February 17, 2008
HMM: “A woman who worked for the United Nations died Sunday after falling from the 19th floor of the U.N.’s Secretariat Building, authorities said.”
HMM: “A woman who worked for the United Nations died Sunday after falling from the 19th floor of the U.N.’s Secretariat Building, authorities said.”
MARGARET CARLSON’S anti-Hillary email. And Taylor Marsh really doesn’t like Obama.
UPDATE: Reader Craig Lippus emails:
I got quite a kick out of this passage in Taylor Marsh’s article:
“This is what Clinton is up against. A traditional news media that has no integrity or ethics, while passing themselves off as “reporters” and unbiased analysts, while they’re actually conning the public”
That’s rich. It sure doesn’t bother most folks at the Huffington Post when said “reporters” con the public on the Bush Administration, the war, global warming, and pretty much every other pet issue championed by the Left, eh?
I’m enjoying this Democratic primary, as it seems to be causing our friends to the left to notice phenomena that they had previously pooh-poohed.
CLINTON AND GITMO: “If elected president, Hillary Clinton would ask the Justice Department to determine if alleged 9/11 plotters currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be tried in civilian courts or regular military courts rather than face military commissions that have sparked controversy both inside and outside the United States, her campaign says.”
IMAGE IS everything.
THE PERILS OF UNIVERSAL JURISDICTION: “Given the woeful failure of the international community to step in, it seems a bit rich to now be indicting the Tutsis who were left to their own defenses.”
I’d say it’s emblematic.
SO I GOT THE Supreme Beings of Leisure CD and it’s good, but I have to say that it’s still not as good as their first album. It’s more like Divine Operating System — sounds good while you listen to it, but doesn’t inspire the desire to put it on again any time soon. I think more than anything it’s the absence of Rick Torres’ guitar work, which gave the first album its edge. This is background chill-music, but not much more, notwithstanding guest appearances by Lili Haydn and even Marty Friedman of Megadeth (no, really). So, not bad, but a bit of a disappointment. On the other hand, if you haven’t listened to the first album, I highly recommend it. (Audio samples for all albums are available by following the links.)
UPDATE: Why Rick Torres and not Kirin Shahani? Well, if you listen to Shahani’s new post-SBL venture, Bitter:Sweet, you’ll hear something much like what’s described above. Nice chillout stuff, but without the edge. I’m very sorry that the original SBL lineup broke, because I think the whole was more than the sum of the parts. Much like Morcheeba and Skye Edwards.
More SBL tunes at their MySpace page. My favorite of the tunes there is “Under the Gun” from their first album.
UPDATE: Longtime InstaPundit reader Stephen Skubinna emails:
Well, I am amazed at your post. Rick Torres is my brother in law, and while I had heard of the SBoL prior to meeting him for the first time, I had never listened to them. I need to make sure he knows he’s gotten an Insta-cite. Yeah, there should be no need for anyone to tell him, but musicians, right?
It’s a small world. Skubinna reports that Torres has been touring with The English Beat lately.
EZRA LEVANT UPDATE: Imam undercuts himself by twisting his own words.
JAY TEA HAS THOUGHTS ON GUN-FREE ZONES;
Nearly all of the mass shootings of late have been in “gun-free zones.” And the ones that weren’t — at the New Life Church in Colorado and the Appalachian School of Law in Virginia — were stopped by private citizens (and members of the community being attacked) with their own weapons.
Now for my second thought. If these places aren’t going to get rid of their “gun-free zone” status, despite the overwhelming circumstantial evidence that they simply get more people killed, then how can they improve their security where it actually make the people inside safer?
I have a few ideas. And for the sake of simplicity, I’m going to apply them to a college.
Meanwhile, Nathan Moore is offering to represent anyone who wants to challenge Tennessee’s rules against carry on campus.
UPDATE: “Lawyer up, kids!”
RON BAILEY ON “unnecessary things.”
GENE NICHOL UPDATE: William & Mary’s student paper says that firing him was the right decision: “Painful as it is, the Board of Visitors was right not to renew College President Gene Nicholâ€™s contract. Months of discussion, independent research and outside input have proved one thing: Nicholâ€™s executive failures and a pattern of mismanagement clearly indicate that he is no longer qualified for the job. Now comes the time for reconciliation â€” for moving on.”
Plus, criticism for his resignation e-mail: “Nichol only plays into the hands of his political detractors by insisting that he is their victim. The board that fired him had backed him up publicly, from the controversy over the cross in the Wren Chapel, to the expansion of opportunity for lower-income applicants, to the support for free speech and student prerogatives. Privately the board expressed concerns over the past several years, but it didn’t hang Nichol out to dry.”
