December 2, 2007
TEDDY BEARS, PARKED CARS, AND MORAL EQUIVALENCE: “As though Christians, Hindus, Buddhists or Jews were imprisoning people over teddy bears’ names, or flogging women for the ‘crime’ of being raped!”
TEDDY BEARS, PARKED CARS, AND MORAL EQUIVALENCE: “As though Christians, Hindus, Buddhists or Jews were imprisoning people over teddy bears’ names, or flogging women for the ‘crime’ of being raped!”
LONDON TIMES: France stunned by riotersâ€™ savagery.
As Illy tried to reassure the gang that there would be an investigation into the deaths of two teenagers whose motorbike had just collided with a police car, he heard a voice shouting: â€œSomebody must pay for this. Some pigs must die tonight!â€
The 43-year-old commissaire realised it was time to leave, but that was not possible: they set his car ablaze. He stood as the mob closed in on him, parrying the first few baseball bat blows with his arms. An iron bar in the face knocked him down.
â€œI tried to roll myself into a ball on the ground,â€ said Illy from his hospital bed. He was breathing with difficulty because several of his ribs had been broken and one had punctured his lung.
His bruised and bloodied face signalled a worrying new level of barbarity in the mainly Muslim banlieues, where organised gangs of rioters used guns against police in a two-day rampage of looting and burning last week.
Not far from where Illy was lying was a policeman who lost his right eye after being hit by pellets from a shotgun. Another policeman displayed a hole the size of a 10p coin in his shoulder where a bullet had passed through his body armour.
Altogether 130 policemen were injured, dozens by shotgun pellets and shells packed with nails that were fired from a homemade bazooka. It prompted talk of urban â€œguerrilla warfareâ€ being waged on French streets against the forces of law and order.
Writing in The Spectator the other day, Clive Davis seemed to think that I was crazy for suggesting that the French weren’t paying enough attention to this problem. I beg to differ.
I THINK SOMEONE WAS SAYING THIS AT COLUMBIA NOT LONG AGO: â€œMuslim fags donâ€™t exist.â€
SO I WATCHED ALL OF the 2001: A Space Odyssey Blu-Ray disc I mentioned in my post the other day. The HD transfer was indeed excellent and though I mentioned that a few of the special effects showed their age, in fact most of them look really good. (Better than some of the CGI stuff you see today, in fact.) The movie itself — which I hadn’t seen in years — held up better than I expected, too.
OVEREXCITED ABOUT OPENNESS: Brendan Nyhan is unimpressed with Obama’s latest proposal. “Most government meetings are already a waste of time, but making them public would completely destroy any hope of real business being done. Has anyone seen footage of the ridiculous Cabinet meetings that take place in front of the cameras? They’re bad political theater where nothing of substance is accomplished. Why would we want every department and agency meeting to be stripped of the possibility for candor or frank discussion?”
CNN’S Virtual Reality. “Just imagine, for giggles alone, if Fox had run a YouTube debate and it was revealed that Republican activists passed themselves off as, say, a hodge-podge of patchouli-soaked hemptivists, Hugo Chavez-loving limousine liberals and gay interior decorators who asked why we can’t give peace a chance and buy the world a Coke. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, Fox would come under some criticism?”
Not from the Columbia Journalism Review!
JOEL KOTKIN AND FRED SIEGEL ON the Gentry Liberals: “Over the last half a century, liberals have moved from strong support for basic middle-class concerns — epitomized by the New Deal and the G.I. Bill — to policies that reflect the concerns and prejudices of ever more elite interests. As a result, neither party speaks for broad middle class concerns.”
And Lou Dobbs slouches nearer, his moment come ’round at last . . . .
IOWA: Poll puts Huckabee and Obama out front in Iowa.
WHAT IF THEY HAD A TV DEBATE and nobody could watch it?
HEH: “We went in with too few auditors, but maybe it is not too late for an international Coalition of the Billing to sort this out.”
THIS SOUNDS LIKE A SALABLE IDEA! Putting the IRS in a key role in your health care plan. I mean, the negative ads just write themselves.
