavy artifacts of an iconic married life that still seems to have nothing to do with ours.” The inevitable silver candlesticks? Too much flatware to fit in the kitchen? We should all have such problems.
APPLE HAS PUT UP a series of podcasts on how to podcast. You need iTunes to listen, though it’s free.
MICHAEL FUMENTO looks at the dark side.
GOOD NEWS FROM NEW ORLEANS:
If you drive into New Orleans from the airport the back way, down Jefferson Highway to St. Charles Avenue, everything on the river side is as gorgeous and decadent as ever. Some live oaks have toppled, and many magnolias have died, but all the way to the French Quarter, the shops and restaurants are open, and people have come home.
It’s not that good everywhere, though.
UPDATE: Several readers say that this paints an overly rosy picture of New Orleans’ recovery, even along this route. Not having been there, I can’t say, but certainly the overall picture isn’t as rosy as this bit, as noted. Here’s an extensive blog report, with some photos, from earlier this month.
IRANIAN NUCLEAR BRINKSMANSHIP: Austin Bay offers link-rich commentary.
SOXBLOG ON ALITO: “From a tactical point of view, this has been the Democrats’ worst week since John Kerry saluted and said ‘Reporting for duty.’”
MERYL YOURISH crunches the numbers on terror attacks in Israel.
HERE’S A LIST OF ABRAMOFF POLITICAL DONATIONS: He got around.
HEH: “Evan Coyne Maloney, the thinking teenybopper’s heartthrob.”
The InstaWife: “Well, that’s true!”
SOME DRUG-RELATED ADVICE for German Chancellor Angela Merkel:
German firms once dominated the biopharmaceutical field. Known as the “medicine chest of Europe,” German drug makers spawned U.S. divisions that are now multinationals in their own right. But today, as The Philadelphia Inquirer detailed in a recent series, there is not one German company among the top ten drug-makers.
German medical and biopharmaceutical firms are now lagging far behind their younger cousins in the U.S. when it comes to developing the new “wonder drugs” that are shaping the 21st century: By some estimates, U.S. labs are churning out 70 percent of all new drugs.
A range of shortsighted government policies did much of the damage.
I hope that doesn’t happen here. People tend to take innovation for granted.
“We did so well on [Amazon.com] with the Firefly box set and the performance of that helped us get the movie made. We wish the audience would get up and go to the theater, but it shows that they like to keep coming back and revisiting the world Joss created.” Serenity made $25 million at the domestic box office after it was released Sept. 30.
Whedon and his crew are waiting to see how well the DVD numbers go before proceeding with a Serenity sequel, Peristere said. “We really hope to return to this work,” he said. “We love the characters. It’s fun storytelling, and we all love using our talents. … It all depends on Joss. He’s not giving up on the characters. He had incredible writers who had a million stories to tell, and we’re all just hanging out and seeing what the world has to give us, and given the opportunity we’ll make more.”
I’d like that to happen. (Via Dean’s World.)
HE’S DOOMED, THEN: “The only thing standing between Joe Biden and the presidency is his mouth.”
The Bush Administration would be well-advised to let these hearings run on as long as possible.
THE BELMONT CLUB looks at Venezuela and “Peak Oil.”
THE CARNIVAL OF TOMORROW is up!
SOME INTERESTING PORKBUSTERS SUGGESTIONS from Mark Tapscott. Applying the Freedom of Information Act to Congress seems like a no-brainer, though Congress may well disagree . . . .
FROM THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER, a report on regulation of nanotechnology.
My thoughts can be found in this article from the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology. Also, here are some thoughts from the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology, and here’s my report from the EPA’s Science Advisory Board meeting that I attended a while back. Meanwhile, interestingly, here’s a polling report saying that the public in the U.S. and Canada trusts nanoscientists more than regulators.
A DESIRE NAMED STREETCAR: That’s about as cool a title for a policy paper on mass transit as you’re ever likely to see.
AN OUTBREAK of ABS dependency among drivers?
IT’S AS IF THEY’RE ALL CROOKS, or something.
MONDO ALITO is a special all-Alito-all-the-time blog at PJ Media.
UPDATE: If I’d watched the whole thing, I’d be crying, too. Er, if I were still awake . . . .
ANOTHER UPDATE: A bad review from Ann Althouse:
Durbin accused of Alito of seeking out ways to decide cases against the little guy and even tried to connect a decision of Alito’s to the recent mining disaster. Alito defended himself in his usual way: I decide cases according to the law. That case relating to mining was about the statutory definition of “mine,” and the above-ground pile of coal at issue in the case did not fit the definition.
“Pile of coal” = “mine,” eh? I’ve seen stranger legal arguments, but it’s hard to imagine that this played well on TV.
MORE: David Corn: “It doesn’t appear to me that the Democrats are striking fear into the hearts of Alito supporters.”
Meanwhile John Cole notes a missed opportunity by the Democrats.
