February 28, 2007
TALKS WITH IRAN: An advance transcript.
TALKS WITH IRAN: An advance transcript.
JIHAD: The (short) motion picture.
THE WASHINGTON POST EDITORIALIZES:
THE BUSH administration has tolerated Egypt’s brutal crackdown on domestic dissent and the broader reversal of its democratic spring of 2005 in part because President Hosni Mubarak argues that his adversaries are dangerous Islamic extremists. It’s true that the largest opposition movement in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood; how dangerous it is can be debated. But what is overlooked is that Mr. Mubarak reserves his most relentless repression not for the Islamists — who hold a fifth of the seats in parliament — but for the secular democrats who fight for free elections, a free press, rights for women and religious tolerance.
The latest case in point is a blogger named Abdel Kareem Nabil Soliman, who was sentenced to four years in prison last week on charges of religious incitement, disrupting public order and “insulting the president.” A brave and provocative 22-year-old student, Mr. Soliman first achieved notice with postings that denounced riots in Alexandria directed at Egypt’s Christian Copt minority. He said the brutality he witnessed was the result of extremist Islamic teachings, in part by his own university, Al-Azhar, which he called “the other face of al-Qaeda.” . . .
As a political prisoner, Mr. Soliman will join Ayman Nour, who was sentenced a year ago on fabricated charges after he ran for president against Mr. Mubarak on a liberal democratic platform. As many as 800 members of the Muslim Brotherhood have also been jailed in the past year. This by a government that continues to be one of the largest recipients in the world of U.S. aid, collecting more than $2 billion a year. What do American subsidies support? Not least, the elimination of what would otherwise be the strongest secular democratic movement in the Arab Middle East.
Seems like we’re getting a bad deal. (Via Xeni Jardin, who emails: “I wonder how many Americans realize this guy is going to jail in part because he stood up for Egypt’s *Christian minority* on his blog? When Americans hear about these free speech cases in developing countries, I think many of us assume the issues at hand have nothing to do with our own cultures or faiths.”).
Danny Glover has more.
JAMES LILEKS IS WITHOUT INTERNET AT HOME, and doesn’t entirely mind:
At this moment Iâ€™m back at the coffee shop where I filed two pieces yesterday morning, then returned at 7 PM to file another. Iâ€™ve caught up on everything I need to read, and have realized that I do not have to check sites nine times every ten minutes. I can catch up Achewood (always brilliant, but I loved this) and the rest of my imaginary friends, and then I can close the machine and do something else. Itâ€™s remarkable the things you can get up to, once you leave the house.
I’m enjoying a bit of that, using the “scheduled posting” feature of Movable Type to let me stay away from the computer for longer periods. It is kind of nice. And useful, since I was busy doing stuff like checking in with the Insta-Mother-in-Law at the rehab center.
THOUGHTS ON HYPOCRISY AND POLITICS, from Eric Scheie.
PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: “The law reviews have made a hash of the manuscript submission process, which once more raises the question of why legal scholarship remains dependent on the whims of twenty-something second and third year law students. Personally, I plan to stick to books and symposia articles until the law reviews get together and coordinate their requirements.”
SARAH PULLMAN WRITES on treating Seasonal Affective Disorder.
BRIAN FLEMMING REPORTS ON more YouTube censorship. Flemming comments: “If YouTube turns into a war of various interest groups organizing to red-flag expressions of ideas they don’t like — and YouTube’s policy is to give in to that pressure automatically whenever it gets high enough — then YouTube is going to suck. YouTube really needs to fix their complaint system.”
That sounds right to me.
A TIMELY WARNING:
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke renewed a warning to the U.S. Congress on Wednesday that failure to take action soon to prepare for the retirement of aging Baby Boomers could lead to serious economic harm.
Bernanke did not address the outlook for U.S. interest-rate policy or Tuesday’s collapse in global stock markets in his prepared testimony to the House of Representatives’ Budget Committee, which were nearly identical to remarks he delivered to a Senate panel last month.
“A vicious cycle may develop in which large (budget) deficits lead to rapid growth in debt and interest payments, which in turn adds to subsequent deficits,” Bernanke said.
Bernanke told Congress that over time, the United States needed to move toward fiscal policies that were sustainable and that would promote more saving to support the Social Security retirement program without imposing undue costs on taxpayers.
