Archive for January, 2008

January 31, 2008

PRO-MCCAIN HERESY AT THE CORNER: “McCain wouldn’t be my first pick. Then again, none of the candidates were really my first pick. But I think the notion that, variously, conservatism, the country or the party are doomed if he’s the nominee or the president is pretty absurd. And I find such claims odd coming from some people who’ve insisted for a couple years now that the war on terror is the #1 overriding issue of this campaign.”

January 31, 2008

A NEW POST FROM MICHAEL YON. He emails: “Am back in Iraq, where it’s cold and muddy!” Hey, at least it’s not snowing any more.

January 31, 2008

ROGER SIMON IS BLOGGING TONIGHT’S Democratic debate.

UPDATE: So is TigerHawk.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson: “If one studies carefully the Clintama answers on the war on terror, illegal immigration, and Iraq then the magnitude of Republican infighting seems surreal. The gulf between Hillary and McCain is Grand-Canyon like.”

January 31, 2008

MORE ON Obama and Rezko. “An undeclared $3.5 million (£1.8 million) payment from a corrupt Iraqi-British businessman has landed Barack Obama’s former fundraiser behind bars. The payment, disclosed in court papers, is the first time that Mr Obama’s long-serving bagman Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko, a Syrian immigrant to the United States, has been linked to Nadhmi Auchi, the Iraqi-born billionaire who is one of Britain’s richest men. The relationship is a potential embarrassment for Mr Obama, who has made his opposition to the Iraq war a central plank of his campaign.” Kind of tough language in this report from The Times.

January 31, 2008

SEAN HANNITY endorses Mitt Romney.

So does Alice Gold.

January 31, 2008

WELL, GOOD: The apparent death of Abu Laith al-Libi shows gains by US intelligence in Waziristan.

January 31, 2008

JAMES TARANTO:

There is a school of thought that this year’s election will end up turning on economic anxiety rather than national security, especially with the threat of terrorism seeming less immediate than a few years ago, and the situation in Iraq having improved considerably. If this is so, then the leading campaigns in each party are not exactly inspiring great confidence.

I noticed this bit myself last night:

The economy is not John McCain’s strong suit, by his own admission. You would think this would inspire a bit of humility, but humility is not what comes across from reading the transcript of last night’s CNN debate at the Reagan Library. . . . Two of McCain’s comments–”I did it out of patriotism, not for profit” and “sometimes people lost their jobs”–lead us to think that McCain’s problem with economics goes beyond mere indifference. He seems to view the making of money–that is to say, the production of goods and services that people want, and the act of supplying them through voluntary exchange in a free market–as a less than honorable pursuit.

Indeed. But read the whole thing.

January 31, 2008

THOUGHTS ON what’s right with the world.

January 31, 2008

YOU SHOULD PROBABLY START TRAINING if you want to enter the world wife-carrying championship contest in Finland.

January 31, 2008

I POSTED MY REVIEW of the Asus Eee PC the other day, but here’s a long-term review from the folks at Gizmodo. I have to say, though, that I’m not experiencing the frequent system crashes they are, nor am I having trouble finding wifi hotspots. What’s annoying is that it won’t automatically reconnect to a “known” hotspot — you have to go to the “choose a connection” menu every time you start it up. But it seems to work okay, once you do that. And it’s certainly not taking me anything like 5 minutes to get online — more like 15 or 20 seconds.

January 31, 2008

“OBAMA SUPPORTERS EVERYWHERE, with nary a Hillary backer in sight.” Roger Simon reports on the pre-debate festivities in Hollywood.

January 31, 2008

KARL ROVE’S AGENTS are everywhere.

January 31, 2008

SOME SUPER-BOWL RELATED FOOD NEWS — is double-dipping the chip really that bad? — plus advice on setting up your HDTV for the game.

January 31, 2008

WITH THE SUPREME COURT HAVING GRANTED CERTIORARI in the Crawford case, my colleague Alex Long’s piece on workplace retaliation is looking especially timely.

January 31, 2008

HE DOESN’T MENTION ZUBRIN, but Rick Santorum basically endorses the Zubrin flex-fuel plan. As I mentioned below, I’m hearing rumors of interest from the U.A.W., too. That makes sense. As Zubrin notes in his book, and mentioned on our podcast, U.S. automakers are actually ahead of their competitors in this technology.

