July 31, 2009
PHIL BOWERMASTER on libertarians and transhumanism.
PHIL BOWERMASTER on libertarians and transhumanism.
FROM PRIMETIME TO PARODY in just one week.
BODY LANGUAGE. “I am stunned that the official White House Blog published this picture and that it is in the public domain. The body language is most revealing.”
LIGHTNING GUNNERS Take to the skies.
AT AMAZON, an eclectic Friday Sale.
I THINK IT’S THE MOLE PEOPLE DRILLING UP FROM BELOW: Mysteriously High Tides on East Coast Perplex Scientists. “From Maine to Florida, the Atlantic seaboard has experienced higher tides than expected this summer. At their peak in mid-June, the tides at some locations outstripped predictions by two feet. The change has come too fast to be attributed to melting ice sheets or anything quite that dramatic, and it’s a puzzle for scientists who’ve never seen anything quite like it.”
UPDATE: Reader Kenneth Mitchell writes:
Your note about anomalously high tides is matched by the item about the Fermi Paradox. The answer? The aliens are here NOW, hiding in the L2 lagrange point on the far side of the Moon. Their ship is powered by some exotic drive involving a small black hole; hence the higher than normal tides.
See how it all ties together?
It all makes sense now.
LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD: Parental genes fight for control during child development.
WELL, DANG: Toyota may not produce a Hybrid Yaris after all.
JULIE AND JULIA: A movie involving food and blogging. What’s not to like? Plus, a recipe for herb roast chicken with pan sauce.
ASK DR. HELEN: Marriage Myths Dispelled and Does Size (of The Ring) Really Matter? A discussion with Alex Wellen, author of Lovesick.
STEVE CHAPMAN: A Hole They Dug for Themselves: There’s nothing surprising about the crises in state budgets. “The crisis in state budgets is not an accident, and it wasn’t unforeseeable. For years, most states have spent like there’s no tomorrow, and now tomorrow is here. . . . If they had known the revenue flood wasn’t a permanent fact of life, governors and legislators might have prepared for drought. Instead, like overstretched homeowners, they took on obligations they could meet only in the best-case scenario—which is not what has come to pass.”
WE MAY NOT BE ALONE, BUT STATISTICALLY WE’RE LIKELY TO BE LONELY: Fermi Paradox Points to Fewer Than 10 Extraterrestrial Civilizations.
IS THE GOVERNMENT making people fat?
DELIVERING MALARIA VACCINE via mosquito?
ARE AMERICANS warming to the idea of Chinese and Indian cars?
MY POPULAR MECHANICS COLUMN: Collision Course: The Need For Better Space Junk Regulations.
IN THE MAIL: From David Wessel, In Fed We Trust: Ben Bernanke’s War on the Great Panic.
REASON TV: I talk with Nick Gillespie about stuff.
CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Democrat resists subpoenaing VIP mortgage records. “House Democrats have declined to subpoena available records that might reveal whether other members of Congress got discounted VIP mortgages from subprime lender Countrywide Financial Corp. similar to the sweetheart deals given Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad.”
FOLLOWING UP ON YESTERDAY’S POST ABOUT THE CHEAP AND GOOD FLIP MINO HD VIDEO CAMERA, I notice that Gizmodo really likes the Kodak Zi8. For $180 (about the same as the Flip) the Kodak has image stabilization, 1080p recording, and an SD slot. Plus an external microphone jack (key) and the ability to take 5 MP stills. Sounds like the perfect guerrilla-videographer’s tool. But the Kodak won’t be out until September.
TAX FOUNDATION: Tax Burden of Top 1% Now Exceeds That of Bottom 95%. “Newly released data from the IRS clearly debunks the conventional Beltway rhetoric that the ‘rich’ are not paying their fair share of taxes. Indeed, the IRS data shows that in 2007—the most recent data available—the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.4 percent of the total income taxes collected by the federal government. This is the highest percentage in modern history. By contrast, the top 1 percent paid 24.8 percent of the income tax burden in 1987, the year following the 1986 tax reform act.”
BYRON YORK: Probe Finds New Clues in AmeriCorps IG Scandal.
JOHN STOSSEL: The unseen costs of minimum wage laws.
UNSOLD REAL ESTATE: Downtown Fort Myers condo has 32 stories, and one lonely tale: Condo can get spooky for tower’s only family. “Vangelakos, 45, his wife Cathy and their three children are the only residents in the 32-story Oasis I condo on the east edge of downtown Fort Myers.”
A HEALTH-CARE SLOGAN FROM READER JOSEPH HRUTKA: “If the bill’s so great, why not deliberate?”
ASHEVILLE CITIZEN-TIMES: We won’t meet with you if you videotape.
SO I GUESS THE BEER THING DIDN’T END IT: Black cop in Gates arrest sends letter to Obama about being called an “Uncle Tom”.
