June 30, 2009
IT’S CROWDED DOWN THERE: Honduras under the bus.
IT’S CROWDED DOWN THERE: Honduras under the bus.
JOSHUA MURAVCHIK: If democracy and human rights are high values, then all societies are not morally equal. This thought cuts sharply against Obama’s multicultural sensibilities. A while back, I talked with Muravchik about his new book, The Next Founders: Voices of Democracy in the Middle East, on PJTV. You can see the interview here.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: Attorney attacks charges against UT student in Palin e-mail case.
MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT. I remember when protest was patriotic! Seems like it was just a little while ago . . . .
WHAT WOULD JOHN GALT DO? Calling for a consumption strike. I suspect the economy will take care of that on its own . . . .
OHIO POLITICS: Finger-Pointing in Cuyahoga County: “Which makes sense if you think about it. Because Cuyuhoga County doesn’t have a history of political corruption or anything.”
GALLUP: More Americans See Democratic Party as “Too Liberal”. Hmm. Why would that be?
FARHAD MANJOO likes Firefox 3.5.
FROM THE “GET A LIFE” DEPARTMENT: When Envy Is On The Menu.
As she and her husband continued on the progression of their Tour menu, she observed something happening at a nearby table that upset her.
A gray mat was delivered; the guest unrolled it, and Alinea’s chef de cuisine walked into the small dining room with trays of mise en place. He plated the same soft shell crab dish she had eaten two courses before on the table surface while the diners he was chatting with smiled and took photos of the event. He finished and returned to the bustling kitchen. She began to cry, got up from the table, and briskly walked to the bathroom. They cut their meal short and left soon thereafter.
Plus this: “Alinea’s food by nature is tedious, experimental and exploratory, and I mean that from the side of the guest and the staff that prepares and serves it.” Like I said. . . .
WHAT WAS YOUR WORST JOB EVER? Mine was probably working daytime shifts in the ticket office at the Smoky Mountain Passion Play in high school. I had been in the cast the year before — playing an apostle and understudying Simon of Cyrene and the “thief on the left” — but went to the ticket office because I literally made more money than Jesus, they presumably being influenced by the admonition about the kine that tread the grain. It wasn’t really that bad, just very dull, and you had to clean the restrooms to get ready for the evening’s show.
UPDATE: You don’t know how lucky you are, boys. “These people have no conception of what bad jobs are. And the frightening thing is that they may find out before the reign of The One, who many of them voted for, is over, because he seems to think that state planning, as occurs in the extreme there, should reign over the market.”
JAMES PETHOKOUKIS: Pelosi, a vision in white — but not green.
I WAS NEVER THAT INTO STARGATE SG-1, but even after the deep discount this seems kind of expensive for a boxed set. Though on a per-hour-of-entertainment basis, I guess it’s pretty cheap. Less than a dollar an hour!
UPDATE: Reader William Hughes writes: “You do realize that Stargate was a 10-year series? A total of 214 episodes… Yes, I’ve seen every episode, and yes, I already have the series on DVD. :)”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Another reader emails:
So, I live in China most of the time, and DVDs are as expensive as they are legal. (Five to ten RMB per DVD depending on quality, quantity, and how much of a sucker they think you are)
I’d expect to pay fifty or sixty bucks for the full-blown SG-1 54 disk package, a bit less than half the price on Amazon. Usually, the US-China price ratio is closer to ten to one than two to one… making this a pretty good deal. The other option in China, sometimes, is one season per disk. The quality is what you’d expect, but if you just want to catch up on story lines, it’s an economical alternative. If you can find it.
Bargain prices there.
TALK RADIO IS the new terrorism. I remember when dissent was the highest form of patriotism! Just a few months ago, in fact . . . .
CITY-SCALE Climate Engineering. Well, dammit, if I can’t have my flying car, I’d at least like a domed city or two. I mean, it’s the 21st Century for crying out loud. . .
KATRINA PEARSON invites Janeane Garafolo to a Tea Party.
BAMBOO: The next big cash crop? Given the effort it takes to keep a patch from taking over your entire lawn, it should do well . . . .
HMM: June Federal Receipts: The Dive Continues, As Does Media Near Silence. John Galt was unavailable for comment.
UPDATE: Hmm. “It’s interesting that while the economy was booming under Bush, the MSM kept telling us we were in a recession. Now, when we really are in dire financial straits, the MSM is silent. It’s almost as if they have an agenda or something…”
IT’S NOT JUST ACID REFLUX: There’s also bile reflux.
ROLL CALL: Coleman Concedes: Franken To Be Seated.
A 30-MINUTE RECIPE FOR Mahi Mahi with Greek-style dressing.
AL FRANKEN DECLARED WINNER in Minnesota.
DUMB IDEA OF THE WEEK: Swine Flu parties.