January 31, 2008

MARK LEVIN: People who don’t like McCain had better get it in gear for Romney.

January 31, 2008

FRED THOMPSON: “My guess is, we’ll be missing him dreadfully by spring.” Some people already are. I certainly would have liked him to provide adult supervision in last night’s debate. And don’t miss the concluding paragraphs, which are, alas, dead-on.

January 31, 2008

SOME PEOPLE WANTED TO KNOW what kind of guitar my brother is playing in this video. It’s a Liberty FA-100.

January 31, 2008

SOME VERY IMPORTANT Jet Pack News! “Strictly speaking, you could the say the business of jet packs is, indeed, taking off. The number of companies looking to sell them to private consumers has increased by as much as 33 percent in the last week alone.”

January 31, 2008

BLOGGERS — a threat to national security? “Good. We should not fear our government, our government should fear us.” Heh. Indeed. Full story here.

James Joyner has some pungent thoughts. And Allah comments: “Glenn Reynolds, terrorist?”

January 31, 2008

IN THE MAIL: Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works, by Newt Gingrich.

January 31, 2008

VIDEO: Islam’s Advance.

January 31, 2008

QUESTIONS FOR THE DEMOCRATS ABOUT THE ZUBRIN SPACE PLAN, at tonight’s debate? Meanwhile, I’m hearing rumors of interest in the Zubrin energy plan from the UAW, which would make sense. (Edited to clarify which plan is which. Zubrin’s got a lot of ‘em. And they’re mostly good!)

January 31, 2008

UH OH: Sun’s low magnetic activity may portend an ice age. I think one’s already started — it’s just been our greenhouse emissions holding it at bay!

Yeah, I know, I stole that idea.

January 31, 2008

HMM: Clinton aide caught up in funding scandal. Huh. Go figure.

January 31, 2008

THE FREDHEADS haven’t given up.

January 31, 2008

MARK STEYN: “I’m getting a bit tired of Senator McCain’s anti-business shtick. The line about serving ‘for patriotism, not for profit’ is pathetic. America spends more on its military than the next 35-40 biggest military spenders on the planet combined: Where does he think the money for that comes from? . . . If greed is to be punishable, why doesn’t he start with a pilot program applied to, say, the United States Senate and report back to us in five years how that’s going?”

Indeed.

January 31, 2008

MAX BOOT ON IRAQ: We are winning. We haven’t won.

I agree.

January 31, 2008

RALPH NADER says his candidacy is as urgent as ever. It’s hard to argue with that!

January 31, 2008

AT THE MICHIGAN LAW REVIEW’S ONLINE EDITION, a look at recent proposals for electoral college reform. Does the electoral college need reforming?

Get the whole thing in one big PDF here.

January 31, 2008

MORE ON THAT BLOWN DRUG RAID in Chesapeake that got a cop killed and a homeowner who was defending his home against unidentified intruders charged — wrongly, it seems to me — with murder.

January 31, 2008

BERKELEY HATEWATCH UPDATE: The Marines are “unwelcome intruders.”

Yeah, it’s been a while since I did one of these, though not for lack of material, really.

January 31, 2008

WHY A DUCK?

January 31, 2008

OBAMA BACKER TONY REZKO’S solid gold faucets. (Via NewsAlert).

January 31, 2008

A BUSH RALLY? Well, this political season has already demonstrated that anything can happen.

January 31, 2008

THE HILLARY CAMPAIGN CAN’T BE HAPPY ABOUT THIS REPORT: “Unlike more established competitors, Mr. Giustra was a newcomer to uranium mining in Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic. But what his fledgling company lacked in experience, it made up for in connections. Accompanying Mr. Giustra on his luxuriously appointed MD-87 jet that day was a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton. . . . Within two days, corporate records show that Mr. Giustra also came up a winner when his company signed preliminary agreements giving it the right to buy into three uranium projects controlled by Kazakhstan’s state-owned uranium agency, Kazatomprom. The monster deal stunned the mining industry, turning an unknown shell company into one of the world’s largest uranium producers in a transaction ultimately worth tens of millions of dollars to Mr. Giustra, analysts said.”

