Archive for August, 2008

August 31, 2008

DEAD HEAT: Obama 49, McCain 48.

August 31, 2008

ANN ALTHOUSE: “The insane obsession with Sarah Palin’s pregnancy rages on. This will all go down in the annals of feminism, people. So think before you write.”

August 31, 2008

NOEMIE EMERY: What Gustav does.

August 31, 2008

IT’S AN UN-CONVENTIONAL CONVENTION. What will I talk about tomorrow? I guess lots of folks are asking the same. At least it’s not the same-old same-old.

August 31, 2008

ROGER SIMON: The social issues are not the same.

August 31, 2008

THE NEWS ON GUSTAV IS LOOKING BETTER: Brendan Loy is keeping track.

August 31, 2008

RASMUSSEN: Bounce Disappears.

August 31, 2008

JEEZ.

August 31, 2008

THE WASHINGTON POST REPORTS that the Palin Pick was in the works for a while. Ed Morrissey has some thoughts.

August 31, 2008

NEW WAYS TO sift data.

August 31, 2008

SO IS THIS GOOD NEWS OR BAD NEWS FOR THE MCCAIN CAMPAIGN? Camille Paglia hearts Palin:

“We may be seeing the first woman president. As a Democrat, I am reeling,” said Camille Paglia, the cultural critic. “That was the best political speech I have ever seen delivered by an American woman politician. Palin is as tough as nails.”

I’m scoring it as good, but with an asterisk. . . .

August 31, 2008

SCIENCE THAT SATISFIES: Exploring the reaction of Diet Coke and Mentos in zero gravity. With video. (Via Slashdot).

August 31, 2008

POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE, THE WIKIPEDIA WAY: “If you’d been watching Wikipedia you might have gotten an advance tipoff of Friday’s announcement that McCain was selecting Sarah Palin. ‘At approximately 5 p.m. ET (Thursday), the company’s analysts noticed a spike in the editing traffic to Palin’s Wiki page, and that some of the same Wiki users appeared to be making changes to McCain’s page.’” So the smart thing to do would have been to make some edits to Romney and Pawlenty, too . . .

August 31, 2008

I’M HERE, and it didn’t take me quite as long to get through security as it took to fly from Knoxville, but it felt like it took longer. I’m at the Pajamas TV booth, overlooking the Xcel Center where the convention will take place. They’re still setting up and testing equipment, while everybody wonders what’s going to happen in response to Gustav.

mepjtv.jpg

August 31, 2008

ED DRISCOLL: The Macaca Boomerang.

August 31, 2008

HABITATS FOR HUMANITY: “‘Design for extreme environments’ sounds like a new cable show, but it’s actually a class at RISD that focuses on building habitats for truly challenging locations—like the moon. Last fall, NASA asked the students to design a mobile dwelling for its next manned mission to the moon, scheduled for 2020.”

August 31, 2008

CHARLES CRAWFORD on Kosovo and Georgia.

August 31, 2008

MYTHBUSTERS’ ADAM SAVAGE on 3 ways to fix science education.

August 31, 2008

IN THE MAIL: Jim Sciutto’s Against Us: The New Face of America’s Enemies in the Muslim World.

August 31, 2008

HURRICANE BLOGGING from the New Orleans Airport.

August 31, 2008

THANKS TO THE MIRACLE OF SCHEDULED POSTING, new stuff will keep popping up today. But I’m en route to Minnesota where I’ll be a TV pundit for Pajamas TV. It should be fun. I’ve never been to a political convention, and never planned to go to one, but how often do you get to be a TV talking-head at a national political convention? And I think this Internet TV thing has a future, so it’s fun to see it at the beginning. [Are they paying you to do this? -- ed. As much as I get paid for any of the TV appearances I do! Which means, er, no.]

August 31, 2008

INSTA-POLL: In light of Hurricane Gustav.

What should the Republicans do if Hurricane Gustav hits hard?
Postpone their convention
Meet as usual
Meet, but make disaster relief efforts
  
pollcode.com free polls

August 31, 2008

KEEP CHECKING BRENDAN LOY for more information on Gustav. And you can get video streams from New Orleans here.

August 31, 2008

POLITICIANS BEWARE: “High Definition spares no one.”

UPDATE: Advantage — women? “Thanks for the technology, guys. We will now use it to rule the world.”

