Archive for March, 2009

March 30, 2009

A CULTURE OF UNDERACHIEVEMENT IN BRITAIN: “The study, published in the Sociological Review, shows how difficult it is for children, particularly boys, to be clever and popular. Boys risk being assaulted in some schools for being high-achievers. To conform and escape alienation, clever boys told researchers they may ‘try to fall behind’ or ‘dumb down’.”

March 30, 2009

JAMES LILEKS: Maybe I’m old-school, but “President fires CEO” looks as wrong as “Pope fires Missile.”

UPDATE: Mickey Kaus: Wagoner: Obama’s Diem? “After visibly defenestrating GM CEO RIck Wagoner, and moving to replace the board of directors, won’t Obama now ‘own’ the GM problem? If the company shuts down in the near future, costing tens of thousands of blue collar jobs, it will be under executives implicitly or explicitly chosen by Obama. It will be Obama’s failure, not simply GM’s failure, no? A public sector failure, not just a business failure. Doesn’t that make it harder, not easier, for the administration to walk away and force the company into bankruptcy?” Which is too bad, as bankruptcy is probably what ought to happen.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails: “Will Obama be getting rid of the head of the UAW also?” Gettelfinger should go, but won’t. Responsibility is kinda selective here . . . .

MORE: “I guess it’s our failing auto company now.” Plus a roundup of other reactions.

STILL MORE: World Stocks Tumble Amid Pessimism.

March 30, 2009

WHEN IS A PLOT “INSIGNIFICANT?” When it was foiled by the Bush Administration, perhaps? Plus, Again, the MSM Beclowns Itself. Floppy shoes all around.

March 30, 2009

RULES FOR CONSERVATIVE RADICALS.

March 30, 2009

OUCH: Keith Olbermann blasted Twitter for allowing a phony account in his name to be run by FOX News… except it was actually MSNBC who is running it to help his show.

And now there are some new developments. “Unbelievably, this still gets better! . . . You know, it’s not for nothing that journolist trashed Olbermann, but I’m starting to think he wouldn’t have understood the list in the first place. Any day now we might see Olbermann’s Worst Person be: ‘… the gentleman from Nigeria. You, sir, have failed to return my emails. Indeed, not only have you and the Prime Minister you so recently worked for refused to deposit my 100,000 euros, you have withdrawn a great deal of my own money!’”

March 30, 2009

ANOTHER “TEA PARTY” PROTEST, IN “DEEP BLUE” NEWBURYPORT:

What would Ronald Reagan do if he were president at this precarious point in our nation’s history, asked local Republican Tea Party organizer Paul Breau as he stood outside City Hall Saturday with 100 fellow conservatives from Newburyport and beyond.

Breau and an upstart group of Republican activists sought to isolate that question and uphold the values of conservatism in a Democratic stronghold by raising handmade signs and taking part in their own local version of a nationally organized Republican event this weekend — their Grand Ole Tea Party.

By organizing across the street from where Congressman John Tierney was holding a public meeting with constituents of his 6th District, the group drew plenty of attention, and that’s just what they wanted.

Read the whole thing. Sounds like a good tactic. In general, though the Tea Party protests are by no means exclusively Republican, though Republican leaders are starting to jump on the bandwagon.

UPDATE: A blog report, with photos.

March 30, 2009

SMART DIPLOMACY: “I’ll say that I didn’t know this story myself, but I do think that if I was representing our country and visiting any cultural site, I’d have somebody telling me what I needed to know not to look stupid from the perspective of those whose respect I wanted.” But could you trust them?

March 30, 2009

PSYCHOLOGY AND CRISIS: A warning from Robert Shiller.

March 29, 2009

JOHN MURTHA UPDATE: Critics claim John Murtha is capitalizing on a corrupt system, but he’s not apologizing. “‘If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district,’ Mr. Murtha said.” And the beneficiaries of pork in his district take care of him.

March 29, 2009

NEWT GINGRICH ON TEA PARTY PROTESTS:

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, the tea parties that they’re having around the nation — April 15, a number of states are going to have tea parties — that just sort of a passing fancy, or is that a grass-roots movement?