January 31, 2008

BRUCE SCHNEIER on the politics of security.

January 31, 2008

MORE PROBLEMS AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT.

January 31, 2008

BOB KRUMM: I don’t get the McCainimosity. I get it a bit more after last night’s debate, where McCain was something of a jerk. But still . . . Read the whole thing.

January 31, 2008

WHAT’S WRONG WITH STARBUCKS? “Starbucks used to seem like a luxury brand, and now it feels like a fallback when you can’t get to the real thing.”

January 30, 2008

TOP FOUR TIPS FOR DRIVING LIKE A PRO: I always admired Jackie Stewart. On the other hand, the braking advice, while good, is . . . well . . . you’ll see.

January 30, 2008

A DEBATE WRAPUP from Stephen Green.

January 30, 2008

OBAMA CALLS CLINTON A DIVISIVE FIGURE. It’s hard to argue with that.

January 30, 2008

REGARDING MY EARLIER POST, reader Don MacRae emails:

Long time daily reader, first time writer. I have noticed the Fred Thompson comments as well; file under “You Don’t Know What You Got ‘Til It’s Gone”. For the record, not only did I donate to his campaign, I went door to door to get signatures so he could be on the ballot here in Ohio and my wife was a state delegate to boot. I have been wondering who to support since Fred dropped out of the race and I am now fairly certain that I am going to vote for Fred anyway. Screw John McCain!

Fred may do surprisingly well, for a guy who’s not running . . . .

January 30, 2008

BILL ROGGIO ON the Mosul offensive.

January 30, 2008

GOOD POINT BY ROMNEY about how McCain shouldn’t “demean” people who start businesses. McCain has been doing that a lot, acting as if meeting a payroll is somehow less honorable than working for the government.

January 30, 2008

SCHWARZENEGGER TO back McCain?

January 30, 2008

SO I’M WATCHING MCCAIN TALK ABOUT THE SUBPRIME CRISIS, and how there may be some “greedy people on Wall Street who need to go to jail.”

But I heard a typically sad-toned NPR story on subprimes tonight, and despite their best efforts to evoke the Joads it was a story of people who “used their houses like ATMs,” taking out home equity loan after home equity loan when they started with a subprime mortgage, only to wind up owing far more than their houses were worth and unable to make the payments. Boo hoo. Shouldn’t there be a price for being an idiot? And — despite not being on Wall Street — a greedy idiot? Why does McCain want to bail these people out? Why does he want to put Wall Street people in jail?

UPDATE: Reader John Mattaboni emails:

Speaking as a mortgage broker, I can assure you this is the case in the vast majority of instances. I spoke with a woman today who has a credit report that looks like a train wreck, including a bankruptcy fours years ago and numerous chargeoffs and collections since. Her gross income is less than $850 a week — but she drives a car with a $700 payment.

She called me up because her adjustable rate mortgage payment is going up. When I told her that the only way she could qualify for a loan is to pay off the car with her mortgage, she threw a fit. Apparently me saving her $500 a month isn’t good enough, she wanted to tap her ATM one last time for $30,000 to spend on “home improvements” rather than paying off the car. She then asked if anyone would really check to see if the money went into home upgrades.

He says there are a lot of “subprime deadbeats” out there and they shouldn’t be bailed out.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Ben Skott emails:

I have a lot of credit card debt, and the much higher interest rates are killing me. I made a stupid mistake once years and didn’t read the fine print to notice that rates on cash advances are even higher than normal CC debt, and I’m still paying for it, but you won’t see me writing my newspaper talking about the greedy credit card companies and how I should get a bailout. What’s the difference between me and some “poor” person with an ARM they signed on to and can’t pay now?

Well, one difference is that MBNA bribed a lot of politicians to make the law tougher on people like you. . . .

MORE: A shocking solution to debt.

Meanwhile, reader Jim Bordelon emails:

This quote from Senator McCain, “greedy people on Wall Street who need to go to jail.” oozes with irony and/or hypocrisy (I don’t know which fits best).

Google “Charles Keating Five” and you’ll see why. Maybe more people (an army, maybe?) should start asking questions about what happened in the eighties. If McCain is “swiftboated” on this issue he has little defense, in my opinion.