August 31, 2008

I’M NOT SURE THIS IS SUCH A GOOD IDEA, but Mark O’Malley emails that he’s staying in New Orleans and blogging Gustav. Really, Mark, I’d rather you didn’t. . . .

August 31, 2008

TAKING RUSSIA’S COLLECTIVE FARMS FREE-MARKET: “The business of buying and reforming collective farms is suddenly and improbably very profitable, attracting hedge fund managers, Russian oligarchs, Swedish portfolio investors and even a descendant of White Russian émigré nobility. Earlier reformers envisioned the collective farms eventually breaking up into family farms. But the new business model rests on a belief that Russia’s long, painful history of collectivization is destined to end in large corporate factory farms.”

August 31, 2008

IF YOU’RE IN GUSTAV’S PATH, IT’S TOO LATE for this stuff, but here’s a roundup on disaster preparedness. It’s not like Gustav will be the last hurricane.

August 31, 2008

A DUMB PRO-PALIN TALKING POINT is that she is the commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard. All governors are in charge of their states’ National Guard units, and their actual responsibilities in this regard are generally pretty light. It’s true she visited the troops in Kuwait, but I don’t think this experience is really a very strong argument in terms of military competence.

UPDATE: On the other hand, claims that Palin faked her pregnancy would have to count as dumber . . . .

August 31, 2008

THREAT TO NEW ORLEANS INCREASES: Brendan Loy has the scoop.

UPDATE: ABC News: Obama ‘Deeply Concerned’ About Hurricane Gustav. As everyone should be.

August 31, 2008

POLITICO: Obama vs. His Staff. “Just hours after his campaign issued a first statement yesterday ripping the addition of Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket, Barack Obama backed away from that statement — or at least its tone — and said that his own campaign had misrepresented him. Obama often speaks of how important his staffers are to his bid and would be to his administration, and he’s praised them for covering for each others’ mistakes. But in the heat of the campaign, he’s publicly called them out for everything from missing an event to misrepresenting his policy positions to using his office to aid a donor.”

Via Newsalert.

August 30, 2008

JERRY POURNELLE ON SARAH PALIN:

Were matters left to her, she would leave a great number of issues to the states — as would I. I’d rather see her President than McCain, but we live with the choices we have.

Mr. Heinlein once speculated that we ought to reserve high political office for women with children because they tend to see things a bit more realistically. While I didn’t necessarily agree with him, I never won the argument with him. On the other hand, Robert used to take positions for the sheer fun of it. (Actually I think he’d have preferred that anyone elected be a woman with children who could solve quadratic equations in her head, but he never went quite that far in public statements. Ginny never had children, but she could certainly do the math….)

We do live in interesting times.

Indeed.

August 30, 2008

BRUCE REED says Democrats shouldn’t be too quick to trash Sarah Palin, and that’s good advice. And as for comparisons to Quayle, could somebody remind me again how many terms Lloyd Bentsen served as Vice President?

August 30, 2008

POLITICO: Five questions for Sarah Palin. I notice that several of them have already been answered by bloggers.

Here’s an answer to the travel question: “But if it turns out she has rarely traveled abroad — or has never been to any foreign country other than Canada — this will be seized upon instantly.” No worries.

Here’s an answer to the finances question. From first thing this morning.

And here’s something on evolution.

Bloggers: Doing the MSM’s work ahead of time.

UPDATE: A big roundup of Palin downsides from Fabius Maximus. Also doing the MSM’s work . . . .

ANOTHER UPDATE: Oh, and I should mention Jeralyn Merritt’s look at Palin’s judicial appointments.

August 30, 2008

SOME SARAH PALIN LOOKALIKES. I’m not really seeing it with Megan Mullaly, though.

August 30, 2008

NAGIN ORDERS MANDATORY EVACUATION: Brendan Loy has more.

UPDATE: Gustav on Twitter. Chuck Simmins notes: “The folks at Twitter are doing a great job following Gustav. Red Cross and Home Depot are using Twitter for providing info.”

August 30, 2008

BRENDAN LOY: “One thing McCain may want to consider is that Gustav, though it’s getting all the attention right now, isn’t the only tropical threat out there. The one on the right is Tropical Storm Hanna, which could be menacing Florida by the end of the week. At present, it is not officially forecasted to become a hurricane, but that could change; some of the models think it could be a Category 2 or 3 hurricane in three days’ time! If that happens, a couple days’ delay in the convention could potentially create a new conflict, this time involving the convention coinciding with a landfalling hurricane in the key electoral swing state of Florida.”

