Archive for November, 2008

November 28, 2008

LONGEVITY UPDATE: Has universal ageing mechanism been found? “An overworked protein that causes yeast to age when it neglects one of its functions may trigger ageing in mice too. If the same effect is found in people, it may suggest new ways to halt or reverse age-related disease.” Faster, please.

November 28, 2008

UH OH: “A series of small earthquakes that rattled central Arkansas in recent weeks could be a sign of something much bigger to come.” Just a little disaster-preparedness reminder . . . .

November 28, 2008

FROM AMIT VARMA, a followup on the Mumbai attacks.

November 28, 2008

INSTA-POLL:

What kind of Christmas Tree is best?
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pollcode.com free polls

November 28, 2008

SOUNDS LIKE THE GREAT DEPRESSION HASN’T ARRIVED: Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede.

Shop online — you may save a life! (Thanks to Dan Collins for the link.)

November 28, 2008

IN THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Steve Chapman on Chicago’s defiance of the Second Amendment.

When it comes to firearms, Mayor Richard Daley is no slave to rationality. “Does this lead to everyone having a gun in our society?” he asked after the ruling came down. “Then why don’t we do away with the court system and go back to the Old West, where you have a gun and I have a gun and we’ll settle it in the streets?”

From listening to him, you might assume that the only places in North America that don’t have firefights on a daily basis are cities that outlaw handguns. You might also assume that Chicago is an oasis of concord, rather than the site of 443 homicides last year.

Read the whole thing. And Daley needs to get hip to the times, when even Democrats are buying more guns.

UPDATE: Nice to know that some places still respect the Constitution: S.C. firearm purchases are tax-free today, Saturday in recognition of Second Amendment.

November 28, 2008

BLACK FRIDAY UPDATE: “November and December sales at stores open at least a year may rise 1 percent, the smallest gain since 2002, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, a New York-based trade group.” Not exactly Depression territory, but anemic. It’s up to the Retail Support Brigades, once again! The Insta-Daughter and an Insta-Niece hit the mall at 5 a.m. this morning (without me, fortunately) and, having returned, report lots of bargains but only an average number of shoppers. Then again, it was 5 a.m.

November 28, 2008

HAPPY “BLACK FRIDAY.” I’ll be doing my shopping online at Old Reliable. But if you venture out to the malls and see anything interesting, send me a report.

I’m getting spam announcing big sales at J. Crew (stores only), Victoria’s Secret, Joseph A. Bank, Cobb Grills, and lots of other places. My guess is that the markdowns will be pretty dramatic all over. Consider it a bonus of all this recession-talk. Also in my spam today, an assortment of nice apartments for rent in Ulan Bator. No, really — and they must know me because one is advertised as being close to Khaan’s Irish Pub. Which, according to Google, is a nice place.

UPDATE: Reader Anthony Calabrese writes:

I was driving from my brother in laws house to the hotel we are staying in at about 9:30 last night and saw people lined up outside Best Buy.

Another sister in law works for JC Penney and she was told to come to work at 3:30 AM today.

The Retail Support Brigades may save the economy yet!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Amanda Cross writes:

Count me in as doing my part for the economy! I was up and in line at Target by 5am. Longer line this year than last, but some of their big doorbusters were still available after the first wave of people – flat-screen TVs, cameras, etc. I was at K-Mart yesterday and they had plenty of their flat-screen TV’s left as well. And I went to Wal-Mart at 8am and they still had some of their deal computers. Not sure what everyone is buying but it was quite crowded.

Our economy thanks you, Amanda!

November 28, 2008

ANOTHER OVERNIGHT ROUNDUP ON MUMBAI, from BarcePundit.

November 28, 2008

ADVICE TO OBAMA: Don’t renege — reframe!

November 28, 2008

BRIDGET JOHNSON on Pakistan and the Mumbai attacks.

November 27, 2008

TOP 10 HOLIDAY GIFTS for fifty bucks or less.

Plus, lots of electronics markdowns at the pre-Black Friday sale.

