September 23, 2007
THOUGHTS ON PROSECUTORIAL POWER AND INDEPENDENCE.
THOUGHTS ON PROSECUTORIAL POWER AND INDEPENDENCE.
THAT’S HSU PREDICTABLE: “Her comments about one of her top campaign fund-raising bundlers, Norman Hsu, a â€™90s-era fugitive who now faces new fraud charges, only repeated the talking points that her advisers have offered.”
FUKUDA wins the race to be Japan’s Prime Minister.
FIGHTING FINANCIAL JIHAD: Rachel Ehrenfeld explains why she’s not backing down.
ROGER KIMBALL HAS THOUGHTS on Bagehot, Columbia, and Ahmadinejad.
GREENSPAN slams credit rating agencies.
ROGER SIMON ADMITS ERROR in his opinion of The New York Times. Plus, an apology.
A 29-MILLION DOLLAR, 15,000 square foot, Eco-Home.
CASS SUNSTEIN AND I will be discussing the future of the information society this coming week, on the University of Chicago Law Faculty Blog.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS UPDATE: Reader Jim Hogue emails: “Do you have any recommendations for flashlights in a survival kit?”
Well, personally I’m a big fan of the mag-lites. I carry both a mini and a full-size 4-cell in the car, and I keep a few of the big ones around the house. They’re tough, they give great, adjustable light, and they make a pretty good improvised billy club just in case.
On the other hand, you have to keep the batteries up. As it happens, I was just looking at this zombie-attack preparation guide (what is it with the zombies all the time?) and it features this batteryless flashlight. That looks kind of cool; I don’t think it’s as good a flashlight as the maglites, but you don’t need batteries, which also saves on weight. A lot depends on what you think you’ll need it for, and for how long. Or you could always carry this survival tool — pocket knife, magnesium firestarter, and flashlight all in one. BoingBoing liked it! And if you want versatility, here’s a flashlight that uses AA, C, or D batteries, which is pretty versatile. I bought one a while back — it’s not bad, but doesn’t seem especially sturdy.
I have to say that my cheap Timex Ironman watch makes a good emergency flashlight, too. It’s not terribly bright, but it’s enough to find your way around in the dark without bumping into things. I was in the grocery store — in the meat section, about a half-mile from the windows at the front — when the power went out a while back. The place was pitch-dark and it took about 20-30 seconds for the emergency lights to come on. As soon as things went black a woman started screaming — I guess she had claustrophobia issues — and I pushed the light button on my watch. This calmed her immediately, strangely enough. Then a few people opened up cellphones and it was a brief impromptu light show.
The watch is nice, though, because you’ve always got it. (As with cameras, guns, and many other things, the one you’ve got with you is always more important than the one you’ve left in a drawer at home). It’s actually stopped me from buying a more expensive watch, as you can’t get the “indiglo” feature on the fancy watches.
MARK STEYN: “Senator Thompson’s line is a gross sentimentalization. . . . To sell this struggle to the electorate, you have to frame it in terms of the national interest. It has to be a war consistent with American ideals but fought for selfish reasons.”
THOUGHTS ON politicians and the Second Amendment.
MICKEY KAUS on McCain-Feingold: “The Constitution is not a Hsu-icide pact!”
SOME NETWORK TV SHOWS that you can get online for free. I’d be more excited, of course, if there were more shows that I actually enjoyed.
HILLARY ON THE WAR: “Clinton said she couldn’t promise to bring all U.S. troops home in her first term if she is elected president.”
PROTESTING THE JUNTA in Burma.
TEACHING ECONOMICS TO RELIGIOUS LEADERS. If they’re going to pronounce about doings in the secular world, it might help if they knew something.
A LOOK AT the world’s aging population and the problems it poses.
TALES FROM the NRA convention.
JOHN WIXTED LOOKS AT developments in Syria.
WILL CHINA beat the United States back to the Moon?
POLICE MISCONDUCT in Minnesota.
BURKLE, HSU, RIORDAN: Mickey Kaus has the scoop.
R.I.P.: A moment of silence for Marcel Marceau.
The old gray lady has some explaining to do.
