Archive for June, 2007

June 30, 2007

PHIL BOWERMASTER HAS THOUGHTS ON the origins of the environmental movement.

June 30, 2007

FROM POPULAR MECHANICS, a video iPhone review.

June 30, 2007

MICHIKO KAKUTANI LIKES Andrew Keen’s Cult of the Amateur a lot more than I did.

Ironically, however, the same issue of The New York Times contains this article on the triumph of an Army of Davids kind of approach in space suit design, an idea that was originally proposed by blogger Rand Simberg. (And here’s another article on the same thing.) So critics of amateur efforts can get good reviews in the NYT, even while the amateurs are, you know, actually doing stuff. Seems about right . . . .

June 30, 2007

STRATEGYPAGE ON NIGERIA:

The mayhem in the Niger Delta is costing about $4.4 billion in damages and lost revenue each year. But the loss is just shrugged off as a cost of doing business. The corrupt leadership is nothing if not adaptable. The Nigerian people are still doing most of the suffering. The shut down oil production means there is less money to steal. The growing number of kidnappings means more jobs for bodyguards and security personnel. The tribe based gangs in the Niger Delta are evolving into businesses, based on intimidation, theft and corruption. The inability of anyone to get really organized means there is unlikely to be a unified and effective rebellion. The system just staggers, with individuals and small groups grabbing what they can.

Poor Nigeria.

June 30, 2007

MORE PRESSURE on the ABA’s accreditation role.

June 30, 2007

PETER WALLISON: What if we hadn’t invaded Iraq?

June 30, 2007

“DECAPIGATE:” More bogus reporting from Iraq.

June 30, 2007

HOW TO BE A 21ST CENTURY FUDDY-DUDDY.

And I’m blogging from the passenger seat of an SUV too — though mine is a hybrid.

June 30, 2007

GOING AFTER the Iranian cells in Baghdad.

Some background here.

June 30, 2007

JIHADI UNIVERSITY: Losing its accreditation?

June 30, 2007

SPACEDIVING:

Sixty miles up, you sit in a chair on the open deck of a small rocket, admiring the stars above, the Earth far, far below. The vacuum beyond your visor is cold, but it would boil your blood if your pressure suit failed. You give your parachute straps a reassuring pat. It’s utterly silent. Just you and your fragile body, hovering alone above the Earth. “Space Diver One, you are go,” crackles a voice in your ear, and you undo your harness and stand up. There’s nothing for it now: You paid a lot of money for this.

You breathe deeply and leap, somersaulting into the void. The mother planet is gorgeous from up here. You barely perceive that it’s rushing up toward you, and your body relaxes. You streak into the atmosphere at 2,500 miles an hour, faster than anyone’s ever gone without a vehicle. The sky lightens, the stars disappear behind the blue, and a violent buffeting begins. You deploy your drogue chute for stability; an uncontrolled spin in this thin air would rip you apart. The thick lower atmosphere slows you to 120 mph—terminal velocity. After a thrilling seven-minute plummet, you pull your main chute at 3,000 feet, hands shaking, and glide in for landing. A mile away, your rocket retro-thrusts its way gently to the ground.

Sounds cool. I’d like to be — well, not the first guy to do that. Maybe the fourth.

June 30, 2007

RICHARD POSNER says that criminal law can’t respond to terrorism:

Judge Posner said the US was “a law-saturated society where even non-lawyers tend to think ofproblems in terms of legal categories”.

“Criminal justice and war are the two responses we have to terrorism. Each comes with its own legal institutions and doctrines and regimes but the struggle against international terrorism doesn’t fit either very well.”

He said it was “quite misplaced” to suggest national security measures in force or contemplated in the US could endanger liberty and undermine the political system. This was because governments could no longer conceal what they did: “We have a very aggressive media and a huge and complex government where many people in the government are quite willing to talk to the press.”

I hope he’s wrong about the threat, but right about the ability of the public to police government overreaching. You can hear our podcast interview with him here.

June 30, 2007

IN THE MAIL: John Nye’s War, Wine, and Taxes: The Political Economy of Anglo-French Trade, 1689-1900. Makes me wonder if French wine and cheese are selling better in the United States since Sarkozy was elected.

