Archive for July, 2007

July 28, 2007

HOW TEXANS bailed out the British.

July 28, 2007

MORE ON THE POLITICS OF WAR.

July 28, 2007

IN LIGHT OF YESTERDAY’S POST ABOUT TV, ARNOLD KLING SENDS THIS:

Back when I had my relocation web site, we got hold of some zip-code level marketing data. When I looked for purchases that correlated with affluence, hardback books was one of the strongest.

Rich people read. Books.

I’m not surprised to hear that.

July 28, 2007

ADVERTISING AGE ON THE LATEST MOVEON STUNT: “What’s left unsaid in the AP piece is that MoveOn has been pitching this story for weeks now. . . . And if the owner of a local business has gone through the trouble of specifically buying an ad on Fox News, it’s because he wants to be there and he wants to target Fox News viewers. And such an advertiser more than likely has certain views about MoveOn. I can only imagine what the conversation will sound like when a self-appointed MoveOn monitor calls up Joe’s Bait, Tackle & Hunting Supply to say he should remove his ads from Fox News.”

July 28, 2007

SO THEY SENT ME A DVD OF No End In Sight. the documentary on Iraq that takes a rather different approach than, say, J.D. Johannes’ Outside the Wire. I was too busy — a triple deadline Friday on a law review article, a Popular Mechanics column, and a Wall Street Journal piece — to watch it. But Tom Maguire has some thoughts and comments: “I am not sure why Bush gets a pass in this movie. It was Bush’s job to know whether the reconstruction planing was getting the proper attention, focus and coordination; if Rumsfeld was putting too much effort into the invasion planning and not enough into the reconstruction phase, Bush should have re-directed his effort.” But note the discussion in the comments.

UPDATE: Phil Carter liked it.

July 27, 2007

THE RICH ARE GETTING RICHER, AND SO ARE THE POOR: Why does this bother so many people?

July 27, 2007

A “LIFELONG ROCKETEER.”

July 27, 2007

MICHAEL TOTTEN: The rule, not the exception.

July 27, 2007

RED MEAT FOR REPUBLICANS: Democrats will block all Bush Justices.

Bush should make a lot of recess appointments to the courts, just to mix things up. I volunteer to fill any vacant Supreme Court slots on a recess basis. I promise to make things interesting . . . .

July 27, 2007

THE KLEIN KLUB: Son of Townhouse?

July 27, 2007

A NASHVILLE BLOGGER UNDER ATTACK: Via Michael Silence.

July 27, 2007

POLICE UNCLEAR ON THE FIRST AMENDMENT.

July 27, 2007

PORK FOR COPS.

July 27, 2007

DRUNKEN ASTRONAUTS: The story is looking a bit thin:

For those hoping for juicy details on the drunk astronauts, there aren’t any. The review panel was told of anecdotes of two astronauts who were intoxicated just prior to flight. However, the panel did not pass on information identifying the individuals or the flights. NASA officials said they were investigating but could not say whether the incidents actually occurred.

Hmm.

UPDATE: Jay Leno: “Maybe that’s why they call it the Kennedy Space Center.”

July 27, 2007

THOUGHTS ON HOLLYWOOD AND THE TROOPS, from Marc “Armed Liberal” Danziger.

July 27, 2007

ONE TRUE COMPLIMENT: SARAH PULLMAN IS SAYING NICE THINGS ABOUT STRANGERS.

Just today, I paid a compliment to a woman at the gym — she’s been working with a trainer and I commented that she was showing real progress (which she was). “You’ve made my day,” she said, and she seemed to mean it. When I think something complimentary about people, I try to say it, if there’s occasion. There’s not nearly enough of that in the world.

July 27, 2007

IT’S BAD TO BRING A KNIFE TO A GUNFIGHT. It’s worse to bring a soda can:

An elderly man beaten unconscious by an assailant wielding a soda can awoke and shot the man during an attempted robbery, police said.

Willie Lee Hill, 93, told police he saw the robber while in his bedroom Wednesday night. Hill confronted the man and was struck at least 50 times, police said. He was knocked unconscious.

