March 18, 2007
DIDN’T PAY YOUR POWER BILL? No problem, if you’re on the “protected list” populated by bigshot politicians.
DIDN’T PAY YOUR POWER BILL? No problem, if you’re on the “protected list” populated by bigshot politicians.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST charges for Charles Schumer?
MESH/PEER NETWORKED VEHICLES:
THE GOSPEL OF JOHN AND YOKO: Call me an unbeliever. But I agree about Ringo. And, really, wouldn’t you trust a man who’d marry Barbara Bach over one who’d marry, well, Yoko?
A LOOK AT “CLIMATE CHANGE HYPOCRITES,” from 18 Doughty Street.
THE POLITICAL IMPACT OF HDTV: “For example, though I’ve never met him, my understanding from those who have is that McCain’s image of vitality is very carefully projected, and that when you actually meet him up close, he looks pretty frail. Will that come out on HDTV? How about Hilary? HDTV is least kind to older women; I’d bet it puts at least ten years on her. I suspect that Obama is the only candidate who will actually look good on HDTV; he’s younger, and even light black skin ages better than caucasian.”
UPDATE: Reader Patrick Sennett emails: “The discussion on janegalt ignores Fred Thompson, who is on HD every week and fares pretty well.”
ILYA SOMIN WRITES ON two fallacies that cause (excessive) libertarian despair.
SIGNS OF LIFE IN THE SECOND AMENDMENT: “The bad news for gun control advocates is that the Supreme Court may adopt an expansive view of the Second Amendment. The worse news is that’s the least of their troubles.”
UPDATE: Related thoughts here: “If the Supreme Court reverses the appeals court’s ruling and upholds the D.C. gun law, states and localities will be empowered to treat the Second Amendment as the D.C. law does: as a nullity. This will bring the gun control issue — and millions of gun owners — back to a roiling boil. That is not in the interest of the Democratic Party, which is supported by most ardent supporters of gun control.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: In light of the above, you’d think the Democrats would be moving to take the issue off the table before 2008.
MORE: Further thoughts, from Jonathan Gewirtz.
LARRY LESSIG PREDICTS copyright chaos.
I’VE WRITTEN ABOUT DISASTER PREPAREDNESS FOR ADULTS on numerous occasions; here’s a roundup of stuff on the subject aimed at kids.
ALL POLITICS IS LOCAL.
NEAL STEPHENSON ON 300, and why the critics liked it a lot less than the audiences have. Plus, some of his comments on gaming and military knowledge (“Video games have turned everyone under the age of 20 into experts on military history and tactics; 12-year-olds on school buses argue about the right way to deploy onagers and cataphracts while outflanking a Roman triplex acies formation.”) echo what Dave Kopel and I wrote back in 2001.
Interestingly, I reread Stephenson’s The Diamond Age last week for the first time since the book came out, and I felt that his future-history has held up pretty well over the last decade. I may have more thoughts on that later.
CRUSHING DISSENT in Egypt. “A crackdown on the Egyptian opposition continues its second day with the warrant for the arrest of 19 activists including every single Kefayah leader (the Egyptian secular opposition group), and three of Egyptâ€™s most prominent bloggers: Wael Abbas, Mohamed Sharqawi, and Alaa seif el-Islam.”
TAKING EUROPEAN DELIVERY of your BMW: A firsthand report. Strangely, it never occurred to me to take Japanese delivery of my Toyota . . . .
NOT MISQUOTING, BUT “DISQUOTING,” in the Los Angeles Times.
DON SURBER: “But what do those Iraqis know? They only live there, while Americans watch this stuff on TV. Well, not actually watch this stuff. Jon Stewart and Jay Leno make jokes about it all the time so it must be true.” In a postmodern kind of way, anyhow.
“IF YOU CAN READ THIS, THANK A TEACHER: If you can read this in English, thank a soldier.” This slogan seems to have produced some unhappiness, on the ground that it’s excessively pro-military.
UPDATE: This post at Obsidian Wings criticizes me for not providing a link to the “unhappiness” — but if you follow the link I provide, you’ll find precisely that, in the very first Amazon review. (It was, in fact, the only Amazon review when I put up the post).
Really, people who even admit that they’re “nitpicking” ought to at least follow the links before picking nits, especially in the process of offering a theory about the inherent inferiority of solo blogs. . . . .
THE TENNESSEAN HAS POSTED ITS PROMISED STORY on Al Gore’s zinc mine. Here’s a passage you’ll probably hear on talk radio tomorrow:
Even Gore noted in his letter that, according to Scorecard, â€œpollution releases from the mine in 2002 placed it among the â€˜dirtiest/worst facilitiesâ€™ in the U.S.â€
That said, it’s not clear that Gore himself has done anything wrong, though he’s clearly made money from a project that’s pretty environmentally unfriendly. But this will add to the perception that Gore’s green talk is hypocritical, I suspect. As I’ve noted below, if you adopt a quasi-messianic posture, people will judge your actions very differently than if you do not.