Some Democrats think it’s the hand of God. Of course, by saying that on video they muddy the question of who it’s taking out . . . . Especially as this is the main headline on Drudge right now.

August 30, 2008

ALLAH POSTS three interviews with Sarah Palin.

August 30, 2008

HEATHER MACDONALD ON THE PALIN PICK: Republicans betray their principles by playing identity politics.

On the other hand, here’s what Doc Searls says: “Struck me as pretty smart, though maybe a little too smart for McCain’s own good. . . . Also FWIW, I know a lot of Hillary partisans, and if anything the Palin selection helps them rationalize voting for Obama.” He also links to this critical post by Richard Bennett.

August 30, 2008

ZOGBY POLL: “Brash McCain pick of AK Gov. Palin neutralizes historic Obama speech, stunts the Dems’ convention bounce . . . The latest nationwide survey, begun Friday afternoon after the McCain announcement of Palin as running mate and completed mid-afternoon today, shows McCain/Palin at 47%, compared to 45% support for Obama/Biden. In other words, the race is a dead heat.” If other polls bear this out, that’s big news. But this is only one quickie poll, so stay tuned. This USA Today/ Gallup poll doesn’t look as strong, though it’s of voter reactions to the pick, not a horserace question. But 23% of those polled had never heard of Joe Biden? I don’t know if that undercuts the poll, or just indicates that a lot of people just don’t pay attention to politics.

UPDATE: Hmm. This Gallup horserace poll shows Obama retaining his lead. Same at Rasmussen. So either Zogby’s found something everyone else has missed, or it’s a bad poll.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Jon Aaron writes:

The Gallup and Rasmussen polls are daily trackers, which average the results over a 3-day period. So they mostly don’t reflect the impact of the Palin pick yet, and won’t completely reflect it until Monday or Tuesday. The Zogby poll was conducted entirely after the Palin pick. Zogby polls actually aren’t very reliable, but in this case there’s no discrepancy with Gallup and Rasmussen.

That makes sense. And looking back at the links, the Gallup poll was Wed. – Friday, while the Rasmussen was Tues.-Thursday. So neither really reflects the Palin shift yet. Will Zogby turn out to be right, or not? Stay tuned, I guess.

August 30, 2008

GUSTAV WINDS HAVE HIT 150 MPH, and it has made landfall in Cuba. Brendan Loy has the scoop. Looks like the Cayman Islands — hit this morning when Gustav was barely over hurricane strength — dodged a bullet. Cuba isn’t so lucky; let’s hope others in the path have better luck.

Meanwhile, news on preparations in New Orleans, and video, at the Times-Picayune site.

UPDATE: Actually, Little Cayman was hit harder than initial reports suggested, and — to a lesser degree — so was Cayman Brac. British warships are arriving to provide relief.

August 30, 2008

ASTROSPIES? A new space hotel venture.

August 30, 2008

WHEN BILL MAHER HAS NOTICED THE PROBLEM, it’s a problem.

August 30, 2008

AT GAY PATRIOT, some thoughts on links and hate comments.

August 30, 2008

PHOTO: Why you should do your disaster preparedness in advance.

August 30, 2008

MAYBE IT’S A BOGUS RUMOR, but Buffy fans will dig it.

August 30, 2008

USE IT OR AND LOSE IT:

Invented by American computer scientists during the 1970s, the Internet has been embraced around the globe. During the network’s first three decades, most Internet traffic flowed through the United States. In many cases, data sent between two locations within a given country also passed through the United States.

Engineers who help run the Internet said that it would have been impossible for the United States to maintain its hegemony over the long run because of the very nature of the Internet; it has no central point of control.

And now, the balance of power is shifting. Data is increasingly flowing around the United States, which may have intelligence — and conceivably military — consequences.

Read the whole thing.

August 30, 2008

MIXED FEELINGS ON PALIN from Dale Carpenter. Plus, a roundup of pundit skepticism from Mickey Kaus.

UPDATE: Heated discussion in Dale Carpenter’s comments.

August 30, 2008

INSTAPUNDIT FAILED PROGNOSTICATION NUMBER . . . OH, HELL, IT WOULD TAKE SCIENTIFIC NOTATION:

THERE’S A BLOG AIMED AT DRAFTING ALASKA GOV. Sarah Palin for Vice President. I don’t see that as terribly likely, but I certainly like her action on the Bridge to Nowhere, and I wouldn’t mind seeing her fill Ted Stevens’ seat.

