January 29, 2008
BROCK YATES: Car and Driver fired me. Now he’s blogging at The Truth About Cars.
BROCK YATES: Car and Driver fired me. Now he’s blogging at The Truth About Cars.
THE MEDIA, STILL TRYING TO martyr Obama? And it used to just be the occasional blog-commenter making Vince Foster jokes. I remember in one of Bruce Sterling’s cyberpunk novels, the way you killed people was to get unstable nuts to go after them. Is this what the media is doing with Obama, putting ideas in people’s heads? Isn’t that kind of irresponsible?
UPDATE: Related thoughts from Tom Maguire.
NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: The Foresight Institute and Battelle unveil A Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems.
URBAN GARDENING TIPS.
SOME INTERESTING NEW AGING RESEARCH.
A SCIENCE FAIR book roundup.
DAVID HARSANYI: Billary is just embarrassing. They don’t seem to be working together well.
BILL BRADLEY IS POSTING continuously updated reports from Florida, including firsthand reports from blog-correspondents around the state.
IN THE MAIL: Steven M. Teles’ The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Law. Favorably blurbed by both Robert George and Jack Balkin!
IS TECHNOLOGY TRULY ADDICTIVE? I think that yammering on about addictions is the habit that some people need to kick . . . .
MICHAEL YON EMAILS: “Major offensive has begun in Mosul. This is likely Al Qaeda’s last real stand in Iraq. Surely they will continue to murder people for a long time, but they are running out of places to hide. Just arrived Kuwait. Should be in Iraq tomorrow and will be in the middle of it.” I look forward to the reports.
THOUGHTS FROM TIGERHAWK on why Bush seemed happy, including a rather positive assessment of the Iraq/Iran situation from Stratfor.
IS SNOPES pushing adware? I looked on Snopes and it said it was just an urban legend . . . .
THE SOCIOLOGY OF CAMPUS HOOKUPS.
MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE EVEN ALAN KEYES’ SUPPORTERS can’t spell his name right.
AT SAMIZDATA, a leaked document on Britain’s plans for implementing national ID.
LIFT A TON AND A HALF, with a bicycle pump.
THE FLORIDA PRIMARY: Continuously updated coverage at PJ Media.
A “NO GROWTH” BUDGET in Tennessee.
DANIEL GLOVER ON THE POWER OF PORKBUSTERS:
I’ve been tracking the power of the blog here at Beltway Blogroll since June 2005, and as my days at National Journal come to a close this week, I can say unequivocally that Porkbusters is the most successful demonstration I have seen of that influence. It is also the one with the greatest staying power.
It’s true that pork is still a problem and will remain one as long as Americans choose to elect panderers rather than statesmen. As I noted in November 2005, it’s next to impossible to catch the greased pig in Congress.
But you simply can’t deny that pork is a prominent policy issue now because of Porkbusters. Until bloggers across the political spectrum started ranting about pork after Hurricane Katrina, nobody outside of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, television broadcaster John Stossel and groups like Citizens Against Government Waste seemed to care — and all of their outrage went unheard by Washington’s powerbrokers.
Now the president is tackling the issue in the State of the Union. That is blog power, my friends.
We just need to keep after them on this issue.
FIRST, THEY CAME for the gays.
TWO ECONOMIC BIRDS, one government stone.
SOME AMAZING SHARK PICTURES.
A LOOK AT the algorithms of love.
THOUGHTS ON TECHNOLOGY AND HUMAN ENHANCEMENT, from Sonia Arrison.
JOHN MCCAIN KERRY: I think McCain is overplaying the Vietnam vet thing. Who does that remind me of?
See, manly modesty is the way to go. Make too much of your military record, and you diminish it.
DON’T DROP THE SOAP: A side of Kathleen Sebelius I was unfamiliar with.
IN DEFENSE OF THE MINIVAN: “The minivan gets a bad rap in this country–it is almost universally reviled as a symbol of dweebish parenthood and mindless suburbia, a scarlet letter attached to soccer moms’ chests. . . . The minivan’s job is to haul people and cargo in as comfortable and efficient a manner as possible, and it fulfills that mission admirably.” (Bumped).
