October 28, 2007
CONGRATULATIONS TO GATEWAY PUNDIT JIM HOFT. I’m feeling a bit left out.
CONGRATULATIONS TO GATEWAY PUNDIT JIM HOFT. I’m feeling a bit left out.
DON SURBER WONDERS at the Associated Press’s sudden enthusiasm for pork barrel spending. What could account for that?
I’ve had some thoughts on this subject myself.
ANTIWAR PROTESTS FIZZLE. Again.
How do you ask someone to be the last man to march for a mistake?
RICK ELLENSBURG, Internet detective. This cries out for an IowaHawk parody . . . .
UPDATE: More comedy gold.
MORE: Ouch. “Lacking even the ethics of a journalist.”
STILL MORE: Some historical perspective.
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BLOGGER: It’s pledge week at Tim Blair’s place.
THE UNSTOPPABLE COLBERT-FOR-PRESIDENT CANDIDACY: “A million Facebook users have signed up for the ’1,000,000 Strong for Stephen T Colbert’ group in the last week â€” though the group could be read as a satire of Barack Obama’s similarly-named group, which has fewer than 400,000 members after 9 months.”
UPDATE: More on Colbert: “I think his goal should not be South Carolina, but to actually participate in two of the debates, one for each party he’s running in. I guarantee they would be the most watched debates ever.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: The Edwards Campaign, running scared, tries to gin up a snack food controversy.
SNUBBED: “The Democratic Party’s convention in Florida during the weekend was like a rock concert performed solely by warm-up bands. . . .. All the leading Democratic presidential candidates followed orders from the Democratic National Committee to boycott the 3-day convention at the Walt Disney World resorts, and public campaigning in the state in general, as punishment for Florida’s move to hold its presidential primary early.”
MARK STEYN EXPLAINS that life is not a movie.
GERALD FORD on Bill and Hillary.
NOW THIS IS A SHOCK:
A high-profile documentary, Sony Pictures Classics’ “Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains,” had a poor debut, taking in just $10,573 at seven theaters. The film from director Jonathan Demme (“The Silence of the Lambs”) follows the former president during a tour to promote his book “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.”
Failing to pack theaters for a documentary about Jimmy Carter? How fickle, the public.
MAYBE I SHOULD TRY THIS solution to air-travel woes.
THE RANGEL TAX BILL: Redistributing wealth from the “very rich” to people making between $200,000 and $500,000 a year! “Thus, as a first approximation, the plan increases the progressivity of the tax code by redistributing income from the very rich (e.g., CEOs, hedge fund managers, superstar athletes and actors) to the upper middle class (e.g., doctors, lawyers, congressmen).”
Supporting the people, not the powerful!
ERIC SCHEIE ON THE BUCHANANITES: “They may be right wing fringe, but they’re providing an incalculable service to the left.. . . I wasn’t going to bother with a post, because this is really nothing new for Pat Buchanan. But — now that I’ve seen these characterizations of Little Green Footballs as a ‘pro-Muslim, left-wing blog’, I think a few words are in order.”
DEBT VS. DEFICIT: “The Bush administration and congressional Republicans have spent the past several weeks celebrating the fact that the unified budget deficit for fiscal 2007 ($161 billion) was 1.2 percent of GDP. But that ratio has become increasingly misleading in recent years because the annual increase in the national debt has dwarfed the unified budget deficit and the nominal growth rate of the economy.” Falling deficits are good, but not sufficient. And even during the “surpluses” of the 1990s the national debt continued to grow. It’s not really a surplus unless debt goes down.
UPDATE: Charges of “an elementary analytical error.” Dang. I’d hoped to achieve advanced analytical error.
PEOPLE ARE STILL CIRCULATING THE FAKE CNN STORY blaming MEChA for the California fires, so it’s worth repeating that it’s fake. I agree with the commenter who notes, “this is not The Onion, this is more like those phishing emails that look almost exactly like paypal or ebay.” Yes, it’s not meant to fool you for 5 seconds, it’s meant to fool you, period.
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA on the big screen.
ENVY AND FEAR, in Canada’s heartland.
COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE POLITICIZATION OF JUDICIAL RACES: But couldn’t the term just as easily be “democratization?” Yeah, there’s politics — but there’s plenty of politics in judicial appointments, too. It’s just not out in the open.
