October 14, 2007
FAKE, but accurate. Er, except for the “accurate” part . . . .
FAKE, but accurate. Er, except for the “accurate” part . . . .
IF THE DEFICIT FALLS AND NO ONE REPORTS IT, does it make a sound?
Not much of one, except in the blogosphere. “The U.S. budget deficit fell to the lowest level in five years last week, but three of Americaâ€™s leading newspapers â€” the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times â€” couldnâ€™t find the space to mention the dramatic drop. . . . Does anyone seriously believe that the news would have been almost completely ignored if the deficit had instead gone up?”
Follow the link for more.
PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ASKING for more campus photos, but I’ve basically been too busy. But today when I went into the office, as I often do on Sundays, it was such beautiful weather that I had to take time to stroll around campus, and I did manage to take a few pictures.
There was no problem finding a parking space in the faculty garage.
It was a fine day for shade-tree motorcycle maintenance.
Reports that researchers in Oak Ridge have created fluorescent Black Bear/Honeybee hybrids are, alas, true.
And at the University of Tennessee, we care about student success. We have a center to prove it!
UPDATE: Turns out I’ve done the faculty-garage photo before. I had completely forgotten. But the Internet remembers all!
ALL THOSE EDITORS AND FACT-CHECKERS AT WORK: “There are six pictures in all on the page and five of the six captions are wrong; only that of Robert Kasten is correct. Aggregating so many errors at once takes real talent.”
MORE ON the Knights Templar and other monastic military orders, from Dave Kopel.
HAIR APPARENT: An exercise in journalistic groupthink.
MORE: “Ignore this post!”
THE NEW YORK TIMES is now reporting that Israel’s strike in Syria hit a nuclear facility. Old news in the blogosphere, but now it’s in the Paper of Record.
YET ANOTHER REASON FOR DRINKING:
A recent report (seen on Science Daily–yes, weâ€™re interested in science as well as food) from researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia points to a discovery made that shows that red wine, beyond the numerous current known health benefits, probably can work to protect humans from a number of common food-borne diseases. The researchers have found that, â€œred wines–Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot in particular–have anti-microbial properties that defend against food-borne pathogens and donâ€™t harm naturally useful bacteria like probiotic bacteria.â€
You can’t be too careful.
And here’s an NPR story on the subject, from All Things Considered. This represents quite a boost for space solar power, which I think is definitely worth further investigation.
SEEMS LIKE THIS SLOGAN SHOULD GET SOME VOTES: “If you like oral sex, vote Caragol for council.”
FORGET IT, JAKE, it’s Atlantic City.
MICKEY KAUS: “Why it will be hard to blog for the L.A. Times: You post something juicy on Thursday and then a middle-management twit will come in and censor it on Friday. … Remember, at the L.A.T. it’s all about not telling you what they think you shouldn’t want to know about.” This seems like an unsustainable strategy to me. Alas, however, it’s not just at the L.A. Times.
DOG BITES MAN In Iraq.
POLITICS 24/7: No one can hear you scream!
UPDATE: Okay, readers think I was way too easy on this piece. All right. Key points: (1) Old media dissing New Media. Yawn. (2) Listening to the XM POTUS Channel for 24 hours is no doubt boring, but it can’t be any more excruciating than 24 hours of CNN — as always when I’m trapped in airports and subjected to hours of the ubiquitous CNN there, I wonder how anyone can stand it; (3) While the XM POTUS Channel may not have any reporters on its payroll, it has lots of original reporting — on the PJ Media show, for example, the Insta-Wife and I have contributed original interviews with candidates and newsmakers each week, and there’s lots more of that kind of thing on that show and others. Compared with listening to the radio and writing an article about it, I’d say that counts as reporting.
Happy now? Really, at this point I figure readers can do this for themselves . . . .
ANOTHER UPDATE: So, driving into the office this afternoon I turned on XM POTUS and heard a complete, unexpurgated Barack Obama speech. Technically, I guess that doesn’t count as “reporting” — real reporting is where you take the full speech and then report only the parts that reflect well on your predetermined storyline — but it seems useful nonetheless.
MORE: Reader reaction seems kind of negative so far.
STILL MORE: On CNN and airports, reader Dart Montgomery emails: “Do you know why it’s always CNN? I don’t and have often wondered about that. Perhaps if you ask, one of your other readers might know? I think it would be interesting to find out.”