VARIOUS PEOPLE HAVE EMAILED TO COMPLAIN about the horn-honking ad on the site. It should be gone now. I never heard it — my browser blocks that stuff.
THE DUTCH GOVERNMENT: Spying on journalists.
ONE CURE FOR ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM is to let people experience it. The trouble, most of us have figured, is that it takes decades. But maybe not — maybe the Feiler Faster Thesis applies here, too. Recently we’ve seen declining enthusiasm for strict Sharia in Nigeria and in Indonesia. And now we’re seeing upbeat messages from Muslim televangelists.
A Muslim televangelist not much older than herself, in a stylish goatee and Western clothes, Masoud, 29, was preaching about Islam in youthful Arabic slang.
He said imams who outlawed art and music were misinterpreting their faith. He talked about love and relationships, the need to be compassionate toward homosexuals and tolerant of non-Muslims. Leboudy had never heard a Muslim preacher speak that way.
“Moez helps us understand everything about our religion — not from 1,400 years ago, but the way we live now,” said Leboudy, wearing a scarlet hijab over her hair.
She said she still plans a career in medicine, but she’s also starting classes in film directing. “After I heard Moez,” she said, “I decided to be the one who tries to change things.”
Masoud is one of a growing number of young Muslim preachers who are using satellite television to promote an upbeat and tolerant brand of Islam.
Hmm. Perhaps this is a good sign.
A SCIENCE CHALLENGE FOR REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES: “The Medical Marijuana Project, a group advocating the use of medical marijuana, will be in New Hampshire on Monday with a mobile billboard offering to contribute $10,000 to the campaigns of Rudy Giuliani, John McCain or Mitt Romney if any of the candidates can substantiate their statements about medical marijuana.”
CHAVEZ’S CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE is behind in the polls. Creative vote-counting can fix that, though!
BMW PUTS INTERNET PROTOCOL under the hood.
WHY SPEAK ENGLISH in America?
SOME HOLIDAY kitchen recommendations, from Art Smith.
A NINETIES NOSTALGIA LINK: Expect to hear a lot more about this stuff if Hillary is nominated. If that’s not a reason to vote for Obama, I don’t know what is . . . .
SOME DUBIOUS WAR REPORTING FROM LEBANON at NRO. Note, however, the difference between NRO’s response and TNR’s.
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey notes the difference:
Every publication eventually makes a big enough error to warrant a retraction and an apology. Even here at CapQ, I’ve had to do it a few times, and believe me, it never feels good. One has to resist the urge to rationalize mistakes and spin enough to avoid admitting error. Just as with customer service, where I often described my management position as “professional apologizer”, editors have to bite the bullet and admit error to maintain organizational credibility.
Kathryn Jean Lopez did so here. Notice that she did not blame the critics for pointing out the error or assume that the criticism was motivated by some sort of conspiracy. She didn’t, in essence, blame the customer for a faulty product. She took quick action to investigate, found obvious shortcomings, and issued an apology and a detailed accounting of the problem.
Had Franklin Foer done that when the story fell apart at TNR, he could have not just saved the magazine from a credibility collapse, he could have enhanced its standing. Instead of acting professionally, he assumed the Nixonian posture that anyone questioning TNR’s product must automatically be an enemy against whom all defenses were necessary. Instead, even in an apology, he couldn’t help blaming the customers for a shoddy product.
Incidentally, I share Michelle’s analysis of the failure at The Tank. It was poor work, and it has been highlighted as such.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More here. “At the very least, Smith has earned a suspension from NRO, but considering the magnitude of his fabrications, termination seems warranted.”
SOME THOUGHTS ON survival kits.
COOKBOOK RECOMMENDATIONS from Megan McArdle.
ROOMBA BLEG: So the Insta-Wife is looking at the new Roomba kind of wistfully, but I’m skeptical. We tried an earlier-generation Roomba and returned it after a week. It was noisy, and couldn’t be left to clean unsupervised, which kind of defeated the point. Anybody have experience with the latest generation? It’s been four years, so I imagine they could have improved it considerably.
UPDATE: Reader Adam Sullivan recommends the Electrolux Trilobite instead.