June 30, 2007

HONDA IS BREAKING GROUND for the factory that will build its new Very Light Jet, in North Carolina.

June 30, 2007

JAPANESE WAR PROPAGANDA: Everything old is new again.

June 30, 2007

MORE EXCITING THAN THE O’REILLY FACTOR: The latest Corn & Miniter Show is up!

June 30, 2007

LONDON AND NEW YORK: A tale of two cities.

June 30, 2007

THIS SEEMS LIKE GOOD NEWS: “Sunni militias that once fought U.S. troops are now seeking to join them, frustrated by al Qaeda’s influence in parts of Baghdad, a U.S. commander said on Friday. . . . ‘They are tired of al Qaeda and the influence of al Qaeda in their tribes and in their neighborhoods and they want them cleaned out and they want to form an alliance in order to rid themselves of this blight.’” Let’s hope this meets with continued success.

June 30, 2007

A HANDS-ON REVIEW OF THE IPHONE, from Brendan Loy. Turns out that the virtual keyboard is something of an issue after all: “If you’re accustomed to sending short text messages and writing brief e-mails from your phone while not doing anything else that you need to look at, this is not a big problem. If you’re accustomed to composing and publishing a dozen 256-character blog posts on your phone during the course of a football game you’re attending, it’s a somewhat more serious concern.” But the big deal-killer for Brendan is that you can’t use it as a modem, the way you can use many phones, Treos, etc.

UPDATE: Tim Wu says the iPhone isn’t revolutionary:

Most obviously, the iPhone is locked, as is de rigueur in the wireless world. It will work only with one carrier, AT&T. Judged by the standards of a personal computer or electronics, that’s odd: Imagine buying a Dell that worked only with Comcast Internet access or a VCR that worked only with NBC. Despite the fact that the iPhone costs $500 or so, it cannot yet be brought over to T-Mobile or Verizon or Sprint. AT&T sees this as a feature, not a bug, as every new iPhone customer must commit to a two-year, $1,400 to $2,400 contract.

If Apple wanted to be “revolutionary,” it would sell an unlocked version of the iPhone that, like a computer, you could bring to the carrier of your choice. An even more radical device would be the “X Phone”—a phone on permanent roam that chose whatever network was providing the best service. Imagine, for example, using your iPhone to talk on Sprint because it had the best voice coverage in Alaska, while at the same time using Verizon’s 3G network for Internet access. Of course, getting that phone to market would be difficult, and Apple hasn’t tried.

Read the whole thing.

June 30, 2007

GRANTS FOR NEW MEDIA PROJECTS, available at the Searle Freedom Trust.

June 30, 2007

DUMB IDEA OF THE WEEK: Requiring a permit for public photography in New York.

If Bloomberg were President, we’d see more of this kind of thing.

June 30, 2007

A LOOK BACK AT the week that was.

June 29, 2007

A TROUBLING OBSERVATION: “‘There is enormous pride among young officers in their units and in each other,’ says Lt. Col. Peter Kilner, who recently returned from two months in Iraq interviewing young Army officers for a research project. ‘But I see strong evidence that they are rapidly losing faith in the Army and the country’s political leadership.’”

UPDATE: A reader emails:

I agree this article is troubling to the extent Army officers are concerned about the quality of their Generals’ decisions and leadership but my reaction to this story was quite different. To see mid-level management challenge their bosses is exactly what a large organization needs when there are problems at the basic level.

We can’t reasonably expect a bureaucracy as large as the military to be innovative and efficient. Just the opposite: Like any large institution, the military is and has been slow to adjust to changing conditions. (Just ask my WWII veteran Dad what he thinks about Generals and how they ran WWII – you’ll get an earful even though it’s been over 60 years!) But the military can change, and it happens when people like Col. Yingling express doubts and ask questions.

Good point. It was the loss of confidence in the political leadership that troubled me, though. Not that it isn’t largely justified.

June 29, 2007

VENEZUELAN SOCCER FANS chant “Freedom!” Here’s more from The Sporting News.

June 29, 2007

MORE THOUGHTS ON IMMIGRATION. (Via Chicagoboyz).

