August 27, 2006
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, so blogging has been light as we’ve engaged in various family activities. It’s likely to remain so, but if you’re bored, note that GayPatriot is livepodcasting the Emmy awards.
IT’S MY BIRTHDAY, so blogging has been light as we’ve engaged in various family activities. It’s likely to remain so, but if you’re bored, note that GayPatriot is livepodcasting the Emmy awards.
Much, much more here. Plus this: “I’m glad these guys are safe and free. I wish them well. But I hope there will be some attention paid by Fox and other media to the way in which kidnappings and similar threats coerce and intimidate journalists, and may influence their coverage.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: A Tom Cruise Plamegate connection?
Meanwhile, Cruise has been busier pushing Scientology than anyone knew. According to a just-declassified State Department schedule, Cruise visited then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage on June 13, 2003, just an hour after Armitage had met with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward. (It’s speculated that Armitage outed Valerie Plame as a CIA spy at that meeting.)
Cruise was accompanied by Tom Davis, head of the L.A. Celebrity Center for Scientology, and Kurt Weiland, Scientology’s veep of communications.
What was discussed? “Only Armitage can answer that question, and he’s no longer here,” a State Department spokesman told us. E-mails to Armitage and Cruise’s rep weren’t answered, nor was a call to Scientology headquarters.
Forget 9/11, here’s some real conspiracy-theory material.
SCALZI WINS: Reader Darin Briskman emailed last night, after I went to bed: “I am live at the Hugo awards ceremony in Anaheim. I thought you’s like to know that John Scalzi just won the Campbell Award for best new Science Fiction and Fantasy Author.”
You can hear our podcast interview with Scalzi here if you’re interested. Can we spot talent, or what?
THE ORANGE REVOLUTION’S AFTERMATH: Robert Mayer of PubliusPundit is reporting from Ukraine and Belarus.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Ed Feulner writes:
The bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to build an easy-to-use Web database containing detailed information about all the grants and contracts the federal government hands out. This database would allow virtually anyone to see how much money a federal program received and how it spent that money. And, to ensure that public oversight is timely, information about spending would, by law, have to be posted within 30 days of when Congress authorized the money.
“It shouldn’t matter if you think government ought to spend more money or less money,” Obama says. “We can all agree that government ought to spend money efficiently. If government money can’t withstand public scrutiny, then it shouldn’t be spent.”
That makes perfect sense to most people. That’s why the bill has 29 co-sponsors, including staunch liberals, determined conservatives and self-professed moderates. Small wonder it’s moved through the legislative process at what amounts to lightning speed.
The bill was introduced in early April and has already been passed by a committee (the step in the process where senators usually bottle up controversial bills) and placed on the Senate’s legislative calendar.
But one senator doesn’t like it. And that may be enough to derail it, because he (or she) has put a hold on it. A secret hold. How’s that for irony — a secret hold on an open-government bill?
It may not stay that way for long, though. The watchdog group Porkbusters (www.porkbusters.org) is trying to smoke out the offender. It’s urging constituents to call their senators and push them to disavow the hold. Senators who go on record against the hold are “removed from the suspect list.”
Sen. Obama and I disagree on many things. But he’s right about this. The U.S. needs more openness in government, so anyone and everyone can review how Uncle Sam spends our tax money. Good government shouldn’t be held hostage by secret holds.
Lawmakers have the right — indeed, the responsibility — to block legislation they consider bad. But they should always do so publicly, identifying themselves and explaining their actions.
TIM BLAIR: “I’m not religious, so I don’t have a God in this fight, but I’d sure like to read a ‘short, wicked and witty’ book by Robyn Williams exposing all the scientific flaws in fundamentalist Islam (and the ABC’s aggressive promotion of that book).”
A PHILADELPHIA QUAGMIRE? Stop the killing. U.S. out of Philadelphia now!
