Archive for August, 2007

August 29, 2007

BRUCE CARROLL ON LARRY CRAIG: “For the love of God, shut up!”

August 29, 2007

IN THE MAIL: Michael Ledeen’s The Iranian Time Bomb: The Mullah Zealots’ Quest for Destruction.

August 29, 2007

ONE OF MY EARLIER POSTS about abuse of prosecutorial discretion drew this email on prosecutorial discretion from reader Rob Ives:

It is often abused, and it is granted to some people I wouldn’t give the discretion to order dinner, but the alternative would not please you more. The legislative response is to mandate things a prosecutor would not do given discretion. As a law professor, not just another ignorant pundit, I think you should propose alternatives to discretion and examine the negative consequences thereof.

To some degree I’ve done so, and you can read about it in this essay. The opening sentence is more dramatic than most law review articles’: “They tried to kill my brother.”

August 29, 2007

LARRY TRIBE’S Lochner?

August 29, 2007

FLYING A LA CARTE: A look at SkyBus.

August 29, 2007

A NEW BOOK ON NANOTECHNOLOGY ETHICS gets a favorable review: “Nanotechnology ethics book is surprisingly fun.”

August 29, 2007

REVIVING INTEREST IN the gold standard? Color me unpersuaded. Though I agree with this: “I think you shouldn’t expect too much of a gold standard.”

August 29, 2007

MIXED REVIEWS FOR nonprofit payday loans. Turns out that even the nonprofits charge very high rates. “Of the $9.90 that GoodMoney charges per $100 borrowed, nearly half goes to writing off bad loans, Mr. Eiden said, and the rest to database service and administrative costs.” (Via Christine Hurt, who has some thoughts of her own: “To charge a lower rate, GoodMoney would either have to lose money or fundraise to cover shortfalls or in the alternative, offer their services only to those with better credit, which might not serve their mission. I think critics of payday loans have all along suspected that the 500-plus% APR was compensating for more than the inherent risk of the loans, but I’m not sure that I realized that 250% was necessary.”).

August 29, 2007

PAYING TO HAVE AN UNDERCLASS: “Has anybody noticed that the more we spend on the underclass, the bigger it gets and the worse it behaves? Has anyone noticed, either, that what we used to call the working class has shrunk?” In the United States, of course, paying less for the underclass — via welfare reform — has had the opposite effect.

August 29, 2007

ROLLING OUT THE BIG GUNS TO CRITICIZE PETRAEUS: Apparently, his dissertation was boring.

August 29, 2007

VARIFRANK DEFENDS LARRY CRAIG.

UPDATE: Eric Scheie is running a poll.

August 29, 2007

APPLE IS NOW SELLING ONE LAPTOP IN SIX: “The market share increase pushed Apple past Gateway Inc. into third place on NPD’s list of laptop sales leaders, behind Hewlett-Packard Co. and Toshiba Corp. Research firm IDC also has Apple in the third spot; data it released last month put Apple’s share of U.S. sales at 5.6%, far behind leaders HP (28.4%) and Dell (23.6%) but tied with Gateway.”

August 29, 2007

ELECTRONICS IN THE BEDROOM PRODUCE “Junk sleep” in teenagers:

And although many adults claim that they fall asleep more easily with the TV on, it doesn’t always work the same way for kids. One in five of all the teenage boys surveyed admitted that leaving the TV or computer on was affecting the quality of their sleep.

The teens aren’t exactly bouncing back from the poor quality sleep, either. 40 percent of the group reported feeling tired in general each day, with 15- and 16-year-old girls doing even worse. But despite this realization, only 11 percent of teenagers surveyed felt that quality of sleep was important. “I’m staggered that so few teenagers make the link between getting enough good quality sleep and how they feel during the day,” Edinburgh Sleep Centre’s Dr. Chris Idzikowski said in a statement. “Teenagers need to wake up to the fact that to feel well, perform well and look well, they need to do something about their sleep.”

They do wake up to that, when they’re older. I hear adults say “I can’t go without sleep like I could when I was a teenager,” but actually I think they can — at least, I can — it’s just that we’re now smart enough to realize just how bad we’ll feel the next day.

August 28, 2007

ATTORNEY GENERAL JOE LIEBERMAN? Well, I’m okay with that.

UPDATE: Brendan Loy says not to trust “the DC/netroots rumor mill.” But I like the Lieberman-as-veep rumor even better!

And Loy notes one argument in favor of the Lieberman idea: “Still, if Lieberman were appointed, that would bring about something truly remarkable: President Bush would have managed to find an attorney general who is, at least arguably, hated even more viscerally by the Left than John Ashcroft ever was.” Go for the gold!

