August 10, 2008
RICK MORAN: Remembering The Bomb, Forgetting Why.
RICK MORAN: Remembering The Bomb, Forgetting Why.
NIGHTLY HEADLINE SPEAKERS ANNOUNCED for the Democratic Convention.
WASHINGTON POST: Obama Tax Plan Would Balloon Deficit, Analysis Finds.
POLITICO: McCain prescient on Russia?
MCCAIN AND OBAMA on Russia and Georgia. Plus, a Tom Clancy angle. He just keeps getting it right, which kind of worries me . . .
CHILD TERRORIZED BY The Nonsmoking King.
MORE EDWARDS INQUIRY from Mickey Kaus.
STEALTH ROCKETEERS: Alan Boyle reports on the progress at XCOR Aerospace.
MORE ON HOW THE PRESS EMBARRASSED ITSELF OVER JOHN EDWARDS:
We also have the obligatory column from Clark Hoyt admitting that the New York Times was wrong, but denying that their reticence to cover the Edward story was the result of liberal bias. Yes, who could imagine such a thing of the paper which ran a front-page, uncorroborated story of the Republican nomineeâ€™s alleged relationship with a lobbyist some nine years ago?
The Edwards mess is the most recent and visible, but hardly unique, example of the mainstream mediaâ€™s hear no evil/see no evil approach to newsgathering. How many other stories has the MSM missed, denied or avoided? From Rathergate to Reverend Wright to the success of the surge, the pattern is the same: MSM stalls, shuffles its collective feet, and doggedly ignores information for as long as possible until they can no longer do so with a straight face. The fact that these stories without exception work to the detriment of Democrats is apparently a grand coincidence.
And the notion that they are upholding some â€œjournalistic standardâ€ is rendered absurd. Edwardsâ€™ story wasnâ€™t important on Thursday, but it was on Friday because he confessed?
R.I.P., Isaac Hayes.
ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI compares Putin’s invasion of Georgia to Stalin’s invasion of Finland.
WINNING A gold medal for self-restraint in Beijing.
PULLING THE PLUG: Ann Althouse says goodbye to podcasting.
PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: Collateral Damage and the War on Drugs: Reflections on the Calvo Case.
Mayor Calco and his wife are white, middle class progressives, who live in a two-story, red-brick house in a Washington suburb. In addition to being a part-time mayor, Calvo works at a nonprofit foundation that runs boarding schools. His wife is a state finance officer. All of which suggests theyâ€™re in precisely the same demographic as most MSM reporters. The Washington Post or NY Times reporters look at this case and immediately think: â€œIt could happen to me!â€ So the story gets saturation coverage–even in Great Britain!
Meanwhile, the MSM ignores the plight of African-American and Latino minority communities caught in the War on Drugsâ€™ crossfire between paramilitary SWAT stormtroopers and gang thugs. How many brown and black families per year are terrorized by cops erroneously executing no knock warrants on the wrong premises? We donâ€™t know because the media only pays attention to collateral damage from the War on Drugs when it happens to people like Mayor Calvo.
Indeed. Look how little traction the Cory Maye case has gotten, outside of blogs and Reason magazine.
WITH SCHOOL STARTING, I should note that the Insta-Daughter read The Smart Girl’s Guide to Starting Middle School before she started and thought it was helpful.
BOB KRUMM: “Last night in the mess hall two Georgian officers sat down at the table opposite me. The one facing me was a bit disheveled; his uniform top was misbuttoned. It was the kind of mistake you could make if you were in a hurry. Both ate quickly and silently. I wanted to say something, but what do you say at a time like this?”
TALKLEFT: “With each new detail, the John Edwards-Rielle Hunter saga continues to raise more questions than it answers.”
DO WE LIVE IN A “POST-HEROIC” SOCIETY? Patrick Porter is skeptical.
PETER MANSOOR: How the Surge Worked. “Too often we hear that the dramatic security improvement in Iraq is due not to the surge but to other, unrelated factors and that the positive developments of the past 18 months have been merely a coincidence. To realize how misleading these assertions are, one must understand that the “surge” was more than an infusion of reinforcements into Iraq.”