GINGRICH: No, I think the tax day tea party movement, which is actually Americansolutions.com, is helping with a great deal. Over 300 cities have people signed up already. And I think these tea parties — remember, the House and the Senate will pass the first round of a really bad budget next week. They will then go home for two weeks. These tea parties come right in the middle of that congressional recess.

And my challenge is, to every member of the House and Senate, have the courage to go to a tea party in your state or your district and listen to your citizens. My prediction is there’ll be over 300,000 Americans at the tea parties, and I think it’s the beginning of a huge movement of fundamental reform not just for Washington but for places like Albany, New York, Sacramento, California, Trenton, New Jersey, all the places where the lobbyists, the politicians and the bureaucrats have been running over their citizens.

Some readers are unhappy about this — but I think that’s a glitch in the transcript, and that Gingrich is not actually trying to claim that the tea party movement is actually his Americansolutions outfit. Others think that he shouldn’t be the face of the movement. I think it’s fine if he wants to encourage it, but he’s climbing on the bandwagon — the movement was viral, grassroots, and self-organized before he even noticed it.

UPDATE: Dan Kotman of American solutions writes:

I saw your post about Newt and the Tea Parties.

You are correct that the transcript does not accurately portray what Newt was saying. If you watch the video, it’s pretty clear that he’s saying American Solutions is helping with the Tea Party movement and not the actual movement itself.

We recognize it is a viral grassroots effort, and we are not trying to be the face of the movement or take credit for starting it. Our involvement as a sponsor has been to help promote them and encourage our members to attend.

I hope this clears things up.

I think that’s exactly the right way to look at it.

March 29, 2009

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: U.S. Not Prepared to Respond to North Korea Missile Launch.

March 29, 2009

POLITICO: A vast left-wing conspiracy.

March 29, 2009

UH OH: On eve of G20 summit, new blow to Gordon Brown: Senior cabinet members dampen expectations of global spending deal. Okay, it’s more like a “whew!” than an “uh oh,” really . . . .

March 29, 2009

BANKERS: Take Your TARP Money Back. “There’s a growing sense among some bankers that Troubled Asset Relief Program known as ‘TARP’ has become toxic. As a result, they want to bail out of the bank bailout program.” The country’s in the very best of hands.

March 29, 2009

THINGS YOU HATE TO MISS: An email from Carl Cox (well, his PR people) about a “secret” party in Miami tonight that I, of course, couldn’t make. If only I had a private jet . . .

March 29, 2009

TOXIC ASSETS: Who can do the math?

March 29, 2009

TAX THAT FELLOW behind the tree.

March 29, 2009

ROGER SIMON: Lay off Biden’s Daughter.

On the other hand, at Gay Patriot, talk of holding Joe Biden’s family to the Barney Frank standard. Hell, I’d be happy with holding Barney Frank to the Barney Frank standard.

March 29, 2009

THANKS TO SOME HELP FROM FREEDOMWORKS, the Cape Coral, FL tea party is back on. Scheduled for this Wednesday.

March 29, 2009

SO I’VE HAD MY KINDLE 2 for about a month now, and I’ve read quite a few books, both fiction and nonfiction on it, as well as the Financial Times, which I subscribed to, and InstaPundit. What do I think?

Reading a book on the Kindle is every bit as engrossing as reading a book on paper. I’ve enjoyed the stuff I’ve read just as much, and it’s just as easy. In dim light it’s better — you can boost the text size to read in light that would be too dim for a small-print paperback. Reading the FT is fine. Reading InstaPundit . . . well, it’s okay. I don’t think the blog translates as well to the Kindle. You can follow links, but you often wind up on a website that doesn’t display very well on the Kindle.

Using it in public places — cafes, restaurants, even once at the car wash — I’ve been surprised that most of the people who approach me to ask about it are women. (I’ve noticed this with the little netbook computers, too.) Women aren’t generally that interested in gadgets, but the Kindle is one they like. “It fits in my purse,” is a common remark. It’s perhaps a coincidence, but every one of these women has had an iPhone already — was that some sort of “gateway gadget?” The Kindle 2 does seem sort of Apple-like in design.

