July 2, 2006
TED STEVENS EXPLAINS THE INTERNET: God help us all.
TED STEVENS EXPLAINS THE INTERNET: God help us all.
TWEAKING JAMES WOLCOTT at PJ Media. Ordinarily, I’d say the photo was too cruel. But not in this case.
ANN ALTHOUSE: “What’s with Hillary calling herself Mrs. Clinton?”
Meanwhile, her campaign’s getting criticism of a different sort from Greg Sargent and Atrios. It’s a frequent Atrios theme that the Big Media hold bloggers to higher ethical standards than they adhere to themselves, and I do think he’s got a point.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Okay, these aren’t earmarks, exactly, but we’re still talking pork:
Even though Donald R. Matthews put his sprawling new residence in the heart of rice country, he is no farmer. He is a 67-year-old asphalt contractor who wanted to build a dream house for his wife of 40 years.
Yet under a federal agriculture program approved by Congress, his 18-acre suburban lot receives about $1,300 in annual “direct payments,” because years ago the land was used to grow rice.
Matthews is not alone. Nationwide, the federal government has paid at least $1.3 billion in subsidies for rice and other crops since 2000 to individuals who do no farming at all, according to an analysis of government records by The Washington Post.
As the Nebraska Guitar Militia put it: Farmin’ the Government beats actual, you know, farming: “Reap what you don’t sow.”
Meanwhile, Stephen Spruiell notes the connection with Doha’s collapse.
UPDATE: You can hear “Farmin’ the Government” here. It just might be the best song on agricultural subsidies you ever hear!
UPDATE: The Times is now saying that it didn’t give away secrets. Postwatch notes that its claims for the story were less modest before the heat was on.
EVDO UPDATE: Mark Frauenfelder rounds up reviews of the Kyocera KR-1 router that turns an EVDO card into a wi-fi hotspot. My sister lives out in the boonies, and can’t get either cable or DSL, but she’s got broadband EVDO coverage. I gave her one of these, and she’s been very happy with the results.
NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Maybe I’m being too “Pollyannaish,” but this sounds encouraging:
“Energy is one of the greatest challenges of the century,” Claude Canizares, MIT’s Bruno Rossi Professor of Physics, told attendees of the conference produced by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ (ASME’s) Nanotechnology Institute. “We need significant breakthroughs in science and technology. The promise of nanotechnology provides fertile ground for such breakthroughs.” . . .
MIT’s Vladimir Bulovic said that nanotechnologies such as nanodots and nanorods are potentially “disruptive” technologies in the solar field. That means they could cause a major switch in a primary energy source, potentially proving more efficient than the silicon used in most solar energy devices today. Bulovic is fabricating quantum dot photovoltaics using a microcontact printing process.
On the other hand, this brings things down to earth a bit:
“If 2 percent of the continental United States were covered with photovoltaic systems with a net efficiency of 10 percent, we would be able to supply all the U.S. energy needs,” said Bulovic, the KDD Associate Professor of Communications and Technology in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Two percent is a LOT of land. Though we wouldn’t have to replace anywhere near the whole U.S. energy budget for it to be worthwhile.
UPDATE: N.Z. Bear does the math. Anybody know how many square miles of rooftop there are in the United States? Not that many, I suspect.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Allen S. Thorpe observes: “don’t be surprised if the environmentalists don’t turn out to be all that enthusiastic.”
WORLD TRADE TALKS / DOHA ROUND IN “COLLAPSE:” This is much worse news than its placement on page A18 suggests. On the other hand, world trade talks often go badly right up until there’s a deal, as brinksmanship is common.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Here’s a cautionary tale:
Rebuffed on several requests for state and federal financing to help rebuild its crumbling bridge, this small resort town was all but resigned to raising the money by doubling the 50-cent bridge toll, increasing property taxes and issuing bonds.
But in a last-ditch gambit, city officials hired a federal lobbyist who had known the local congressman for four decades. Within weeks, the congressman, Representative C. W. Bill Young, called the mayor to say he had slipped a special $50 million appropriation, known as an earmark, into an omnibus bill.
We need to change the culture so that communities will be as embarrassed by stories like this as by reports of racism or environmental destruction.
