Archive for July, 2008

July 31, 2008

DAMSELS OF DEATH.

July 31, 2008

ABUSIVE LAB TEST: Four portable hard drives. Only one survivor.

July 31, 2008

URBAN AMERICA: A political monoculture:

Today, America’s urban areas have evolved into a political monoculture that increasingly resembles the “solid South” that provided a base for Democrats from the late 19th century to the 1960s. Since 1972, the year of the Nixon landslide, the Democratic share has grown 20 percent or more in most of the largest urban counties. . . .

Race and income levels do not explain the emerging urban mono­culture, because the cause lies elsewhere: in the evolution of cities over the past four decades. The shift began in the late 1960s, when urban regions, from financial centers such as New York and Chicago to old industrial cities such as Detroit and Cleveland, began to suffer a massive exodus of predominantly white, middle-class residents.

Read the whole thing. (Via Newsalert).

July 31, 2008

ANDREW MALCOLM: Where did Obama’s Mojo Go?

Something’s going on. Or some things.

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll out Wednesday shows that despite nine solid days of blanket media coverage from overseas with Barack Obama cheered by adoring throngs of Germans and parlez-vousing with the French, making a three-point shot in the Middle East and standing outside No. 10 Downing Street, the freshman Illinois Democratic presidential nominee to be Senator Barack Obama of Illinois stayed static in the polls despite his well-covered long foreign tripsenator is stuck right where he was in the polls before he left.

Read the whole thing.

July 31, 2008

OTHER WOMEN? YOU’D THINK THEY’D BE USED TO THAT: Clinton Supporter Angered By ‘Other Women’ Obama VP Talk.

July 31, 2008

ROGER KIMBALL: When “acknowledgment” means “perpetuation,” or Obama, liberals, and the issue of race.

July 31, 2008

“PRINCESS CHUNK:” An apt name for a 44-pound cat. Photo at the link.

July 31, 2008

IN CANADA, B’NAI B’RITH IS NOW taking on Canada’s “Human Rights” Kangaroo Courts:

B’nai Brith Canada, an organization long concerned with the defence and improvement of Canada’s human rights system, is calling for “urgent reform” of human rights commissions. The Jewish human rights group has successfully brought cases before human rights commissions and tribunals, which it says “have historically played an important role in combating Nazism and neo-Nazi ideologies”. B’nai Brith Canada has called on the Canadian Human Rights Commission to seize the opportunity provided by the current review it has undertaken to “make real changes that will ensure its relevancy into the future”.

“We are calling for a much-needed overhaul of the protections offered by the human rights commission system,” said Frank Dimant, Executive Vice President of B’nai Brith Canada. “We have to ensure that commissions do not become abusers of the very human rights they are charged with protecting.

A little late for that, but I’m glad they’re taking the right position.

July 31, 2008

MEGAN MCARDLE: “Why aren’t there hordes of economists studying meaningful alternatives to market capitalism? Because we’ve been experimenting with various other systems–both localism and extreme centralization–for over a century, and the experiment produces the same damn result every single time: human lives that are nasty, brutish, and short. . . . The idea that Chicago should scuttle the Milton Friedman Institute because it makes other professors unpopular with economic illiterates is shameful, and moreover, something that I presume few of these ‘scholars’ would tolerate if the ignorant were targeting their own fields. That this should be coming out of a university with Chicago’s reputation for intellectual rigor is mortifying.”

July 31, 2008

WOULD YOU BUY A CAR FROM GOOGLE OR DELL? “According to a new study by TechnoMetrica and Auto Futures Group, more than a third (34%) of Americans would consider buying a Google- or Dell-branded vehicle, assuming gas were to hit $6 per gallon and the vehicles were especially fuel-efficient.”

July 31, 2008

WELL, AT LEAST IF OBAMA’S ELECTED WE’LL BE SPARED THIS KIND OF IDIOCY:

The Bush Administration has ignited a furor with a proposed definition of pregnancy that has the effect of classifying some of the most widely used methods of contraception as abortion. A draft regulation, still being revised and debated, treats most birth-control pills and intrauterine devices as abortion because they can work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. The regulation considers that destroying “the life of a human being.”

Though it’s hard to imagine McCain getting behind this either. And hey, it’s no stupider than the District of Columbia classifying a Glock as a “machine gun.”

July 31, 2008

JIM LINDGREN SUGGESTS that the New York Times’ report that the University of Chicago offered Barack Obama a faculty position with tenure upon hiring is wrong: “I have now talked to four members of the University of Chicago law faculty, including at least one of Obama’s campaign donors, and all four of them say that they do not remember voting Barack Obama a tenured or tenure-track offer. When I asked whether they remembered the Faculty Appointments Committee in the 2000-2002 era sending out an appointments file recommending a tenured or tenure-track appointment, all said No. Nor do these members of the faculty remember their being part of any discussion whether to grant tenure to Obama. As some of them explained procedures at Chicago, the dean does not have the power to make an actual offer of tenure without a faculty vote.”