August 28, 2007

WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE YOUNGER GENERATION? Turning down beer in the city of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton?

August 28, 2007

NORM GERAS: “It’s getting to be a bit of a pattern. Someone generically of the left – or so they regard themselves – writes about regrettable features of leftist advocacy and alignment in recent times and is met by a chorus of voices saying, approximately, ‘Who, me? Who, us? What, the left? No, never. Unheard of.’ . . . It’s quite a mystery, this. The volume of foul apologetics that streamed across the pages of the left and liberal press in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 is a matter of public record.”

August 28, 2007

ON BLOGGINGHEADS.TV, Will Wilkinson and Brian Doherty talk about libertarianism and Doherty’s new book.

August 28, 2007

THE COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS criticizes law school affirmative action. The Reynolds in the story, by the way, is no relation.

Professor Bainbridge has more.

August 28, 2007

TOM JOAD SHRUGGED: Poverty’s not what it used to be.

August 28, 2007

WILL THE FIRST SELF-REPLICATING MACHINE be made of Legos?

August 28, 2007

ANOTHER ROUND OF NAME THAT PARTY!

August 28, 2007

SLATE EDITORS SQUABBLE over the Larry Craig story. I like this behind-the-scenes peek. Best line, from John Dickerson: “There’s more inappropriate airport behavior in the security pat down line.”

UPDATE: Radley Balko has thoughts.

August 28, 2007

STUART TAYLOR AND K.C. JOHNSON’S BOOK ON THE DUKE NON-RAPE CASE is now up to 567 529 436 370 280 265 on Amazon. Not bad for a book that doesn’t come out until next week. (Bumped).

August 28, 2007

THANKS TO LARRY CRAIG, for providing an opportunity for easy sex jokes.

UPDATES: Speaking of jokes — and redundancy — I see that Glenn Greenwald has a “remarkably boring and windy post” accusing me of hypocrisy over the Larry Craig affair. No. Craig got himself in trouble here; what I was objecting to in the past were organized Democratic efforts to out gay Republicans for political gain. That’s hardly the same thing. If Glenn Greenwald were to find himself in similar trouble I would shed no more tears than I have for Craig; if I felt that GOP operatives had arranged the story to discredit Greenwald, I’d regard it as a dirty political trick.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Background from Michael Demmons.

MORE: A useful post from Dale Carpenter: “It’s hard to work up much sympathy for Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho). He had a perfect legislative score from traditional-values groups, a zero rating from gay civil-rights groups, supported the Federal Marriage Amendment, and refused even to commit to non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in hiring for his own Senate staff. But what exactly was criminal about his conduct in that Minneapolis airport bathroom? . . . At most, Craig was inviting another adult to engage in some kind of sexual behavior in a public place. I’m not a Minnesota criminal lawyer, but I don’t think asking a stranger for sex in a public place, while vulgar and rude under many circumstances, would by itself be a crime under state law. At any rate, Craig wasn’t charged with that.” And more from Josh Marshall.

Ed Morrissey wonders where the crime is, too. “How does foot-tapping and hand-swiping amount to disorderly conduct? . . . Let’s put it another way. Take Craig out of the equation and replace him with Generic Suspect. What crime got committed?” Of course, that’s a question that Craig could have raised, had he not chosen to plead guilty.

Plus, a problem with Craig’s story.

And some thoughts about sex offsets, mentioned here in an earlier post.

STILL MORE: More on Greenwald here. And some rather sharp thoughts about political hypocrisy here.

August 28, 2007

BLACK PEOPLE ARE FLEEING SAN FRANCISCO. But why? Jeff Goldstein proposes a “Lincolnesque” solution.

August 28, 2007

WIRED REALLY LIKES this “absurdly powerful” blender. It seems a bit pricey to me, though, and it won’t accommodate your larger blending projects, which could be a deal-killer for some.

UPDATE: Reader John Galvin writes: “That’s not a blender. This is a blender.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Steve Ducharme prefers this gasoline-powered model. “It’s not the quietest blender, in fact it’s as loud as a chainsaw.” Vroom!

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Making an iPhone smoothie. Thanks to reader Marc Johnson for the link. Plus, blending Bic lighters? Kids, don’t try this at home!

MORE: More blender video. And reader William Harrington notes this monster — another gas-powered job. Plus, in the “don’t try this at home” vein, reader Randy Baird sends a video of lighting a barbecue grill with liquid oxygen.