CHARGES OF GREEN HYPOCRISY IN THE INVESTMENT COMMUNITY:
“Weâ€™ve made 14 investments in cleantech and greentech,â€ he said. â€œWeâ€™re extremely committed to that investment thesis.â€
But others arenâ€™t so sure.
Daniel Kammen, professor in the energy and resources group at the University of California at Berkeley, said such investments by Kleiner and other firms that portray themselves as green-friendly are inconsistent with their marketing message.
â€œTheyâ€™re being hypocritical,â€ he said of the firms. The former vice president Al Gore, the billionaire Richard Branson and other figures with ties to Silicon Valleyâ€™s green movement â€œshould hold these companies to a higher standard.â€
I don’t see anything wrong with investing in both clean/green technologies and in fossil fuel development — we’re going to be needing fossil fuels for quite a while, even if somebody invents the “Mr. Fusion” tomorrow.
But this illustrates a problem with the environmental movement — when you push your ideas not as a pragmatic, technocratic approach, but instead sell it as a messianic moralistic quasi-religious one, then things like this do look hypocritical.
A LOOK AT BOB LEVY, and why he brought his successful D.C. gun ban lawsuit.
UPDATE: Sam Venable has thoughts on the case:
I’m guessing everyday folks – who may or may not own a gun and don’t feel strongly either way – will be inclined to side with the court this time around.
Because we’ve all felt the heavy hand of Big Brother, and it’s a most uncomfortable sensation. . . . Meanwhile, I had to chuckle when a Washington anti-gun group called last week’s ruling “judicial activism at its worst.”
How odd. Typically, such accusations come from conservatives when a liberal court opinion is rendered.
Read the whole thing.
SOME INTERESTING Iraqi poll numbers, from Chuck Simmins.
NASA HAS PROBLEMS, and Bart Gordon (D-TN) has noticed: “The chairman of the U.S. House science committee said Thursday that NASA is headed for ‘a train wreck’ if the space agency isn’t better funded to finish building the international space station and develop the next-generation spacecraft.”
NASA’s commitments do seem to exceed its resources.
PAKISTAN surrenders another region to the Taliban. Bill Roggio has thoughts about what’s pretty clearly a bad development, with the bad news lightened only by the reality that the Pakistani government’s control in the tribal regions has always been kind of notional.
SOME BRAVERY FROM BILL RICHARDSON: No, really.
THE STOCKHOLM SYNDROME and “Islamic feminism.”
THE GATHERING OF EAGLES: A roundup, with photos.
UPDATE: Washington Post: Counter-demonstrators number in thousands. Excerpt:
As war protesters marched toward Arlington Memorial Bridge en route to the Pentagon yesterday, they were flanked by long lines of military veterans and others who stood in solidarity with U.S. troops and the Bush administration’s cause in Iraq. Many booed loudly as the protesters passed, turned their backs to them or yelled, “If you don’t like America, get out!”
Several thousand vets, some of whom came by bus from New Jersey, car caravans from California or flights from Seattle or Michigan, lined the route from the bridge and down 23rd Street, waving signs such as “War There Or War Here.” Their lines snaked around the corner and down several blocks of Constitution Avenue in what organizers called the largest gathering of pro-administration counter-demonstrators since the war began four years ago.
The vets turned both sides of Constitution into a bitter, charged gantlet for the war protesters. “Jihadists!” some vets screamed. “You’re brain-dead!” Others chanted, “Workers World traitors must hang!” — a reference to the Communist newspaper. Some broke into “The Star-Spangled Banner” as war protesters sought to hand out pamphlets.
It’s not 1968. Read the whole thing. And Worker’s World refers not just to the Communist newspaper, but to the organizers of the antiwar demonstration, as the Post should have known.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More here:
The article doesn’t mention International ANSWER, but the signs give the game away. Apparently the reporters in the linked story weren’t curious enough to find out who organized this “anti-war” rally and who attended. But details like that would interfere with the intended message that mom and pop America are turning on our troops and our mission. No Iran war, indeed.
As for the Iraq War, I believe the protesters should be marching in Tehran, Damascus, and in small towns in Anbar. If they stop shooting, bombing, and gassing, the war will end.
But read the whole thing.
INDEED: “The ultimate problem, of course, is this: how do you know if the nice young man who has just broken into your home is there to quietly burgle you, or to rape and dismember you?” And who should bear the risk of error?
HERE’S MORE VIDEO ON THE SECULAR ISLAM SUMMIT by Andrew Marcus, this time featuring Richard Miniter.
MICKEY KAUS: “U.S. military deaths in Iraq have apparently declined by about 20% since the ‘surge’ began. It would be a caricature of MSM behavior if the New York Times, instead of simply reporting this potentially good news, first constructed some bad news to swaddle it in, right?” And yet caricatures always capture some key element . . . .
AUSTIN BAY HAS A ROUNDUP on Zimbabwe’s spiral into chaos.