Officials at the New York Times have admitted a liberal activist group was permitted to pay half the rate it should have for a provocative ad condemning U.S. Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus.
The MoveOn ad, which cast Petraeus as “General Betray Us” and attacked his truthfulness, ran on the same day the commander made a highly anticipated appearance before Congress.
But since the liberal group paid the standby rate of $64,575 for the full-page ad, it should not have been guaranteed to run on Sept. 10, the day Petraeus warned Congress against a rapid withdrawal of troops from Iraq, Times personnel said.
“We made a mistake,” Catherine Mathis, vice president of corporate communications for The Times, told the newspaper’s public editor.
Mathis said an advertising representative left the liberal group with the understanding that the ad would run that Monday even though they had been charged the standby rate.
The group should have paid $142,083 to ensure placement that day.
This also leaves some of those who defended the Times’ discounted rate by claiming that the critics didn’t understand the ad business in an awkward position.
UPDATE: Heh: “No full explanation, but a sober assessment of the available information would suggest that the dog ate NYTâ€™s homework.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: More here: “Terrible. Embarrassing, too, now that we know it. What else is there that we don’t know. Could Hoyt look into that?” And, from the comments: ‘ To those who said this was a fake controversy (ahem), it is a surprise that it isn’t. To those who at least suspect it was, it is a surprise they came clean about it.”
GUN OWNER RECEIVES APOLOGY FROM POLICE CHIEF:
Trevor Putnam knew the gun laws. The officer who stopped him didnâ€™t.
â€œWhen I told him that I hadnâ€™t done anything, he said heâ€™d find a reason to put me in jail,â€ said Putnam, 24, who works with guns every day as vice president of Coal Creek Armory in West Knoxville.
â€œItâ€™s not that I have a problem with police officers. I deal with police officers nationwide from Arizona to Maine every day. But I lost my confidence in a legal right that I knew I had.â€
Knoxville police officers will get a refresher course on the stateâ€™s gun permit laws after an officer who didnâ€™t know the law stopped, frisked and threatened to arrest Putnam for legally carrying a gun inside a Wal-Mart this summer.
Officer Glenn Todd Greeneâ€™s actions June 21 at the store on Walbrook Drive in West Knoxville earned him a written reprimand and remedial training for rudeness and not knowing the law, Internal Affairs records show. Heâ€™s worked for the Knoxville Police Department for about seven years.
Putnam got a written apology from Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV.
Read the whole thing. For not knowing the law and acting like an ass, the punishment is about right. For threatening to “find a reason” to put someone in jail, he should probably be fired.
MARC AMBINDER LOOKS AT the massive scope of the AFL-CIO’s political program. “Remember: all of this — almost all of this — goes to help Democrats.”
TAKING IT HSU THE NEXT LEVEL: A special prosecutor for the Norman Hsu case?
THIS SEEMS LIKE NEWS: “Israeli commandos seized nuclear material of North Korean origin during a daring raid on a secret military site in Syria before Israel bombed it this month, according to informed sources in Washington and Jerusalem. The attack was launched with American approval on September 6 after Washington was shown evidence the material was nuclear related, the well-placed sources say.”
FRANK J.: “I agree; it’s a huge failure of the conservative movement someone hasn’t thrown fame and fortune at me by now.”
MEGAN MCARDLE: Armed and dangerous.
TELLING THE SAME ANECDOTE TWICE, with different quotes. “I think it’s fair to suspect that Toobin assembles material into quotes that are not really quotes.”
The reporting on this story is atrocious. It’s all updates with no background. So, I’m wondering not only what happened in Jena, but why is the press reporting it this way?
Sullivan links to Megan McCardle’s summary of the Wikipedia article on the subject, which she understands is “pretty authoritative.” It’s pathetic that we’re reduced to going to Wikipedia because the mainstream news of a current event is too skimpy.
Indeed. But here’s much more on the case from Patterico.
UPDATE: Further thoughs here.
“GENERAL JAMESON?” Now that’s funny.
DAN RATHER’S Revenge.
HOW TO SABOTAGE AHMADINEJAD: Have some scantily-clad coed run up and give him a kiss. Make sure photos are distributed in Iran.