March 29, 2009

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: If you wonder where that reference comes from, watch this clip. Note how the lyrics fit just as well today . . . . “Don’t worry ’bout the principle and interest that accrues . . . they’re shippin’ all that stuff to foreign lands.”

March 29, 2009

IT’S NOT JUST TEA PARTIES: Protesting state and local taxes, too.

March 29, 2009

EARL OFARI HUTCHINSON:

President Obama and the Democrats should wave the white flag in their strawman war on Rush Limbaugh. The Media Research Center delivered the grim casualty figures for the Democrats. Since January, the top talk show gabber’s ratings have soared off the charts. Radio affiliates that carry Limbaugh’s syndicated show call the ratings boost he’s gotten from the Democrat’s orchestrated attack on him a “dramatic surge.” This writer predicted as much when President Obama cracked to Congressional Republicans in late January that they should knock off listening to Limbaugh if they expected to get anything done in Congress and with his administration.

The gabber instantly snatched at the quip and turned it into a multi show bonanza. No matter what topic Limbaugh gassed on, he managed to slide in a reference to Obama’s prop up of him as the Democrat’s prize punching bag. This did three things. It gave him an even bigger pile of fodder to puff himself up as the emperor of talk radio, claim to be the real kingmaker in the GOP, and in a perverse way paint himself as a credible and thoughtful political critic. It snapped many shell shocked Congressional Republicans out of their post election funk. Now suddenly feisty and combative, they draw a deep line in the sand against any and everything that Obama proposed.

As I said, if you strike him down he shall only become more powerful than you can imagine . . . .

Plus, Andrew Klavan in the L.A. Times: Take the Limbaugh Challenge! “If you are reading this newspaper, the likelihood is that you agree with the Obama administration’s recent attacks on conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh. That’s the likelihood; here’s the certainty: You’ve never listened to Rush Limbaugh.” Excerpts peddled by Media Matters and the JournoList crowd don’t count . . . .

March 29, 2009

OBAMA’S INDUSTRIALISTS. Perhaps a bit overwrought, but this does look like Progressive Corporatism running amok.

UPDATE: GM’s CEO Resigns At Obama’s Behest. What do you call it when the private companies are nominally independent, but do whatever the government wants? Not capitalism, anyway. And doesn’t this make Obama responsible for what happens to GM now?

March 29, 2009

A NEWS REPORT on yesterday’s Stamford Tea Party protest.

March 29, 2009

KNOW-NOTHINGS on the march.

March 29, 2009

JEFF GREENFIELD ON NEWSPAPERS: “Are we really facing the demise of the great metropolitan daily?”

March 29, 2009

PJTV: Meet The Blogs. JournoList, state sovereignty resolutions, Obama as media mogul, and more.

March 29, 2009

AT THE L.A. TIMES, those layers of fact-checkers and editors.

March 29, 2009

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: “Sen. Chris Dodd has hired a rising political talent as his 2010 campaign manager as he faces his toughest re-election in years. Dodd hired Jay Howser, who led successful runs by Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana and Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. . . . Dodd, a five-term senator, easily won his last run in 2004. But he’s been criticized for his role in legislation that led to the AIG bonus controversy. A Senate ethics panel is also investigating two mortgages Dodd received from Countrywide.”

And don’t forget that Irish “cottage” problem.

March 29, 2009

A BUNCH OF appliance markdowns.

March 29, 2009

A COMING NUCLEAR RENAISSANCE? Why not? It’s clean, reliable, and greenhouse-friendly! “There is no small irony in this turnabout. Nuclear power used to be the environmentalist’s ultimate pariah, thanks mostly to overblown claims about the dangers of reactor meltdowns and nuclear waste. But now the green movement has a new pariah – fossil fuels and their carbon dioxide emissions. To many environmentalists alarmed about global warming, nuclear power has an irresistible appeal: It releases no greenhouse gases. . . . As a result, some of the world’s most ardent Greens have come around to embracing nuclear power.”

March 29, 2009

MORE ON BOOMING AMMO SALES from ESPN, including an interesting Google Trends chart.

March 29, 2009

PROGRESS: The thinnest, most colorful TV yet.

March 29, 2009

“WHY ARE MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT AND NANCY PELOSI EMAILING ME?” asks . . . Michelle Malkin.

