November 28, 2007
MORE FROM ROGER SIMON on why Hollywood’s antiwar movies are bombs.
JOE KLEIN AND THE LEFTOSPHERE: I’ve been sort of vaguely aware of this dust-up, but haven’t really been paying attention.
ED DRISCOLL INTERVIEWS Liz Stephans and Scott Baker of Breitbart TV.
IN THE MAIL: Richard Epstein’s Supreme Neglect: How to Revive Constitutional Protection for Private Property.
THE FINAL VERSION OF MY Libel in the Blogosphere piece is now available online, as it appeared in the Washington University Law Review.
A CLINTON flipflop on Iraq.
ANOTHER GRIM MILESTONE: Bank of America drops the New York Times to a “sell” rating. It’s an investor quagmire, with no exit plan. Er, except maybe for “Pinch” Sulzberger. . . .
A MOOD SURGE ON IRAQ, as public opinion shifts dramatically: “To put it in perspective, because MSNBC doesnâ€™t, thatâ€™s â€¦ letâ€™s see â€¦ 18 points. Double-digit increase.”
UPDATE: More: “In other words, what too many have yet to grasp is that when the U.S. loses a war, we leave lock, stock and barrel (e.g. Vietnam) but when we win, (or at least don’t lose) we remain to support our alliies (e.g. Bosnia, South Korea, Japan and Germany).”
THOUGHTS ON ABU DHABI, CITIGROUP, and the recycling of petrodollars: “Frankly, I’d rather that those dollars be spent and invested in the United States directly than wait around for them to be laundered through the economies of Japan, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom who knows how many times before they make it home again.”
DUANE PATTERSON: “Should We Trust CNN And YouTube In The Debate Wednesday Night?”
OFFICE MATE OR BAD DATE: The Insta-Wife reviews Office Mate: The Employee Handbook for Finding–and Managing–Romance on the Job.
NEWS FROM THE global war on germs.
TRYING TIMES: “Let me get this straight – Democratic aides to a Democratic Governor in a Democratic state were talking to Nick Confessore of the Times (and formerly of The American Prospect, so presumably a Democrat), and they chose to liken Spitzer favorably to Reagan and Giuliani? Are they really unable to come up with any no-nonsense Democrats?”
INSTAPUNK ON STEPHEN KING. But, really, this stands on its own:
STEPHEN KING: So who’s going to be TIME Person of the Year?
TIME: I really don’t know, there’s a very small group of people who make that decision.
[KING:] I was thinking, I think it should be Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.
But read the whole thing.
THE PENNSYLVANIA SUPREME COURT looks at the Second Amendment as involving an individual right.
SCAREDY SQUIRREL gets a lesson about risk. Preparation is good. Worry is not.
JAPAN, 1947: Lou Minatti is posting a lot of photos, and would like some captioning help on some of them.
A HUGO CHAVEZ meltdown?
MARINES bring aid to Bangladesh.
MORE ON THE PARIS INTIFADA: “More than 100 officers have been wounded, several of them seriously, according to the police. Thirty of them were hit with buckshot and pellets from shotguns, and one of the wounded was hit with a type of bullet used to kill large game, Patrice Ribeiro, a police spokesman, said in a telephone interview. One of the officers lost an eye; anotherâ€™s shoulder was shattered by gunfire.”
The French haven’t taken this seriously enough. Perhaps they should ask this guy for advice.
UPDATE: Somewhat belatedly, Clive Davis mocks my suggestion that the French could learn something useful from Lieutenant Colonel Chris Dowling in Fallujah. Based on his comments, I doubt that Davis actually read the pieces I linked.
MATT WELCH takes over Reason magazine. No Reasonoids were harmed. Best question: “So, does Matt get a leather coat now?”
THOUGHTS ON the importance of handwashing.
THOUGHTS ON blogging the political conventions.
CHEAP, CLEAN ELECTRICITY — from Google?
VENEZUELAN STUDENTS fired on by regime.
UPDATE: John McGinnis emails:
Heh. Why should I spend somewhere in the neghborhood of $40 to watch a box office bomb when I can NetFlix really great old standards online or in the mail? My favorite line up every year –
* White Christmas
* Miracle on 34th Street
* It’s a Wonderful Life
* The Shop Around the Corner
* Were no Angels
* A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott version)
Dip in the eggnog, throw another log on the fire and hit ‘play’ on the media center and I am set.