August 28, 2007

A BRIBERY CONVICTION IN TENNESSEE:

Former state Sen. John Ford was sentenced today to 5 1/2 years in prison and two years of supervised release for his bribery conviction. . . . The Memphis Democrat, took the most bribe money by far of the Tennessee Waltz lawmakers and is the best known statewide. He is a member of one of Memphis’ most active political families and is the uncle of former congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr., who is currently chairman of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.

Harold Ford’s family was a drag on his campaign. I don’t know if this helps — by taking John Ford off the table — or not.

August 28, 2007

JOHN HAWKINS LISTS THE top 10 South Park episodes of all time. Let the fanboy arguments begin . . . .

August 28, 2007

THOUGHTS ON MEN, WOMEN, AND domestic violence.

August 28, 2007

CAMPAIGN DONATIONS can be found in unlikely places.

August 28, 2007

MORE ON NEW ORLEANS AND KATRINA: “Two full years after Katrina exposed an incredible number of flaws in the flood protection system for the greater New Orleans area, it’s time to put it back. The system—a bunch of disjointed, defective, incomplete and deficient pieces—performed miserably in 2005, after what was only a Category 3 storm at landfall. And here’s the sad reality: Despite the valiant repair efforts of the Corps to conduct a disharmonious symphony of bureaucratic repair, the system would still fail today.” Plus some thoughts on what to do.

August 28, 2007

JAMES Q. WILSON EMAILS: “On August 26, 2007, the Los Angeles Times published an article explaining why the city council of Santa Barbara has been prevented from painting a blue line across the city to mark how high the water will be if you believe Al Gore’s prediction that global warming will make the oceans rise by 23 feet. The idea was not defeated because people realize that Gore’s prediction is silly and wrong, but because a realtor threatened a law suit based on the argument that property values below the line would fall.”

The article is here.

August 28, 2007

ILYA SHAPIRO looks at steps toward a civilian reserve force. “I am not at all a fan of big government, or new government programs, or creating bureaucracies, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned during this stint in Iraq, it’s that if we are to do this kind of work—for national security, humanitarian, or other policy reasons—we have to do it right.”

August 28, 2007

DAVID FREDDOSO: “Why is it that Republicans — Craig, Mark Foley, and David Vitter — are the ones who keep getting caught in sex scandals nowadays? Yes, there are always Democrats with lurid stories — the Jim McGreeveys, Gary Harts and Barney Franks of the world (and a lot of others whose transgressions have never been proven or admitted to). But no one can deny that lately it’s been Republicans getting caught in the most peculiar and dastardly deeds.”

Well, either they’re more likely to do that stuff, or more likely to get caught in ways that become public. Which is it?

UPDATE: Possible answer here.

August 28, 2007

A CAMPAIGN TO bring back the Ding-Dog! With the suggested Krispy Kreme addition, it’s a sure-fire hit . . . .

August 28, 2007

MICHAEL TOTTEN POSTS ANOTHER REPORT FROM IRAQ, and you should read the whole thing. I looked for the breakout paragraph that summarizes the whole post and couldn’t find one. But I found this amusing:

“He’s like me,” he said. “He’s a Harvard Law grad who joined the Army after 9/11. I’m an attorney.”

“You’re an attorney?” I said. “What are you doing out here in Iraq?”

“I practiced law for three years,” he said, “then got into investment banking. When 9/11 happened I just had to sign up with the Army. Investment banking is a lot more stressful than this.”

“You’re kidding, right?” I said.

“No,” he said and laughed. “I am totally serious.”

If he was deployed in, say, Kurdistan I could see it. But Mushadah was stressful. Less stressful than investment banking? Investment banking in New York must really be something.

Indeed.

August 28, 2007

IN THE MAIL: Diana West’s The Death of the Grown-up: How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization. I was going to read it, but I had to go shop for a PlayStation. . . .

August 28, 2007

USING TEARGAS AND BATONS ON PRO-BIOTECH PROTESTERS:

There appears to be something of a double standard in French law enforcement here. Anti-biotech activists regularly destroy crops on private land and rarely get more than a slap on the wrist from authorities in Europe.

Next time burn cars. Then you’ll just be seen as excitable youth!

August 28, 2007

MSNBC AND CNBC REFUSING TO RUN PRO-WAR ADS.

Link was bad before. Fixed now. Sorry!

August 28, 2007

TAMPA TRIBUNE: “By Refusing To Count Our Votes, Democrats Are Writing Off Florida.” Whether that’s true or not depends, I think, on whether the GOP nominates someone Democrats hate enough to let bygones be bygones by November of 2008.

