Archive for June, 2008

June 30, 2008

IN THE NEW YORK TIMES: Google and the Anti-Obama Bloggers.

UPDATE: Reader Darin S. Morley writes: “Just another example of Google’s corporate policy: Don’t Be Evil.

June 30, 2008

SOME TASKS ARE “INHERENTLY MORE OFFENSIVE TO WOMEN.”

June 30, 2008

YOU JUST CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP: Sens. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig and David “Diaper Boy”* Vitter have signed on to co-sponsor yet another federal bill that would amend the Constitution define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

‘Cause who has more reverence for the institution of marriage than these guys?

June 30, 2008

GET READY FOR THE OBAMA IRAQ PIVOT: It’s got to come soon, when you can read this kind of thing in The New Yorker:

In February, 2007, when Barack Obama declared that he was running for President, violence in Iraq had reached apocalyptic levels, and he based his candidacy, in part, on a bold promise to begin a rapid withdrawal of American forces upon taking office. At the time, this pledge represented conventional thinking among Democrats and was guaranteed to play well with primary voters. But in the year and a half since then two improbable, though not unforeseeable, events have occurred: Obama has won the Democratic nomination, and Iraq, despite myriad crises, has begun to stabilize. With the general election four months away, Obama’s rhetoric on the topic now seems outdated and out of touch, and the nominee-apparent may have a political problem concerning the very issue that did so much to bring him this far.

It’s about time, since it’s nearly July.

UPDATE: Reader David Fleeger emails: “It was interesting that the author of the article in The New Yorker claimed that the US success in Iraq was mostly the result of luck. Even when trying to walk Obama back from the edge of disaster, the MSM is still stuck on stupid.”

June 30, 2008

ABC: How the FBI Botched the Anthrax Case.

June 30, 2008

DUMB LAWS is a blog devoted to just that. No shortage of material!

June 30, 2008

I’VE MENTIONED DAVID WILLIAMS’ The Mirrored Heavens before, but now here’s an interview with Williams.

UPDATE: Bill Quick emails:

So I’m out on my bike today – it’s gorgeous in SF – and I stop by the Bay for a breather and just to sit and watch the sailboats gliding under the Bay Bridge.

I open my backpack and drag out my 3 lb Lenovo with builtin EVDO, fire it up, and check my blog. Then yours – and see your post about The Mirrored Heavens. I click the link and check it out at Amazon. Sounds right up my alley. So I open my Sony eReader, connect it to my laptop, and buy the book for ten bucks, download it, and watch it join the 400 or so other books sitting in my reader.

It’s next on the “pile,” after I finish crunching my way through Peter Hamilton’s endless, but fascinating trilogy.

Speaking as a SF writer, I can tell you that intellectually this shouldn’t amaze me (and intellectually, I expect the process to be a lot more seamless in a couple of years), but as a 62 year old person who can remember when phones were black, tvs had tiny round screens, and the “network” was The Lone Ranger on CBS radio, there are times it seems downright miraculous.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Yeah, we’re not just reading science fiction. We’re living it! Hey, it’s the 21st Century, you know.

June 30, 2008

ROBERT MUGABE: The Anti-Mandela.

With Thabo Mbeki in the role of Best Supporting Actor.

June 30, 2008

MCCAIN’S MILITARY RECORD: Reader John Lunde emails: “Well, he served in Vietnam… and then he married a rich woman and got elected to the Senate. Are the Democrats now telling us these things don’t make for a good candidate?”

Heh. Plus, I must disagree with charges that McCain is being “Swift Boated.” For this to be a “Swift Boating,” people who stayed at the Hanoi Hilton would have to say that McCain was lying about what he did there — or perhaps that his repeated claims that events there were “seared, seared” in his memory are false, and he was never actually there at all — and those people would have to be telling the truth.

June 30, 2008

ROBERT NOVAK: Obama’s Dodge on Handguns:

While Scalia’s opinion for now saves Obama from defending a court that had emasculated gun rights, one inconvenient truth confronts the candidate. He has made clear that as president he would nominate Supreme Court justices who agree with the minority of four that the Second Amendment is meaningless. Would he want a reconstituted court to roll back the D.C. decision when the Chicago case gets there?

Yes he would.

June 30, 2008

ARTHUR SILBER IS CREEPED OUT by the messianic zeal of Obama fans.

Hey, it’s not as if they’re taking his name or anything!

June 30, 2008

DON’T CALL ME SHIRLEY. “Surely, I can state categorically that any political philosophy that has as its core value some variation of ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’ is antithetical to American values and, therefore, unpatriotic. Surely, I can state categorically that any political philosophy makes the ‘world’s’ feelings a priority over American interests or sovereignty is antithetical to American values or survival and, therefore, unpatriotic.”

And don’t forget mean-spirited.

June 30, 2008

MORE ON THE TUNGUSKA ANNIVERSARY: “Monday marks the 100th anniversary of the moment when something roared through the empty skies over Siberia and exploded, blasting forests for hundreds of square miles. More such incoming space rocks are inevitable. Are we ready? No.”