I think there’s a lot of that. The trouble is, the new movies need to be better than the old ones to compete, and instead they’re usually inferior.
NO, IT WASN’T ME SHOOTING THE REDLIGHT CAMERAS IN KNOXVILLE: “I’m not sure I’d want to encourage this kind of behavior, but I can’t help enjoying it.”
A SOLID COMPLAINT about the New York Times’ list of “Notable Books for 2007:” There is not a single science book on the list of “Notable Books” for the year. (Via Kevin Drum, who observes: “Basically, though, the entire list consists of history, memoir, cultural criticism, and (non-science) biography. Quite an eclectic taste those Times book reviewers have, eh?”).
WITHOUT A COURT ORDER, Google gives up IP of anonymous blogger.
UPDATE: Compare Amazon.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More on the Amazon case from Orin Kerr: “Seems kinda weird to me: can bad reporting by the press make perfectly lawful investigations unlawful?”
MORE: Further thoughts here: “In terms of the law, here’s what I don’t get, or rather, here’s one of the several things I don’t get: If public misunderstanding of Judge Crocker’s decision makes the otherwise constitutional subpoena unconstitutional, can’t Judge Crocker write his opinion in a calming and soothing way to make the subpoena constitutional? Or are bloggers and their fiery rhetoric really that incorrigible?”
RON BAILEY ON THE RISE OF techno-optimistic environmentalism.
THEY TOLD ME THAT IF GEORGE W. BUSH WERE REELECTED, people who even dared to complain about speech restrictions would be in trouble. And they were right!
JOHN TIERNEY: Whoâ€™s Afraid of â€œSoulless Scientismâ€?
SETTING A NEW HIGH IN JOURNALISTIC LAMENESS: The Details power list. Really, this reads like a parody. And it is one — just not necessarily an intentional one . . .
EVERYBODY MAKES MISTAKES: “Honey, I doomed the Universe.”
But hey, space aliens have probably already done this anyway.
Now that the war in Iraq is over . . . what can the military do better in Afghanistan?
OK, weâ€™ve not exactly won, but Gen Petraeus is sending a BCT home from Diyala Province and not replacing it. The â€œConcerned Citizensâ€ Groups south of Baghdad, the Sunni â€œAnbar Awakeningâ€ are standing up in numbers and professionalism that was unimagined even 18 months ago. Do the Iraqiâ€™s like us? Hard to say, but so long as theyâ€™re not killing us, letâ€™s be thankful for these small victories and let’s pray that the trend continues.
Now, can we do the same in Afghanistan? Weâ€™ve got the same impressive military, AND some reasonable support from NATO. Plus weâ€™ve been at it since 2001â€¦so why arenâ€™t we rocking thru Afghanistan?
Because our message sucks.
Read the whole thing. It certainly seems that a lot of different people are worried about our approach in Afghanistan.
GREENHOUSE UPDATE: Has geoengineering’s time come at last?
JOEL KOTKIN on the rise of family-friendly cities. “Married people with children tend to be both successful and motivated, precisely the people who make economies go.” I’ve been a fan on Kotkin’s for a while — this contrarian book, written at the height of Japan-related American declinism, argued that America’s resilience would win out over Japan’s bureaucratic planning. And he was certainly right.
DANIEL SOLOVE ROUNDS UP new books about law and related topics.
EDUCATION ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT, from Naomi Wolf: “Few young Americans understand that the Second Amendment keeps their homes safe from the kind of government intrusion that other citizens suffer around the world; few realize that ‘due process’ means that they can’t be locked up in a dungeon by the state and left to languish indefinitely.”
UPDATE: A couple of readers think that Naomi Wolf meant the Fourth Amendment, not the Second, but I’m sure they’re wrong. First, she’s writing about Constitutional ignorance, so I’m sure she took time to review the Bill of Rights herself. Second, if she had made that kind of error, one of the layers of editors at the Post would have caught it. Third, her statement is correct on the merits.
CAR LUST: Remembering the Jensen Interceptor.
DON SURBER: “We won.”
Perhaps a bit premature, but read the whole thing.
JOURNALISTIC MALPRACTICE at The Christian Science Monitor. They’re usually better than that.
HITLER WASN’T SO BAD: At least he would have killed off all the bloggers!
HEH: “Universal’s CEO Once Called iPod Users Thieves. Now He’s Giving Songs Away.”
IF I WERE A SHAREHOLDER, I THINK I’D COMPLAIN: “Dismal returns for politically themed films in 2007 wonâ€™t stop the genre from continuing well into next year.”