BRIAN DUNN WONDERS if we’ll be privatizing the war on terror, and isn’t overjoyed at the prospect.
In March 2003 dozens of leaders of Cuba’s Varela Project and other human rights defenders were detained, subjected to summary trials, condemned to many years in prison, and confined in the most inhumane and cruel conditions. They were treated like — and held in cells with — dangerous common criminals. In this way the regime attempted to suppress the rebirth of the Cuban Spring initiated by thousands of Cubans who overcame a debilitating culture of fear by including their names, addresses and identification numbers in the text of the Varela Project, a document later presented to the National Assembly asking for a referendum on its human rights principles. Despite inhuman treatment and illegal detention, the regime could not stop the rebirth of the Cuban Spring: Many Cubans continue to support the Varela Project even amid repression that includes death threats and physical assault.
I certainly hope that it’s unstoppable. (Via James Hudnall).
OKAY, I LIKE THE CARTOON THAT ACCOMPANIES IT, but Reihan Salam’s piece in Slate on An Army of Davids is a bit puzzling. At least, Salam doesn’t seem to have actually read the book, only Christine Rosen’s rather uninformative treatment, which he cites and praises. How else to explain statements like this one:
But Reynolds’ weakness isn’t that he’s a “techno-triumphalist” who sees robotic solutions everywhere. It’s that he sees only the robots’ upside.
Well, no. Actually, I devote a fair amount of space to the dangers posed by new technologies — from “horizontal knowledge” like cellphones inspiring riots like those in Nigeria over the Miss World pageant, to genetically engineered bioweapons and lethal nanodevices. And I pointed out that terrorism is an early, not-so-positive example of technology empowering the little guy (there’s a whole chapter on terrorism, in fact, so I can hardly be accused of neglecting the subject. Someone else at Slate found the book “frightening.”) As I wrote in the conclusion — in the hope, apparently vain, that even lazy reviewers would read that much:
While a world of hugely and vastly empowered souls may lurk in the future, we’re already living in a world in which individuals have far more power than they used to in all sorts of fields. Yesterday’s science fiction is todays’ reality in many ways that we don’t even notice.
That’s not always good. With technology bestowing powers on individuals that were once reserved to nation-states, the already-shrinking planet starts to look very small indeed. That’s one argument for settling outer space, of course, and many will also see it as an argument for reducing the freedom of individuals on Earth. If those latter arguments carry the day, it could lead to global repression. In its most benign form, we might see something like the A.R.M. of Larry Niven’s science fiction future history, a global semisecret police force run by the United Nations that quitely suppresses dangerous scientific knowledge. In less benign forms, we might see harsh global tyranny, justified by the danger of man-made viruses and similar threats. (As I write this, scientists in a lab in Atlanta have resurrected the long-dead 1918 Spanish Flu and published its genome, meaning that people with resources far below those of nation-states will now be able to recreate one of the deadliest disease agents in history.)
Still, I’m apparently a Pollyannaish techno-utopian because I hold a Faulknerian belief that mankind will not only survive, but prevail. Whatever. In truth, actual Pollyannaish techno-utopians are pretty hard to find — Ray Kurzweil is often charged with Pollyannaism, but his book The Singularity is Near is devoted as much to grim warnings as to rosy scenarios — but the luddite crowd seems to want them so much that where they do not exist, they are invented. Of course, the pop culture is sufficiently loaded in favor of techno-doom, from Paul Ehrlich to Jeremy Rifkin to Al Gore, that anyone who doesn’t run in circles screaming that we’re all going to die looks Pollyannaish by comparison.
TOM ELIA looks at changing conceptions of “bigotry” on the left.
There’s a certain preserved-in-amber quality to some of the thinking here. For example, Pollitt herself confesses that the opinions that underpinned her most controversial column — against displaying American flags after 9/11 — were formed during the Vietnam War; she despairs that her pro-flag daughter cannot see “the connection between waving the flag and bombing ordinary people half a world away.” I’m not sure if she’s right about that, but it’s significant that Pollitt would see the world outside her window through a scrim of 30-year-old lefty rhetoric. She simply rejects the argument that the meaning of the flag (like the meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance, which was composed by a 19th-century socialist) might change.
