April 15, 2007
GENERAL PAUL EHRLICH REPORTING? But remember that just because the last several times someone screamed “Wolf!” there was no wolf doesn’t mean that there’s not one this time. On the other hand, that’s probably the way to bet.
GENERAL PAUL EHRLICH REPORTING? But remember that just because the last several times someone screamed “Wolf!” there was no wolf doesn’t mean that there’s not one this time. On the other hand, that’s probably the way to bet.
JEEZ, NOT AGAIN:
Operators of Web sites with racy content must label their sites and register in a national directory or be fined, according to a new U.S. Senate proposal that represents the latest effort among politicians to crack down on Internet sex.
The requirements appear in legislation announced Thursday by two Senate Democrats, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Max Baucus of Montana, that they say will “clean up the Internet for children.”
How about cleaning up the Capitol for voters, first?
THE NEW YORK TIMES ON SOLAR POWER:
With a $2,000 federal tax credit and generous rebates from states like New Jersey and California, it has never cost less to install a solar power system.
And it still makes no economic sense. You might want photovoltaic solar panels to generate your own electricity out of a belief that you will save the planet. But, as is the case with hybrid vehicles, you certainly should not do it to save money.
You may go solar, though, in order to encourage the new technology, or in order to demonstrate your own commitment to clean energy. I’d guess that those are Al Gore’s motivations.
DELARA DERABI IS A TEENAGE ARTIST ON DEATH ROW IN IRAN: Ali Eteraz would like your help as he tries to save her. He’s particularly looking for people with Web expertise.
RON BAILEY: “By the way, a new report, Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States, 1954-2003, finds that most Americans have been enjoying premarital sex for a long time.”
Actually, I haven’t enjoyed premarital sex since 1994. But I enjoyed it a lot up to then!
UPDATE: In the comments, this observation: “I found that belonging to Math Club was an effective deterrent to teenage sex.”
IT’S THE GOLDEN AGE OF MEDIA — but not for long?
PHOTOS AND VIDEO, from Knoxville’s Dogwood Arts parade, which was a lot chillier than usual.
SILLY SONGS FOR KIDS.
My daughter’s too old for this — she’s now busy writing alternative lyrics to things like “The Emo Song.”
SHAREHOLDER RIGHTS and The New York Times.
MORE ON CELLPHONES AND BEES: “Most important, bees navigate primarily via polarized light, which is in a completely different part of the EM spectrum from radio waves. How radio waves could possibly impact their use of light for navigation (any more than it does humans’ use of light for navigation) is at best nonintuitive, so I would never believe it until I saw the published paper showing me the evidence. I am not holding my breath for that paper to appear.”
UPDATE: Ron Bailey looks at claims that biotech crops, not cellphones, are killing bees. Why don’t activist groups ever blame things that they don’t already dislike?
SKYWRITING FOR JESUS at EPCOT. Good thing Disney never made a Christian film — if they had, they’d sue that guy for copyright infringement . . . .
MORE COOL PRODUCE-BLOGGING from Rick Lee. I can sometimes take a nice photo, but Rick’s in a whole different class.
IT’S A DIRTY JOB, BUT SOMEONE’S GOT TO DO IT: Mickey Kaus defends Katie Couric: “It doesn’t bother me that Obama went to a mosque as a kid! I’m with the liberals who see it as a potential asset. It does bother me that Dem press watchdogs seem to be straining to brand anyone who mentions it (i.e. Couric) as a smear artist. . . And, yes, it’s also troubling that CBS panicked and changed Couric’s blog (rendering it near-senseless, as ETP points out). If that’s the post-Imus world–corporate news even blander than before, bland as school textbooks–I’m not enthusiastic. But it will be good for the blogs.”
BARACK OBAMA AND TOM MAGUIRE apologize for the Imus affair. Maguire:
Since we are all responsible, none of us are. If, I say *IF* Sen. Obama wants to lead on this issue, he could start by pointing a finger at some real targets. Some hard targets; waiting five days and then denouncing Imus does not merit a Profile in Courage.
Just to help him get started, I wonder whether his new friend David Geffen has any clout in the record industry; I further wonder whether Sen. Obama wants to exhort him to help clean up Hollywood.
UPDATE: The path to Imus’s redemption, plus the source of his problems. Was it “battlespace preparation” for 2008? And this question: “Our political world is full cowards and folks who are full of shit. Is Imus really the one you want gone?”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Alternative theory: “Karl Rove has his mojo back.”
MORE: Eric Scheie wonders what’s going on.
LIVING LONGER: TV doctor Sanjay Gupta has a book out called Chasing Life: New Discoveries in the Search for Immortality to Help You Age Less Today, which looks to offer sensible advice. But it’s a long way from the life-extension technologies that I’d like to see. Still, if you take care of yourself now, you’re more likely to still be around when the good stuff hits the market.