BEST LINE OF THE NIGHT: â€œOthers have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm, and I am pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders.â€
JIM DEMINT OFFERS THE CONSERVATIVE RESPONSE to the State of the Union. Which in itself is kind of bad for Bush . . . .
THOUGHTS ON THE Challenger anniversary.
WATCHING BUSH WALK OUT AFTER THE SPEECH, I’m struck by how happy he looks. Other Presidents have looked beaten-down by this point. Not him.
TALKING GLOBAL WARMING on Reason TV.
OKAY, I HAVE TO GLOAT JUST A BIT: Bush led off with earmarks. His actions aren’t as bold as I’d like, but still — back in 2005 when PorkBusters started, nobody in Washington cared and members of Congress were bragging about pork. Now the State of the Union leads of with an attack on earmarks, to thundering applause. Yeah, a lot of it’s a sham. But hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, and this kind of hypocrisy indicates that the anti-earmark momentum is growing.
THE PROBLEMS OF MOVIE DISTRIBUTION: Will the Long Tail bring a Big Fix? Somebody ask Roger Simon!
GEOTHERMAL POWER in Alaska.
I MAY NOT MANAGE to watch the State of the Union, but Jules Crittenden and Rick Moran will be covering it for PJ Media.
CLAUDIA ROSETT: The amazing, disappearing Pentagon profile.
RAND SIMBERG OBSERVES THE ANNIVERSARY of Bush’s “Sixteen Words.” Here’s more background on those from FactCheck.org: Two intelligence investigations show Bush had plenty of reason to believe what he said in his 2003 State of the Union Address.
A NEW YORK TIMES PROXY FIGHT! “Investors Plan to Name Their Own Slate of 4 Directors at N.Y. Times Co.”
Rev. Al Sharpton on the ABC show “The View” today told former President Bill Clinton to “shut up”. While not identifying any individual statements, Sharpton said Mr. Clinton should end the “race-tinged rhetoric”.
When Al Sharpton is outraged by your race-baiting, well . . . .
A STATE OF THE UNION preview.
I’M SHOCKED AT THIS ACT OF POLITICAL INFIDELITY: “The New York State chapter of the National Organization for Women attacked Ted Kennedy for his endorsement today with some real heat. . . . ‘Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal. Senator Kennedyâ€™s endorsement of Hillary Clintonâ€™s opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard.’”
MORE ON THE BENEFITS OF exercise and booze.
OUR ORWELLIAN CLASS.
TAKING THE X-PRIZE APPROACH TO A NEW LEVEL: Billion-dollar prizes for big problems.
READER RICK GIOVANELLI SENDS THIS STORY ON THE ECONOMY from The New York Times and observes, “Don’t you wish Vegas or the online markets would let you bet on things like the number of articles linking a weak economy to President Bush compared to the number of articles (approximately zero) linking him to the strong economy of the past 4-5 years?”
You don’t bet on certainties. But I’m reminded of a passage from Mark Penn’s book on how the media treated the economy in 1992:
I have found over the years that there is often a huge disconnect between belief about the economy and the true economic state of affairs. Until the statistics are actually published, people tend to assess the economy through the eyes of the national media. In 1992, when Bill Clinton won the presidency based on worries about the economy, the statistics that came out after the election showed that the period leading up to November had actually been a period of record growth. . . . In his 1996 State of the Union speech, President Clinton said we had the best economy in thirty years — a statement that sent a flurry of reporters to check actual statistics rather than popular political movements and sweeping, politically motivated statements. The more people looked at the facts, the more they agreed, and six months later, there was near-unanimity that the economy was in good shape. Had the economy changed? No, what had changed was knowledge about the true facts of the economy.
Hmm. Regardless of the data, we get bad economic “news” when there’s a Republican in the White House., and good economic “news” when a Democrat is running for reelection. Perhaps that New York Times headline — “Echo of First Bush” — is more accurate than I first thought . . . .
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Bush announces the order:
On Tuesday, President Bush will issue an Executive Order directing Federal agencies to ignore any future earmark that is not voted on and included in a law approved by Congress. This will effectively end the common practice of concealing earmarks in so-called report language instead of placing them in the actual text of the bill. This means earmarks will be subject to votes, which will better expose them to the light of day and help constrain excessive and unjustified spending.