That 30-year-old (or 40-year-old, really) lefty rhetoric is blinding a lot of people. The reader reviews at Amazon are quite positive, though.
UPDATE: Eric Scheie is defending ovarian independence.
MICHAEL TOTTEN locates some moderate Islamists and publishes an interview. Don’t miss the postscript.
A NEW PAPER: Human Rights Atrocities: The Consequences of United Nations Gun Confiscation in East Africa. It’s by Dave Kopel, Paul Gallant, and Joanne Eisen, published by the Independence Institute.
CHINA IS CRANKING UP BLOG CENSORSHIP: Bad enough that they’re doing it, worse that they’re doing it with assistance from American companies.
ROBERT MAYER is blogging from Honduras. Naturally, he started at a bar.
VIDEOBLOGGING an anti-Israel demonstration in New York.
ANN ALTHOUSE: “It’s good to remember the problem with trusting the government. It will want to cover up mistakes. But let’s also remember that this is not the case with the recent disclosures.”
So far this year, about 20 percent of the nation’s oil production (500,000 barrels a day) is off line because of rebel violence in the Delta region. This includes the kidnapping of 29 foreign oil workers, blowing up of pipelines and pumping stations and a bad attitude in general. The lost oil production is worth about $12 billion a year. Some 95 percent of the foreign exchange earned by Nigeria comes from oil exports. No other export even comes close.
There’s trouble in an awful lot of oil-producing regions at the moment.
Sadly, however, the atmosphere won’t be quite this festive, though I’m sure we’ll have a good time.
Hope you enjoy your long weekend, too.
UPDATE: Phil Bowermaster is shocked, shocked at the whole Blog Sweeps Week phenomenon.
OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY looks at Congress’s effort to tax pimps: “Wouldn’t that money be better spent on law enforcement agencies that actually have a prayer of shutting them down? This is pandering at its finest–a pretty bandage that does zero to solve the underlying problem.”
I also agree with this: “If governments actually cared about the victims of sex trafficking, the logical thing to do would be to legalize and regulate prostitution. A legal, transparent system would make it much easier to ensure both the age and ability to consent of prostitutes. Abuse would go down, disease incidences would go down, and child trafficking would go down. Prostitution will always be with us, so why not ensure that any acts of prostitution occur solely between consenting adults?”
IN THE NEW REPUBLIC, Cass Sunstein echoes a point I made yesterday: “Hamdan v. Rumsfeld demonstrates that checks on executive power are alive and well.”
THE LATEST BLOG WEEK IN REVIEW PODCAST IS UP, with Daniel Drezner, La Shawn Barber, Eric Umansky and Austin Bay. Don’t miss it!
CHANGING TIMES: At Hot Air.
JOHN TAMMES ROUNDS UP news from Afghanistan that you may have missed.
UNSCAM UPDATE: Claudia Rosett is blogging the Tongsun Park oil-for-food trial.
MY LAW SCHOOL CLASSMATE PETER KEISLER has been nominated to the D.C. Circuit. He’s a nice guy, and he’s been head of the Civil Division at DoJ for a while. I doubt he’ll prove especially controversial. He’s from the Roberts mold, pretty much.
SINCE IT’S BLOG SWEEPS WEEK, I guess I should note that it’s the Sixtieth Anniversary of the bikini.
Some people are talking about a bikini explosion, and there’s even a special anniversary bikini book. But despite its alluring cover, I urge you to ignore all this commercialism and go beyond Bikini Bottom.
I mean, what’s crasser than using bikini imagery to pump up circulation and sell stuff? Right?
Instead, let’s return to a simpler, more wholesome time.
RAND SIMBERG ON THE NEXT SPACE SHUTTLE LAUNCH:
Many have criticized this decision, claiming that it was reminiscent of the same kind of “launch fever” that destroyed the Space shuttles Challenger and Columbia, with their crews. There are two differences, though.
First, the previous decisions were made out of the public eye, with dissent against them discouraged by management. This decision was made in the open, with an explanation publicly provided by the administrator, and ample opportunities for discussion and disagreement.