June 29, 2007

JOHN THUNE AND NORM COLEMAN plan to block a return to the “Fairness” Doctrine in the Senate.

June 29, 2007

A LOOK AT women and domestic violence.

June 29, 2007

ANOTHER STEP FORWARD FOR PRIVATE SPACE:

The second experimental pathfinder spacecraft by Bigelow Aerospace, Genesis II, has been successfully launched and inserted into orbit. The privately-funded space station module was launched on a Dnepr rocket Thursday morning from the ISC Kosmotras Yasny Cosmodrome in the Orenburg region of Russia.

The company reports the flight and stage separation of the Dnepr performed as planned, with Genesis II separating from its rocket about 14 minutes into orbit. The company’s Mission Control in North Las Vegas, NV made first contact at 2:20 pm Thursday afternoon.

Robert T. Bigelow, Bigelow Aerospace founder and owner of the Budget Suites of America hotel chain, has committed $500 million toward building a private commercial space station by 2015, according to the International Herald-Tribune.

I wish them continued success.

June 29, 2007

RECORD INDUSTRY: How dare you give away your own music!

June 29, 2007

BRENDAN LOY is live-blogging the iPhone’s Knoxville debut.

UPDATE: James Lileks, too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Still more iPhone reportage.

June 29, 2007

MUCH MORE ON THE LONDON CAR BOMBS, at Wired’s Danger Room.

UPDATE: Thank God?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Larry Johnson lives up to his track record.

MORE: Looking for an Iraqi?

STILL MORE: Larry Johnson on Keith Olbermann.

June 29, 2007

A SECOND CAR BOMB IN LONDON.

UPDATE: This is pretty impressive: “Sky News sources say one of the first police officers on the scene of the Haymarket car bomb may have saved dozens of lives by defusing the explosives before the bomb squad arrived. It is believed the quick-thinking cop recognised that the car was wired to blow up, jumped in and disconnected the trigger device, thought to be a mobile phone.” (Via Will Collier).

June 29, 2007

OUR FIRST COPY OF Garden & Gun Magazine just showed up in the mail. Looks pretty cool.

June 29, 2007

THREE QUESTIONS FOR AL GORE: A video interview from Popular Mechanics.

June 29, 2007

WHAT’S MORE HYPOCRITICAL THAN THE WHITE HOUSE PORK I linked earlier today?

Ron Paul pork! Full list here. But to be fair, at least he’s disclosing it.

June 29, 2007

CATCH AND RELEASE in Britain?

June 29, 2007

POSTING FROM IRAQ, at The Mudville Gazette.

June 29, 2007

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: It seems that we’re still a long way from transparency:

When it comes to elected officials and earmarks, the policy seems to be the less said the better.

This time the cold shoulder is coming from the Senate, which, like members of the House of Representatives, don’t want the public to know which pet projects they want taxpayers to fund.

Since Monday, CNN has called — or tried to call — all 100 senators, asking them if they would release their 2008 earmark requests. More often then not, calls were immediately sent to voice mail and never returned. (Watch how senators responded to questions about earmarks Video)

Only six senators gave us their requests and five said they made no earmark requests. Nineteen said they would not give us their requests and 70 did not return calls.

It’s not like they work for us, or anything.

June 29, 2007

DOGS that didn’t bark.

June 29, 2007

DON SURBER NOTES SOME INTERESTING NEWS:

A Muslim nation, Pakistan, and the United States worked together to head the drive to stop an effort to give nukes to Arabia — most likely Saudi Arabia, you know, the home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

He wonders why it’s not getting more attention.

June 29, 2007

HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS, and somber pants?

June 29, 2007

ADMITTING THE PROBLEM IS THE FIRST STEP:

I have been lying about my disinterest in the iPhone. When it was first announced I considered having my marriage annulled so I could be married to a picture of the iPhone, okay? I will be in line at the Apple Store at the Mall of America this afternoon, and will post an account tonight with pictures and video as soon as I have one in my hand. If blogging seems distracted and intermittent today, that’s why: I have a mission. I have a goal. I have a dream. I also have a contract with another cellular provider. It’s a sickness, I tell you. A sickness.