However, he offered no specific policy.
Perhaps we should work on a longevity dividend.
A NOT-SO-MAGNIFICENT obsession.
GLOBAL WARMING SOLVED: By IowaHawk.
PROPOSING AN EXPERIMENT, at InstaPunk. “I propose an exercise to be perfomed by those who have the software and expertise to carry it out. The exercise is this: Search six months’ worth of content, posts and comments, of the 20 most popular blogs on the right and the left. The search criteria are George Carlin’s infamous ’7 Dirty Words.’”
MORE ON CARBON OFFSETS, from Tyler Cowen.
SOME THOUGHTS ON WHO BUSH WOULD NOMINATE if he got another Supreme Court pick.
AT ECOTOTALITY: “Why the Gore story matters.”
UPDATE: In all of this, we’re just following in Eric Alterman’s footsteps. Here’s what he wrote in the September, 2004 Atlantic Monthly (not available for free, alas):
Needless to say, Hollywood offers nearly limitless opportunities for anyone seeking to expose hypocrisy in the lifestyles of the rich and progressive. Laurie David, who dedicates herself to fighting for improved fuel-economy standards and reviles the owners of SUVs as terrorist enablers, gives herself a pass when it comes to chartering one of the most wasteful uses of fossil-based fuels imaginable: a private plane. (She’s not just a limousine liberal; she’s a Gulfstream liberal.) One night I visited the home of the former TV star Heather Thomas (The Fall Guy) and her husband, the entertainment lawyer and philanthropist Skip Brittenham. I drove past SUVs and assorted luxury vehicles on what felt like a quarter-mile-long driveway to a mansion large enough to house one of the small Amazonian villages the Brittenhams want to save. Just the energy consumed by the house and all the vehicles would power a sizable chunk of Amazonia. And this was nothing next to the Sunset Strip home of Stewart and Lynda Resnick, where I attended a book party for the journalist and progressive candidate-conspirator-hostess Arianna Huffington. Guests picked at smoked-salmon and caviar hors d’oeuvres beneath twenty-foot ceilings supported by towering Greek columns. Each gilded room was larger than most New York City apartments. The house would not he out of place if plunked down as an extension of Versailles, save for the enormous bust of Napoleon in one of the salons. The Resnicks, Lynda told me, are the “largest farmers in America”; they are the country’s biggest grower of fruits and nuts, and a member of the Sunkist cooperative (she urged me to try the selection of new Sunkist beverages at the well-stocked bar); they also own the Franklin Mint. Later I listened to her refer to the celebrity-laden crowd as “disenfranchised.”
But it’s a rich lode of hypocrisy, and it’s nowhere close to mined out. And who knew that Eric Alterman was the original coiner of the term “Gulfstream liberal?”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Also in 2001, Jonathan Rauch coined the more-euphonious “Learjet liberal,” though he wasn’t really talking about global warming or energy efficiency.
And there’s more, over at Creative Destruction.
MORE: Don Surber comments on the coverage:
After reading the Editorialistâ€™s coverage at the Washington Post of Al Goreâ€™s overuse of electricity, I donâ€™t want to hear about Republican hypocrisy ever again.
If Al Gore were a Republican, the story of his consuming 20 times the national average while lecturing the rest of us on cutting back on our energy use would be front page news from coast-to-coast. Late-nite comedians would have a field day. The editorial pages would puff up about Republican hypocrisy.
Instead we get excuses, excuses, excuses. . . .
As a proud member of the mainstream media, let me suggest that this double-standard â€” this refusal to hold Al Gore accountable for his actions which are contradictory to his words â€” only feeds the belief that the media is biased in favor of liberals â€” particularly born-to-the-manor, overfed, limousine liberals who consume 22,000 kilowatts of electricity each year in just one of his three homes.
Well, look at the kind of people who own newspapers . . . .
AND YET IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE PART OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE:
The government is not denying the fact that it knew what was happening. Nor is it saying the plaintiffs were wronged but are asking for too much money. The government is instead arguing that it had no duty to come forward.