August 28, 2007

DEMOCRATS EATING THEIR OWN: Antiwar activist Jon Soltz, last seen shutting up a sergeant at YearlyKos, joined other Democrats who savaged Rep. Brian Baird for having the temerity to offer his own opinions on the war.

August 28, 2007

MATT SANCHEZ WRITES FROM IRAQ: “There should be no doubt, the so-called surge is working, but, in September, I am afraid General Petraeus will downplay the positive effect for fear of appearing too partisan.”

August 28, 2007

COPYRIGHT GROUP violates copyright.

August 28, 2007

AN IMPORTANT QUESTION FROM GREG HLATKY: “If Senator Craig purchased sex offsets to live a sex-neutral lifestyle, would this immunize him from charges of hypocrisy?”

Indubitably. But who would sell them?

UPDATE: Reader Chris O’Brien emails: “‘The Sex Offsets’ would actually be a cool name for a band.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: No need to play Name That Party! with Larry Craig!

MORE: Ed Holston emails: “What, exactly, did Craig do that was illegal?” That would be an interesting question, if Craig hadn’t pled guilty.

August 28, 2007

THE LORAX AND the tragedy of the commons.

August 28, 2007

WHY APPLE CAN’T STOP IPHONE HACKERS.

August 28, 2007

MICKEY KAUS: “Has Big Hollywood made a single non-anti-US post-9/11 film I missed? I can’t remember one . . . . Next up: In the Valley of Elah, a well-made version of the Scott Beauchamp Story. … Is it the international market that makes our studios behave this way? I sense an underserved domestic niche.”

UPDATE: Reader Jon Deur emails: “I wonder why that ABC movie ‘Path to 9/11′ isn’t available on DVD?”

Huh. I thought it was, but then I realized that was a different film.

August 28, 2007

TIME: WILL DEAN’S WAR ON FLORIDA BACKFIRE?

So now, just as that state party is regaining full use of its limbs, it begs credulity to watch Dean and the DNC go out of their way to chop them off. This past weekend the DNC threw the book at the Sunshine State’s Dems for signing on to Florida’s recent move to hold its 2008 presidential primary election two months earlier than usual and a week earlier than DNC rules allow. Florida’s Democratic Party has 30 days to back out of the new Jan. 29 primary or face forfeiting all of its delegates and votes at the Democratic National Convention next summer, according to the draconian DNC ruling. (The Republican National Committee’s rules also frown on the earlier primary, but the RNC hasn’t demanded that Florida’s GOP reschedule it for a later date.) As Dean warned earlier this summer, if Florida’s Democrats insist on holding their primary in January, it “essentially won’t count.” To which Florida’s Senate Democratic minority leader Steve Geller says, “I question whether Howard Dean is working for the Democratic Party or the Republican Party.”

Geller’s confusion is understandable for a number of reasons.

“War on Florida” seems a bit hyperbolic. I actually think there needs to be some national coordination and rationalization here somewhere, though I’m not sure this is the way to accomplish it.

August 27, 2007

ANOTHER TERROR-RELATED CASE that’s not getting much attention.

August 27, 2007

MY OLD LAW FIRM, DEWEY BALLANTINE, will now be Dewey & LeBoeuf, as the result of a merger with LeBoeuf Lamb. I suppose it’s a good business decision, but it makes me slightly sad to see Dewey, with its century of history, subsumed into a new entity.

UPDATE: Reader Ron Hardin goes back to when the firm had Elihu Root’s name up front, and observes:

My father worked there starting probably in the 30s. [Tom] Dewey was a latecomer. The name kept changing over the years, and sounded strange when they added Dewey, to me anyway. Right up front, too.

A lesson in the limits of nostalgia, I guess.

August 27, 2007

BBC NEWS: “Two of the BBC’s most senior news and current affairs executives attacked the corporation’s plans yesterday for a Comic Relief-style day of programming on environmental issues, saying it was not the broadcaster’s job to preach to viewers.”

Though when it does, it’s often comic relief.

August 27, 2007

FIGHTING NEPOTISM AND CRONYISM, the Bobby Kennedy way!

August 27, 2007

LEWD CONDUCT IN A MEN’S ROOM, by Sen. Larry Craig. Will the GOP have another vacant seat to deal with soon? And what is it with these guys?

UPDATE: Wham!

ANOTHER UPDATE: More thoughts at GayPatriot.

August 27, 2007

HOLDING DOWN THE NUMBER OF BLACK LAWYERS IN CALIFORNIA? Gail Heriot notes some questions that the California Bar Examiners don’t seem to want to answer.

