Archive for April, 2008

April 29, 2008

JOHN FUND ON THE SUPREME COURT AND VOTER FRAUD: We had a podcast interview with Fund on this topic a while back; it’s here.

April 29, 2008

HEH. The biter, bit. “It seems that white feminists and Leftists are a big bunch of racists, too. . . . White Privilege was to blame… No wonder Amanda Marcotte thinks Free Will is overrated.” Yeah, I linked to Goldstein on the general topic, but this was worth a link of its own.

April 28, 2008

ADVICE TO REV. JEREMIAH WRIGHT:

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And yes, this is a real church sign; I took this picture on Highway 30 between Athens and Dayton back in 2004.

UPDATE: A big Wright coverage roundup from Tom Maguire.

April 28, 2008

JOE KATZMAN: Straining Belief: The Obama Campaign and Michelle’s UCLA Speech.

April 28, 2008

THEY TOLD ME THAT IF GEORGE W. BUSH WERE RE-ELECTED, famous scientists would be punished for daring to dissent from politico-religious orthodoxy. And they were right!

April 28, 2008

AT TALKLEFT, A REZKO UPDATE: “A former associate of Tony Rezko’s testified at his trial today that Rezko told him U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald would be replaced and the investigation into his conduct would end. . . . The Sun Times also reports that the Judge and lawyers have been working hard to keep Barack Obama’s name from surfacing in the trial.” The good news for Obama: Jeremiah Wright is diverting all the attention to himself, and away from Rezko!

April 28, 2008

WHEN RADICAL MUSLIMS become moderate.

April 28, 2008

WELCOME TO the party, Andrew.

April 28, 2008

BEING PRESIDENT: Not all it’s quacked up to be.

April 28, 2008

WELL, I DO TRY. It’s nice to see some law professors notice, and even point out that this isn’t as easy as it looks.

April 28, 2008

TAKING “VIRAL MARKETING” A BIT TOO LITERALLY: I’ve been getting emails from all sorts of people about a site called “Reunion.com.” Turns out they didn’t send them. Reunion.com did, after perusing their address books:

As part of the process, she submitted her name, gender, e-mail address, birth date and ZIP Code.

Then Schmidt came to a page saying that “we’ll find your friends and family who are already members and also automatically invite any nonmembers to join (it’s free!).” It instructed her to enter the password for her Yahoo e-mail account.

“I thought I was just signing up to read my friend’s message,” Schmidt said. “At no time did I think I was authorizing them to access my online address book.”

Within minutes, though, she started getting e-mails from friends and colleagues asking why she was searching for them on Reunion.com.

As the day progressed, Schmidt realized that every one of the roughly 250 personal and professional contacts in her online address book had received an e-mail, ostensibly from her, saying that she was searching for them and encouraging them to join her at Reunion.com.

“I had to send an e-mail to everyone apologizing for what happened,” she said.

Sounds quite cheesy. I don’t respond to any of these social-network invitations, but I’m certainly glad I didn’t respond to this one.

April 28, 2008

RAND SIMBERG: “What the Clintons did for feminism, could Obama do for race relations?”

UPDATE: Obama’s damage-control efforts seem too little, too late. “The Illinois senator spoke at a hastily arranged press conference on the airport tarmac in Wilmington, N.C., as media traveling with him were about to board his campaign plane. Airplane engines roared in the background and a plane taking off interrupted the brief media availability, which lasted less than six minutes and permitted only three questions.”

April 28, 2008

EMINENT DOMAIN: Poor, Minorities Hardest Hit.

April 28, 2008

JEFF GOLDSTEIN: “The time has come to point out certain of the less than charming rhetorical ploys being clumsily attempted by my critics.”

April 28, 2008

KEEPING YOUNG with nanotechnology.

April 28, 2008

BOB ZUBRIN corrects Hugo Chavez’s math.

April 28, 2008

WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE 10% of a watermelon, or 90% of a grape? Depends in part on which you like, and which you’re allergic to . . .

April 28, 2008

VIDEO: Michael Yon on Fox News, talking about his book, and the situation in Iraq.

April 28, 2008

OUCH: “Print circulation continues on its steep downward slide, the Audit Bureau of Circulations revealed this morning in releasing the latest numbers for some of the country’s largest dailies in the six-month period ending March 31, 2008. When a full analysis appears it is expected to find, according to sources, the biggest dip yet, about 3.5% daily and 4.5 for Sunday. . . . The New York Times lost more than 150,000 copies on Sunday. Circulation on that day fell a whopping 9.2% to 1,476,400. The paper’s daily circulation declined 3.8% to 1,077,256.”