You know, I think it is.

June 29, 2007

MORE ON the London car bomb.

June 29, 2007

IN THE MAIL: Probably in response to our podcast on The Dangerous Book for Boys, a matched set: The Big Book of Girl Stuff and The Big Book of Boy Stuff.

June 29, 2007

“FLOP-SWEAT WAS EVERYWHERE.”

June 29, 2007

JOHN TAMMES EXPLAINS where to find information on operations in Afghanistan.

June 29, 2007

JOHN HINDERAKER: “The Democrats have handed conservatives a golden issue by attempting to bring down talk radio.”

June 29, 2007

MARK TAPSCOTT IS FEELING BETTER: “Winston Churchill once remarked that God takes care of drunks and the United States of America and so it seems to be as we approach the end of a remarkable week in which milestones of success for the conservative movement come one after another.”

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey: Great shooting, kid! Don’t get cocky!

June 29, 2007

BYRON YORK on the immigration deal’s collapse. Scroll down for my suggestions on how to do better next time.

And here’s Danny Glover’s roundup.

June 29, 2007

IF YOU CARE ABOUT HEALTH, THIS MATTERS: “America is the last refuge for pharmaceutical innovation. And the left wants to kill that off.”

I certainly care.

June 29, 2007

BELIEVE IN EVOLUTION? Hell, I’ve seen it done! “In that time, the bacteria have changed significantly. For one thing, they are bigger — twice as big on average as their common ancestor. They are also far better at reproducing in these flasks, dividing 70 percent faster than their ancestor. These changes have emerged through spontaneous mutations and natural selection, and Dr. Lenski and his colleagues have been able to watch them unfold. When Dr. Lenski began his experiment 18 years ago, only a few scientists believed they could observe evolution so closely. Today evolutionary experiments on microbes are under way in many laboratories.”

June 29, 2007

LOOK WHO doesn’t like blogs.

June 29, 2007

BOMB THREAT AVERTED: “British police said they discovered an explosive device in a car abandoned outside a nightclub in the West End theater and entertainment district of central London early today and began a terrorism investigation.”

UPDATE: Here’s a big roundup on the attack.

June 29, 2007

BUSH ON IMMIGRATION: A UNITER, NOT A DIVIDER: “Bipartisanship! Indeed, the coalition opposing the bill was slightly more bipartisan than the coalition favoring the bill. In the crucial cloture vote, only 26% of the 46 Senators in the minority voting for the bill were Republicans, while fully 30% of the Senators in the majority voting against the bill were Democrats (or Vermont Socialists).”

UPDATE: Rich Lowry says the bill’s defeat was a victory for the techno-populists:

Once, the Senate leadership would have been able to lean on members opposed to the bill to do a dishonest two-step to pass it. First, vote for cloture to end debate over the bill, which requires 60 votes and was the toughest hurdle. Then, vote against it on final passage, which takes only 50 votes — so there would be more wiggle room for “no” votes. This way, the Senate leadership would have gotten its bill, and senators opposed to it could tell constituents back home that they had voted against it. But bloggers and talk-radio hosts blocked that dodge by sending up a cry, “A vote for cloture is a vote for amnesty.”

In the end, support for the bill literally collapsed. Even the imperious Voinovich voted against cloture. Now, there is really no such thing as an “inside game” anymore, since bloggers make sure it gets “outside.” Both the right and the left will take advantage of this, for good and ill policy ends. But it’s clearly an enhancement of democracy. Senators should get used to it, and buy more phone lines.

Read the whole thing.

June 29, 2007

PARIS HILTON VS. THE IPHONE: A PR smackdown.

June 29, 2007

PORK HYPOCRISY IN THE WHITE HOUSE? “Democratic and Republican appropriators are accusing President Bush of urging Congress to pack spending bills with pet projects despite his high-profile crackdown on earmarks this year. A House Appropriations Committee report accompanying legislation funding the Department of the Interior shows that Bush requested 93 of the 321 earmarks in the bill.” But read the whole thing, as the White House claims that the process is different.

