Archive for December, 2007

December 31, 2007

NOT GOOD FOR THE LEGAL PROFESSION’S REPUTATION:

A University of Arizona law school student and beauty queen has been indicted on charges that say she and three others held her former boyfriend captive for 10 hours while torturing and robbing him. Kumari Fulbright, a law clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Raner Collins, was indicted Dec. 18 on five felony charges – armed robbery, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Jeez.

UPDATE: Further thoughts here.

December 31, 2007

POWER LINE ON “2007, a year that couldn’t seem to get any respect but was, on the whole, pretty good.” Sure could have been worse.

December 31, 2007

I’LL BET THE BAGHDAD ZOO DIRECTOR isn’t nearly as well paid as the San Francisco zoo director, either . . . .

December 31, 2007

SECRETS OF WEIGHT LOSS, REVEALED!

December 31, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR: “2008 arrived in a less-violent Baghdad, and residents said it was the first real party they had seen in years.”

December 31, 2007

JOE TOBACCO endorses Hillary.

Meanwhile, Ralph Nader endorses Edwards.

UPDATE: Tom Smith isn’t bullish on Hillary: “As much as I am sure I would not like the policies of the Democrats in the White House, mostly I just don’t want the spectacle of Hillary and Bill back in the White House. I’m still not over the Starr Report, which I wish I had never read, like one of those websites you are sorry to have stumbled upon. Call it right wing paranoia, but I thought the Clintons brought to public life a degree of ruthlessness that appalled many of even the hardened souls in DC, and I was in DC for about half of the Bill years. I would much prefer Obama or even Edwards. It would take either of them years to build the private army the Clintons have at their disposal.” This is the Insta-Wife’s take.

December 31, 2007

PEOPLE HAVE BEEN EMAILING ME for a couple of weeks with claims that Mike Huckabee didn’t lose all the weight he claims by dieting, but by bariatric surgery. I haven’t been persuaded. Now here’s a fairly convincing refutation. Plus, a denial.

December 31, 2007

TOM BARNETT’S top 10 foreign policy wishes.

December 31, 2007

ADVICE FOR WOMEN from Amy Alkon.

December 31, 2007

MICKEY KAUS: “Press pros on the ground (excitable Joe Klein,, Marc Cooper, the First Read crew) are convinced Huckabee’s press conference today–in which he announced he was pulling a negative campaign spot and then showed it to the press anyway–was so disastrous as to be Dean-screamish. Like Jonathan Martin, I’m not so sure.”

December 31, 2007

THE VERY DEFINITION OF MODEST GOOD NEWS: “Pre-owned home sales up 0.4%” But hey, it’s better than bad news.

December 31, 2007

SO I’VE HAD THE GPS for a while, and it’s worked pretty well. Once or twice it got confused about whether a left turn was permitted or something, but overall the mapping is quite impressive, and it’s never really steered me wrong. As for my earlier worries that it would cause me to lose my sense of direction, well, not so much. Keeping it on in “map mode,” in fact, makes me aware of things in a new way. On the other hand, I was visiting somebody’s house the other night in a neighborhood that’s so new it’s not on the maps yet. Ordinarily I would have memorized the route back out, and I didn’t. That may have been GPS-induced laziness, or it may just have been . . . laziness.

December 31, 2007

THOUGHTS ON DIVERSITY AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, from James Taranto.

December 31, 2007

TOO CLEVER BY HALF?

Related item here: “That Huckabee still showed the spot to dozens of reporters jammed into a press conference will ensure the most skeptical, bordering on cynical, coverage on every national news broadcast tonight and in all the major national papers tomorrow. After it became clear that he was not going to air the ad on Iowa television, but would still preview it here, the press corps offered a collective laugh in plain recognition of what Huckabee was up to.”

UPDATE: Huckabee’s response.

December 31, 2007

PATTERICO POSTS A year-end review for the Los Angeles Times. It’s not pretty.

December 31, 2007

TIME FOR a “Surge” in Afghanistan?

December 31, 2007

JOHN FUND: “What’s the Matter With Iowa?”

December 31, 2007

REACTIONARIES fighting diversity. I guess they liked it better back when “those people” knew their place.

December 31, 2007

CALLS TO IMPEACH CHENEY: It’d almost be worth it just to see him preside over his own impeachment trial.