I assume they just got in early and locked things in before Fox, et al., were on the scene. But maybe I’m wrong.
THE ANBAR FORMULA spreads to the Shiites.
FORBES CALLS JOURNALISTS an endangered species. It doesn’t have to be that way, though journalists seem to be doing their best to undermine their own profession.
IS SLEEPING ON A MATTRESS ON THE FLOOR cruel and unusual punishment?
SOME FREQUENT FLYERS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS:
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Republican leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) found bipartisan agreement on maintaining one special privilege. Together they put language into a defense appropriations bill that would keep legal the practice of some senators of booking several flights on days they return home, keeping the most convenient reservation and dumping the rest without paying cancellation fees — a practice some airlines say could violate the new law.
Senators also have granted themselves a grace period on requirements that they pay pricey charter rates for private jet travel. . . . The Senate ethics committee decided not to enforce that rule for at least 60 days after it took effect Sept. 14, citing “the lack of experience in many offices in determining ‘charter rates.’ ”
The decision surprised some Senate staffers, Mitchell said, one of whom e-mailed her to say, “Welcome to the world of skirting around the rules we pass.”
Bah. For the rest of us, life isn’t so sweet: “Gotbaum wasn’t late for boarding. She didn’t forfeit her place by ignoring the airline’s procedures. Her only mistake was showing up at the US Airways gate and believing that her paid-in-full, reserved-seat airline ticket meant that she would actually have a seat on the plane.” If she’d been a member of Congress, it would have!
A GROWING NUMBER OF anti-Islam protests in Europe.
NASA: Giant Waves Over Iowa.
THE HENRY REED CAUCUS: Right-to-lifers want some comfort from Rudy Giuliani about abortion; I want some comfort on this vital issue.
A MAN OF HSUPERIOR TASTE:
Disgraced Democratic fundraiser Norman Hsu had a well-known affection for fine living and all things Clinton. And his collector’s taste and eye were on display Wednesday, when federal authorities unsealed documents showing they had seized more than 180 bottles of pricey wine from Hsu’s New York apartment, as well as a saxophone believed to have been autographed by President Clinton.
Experts valued the wine collection — which includes dozens of bottles of Chateau Lafite Rothschild and vintage Cristal champagne, as well as California wines such as Opus One — at up to $100,000.
“I wish I had this collection,” said Robert Yetman, a wine-industry consultant and professor at the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. “It’s a little showy, but nice.”
Per Holmberg, director of acquisitions for Vinfolio, a San Francisco company that sells fine wine to collectors, called Hsu’s selections classic — the choices of “a true bon vivant.”
Until recently, Hsu, 56, traveled in glittering circles as one of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most prolific supporters, raising more than $1.2 million for the New York Democrat and other Democratic candidates in the last three years.
Still not much evidence as to where his money came from, though.
UPDATE: Bill Quick finds Hsu’s taste a bit nouveau:
This â€œcollectionâ€ sounds like something thrown together by a guy who walks into BevMo and says, â€œWhatâ€™s the most expensive champagne you got? Cristal? Great. Gimme a couple of cases. And some of that Rothschild stuff, I hear about that all the time. How about domestic red wines? Opus One? Fine. Three cases of that, too.â€
ANOTHER SHOE DROPS: Former Duke Lacrosse Coach Sues School.
ANOTHER SHOE DROPS: Former Duke Lacrosse Coach Sues School.
MY EARLIER MENTION OF DORIS LESSING’S NOBEL PRIZE prompted readers to recall this column of hers on political correctness and communism’s legacy in language, and that reminded me of this commentary by Lessing on the gender wars, linked in the very earliest days of InstaPundit. And — alas behind a subscription wall — this scathing piece on Robert Mugabe.
MY MUNCHKIN’S BETTER THAN your munchkin.
UNFIT TO PRINT? It’s all about the narrative.
THE U.S. SENATE: UNITERS, NOT DIVIDERS! A reader sends this summary, not available online as far as I know:
* Iraqi Figures Launch Campaign Against US Senate Resolution
Iraqi political and religious figures in addition to Arab figures have launched a campaign to collect the signatures of one million people, who oppose the US Senate resolution on partitioning Iraq into federal regions on sectarian bases. A conference was held in Amman to this effect, during which the participants, who represent various sects, called on the Arab countries to stand by Iraq and condemn this resolution.