June 30, 2008

I BLAME KARL ROVE: Obama’s for Equal Pay, Yet Pays Female Staffers Less Than Males. “That is in contrast to Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s Senate office, where women, for the most part, out-rank and are paid more than men.”

June 30, 2008

THOUGHTS ON THE PRACTICE OF ETHICAL CONSUMERISM.

Meanwhile, reader A.L. Harris writes: “I cancelled my Chicago Tribune today. I will not economically support their position in Friday’s editorial on repealing the second amendment. But though they used their first amendment rights to propose stripping me of my second amendment rights, I would still use my second amendment rights to defend their first amendment rights. It’s an odd symbiotic relationship.” Indeed.

UPDATE: Reader Shane Blake writes: “This analogy isn’t quite right. A symbiotic relationship, by definition, benefits both organisms. The relationship above could only be called parasitic.”

June 30, 2008

STEVE CHAPMAN:

Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, lamenting the decision overturning his city’s handgun ban, said Thursday, “More handguns in the District of Columbia will only lead to more handgun violence.” That’s a dangerous statement for a politician to make–an empirical claim that can be judged against empirical data.

I emailed Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck, one of the nation’s leading gun scholars, to ask if the proposition Fenty set out is true. Surprise: It’s not.

Falsehoods in support of gun control? Stop the presses.

June 30, 2008

PINK GUNS as rape prevention devices.

June 30, 2008

THOUGHTS ON PATRIOTISM AND SACRIFICE.

UPDATE: Another flip-flop?

June 30, 2008

BRING IT ON:

Scientists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center are about to embark on a human trial to test whether a new cancer treatment will be as effective at eradicating cancer in humans as it has proven to be in mice.

The treatment will involve transfusing specific white blood cells, called granulocytes, from select donors, into patients with advanced forms of cancer. A similar treatment using white blood cells from cancer-resistant mice has previously been highly successful, curing 100 percent of lab mice afflicted with advanced malignancies.

I certainly hope that this pans out.

June 30, 2008

IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, a reference to my colleague Alex Long: “a law professor at the University of Tennessee and perhaps the nation’s leading authority on the citation of popular music in judicial opinions.”

June 30, 2008

KRUGMAN IS STUMPED, but Obama himself provides the answer.

June 30, 2008

DO WE HAVE A CONSERVATIVE SUPREME COURT? “Sure, conservatives are cheering the Heller decision, but how ‘conservative’ is a Court that invalidates the death penalty for child rape and declares that non-citizen detainees held outside U.S. sovereign territory by the military have a constitutional right to bring habeas actions in federal court, despite federal legislation to the contrary? Viewed as a whole, this term saw a Court that often defied easy ideological characterization.”

June 30, 2008

OUCH: In ‘survival mode,’ newspapers slashing jobs. “The increasingly rapid and broad decline in the newspaper business in recent months has surprised even the most pessimistic financial analysts, many of whom say it’s too hard to tell how far the slump will go.”

No wonder they’ve been telling us we’re in the midst of a second Great Depression. For them, it’s been true.

UPDATE: Reader Jerry Carroll emails:

Glenn: I’m enjoying your glee over the death of newspapers. But what will replace them when they’re gone? Think anybody is going to leave the comfort of their chair once a week to trudge to the city council and report on a blog what happened so the rest of us know? I see the time coming when there won’t be anyone watching local government, and what we know will only be what it wants us to know.

It’s not “glee.” And, in fact — as I’ve said repeatedly — I think the reason that newspapers are tubing is that they’re replaced the kind of hard-news reporting described above with editorializing and “attitude,” often in support of political positions that many people don’t agree with. I’d much rather see them flourish while doing a good job, but they’ve been cutting budgets for actual reporting for decades. Read Andy Krieg’s Spiked: How Chain Management Corrupted America’s Oldest Newspaper, to see how this trend was already underway twenty years ago. If you turn out a product whose quality is steadily declining, while simultaneously treating a substantial part of your customer base as somewhere between evil and idiotic, don’t be surprised if your business gets worse. I’ve said for years that hard-news reporting is the killer app for Big Media, but they just don’t want to do it. They want to tell people what to think, instead of telling them what’s happening.

MORE: Reader Tom Fojtik emails: “In response to the guy expressing concerns about what replaces newspapers for those who want to know what is going on in city hall. We already have it and it’s called ‘cable access tv.’ I can watch myself at the bi-weekly Plan Commission four times a week if I want. And sometimes it’s even mildly entertaining.”

STILL MORE: On Jerry Carroll’s “glee” comment, a reader emails:

I don’t know how he/she came to such a conclusion about your attitude. I have felt it a bit too much sympathy. Your response is without a doubt, the bottom line. And concerning Jerry’s assessment of readers of the paper, we may be better off without them if that’s the extent of their desire to be informed. What can they tell city council but how the school needs more tax dollars for sex ed and global warming? For many of us its more of a “comfort” getting a cup of coffee, clicking on certain favorites and staying above the imposition of distortion and agenda.