Second, the risk of concern (more foam falling off the external tank, and striking the orbiter in a manner similar to that which doomed Columbia) is to the vehicle, but not necessarily to the crew, despite hysteria on the part of some of the critics. Even AA O’Connor agrees with this, which is why he has accepted his boss’s decision to go forward. This is because in the event of damage to the Thermal Protection System, unlike the ill-fated Columbia, Discovery will be going to the International Space Station (ISS), where they will have more options: Potential damage can be inspected and possibly repaired, and if not, the crew can stay there safely until a rescue vehicle can be brought up to return them to earth.
It’s not likely that this will be a problem — we flew over 100 flights previous to the loss of Columbia, and we probably lost foam every time — we just weren’t looking for it — so last July’s “close call” isn’t necessarily as worrisome as some would make it out to be. But if this does occur, it would likely represent the end of the shuttle program (an eventuality that can’t come soon enough for some, even some space enthusiasts). It is no secret that Dr. Griffin would like to end it as soon as possible, to free up money for the president’s new lunar/Mars initiative, and has basically stated that he would end it if there’s another accident, not just because it would be yet another indicator of the system’s unreliability, but because it’s probably impractical to complete ISS construction (the only purpose for which shuttle survives at all) with a fleet of only two orbiters. And the dirty secret, of course, is that despite talk about using the ISS in support of the new exploration programs, the only real reason we’re spending the many billions of dollars and years that it will take to complete it is (uncharacteristically, in the thinking of many reflexive opponents of this administration) to meet our obligations with our international partners in Europe and Japan. But even that reason wouldn’t be good enough in the face of another major shuttle mishap.
Read the whole thing.
IT MUST BE SOME KIND OF A SWEEPS WEEK: Christopher Hitchens is offering a social history of the blowjob. Is it really “the specifically American sex act?”
I GUESS IT IS BLOG SWEEPS WEEK: Nude Britney Spears photos and a comment on the Hamdan decision, all in one post.
PUBLIUS REPORTS on an anti-communist freedom rally in Bolivia that attracted over 100,000 people. There are pictures.
Bolivia seems like a nice place.
UPDATE: Reader Bart Hall writes:
It IS a nice place — actually one of my favourites in all Latin America, and I’ve spent a lot of time there. If you ever get the chance to go there (and a strongly recommend you do) you’ll find that each region is different.
My personal favourite is Cochabamba and environs. The area around Santa Cruz is the heart of free-enterprise libertarianism, and FWIW has a large Japanese community as well as many Mennonites.
The best part of the Altiplano is on the Peruvian side, but I must warn you that Andean cuisine generally sucks (lots of old sheep, potatoes, stringy beef and not a lot else). In Cocha and Sta. Cruz it’s a lot better.
Santa Cruz sounds like the place to be. Unless you enjoy Scottish food. . . .
ARIANNA HUFFINGTON really doesn’t like Hillary.
Neither, apparently, do Peter Daou’s friends.
I still maintain hopes that she might turn out to be “the most uncompromising wartime President in United States history.” After all, she argued that President Bush had “inherent authority” to go to war against Saddam!
Plus, we might see the tough-talking Secretary of State Atrios!
MAN CHARGED AFTER VIDEOTAPING POLICE: I think it should pretty much always be legal to videotape police, but this is particularly silly as it was in his own home:
Michael Gannon, 49, of 26 Morgan St., was arrested Tuesday night, after he brought a video to the police station to try to file a complaint against Detective Andrew Karlis, according to Gannon’s wife, Janet Gannon, and police reports filed in Nashua District Court.
Police instead arrested Gannon, charging him with two felony counts of violating state eavesdropping and wiretap law by using an electronic device to record.
MAUREEN DOWD PRAISES BLOGGERS: “Politicians are courting the best bloggers because they bring donations, volunteers and goodwill to their campaigns. . . . It’s a very healthy situation: blogs lead me to try to be better every day.”
Surely the end times are nigh.
UPDATE: The Anchoress comments: “I knew she’d come around, sooner or later!”
MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING: Stooges for Bin Laden?
AEROTREKKING: Sounds pretty cool.
VERIZON WIRELESS SUCKAGE: Okay, I’ve been happy with my Verizon EVDO card. But now the credit card it bills to has expired, and they’re bombarding me with emails to renew it. Trouble is, the emails are from a don’t reply address, and the phone numbers for renewal require you to enter a phone number before you can proceed. (Entering “0″ just gets you dropped.) My wireless card has a phone number, but I don’t know what it is, and can’t seem to find it via the application screen, and the technical support number requires me to enter the phone number before I can get past it to ask how to . . . find the phone number. Jeez. No doubt there’s a way around this, but I’m too irritated to proceed at the moment.