Covered in blood, Hill regained consciousness a short time later and pulled a .38-caliber handgun on his attacker. The suspect, Douglas B. Williams Jr., saw the gun and charged the man, who fired a bullet that struck Williams in the throat, police said.

“I got what I deserved,” Williams, 24, told police when they arrived, officers said.

I think he’s right.

July 27, 2007

ARE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES WUSSING OUT on the YouTube Debate? Rick Moran has been working the phones with the campaigns.

UPDATE: Woof, woof, big fella.

July 27, 2007

MORE BAD NEWS FOR STOCKS: “Wall Street extended its steep decline Friday, propelling the Dow Jones industrials down more than 500 points over two days after investors gave in to mounting concerns that borrowing costs would climb for both companies and homeowners. It was the worst week for the Dow and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index in five years.” I blame the new Democratic Congress!

July 27, 2007

DEMOCRATS AS VICTIMS? Jake Tapper looks at the new theme of Democratic victimology.

July 27, 2007

THOUGHTS ON THE SCOTT THOMAS STORY, from Megan McArdle. With a followup here.

UPDATE: Actually, being married to a TNR staffer isn’t a silly reason to suppose someone more credible, if you’re the editor of TNR. But the whole whistleblower thing does sound like a double standard.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More from The Mudville Gazette.

July 27, 2007

MY EARLIER POST ON RANDY BARNETT AS ATTORNEY GENERAL — clearly he would have been better than Gonzales, no? — got me reminded of the prospect that, if nominated, he might liveblog his own confirmation hearings. Even more reason to support him next time the position is open. Er, which could be soon. . . .

July 27, 2007

WHAT DOES THE MILITARY KNOW?

July 27, 2007

AND I MISSED IT: Knoxville band JagStar was a featured artist on iTunes this week.

More on that here, and more on JagStar here.

July 27, 2007

IN LONDON, BLAMING THE LAWYERS. When I was in law school, one of the courses was called “The Limits of the Law.” Few seem to accept that law, and lawyers, even should have limits now.

July 27, 2007

HOW TO GET RICH: Quit watching TV.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

These days when I fly carriers that offer seat-back TV service, I am always struck by the contrast between coach and first class. In coach it seems most people spend most of their time watching TV. But when you walk through first class, the seats are littered with well-thumbed newspapers and magazines. Is that heavy reading habit something those people acquired after they started flying first class? Or is it how they got there? My money’s on the latter.

Mine too. TV’s okay, but as a habit it’s destructive.

July 27, 2007

IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE PART OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE:

A federal judge held the FBI “responsible for the framing of four innocent men” in a 1965 gangland murder in a landmark ruling yesterday and ordered the government to pay the men $101.7 million for the decades they spent in prison. The award is believed to be the largest of its kind nationally.

In a decision that was as dramatic as it was stern, US District Judge Nancy Gertner said from the bench that the FBI had deliberately withheld evidence that Peter J. Limone, Joseph Salvati, Louis Greco, and Henry Tameleo were innocent, and that the bureau helped cover up the injustice for decades as the men grew old behind bars and Tameleo and Greco died.

“FBI officials up the line allowed their employees to break laws, violate rules, and ruin lives, interrupted only with the occasional burst of applause,” said Gertner, berating the FBI for giving commendations and bonuses to the agents who helped send the men to prison for the killing in Chelsea of Edward “Teddy” Deegan, a small-time hoodlum.

Quite a stain on the honor of the FBI.

July 27, 2007

SOME PRAISE FOR THE VICTORY CAUCUS from blogger Bill Frist.

July 27, 2007

STRATEGYPAGE: “Much to Iran’s annoyance, the U.S. is cracking down on financial institutions that move money to terrorist organizations Iran supports. This includes Hizbollah and Hamas. The U.S. has ramped up its intelligence effort to discover who is paying who, and is ordering banks to cease providing services to terrorist related organizations, or face being cut off from the American banking system. Iran has to scramble to find banks that do not fear U.S. banking sanctions, and is discovering that this is not easy.”