And reader Arthur Barie writes: “One quick google search found a blog that does excellent work covering politics here in my county. Don’t be surprised if most counties have someone who takes this stuff seriously.” And it’s not as if local media do such a bang-up job covering local politics anyway.

MORE STILL: Reader Peter Farmer emails:

I reside in the Chicago area, and have read the local “Chicago Tribune” for most of my life (I am 47). I started reading it as a grade-schooler, and have had ample opportunity to see the changes at the Tribune Co. over the years. The Tribune used to be a great newspaper, one which could be relied upon to report the news as impartially as possible for a human institution. Sure, I can remember my father grumbling about it – he was a senior executive at Motorola and had many dealings with the press – but we certainly never cancelled our subscription or questioned its professionalism.

I cannot mark precisely when the Tribune and The New York Times began to go downhill; I began to notice dramatic changes in the nature and quality of the content about ten years ago. Most conspicuously, nearly every section and article – save perhaps the comics and the sports page – contained more and more opinion and less and less factual content. I’ll be the first to admit opinion writing has its place, but one must first know the facts before forming opinions about them, and newspapers like the Tribune seemed to have progressively less regard for this vital task on a daily basis than ever before. What sealed the deal for me was their “reporting” about the war in Iraq. I have studied the military and military history for over 30 years, and have many sources of information in that field besides newspapers. After the invasion, it was easy to discern that few if any Tribune or other big-city newspaper reporters left the safety of their hotels in the Green Zone. Apparently, it is OK to sit in the bar with your colleagues from the other papers and maybe CNN or CBS or NBC, and simply phone it in without getting yourself dirty. Worse yet, as the Israeli-Palestinian flare-up of two years has shown, our news services are remarkably gullible, and willing to be used by stringers working for our ideological enemies, i.e. Al-Qaeda, the PLA, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc. or foreign news agencies biased against western values, such as Al-Jazeera. The AP was duped or worse, knowing used, “photo-shopped” images that purportedly showed an Israeli air strike against a marked ambulance, but were later exposed by internet fact-checkers as fraudulent propaganda on the part of the PLA. And, as you and many others in the conservative blogosphere have noted, Abu Ghraib made the front pages dozens and dozens of times, but not the good news about the war. Since the surge, presto! Good news about the war is nowhere to be found in the NYT or Tribune. Thank goodness for the blogosphere, and writers like Michael Yon and Ralph Peters.

Another nail in the coffin for the credibility of reporting by the dinosaur media is the sudden proliferation of celebrities as experts on everything from global warming to hostiles in the Iraq or Darfur to gay marriage. When did Rosie O’Donnell become an authority on anything besides mediocre comedy? And now – with a straight face no less – Al Franken is being considered seriously in some liberal-left quarters as Senatorial material. If that isn’t proof we’ve lost our collective minds, I don’t know what is! Perhaps he and Jerry Springer can hammer out the problem with the national debt in between cracking one-liners and interviewing one-legged transvestites or staging fights between estranged lovers.. Way back in the old days, when I was a kid (yeah, I know, the snow was ten feet deep and you had to walk twenty miles to school, grandpa), folks like these would have been laughed out of any serious newsroom or studio; they wouldn’t have made it in the door of any truly professional establishment, not to mention the Congress. Now, the Tribune features a column by Garrison Keillor, he of “Prairie Home Companion” fame. He has a nice show once in a while, but aren’t there better and better-qualified choices for a regular spot on your editorial page?

I am one of those folks who will mourn the death of the big-city news daily when it finally comes. I love a well-written newspaper, and the Fourth Estate has a critical role to play in the health of our Republic, if only they would in fact perform that role. Incidentally, author and physician Michael Crichton predicted the decline of the traditional media over decade ago; a transcript of one of his speeches on the topic is available on his website. Finally, my wife is from a small town, and we get the local newspaper each week – it shows all of the idiosyncrasies, of course, but all of the common sense, too – it respects the intelligence of the readers and does not stoop to political activism or naked partisanship. Maybe I’ll send a copy to the Tribune to show ‘em how it is done. Of course, they are too busy campaigning for Mr. Obama to notice….

Indeed.

June 30, 2008

DEMOCRATIC ATTACKS ON MCCAIN’S MILITARY RECORD: “When Obama loses in November, these schmucks can look back at such tactics and pinpoint where it all started going downhill. These same people whine like little b—hes at the slightest criticism of Barack Obama. But they go right into the gutter when attacking John McCain.”

UPDATE: With Wesley Clark, “we’re a long way from George Marshall.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Heh:

The Saddest Thing About Barack Obama’s Available Military Expertise…

…is that though he has Wes Clark in his corner, the only person he knows with the experience of getting a bomb on target is Bill Ayers.

Again, heh.

June 30, 2008

THE TENNESSEE REPUBLICAN PARTY MUST BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT, if it’s getting attacked in the Huffington Post. But, as usual, the attacks on Republicans soften the fact that it was Tennessee Democrats talking about Obama having possible connections to terrorists.