UPDATE: Problem solved. I had to call their main number and pretend to be prospective customer; that got me through to a human being.
BILL ROGGIO REPORTS ON negotiations in Iraq.
FIVE YEARS OF THE WAR ON TERROR: Austin Bay starts a retrospective series.
HAMDAN CASE DECIDED: And Marty Lederman at SCOTUSBLOG says the press coverage is missing the biggest part of the story:
More importantly, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today’s ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons “shall in all circumstances be treated humanely,” and that “[t]o this end,” certain specified acts “are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever”—including “cruel treatment and torture,” and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment. . . . If I’m right about this, it’s enormously significant.”
Indeed. At the very least, this should serve as a rebuke to those who have been proclaiming that we live in an era of lawless fascism and rubberstamp courts. And that’s (another) good reason for Bush not to follow advice from some quarters to disobey the ruling, a la Andrew Jackson.
UPDATE: Andrew Cochran thinks this is a “huge political gift” to the Bush Administration.
Hot Air has video of Bush’s reaction.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More from Ann Althouse.
STRATEGYPAGE ON IRAN:
June 29, 2006: Although “Supreme Leader” the Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khameini has basically told the world to buzz off regarding the country’s nuclear ambitions, relations between him and radical President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be deteriorating. Apparently, Ahmadinejad’s frequent arch-conservative ranting on foreign policy and domestic issues runs contrary to a more nuanced, pragmatic approach favored by Khameini and the circle of conservative clerics who are his principal advisors. Khameini has on several recent occasions spoken far more moderately on certain issues than has Ahmadinejad. As a result, Ahmadinejad reportedly has recently told Khameini to button his lip about certain diplomatic matters, as an intrusion on the president’s authority. In a sense, this can be likened to the complexities of the “Red Guards” phase in Maoist China during the 1960s, when various factions in the Communist leadership tried to out-do each other in radicalism in order to firm up their control.
How such a scenario might unfold in Iran will be interesting to see. Iranian politics is considered a blood sport, with the losers getting themselves dead. Unrest among the nations minorities (Azeris, Arabs, Kurds, and Baluchis), continues, with evidence of insurgent activity by some groups (Kurds and Baluchs). More importantly, however, is that there appears to be growing unrest among the country’s Iranian majority population, which has been suffering under increasing religious restrictions and is considered generally pro-American by many analysts.
I keep hearing reports of unrest in Iran, and I’d certainly like to see the mullahs overthrown. What I remain skeptical of, though, is whether the discontent is going to reach critical mass any time soon.
He also sends these impressions:
Iran was fascinating. They hate us [FoxNews]. They think we are a branch of the Pentagon. I’m sure they are not the only ones, but they have the excuse of being somewhat detached. The rest don’t.
Population is far more secular than I expected. . . . Tehran’s like Mexico City in terms of traffic, energy and bustle. The expats brave enough to have gone home are making boatloads of money.
He also says that many Iranian elites view Ahmadinejad the way many American elites view Bush, as a not-very-bright guy who’s using saber-rattling to secure power. I’m not sure what that means in terms of the future, though.
TOM MAGUIRE CREDITS THE NEW YORK TIMES with accurate reporting on how much damage the SWIFT program story did. “The Times reporting is clear – this is a good program; ending it would harm national security; publicity may kill it.”
KUWAITI WOMEN VOTE FOR THE FIRST TIME in parliamentary elections. Gateway Pundit has a roundup.