LET IT SNOW! “All these global warming protests have spawned a monster Gorâ€™easter.”
Hey, they said they were taking action against global warming this weekend. . . .
DON HO HAS DIED: I guess the stem cell treatments didn’t fix the problem, though the article seems to suggest that they produced some symptomatic improvement.
A NOT-SO-GLOWING REVIEW of Little Miss Sunshine. That’s going to leave a mark.
A HEATED EXCHANGE for Hillary:
Clinton said she had been briefed on the report, and the woman screamed back, “Did you read it?!” Notably uncomfortable, the Senator repeated that she had been briefed. This exchange went back and forth about three times.
The woman sat down and Clinton explained, “If I had known then what I know now, I never would have voted to give this President the authority.” Clinton also said she believed she was giving the President the authority to send U.N. inspectors to Iraq.
Next time, read the fine print.
GLOBAL WARMING RALLIES: “Dress warm.”
UPDATE: An interesting observation from TigerHawk:
Why doesn’t climate change animate the electorate in the United States the way it seems to do in Europe? I believe it is because we have not experienced it in the same way, either at the level of scientifically meaningless anecdotes or long-term temperature trends. . . .
This is not purely a reflection of piles of snow in Duluth and barely cool weather in Ireland. If we look at a generation’s worth of actual data, the different impact of changing temperatures around the world probably explains why the issue inspires such passion in Europe and Asia (and among the tiny fraction of Americans who travel to those places regularly), but is a political loser in the United States. . . .
Starting in March, the United States has a very different experience from Europe and northern Asia. In general, the rest of the populated northern hemisphere is much hotter than it used to be. In the United States, the only meaningful changes have been in the southwest, which is thinly populated and only marginally influences American politics. The ugly truth is that we Americans are, in general, enjoying warmer winters without paying the price of hotter summers. In most of (unairconditioned) Europe the winters were much milder to begin with, but the summers are now significantly hotter. Therefore, speaking only for us American humans, climate change seems, so far, like a good deal for us, even if it is a bad deal for them. No wonder the subject generates so much rage in Europe, but not nearly enough concern in the United States to motivate meaningful changes in behavior or move a decisive number of votes.
Interesting. Of course, the other reason it inspires passion in Europe is that it’s spun as an anti-American issue. That may also explain why so many Americans are cool to the idea.
MORE: Reader Richard Horn thinks my constant noting of cold weather at global-warming events means I dispute the existence of global warming. Jeez, how many times do I have to point out that that isn’t the case?
Indeed, from my perspective we should be doing the same things — working hard to reduce the use of fossil fuels — regardless of what you think about global warming. But the self-righteousness and exaggeration of the global-warming advocates does set my teeth on edge, and encourage mockery. As I wrote here: “I don’t know a lot about climatology. But I know a lot about media bulldozing operations, and I see one of those in action at the moment on this subject. . . . However, my own position is that it doesn’t matter much in terms of policy. We should be trying to mimimize the burning of fossil fuels regardless of whether it’s a cause of global warming or not. The rather patent hucksterism — and outright bullying — of some global warming advocates, though, will probably hurt that cause more than help it over the longer term.”
And it is positively uncanny how cold weather tends to set in whenever there’s a big global-warming event scheduled. They’re talking about snow here in Knoxville tonight, on April 15th! You know that if this weekend had been unseasonably warm, all the press accounts would be stressing how this was proof of Al Gore’s thesis, instead of meaningless noise, which is what any short-term weather fluctuation is.
STILL MORE: Thanks, Bethshan!
France is hardly alone in struggling to redefine itself in the globalized, post-Cold War world. Britain, too, has had to digest the end of an empire. But French nostalgia for bygone glory and growth seems to hamstring its ability to face the future with confidence.
“In France, there is a particular strain of melancholy,” political philosopher Chantal Delsol said in an interview. “The British tell themselves, ‘We are no longer a great power, so we will live as a middling one.’ But the French don’t say that. They say, ‘We are intrinsically a great power, so why isn’t it working in reality?’ For a while we try to shut our eyes, but that doesn’t work for long. When reality truly dawns, then the first phase is extreme sadness, and that is the phase we are in now.”
That means voters are in a rebellious mood. That’s nothing new â€” Gen. Charles de Gaulle, the architect of modern France after World War II, once quipped, “How can anyone govern a nation that has 246 different kinds of cheese?” But the desire to protest through the ballot box is strong, and could create shocks come election day.