UPDATE: Yes, this is tongue-in-cheek, as some of our dimmer lefty blogger friends seem to have missed. (Hey, I thought they were in favor of “make love, not war.” But maybe this is “fake love, not war.”) It was, however based on a real incident. Had they been paying attention to the news, they might have remembered that.
THERE’S A BLOG AIMED AT DRAFTING ALASKA GOV. Sarah Palin for Vice President. I don’t see that as terribly likely, but I certainly like her action on the Bridge to Nowhere, and I wouldn’t mind seeing her fill Ted Stevens’ seat.
A BRIGHT FUTURE for large-scale solar farms?
IS IT JUST ME? Or is Brian Wilson channeling Johnny Cash in this photo?
MORE LIBEL-LAW BASED CENSORSHIP, in Britain.
DANIEL DREZNER: “What the f@#% is going on with the University of California Regents?”
THE MAN, THE MIND, AND THE MONEY behind MoveOn.org.
THE JORDANIAN BLOGOSPHERE comes of age.
MORE ON Google and privacy. “I’d be a helluva lot happier of they had started with the basic principles and mechanisms for ensuring privacy and announced those first – before releasing working code modules.”
SO I SAW THIS Waring wine chiller at Williams-Sonoma the other day, and it looked cool. But when I checked the product reviews on Amazon, they were pretty lukewarm. That’s too bad, as I like the idea.
SO HSU ME:
A Laguna Beach investment firm filed a lawsuit against Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu on Friday, claiming he defrauded investors out of at least $23 million and required them to donate to Democratic candidates.
According to the lawsuit filed by Briar Wood Investments, Hsu persuaded the company’s operator to do business with him by taking him to star-studded Democratic Party events. There, the 56-year-old Hong Kong native was praised by New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown and others, the lawsuit said.
As a condition of doing business with the fundraiser, Hsu directed investors to make contributions to certain Democratic candidates, the lawsuit said. The investors turned over tens of thousands of dollars, including $30,000 worth of checks to Clinton’s campaign on a single day.
The lawsuit is the latest in a series of legal troubles that continue to mount for Hsu.
Last week, New York investors filed a similar suit against Hsu. On Thursday, federal prosecutors unsealed a criminal complaint accusing Hsu of operating a national Ponzi scheme and reimbursing investors for donations made in their names. And on Friday, a San Mateo County judge ordered Hsu held without bail in a 1991 theft case. . . . According to the lawsuit, Waters invested with Hsu in part because “prominent persons, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown, national Democratic political adviser James Carville, film director Steven Spielberg, actor (Tobey) Maguire, grocery store magnate/billionaire Ron Burkle and others introduced and/or endorsed Hsu as a friend, colleague and trusted associate.”
Read the whole thing. When you do, you’ll see that these people are finding it increasingly difficult to remember ever knowing Hsu. By next November they won’t even recognize his name.
“Hsu gave you this money.” “Who?” “Hsu!” “That’s what I’m asking you!”
HOW TO OBSERVE Ramadan in space.
A VINTAGE PHOTOBLOG that’s worth your time.
JEFF SOYER ROUNDS UP candidate speeches to the NRA.
WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE.
DISCOVERING cave entrances on Mars.
JAMES CAAN: “Nobody should give a shit about an actor’s opinion on politics.”
STEPHEN GREEN: “It’s somehow with a straight face that the AP reports that Jimmy Carter is as gullible as ever.”
GEE, DO YOU THINK? “UC Irvine chancellor says he ‘bungled’ Chemerinsky firing.”
THE DELUSION OF dialogue.
ANOTHER CALIFORNIA NEWSPAPER editorializes on Larry Summers:
Small but vocal minorities should not be allowed to halt the free trade of ideas that is so critical to higher education.
And what was Larry Summers going to talk about? Competitiveness.
Plus, the San Jose Mercury News on Stanford’s McCarthyism. “Universities should be paragons for the open exchange of ideas, even if they’re controversial or unpopular. And all connected with private and public university communities should protect that ideal.”
RUDY GIULIANI goes after Hillary for her MoveOn support.
BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW! “A 25-year quagmire.”
U.S. AND FRANCE agree on new sanctions against Iran.