Turns out the guy who started the blog got a phone call from Palin yesterday, which was a nice touch on her part.

August 30, 2008

POLITICO: McCain: I may postpone convention.

Instead of doing that, how about having delegates on the floor putting together relief packages, and sending a group of volunteers down afterward, with Sarah Palin in charge?

UPDATE: Reader Brian Gates emails:

Make it a telethon. Show up on Tuesday and say, “The normal festive atmosphere certainly isn’t appropriate right now, but we wanted to take this opportunity to demonstrate how people can work together to solve problems without government. We think there’s too much money in politics anyway, so for convention week we’re not accepting donations. If you find yourself agreeing with the kinds of things we talk about on this stage, call in and make a donation to one of these fine, nonpartisan charitable organizations.”

Intersperse the political speeches with little how-tos on disaster preparedness. Have live feeds from civic groups throughout the South who are hosting people fleeing the storm, saying what they need. By the end of the week, the storm should be past, and McCain’s speech can be a celebration not of his candidacy, but of what people accomplished to help each other without a single dime being shuffled through Washington (and getting transmuted into a nickel en route).

If the Democrats are smart, they’ll take the same approach, and immediately distance themselves from Michael Moore’s comments.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Apparently, McCain’s way ahead on this: “John McCain and the GOP are considering scrapping political speeches and turning their St. Paul/Minneapolis convention into a ‘service’ program to help victims of Storm Gustav, The Post has learned. . . . The contingency plan – a worst case scenario if the storm devastates coastal areas – would turn Republicans into Red Cross-type volunteers who would help collect donations, food and goods to help storm victims.”

August 30, 2008

AT TALKLEFT, Jeralyn Merritt is looking at Sarah Palin’s judicial appointments.

August 30, 2008

JIM LEWIS: Meme that machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence gathers support.

August 30, 2008

A BIG AUDIO-VIDEO SALE at Amazon. I confess, though, that when I bought a new flat-screen for our bedroom I went and got it at the store — despite all the reader reports of good experiences when I posted on this a while back, I was just a little uncomfortable having something that big delivered, and having to return it the same way if there were problems.

UPDATE: Reader Brock Cusick writes: “I recently bought my 46″ Samsung LCD through Amazon. Great experience. They worked with a local white glove delivery company to make sure delivery & installation went off without a hitch, and it did.”

August 30, 2008

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW: TVA may restart construction of Bellefonte 1 and 2, two unfinished nuclear reactors. It’s greenhouse-friendly power!

More background here.

August 30, 2008

SARAH PALIN HAD NICE THINGS TO SAY about Obama’s energy plan.

August 30, 2008

QUESTIONS ABOUT AN ANTI-PALIN SITE, from Charles Johnson.

August 30, 2008

OIL COMPANIES prep platforms for Gustav.

August 30, 2008

HOW TO ASSESS VICE PRESIDENTS: The most important thing about a Vice Presidential candidate — as with a Presidential candidate — is fitness to be President. But, since most Vice Presidents never become President, the most significant impact is usually elsewhere: The running mate gets to put a lot of his/her people into political appointments in the new administration. From this perspective, Biden and Palin look really different. Biden is an oldtime Washington insider, with a large network of friends and supporters, meaning that the people he brings in are likely to be familiar faces (as, for that matter, are most of the people Obama is looking to for advice now, and will presumably appoint if elected). So the political appointments under an Obama-Biden administration will probably look a lot like the Clinton administration.

McCain has been in DC for a long time, too, of course. But who would Palin bring in? She doesn’t have that kind of a political network, and while she might bring a few people from Alaska, there won’t be very many of those. So who will she bring in if elected? My guess is that she’ll defer more to McCain than a more established pol would, but my guess is that she’ll also favor bringing in more evangelicals and social-conservative types, and she may (I don’t know) have more of a network in those circles than she has in the way of a political network. Something to consider, anyway.

August 30, 2008

IT’S NOT OVER IN BEIJING: The Paralympics start next week, and here’s a story of a Tennessee man who’ll be competing in archery.

August 30, 2008

GUSTAV IS NOW UP TO A CATEGORY THREE HURRICANE: That was fast. Much more from Brendan Loy. Luckily, it’s already cleared the Cayman Islands.