Yes, I’m familiar with the Keating Five story. It led directly to McCain-Feingold, to ensure that no one would ever be corrupted that way again! It’s also discussed in this fascinating book.

STILL MORE: Reader Terrye Hugentober emails:

I had a real estate license for some time.{hated it} I was in the business when a lot of these loans first started coming out. Everyone knew that some of those people should not be getting loans, but the mortgage companies pushed the loans anyway. Building boomed, real estate took off and then the bottom fell out of the sub prime market. People let this go on as long as there was money to be made, it is not just about lazy people not paying their loans. And the truth is there will be a lot of innocent bystanders hurt if there is not some stability brought to that market. This could spread way beyond the people who got the loans or made the loans.

I think that just blowing it off and saying we should not bail out bad loans is over simplifying the situation.

I think it should cost everyone involved. But McCain was pandering here, with lame assaults on “greedy” Wall Streeters. And, as noted above, he’s not really in a position to talk.

Meanwhile Megan McArdle notes that Europeans can’t believe how easy we are on debtors who can’t pay.

MORE STILL: Reader Steven DiSciullo emails:

I had one of these folks as a prospective client in my real estate business. He owed $225k on his house, which was worth about $175k. About half the debt was a second mortgage taken out long after he bought the house. The money was spent on vacations and other lifestyle support. He kept complaining about not being able to sell the house for what he owed on it. I finally said, “Look, you already got your money out of the house, and you didn’t even have to sell it.” A light went off in his head. He quit making payments, and stayed in the house free for another 8 months until he was evicted.

There is no reason to feel sorry for him.

Indeed. And Prof. T. Daniel Crawford writes:

I’ve been enjoying your blog for a number of years now, but tonight for some reason I feel compelled to write, even though I admit I don’t have a dog in the mortgage crisis debate.

On the subject of sub-prime mortgages, I agree entirely that the debtors are fully responsible for their own terrible circumstances. But I don’t believe the lenders aren’t victims, either. Why in the world would a bank or automobile finance company give money to the woman described by your mortgage broker correspondent?

In my opinion, the feds shouldn’t be bailing out either the lenders or the debtors in this sad scenario.

I agree.

EVEN MORE: “Everything’s a 4.” And reader Charles Rutt emails:

According to many in congress and social commentators, one of the main causes of the subprime mess was mortgage brokers doing loans for people that we knew could not repay the loan.

As a mortgage broker if I had a customer sitting in front of me who qualified for a loan (according to lender guidelines in place at the time), I was supposed to tell them that I was not going to do a loan for them because I don’t think they will make their payments? Can you imagine the uproar if lenders and brokers did that to customers? Especially if the customer happened to be a minority. It comes down to a case of brokers being damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

Yes, you don’t want to be accused of “redlining,” but on the other hand you don’t want to be accused of loaning money to people who might not pay it back. It’s the “Flounder Principle” rearing its ugly head again!

ALL RIGHT, ONE MORE: Some further thoughts here:

It wasn’t really that hard to see this subprime mortgage mess coming. A couple years back, when we were in the process of purchasing a new home and just as the housing market was beginning to come off its peak, I noticed some of these mortgage offers. I actually thought no one would be stupid enough to actually take them up on the offers. I was wrong. . . .

Yes, people can be complete idiots. And they should take responsibility for their idiocy. On the other hand, let’s be honest: many people do not really understand how these things work. And when you sit down with a mortgage broker, most times its the broker with the knowledge and power. And they can be good salesmen, particularly when a young couple (for instance) really wants that big beautiful house they saw, that’s just barely out of reach financially for them. And the broker says, hey, look, here’s what we can do….

Not all these people really understood what they were getting into. And brokers deserve their share of the ire. But right in the middle of an election, obviously the populists are out in full force. And it’s not popular to blame (even in part) the voters for their financial screw ups. There’s enough blame to go around. That most of it is being lobbed at financial institutions is more about politics than reality.

The question of a bail-out, though, has more to do with practicality than with fairness. Is it good for the economy as a whole to let these people take a bath? Probably not. Is it fair to the rest of us who weren’t stupid enough to overstretch our financial means? Probably not. It seems to me that fixing the problem sooner rather than later is best. The long-term question (whether or not a bail-out will simply encourage more financial idiocy in the future) is a good one, and one which I have no answer to.