More here. I know Nichol slightly, and I’ve always thought of him as a nice, smart guy. But his manner of departure seemed . . . odd.
EMBRACE YOUR INNER MORON! “Requiring children to actually demonstrate knowledge of math, English and science in order to graduate may be the single greatest educational innovation of our time, forcing schools that had demonstrably not been teaching at all to at least teach for the test.”
UPDATE: Somewhat related item here.
PATRICK RUFFINI: ” With the nomination in hand, the instinct in Camp McCain has been to ‘rein in’ their candidate and rebrand him as safe and unthreatening. This is the wrong instinct.”
WHY DEMOCRATS ARE choosing survival over the Clintons.
PAPER TIGER: Chavez Says Venezuela Doesn’t Plan to Cut Oil Sales. Can’t afford to — they’re going broke as it is.
MICHAEL POLLAN ON what to eat — and what not to.
HILLARY’S Puerto Rico firewall?
PESSIMISTIC PAKISTANIS prepare to vote: Ghalia Aymen reports from Islamabad.
ARABS FOR OBAMA: “A friend from the Gulf tells me her young relative was so excited about the Democratic candidate that he tried to donate money over the Internet, as heâ€™d heard so many young Americans were doing. Then he found out he had to be a U.S. citizen to do so. Another young woman, visiting from next-door Saudi Arabia, said that all her friends in Riyadh are ‘for Obama.’ The symbolism of a major American presidential candidate with the middle name of Hussein, who went to elementary school in Indonesia, certainly speaks to Muslims abroad.”
IT’S THE BIRTHDAY OF BOTH BARBIES AND LEGOS — follow the link for more, including a celebratory video: Michael Jackon’s Thriller redone in Lego. No, really.
TEDIOUS? OR JUST TIRESOME? The arrival of “EcoMoms.”
WHERE IS OBAMA ON GUN RIGHTS? “Here, there, and everywhere.”
DISSING NAFTA: “Both candidates in the Democratic primary have turned their backs on one of Bill Clinton’s major accomplishments.”
THOUGHTS ON gun-free zones and school shootings, at RedBlueAmerica.
NEWSWEEK INTERVIEWS Students for Concealed Carry on Campus:
A nonprofit organization called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus would like to change that. The group, whose 12,000 members nationwide include college students, faculty and parents, champions legislation that would allow licensed gun owners to carry concealed weapons on campus, in the hope that an alert and well-trained citizen could stop a deranged shooter before he or she could do serious damage. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, 13 states are currently considering some form of “concealed carry” legislation aimed at campuses. Utah is the group’s model; after a state Supreme Court ruling found that the state university had violated a law allowing permit holders to carry concealed weapons, the school agreed that guns could legally be carried on its grounds.
Read the whole thing.
It seems to me, however, that there are two differences between this election and the last. One is John McCain, and the other is Barack Obama. If Obama is the Democratic nominee, the presidential candidates in both parties will be likable (and well-liked) political figures with proven abilities to broaden their party’s base of support. That wasn’t exactly the case in 2004, if you recall.
Another potential difference between the two elections is that public opinion polls seem to indicate that, on a variety of issues (every issue except abortion and guns, from what I can tell), the political center has shifted left. If that had been the case in 2004, George W. Bush would not have won reelection. But it is 2008, and John McCain understands, and knows how to win, the political center, wherever it falls on the ideological spectrum. Which means no particular outcome is certain. And no issue is off the table.
It’s possible that in this environment McCain is the best the GOP can do.
MEGAN MCARDLE: “What most of us are really in favor of is higher taxes on other people. If we wanted higher taxes on ourselves, we’d give the money to charity.”
MINNESOTANS for global warming.
HMM: “A U.S. congressman is asking Georgetown University about its academic scrutiny of Saudi Arabia and its use of $20 million donated by a Saudi prince in 2005. . . . Of particular concern, Wolf said, was the university’s role in training current and prospective U.S. foreign service personnel.”
HISTORIANS for Hillary!
INSTAPUNDIT’S IRAQ CORRESPONDENT, MAJOR JOHN TAMMES, EMAILS:
Your Iraq Correspondent is stuck in Kuwait. Knowing your deep and abiding love of camels (ha!) I have attached a couple of pictures from the ranges we used out in the Kuwaiti desert. Right now I am waiting for air traffic to get back on schedule after a fairly, uh, interesting sandstorm rolled through the area.