(Dubai Al-Sharqiyah Television in Arabic — Independent, private news and entertainment channel focusing on Iraq, run by Sa’d al-Bazzaz, publisher of the Arabic-language daily Al-Zaman)
Soon, the U.S. Senate will be held in as much esteem in Iraq as it is in America.
I DON’T DO FACEBOOK, but I like this.
FREE TV ONLINE: Including the new reality show, The Search for the Next Elvira, though that one inspired this review: “This show actually made me a fan of the current Elvira.”
Plus, uncensored South Park.
MAKING DUKE AND DURHAM LOOK LIKE PIKERS: “The Knights Templar, the medieval Christian military order accused of heresy and sexual misconduct, will soon be partly rehabilitated when the Vatican publishes trial documents it had closely guarded for 700 years.”
THE CARNIVAL OF CARS IS UP: Including immunization advice for car fans visiting our nation’s capital.
BRUCE KESLER ALSO NOTICED what the media reports left out regarding General Sanchez’s speech.
UPDATE: Sanchez echoing Rumsfeld.
And Captain Ed observes: “It seems that half of the message retired General Richard Sanchez intended to deliver missed the cut at most newsrooms, and with most bloggers. . . . Why? Well, it turns out that Sanchez considered his first target the media itself, which he blames for a large part of the problems he sees in Iraq . . . . Given that, it seems highly ironic that the journalists covering the story attempted to cover up the acidic, biting, and mostly accurate criticisms of their own performance in this war while giving front-page treatment to Sanchez’ criticisms of the political structure at the same time. If Sanchez has such credibility and standing to bring this kind of criticism to bear on Washington, why didn’t the Post and other news agencies give the same level of exposure to his media criticisms as well? He basically accuses them of cynically selling out the soldiers to defeat American efforts to win the war, and made sure that those accusations came first before his assessment of the political failures, but you’d never know that from the Post.”
THIS LOOKS COOL: McIlhenny’s Gold: How a Louisiana Family Built the Tabasco Empire. There are lots of hot sauces I like, but Tabasco remains the gold standard.
OKAY, THIS IS BIZARRE: After one county web page in California was hacked and redirected to a porn site, the GSA — which controls everything ending in .gov, including state and local websites — shut down access across the state of California:
They used a shotgun to kill a flea,” state spokesman Jim Hanacek said on Friday.
Federal authorities, who have ultimate authority over most local and state Web sites, attempted to block all domains ending in ca.gov Tuesday, Hanacek said.
State agencies across California experienced rolling e-mail and Web site outages for about seven hours, and Internet users had trouble pulling up some state Web sites, he said.
The General Services Administration, which shut down the sites, apologized for the inconvenience on Thursday and said it would try to find a more targeted solution for similar problems in the future.
Jeez. (Via Kevin Drum).
HOMEOWNER VS. BURGLARS: “When you hear a pump shotgun click, it makes everyone think twice.” Video here.
GOOD THING I’M NOT ONE, THEN: “Good Catholics support government-run health care.”
VIDEO: Doris Lessing learns of her Nobel prize and displays a proper level of enthusiasm.
ALL ABOARD THE Smooth-talk Express!
JAMES LILEKS: “Leave it to a guy to invent reversible underwear.”
OUCH: “Writing for CNN today, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Graham Nash, and Harvey Wasserman share some thoughts about nuclear power (Note: Don’t think about that last sentence too hard. You’ll hurt your head or bring on the apocalypse or something). They’re worried that the siren song of cheap, clean energy will seduce us once again, when we should be rightfully seduced only by Bonnie’s dulcet tones.”
THOUGHTS ON INTELLECTUALS AND MARKETS, from Gary Becker.
JESSE WALKER OFFERS ADVICE ON how to win a Nobel peace prize.
FROM JOHN TIERNEY, an inconvenient question:
I donâ€™t want to dampen the celebration over Al Goreâ€™s Nobel Peace Prize, but I wonder if this is, as they say, a â€œteachable moment.â€ Should he skip the trip to Oslo, Norway, on a fuel-burning jet and instead accept the award by teleconference? . . . Should Mr. Gore follow his own advice here? You could argue that the publicity generated by his presence in Oslo would do more to combat global warming than the reduced emissions from trip. But you could also argue that the symbolism of staying home would send an even more powerful message about the need for everyone to conserve energy. He could generate plenty of publicity by delivering the Nobel lecture through a video link and letting the prize be sent to him on an energy-efficient ship.