July 27, 2007

MORE FUN THAN RELIABLE SOURCES: The latest Corn & Miniter Show is up!

David Corn’s reference to a Clinton / Obama “catfight” isn’t very flattering to either.

July 27, 2007

IS THE WAR LOST? Three inconvenient truths about Iraq.

July 27, 2007

IN THE MAIL: John McCain’s new book, Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them.

July 27, 2007

THE L.A. TIMES has a big report on the Mojave / Scaled Composites explosion. Basically it’s a fairly standard industrial accident, made sexier for news purposes because it’s space-related:

Rutan said the suspected culprit, nitrous oxide, normally is “not considered a hazardous material.” Commonly called laughing gas, it is found in dental offices and is used by hot-rodders to boost the horsepower on their vehicles’ engines.

According to Rutan, company employees were examining the rate at which the propellant flows through an opening. He emphasized that the test, conducted at room temperatures, did not involve igniting the rocket motor or sparking any fire.

Probably something led to a spark in an unforeseen, and perhaps unforeseeable, way.

July 27, 2007

GOOD NEWS:

In a prison cell south of Cairo a repentant Egyptian terrorist leader is putting the finishing touches to a remarkable recantation that undermines the Muslim theological basis for violent jihad and is set to generate furious controversy among former comrades still fighting with al-Qaida.

I’m in favor of that.

July 27, 2007

CREATURES FROM The Abyss.

July 27, 2007

JUNK SCIENCE AND CONGRESS: A firsthand account from Todd Zywicki:

The study’s central findings were that 54½ percent of all bankruptcies have a “medical cause” and 46.2 percent of all bankruptcies have a “major medical cause.” Even if this were true, bankruptcy law already provides adequate safeguards for the special problems posed by medical bankruptcies, as one of us (Mr. Zywicki) testified at the hearing. But it is not true. And the only way to make such a claim is to gerrymander the definition of medical bankruptcies to generate the desired results — true junk social science.

For example, the study classifies uncontrolled gambling, drug or alcohol addiction, and the birth or adoption of a child as “a medical cause.” There are indeed situations in which a researcher may legitimately classify those conditions as “medical,” but a study used to prove Americans are going bankrupt as a result of crushing medical debt is not one of them.

A father who has gambled away his family’s mortgage payment is not the victim of crushing medical bills.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: A response from Elizabeth Warren.

July 27, 2007

ARGUMENTS ABOUT A MARS SAMPLE RETURN MISSION:

At the Mars conference, placing an expensive sample return activity on the exploration agenda, perhaps at the expense of other projects, sparked some anxieties.

“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Philip Christensen, a leading Mars scientist and professor in the Department of Geological Science at Arizona State University in Tempe. “I am concerned that the sample return mission would take over the Mars program. If you put that mission too far into the future, with not much in between, then you lose a lot of momentum … a lot of young talented scientists and engineers,” he said.

Christensen added that he sees “a real serious challenge” in carving out enough money in the near-term to pay for Mars sample return and still maintain a dynamic program.

“It’s going to take a careful, delicate balance to be able to afford the sample return and yet maintain some measure of a program,” Christensen told SPACE.com at the Mars meeting in Pasadena. “I have no expectation that the program will be as dynamic and vigorous as it has been if we’re going to pay for a sample return. Something’s got to give. But at the same time you can’t just give up everything.”

Plus, of course, there’s the issue of back contamination.

July 27, 2007

U.S. ATTORNEY declines contempt prosecution.

July 27, 2007

OBAMA CALLS HILLARY “Bush-Cheney lite?” Hmm. Who’s the Cheney? Bill?

July 27, 2007

GOOD NEWS: “The economy snapped out of a lethargic spell and grew at a 3.4 percent pace in the second quarter, the strongest showing in more than a year. A revival in business spending was a main force behind the energized performance.” I credit the new Democratic Congress!