UPDATE: Iraq veteran Chris Seamans isn’t impressed with the analysis in the Post article:
Among my other duties in Iraq, I was a convoy gunner. I am also a native of inner city Philadelphia who has spent almost all of my life in some of the city’s toughest neighborhoods. I can say from direct experience that combat duty in Iraq isn’t as easy or as safe as walking down the street in Philadelphia. This is a simple fact that the statistics you’ve linked to attempt to obfuscate. The statistics don’t take into account the fact that the majority of servicemen in Iraq spend their deployments behind rows of T-walls, Hesco barriers, and checkpoints, and that the much smaller number of troops that spend their time outside the wire face far greater danger than young black men walking the streets of Philly. The statistics also ignore the fact that the American military has some of the best trauma care in the world, and that the number of people who live despite grave injuries vastly outnumbers those who die from them. (If I remember correctly, the Army said a little while ago that the number of deaths in Iraq would be four times greater if not for its ability to quickly evacuate casualties to top quality medical facilities.) This means that a lot more soldiers have faced potentially life-threatening injuries than just those who have died. If the proper statistics were referenced (or even available) I’d bet my next paycheck that they would back up the obvious reality: Iraq is a warzone that is vastly more dangerous than even the deadliest sections of Philadelphia.
Jeez, you figure when you read something positive about the war in the Big Media it’s probably true. Oh, well.
But read this post from Dean Esmay, which seems about right.
ANTOTHER UPDATE: A response to Chris Seamans here:
No one is trying to say that Philadelphia is “more dangerous” than Iraq. (Well, okay, I’m sure someone somewhere is. But I’m not, Glenn Reynolds wasn’t, and the Washington Post article didn’t…)
Let me repeat: The point wasn’t that Philadelphia is “more dangerous” than Iraq. The point was that the death rate in Philadelphia among black men was 11% higher in 2002 than it was in Iraq among US troops during the first three years of the campaign. For the purposes of the point at hand, the statistics referenced were, indeed, the “proper” ones and they’re very clear.
I think that nearly everyone realizes that Iraq is far, far more dangerous than Philadelphia. But let’s not pretend that it’s more dangerous than it is. The statistics show how many people died in Iraq and they showed how many black men died in Philadelphia.
The ultimate point is that the numbers, when compared to each other, will probably surprise you.
Yes, by historical standards the war in Iraq isn’t terribly bloody, which does tend to get lost in the media coverage.
Let me see if I’ve got this right. The price of all types of fuel is headed toward historically high levels. So how do we respond in this country? What are we doing, at least on principle, to cut our fuel consumption? Cranking up the AC.
I’ve never spent a summer as cold as this one. Everywhere I go, I find air conditioners running at full blast. Now, I’ve got nothing against air conditioning. But have you stepped inside an office building, train, restaurant, airport, house of worship, school, or doctor’s office lately? I rode on a train the other day that was, from one end to the other, nothing more than a rolling meat locker.
I think that air-conditioning is one of the great inventions of Western civilization. But I agree that over-airconditioning is rife, though it actually seems to me that things have been better this summer than last.
A LOOK AT JOHN MCCAIN’S somewhat iffy record on gun rights. This is a big problem for him.
SPACE TOURISM UPDATE: “Anousheh Ansari, a U.S. citizen of Iranian origin, will become the world’s first female space tourist when she blasts off aboard a Russian rocket on September 14, the launch company said on Friday.”
FAUXTOGRAPHY AND OTHER JOURNALISTIC FAKERY, discussed by me, Charles Johnson, and Dean Barnett, in the latest TCS Daily podcast.
A SHOCKING KATRINA PHOTO has been released.
HOW LIKELY ARE YOU TO DIE WHILE SERVING IN IRAQ? About half as likely as Americans back home, reports the Washington Post. Yeah, there are some caveats — read the whole thing — but it’s hard to look at these numbers and see the catastrophe that the “527 media” are proclaiming. The Belmont Club has much more discussion.
UPDATE: But see this post.
UH OH: “A landmark scientific report that was supposed to bridge the gap between proponents and opponents of human embryonic stem cell research has become the focus of an escalating feud, with a prominent critic of the research alleging that scientists were deceptive in presenting their results.”
HOWARD MORTMAN NOTES A GROUNDSWELL: “If only Teddy Roosevelt had appeared on Comedy Central.”
WHAT CONGRESS WILL LOOK LIKE, if the Democrats win a majority.