UPDATE: Yeah: “Now, it may be that some of these projects are perfectly worthwhile, but, once again the president’s tin ear becomes all too visible. If the GOP is to make a serious effort to avoid disaster in 08, it will have to involve distancing itself from the “Washingtoness” epitomized by the earmarking process (it’s not so much the spending, as the way that that spending is decided) or, for that matter, procedural trickery such as the clay pigeon.
So long as it is the party of Lott or, for that matter, the party of Bush, the chances of that happening are, shall we say, remote.”

June 28, 2007

NATIONAL ID MAY HAVE helped kill the immigration bill.

I had a column on why National ID was a bad idea over at FoxNews.com over five years ago — I can’t find it now, but I still think it’s a bad idea.

UPDATE: Heck, it was nearly six years ago — thanks to Don Surber for finding the archived version.

June 28, 2007

LIBERTY VS. EQUALITY at Vassar College. “In the fifties, the liberties of many universities were suspended under pressure of McCarthyism. Today, they are under siege from their own faculties, administrations, and student bodies.”

June 28, 2007

FRED THOMPSON ON THE IMMIGRATION BILL: “This has been a good day for America.”

My advice for next time:

(1) Make the process open, transparent, and timely, with hearings, drafts on the Internet, and no last-minute bills that no one has read;

(2) Earn people’s trust, don’t demand it, and treat enforcement like it matters;

(3) Respect people who follow the law, and make legal immigration easier, cheaper, and simpler, rather than the Kafkaesque nightmare it is now;

(4) Don’t feel you have to be “comprehensive” — address the problems you can deal with first. The trust needed to deal with other problems will come later, after you’ve shown some success and some good faith.

June 28, 2007

THIS IS COOL:

You don’t have to pack your bags quite yet, but passenger travel to the Moon is on the flight manifest of a space tourist company.

The price per seat will slap your wallet or purse for a swift $100 million – but you’ll have to get in line as the first voyage is already booked.

Space Adventures, headquartered in Vienna, Virginia, is in negotiations with the customers who will fly the first private expedition to circumnavigate the Moon.

“I hope to have those contracts signed by the end of the year,” said Eric Anderson, Space Adventures’ president and CEO.

I’d go, but I’m a few bucks shy of the ticket price. Maybe if I put up a special PayPal button . . . .

June 28, 2007

BACK TO BASICS: “Hey, Jobs! Forget the iPhone — fix my iPod!”

June 28, 2007

REID AND PELOSI, having suckered Bush into angering his coalition and weakening himself with the immigration bill, are trying again to force a withdrawal from Iraq.

I don’t think Omar will approve.

June 28, 2007

“FAIRNESS” DOCTRINE GOOD NEWS: “The House votes 309-115 for a Mike Pence amendment barring the FCC from imposing it.”

June 28, 2007

AL GORE’S $100 MILLION MAKEOVER.

June 28, 2007

BILL QUICK: The world turned upside down. This is the happiest I’ve seen him in months.

UPDATE: And one of his predictions is already coming true. Well, in a small way.

June 28, 2007

I AGREE:

The most fundamental duty of the federal courts is to overrule and remedy governmental violations of the Constitution. In some cases, an award of damages is the only adequate remedy available, or even the only possible remedy of any kind. Consider, for example, the case of an innocent man victimized by an unconstitutional search or seizure. The standard remedy of the exclusionary rule is useless to him – at least if he is going to be acquitted anyway. The only feasible way to compensate him for the violation of his rights is an award of damages.

In some cases, other remedies are available, but they are not sufficient to fully remedy the violation of the victim’s rights. The Wilkie majority opinion concedes (and Thomas and Scalia do not dispute) that this was true in Wilkie itself. In such situations, it is axiomatic that the courts have a duty to provide a remedy that fully compensates the victim for the violation of his constitutional rights. Any other approach is both unjust to the victim and provides poor incentives for the government by allowing it to avoid bearing the full cost of its actions.

Justices Thomas and Scalia seem to believe that judicial decisions ordering a damages remedy somehow constitute judicial policymaking in a way that decisions ordering other kinds of remedies do not. I agree that damage remedies are sometimes unwise and often inferior to other available remedies. However, I don’t see why a damage remedy is inherently more “activist” or more intrusive on the powers of the political branches than alternative remedies such as injunctive relief or facial invalidation of a statute – remedies that Thomas and Scalia consider to be perfectly legitimate. In many cases, an injunction or invalidation of a statute will actually constrain the political branches more than damage payments do.