A LOOK AT mandatory diversity in Iowa, from John Rosenberg.
MOVING THE GOAL POSTS: The Mudville Gazette notes a grudging accommodation to realities on the ground:
The narrative on Iraq – the one you see in the media, that is – is changing. Claims that “we’ve lost” and that American soldiers have been beaten by opponents who are righteous heroes or nine-foot tall and bullet proof are being quite subtly shifted to arguments that no potential victory (if even grudgingly acknowledged) could be worth the price. This argument may prove irresistible to those who’ve invested heavily in defeat.
But read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Don Surber spots similar lemons-from-lemonade behavior from CBS. “You see, if the enemy turns its swords into plowshares, thatâ€™s bad because the enemy will corner the market on plowshares.”
IN THE MAIL: John Hart’s novel, Down River.
I’M SURPRISED THIS HASN’T COME AROUND BEFORE: A cubicle defense system.
GREG MANKIW ROUNDS UP tax reform proposals.
WHEN MURDERERS are heroes.
TECHNOLOGY THAT DOESN’T WORK: We’ve been in DC, investigating the MRSA outbreak — we brought plenty of hand sanitizer — and the hotel we’re staying in features the Miconic 10 elevator system, where you enter your floor number instead of just pushing “up” or “down” and the system routes the elevators for maximum efficiency. Except that it doesn’t work. Wait times have been as much as 15 minutes. Plus, one poor woman rushed to get into our elevator as it was heading up, only to realize that — since there are no floor-selection buttons in the elevators themselves — she was just stuck there until she could get off at another floor and select her destination there. Plus, there’s something slightly disturbing about the lack of any controls in the elevator — it’s the “spam in a can” approach to interfloor navigation, or something. I’ve used these systems in big skyscrapers (the Hearst building has them) and they seem to work there, but in this hotel, it’s pretty much sucked.
A PHOTO TOUR of the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.
“TRUMAN LIED, ALIENS DIED.”
OBAMA TAKES THE OFFENSIVE: ” Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Saturday lashed out at rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, accusing her of dodging tough questions about Social Security. Obama, campaigning at a senior center in Des Moines, said all the presidential candidates need to talk honestly about Social Security instead of sidestepping the issue, but he singled out Clintonâ€”the front-runner for the nominationâ€”for special criticism.”
THE KREMLIN’S CYBER-OFFENSIVE: “After ignoring the Internet for years to focus on controlling traditional media such as television and newspapers, the Kremlin and its allies are turning their attention to cyberspace, which remains a haven for critical reporting and vibrant discussion in Russia’s dwindling public sphere.”
BIN LADEN ADMITS DEFEAT in Iraq.
A LOOK AT CHINA’S underground electronic music scene.
THE INFLUENCE OF “BIG MONEY” ON POLITICS: Suddenly, not such a big deal.
INDEED: “As Dan Rather –obviously TNR editors’ role model– would say: ‘Courage.’”
MONSTERS EVERYWHERE? I don’t care! I wonder if there will be a Dutch translation?
JAMES LILEKS: “If you could tell your previous 1997 incarnation one thing, what might it be?”
I’m pretty sure it would be “Buy Google.”
A DIFFERENT SLANT ON ILLEGAL ALIENS: “If he wins his bid for the White House, Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson may be just the man to get to the bottom of the 60-year-old Roswell UFO mystery.”
I GUESS THEY FIGURED THAT AFTER AHMADINEJAD AT COLUMBIA, IT WAS OKAY: “In the boneheaded move of the year, conservative student group Young Americans for Freedom invited British National Party (BNP) leader Nick Griffin, a flat-out racist and Holocaust denier, to speak about the dangers of Islam at Michigan State University.”
UPDATE: Ron Paul supporters?
EXTREME MORTMAN: Congress can get something done!
SEARED, SEARED in his memory.
MICKEY KAUS: “Will three surges late in his term salavage Bush’s presidency? 1) Petraeus’ ‘surge’ in Iraq; 2) Bernanke’s rate-cutting liquidity surge to prevent the economy from sliding into recession; 3) The new border enforcement surge, which might tighten the unskilled labor market so the economy looks good from the bottom as well as the top (and save Bush from whiffing completely on a signature issue)?”
Kaus, however, underestimates the resourcefulness of the American media in extracting lemons from lemonade.