Circulation at the WSJ, meanwhile, is up. USA Today, too. What could be the difference?

April 28, 2008

HILLARY TALKS TRADE: Ed Cone posts bootleg audio from her closed-to-the-press briefing. Among other things, she endorses McCain’s “gas tax holiday.”

April 28, 2008

DANA MILBANK ON JEREMIAH WRIGHT: For Obama, the Voice of Doom? “Speaking before an audience that included Marion Barry, Cornel West, Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party and Nation of Islam official Jamil Muhammad, Wright praised Louis Farrakhan, defended the view that Zionism is racism, accused the United States of terrorism, repeated his view that the government created the AIDS virus to cause the genocide of racial minorities, stood by other past remarks (‘God damn America’) and held himself out as a spokesman for the black church in America.” I don’t see how this can help him.

UPDATE: Joe Klein: “I’ve been to dozens and dozens of African-American church services over the years, including the investiture of one of my friends as an AME minister two years ago, and I have very rarely, if ever, heard the kind of rants that are part of Reverend Wright’s canon. . . . Wright’s purpose now seems quite clear: to aggrandize himself–the guy is going to be a go-to mainstream media source for racial extremist spew, the next iteration of Al Sharpton–and destroy Barack Obama.” Yeah, if Wright’s not trying to sabotage Obama’s candidacy, what is he doing?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some useful background here. Doesn’t today’s speech mean that Bill Moyers wasted his time and reputation in trying to walk Wright back from the brink?

MORE: Ouch: “Frankly, it’s as selfish of a move as we’ve seen in some time. Imagine, for example, if Norman Hsu or Vicki Iseman were doing publicity tours right now.”

STILL MORE: Ron Coleman says the chickens are coming home to roost. And here’s more from The Telegraph.

MORE STILL: Andrew Sullivan finally catches on: “But what he said today extemporaneously, the way in which he said it, the unrepentant manner in which he reiterated some of his most absurd and offensive views, his attempt to equate everything he believes with the black church as a whole, and his open public embrace of Farrakhan and hostility to the existence of Israel Zionism, make any further defense of him impossible. This was a calculated, ugly, repulsive, vile display of arrogance, egotism, and self-regard. This is an outright attack on the stated beliefs and policies and values of Barack Obama in a secular setting.”

Yes, Wright’s views certainly contradict Obama’s stated beliefs, policies, and values. Andrew adds: “Obama needs not just to distance himself from Wright’s views; he needs to disown him at this point. Wright himself, it seems to me, has become part of what Obama is fighting against.” Become? I don’t see that Wright has changed. People have just noticed. And if this is what Obama is fighting against, then . . . where’s the fighting against part?

FINALLY: Eric Scheie on Pastor Wright’s fantasy world of hyperbole. Some of that hyperbole is deflated by this comment from The Volokh Conspiracy:

“Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy. He did not put me in chains. He did not put me in slavery. And he didn’t make me this color.”

Nobody put Wright in chains.
Nobody put Wright in slavery.
Wright’s color is due to his Negroid and Caucasian genes.

People can be so literal. Or is the whole thing being cleverly staged to give Obama the all-time greatest Sister Souljah moment?

April 28, 2008

RANDY NEAL NOTES A BIT FROM OBAMA’S FOX NEWS INTERVIEW, and observes:

Free markets work, and are more efficient. It’s about time serious Democrats acknowledged this and started bringing the conversation back from the far-left fringe into the mainstream center with the DLC and the Blue Dogs where the business of America is business.

Only I’m not as sure as Michael Silence is that he’s serious . . . .

April 28, 2008

JAMES TARANTO: “Democratic front-runner Barack Obama was supposed to unite the country, overcoming racial and even partisan division. How’s that working out?”

April 28, 2008

OMAR FADHIL: Are Sadr and al-Qaeda Teaming Up in Iraq? “Reports of serious negotiations taking place between Sadr’s movement and al-Qaeda were followed by suspiciously coordinated threats from both groups.”

April 28, 2008

WHY GENERATION Y IS BROKE: “No one had ever taught me to make a budget or balance a checkbook.”