By all appearances, we need more remedies for illegal conduct by officials. And if damages are inappropriate, Congress can always legislate an appropriate scheme.

June 28, 2007

A LOOK AT THE IMPACT of the Bear Sterns meltdown.

June 28, 2007

DICK CHENEY should hire Beldar to make his case.

June 28, 2007

EVAN COYNE MALONEY’S FRIEND STUART BROWNING is supposed to be on Fox in a minute, talking about his film on the Canadian healthcare system, and Michael Moore’s film on the American healthcare system.

I just caught Newt Gingrich while I was waiting — he was there to flog his new novel, but wound up talking mostly about the immigration bill defeat, which he said was a victory for every GOP candidate except John McCain. Er, and Sam Brownback, I guess, but Newt probably forgot him, as most people seem to have . . . .

UPDATE: Ian Schwartz has the video of Browning’s appearance. And here are some more short films on healthcare by Browning.

June 28, 2007

HIGH-SCHOOL ASTRONOMERS photograph space station from the ground. The quality is impressive.

June 28, 2007

ALLAH LOOKS AT THE IMMIGRATION VOTES IN ORDER and discovers a pattern. Plus, Sam Brownback voted for it before he voted against it: “Sam Brownback turned out to be the weaseliest ‘no’ vote of all. He voted yes right at the very beginning, during the alphabetical vote, probably thinking that cloture was going to pass. Then, when it died, he switched to a no. I almost wish he was pulling more than 1% in the presidential polls so we could hammer him into oblivion with that. As it is, I’ve captured his moment of shame for posterity on video.”

UPDATE: Link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has thoughts on what to do next.

June 28, 2007

HILLARY CLINTON’S NEW “PICK MY SONG” CONTEST.

June 28, 2007

I THINK THEY’RE SAVING THE PLANET by staying home. Bravo!

I think I’ll do the same.

June 28, 2007

YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY about making promises you can’t keep?

A government spokesman guaranteed the safety of Chinese exports on Thursday in a rare direct commentary on rising international fears over Chinese products. . . .

The statement was among Beijing’s most public assertions of the safety of its exports since they came under scrutiny earlier this year with the deaths of dog and cats in North America blamed on Chinese wheat gluten tainted with the chemical melamine.

Since then, U.S. authorities have turned away or recalled toxic fish, juice containing unsafe color additives and popular toy trains decorated with lead paint.

Still, it’s nice to see that they’re taking the problem seriously.

June 28, 2007

“HOUSE REPUBLICANS CHOOSE MONEY OVER MAJORITY:” Robert Bluey has an unflattering take on the Congressional pay raise.

UPDATE: On the other hand, you have to give them credit for standing up against a Fairness Doctrine renewal. Rep. Obey’s slamming of alt-media is pretty self-serving, given the pasting he’s taken over pork lately.

June 28, 2007

SCORE ONE FOR ALT-MEDIA: Immigration bill fails. “The bill’s Senate supporters fell 14 votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate and clear the way for final passage of the legislation, which critics assailed as offering amnesty to illegal immigrants. The vote was 46 to 53 in favor of limiting the debate.” That’s a big margin.

I think it was the YouTube campaign that made the difference.

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus modestly foregoes credit, but observes: “Fifteen Dems (plus Sanders) vote against cloture, making it somewhat difficult for Sen. Reid to achieve what seemed to be his unadvertised dream: A failed bill he could blame on the Republicans.” Plus, why Rupert Murdoch is a loser.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Minute-by-minute coverage of what went on while I was taking the Insta-Daughter to the doctor and the mall.

MORE: Don Surber is glad the bill failed, but also offers praise for legal immigration:

God bless those legal immigrants. they went through the paperwork. They studied hard. Many had to learn a new language. They showed a commitment to a nation that most of us take for granted.