SOLVING THE MEDIA’S diversity problem.
OUCH: “Europe was not as outraged by Auschwitz as by Guantanamo Bay.â€
LIVE-BLOGGING FROM THE X-PRIZE CUP, at Rand Simberg’s place.
POL POT’S STRETCH LIMO for sale on eBay.
Ever notice how the champions of the proletariat always have stretch limos?
CAR LUST: The unforgettable AMC Matador X.
WITH ALL THE CAREERS BEING BUILT ON FAKE NEWS, I don’t see why a fake press conference comes as any surprise, really . . . .
In the Colbert Administration, all press conferences will be done this way!
SOME POST-CALVAN advice for reporters in Iraq.
AT THE NEW REPUBLIC: Mistaking Vietnam movies for real life. “To read the Thomas pieces was, simply, to doubt them. And to wonder if its editors had ever actually met a soldier on his way to or from Iraq, or talked to any human being involved in the modern military.”
UPDATE: What goes around, comes around.
TOM MAGUIRE: “Does the John Edwards campaign have a death wish? To the litany which includes the 28,000 square foot home, his job with a hedge fund (to learn about poverty!) and the $400 haircuts we can now add a story about the decision by the Edwards campaign to locate their campaign headquarters in the poshest part of posh Chapel Hill, North Carolina. And the death wish? Well, the location of his campaign headquarters was a non-story until the Edwards people got a bit heavy-handed with a UNC professor.”
GATEWAY PUNDIT ROUNDS UP more news from Iraq.
IN KNOXVILLE, A RED-LIGHT CAMERA TRAVESTY IS FINALLY FIXED:
For months, citizens accused of running camera-monitored red lights in Knoxville were told they’d have to pay $67.50 just to have a hearing to contest the charge.
“The city acknowledges that was a mistake, having that incorrect language in the notice,” attorney Michael S. Kelley told U.S. District Judge Thomas Phillips at a hearing Thursday.
Neither Deputy City Law Director Ron Mills nor Municipal Court Administrator Rick Wingate could say how long it took city officials to discover that error.
The whole thing has pretty much been outsourced: “Redflex Traffic Systems Inc., a private company tapped to administrate the camera-based enforcement program, was responsible for fashioning those citation forms.”
And the city officials could have discovered the error by reading InstaPundit back in 2006.
BLOGLIGHT: The best disinfectant.
IN THE MAIL: A novel by Harold Coyle and Barrett Tillman, Prometheus’s Child.
SO MUCH FOR THAT WHOLE “LEGAL TENDER” THING: Apple refusing to accept cash for iPhones.
LEARNING ABOUT THE BBC from Facebook.
HOUSE OF PAIN: John Baden on the housing market and why pain is important.
Although the panel said it would not accept anonymous tips, it assured those who came forward that their identity would be held in the “strictest confidence.”
But in an email sent out today, the committee inadvertently sent the email addresses of all the would-be whistleblowers to everyone who had written in to the tipline. The committee email was sent to tipsters who had used the website form, including presumably whistleblowers themselves, and all of the recipients of the email were accidentally included in the “to:” field — instead of concealing those addresses with a so-called blind carbon copy or “bcc: . . .
Compounding the mistake, the committee later sent out a second email attempting to recall the original email; it, too, included all recipients in the “to:” field, according to a recipient of the emails.
That’s gonna make people want to come forward. Meanwhile, how about some remedial education in “how to use email” for the Judiciary staff?
IN THE VALLEY OF ENNUI. That’s pretty much my reaction.
IF THE FU HSITS: “I confess. I’ve been just waiting for the opportunity to write that.”
STUPID HUMANS: Ralph Kinney Bennett observes that people insist on doing what they want, not what planners think they should.
THOUGHTS ON swinging the war-fatigued, at RedState.
RON ROSENBAUM on Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Putin.
THE JOYS OF spiked coffee.
A LOOK AT SPACE TETHERS: Promising cheap, efficient Earth-space transit, if they just unspool right.
IT’S A QUAGMIRE: America can’t win the war on fire.
IN THE MAIL: Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman’s Ethical Realism: A Vision for America’s Role in the World.
JAMES FALLOWS: Life really is unfair. Plus, the upside to global warming!
JOHN FUND looks at Mike Huckabee.
AAUGH! It’s nearly Halloween, so it’s time for Christmas decorations to go up.