July 31, 2008

HMM: Women voters aren’t warming to ‘cool’ Obama.

July 31, 2008

BRAD TEMPLETON ON ROBOT CARS: “Or how computer geeks can enable the electric car, save the planet and millions of lives using near-term A.I. to make taxis and trucks deliver, park, recharge and drive themselves.”

July 31, 2008

IN THE MAIL: Jim Champy’s Outsmart!: How to Do What Your Competitors Can’t.

July 31, 2008

CONGRESS’S DUTY TO D.C. RESIDENTS: A good observation in the Washington Post:

Last month, the Supreme Court affirmed that Americans have an individual right under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms.

Just as with the First Amendment, it matters not a whit whether we reside in the state of Indiana or the District of Columbia. We are protected by the same Bill of Rights.

Sadly, since the announcement of the Heller decision, we have seen the D.C. Council continue to thumb its nose at the Constitution and defy a clear Supreme Court order by largely maintaining its draconian handgun ban.

Moreover, when Congress chose to delegate home rule to the District in the 1970s, it specified that legislation enacted by the District must be “consistent with the Constitution of the United States,” and it “reserve[d] the right, at any time, to exercise its constitutional authority as legislature for the District, by enacting legislation for the District on any subject.”

Yes, Congress has a duty to step in and protect constitutional rights against a local government engaging in a campaign of “massive resistance” to a Supreme Court decision recognizing those rights.

July 31, 2008

DUDE, WHERE’S MY RECESSION? (CONT’D): GDP grew 1.9% last quarter. “Consumers boosted their spending at a 1.5 percent pace in the second quarter. That was up from a 0.9 percent growth rate in the first quarter and marked the best showing since the third quarter of 2007 when the economy was still performing strongly despite the severe housing slump.” On the other hand, the inflation picture isn’t so great.

July 31, 2008

HE’S THE BIGGEST CELEBRITY IN THE WORLD!

July 31, 2008

GAFFE-O-MATIC:

Democrat Barack Obama, the first black candidate with a shot at winning the White House, says John McCain and his Republican allies will try to scare them by saying Obama “doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

Er, all those other presidents? Isn’t there just one President on the dollar bill?

And have you noticed that it’s always Obama who’s actually injecting race into the campaign, under the guise of warning about what those Evil Republicans will do? And is it really likely that John McCain would be out there saying “don’t vote for Obama, he’s black?”

I anticipate a lot of Photoshop fun with this quote, though.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

Not only is there only 1 president on the $1.00 bill, but assuming he meant currency in general, he might want to look at the $10 and $100 which do not feature any U.S. President. Perhaps he spoke…”inartfully” again.

That keeps happening. And another reader emails: “Isn’t the gaffe ‘*other* presidents’; again he thinks he’s already president.” Heh. I’d missed that.

On the other hand, reader David Sette emails: “From the quote I read, it is clear he’s talking about bills, plural. As is the 1, 5, 20, 50 etc. Hardly a gaffe.” I don’t know, it seems quite comparable to the “Bushisms” that people have been pointing out for years as evidence that our current President isn’t very bright. Yes, those features are kind of lame, but sauce for the goose, etc. . . .

MORE: Okay, what’s really weird is that Obama just said the same thing about himself, in Berlin:

I know that I don’t look like the other Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city.

So who’s the one raising these racial issues, again?

STILL MORE: Dave Price:

“My opponents are racists!” Ugh, that didn’t take long. Explain to me again how this guy is different than Jesse Jackson? What happened to being “the postracial candidate?”

I imagine that we’ll see a lot of this kind of thing if Obama is elected President. And perhaps the best reason to vote against Obama is to spare the country an administration that reflexively characterizes any criticism as racist.

MORE STILL: The gift that keeps giving. Reader Jack Moody writes:

“I know that I don’t look like the other Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city.”

There’s another gaffe in that statement too.

Broadly, racially, speaking I would think the current and previous Sec State would count. Or is Obama limiting himself to just *other* presidents again?

When the press is in the tank for you, you get sloppy.

AND MORE: Jake Tapper has a different version of the quote that eliminates the dollar-bill gaffe. But Tapper also notes that the Obama campaign is consistently making bogus charges of racism and xenophobia:

There’s a lot of racist xenophobic crap out there. But not only has McCain not peddled any of it, he’s condemned it. . . . I’ve seen racism in campaigns before — I’ve seen it against Obama in this campaign (more from Democrats than Republicans, at this point, I might add) and I’ve seen it against McCain in South Carolina in 2000 . . . What I have not seen is it come from McCain or his campaign in such a way to merit the language Obama used today. Pretty inflammatory.