June 30, 2008

TODAY IS THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY of the Tunguska event.

June 30, 2008

THOUGHTS ON NARCISSISM and demographic decline.

June 30, 2008

IN THE MAIL: Elvin T. Lim’s The Anti-Intellectual Presidency: The Decline of Presidential Rhetoric from George Washington to George W. Bush. The subtitle may make it sound a bit like a Bush-bashing book, but in fact it’s about a decline that has taken place over decades.

June 30, 2008

students.jpg

Knoxville, Tennessee. On the UT campus.

June 30, 2008

MICHAEL TOTTEN: The Road to Kosovo, Part II. “Albanian pro-Americanism resembles that of both Poland and Iraqi Kurdistan. The unspeakably oppressive communist regime pushed Albanians strongly into the U.S.-led Western camp, and the humanitarian rescue of Albanians in Kosovo from Slobodan Milosevic’s tyrannical despotism bolstered that sentiment even more.” Plus, a local who characterizes the European Union as “a big Yugoslavia.” Uh oh.

June 30, 2008

CAN A MAN BE RAPED BY A WOMAN? Actually, something very similar happened to a friend of mine in college. He felt he had been raped. In retrospect, I should have been more sympathetic.

UPDATE: Some related thoughts at Chicagoboyz.

June 30, 2008

I’M WRITING A SHORT PIECE ON HELLER FOR NORTHWESTERN, and something became clear to me as soon as I started writing: What’s most striking about Heller is that absolutely everybody — majority and dissents — says the Second Amendment protects an individual right.

It’s true that the dissenters’ view of that right is somewhere between “minimalist” (to be charitable) and “incoherent” (to be accurate). But nonetheless, all nine Justices specifically said the right is individual, and thus rejected the “collective right” position on the Second Amendment, a position that’s been the mainstay of gun-control groups, newspaper editorialists, and lower federal courts for decades, and one that was presented by those adherents as so obviously correct that those arguing for an individual right were called “frauds” and shills for the NRA.

Yet the collective right theory could not command a single vote on the Court when actually tested. It was, it seems, a paper tiger all along.

June 30, 2008

MEGAN MCARDLE: Statistics are a feminist issue.

June 30, 2008

SEBASTIAN MALLABY: Why politicians should leave energy markets alone. “Richard Nixon’s early-1970s price controls were a disaster. Administering the controls on energy alone took an estimated 5 million man-hours per year and punished motorists with gas lines. Repeating this experiment by clamping down on oil trading is like burning your hand on a gas stove and then sitting on a barbecue. . . . Nixon’s heirs forget that the ‘speculators’ they attack are often trying to reduce risk, not embrace it. Pension funds have piled into oil because they are trying to protect themselves from inflation. Small investors who load up on retail oil funds are mostly doing the same. I know my family will consume several thousand dollars’ worth of oil this year, so I logged on to Fidelity’s Web site and locked in my price. Does Congress think I’m irresponsible?” No, they just hope others are gullible.

June 30, 2008

JEFF JACOBY: “When it comes to gun control, the Democratic Party is a house divided against itself. That helps explain Barack Obama’s dizzyingly inconsistent positions on District of Columbia v. Heller, the landmark Second Amendment case decided by the Supreme Court last week.”

June 30, 2008

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS ON IRAQ, at retired-milblog 365 And A Wakeup.

June 30, 2008

OBAMA SUPPORTERS GETTING GOOGLE TO SHUT DOWN ANTI-OBAMA BLOGS?

UPDATE: “Previewing the Fairness Doctrine.”

June 30, 2008

IN THE WAKE OF DICKIE SCRUGGS AND MILBERG, WEISS, time for Congressional hearings? Good luck with that . . . .

UPDATE: Your legal system at work.

June 30, 2008

STRATEGYPAGE: “The United States now has thousands of spies inside Iraq. This didn’t happen overnight. . . . The ‘surge offensive’ of last year was largely possible because the informant network had grown to the point where commanders were confident that many Sunni Arab tribes were ready to switch sides.”

June 30, 2008

TAKE A BITE OUT OF CRIME: Judge Advises Crime Victim To Arm Herself After Attack:

General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon said Friday that crime in Chattanooga “has become so rampant that it is no longer possible for the police department to protect our citizens.”

He told a woman who had been pulled from her car and beaten in the head that she or her mother needed to “purchase a weapon, obtain a gun permit and learn to protect yourself.” The woman moved back in with her mother after the May 4 incident on E. 17th Street.

Judge Moon said, “The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that all citizens have a right to purchase a weapon to defend themselves, their families and their homes – unless there is some disqualification that prevents them from owning a weapon.”

Read the whole thing.

June 30, 2008

OBAMA ON PRIZES: Not a flip-flop, but a straddle?

Declaring last week that he wanted to break the country’s oil jam by encouraging “heroic efforts in engineering,” John McCain called for the government to offer a prize — $300 million (a dollar an American) to the inventor of a battery so compact, powerful and inexpensive that it would supplement or even supplant the need for fossil fuels.