One interesting thing to note – without exception, everyone here who was delayed is impatient to get “up North” and into the fight. Could you imagine such a thing in, say, 1973?
BEWARE THE COMING THEOCRACY! “People mocked Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney for their religious backgrounds often during the presidential campaigns, but at least they never claimed to be on a mission to save the souls of Americans through government action.”
DETROIT HOME SALES, up 15%. That’s good news, I guess, though in part I suspect it’s just evidence that the housing bubble never got to Detroit.
JACK LAIL: Boss Hogg Couldn’t Survive Bloggers’ Buzz.
ELEANOR CLIFT: “Al Gore on the second ballot: A scenario that a few weeks ago seemed preposterous is beginning to look plausible to some nervous Democrats looking for a way out of the deadlock between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.”
This seems more like a pundit’s dream than anything that’s likely to happen. But to the extent that Democratic leaders are seriously talking about this, it’s a poor reflection on both Clinton and Obama.
DON SURBER: “Having actually worked at a textile mill, I say the people in Bangladesh are welcome to make my shirts.”
VOTE-COUNTING PROBLEMS IN NEW YORK: “Several Harlem precincts recorded 0 votes for Obama.”
Plus, charges of PMS sexism. “I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she’s feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal.” I blame the staff!
UPDATE: Just remember: PMS = Perpetuating Male Superiority!
PROGRESS IN IRAQ: Whatever happened to those benchmarks?
What’s clear is that Obama’s policy proposals are getting a lot more attention than they did before Hillary’s inevitability broke down. Like Mike Huckabee, he got a “nice guy” pass when people thought he didn’t have a shot, but a few wins in a row and he’s starting to get major-candidate scrutiny. Some Obama supporters object to such scrutiny, but their claims ring rather hollow. After all, he is running for President.
BILL CLINTON goes after Obama again.
VIRUS FROM CHINA: “An insidious computer virus recently discovered on digital photo frames has been identified as a powerful new Trojan Horse from China that collects passwords for online games – and its designers might have larger targets in mind.” This kind of thing is really damaging China’s national “brand.”
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The Examiner weighs in with an editorial:
Whenever a field goal kicker puts the football way off to the right or left of the goal post, it’s called a “shank.” House Minority Leader John Boehner and his colleagues among the GOP leadership shanked one this week on the earmarks issue. A GOP slot opened up on the House Appropriations Committee, which signs off on the pet projects of lawmakers. If Boehner and company were serious about ending the earmark culture, which has badly undermined the credibility of Congress, they had a perfect man to fill the vacancy: Jeff Flake of Arizona. He has introduced more amendments to strike earmarks than any other member of the House, and putting him on the appropriations panel would have shown that the GOP was no longer just talking about earmark reform. Instead, Boehner and company settled on Rep. Jo Bonner of Alabama.
Bonner gets high marks for personal integrity and he certainly knows how the Appropriations panel works, having served as chief of staff to Rep. Sonny Callahan, who for many years was a powerful member of the committee. And Bonner has pledged support for the earmarks moratorium being pushed by the House GOP leadership. The problem is that Bonner’s voting record, as tabulated by the National Taxpayers Union, puts him among such stellar proponents of earmark politics as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Louisiana’s “Dollar Bill” Jefferson. It’s all well and good for Bonner to talk about the need for earmark reform, but his voting record and the invitation to earmark applicants on his official web site tell a different story. It might be otherwise if Bonner’s appointment were accompanied by a declaration that he will no longer seek earmarks for any purpose, but no such statement was heard.
Read the whole thing.
BLOWBACK FOR WAXMAN on the Clemens steroid hearings.
MORE NEWS ON APPLE TV, plus what the iPhone had to do with Starbucks ditching T-Mobile in favor of cheaper, easier to use wi-fi.
THOUGHTS FROM PHIL BOWERMASTER on safeguarding humanity.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Here’s more on the Bonner appointment:
In 1995, when Republicans took control of Congress, they were full of promises of fiscal responsibility. Dick Armey, who became House majority leader that year, says they practiced spending restraint “with very serious rigor”–and discretionary spending decreased from $609.2 billion in 1995 to $581 billion in 1998 in constant dollars. But House Appropriations chairman Bob Livingston soon refused to work with the fiscal-restraint proponent Armey, who was in charge of floor scheduling. At that point, in Armey’s telling, “discipline broke down,” and discretionary spending began to rise. It hasn’t stopped since. In 2006, total discretionary spending, adjusted for inflation, reached $823.5 billion.