Just wait. It’ll get worse between now and November.

July 31, 2008

MICKEY KAUS on the MSM and the Edwards story: “It’s not merely the stench of liberal bias that bothers me but the unfortunate reality that we in the MSM are giving up a good story to the internet. And if we in the major media continue to cede such stories to the internet, we won’t be major much longer.”

Yes, it’s amazing the way the Legacy Media seem to be affirmatively engaged in ensuring their own decline.

UPDATE: Oops — that’s not Kaus, that’s Kaus quoting the Newark Star-Ledger. My mistake — sorry.

July 31, 2008

HERE’S THE TRAILER for the next Harry Potter movie.

July 31, 2008

CONN CARROLL: Why earmarks matter.

July 31, 2008

ROGER KIMBALL: Can Britain Survive Multiculturalism? British multiculturalism is symptomatic of a governing class that doesn’t really believe in the nation it governs. Can a nation survive that? It seems doubtful.

July 31, 2008

BURMESE RULERS SWINDLE U.N.:

So, while the U.S. Treasury is trying to tighten sanctions on Burma’s thug government, the United Nations has been busy funneling millions of dollars to the Burmese regime — thanks to a classic artificial foreign-exchange rate dodge, which the UN finally acknowledged in public only after weeks of questioning by Inner-City Press (see post below).

This latest in the long list of UN gifts to dictators came about as part of the relief mission launched in May to help Burmese victims of Cyclone Nargis.

Read the whole thing.

July 31, 2008

TIGERHAWK ON “Selective Greeniness.” Getting rid of fuel subsidies in places like Venezuela, Iran, and China would cut carbon emissions immensely. So where’s the call for that?

July 31, 2008

AUSTIN BAY ON THE MUSLIM WORLD’S CHALLENGES:

Oil and unemployed testosterone don’t mix, they collide — with war the likely result.

“Economics and demographics” lack the sizzle of oil and testosterone, which as eye-grabbers are an Oprah-notch below money and sex. But in the grand sense of geo-strategy and the intricate 21st century problems that produce wars, poverty and other forms of sustained misery, economics and demographics are the fire.

Read the whole thing.

July 30, 2008

QUESTIONING THE TIMING of the Ted Stevens indictment.

July 30, 2008

WATER ON MARS? Phoenix pics are in. “In a discovery that could qualify as one of the most important in the history of space exploration, NASA’s Phoenix Mission may have confirmed the presence of water ice on the planet, Popular Mechanics has learned. The scheduling of a press conference for Thursday at 2 p.m. Eastern by NASA and the University of Arizona has raised hopes in the space community that scientists will announce the breakthrough. When pressed for details, a spokesperson for the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory refused to elaborate beyond saying that the Phoenix team would unveil new findings from the ongoing robotic mission to Mars. If the rumor holds true, it would be the first direct confirmation of water ice beyond Earth.”

July 30, 2008

SAW AN EXCELLENT PANEL THIS EVENING ON THE DUKE LACROSSE RAPE HOAX, featuring K.C. Johnson (author of Until Proven Innocent, with Stuart Taylor), James Coleman, Mike Gerhardt, Lyrissa Lidsky, and Angela Davis (no, not that Angela Davis), author of Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor, which I bought on Kenneth Anderson’s recommendation and which is excellent, especially as a companion to K.C.’s book. The discussion was excellent and very fair. Lots of talk about what Nifong got wrong, plus the important point that the kind of misconduct for which Nifong was disbarred and punished is committed regularly by prosecutors who almost always get off scot-free even when it’s exposed. We really need a better mechanism for policing prosecutorial misconduct, and it’s not clear what that should be — independent audits of cases by a sort of inspector general? I’m not sure.

I disagree, though, with the idea that replacing elected prosecutors with appointed prosecutors would fix the problem. As with elected vs. appointed judges, it doesn’t get rid of the politics, just make it less transparent. And I suspect that situations like that obtaining in Britain, where burglars face little risk of prosecution while homeowners who defend their homes against burglars are targeted by authorities, couldn’t possibly prevail in a system of elected prosecutors.

July 30, 2008

POLL: Most Americans Want Offshore Drilling.

Gallup: Presidential Race Tightens. Is there a connection?

July 30, 2008

GM CONSTRUCTS THE WORLD’S LARGEST rooftop solar power array.

July 30, 2008

NOBODY TELL SCALZI: Chocolate-covered Bacon Cake.