ORIN KERR looks at the group dynamics of mass unsolicited email lists.
DIVORCE IS A BIG ISSUE IN THE BLOGOSPHERE these days, at least judging from the response to our podcast on marriage and divorce featuring family lawyer Lauren Strange-Boston. It’s now been downloaded over one and a half million times, edging it into first place. It’s funny, but although the political shows get more attention, overall I think the nonpolitical ones are more popular.
PAYBACK IS A BITCH:
Lieberman — who after losing an Aug. 8 Democratic primary to Ned Lamont has launched a third-party bid to hold onto his seat in the Nov. 7 general election — was asked whether he still endorses Diane Farrell, Joe Courtney and Chris Murphy, three Democrats looking to unseat endangered Republican incumbents Chris Shays, Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson.
“I’m a non-combatant,” Lieberman declared. “I am not going to be involved in other campaigns. I think it’s better if I just focus on my own race.”
Why are the netroots surprised by this? You guys stuck a knife into him. Of course he’ll stick you back. And I suspect that this is only the beginning.
WHAT THE PRESIDENT KNEW AND WHEN HE KNEW IT: A look at the Clinton Administration’s intelligence on Saddam’s WMD.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Todd Steed.
THE “527 MEDIA:” Jed Babbin publishes a letter to Ken Mehlman on what the Republicans need to be doing.
HITCHENS GIVES BILL MAHER’S AUDIENCE the finger. Should things go badly with the war, Maher’s audience — and, for that matter, Maher himself — will be cited by historians as evidence of the American opposition’s unseriousness.
UPDATE: Rand Simberg emails: “I suspect that historians will judge Democrats unserious regardless of the war’s outcome. In fact, if it goes badly enough, history of the era will be written in Arabic.” And even those historians won’t respect Maher and his audience, though they may be grateful for their petty Bush-hatred.
ANOTHER UPDATE: The entire Maher show is reviewed here.
MORE: Radley Balko says that Rand Simberg is objectively pro-terrorist. Next he’ll be questioning his patriotism!
MEETING THE BLOGGERS FACE TO FACE: “The successful bloggers I met certainly aren’t sad or joyless although some of them are perhaps a little bit on the obsessive side.”
He must mean Lileks. Certainly not moi.
JEFF TAYLOR: “Just who at The New York Times does Matt Nifong have naked pictures of? . . . Taking the lead investigator’s notes and using them as a narrative doesn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know about the case while managing to gloss over the huge holes in Nifong’s case.”
JAMES LILEKS: “Of course, one could make the case that the greatest threats to the freedoms of the West are posed by the head-choppers, plane-exploders, their many merry supporters, and the nuke-seeking state that supports them. . . . But don’t expect the artists to make the case. They saw what happened to that Theo Van Gogh fellow. They take the easy way out, these brave souls; they’ll perform ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ but only because now some people think it has a happy ending. They cradle their illusions like a big dead pig, singing them lullabies.”
But it’ll be worth it if it gets rid of the damnable Bushitler regime. “If an attack occurred just before the elections, I have to think that at least a few of the voters who persist in this ‘Bush has kept us safe’ thinking would realize the fallacy they have been under.”
UPDATE: A more extensive Fisking from Caerdroia.
MIKE HUCKABEE: The Sam’s Club candidate?
BOB OWENS may have discovered why the Editor of Editor & Publisher is so sympathetic to staged news.
Jeff Goldstein: “Fortunately for us, though, Google never forgets.”
UPDATE: Ouch: “I wasn’t a perfect reporter, but it’s pretty easy to avoid making stuff up out of whole cloth. My dad and I both know that. Mr. Mitchell does not. My dad and I are both conservative bloggers. Mr. Mitchell is editor of Editor and Publisher. Telling, isn’t it?”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Now Mitchell is charged with airbrushing the original story. After bloggers had quoted it. Can he be that stupid?
SADLY, NO: “I’m of the opinion that how to handle Wal-Mart is among the two or three most important issues facing the country.”
If only that were true! We’d have it made.