July 27, 2007

MARRIAGE MAKES YOU HAPPIER: Especially if you start off depressed.

July 27, 2007

NOBODY LOVES ALBERTO: “Gonzo has managed to do something no one else in Washington has managed in years: create a spirit of true bipartisanship. ”

He’s a uniter, not a divider. The Bush Administration wouldn’t have had this problem if they’d listened to me and made Randy Barnett Attorney General! But maybe they’ve been saving him for the Supreme Court . . . .

UPDATE: Ouch: “Gonzales has lost so much credibility that he’s no longer believed even when he is telling the truth.”

July 27, 2007

VOTER-FRAUD IN WASHINGTON STATE: “King and Pierce County prosecutors filed felony charges today against seven people who allegedly committed the biggest voter-registration fraud in state history. The defendants, who were paid employees and supervisors of ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, concocted the scheme as an easy way to get paid, not as an attempt to influence the outcome of elections, King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said. . . .

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the worst case of voter-registration fraud in the history of the state of Washington. There has been nothing comparable to this,” state Secretary of State Sam Reed said at a news conference with Satterberg, King County Executive Ron Sims and Acting U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan.

It’s not comforting. (Via NewsAlert).

July 27, 2007

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Richard Milhous Spitzer: “At least Nixon waited a little while before using the tools of state against his political enemies.”

July 27, 2007

MICKEY KAUS: “Will L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa hold up NBC-Universal’s giant $3 billion development plan if it doesn’t reinstate his honey at its Telemundo subsidiary? If NBC does take care of Mirthala Salinas, does that mean Villaraigosa owes the company? At last, some irresponsible bloggish speculation from the Los Angeles Times.”

July 27, 2007

AN ELECTRIC-POWERED SPORT PLANE: Range is not extensive.

July 27, 2007

THE NIGHT SHIFT: From StrategyPage. “There’s a war going on in Iraq that you rarely hear about. It goes on at night, and has been very successful. While U.S. infantry and tank units make raids all over central Iraq, the other war, fought largely at night, by engineers and non-infantry troops (often artillerymen) serving as infantry, to catch and stop teams of terrorists trying to set up roadside bombs.”

July 26, 2007

A ROCKET EXPLOSION at Mojave Airport. Scaled Composites is there, but so are a number of smaller rocket companies; not clear yet what happened. Explosions are a part of the rocket business, alas.

UPDATE: Jeff Foust posts that TV reports say that it was an accident at Scaled Composites.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More from Rand Simberg.

MORE: Meanwhile, reports of sabotage and drinking at NASA.

STILL MORE: Via Rand Simberg, a Friday morning update. It was a “cold flow” test using nitrous oxide that appears to have accidentally ignited; since no ignition system was present it was probably a spark or something. They’re now saying three dead, all Scaled Composites employees. May they rest in peace.

In truth, this is a pretty routine industrial accident, of the sort that’s basically inevitable when you’ve got activity of any significant size using things that can explode — it’s just the space connection that gets it the attention. Let’s hope the various bureaucrats and politicians don’t see this as an opportunity to make themselves feel important at the expense of the industry. (Bumped).

July 26, 2007

ETHICS COMMISSION BEGINS review of Spitzer’s office.

More here.

And Professor Bainbridge adds: “Can you imagine what Attorney General Spitzer would have done to a corporate CEO who told two of his executives to stonewall and who tried to fight off an investigation?” He’s got lots more — just keep scrolling.

July 26, 2007

A VICTORY FOR FREE SPEECH: “Rep. Mike Pence sponsored an amendment prohibiting the Justice Department from spending any money to enforce the most controversial part of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law: the part regulating political advertising in the run-up to an election. . . . The amendment passed on a voice vote; then Chris Shays (R., Conn.), one of the two main House sponsors of McCain-Feingold, demanded a recorded vote. It passed again, 215-205.”

July 26, 2007

PILOTS: “Our entire approach to airline security is almost completely ineffective.”

July 26, 2007

I DON’T GET SEASICK, but please don’t book me on this cruise.