UPDATE: Joe Hicks: If this was a “teachable moment,” what did we learn?
A TEA PARTY PROTEST on Long Island.
STEPHEN CARTER: When did profits become evil?
“For-profit” firms come under constant attack from activists and members of Congress.
Thus, a recent news release from the AFL-CIO began with this evidently alarming fact: “Profits at 10 of the country’s largest publicly traded health insurance companies rose 428 percent from 2000 to 2007.” Even had the figures been correct — they weren’t — we are seeing the same circus. Profit is the enemy. America could be made pure, if only profit could be purged.
This attitude was wrong in 2006. It is wrong now. High profits are excellent news. When corporate earnings reach record levels, we should be celebrating. The only way a firm can make money is to sell people what they want at a price they are willing to pay. If a firm makes lots of money, lots of people are getting what they want.
Some people don’t like that. I hope Carter makes money on his new book, which I’m taking to the beach with me.
IS CONSERVATIVE THE NEW GAY?
ANOTHER MIS-STEP ON THE RECOVERY PLAN: AP sources: Govt to suspend ‘cash for clunkers’.
Congressional officials say the government plans to suspend the popular “cash for clunkers” program amid concerns it could quickly use up the $1 billion in rebates for new car purchases.
The Transportation Department called congressional offices late Thursday to alert them to the decision to halt the program, which offered owners of old cars and trucks $3,500 or $4,500 toward a new, more fuel-efficient vehicle.
Hmm. So the program ran through the money faster than they thought. I wonder how their healthcare plan will work out? . . .
Remember, people respond to economic incentives.
A TEA PARTY PROTEST IN OKLAHOMA CITY. Reader Thomas Hoyt emails: “The Sooner Tea Party and OKC 9-12 Project teamed up to hold an anti-Obamacare rally today at 11 a.m. in front of the building where Sen. Tom Coburn’s OKC office is. I counted about 80 or so people midway through. Here are some photos I took, and I hope you’ll like one (or more) of them enough to post at Instapundit.” Okay. Here’s one. I think Coburn is reachable on this . . .
ASSOCIATED PRESS: Analysis: White House beers a way to change topic.
UPDATE: Poll: Obama mishandled comments on race. “The president’s approval ratings fell, especially among working-class whites, as the focus of the Gates story shifted from details about the incident to Obama’s remarks, the poll said. Among whites in general, more disapprove than approve of his comments by a two-to-one margin.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: If only it had worked out this way. Instead, from the video, the get-together looked rather strained.
WHITE HOUSE MAKES C.E.O.s PAY FOR LUNCH. “Four of the most powerful business leaders in America arrived at the White House one day last month for lunch with President Barack Obama, sitting down in his private dining room just steps from the Oval Office. But even for powerful CEOs, there’s no such thing as a free lunch: White House staffers collected credit card numbers for each executive and carefully billed them for the cost of the meal with the president. The White House defended the unusual move as a way to avoid conflicts of interest. But the Bush administration didn’t charge presidential guests for meals, one former official said, and at least one etiquette expert found the whole thing unseemly – suggesting it was a serious breach of protocol”
I’d say it shows the kind of humility and concern for others that we’ve seen in other settings. A reader says that Jimmy Carter did the same thing. That fits, too . . . .
UPDATE: Reader Richard Humphries writes: “Glenn, apparenly the Obama White House has been listening to Vaughn Meader’s recording of ‘The First Family’ from 1963. There was a skit where JFK has a lunch for De Gaulle, Kruschev, and several other heads of state and at the end he presents them with the bill.” Heh. Before my time, though, which means it’s also before Obama’s.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Yeah, it’s on YouTube.
TAXPROF: Newt Gingrich’s Tax Reform Plan.
UNVEILING the new Nikons.
ALL YOUR MEDIA ARE BELONG TO US: Movie/record industry rep says that you shouldn’t expect to be able to play your media for as long as you own it.
TOM BLUMER: The A.P. Declares War On The Online World.
COCKPIT PHOTOS from Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnight Two.
A FIRST LOOK AT THE 2010 CAMARO. Sounds cool, except for the fact that you can’t actually buy one . . . .
GOOD NEWS, OR BAD? Organic food is no healthier, study finds. “Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said consumers were paying higher prices for organic food because of its perceived health benefits, creating a global organic market worth an estimated $48 billion in 2007. A systematic review of 162 scientific papers published in the scientific literature over the last 50 years, however, found there was no significant difference.”
FOOD ALLERGIES GET CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER:
Perhaps most striking are the regional differences. “Peach and melon allergy is particularly common in the Mediterranean – in Spain and Greece,” says Fernández Rivas. Reports from clinics suggest that Iceland is a hotspot for fish allergy and Switzerland has a higher rate of celeriac allergy than elsewhere.