The sheer scale and rapid growth of America’s nonprofit sector make it difficult to ignore. In most of history, private not-for-profit organizations weren’t a topic of much attention because they weren’t especially important compared with the markets from which people drew their sustenance and the governments that often extracted whatever they could from them. But with the growth of our national wealth, nonprofits have been expanding relentlessly. The Independent Sector, which is basically the industry group for nonprofits, reports that the combined annual expenditures of all the not-for-profit organizations required to file Form 990 with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service had grown to nearly $1 trillion in 2004. (That’s about half what the federal government spends each year, not counting defense.) In 1977, nonprofits employed around 6 million Americans; by 2001, that was up to 12 million.
Look at this on funding, too. And don’t miss this piece on inadequate financial regulation of nonprofits from the Boston Globe. (“A Globe Spotlight Team investigation of hundreds of foundations nationwide found that oversight is virtually nonexistent, allowing excesses and abuses to go unchecked.”)
ARE CELLPHONES killing bees? My guess is that this will turn out to be hysteria, but stay tuned.
UPDATE: Hey, somebody should look to see if bees are doing better in the National Radio Quiet Zone.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Steven Den Beste emails:
The claims in that article about cellphones and bees sound like the global warming hysteria, up to and including the predictions of apocalypse.
For instance, there was this claim: “Most of the world’s crops depend on pollination by bees.”
That’s wrong. Corn, wheat, rice, rye, barley, and all the other grain crops do not rely on insects for pollination, and they make up the majority of the calories consumed by the human race.
It’s true that there are a very large number of crops which do rely on insects, but many of those do not rely on honey bees, or at least do not have to. In many areas, they use a different kind of bee that looks a lot like a honey bee but is much different in life cycle. These bees don’t produce honey, and all the females are fertile, with each producing 5-10 grubs. They work collective laying sites with the grubs being placed in holes in wood.
In the wild they use dead trees, but the farmers that rely on them put up boards with holes drilled in them for the bees to use.
Honey bees are important, but the current problem doesn’t mean the human race is going to starve to death.
I’m not sure, but I think that this may be a picture of a carpenter bee. The article also quotes Albert Einstein on honeybees — kind of like quoting Norman Borlaug on black holes. Smart guy, but . . . .
MORE: A more skeptical take:
Many beekeepers are skeptical of the reports or at least how they’re adding up. For 100 years, beekeepers have logged periodic reports of sudden and inexplicable bee die-offs.
People refer the latest die-off by its initials “CCD,” but one Georgia beekeeper instead calls it the “SSDD” crisis for “Same Stuff, Different Day.”
“People have lost bees from the beginning of time,” Sowers said. . . .
Most empty hives have been discovered at large, commercial migrating bee farms – and that has led some beekeepers to theorize that it’s the stress of being trucked cross-country that’s killing the bees.
“The (bee’s) instinct is to go out and collect pollen and nectar, and that’s what they do. When they can’t get out of the hive, it puts them under stress. They need to go to the bathroom on a regular basis, but they won’t go in their hive,” said Ken Ograin, an Elmira beekeeper. . . .
Finally, beehives simply die. Scattered reports of large-scale mortality date from 1915, 1960 and 1987. Scientists don’t always know why.
“This may be a repeat of that situation where we simply don’t figure it out,” said Morris Ostrofsky, president of the Lane County Beekeepers Association.
In fact, some farmers say they are puzzled about the dire news stories appearing in local, state and national media in the past several weeks.
“It’s not new this year,” Williams said. “If you know what I mean.”
STILL MORE: Skepticism from an entomologist.
I’m not ready to rule out the cellphone connection, but I’d have to say that it’s far from compelling at this point. I do think people should check out the Radio Quiet Zone. Plus, via Boing Boing, a Snopes entry casting doubt on the Einstein quote. Not that it matters much one way or another — Einstein was a smart guy, but as far as I know he had no special expertise on the subject of bees.
JAMES ZUMWALT ON THE “FLYING IMAMS,” IN THE NEW YORK TIMES:
Some security experts suggest the imamsâ€™ conduct may have been intended to identify aviation security weaknesses. Their John Doe lawsuit tends to support this theory, as such a complaint can also serve to manipulate our legal system to silence those who might otherwise report suspicious activity.
Anyone in the security business knows that if a passenger exhibits suspicious behavior before takeoff, he or she cannot be allowed to board â€” or remain on â€” the plane until that behavior has been satisfactorily explained or otherwise resolved. Post-9/11, anyone entering an air terminal should be sensitive to this need and should work in a cooperative spirit to remove any suspicion.
Nothing can prevent a passenger who believes he has been wronged by the screening process from filing a lawsuit. What is outrageous is to hold good Samaritans liable simply for doing what any reasonable person observing suspicious activity should do. This is pure and simple intimidation.
In the interests of national security, Congress cannot allow this to happen. While the House has taken the initiative to insert protective language in a public transportation bill, that bill does not go far enough. Such protection needs to be comprehensive, extending to the public at large rather than just those using airplanes or other public transportation.