They taught me that in High School, by which point I had already learned it at home. The Insta-Daughter, meanwhile, had already learned it from The Sims before I even tried to teach her.

April 28, 2008

SYRIANA: Noah Pollak isn’t optimistic about the prospect of flipping Syria.

April 28, 2008

BETTING MORE THAN IT SEEMS ON THE KINDLE? Amazon is touting on its main page that the Kindle is now shipping right away, after months of being backordered because of insufficient production to meet demand. And they’re even publicizing their letter to shareholders which is pretty much all about the Kindle. Seems like Jeff Bezos has big plans for going all-electronic, and not just in some hazy might-happen future.

April 28, 2008

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MY FIRST SIGHTING of a SmartCar in the wild. Cute and little, but I think a Jetta TDI would be more practical, and I think they even get better mileage.

UPDATE: Various readers point out that the SmartCar is both (much) cheaper and (much) easier to park in an urban setting than the Jetta. Fair points.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More on whether the SmartCar is a good deal, here.

It’s not especially inexpensive — $11,590 for the base Pure coupe — $13,590 for the “loaded” Passion coupe (and $16,590 for the convertible). At least, not relative to what else you can buy for that money — for example, a Chevy Aveo ($10,235), Toyota Yaris ($12,225), Kia Spectra ($12,895), or Hyundai Accent ($12,925).

And those are subcompact sedans; they can carry four people. The so-called Smart car is a hypercompact two-seater. If you need room for even three people, you’ll need to buy another car. How smart is that, exactly?

But it gets great gas mileage — right?

Actually, not that great. EPA rates the Smart car at 33 mpg city and 40 mpg on the highway. That’s not bad. Then again, a Toyota Yaris (with four doors and room for four people, remember) gets 29 city, 36 highway. So the “smart” car gets exactly 4 mpg better mileage in town and on the highway. Big whoop. And unlike traditional subcompacts, which can be driven pretty much anywhere, the Smart car is only usable as an in-city commuter.

But you’ll be noticed, and for some that’s enough.

April 28, 2008

HAROLD FORD, JR. gets married.

We interviewed him a couple of years ago. Nice guy.

April 28, 2008

WRIGHT IS wrong on Sudan. Among many other things.

April 28, 2008

HEH: “If Hillary picks the person who saved her campaign then her press secretary will be Rush Limbaugh.”

April 28, 2008

BILL BRADLEY: Obama, Clinton, McCain and the ‘Wright Stuff’.

April 28, 2008

AUSTIN BAY ON Mexico’s revolution on our border. Judging from Austin’s take, it seems that Mexican President Felipe Calderon deserves more credit than he’s getting from Americans on either the left or the right.

April 28, 2008

SCALZI OFFERS HEADLINE-WRITER SNARK:

“The Poor Suffer the Most”

Used, for example, in this news header today in a story about food shortages: “As a brutal convergence of events hits an unprepared global market, and grain prices go sky high, the world’s poor suffer most.”

Really? The poor suffering the most? It’s hard to imagine. Because, you know, usually when there’s a major global crisis of any sort, it’s the poor sitting there on the sidelines, going whew, dodged that bullet.

Indeed. But it’s not all beer and skittles for the rich, as evidenced by “The Great Davos Lobster Bisque Inconvenience of ‘04.” Some still shudder at the memory.

April 28, 2008

OKAY, I THINK THAT JEREMIAH WRIGHT MUST BE TRYING TO SABOTAGE OBAMA’S CANDIDACY: How else to explain yammering on about black brains vs. white brains. Echoing The Bell Curve?

Then there’s this bit:

“Barack HUSSEIN Obama,” he said, emphasizing the Illinois senator’s middle name dramatically, “Barack HUSSEIN Obama, Barack HUSSEIN Obama. There are Arabic-speaking Christians, there Arabic-speaking Jews, Arabic-speaking Muslims and Arabic-speaking atheists. Arabic is a language, it is not a religion. Stop trying to scare folks by giving them this Arabic name like it’s some disease.”

Uh huh. That’ll help in Indiana.

MORE: Tom Maguire: “I would have guessed that clapping on the downbeat was a social construct, but I am not as well educated as Jeremiah Wright. That said, I am trying to imagine the reaction if a white figure announced that black brains were different.”

April 28, 2008

SOMETHING OF A GAFFE, I’D SAY: Hillary compares outsourcing to the Holocaust. Well, kind of, anyway.