UPDATE: Slanted, or planted?

December 31, 2007

I’VE ALWAYS KNOWN THAT I HAVE A GREAT WIFE, but I’ve never seen it explained so pithily.

December 31, 2007

MICKEY KAUS on the Iowa Caucuses: “Letting the presidential nominee be picked by the Iowa caucusers is like letting your antiwar tactics be picked by the last people left at the end of a 4-hour SDS meeting in 1970.”

December 31, 2007

REVIEWING THE REVIEWERS: A roundup of Sunday’s book reviews in various papers.

December 31, 2007

SURPRISING NEWS FROM BRITAIN:

Playing with toy weapons helps the development of young boys, according to new Government advice to nurseries and playgroups.

Staff have been told they must resist their “natural instinct” to stop boys using pretend weapons such as guns or light sabres in games with other toddlers.

Fantasy play involving weapons and superheroes allows healthy and safe risk-taking and can also make learning more appealing, says the guidance.

It conflicts with years of “political correctness” in nurseries and playgroups which has led to the banning of toy guns, action hero games and children pretending to fire “guns” using their fingers or Lego bricks.

You have to listen to the science, right? But there are always people who will oppose science for religious reasons:

But teachers’ leaders insisted last night that guns “symbolise aggression” and said many nurseries and playgroups would ignore the change.

Don’t they care about the children? Apparently not:

Research by Penny Holland, academic leader for early childhood at London Metropolitan University, has also concluded that boys should be allowed to play gun games.

She found boys became dispirited and withdrawn when they are told such play-fighting is wrong.

Of course, to some educators, that’s not a bug, it’s a feature. (Via Dave Hardy).

UPDATE: Rand Simberg denounces this child-destroying war on science.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More thoughts from the Insta-Wife.

December 31, 2007

JINGLE BOMBS.

December 31, 2007

ILYA SOMIN ON A CLASH OF VALUES: The debate over radical life extension technologies.

I’ve had some related thoughts here. Plus some thoughts on life extension and retirement.

December 31, 2007

A MCCAIN VICTORY? Just remember when the turnaround started . . . .

December 31, 2007

CAN FRED THOMPSON turn it around?

December 31, 2007

DUCT TAPE, “SAFE ROOMS,” and Oak Ridge.

December 31, 2007

MR. CLEAN? A well-timed raise, a trip, and a rather lackadaisical approach to investigating Gov. Spitzer. (Via JWF).

December 31, 2007

TURKMENISTAN stops gas exports to Iran.

December 31, 2007

BAGHDAD ZOO is a draw again. “‘I feel safe here. I feel relaxed,’ said Hussein, 51, a taxi driver.” Sounds safer than the San Francisco Zoo.

December 31, 2007

NEW AIR-SAFETY RESTRICTIONS on traveling with lithium-ion batteries.

December 31, 2007

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: “A multidisciplinary team of UCLA scientists were able to differentiate metastatic cancer cells from normal cells in patient samples using leading-edge nanotechnology that measures the softness of the cells.”

December 31, 2007

MAJOR JOHN TAMMES: The training I felt uncomfortable about – and shouldn’t have. “I did take advantage of what the Army has taught me. Oddly enough, it was at home and not on a battlefield.”

December 31, 2007

THEY TOLD ME IF GEORGE W. BUSH WERE RE-ELECTED, campus student groups would be banned because of their unacceptable views on premarital sex. And they were right!

December 31, 2007

NEW FATALITY NUMBERS FROM IRAQ: Some people will be unhappy. But they’ll be the people who should be unhappy.

December 30, 2007

A NANNY ON HORSEBACK: “Buoyed by the still unsettled field, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is growing increasingly enchanted with the idea of an independent presidential bid, and his aides are aggressively laying the groundwork for him to run.”

December 30, 2007

ISN’T IT ILLEGAL TO THREATEN VOTERS? Caucus for Biden, or he may kiss you!

December 30, 2007

THOUGHTS ON Kipling.

December 30, 2007

ABOUT A GAZILLION READERS have sent me this link to a report of an anti-military lawyer trashing a Marine’s car. All I can say is, it’s gobsmackingly vile, if true.

December 30, 2007

DANIEL DREZNER: Should celebrities set the global agenda?

I’ve got a one-word answer.