It’s as if they don’t care about shareholder returns at all in Hollywood.
CITIGROUP AND ABU DHABI — A “MADE FOR DEMAGOGUERY MOMENT:” Can a Lou Dobbs Presidential run be far behind?
IN THE MAIL: National Lampoon’s Balls! An in your face look at sports, by Steve Hofstetter.
MERYL YOURISH: Girls with guns.
MICHAEL TOTTEN POSTS a new report from Fallujah:
“You’re probably safer here than you are in New York City,â€ said Marine First Lieutenant Barry Edwards when I arrived in Fallujah. I raised my eyebrows at him skeptically. â€œHow many people got shot at last night in New York City?â€ he said.
â€œProbably somebody,â€ I said.
â€œYeah, probably somebody did,â€ he said. â€œSomewhere.â€
Nobody was shot last night in Fallujah. No American has been shot anywhere in Fallujah since the 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment rotated into the city two months ago. There have been no rocket or mortar attacks since the summer. Not a single of the 3/5 Marines has even been wounded.
But read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Okay, I have to mention this — news to warm Al Gore’s heart:
Brand new solar-powered street lights line the main roads. Now that insurgents no longer sabotage the electrical grid, Fallujah gets around twelve hours of electricity a day on average. (It used to be a lot less.) Getting street lights permanently off the electrical grid not only frees up power for televisions and air conditioners, it prevents the city from going dark even when the power is out.
Reducing the incentive to shut the power down, of course. And it’s greenhouse-friendly!
EVAN COYNE MALONEY: “People will rarely admit they favor surrender. But if we buy in to the politically correct thinking of multiculturalism, thatâ€™s exactly where weâ€™ll end up.” Just ask Rowan Williams!
FOER’S LAST STAND? Bob Owens notes new developments in the New Republic /Beauchamp affair.
DEFINING “RICH” DOWN: But $97,000 a year?
MICKEY KAUS: “Who Says the Press Isn’t Covering the Issues? We’re Covering Who’s ‘Electable’!”
VIRGINIA POSTREL IS BACK TO BLOGGING: Welcome back to the ‘sphere, Virginia. We missed you!
I GUESS I SHOULD REMIND YOU that James Lileks’ new book is shipping now.
Otherwise, terrible things might happen: “If it doesn’t do well, I will have to give up the Bleat for a year to write something that will make money for (G)Nat’s college fund.” (Bumped, because Gnat needs to go to college, and we need The Bleat.) Also, Lileks will be on NPR’s Talk of the Nation today at about 4 Eastern.
PARIS RIOTS: Now with shotgun-toting “youths!”
LIBERTARIAN ROBERT BIDINOTTO on Ron Paul’s noninterventionism.
The IPCC Conference on Climate Change is taking place this Dec 3-14 in Bali, Indonesia.
The conference will have about 12,000 participants from 189 countries, and since Bali is in the middle of nowhere we can assume that the average participant flies 1/4ths of the Earth’s circumference to attend, or about 6,000 miles.
Passenger air travel costs 0.18 kg CO2/passenger-mile, for long-distance flights. Of course, many participants will be taking private jets, which will throw this calculation way off.
So the total carbon emissions for travel to-and-from the conference are 26 MMT CO2 (million metric tons).
The average American emitted 24.1 MT CO2 in 2006, so travel to-and-from the Bali conference is equivalent to 1.1 M American-years of carbon expenditure. Or about what the city of Portland, Oregon spends in two years. . . . This is just for travel, and does not include travel on private jets, which is likely to be large.
They’re certainly not acting like global warming is a crisis.
UPDATE: But David Appell’s math is wrong. I should’ve noticed, but I hadn’t had my coffee yet. But reader Bill Sommerfeld emails:
Check his math; it’s off by a factor of about 1000.
0.18 kg/mile * 6000 miles/person = 1080kg / person (~ 1 metric ton)
Double that because folks will be flying both ways: 2160kg/person
2160 kg/person * 12000 people = 25,920,000 kg = 25,920 metric tons =
0.02592 million metric tons. This is ~1100 american-years or what the
city of Portland emits in 17 and a half hours.
But it’s an underestimate because it doesn’t include private jets.
That said, I agree with your basic point.