ANOTHER UPDATE: A mixed bag on the Roombas. Some people love ‘em, others report experiences more like mine. The Trilobite seems a bit pricey. My sense is that I’m not quite ready to dive back into the robo-vacuum pool just yet.
TOASTING the father of energy drinks: “Concerned about training misinformation, Cade and his researchers at the University of Florida collected the sweat of freshman football players in rubber gloves during practice in the fall of 1965 and found something startling: each one lost 2.5 to 4.2 liters, or as much as 9 pounds, each session.”
DAVID HARDY HAS A COLUMN ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT in the Contra Costa Times, but their lame registration system makes it nearly impossible to read — it forces you to sign up, then dumps you onto the front page, forcing you to reload the link to get there. But here’s a key excerpt:
In law school, we were told to be careful what we ask for, because the fates may give us just that. If the Supreme Court upholds a broad Second Amendment right, tens of millions of gun-owning Americans will be reminded of the high court’s role as protector of their Constitution.
If it goes the other way, those millions will be asking how arms ownership, expressly mentioned in that document, is unprotected while abortion (no where mentioned) is broadly protected.
They will come to believe that the Constitution is merely a paper covering for arbitrary judicial rule. This is not a lesson we want taught in a democracy.
I think that’s right. And here’s some advice for the folks running the Contra Costa Times website, too!
UPDATE: Dave Hardy says you can bypass the registration with this link.
MICKEY KAUS sees a connection between immigration and social security reform.
INSTAPUNDIT is in the ABA’s 100 top law blogs list, and you can vote for me if you like. (Bumped.) If you don’t, then the
terrorists Greenwalds will have won.
GIFTS FOR YOUR SON: A guide from Engadget.
AT GAY PATRIOT, a review of the new Beowulf movie.
MASSACHUSETTS WILL VOTE on abolishing its state income tax, and Howie Carr is enthused. “You say it canâ€™t be done? Well, in 2002, when the same question was on the ballot, the underfunded working people still managed to get 45 percent of the vote.”
BOOS FOR HILLARY IN IOWA: “At the Heartland Presidential Candidates Forum in Des Moines, community activists lustily booed the Democratic frontrunner after she declined to commit to passing comprehensive immigration reform in her first 100 days in office.” She really is the most conservative Democrat running.
BRING IT ON: Anti-aging drug going into human trials.
IN SEARCH OF the elusive $30,000 millionaire.
TIM RUTTEN ON CNN’S YOUTUBE DISASTER: “In fact, this most recent debacle masquerading as a presidential debate raises serious questions about whether CNN is ethically or professionally suitable to play the political role the Democratic and Republican parties recently have conceded it. . . . In other words, CNN intentionally directed the Republicans’ debate to advance its own interests.”
BLU-RAY VS. HD-DVD: I won’t say I’ve taken sides, exactly, but I did buy this Sony Blu-Ray DVD player last week. So far I’m pleased with everything, except the price, which was a bit high. I’ve watched two films — Die Hard and 300 — and the video (and audio) quality is excellent. I’ve also skimmed around a bit in 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is supposed to have an excellent HD transfer and the picture does look very good (though that serves to demonstrate in places just how out-of-date the special effects are). The Blu-Ray player also (and this is what got me off the dime) plays the AVCHD DVDs from my HD camcorder perfectly, and with excellent quality. Setup was easy, and my only real complaint is that the boot-up process seems a bit slow. Yeah, this means I’ve given up holding out for the combo player — but with HD-DVD players dropping in price substantially, well, I’ve still got room for one of those, too.
HAS LEGAL SCHOLARSHIP’S LONELY GENIUS MOMENT PASSED? I don’t think so. I’ve never used research assistants to write my stuff — and for those who do, I think that their stuff tends to read as if it were written by . . . research assistants.
FEAR THE G-DRIVE? “Google’s Gdrive (and Its Ad Potential) Raise Privacy Concerns.”
A PROBLEM FOR RUDY? “Rudy’s flexible interpretation of his marital vows has always been a source of irritation to many conservatives, but if he has indeed used taxpayer funds inappropriately, then he may have trouble on the horizon.”