DEATH BY BLOWN TIRE. Tires have gotten so good that people neglect to inspect them and check pressure (yeah, Obama was right about that part, though he overstates the energy savings).
UPDATE: Reader John Chalupa points out that the blown tire was a retread. I don’t agree, though, that this makes checking pressure and inspecting the tread pointless — I believe underinflation creates overheating and makes tread-separation more likely. I have to say, though, that despite my driving on retreads when I was in college (they were really cheap!) I wouldn’t recommend it. When I consider that my life sometimes depended on two-ply, polyester, Israeli-made bias recaps, well, I kinda shudder now . . . .
ROGER KIMBALL: The crisis in Georgia, 9/11, and the lessons of gratitude.
VOICES FROM the Suburban Blogosphere.
OSSETIAN CEASEFIRE? “Georgia has ordered its forces to cease fire, and offered to start talks with Russia over an end to hostilities in South Ossetia, Georgian officials say. Russia said fighting was continuing, Interfax news agency reported.” All reports from the region seem unreliable.
IN THE MAIL: The Dymo DiscPainter, which prints high quality graphics on CDs and DVDs. I’m crunching on a couple of big writing projects at the moment, but I’ll see if I can try it out and report in the next week or so. It certainly looks cool, especially if you’re producing low-volume releases of music or videos.
SUDDENLY, Barack Obama is sounding McCainish on Georgia. Wonder how he’d vote in the Insta-Poll?
UPDATE: Meanwhile, some thoughts in response to the “blame America” analysis:
Letâ€™s sort something else: the U.S. did not encourage Saakashvili to confront Russia. The idiocy of such policy is not within the realm of possibilities even for this administration. The U.S. policy toward Georgia has remained constant from the 1990s to the present. It was about supporting civil society groups, strengthening democracy, the rule of law, and fighting corruption. It was also about seeing after a strategic region, which hosts an alternative energy route to Europe. But it was never about encouraging Tbilisi to confront Russia. . . .
It is true that the U.S. has supported and continues to support Georgiaâ€™s membership in NATO, although the policy now is bound to be reevaluated. At the Bucharest Summit in Romania this spring, the U.S. and other members of the Alliance argued that Georgia be given a Membership Action Plan (MAP). When Germany and France balked, the result was a vague promise of future membership.
That was a mistake, and sent the following message to Russia: (a) Moscow has a veto in the Alliance; (b). Europe – or at least its main continental powers – will not involve themselves in a distant conflict between Russia and a neighboring state. Coupled with the justification of Kosovo, Russia felt emboldened to act against Georgia knowing that it has been, in effect, left outside the European security framework.
Read the whole thing. (Via Fistful of Euros).
ANOTHER UPDATE: More on the oil angle.
FIVE QUESTIONS about the Edwards scandal. Including: “Why is John Edwards hanging out with psychics? ”
UPDATE: How convenient: “So Edwards can deny that the child is his and say he’s perfectly willing to take a DNA case to prove it. Now, all we need is a test to prove that Edwards and Hunter didn’t arrange it so that she’d look like the one who chose not to demonstrate whether Edwards is the father. Maybe some sort of test to determine if he’s paying child support (directly or indirectly)? But that would be far more complicated and invasive than the DNA test.”
VIDEO: The new Call of Duty trailer.
NOAH POLLAK: Philip Giraldi and Doug Feith. “Should Philip Giraldi be trusted? No: He is a conspiracy theorist obsessed with Jews and Israel.”
BIG BROTHER at the Boston Subway.
NEAL GABLER: Obama: star of his own movie. “All campaigns are movies now.”
FASTER, PLEASE: Progress toward solar cells that can compete with coal?
But if you want the off-peak market, youâ€™ll have to price your cells at about US $1 per watt. That price is called grid parity, and itâ€™s the holy grail of the photovoltaic industry. At least 80 firms around the world, from Austin to Osaka, are in the chase.