November 27, 2008

SOMETHING ELSE TO BE THANKFUL FOR: Rosie O’Donnell TV show flops. How bad? This bad: “If the TV variety format weren’t already dead, the ghastly ego trip of NBC’s Thanksgiving-eve turkey Rosie Live would surely have killed it.”

November 27, 2008

SOME THANKSGIVING THOUGHTS from Bill Whittle.

November 27, 2008

JAMES LILEKS: “What could be more perfect for Thanksgiving than the nation’s only turkey-based motel and supper club?”

November 27, 2008

WELL, WE HAD A GREAT THANKSGIVING: The food was great — the lamb and turkey turned out especially well, and all the side dishes, brought by various family members, were probably the best we’ve ever had. It was great to hang out, and everyone helped with the washing-up. Now it’s over, and I feel like a zeppelin. But a happy one.

I like Thanksgiving; when I was a kid it seemed like a pale imitation of Christmas, without all the presents. Now it seems like a purer version of Christmas, where the focus is on family instead of . . . all the presents.

November 27, 2008

FRED KAPLAN: “Keeping Robert Gates as secretary of defense is a great idea.”

November 27, 2008

HOW TO BUY a digital SLR.

November 27, 2008

BEST HOLIDAY TOYS for under fifteen bucks.

November 27, 2008

A COMEBACK FOR CLASSIC TOYS:

Without a “must-have” toy fad this holiday season, and with parents facing a deteriorating economy, tried-and-true toys are being embraced by parents and toy makers alike – what one analyst calls a “back to the toy box” approach.

” ‘Retro’ or ‘nostalgia’ toys can be viewed as the ‘comfort food’ of the toy industry, and I do think folks naturally gravitate to what made them happy when they were young, or what is familiar to them,” said Anita Frazier, a toy analyst at NPD Group, a market research firm.

Ken Moe, general manager of Backtobasicstoys.com, a Web site owned by Scholastic Corp. that offers classic toys like “Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots,” Slinky and Colorforms, said sales so far this season indicate a rising interest in old favorites.

Rock’em, Sock’em robots. I had those. My favorite was the Johnny Astro, though.

November 27, 2008

ARNOLD KLING: “If Singapore were situated in Baltimore Harbor and there were free mobility, my prediction is that Maryland’s government would improve considerably.”

November 27, 2008

CHARLES RANGEL UPDATE: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday that she expected a quick resolution to a wide-ranging House investigation into ethical questions surrounding Representative Charles B. Rangel, the powerful Democrat from New York.”

Quick’s fine, so long as it isn’t a whitewash.

Plus, Pelosi’s In A Rangled Web. “Republican critics and watchdog groups have been attacking Pelosi and the Ethics Committee for a lack of action in the Rangel case. Meanwhile, a watchdog group filed a new ethics complaint against Rangel, calling for congressional investigators to broaden their ongoing probe.”

Now, what about Chris Dodd?

November 27, 2008

MAJOR JOHN TAMMES, BACK FROM IRAQ: Thanksgiving — And I Mean It!

November 27, 2008

GIVE THANKS! “Congressional Democrats have spent the past eight years itching for a chance to undo their least favorite Bush-era policies. But it increasingly looks like one of the administration’s most unpopular initiatives among Democrats — tax cuts for top earners — won’t get touched by the 111th Congress.”

November 27, 2008

HAVE A HAPPY Craigslist Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2008

A TUNA TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS.

November 27, 2008

DAMON ROOT on Eric Holder and the Second Amendment.

November 27, 2008

A REPLACEMENT FOR THE TERM “STIMULUS” that has the advantage of accuracy:

Let’s just call it what it is “taxpayer reaming.” “We’d like to propose another taxpayer reaming to go along with our last taxpayer reaming…”

Works for me.

November 27, 2008

ROGER SIMON: Happy Thanksgiving in Unhappy Times. I’m happy, and I haven’t even opened the wine yet.

November 27, 2008

“EVERY IRAQI SOLDIER I saw this morning wished me a Happy Thanksgiving.”