December 30, 2007

ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK: Tennessean Sid Evans is moving south to take over Garden & Gun magazine. We get that; it’s not bad — somewhere between Town & Country and Sports Afield, with a touch of not-so-politicized Vanity Fair added in. And where else can you find out about Winston Groom’s favorite shotgun? (Via Michael Silence).

December 30, 2007

JOHN TIERNEY on the proposed Science Debate 2008: “I can’t imagine the candidates’ handlers are happy with this prospect, given how much extra work it would mean for them in bringing the candidates up to speed. Politics attracts lawyers and liberal-arts majors, not science whizzes.”

December 30, 2007

OF HILLARY AND P.G. Wodehouse.

December 30, 2007

FRED THOMPSON’S CLOSING ARGUMENT TO IOWA VOTERS:

(Via The Corner.)

UPDATE: Peter Robinson likes it: “Thompson has sat himself down, looked into a camera, and spoken for a quarter of an hour, calmly and straightforwardly making his case. I myself find this impressive—in a way, moving. Thompson seems to have stepped out of the eighteenth century. He trusts voters to think. And if the comments on YouTube are at all representative, plenty of people agree.” But enough?

December 30, 2007

FRANCE VS. SYRIA.

December 30, 2007

REMEMBERING the election before Pearl Harbor.

December 30, 2007

TOM MAGUIRE: “Where’s the lefty traffic? (I blame Dick Cheney).”

December 30, 2007

A LOOK AT How and why knots form. There’s math.

December 30, 2007

THIS SEEMS LIKE GOOD NEWS: “The Iraqi interior ministry lauded its achievements over the past year on Saturday, saying that 75 percent of Al-Qaeda’s networks in the country had been destroyed in 12 months. Ministry spokesman Abdul Karim Khalaf also outlined sharp falls in the numbers of assassinations, kidnappings and death squad murders.”

December 30, 2007

BENAZIR BHUTTO apotheosis.

December 30, 2007

WHEN THE CORPSE TWITCHES, the jaws snap: “Record Industry Goes After Personal Use . . . the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.” The brain’s been dead for a while, though.

UPDATE: “I guess I won’t be buying that iPod, then.”

December 30, 2007

TIM BLAIR: “If you can’t laugh at murderous fanatics, what can you laugh at?” Those who run PC-interference for murderous fanatics?

December 30, 2007

MIKE HUCKABEE and the wages of sin.

December 30, 2007

WHY LAW PROFESSORS ARE HAPPY: “It is striking that job satisfaction among academics is high not only relative to those in private practice, but also relative to graduates employed in ‘public service,’ which is often viewed as a career path chosen in large part to maximize personal happiness rather than income.” Of course, the data involve Yalies, who are presumptively weird, so . . . .

December 30, 2007

MY CHRISTMAS PRESENT TO MYSELF: A copy of Propellerhead’s Reason 4 software. I’ve been happily producing podcast music — “stingers” and “bleebles” as they’re known in the trade. It’s very intuitive and easy to use. By the way, you can get a free copy of the software synth I’ve loved for years — the ReBirth RB-338 — here. All you have to do is register on the site.

UPDATE: Reader John Marcoux emails:

From a long ago email to you, I related how, in a conversation with Paul Van Dyk at a club in Chicago, I learned that many of the great European DJs, including Paul, run Reason on Apple notebooks (see pic below).

I fooled around with it but found it harder to master than you apparently have. Maybe it works better on an Apple. For dabblers (at 67, that’s me) this Amazon item is pretty good and only $30. Won’t run on Vista.

PaulVandyk.jpg

Yeah, there’s a lot of good cheap software out there. Meanwhile, I certainly haven’t “mastered” Reason; I’ve just figured out how to get some sounds out of it that I like. That’s step one . . . . I didn’t realize so many DJ’s were using Reason, though — I thought it was more Ableton Live or Final Scratch, but I’ve been out of touch with the DJ scene for a few years. I blame blogging.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader David Preiser emails:

You’re right about Reason. It’s a great studio tool, and a lot of pros on the creative end use it (as opposed to editors and sound guys, and studio mavens, I mean). If you ever do composing or create midi files elsewhere, Reason is great for making them come alive. And it is very intuitive, but only if you’ve ever worked with real equipment, even a little bit, which I know you have. The key feature that got me making noise within minutes was the Tab button. If you’ve already discovered that, you’ll know what I mean when I say that anyone over 25 who has ever handled real equipment will be forever grateful to the folks at Propellerheads for that one.