July 26, 2007

STUDENT-LOAN FOLLIES:

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, fresh from an investigation of the student loan industry, is out with a plan he says will “help reverse the crisis in college affordability.” Kennedy’s Robin Hood approach takes $18 billion from lenders and applies it to reducing loan repayment costs for students, among other purposes.

The student loan business is a lucrative one. But the senator is going after the wrong folks if he’s trying to rein in the biggest “fat cats” in academe. That mantle should rest on the shoulders of colleges and universities themselves. Legislators setting policy with regard to higher education should realize that colleges and universities are our nation’s richest — and possibly most miserly — “nonprofits.”

Colleges and universities are sitting on a fortune in tax-free funds, and sharing almost none of it. Higher education endowment assets alone total over $340 billion. Sixty-two institutions boast endowments over $1 billion. Harvard and Yale top the list with endowments so massive, $28 billion and $18 billion respectively, that they exceed the general operating funds for the states in which they reside. It’s not just elite private institutions that do this; four public universities have endowments that rank among the nation’s top 10. The University of Texas’ $13 billion endowment is the fourth largest nationwide, vastly overshadowing most of the Ivy League.

These endowments tower over their peers throughout the nonprofit world. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is America’s wealthiest museum. But the Met’s $2 billion endowment is bested by no less than 26 academic institutions, including the University of Minnesota, Washington University in St. Louis, and Emory. Indeed, the total worth of the top 25 college and university endowments is $11 billion greater than the combined assets of their equivalently ranked private foundations — including Gates, Ford and Rockefeller.

Higher education endowments also are growing much faster than private foundations. The value of college and university endowments skyrocketed 17.7 percent last year, while private foundation assets increased 7.8 percent. Just 3.3 percent of the increase in academic endowments is attributable to new gifts. Most of the gain is a result of stingy, outdated endowment payout policies that retain and perpetually re-invest massive sums. This widespread practice results in a hoarding of tax-free funds.

Yeah, I was doing some math on Yale, trying to figure out if they could abolish tuition entirely based on their endowment earnings. I’m pretty sure the answer is yes, which makes me less interested in donating when they call.

July 26, 2007

WELL, YES: “Of an estimated 60 to 80 foreign fighters who enter Iraq each month, American military and intelligence officials say that nearly half are coming from Saudi Arabia and that the Saudis have not done enough to stem the flow.”

I’ve posted on this before.

July 26, 2007

WHEN I LINKED MY BROTHER’S NEW CD the other day, it quickly went out of stock at CDBaby. But if you were one of the ones who missed out, it’s back in stock now. And their hometown paper, the Cincinnati Post, calls it “stellar.”

July 26, 2007

SAMIZDATA: “The next time you watch a programme or read an article going on about the wonders of self-sufficiency and which bash supermarkets and global trade in foodstuffs, ponder what would happen if we really were reliant on the local farmers for everything we eat.”

July 26, 2007

GREENHOUSE-FRIENDLY POWER! “As expected, the TVA board will consider — and almost certainly approve — the completion of the never-finished Unit 2 reactor at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant at its meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 1.”

UPDATE: EcoTotality blog: “Most TVA-generated power currently comes from coal-fired power plants. As a user of TVA electricity, I’m happy they’re moving in a more environmentally-friendly direction.”

July 26, 2007

WELL, WATER VAPOR IS A GREENHOUSE GAS:

The tax-exempt Environmental Integrity Project in Washington, D.C., issued its annual list of the 50 dirtiest power plants in America. This is illustrated by a photo showing steam — water vapor — escaping from a cooling tower. Sigh.

Power plant emissions nationally are down even as electric generation is up. The report showed. Nitrogen oxide emissions fell 28% between 2002 and 2006. Sulfur dioxide emissions fell 8%. Carbon dioxide emissions — the stuff you exhale — rose by 3%.

Electric production rose about 8% in that period, using the 2% annual increase in electric use, as the same agency “Dirty Kilowatts” cited.

But I agree this is pretty lame.