November 27, 2008

IN THE MAIL: Andre Norton’s Search for the Star Stones. Andre Norton (actually, Alice Mary Norton) died back in 2005, and this is a reissue of The Zero Stone and Uncharted Stars, which I read many years ago. I liked ‘em then.

November 27, 2008

THEY’RE AUCTIONING OFF autographed military SF novels to benefit Project Valour-IT. If you’re looking for a worthy cause, this is one.

November 27, 2008

DATING ADVICE FOR “HIMBOS” AND MUCH MORE — including Bill Whittle’s life as a sex object — in the latest Ask Dr. Helen video, free to everybody with no registration required.

November 27, 2008

JEFF JARVIS: “Let me make this clear: I did not say bullshit to Bill Keller. Not that I couldn’t, wouldn’t, or haven’t, but I didn’t. Nor did he to me.”

November 27, 2008

I GUESS THIS PROVES WE’RE IN A RECESSION: Final Super Bowl Ad Slots Not Selling. More evidence that we need a sockpuppet bailout!

November 27, 2008

WHERE THANKSGIVING came from.

November 27, 2008

FROM DAVID JOACHIM, some perfect turkey tips.

Plus, bacon-wrapped turkey! I’d like to say that it looks delicious, but, well, actually it looks like food for space aliens.

And, on a more realistic note, cooking turkeys on the grill. I’d try that, but I’ll be grilling 2 legs of lamb already, so the turkey will have to go in the oven. Obviously, I need a bigger grill!

November 27, 2008

ELIOT SPITZER GETS OFF WITHOUT PROSECUTION, and the complaint is that he was caught:

Members of the House Financial Services Committee say they have no evidence that the former governor, a hard-charging Wall Street regulator, was singled out by the federal government. But some members believe that unanswered questions about how Spitzer popped up on the radar of federal investigators speak to a broader problem: the potential misuse of power under the Patriot Act. Unusual money transfers by the governor triggered a “suspicious activity report,” or SAR, within the banking system, and it was through the money transfers that investigators discovered Spitzer was patronizing a prostitution ring. Some on the committee have long been concerned with the government’s practice of reviewing hundreds of thousands of SARs filed by banks each year, saying they could be used inappropriately by the government – say, for political reasons.

Or maybe they’re worried that it makes bribery and prostitution involving politicians more difficult? Meanwhile, at CNN, wondering why Spitzer got off easy.

November 27, 2008

MORE ON MUMBAI: A roundup of overnight developments from Jose Guardia.

UPDATE: More here.

November 27, 2008

TOM SMITH: “One thing I certainly don’t believe is that the government is likely to make productive investments with their stimulating spending. I suspect it will be like a lewd dance by an ugly person. It may be intended to stimulate, but will fail to do so.”

November 27, 2008

DOG BITES MAN: Glenn Greenwald notes that Joe Klein bends with the political winds.

Next: Andrew Sullivan is “excitable!”

November 27, 2008

MAN BITES WOMEN BITE DOGS IN IRAQ: “Eighteen females in northern Iraq who were associated with Al-Qaeda in Iraq suicide bombing cells turned themselves into Coalition forces on Nov. 26.”

November 27, 2008

MATT WELCH:

The Telegraph (UK), and by extension the Drudge Report, are expressing wonder that, judging by the credit default swaps (CDS) market, “California is now priced as a greater bankruptcy risk than Slovakia 150.”

As a former resident of both states, I can testify that this is an unfair slap…at Slovakia.

Slovakia has a healthier political culture . . . .

November 26, 2008

FREE VIDEO: I talk with Michelle Malkin about Obama as a “third Bush term,” the future of the rightosphere and the cluelessness of G.O.P. apparatchiks, and much more.

November 26, 2008

“PROGRESSIVES” AND OBAMA: Buyer’s remorse?

November 26, 2008

THAILAND: On the brink of civil war?

November 26, 2008

INFLATION-ADJUSTED U.S. House Prices, 1975-2008. “We’re now in an era in which home prices are depreciating. Based on the graph above prices may have to decline an additional inflation-adjusted 15-25% to be back within historical norms.”