MAYBE THIS IS WHY I’VE BEEN FEELING SO CHEERFUL LATELY:
If there’s one thing that mitigates the annoyance of having to witness the antics of the current wave of hair-shirt prophets, it’s the hours of harmless fun that their hypocrisy never fails to provide. Only recently, we’ve had Gore’s house to condemn, Feinstein’s jets to gawp at, and now, delightfully, we have Prince Charles’ pies to savor:
Via the London Evening Standard, we learn that the prince who would ban McDonald’s has a few guilty secrets of his own. It turns out that a Big Mac “contains fewer calories, fats and salt than some products in [Charles'] own organic Duchy Originals food range”. The horror!
Mmm. Pie. More on Prince Charles here.
A GUIDE TO PODCASTS AND PODCASTING, from Mark Glaser.
SOME CRITICISM of the U.S. News law school rankings. I think they’re modestly useful, but just remember that their chief purpose is to sell magazines.
And yes, I realize that the same observation applies to everything you read in magazines, etc.
PUTTING PELOSI ON THE SPOT:
Republicans plan to force a floor vote on Rep. William Jefferson’s move to the Homeland Security Committee in an unprecedented maneuver to force Democrats to go on the record supporting their embattled colleague who is the target of a federal bribery investigation.
House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) pledged to call for a recorded vote on the House floor when Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) introduces a resolution to make the Jefferson move official.
Pelosi removed Jefferson from the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee in response to Justice Department allegations that the Louisiana Democrat had accepted $100,000 in bribes and stored $90,000 of them in his freezer. The speaker then gave Jefferson a seat on the Homeland Security, and Democrats agreed to the change in a closed-door caucus in February.
“The idea that Homeland Security is less important than the tax-writing committee is ludicrous,” Blunt said Wednesday.
You could see this one coming.
A MESSAGE FROM General Petraeus.
IN THE MAIL: Daniel Drezner’s new book, All Politics is Global, on international politics and regulation. Looks interesting — though the type’s a bit small — and it’s certainly well-blurbed.
A LOOK AT “GREEN” OSCAR GIFT BAGS, and the tax code.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein offers plenty of tips on how California households can combat global warming, such as carpooling and running only a full dishwasher.
But one bit of information Feinstein declines to share is the number of times that she flew last year on her husband’s Gulfstream jet, which burns much more fuel per passenger-mile than commercial airliners.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also has asked constituents to do their part to conserve energy â€” including cutting summertime power consumption â€” even though he takes to the skies on leased executive jets.
Aides say there is nothing contradictory between the pro-green pronouncements and the flying habits of the Democratic senator and Republican governor.
Some environmentalists aren’t so sure. “There appears to be a discrepancy between calling on people to make personal reductions and using a private jet that exacerbates the problem,” Clean Air Watch President Frank O’Donnell said.
Gee, you think?
MICKEY KAUS looks at bipartisan wishful thinking on Iraq.
ILYA SOMIN HAS THOUGHTS on the new Iraq oil deal.
HATEFUL BLOG COMMENTS DON’T MATTER: Except when they do.
A FAREWELL TO BLOGGING, at Seixon.
MORE ON CARBON OFFSETS, at The Economist: “I find it hard to believe that Mr Gore has actually reduced his carbon output ‘as much as possible’â€”and if Mr Gore so believes, I invite him to take a train up to New York, where I will show him what a more carbon efficient lifestyle looks like. The carbon offsets, on the other hand, sound like a very reasonable plan. That is, they did until I began thinking about them. . . . Obviously, the same is true of individual conservation efforts. Thats why any attempt to abate global warming has to be massive. Huge numbers of people in the rich world have to fly less, drive less, consume less, and live in smaller houses. If Mr Gore really wants to encourage this (as I do), then he should try leading by example. ”
Read the whole thing.
UH OH: “Stock markets around the Asia-Pacific region opened sharply lower Wednesday after a dizzying sell-off in China sent global markets into a tailspin.”
Let’s hope things settle down soon.
WHY IS DONALD RUMSFELD LAUGHING?
JOHN MCCAIN’S PROBLEM:
The fundamental difference between McCain 2000 and McCain 2008 is that he put his name on a law that forbids people from speaking out against their congressman within 60 days of an election.
Wrong on abortion? That has not stopped Rudy or Mitt.
Wrong on gay marriage? Rudy lived with a gay couple after his second wife kicked him out of the house.
Gun control? It has not stopped Rudy or Mitt.
That is a show-stopper. Ever step in fresh dog-doo? The smell sticks to the shoe all day. That is what McCain-Feingold is to the senator from Arizona.