UPDATE: More thoughts here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Indeed: “Isn’t it time the ABA just gave up, and acknowledged that as a body completely captured by the perceived interests of the profession it’s supposed to be regulating, is in no position to serve as a neutral gatekeeper for law school accreditation?” Though in truth I’m not sure the ABA is that good at protecting the profession’s interests, either. Maybe the ABA staff’s perception of those interests . . . . Maybe.

August 27, 2007

K.C. JOHNSON & STUART TAYLOR’S BOOK ON THE DUKE NON-RAPE CASE is now up to 590 on Amazon. I hope it gets a lot of attention. With a cover blurb from John Grisham, it just might.

August 27, 2007

SHOULD WE EXPECT COLLEGE DEGREES TO decline in value in coming years?

August 27, 2007

SARKOZY CHANNELS MCCAIN? “French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday a diplomatic push by the world’s powers to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program was the only alternative to ‘an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran.’”

August 27, 2007

MEGAN MCARDLE: “One particular consideration I think is underdiscussed is the fact that much of the labor illegal immigrants provide substitutes for women’s home labor.”

August 27, 2007

PAGE 9 AT THE WAPO: As good as it gets.

August 27, 2007

WHEN BENCH AND BAR GET TOO COZY:

Dennis G. Jacobs, the chief judge of the federal appeals court in New York, is a candid man, and in a speech last year he admitted that he and his colleagues had “a serious and secret bias.” Perhaps unthinkingly but quite consistently, he said, judges can be counted on to rule in favor of anything that protects and empowers lawyers.

Once you start thinking about it, the examples are everywhere. The lawyer-client privilege is more closely guarded than any other. It is easier to sue for medical malpractice than for legal malpractice. People who try to make a living helping people fill out straightforward forms are punished for the unauthorized practice of law.

But Judge Jacobs’s main point is a deeper one. Judges favor complexity and legalism over efficient solutions, and they have no appreciation for what economists call transaction costs. They are aided in this by lawyers who bill by the hour and like nothing more than tasks that take a lot of time and cost their clients a lot of money.

And there is, of course, the pleasure of power, particularly in cases involving the great issues of the day.

“Judges love these kinds of cases,” said Judge Jacobs, whose speech was published in The Fordham Law Review in May. “Public interest cases afford a judge more sway over public policy, enhance the judicial role, make judges more conspicuous and keep the law clerks happy.”

There are costs here, too, he said, including “the displacement of legislative and executive power” and “the subordination of other disciplines and professions.”

Yet, at the conclusion of a big public-policy case, the bar and bench rejoice. “We smugly congratulate ourselves,” Judge Jacobs said, “on expanding what we are pleased to call the rule of law.”

It’s Times Select, alas, so you can’t read the rest unless you subscribe. But the piece mentions this article on the subject by my colleague Ben Barton, and you can download the whole thing for free if you’re interested.

August 27, 2007

ALVARO VARGAS LLOSA: “As I watch the worldwide financial crisis triggered by the wave of mortgage defaults in the United States, I am reminded that at the heart of the problem is the departure on the part of the U.S. government and American consumers from basic economic principles.”

August 27, 2007

GIULIANI ON TAXES AND A HOMEOWNER BAILOUT, from James Pethokoukis.

August 27, 2007

JUST RAN ACROSS this interview with Joss Whedon from earlier this month, where he talks about the future of Firefly. You can hear our podcast interview with Firefly’s Tim Minear from last year here.

August 27, 2007

LAWYERS — THE FUN CROWD! Unauthorized Enjoyment of Song Irks Law Firm.

But David Lat is having fun.

August 27, 2007

A CHANGE OF HEART LOOMS:

Democrats believed the script would go something like this:

Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Army Gen. David H. Petraeus would deliver their report about combat operations, violence and political instability in Iraq, and congressional Republicans, confronted with bad news, would face enormous pressure to vote for an Iraq withdrawal timeline.

But the climate in Washington may have shifted, and the anti-war expectations may not pan out.

Republican lawmakers like U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter and U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent in Pennsylvania, along with U.S. Reps. Mike Ferguson and Frank LoBiondo in New Jersey, next month may have a bit more breathing room to stick with President Bush and his plan to surge additional U.S. troops into Iraq.

Military gains in al Anbar Province have surprised policy-makers in Washington and put lawmakers calling for troop cutbacks on the defensive.

It does seem that way.

UPDATE: Finessing the Surge.

August 27, 2007

ALLOFMP3.COM IS planning a comeback.

August 27, 2007

JUST KEEP SCROLLING: James Lileks is blogging from the Minnesota State Fair.