Surprisingly, at the moment no company is Âcloser to that grail than a little start-up called First Solar, which until very Ârecently had been known only to specialists. Itâ€™s located in Tempe, Ariz., and analysts agree that it will very likely meet typical grid-parity prices in Âdeveloped countries in just two to four years. Itâ€™s got a multibillion-dollar order book, itâ€™s selling all the cells it can make, itâ€™s adding production capacity as fast as it can, and its stock price has rocketed from $25 to more than $250 in just 18 months.
I hope that they — and others — succeed in that time frame.
OUCH: “Anyway, the important thing is that it’s not as bad as Chappaquidick, right? Edwards in 2012 – the dream will never die!”
FINALLY, a war to protest! “Naked Imperialist aggression? Check! Indiscriminate bombing and killing of civilians? Check! Designs on another nation’s energy resources? Check!”
ANOTHER MEDIA “CONE OF SILENCE?”
UPDATE: Lots of coverage at Fistful of Euros.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Eastern Europe weighs in: “The presidents of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have issued a joint statement condemning what they see as the naked aggression of Russia against the independent state of Georgia, as hostilities continue in the breakaway state of South Ossetia.”
MORE: More here.
Plus, a somewhat peevish post at Registan.
And still more here.
TERROR ATTACKS in China.
HMM: Mexican soldiers enter state, hold border agent at gunpoint. “Four Mexican army soldiers entered southern Arizona and pointed their rifles at a U.S. Border Patrol agent early this week, the Border Patrol said. The incident Sunday was the Mexican military’s 43rd incursion across the U.S. border since October, the agency said. However, it was unusual because firearms were involved.”
JOHN MCCAIN: “Taking in my opponentâ€™s performances is a little like watching a big summer blockbuster, and an hour in, realizing that all the best scenes were in the trailer you saw last fall.”
Is it just me, or has he gotten sharper all of a sudden? Must have hired better writers.
RICHARD MINITER: “In the 1950s, the most puritanical place in America was somewhere in Kansas. Today it is Los Angeles.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES LOOKS AT CRIME AND SECTION 8 HOUSING, and Tom Maguire points out what they leave out.
TIM RUTTEN: “When John Edwards admitted Friday that he lied about his affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter, a former employee of his campaign, he may have ended his public life but he certainly ratified an end to the era in which traditional media set the agenda for national political journalism. . . . With that admission, the illusion that traditional print and broadcast news organizations can establish the limits of acceptable political journalism joined the passenger pigeon on the roster of extinct Americana.”
Read the whole thing. I like his characterization of “the cone of silence the nation’s major newspapers — including The Times — and the cable and broadcast networks dropped over this story.” But Ed Driscoll notes that Rutten is a bit late to the story.
UPDATE: Somewhat related item here.
TOP TOOLS FOR backyard grilling.
OVERDOING IT NOW doesn’t make up for under-covering it before.
ANNE APPLEBAUM on Russia and Georgia.
And read these thoughts from Roger Kimball, too. “When Russian tanks and troops poured into the separatist Georgian province of South Ossetia yesterday, it was not, as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said, part of a ‘peacekeeping mission.’ It was part of an imperialist mission whose undeclared goal is to reabsorb the whole of Georgiaâ€“West-leaning Georgia with its critical oil pipeline supplying energy to an increasingly thirsty Europeâ€“into mother Russia.”
MORE: McCain on Obama on Georgia. Though it should really be “toes the line,” not “tows the line” — that’s a pet peeve of mine.
STILL MORE: Here’s a backgrounder on South Ossetia that Michael Totten recommends.
Meanwhile, the New York Times — where the above appears — showed no such reticence in running a front-page story on McCain — as the (London) Times noted: “The New York Times has not deigned to touch the story, although it recently ran thousands of words on a relationship between McCain and a female lobbyist, which appeared to be based more on innuendo than fact.” And the L.A. Times — where Tony Pierce cautioned in-house bloggers to avoid the Edwards story — had no problem publishing what Larry Lessig called “a baseless smear” against Judge Kozinski. And just this past week, the Washington Post ran a front-page story charging McCain with improper donations, but then had to publish a correction making clear that it was all wrong.