A LOOK AT NEXT-GENERATION SMALL ARMS TECHNOLOGY from Popular Mechanics.
UPDATE: A prediction: “A few more months from now, every idiot who mutters about how all these inconvenient cold snaps donâ€™t actually prove anything about global warming will be on a soapbox. Shouting. That it is hot. In the summertime.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: An amusing photo. The “Stop Global Warming” sign is partly obscured by the blizzard.
HEH: â€œWhen the editorial pages of The New York Times accuse the BBC of anti-Western bias it is worth taking notice. It is a little like Osama bin Laden accusing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of being a bit harsh on the Jews.â€
BRING ON THE MARTIAN WARMING: “A spacecraft orbiting Mars has scanned huge deposits of water ice at its south pole so plentiful they would blanket the planet in 36 feet of water if they were liquid, scientists said on Thursday.”
SPREADING MALWARE though fake blogs at Blogspot.
BILL ROGGIO LOOKS AT Al Qaeda’s cholorine attacks.
AIRPLANE READING: As part of my airplane and airport reading — of which there was a lot more than there was supposed to be — I took along this book by Naomi Novik, which several people have called a combination of Anne McCaffrey and Patrick O’Brian. I think that’s about right, and I enjoyed it very much.
DRIP, DRIP: “Tennessee mine enriched Gore, scarred land.” The Nashville Tennessean is promising a big story for tomorrow.
EXPLANATIONS FOR THE “LAUGH GAP:” I wonder if these apply to the “Op-Ed gap” that people were writing about last week, too?
UPDATE: Reader William Casey emails: “After watching the Valerie Plame-Wilson hearing, it is obvious that the CIA keeps the covert status of their agents so secret that even the agents don’t know whether they are covert or not.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Valerie Plame doesn’t know if she was covert, and John McCain doesn’t know his own position on condoms for AIDS prevention. If Scooter Libby had been so quick to plead ignorance and forgetfulness, he’d never have been charged. . . .
I’M BACK. Actually I got back last night, but rather later than I had hoped as a result of air-travel disruptions attendant upon the Northeast blizzard. My trip out was delayed even more, with less excuse, something I’ll have a lot more to say about later.
I’ve spent a few minutes scrolling down the page, and it’s clear that my guestbloggers did their usual topflight job. Whenever I go away, I get a few grumpy emails from people who’d rather have me blogging, but personally I like the blog better when they’re on the job. Maybe it’s like eating your own cooking . . . .
Regular blogging will resume a bit later.
Shaggy Blog: It’s a good laugh for a good cause and Tim Worstall is involved with this project (at lucky 13) so we have every confidence it is excellent. Well, for Brit humour, anyway.
Opportunity Lost: Inspired by the posting below about the “Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion”, I feel obliged to point out that the “Vice Inclusion and Equity Chancellor” would be, here it comes, the Vice ICE.
Now, if we could just get the University of Miami interested…
The University of California at Berkeley is looking to hire its first Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion, and I think it’s about darn time. I’m heartened to know that with this renewed focus on recruiting students and faculty from underrepresented groups, Berkeley’s agents will soon be scouring Iowa for devout homeschooled virgin boys. Young men returning from service in Iraq, likewise, may find a warmer reception than they would have received in years past. And no doubt many young parents, as well as retired executives, will soon be submitting their applications to the more equitable and inclusive Cal-Berkeley. Observant pro-war Jews, aspiring Christian filmmakers, chaste young pro-life activists â€” all are welcome under Berkeley’s big tent, right?
If You Read One Story About The Plame Hearing: I currently am recommending Matt Apuzzo of the Associated Press, who has done a fine job on the Plame/Libby story for months. But if this is like potato chips and you want one more, John Podhoretz provides some fun at The Corner.
OK, it is potato chips for me – the news that Ms. Plame is so covert that not even she knows if she is legally covert is the stuff of late night comedy. This is from Mr. Apuzzo:
Plame also repeatedly described herself as a covert operative, a term that has multiple meanings. Plame said she worked undercover and traveled abroad on secret missions for the CIA.
But the word “covert” also has a legal definition requiring recent foreign service and active efforts to keep someone’s identity secret. Critics of Fitzgerald’s investigation said Plame did not meet that definition for several reasons and said that’s why nobody was charged with the leak.
…Plame said she wasn’t a lawyer and didn’t know what her legal status was but said it shouldn’t have mattered to the officials who learned her identity.
I can quit anytime… but if you are weak of will, more here. (Shameless self-promotion alert).
WHOOPS: The WaPo switched stories at their site, but the link to Matt Apuzzo is fixed now.
Back At The Movies: A Just One Daughter (teenaged-edition) saw “Pan’s Labyrinth” last the weekend and delivered qualified raves. Apparently it is a post-Spanish civil war fairy tale about a young girl who, discontented with her tumultuous family life, discovers a magical world populated by mythical creatures in her backyard.