April 28, 2008

JEFF GOLDSTEIN on the colonialization of Kong.

April 28, 2008

FROM TOM MAGUIRE: More Obama-Ayers fact-checking.

April 28, 2008

PRIUS PLUG-IN CONVERSION KITS, now selling for around $10,000. Not likely they’ll pay for themselves in gas savings, but cool nonetheless.

April 28, 2008

IN THE MAIL: A G.K. Chesterton anthology, Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II. A collection of essays, including one on a particular breed of pacifist that Chesterton saw as new in the 20th Century: “He does not so much believe in his own conscience as disbelieve in the common conscience which is the soul of any society. His hatred for patriotism is very much plainer than his love for peace.”

April 28, 2008

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ANOTHER CAMPUS PIC: The Law School patio.

April 28, 2008

MICHAEL YON’S MOMENT OF TRUTH IN IRAQ gets a review in the New York Sun. It’s called “wonderful.” Ask for it in bookstores.

April 28, 2008

TIGERHAWK: Asymmetrical outrage.

April 28, 2008

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS Indiana’s voter ID law: “The Supreme Court has ruled that states can require voters to produce photo identification without violating their constitutional rights.” Seems reasonable to me.

April 28, 2008

JOSH TREVINO ON regulating foreign investment.

April 28, 2008

REIHAN SALAM: Hillary shows McCain how to beat Obama.

April 28, 2008

THE EXAMINER: When truth becomes “inappropriate” for campaign debate.

April 28, 2008

MICHAEL CHABON’S The Yiddish Policemen’s Union has won a Nebula Award. A lot of people seem to have liked it more than I did — I thought it was just okay.

April 28, 2008

I’D BE SHOCKED, but by now this really isn’t shocking:

The UN has covered up claims that its troops in Democratic Republic of Congo gave arms to militias and smuggled gold and ivory, the BBC has learned. . . . These are not the only allegations to have been brought against peacekeepers in DR Congo.

In December 2006, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Moroccan troops had been involved in widespread sexual abuse.

“There have been crimes such as rape, paedophilia and human trafficking,” he said, shortly before leaving office.

But since there’s no anti-American angle, it won’t be much of a story.

April 28, 2008

DALE AMON: Born a hundred million years too soon.

April 28, 2008

PLASTIC SURGERY: Don’t overdo. My theory is that certain celebrities and socialites are around so many people who’ve had lots of work done that what looks weird to everyone else just looks normal to them.

April 28, 2008

SCALIA ON 60 MINUTES: A roundup.

April 28, 2008

MICKEY KAUS gives Obama’s Fox appearance yesterday a good review: “McCain will have trouble beating the Obama who showed up on Fox News Sunday, giving a highly effective interview to Chris Wallace.”

On the other hand, he has this advice: “It would be a huge help in combatting the ‘arrogance’ meme, however, if Obama would stop citing the world-historical greatness of his own speeches as if he were his own personal Chris Matthews.”

April 28, 2008

BRUCE BAWER: Motivated by fear and multiculturalism, too many Westerners are acquiescing to creeping sharia.

April 27, 2008

TAXES AND THE “two-income trap.”

April 27, 2008

POLITICO: OBAMA STARS in Mississippi attack ad. “The ads are a mark of how difficult, with the nomination apparently within his grasp, Obama will find it to stay above or outside the traditional, bitter partisan divisions he so often deplores.” Well, yeah. It’s hard to stay above the fray when you’re, you know, in it.

April 27, 2008

OUCH: “He’s looking less like Kennedy, and more like Steve Urkel.”

April 27, 2008

GRILLBLOGGING: Okay, I’m finally getting to following up on Kaliph’s question about gas grills. The response was so overwhelming that I still haven’t read it all, but here goes. First, reader Bill Faith wants to know who made my gas grill that’s lasted four years. It was a Kenmore Premium from Sears. Still works fine, though the little electric lighter is getting kinda iffy.

Moved to “extended entry” because it’s so long. Click “read more” to read it!

April 27, 2008

PAMELA BONE has died.

April 27, 2008

MARK STEYN EXPLAINS IT ALL: “In a scrupulously politically correct age, it’s not offensive to organize a ‘Kill the police!’ demo or to preach that the government invented Aids in order to perpetrate an African-American genocide. You can pull that stuff and still be part of respectable society, hanging out with presidential candidates and whatnot. What’s grotesquely offensive is the chap who’s insensitive enough to point out such statements and associations.” Yeah, well, he’s ruining the deal for everyone.