NUCLEAR BOMB: “Lions for Lambs’ Could Lose $25 Million.” One can only hope.
BOB OWENS RESPONDS TO THE NEW REPUBLIC’S LATEST. Excerpt: “The bottom line is that the Scott Beauchamp debacle was a test of editorial character for The New Republic under Franklin Foerâ€™s leadership. For over four months, the magazine has answered that challenge by hiding behind anonymous sources, making personal attacks against critics, asserting a massive conspiracy against them, while covering up conflicting testimony and refusing to answer the hard questions.”
DEATHS FALL AGAIN IN IRAQ. Not surprisingly, Democrats now want to change the subject: “The debate marks a shift from only a few weeks ago when the Iraq war was the dominant point of contention among the top Democrats. With violence down in Iraq and Democratic campaigns eager to distinguish themselves before the all-important Jan. 3 caucuses in Iowa, healthcare is emerging as the party’s preferred topic.” All of this advantages Hillary — more pro-war (despite her waffling) and more healthcare-oriented than either Richardson or Obama. Oh, and there’s Edwards, I guess.
RYAN SAGER on Ron Paul: “While I’d be delighted if the GOP were gripped by libertarianism – that is, a resurgent commitment to economic and social freedom – the truth is actually quite the opposite. . . . Big-government, big-religion, globophobic, populist conservatism – this is the message that’s got real traction in the first Republican primary.”
THIS WEEK’S CARNIVAL OF CARS is up, with a focus on matters green.
UPDATE: Further thoughts from Patterico.
My take? Push the button, Frank.
MORE: Ouch: “pathetic, evasive, self-justifying, self-pitying, and deeply dishonest.”
Plus, a gratuitous en passant smear from Foer. It is, alas, consistent with the classless way that he and TNR have behaved throughout.
STILL MORE: The Fog of Foer.
EXTREME MORTMAN ON SUBPRIME CAPITALISM: “A government bailout of folks who make bad financial choices and who speculate on the market? Count me in! Er, Iâ€™m outraged! My adjustable rate mortgage is schedule to zoom up in the spring. Mind if I send the monthly bill to to the government? Maybe they can put in a hot tub for me.”
MORE ON PREPAREDNESS: In response to yesterday’s post on wet-dry vacs and other homeowner stuff, reader Peter Gookins emails:
I’ve never denied being anal retentive, which has been a help with all the disaster recovery / business continuity work I’ve done over the years (big difference between the two – disaster recovery fixes what
broke, continuity keeps the business operating, and, hopefully, the money coming in. You can’t have continuity without disaster recovery, but having a recovery plan doesn’t necessarily mean continued business operation). Your recent water emergency reminded me that it’s s beneficial for homeowners to take some preventive steps.
I’ve attached some pics if you’re interested. The shot of the garage electrical panel shows a flashlight, a 10 lb ABC fire extinguisher, the T-handled thing is a curb key for shutting water off at the meter, and
the map shows where everything is. The curb key has had the handle ends ground to large screwdriver-tip size so it can be used to open the meter box cover. No additional tools needed. (And, while the garage has a large fire extinguisher, there’s also a smaller one in every closet. Extinguishers are cheap.)
Why a map? Not everyone will always remember where stuff is, and if Uncle Harry is visiting he won’t know at all. On the map is the address and subdivision name (the blue tape is covering my address) along with
emergency phone numbers. Critical tools are all right there. The pic of the water shutoff shows a 1/4 turn ball valve; faster and easier to use than the typical round-handle gate valve. The gray pipe is a “safety sleeve” to prevent a weed wacker from cutting through the plastic water supply pipe.
The picture of the electrical receptacle shows a number; that’s the circuit breaker number that controls the circuit the outlet is on. If one has to shut down a circuit quickly because of a dangerously malfunctioning appliance it’s pretty helpful to know which breaker to flip.
Yes, it took some time to get all this together, but a couple of hours spent leisurely assembling the info over the years will pay off if one has an emergency and time becomes critical. And, I do have a wet/dry
vac. Two of ‘em, in fact.