He is no longer John McCain. He is McCain-Feingold. . . . Americans do not like to be told to shut up.
McCain-Feingold told Americans to shut up.
Even Feingold could not run with it. He should be Obama. Instead, he is stuck on the sidelines because of McCain-Feingold.
I think that’s right.
DUKE (NON) RAPE UPDATE:
Defense attorneys have continued to scrutinize Meehanâ€™s data, however, and todayâ€™s motion reveals that they have uncovered even more DNAâ€”from additional unidentified malesâ€”that Meehanâ€™s amended report failed to include. . . .
Mike Nifong obtained the indictments of three people on a charge of rape, in which the accuserâ€™s then-present version (her April 6 statement) claimed that the crime had included anal rape. Even if North Carolina did not possess an Open Discovery law (which required turning over of all material to the defense), and even if North Carolina law did not require turning over of all test results obtained from a non-testimonial order to the defense, how would it not be exculpatory to have â€œdiscovered the DNA of at least two males in the accuserâ€™s rectum that did not match the Defendants, their lacrosse teammates, or anyone else who provided a reference DNA sampleâ€?
After all, this is the same Mike Nifong who in a 2000 case dismissed an indictment on rape because â€œresults of DNA testing exclude the defendant as the perpetrator of this crime.â€
The politics were different then. But it’s starting to look as if Nifong should wind up in jail himself. This goes way beyond simply prosecuting a weak case.
EXPUNGING COMMENTS ABOUT DICK CHENEY, at the Huffington Post. Finally, an assassination strategy that some people can get behind . . . .
WOW, lots of lefty email about the Al Gore story, charging lies, “swiftboating,” and smears. Hmm. Is the story a lie? Well, there’s this:
Kalee Kreider, a spokesperson for the Gores, did not dispute the Center’s figures, taken as they were from public records.
“Swiftboating” seems to mean the disclosure of truths that are, er, inconvenient for Democrats. Likewise “smears.” And, actually, in lefty blogland parlance these days, “lies” pretty much come out the same way. All definitions are permitted the definer, so long as they are clear, but don’t expect me to be impressed with this batch.
UPDATE: But he’s got Richard Cohen.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Bill Hobbs notes that the “smears” seem to be flowing the other way. That’s not unusual.
Plus, perspective from Les Jones: “Our electric and water bill was $79.68 and our natural gas bill was $75.72. Gore is using roughly 2000% of the energy of our family of four in a house that’s roughly 600% bigger, so basically three times as much energy even after adjusting for square footage. Does he have a 24 hour disco or something?”
MORE: This WSJ item says that the figures from TCPR overstated Gore’s energy consumption somewhat, though the difference isn’t huge. He’s still using a lot.
A LESS THAN PERFECT RECORD for Nancy Pelosi so far:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is discovering the cold truth about governing with a slim majority: It’s much easier to promise behavioral change for Congress than to deliver it.
Pelosi vowed that five-day workweeks would be a hallmark of a harder-working Democratic majority. So far, the House has logged only one. Lawmakers plan to clock three days this week.
The speaker has denied Republicans a vote on their proposals during congressional debates — a tactic she previously declared oppressive and promised to end. Pelosi has opened the floor to a Republican alternative just once.
Pelosi set a high standard for herself when she pledged to make this “the most ethical Congress in history” — a boast that was the political equivalent of leading with her chin. And some critics have been happy to hit it. . . .
Pelosi seems to be following a familiar pattern. Twelve years ago, Speaker Newt Gingrich promised to reform the House and govern by principles of fairness and transparency. But, for leaders of both parties, the reality of ruling with a narrow majority translates into tight controls over floor debate, cozy relations with lobbyists and accommodating the needs of lawmakers (who hate working long weeks).
Read the whole thing. Some of this isn’t really her fault, but when you set the bar high, people are happy to point out when you fall short.
WOW, THE DOW IS TANKING TODAY, apparently in response to the Chinese market:
Stocks retreated sharply Tuesday after a sell-off in China rattled markets worldwide and data on durable goods orders came in well below expectations.
After reaching record highs on Monday, Chinaâ€™s stock markets reversed course drastically on Tuesday, plummeting in one of the biggest sell-offs in their history.