Readers will be forgiven for concluding that there are different standards for left and right. They will not be forgiven for concluding the opposite, since only an idiot would think that at this point . . . .
MORE ON JOHN EDWARDS from LawHawk: “Parts of Edwards’ story don’t fit – namely why would he be slinking around to avoid being seen with Rielle at the Beverly Hilton this past month. If Elizabeth already knew about the affair in 2006, then why hide it? Why stretch things out and not simply admit the affair to the Enquirer then and there?”
DOES OLYMPIC ADVERTISING WORK? Sometimes. “Chevy ran a commerical promoting their new Chevy Volt car during the Olympics and on Google it skyrockets to the #11 search overall today in Google Trends.”
ROGER SIMON: Edwards, Elizabeth and the Comedy of Legacy Media. “The absurd see-no-evil reaction to the Edwards Affair will be seen as a benchmark in know-nothing journalism by the MSM and one of the last nails in their coffin. Too bad most of their soon-to-be unemployed reporters are not good enough to get jobs at the National Enquirer.”
THINGS GETTING WORSE IN THE C.A.R.:
The lights have gone out, literally. Over half a century of poor maintenance and neglect, the power grid of the Central African Republic has collapsed. The capital has gone dark. Two nearby hydroelectric power stations, which provide most of the nation’s electricity, have failed from years of neglect. The government is calling on foreign aid donors to fly in generators for hospitals and other essential services. Generators that have been brought in previously have not been maintained, and wear out quickly. This is not an exceptional event, for colonial era infrastructure, from roads to power plants, are collapsing from decades of post-independence neglect. This causes more unrest, as factions battle for a dwindling supply of resources.
In the West, people take the smooth functioning of infrastructure for granted. But it’s only through continuous hard work that things work well here. Slack on that, and they go down the tubes pretty fast. But politicians value shiny new things more than unglamorous maintenance here, too. Be warned.
PERHAPS IT IS ALL ABOUT PIPELINES: “Russian fighter jets targeted the the major Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline which carries oil to the West from Asia but missed, Georgia’s Economic Development Minister Ekaterina Sharashidze said on Saturday.”
THE OLYMPIC SPIRIT:
BEIJING â€” A 47-year-old Chinese man stabbed an American tourist to death, wounded his wife, then jumped to his death from an ancient downtown landmark, marring the first full day of competition at the Summer Olympic Games, U.S. sports and government officials confirmed Saturday.
The American couple are relatives of a U.S. men’s indoor volleyball coach,
A NANOTECHNOLOGY PRIZE BILL: “Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL) , Vice Chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, and Congressman (R-MO) Todd Akin, have introduced H.R. 6661, the Nanotechnology Innovation and Prize Competition Act, which establishes an X-Prize competition for nanotechnology.”
IN THE MAIL: Greg Behrman’s The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe. Well, one of the times.
BOB ZUBRIN on T. Boone Pickens’ windmill energy plan.
OKAY, ANOTHER INSTAPUNDIT READER POLL:
UPDATE: From the comments: “If your stock broker withheld info re Enron from you, would you still use him? And yet, people still go to information brokers like the NYTs and CNN for their news…”
BIG NUKE EXERCISE: “Exercise Diablo Bravo was held in Kitsap County in Washington state, and the scenario involved the response to a terrorist event involving a nuclear weapon.”
ASTON MARTIN speeds past the Veyron.
SO NOW THAT WE KNOW THAT THE PRESS COVERED FOR EDWARDS — just as, pre-invasion, they covered for Saddam — that raises a question: What else are they not telling us for fear it will hurt the Democrats’ prospects?
UPDATE: Once again, the lefty memory hole is revealed, with email like this:
That’s got to be one of the most insane and stupid things I’ve read in a long time.
“Covered for Saddam”? WTF are you talking about, what kind of drugs are you on? The only thing the media covered regarding Saddam was the administrations efforts to lie us into a war… something you were quite a part of.