UPDATE: At least Michael Moore is happy.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Now a Category 4 with 145mph winds. Michael Moore must be ecstatic.

August 30, 2008

THE PALIN PICK: Ed Morrissey is smelling desperation.

Meanwhile, from Rasmussen: Palin Makes Good First Impression: Is Viewed More Favorably than Biden. How will that hold up? We’ll see.

UPDATE: Jonathan Martin says it’s set the GOP grassroots “on fire.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: More on experience: “Next time some TV talking head brings up Sarah Palin’s lack of foreign-policy experience, can somebody please point out that the Democrats in 2004 picked John Edwards as their vice-presidential candidate?”

August 30, 2008

WE TALKED TO T. BOONE PICKENS about teen entrepreneurs, and now here’s a report on one from Michael Malone.

August 30, 2008

pickenscov.jpgT. Boone Pickens is an oilman, a takeover expert, and a longtime observer of the American scene. He’s got a new book out — The First Billion Is the Hardest: Reflections on a Life of Comebacks and America’s Energy Future — and a new wind energy plan for reducing America’s dependence on imported oil.

We talk to Pickens about oil dependence, wind power, NIMBYism, and the future of America — plus, how to get rich and the future of entrepreneurialism among American youth.

You can listen directly — no downloads needed — by going here and clicking on the gray Flash player. You can download the entire show and listen at your leisure by clicking right here. Or you can get a free subscription via iTunes if you like — and why wouldn’t you?

Music is “Time’s Right” by 46 Long, and “69365″ by the Nebraska Guitar Militia.

August 30, 2008

THE INSTA-WIFE on why she’s enthusiastic about Palin.

For me, of course, most of the fun of the past 24 hours has come from watching Democrats get caught up in the whole identity-politics tangle. As the San Francisco Chronicle says, “Republican Sen. John McCain played the gender card like an ace Friday with his surprise choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.”

Should McCain be above tricks like that? Well, maybe, but . . . nah, it’s politics, who am I kidding? And I have to say, this whole election, which a year or two ago looked to be a boring slog between Hillary and Rudy, has been the most entertaining I can remember. Regardless of how it comes out, let’s be thankful for that!

UPDATE: A less enthusiastic take from Taylor Marsh. [Link was bad before -- fixed now. Sorry.]

ANOTHER UPDATE: A response to Taylor Marsh from Freeman Hunt.

Plus, at RedState, a (somewhat snarky) biographical comparison.

August 30, 2008

ANOTHER INSTA-POLL:

Will Sarah Palin help McCain’s campaign?
Yes, naming her was a game-changer.
Yes, somewhat.
A short-term boost, at most.
No impact.
No, it will hurt his campaign somewhat.
No, it was a disastrous error.
  
pollcode.com free polls

UPDATE: From the comments:

As an aside, Palin’s story is about as different from Obama’s as one could imagine. Yet both are quintessentially American. As the man said, “What a country!”

Indeed.

August 30, 2008

COLLIN LEVY:

Anytime more than 100 college presidents sign their names to a document, one naturally expects to find a well-meaning but wrong-headed exercise in political correctness. How mildly intoxicating, then, to discover the Amethyst Initiative, a case of ivory-tower interventionism that is actually sensible and even a bit brave: a proposal from 128 university leaders that legislators reconsider the national drinking age. . . .

Whatever its initial good intentions, a national drinking age of 21 has proved to be a failure. Teen drinking is still going on, but now no one is supervising it. Even if the college presidents, with their bold initiative, are just trying to save themselves some legal hassles and money they deserve a toast for stumbling upon this truth.

Indeed. And M.A.D.D. has only made itself look worse.

August 30, 2008

KIRSTEN POWERS: A Brilliant Trap Makes Dems the Male Chauvinists. Yes, that’s been delicious. And read the whole thing: I didn’t know Kirsten was from Alaska. (Via JWF).

UPDATE: David Frum doesn’t like it: “The Palin choice looks cynical. The wires are showing.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: How bad has the media sexism been? Even Media Matters is busting it.

August 30, 2008

SOMETHING NOT TO LIKE ABOUT SARAH PALIN: Support for teaching creationism in public schools. Of course, if we got the federal government out of of the education business, as we should, this kind of thing wouldn’t matter much. But even Ronald Reagan couldn’t, or anyway didn’t, deliver on his promise to abolish the Department of Education, so I guess we’re stuck with these issues mattering in national elections. To me, this is a big negative.