July 30, 2008

SEQUENCE: Jon Voight criticizes Obama. Andrew Breitbart talks about a new Hollywood blacklist. Jeffrey Wells puts Voight on shit list. “It’s going to be hard henceforth not to think of Voight as some kind of diseased wingnut. . . . it’s only natural that industry-based Obama supporters will henceforth regard him askance. Honestly? If I were a producer and I had to make a casting decision about hiring Voight or some older actor who hadn’t pissed me off with an idiotic Washington Times op-ed piece, I might very well say to myself, ‘Voight? Let him eat cake.’” How establishment is Wells? He’s got a permanent Drudge link. (Via Kaus.)

July 30, 2008

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: In the wake of the L.A. earthquake — minor, but a reminder — here’s a big roundup on disaster preparedness and survival. And here’s a link to the LAFD earthquake-preparedness manual (PDF) which has lots of useful stuff going beyond just earthquake issues. More on disaster-preparedness here.

July 30, 2008

BARACK OBAMA AS A LAW TEACHER: The New York Times reports, and Ann Althouse, Brian Leiter, and David Bernstein comment. Offering Obama tenure upon hiring? That’s quite unusual. “Clueless White Person” voices, not so much.

UPDATE: More from Randy Barnett.

July 30, 2008

SOME THOUGHTS ON MARKETING and green conundrums.

Plus, is green mass transit a myth? “A full bus or trainload of people is more efficient than private cars, sometimes quite a bit more so. But transit systems never consist of nothing but full vehicles. . . . Transit vehicles also tend to stop and start a lot, which eats a lot of energy, even with regenerative braking. And most transit vehicles are just plain heavy, and not very aerodynamic. Indeed, you’ll see tables in the DoE reports that show that over the past 30 years, private cars have gotten 30% more efficient, while buses have gotten 60% less efficient and trains about 25% worse. The market and government regulations have driven efforts to make cars more efficient, while transit vehicles have actually worsened.”

July 30, 2008

BIG BROTHER LURKS IN THE DEN:

I write in cars, on planes, on the bench in the yard, while watching TV and in bed. And I haven’t seen a movie that wasn’t a matinee in two decades.

I’ve worked like this now, with the exception of three years when I had a ’real’ job, since 1981. During that time, I’ve authored or co-authored more than a dozen books, co-produced a TV miniseries (and hosted three other PBS series), and written probably two thousand newspaper and magazine articles, columns and editorials. In other words, by most objective measures, I’ve had a pretty successful and productive freelance career.

And yet, if a new trend identified by the Wall Street Journal takes hold, I will be considered utterly and permanently unemployable. Why? Because employers, despite a half-century of evidence that trusting your employees to make responsible decisions is the key to higher productivity, are becoming increasingly obsessed with the notion (as used to be said about the Puritans) that someone, somewhere, is goofing off on the job.

So, they are now turning to employment companies that market freelancers, such as oDesk.com (which manages 90,000 code writers, network admins, writers and graphic artists –pray for them – for 10,000 clients worldwide), which have developed a whole suite of tools to help them spy on these contractors as they work at home. oDesk, for example, uses freelancer’s own computer camera to track his or her moves, periodically conducts screen grabs to see if work is being done, monitors keystrokes, even eavesdrops for the sound of a dog barking or children talking – and then offers those services to its clients.

All of this is, apparently, an attempt to assuage the ever-present fear by contractors that somehow they are being ripped off by the people they contract. The result, as the Journal portrays it in chilling terms, is that people working at home under this regime are forced to create work environments in their homes that seem far, far worse than any cubicle at corporate headquarters.

As I’ve noted before, this kind of thing is rooted more in managers’ desire for power — and fear of output metrics — than any actual business needs.

July 30, 2008

DANA MILBANK FINDS OBAMA PRESUMPTUOUS: President Obama Continues Hectic Victory Tour:

Along the way, he traveled in a bubble more insulating than the actual president’s. Traffic was shut down for him as he zoomed about town in a long, presidential-style motorcade, while the public and most of the press were kept in the dark about his activities, which included a fundraiser at the Mayflower where donors paid $10,000 or more to have photos taken with him. His schedule for the day, announced Monday night, would have made Dick Cheney envious. . . . As he marches toward Inauguration Day (Election Day is but a milestone on that path), Obama’s biggest challenger may not be Republican John McCain but rather his own hubris. . . . On his presidential-style visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem last week, Obama left a written prayer, intercepted by an Israeli newspaper, asking God to ‘help me guard against pride and despair.’ He seems to have the despair part under control, but the pride could be a problem.

Well, when you’re getting standing ovations from journalists, it’s easy to see how it might go to your head. He’s clearly the landslide favorite of the Media Wing of the Democratic Party, and they have a loud voice. And a consistent one.

Related item here: “In his closed door meeting with House Democrats Tuesday night, presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama delivered a real zinger, according to a witness, suggesting that he was beginning to believe his own hype.”