August 27, 2007

EMILY SANDS ON solving the kidney shortage.

August 27, 2007

EUGENE VOLOKH: “Isn’t the Opus cartoon the Washington Post refused to run quite tame?” He continues: “The Post is of course entitled to run or not run whatever cartoons it prefers. Still, we’re equally entitled to discuss and, when sensible, criticize its editorial judgment. And it seems to be an odd judgment here.”

August 27, 2007

I MISSED IT, BUT BELDAR DIDN’T: Sen. Kerry permits last statute of limitations for defamation to lapse, forever barring any defamation claim against SwiftVet authors O’Neill and Corsi. But there’s more: “You have a standing offer from me: Just sue me here in Houston for defamation. . . . I’ll waive any statute of limitations defense. I’ll waive service of process. Hell, I’ll meet you at the federal courthouse doors for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division (you have diversity jurisdiction), and I’ll even pay your filing fee!” What an offer! How can Kerry resist?

August 27, 2007

CHINESE REPRESSION, THE INTERNET, AND THE OLYMPICS: Roger Simon has thoughts on what bloggers should do.

August 27, 2007

THE GHOSTS OF ANBAR, PART II: A new dispatch from Michael Yon. Excerpt:

As it happens, these “police” had come from the same station that warned us about the bomb. This is one face of the political solutions we hear about in the news. The ones that are supposedly not happening. Here in Anbar, it’s working.

Some of these men will admit they were insurgents who switched sides because they realized that they are more likely to get what they want with a stable government. Al Qaeda promised them everything under the baking sun, yet al Qaeda killed people who smoked—and Iraqis like to smoke.

Read the whole thing.

August 27, 2007

IN THE MAIL: K.C. Johnson & Stuart Taylor’s new book on the Duke Lacrosse bogus rape allegations, Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case. It came on Friday but I didn’t get a chance to read it as the Insta-Wife grabbed it right a way. Upside: She’s posted a review already. I think it’s pretty clear that this is going to be a very important book, and I hope it does well.

August 27, 2007

mktbradjon.jpgMY BIRTHDAY’S TODAY, but I spent the weekend celebrating since today’s a busy day at work. One of the best parts was hanging out last night with both of my brothers. We met at the Brewery and then went over to Market Square. You can see the two of them here, in typical pose. That’s Brad — the rock & roll brother — on the left, and Jonathan — the blues / history professor brother — on the right. It was fun. I wish we got to hang out more often.

Brad was saying that I haven’t been posting enough photos on the blog lately. As usual, he’s right. So here are some more.

Even though it was a Sunday night, Market square was full of people hanging out. I was surprised, as I don’t generally get down there on Sunday evenings.

mktprespub.jpg

And while there was no midnight basketball, there was midnight whiffleball. People seemed surprisingly serious about it.

mktwhiffle.jpg

August 27, 2007

GONZALES RESIGNS: Make way for Attorney General Randy Barnett Chertoff. . . .

August 27, 2007

THE FRENCH ARE READY TO APOLOGIZE TO IRAQ: Hmm. They’re usually pretty good at spotting a shift in the wind.

August 27, 2007

CLAYTON CRAMER NOTES SOMETHING ODD about the ATF.

August 27, 2007

DEFENSIVE? ABOUT WHAT?

CBS goes on the defensive over “Kid”

Reality shows might need to court controversy to succeed, but a spreading hubbub around CBS’ “Kid Nation” suggests that sometimes execs need to be careful what they wish for.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Actors (AFTRA) said Friday that it will probe whether producers of “Kid Nation” violated their union contract with harsh treatment of amateur kid performers on the CBS reality show, set to premiere September 19. . . .

Amid earlier reports of concerns over the kids’ treatment on location, CBS characterized “Kid Nation” as “a voluntary television experience.”

As opposed to those involuntary ones, I guess.

August 27, 2007

MATT SANCHEZ REPORTS FROM RAMADI. There’s been a lot of independent reporting from Iraq lately — scroll down for a number of posts over the last couple of days.

August 27, 2007

THIS SEEMS LIKE GOOD NEWS:

Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, and fellow leaders in the country have reached consensus on key areas of national reconciliation, under mounting US pressure to demonstrate political progress on the eve of a key report to Congress on the Baghdad security “surge”.

The Shia prime minister appeared on television flanked by Jalal Talabani, the country’s Kurdish president, and the Sunni vice-president, Tareq al-Hashemi, to announce a deal on easing restrictions on former members of the Ba’ath party joining the civil service and military.