UPDATE: Charles Johnson — whose ongoing battle with the Discovery Institute proves he’s no creationist — says that claims that she supports creationism in schools are overblown:

Looks like Palin made an off-the-cuff statement during a debate on a hot topic, didn’t really expect the criticism she’d get, and then softened her position considerably in a follow-up interview. But to quote just the first part of her statements on creationism and ignore the second is misleading; because in the clarification she’s describing a position that doesn’t cause me (a staunch anti-creationist) any discomfort.

(Thanks to reader C.J. Burch for the link.) Well, that’s encouraging. I’d still like to get rid of the Department of Education though.

August 30, 2008

MAJOR JOHN TAMMES: It’s Pipey!

August 30, 2008

OBAMA’S SPEECH FROM THURSDAY NIGHT was eclipsed by the Palin announcement, but Orrin Judd gave it a second look.

August 30, 2008

ANN ALTHOUSE: If Alaska were a city, it would be . . . Fort Worth.

August 30, 2008

GUSTAV EVACUEES coming to Knoxville.

August 30, 2008

MICHAEL PETRELIS is looking at Sarah Palin’s financial disclosure forms and has links.

August 30, 2008

SARAH PALIN IS not a member of the Pigou Club. Perhaps she can be persuaded to join?

August 30, 2008

RAMESH PONNURU is feeling the love.

August 30, 2008

LES JONES is photoblogging Maryville.

August 29, 2008

AN UPDATE ON GUSTAV, from Brendan Loy.

August 29, 2008

THE WEEK THAT WAS: A new PJM Political is online, with Austin Bay, Stephen Green, James Lileks, Jennifer Rubin, and me.

August 29, 2008

GUSTAV BATTERS Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. But things don’t sound too bad.

August 29, 2008

VIDEO: Are you experienced?

August 29, 2008

BILL STUNTZ on Palin, Obama, and the experience issue. “Perhaps the jobs she has held are too small to count in a national presidential campaign. But that isn’t obvious, not yet anyway. What matters more, to me and I bet to more than a few others, is what she’s done in those jobs. The fact that her approval rating among Alaskans is in Mark Warner territory suggests that she might be the kind of governor Warner was in Virginia. If so, that should count for a lot–even if she hasn’t had much time in office. Because time-serving won’t count for much in the offices these four candidates are seeking.”

Plus, fellow lawprof Ann Bartow on sexism: “The Supposedly Liberal Doods threw the most disgusting sexism at Hillary Clinton and her supporters during the Democratic primary. Then Obama picks Joe ‘no friend of women’ Biden as his running mate, rather than choosing somebody who would help build party unity. Now the Supposedly Liberal Doods are back in gear, throwing disgusting sexism at Palin. Why does it have to be like this? Hey Supposedly Liberal Doods, if you want Obama elected, stop burning bridges with women voters and start building some.” Good advice. But is Biden really “no friend of women?”

More on experience, from Ross Douthat (“Yes, Joe Biden has more experience than Sarah Palin. But there’s a not-implausible case to be made that Sarah Palin has more experience than … Barack Obama!”), Jonathan Adler (“Sure, Sarah Palin was a ‘hockey mom’ before her entry into politics, but Barack Obama has never held a single full-time job for more than three years.”) and Tyler Cowen (“Around the blogosphere you will see many left-wing writers criticizing Palin for lack of experience. Maybe this criticism is correct, but these commentators are falling into The Trap.”)

But from Ramesh Ponnuru, cold water. Eric Scheie, meanwhile, comments: “I wonder whether a media analysis would reveal whether ‘inexperienced’ Republicans draw more media criticism than ‘inexperienced’ Democrats.” Yes, as noted at TalkLeft, the Tim Kaine double-standard appears. Though that’s more a case, perhaps, of a gender double-standard.

UPDATE: Via Ann Bartow, this post on the Palin pick: “It will complete the alienation of the rest of the Hillary supporters from the Obama camp. How? That’s easy — the Obamabots will do it themselves. Go read the Washington Post blog or anywhere online where the Palin pick is being discussed, and you’ll see the trademark Obama misogyny already out in full force. She’s been on the ticket for two seconds and already the Obamabots are saying she ‘looks like a porn star,’ they’re making rude remarks about her childbearing, they’re ridiculing her intelligence.”