I doubt Zumwalt chose the title that his oped runs under, though, which is “Witnesses for the Persecution.”
TOM MAGUIRE is typing through the tears.
WHO WILL NANNY the nannies?
UPDATE: Related thoughts here:
How could the chief executive of a state routinely put the chief executive of his state, elected by and responsible to the voters to discharge his duties for a full term, at risk of death or injury for something so self-indulgent as not wearing a seatbelt? Not to mention that a governor has some duty to model responsible and rational behavior. If the motor pool were found to have neglected maintenance of the brakes or tires of a governor’s vehicle, heads would roll, and rightly so. Apparently he routinely doesn’t wear a belt: Corzine is not just being stupid, he’s acted recklessly and put the welfare of his state at pointless risk, just as surely as if he decided to take up bungee jumping or Russian roulette while in office. This is really, really, bad behavior.
Bungee jumping would be an improvement.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Some thoughts on why you should wear a seatbelt:
Go a little farther through the windshield, and it isnâ€™t unexpected to leave some or all of your face behind stuck in the broken glass. Youâ€™d be surprised by how easily faces come off the facial bones.
You can also expect fractured wrists, arms, and shoulders, from folks trying to brace themselves.
A little farther through the windshield, all the way out of the vehicle (a situation we call â€œpre-extracted for your convenienceâ€), and in addition to whatever damage you took on the way through, you get the damage from hitting the ground, trees, and metal poles at however-many-miles-an-hour.
Sure, you hear people talking about wanting to be â€œthrown clearâ€ in the event of an accident. If you want to simulate being â€œthrown clear,â€ go to the fifth floor of a building and jump out the window.
Read the whole thing.
PREPARING FOR THE WORST: Getting ready for Internet terrorists.
HOW TO DRIVE A HYBRID without looking P.C. I should try that!
BILL WHITTLE LOOKS AT conspiracy theories.
GARY KASPAROV ARRESTED WHILE PROTESTING PUTIN: Ilya Somin has a roundup on this story. He comments: “Kasparov’s arrest is not only an outrage in its own right, it is significant as an indicator of Putin’s willingness to further tighten his authoritarianism. If Putin is able to get away with arresting even a world-famous opposition leader, less exalted opponents of the government can expect even harsher treatment. Hopefully, there will be enough of an international outcry to persuade Putin to desist and force him to tread more cautiously in the future. But it is hard to be optimistic about Russia’s immediate political future after the experience of the last several years.”
ABSTINENCE-ONLY EDUCATION doesn’t do any good. I’m not surprised to hear this.
ANTI-ISLAMIST RALLIES IN TURKEY:
Chanting secularist slogans and waving Turkish flags, more than 300,000 people from all over Turkey rallied Saturday to discourage Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a conservative with an Islamist political past, from running for the presidency.
The demonstrators marched to the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern secular Turkey in 1923, transforming the normally hushed venue into an unprecedented demonstration ground.
“Turkey is secular, it will remain secular”, “The presidency’s roads are closed to Sharia (Islamic law)”, “An imam cannot become a president”, they chanted, reflecting concerns that Erdogan and his Justice and Devlopment Party (AKP) are not truly committed to the mainly Muslim nation’s secular system.
UPDATE: InstaPundit’s correspondent in Turkey, Claire Berlinski, emails:
I wasn’t there, but it was definitely a state-run (i.e., nationalist, Kemalist) show. This was planned a long time ago. It doesn’t necessarily mean much about what people are really thinking. By the way, the fact that Turkish nationalists are anti-Islamists should not lead anyone to conclude that they’re Western-style democrats. Despite ErdoÄŸan’s Islamist past, one of the basic conflicts here is that he wants to open Turkish society. Here’s a good discussion of this point. The demonstrators are concerned that ErdoÄŸan isn’t committed to secularism, probably for good reason, but ErdoÄŸan’s supporters are — also for good reason — concerned that the Kemalists’ aren’t committed to democracy.
A VERY NICE PHOTO, from Brittney Gilbert. When the weather improves, I’ve got to get out and take some more Tennessee backroad pics myself.
IN THE MAIL: Chosen Soldier: The Making of a Special Forces Warrior, by Dick Couch. It’s got a foreword by Robert Kaplan.
NIFONG UPDATE: Quest to convict hid a lack of evidence. This damning quote from Nifong is about the impact of the case on his campaign is, well, damning: “I’m getting a million dollars of free advertisements.”