UPDATE: More on WalMart and its critics, here. I feel about WalMart like I do about Bush — it’s not that I’m crazy about them, it’s that their critics just seem crazy, period.
BLOG WEEK IN REVIEW IS UP, featuring Daniel Drezner, Austin Bay, and Gerard van der Leun.
I GUESS PORKBUSTERS IS MAKING PROGRESS: Just a few months ago, Dave Weigel was calling it “the ineffective bloggers’ group Porkbusters.”
Now he’s holding it up as a model of constructive political involvement:
Long-term, honest public pressure can force an administration to make changes or change course on a failed policy. It works on domestic issues: witness the Porkbusters campaign, which has rapped the president and Congress without apologies in an effort to shame them into cutting spending.
The advantage of PorkBusters is that it’s focused on one issue and been nonpartisan, criticizing porkers regardless of party. I don’t think the kind of criticism Weigel’s talking about can say the same, though I agree that it would have been more effective if it could. Anyway, it’s nice to see that PorkBusters’ progress is being noticed.
MAN ARRESTED FOR REBROADCASTING HEZBOLLAH TV:
A New York man was arrested yesterday on charges that he conspired to support a terrorist group by providing U.S. residents with access to Hezbollah’s satellite channel, al-Manar. . . .
The U.S. Treasury Department in March designated al-Manar a “global terrorist entity” and a media arm of the Hezbollah terrorist network. The designation froze al-Manar’s assets in the United States and prohibited any transactions between Americans and al-Manar.
Iqbal’s attorney, Mustapha Ndanusa, said yesterday that the accusations against his client are “completely ridiculous,” according to the Associated Press. Ndanusa added that he is not aware of another instance in which someone was accused of violating U.S. laws by enabling access to a news outlet.
This raises some interesting First Amendment issues, but don’t blame the Patriot Act or the Bush Administration here. The statute in question, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA, pronounced “Aiyeepa”) predates the Patriot Act by decades, and has just been upheld in another context by the Second Circuit. IEEPA is very far-reaching — in a case that I used to teach back when I taught International Business Transactions, United States v. Spawr Optical Research, 685 F.2d 1076 (9th Cir. 1982) (doesn’t seem to be online anywhere), the defendants had violated the Export Administration Act. They thought that they had a pretty good defense, in that the Export Administration Act had actually expired before their actions. The court held that the President had lawfully extended the expired statute’s provisions by regulation, under his general powers delegated by IEEPA.
I don’t like that case, but it’s one of several reasons why I find claims that the Bush Administration is exercising unprecedentedly broad powers unpersuasive.
Personally, I’d favor exempting retransmission of news material, etc., from the statute, and I think there’s a pretty good argument that this sort of prosecution violates the First Amendment. But it’s also true that sweeping powers of this sort are nothing new in the field of international trade.
THE MANOLO OBSERVES: “This intersection between the politics and the fashion it would appear to be at the corner of the Dull Street and the Boring Boulevard.”
IN THE MAIL: Benjamin Wittes’ new book, Confirmation Wars: Preserving Independent Courts in Angry Times. Seems pretty timely, and Amazon has provided a discussion forum.
MOHAMMED OF IRAQ THE MODEL reports on a Cairo bloggers’ conference that he attended.
And, of course, don’t miss the Carnival of the Recipes!
Yes, I’ve been pretty lame about posting these links lately. Sorry, but you can always find carnival highlights in the right sidebar, or at BlogCarnival.com.
THE POLICE’S RIGHT to keep your property. These seizure cases are an outrage.
PLAN B APPROVED: And I don’t find the argument against the approval compelling:
Conservative opponents complained that the FDA had buckled to political pressure. They have argued that easier access to the pill would increase promiscuity.
Whether access to the pill will “increase promiscuity” or not isn’t clear, but I think the only question should be whether the drug is safe and effective. It seems to me that’s been established for a while, and that it was political pressure that was holding up the approval. But promiscuity, or the lack thereof, isn’t the concern of the FDA. Or at least it shouldn’t be.
ANOTHER FLIGHT STOPPED:
An Aer Lingus flight from New York with 239 passengers aboard was evacuated in Ireland Friday following a threat against the aircraft, airport authorities said.