RALPH PETERS: Bye Bye Babylon: Exiting Iraq’s Cities Victorious.
IN RESPONSE TO THE EARLIER RON PAUL POST (with cool photo!) Jason Whitworth writes: “Would you please point out that if Ron Paul succeeds in disbanding the Fed, that Nancy Pelosi would be in charge of monetary policy. Putting monetary policy back into the hands of the politicians at this time would be economic Armageddon. I sympathize with Libertarians. They are right about out-of-control spending. But like most economic populists, they are misguided and chasing after the wrong target. Please warn them. Or have Megan McArdle or some authoritative economists point out their folly.”
Well, that was the argument for making the Fed unaccountable — and one criticism of Bernanke is that he’s too responsive to the politicians. But I think (Paulites help me out here) that Ron Paul would address this by putting us on the gold standard, so that the money supply wouldn’t be under the control of politicians at all.
UPDATE: A hedge-fund reader (not, I believe, a Paulite) writes: “The stated Paulian goal is to end the current de facto political control of money, which uses the Fed as a beard, and return us to a gold standard. The illusion of Fed independence is hopelessly compromised now, an ironic outcome that has to rank among Ben Bernanke’s worst fears.”
Various readers protest the unworkability of a gold standard, a view with which I tend to agree. But the question is, is the Fed in its current state any more workable? Its success has depended on trust in the independence of institutions and people in the face of political pressurs, a trust that now seems hard to muster.
DAN RIEHL: Re-visiting The Tea Party Movement. “I noted yesterday how any real change in politics must come from the ground up; the Tea Party movement is exactly that type of effort. And America hasn’t seen one that wasn’t primarily candidate driven in decades.”
HIGH TECH INFANTRY: Testing “Land Warrior” in Afghanistan.
WHO’S HOT AND WHO’S NOT: Men agree with men more than women agree with women.
AMY ALKON: Type Dirty To Me.
BROWN SHOOTS: Gloomy U.S. consumers clip housing recovery hopes. “U.S. consumer confidence took an unexpectedly steep slide in June, figures released on Tuesday showed, suggesting the 18-month-long recession had yet to loosen its grip on the economy.” Plus, Stocks Slump As Quarter Ends.
THE LATEST CARNIVAL OF SPACE is up!
AND NOW FOR SOME REALLY IMPORTANT NEWS: Cell-Phone Makers Settle on One-Size-Fits-All Charger. Thanks to reader Hastings Walton for the tip. And about time!
THE TOP FIVE Billy Mays informercial products.
IN THE MAIL: From Eric Hanushek and Alfred Lindeth, Schoolhouses, Courthouses, and Statehouses: Solving the Funding-Achievement Puzzle in America’s Public Schools. Blurbed by Jeb Bush.
RASMUSSEN: “The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 31% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-three percent (33%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -2. That matches the lowest level yet recorded.”
Plus, “Just 26% of Massachusetts voters rate that state’s health care reform a success while 37% say it’s been a failure. Only 10% say it’s improved the quality of health care.”
A CRACKDOWN ON FREE SPEECH at Bucknell University.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Sonja Schmidt on Senator Barbara Boxer.
A MADOFF QUESTION: “Why is it that someone who set up a Ponzi scheme gets more jail time than the majority of murderers?”
I think it’s because he made powerful people look stupid.
STONEWALL ANNIVERSARY: Texas officials want investigation of gay bar raid. Could be a lot of hoohah over nothing. Could be official harassment. I’m suspicious, though. “Gibson was so drunk he was vomiting and struck his head when he fell, the chief said.” Well, possibly. Stay tuned.
STUART TAYLOR: “The Supreme Court’s predictable 5-4 vote to reverse the decision by Judge Sonia Sotomayor and two federal appeals court colleagues against 17 white (and one Hispanic) plaintiffs in the now-famous New Haven, Conn., firefighters decision does not by itself prove that the Sotomayor position was unreasonable. . . . What’s more striking is that the court was unanimous in rejecting the Sotomayor panel’s specific holding. Her holding was that New Haven’s decision to spurn the test results must be upheld based solely on the fact that highly disproportionate numbers of blacks had done badly on the exam and might file a “disparate-impact” lawsuit — regardless of whether the exam was valid or the lawsuit could succeed.”
TAXPROF: Tax Oppression Index: U.S. Is #12.
IF YOU JUST SMILE, the recession will be gone! So give me something to smile about.
WALTER OLSON ON RICCI: Supreme Court: Discriminate — With Discrimination.
MEGAN MCARDLE ON UNIONS AND OLIGOPOLY: “I think it’s great that people who maybe weren’t cut out for college had a decent way of earning a good living, getting ahead a little. I think it’s really sad that era is over, especially for people who were encouraged to bet their whole futures on a deeply troubled industry. It’s just that I’m also aware that the reason people could have well-appointed jobs-for-life was an oligopolistic cartel which was able to cut rich side deals in order to buy labor and political peace. The culmination of this was the hideous junk of the 1970s, which is the kind of place that oligopolistic cartels tend to end up. But that doesn’t make all this any less tragic for the workers.”
