November 4, 2007
BOTTLING AND SELLING morality.
BOTTLING AND SELLING morality.
JOHN TIERNEY: Is nutrition science really science?
PUTIN HAS “just stopped pretending.”
EDWARDS BREAKS HIS YES-OR-NO RULE — by 88 words.
IRAQ fading as a campaign issue? “Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek noted that a new poll by his magzine showed only 19 percent say Iraq will most influence their choice for president. Thatâ€™s way down and falling.”
This should be good for Democrats, but only if they can execute a (second) pivot on the war, and start talking appealingly about other topics. Hilary’s been ready for this all along; Edwards and Obama not so much. And it only increases the GOP’s vulnerability on the corruption issue.
SO THIS WEEKEND I TRAVELED TO NASHVILLE to attend a law clerks’ reunion marking Judge Merritt’s 30th anniversary on the bench. It was a good time, and the Judge looked great.
There wasn’t a lot of political talk, but I heard a long-term “yellow dog” Democrat say that he would never vote for Hillary no matter what. “I’d sooner vote for a third term for George W. Bush.” And another person said that she was hearing a lot of anti-Hillary talk in Boston, which should be pretty Hillary-friendly territory.
I’m not crazy about Hilary, but I don’t feel the visceral hatred that some people do. But some people really do feel that visceral hatred, and interestingly quite a few of them are Democrats.
UPDATE: Ed Cone: “Yep. Last night I saw a genuine Upper West Side liberal literally shudder at the mention of Hillary’s name.”
Plus this: “I don’t really get the whole visceral hatred thing, but I guess I’m less inclined to personalize my relationships with politicians than some folks.” Me too.
MORE: Some people, on the other hand, personalize everything. Whatever.
SAUDI ARABIA: Hub of world terror.
PAUL KRUGMAN as Hari Seldon.
REPORTING FROM THE At-Home Dad Convention.
GARRY WILLS: “Harvesting carrots, on a consistent pro-life hypothesis, would constitute something of a massacre.”
“Salads are only for murderers,
Cole slaw’s a fascist regime,
Don’t think that they don’t have feelings,
Just ’cause a radish can’t scream?”
FALLOUT FROM THE HOLLYWOOD WRITERS’ STRIKE: Reality Talk Shows?
MUKASEY: Interested in going after “mainstream obscenity?”
I’d prefer they go after terrorists. However, my guess is that he was just humoring Orrin Hatch, the way you do with Uncle Fred after Thanksgiving dinner . . . . “Great stock tip, Uncle Fred. Yeah, I’ll definitely look into it.”
“POSTER-CLOWNS” AND “SELECTIVE JOB DEDICATION,” at the State Department. The State Department’s performance — never great in my lifetime — seems to have been particularly unimpressive in recent years.
YOUR DONATIONS AT WORK: Michael Yon’s posts are now being made available in German. He’s adding other languages, to help get the word out around the somewhat tendentious foreign media.
QUESTION: So why don’t you have a Playstation 3? My answer: I’m afraid I might like it.
VIDEO: Michael Yon on Iraq, on CNN — with Jamie McIntyre.
ANOTHER U.N. PEACEKEEPER SEX SCANDAL, this time involving underage girls in Haiti.
If American troops had the kind of sex-scandal track record that U.N. peacekeepers do, we’d never hear the end of it. Since it’s the U.N., though, we barely hear the beginning.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: More military earmarks:
Even though members of Congress cut back their pork barrel spending this year, House lawmakers still tacked on to the military appropriations bill $1.8 billion to pay 580 private companies for projects the Pentagon did not request.
Twenty-one members were responsible for about $1 billion in earmarks, or financing for pet projects, according to data lawmakers were required to disclose for the first time this year. Each asked for more than $20 million for businesses mostly in their districts, ranging from major military contractors to little known start-ups.
You’ll be shocked to hear that John Murtha is involved.
IN THE MAIL: Sam Martin’s The Curious Boy’s Book of Adventure: 100 Hijinks and Escapades. Lots of advice on things like building radios, how to juggle, lighting a fire without matches, etc.
Some people will see this as a me-too response to The Dangerous Book for Boys, and I suppose there’s probably something to that. But it’s also evidence that the Dangerous Book has opened up a previously dormant genre and gotten it a lot more attention.
SO NO NEWS, THEN: Michael Yon emails: “I’ve been down town on the streets of Baghdad most of Sunday morning and afternoon. Didn’t hear a shot fired, but did see a new road being built.”
But, actually, he was on CNN.
ANOTHER GRIM MILESTONE: Iraqis returning to Baghdad. Well, it’s grim for some people.