July 30, 2008

MEGAN MCARDLE ON THE DEFICIT: “The majority of the federal budget is spent on a few things: entitlements, defense, and interest on the national debt. Which of these, I asked, as so many have before, is McCain going to cut? Well, erm, none.”

How about a 10% across-the-board cut in entitlement spending?

July 30, 2008

porkbustersnewsm.jpgPORKBUSTERS UPDATE: A new PorkBusters project, undertaken by Eyeblast TV, with a chance to point out pork in your own area on video:

When the “bridge to nowhere” was everywhere in the news two years ago, Americans for Prosperity hit the road on an “Ending Earmarks Express” tour.

The most powerful report from AFP’s journey came in Ketchikan, Alaska, when the group revealed in a two-minute video just how foolish pork-barrel spending can get. The story showed Americans exactly where the bridge to nowhere, a boondoggle backed by the likes of just-indicted Sen. Ted Stevens, was going to be built — to the tune of $223 million of your money.

Congress reluctantly rescinded funding for the bridge to nowhere, but greased pigs continue to run free, and spend freely, in the corridors on Capitol Hill. In fiscal 2008, Citizens Against Government Waste unearthed nearly 12,000 examples of pork in federal spending bills. The projects cost the taxpayers $17.2 billion — and too many Americans are clueless about where the money went or which lawmakers are to blame for the wasteful spending.

With the help of citizen journalists all across America, Eyeblast.tv and the Porkbusters coalition hope to change that. We’re under no illusion that we can utterly quench lawmakers’ insatiable appetite for pork. But we can expose them for the oinkers they are while they feast at the taxpayers’ trough.

How will we do that? Three words: “Porkbusters On Patrol.” That’s what Eyeblast and Porkbusters are calling the networked journalism project we are announcing today.

“Porkbusters On Patrol” combines the concept of AFP’s earmarks tour with the vision that Instapundit Glenn Reynolds shared in his book “An Army Of Davids.” The goal is to equip an army of citizen reporters with pocket camcorders to produce an ongoing series of on-site video stories about Congress’ pork-barreling ways.

Follow the link for more.

July 30, 2008

RICHARD FERNANDEZ: Should Cops or Generals Spearhead the War on Terror?

July 30, 2008

IN THE MAIL: David Danelo’s The Border: Exploring the U.S.-Mexican Divide.

July 30, 2008

hotelbeach.jpg

Yes, blogging has been a bit lighter than usual, and this is why. I’m at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools conference again this year, and trying to spend as much time on the beach as possible when I’m not conferring. But Kaus is on a hot streak!

July 30, 2008

MICKEY KAUS: “The Empire of Undernews Expands.”

July 30, 2008

TWO QUESTIONS: (1) Does Barack Obama think that American history is unusually “tragic” as compared to the history of other great nations? And (2), what does it tell us that journalists were cheering him when he said that? Plus this: “Obama, who acknowledged that he needed a nap, stood up to say farewell to the audience of journalists, many of whom gave him another standing ovation.”

UPDATE: Reader Kirk Petersen emails: “Standing O from MINORITY journalists — I think the qualifier is crucial — your post makes it sound like the MSM is giving him a standing ovation. The MSM skews strongly in Obama’s direction, but at least is concerned about appearances.” Are minority journalists somehow a lesser species, laboring under lower standards and reduced expectations because of their skin color?

July 30, 2008

JOHN KASS: “Hi, my name is John. I’m a hopium addict.”

July 30, 2008

WELL, GOOD: Bloggers win 92% of cases. “Insurance Journal is reporting some good news for bloggers facing legal threats – they almost always win in court!” Much more at the link.

July 30, 2008

PRICING SIGNALS WORK (CONT’D): US Vehicle Miles Traveled Down 3.7% In May 2008. If other countries didn’t subsidize fuel, consumption would be dropping faster worldwide. So why aren’t the greens going after fuel subsidies?

July 30, 2008

IT’S ABOUT TIME:

From what has been called a perfect storm of disgruntled patients, legislators and medical professionals, the quality movement in health care has been born.

Thanks to its efforts, those hospital walls are slowly becoming transparent. Revealed is a world of tangled routines, many obsolescent, many downright stupid, that no one had carefully examined. The reformers are out to streamline the routines, retrain the workers and keep them permanently on display — an ant farm behind clear glass — to make sure things never get out of control again.

Some related thoughts, here.

July 29, 2008

GOOD NEWS ON ALZHEIMER’S: “A new drug halts the devastating progress of Alzheimer’s disease, say British scientists. It is said to be more than twice as effective as current treatments.” I hope this pans out.

July 29, 2008

AND NONE TOO SOON: The New And Improved John McCain.