April 27, 2008

NATURALLY, THE ROBOPHOBES ARE TRYING TO MAKE HAY OUT OF THIS: Robot lawnmower safety recall.

April 27, 2008

WE’RE SEEING MORE OF THIS KIND OF THING: Single Mother Gets RIAA Suit Dismissed, Sues Them Right Back. And I suspect they’re vulnerable.

April 27, 2008

THIS SOUNDS LIKE GOOD NEWS: Colombia and the United States announce biofuel cooperation agreement.

April 27, 2008

SALENA ZITO: Obama’s big disconnect. “This nation has a history of looking closely at its candidates and taking their measure before they vote for them. It is a process that Obama shuns and rival Hillary Clinton thrives on — and therein lies the problem for Democrats.”

April 27, 2008

HOLOGRAPHIC STORAGE becomes a commercial reality. This sounds very cool. When the price drops, which probably won’t take all that long, I’ll be interested.

April 27, 2008

NICK GILLESPIE AND MATT WELCH: How “Dallas” won the Cold War. But did the show really “demystify wealth production”?

April 27, 2008

basmati.jpgINVESTIGATIVE REPORTING: Well, reporting of sorts, anyway. I made a rare visit to Sam’s Club today, and noticed that they seemed to have plenty of giant bags of basmati rice, though there was a sign noting that purchasers were limited in how many they could buy (no more than 4 bags to a customer). Since one of those bags would probably supply my household’s rice needs for a year, the limit didn’t seem too onerous, and probably more aimed at resellers than anything else.

On the other hand, there’s this: Head for the hills!

April 27, 2008

GIVING A PASS TO FRANKLIN GRAHAM in Knox County Schools? On the other hand, my daughter’s geography teacher spends most of his time telling her about the evils of western civilization, with special emphasis on George W. Bush and conservative Christians. So maybe they’re just too distracted from, you know, actual teaching in general.

April 27, 2008

JACK LAIL: “I think we’re in what we will be remembered as a ‘golden age’ of Web news.”

April 27, 2008

SARKOZY BREATHES NEW LIFE into Atlanticism. “It was hugely symbolic that his first two state visits were to America and Britain, doing nothing to dispel German nervousness at a potential weakening of the axis between Paris and Berlin.” But, as always with politics, especially the French variety, there are actions, and there are words.

April 27, 2008

MICHAEL HIRSH: “Maybe it’s time for the North to secede from the Union.”

Jeez, they used to at least wait until after they lost the election to start this talk.

April 27, 2008

AUSTIN BAY on North Korea and Syria.

April 27, 2008

“WE’RE NOT QUITTERS:” Bill Clinton encourages Hillary to push on. “Mr. Clinton has been deeply involved in the campaign since the days after his wife’s surprise third-place finish in the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses. With the Secret Service taking positions in and around campaign headquarters, he showed up for meetings, even bringing in bagels and chicken nuggets for the staff. He also brought in his own people, including former advisers Howard Paster and Steve Richetti and his foundation’s chief of staff, Laura Graham.” I’ve been wondering what that foundation did. (Via Josh Marshall).

April 27, 2008

MIKE RAPPAPORT: “I wonder what percentage of the Jewish vote Obama will get. My guess is that it will be the lowest of a Democratic candidate in many years, if not in several generations.”

April 27, 2008

OBAMA ON FOX: Here’s the transcript. (Via MyDD, where Jerome Armstrong observes: “Obama is trying to separate himself from the most strident parts of his base, and he does this pretty effectively throughout the interview.” But read the whole thing.)

UPDATE: A more critical take at No Quarter. “The truly scary part is that Obama stands for, essentially, nothing. Obama stands for Obama.” More discussion at TalkLeft.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reviews from the Rightosphere aren’t much better: “I supported Roberts when I opposed him.” Plus this: “He called Wright a ‘legitimate’ campaign issue, which will seem rather shocking to the New York Times, the McCain campaign, and others who have demanded an end to the North Carolina GOP’s television ad.. . . . Obama sounded a lot less convincing when it came to responding to the William Ayers controversy.”

April 27, 2008

POSSIBLY: What if you could make fuel for your car in your backyard for less than you pay at the pump? Would you? Federal laws may interfere.