However! Despite that seemingly innocent description, she assures me that life in this mythical world can be nasty, brutish, and short. Fantasy is no escape from reality even in the movies.
My daughter thought this film to be a work of art with an original theme and would recommend it highly. BUT! She was also emphatic that the film was dark and upsetting – do respect that “R” rating.
Other reviews here.
But Would The Answer Change If We Waterboarded Him? Dan Drezner appraises Barack Obama:
If someone pointed a gun to my head today and demanded that I say who I think will be the president in 2009:
1) I’d be pretty annoyed, because I thought I had moved to a safe neighborhood;
2) I’d say Barack Obama
This hunch — and that’s all it is — makes me want to know how Obama thinks about foreign policy…
As do we all.
WORRIED ABOUT VOTER FRAUD? You should be worried about what that says about you: “In partisan Republican circles, the pursuit of voter fraud is code for suppressing the votes of minorities and poor people.”
OUR CONSTITUTION IS HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF YEARS OLD… Oh, that’s how old Matthew Yglesias thinks it is anyway. But it’s still old! What do you say we have a new constitutional convention, and write a new one that will suit us Americans of today? Who do you want to do the writing? Let’s see, there’s Matt Stone, Steve Jobs, Christopher Hitchens….
DEFENDING AGAINST REPUTATION DEFENDER. If you followed the AutoAdmit controversy — see this WaPo article – you should check out this response from Jarret Cohen of AutoAdmit. Where do I stand on AutoAdmit (a website where law students and prospective law students sometimes talk raunchily about particular individuals)? Well, my original response to the WaPo article was somewhat supportive in the face of what I thought were demands for too much repression, but then I Googled "althouse autoadmit" to find my old post for that link, and check out what came up first. Now, I’ve got to laugh and say yes, this is life here on the internet, but I’m old and I have tenure. I really do see how something like this can disturb a young woman who’s in the job market, though I still don’t think law firm partners are dumb enough to take obvious junk like this seriously in hiring decisions. (And given this attitude, I couldn’t get too steamed when feminist bloggers railed about my failure to exhibit proper deference to the fears and feelings of women.) If you want to talk about all this, come over to my blog, where I’ll set up a post with comments.
TIMESSELECT FOR FREE — if you have an “edu” email address.
Time Travel At The LA Times: Patterico catches a reversal of causality.
THE IRAQ RESOLUTION, fails in the Senate — by a wide margin.
Only one Republican, Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon, voted in favor of the measure. Two Democrats, Senator Mark Pryor or Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska, voted against it, as did Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut. Senators Tim Johnson, a Democrat from South Dakota who is ill, and John McCain, an Arizona Republican who is in Iowa, did not vote.
Compare the way DailyKos reported the vote:
For those keeping score at home, those opposing were the 49 Republicans and Joe Lieberman.
UPDATE: I can’t believe Kos is still uncorrected 8 hours later. They must truly loathe Lieberman.
We Let The Readers Speak! We are all about reader empowerment here at InstaPundit, so let me call your attention to the scientifically developed and carefully phrased TigerHawk poll titled “Captionology: Give feedback to Glenn Reynolds!”.
Why Can’t A Woman Write More Like A Man? Patricia Cohen of the NY Times tells us that women are woefully under-represented in the submission of op-eds to major newspapers. But there is good news!
The obvious solution, at least to Catherine Orenstein, an author, activist and occasional op-ed page contributor herself, was to get more women to submit essays. To that end Ms. Orenstein has been training women at universities, foundations and corporations to write essays and get them published.
Evidently the ladies were dozing while the guys took notes in the “How to write an op-ed” class at school. But beyond the lack of any formal training in how to write a clear, concise, and cogent argument, there is apparently another obstacle – women are too naive and idealistic to succeed in this cutthroat endeavor:
Next [Ms. Orenstein] asked the participants why they thought it important to write op-ed articles. Women shouted: â€œChange the world,â€ â€œshape public debate,â€ â€œoffer a new perspective,â€ â€œinfluence public policy.â€
â€œYou are all such do-gooders,â€ Ms. Orenstein said laughing, â€œI love this.â€ She then proceeded to create another kind of list that included fame, money, offers of books, television series and jobs.
The Rev. Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, an Episcopal priest and the executive director of Political Research Associates in Boston, frowned. â€œItâ€™s not why I do it,â€ she said.
That, Ms. Orenstein declared, is a typically female response: â€œI never had a man say, â€˜Thatâ€™s not why I do it.â€™ â€
â€œWhat I want to suggest to you,â€ she continued, is that the personal and the public interests are not at odds, and â€œthe belief that they are mutually exclusive has kept women out of power.â€ Donâ€™t you want money, credibility, access to aid in your cause? she asked.
Cristina Page, a spokeswoman for Birth Control Watch in Washington, leaned forward. â€œIâ€™ve never heard anyone say that before,â€ she said. â€œWhat youâ€™ve just said is so important. Itâ€™s liberating.â€
Liberating? I’m just about liberated from my… never mind.