July 29, 2008

L.A. TIMES BLOG EDITOR TONY PIERCE responds to critics: “I was really just reminding the bloggers that they write for the LA Times and they happen to be using blogging as a publishing platform . . . What I should have said is that if you find information — because these are real reporters — if you find any more information, or if there’s something that’s out there that you come across put out by a more reputable source, write it up and let’s talk about it.”

July 29, 2008

HMM: “A smaller, more effective, Viet Cong-like Democratic majority.” The only part you can count on is the “smaller” part.

July 29, 2008

HMM: Green isn’t selling the way it used to.

Plus, Is it becoming cool to mock the Greens? The bossy, self-righteous, and hypocritical ones, anyway.

July 29, 2008

CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER: The Western Wall prayer controversy is getting complicated.

July 29, 2008

HUH? Knoxville’s “Miracle Mile”?

July 29, 2008

EARTHQUAKE disrupts California Bar Exam.

July 29, 2008

HAD A NICE PANEL ON BLOGGING FOR NEW LAW PROFESSORS, with Ann Bartow, the former blogger Jeff Cooper (who offered a cautionary tale of blog-addiction), Nancy Rapoport, and Paul Secunda.

One thing that occurred to me is that when Linda Greenhouse retired she was the last Linda Greenhouse, because now I go to blogs like ScotusBlog, or The Volokh Conspiracy, or How Appealing to find out what happened, before going to the NYT to find out how the story is being spun. I don’t think that any reporter will be able to dominate things the way Greenhouse did for most of her career, because the blogs are taking over a lot of the initial analysis, and diffusing the first-mover authority that Greenhouse enjoyed.

July 29, 2008

MILBLOGS TV: Anbar Rising, Part 2.

July 29, 2008

WELL, LET’S HOPE: Al-Qaeda’s ‘Mad Scientist’ Killed in U.S. Air Strike?

July 29, 2008

CHARLES LIPSON on Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture,” which was mentioned here a while ago:

With wisdom, good humor and a total absence of self-pity, he ruminated on his life’s lessons. Audiences loved it and, within weeks, his “last lecture” became a giant YouTube hit. The video led, quite unexpectedly, to a book, “The Last Lecture,” that has stayed on best-seller lists since it was published in April. Not bad for a guy forced to run a two-minute drill against pancreatic cancer.

To sum up your life’s work in a compelling, accessible lecture is every teacher’s dream. That is exactly what Pausch did. I say that as someone who paces the front of a classroom several times a week. I love teaching and working with students, just as Randy did. I love explaining new ideas, challenging my students’ preconceived notions, and responding (with good grace, I hope) when they harpoon my own.

To watch Pausch’s last lecture is to know that he shared that love. By displaying it so openly, in a video watched by millions, the professor of computer science also showed how great teachers connect with students.

Read the whole thing.

July 29, 2008

POPULAR MECHANICS: What Virgin’s WhiteKnightTwo Really Means to the Future of Space.

Plus, Rand Simberg on the uncertain future of the Space Station.

Also, Top US astronaut welcomes space tourism.

July 29, 2008

RESTRAINING ORDERS CAN BE STRAITJACKETS ON JUSTICE: “There is a large body of evidence which shows that restraining orders are frequently misused.”

July 29, 2008

BOB OWENS ON SELECTIVE OUTRAGE.

Not enough people are listening to Christian Grantham’s advice, I guess.

July 29, 2008

KATIE GRANJU on bogus reports of a TV movie featuring Britney Spears on the Channon Christian murder.

July 29, 2008

NO BIG SURPRISE HERE: “Employees with concealed weapons permits can keep guns locked in their cars at work in Florida, but businesses are allowed to prohibit customers from bringing firearms on their property, a federal judge has ruled.”

July 29, 2008

CHARLES JOHNSON VS. THE DISCOVERY INSTITUTE.

July 29, 2008

FIVE HOT DOGS that will kill you.

July 29, 2008

A BUNCH OF READERS ARE EMAILING ME about an earthquake in Los Angeles.

UPDATE: USGS says it was 5.8.

MORE: Reader Monica Showalter emails: “This thing went on and on….felt like a second bottle of whiskey kicking in or maybe sitting on Jell-O.” I don’t think she’s actually experienced either of those firsthand but I take the point. And hey, i could be wrong.

Roundup from Ed Driscoll.

STILL MORE: Brendan Loy reports that it’s been downgraded to 5.4, “which, because the magnitude scale is logarithmic, is actually a big deal. You’d expect significantly more damage from a 5.8 quake than from a 5.4.”

July 29, 2008

JAKE TAPPER, fact-checking Obama on the Surge.

July 29, 2008

REASON TV: Earmarks, The Alien Menace.

I’m not actually sure that SETI is the best example here.

July 29, 2008

PROGRESS IN monitoring home energy usage.