STEPHEN F. HAYES SPENT SOME TIME WITH FRED THOMPSON and observes:
And by the end of the conversation, two unexpected realities had emerged. If he joins the race for the Republican nomination, and if he campaigns the same way he spoke to me last week, Fred Thompson, a mild-mannered, slow-talking southern gentleman, will run as the politically aggressive conservative that George W. Bush hasn’t been for four years. And the actor in the race could well be the most authentic personality in the field.
Read the whole thing, which starts here.
JL KIRK UPDATE: Here’s a TV news story from Nashville’s Channel 2.
UPDATE: There’s a mistake in the video, which I corrected in the comments, but apparently not everyone is scrolling down and noticing. Fernando Colina emails:
They call you a â€œformer professor of law.â€ Something we donâ€™t know? Something YOU donâ€™t know?
I hope that it is either a mistake, or that you finally finished your new villa overlooking the reef at Grand Cayman, built from the proceeds of Instapundit Inc.
It’s a mistake. I’m still here. No villa in Grand Cayman, alas. But I like being a law professor too much to quit anyway, even in the face of something like a major Powerball hit — which InstaPundit ain’t.
GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS, from Jules Crittenden.
IF YOU HAVE — or had — BlogAds and your page is loading slowly, you need to remove the old proxy.blogads.com code from your templates. More here.
MORE THOUGHTS ON ADOLESCENCE AND MATURITY, from Megan McArdle. Interesting discussion in the comments, too.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: A recent National Journal article (sorry, link is subscriber-only) suggests that lobbyists are worried:
But beneath the surface there was a feeling of anxiety among the lobbyists gathered at Pentagon City’s Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arlington, Va. They had their minds on a rule adopted by the House in January that toughens the process for winning — and will likely restrict — appropriations earmarks. Those are special-interest provisions, ubiquitous in recent years, in which members of Congress direct money to specific projects by inserting narrow, targeted language into spending bills.
Lobbying for earmarks has become a profitable business for many K Street firms. Weapons makers, colleges and universities, hospitals, municipalities, and many other clients pay lobbyists big fees to persuade the right lawmaker to include a pet project or favorite program in an appropriations measure.
The new rule is causing heartburn because it requires lobbyists and members to submit additional paperwork explaining and justifying their earmark requests. At the Murtha bash, said one lobbyist who attended, there was a lot of chatter about the “onerous documentation” now required of those seeking earmarks.
Beyond that, the lobbyist added, 2007 is shaping up as “a perfect storm for defense earmarks.” In addition to the tougher rule — intended to stop ethical abuses that have given earmarks a bad name — the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are forcing budget constraints that are sure to reduce the number of defense earmarks in this year’s spending bills.
This is a time of uncertainty for lobbyists who have prospered by capitalizing on the booming earmark business in defense as well as other industries and economic sectors. “We’re warning all our clients that they have to be realistic in their requests in terms of dollars,” said Stewart Van Scoyoc, who attended the Murtha event and is the founder of the 17-year-old firm whose name is often linked with earmark lobbying.
This is music to my ears. Let’s hope the “perfect storm” is as perfect as we can make it.
HEADLINE OF THE WEEK: Snow won’t dampen global-warming rallies.
UPDATE: A reader asks if this means global warming is bogus. No. Here’s a good quote from the article:
“I think that’s an easy excuse, but if we’re really reasonable about it, we’re not talking about individual weather on individual days,” Locke said. “We’re talking about something much larger, on a global scale, which science has been tracking for decades.”
But keep this in mind when they start claiming, as the press inevitably does, that unusually warm days are evidence for climate change. The truth, as I’ve noted before, is that weather is very “noisy,” and that warm (or cold) days, weeks, or even years don’t mean much. And by pointing out the cold weather now, you get people to go on the record about that . . . .
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA LAW PROFESSOR JOSEPH KENNEDY looks at possible criminal charges against Mike Nifong:
Obstruction of justice is a felony in North Carolina if it’s committed with the intent to deceive. The state bar has accused Nifong of intentionally excluding the exculpatory DNA results from his expert’s report and of subsequently misleading the trial judge as to their existence. If Nifong really intended to deceive the judge and the defense in order to prevent the introduction of those results into evidence at trial, he committed this felony.
Read the whole thing. It’s unusual for prosecutors to be prosecuted, to say the least. There are good reasons for such reluctance — not wanting to second-guess often-difficult decisions. There are also bad reasons — self-dealing in the prosecutorial biz. But the Nifong case is also unusual, so I suppose prosecution here is possible. His behavior certainly seems to have been outrageous.
UPDATE: Some Nifong FAQs from Dean Barnett.
FINANCING THE INSURGENCY: Alaa has thoughts.
UNCLE LEO’S MEDALS: Eric Muller notes an astonishing conclusion to his family story.
ACTUALLY, I FIND THIS A BIT SCARY: “American Girl” fans mob Dick Cheney.
Kinda like the final chapter of The Diamond Age. . . .