But I’m disappointed in McCain on this. Support a bail-out if you like. But be honest about the problem.

Yeah. And don’t act like a government paycheck makes you morally superior to people in business. Where do you think the money for that paycheck comes from?

January 30, 2008

HE’S GOING TO NEED A NEW LIVER BEFORE THIS ELECTION IS OVER, but Stephen Green is drunkblogging the G.O.P. debate.

UPDATE: Bainbridge is liveblogging too.

January 30, 2008

I AGREE: Corker: Economic Stimulus Bill is “Nothing But a Political Stimulus”.

January 30, 2008

FOR YALE LAW SCHOOL, conflicting narratives.

UPDATE: And other issues for Harvard.

January 30, 2008

A DINNER TABLE POLL: “My mother, whom I have dubbed The Swing Voter because her vote has correctly called every presidential election since I was sentient, has announced that if Hillary is the nominee, she’s voting Republican–regardless of who the Republican is. Meanwhile, the gay Republican vote is apparently going for McCain, with a margin of error of 100%.” Which isn’t much worse than polls in general, these days . . . .

January 30, 2008

AN ARMY OF DOOFUSES: “Anti-Scientology agitators have repeatedly harassed and threatened violence against a 59-year-old PG&E worker and his wife, who were mistakenly flagged as pro-Scientology hackers.” It’s the Internet equivalent of a wrong-house SWAT raid, though without any actual shootings. Another difference — immediate apologies from the responsible parties.

January 30, 2008

FEEDING YOUR PET via the Internet.

January 30, 2008

WHAT THE WORLD’S BEEN WAITING FOR: The canned cheeseburger. Yum, yum!

January 30, 2008

JENNIFER RUBIN: What will Rush, Hugh say if McCain wins? They really don’t like McCain, but will they try to play spoiler? Some related thoughts here.

Meanwhile, I have to note that whenever I turn on talk radio I hear a caller lamenting Fred Thompson’s absence from the race. I have to wonder, though, just how many of those people actually donated money or volunteered in his campaign.

UPDATE: Advice from The Anchoress: Chill for a bit.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Related thoughts here.

And reader Troy Hinrichs emails: “Hugh Hewitt has said, ad nauseum, on his radio show that if McCain wins the nomination he will vote for McCain and those who withhold their vote are basically dolts for doing so.” I haven’t heard his show lately — it isn’t on in Knoxville at the moment.

January 30, 2008

WHAT THE COUNTRY NEEDS: Ralph Nader 2008!

January 30, 2008

WHERE IS AL GORE? “A rare snowstorm swept the Middle East on Wednesday, blanketing parts of the Holy Land in white, shutting schools and sending excited children into the streets for snowball fights. . . . Men in long Arab robes pelted each other with snowballs in the Jordanian capital, Amman, and the West Bank city of Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian government, came to a standstill.”

January 30, 2008

CHOIRE SICHA: Dear Hillary: Your Obama obsession is making you dull.

UPDATE: Link was wrong earlier. Fixed now. Sorry!

January 30, 2008

LOOKING AT the black plague and its victims.

January 30, 2008

THE LATEST PUTIN VICTIM? “Vladimir Putin has now not only disqualified his former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov from running for president, he’s threatened him with prison.”

January 30, 2008

IN THE MAIL: Get Rich, Stay Rich, Pass It On: The Wealth-Accumulation Secrets of America’s Richest Families. And also, It’s Never Too Late to Get Rich: The Nine Secrets to Building a Nest Egg at Any Age. I’ll read ‘em both, and get twice as rich, twice as fast!

January 30, 2008

EARMARKS AND OUTLAYS: A striking graphic from Larry Kudlow. On the program, Dick Armey called earmarks the “gateway drug for overspending.”

earmarksoutlays.jpg

UPDATE: Reader Tom Brosz emails: “I can’t look at that chart without wondering how much of the Republican Party’s problems stem from the departure of Newt Gingrich, who could almost be considered the conservative heart (or brain) of the Republican Congress. He left the House leadership after the 1998 elections, and you can see on that graph that the spending uptick started some time before Bush took office.” Hmm.