UPDATE: When down is up.

July 26, 2007

HOPE THAT BOAT’S A HYBRID!

July 26, 2007

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION.

July 26, 2007

SEX DISCRIMINATION AT THE VIEW? Bring on the lawsuits . . . .

July 26, 2007

NIFONG UPDATE:

Disgraced former prosecutor Mike Nifong acknowledged Thursday there is “no credible evidence” that three Duke lacrosse players committed any of the crimes he accused them of more than a year ago, offering for the first time a complete and unqualified apology.

That’s nice. It would have been nicer if he’d just done his job in the beginning.

July 26, 2007

WELL, THE LAST ONE WORKED: A new court-packing plan?

July 26, 2007

STOCKS PLUNGE: Well, when they’ve hit new records I’ve credited the new Democratic Congress, so I guess now I should blame the new Democratic Congress for the plunge!

July 26, 2007

A LOOK AT book reviews and politics.

July 26, 2007

FRED THOMPSON ON the Hazleton decision.

July 26, 2007

RESILIENT. “Twelve paragraphs on the remarkable resilience of al-Qaeda later, we learn that this poster-child resilient AQ unit will not fight another day.”

July 26, 2007

AND YET THERE ARE PEOPLE who think that technology is dehumanizing. They’re basically idiots.

July 26, 2007

BOB KRUMM ON RON PAUL:

I lived in Texas a few years back, and I have to say that I was impressed by Congressman Ron Paul’s originalist interpretation of the Constitution. While I do not support his foreign policy positions, I have long admired his principled stands.

What I do not admire, however, is his inability to wrest his own campaign away from the crazies who are advocating on his behalf. They, his own supporters, have defined Ron Paul negatively. And that, now, will be his lasting legacy. . . . Ron Paul’s supporters are the Republicans’ Cindy Sheehans.

Yes. I disagree with Paul on the war, but I confess that it’s his poll-spamming, nasty-emailing supporters who have really turned me off on his campaign. (I disagreed with Harry Browne on defense, too, but I voted for him twice.) I can’t help but feel that this stuff has given him a negative halo with the media and the political establishment.

UPDATE: Tom Elia writes: “As someone who voted for Ron Paul for president in 1988, I couldn’t agree more with Krumm.” I voted for Dukakis in 1988. Well, to coin a phrase: “When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible.”

July 26, 2007

DAMNING WITH FAINT PRAISE? Brendan Nyhan says that Michael Moore is getting more accurate.

July 26, 2007

TAM EXPLAINS GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS: “Look, sprout . . . .”

July 26, 2007

I THOUGHT IT WAS WRONG TO QUESTION PEOPLE’S PATRIOTISM? Republicans are “jihadists.”

July 26, 2007

WINNING IN IRAQ — and losing in Washington?

Well, that is our strategic weak point.

July 26, 2007

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The Spirit of 1776 — 1776 Defense earmarks, that is.

Follow the link for a list of who’s asking for them. At the top, C.W. Young, John Murtha, and Jerry Lewis.

Plus, John Boehner says that Republicans have learned their lesson:

Republicans are working together to earn back the majority by first earning back the trust of the American people. And while Democrats are divided and breaking their promises on issue after issue, House Republicans have repeatedly spoken with one voice. . . .

A united Republican conference also forced Democratic leaders to abandon a plan to load billions of taxpayer dollars into slush funds for secret earmarks. By standing up for taxpayers who deserve to know where Washington is spending their hard-earned dollars, we succeeded in restoring the 2006 Republican earmark reforms to appropriations bills. But Democratic leaders will continue to face a united Republican conference; we won’t stop until those rules are applied to authorization and tax bills as well.

Sounds good. But there’s obviously a long way to go.

July 26, 2007

DEMOCRATS SHIFTING POSITION ON ABORTION: “Sensing an opportunity to impress religious voters — and tip elections — Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail have begun to adopt some of the language and policy goals of the antiabortion movement.”

July 26, 2007

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH ON unintelligent Intelligence.