The House wasn’t the only culprit in the demise of Republican spending restraint. Other players included the Republican Senate (which some policy analysts say is even more extravagant than the House), a Democratic president, and a Republican president with spending initiatives of their own. Add to that the new homeland-security initiatives after 9/11, two wars, Hurricane Katrina, and the allure of earmarks, and all attempts at spending restraint went out the door. In 2006, the party paid dearly at the polls. . . .
Chris Edwards, director of tax policy at the Cato Institute, says that until the system is reformed, earmarking will go on unrestrained, “regardless of who is in power.” Democrats are continuing the Republicans’ policy of directing earmarks to vulnerable members. Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, says that by not appointing Flake to the committee, Republicans missed an opportunity to make a “strong statement” about earmark reform. Jo Bonner supported the moratorium–but his own earmarks totaled nearly $28 million this year.
Reform-minded policy analysts agree that Republicans should enact a unilateral earmark moratorium and appoint Flake-types to the Appropriations committee in 2009, when six Republican members will retire. For now, though, Republicans will continue to pork it up at least until Election Day.
Sometimes I think they’d rather be a porky minority than a porkless majority. And here’s more from Bonner’s home state:
For the current fiscal year, Flake did not receive any money for such “earmarked” endeavors, according to a newly released rundown from Taxpayers for Common Sense. Working with Alabama’s two senators, Bonner obtained almost $17.3 million for 14 projects, the tally shows.
Bonner was on his way back to Mobile late Thursday afternoon and not available for comment, spokeswoman Nancy Wall said.
But in his news release, he underscored his support for efforts to overhaul the current earmarking process, which critics say is riddled with waste and favoritism.
He’s talking the talk. Will he walk the walk? And James Joyner has some further thoughts:
Itâ€™s very interesting that the blogs have become a sufficiently important factor in the process to at least have the leadership wary. Bloggers are routinely solicited by the public relations outreach efforts of the Congress and the parties and inclusion on conference calls on the like has become routine in recent years.
But internal politics are likely always going to trump external pressures from commentators.
Yep. But at least we can make the choices clear. Joyner also comments, on Jeff Flake: “Iâ€™d note some small irony in the conservative blogosphere championing a cantankerous fiscal conservative from Arizona perceived by his colleagues as insufficient loyal to the team.” Heh.
FEEL THE FEAR, and do it anyway.
VOLOKH ON OBAMA ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT: “Sounds like it’s a pretty thin form of ‘individual rights’ he supports â€” and he doesn’t intend to take away people’s guns, except if they’re the very sort of gun that people are most likely to want to keep for self-defense purposes.”
CONSERVATIVES: Licking their wounds, or looking ahead?
TOLEDO UPDATE: The $57.7 million mayoral mistake.
I MISSED THIS YESTERDAY: Dahlia Lithwick’s “Dear Obama” letter:
As an ironic, contrarian, so-hip-it-hurts Gen X-er, I just can’t love you anymore. I can’t like you because â€¦ because, well, everyone else does. And suddenly supporting you just seems soooo last week. . . .
I know this is going to sound strange, but it’s not you, Barack, it’s me. Really it always was me, but now it’s really, really about me. I don’t know when we started to feel weird supporting you, but: My friend Hanna thinks it started with that “Yes We Can,” video. I mean, last week I was totally crying watching it. Now just thinking about how choked up I got gives me the creeps.
Read the whole thing. (Via Althouse).
CHINA WOULD LIKE TO HAVE 10 MILLION MORE NOW: Mao offered U.S. 10 million women.
“RACISM AND INTOLERANCE” at Stanford.
REMEMBERING THE INAPPROPRIATELY NAMED Dodge Rampage. The photos are kind of cruel.
ADVICE FOR HILLARY: “Her ‘wait until March 4, some states matter, some states don’t’ approach feels more like Rudy Giuliani’s with each passing day. . . . When you’re losing, the only real cure is winning.”
LARRY LESSIG FOR CONGRESS? We could do worse — and probably will!
MORE THOUGHTS ON the “dirty stuff” of politics.
JOEL ARENDS: Does Congress realize we’re at war?
FORGETTING TO RIOT.
Also — especially if you’re a college administrator — you might want to check out this article on campus violence. (Bumped).
WAS OBAMA A LOUSY PRESIDENT — of the Harvard Law Review? The evidence presented is unpersuasive.
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST: “First Umad Mughniyeh takes the 72-virgin ride with a Bashar Assad Special. Now Ayman Atallah Fayed gets blasted in the most literal sense of the word. Both men were high-ranking members of terrorist groups arrayed against Israel. Coincidence?”