THANKS TO THE FOLKS WHO TESTED yesterday’s SSRN download. It seems like a user-friendliness issue — people didn’t know to click on the “download from SSRN” button at the bottom of the page instead of the confusing download button at the top of the page that just takes you to the bottom. But you do have to have cookies enabled.
IDEOLOGY doesn’t pay the rent at the NYT.
MELANIE SCARBOROUGH thinks D.C. cops are getting full of themselves: “Which statute requires law-abiding citizens to produce ID to walk down a sidewalk? What law says that citizens must explain to police where they are going and why?”
ETHICAL PARSING OF A LAWYER’S THREE-WAY: My prediction is that this will end up boosting law school applications.
MORE ON The New Republic, Beauchamp, and the Army, from Bob Owens. Including this observation: “As far as this story is concerned, it seems that only bloggers are doing the job that most journalists won’t do, such as sending emails, asking questions, and making phone calls to those involved in the still-developing story.”
BAGHDAD HOLLYWOOD: “t doesn’t matter how many Oscar winners are in front of or behind the camera â€” audiences are proving to be conscientious objectors when it comes to this fall’s surge of antiwar and anti-Bush films.”
J.D. JOHANNES REPORTS on the state of independent war reporting in 2007.
MICKEY KAUS: “In a desperate bid for respectability, the struggling New York Times has begun an association with the prestigious bloggingheads.tv start-up.”
RUDY VS. HILLARY: A choice, not an echo! Or maybe not.
GOOD WAR NEWS FROM ATLANTA: I witnessed this very phenomenon myself, a few months ago.
“AN INSIDE JOB? HOW DARE YOU?” Bill Clinton takes on 9/11 conspiracists. Bravo.
THOUGHTS ON CHARITY and the Abrahamic religions.
WHY HAMPTON INN IS MUCH, MUCH BETTER THAN COMFORT INN.
STEPHEN GREEN explains the obvious. But note that no longer being a member of the Libertarian Party is hardly the same thing as not being a libertarian. If it were, there would be precious few libertarians left.
Meanwhile, I’m charged with destroying the conservative blogosphere via my seductive radical libertarian ways:
Rob Neppell (aka N.Z. Bear) made an astute point that the concerns of the largest blog on the Rightâ€”Instapunditâ€”tends to drive our conversation. He pointed out for the audience that Reynolds was not a conservative but a self-professed libertarian who was once quoted as saying he’d be delighted to live in a country where happily married gay couples had closets full of assault weapons.”
The panelists chuckled; the audience didnâ€™t seem as amused. The reaction speaks volumes. The fact that many center-right bloggers care more about getting linked by a radical libertarian than they do in discussing the concerns of their fellow conservatives is one of the primary reasons the Right blogosphere is a failing to have the same impact as the Left.
I can’t help being seductive — it’s just how I was made. But I don’t see my failure to lead a conservative blogging revolution as a failure at all, since I’m, you know, not a conservative. People who don’t like gay marriage can do their own blogging thing, and I’ll link to ‘em sometimes — I do, after all — but not with approval. I’m not on board the anti-gay-marriage, anti-abortion train, and never have been.
UPDATE: Reader Tucker Goodrich emails:
It’d be nice one day if the Republicans could figure out what theLibertarians never will: libertarianism is far and away the predominant political philosophy in the US. Neither the Democrats, the Republicans, or, especially, the Libertarians can figure this out, but your success, as well as Reagan’s, are indicative of this fact.
Where Americans differ from the Libertarian party and the Democrats, is that they believe that they have a right to defend themselves. And this is such a critical issue, that the other differences really don’t matter. The Republicans agree with Americans on the right to defense, but fall short on moralizing bossiness, and, well, corruption.
Three items would make the Republicans the majority party forever: A strong defense of defense, a libertarian take on social issues, and a conservative approach to finance.
Hmm… Sounds like Guiliani.
I’m no Ronald Reagan. And Giuliani is no libertarian. But Goodrich is right about what would make the Republicans a majority party.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Thoughts from Don Surber.
THEY TOLD ME THAT IF GEORGE W. BUSH WERE RE-ELECTED, our society would be riddled with anonymous informers who would rat out politically unacceptable thoughts to the authorities. And they were right!
IN SEARCH OF THE MYSTERIOUS skunk ape.