THE IRANIAN LABOR MOVEMENT: “Heroic and ignored.”
“SWEET BUT ILLEGAL:” A look at portable cellphone jammers:
Andrew reached into his shirt pocket and pushed a button on a black device the size of a cigarette pack. It sent out a powerful radio signal that cut off the chattererâ€™s cellphone transmission â€” and any others in a 30-foot radius.
â€œShe kept talking into her phone for about 30 seconds before she realized there was no one listening on the other end,â€ he said. His reaction when he first discovered he could wield such power? â€œOh, holy moly! Deliverance.â€
I can imagine some downsides, though. As the article notes, these have considerable utility for terrorists or criminals. And even a non-criminal could accidentally block a vital call.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Ken Johnson explains another problem:
My wife has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition with which I believe you are familiar. For 30 years, she been slowly losing her battle with the disease and is now on the list to receive a heart transplant.
Neither she nor I had a cellphone when she went on the list. We purchased two of those cheap, pay-as-you-go phones so the hospital can contact us if a heart becomes available.
Basically, we’re waiting for one life-changing phone call — and if we’re sitting next to one of these lawbreaking, self-righteous jerks when it comes, we’ll miss it.
Who the hell do these people think they are that they imagine they have a right to interfere with the communications infrastructure in the United States?
Yeah, that’s the kind of thing I meant.
A PREDICTION: “Expect much more nuanced, even handed treatments of the past, now that Democrats seek to take over the Executive, rediscover the need to preserve and protect National Security and the National Interest, and seek to nurture a more grown-up view of the best intentions of their one-time (political) enemies.”
We can hope.
IS THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION creating monopolies?
HEY, I DIDN’T NOTICE IT BEFORE, but the Glenn and Helen Show has been nominated for best podcast at the Weblog Awards. Vote early and often!
MORE NON-PITY for ambitious young strivers who want to change the world while earning large salaries. “In fact, one of my biggest mistakes in life was not recognizing early that the most effective way to achieve my goals would have been to get wealthy first, then to apply that wealth toward them, as Elon Musk, John Carmack, Jeff Bezos and others have done. . . . But their fundamental premise is flawed. Who is it that really changes the world, and for the better?” Read the whole thing.
TRAFFIC IN OCTOBER was over 7 million pageviews, continuing an upward trend that’s gone on all year. Thanks for coming by!
I FOUND AN ISLAND IN YOUR ARMS, A COUNTRY IN YOUR EYES: But I’m still not naming my kid after you.
STATING THE OBVIOUS: Corruption, not Iraq, will be the GOP’s problem in 2008.
DO NOT TRUST CONTENT FROM ANDREW SULLIVAN: I can’t go around answering all of Andrew Sullivan’s misrepresentations, but it’s telling that he can’t seem to criticize me without misrepresenting what I’ve said. In this post he links to a truncated version of my views on the torture debate on another blog. Why?
Probably because if he linked to my actual post it would reveal some uncomfortable things. First, that I’m not pro-torture despite Andrew’s pathetic eagerness to find me so, and second, that I was criticizing the Democrats’ inconsistency on the subject. Oh, and third, it appears that waterboarding, over which Andrew has exercised himself so much in recent years, and upon which he has staked his many, many, many, many claims to moral supremacy, actually stopped in 2003 — ironically, just as Andrew executed his pivot against Bush and the war — and was only used three times. This seems pretty consistent with my view of torture, which is that I’m against it, but that it’s not quite the issue Andrew wants it — perhaps I should say needs it — to be. Rather, especially for the Democrats, the torture debate has been a political tool, applied in an “any weapon to hand” fashion when politics dictate, but abandoned when they feel the need to talk tough on terrorism.
Meanwhile, at the Cato Institute, a correction to John Quiggin, who was led into error by foolishly relying on Andrew’s representations that I had renounced libertarianism.
INFLATABLE solar arrays.
DAVE KOPEL: Fred Thompson 1, United Nations 0. Plus this: “It’s been a long time since a major presidential candidate quoted Grotius, and my view is the more Grotius in America’s public debates, the better. I hope Pufendorf starts to get some attention too.” Apparently, Thompson was listening in law school. Plus, this observation: “It’s rather telling that the UN’s American defenders fail to directly address an indisputable fact: U.N. Human Rights Council’s subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights has endorsed a report denying the existence of a human right of self-defense.”
JOE GANDELMAN on Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California fires.
A SHARANSKY INTERVIEW by Matthew Kaminski: “Natan Sharansky’s passion for democracy isn’t always welcome in the West.”