The Executive Order will provide that with regard to all future appropriations laws and other legislation enacted into law, executive agencies will not commit, obligate, or expend funds on the basis of earmarks from any non-statutory source, including requests included in congressional committee reports or other congressional documents, or communications from or on behalf of Members of Congress, or any other non-statutory source, except when required by law, or when an agency itself decides that a project or other transaction has merit under statutory criteria or other merit-based decision-making.
Good for him. If he’d done this in 2005, of course, the GOP might have kept its majority. But this is still the right thing to do.
UPDATE: Mark Tapscott calls it an empty gesture because it applies only to future bills. Not quite empty, but not enough.
LEONARD DAVID notes some planetary defense lessons from recent asteroid flybys.
FROM ROGER KIMBALL, thoughts on being an idolatrous infidel.
THE TRUTH ABOUT JENA: “Why Americaâ€™s black-and-white narratives about race donâ€™t reflect reality.”
IMMIGRATION PUSHBACK FOR HILLARY: “Immigrant-rights advocates and some Latino leaders are voicing concern at Senator Clinton’s campaign-trail rhetoric about swiftly deporting immigrants with a criminal past.”
ARTHUR CHRENKOFF analyzes news coverage from Iraq.
BREAKING OPEC: Bob Zubrin has an oped in The Rocky Mountain News. Read it!
BAD NEWS FOR OBAMA: Tony Rezko has been arrested.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: A 12-step program for Earmark Withdrawal? This sounds promising:
As every reformed addict knows, the road to recovery is long and hard. So it is for Republicans who became addicted to spending “earmarks” while running Congress, lost their majority in large part because of it, and are now struggling with mixed results to dry out.
Their latest halting effort in what appears to be at least a 12-step recovery plan will come tonight, when President Bush uses his State of the Union address to lay down his toughest anti-earmarking pledge to date. We’re told he will tell Congress that he will veto any fiscal 2009 spending bill that doesn’t cut earmarks in half from 2008 levels. He will also report that he is issuing a Presidential order informing executive departments that from now on they should refuse to fund earmarks that aren’t explicitly mentioned in statutory language.
Read the whole thing. It’s progress. Too bad he didn’t do this years ago. But still, it’s progress.
ISSUES FOR THE TRUSTEES of large, wealthy universities.
A LOOK AT AMERICA’S first criminal domestic violence court. Back in 1946.
PREVENTING OVARIAN CANCER, with birth control pills.
I DIDN’T REALIZE THAT AL GORE was visiting China.
THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION ON female genital mutilation.
THE FINAL MISSION: Michael Totten posts a new report from Fallujah.
MORE ON CHEAP, CORN-FREE ETHANOL: Bring it on.
MICKEY KAUS: “McCain seems to have conned a lot of Republicans into thinking he’s transformed his position on immigration.”
BRUCE THORNTON: An Epistle to the Muslims.
SHE WHO CONTROLS THE PAST, controls the future?
HEH: “If they were trying to keep their affair a secret, you’d think they’d find someplace where political reporters wouldn’t be walking by.” Yes, if they were, you’d think they would.
SO I VISITED MY BROTHER THIS WEEKEND — it was his birthday — and you can see his blues duo 46 Long playing at a party below. (Shot with my tiny Sony — not bad video and sound for a camera the size of a deck of cards with a microphone the size of a matchhead.)
Then we went to Southgate House, where the Cincinnati Blues Society was having a big to-do. 46 Long played again, and I met a bunch of my brother’s bluesman and blueswoman friends, only some of whom wore porkpie hats. One of them was Jon Justice, pictured below, who’s a really excellent guitarist, reminiscent of Roy Buchanan or a young Stevie Ray Vaughan, and with a fine singing voice as well. There were lots of other very talented and nice folks, though, and the Southgate House — birthplace of the man who invented the Tommy Gun (no, really) — was an extra-cool location.
It was a swell time, and my other brother, Brad — his band is here — came along too, and so did my dad, meaning that the greater Cincinnati area was briefly overrun with Reynolds men. They seem to have survived, and we certainly had a good time. We don’t all get together in one place all that often, given all of our various travels and responsibilities, but it’s always fun when we do. And it wasn’t even my birthday! I hope there are many more celebrations like this.
ANOTHER UPDATE: People want pictures of the InstaDad. Here’s one.
WHAT THE HECK IS TORCHWOOD?