Barack Obama quickly derided the proposal — involving a sum equivalent to nearly 200 Nobel Prizes — as a gimmick and a distraction. But prizes are hard to resist. Mr. Obama’s own energy plan, posted on his Web site, suggests awarding them (in addition to tax incentives and government contracts) for ethanol research. But ultimately, he insisted, achieving energy independence will require a Kennedyesque effort like the one that put a man on the moon.

Plus this:

Considering the bureaucratic bog the space program has waded into — the exhilaration of Neil Armstrong’s giant leap for mankind giving way to plumbing problems on the International Space Station — Mr. Obama might not have picked the best example. The latest pictures from Mars are stunning, but the most exciting thing to happen recently in manned space flight came in 2004 when Burt Rutan won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for the first privately backed suborbital excursion.

Winning the contest, which was named for its benefactors, the Ansari family, and administered by the nonprofit X Prize Foundation, cost more than the award was worth. (Mr. Rutan was backed by a Microsoft billionaire, Paul Allen.) But greater spoils may await, with Virgin Galactic licensing the technology for a space tourism industry.

This kind of leveraging is one of the selling points of sweepstakes science.

Yes, it is. And you’d think it’s the kind of new and exciting approach that a candidate of change would embrace, instead of harking back to what John F. Kennedy did about the time Barack Obama was busy being born. Read the whole thing.

Also, MSNBC’s Alan Boyle notes the increasing popularity of prizes in science, etc., among people who aren’t Barack Obama.

UPDATE: Reader Tim Morris writes: “Yes! NASA is just the model for long term energy independence! Just ask anyone at the Lunar Colony in the solar power satellite assembly operation. Oh, wait. . . .”

June 29, 2008

OUCH: “Jeffery Fagan, professor at Columbia University, and Stephen D. Sugarman, professor at U.C. Berkeley, have a plan on how gun manufacturers can help curb gun-related homicides in the U.S. If their credentials alone don’t make you chuckle at this premise, reading their actual plan might.”

June 29, 2008

HELLER’S KITCHEN: Dave Kopel looks at the decision’s impact on New York.

June 29, 2008

WOMEN AND DEMOCRATS: “Why do they hate us?”

They hate you for your freedom.

June 29, 2008

STRONG EVIDENCE OF GLOBAL WARMING.

Well, better that than global cooling.

June 29, 2008

ERIC EGLAND VS. Bill Delahunt. I’ve never liked Delahunt since I read about his water-carrying for Kennedy on the Cape Wind matter. That, however, was just ordinary sleaziness, not extraordinary sleaziness.

June 29, 2008

EXTREME MORTMAN: “Poor Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. In a year in which Democrats are making news for heading toward a supposed bulldozing of Republicans, the six-term Detroit Congresswoman faces bad news of her own: a tough re-election battle, in the primary. Who’s to blame? Would you believe, her son?”

June 29, 2008

ROGER SIMON: Some Fact-Checking Questions For The Editors Of The New Yorker.

June 29, 2008

BUZZ ALDRIN: Beat the Chinese to Mars.

June 29, 2008

IN HONOR OF GEORGE CARLIN: 7 Words You Can’t Say in Campaign 2008.

June 29, 2008

REMEMBERING THE PORSCHE 944: “It’s nearly impossible to describe the Porsche 944 without comparing it to the Porsche 924. . . . If the 924 is a nerd, the 944 is a jock. If the 924 is technobeat, the 944 is new wave. If the 924 is punk, the 944 is goth. Where the 924 is a scientist, with an engine optimized for longevity and fuel efficiency, the 944 is an athlete.” The 924S, however, was a nerd who could kick the jock’s ass as often as not.

June 29, 2008

ARNOLD KLING: “My wife’s pet peeve is colleges that charge $50,000 a year and wind up graduating students who take jobs for $25,000 a year, if that much. My pet peeve is the nonprofit virus that college spreads.”

June 29, 2008

MORE ON OBAMA’S APPALACHIAN PROBLEM: “Newsweek discovers that hey, those dumb hillbillies may decide the 2008 race — like they did the 2000 race.”

Apparently, the vote for me, you ignorant rednecks approach isn’t working that well.

June 29, 2008

DANIEL GROSS on why neither McCain nor Obama will be able to do much for the economy. Nope. Presidents’ don’t have much of a role in the economy, except taking credit or blame. And to the extent that they have the ability to affect the economy, it’s more to screw it up than to make it better.

June 29, 2008

A TRAILER from the upcoming Star Wars Clone Wars movie.

June 29, 2008

CHANGE YOU CAN PHOTOSHOP.