I think David’s units got mixed up between kilograms and metric tons at some point, but I’m still on coffee number one, so . . . Anyway, the carbon-hogging isn’t as bad as he makes it sound. Perhaps our planet will survive a bit longer. But it’s still a big waste when they could do the whole thing via Internet videoconference.
And don’t ignore all those private jets, so numerous that they’ll overload the Bali airport.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Heh: “Let’s just say I doubt the salt march would have been quite so successful had Gandhi been carried the whole way by Sherpas.”
JOHN MCCAIN: Don’t hate me because I’m smarter than you.
ED MORRISSEY WONDERS WHY THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT RETAIL SALES is being ignored:
Retailers expected a boost between 4-5% on “Black Friday”. They got almost twice that, as shoppers flooded the malls on the day after Thanksgiving, the traditional kickoff of the Christmas shopping season. Consumers shrugged off the credit crunch and the rhetoric of the doom-and-gloom Democrats, who promise that poverty lurks just around the corner.
One might think that this would make headlines — but despite the AP’s report, few of its clients appear to have selected it for the Sunday papers.
Hmm. This sounds familiar. Where have I heard something like it before? Oh, yes, right here:
I have found over the years that there is often a huge disconnect between belief about the economy and the true economic state of affairs. Until the statistics are actually published, people tend to assess the economy through the eyes of the national media. In 1992, when Bill Clinton won the presidency based on worries about the economy, the statistics that came out after the election showed that the period leading up to November had actually been a period of record growth. . . . In his 1996 State of the Union speech, President Clinton said we had the best economy in thirty years — a statement that sent a flurry of reporters to check actual statistics rather than popular political movements and sweeping, politically motivated statements. The more people looked at the facts, the more they agreed, and six months later, there was near-unanimity that the economy was in good shape. Had the economy changed? No, what had changed was knowledge about the true facts of the economy.
Hmm. Wildly incorrect ideas about the state of the economy in 1992. A focus on facts that showed the good economic news in 1996. What could account for that change? And why does it seem to have worn off in the 2008 season?
THE SECOND TIME AS FARCE: Steve Chapman looks at communism’s comeback in Latin America. This part seems clearly true: “If the Venezuelans who go to the polls next month give Chavez what he wants, they are likely to discover a paradox: They can bring about dictatorship through democracy, but not the reverse.”
ETHAN DAVIS: A toast to the free flow of liquor across state boundaries. I’m for that!
TURNING IRAQ INTO KOREA?
ABU MUQAWAMA: “If there is good news to report from Iraq these days, the situation in Afghanistan grows worse.”
Michael Yon’s been saying that for a while, too.
DESPITE CLAIMS OF MY “LIKELY INVOLVEMENT” let me be clear: I have never had a lesbian affair. Er, or perhaps I’m getting my rumors confused. At any rate, where Huma Abedin is concerned the prospect seems more than usually appealing.
BIRTH OF A GADGET: A look inside the industrial design process.
Meanwhile, Brannon Denning emails with praise for the underappreciated Sony Reader:
As an (uncharacteristically, for me) early adopter of the Sony Reader, I have to say that I am very pleased. It has a long battery life, is easy-to-read, light, and extremely portable. I traveled a bunch during the month of October, and found it indispensible for waiting out delayed flights and would-be talkative seatmates.
Kindle looks like it’s trying to do too much. Who cares if I get wireless access to books; I need a PC to download music into an iPod. And do I really need another device that texts or sends e-mails . . . or even one that plays music? (The Reader plays MP3s and you can look at pics, but I doubt I’ll ever use these features.) It’s also uglier than a man’s ass, as my father-in-law would put it. Advantage: Sony Reader!
My one hope is that more academic publishers begin formatting e-books (and maybe journals) to be read that way, and, perhaps like Kindle, that Reader 2.0 will allow one to annotate the text.
My problem is that the Kindle looks like it would be a great portable web browser, but I don’t think it’ll do that.
ERIC SCHEIE HAS A POLL: Where would you be more likely to need a gun — Iowa, or Philadelphia?
IS NORTH KOREA on the verge of collapse? I hope so, but I’ve been hearing that for a while. Eventually it’ll be true — but two things we know about totalitarian regimes are that they tend to hang on longer than they should, but that when they go it’s often with astonishing suddenness.
FRED THOMPSON: A “leave me the heck alone” conservative?
ARE MAGLEV TRAINS THE FUTURE? Well, they have been for my whole life, but maybe the future is drawing closer.