November 26, 2008

A KULTURKAMPF against Mormons?

November 26, 2008

LABOR UNREST IN CHINA: A harbinger of things to come?

November 26, 2008

THANKSGIVING CUTBACKS:

“Maybe you cut back on the (holiday) gifts a little bit, or maybe you don’t have as extravagant a Thanksgiving as you used to,” she said. “Maybe you don’t have a free-range bird as you’ve had in the past; maybe you go to a Butterball.” 

My God, it’s the Great Depression all over again! And always has been at my house, I guess, since I buy a Butterball every year. To the likes of me, that counts as a premium turkey.

Of course, I’ll also be making the leg of lamb as usual, too, so we’re not suffering here.

November 26, 2008

A RECIPE FOR APPLE PIE, from Shoe Money Mom.

November 26, 2008

RON BAILEY: Is crime contagious? “Experiments vindicate the broken windows theory of how disorder spreads.” So if we tolerate less minor corruption among our politicians, will we see less major corruption? . . .

November 26, 2008

SOME BLACK FRIDAY BLU-RAY DEALS. Plus, I got some spam from H.H. Gregg saying that they’ve started their Black Friday sale today. Everybody’s getting ahead of the curve!

November 26, 2008

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON outed as a line-breaker by Professor Bainbridge. Remember, someone is always watching. . . .

November 26, 2008

THOUGHTS ON the traits of heroes.

November 26, 2008

THE SCREEN DOOR COCKTAIL: Featuring delicious bacon!

November 26, 2008

ANOTHER INSTAPUNDIT PREDICTION comes true!

November 26, 2008

FROM THE AIRPORT THAT BROUGHT YOU 9/11: Security problems at Logan International.

November 26, 2008

AMIT VARMA reports from the terror attacks in Mumbai.

November 26, 2008

GLENN SACKS ON taking the fight to the opposition.

November 26, 2008

I MENTIONED THIS ROBOT TRICERATOPS TOY in passing the other day, but here’s a review, with video. Or, if you’re not into triceratops — but who isn’t, really — there’s always this dinosaur robot. Why dinosaurs? Are lifelike robots less creepy if they don’t look too warm and fuzzy?

UPDATE: Stephen Green likes the robot triceratops and emails: “Pres is getting one for his birthday next month. Melissa put it through its paces already and her only complaint is finding a big enough roll of wrapping paper.” Yeah, that’s one big robot triceratops.

November 26, 2008

RANGEL UPDATE: GOP Wants Ethics Investigation into Rangel’s Tax Loophole Help.

Plus, from U.S. News, The Right Way to Address Charles Rangel’s Scandals.

November 26, 2008

HMM: Democrats are bailing out on the word “stimulus.”

November 26, 2008

AND NOW FOR SOME REALLY IMPORTANT NEWS: Man Invents Vibrating Toilet Seat That Helps You Enjoy the Magic Moment.

Just don’t give one to this woman.

November 26, 2008

TERROR ATTACK IN MUMBAI: Gateway Pundit has a roundup.

November 26, 2008

A REVIEW OF Firefly on Blu-Ray. I had mentioned that it was coming a while back, but I should’ve noted last week that it’s now shipping.

November 26, 2008

ANOTHER BAILOUT REQUEST:

November 26, 2008

LOTS OF INTERESTING STUFF over at The Next Right. Check it out.

November 26, 2008

“BIDEN WILL BE GIVEN NOTHING TO DO.”

So I guess Obama’s following my advice, then!

Nobody tell Glenn Greenwald.

UPDATE: Heh: “We all heard a great deal during the campaign about how much more ‘qualified’ Joe Biden was than Sarah Palin. If actual executive, political, or policy competence were among those qualifications, one would naturally suppose he would be given something, rather than nothing, to do.”

November 26, 2008

IT’S OKAY WITH ME, BUT NOT THAT CHANGEY: Obama Picks Graybeards As Wartime Cabinet. “Obama has assembled a national security brain trust populated by graybeard establishment figures with decades of combined experience and even a few medals. He is entrusting critical wartime management to people with unassailable credentials and low buzz factor.”