Yeah. Reason simulates a rack of hardware, and when you hit “Tab” it rotates to let you look at the back. You can see cables connecting the different pieces of virtual equipment, and repatch them by clicking and dragging. (And when the rack flips around, the “cables” jiggle, which is a nice touch that Reason has had since earlier versions.)

MORE: Here’s a short Reason video.

December 30, 2007

HOW CLEAN IS YOUR ELECTRICITY?

December 30, 2007

BILL KRISTOL’S NEW YORK TIMES COLUMN GIG IS CONFIRMED, and Jonah Goldberg has some thoughts. Plus, a response to the NYT review of his book.

December 30, 2007

FRED THOMPSON corrects the media. “Today I had this story written about me regarding what I said at a Town Hall event in Burlington, Iowa by a reporter who wasn’t even at the event.”

December 30, 2007

THE GREAT FALL OF CHINA: They’re still big, just not nearly as big as we thought. Walter Russell Mead looks at the implications.

UPDATE: Sam Dinkin has further thoughts.

December 30, 2007

WARNER BROTHERS goes copy-protection free with DRM-less MP3 downloads at Amazon. This is a good trend.

December 30, 2007

HORTON HEARS A WHO?

December 30, 2007

THOUGHTS ON evolution vs. creationism.

December 30, 2007

WE HAD FUN HANGING OUT WITH GUN-BLOGGERS LAST NIGHT: Helen posts a report. Just don’t tell the folks at WATE-TV about the picture! It shows her shooting one of those dangerous full-capacity firearms. . . .

December 30, 2007

MARC COOPER REPORTS on Hillary’s Iowa finale. Mama’s gonna make everything all right.

Meanwhile Mickey Kaus notes some Learjet liberalism: “It looks like that pro-Edwards ’527′ group defended by Paul Krugman as a ‘labor 527′ and a ’527 run by labor unions’ actually got about a third of its money ‘in a single check from an entity linked to Rachel Mellon, the widow of Paul Mellon, who inherited his share of the great American fortunes.’”

December 30, 2007

CATS AND DOGS LIVING TOGETHER: Signs of moderation at the Modern Language Association? Well, by MLA standards, anyway. Best line: “‘I support speaking truth to power,’ said Rzepka, but that requires truth, he added.”

December 30, 2007

MARK STEYN channels Edward Gibbon.

Plus, is England ripe for revolution? Overripe, I’d say . . . .

December 30, 2007

THE BHUTTO ASSASSINATION: A sort of honor killing?

Meanwhile, Claudia Rosett looks at North Korea.

December 30, 2007

WHAT TIME SHOULD HAVE DONE: General Petraeus as Man of the Year at The Telegraph.

December 29, 2007

SAY UNCLE CORRECTS WATE-TV on assault weapons hysteria. Somebody needs to have a talk with Knoxville’s police chief Sterling Owen, too. Lots of law-abiding citizens — and voters — own highfull-capacity weapons. And given the miserable record of my local government lately in handling credit cards, legal obligations of openness, etc., they should show a bit more respect for law-abiding citizens. . . .

UPDATE: Reader John Steakley emails with a correction: “They aren’t ‘high’ capacity. They are ‘full’ capacity.” Excellent point. Correction made.

December 29, 2007

USA TODAY Dowdifies Fred Thompson?

December 29, 2007

A VICTORY FOR FREE SPEECH in Egypt.

December 29, 2007

HEH. I never noticed the resemblance to PeeWee Herman before.

December 29, 2007

MICHAEL YON: “Unfortunately my concerns for Afghanistan are proving well-placed. Afghanistan and Pakistan are inextricably linked. Together they might be called ‘Troublestan.’”

December 29, 2007

THOUGHTS ON LAW PROFESSORS, HAPPINESS, and distribution curves, from Tom Smith.

Some other thoughts here.

December 29, 2007

WRITER’S STRIKE UPDATE: Notes from the sidewalk.

December 29, 2007

DUMB LAW OF THE WEEK: “New Jersey enacted legislation on Thursday banning some convicted sex offenders from using the Internet.”

We should ban felons from New Jersey politics, too, but then who’d be left to run the state?