Analysts said there was no single reason for the plunge, but many have cautioned for months that the countryâ€™s volatile, roller-coaster market, which has been soaring almost nonstop for more than a year, appeared vulnerable.
The plunge in Chinese stocks had global reverberations. Stocks fell across Europe, with the major indexes in France, Germany and Britain all dropping more than 2 percent. In the United States, trading got off to a bad start and stayed that way.
SISSY WILLIS: “Don’t mess with my Dick.”
CHENEY 2008? Now that really is an alternate universe . . . .
GOOD THING HE DIDN’T DRINK FROM THE WATER FOUNTAIN: Using free library wi-fi from parked car is “theft of services.” (Via Mark Frauenfelder).
FLYPAPER, VORTEX, whatever. Just think of all the energy that’s being absorbed and dissipated. . . .
UPDATE: Yes, the Duncan Black fact-checking is hilarious. There’s fact-checking someone’s ass, and there’s just plain being one. The lefty bloggers seem especially anxious to go after righty bloggers these days. Maybe it’s “battlespace preparation” for the 2008 elections. Or maybe they’re just being jerks. Your call.
A.C. KLEINHEIDER DEFENDS AL GORE against charges of greenhouse hypocrisy:
Al Gore is not the average American. He comes from power and money and he has achieved power and money in his own right.
Al Gore lives a life different from most folks. I’m not one to defend elitism, not as a matter of practice, but some elitism is inevitable. There must be a leadership class. There always has been and there always will be. Even societies organized around the principle of the equality and preeminence of the proletariat have had an elite class. It is the natural order of things. The key for a society is to create a responsible, responsive and fluid elite.
Could Al Gore do more to be “Green” in his personal life? No doubt. I’m sure we all could. Regardless of your position on global warming, none of the steps greens suggest you take in your personal life are gonna hurt anything. It may be unnecessary but not detrimental.
However, his life and most of ours are not coordinate — nor need they be.
Moralists are especially vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy — ask any backsliding fundamentalist preacher. If Gore were less moralistic in his approach — as he gains weight, he’s even starting to look a bit like a younger Jerry Falwell — the charges of hypocrisy would have less bite. But is this the kind of defense he wants?
GIVE US MONEY OR WE’LL HATE YOU: Well, it works for teenagers, sometimes.
THOUGHTS ON “SCALPING,” from Ann Althouse.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: This is a pretty substantial victory:
The Federal Railroad Administration is denying a $2.3 billion loan to the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad, Rep. Tim Walz announced Monday in Rochester.
The denial, by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Credit Council, was on grounds of creditworthiness. Walz learned of the denial Monday afternoon in a telephone conversation with DOT Secretary Mary Peters.
“This is a victory for good government and accountability,” Walz said. “The citizens of this district demanded close scrutiny of this loan, and they got it.”
The decision outright ends the DM&E’s loan request. There is no appeal process, Walz said.
The railroad sought the loan to finance a $6 billion construction project. DM&E wants to upgrade its entire, 600-mile line through Minnesota and South Dakota, and extend it west to coal fields in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. DM&E would haul coal from there to eastern markets.
More like this, please.
UPDATE: Here’s some background on the deal — and John Thune’s championing there of — for those who haven’t been following it.
Stewart Brand has become a heretic to environmentalism, a movement he helped found, but he doesnâ€™t plan to be isolated for long. He expects that environmentalists will soon share his affection for nuclear power. Theyâ€™ll lose their fear of population growth and start appreciating sprawling megacities. Theyâ€™ll stop worrying about â€œfrankenfoodsâ€ and embrace genetic engineering.
He predicts that all this will happen in the next decade, which sounds rather improbable â€” or at least it would if anyone else had made the prediction. But when it comes to anticipating the zeitgeist, never underestimate Stewart Brand.
I hope this is right. Environmentalism should be about good planetary hygiene and honest science, not romantic Luddism. And this seems right:
â€œThere were legitimate reasons to worry about nuclear power, but now that we know about the threat of climate change, we have to put the risks in perspective,â€ he says. â€œSure, nuclear waste is a problem, but the great thing about it is you know where it is and you can guard it. The bad thing about coal waste is that you donâ€™t know where it is and you donâ€™t know what itâ€™s doing. The carbon dioxide is in everybodyâ€™s atmosphere.â€
Burning coal is nasty. As I’ve said before, you don’t even have to care about global warming to be against burning fossil fuels.