Makes sense. Western political leaders aren’t especially enthusiastic even about democracy at home . . . .
THOUGHTS ON capital markets and the U.S. legal system.
GOING DRINKING WITH The Drinkboy. And playing stump-the-bartender. Sounds like somebody Stephen Green should get to know. But is “cocktailing” a word?
TONY SNOW ON the news industry’s decline: “There’s an old boast in the business — that the job of a journalist is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. The thing is, we never realized that we were becoming The Comfortable.”
JULES CRITTENDEN: “Even the Brits, who are barely in Iraq anymore, are noticing how unsporting the Iraq coverage is.”
GOOD POINT ON THE MURTHA SCANDALS: “Just imagine for a moment if this had been Newt Gingrich.” Think we would have heard more?
JUST IN TIME FOR THE FORESIGHT VISION WEEKEND, Phil Bowermaster has some thoughts on transformation.
“DENTAL JOURNALISM” — where getting the actual facts is like pulling teeth.
DICK CAVETT on Don Imus.
IN THE MAIL: Stephen Baskerville’s Taken Into Custody, on marriage, divorce, and families. It actually came last week, but the Insta-Wife immediately stole it.
A STATE OF EMERGENCY IN PAKISTAN: Follow the link for a roundup.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: New ethics reform law hasn’t ended earmark abuses:
Such is the mixed legacy of ethics reform passed by the new Democratic majority that took control of Congress in January on a wave of voter revulsion about corruption. The Democrats banned an assortment of sleazy practices, such as the gifts lobbyists used to shower on Congress. They also ordered lobbyists to report more fully on contacts and contributions. But they left plenty of wiggle room and, not surprisingly, there’s plenty of wiggling going on. . . .
One of Congress’ seamiest practices is earmarking, when lawmakers slip special projects into bills to direct your tax dollars to politically favored recipients. The Senate promised to shine a bright light on this practice. But in some cases, the reform works more like a low-watt bulb. For example, the $5.2 billion in earmarks tucked into the Senate’s defense spending bill are still difficult to decipher, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group.
Then there’s the whole private-jet thing. Follow the link for more.
AL QAEDA THREATENS THE “AMERICAN POODLE:” Moammar Khadafy.
INSTAPUNDIT HAS BEEN NOMINATED as best individual blogger in the 2007 Weblog Awards.
PLAYING CATCH-AND-RELEASE with suspected shoe-bombers.
A LOOK AT THE TERROR WAR, and the danger of academic legal theory.
A REPORT FROM THE Brussels counterjihad summit.
IT’S NOT QUITE THE BATCAVE, but in some ways it’s cooler.
CLINTON AND BUSH, duped by the same source.
“YOUNG STRIVERS” IN WASHINGTON find that being a “professional world-saver” doesn’t pay as well as they’d hoped.
And they’re not getting much sympathy.
UPDATE: A reader emails:
Geez, weâ€™ve been dealing with this in academic science for decades now.
I wish these people would do the math: Doing something thatâ€™s stimulating and fun, sounds great at a cocktail party, and is supported by charity or tax money means that you will probably be making peanuts. (In my field, there are usually about 200 applicants/permanent position, all with Ph.D.s.)
Donâ€™t like being broke? Do something that makes you a profit center instead of a cost center.
Good advice anywhere.
A STUDENT PORN CLUB at the University of Texas San Antonio?
MORE DOG BITES MAN: Tom Maguire looks at the toothmarks.
So later this month, according to THIS INVITATION, the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, is holding a “Rural Americans for Hillary” lunch and campaign briefing at the end of this monthâ€¦.
..but she’s holding it in Washington, DCâ€¦.
â€¦at a lobbying firmâ€¦
â€¦ and specifically, though it’s not mentioned in the invitation, at the lobbying firm Troutman Sanders Public Affairsâ€¦
â€¦which just so happens to lobby for the controversial multinational agri-biotech Monsanto.
Salt of the earth.
MORE ON MURTHA: A Contractor, Charity And Magnet for Federal Earmarks:
Behind the rise of Concurrent is Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee, who helped arrange funding to launch the organization in 1988. Murtha has since arranged millions of dollars more in directed congressional appropriations called earmarks. Now Concurrent has nearly $250 million in annual revenue and 1,500 employees.
Concurrent is a prime example of how to marry entrepreneurial savvy, influence on Capitol Hill and arcane procurement rules to create budget magnets in congressional districts. Unlike many other big contractors, Concurrent pays no income tax on most of its revenue. Unlike nonprofit, federally funded research-and-development corporations, it is not chartered by the federal government. . . .