January 30, 2008

TERMINATED: A look at the demise of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s health-care plan, and what it means for Hillarycare 2.0. “Like collapses in Illinois, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, this one crumpled because of the costs, which are always much higher than anticipated. . . . This reveals that liberal health-care politics is increasingly the art of the impossible: You can’t make coverage ‘universal’ while at the same time keeping costs in check — at least without prohibitive tax increases.”

January 30, 2008

AT THE SPECULIST, A SPECIAL EDITION of their Better All The Time good-news roundup, devoted just to energy news.

January 30, 2008

IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME: McCain Derangement Syndrome arrives. I understand people having issues with McCain, but people need to calm down soon. This is politics, the art of the possible, not the ideal. Some people on the right are starting to sound almost Kossack-like.

UPDATE: Bill Quick begs to differ. Hey, for everybody there’s a point at which they’d rather take their marbles and go home. For me it would be Huckabee. For some Democrats it was Gore in 2000 and they voted Nader instead. For some Republicans it was GHW Bush in 1992 and they voted Perot.

What I find particularly hard to swallow, though — and this is not Bill’s problem — are the people who say that if Romney doesn’t make it they’ll vote Democratic rather than support McCain because McCain’s not a true conservative. Maybe not, but neither is Romney, and it seems like a strange place to draw the line. Those who hold a special grudge against McCain over immigration or McCain-Feingold are a different case. But again, everybody gets to vote how they want. Just be prepared to live with the results.

January 30, 2008

HE’LL BE GOING BACK TO ONE OF THE TWO AMERICAS — the fancier one! John Edwards quits.

January 30, 2008

THEY TOLD ME THAT IF GEORGE W. BUSH WERE RE-ELECTED, political activists who circulated petitions critical of government policy would be tossed in jail. And they were right!

January 30, 2008

ATF CONFIRMATION FIGHT continues.

January 30, 2008

WHAT THE NEXT PRESIDENT SHOULD DO on day one.

UPDATE: Why wait? A reader emails: “I think Bush should do it NOW, or at worst before his term ends. If it works as advertised and bankrupts the Saudis, Chavez, and the rest of OPEC, it will go down as the best thing he did in office, and I include Iraq in that assessment.”

Sadly, the White House opposes the Zubrin plan because it’s a “mandate,” notwithstanding that it would be far less intrusive — and far more beneficial — than the increase in C.A.F.E. standards.

January 30, 2008

TWO RELATED STORIES:

Judge Rules Rezko Will Stay Behind Bars.

Obama Cuts Rezko Ties.

January 30, 2008

STILL MORE ON THE BRANDEIS DEBACLE: I encourage conservative and libertarian — or just mischievous — students to flood the system with complaints about anything that offends them. In particular, any criticisms of white, straight, male military veterans. A three-fer!

UPDATE: Er, actually, that would be a four-fer, wouldn’t it? Oh, well — all the better!

January 30, 2008

VOTE FRAUD ARRESTS: “A ward superintendent handpicked by the City Council’s 80-year-old elder statesman, Ald. Bernard Stone (50th), was arrested Monday and charged–along with another man–with improperly steering primarily Indian and Pakistani voters toward absentee ballots for Stone. Anish Eapen, a 37-year-old employee of the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation, faces two counts of official misconduct, three counts of absentee ballot fraud and one count of mutilation of election materials. He allegedly worked in tandem with 34-year-old Armando Ramos, an unemployed student. Ramos faces two counts of absentee ballot fraud and two counts of mutilation of election materials.” (Via NewsAlert.)

January 30, 2008

OKAY, THIS IS SILLY: “Disposable batteries, no matter how efficient, should be considered a controlled substance and, as such, should be sold under the same restrictions as, say, prescription drugs or guns.”

January 30, 2008

A BLOG-REPORT FROM THE GUANGZHOU TRAIN STATION, where half a million people are stranded. Honestly, it doesn’t look as bad as I would have expected. Some of the people even look kind of cheerful.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

Am in Guangzhou now at the Holiday Inn. The west train station, which is the origin of trains heading north, is where all the action is. There are reports from the scene on TVB, the Hong Kong TV station, as well as local news. The interesting thing is the link you posted doesn’t work from behind the Great Firewall!