THE SEA LAUNCH DISASTER: Not so disastrous after all, it appears.
GORE’S ENERGY USAGE: Al Gore responds to the item on his utility bill, by stressing his carbon-neutral approach.
But if things are as bad as he says, is carbon-neutrality enough? Shouldn’t he be paying for all that tree-planting and cutting back on his energy usage? Why be carbon-neutral, if you can be carbon-negative? (And the whole carbon-offset business is kind of iffy anyway).
Capt. Ed is unimpressed with Gore’s response: “Purchasing offsets only means that Gore doesn’t want to make the same kind of sacrifices that he’s asking other families to make. He’s using a modern form of indulgences in order to avoid doing the penance that global-warming activism demands of others. It means that the very rich can continue to suck up energy and raise the price and the demand for electricity and natural gas, while families struggle with their energy costs and face increasing government regulation and taxation. It’s a regressive plan that Gore’s supporters would decry if the same kind of scheme were applied to a national sales tax, for instance.”
But look what’s been overlooked in all the coverage. I blame the White House spin machine!
FIGHTING BUCKLEY’S BATTLES in the 21st Century — Ron Coleman looks at Scott Johnson and Dinesh D’Souza.
HERE’S MORE ON THAT NASHVILLE CABBIE STORY:
A Nashville cabbie made anti-Semitic statements and praised Adolph Hitlerâ€™s campaign against Jews during a religious argument that culminated when he ran over one of the passengers as he left the taxi, witnesses said during a hearing today.
The cab driver, Ibrahim Ahmed, said Hitler was â€œtrying to rid the world of Jews,â€ the alleged victim, Jeremie Imbus, told the court.
â€œI just remember â€¦(being)â€¦ I guess the word is â€˜shocked,â€™â€ Imbus said of the Feb. 18 incident.
Well, that’s one word. And Tom Elia notes a surprising lacuna.
ALL SORTS OF INTERESTING THINGS seem to be turning up in Iraq.
THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN AND THE INTERNET: Rand Simberg has some thoughts in response to Mickey Kaus.
THIS SOUNDS POSITIVE:
The Iraqi cabinet approved a draft of a law today that would set guidelines for countrywide distribution of oil revenues and foreign investment in the immense oil industry. The endorsement marked a major agreement among the countryâ€™s ethnic and sectarian political blocs on one of Iraqâ€™s most divisive issues.
The draft law approved by the cabinet allows the central government to distribute oil revenues to the provinces or regions by population, which could lessen the economic concerns of the rebellious Sunni Arabs, who fear being cut out of Iraqâ€™s vast potential oil wealth by the dominant Shiites and Kurds.
The law also grants regional oil companies the power to sign contracts with foreign companies for exploration and development of fields, opening the door for investment by foreign oil companies in a country whose oil reserves rank among the worldâ€™s top three in size.
It’s not the oil trust idea, but it will give a lot of people a stake in a more peaceful and prosperous Iraq.
AN INCONVENIENT UTILITY BILL: “Goreâ€™s mansion, located in the posh Belle Meade area of Nashville, consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year, according to the Nashville Electric Service (NES). . . . The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWhâ€”more than 20 times the national average. Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWhâ€”guzzling more than twice the electricity in one month than an average American family uses in an entire year. As a result of his energy consumption, Goreâ€™s average monthly electric bill topped $1,359.”
UPDATE: But look who’s green in Nashville.
A CHEAPER BLU-RAY PLAYER: Of course, dropping the price from $999 to $599 makes it cheaper, but not actually cheap.
JAMES PETHOKOUKIS: What’s worse — the alternative minimum tax, or a recession?
JULIAN KU looks at the ICJ on Bosnian genocide.
THIS WEEK’S BLAWG REVIEW is up!
TWO THINGS WORTH READING, at Power Line.
MICHAEL TOTTEN IS HEADING BACK TO IRAQ: He’s reader-supported, so if you want to support him, you know what to do.
APPARENTLY, we’ve now entered the age of virtuous lobbyists! I tip my hat to the new revolution.
TOM BEVAN interviews Mitt Romney.
MUQTADA AL-SADR doesn’t like the surge.
That he’s saying so from a secret location may explain why. . . .