To be sure, Ms. Cohen does not claim to be attempting a complete explanation of female under-representation on our nation’s op-ed pages. However, she might have done more than simply promote Ms. Orenstein’s consultancy – why not write about women in related media, such as, hmm, blogging?
It is the second anniversary of this Kevin Drum post but it is good place to start. His launching point was the same Estrich-Kinsley brawl that noted in the Times article.
IF YOU WANT TO SEE ME IN PERSON, I’ll be a panelist at the New York Salon on Tuesday. Please come hear me talk about whether we should fear more than just fear itself.
DON’T WORRY, EZRA. I graduated from business school with a $1,000 monthly student loan payment, and I still managed to end up in one of the lowest-paying professions available to college graduates without a major drug habit.
MY COLLEAGUE PATRICK LASSWELL is blogging from Northern Iraq.
AN UNUSUAL POSTCARD FROM IRAQ: Glenn asked me to help guest-blog for him while he’s away, but I haven’t really had time. I’m in Northern Iraq on a private sector consulting job and finding time to blog is a bit tough. I did, however, make it up to the mountains during the regional holiday yesterday when every office was closed.
Iraq is big and diverse. Not every place is a hot, dusty plain, and not every place is a war zone. The Kurdistan region is beautiful, prosperous, and — most importantly — safe.
WHAT WOULD GANDHI DO? Fred Thompson thinks Code Pink’s sanctimonious question is actually reprehensible.
During World War II, Gandhi penned an open letter to the British people, urging them to surrender to the Nazis. Later, when the extent of the holocaust was known, he criticized Jews who had tried to escape or fight for their lives as they did in Warsaw and Treblinka. â€œThe Jews should have offered themselves to the butcherâ€™s knife,â€ he said. â€œThey should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.â€ â€œCollective suicide,â€ he told his biographer, â€œwould have been heroism.â€
Suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to the beheading of American journalist Daniel Pearl and a central role in 30 other attacks and plots in the U.S. and worldwide that killed thousands of victims, said a revised transcript released Thursday by the U.S. military.
“I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew, Daniel Pearl, in the city of Karachi, Pakistan,” Mohammed is quoted as saying in a transcript of a military hearing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, released by the Pentagon.
“For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head,” he added.
NO RIGHT TO USE MEDICAL MARIJUANA. Not yet anyway, according to the 9th Circuit, ruling in the case of Angel Raich (who, two years ago, lost in the Supreme Court, which upheld Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause to ban home-grown, home-consumed marijuana).
TRY NOT TO HAVE YOUR HEART ATTACK on a weekend. It’s all about the “door-to-balloon time.”
Some Troops Left Behind: I guess it depends on the meaning of “withdraw” – Hillary Clinton has spoken on Iraq, but she has not been greeted as a liberator. Her controversial interview with the Times produced this lead:
If Elected …
Clinton Says Some G.I.â€™s in Iraq Would Remain
By MICHAEL R. GORDON and PATRICK HEALY
WASHINGTON, March 14 â€” Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton foresees a â€œremaining military as well as political missionâ€ in Iraq, and says that if elected president, she would keep a reduced military force there to fight Al Qaeda, deter Iranian aggression, protect the Kurds and possibly support the Iraqi military.
In a half-hour interview on Tuesday in her Senate office, Mrs. Clinton said the scaled-down American military force that she would maintain would stay off the streets in Baghdad and would no longer try to protect Iraqis from sectarian violence â€” even if it descended into ethnic cleansing.
In outlining how she would handle Iraq as commander in chief, Mrs. Clinton articulated a more nuanced position than the one she has provided at her campaign events, where she has backed the goal of â€œbringing the troops home.â€
She said in the interview that there were â€œremaining vital national security interests in Iraqâ€ that would require a continuing deployment of American troops.
Ahh! Let’s hear thunder from the left – Matt Stoller of MyDD says “Wow… This is a very dangerous roadmap for the Democrats.
The Agonist tells us that “Democrats will now have a clear choice between a pro-war candidate and candidates who are clearly for ending the war.
For lightning from the right, Captain Ed Morrissey describes Hillary’s willingness to have US troops stand back during a genocide as “abysmal, cynical, and completely self-serving”…
I have a different question – this part of the NY Times report seems to have garnered little attention:
Mrs. Clinton has said she would vote for a proposed Democratic resolution on Iraq now being debated on the floor of the Senate, which sets a goal of withdrawing combat forces by March 31, 2008. Asked if her plan was consistent with the resolution, Mrs. Clinton and her advisers said it was, noting that the resolution also called for â€œa limited numberâ€ of troops to stay in Iraq to protect the American Embassy and other personnel, train and equip Iraqi forces, and conduct â€œtargeted counterterrorism operations.â€
(Senator Barack Obama, a rival of Mrs. Clinton, has said that if elected president, he might keep a small number of troops in Iraq.)