Apparently these people have forgotten Eason Jordan and “The News We Kept to Ourselves.” I started to put a link to that in the original post, but I thought I’d see if there were any out there dumb enough to walk into the trap. And there were. Much more on the Eason Jordan story is rounded up here.
WHERE THE WOMEN ARE WOMEN AND THE MEN ARE TOO: A look at modern gender relations in Scandinavia.
UPDATE: Must’ve hit a nerve: some Swedish guy is threatening to complain to Blogspot about the post. Why is that the first response of so many lefties — to try to get someone in authority to silence a critic?
MORE ON RUSSIA’S WAR AGAINST GEORGIA, at Transatlantic Politics. Note the threat to gas and oil pipelines that pass through Georgia; Russian control of Georgia would give Russia far more control over Europe’s energy.
ANOTHER UPDATE: The Mudville Gazette points out that this is an attack on a country currently fighting alongside the United States: “Georgia currently has a combat Brigade serving in Iraq, in Wasit province, not far from the border with Iran.”
It occurs to me that Russia’s own oil pipelines are probably vulnerable to Georgian attack or sabotage if things heat up too much. This could reverse the trend of falling oil prices.
WHEN YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO REPORT IT AT ALL, SEND AN INTERN:
Finally, finally, after suffering nationwide media blog ridicule, the L.A. Times squeeezes out a story about how they didn’t tell the story, plus a “timeline”, bylined Kate Linthicum, of l’affaire Edwards and Hunter. And even then, they couldn’t quite manage to score the facts. . . . I hadn’t seen the byline Kate Linthicum before, so I looked her up. Yes, while they’re throwing all the experienced reporters out of the place, we’ve now got the intern (Barnard Class of 2008) writing the paper.
Plus, advice on how to tell if someone’s really a filmmaker or not.
RUSSIA’S nanotechnology “Manhattan Project.”
SOME THOUGHTS ON RUSSIA AND GEORGIA from TigerHawk.
JITTERS: “Few people are more likely to need a holiday than Barack Obama. Yet as he heads off on Friday for his first week-long break since he launched his presidential bid 19 months ago, Mr Obama is dogged by rising angst about his campaignâ€™s direction. . . . With polls showing him neck-and-neck with John McCain at a stage at which many Democrats expected he would be in the clear lead, they worry about the kind of stray image that helped to defeat John Kerry in 2004.”
PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE ON PUBLIC CRITICISM OF JUDGES: “Public criticism of judges, moreover, is one of the limited avenues available to hold unelected judges accountable. Criticism of judges invokes the social sanction known as shaming. Society long has made use of shame as a sanction. . . . Insulated by life tenure and various other protections, federal judgesâ€”especially those who intrude themselves into controverted social issuesâ€”ought to expect to be held up to scathing criticism when they render decisions that affect the lives of millions.”
CNN RECYCLING AFGHANISTAN FOOTAGE FROM 2005? As Ted Baxter said, “Hey, the news doesn’t change that much!”
NOW THEY TELL US! L.A. TIMES: “Mainstream media finally jump on Edwards’ affair.”
And note this in relation to Byron York’s prediction: “While several newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, had been trying to pursue the story of Edwards’ affair, the sudden burst of attention Friday after he confirmed the relationship with Rielle Hunter, who produced documentaries for his campaign website, was in marked contrast to the way news organizations had tiptoed around the original reports.”
UPDATE: Charles Austin emails:
“Do or do not, there is no try.” Yoda nailed these weasel words from the L.A. Times (via your post) a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away:
Heh. Indeed. Though I don’t think there was even much of a “try” in this case.
AT THE OLYMPICS, a “rousing ovation” for Iraqi athletes.
CAN THE FEDERAL BENCH police itself?
BYRON YORK: “In the coming days, look for representatives of big media organizations to describe how aggressively they were reporting on the Edwards story â€” and how they were this close to having something to publish or broadcast when Edwards short-circuited the story by confessing to the Hunter affair.”
THE EDWARDS money angle.