MORE BAD NEWS for New York Times shareholders.
THROUGH THE MAGIC OF AMAZON RECOMMENDATIONS, I found Stephen Flynn’s new book, The Edge of Disaster: Rebuilding a Resilient Nation. Judging from the blurbs it looks very interesting, and it’s certainly a topic that I’ve blogged about a lot. I’ve ordered a copy, so maybe I’ll have more to say on this later.
UPDATE: A reader notes that NPR interviewed Flynn last week. You can listen here.
TRADING GAS TAXES FOR INCOME TAXES? I’d make that trade.
RE-REPEATING HISTORY: Greg Stein looks at disaster preparedness, disaster responses, and changes in building codes, and observes a cycle of response and relaxation that seems to fit a lot of human affairs. He notes a connection between the Triangle Shirtwaist fire and the World Trade Center collapse, and also has some thoughts on what to do about this phenomenon. Plus, the quick-thinking lifesaving heroics of a law professor and his students. No, really.
MICKEY KAUS: “Has the Clinton campaign ever heard of the Internet?”
BLOGGERS OUTDRAW SPORTS COVERAGE at the Knoxville News-Sentinel. This is a big deal.
MORE KIDNEY-BLOGGING, from Virginia Postrel.
HERE’S A REVIEW of the movie version of Bridge to Terabithia.
LT SMASH returns to Walter Reed, and reports.
A VERY CONVENIENT Oscar ceremony.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: And we have a winner!
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today announced the final results of its online poll for the 2006 Porker of the Year. Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) received 48 percent of the vote, with co-nominees Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) receiving 25.5 percent, and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) receiving 22.9. The finalists were chosen by CAGW staff from among the 12 Porker of the Month winners for 2006.
Rep. Mollohan was named Porker of the Month in April 2006 for abusing his position on the House Appropriations Committee by securing millions of dollars in earmarks that may have benefited him personally. The New York Times (4/08/06) detailed how Rep. Mollohan directed $250 million to five nonprofit organizations that he set up. Rep. Mollohan surrendered his seat as ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee in April.
The competition is stiff.
HEH: “When Tim starts appearing with children and puppies, we’ll know he has run out of hostages.”
I HAVEN’T WRITTEN MUCH ABOUT THE ZUMBO AFFAIR, and honestly I think the response was a bit of overkill. But here’s a good observation:
The POLITICAL message here is the tremendous passion & solidarity of gun enthusiasts. (Plus, of course, as the above writer stresses, the power of the Internet.) We’ve all been ruminating on the need for Rudy Giuliani to do some hard thinking & plain talking about those social issues on which he is too liberal for a lot of Republicans: abortion, homosexual unions, gun rights. It may be that the greatest of these is gun rights. We folk at NRO being mainly a bunch of flabby Metrocons, perhaps we tend to underestimate this issue. Let’s hope Rudy doesn’t.
So far, I think that he does.
ADVICE FOR YOUNG SCHOLARS, from Greg Mankiw. It’s good advice, especially this bit:
For women and minorities: Be especially wary of invitations to sit on university committees. I have noticed that deans and other university administrators like to promote diversity on their committees. They never seem to figure out that, as a result of this “tax” on women and minorities, we white males are left alone with more time to pursue our research.
It’s not just committee work that’s a burden, either. I served as BLSA advisor for a while to spare our junior black faculty that burden at a crucial time; I enjoyed it, and I think it helped, but that kind of thing probably wouldn’t work everywhere.
On the other hand, this bit of advice from Mankiw may be controversial: “Whatever you do, do not start a blog.” Then again, he also warns: “Be wary of advice from old fogies like me.”
ON JOHN MURTHA and the limits of biography: Another veteran who hasn’t worked out as Democrats hoped.
I HAVEN’T WATCHED ANY OF THE OSCARS, but Libertas has been liveblogging them. That’s cruel and unusual punishment, since you have to not only watch, but actually pay attention.
ASTROTURF at Sixty Minutes?
HEH: “Fiskâ€™s next column: ‘While youâ€™re away fighting the Taliban, your wives back home are sleeping with Americans!‘â€
THE WORST JOB IN AMERICA: “The pay is low and the death rate is much higher than the death rate in Iraq.”
But you’ve got the prestige going for you . . . .
A PHOTO FROM THE FRONT: Ouch.