China Daily (the Party’s English newspaper distributed in the mainland) had a front page story on deicing – by hand, using hammers – power lines north of us. There workers died when a pylon collapsed. Anhui and Hunan are particularly hard-hit, with China Daily reporting food shortages in some cities and traffic jams tens of kilometers long.

We are not going north, but south to Hong Kong (after we leave the US consulate) from the east train station, which still has a large crowd, even though the trains go south and east. I am glad we got out of Chongqing with our newly-adopted baby on Tuesday, as flights were cancelled and delayed.

Good luck.

January 30, 2008

THIS IS INTERESTING: “We were captivated by the Karma plug-in hybrid when it was unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month. Its curvaceous, aggressive design combined with its ability to go 50 miles without using any gas seems like a bargain at the projected starting price of $80,000. . . . Vic Doolan, director of retail development for Fisker, says the company is considering metro Detroit to handle production. The combination of unused capacity, close proximity of suppliers, and availability of experienced workers make Detroit an ideal location.”

January 29, 2008

WISH I’D HELD ON TO THAT SKYLAB CRASH HELMET: “The U.S. military is developing contingency plans to deal with the possibility that a large spy satellite expected to fall to Earth in late February or early March could hit North America.”

January 29, 2008

WHO KNEW THAT DIEBOLD’S TENDRILS REACHED SO FAR? ACLU sues to block paper ballots.

January 29, 2008

CRITICISM FOR DIGG.

January 29, 2008

STEPHEN GREEN: “Get ready to see a slew of McCain/Giuliani bumper stickers at the Republican convention, if not sooner.”

January 29, 2008

HILLARY: It all depends on what the definition of “pledge” is.

January 29, 2008

AIR FORCE BLOCKS BLOG that reported on Air Force problems.

January 29, 2008

FOX CALLS IT FOR MCCAIN. Time is claiming that Giuliani will quit and endorse McCain, probably tomorrow.

UPDATE: CNN and AP have called it for McCain, too.

January 29, 2008

FRED BARNES ON HUCKABEE: “There’s no such thing as a strong fourth-place finish.”

January 29, 2008

THAT SEEMS FITTING: I’m watching Alcee Hastings endorse Hillary now.

UPDATE: Video.

January 29, 2008

GETTING A 1960s VIBE from Barack Obama.

January 29, 2008

FOX PROJECTS HILLARY TO WIN FLORIDA, though with no actual delegates at stake. Obama is a distant second, Edwards an even more distant third.

January 29, 2008

MEGAN MCARDLE defends pharmaceutical profits.

January 29, 2008

STEPHEN GREEN IS drunkblogging the Florida primary results.

January 29, 2008

SO MY REVIEW OF THE Asus Eee PC is up over at Popular Mechanics.

Here’s a picture of the Asus on top of my MacBook Pro.

January 29, 2008

REPLACING BRITISH BLASPHEMY LAWS with a ban on being thoughtless and cruel.

How about a law against being laughable and pathetic?

January 29, 2008

SAYING “JEHOVAH” AT BRANDEIS. This remains a disgraceful incident, based on all the reports I’ve seen.

January 29, 2008

JOHN NOBLE WILFORD OBSERVES the fiftieth anniversary of the U.S. space program.

January 29, 2008

BILL BRADLEY is reporting from Florida.

January 29, 2008

CELL NOISE: “Although they won’t win a Grammy anytime soon, the various audio blips produced by cells are giving scientists insight into cellular biomechanics and could even be used to help detect cancer.”

January 29, 2008

REVIEWING THE REVIEWERS: A roundup of book reviews from this weekend.

January 29, 2008

A 300% ERROR: “A week ago today, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) issued what had to be a hugely embarrassing news release acknowledging that an aggressively promoted and widely cited research report commissioned by the MPAA in 2005 significantly overstated the Internet-based peer-to-peer piracy of college students.” A hair over 293%, actually. But that’s still nothing to brag about.

January 29, 2008

A LOOK AT new radar technology.

January 29, 2008

WHY BILL GATES HATES CAPITALISM: “most business people hate capitalism, because capitalism implies competitiion, which business people hate. Especially monopolists like Bill Gates.”

January 29, 2008

I TALK ABOUT SPACE TOURISM, over at RedBlueAmerica.