Much more here: “Bits are cheaper than iron.”

July 29, 2008

THE INSTA-DAUGHTER enters the car-blogging world. Well, sort of. And it does look like a Buick.

July 29, 2008

WHILE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT CORRUPTION, A LOOK AT FREDDIE MAC AND FANNIE MAE’S LARGESSE:

Congress sets the rules in favor of Fan and Fred, which then repay the Members with cash from their rigged profit stream. This is the government lobbying itself for more government.

And, oh, what a stream of political cash it is. First, there are Fannie and Freddie’s political action committees, which have already distributed roughly $800,000 to U.S. House and Senate Members this election cycle. Nearly half of the Senators have received funds and almost all of the money is directed to incumbents. Fannie gave $10,000 to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, $10,000 to third-ranking House Democrat Rahm Emanuel, $5,000 to Barney Frank, $10,000 to Republican House whip Roy Blunt, $8,500 to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and $7,500 to Minority Leader John Boehner and . . . you get the picture. . . .

Then there are the “charitable” foundations. Freddie Mac’s foundation handed out $25 million to political groups, think tanks and other Beltway outfits in 2007 alone, more than any other foundation in the country, according to the Washington Business Journal. Guess which foundation ranked number two? Yep, Fannie Mae’s, which gave out $21 million.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Via email, the following:

We have already notified the Wall Street Journal of their error, but can you please also make the correction.

Here:

Then there are the “charitable” foundations. Freddie Mac’s foundation handed out $25 million to political groups, think tanks and other Beltway outfits in 2007 alone, more than any other foundation in the country, according to the Washington Business Journal. Guess which foundation ranked number two? Yep, Fannie Mae’s, which gave out $21 million.

This is false. We told the WSJ those amounts made Fan and Fred the largest locally-based givers in the Washington area, only representing local giving…we have no stats on the rest of the country. Also, we do not track where the money goes. That’s information from the WSJ, not the Washington Business Journal.

Thanks in advance!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Elizabeth Drachman
Managing editor
Washington Business Journal

So noted.

July 29, 2008

JOHN TAMMES on becoming one of them.

July 29, 2008

PORKER, BUSTED: Ted Stevens has been indicted: “Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator and a figure in Alaska politics since before statehood, has been indicted on seven counts of falsely reporting hundreds of thousands of dollars in services he received from a company that helped renovate his home. Stevens, 84, has been dogged by a federal investigation into whether he pushed for fishing legislation that also benefited his son, an Alaska lobbyist.”

Hmm. Didn’t I suggest to the Republicans a while back that they needed to encourage him to resign? Now it’s a bit late.

UPDATE: Reader Jo Schroeder isn’t impressed:

Why can’t the Feds make real convictions on real crimes? Now it’s just False Statements. What a crock

Yes, as my colleague Peter Morgan noted in the Northwestern University Law Review some years ago (It’s not on the Web, alas), the False Statements Act is an overused weapon in the prosecutorial arsenal. Which isn’t to say that Stevens isn’t a sleaze . . . .

And reader Vic Havens comments:

Unlike Rep. Jefferson (D-LA), Sen. Stevens (R-AK) will be pressured to resign by his party fellow-members. Unlike Rep. Jefferson (D-LA), Sen. Stevens (R-AK) will resign.

Brendan Loy, meanwhile, predicts widespread blogger schadenfreude on both the left and right.

MORE: RedState: Ted Stevens Must Resign.

July 29, 2008

JOHN TIERNEY: Ten things to scratch from your worry list:

For most of the year, it is the duty of the press to scour the known universe looking for ways to ruin your day. The more fear, guilt or angst a news story induces, the better. But with August upon us, perhaps you’re in the mood for a break, so I’ve rounded up a list of 10 things not to worry about on your vacation.

Read the whole thing, which is indeed a welcome breath of fresh air.

July 29, 2008

ADDRESSING CONFUSION over eggs and health.

July 29, 2008

APTERA WILL START PRODUCTION:

Aptera Motors announced today that the company has raised more than $24 million at the close of its Series C round of venture funding. The new funds will be used to start initial production of its Aptera Typ-1, a radically different vehicle designed to marry advanced aerodynamics with light-weight composite technology creating an incredibly powerful, yet extremely safe vehicle that is a joy to drive. Additionally, the company plans to use the newly raised funds for a new manufacturing facility located in Vista, Calif., just a short distance from the company’s present headquarters in Carlsbad.

I’ve mentioned the Aptera before. More on the car here. I’d seriously consider buying one, but as of now they’re only selling them in California.

July 29, 2008

IN THE MAIL: Michael Walters’ The Shadow Walker. Murder in Ulan Bator.

July 29, 2008

farmersmkt3.jpg

Knoxville, Tennessee. The Farmer’s Market.