MICKEY KAUS: Your MSM buddy system at work.
VICE PRESIDENT HEATH SHULER: Doing for America what he did for the Redskins!
MITSUBISHI IS testing its electric car in California. “Although it doesn’t look like much, the motor produces an impressive 63 horsepower and 133 pound-feet of torque. It’s said to be a quick and nimble runabout good for zero-to-60 mph in less than 9 seconds and a top speed of 82 mph. ” That’s more horsepower than my 1969 VW Beetle.
SEVEN YEARS OLD ON 8-8-08: Today is InstaPundit’s seventh bloggiversary. Here’s how it all started.
JOHN EDWARDS: 99% honest? “I have a hard time believing that Edwards is being 51% honest even now, let alone 99% or 100% honest.”
UPDATE: Plus, what Edwards was saying about Bill Clinton.
Plus, thoughts from Donald Sensing. “Edwards denies being the father of Rielle’s baby. If true (coff), then while Edwards was cheating on Elizabeth, Rielle was cheating on him. You just can’t make this stuff up.” And, sadly, you don’t have to.
MORE: TigerHawk: “Cancer is enormously stressful both for its direct victims and their families. While it is obviously easy to condemn Edwards for cheating on his sick wife and putting his political party in great jeopardy and I normally delight in piling on with the rest of the righties, this once I am going to refrain. There are emotions here that we do not understand and can never understand, and I lack the stomach to sit in judgment of them.”
That hardly gets his enablers in the press off the hook, though, does it?
STILL MORE: The Anchoress:
I think I did mention somewhere, in passing, that once again, the press has been curiously incurious about the behavior of a Democrat when they would have taken a similarly-behaved Republican to the cleaners. And then they wonder why the press polls lower than the congress, which is standing at an approval figure of 9%
John Edwardsâ€™ betrayal of his wife is a private affair – to a point – once itâ€™s out there, though, itâ€™s â€œout there.â€ In refusing to report a story once it was â€œout thereâ€ the press committed a kind of betrayal, too – one that breaks the public trust just as surely as Edwards broke a private one. That, to me (and many others) was always the bigger story.
A MONTY PYTHON cover art contest.
OMAR AND MOHAMMED FADHIL: British Deal With al-Sadr Betrayed Iraqi People:
The news about a secret deal between the British and anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr did not come as a surprise to us. Britainâ€™s war policy has been clear for the past several years: the country demonstrated no readiness to make sustained efforts in a prolonged war, nor did it act as a serious partner determined to win the conflict.
And yet, they’re clearly the best ally we’ve got.
GEORGE MCGOVERN: My Party Should Respect Secret Union Ballots.
A JOHN EDWARDS VICTORY LAP FOR MICKEY KAUS — but he’s promising more to come.
TEST-DRIVING the Nissan Cube electric car.
EDWARDS ADMITS THAT HE LIED ABOUT AFFAIR: But the real story is how the mainstream press, despite knowing or strongly suspecting that he was lying, covered for him.
There are two Americas — the real one, and the one the press tries to fob off on us.
UPDATE: Big roundup here.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Tom Maguire: “I guess this means the LA Times is free to report on it.” Better ask Tony Pierce, just to be sure!
Plus, from Ann Althouse:
Imagine if he’d gotten the nomination. What a selfish bastard â€” to run for the nomination while parading his cancerous wife about and knowing that if he won this story could have come out at any time â€” maybe in October â€” screwing up his party’s chances!
MORE: Byron York:
Wow. The Edwards story has suddenly appeared on the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the networks â€” everywhere. John Edwards has somehow become newsworthy again.
Yeah, go figure.
THIS TIME THEY DIDN’T LEAVE OUT ED WOOD: A list of essential biopics.
VIRGINIA POSTREL: “Barack Obama is a real candidate running for the real presidency, not a fictional character, and I am not optimistic about his world view. Dreams from My Father suggests a deep-seated belief that economic and social dynamism inevitably and unrelievedly produce chaos, disorder, and despair.” This is from a while back, but I had missed it when it appeared, and it’s still timely.