June 29, 2008

NO BABIES? That’s in Europe. Here’s the difference between Europe and the United States:

“There’s much less flexibility in the European system,” Haub says. “In Europe, both the society and the job market are more rigid.” There may be little state subsidy for child care in the U.S., and there is certainly nothing like the warm governmental nest that Norway feathers for fledgling families, but the American system seems to make up for it in other ways. As Hans-Peter Kohler of the University of Pennsylvania writes: “In general, women are deterred from having children when the economic cost — in the form of lower lifetime wages — is too high. Compared to other high-income countries, this cost is diminished by an American labor market that allows more flexible work hours and makes it easier to leave and then re-enter the labor force.” An American woman might choose to suspend her career for three or five years to raise a family, expecting to be able to resume working; that happens far less easily in Europe.

Flexibility is the key to success. But read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Related thoughts here.

June 29, 2008

BUT OF COURSE: Court to Mull Individual Right to Drill for Oil. Though I thought we achieved “liquid liberty” with the 21st Amendment . . . .

June 29, 2008

A GUN-RIGHTS SUGGESTION FROM CHARLES AUSTIN: “What if Colt made a big show of offering Senator Obama a custom engraved 1911 to celebrate Heller? If he accepts it, his base is up in arms, no pun intended. If he declines it, well, let’s just say that 5-4 vote will look a little more frightening to everyone not in his base. Seems like a win-win to me.”

June 29, 2008

OMAHA RESIDENTS FACE UP TO A WEEK WITHOUT POWER:

They probably can’t read it, but here’s a blackout survival guide. And here are some home generator safety guidelines.

Or you could get one of these, though at this new, higher price (it was 180 bucks when I linked it before) I don’t think it’s much of a deal. Heck, for that price you can get what looks like a pretty decent little inverter generator, with 1800 watts of clean power.

June 29, 2008

BIZARRO WORLD: Bridge-to-nowhere Porkmeister Don Young gets a Taxpayer hero award? Don Young is a taxpayer hero in the same way a tapeworm is a public-health hero.

June 29, 2008

IN THE MAIL: Lawrence Alexander’s Rubicon, and Cintra Wilson’s Caligula for President: Better American Living Through Tyranny. The reader reviews on Alexander’s book are amusing.

I predict that if Obama is elected President, we’ll see no more last-days-of-Rome books from left-leaning authors. Anyway, the Caligula example is unfair. He only named one ass to the Senate, while we have many more in ours. . . .

June 29, 2008

dogwood.jpg

Knoxville, Tennessee. On the UT campus.

UPDATE: Reader John McGinnis emails:

A striking picture, well done.

But the young lady in the picture disturbs me. She reminds me of my daughter with the cell phone stuck in her ear. An opportunity to ‘smell the roses’ is foregone. Conversations can sometimes wait, fact generally. But a contemplative moment? They are few and worth observing.

Yes, that was just my thought — oblivious to the world, despite it being a beautiful day. As I noted when I originally posted this picture, you see that a lot — though in the intervening years I think you see it less, probably because people are texting more and talking less.

June 29, 2008

DON SURBER:

Question: What is the reaction to the Heller ruling in Canada?

Answer: Some Canadians are wondering why they cannot have guns, too.

Because that would be too American! And not being American is the core of Canada’s sense of national identity, apparently.

June 29, 2008

ROSS PEROT is back.

June 29, 2008

ERIC S. RAYMOND HAS THOUGHTS on the Heller ruling and the 2008 elections. “I’m left with a choice between a candidate hostile to both my First and Second Amendment rights and one that supports the Second Amendment. (Normally I’d vote Libertarian, but the LP’s isolationist foreign-policy stance seems so batty after 9/11 that I can’t stomach that option in this cycle.) But Obama’s problem is actually worse than this, because he responded to Heller on the same day with a mealy-mouthed recantation of his earlier public statement that the D.C gun ban was constitutional.”

June 29, 2008

DAVE KOPEL: “Justice Stevens’ dissent in Heller begins by acknowledging that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. The rest of the dissent critiques Justice Scalia’s arguments for construing the individual right according to the Standard Model of the Second Amendment. . . . . So I encourage commenters who have had the time to study the Stevens dissent carefully to describe the individual right that the Stevens version of the Second Amendment would protect. Further, if the Stevens individual right model were correct, what would be the practical applications of that right?”

June 29, 2008

IRAQIS: Doing more than twice as well as Americans! Iraqis: 43% say Iraq is going well while 17% of Americans say USA on right track.

June 29, 2008

RESIDENTIAL SOLAR ELECTRIC: Still too expensive?

June 29, 2008

THE IROBOT LOOJ Electronic gutter-cleaning robot. Cool, though I suspect the next-gen model will be a lot cooler. (Via Slashdot).

June 29, 2008

THE DESIRE TO BE SUBSUMED IN SOMETHING BIGGER AND MORE ROMANTIC than one’s quotidian self: “She’s one of those young Obama supporters who’ve adopted ‘Hussein’ as their middle name. . . . How did you become estranged from your own name, to regard it — as opposed to yourself — as vanilla, white, female, and American, and to think of that combination in a negative way?”

Our own lives are weak and meaningless. Only through identification with a great leader can they achieve substance and purpose.

UPDATE: From the comments: “Hilarious. The photo, and the entire story, are right out of ‘Stuff White People Like’. Don’t these kids realize that what they’re doing makes them appear even whiter?