July 29, 2008

UNVEILING THE FIRST PRACTICAL JETPACK: Looks a bit large for actual practicality, but maybe it’s progress.

July 29, 2008

HE COULD BE RIGHT: “The era of carbon craziness is almost over.”

July 29, 2008

ILYA SOMIN ON GUN RIGHTS, POST-HELLER. (Link is PDF, but the piece isn’t long.)

UPDATE: Heller files a followup lawsuit against DC’s “massive resistance” policy on firearms.

July 29, 2008

CLAIRE BERLINSKI: Reuters Whitewashes Terrorism in Turkey.

July 29, 2008

MAPPING DISEASE DATA, collaboratively.

July 29, 2008

REVIEWING THE REVIEWERS: A roundup of book reviews from all over.

July 29, 2008

OIL DRILLING: Reid Plan Splits Dems. “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has split the Democratic front opposed to drilling with a plan that would open new areas for exploration. Reid’s proposal was meant to insulate Senate Democratic candidates from public anger over gas prices. Instead, it has created a divide with liberal colleagues and drawn fire from senior House Democrats.”

July 29, 2008

AT TAXPROF: The Tax Foundation refutes all eight points of an anti-Obama tax screed that is circulating via the Internet and email.

July 29, 2008

THE HILL: Reid Plan Splits Dems: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has split the Democratic front opposed to drilling with a plan that would open new areas for exploration. Reid’s proposal was meant to insulate Senate Democratic candidates from public anger over gas prices. Instead, it has created a divide with liberal colleagues and drawn fire from senior House Democrats.”

Plus, more problems: Sen. Reid Thwarted On Bundle Of Bills. Reid hasn’t had a good year.

July 28, 2008

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Why Do Europeans Love Obama?

July 28, 2008

POLLS: Now it’s McCain who’s ahead, though by an insignificant margin.

Yesterday the Gallup Tracking Poll showed Obama ahead by 9 points (49-40). Earlier today (Monday) that dropped to Obama ahead by 8 points (48-40). Both were of registered voters.

Now Gallup/USA Today released a new poll of LIKELY voters, showing a 4 point lead for McCain, his first lead in any major poll since early May.

The switch from registered to likely voters explains most of the difference.

Yet this jumping around does not inspire confidence in Gallup.

I suspect that polling this race is even iffier than polling in general.

July 28, 2008

IS ANYTHING SACRED?

Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv was lambasted for printing the note that Obama placed in the Western Wall, allegedly stolen by a Yeshiva student. “Notes which are placed in the Western Wall are between the person and his Maker; Heaven forbid that one should read them or use them in any way,” said the Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall. “This sacrilegious action deserves sharp condemnation and represents a desecration of the holy site.”

But according to a statement from Ma’ariv yesterday, the Obama campaign actually leaked the note to reporters before Obama even placed it in the wall. Yediot Aharonot, Israel’s most popular daily, apparently also received a copy of the note in advance but decided not to print it.

Sigh. Read the whole thing.

July 28, 2008

VIRGIN GALACTIC rolls out Mother Ship.

July 28, 2008

POLITICAL CLEANSING at Wikipedia. “This is disgraceful behavior on the part of Wikipedia, which is demonstrating bias that errs on the side of laughable. But we should be grateful. This censorship reminds us never to trust anyone.”

July 28, 2008

JACK LAIL: It’s not the camera, it’s the journalism.

They’re getting a lot of mileage out of an awfully cheap video camera this week, proving his point.

July 28, 2008

MICHAEL TOTTEN: The Bin Ladens of the Balkans, Part II.

July 28, 2008

TIGERHAWK: A Short Note on Casualties.

July 28, 2008

WHAT IS THE ARAB WORLD’S PROBLEM? Lee Smith review’s Ken Pollack’s new book, A Path Out of the Desert: A Grand Strategy for America in the Middle East, and comments:

In recent years, former CIA analyst and Clinton-administration National Security Council staffer Kenneth Pollack has found himself so close to Bush administration Middle East policies—like regime change in Iraq and Gen. David Petraeus’ surge strategy—that it’s hardly surprising he’d now like to put some distance between himself and an unpopular White House. Thus, in A Path out of the Desert: A Grand Strategy for America in the Middle East, Pollack adopts a countermeasure perfected over the last several years by Arab liberals concerned that any association with Bush is likely to lose them respect, if not their freedom or their lives: trash the White House pre-emptively and then restate the general principles of its Middle East policy.

I suspect we’ll see a lot of that in coming years, followed eventually by an “everyone knew this all along” conventional wisdom. On the other hand, it’s not working well enough to prevent lefties from posting angry screeds in the reader review section.

July 28, 2008

JACK LAIL on hateful comments on newspaper websites.