WIRED EDITOR CHRIS ANDERSON has a piece on the power of “peer production” that seems right to me:
Now we have armies of amateurs, happy to work for free. Call it the Age of Peer Production. From Amazon.com to MySpace to craigslist, the most successful Web companies are building business models based on user-generated content. This is perhaps the most dramatic manifestation of the second-generation Web. The tools of production, from blogging to video-sharing, are fully democratized, and the engine for growth is the spare cycles, talent, and capacity of regular folks, who are, in aggregate, creating a distributed labor force of unprecedented scale. . . . But it’s a mistake to equate peer production with anticapitalism. This isn’t amateurs versus professionals; it’s each benefiting the other. Companies aren’t just exploiting free labor; they’re also creating the tools that give voice to millions. And that rowdy rabble isn’t replacing the firm; it’s providing the energy that drives a new sort of company, one that understands that talent exists outside Hollywood, that credentials matter less than passion, and that each of us has knowledge that’s valuable to someone, somewhere.
I haven’t read his new book, The Long Tail, yet, but I think I’m going to like it.
YESTERDAY AT THE CHURCH OF OPRAH: So if Oprah is a church, what is The View? Or do I even want to know?
HUGH HEWITT IS ON THE WARPATH about the New York Times’ publication of national security secrets.
And Robert Cox is, if anything, even angrier:
We will never know the full extent of the damage caused by The New York Times in disclosing the SWIFT monitoring program but have no doubt it was not a benign act. Whatever agony Keller may have gone through in deciding to publish the story will pale in comparison to the agony of the victims of the next terror attack, an attack that might have been prevented save for Keller’s choice.
Playwright David Mamet once wrote of elites “you’re all the same … It’s always ‘What I’m going to do for you.’ Then you screw up and then its ‘we did the best we could. I’m dreadfully sorry’ and people like us live with your mistakes the rest of our lives.”
We may be living with Keller’s mistake for a long time to come.
WHY AREN’T POWERLINES UNDERGROUND? I’ve wondered about that myself, and there’s a discussion at Slashdot.
TOM MAGUIRE: “I would be thilled to read a Times editorial explaining that, until they intervened, Bush was trampling European privacy laws merely to protect American lives. Until they write that, I still have the Comedy Channel.”
UPDATE: Lileks says that the Times has its limits:
If the Times learned that US troops were force-feeding Gitmo detainees with Coca-cola, they wouldn’t publish Coke’s secret formula. They might get sued. If there’s a CIA program that uses offensive cartoons of Mohammed to communicate with agents, they’ll keep mum, lest they have to publish the images. They might get stabbed. But secret law-enforcement-type programs as classified as the access code to the Times top-floor elevator? Fair game. You’ve the right to know.
He also offers an advance look at future scoops, which will really irritate them. Some secrets are sacred!
BARACK OBAMA thinks that Democrats should engage evangelicals. This gets him a Bronx cheer from Firedoglake: “[T]his bullshit from Barack Obama is Bill Clinton’s fault. The greatest victory of the radical right wing has been to train Democratic politicians to disrespect, mischaracterize and run against their base in the progressive movement. And that is Bill Clinton’s fault.”
Of course, as I’ve noted before, Hillary’s pretty religious herself.
VIRGINIA POSTREL WRITES ON “The National Kidney Foundation’s bad math and guilty conscience.”
SAW MY BROTHER-IN-LAW THIS AFTERNOON: He started the chemo yesterday. He’s doing pretty well, considering: no big side effects, as feared, just major league boredom as he’s doing it in-patient for four days. He’ll have to repeat this several times, and the worst part is that it may help, or it may not. Just more reasons to pull for better medical technology. Bring it on.
GEEKS OF THE WORLD, BEWARE: Sarah Pullman warns of poor computer posture, and the havoc it can wreak on muscles and joints:
What probably scared me the most was the description of the earliest warning signs of repetitive stress problems – because almost everyone I know experiences them. These include tightness and soreness in the upper back and shoulders, and unfortuantely people tend to carry on as usual until they have symptoms down into their wrists and elbows.
Most geeks I know describe pain around their shoulder blades and upper back. Almost everyone has this pain right where your arm joins to your back, kind of around the back of your armpit on your mouse arm. (You know the one. And you know what it's from.)
So what are we doing to ourselves!? Are we all going to end up crippled down the road?
She recommends yoga, which isn’t a bad solution. Take it from me — I’ve been fending off RSI since Reagan’s first term — it’s worth paying attention to this stuff.
HUGH HEWITT: “How can the Congressional majority be this lame?”
THE CARNIVAL OF THE VANITIES is up!