Sounds like good advice! Meanwhile, James Rummel notes that this is a neglected side of preparedness: “Most gunbloggers like myself like to write about the big stuff, like emergency supplies needed to keep yourself and your family alive if you have to abandon your house and run for the hills. What is neglected is the little nitty-gritty details on how to handle the costly and potentially dangerous problems that occur inside the house that make it difficult to live there, instead of the huge disasters that come from the outside.”
GARRISON KEILLOR ON SUBPRIME MORTGAGES.
DECISION TIME in Venezuela.
THOUGHTS ON L. Ron Hubbard and domestic violence.
A BAD CASE OF SOCK-PUPPET BLOWBACK: I agree that arrest is a gross overreaction, but if the facts are as they appear, it’s kind of amusing.
IN THE MAIL: Election 2008: A Voters Guide, by Franklin Foer and the editors of The New Republic. I haven’t actually read it, but according to reliable pseudonymous sources it has Hillary mocking a cripple, and Obama driving around New Hampshire with a baby skull on his head, while Bill Richardson runs over dogs in the gubernatorial limo. Or something like that . . . .
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALEX KOZINSKI, the new Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit. Now if we could just get him onto the Supreme Court . . . .
THE OTHER DAY, I LINKED TO this electronic project kit and suggested it would make a good “hands-on” toy for the right kid. Reader Kat Wilton emails:
The Snap Circuits “toy” you linked to on Amazon is very good! We got it two years ago for our now 11 y.o. daughter, and she’s still enjoying it. I would especially recommend this if Mom or Dad is going to join in: there is plenty of opportunity for both the adult *and* child to learn a lot. My husband, who is the Jack-of-all-trades in this family, also manages to use the Snap Circuits to give our Munchkin a jump-off point to learning more about electronics and math.
Excellent, fun, AND educational – can’t beat that for a present!
Or for a recommendation. Nice to know. It looked cool — like an updated version of the Radio Shack electronic project kits I used when I was a kid.
UPDATE: More from reader Ron Mahn:
I bought the Snap Circuits “toy” for my 4 y.o. daughter last Christmas and she loves it. She is 5 now and has some basic electronics down. She knows the difference between conductors and insulators, more resistance means the speaker will put out less sound, and that you have to complete a circuit to make the light work. We got the next bigger one for her birthday in May (because it has a radio, I am a ham and my daughter has been on the air since the day she turned 3). It is a bit advanced, so we do mostly projects from the smaller one. It is a great opportunity to do things together, and hopefully build the foundation for a little bit of communication in her teen years (I hope).
Sounds cool. Sounds like a smart four-year-old, too.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Katie Kearns emails:
We have the “junior” version for our four year old, and just yesterday he got it out and put together a quick circuit to launch some weird little twirly thing into the air, and then worked on lighting the light bulb. He also learned that, yes, you do need to put the battery in the circuit for it to work. ;)
He can’t even read, but he did seem to have the schematics out and I guess they helped him some? :D Having snaps to stick together instead of little wires or clips makes it so much easier to work with.
Two thumbs up!
ANN ALTHOUSE: “Did yesterday’s hostage crisis teach us anything about Hillary Clinton?”
A LEAD-FREE TOY FROM CHINA: “Instead, it has asbestos.”
THOUGHTS ON SPEAKING ENGLISH in America.
ISLAMIC LAW IN NORTHERN NIGERIA has traditionally been on the mellow side. That was changing, but now things seem to be changing back. Part of the reason: “Many early proponents of Shariah feel duped by politicians who rode its popular wave but failed to live by its tenets, enriching themselves and neglecting to improve the lives of ordinary people.” Shocking.
POLL: Does the Second Amendment give individuals a right to arms? So far it’s leaning very hard toward “yes.”
THE FROG AND THE scorpion.
REFLECTIONS ON RECOVERING FROM SURGERY from Ilya Somin.
CUTTING GREENHOUSE GASES ON THE CHEAP: Since most of these changes would save money and energy anyway, they — like most practical greenhouse responses — are worth doing whether or not you believe in global warming.
THE DEATH OF ENVIRONMENTALISM? Questions for Ted Nordhaus and Michael Schellenberger (and Newt Gingrich!)