Plus, an exercise for the reader!
MEGAN MCARDLE: “This self-flagellating column by Jonathan Rauch about what he got wrong on Iraq made me go looking at the Iraq Index from Brookings to see just how guilty I should feel this month. (Who doesn’t enjoy a spot of self-flagellation?) Instead, I got a happy surprise.”
UPDATE: Some interesting stuff on water, sewer, and electric utilities in Iraq in the comments, as you scroll down.
BAINBRIDGE ON fixing SSRN.
UPDATE: Hey, it occurs to me that no sooner do I crack the SSRN’s Top Ten U.S. Law Professors list than people start talking about “fixing” it. Coincidence? . . . .
IT SEEMS THAT QUITE A FEW PEOPLE ARE questioning the timing of the Armenian genocide resolution.
UPDATE: Including Dr. Melissa Clouthier.
DEROY MURDOCK LOOKS AT “RUDYPHOBIA” ON THE RIGHT: “What do Giulianiâ€™s Religious Right detractors really fear he will do about abortion?”
HATE SPEECH AND DOUBLE STANDARDS: Parsing Lee Bollinger.
NOT YOUR FATHER’S JACK-O-LANTERN: Extreme pumpkin-carving.
HOW THE “FAIRNESS DOCTRINE” WORKED — some history.
Bush Ties Peace Prize Record
With the selection of the International Committee on Climate Change and Al Gore, Jr., for this yearâ€™s Nobel Peace Prize, President Bush has moved into the record book for most Peace Prizes awarded to Americans during their presidency.
His Presidency is tied with three others for most Americans winning the Award!
Previous American Presidents to share multiple peace prizes during their Presidency were Ronald Reagan, Richard M. Nixon andâ€¦Herbert Hoover.
UPDATE: Related comments here.
MADE IT HOME IN ONE PIECE: Today Delta got us everywhere on time, with no hassle.
ARNOLD KLING: The road to McMedicine.
PROGRESS: We’re in Atlanta.
THE TURKS ARE UNHAPPY ABOUT THE ARMENIA VOTE: I don’t have a problem with the resolution as such, but who decided that now is a good time to upset the Turks?
UPDATE: Some thoughts on the subject from Max Boot.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I’ve gotten a lot of comments like this one from reader Dave Schneider:
Who thought this would be a good time to upset the Turks? The Democrats, who see the possibility that we might NOT lose in Iraq slipping.
So, if you can’t cut off funds for the war, be more subtle: provoke the Turks into cutting our supply lines and make success much more difficult.
I don’t think the Democrats are quite that Machiavellian, but clearly quite a few other people feel differently.
DOES HOWARD DEAN want Gore in the race?
HOUSE JUDICIARY VOTES TO extend the ban on taxing Internet access, “though the Senate’s taking its sweet time.”
DUE TO A SERVER GLITCH AT XM RADIO, the PJ Media show will air tonight, instead of its normal timeslot of last night. It’ll be on at 6 pm Eastern, XM Channel 130. But you can listen online now here.
IBN WARRAQ VS. TARIQ RAMADAN: A debate on the superiority of Western culture.
GETTING READY TO BOARD THE FLIGHT: Wish us luck.
THE ENRON WHISTLEBLOWER who wasn’t.
HOW THE UNITED STATES BECAME SWITCHBOARD TO THE WORLD: The accompanying illustration explains why it’s so useful to the NSA to be able to intercept calls among foreigners that pass through the United States.
GREG MANKIW HAS THOUGHTS ON academia’s growing diversity problem.
A HOME FIRE-SAFETY CHECKLIST.
A NOBEL PEACE PRIZE for Al Gore. I think he makes a fitting addition to the pantheon of Nobel Peace Prize holders.
UPDATE: Big Gore roundup here: “Al Goreâ€™s got an Oscar, an Emmy, and as of today a Nobel Peace Prize. And the ‘Draft Gore’ movement thinks theyâ€™d all look good on his desk in the Oval Office.”
IRANIAN STUDENT PROTESTERS: “We wish we were Columbia students!”
MICKEY KAUS: “This isn’t the first time kausfiles hasn’t met Drudge’s journalistic standards!”
JIM GERAGHTY: “One of Hillary Clinton’s lawyers from Whitewater was in charge of reviewing copy at the Enquirer?! What are the odds of that?”