Maybe they just want to stay on the good side of those “powerful bloggers” who deep-sixed Chas Freeman . . . .

March 29, 2009

BASRA’S back in business. And now that the election’s safely over, they can give us news like this . . . .

March 29, 2009

IN THE MAIL: Rich Lowry and Keith Korman’s new thriller, Banquo’s Ghosts. With blurbs from Bill Bennett, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh. More importantly, the reader reviews are good.

March 29, 2009

MICKEY KAUS:

Auto czarito Seven Rattner’s $245 million investiment in Maxim, Blender and Stuff isn’t looking very good these days. Stuff was closed long ago. Now Blender’s print edition has been shut down. Luckily, Rattner is one step ahead of the posse now busy restructuring the American automobile industry.

The country’s in the very best of hands.

March 29, 2009

NEW YORK TIMES: Obama Will Face a Defiant World on Foreign Visit. Hey, wait — “defiant?” I thought that once we elected Obama people were going to love us.

March 29, 2009

THE DANGERS OF printing money.

March 29, 2009

MORE VIDEO FROM THE MASSIVE CROWD AT TYSON’S CORNER, where Mark Levin drew thousands as he signed his new book. Clearly, the Topham Girls video is following Bob Krumm’s advice.

UPDATE: A report, and photos, here. Readers say there were 5-7,000 people there.

March 29, 2009

HARTFORD COURANT: Tea Party Crowds Protest Federal Spending And Intervention.

March 29, 2009

JOHN TIERNEY on Freeman Dyson.

March 29, 2009

TAX POLICY LESSONS FROM Ten Years After.

March 29, 2009

A CONFERENCE ON THE ETHICS OF Nanotechnology and human enhancement.

March 28, 2009

A BIG SALE ON women’s shoes.

March 28, 2009

MORE “SMART DIPLOMACY:” The country’s in the very best of hands.

March 28, 2009

TOM MAGUIRE: “Remember the key rule – ‘rich’ is a bit more than our pols pull down.”

Or our top journalists.

March 28, 2009

CHANGE COMES TO the Easter Egg Roll. Hope, not so much.

UPDATE: Reader Richard Palmer writes: “Glenn, I think there is a deeper lesson to the Easter Egg fiasco. Did it never occur to anyone in the loop at the White House that the tickets would be scalped? It is yet another indication of how far removed this administration is from concepts of Free Markets.” Good point.

March 28, 2009

I PREDICT THAT THE PRESS WILL NEVER CALL THEM “OBAMAVILLES:” Modern-day Hoovervilles.

“Barackburgs” has a nice ring to it, though . . . .

March 28, 2009

WELL, GOOD FOR THEM: Germans wreck ‘global new deal’. Let’s hope things really work out that way, since it’s a lousy idea.

March 28, 2009

RELIABILITY PROBLEMS WITH COMPACT FLUORESCENT BULBS. The first batch I bought — from Feit, as in the story — was no good. The Sylvanias were so ugly that I replaced them with better-looking GE bulbs almost immediately, so who knows how they would have worked out over time. The GE versions I bought produce nice light and haven’t had any failures. On the other hand, I’ve put in over two dozen bulbs in the house, and I haven’t noticed any drop in my electric bill. With weather, etc., it’s hard to really compare, but it’s about the same as last year. That’s kind of disappointing. If you made a shift, what’s your experience been?

March 28, 2009

RON RADOSH: The Washington Post’s Anti-Semitic Cartoon.

March 28, 2009

ADVICE FOR TEA PARTY ORGANIZERS. Also here.

March 28, 2009

MICKEY KAUS: Time to Feast on the LAT‘s dying carcass!

March 28, 2009

THE “RANSOM-NOTE METHOD” and the Twelfth Commandment.

March 28, 2009

LOTS OF spring markdowns on cookware.

March 28, 2009

TONIGHT AT 8:30, CELEBRATE HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT HOUR.

Unless, you know, you’re one of those people who doesn’t believe in human achievement.

March 28, 2009

POLITICO: Obama Order Worries Free-Speech Groups.