STILL MORE: Kaus is unimpressed with Adam Nagourney’s coverage in the NYT (“embarrassingly, coccooningly wrong”) but thinks that John McIntyre of RealClearPolitics has it right. Dog bites man!
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Larry Kudlow weighs in on the House Majority Leader’s race: “In my opinion, the Blunt posse’s incestuous, backroom exchange of favors and money is the last thing Republicans need right now. What the GOP does need is a House majority leader with integrity and a passionate, fiery commitment to righting the wayward ship.”
IT’S ANOTHER PODCAST: We were going to run this later, but with the American Film Renaissance happening this weekend, we decided to go ahead and post this new podcast interview with independent documentarians Evan Coyne Maloney and Stuart Browning of On the Fence Films, talking about looking for the Men’s Center on campus, how technology is changing the documentary-film business (and maybe reducing its leftward tilt), and the difference between Canadian hopitals and Canadian veterinarians. They’ve got two films coming out soon: Indoctrinate U., about politics on campus, and Dead Meat, about the Canadian healthcare system, both of which you can read about by following the link.
You can listen to the interview by clicking here, and it’s also available via iTunes or the InstaPundit RSS 2.0 feed. I think you’ll also find the interview audio better on this episode than on the previous one. (The producer, as always, is soliciting comments.) And check out Evan’s blog, too.
AVIAN FLU UPDATE: Good news or bad news? I’m not sure:
Two young brothers, ages 4 and 5, who have tested positive for the dreaded A(H5N1) avian virus but shown no symptoms of the disease were being closely watched at Kecioren Hospital here on Tuesday. Doctors are unsure whether they are for the first time seeing human bird flu in its earliest stages or if they are discovering that infection with the A(H5N1) virus does not always lead to illness.
In any case, the highly unusual cluster of five cases detected here in Turkey’s capital over the last three days – all traceable to contact with sick birds – is challenging some of the doctors’ assumptions about bird flu and giving them new insights into how it spreads and causes disease. Since none of the five have died, it is raising the possibility that human bird flu is not as deadly as currently thought, and that many mild cases in Asian countries may have gone unreported.
Curiouser and curiouser.
DO IT YOURSELF: “The ugly reality of being energy independent hit today. Some gunk got into our generator’s carb, rendering it inoperable on a day when we really needed it.” On the other hand, a guy accidentally dug up our gas line the other day, and there was nothing I could do about that except wait for the gas company to fix it.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Where should PorkBusters go next? I just got off the phone with N.Z. Bear, and we have some ideas, but we decided that we should take advantage of all the smart folks in the blogosphere. You can post comments in his post soliciting suggestions.
STIFF COMPETITION: If you’re watching the Alito hearings, Daniel Drezner is offering a prize for “finding the single dumbest thing a Senator says during the hearings.”
UPDATE: Reader Jim Carmignani emails: “This product was in Target’s ad in my Sunday Chicago Tribune! My oldest daughter is already begging for one.” That’s good news for Numark, I guess, though it’s pretty cheap — the big beneficiary may actually be Apple, since everyone who gets a iDJ will need two iPods. . . .
World Health Organisation (WHO) officials said that the 14 cases of avian flu recently discovered in Turkey were contracted through contact with infected animals and that there is absolutely no evidence that human-to-human transmission is occurring.
It’ll stay that way, of course, right up until it doesn’t.
RADIOBLOGGER is serving up Joe Biden Princeton waffles.
AN ARMY OF Clyde Tombaughs.
OVER AT BLACKPROF.COM, Shay Riley writes: “If left to parental choice, I’d bet money that one would be hard-pressed to find a secular school in black communities.”
MORE ON THE “ANNOYING INTERNET SPEECH” STATUTE, by Eugene Volokh, who thinks there’s reason to be troubled after all.
JACK SHAFER NOTES that American media organizations value the lives of their colleagues more highly than the lives of other Americans:
Sitting on newsworthy information is an unnatural act for most reporters—some would say unprofessional—and nobody can argue that the kidnapping of Jill Carroll isn’t newsworthy. By effortlessly banding together across several time zones to squelch information in the name of protecting one colleague in Baghdad, American journalists placed themselves in a hypocritical position. Didn’t their leading newspaper just publish national security information over the objections of a White House that protests that the story endangers the lives of millions of Americans?
Why yes, it did.
CORY MAYE UPDATE: Radley Balko reports:
As I’ve mentioned before, Cory Maye’s lawyer on appeal is Bob Evans, who also happens to be the public defender for Jefferson Davis County. For ten years, Evans has also served as the public defender for the town of Prentiss, the seat of Jefferson Davis County.
It now appears that the Prentiss Board of Aldermen have fired Evans as the Prentiss public defender. His transgression? Representing Cory Maye. Evans told me last month that he’d been warned that if he agreed to take this case, he could well be fired. Looks like whoever warned him was correct.
The whole thing smells.
VIRGINIA POSTREL has thoughts on bloggers and books.