OK, what is a “limited number” or a “small number”? This article takes a stab at Hillary’s plan and cites a figure of 75.000. Have Dem leaders put a number on “limited”, and is Sen. Clinton stretching it beyond recognition?
We Won’t Leave “No Child Left Behind” Behind: The Eduwonk covers the latest, which is a Republican bill meant to create an opt-out provision for states unhappy with the Federal bureaucracy and testing requirments. Kevin Drum admits that yesterday’s conspiracy theory took a hit in light of today’s news.
STAVING OFF DESPAIR. Andrew Sullivan on Iraq.
CHRISTINE HURT FAULTS the new Bluebook rule for citing blogs. It excludes the name of the blogger for a solo blog. Like Instapundit, I presume. Okay, now, you Bluebook nerds. Cite this post!
LAWPROF JOHN O. MCGINNIS READS two new books about the Supreme Court.
Two From The Times: I Boldly Predict these two stories will generate some blogospheric buzz today:
WASHINGTON, March 14 â€” The Bush administration, which six months ago issued a series of political goals for the Iraqi government to meet by this month, is now tacitly acknowledging that the goals will take significantly longer to achieve.
In interviews this week, administration officials said that the military buildup intended to stabilize Baghdad and create the conditions for achieving the objectives would not be fully in place until June and that all of the objectives would not be fulfilled until the yearâ€™s end.
A â€œnotional political timelineâ€ that the administration provided to Congress in January in an attachment to a letter from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, had called for most of the objectives to be met by this month.
And this article on carbon sequestration will tie in to the global warming discussion:
In a Test of Capturing Carbon Dioxide, Perhaps a Way to Temper Global Warming
WASHINGTON, March 14 â€” American Electric Power, a major electric utility, is planning the largest demonstration yet of capturing carbon dioxide from a coal-fired power plant and pumping it deep underground.
Various experts consider that approach, known as sequestration, essential to reining in climate change by preventing the gas from being added to the atmospheric blanket that promotes global warming.
Just something to consider with your coffee.
“I WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 9/11 OPERATION, FROM A TO Z.” Khalid Shaikh Mohammed confesses.
In a rambling statement, Mr. Mohammed, a chief aide to Osama bin Laden, said his actions were part of a military campaign. â€œIâ€™m not happy that 3,000 been killed in America,â€ he said in broken English. â€œI feel sorry even. I donâ€™t like to kill children and the kids.â€
He added, â€œThe language of war is victims.â€…
His actions, he said, were like those of other revolutionaries. Had the British arrested George Washington during the Revolutionary War, Mr. Mohammed said, â€œfor sure they would consider him enemy combatant.â€
One Number To Ring Them All, One Number To Find Them: This sounds like a force for great evil, or great good:
Its motto, â€œOne number for life,â€ pretty much says it all. At GrandCentral.com, you choose a new, single, unified phone number (more on this in a moment). You hand it out to everyone you know, instructing them to delete all your old numbers [home, cell, office] from their Rolodexes.
From now on, whenever somebody dials your new uninumber, all of your phones ring simultaneously, like something out of â€œThe Lawnmower Man.â€
No longer will anyone have to track you down by dialing each of your numbers in turn. No longer does it matter if youâ€™re home, at work or on the road. Your new GrandCentral phone number will find you.
It Didn’t Seem Like A Trick Question: Andrew Sullivan flags Hillary Clinton caught without her focus groups – we are excerpting Jake Tapper of ABC News, who asked Sen. Clinton whether homosexuality was immoral:
“Well I’m going to leave that to others to conclude,” she said. “I’m very proud of the gays and lesbians I know who perform work that is essential to our country, who want to serve their country and I want make sure they can.”
No Profiles in Courage there. As a benchmark, here is George Bush from a July 2003 press conference:
Q Thank you, sir. Mr. President, many of your supporters believe that homosexuality is immoral. They believe that it’s been given too much acceptance in policy terms and culturally. As someone who’s spoken out in strongly moral terms, what’s your view on homosexuality?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I am mindful that we’re all sinners, and I caution those who may try to take the speck out of their neighbor’s eye when they got a log in their own. I think it’s very important for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country. On the other hand, that does not mean that somebody like me needs to compromise on an issue such as marriage. And that’s really where the issue is heading here in Washington, and that is the definition of marriage.
“We’re all sinners” is not exactly a rejection of the notion that homosexuality is immoral, sooo… let’s say that Hillary managed to get to the left of George Bush on this issue. Barely.
MORE: Reader BD imagines the follow-up Q&A:
Senator Clinton, should we increase taxes? Well, I’m going to leave that for others to decide.
Senator Clinton, should we combat global warming? Well I’m going to leave that for others to decide.
Senator Clinton, should we pull the troops out of Iraq or leave them in? Well, I’m going to leave that for others to decide.
UPDATE: Per Newsday, Barack Obama also waltzed around this question. Interestingly, Mr.Obama also thinks that John Edwards is “kind of cute”. [No news on Edwards, but Sen. Obama has finally decided that gay is OK.]