Aer Lingus Flight 112 was evacuated during a scheduled stop at 2:50 a.m. EDT at Shannon airport in western Ireland, said airport spokesman Eugene Pratt. The plane was en route to Dublin.
The threat “came to a police station in Dublin, and referred to some explosives aboard that specific flight,” Pratt said. No trace of explosives was found in the initial search.
Pratt said security officials decided to remove all baggage from the flight to be screened again.
As I mentioned yesterday, if I were a terrorist, I’d focus on bogus threats — lots of disruption for minimal investment, plus you eventually get people to lower their guard against real attacks.
HMM: “In a recent poll, more Iraqis, who live in Iraq, say Iraq is headed the right direction than Americans who merely watch TV reports about Iraq or read newspaper reports about Iraq.”
MICHAEL YOUNG: Hezbollah lost.
A LOOK AT Chinese lawyers and human rights.
A LOOK AT the political value of blog advertising, at National Journal’s “Beltway Blogroll.”
IN Tehran in June, several thousand people held a peaceful demonstration calling for legal changes that would give a woman’s testimony in court equal value to a man’s. The demonstrators, most of them women, were attacked with tear gas and beaten with batons by men and women from Iran’s State Security Forces, according to Amnesty International.
Iranian women may not travel without their husband’s permission but they are allowed to wield a truncheon against other women.
Do you think women in Western countries marched in solidarity with the Iranian women demonstrators? Of course not. Do you think there are posters and graffiti at universities condemning the Iranian President? Of course not. You know, without needing to go there, that any graffiti at universities will be condemning George W. Bush, not Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (I concede Bush is easier to spell.)
You know, before you get there, that at the Melbourne Writers Festival starting this weekend the principal hate figures are going to be Bush and John Howard. You know there will be many sympathetic references to David Hicks but probably none to Ashraf Kolhari, an Iranian mother of four who has been in jail for five years for allegedly having sex outside marriage and, until last week, who was under sentence of death by stoning.
Thank goddess, as they used to say: a few Western feminists have begun to wonder why women who once marched for women’s rights are marching alongside people who would take away even the most basic of those rights.
Read the whole thing.
SOME INTERESTING CONGRESSIONAL / LOBBYIST DIGGING at the Sunlight Foundation.
A Danish prosecutor today charged four young Muslims with plotting a terror attack in Europe.
The four suspects were arrested in October last year in connection with an investigation in Bosnia.
Prosecutor Henning Fode said they helped two other suspects in Bosnia get hold of weapons and explosives as part of a plot to blow up an unidentified European target.
The four men, who cannot be named under a court order, would face up to life in prison if found guilty. Under Danish law, life sentences are commuted after 16 years.
Well, that should certainly frighten any potential imitators.
FIRST DELL, NOW APPLE: “Computer giant Apple is recalling 1.8m batteries used in its laptop computers worldwide after overheating complaints.”
CUT THE CARDS: Interviewing Dave Ramsey, at Hot Air.
A LOOK AT THE ANTI-CHAVEZ OPPOSITION IN VENEZUELA, which is reportedly growing.
DANIEL GLOVER says we’re seeing “the buying of the Democratic blogosphere.”
BILL ROGGIO: “Somalia continues the slide into the darkness of a radical Islamist state.”
MEGAN MCARDLE: “Where does this idea come from that the Japanese and German corporations don’t have to pay any costs to cover their employees’ health and retirement? And why hasn’t anyone bothered to check it?”
IRAQPUNDIT HAS MORE on the security situation in Baghdad.
ALL YOUR FAKES ARE BELONG TO US.
BRUCE SCHNEIER WRITES ON WHAT THE TERRORISTS WANT: He’s right that we don’t want to overreact, and that some of the aviation scares seem like overreactions. It’s like an immune system: Overreact and you get allergies and autoimmune problems; underreact and you die of overwheming sepsis or something. But getting the balance right is harder than saying that we need to get the balance right.