April 27, 2008

IN THE MAIL: Jonathan Rosen’s The Life of the Skies. It’s very well-blurbed.

April 27, 2008

THE OBAMA/AYERS CONNECTION is getting a workout from the pro-Hillary blogs. More here.

April 27, 2008

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PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ASKING for more campus pics, so here’s one.

April 27, 2008

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ex-Fugitive Put Up Homes to Spring Rezko. “The three homes belonging to former Iraqi Electricity Minister Aiham Alsammarae — a dual U.S.-Iraqi citizen who broke out of a Baghdad jail in 2006 — are part of a long list made public in Rezko’s case Friday following a Sun-Times request. Six of the other individuals who pledged property to get Rezko out of the Metropolitan Correctional Center on April 18 are current or former state employees.” Hmm. (Via Newsalert).

April 27, 2008

IT’S A FAR CRY FROM “OBAMA GIRL,” but this viral video thing works both ways:

(Via Ann Althouse.)

April 27, 2008

ALT-ENERGY LOOKS A BIT MORE REAL: A reader sends a link to this solar sale at Amazon. My guess, though, is that it’ll be disaster-prep people who are most interested.

April 27, 2008

ROGER KIMBALL: Grasping at Straws: The NY Times on McCain.

April 27, 2008

A LOST-AND-FOUND RECORDING of a Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey reunion.

April 27, 2008

BILL MOYERS pitching softballs. Or maybe whiffleballs. Whatever.

UPDATE: Gerard Van Der Leun emails: “Waffleballs.”

April 27, 2008

AT CHICAGOBOYZ, a contest on eating cheap. The Insta-Wife’s chicken soup yesterday, made from the leftover Insta-Chicken, worked out to about a dollar a head. People are beating that, though.

April 27, 2008

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR AMERICA’S SWOLLEN PRISON POPULATION? Bill Stuntz says it’s pretty much everyone: “The best answer is probably: everyone in a position of political or legal authority over the last thirty years. But I’m pretty sure one common answer—we have a huge, disproportionately black prison population primarily because of the policy choices made by conservative Republicans like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush—is wrong. The political right plainly contributed, and contributed a lot, to the generation-long run-up in our prison population. But the political left probably contributed even more.”

Read the whole thing. Including this: “Criminal justice works badly when the voters whose preferences govern the system are not the voters who feel the effects of crime and punishment most directly.”

April 27, 2008

HILLARY HAS OBAMA WHERE SHE WANTS HIM on the whole debate question, according to Ann Althouse.

April 27, 2008

THE TALIBAN SOLD OUT: For peanuts.

April 27, 2008

DAVID MOREL took his Nikon D300 with him to a University of Tennessee rugby game. He got these shots.

April 26, 2008

THIS ISN’T PARTICULARLY REASSURING: An airbase inside a mountain is the latest sign that North Korea, whose links to Syria’s nuclear programme came to light last week, is cranking up its military machine.

April 26, 2008

YES, THIS IS REALLY A STORY FROM THE BBC: “Despite the fact there are more than 200 million guns in circulation, there is a certain tranquility and civility about American life. . . . I have met incredulous British tourists who have been shocked to the core by the peacefulness of the place, the lack of the violent undercurrent so ubiquitous in British cities, even British market towns. . . . It is a paradox. Along with the guns there is a tranquillity and civility about American life of which most British people can only dream.”

An armed society is a polite society.

April 26, 2008

LACK OF SEASONING SHOWS AGAIN: Obama Calls Bloggers Liars for Accurately Reporting His Words.

April 26, 2008

ALASDAIR PALMER: Destroy Iran’s Nukes to Save Our Cities.

James Joyner doesn’t see that happening.

April 26, 2008

GUY HERBERT:

The distinction between the legal order in Western democracies and the tyrannies of Stalinist Russia or modern China or the Arab gulf states, is often thought to be stark. In Britain in particular, we are complacent that 800 years of the common law will protect us against the overreaching power of state functionaries.

Today comes a case that shows this conceit to be ill-founded.

Read the whole thing.

April 26, 2008

I THINK THIS WOULD BE A BIGGER STORY if he were a Republican:

Struggling to confront a worsening homicide rate, the mayor asked pastors and citizens Friday to don burlap sacks and ashes Friday in an Old Testament-style sign of biblical repentance.

Mayor Larry Langford said his “sackcloth and ashes” rally at Boutwell Auditorium was inspired by the Book of Jonah, where residents of the ancient city of Ninevah wore rough fabric and ashes as a sign of turning away from sin.