ANDREW SULLIVAN is calling me passive aggressive for linking this post by Jeff Goldstein. I didn’t really think it was about Andrew, but it seems that these days, everything is about Andrew. Except Andrew’s blog, which seems to devote a disproportionate amount of attention to me.
It’s funny, though, that Kos called me “passive aggressive” in an email to the Townhouse email list and now Sullivan’s repeating the phrase. (Of course, compared to Kos, everyone’s passive-aggressive). But then, Jeff Goldstein was announcing Sullivan’s transformation into a Kos diarist ages ago. I guess he was just ahead of the curve. . . .
That’s okay, I’m used to abuse.
UPDATE: Jeff Goldstein responds to Sullivan.
WHITE MEN can’t clap.
NORM GERAS looks at wanton murder and press hypocrisy.
EUGENE VOLOKH: “Would the Supreme Court uphold a ‘spending limit’ for abortion?”
Of course not. That’s an important right, not something trivial like political speech.
UNSCAM UPDATE: Oil-for-food hits a New York courtroom, and Claudia Rosett has the story.
THE NATIONAL JOURNAL’S DANNY GLOVER comments on John McCain’s Porkbusters post.
A LOOK AT THE Herpes theory of the Commerce Clause.
LOSING LARRY SUMMERS GETS EXPENSIVE:
It’s official: Larry Ellison is walking away from a promise to donate $115 million to Harvard University.
The Oracle Corp. founder and chief executive, the world’s 15th-richest person, made headlines in 2005 when, in an interview with The Chronicle, he pledged to make a major donation to Harvard to study world health. But Ellison decided against the donation after Harvard President Lawrence Summers announced his resignation earlier this year. Summers will leave the university on Friday.
And yet, I think the biggest damage to Harvard wasn’t economic.
FOR MY NEXT TRICK, I’LL DO IT WHILE DRINKING WATER: Kos, Lamont, and political ventriloquism, at Hot Air.
TERRORISTS ENCOUNTER BLOWBACK: “President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered Russia’s special services to hunt down and ‘destroy’ the killers of four Russian diplomats in Iraq, the Kremlin said.”
Just as long as he doesn’t send them to Guantanamo or anything.
UPDATE: Bill Quick: Is “hunt down and destroy” in the Geneva Convention?
THE NETROOTS AND THE JOHN BIRCHERS: Josh Trevino explores a historical parallel.
IN THE MAIL: Disrobed, by Mark Smith. As you’ll see if you follow the link, it’s not quite as racy as the title suggests. . . .
THOUGHTS ON PREPARING FOR AVIAN FLU AND OTHER DISASTERS: My TCS Daily column is up.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Over at Porkbusters, it’s a guest post from Sen. John McCain:
So why has my party, the party of small government, lately adopted the practices of our opponents who believe the bigger the government the better? I’m afraid it’s because at times we value our incumbency more than our principles. We came to office to reduce the size of government. Lately, we have increased the size of government in order to stay in office. The editors of National Review have argued — and I agree with them — that unless Republicans curb government spending by reforming the budget process, we may lose our majorities in the House and Senate. I will go one step further and say that if Republicans do not reform our budget process, we will deserve to lose our majorities.
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Freeman Hunt looks at the big picture: “I am not a McCain fan, however, at least if McCain is getting behind efforts like Porkbusters, you can guess that there is a shift in momentum going on somewhere in Congress.”
DELL NON-HELL: The Dell Laptop was dead as a doornail tonight. Wouldn’t boot, even in safe mode, producing a stop code and an “Unmountable Boot Device” error message. Called Dell Support, expecting it to be a bad hard drive. Waited more-or-less patiently as they got me to insert the recovery disk and run some diagnostics, and a nice man from Mumbai named (I think) Raktish helped me repair the bad boot sector and then noticed my computer was booting too slowly and took remote control and cleaned up some junk that was slowing things down. Total elapsed time (including about 8 minutes on hold at the beginning): less than an hour. Seems to be working fine now.
A SITE UPGRADE at The Truth Laid Bear.
JONATHAN ADLER looks at the D.C. Circuit and limits on federal power after Raich.
JEFF GOLDSTEIN CONFRONTS HOMOPHOBIA: And is undeterred.
DO THEY HAVE “SWEEPS WEEK” FOR BLOGS? Ana Marie Cox has thoughts on breasts.