Easing de-Ba’athification laws passed after the 2003 US invasion has long been seen as a vital step if disenchanted Sunnis, who formed the backbone of Saddam Hussein’s regime and, since its fall, of the insurgency, are to be persuaded to take part in Iraqi political life.

(Via ATC, which has some further thoughts ). Maliki’s not happy with Hillary, though: “In separate comments, Mr Maliki lashed out at his detractors with invective that focused on the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”

August 27, 2007

RUDY GIULIANI ON TAXES. “I’ve seen how pro-growth policies lead to broader prosperity. We’ll not only keep the current tax cuts in place or their equivalent, we’ll enact additional tax relief and give the Death Tax the death penalty. High tax rates hurt business and destroy jobs. I know that tax cuts are good for the economy. It’s not just theory for me because I cut taxes and got results as Mayor of New York City. As President, I will cut taxes further.”

August 27, 2007

HMM: “Ten people were arrested and will be charged soon in connection with the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian chief prosecutor said Monday. . . . Politkovskaya, a critic of Putin who exposed human rights abuses in Chechnya, was shot dead in her Moscow apartment building in October.” I hope that justice is done, but . . . .

August 26, 2007

STEVEN EMERSON PROVIDES SOME BACKGROUND on the ongoing trial involving CAIR and the Holy Land Foundation. I’m surprised this hasn’t gotten more media coverage. (Via LGF, which notes that this is “the largest terror financing trial in history”).

August 26, 2007

MORE BLOGGING FROM IRAQ, by Wesley Morgan.

And don’t miss this interview with a female U.S. soldier.

UPDATE: Oops, the interview turns out to be dubious — Morgan says he was lied to.

August 26, 2007

ON HILLARY AND TERROR: “Clinton is prodding us to think about what a good candidate she will be in different situations that may develop over the lengthy campaign season. The others don’t want to talk about that because they look worse in these imagined scenarios. So here we see how Clinton has played a shrewder, more complex game all along.”

August 26, 2007

CHINA: From Cultural Revolution to sexual revolution. Sounds like a great leap forward to me!

August 26, 2007

CRACKING THE CODE FOR KEYLESS ENTRY:

A group of Israeli and Belgian researchers found a vulnerability in the algorithm that is used to secure anti-theft digital key systems in numerous vehicles, including those made by such companies as Honda, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes Benz and Jaguar. With that information they were able to devise an attack to crack the code of anti-theft keys.

With just an hour of remote access to the digital key of one car made by a manufacturer, the researchers say they are able not only to crack the unique code for that specific key but can also determine the key initialization process used to code the digital keys for all of the cars made by that manufacturer. From there, it’s pretty simple for them to crack the unique code of another car made by that company.

Oops.

August 26, 2007

THE STORY KEEPS CHANGING, THOUGH: “This morning on C-SPAN 2, I heard a nice young historian spout the conventional wisdom about President Bush and the Iraq War. This particular interpretation is now totally uncontroversial – but it is false.” Back in 2003, people were telling a different story.

August 26, 2007

CHRIS WALLACE on Bill Moyers.

August 26, 2007

WHAT WILL THEY THINK OF NEXT? An Apple computer that also serves beer! Beat that, Michael Dell. Plus, lots more Apple news.

August 26, 2007

MORE QUESTIONS about reporting from Iraq.

August 26, 2007

FORGET HYBRIDS: Volvo is focusing on the diesel route to high mileage. But there’s a hitch: “Unfortunately, Volvo has no plans to introduce the Powershift or the diesel into the U.S. market. Apparently certifying the new engine for the U.S. market is too expensive at this point. And they’re unsure if there is enough customer support to back the effort. Too bad. We think both the transmission—and the diesel—would do quite well here.” Maybe we need to take a hard look at regulatory barriers to automotive efficiency?

August 26, 2007

ORIN KERR: “If the rumors are true that Gonzales will soon resign and Bush will nominate Chertoff to replace him as AG, that would be a very positive development.” I’d still favor Randy Barnett — and wouldn’t things have gone better if the Bush Administration had listened to me last time? — but Orin reminds us that this is the real world, not the ideal world.

August 26, 2007

AT JULES CRITTENDEN’S: Little Saddam.

August 26, 2007

DAVID BROOKS ON the political brain.

August 26, 2007

BURT PRELUTSKY LOOKS AT the private lives of public men. And women.

August 26, 2007

NEW GLASS: An interesting Iraq metric. (Via Charlie Foxtrot).

August 26, 2007

IN THE MAIL: Lawrence Anthony and Graham Spence’s Babylon’s Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo.