June 29, 2008

SUBPRIME SIX UPDATE: More on Chris Dodd’s Countrywide mortgage deal, in the Hartford Courant. “Dodd declared he will not trust our leaders unless he gets to see certain national security documents. Dodd insists, however, that we trust him when he says he didn’t know he received special treatment when he borrowed nearly $800,000 from Countrywide Financial Corp. in 2003. Dodd continues to refuse to release the standard documents (commitment letters, good-faith estimates of costs and fee summaries) that accompany every residential mortgage. They might confirm Dodd’s contention that he received the same deal that anyone shopping the rates could have secured in the spring of 2003. Or maybe they won’t.”

June 29, 2008

COMING THIS WEEK: Space Camp Barbie.

June 29, 2008

LEARJET LIBERALISM: Private Jet Aficionado Laurie David On “Greening Our Airports.”

June 29, 2008

VITAMIN D AND HEALTH: A roundup.

June 28, 2008

JERRY POURNELLE ON SHORT-TERM THINKING:

Five years ago we were told that increased refinery and oil pumping capability in the US would do no good because it would take five years for those to affect gas pump prices. Query: if we had greatly increased supply over the past five years, would not oil be at about $75/bbl, still high, but not headed to $200? And if we do nothing to increase supply now, where will oil go? . . . We are in a time of national emergency, but it does not affect the politicians, who continue business as usual.

My response to those who say that increased drilling is pointless because it won’t yield immediate results — like Arnold Schwarzenegger –is why worry about the greenhouse effect, then? Nothing we do will cool the planet immediately. Yet we’re told immediate action there is vital. In fact, we’re told that by none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the very same speech.

UPDATE: TigerHawk: “One would have thought that this point was so obvious it would not have to be made at all.”

You can never be too obvious, it seems.

June 28, 2008

I’D SETTLE FOR SOME OF THE OLD KIND: Healthy eating is “the new patriotism.”

June 28, 2008

DAVID WARREN ON CANADA’S “HUMAN RIGHTS” KANGAROO COURTS:

The people are still sleeping, but some “blowback” has finally begun to occur. Given its very eccentric inquisitorial practices, which have been documented and publicized on the Internet, the CHRC is now under an RCMP investigation, a Privacy Commission investigation, and there is a Parliamentary investigation pending. (As a public relations exercise, the CHRC has also hand-picked its own “independent” investigator to do what we can only assume will be a defensive whitewash, as usual at taxpayer expense.)

It is against this background the CHRC decided that the better part of valour is discretion, and that it truly did not need to be prosecuting such high-profile targets as the bestselling author, Mark Steyn, and the mainstream newsweekly, Maclean’s, at the present time. The CHRC can retrench, and return to its bread-and-butter business of destroying little people who command no publicity — biding their time until circumstances are propitious to “extend their mandate” again.

Vigilance is the price of liberty, and it is crucially important that we not take the heat off Canada’s HRCs when they retreat. Canadians need to know the whole truth about what these vile “human rights” investigators have been doing.

Yes, now is not the time to slack off. I also think it would be a good time for Canadians to flood the HRCs with complaints about racist and sexist speech from Muslim clerics, Womyn’s activists, and the like. God knows there’s plenty of material to work with.

June 28, 2008

RALPH PETERS: ” If current trend-lines continue, it may not be long before Baghdad is safer for Iraqi citizens than the Washington-Baltimore metroplex is for US citizens. Iraq’s government is working, its economy is booming – and its military has driven the concentrations of terrorists and militia from every one of Iraq’s major cities. And our troops are coming home. Where’s the failure?”

June 28, 2008

DARTMOUTH: A hostile environment — for learning how to write well.

June 28, 2008

A RECIPE for hummus. I used to make that all the time. May have to do it again, soon.

June 28, 2008

VIETNAM attempts to shore up drooping Dong.

June 28, 2008

A BIG HONKIN’ SUNFLOWER, from Les Jones.

June 28, 2008

BECAUSE IT’S NOT AS IF WE NEED MORE ENERGY: U.S. Halts Solar Projects Over Environment Fears.

Okay: Nukes are out, coal is filthy, wind power destroys Ted Kennedy’s view, and solar leads to “environment fears.” Do they just want us all to freeze in the dark? Pretty much, I’d say . . . .

(Via Sonic Frog). Seems like this would be a good campaign issue for somebody . . . .

UPDATE: Reader Robert Schwartz emails:

Whatever happened to the Democrats? It used to be that their sole criterion for evaluating proposals was how many blue collar jobs they would create. Oil drilling and nuclear power would have been no brainers as both activities require millions of man hours of labor, real blue collar, sweaty, dirty labor. These days Democrats seem to care more about beachfront property values than worker’s jobs.

Yes, the Democrats have become the party of the upper-crust now.

June 28, 2008

KNIFEBLOGGING FOLLOWUP: A big cutlery sale.

Earlier knifeblogging here here, here, and here.

June 28, 2008

MICHAEL TOTTEN: The Iraqification of Lebanon.