ARMED LIBERAL on The New York Times, et al.:
I don’t think that the newspapers are treasonous, or doing this solely in an effort to thwart President Bush (i.e. I don’t think that a Democratic president would be getting a free ride right now). That doesn’t mean that the impacts of what they are doing doesn’t damage the country, put lives at risk, or negatively impact President Bush’s effectiveness.
I think, in simple terms, that they have forgotten that they are citizens, and that they have an obligation to the polity that goes beyond writing the good story. I don’t think they are alone; I think that many people and institutions in the country today have forgotten they are citizens, whether they are poor residents of New Orleans defrauding FEMA or corporate chieftains who are maximizing their bonuses at the expense of a healthy economy.
I think that they’re offended at the notion that citizenship might involve obligations to do something other than what you want to do anyway. Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Jon Henke: “My question is: is there any legal line, any classified information at all, that the press could/should be prevented from, or held legally accountable for, disclosing? And if so, how and where do we draw that line?”
I think we’ve done it already, by statute. We’ve then modified that, rather harsh, line with a lot of unwritten understandings that used to work, but that don’t anymore. I suspect that the New York Times is in theoretical violation of those statutes, but I also doubt that it’s likely to actually be prosecuted. Its reporters may well be subpoenaed and ordered to identify the leakers, but the press enjoys no special privilege against such things. I think the New York Times will also experience considerably more general hostility, and further erosion of its former position as the “newspaper of record” as a result of this behavior, but that seems fair to me.
MICKEY KAUS: “Who said that when it comes to immigration reform it’s the ‘Senate bill or nothing’? It sure looks like Senate conference leader Arlen Specter is moving rapidly, if not desperately, in the House’s ‘enforcement-only’ direction.” He offers suggestions for a face-saving compromise.
NEW GOINGS-ON IN SOMALIA: Austin Bay is paying attention.
FLAGBURNING IDIOCY: I agree with James Taranto:
No doubt you are dying to know where this column stands on the flag-desecration amendment. The answer is, we are against it. Our view is that the Supreme Court got it right in 1989: Insofar as desecrating the flag is an act of political expression, it is protected by the First Amendment. (The objection that it isn’t “speech” is overly literal. What we’re doing now–causing pixels to form meaningful patterns on thousands of computer screens–isn’t exactly speech either, but we like to think the First Amendment protects it from government interference.)
Burning the flag is a stupid and ugly act, but there is something lovely and enlightened about a regime that tolerates it in the name of freedom. And of course it has the added benefit of making it easier to spot the idiots.
Or, to put it more succinctly: “I notice it and just think ugh, they’re doing that again.” Indeed. On the other hand, people who are more upset about a ban on flagburning than about McCain-Feingold are on shaky free-speech ground. Michael Barone looks at that contradiction.
SENATOR PAT ROBERTS, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has written John Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence, and requested a damage assessment regarding the effects of journalistic leaks on national security.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey: “We don’t need a report from Negroponte. We need our elected representatives to start taking national-security leaks seriously. This isn’t even a good start towards that end.”
MATT STOLLER defends Jon Stewart.
PATTERICO: “Do you think the editors of the New York Times and L.A. Times are starting to realize what a big mistake they’ve made in publishing classified details of a legal and effective anti-terror program?”
ROGER SIMON: “In all the brouhaha over the New York Times’ publishing top secret information on financial surveillance, one thing amuses me in a dark comic way: from my point of view the Big Scoop is one of the great myths of our post-Watergate times. Almost always it is simply handed to you. It takes no guts whatsoever or even, in many cases, much legwork.”
DAVID BERNSTEIN: “I’ve noticed in a variety of contexts that there are some rather well-educated, articulate individuals out there who have what seems to me to be a fanatical, quasi-religious belief in ‘international law,’ and the idea that it should trump any other conflicting consideration.”
The leadership of the National Chamber Foundation (the educational arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce) recently recommended to its board of directors a list of 10 “Books that Drive the Debate.”
One of them was, you guessed it, An Army of Davids. Another was Arnold Kling’s excellent book on health care, Crisis of Abundance.
I’d be interested in hearing what Kling thinks about Andy Kessler’s book.