July 26, 2007

MAYBE ONE DAY AMERICA WILL BE AS PROGRESSIVE as some more sophisticated foreign countries. (Via SayUncle).

July 26, 2007

A LOOK AT recycling myths.

July 26, 2007

A LOOK AT Robert Heinlein’s legacy.

July 26, 2007

ANOTHER REPORT FROM MICHAEL YON.

July 26, 2007

A BIODIESEL motorcycle. With video. Does it smell like French Fries? Pretty much!

Running a bike on home-brewed biodiesel can work up an appetite, particularly since the exhaust smells like a greasy spoon. “When I’m out cruising with friends and get hungry,” says Hubbard, “I just pull in front to signal that it’s time to eat.”

Biodiesel — fighting our addiction to oil, but adding to America’s obesity problem! No such thing as a free, er, lunch . . . .

July 26, 2007

IN THE MAIL: Democratic Capitalism and Its Discontents, by Brian Anderson, who is also the author of South Park Conservatives.

July 26, 2007

MAN VS. MACHINE IN POKER: Advantage: Humans! For a while, anyway. Key line: “The ‘bots are closing in.”

July 26, 2007

“IT DIDN’T HAPPEN:” GOING SOFT ON crimes against humanity. Is this a species of Holocaust denial?

July 26, 2007

HOW TO BUILD A coffee-can cellphone booster.

July 26, 2007

THOUGHTS ON SPACE ELEVATORS, from Sam Dinkin.

July 26, 2007

“SCOTT THOMAS” REVEALED, and the spin is as predicted. Plus, as Bruce Carroll notes: “The New Republic has still not corroborated anything Private Beauchamp wrote.”

They’re hoping you won’t notice that.

UPDATE: More here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mark Steyn notes that the most unflattering portrait in “Thomas’s” writing was that of the author.

Still more at Blackfive. It’s telling that most of the pushback on this has come from veterans.

And a journalist reader emails: “Why did TNR have to protect the identity of a blogger who was already public?”

July 26, 2007

“CAN JOE BIDEN WEAR A CODPIECE?” Now there’s an image I could have done without.

July 26, 2007

A NEW RECORD FOR solar cell efficiency.

July 26, 2007

PREDICTION? Or causation? “Not to go all Occam’s Razor or anything, but has it occurred to anyone to ask whether this cat might be somehow killing these people?”

July 26, 2007

NO SURPRISE HERE:

Mobile phone masts are not responsible for the symptoms of ill health some blame them for, a major UK study says.

Dozens of people who believed the masts triggered symptoms such as anxiety, nausea and tiredness could not detect if signals were on or off in trials.

It’s also unsurprising that many won’t accept the results.

July 26, 2007

GEORGE W. BUSH: Benefactor to gay couples.

July 26, 2007

ANOTHER SATISFIED READER: My earlier post on the Braun Pulsonic razor produced this email from reader Ross Woolsey:

Just a quick note. I am a regular reader, but, sadly, am of an entirely different political persuasion. I enjoy reading you because I don’t feel as if I am being slapped around for having a different political viewpoint. Plus, I especially enjoy the occasional posts and pictures about life in the college town of Knoxville.

But, to the matter at hand. I noticed your post re the article in Popular Mechanics about the new Braun Pulsonic electric razor. Sight unseen, I ordered one through Amazon. (How dumb is that?) It has arrived, and it is absolutely a fantastic product. I have bought, tried, and discarded, electric razors time and again in the past, because they didn’t give as close a shave and they stung my face. Not so the Pulsonic. It really is a terrific shaver, and has made reading all the posts that are so crossways from my own views well worth it!

Politics is politics, but a good shave is a good shave. And, like the Braun, I try to be smooth and non-irritating. If I don’t succeed as often, well, InstaPundit is also a lot cheaper . . . .