UNRELENTING: Having had a chance to huddle with her friends and consultants, Sen. Clinton is no longer leaving this issue for others to decide::
I disagree with General Pace completely. I do not think homosexuality is immoral.
Zogby Poll On Media Bias:
The vast majority of American voters believe media bias is alive and well â€“ 83% of likely voters said the media is biased in one direction or another, while just 11% believe the media doesnâ€™t take political sides, a recent IPDI/Zogby Interactive poll shows.
…Nearly two-thirds of those online respondents who detected bias in the media (64%) said the media leans left, while slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28%) said they see a conservative bias on their TV sets and in their column inches.
…While 97% of Republicans surveyed said the media are liberal, two-thirds of political independents feel the same, but fewer than one in four independents (23%) said they saw a conservative bias. Democrats, while much more likely to perceive a conservative bias than other groups, were not nearly as sure the media was against them as were the Republicans. While Republicans were unified in their perception of a left-wing media, just two-thirds of Democrats were certain the media skewed right â€“ and 17% said the bias favored the left.
17% of Dems say the media tilts left? Those respondents have no message discipline at all.
YOUR ECONOMIST POST FOR THE DAY Sorry to inundate you with Economist bloggery, but we’re having a great week. From Democracy in America, our politics blog:
It’s now official: either taste-makers and pundits in New York and Washington are colossally wrong, or the polls are. Either Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are going to prove that it’s still the voters who get to vote, stupid, or these two are going to go down like lead zeppelins soon. But I, for one, am not going to accept for much longer that Republicans don’t know enough about Mr Giuliani (have you heard he’s pro-choice and had gay roommates?) to dump him, or that Democrats don’t yet know enough about Barack Obama (have you heard how charismatic he is?) to dump Ms Clinton. Both of those stories have been written over and over; the secret is pretty well out.
No Paranoia Left Behind: Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias are slugging it out – do conservatives support the 100% proficiency goal of No Child Left Behind as part of a secret scheme to deem every public school in America a failure? Kevin says yes, Matt says no, Kevin says maybe, Matt still says no…
Well. The vast right wing conspiracy is apparently back and better than ever (ouyay owknay erewhay otay eetmay, ightray?), but I don’t think we are quite this sly. My guess – Republicans are figuring that if NCLB is going to be amended to become “Some Children Left Behind”, we can defer that PR puzzle to President Obama. Of course, an obvious step would be to keep the 100% proficiency goal but extend the deadline from 2014 to, say, 2020.
Whoever succeeds Bush will no doubt have plenty of opportunities to identify inherited but unrealistic goals.
ON GLOBAL WARMING Let me clarify a little my position. I think there are a lot of questions about global warming: how much, and what, should be done. However, I regard two questions as basically no longer worth debating, at least by people with my level of science education:
1) Is AGW happening?
2) Should we do something about it?
The first is a technical question that seems to be largely settled; when you’ve convinced Ron Bailey it’s happening, you’ve convinced me. The second is a moral question that seems obvious: should I drive a huge, empty car many miles when doing so will help flood Bangladesh, merely because the comfy leather seats are right here where I can see them, and the dead future Bangladeshis aren’t? . . . this is a question that seemingly only has one right answer. I say this as one who is conscious that I could use less electricity, and should, and am trying to but not as hard as morality should require. But I digress.
Unfortunately, I think that politics renders the questions that are worth arguing, pointless; we won’t find a political solution to the problem because . . . mmmmmm, leather seats. I’m hoping instead for a technological breakthrough that renders the question largely moot. Meanwhile, I’m buying real estate in the Canadian hinterlands.
OVER AT CATO UNBOUND Brian Doherty—a highly amusing dinner companion as well as a brilliant writer—asks: “Did this libertarian movement . . . actually accomplish anything of unquestionable significance?”
Tyler Cowen* answers “Yes: Bigger government.”
You know what to do: read the whole thing.
* Also a highly amusing dinner companion, even though he recently declared that I am not a “real adult”.
TIM WORSTALL: Obama is so black . . . Black Irish, that is. Although he uses the phrase differently from my family. We say we’re Black Irish because we have dark hair and light eyes (and, of course, skin so white that epileptics have trouble being in the same room with me.) Mr Worstall, being a Limey, uses it incorrectly to mean an Irish person who is also a Protestant, when the correct term for that is “[Censored] Orange bastard”.
However, in this case, both uses apply. Does this mean Ted Kennedy will be stumping for him?
Update TIm Worstall emails:
I err, do have an Irish passport (as well as the UK) and am Catholic (nominally) myself.
Don’t you see that’s even worse?! You’re consorting with The Enemy! How could you have anything to do with the British?
TALK BACK Incidentally, I’ve opened up a comment thread at my own site for those who would like to chat about anything I’ve said here.