Yes. The anger over the bill was never so much over immigration, as it was over the contempt that many of the political class seemed to display regarding people who — to coin a political phrase — work hard and play by the rules. Those crafting another bill at some point in the future would do well to bear that in mind. [LATER: Prof. Joseph Olson emails: "Congressmen neither work hard nor play by the rules. There is no reason to expect them to respect those who do." Ouch. But that's not fair -- they do work pretty hard, actually.]

And here’s the Washington Post story on the bill’s failure.

More: “Today’s defeat of the Senate amnesty bill was more than a run-of-the-mill legislative victory, representing as it did a self-organizing public’s defeat of combined force of Big Business, (some of) Big Labor, Big Media, Big Religion, Big Philanthropy, Big Academia, and Big Government.” Wow. Somebody should write a book about this phenomenon.

MORE: On legal immigration, a reader emails:

I’m a professor in California and my wife holds a masters degree in accounting. We’ve already spent thousands getting work permits. We’re now in the process of applying for green cards … they’ve make it so complicated you can’t reasonably do it without legal help, and all up (legal fees plus government filing fees), it’s costing us over $9000 for my wife and I to apply for Green Cards. On July 30th, they’re increasing the filing fees. Currently it’s $940 for me and $740 for my wife. Come August, it’ll cost $2200 for the main applicant and $1725 for the spouse. On top of that, they wouldn’t let me pay tax as a married person until I’d been in the country for 10 months, so not only was there no “tax amnesty” for me, I was in fact paying more taxes than an American in the same position. I find Americans are always shocked when I tell them how much it is costing us. It seems like every few months they make it more difficult for people who want to do it legally.

Tellingly, he asks that I not use his name for fear of retaliation.

STILL MORE: Dean Barnett rounds up winners and losers.

MORE STILL: Reader Christopher Fox is worried: “Great, we dumped the immigration bill. Success! Now we have to watch out for retribution by a vengeful Congress looking to put us in our place. Don’t be surprised when all pretense of border controls are dropped, as the elites decide to show us how bad it can REALLY get if we don’t do it their way.”

That would be amazingly stupid. Which, based on past performance, suggests that it’s hardly out of the question . . . .

June 28, 2007

THE POLITICO: Hillary’s pollster caught testing attacks.

June 28, 2007

IN THE MAIL: Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer. Looks very interesting.

June 28, 2007

MAKING A LIVING off of disaster relief.

June 28, 2007

FREE SPEECH UPDATE:

Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin got his long overdue comeuppance in the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The court ruled the senator is not above criticism before an election, no matter what law Feingold may author.

And three justices even reminded him that Wisconsin is not Morocco. . . . A key provision of this “reform” is a restriction on political ads just before an election.

Oh, not on the ads of the politicians. Senators can run all the TV ads their fat-cat supporters are willing to buy.

No, the politicians restricted what ads the citizenry may run on TV before an election.

This “campaign reform” is like a drunk “curing” his alcoholism by telling his wife she cannot imbibe.

I hope that there’s a lot of publicity in this vein, as I fear we’re about to see another bipartisan effort by the inhabitants of Incumbistan to shut down criticism.

June 28, 2007

JUST BACK FROM IRAQ, J.D. JOHANNES HAS A COLUMN ON RICHARD LUGAR: “Is it possible to win a war on the ground, and lose it in Congress?”

UPDATE: “We’ve done it before.”

June 28, 2007

BY THE WAY, here’s my interview with Mother Jones on blogs, the Netroots, and the 2008 elections.

June 28, 2007

A MASSIVE PROTEST FOR PRESS FREEDOM in Venezuela.

June 28, 2007

NOT A DISNEY STORY: A memoir of autism and adoption.

June 28, 2007

MORE ON MURTHA:

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) will recuse himself should the House ethics committee review Rep. John Murtha’s (D-Pa.) earmark activities. . . .

Doyle is a longtime ally of Murtha, the dean of the Pennsylvania delegation. They also share some campaign contributors; many lobbying firms that donate heavily to Murtha and whose clients are recipients of millions of dollars in earmarks from him are also among Doyle’s top contributors.

Murtha’s relationship with the two lobbying firms, KSA Consulting and the PMA Group, came into question on Monday following a report about earmarks he obtained for the firms’ clients.