November 26, 2008

JACK GOLDSMITH: No New Torture Probes. “The lesson learned by many at the agency is that politically sensitive counterterrorism actions should be avoided, even if they are deemed legal and even if they have the express approval of political officials. We are going to be living with this skittishness for a long time, to the detriment of our security.”

November 26, 2008

IT’S SAD THAT PEOPLE NEED TO BE REMINDED OF THIS: Despite Bells and Whistles, ‘Office of President-Elect’ Holds No Authority. “The props that decorate the stage for the Office of the President-elect serve as just that, since Barack Obama will hold no actual authority in the Executive Branch until Jan. 20.” On the other hand, if you get all your news from Keith Olbermann, you probably do need this reminder, among many others . . . .

UPDATE: “Are we experiencing an Obama Bubble?”

November 26, 2008

MINNESOTA ELECTION NEWS: Board Keeps Faulty Ballots Out: “In a blow to Democrat Al Franken, a state board ruled Wednesday that absentee ballots that were rejected by poll workers won’t be included in Minnesota’s Senate recount.”

November 26, 2008

I BELIEVE BARACK OBAMA HAS COME OUT IN FAVOR OF THE IDEA, so I don’t understand why they’re even bothering to vote: Columbia University to Vote on Allowing Military Training Program on Campus.

November 26, 2008

CONGRATULATIONS, IGOR! You made Drudge!

November 26, 2008

ARE PRIVATE JETS the real problem with Detroit? Nope. Just a symptom.

November 26, 2008

IN THE MAIL: King’s Dream, from Eric J. Sundquist. I feel a little sorry for Martin Luther King — his enormous accomplishments got less attention than they deserved because of the cult of Malcolm X, and now he’s being eclipsed by Barack Obama. Though I suppose he’d be perfectly okay with that.

November 26, 2008

ED DRISCOLL LOOKS AT Anger in American Politics.

November 26, 2008

WASHINGTON MONTHLY: Technology is driving down the cost of teaching undergraduates. So why are tuition bills going up?

November 26, 2008

MICHAEL GREENSPAN: Do the editors of Investor’s Business Daily watch Battlestar Galactica?

November 26, 2008

HMM: “As excited as Europeans were to see Democratic senator Barack Obama elected president in the U.S., there turned out to be an unexpected cloud around that silver lining. Namely, it’s that blacks, and minorities in general, have made far less social progress in Europe than in the United States.”

November 26, 2008

AT THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE, a look at the U.S./Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, and some thoughts on the Gates retention.

November 26, 2008

JAMES PETHOKOUKIS: Timothy Geithner: Obama’s Teflon Treasury Secretary. Pethokoukis has a question: “Mr. Geithner, the job of the New York Fed is to — now I am quoting its own web site — ‘supervise and regulate financial institutions in the Second District [Wall Street]. Its primary objective is to maintain safe and competitive U.S. and global banking systems.’ You have been in your current post since 2003 and during that time the U.S. financial system has come close to complete disintegration. Why do you deserve a promotion?”

November 26, 2008

UNDERFUNDED / OVER-GENEROUS PENSIONS UPDATE:

New Jersey’s pension fund has lost more than $23 billion this year, dropping to its lowest level since 2003 as a collapsing financial market battered its investments, a new state report shows.

The latest losses — nearly $9 billion in October, and another $3 billion so far this month — mean the fund is now worth $57.8 billion, or less than half the $118 billion in benefits it is due to pay out over time. . . .

While Clark delivered his report to the State Investment Council in Trenton, Gov. Jon Corzine was in Atlantic City promising a convention of local government officials that he would let them postpone about a half-billion in payments they are scheduled to make to the pension funds in April.

Specifically, Corzine proposed letting local governments skip paying $541 million of the $1.1 billion due. They would gradually work their way back to full payments by 2012 under his plan.

Cutting the payments in half may avoid a big surge in property taxes, but it also will add to the shortfall in the pension accounts dedicated to local government workers, police and firefighters.