But we need to beware of what one of Schneier’s commenters notes: “What’s to stop terriorists now just getting on flights and acting suspiciously on purpose. If no crime was committed (I was just checking my watch, saying my prayers, going to the bathroom etc.) they can cause disruption, create paranoia and terror at will and get off scott free.” That’s what I would do if I were a terrorist.
Schneier’s blog, by the way, is a must-read on this stuff, and I recommend it, as I have in the past.
IN THE MAIL: Richard Posner’s new book, Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency. In essence, it’s something of an argument for taking a “Living Constitution” approach to civil liberties in wartime. I’m guessing that it will prove controversial.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The “secret hold” story is getting more attention:
In an ironic twist, legislation that would open up the murky world of government contracting to public scrutiny has been derailed by a secret parliamentary maneuver.
An unidentified senator placed a “secret hold” on legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., that would create a searchable database of government contracts, grants, insurance, loans and financial assistance, worth $2.5 trillion last year. The database would bring transparency to federal spending and be as simple to use as conducting a Google search.
The measure had been unanimously passed in a voice vote last month by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It was on the fast track for floor action before Congress recessed Aug. 4 when someone put a hold on the measure.
Now the bill is in political limbo. Under Senate rules, unless the senator who placed the hold decides to lift it, the bill will not be brought up for a vote.
More and more people are trying to smoke out the “secret holder” though.
ANN ALTHOUSE: “Why do judges make it easier for their critics?” Because they live in a cocoon.
The substance of McCain’s claim is pretty weak: I don’t recall Bush ever saying that Iraq would be a “day at the beach,” and in fact casualties to date are considerably lower than what was generally expected for the ground war to Baghdad, where you generally heard figures in the 10,000 range. (Ted Kennedy predicted that we’d run through battalions a day. Gary Hart predicted worse.) It’s more the duration, and the extent of the bad press, that has exceeded expectations, really, though McCain’s pretty sensitive to bad press.
But this isn’t a “backstab.” In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were choreographed by Karl Rove. Democrats forget it, but Bush doesn’t matter much from the perspective of 2008, and if the GOP can get mileage out of Bush-bashing, it will.
Retrospective Reagan hagiography has obscured this, but in the last couple of years of the Reagan Administration we saw the same thing. Reagan was expendable, since he couldn’t be reelected, and with the country tired of the same guy, Republicans (politicians and pundits alike) distanced themselves in order to position for 1988. Bush Sr. ran in 1988, in fact, on an “I’m not like Reagan, but I’ll still protect the country unlike those weakling Democrats” platform. Whoever is the GOP nominee in 2008 will do the same, and will be able to do it more obviously because — unlike George H.W. Bush — they won’t be a sitting Vice President.
To the GOP, Bush is a wasting asset; like Reagan at the same part of his term, he’s expendable. They’ll use him up, and if the best way to get value out of him over the next couple of years is to bash him, then they will. That’s just politics, and McCain’s just ahead of the curve. Being ahead of the curve may not be smart, since McCain’s biggest weak point is with the Bush base, but I think it’s the strategy.
UPDATE: Jim Geraghty has a different reason for being unhappy with McCain.
And McCain sure sounded different in 2003. So did a lot of Democrats who are now criticizing the war, of course, but I don’t know if McCain can pull this off.
ANOTHER UPDATE: It’s looking like McCain won’t be able to pull this off.
MORE: By the way, here’s a roundup of lefty predictions about the war that illustrate that many antiwar people were
hoping expecting that things would turn out much, much worse than they did. McCain, however, was not endorsing their views at the time.
More on McCain here.
TEA DOESN’T DEHYDRATE YOU: “Tea not only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers, UK nutritionists found.”
THERE’S LOTS OF ADVICE FOR FIRST-YEAR LAW STUDENTS, but here’s a post with advice for rising second-year law students.
I WOULD HAVE HAPPILY DONATED A MOBIUS DICK CD TO THE CAUSE: Gateway Pundit has pictures from an Iranian rave.
IT’S HARD OUT THERE FOR A MAN, and Fausta has thoughts on why. Oprah is involved.
GEORGE W. BUSH: The President who reads too much!
WILL HILLARY HAVE a Billy Carter problem?