“The message they give to federal agencies is, ‘We’re the guys you want to play with because we have big friends,’ ” said Keith Ashdown, an investigator at Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan group in the District that monitors congressional spending. “This is the model everyone is following.”
No danger of corruption here. Move along.
REASONS TO VOTE FOR HILLARY: “Hillary Clinton, like Richard Nixon, is a hard-boiled realist, who understands national vital interests as well as political necessities. She will throw rhetorical bones to the left but govern in the center, because she will want to be reelected. She will employ all the usual suspects of the American foreign-policy making establishment and pursue a moderate-to-firm course in international relations. . . . John Edwards is fairly close to reality when he says a ‘vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for the status quo.’”
ROBERT SPENCER AT DARTMOUTH: Joe Malchow has posted video, circumventing Google’s censorship.
DEAN PETERS IS BLOGGING FROM JORDAN.
SOME SUGGESTED debate questions.
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER on Hillary, Bill, and Argentina.
WILL COLLIER ON cheap HD-DVD players at Wal-Mart.
OBAMA, PIZZA, AND CHARITY: Some thoughts from Extreme Mortman.
FROM POPULAR MECHANICS, a look back at the Manhattan Project, by way of comparison with the Iranian nuke crisis.
MAKING AEROSOL PANCAKES with an Organic Batter Blaster!
SPACE ELEVATORS: A modern-day Erie Canal.
SOME POLITICAL scare tactics.
Just like so many reports before it, a joint survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy â€” hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy â€” found that in covering the current presidential race, the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans.
Democrats are not only favored in the tone of the coverage. They get more coverage period. This is particularly evident on morning news shows, which “produced almost twice as many stories (51% to 27%) focused on Democratic candidates than on Republicans.”
The most flagrant bias, however, was found in newspapers. In reviewing front-page coverage in 11 newspapers, the study found the tone positive in nearly six times as many stories about Democrats as it was negative.
It’s pointing out the obvious, but sometimes to see what is in front of one’s nose requires a constant struggle.
166,000 NEW JOBS: Much better than expected. Larry Kudlow is gloating.
SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY SPEECH CODE enjoined.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Bush vetoes pork-laden water bill:
President Bush just added another resident to Vetoland, this resident being the water projects bill that got saturated with pork-barrel projects in conference. Despite having enough votes to override his veto, Bush sent the bill back as a protest against its escalating earmarks . . . .
The reason for the veto seems rather obvious. The House approved a $14 billion waterworks bill, and the Senate approved a $15 billion companion bill. Rather than split the difference and approve a $14.5 billion bill, or even go with the Senate’s $15 billion, the conference committee reported out a $23 billion bill that proves that when pork multiplies, it’s because taxpayers are getting screwed.
Seriously — how did an extra $8 billion get added to the bill in conference? That’s an increase of over 50% from the Senate bill, in conference. The larger embarrassment is that our elected representatives didn’t see this greedy manipulation of the conference process as any big deal and overwhelmingly supported the results.
That’s what pork does to corrupt the legislative process — it buys votes. It’s a bribery system that helps cover up another bribery system. One porcine paw washes the other, and the resulting appropriations grow on grotesque scales almost overnight.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. Of course, if Bush had been willing to veto pork-laden bills a couple of years ago, Republicans might have held onto the Congress. Still, better late than never, I guess.
NORWAY’S VERY OWN Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
First, it was the Dangerous Book for Boys, and now it’s the Daring Book for Girls. We talked to Daring Book authors Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz about girls, the outdoors, and the shockingly large number of fun activities that don’t involve cellphones, televisions, or videogames.
There’s lots of talk about hopscotch, building forts, the virtues of Swiss Army knives and scooters, and the importance of doing things out in the world. Plus, the surprising virtues of boys. And is Hillary Clinton a daring girl?
You can listen directly (no downloading needed) by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. You can download the file and listen at your leisure by clicking right here. And you can get a lo-fi version, suitable for dialup, cellphones, etc. by going here and selecting lo-fi. A free iTunes subscription is available here, and you can visit our show archives at GlennandHelenShow.com.
THIS LOOKS KIND OF COOL: Whoosh Boom Splat: The Garage Warrior’s Guide to Building Projectile Shooters.
TURNING THE ETHICS TABLES: “Senate Republicans said Thursday they would invoke new ethics rules to block Democratic efforts to send to President Bush the first appropriations package of the 110th Congress. . . . Under the new ethics law, which was enacted in September, sustaining a point of order would strike the offending language, in this case the Veterans Affairs measure. The bill without the offending language would then be sent back to the House for reconsideration. Before the law, sustaining the point of order under Senate Rule 28 would essentially kill the bill. Congress changed the rules to make it easier for members to strike language inserted during the penultimate stage of the legislative process. When they regained their majority at the beginning of the year, Democrats vowed to make conference committee action more transparent after complaining for years that Republicans had abused the process by inserting provisions in the dead of night.”