READER ALLEN ROBERTS WRITES: “So, given your air travel woes, are you still as down on those who travel by private jet?”
Hey, I never said they were stupid. I just don’t want them to lecture us on greenhouse consciousness.
WELL, THE POPULAR MECHANICS FOLKS FOUND US A HOTEL, so we’re set up. Thanks to all the people who emailed with offers of help. On a trip where we actually only spent one day doing what we came to do, we’ll have beein in airports on four separate days. Air travel needs work.
I can’t really blame Delta for this. It’s weather, apparently. But the fact is that air travel can’t be counted on to get you where you need to go when you’re supposed to be there. It’s a dysfunctional industry, and needs major fixing.
FLIGHT CANCELLED. No more flights until tomorrow. No airport hotels available.
Remind me not to fly again.
YES, WE’RE STILL STUCK AT LAGUARDIA: The Delta folks are now claiming that our 3:25 flight to Knoxville will depart at 6.
PHILIP LEVY ON FREE TRADE: “As the Bush Administration and Congress gird for battle this fall over four newly signed free trade agreements, one could be forgiven for thinking that these FTAs must be economically momentous to merit the looming conflict. But one would be wrong. While the global political stakes are huge, the domestic economic stakes are penny ante.”
A WALK THROUGH RAMADI: Video from Michael Totten.
BRAD ROURKE: “Have we forgotten what itâ€™s like to make an effort for anything?”
SO I PUT UP THE POST ABOUT AIRPORT DELAYS and a minute later my cellphone rang. It was Hallerin Hill, who’s teaching a class in communications for the MBA program at UT. He wanted to know how I was blogging from the airport — I explained it was via the Sprint wireless card. Works great, even where there’s no wi-fi.
UPDATE: Hallerin texts that it’s the UT “Executive Development Program,” not the MBA program. See how fast we can fix errors in the blogosphere!
IN SALON: A look at Bill Clinton’s influence in a Hillary Clinton administration:
Laws designed to minimize real or perceived influence peddling limit the activities of a sitting president. But campaign and election law attorneys say nothing prohibits Bill Clinton from continuing to accept big checks made out to him or his foundation, even if his wife is elected president. “I don’t know of any law that would restrict that,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington. “The spouse is not exactly a federal employee.” . . .
But if Bill Clinton raises and makes money in 2009 the way he has in recent years, it will be at a blistering pace. He started his William J. Clinton Foundation in 1997 to fund the construction of his presidential library in Little Rock, Ark. But the organization has since expanded to encompass an umbrella of nonprofit initiatives to fight HIV, assist developing countries and combat climate change. Donations have increased exponentially. He has accepted hundreds of millions in donations to date; tax records for 2005, the most recent available, show Clinton raised more than $80 million for his foundation in that year alone.
Foundations are not required by law to reveal the identities of donors, and the former president has resisted showing where the money for his is coming from.
Read the whole thing. (Thanks to Walter Shapiro for the link).
AIR TRAVEL SUCKS (CONT’D): Flight to Knoxville is currently showing a one-and-a-half hour delay.
CULTURE OF CORRUPTION UPDATE: “Here’s how the Democrats â€œdrained the swampâ€ and ended the Republicansâ€™ ‘culture of corruption’ on Capitol Hill: Roll Call recently reported that three top Democrats on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee got more than $100 million in earmarks for clients of the PMA Group, an Arlington-based lobbying shop run by their former chiefs of staff. The earmark recipients coincidentally (we are supposed to believe) donated $542,350 during the first half of this year to the ethically challenged trio.”
I believe that my modest hopes for the Democratic congress — that it wouldn’t be any worse than the crooked GOP congress we had before — were nonetheless too extravagant for reality.
THE INSTAWIFE was interviewed by CNN on what to do if your job is giving you a heart attack.
IN THE MAIL: Stephen Colbert’s I am America! (And so can you!)
GOOD NEWS: “All branches of the Armed Forces met or exceeded their recruitment goals for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, and the Army expects to accelerate its expansion in the next two years, top brass at the Pentagon announced Wednesday.”
DEREK LOWE on the latest Nobel prize in chemistry.
MARK LEVIN ON FRED THOMPSON: “This ‘senior moment’ and ‘Fred Thompson-is-lazy’ stuff is really starting to irk. I remember hearing the same comments about Ronald Reagan in every campaign in which I participated â€” 1976 and 1980.”