UPDATE: A reader asks if U.S. troops get as much credit in the book as they got in this contemporaneous news story. I’m not sure, but he thinks the Amazon listing downplays the troops’ role. However, there’s this: “What follows is a truly remarkable book, as Anthony pulled strings, made connections (legal and illegal), sweet-talked bureaucrats, and made miracles happen as he, with the help of the American military, brought the Baghdad Zoo back from the brink.”

August 26, 2007

SOME QUESTIONS ANSWER THEMSELVES: “Seriously, would you rather live 30 days without a politician or 30 days without a sewage treatment facility in your neighborhood? The septic tank pumpers, the garbage collectors, and the electricians are the only folks who hold back the threat of a new Dark Ages. They stand alone along the thin, brown line between anarchy and order. Some of the dirtiest jobs are the most vital. . . . If the world was a fair place, the sump-pumpers and bilge-bailers of this world would make as much as a Congressman. They do more for the public good than both houses of Congress.” Amen.

August 26, 2007

COOKWARE: Reader Jordan Schwartz emails:

I just re-read your cookware post from December of last year, but unfortunately, it didn’t answer one of my questions in my great high-end cookware search. I’m deciding between All-Clad stainless steel and Calphalon One Infused and Anodized collection (not non-stick). Do you have any preferences? You have mentioned that you use All-Clad before–have you ever tried the Calphalon One? It’s almost been a year–think its time for another cookware post?

I also seem to remember that you and I share a birthday–August 27th. If so, happy almost birthday!

I have the All-Clad and like it a lot. (I also have some of the much cheaper Cuisinart Multiclad stuff, and it’s quite good, especially for the money. My brother has it, too, and was saying just last night how much he likes it.) I don’t know anything about the Calphalon One stuff other than that it looks pretty in the stores, though if you follow the link to the December post you’ll see that Megan McArdle likes it. Any reader comments?

The only new cookware advice I have is that my brother — who’s taking advantage of the 59 cents per pound mangoes at his grocery store — swears by this GoodGrips Mango Splitter. He says it’s works perfectly, splitting and seeding them. Not bad for under twelve bucks. When we were kids, mangoes were a rare delicacy. Now they’re cheap, and you can buy specialized mango-cookware at Kroger. Three cheers for globalization!

And reader Ed Bush writes:

Over the years I must have missed you talking about your Romertopf clay pot. Someone like you would have to have one. If you don’t, get one and make your Insta Chicken in it.

I’ve seen these over the years, and they look cool, though it seems like something that might get broken in my household. And how easy are they to clean, really?

Also, I should note that this cheap nonstick skillet, which I picked up last year based on its promise to resist damage from metal utensils, is still holding up perfectly despite the best efforts of, ahem, some of the less careful cooks in my household.

And, yeah, tomorrow is my birthday. Thanks!

UPDATE: A Romertopf endorsement: “This baby is worth every umlaut. . . . Despite being made of clay, it is durable (eight years and counting with an accident-prone chef and two twitchy toddlers) and simple to clean.” That sounds good.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Paul Byers emails:

I have been using Calphalon One for over a decade. It has had other names in that time but still the same pots. They cook great! Even temps and brown really well. Cook a lot like well seasoned cast iron, which is what I learned on. I fearlessly use the OXO Stainless utensils without damage to my pots. I wash them with Scott brand pads and soupy hot water. If you take care of the pans they will glaze and then are much easier to clean. DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE DISH WASHER! Have a couple of the newer stainless Calphalon pans that have been gifts from folks who know my loyalty to the brand. They cook well but not as nice as the anodized. Little harder to reduce in the stainless but the thick aluminum plate on the bottom keeps the hot spots to a minimum. I have owned and passed on All Clad, Old copper bottom Revere Wear and well seasoned cast iron. I am all Calphalon now, even when I am camp cooking on a charcoal grill.

That dishwasher thing is a dealbreaker in my house Others may feel differently. Meanwhile, reader Mark Butterworth writes:

I’ve picked up a number of Calphalon pieces on sale and built up a nice set of pots, but I’ve also added some All-Clad which I love. They are beautiful and I thought my Saucier pot heated up faster than others I use.

To prove it, I did an All-Clad pot vs. a Calphalon pot of similar dimensions. I put two cups of water in each and set both pots on equal gas burners (two small ones on my range).

It took about 8-9 minutes to get a rolling boil and much to my surprise, the anodized aluminum Calphalon won. It beat All-Clad by a minute or so.

I still prefer my All-Clad. So pretty. So Shiny.

Mmm. Shiny.