March 28, 2009

IN BUFFALO TODAY: Tea Party protests high taxes, ‘failed’ government.

In 1773, a small group of dissatisfied American colonists dumped tea into the Boston harbor to protest King George III’s taxation without representation.‘

More than two centuries later, at least 300 unhappy local taxpayers gathered on the Buffalo waterfront to protest a variety of similar issues . . . .

And when co-coordinator James Ostrowski asked the crowd to make donations that will help the movement distribute fliers and pamphlets to every household in Erie County, dozens of adults, children, and senior citizens — some in wheelchairs — stormed the podium.

The group raised $2,000 on the spot, said Jill Sinclair, a co-coordinator.

As I said before, people seem to have shaken off their apathy.

March 28, 2009

OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS might cut prostate cancer risk.

March 28, 2009

HEADLINE OF THE DAY: No Hits, No Runs, No Ayers.

March 28, 2009

LESSONS FOR AFGHANISTAN from the Anbar Awakening.

March 28, 2009

OKAY, I MENTIONED THIS IN PASSING EARLIER, but it’s worth a post of its own: Washington Post: Obama Town Hall Questioners Were Campaign Backers.

Hey, it’s the new era of transparency and accountability! Well, this is pretty transparent, anyway. Whether anyone will wind up being accountable is a different story. . . .

March 28, 2009

ARNOLD KLING ON Progressive Corporatism and the resistance thereto.

Kling endorses “mockery” as a response. Well, it’s a start. And Simon Jester is already at work.

March 28, 2009

NOTE THAT BILL WHITTLE HAS moved onto the Pajamas site.

March 28, 2009

2009: The Year Print-on-Demand Goes Mainstream.

March 28, 2009

I MENTIONED THE HUGE CROWD AT MARK LEVIN’S BOOK-SIGNING, but reader Dan Byers sends this video. That’s a truly amazing line. He writes: “My wife and I just got back from Levin’s book signing in Tysons Corner. The line was unbelievable. As much as we love Mark, we decided not to stand out in the cold rain for five hours. But thousands of others seemed happy to do so–here is a quick video I took that shows the size of the line–the passion and size of his following sure make it easy to understand why the Left wants to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine (or ‘Localism,’ it’s kinder-sounding twin).” And why they’ll have a lot of angry people to deal with if they try. . . . The book’s still #1 on Amazon.

UPDATE: Bob Krumm writes: “The video of the line for the Mark Levin book signing was truly astounding. However, if I could give a pointer to recorders of future Levin line videos, it would be a variation of your ‘Protest Babe’ rule. That is, to reenact the scene from Eurotrip where there is an enormous line of people waiting to get into the Louvre and the camera quickly pans past everyone until it comes to a dead stop in front of a particularly attractive woman in the line, before resuming footage of the rest of the line.” Hmm. Are such media techniques too contrived for the blog-world? I mean, next somebody might be doing “man on the street” interviews about Obama with these folks without talking about why they’re at the Mall today. And that sort of manipulative technique would be wrong.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Krumm responds: “You ask: ‘Are such media techniques too contrived for the blog-world?’ If there are protest babes involved—no.”

MORE: So what does this mean? I haven’t read Levin’s book yet — the InstaWife grabbed it and wrote this — but I suspect that neither have the people waiting in line, who are just now buying their copies. I think it has more to do with a transition out of apathy, and a desire to show up and be counted, much like the Tea Party protests. With all respect to Levin, who has a lot of fans, I think this is bigger than him — and I suspect he’d say the same thing.

March 28, 2009

BRIAN WANG: Sorry, Collapsitarians. He says it’s not going to happen.

March 28, 2009

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd’s Troubles Open Debate on Congress’ Ties With Special Interests. “Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd has become the poster boy for critics who say the inevitable ties between longtime members of Congress and special interests are undermining efforts to revive the economy.”

March 28, 2009

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: Geithner’s radical agenda.

Also, see this.

March 28, 2009

COMMERCIAL SPACE UPDATE: SpaceX’s new Falcon 9 takes a crucial step to the launchpad. Also, earlier this week one of my spies sent me pics of Virgin Galactic’s White Knight Two on a test flight, though not for publication. Nice to see progress in this field, though.