I DON’T KNOW THAT THIS IS AIMED AT ME, because frankly I doubt that Henry Farrell spends very much of his time thinking about me. But this certainly echoes an argument that he made to me in our Bloggingheads.tv debate:
Even so, his call for a pragmatic libertarianism seems on target to me (Iâ€™d vastly prefer a political debate in which smart libertarians acknowledged that global warming was a major problem in need of a political solution, and contributed insights from their own perspective, to a debate in which many libertarians either minimize the problem or suggest that no real political solution is possible).
I am very, very pessimistic that a political solution will be found to global warming. The costs of abatement are very high, and immediate, while the costs of the warming are diffuse, slow to occur, and will fall heavily on people who are not causing the problem: either people in poor countries like Bangladesh or any number of African states whose countries will become largely uninhabitable; or people, rich and poor alike, who are not yet born.
Most of the people with whom I have debated the matter, including, I felt, Henry, have treated my opinion as if it were an instrumental belief aimed at avoiding action. I’m in favour of action. I think America needs a whopping big carbon tax (and am braced for the flood of mail I know this declaration will trigger.) I would be happy to see a global cap-and-trade scheme. Changing someone else’s climate with your fuel consumption seems to me to be a classic violation of libertarian ideas about property and liberty, making a strong case for abatement measures. I don’t know what level of abatement I favour–I haven’t studied the matter closely enough. But it seems clear to me that some action is warranted.
But just because I think some action should be taken doesn’t mean that I think it will. Henry is saying, in effect: “We have a big problem. Why don’t you help me find a government solution?” That’s like my friend saying “I lost my car keys in Texas. Why won’t you help me search my house for them?” Answer: for the same reason I won’t help you search for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I don’t think a government solution can be achieved. I mean, I can sit around and paint a very pretty picture of what it would look like, who would run it, and how we would control for the various informational and incentive problems that are bound to crop up . . . but this would be sort of pointless, because I think the chances of any such programme ever being enacted are vanishingly small. Name one government programme, in a democracy, for anything other than a war (on people, I mean, not ideas or natural conditions), that has ever forced the entire citizenry to do something as painful and inconvient as cut their energy usage by 20-50%. If you can do so, I will reconsider my stance. I note that Britain is in the early stages of just such a plan, and if it works, I will eat my words with a glad smile*. Until then . . . I feel Brink Lindsay’s proposed Liberaltarian alliance is not going to go far if the liberal half demands that we pretend to believe in the impossible as a condition of entry.
* Easy for me to promise, since I don’t have to pay up until 2050.
No, THIS is Scrutiny: The NY Times front-pages, evidently without irony, an article about CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) titled “Scrutiny Increases for a Group Advocating for Muslims in U.S.“.
Pardon Us For Not Getting Up: Patrick Sullivan on the passing of a man who changed the backside of America.
JUST SAY NO to the idea that the (second) state song is about drugs. “Rocky Mountain High” — it’s not about drugs!
“We could be talking about guys who’ve been fishing all day, or kids pigging out on s’mores, with the chocolate,” Senator Hagedorn said, referring to other endorphin-producing activities. “If I thought there was anything in that song about the use of drugs or encouraging the use of drugs, I would never have run the resolution.”
We’re high on life, man.
Million dollar idea du jour – why don’t I see these in every health club in America?
UPDATE: Similar very cool stuff in the Danger Room.
THE YOO-DE MAN THESIS. Brainiest witticism of the day, from Sasha Volokh.
“OF COURSE WE ARE ALL POLITICAL HACKS!” Orin Kerr answers the question: “Why haven’t we written about the US Attorneys’ story?”
John Edwards got publicity for the wrong reason two weeks ago when Ann Coulter bizarrely called him a "faggot" at the Conservative Political Action Conference…. [S]atirists who play on gender themes need some whiff of self-knowledge, or they look ridiculous. Is Coulter truly oblivious to her gender weirdness? It’s no coincidence that words like "tranny" and "transvestite" clog the anti-Coulter blogs.
Coulter is a smart woman with formidable energy, and whether liberals like it or not, she is a high-profile feminist role model in her appetite for aggressive debate. But Coulter seems to be regressing rather than growing intellectually and sharpening her analytic skills. She evidently leaves no room in her life for study and reflection. I take books seriously (which is why I left the scene for five years to write "Break, Blow, Burn") and thus hold against Coulter the part she has played in the debasement of that medium.
If only Coulter were more like Paglia, Paglia would like her better.
“MARRIAGE IS A UNION BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN,” says the highest court in France.
“THE MEA CULPA CAME…” The NYT puts those words right after the Alberto Gonzales line: “I acknowledge that mistakes were made here.” Since when is the notoriously evasive “mistakes were made” a confession of personal guilt? Let’s not define “mea culpa” downward.
Eight Men Out: Patterico defends the Bush Administration and wonders about the LA Times coverage of the emails related to the fired US attorneys.
But from the other side, the Anonymous Liberal discusses “The Email That May Take Down Alberto Gonzales“.
You Might Say He Found A Key For Every Door – John Denver is honored in Colorado.