December 29, 2007

A SPACE JUNK update from Popular Science.

December 29, 2007

GOOGLEBOMB, or GoogleDud?

December 29, 2007

BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE I ROCK AND ROLLED: I don’t listen to much rock anymore; as James Lileks said a while back, “Techno does for me now what rock used to. Why, I couldn’t care less.” But I had to drive across town and popped in a Heart album and it was quite good. Crazy on You is without a doubt the best Cold War-inspired song about oral sex ever. Other tunes held up well, too.

December 29, 2007

HEH.

December 29, 2007

LOOKING BACK at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, and what promises came true, and didn’t. My reporting from last year’s CES is here. And here’s that 108″ Sharp flat-screen TV they’re talking about.

December 29, 2007

ADVICE: “Barack — may I call you Barack? — this is not going to help. Apart from the absurdity of claiming that the housing conditions of one’s grandmother amount to foreign policy experience, no Iowan who has been as successful as Barack Obama would let his grandmother live in a ‘tiny hut.’ Somebody ought to take up a collection for the poor woman.”

December 29, 2007

CHRIS DODD unloads on Obama and Clinton. He’s not very nice to Bill Richardson, either.

December 29, 2007

DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT HISTORY: I linked this review of Jonah Goldberg’s book last night, and a reader pointed out that the text reference to Roosevelt’s National Recovery Administration contained a hyperlink to articles about the National Rifle Association. The error is still there this afternoon. Despite having the same initials, those are not the same . . . .

I’m sure that mistake is not the fault of David Oshinsky, the reviewer, but rather of some undereducated staffer at the Times, but it serves to illustrate the need for the kind of history lesson Goldberg offers, as well as a point made by many, that the NYT doesn’t take its hyperlinks very seriously.

UPDATE: Ouch: “The NYT should be making a conspicuous show of its professionalism and superior resources on the web, but instead it is making mistakes that would mortify me — in my little one-person operation.”

December 29, 2007

WHY WE’RE IN THE PERSIAN GULF.

December 29, 2007

HILLARY CLINTON SOCK PUPPETS.

Should’ve hired an expert!

December 29, 2007

MICHAEL BARONE: Lessons from the Surge.

December 29, 2007

A BIG PAKISTAN ROUNDUP from Jules Crittenden.

December 29, 2007

A LAME CHRISTMAS VIDEO that takes the cake:

Via FrontBurner.

December 29, 2007

HERE’S PROF. KENNETH ANDERSON’S REVIEW of Jack Goldsmith’s The Terror Presidency. Our podcast interview with Goldsmith is here.

December 29, 2007

MORE ON THE PROBLEMS AT HARPER’S.

December 29, 2007

DUDES, YOU’RE BEHIND THE CURVE: This is the blender to have.

December 29, 2007

HUCKABEE SLIPPING? I don’t think polls are much use in predicting the Iowa caucuses, but we’ll know soon enough.

December 29, 2007

SAUDI ARABIAN nanotechnology.

December 29, 2007

JOHN EDWARDS: Obama living in Never-Never Land.

The former North Carolina senator labeled “ridiculous” comments made by the Obama campaign that seemed to link former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s vote to authorize the use of force against Iraq, embraced Sen. Barack Obama’s politics over Clinton’s, and said an anti-Obama flier from a pro-Clinton union was “misleading” and “deceptive.”

Ouch.

December 29, 2007

HUCKABEE’S BAD WEEK continues.

More here, including video.

December 29, 2007

WHAT’S ON Tom Goldstein’s iPhone.

December 29, 2007

MICHAEL YOUNG LOOKS FOR NEOCONS IN THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION and can’t seem to find any: “So maybe it’s time to stop referring to the neocon policies of the Bush administration. The neocons are gone, many for so long that no one seems to remember their leaving. What we now have in Washington is a mishmash of old political realism and improvisation, topped with increasingly empty oratory on freedom and democracy. That should please quite a few of Bush’s domestic critics. He’s returned to the futile routine in the Middle East that they always urged him to.”

In other words, the bureaucracy won, with predictable results.

December 28, 2007

BENAZIR BHUTTO MAY BE DEAD, but she’s got a book coming out entitled Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West. Interestingly, the Insta-Wife used to babysit for Bhutto’s agent, Andrew Wylie. Well, it’s interesting to me, anyway.