June 28, 2008

“SOMEONE IS GOING TO BE DISAPPOINTED.”

UPDATE: Corroded corruption?

ANOTHER UPDATE: Yes we can!

MORE: Rage!

June 28, 2008

HEATH SHULER:

In surprisingly blunt language, U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler complained this week of “a lack of maturity” in the U.S. House.

The North Carolina Democrat accused some of his fellow lawmakers of thinking they’re “Hollywood stars” and said many of them spend more time playing politics than doing what’s best for the country.

“It’s quite embarrassing,” he said. “I mean, I wish all constituents could sit sometimes in the gallery and just see what goes on on the House floor.”

Indeed.

June 28, 2008

ZIGZAGGING ON IRAQ: “Recent reports and rumors have indicated that Senator Obama plans to aggressively move to the middle on Iraq in the coming months. This is a good political move for Obama, if only because he’s finally starting to recognize reality.”

Plus, Keith Olbermann will praise his “manly posture on Iraq.”

June 28, 2008

PHIL GRAMM: “They didn’t live up to what they promised to do. Power corrupted them. They spent lots of money and tried to buy votes. Republicans concluded that they could make voters love them by governing the way Democrats did.”

Plus this: “Why is America the richest country in the world? . . . It’s not because our people are more brilliant; it’s because we have a better free-market system. Why has Texas created 1.6 million jobs in the last 10 years whereas Michigan has lost 300,000 jobs and Ohio has lost 100,000 jobs? Because governance matters, taxes matter, regulation matters. Our opponents in this campaign are so dogmatic in their goal of having more government because they love the power it brings to them that they’re willing to let it impose costs on the working people that they say they want to help. I am not.”

June 28, 2008

AT VODKAPUNDIT, a Bill Clinton photo caption contest.

June 28, 2008

MORE GUN TALK over at Inside Higher Ed. Plus, Arming Obama.

Plus, Morton Grove ends its gun ban. “The Heller dominoes are falling.”

June 28, 2008

WELL, THIS IS CHEERY: “Barclays Capital has advised clients to batten down the hatches for a worldwide financial storm, warning that the US Federal Reserve has allowed the inflation genie out of the bottle and let its credibility fall ‘below zero’. Alarmist? Maybe, but I”m worried about inflation too.

June 28, 2008

SOME LINKS on the anti-aging conference at UCLA this weekend.

June 28, 2008

DON SURBER: Does tourism do more harm than offshore drilling?

June 28, 2008

TOM MAGUIRE: “The same folks who can read the Constitution and Bill of Rights and find an unassailable right to abortion and gay marriage can’t find a right to possession of a firearm.”

June 28, 2008

A BLOG REVIEW OF WALL-E.

June 28, 2008

IF YOU CRITICIZE MUGABE, you’re a racist.

June 28, 2008

THE AMERICAN NON-EMPIRE. If we were an empire, we’d be acting more like Putin’s Russia. And, as a consequence, getting better press. . . .

UPDATE: Related posts here and here, from Eric S. Raymond.

June 28, 2008

HOWARD KURTZ:

Barack Obama is under hostile fire for changing his position on the D.C. gun ban.

Oh, I’m sorry. He didn’t change his position, apparently. He reworded a clumsy statement.

That, at least, is what his campaign is saying. The same campaign that tried to spin his flip-flop in rejecting public financing as embracing the spirit of reform, if not the actual position he had once promised to embrace.

Is this becoming a pattern? Wouldn’t it be better for Obama to say he had thought more about such-and-such an issue and simply changed his mind? Is that verboten in American politics? Is it better to engage in linguistic pretzel-twisting in an effort to prove that you didn’t change your mind?

Regardless of what you think of the merits of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling overturning the capital’s handgun law, it seems to me we’re entitled to a clear position by the presumed Democratic nominee.

Good luck with that. Kurtz even notes that Big Media is covering for Obama:

But even though the earlier Obama quote and the “inartful” comment have been bouncing around the Net for 24 hours, I’m not seeing any reference to them in the morning papers. Most do what the New York Times did: “Mr. Obama, who like Mr. McCain has been on record as supporting the individual-rights view, said the ruling would ‘provide much-needed guidance to local jurisdictions across the country.’ ”

Supporting the individual-rights view? Not in November. . . .

Even the Tribune–the very paper that the Obama camp told he supported the gun ban–makes no reference to the November interview. Instead: “Democrat Barack Obama offered a guarded response Thursday to the Supreme Court ruling striking down the District of Columbia’s prohibition on handguns and sidestepped providing a view on the 32-year-old local gun ban. Republican rival John McCain’s campaign accused him of an ‘incredible flip-flop’ on gun control.”

So McCain accuses Obama of a flip-flop, and the Trib can’t check the clips to tell readers whether there’s some basis in fact for the charge?

USA Today takes the same tack

The November view is down the memory hole. Apparently you have to go to the blogs to find people who can use Google.

Related: “Obama still doesn’t get YouTube, does he?”