FRANK J.: “In the Fred Thompson administration, there will be no need for the leaders of terrorist states to visit Ground Zero; Ground Zero will be wherever they live.”
Hey, do you think Frank J. fits the job description below? Only he has his own taser. . . .
UPDATE: Also, if you do tase Frank J., he just laughs maniacally and says “Beauty! Turn it up to 90 next time!”
ARE ALL RENTAL CARS BAD?
THELMA AND LOUISE, the Tim Blair / Iowahawk version.
TIM BERNERS-LEE SLAMS “Stupid male geek culture.” Though this turn of phrase might win over lonely geeks: “If there were more women involved we could move towards interoperability.”
HENRY WAXMAN’S TARNISHED WITNESS. Apparently he got a Norman Hsu-level background check . . . .
IN INSIDE HIGHER ED., a bad review for the AAUP:
In any event, on purely intellectual grounds, â€œCommittee A on Academic Freedom and Tenureâ€ would have been better advised to seek a broader preliminary review. Thatâ€™s because, regardless of oneâ€™s views about the propriety of bringing political opinions to the college classroom, the report is ill-executed. It takes aim at arguments that the critics havenâ€™t made; it caricatures other criticisms; and it insists on strange premises â€” the most singular of which is the idea that â€œtruthâ€ is whatever the members of a discipline say it is.
Besides enunciating the AAUPâ€™s dismal view of conservative scholars, the report makes one other theme abundantly clear. If we take the corporate authorship of the report at face value, the nationâ€™s largest association of faculty members cares far more about the freedom of professors than it does the education of students. In the AAUPâ€™s view, the freedom of faculty members is as broad and open-ended as a circus tent. The freedom of students to be taught in classes that focus on the subject at hand, unadorned by their instructorsâ€™ opinings on President Bush, global warming, or immigration â€” that freedom â€” hardly exists.
It wasnâ€™t always so. The AAUP was founded in 1915 by Arthur Lovejoy and John Dewey, who had been moved by the firing of a Stanford University faculty member because of his political views. The AAUP made its first mark with its publication of a â€œStatement of Principlesâ€ that laid out a compelling account of what academic freedom should be. First sentence: â€œThe term â€˜academic freedomâ€™ has traditionally had two applications â€” to the freedom of the teacher and to that of the student.â€ The AAUPâ€™s founding document is primarily concerned with the freedom of the teacher, but it includes a powerful set of caveats. As this paragraph does not appear in more recent AAUP statements or as far as I can tell elsewhere on the Internet, I offer it here in its entirety . . . .
The AAUP in 1915 saw the potential for faculty members to abuse academic freedom, and it warned that for the profession to protect itself it would have to â€œpurge its ranks of the incompetent and the unworthyâ€ who included those who engage in â€œuncritical and intemperate partisanship.â€
Nowadays that’s not a bug, it’s a feature!
A LOOK AT creeping antisemitism. Heck, in some quarters it’s not even bothering to creep any more.
HEH: “Here’s a sign of changing times: lawyers are picking up luxury real estate holdings that hedge fund guys can’t afford to keep.”
BRINGING NEW MEANING TO “PAJAMAHADEEN”: “Once her son is off to school, Laura Mansfield settles in at her dining room table with her laptop and begins trolling Arabic-language message boards and chat rooms popular with jihadists. Fluent in Arabic, the self-employed terror analyst often hacks into the sites, translates the material, puts it together and sends her analysis via a subscription service to intelligence agencies, law enforcement and academics.”
And read this, too.
ANOTHER IMMIGRATION VOTE next week?
This is the last thing the Republicans need.
BLOGOMETER: “The netroots are hopping mad over the Senate’s vote to condemn MoveOn’s ‘Gen. Betray Us’ ad.”
BAD MEDICINE: John Stossel on health care:
America’s health-care problem is not that some people lack insurance, it is that 250 million Americans do have it.
You have to understand something right from the start. We Americans got hooked on health insurance because the government did the insurance companies a favor during World War II. Wartime wage controls prohibited cash raises, so employers started giving noncash benefits like health insurance to attract workers. The tax code helped this along by treating employer-based health insurance more favorably than coverage you buy yourself. And state governments have made things worse by mandating coverage many people would never buy for themselves.