HARVESTING STEM CELLS without harming the embryo. This, if it proves out, should mollify pro-life opponents of embryonic stem-cell research, though it won’t please Leon Kass types who simply don’t like the idea of these new treatments at all. Hey, if longer, healthier lives don’t appeal to you, we’re just not on the same page.
UPDATE: Civilian deaths in Iraq decline. I think you can make too much of these trends, but it’s interesting that they seem to get reported a lot more when they’re bad.
ANOTHER UPDATE: John Wixted has more warnings about mistaking random fluctuations for long-term trends. He’s right, but as I say the news coverage often seems non-random.
HOWARD DEAN’S OLD WEBMASTER will be working for John McCain.
MORE ON WEIGHT LOSS AND REAL FOOD AT The Crisper. I agree with his thoughts on BMI, too.
UPDATE: Related post at Electric Venom.
MORE: Forget the Summer of Love. This is the Summer of Food!
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Another pro-PorkBusters editorial:
The game goes like this: Each member must pretend to be fiscally responsible. They loudly decry “pork” and/or “fat” in the budget.
However, when it comes to their own district or state what might otherwise be labeled as “pork” turns into a vital public works project.
Therein lies the difficulty. Vital projects and pork projects each happen so frequently that it is difficult to tell the two apart.
But now a disparate group of watchdog organizations have come together in an attempt to provide more transparency to the process. The coalition produced a single database of what are called congressional “earmarks” and each group provides access to that database from its own Web site.
This isn’t all that novel, but the twist is that the coalition wants ordinary citizens to examine the list and to investigate any earmarks that catch their eye and report back via either blog or e-mail.
This operates on the theory that local people may be able to provide the best insights as to the relative merits of a particular earmark.
Plus, a look at pork and agro-terrorism.
“RIGHT NOW, TOM VILSACK IS TAKING PIANO LESSONS:” Mike Huckabee was born to be wild.
PLANE GROUNDED after 12 passengers showed suspicious inflight behavior.
WHY WE NEED TRANSPARENT GOVERNMENT:
How good is government at wasting our tax dollars? Consider the Department of Homeland Security.
It’s not yet five years old, but it’s already experienced at throwing away cash. A recent congressional report found that 32 DHS contracts “experienced significant overcharges, wasteful spending or mismanagement.” Federal credit cards were used to buy beer-brewing equipment and iPods. Tax money was squandered on luxury hotels and “training” sessions at golf and tennis resorts.
Altogether, those contracts cost the government — meaning you and me — $34 billion. Sadly, a lot of that was wasted.
DHS says it can solve the problems — if it can hire more inspectors. “We need more,” Elaine Duke, the DHS chief procurement officer, told lawmakers. “We have an increase coming in the current ’07 budget of about 200 additional [workers], and we are working towards needing even more over time.”
But the answer isn’t to hire more bureaucrats to supervise what the current bureaucrats are doing. There’s a simpler, cheaper and more permanent solution: Allow 300 million Americans to review how government spends our money.
Meanwhile, it’s easy to see how dangerous things can be when you get corruption in national security matters. Just look at Israel:
The serious news is that the IDF’s reserve forces were a shambles when they mobilized. Information from an inside source reveals that, when the reserves’ warehouses and depots were opened, key stocks were missing – stolen.
What was gone? Fuel, weapons, ammunition, food, spare parts – all that a modern military needs to go to war. And I doubt it ended up in Iceland.
Trent Telenko speculated that this sort of thing was a problem earlier.
UNLOCK INTERNET OR RISK LOSING STAFF:
Jobseekers will think twice about employers who lock down work internet access, a senior Microsoft executive said today.
“These kids are saying: forget it! I don’t want to work with you. I don’t want to work at a place where I can’t be freely online during the day,” said Anne Kirah, Microsoft Senior Design Anthropologist.
“People that I meet are saying this to me every day, all over the world.”
In fact, I was saying it months ago.
QUESTIONS ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH’S CREDIBILITY.
JULES CRITTENDEN on why terrorism against Fox News isn’t news: “Fox newsmen don’t command the same level of sympathy and interest in our largely left-leaning media that [Jill] Carroll did.”