MARKOS IS ALSO UNHAPPY with the DNC’s RIAA relationship.
“SCALPING STANDARDS” FOR THE BLOGOSPHERE? Daniel Glover writes:
In my years of blog-watching, I have been amazed at how quickly today’s online watchdogs are to drop the f-word. I’m not talking about the one banned on the airwaves by the FCC; I’m talking about the one spelled f-i-r-e-d, or its face-saving sister, r-e-s-i-g-n. Nary a scandal, real or imagined, goes by without some blogger on the right or the left demanding that so-and-so resign or be fired if he refuses to go quietly. . . .
But every controversy does not warrant a firing or a resignation, and demanding as much runs counter to another goal of many bloggers: candor and transparency in politics.
Yeah, people make the jump pretty quickly from criticizing someone to demanding that he/she be fired. As I’ve noted before, that’s usually overkill.
THE DEMOCRATS’ FIRST 100 DAYS: Well, not everything was divisive:
Nine of the seventeen are bills to rename post offices and courthouses, which appears to be a bipartisan process–one of them is the ‘Rush Hudson Limbaugh Courthouse.’
Insert “ditto” joke here.
UPDATE: The GOP folks are quick off the mark with a video retrospective. How did people do politics before YouTube?
UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT: I just noticed that K.C. Johnson has a book coming out on the Duke Lacrosse case, coauthored with Stuart Taylor. I’m sure it will be worth reading.
Hell, I’ve got a better claim than Murphy over an air travel incident. After all, Rush Limbaugh spent several days denouncing me last fall for my saying the Republicans didn’t deserve to win the elections. Obviously, I was bumped from this flight as a kind of underhanded payback. And on the return leg, my seat wouldn’t fully recline. . . . .
MARY KATHARINE HAM puts on a peep show.
THE TALIBAN APPARENTLY BEAT UP THE WRONG DRAQ QUEENS, and wound up being attacked by angry drag-queen-defending villagers.
TAXES TOO HIGH, BUT FAIR. Hmm.
THE DEMOCRATS ARE NOT GETTING ANY LOVE from Cory Doctorow: DNC appoints RIAA shill to run Public Affairs for convention. I don’t find this quite as shocking as Cory does, but it certainly illustrates the closeness of those two operations. Not that the GOP has been willing to stand up to the RIAA much, either, even though it would seem to be in their interest.
THE ANALOG HOLE IS WORTH 24 CENTS: It’s amusing to me to be reading about the “analog hole” from a guy named Ohm. But then, I’m a geek.
STARTING SOON: A Bathrobes for Brian movement!
MEN JUST WANT TO have fun.
SOME MEDIA CRITICISM ON THE SURGE from John Wixted — plus actual numbers!
UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer has a related column. Excerpt:
By the day, the debate at home about Iraq becomes increasingly disconnected from the realities of the war on the ground. The Democrats in Congress are so consumed with negotiating among their factions the most clever linguistic device to legislatively ensure the failure of the administration’s current military strategy — while not appearing to do so — that they speak almost not at all about the first visible results of that strategy.
Read the whole thing.
FOLLOWING UP ON LAST YEAR’S RAZORBLOGGING, I should note that a couple of weeks ago I got a nice gift — a fancy shaving brush, some upscale brush-style shaving cream, and a razor handle that uses the Gillette Fusion blades I use anyway.
Using the brush is kind of fun, actually, and to my surprise both the Insta-Wife and Insta-Daughter say that it leaves my face noticeably smoother. (Insta-Daughter: “Your five o’clock shadow looks more like two o’clock now.”) I don’t know if it’s because the brush raises up the whiskers or if the overpriced shaving cream is actually worth the money. Either way, it was a nice gift.
AFTER ALL THE FLAK HE GOT for his Belle Meade mansion’s energy use, Al Gore is installing solar panels. Ecototality has a report, and photo.
Now Stephen King, writing in Entertainment Weekly, says that he loves the novel but that the publisher has managed to bury it:
This is a great story. It has an exotic locale, mystery, and a narrative voice full of humor and sadness. Reading Fieldwork is like discovering an unpublished Robertson Davies novel; as with Davies, you can’t stop reading until midnight (good), and you don’t hate yourself in the morning (better). It’s a Russian doll of a read, filled with stories within stories. . . .
Why, why, why would a company publish a book this good and then practically demand that people not read it? Why should this book go to waste?
More thoughts here. It is a good book, and I highly recommend it too.
TERRORISTS IN SPACE? Well, sort of, as the Tamil Tigers hack Intelsat. Rather a black eye for Intelsat.
Equally important, Imus gave Democrats a pipeline to a crucial voting bloc that was perennially hard for them to reach: politically independent white men.