One analyst translates things thus:

The state of New Jersey is insolvent. Bankrupt might be a better word. New Jersey is $60 billion in the hole on pension funding and the Governor is planning on skipping payments in a “pension payment holiday” until 2012 so as to not increase property taxes. To top it off, the ongoing plan assumptions are 8.25%. Sorry NJ, that simply is not going to happen.

Ouch.

November 26, 2008

SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR: New Cases of Cancer Decline in U.S.: “The incidence of new cancer cases has been falling in recent years in the United States, the first time such an extended decline has been documented, researchers reported Tuesday.” More like this, please.

November 26, 2008

CHARLES RANGEL UPDATE: U.S. News: Charles Rangel Looks Like A Tax Cheat.

American Lawyer: Amid Ethics Questions, Rangel Hires Zuckerman Partner.

MarketWatch: CREW Calls for Ethics Investigation into New Allegations of Wrongdoing by Rep. Rangel.

Gothamist: Another Day, Another Question About Charles Rangel.

New York Daily News: Harlem Rep. Charlie Rangel paid Bill Clinton lawyer Lanny Davis six figures for ethics probe help.

November 26, 2008

SUSAN RICE AS U.N. AMBASSADOR? Let the next adventure begin!

November 26, 2008

IT’S NOT JUST AMERICA: Der Spiegel: German Auto Industry Facing Abyss. My dad recently replaced his 1989 Mercedes with an (I think) 2005 model, and says the newer car is noticeably inferior.

November 26, 2008

MORE ON ERIC HOLDER: “I think occasional excerpts from the House Committee on Government Reform’s lengthy and enlightening report on the Clinton pardons should be required reading — given not only President-elect Obama’s decision to nominate Holder for AG but the assertions of such ubiquitous fans as Lanny Davis that no attorney in America is better qualified for the job.” Follow the link for details.

November 26, 2008

I’M STARTING TO GET TIRED of this Obama as FDR talk.

UPDATE: Reader Alan Dawson finds the linked comparisons unimpressive:

Good grief. What next? They are both heterosexual? They both have two arms?

They forgot another shared trait, though. They both smoke.

Somebody should send Obama one of those cool cigarette-holder thingies. Can you still buy those?

November 26, 2008

BRAS FOR MEN: When life imitates Seinfeld.

November 26, 2008

JULES CRITTENDEN CELEBRATES Bush’s third term!

November 26, 2008

WELL, THAT’LL ENERGIZE THE BASE: A G.O.P. capitulation on immigration?

November 26, 2008

REDUCTIO AD HITLERUM: I like the watermelon bit.

November 26, 2008

A TRANSITION FUMBLE FOR OBAMA:

A former senior U.S. intelligence official Tuesday withdrew from consideration for a top intelligence post in the new Obama administration amid protests from liberal groups linking him to the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogation” and secret transfers of terrorism suspects to nations that torture prisoners and political opponents.

The move by John Brennan, a former senior CIA official and head of President-elect Barack Obama’s intelligence transition team, is the first personnel setback to hit what’s otherwise been a swift and smooth transition to the White House for Obama.

On national security, Obama’s real enemies will be to the left.

November 25, 2008

MORE BLACK FRIDAY DEALS BEFORE BLACK FRIDAY, including a dirt-cheap Leatherman. If nothing else, the recession is encouraging people to slash prices.

November 25, 2008

SARAH PALIN will be campaigning for Saxby Chambliss next week.

November 25, 2008

THOUGHTS ON HENRY PAULSON: “For all those salivating at the thought of a second New Deal, this is what ‘bold, persistent experimentation’ looks like — kinda messy.”

November 25, 2008

10 PROBLEM CARS that brought GM to the brink.

November 25, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING: Leaving the Bush tax cuts alone. Putting Iraq-war supporters in as Vice President and Secretary of State. And now keeping Bush’s Defense Secretary on. I’m beginning to feel like I won this election!

UPDATE: Heh. But it’s too late. Greenwald already has an inkling.