DEBT AND TAXES: The CBO’s Dire Predictions.
ANOTHER ROUNDUP OF IRANIAN REVOLUTION NEWS at the Berman Post.
CQ POLITICS: Ron Paul’s “Audit the Fed” Bill Gaining Steam.
He may have faded from the national political scene a year ago, after his dark-horse presidential run came to naught, but Rep. Ron Paul ’s influence is still being felt in campaigns and policy debates across the country. Indeed, the latest legislative priority of the libertarian Texas Republican — auditing the Federal Reserve — has gained support in unlikely quarters.
Paul’s legislation, popularly known as the “Audit the Fed” bill, has drawn 244 cosponsors, ranging from Ohio’s John A. Boehner , the conservative Republican floor leader, to Michigan’s John Conyers Jr. , the liberal Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Some Democrats have even picked up on Paul’s rhetoric. “It’s time to yank the shroud off the Fed and shine some light on these events,” New York Democrat Edolphus Towns , chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said at a hearing last week about the shotgun marriage between Bank of America and Merrill Lynch last fall to stave off the latter’s collapse.
Paul’s efforts have only gained in political significance since the Obama administration unveiled its proposal to give the Fed new powers over the financial regulatory system.
The sentiment was certainly showing at Monday’s Nashville Tea Party protest.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Video: Energy Czar hasn’t read cap & tax, either. I think only the lobbyists have. . . .
WELL, DUH: “Beer Rules.”
A 13-YEAR OLD SWAPS HIS IPOD FOR A FIRST-GEN WALKMAN: “It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.” Heh.
IS IT RIGHT TO CENSOR WIKIPEDIA TO PROTECT A REPORTER? Is it right to censor reporters to protect others?
WHEN WAXING ELOQUENT ABOUT CHURCHILL, don’t get too carried away. And remember that when you support entering into a war, you inevitably are supporting something in which a lot of ugly things will happen, and it’s no fair pretending otherwise after the fact.
REPORTING FROM THE cap-and-trade Tea Party protest at Rep. Mark Kirk’s (R-IL) office.
REP. JARED POLIS ON the Administration and the DOMA brief.
OUCH: Scripps columnist: MSM eating out of Obama’s hand. I don’t think that the press is “off balance and frustrated,” though. I think it’s compliant and complicit.
ANDREW BREITBART: The Rise and Fall of Perez Hilton.
MICHAEL KINSLEY ON RATIONING: “Here is a handy-dandy way to determine whether the failure to order some exam or treatment constitutes rationing: If the patient were the president, would he get it? If he’d get it and you wouldn’t, it’s rationing.”
NEW HAVEN FIREFIGHTERS, EMILY BAZELON, and social privilege.
“TRAITORS:” I remember when calling people treasonous was wrong.
LIVEBLOGGING the Nashville Tea Party. “Guest veteran gets huge cheers from the crowd, ‘I was offended by being called a racist redneck teabagger,’ says our veteran, who is an African-American female.”
UPDATE: More from Nashville’s Channel 5: Thousands Protest Obama Policies In Nashville.
Four thousand local protestors took over Legislative Plaza Monday to protest a new energy initiative by President Obama. The “tea party” protest also took aim at universal health care.
The event marked the third time this year protestors have held similar rallies in Nashville.
“More than half of Americans feel the way I do,” said protestor Karen Entz. “That should be represented on the national news, and it’s not.”
Protestors said they felt like their conservative voice has not been heard. They want that to change.
Yes, it’s a much higher crowd estimate than the Tennessean blog above. The Tennessee Tea Party site claims 2,500. Perhaps the folks at the Tennessean accidentally omitted a zero? . . .
MADOFF: Where’s the money? “So far, prosecutors have come up with very little about this case. And under the tutelage of the clever lawyer Ike Sorkin, Madoff has given almost nothing up. No singing in jail. (Maybe he should have been waterboarded.) We don’t know if his wife or two sons were part of the scam. Nor do we know where most of the money — estimated up to $65 billion — has gone. . . . The thing about a Ponzi scheme is others besides Ponzi can get rich. And there are names in circulation of people who may also have gotten rich. But where’s the money? When will these people be brought in to testify under oath? The thousands of other smaller investors and charities who were totally ripped off by Madoff could recover a lot more if these big shots are finally hammered.”
UPDATE: More commentary at the White Collar Crime Blog.
IF YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT SWINE FLU, YOU MIGHT TRY GETTING SOME SUN.
CHRISTINA HOFF SOMMERS: Persistent Myths in Feminist Scholarship.