A pastor who helped organize the rally said Langford purchased 2,000 burlap bags that will be handed out at the event. . . . Since he took office last year, Langford has held three prayer rallies as a way of addressing crime and violence. Bibles were handed out at one of the events.

“This city needs to humble itself,” said Langford, a professing Christian.

Instead, his party isn’t mentioned. You have to go to Wikipedia to find out that he’s a Democrat.

At any rate, this is the worst sort of politico-religious pap. The problem isn’t that Birmingham isn’t humble enough. The problem is that it’s got thugs on the streets that it’s not controlling. That doesn’t call for self-abasement by the community, though the Mayor and the Chief of Police might consider dropping to their knees and begging forgiveness — from the community, not God — for failing to do their jobs.

UPDATE: Reader Jeff Schultz emails:

I am a pretty conservative, evangelical Christian (and a pastor). Thanks for your words on the “sackcloth and ashes” stunt by Birmingham’s mayor.

Repentance might be appropriate for a community-wide spiritual response to the community’s injustice and oppression, but not for a crime wave. The people who repent are supposed to abase themselves. Are the burlap sacks for the thugs? And who in our culture even understands the imagery of sackcloth and ashes? And even if there was wholesale revival in Birmingham, why is it the Mayor and not the religious leaders calling for this?

As you rightly point out, “…this is the worst sort of politico-religious pap. The problem isn’t that Birmingham isn’t humble enough. The problem is that it’s got thugs on the streets that it’s not controlling.”

As I said, I’m an evangelical Christian, and I find this embarrassing, stupid, and pointless.

No argument here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Hmm. Seems like Langford has a lot more sin on his soul than just other people’s crimes:

Two private charities controlled by Larry Langford collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from businessmen and companies he approved for government work as Fairfield mayor and Jefferson County Commission president, records show. . . . Langford’s financial arrangements with bankers, lobbyists and others who received government business with his help have come under scrutiny from federal investigators. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawyers began digging in 2004 into bond deals, many championed by Langford, that since have led the county to the brink of bankruptcy.

SEC investigators asked Langford last year about charitable contributions he solicited from county vendors, including those involved in the bond deals.

It’s like all this God stuff is just a smokescreen to cover up his own sins. Do you think it’s possible?

April 26, 2008

CINDY SHEEHAN FILES to run against Nancy Pelosi. “I’ll represent everyone in San Francisco, not just the corporate elite.”

April 26, 2008

AL SHARPTON VOWS TO close New York City.

UPDATE: Reader Edward Friedman emails: “This cannot help Obama or Hillary. The more anti-police, anti-white rhetoric, the more the unwashed bitter people flock to McCain in November.” That’s probably right. As with Jeremiah Wright, it’s almost as if Sharpton is trying to hurt Obama.

ANOTHER UPDATE: TigerHawk: “The elevation of Barack Obama to the presidency would vastly diminish the influence of leaders who have built up their power by stoking, rather than alleviating, the grievances of African-Americans. The era of the ‘civil rights’ leader would be over, perhaps sooner by decades than if Barack Obama loses. Even if Al Sharpton believes that would be a good thing — and that is surely looking on the bright side of Sharpton — it has to be unnerving for him. It is not a great stretch to suppose that Sharpton is rationalizing his way to public eruptions that frustrate Barack Obama’s need to win votes from the vast American center.”

MORE: A reader who (understandably) prefers anonymity emails: “I agree with Edward Friedman. Same with Bill Ayers, come to think of it. Don’t these people have the sense to stop digging?” Apparently not. Or they’ve got an agenda that makes digging the sensible thing.

April 26, 2008

CAR LUST: Driving very fast in the Ariel Atom. “It is one of the very few cars that can make the Caterham Super Seven look like a safe, sedate, practical family car. . . . You can even carry a passenger–great for those first dates if your date is the type of person who prefers roller coasters to fine French dining.” Video at the link.

UPDATE: Reader James Fuerstenberg writes: “A friend gave me a ride in one at Blackhawk Farms race track…holy crap!…an amazing car. I own two race cars…neither is as fast as the Atom. The cornering and braking are more impressive than the acceleration. You need a neck brace due to the g forces.”

April 26, 2008

RON ROSENBAUM on the Bell verdict and the tragic folly of vice squads.