THE TRIAL BAR ON TRIAL: The Wall Street Journal is gloating. I’ll just note that I know a lot of trial lawyers, and their lives and practices don’t have much in common with the high fliers like Dickie Scruggs. They have actual clients that they try to help, as opposed to megabuck litigation factories.
TOTAL TIME SPENT ONLINE: Up 24.3% from last year.
YEP: “Congressional Democrats are reporting a striking change in districts across the country: Voters are shifting their attention away from the Iraq war. . . . One House Democratic aide summed up the challenge for the leadership, and admitted that it may be a smart move for Democrats to focus on the economy since they haven’t been able to deliver on Iraq.”
GADGET HEAVEN: Just got a box from Sony with a teeny-tiny VAIO UX490 PC, in a kit with a bluetooth GPS unit and a bunch of other goodies. It was so small that when I opened the box, I couldn’t figure out which of the small wrapped objects was the actual computer at first. No, I didn’t buy it. I’m reviewing it, along with several other little computers, for Popular Mechanics. I love stuff like this . . .
EDUCATING JOE BIDEN on the Constitution.
COLOR ME UNSURPRISED: “One in five carbon credits issued by the United Nations are going to support clean energy projects that may in fact have helped to increase greenhouse gas emissions, environmental group WWF said on Thursday.”
Okay, actually I’m a bit surprised. Only one in five?
BOMB SCARE at a New Hampshire Clinton campaign office. Hostages taken. “A young woman with a 6-month or 8-month-old infant came rushing into the store just in tears, and she said, ‘You need to call 911. A man has just walked into the Clinton office, opened his coat and showed us a bomb strapped to his chest with duct tape.’” Coverage is live on Fox; CNN is covering a train accident in Chicago.
MORE ON THE DISASTER THAT IS ZIMBABWE, but with what might actually be good news: “Zimbabwe’s neighbors are increasingly worried about spillover violence and economic damage from Robert Mugabe’s self-made war zone.” Given that Zimbabwe’s neighbors don’t seem to care what happens to the people of Zimbabwe, this kind of worry may be the only thing that produces any action.
FEMALE CIRCUMCISION: Now becoming multiculturally correct!
DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL — CNN’s policy on debate questioners!
HARVARD CRIMSON: Repeal the Second Amendment.
Rand Simberg calls it “sophomoric,” adding: “But perhaps it’s forgivable, since it was probably written by actual sophomores.” He also notes that calls for the repeal of the Second Amendment are implicit admissions that the Second Amendment is an actual barrier to gun control. Indeed.
UPDATE: Reader Thomas Baker emails:
I read the article calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment in the Harvard Crimson. While poorly reasoned, it is a huge leap forward in intellectual honesty for the gun control movement as it impliedly acknowledges an individual right.
However, the authors obviously believe that the right was initially thought necessary because of foreign threats. As I’m sure you are aware, the primary purpose of the Second Amendment was to protect the citizenry from tyrannical government here at home. That students at a top university are so ignorant of their nation’s history is disturbing.
I wonder if I currently enjoy any other constitutionally guaranteed rights that the editors of the Harvard Crimson believe I no longer need? I wonder how bold they would be in trying to strip them away after confiscating my firearms? Scary.
To you. They no doubt believe that Harvard grads will be among the strippers, not the stripees. Which I’ll admit is more likely, if the rest of the populace weren’t armed.
I HAVE NOT YET BEGUN to give up.
SAVE THE DEBATE, ditch CNN.
INDIANA JONES with a particle accelerator.
OUCH: “Leopard is the new Vista, and it’s pissing me off.” I haven’t upgraded yet. Maybe I’ll wait a bit longer.
UPDATE: A more positive take.
THE MOST BUSTED NAME IN NEWS.
WHY PUTIN DOES IT: Because he can:
Vladimir Putin does not want to win the upcoming Duma Parliamentary elections. He does not want to win big. He wants an overwhelming victory. He wants to annihilate the opposition. And Putin probably will get what he wants.
Furthermore, Putin feels no need for any “seal of approval” from the West. He so circumscribed election monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that they can’t do their job, so they’ve withdrawn.