ADDRESSING ONE OF MY “PET PEEVES:” The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks.
Is there one for inappropriate apostrophes, too — like those signs on RVs that say “The Smith’s”?
READER LINDA WHITE SENDS THESE PICTURES FROM TODAY’S NASHVILLE TEA PARTY PROTEST.
MORE ON John and Monica Conyers.
RICHARD EPSTEIN on the Ricci case.
LESSONS OF the cookie-dough recall.
AN INTERVIEW WITH JON VOIGHT. According to The Globe (the tabloid one, not the Boston one), he’s on Michelle Obama’s enemies’ list, along with Oprah, Hillary, and Rush Limbaugh.
ADVICE TO REPUBLICANS, FROM DAN RIEHL: “Any real change has to start from the ground up. Ranting about witholding money might make you feel good. And there’s nothing wrong with doing it, provided you’re sending the right message as to what will be required to motivate you to support the GOP, again. You’d actually be better off to raise money yourself and give it to more conservative candidates, just as the Left did to some degree with politicians they liked. I believe RedState already has that type of initiative. They’re even raising money specifically for a more conservative candidate to take on Boxer – Chuck Devore. That’s the way to get what you want by channeling money, not simply withholding it because one is angry.”
THOUGHTS ON INTERNET ADDICTION AND MARRIAGE, from the Insta-Wife.
CUTTING-EDGE DEBATE OVER Homeland Security and “knife control”.
NEW YORK AND LONDON’S best bars and bartenders. According to the folks at Forbes, anyway.
AN IMPORTANT IDEA: Nap at work. When I got the new, big office with the leather couch a couple of years ago, I had big plans to do a lot of napping, but somehow I never seem to find the time. For those wondering, though, I’ve actually managed not to clutter my new office up like the old one was. I think people had a pool going on that one, but I’m pretty sure I’m past the most optimistic bets.
ANN ALTHOUSE AND ROBERT WRIGHT on Farrah Fawcett’s influence.
HIDING BUILDINGS from earthquakes. Sounds interesting.
SUPREME COURT DECIDES RICCI: “The Supreme Court has ruled that white firefighters in New Haven, Conn., were unfairly denied promotions because of their race, reversing a decision that high court nominee Sonia Sotomayor endorsed as an appeals court judge.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: More here.
Further thoughts from Roger Pilon (“In its opinion today in Ricci v. DeStefano, the Supreme Court came down solidly for upholding the equal protection of the law.”) and Ilya Shapiro. (“Ricci is a victory for merit over racial politics—which is appropriate given that the ruling overturns a lower court panel that included Sonia Sotomayor.”)
Plus, more at Workplace Law Profs.
IN THE MAIL: From Seth Jones, In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan.
CHRIS STIREWALT: Sanford can’t save Democrats on ethics woes.
Obama is a pragmatic politician, and while it took good-government promises to win office as a reformer, winning his next term demands playing the game the Washington way. That includes signing bills rewritten by lobbyists in the dead of night.
Ask Sen. Chris Dodd how that can come back to haunt you.
Dodd is drowning under bad polls in Connecticut because of his insertion of the AIG bonus amendment, a sweetheart mortgage, boatloads of cash from the mortgage companies he was supposed to be regulating, and dubious real estate deals.
And even Dodd looks like a solid citizen compared with Rod Blagojevich’s man in Washington, Sen. Roland Burris. On the House side, Rep. Charlie Rangel has been under investigation for 10 months for tax issues and other alleged misconduct. But that didn’t stop him and many of his Congressional Black Caucus colleagues from going on a Citigroup-funded getaway to St. Maarten last fall.
And everyone on Capitol Hill is still waiting to see what happens to Reps. John Murtha, Peter Visclosky and Jim Moran — the top recipients of donations from a lobbying firm since busted by the FBI in a pay-to-play investigation.
STEVE CHAPMAN: Why Adultery Is Political Suicide: Lessons from the Sanford affair. “Sex without marriage is OK. Sex in violation of marriage is not. Why not? Because adultery, unlike a frisky bachelor lifestyle, connotes a reckless dishonesty at odds with our basic notions of integrity. Because it shows a lack of respect for the most important commitment that most of us will ever make. Because it indicates that the adulterer will always place his selfish desires above those who depend on him.” Of course, that’s how politicians are in general.
CAROLINE KENNEDY AND BARBARA WALTERS: Comic Book Heroines. I’ll stick with The Flash.
YANKEE, DON’T GO HOME: As U.S. troops move on, Iraqis fear the coming turmoil. “The American drawdown sparks mixed emotions among many Iraqis. On the one hand, they see the move as a further step toward regaining the sovereignty they lost when the U.S. invaded the country in 2003. On the other, they’re not overly confident about the ability — or even the willingness — of the Iraqi army and national police to take over their safety.”