With Imus’ show canceled indefinitely because of his remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team, some Democratic strategists are worried about how to fill the void. For a national radio audience of white men, Democrats see few if any alternatives.
Don Surber comments: “Hereâ€™s an idea: Go on Fox News. Oh, Daily Kos wonâ€™t let you.”
UPDATE: Eric Scheie thinks this was a mistake.
JOHN TAMMES rounds up news from Afghanistan that you may have missed.
MICHELLE MALKIN GETS CALLED A “PROSTITUTE” ON THE AIR: No doubt there will be an Imus-like groundswell of outrage.
UNDERSELLING CAPITALISM? “Capitalism is the villain in Barber’s piece, yet capitalism has proven time and again to be the singular cure for the poor health threatening the Third World. According to the 2005 Economic Freedom of the World report produced by the Cato Institute, the nations in the top quintile of average per-capita GDP also have the highest average life expectancy; 77.7 years versus 52.5 years for citizens of countries in the bottom quintile.”
IS THIS TRUE?
The terms of the immigration debate have turned less friendly for illegal immigrants as lawmakers and the Bush administration struggle to reach a deal in the next few weeks. . . .
time it’s Democrats – eager to show they can lead – whose fissures are on display.
In an ironic twist, the outlines of a potential deal have moved to the right – toward a more difficult road to citizenship for the nation’s roughly 12 million illegal immigrants – even as the power in Congress has shifted to Democrats, who overwhelmingly favor a more permissive approach.
When I was on Hugh Hewitt’s show the other night, both he and Mickey Kaus — who follow this issue more closely than I do — seemed to feel differently.
MICKEY KAUS: “Howie Carr condemned Imus? If memory serves, Howie Carr’s radio show was the most offensive radio program I’d ever heard when I listened to it during the 2000 New Hampshire primary–more offensive, in terms of ethnic insensitivity and general sneering inhumanity than anything I’ve seen attributed to Imus’s broadcast.”
The Imus pile-on features even more flaming hypocrisy than is usual for such things.
ENJOYING THE FIGHT, and cheering on both sides.
CATALLARCHY: GUILT VS. INNOCENCE: “Why we care.” Plus an interesting observation in the first comment.
DRM, LOCK-INS AND PIRACY: “Red herrings for a music industry in trouble”?
WOLFOWITZ DROPS THE BALL at the World Bank: Austin Bay has thoughts.
ANDREA PEYSER wants the New York Times to apologize to the Duke Lacrosse players. Plus this: “But the biggest losers may be the ones you’ll never hear about. These are the genuine victims of sexual assault: women who don’t fabricate tales of brutality, or seek out the richest, whitest men to falsely accuse of forcing them into sex. Who will believe a rape victim now?”
UPDATE: More on the Times’ coverage: “The worst journalist covering the case was the New York Timesâ€™ Duff Wilson.”
BLOGOMETER: “If you ever wanted proof that Dems are more in love with their own idea of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) than what Obama actually is, you need look no further than a poll of MoveOn.org members following their online Townhall on Iraq forum.” Meanwhile, Kos loves Bill Richardson.
I KNEW THIS WAS COMING, but it’s still cool:
Private space exploration took a potentially significant step forward this week as Nevada-based Bigelow Aerospace announced plans to send a series of inflatable space stations into orbit over the next decade.
The spacecraft, initially designed by NASA for use with the International Space Station, would be available to train astronauts from nations not currently active in space, as well as companies that could manufacture unique products in weightlessness. . . .
The announcement comes at a heady time for private space entrepreneurs. The rocket company SpaceX, founded by Pay Pal billionaire Elon Musk, had its most successful test launch to date last month. Voters in New Mexico this month passed a referendum to raise taxes to help build a spaceport for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space tourism company.
Bigelow already has a prototype of its planned station in orbit and is scheduled to launch a second on a Russian rocket later this month. The prototype Genesis II will launch from Orenberg, Russia, and will carry a payload that includes a Madagascar giant hissing cockroach, scorpions, an ant farm, and an internal camera to watch their acclimation to space. The first Bigelow vessel designed to house a human crew, called Sundancer, is now in development and is scheduled to launch by the end of 2010.
I wish them luck.
AN AL QAEDA INDICTMENT IN OHIO:
A federal grand jury has indicted an Ohio man on charges of conspiring with the al-Qaeda terrorist network to bomb targets overseas and in the United States, possibly using remote-controlled boats and aircraft.
The grand jury in Columbus returned a three-count indictment yesterday against Christopher Paul, 43, who prosecutors said received training at terrorist camps in Afghanistan in the early 1990s, joined al-Qaeda and later trained co-conspirators in Germany in the use of explosives. The indictment was announced today by Justice Department officials in Ohio and Washington. . . . From 1989 through the present, the Justice Department said in a statement, Paul participated in “a conspiracy to destroy property overseas and murder and maim persons located outside the United States.” As part of the alleged conspiracy, it said, he provided money and equipment to individuals abroad and trained co-conspirators in the United States to prepare them “to fight violent jihad overseas.”