Yeah, Obama’s supporters are his biggest weak point. Including the ones in the media.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ann Althouse and Rachel Sklar on the Palin pick.

YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Swimsuit competition? Yeah, that’s a killer issue. “The Obamabots really aren’t going to try to reverse that reputation for misogyny any time soon.”

MORE: A different perspective: “Palin hasn’t been running for national office for 18 months. Obama has. Running a presidential campaign is a form of ‘executive experience.’”

August 29, 2008

BUT OF COURSE: A Christian version of Guitar Hero.

August 29, 2008

ADVICE: Time to leave New Orleans. Maybe too early for mandatory evacuation, but not too early to get out on your own if you can. I think I would. “It is still far more likely, percentage-wise, that a calamity won’t strike New Orleans than that one will. But alas, that’s no reason not to evacuate, whether today or tomorrow. Forecasting technology is such that a calamitous direct hit is always going to be ‘unlikely’ at the time when prudent evacuation decisions must be made in major cities. But the decisions still must be made.”

UPDATE: Turning toward Little Cayman and Cayman Brac.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Don Zeiter emails: “I just talked to my daughter who is in law school at Tulane. She is on her way to St. Louis because of the evacuation order and school is closed because of Gustav. But she said the locals down there are acting like it’s nothing to worry about, the same attitudes before Katrina hit. They keep saying we only get hit by female hurricanes and we go years between hurricanes hitting the city. Fortunately they have a better governor this time, though the same mayor.” That’s not encouraging.

MORE: New Orleans reader Beth Blankenship emails:

One of your readers quoted his daughter, a Tulane law school student, as saying “the locals down [in New Orleans] are acting like it’s nothing to worry about, the same attitudes before Katrina hit. They keep saying we only get hit by female hurricanes and we go years between hurricanes hitting the city.”

First, please note that “before Katrina hit” we evacuated about a million people from the entire New Orleans Metro area. Our city population was just around 450,000 and just over 30,000 did not, or could not evacuate. That’s far too many, but hardly indicative of a “nothing to worry about” attitude for the vast majority of New Orleanians.

I suspect she was getting a little bit of a run around — after all, understated humor is a good way to deal with fear and anxiety. I don’t anyone who isn’t taking it seriously, and preparing both to stay or to go, depending on what happens when it gets in the Gulf. I’ve been all over this town yesterday and today, getting my supplies together, tying up what needed doing at my workplace, the University of New Orleans, quizzing my students on their plans, those that haven’t already left. I’ve met up with folks of all stripes at the Walmart, the veterinary hospital, the snoball stand, several gas stations, my favorite Vietnamese restaurant (where I was asked four times by owners and waiters “when you go?” not “are you going?”), the pet store (yay! all the cages and aquariums were evacuated. Way to go, Petco!).

I take it that as an out-of-state student, she might have found it very easy to pack up and go quickly. Most of us here have houses and apartments to secure, jobs we had to go to right up through this afternoon, decisions to make, assistance to provide to elderly relatives…so no, we probably didn’t throw some books and flip-flops into the back pack, fire up the iPod and leave Looziana in the broad daylight.

But the roads are already starting to fill up — I-55 North was full this evening. I guess your friend’s daughter left ahead of the pack and missed the traffic. Tomorrow, busses are moving along announced routes to collect those who need assistance (an old man who makes a living pulling up weeds and selling stuff out of his grocery basket told me he knew where to go, and was checking his cell phone and the TV at the laundromat for when to get to the bus stop). We’ll probably head out in the cool of darkness late Saturday or in the wee hours of Sunday, when it’s less crowded we can avoid some hours spent inching along in stark sunlight and 90+ degree temps.

Anyway, I just wanted to respond to the would-be lawyer. I hope she learns to dig below the surface a bit as she continues in her studies. But I can’t blame her completely. No doubt there are some who aren’t taking things seriously. This is not a New Orleans-only trait, but a human one.

Also, we have a bit of a twisted sense of humor here and while we’re quite hospitable, it’s fun to pull a visitor’s leg now and then.

If you’re ever on Bourbon Street and a kid bets you he can tell where you got them shoes you’re wearing, don’t take him up on it. The answer is “On your feet.” Well, you do got ‘em on your feet, doncha?

Heh. Well, I hope everybody is taking this seriously.