PAUL LOEB: “When Democrats worry about Hillary Clinton’s electability, they focus on her reenergizing a depressed Republican base while demoralizing core Democratic activists, particularly those outraged about the war, and thus maybe lose the election. But there’s a further danger if Hillary’s nominated–that she will win but then split the Democratic Party.” Check out the HuffPo comments. [LATER: DailyKos commenters have a similar take.]
Plus this: “Democrat Hillary Clinton would lose to all major Republican White House candidates, according to a hypothetical election matchup poll Monday, reversing her months of dominance over potential 2008 challengers.” I wouldn’t make too much of that poll — it’s from Zogby — but it comes as another blow to her inevitability-based campaign.
UPDATE: Obama smells blood.
ANOTHER UPDATE: It’s on!
TOM MAGUIRE on 9/11 conspiracy theories. Anyone who thinks the Bush Administration could keep that kind of thing secret hasn’t been paying attention. [That's what they want you to think! -- ed. Good point.]
A “DELICIOUS FIELD ROAST:” I’m sure it’s good, but I’ll bet the pot roast I made last night was better.
PATRICK RUFFINI: “He wonâ€™t win the nomination. He wonâ€™t win any primaries. But for Ron Paulâ€™s quixotic bid for the White House, itâ€™s ‘Mission Accomplished.’ . . . Pat Robertsonâ€™s 1988 campaign signaled that Christian Conservatives had arrived in the GOP. Ron Paul is doing the same for libertarians.”
THE NEW GRINCH: Relatives with eco-friendly gifts! Hey, nothing wrong with a nice compact-fluorescent stocking stuffer. But that this is being mocked in the New York Times suggests that overearnest environmentalism is getting tiresome even in PC circles.
BRENDAN LOY: Hurricane forecasters say seasonal errors are hurting their credibility. I think they’re right.
SARKOZY INSPIRES more admiration from Americans.
JEFF SOYER on gun control as a wedge issue in 2008.
WITH A PUBLICATION DATE OF NOVEMBER 28, this comes out just a little too late for me. Up late last night with sudden plumbing problems. Ugh. I knew enough to do first aid by opening the cleanout pipe to relieve the pressure, but it took Roto-Rooter to do the rest. The guy showed up just before midnight and did a good job; not bad for the Sunday night after Thanksgiving.
WHO’S FUNNY on the Supreme Court.
KILL YOUR KID, get alimony?
COULD THE YOUTUBE REVOLUTION backfire?
ADVICE TO THE DEMOCRATS, from Abu Muqawama.
MCCAIN POUNDS CLINTON ON IRAQ: And actually some others:
â€œIs that the same Sen. Clinton that said she had to suspend disbelief in order to acknowledge to that the strategy of the surge was succeeding?â€ McCain said in reference to Clintonâ€™s statement that the United States should stop trying to intervene in a â€œcivil warâ€ in Iraq. â€œClearly, itâ€™s succeeding. You would have to suspend disbelief to believe that itâ€™s not.â€
McCain later said Clintonâ€™s support for a phased withdrawal from Iraq â€œwould have been a catastrophe for the United States of America.â€
â€œLook, now the same people who were saying seven or eight months were saying you canâ€™t succeed militarily, weâ€™ve succeeded military. Sen. Edwards used to call it the â€˜McCain strategy.â€™ He doesnâ€™t call it that anymore,â€ McCain claimed. â€œTheir record is wrong on this. My record is right.â€
He’s giving them both barrels.
MICKEY KAUS wonders why D.C. didn’t back down in the Heller case: “How stupid were the gun-controllers in the D.C government to persist in their cause? The result may be a ruling that after 200 years actually gives meaning to distressingly clear language of the Amendment. Couldn’t gun-controllers from the rest of the country have talked them out of it?” I believe that there were some efforts to get the ordinance in question repealed, but obviously they weren’t enough.
IT’S GREENHOUSE FRIENDLY! “Gordon Brown will call for an acceleration of nuclear power today in a speech to business leaders designed to show he is focused on the long term and will not buckle in the face of negative headlines.”
FINALLY, SOME GOOD FROM TERMITES: “Termites — notorious for their voracious appetite for wood, rendering houses to dust and causing billions of dollars in damage per year — may provide the biochemical means to a greener biofuel future. The bellies of these tiny beasts actually harbor a gold mine of microbes that have now been tapped as a rich source of enzymes for improving the conversion of wood or waste biomass to valuable biofuels.” (Via Rand Simberg.)