On the other hand, this sounds a bit thin:
In recent years, the statement said, Paul used Columbus residences to store items that included a laser range finder, a night vision scope, literature on explosives, “remote control items” and survival gear.
What red-blooded American doesn’t have at least most of this stuff? Hard to tell how much there is to this story, but I suppose we’ll learn more as it progresses.
DON IMUS FIRED: “It appears Don Imus may be finished in talk radio.” I’ve never liked Imus, and his comments were disgraceful, but this seems like it’s been a feeding frenzy. And, really, who cares what Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson think about proper public demeanor?
UPDATE: C.J. Burch emails:
Imus is fired, maybe that’s a good thing, I don’t know. I’m having a hard time reconciling that with the fact that Rosie O’Donnell still has a job, though.
And Barry Dauphin writes:
I’ve never really “gotten” the appeal of Imus among the (pseudo)intelligentsia. He’s always seemed like a mean ex-drunk to me. But the idea that he’s finished in radio is quite silly. He’ll be back long before Sharpton shows contrition about the Duke rape case.
Well, that’s probably true.
WOMEN’S HEALTH CLINICS IN AFGHANISTAN: An interesting slideshow at Yahoo News.
Speaker Pelosi’s approval ratings are far from disastrous. However, the most recent AP-Ipsos poll, completed on the day Ms. Pelosi met with Bashar Assad in Damascus, showed a 14 point drop in the Speaker’s net approval rating since the last survey taken in mid-January shortly after her inauguration. The figures in January were 51% approval and 35% disapproval; last week’s figures were 46% approval and 44% disapproval.
But she’s polling favorably with fashion guru Manolo:
All the Speaker Nancy did was put on the scarf. It is not as if she was showing her cultural sensitivity to Islam by helping to stone the adultress, or giving the fifty lashes of vigor to the woman driver. It was just the scarf, the same sort of head covering worn by the Laura Bush when she visited the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, or by the Condi Rice when she visited the mosque in Tajikistan.
The Manolo has long thought that the Nancy Pelosi is one of the better dressed persons in Washington. She has the confident and the colorful personal style and dresses in the high quality, good-looking clothing that is appropriate to her position and age. In short she knows how to dress.
Read the whole thing!
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?
Have you ever been experienced? “Wonder why so many of the news articles you read, or steam over, are lacking essential information or perspective? Wonder no longer. Knowledge and experience of the subject is only a ‘plus.’”
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Meet the Proud Pork Men:
The arrogance of career politicians was on full display today when Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HA) took to the Senate floor to boast of his and Senator Ted Stevensâ€™ (R-AK) long careers of accumulating pork on the backs of American taxpayers. In a tribute to Senator Stevensâ€™ new status as the longest serving Republican U.S. Senator, Senator Inouye declared:
He and I received the crown of being pork men of the year. We are the number one add-ons in the United State Senate. Mr. President, Iâ€™m proud to call Ted Stevens my brother, and I hope that we can continue this brothership for as long as weâ€™re here.
â€œItâ€™s a sad day in America when the longest serving Republican in U.S. Senate history is praised by an even longer serving Senator for setting the record for fleecing American taxpayers of their hard-earned money,â€ Club for Growth President Pat Toomey declared. â€œAfter thirty-nine years in the U.S. Senate, one would have hoped that Senator Stevens would have accomplished something more meaningful than petty parochial pork projects like a $223 million â€œBridge to Nowhereâ€ and a $1.5 million bus stop.â€
â€œInstead of heaping praise on the Senateâ€™s worst porker, the Senate should impose the reform rules requiring 100% earmark transparency that it had unanimously passed earlier this year,â€ Mr. Toomey continued.
Despite the recent elections, the Pork Party remains in control.
LARRY KUDLOW: DON’T GO WOBBLY:
Although White House Budget Director Rob Portman told me on Tuesdayâ€™s show that there would be no compromise deal on the pork section of the Iraq funding bill, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) told me last night there could in fact be a deal.
Todayâ€™s Wall Street Journal also suggests a deal could be in the works. Apparently, rumors of porkâ€™s death have been greatly exaggerated.
Any compromise deal on this roughly $25 billion of pork would seriously dilute the Presidentâ€™s strong message that heâ€™s been selling for nearly ten straight days in his constant criticism of the Democrats.
A little backbone from the White House, please?
MICHAEL YON: British forces at war, as witnessed by an American. “These soldiers are so good that I have requested from British commanders to be allowed to stay longer.”