Competition also pushed companies to offer ever-more attractive policies, such as first-dollar coverage for routine ailments like ear infections and colds, and coverage for things that are not even illnesses, like pregnancy. We came to expect insurance to cover everything.
Read the whole thing.
WHEN GEORGE BUSH’S METAPHORS ARE TOO COMPLEX FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND, a career in journalism may be beyond your capacities. But not beyond your reach!
PAUL CASSELL IS RESIGNING THE BENCH. Among other reasons, he cites problems with judicial pay.
WHY IS MOVEON MAKING LIFE TOUGHER FOR DEMOCRATS?
Yesterday, an organization so small its 17 employees don’t even have a central office, found itself under attack by not only President Bush, who said the ad was “disgusting,” but also by the Democratic-controlled Senate, which passed a resolution 72 to 25 expressing its own outrage. Many Democrats blamed the group for giving moderate Republicans a ready excuse for staying with Bush and for giving Bush and his supporters a way to divert attention away from the war. . . .
Many Democratic strategists were privately furious at the group for launching an attack on a member of the military rather than Bush, arguing that it gave Republicans a point on which to attack the Democrats and to rally around the administration’s war policy. The displeasure underscores the uneasy alliance between MoveOn and the party.
If one assumes that MoveOn was out to help MoveOn, rather than the Democratic Party, this all makes sense. It has, I gather, been a fundraising boon to them, and it’s raised MoveOn’s profile within the party. Their capacity to mess things up only means that people have to pay more attention to them.
Public choice theory explains things once again!
UPDATE: A similar dynamic in a different organization.
HMM: “I’m not saying it’s a deliberate setup, but the last thing Obama needed in his presidential candidacy was the ‘Jena 6′ flap. No matter how he chooses to treat the case, he will fare the worse for it. . . . The saddest part of Obama’s Hobson’s choice is what it says about that aging black power structure. In forcing his hand this way, they seem to be saying that they don’t really want a black President of the United States.”
ERIC SCHEIE: “So many things are illegal now that it’s almost like a gigantic prosecutorial dartboard.”
REMEMBERING CLASSIC CARS: The 1979 AMC AMX. IowaHawk probably has seven. Or maybe none. . . .
Nice Farrah hairdo on the accompanying model, too.
THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY’S WAR AGAINST ITSELF? “Is there a Civil War still going on in Iraq? Perhaps. But there is another Civil War brewing… within the Democratic party.”
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Well, I think that this counts as a win:
The state of Alaska on Friday officially abandoned the “bridge to nowhere” project that became a nationwide symbol of federal pork-barrel spending.
The $398 million bridge would have connected Ketchikan, on one island in southeastern Alaska, to its airport on another nearby island.
“Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer,” Gov. Sarah Palin said in a statement.
She directed the state transportation department to find the most “fiscally responsible” alternative for access to the airport.
Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young championed the project through Congress two years ago, securing more than $200 million for the bridge between Ketchikan, on Revillagigedo Island, and Gravina Island.
You don’t see this kind of thing very often. But let’s hope that’s changing.
“AMONG THE BELIEVERS:” Jeff Goldstein stirs the pot.
AUTOBLOGGREEN: Autoblog reports from a plug-in hybrid show in D.C., and on other alternative automotive technologies.
HSOCKING HSU HSECRETS? Presumably, we’ll learn what’s going on as the investigation proceeds.
MORE ACADEMIC OPEN-MINDEDNESS on free speech. Are we talking universities? Or 527s?
CORY DOCTOROW on the information economy.
JOHN MCCAIN TO CODE PINK PROTESTORS: “We beat you yesterday, we beat you today, and we’ll beat you tomorrow. We don’t choose to lose.” Video, including a standing ovation from the audience, at the link.
CAN’T TURN HSU LOOSE: “Hsu Still ‘Hillraiser,’ At Least For Now.”
WELL, THIS SUCKS: Virginia Postrel mentions, in an oh-by-the-way fashion: “I have breast cancer and start chemotherapy next Friday.” Please send her your best wishes.