And most Russians, with no great enthusiasm for political freedom in their national character, are okay with that.
SPOTTING CANCER AND ALZHEIMER’S long before you get sick.
SEND ONE TO GARRY KASPAROV: “Polonium Pen a Pocket-Sized Must-Have for Anti-Putin Russians.”
ADVICE TO HOMEOWNERS: I’ve long thought this, but my recent plumbing-problem experience restated its importance — always own a wet-dry vac. Mine broke a couple of years ago, and I don’t use it much, so I hadn’t gotten around to replacing it. As my toilet overflowed, I wished I had. I was (barely) able to contain the leakage before it got to the carpeted areas using towels and a mop, but I was really wishing I’d replaced the wet-dry vac sooner. I immediately ordered one — they’re cheap — and it’s my fond hope that I won’t need it again. But it’s good to have one.
Also, know where your water shutoff valve is and have the necessary wrench to close it, and know where your sewer cleanout is, and have the necessary wrench to open it to relieve the pressure in backups.
UPDATE: Reader Bob Bonsall emails:
In regards to your advice to homeowners, let me also point out that any home renter should follow the same advice. We have had a double wammy of a leaking water heater and a clogged drain in our cellar stairs recently, and there’s nothing worse than trying to keep carpets dry that are getting flooded from both sides. My top priority is to get a wet dry vac so I don’t have to again enjoy the thrill of soak-wash-dry-repeat with towels at 1 am.
Indeed. And in my experience, once carpets get really soaked, they’re never the same.
And while I’m at it — know where to turn off your electricity and gas, too, and have the wrench for the gas shutoff.
MORE: Another good reader suggestion:
All good ideas, but, here’s one important idea to add to the list: have the wrench needed to turn off the gas supply hung close to the shut off valve.
If gas is leaking, or in danger of leaking, you don’t want to have to rummage through your tools to find the right wrench – especially if the electricity is off and you’re in darkness.
MORE STILL: Reader Ryan Kelley emails:
All that advice is great but the absolute most important thing to have is home/renters insurance. While not at home I had a ‘sewage backup’ in my apartment which basically ruined 3 seperate rooms (drywall,
Prevention is great but had I not had that specific flood problem covered I would have been out $10k+. Make sure that all the man-made flood problems that can occur in your home are covered.
Oh and the vacuum you linked to looks fine but for flood/leak control people might want to consider one with more than 2 1/2 gallon space. This one has a 10 gallon tank but still works for most household things and gets very good reviews. Hopefully people can figure out what’s best for them but you have earned a lot of trust some might just buy it blindly (and probably be happy with it – that’s why you’re trusted!)
Yeah, good point. I went with the 2 1/2 gallon one myself — it came yesterday — because my house has three floors and it’s easy to carry around. My old one was a 5 gallon and seemed bigger than I needed — but of course if you had a really big flood, you’d want a bigger one. On the other hand, the big ones take up more space when you’re not using them, too. To each his own.
As for the insurance — absolutely! If you don’t have that coverage, you should have it. Sooner or later you’ll probably need it. My brother emails: “One of my new colleagues had a toilet line pop off while he and his wife were away for the weekend. Trashed their entire downstairs and basement… repairs will probably come to over $30k. They’ve had to move out while the place is rehabbed. Eeeeeeeeek.”
POLITICO: Murtha’s comments on ‘surge’ are a problem for House Democrats. Excerpt:
Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), one of the leading anti-war voices in the House Democratic Caucus, is back from a trip to Iraq and he now says the “surge is working.” This could be a huge problem for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders, who are blocking approval of the full $200 billion being sought by President Bush for combat operations in Iraq in 2008. Murtha’s latest comments are also a stark reversal from what he said earlier in the year. . . .
Pelosi, who is scheduled to speak to a Democratic National Committee event in Virginia on Friday, will surely face tough questions from reporters regarding Murtha’s statement on the surge.
“This could be a real headache for us,” said one top House Democratic aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “Pelosi is going to be furious.”
Read the whole thing.
SABBATICALS FOR SOLDIERS? Well, if professors need ‘em, soldiers probably do too, right?
Speaking of which, where’s my sabbatical?