March 28, 2009

THE TESLA MODEL S: An up-close look.

March 28, 2009

WHEN WAVES COLLIDE: Michael Barone, Ed Driscoll, Stephen Green, and futurist Alvin Toffler — author of The Third Wave, Future Shock, and more — on the latest PJM Political. Plus John Avlon, Rudy Giuliani speechwriter and author of Independent Nation.

March 28, 2009

THERE’S A TEA PARTY PROTEST GOING ON IN STAMFORD, CT RIGHT NOW, and reader Bill Hensley sends some pictures.

UPDATE: Speaking of crowds, reader Larry Bronstein is at a signing for Mark Levin’s new book in Tyson’s Corner and writes via iPhone: “The signing event at Tysons Corner is mobbed. The end of the line has been warned that they will have a 5 hour wait minimum and may not be able to see Levin for an autograph. But the line continued to grow. Hasn’t even begun.” For some reason, his picture, sent via iPhone, is appearing just above this update — it’s the one of people waiting in line. Guess I don’t understand the WordPress “gallery” feature yet . . . .

March 28, 2009

IN THE MAIL: From John Micklethwait and Adrian Woolridge: God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World.

March 28, 2009

L.A. TIMES: Weeks of Obama’s budget sales pitch and support still slips.

March 28, 2009

TOM MAGUIRE: My Newfound Respect For Ezra Klein.

March 28, 2009

UNEXPECTED CONFLICT over the Obama Afghanistan plan.

March 28, 2009

BITES FROM THE APPLE: A roundup of news from the Apple empire.

March 28, 2009

TEA PARTY UPDATE: Cancelled Due To Fear of Success?

CAPE CORAL, Fla. – A tea party to protest government spending and taxing is canceled. Canceled by the government.

Why? They feel too many people could show-up.

That would be awful.

March 28, 2009

HUNTING FOR the next killer virus.

March 28, 2009

TEA PARTY UPDATE: “On his FOX News show tonight Sean Hannity just announced that he will be covering the Atlanta Tea Party live on Tax Day. He will also be checking in on other such parties around the country.” This means major coverage on Fox, which means that other networks will have to offer at least grudging coverage. My prediction: They’ll make a huge deal out of these protests, regardless of size, while downplaying the tea parties.

UPDATE: Reader Wendy Cook writes: “Isn’t CNN in Atlanta? Hannity’s show is not my favorite but it’s kinda funny that he would choose to cover a Tea Party so close to the headquarters of a network that mostly ignores these protests. And I just noticed on Drudge that CNN doesn’t even have any programs in the top 6-rated cable news shows. Hmmm.” Yeah, I think he’s baiting them.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Will Collier writes: “Regarding your reader’s question, not only is CNN’s HQ in Atlanta, it’s about half a mile from the Tea Party site at the state capitol. If they show up at all, I predict it will be to air a fear-mongering piece about these vicious right-wingers who want to take healthy organic juice away from The Children.”

Well, CNN President Jon Klein* is bragging about CNN’s straight-news coverage, so this’ll be a good test of whether they can live up to his claims.

* Coiner of the whole bloggers in pajamas line. I believe, however, that Klein has since changed his position.

March 28, 2009

FULL CIRCLE: Edwin T. Snell launches recall of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

March 28, 2009

TOM BLUMER: “Since when did it become taxpayers’ duty to feed a family with $80,000 in the bank?”

March 27, 2009

MARK STEYN: “The Economist is the latest of the smart guys to notice that President Obama is proving strangely unlike the guy they told us he was back in late October.”

March 27, 2009

AN IMPORTANT VAMPIRE UPDATE from Moe Lane.

March 27, 2009

CHAS FREEMAN: The victim of “powerful bloggers.”

March 27, 2009

RIO BRAVO: Allen Barra says it’s “Still Popular and Hip at 50.”

March 27, 2009

IN CALIFORNIA, a new Gold Rush.

March 27, 2009

WHILE PEOPLE DISS WALL STREETERS AND INDUSTRIALISTS FOR GREED AND HIGH LIVING, note that the most expensive home in America was built by a TV producer. With its own dedicated “gift-wrapping room.” Funny how Hollywood excess doesn’t get the same kind of censorious scrutiny . . . .