MORE ON BRZEZINSKI IN DAMASCUS, which got surprisingly little press coverage.
ANN ALTHOUSE CORRECTS THE IGNORANT AND NAIVE:
I had to laugh at the idea that mocking the President began in the year 2001. Bill Clinton was not a figure of fun? The first Bush? Reagan? Carter? Ford? Nixon? LBJ? JFK? Eisenhower? That’s as far back as I personally can remember. I won’t say most people my age have never felt proud of our President. But I never have. And I don’t think that’s so terrible. Don’t worship leaders. Let the mockery flow on. Even if a guy you like who seems pretty good makes it to the White House.
UPDATE: From the comments: “I think the need for Messianic Presidents began when people turned away from God and the church. . . . So many people are looking for a President that they can be excited about. I am looking for a President I can feel calm about.”
MEETING WITH TERRORISTS, on the taxpayer’s dime.
BRRR! Snow and ice in . . . San Diego?
CELEBRATING THE SURGE ANNIVERSARY IN BAGHDAD: Gateway Pundit has a roundup.
A ROUNDUP OF NEW, OPEN-ACCESS online law libraries.
MAYBE BLAIR SHOULD’VE HAD ‘EM KILLED OR SOMETHING: “Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.” Or at least gone public with the story and frozen all Saudi assets in Britain. Then again, that’s kind of what’s happening anyway, albeit in slow motion.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO Charles Darwin.
A DANISH CARTOONIST ON THE RUN. In a better world, it would be the people who openly supported terrorism who had to worry.
THAT’S NOT A RECIPE FOR SUCCESS: Obama imitates Olmert.
RUSH LIMBAUGH begs Steve Jobs for Apple bug fixes. Good luck!
ROWAN WILLIAMS UPDATE: Canadian Women’s Rights Activist Homa Arjomand says Rowan Williams should quit!
RAND SIMBERG: “I frankly don’t get all the Obamamania. . . . His speeches remind me of Gertrude Stein’s comment about Oakland–there’s no there there.”
HOUSE REPUBLICANS TO JOHN SHADEGG: Baby, please don’t go!
SUPERDELEGATE UPDATE: “In an ironic twist to the historic Democratic nominating contest between an African-American and a woman, the balance of power may be held by a more familiar face: the white male. . . . One Obama superdelegate, a House member, had sharp criticism for the superdelegate racial and gender makeup, a reaction that reflects the sensitivities surrounding the issue.”
JOHN WEIDNER DISCOVERS THE LATEST LOW-DOWN CAMPAIGN TRICK: Campaigning on the issues and facts!
IT’S NOT EASY to be Hillary.
PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: The Bonner appointment blowback makes the Washington Post:
Anti-earmark crusader Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) lost his bid for a seat on the House Appropriations Committee Thursday, and the conservative blogosphere is not happy about it.
This Red State post was typical of the reaction. Under the heading, “House Republicans Aren’t Serious About Earmark Reform,” blogger Bluey wrote, “Just when it appeared House Republicans had turned the corner on earmark reform, party leaders did the unthinkable.”
The seat instead went to Alabama Rep. Jo Bonner (R), a former Appropriations staffer who beat a field that included Flake, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) and a host of other aspirants that included one genuinely vulnerable GOP member, Rep. Dave Reichert (Wash.). . . .
Republican leaders know that Flake is a cause cÃ©lÃ¨bre in the blogosphere. They knew passing him over would prompt a backlash. But while they want to keep hammering away on the earmarks issue, they simply were not going to reward Flake for what they perceive to be insufficient loyalty to the team.
House Republicans’ unwillingness to commit to a party-wide moratorium on earmarks demonstrated that their crusade does have its limits, and yesterday’s move reaffirmed that fact.
Indeed it did.
UPDATE: The Hill: Booted from the PorkBusters list:
Angered by the decision of Republican leaders to not give earmark foe Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) a coveted seat on the Appropriations Committee, a coalition of fiscal conservative groups is kicking the GOP leadershipâ€™s representative off its mailing list.
â€œAt the request of several key groups in the porkbusting coalition, I have decided to eject the House GOP leadershipâ€™s representative, Bill Greene, from the Coalition mailing list,â€ said blogger Rob Neppell. The Porkbusters coalition is made up of conservative groups, such as the Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation and the National Taxpayerâ€™s Union, and bloggers.
The Porkbusters coalition also includes the Sunlight Foundation, and a bunch of lefties associated therewith.