Stay tuned.

June 28, 2007

THE POLITICO: “The bitter fight over a comprehensive immigration overhaul has pushed President Bush and his fellow Republicans to the brink of divorce — and, for the first time, the opportunities for reconciliation appear severely limited.”

Positive spin: This is so suicidal, Bush must be acting out of conviction!

June 28, 2007

MEXICAN IMMIGRATION: A problem that will solve itself?

There has been a stunning decline in the fertility rate in Mexico, which means that, in a few years there will not be many teenagers in Mexico looking for work in the United States or anywhere else. If this trend in the fertility rate continues, Mexico will resemble Japan and Italy – rapidly aging populations with too few young workers to support the economy.

Read the whole thing.

June 28, 2007

PROBLEMS WITH the virtual fence.

June 28, 2007

MORE ON MOLLOHAN: “A $1 million earmark request by Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.) would allow the Interior Department to expand a wilderness area neighboring properties the Congressman owns.”

June 28, 2007

MOTHER JONES: Running dog of reaction! That’s pretty much Jay Rosen’s take, anyway.

June 28, 2007

BLOGGING at the Nashville City Paper.

June 28, 2007

DAVID ADESNIK: Stop paying attention to Michael Moore.

Who?

UPDATE: On the other hand, this is kind of funny:

“There’s an elephant in the room, and it is you,” PETA president Ingrid Newkirk wrote in a letter to Moore.

Maybe his next work will be Downsize Me after all . . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Tim Blair notes that for someone who cares about animals, Ingrid Newkirk seems rather ignorant: “As it happens, elephants are vegetarians.”

June 28, 2007

READER TOM BROSZ ON THE IPHONE: “Give me a call when they make one you can drop on the sidewalk, carry in your pocket with keys and change, or plop it into a tide pool (done this), without destroying it. Only in recent months have Verizon and others finally started selling “ruggedized” phones. Years overdue, IMO.”

Good point.

June 27, 2007

A RALPH BAKSHI ENDING to the Harry Potter series? I’d love that, actually, but I imagine a lot of other people wouldn’t.

June 27, 2007

BRENDAN NYHAN:

The Wall Street Journal editorial board warns that the immigration debate threatens to make the GOP a minority party. They’re right. It splits the Republicans right down the middle, demoralizes the base in advance of 2008, and is prompting a conservative counter-mobilization that could make Latinos a Democratic constituency for years to come.

Ironically, the issue was not pushed to the top of the legislative agenda by Democrats. As John B. Judis points out, Democrats haven’t been able to push through any legislation that splits Republicans and forces a Bush veto (for now, at least, GOP party loyalty is too strong to overcome a filibuster).

Instead, Bush has been doing the Democrats’ work for them.

Yes, this is why it seems so odd to me that they would do this — particularly as it’s also hurting them with supporters they’ll soon need on the war. if Bush loses on the bill, it’s a big loss with lots of collateral damage. If he wins, it may be even worse.

June 27, 2007

HERE’S A CHRONOLOGY OF attacks on the oil industry in Nigeria. Plus this: “Gunmen have kidnapped the three-year-old son of a lawmaker in southern Nigeria’s Rivers State, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported on Wednesday.”

June 27, 2007

IT’S NOT PAY FOR PERFORMANCE: “Despite record-low approval ratings, House lawmakers Wednesday voted to accept an approximately $4,400 pay raise that will increase their salaries to almost $170,000. . . . The pay raise would also apply to the vice president – who is president of the Senate – congressional leaders and Supreme Court justices.”

UPDATE: An alternative proposal from Keith Milby: “I propose we pay them say $2,000 multiplied by their average approval rating. So according to the Real Clear Politics average congressional ratings, which is currently 25% that would be approximately $50,000.”

June 27, 2007

T.V. NETWORKS HIT a new ratings low.

June 27, 2007

JEFF SESSIONS: Talk radio knows the bill better than we do.

I think Senators should read bills before they vote on them. Yes, I realize this would bring Congress to a near standstill. . . .

June 27, 2007

MAKING PODCAST ADS more nimble.