UPDATE: “Class warfare immunity.”

March 27, 2009

THE JOHN GALT PRESIDENT! Reader Bruce Giese emails:

The rest of the world became inflexible and inefficient socialist/communist states which relied on the US providing a dynamic consumer market. Our allies had weak militaries and big nanny governments. Our enemies had an easy scapegoat.

Obama and Congress are taking us down the same path as our allies, and the dynamic US ‘Atlas’ is shrugging. I wonder if this terrifies our allies and enemies alike?

Mostly the allies, I’d guess. But this raises an interesting thought: If you were a closet Randian and wanted to discredit big government for generations by running it into the ground, in what ways would you act differently from the Obama Administration so far? The combination of grandiose promises and inept execution, and the repeated elevation of tax cheats to high office, certainly argues in favor of that analysis . . . .

UPDATE: Applying Occam’s Razor.

March 27, 2009

INTRODUCING The SUGAR Act. Making too much sense to ever become law . . . .

March 27, 2009

GETTING DESPERATE in New Hampshire?

March 27, 2009

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Get the Feeling You’re Being Watched? If You’re Driving, You Just Might Be.

Drivers — many accusing law enforcement of using spy tactics to trap unsuspecting citizens — are fighting back with everything from pick axes to camera-blocking Santa Clauses. They’re moving beyond radar detectors and CB radios to wage their own tech war against detection, using sprays that promise to blur license numbers and Web sites that plot the cameras’ locations and offer tips to beat them.

Cities and states say the devices can improve safety. They also have the added bonus of bringing in revenue in tight times. But critics point to research showing cameras can actually lead to more rear-end accidents because drivers often slam their brakes when they see signs warning them of cameras in the area. Others are angry that the cameras are operated by for-profit companies that typically make around $5,000 per camera each month.

If it weren’t for revenue, they wouldn’t use them. When they say otherwise, it’s an outright lie. If you don’t believe me, try an experiment: Pass a law in which all camera revenues go to the state’s general fund instead of the municipality’s coffers, and then see how many of these get put in place. But even without that experiment, there’s this:

But a study in last month’s Journal of Law and Economics concluded that, as many motorists have long suspected, “governments use traffic tickets as a means of generating revenue.” The authors, Thomas Garrett of the St. Louis Fed and Gary Wagner of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, studied 14 years of traffic-ticket data from 96 counties in North Carolina. They found that when local-government revenue declines, police issue more tickets in the following year. Officials at the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police didn’t respond to requests for comment.

I wonder why not.

UPDATE: Note that once Georgia lengthened yellow-light times, red-light cameras became unprofitable. “The drop in citations is due, in part, to a state law that went into effect Dec. 31 that mandated a one-second addition to the yellow phase at all camera intersections. In January 2008, Lilburn had almost 1,500 citations issued at its three intersections with cameras. In January 2009, that figure plunged to about 300, said Bill Johnsa, Lilburn’s city manager. . . . Since the state law was put into effect, the city’s net revenue on red-light cameras has been reduced to zero or less, Treadway said. The city pays more than $30,000 a month for the service and needs almost 700 citations just to break even, he said.” If all you care about is safety, then, you can accomplish as much by adding a second to the yellow light. If you care about revenue, though, you’ll shorten yellow-light times — as some places have done — even though that’s worse for safety.

March 27, 2009

HARRY REID calls John Roberts a liar.

March 27, 2009

TAXPROF: A Republican tax travesty.

March 27, 2009

HMM. IS IT JUST ME, OR DOES THIS LOOK LIKE a lefty response to the Tea Party protests? Nobody likes to feel left out! And imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

That said, I agree with this: “Any bank that’s ‘too big to fail’ means that it’s too big for a free market to function.” And, as I noted, Jerry Pournelle has been saying the same thing since November. Perhaps there’s common ground to be found; it’s not as if what’s been going on in the financial sector has been true free-market capitalism anyway.

March 27, 2009

NICK GILLESPIE: Obama on Pot: Har Har Har, The Joke’s On You!

March 27, 2009

HMM: Vindictive people make less money.