GOOD NEWS ON IRAQ: See Page 18. “Well, it couldnâ€™t very well displace this Page 1 scoop: ‘Schumer Stays Mum on Mukasey.’ After all, when was the last time Chuck said nothing about anything?” Now that is news!
PRO-TORTURE DEMOCRATS: “Clinton, Clinton, Obama and Schumer. They have all, to a greater or lesser degree, embraced the concept of coercive interrogation (some, even torture â€” which is unquestionably illegal), and they have all underscored the excruciating complexity of this issue. Somehow, they are fit to lead the Democratic Party but the suitability of Mukasey â€” who has taken a more measured stance â€” to be attorney general is in doubt? What am I missing here?”
I dunno. Maybe that the “torture” debate is a political tool, and otherwise unserious?
UPDATE: Reader Patrick Cullen emails:
Simply a politocal tool? Really!?
I just cant stay with you on this one, Glenn. I don’t care what party is in charge or who’s zooming who on this. Its become an awful stain on our reputation. We need to maintain as much high ground as possible, and you seem to still be looking through the foggy glasses on this issue.
This is America. Surely we do not need to resort to the tactics of Stalinist Russia or the Khmer Rouge to preserve democracy. I am a two-time Bush voter who is embarrased by this Administrations power grab and lawleessness in the face of danger. I keep waiting for a glimmer of sanity from you on this…
I’ve been consistently against torture. The Democrats have been inconsistently against torture. If I’m looking through “foggy glasses,” it’s because I’ve failed to appreciate how much the Dems have been allowed to get away with this inconsistency.
Given that only three people have been waterboarded in interrogation, though, the discussion seems a bit overheated:
For all the debate over waterboarding, it has been used on only three al Qaeda figures, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials.
As ABC News first reported in September, waterboarding has not been used since 2003 and has been specifically prohibited since Gen. Michael Hayden took over as CIA director.
So is this an issue now because it matters, or because it’s a partisan political tool? I think I know the answer. And I was entirely serious when I suggested that Mukasey volunteer to be waterboarded along with any interested members of Congress. I’ll be happy to do it too: Me, the AG, and Chuck Schumer. Let the cameras roll.
ANOTHER UPDATE: “Waterboarding as performance art.”
CORRUPTION IN ROMANIA, involving sausages and plum brandy.
It’s takeout lobster around these parts.
SOLDIERS BUST UP STUDENT DEMOCRACY PROTESTS in Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela.
VIDEO ON THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE’S CLIMBDOWN ON INDOCTRINATION, at Hot Air.
MORE LIKE THIS, PLEASE: “Scientists at Case Western Reserve University have genetically engineered mice that outrun, outlive, and out-eat ordinary mice while staying lean, light, and fertile well into old age. Chalk it up to a change in a single gene.” This isn’t quite Aubrey de Grey’s Methuselah Mouse, but it’s a move in that direction.
IT DOES SOUND HSUSPICIOUS: Clinton’s fundraiser raises questions.
JOHN FUND ON Hillary, driver’s licenses, and voter fraud.
THUMBS DOWN ON COLBERT from South Carolina Democrats. They’re afraid of the Colbert juggernaut. But since the reason they gave was that he’s not a national candidate, there’s only one thing to do — go national!
HILLARY SUPPORTER: Tim Russert should be shot. “Another said Russert ‘should be shot,’ before quickly adding that she shouldnâ€™t say that on a conference call.” Er, no.
DEPTH-CHARGING THE CANDIDATES: Mickey Kaus observes:
Rosenbaum’s post seems to be functioning as a sort of depth charge that threatens to bring all the various rumored scandals about all the candidates to the surface. It would be funny if they all turned out to be true! And then Rosenbaum’s initial report–that the LAT is sitting on something–turned out to be not true! … I’m not saying that’s the case. I’m just saying that would be funny.
Indeed. Meanwhile, David Zincavage observes: “Canâ€™t one just imagine all the things that could come out in a Giuliani vs. Hillary election campaign?”
Every single time I write about health insurance, commenters and emailers flock to tell me that I wouldn’t feel this way if I, or anyone I know, had been sick and uninsured.
I’m afraid the empirical evidence indicates that you’re wrong. I was uninsured, with asthma and an autoimmune disease, for years as a freelancer. I was then, if anything, more opposed to national health insurance than I am now.
Read the whole thing.