UPDATE: Sorry, but I can’t recommend this “ultimate head-shaving razor” from personal experience. It just showed up when I visited the Pulsonic page and I couldn’t resist checking it out. With it are a whole bunch of specialty head-shaving products, a whole shaving-world with which I have no experience, and had never really thought about before. Plus, special shaved-head sunscreen!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Eric Kuttner emails a warning:

I decided to start shaving my head last October, and can tell you that the HeadBlade sucks. I heard about how wonderful it was on the net and finally found it after checking out a few stores. I thought it was supposed to eliminate the possibility of nicking yourself, but at least on my head it does the opposite. When I first got it, it didn’t seem to shave my head as well as the Gillette Fusion, and I put it aside. A few weeks back I thought I’d give it another try, and boy was I sorry! — I gave myself three big nicks on my head and they took a while to heal up. I’d recommend the Fusion, which has never nicked me.

Funny how I got caught up in the whole shaved head look, which seems to have exploded in popularity fairly recently (at least in New York). It’s almost a bit puzzling to myself, though I can think of a number of contributing factors for why I decided to do it. It wasn’t something I particularly thought about doing for any duration of time, but one day I felt that I wanted to try something different and off the hair went. First I went for a buzz cut, but I thought — “I went this far…why not go all the way?” and then shaved it all off. I was a bit ambivalent about the look at first, but now I think I prefer it, although it is very labor-intensive to keep up. It takes me about 15 extra minutes in the shower every morning to shave my head. No, I don’t have to shave every day, but after one day’s growth, my head feels like sandpaper, and I hate that.

One thing that’s really nice about having a shaved head: you never have to worry again about losing your hair or going grey, which was definitely part of my motivation (though I haven’t lost that much hair or gone very grey yet — but it’s starting). A shaved head makes for a smoother aging transition, as well as a smoother head.

Reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where, Elaine was dating the guy with the shaved head. She talked him into growing it out, but it turned out that he had gone bald during all the shaved years without really knowing it. Then she dumped him because she didn’t want to date a bald buy . . . .

July 26, 2007

INDEED: “There’s nothing like living under actual socialism to drive up support for capitalism.”

July 26, 2007

THE ATF’S SILLY EFFORT TO SEPARATE “REAL JOURNALISM” FROM “HARASSMENT” has people looking more closely at the agency’s behavior: “The ATF’s push is nonsensical but it continues a trend of bad things for the agency in the last few years.” See the links for more. No wonder they don’t want to be noticed.

July 26, 2007

MY ADVICE TO UT STUDENTS: Don’t buy major-label CDs after this development: “A federal magistrate judge in Knoxville has approved the recording industry’s request to subpoena the identities of 33 University of Tennessee students suspected of illegal file sharing. . . . The recording industry has targeted dozens of UT students with ‘John Doe’ lawsuits, and the subpoenas allow the record labels’ attorneys to learn the identities of the students they’re suing.”

July 26, 2007

SARTORIAL CRITICISM OF CONGRESS: “Another reason for contempt of Congress: They’re slobs, coming onto the house floor in beach wear and athletic jerseys. How far we have fallen.”

July 26, 2007

IS IBM GOING SOLAR?

July 26, 2007

MORE ON BIDEN ON GUNS:

While Townsend’s means of asking his question probably shocked your average Democrat, Biden’s response that this guy was crazy and looking at him like he had cooties probably damaged Biden (and Democrats) with gun owners. And they had been making waves lately with shedding their gun banning image. But this ain’t a post about that, it’s a post about this:

Why did CNN choose that video? My understanding was CNN chose the questions to be aired. And do you think there weren’t other people asking about gun control in a much less dramatic way? In a way that might not scare your average liberal? And this is the video they showed?

Well, can’t read too much into it since the also let a snowman ask about global warming.

Brr. Meanwhile, Dave Weigel declares victory. “It’s not the O’Reilly Factor getting Ward Churchill fired, but I’ll take it.” And from The Economist,“That’s Mr Biden’s political career in a nutshell. Always (at least) one sentence too many.”

July 26, 2007

GOING BI: A look at Samsung’s hybrid HD-DVD / Blu-Ray player. (“Verdict: So far, the best.”)