August 29, 2008

JOHN TIERNEY ON SPACE PROPERTY RIGHTS: For Sale: Moon and Mars. “I realize that lunar real estate is not a hot-button issue in Washington, but there is one great political merit to the authors’ proposed law: it would contribute nothing to the budget deficit, even if, as the authors also suggest, Congress also offered a monetary prize for future settlements.”

August 29, 2008

HOW YOU CAN help promote aging research.

August 29, 2008

KATIE GRANJU on picking your battles.

August 29, 2008

BARACK OBAMA as Cass Sunstein.

August 29, 2008

SOMEONE NEEDS TO TEACH A COURSE in tee-shirt law. It would actually be pretty interesting.

August 29, 2008

TREATING WOMEN AS “PRE-PREGNANT.” Is it good or bad? The tort system says good.

August 29, 2008

RON FOURNIER: Analysis: Palin’s age, inexperience rival Obama’s. That’s going to further endear him to the Netroots.

UPDATE: An Obama press shop in turmoil.

Plus, these thoughts: “The pick appeals to the Hillary independent voter and forces Obama to go easy, since he doesn’t want both a primary and general election in which liberal women thought he and his MSNBC media henchmen took the sexist, mean-spirited low road. Given McCain’s 72 years, women will realize that the role and future of this VP is no token appointment.” That’s why the initial Obama camp response was so unwise.

August 29, 2008

PHIL BREDESEN THINKS he could have beaten Lamar Alexander in this year’s Tennessee Senate race. I think he’s probably right. Indeed, for reasons spelled out here, I think that Bredesen would have been a good VP pick for Obama. There’s always 2012!

August 29, 2008

AT THE PAJAMAS TV TEST SITE: Stephen Green reports on the “March to the Future.”

August 29, 2008

GUSTAV IS A HURRICANE AGAIN, and Brendan Loy has the scoop. “After it exits Cuba, all bets are off. Intensification in the Gulf to Category 4 or 5 status is very much in the mix — though, if that happens, it would probably then weaken somewhat before landfall.”

August 29, 2008

AND I THOUGHT MY POLLS WERE SILLY: Poodle Defeats Terrier! Americans Elect Obama’s Dog.

August 29, 2008

TALKLEFT OFFERS SOUND ADVICE: “I would add that Obama does not need to be arguing how important experience is. Let me also add that when Tim Kaine, who has exactly the same experience as Palin, was treated by the Media and the Dems as a serious and acceptable potential pick, it opens up charges of a double standard.”

But not groovin’ on Palin much. “My first reaction to John McCain’s pick of Sarah Palin for VP: He just gave the election to Barack Obama.”

UPDATE: The ever-cheerful Allah offers one-stop shopping for Palin Pick Pessimism.

MORE: What Christian bloggers are saying.

STILL MORE: A look at the headlines.

Plus, when Hillarygate and Bittergate collide.

And some more thoughts from Aunt B.

MORE STILL: Hillary strikes back.

August 29, 2008

DAVID HARSANYI: The Libertarian VP Candidate. “I’m not sure if Palin makes sense politically, but, personally, I’d rather see her leading the Republican ticket than John McCain.”

August 29, 2008

WOULD YOU CHANGE YOUR mental identity?

August 29, 2008

MORE ON CELL TRANSFORMATION WITHOUT STEM CELLS: “Biologists at Harvard have converted cells from a mouse’s pancreas into the insulin-producing cells that are destroyed in diabetes, suggesting that the natural barriers between the body’s cell types may not be as immutable as supposed. This and other recent experiments raise the possibility that a patient’s healthy cells might be transformed into the type lost to a disease far more simply and cheaply than in the cumbersome proposals involving stem cells.” Faster, please.

August 29, 2008

JIM LINDGREN reports that Sarah Palin is playing well with Hillary supporters.

August 29, 2008

JEFFREY GOLDBERG takes on Jew-baiting.

August 29, 2008

SAVING WATER AND ENERGY WITH A FAKE LAWN:

Strangers pull vehicles over to examine Lee Miller’s forever green yard. Neighbors pause to touch, to step on the perfect front lawn.

Miller’s yard fools people who pass by her West Knoxville home in grass-growing months and puzzles them in the winter when it stays perfectly green. She doesn’t mow, water, fertilize or seed it. For three summers the 1 3/4-inch grass has neither grown nor gone brown. Her main maintenance tool is a leaf blower used to move twigs and leaves off her land.

Because this grass isn’t real.

Sign me up . . . .