HUCKABEE ISN’T MAKING MANY FRIENDS. But maybe he only needs to make one.
COMING SOON: Ill Bill?
HOW TO SURVIVE IN THE WILD for 72 hours.
MITT ROMNEY SCORES AN ENDORSEMENT from Ed Morrissey.
A BIG COMMERCIAL SPACE ROUNDUP from Dale Amon. There’s a lot more going on than most people have noticed.
TOM MAGUIRE defends Bill Clinton.
“STOMPING THE FLOOR,” with Hillary.
Meanwhile, Mickey Kaus observes:
On TV they’ve been confidently talking about Hillary’s call for seating the Michigan and Florida delegations as if that will be her trump card at a contested convention. She’ll almost certainly win the Florida vote next week, and she’s already won in Michigan. But I don’t see how the convention can fairly award Hillary the delegates from those states after the DNC got her competitors to pledge not to campaign in those states’ primaries. Doesn’t that discredit those primaries? Or should Obama and Edwards be punished because they obeyed their party?
KATIE COURIC’S big mistake.
FORGET SOUTH CAROLINA: JWF was covering the really important stuff.
ANALYZING THE CANDIDATES’ TYPOGRAPHY: (“The Hillary type palette is far from fresh and colorful; it is begging for legitimacy instead of demanding respect. . . . Huckabee has the most inexplicable selection of typography and graphics, from the six floating stars to the white stripe seemingly stolen from the Coca-Cola logo.”) I did this back in 2004. Kerry won.
Meanwhile, since we’re talking graphics, the Globe piece is confusingly laid out and doesn’t even include all the images it describes. What’s with that?
UPDATE: Alas, this election is unlikely to allow me to blog about ketchup as I did last time around. That’s too bad. I like ketchup.
JIM COOPER welcomes Hillary to Nashville.
ROGER SIMON HAS HAD IT WITH political bloodlines.
HOW BUSH decided on the Surge.
MORE SCRUTINY FOR HIGHER EDUCATION: “Expanding their scrutiny of spending and other financial practices in higher education, leaders of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on Thursday asked the 136 colleges with the largest endowments for a wealth of data and analysis about how they set tuition prices, mete out financial aid, and manage their endowments.” A proper response to such a request is “none of your damn business,” but as I’ve noted before, universities have put themselves in a poor position for that.
Here’s the letter (PDF) from Sens. Max Baucus and Charles Grassley.
IN THE MAIL: John Ringo’s Manxome Foe.
TIM BLAIR: “All is going very well.”
UPDATE: Reader Peter Ingemi emails: “Obamaâ€™s win may have rejiggered the race but your post has rejiggered the headline to ‘Obamaâ€™s win reshapes race’. The world is just too strange.” Heh. Indeed.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Magazine veteran Gerard van der Leun explains what went wrong at Time.
P.R. GENIUS AT WORK! A web promoter helpfully copied me in on this email:
You asked why we do not submit to Instapundit. Actually, we do. And as recently as yesterday — the series on energy dependence. That site, seemingly a one-man show, is hard to fathom. Today, it is all the South Carolina primary; apparently there is no other subject of consequence in the world. Yesterday, when we posted the energy dependence piece, Instapundit ran such items as “Digital Cameras Galore”, “A NEW TREND IN CAR DESIGN: Vanishing ashtrays and cigarette lighters” (really important). And they (or he) somehow thought the following observation deserved our attention:
A Random Thought
Posted by Stephen Green on 24 Jan 2008 at 09:13 pm
It just occurred to me that one of these jokers â€” Clinton, McCain, Obama or Romney â€” is going to be the next President. Itâ€™s almost enough to make one pine for the old days of Bush v Gore.
Our piece is long for this crowd, maybe beyond the attention span of Insta’s audience. It seems to feature short items, and a lot of them frivolous.
Well, you can scroll down and decide for yourself whether this is an accurate characterization of the site. But was copying me on this email a smart PR move? Doesn’t seem that way to me. . . .
TERROR IN EUROPE: “Islamist extremists were planning attacks across Europe, especially against public transport, before their arrests in Barcelona last weekend, a Spanish paper reported on Saturday, citing a would-be attacker’s testimony.”
HOWARD BAKER endorses John McCain.