These regional variations are likely to be due in part to differences in eating habits, causing people to be exposed to different allergens. But that alone cannot explain a pronounced north-south divide in the type of apple allergy people experience. In northern Europe, people react to the uncooked flesh of apples, whereas in the south it’s the skin that sets them off, whether it’s cooked or not. What could be the cause of this strange invisible dividing line that skims across south-west France, cuts through Italy close to Florence, and continues eastwards through the middle of the Black Sea? Significantly, this line marks the southern limit of the birch tree, a plant whose pollen is one of the causes of hay fever in northern Europe.
WHAT’S ALL THIS BREWHAHA? Snubbed beermakers unhappy with White House. (Pun via Howard Kurtz on Facebook, but the Nick Danger reference is all mine.)
SUSANNAH BRESLIN: Does Hairy Backvertising Go Too Far? Yes, yes it does.
PROGRESS IN laser space propulsion. If it works out, it’s huge.
THE PERENNIAL QUESTION: Where Is My Flying Car?
NORTH CAROLINA JIHADI’S FACEBOOK ACCOUNT: “I will kill you.”
STEPHEN MARCHE IN ESQUIRE: “Nobody wants to hear it, but this fact is too important to ignore: So far, the first African-American presidency has been one of the worst ever for African-Americans. The economic crisis has predominantly hit non-white working class men; the collapse of the auto industry is threatening to destroy the basis of the Midwestern black middle class. Key matters for African-Americans languish — the overincarceration of young black men that makes a mockery of American justice being the number one example. Government aid? That goes to bankers in Connecticut. If the President were white, there would be riots.”
IN THE MAIL: From Christian Davenport, As You Were: To War and Back with the Black Hawk Battalion of the Virginia National Guard. Looks very interesting.
JONATHAN TURLEY: Obama Political Appointees Reportedly Overruled Career Justice Officials In Dropping Charges Against New Black Panther Party for Voter Intimidation. “By dropping the complaint, the Obama Administration suggests that other groups could show up with such weapons and military-style uniforms are perfectly permissible. What if this were the Aryan Nation or Soldiers of God? Doesn’t brandishing a weapon have an intimidating effect on voters?”
It’s only okay if you’re from an Officially Recognized Aggrieved Group.
Why would anybody be worried?
Note that this is pretty much a best-case scenario these days . . . .
NEW YORK TIMES: New Poll Finds Growing Unease on Health Plan. “President Obama’s ability to shape the debate on health care appears to be eroding as opponents aggressively portray his overhaul plan as a government takeover that could limit Americans’ ability to choose their doctors and course of treatment, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Americans are concerned that revamping the health care system would reduce the quality of their care, increase their out-of-pocket health costs and tax bills, and limit their options in choosing doctors, treatments and tests, the poll found. The percentage who describe health care costs as a serious threat to the American economy — a central argument made by Mr. Obama — has dropped over the past month.”
THE AUDACITY OF HOPS: “The president, we are told, will be drinking Bud Light, Crowley will have Blue Moon, and Gates will have Red Stripe — Red Light and Blue.”
ON THE ONE HAND, HARD-CORE PORNOGRAPHY. On the other, stories about sensitive vampires. “Just as America’s young men are being given deeply erroneous ideas about sex by what they watch on the Web, so, too, are America’s young women receiving troubling misinformation about the male of the species from Twilight. These women are going to be shocked when the sensitive, emotionally available, poetry-writing boys of their dreams expect a bit more from a sleepover than dew-eyed gazes and chaste hugs. The young man, having been schooled in love online, will be expecting extreme bondage and a lesbian three-way.”
THE JIM GERAGHTY PRINCIPLE IN TUCSON: “But the Tucson Tea Party let county leaders know, they’re watching and are not afraid to let their voices be heard. A group of about 100 showed up at the supervisor’s meeting to speak at the Truth in Taxation public hearing.”
REVENGE OF THE “SHOE BOMBER.”
HOWARD KURTZ: Is Obama Losing His Personal Touch? Is it just me, or has the media narrative shifted over the last week or so?
KILLING TWO JOBS with one stone. Or email, whatever.
THE FLIP MINO HD: The video camera of choice for the Tea Party crowd? Bryan Preston writes:
Glenn, I thought you and your readers might be interested, I shot the Austin video entirely on a Flip mino-HD solid state camera. Those things are AWESOME, tiny size, great quality, it just plugs into a USB port for interfacing with your computer, and it was a snap to transcode the video so that I could cut it in Premiere Pro. It holds 60 mins of HD video, so I had plenty of space to shoot all I needed. For people who attend protests and other political events, the Flip is extremely useful and simple.
As you can see the video turned out well. I saw Dana Loesch of the St. Louis Tea Party on Greta van Susteren saying that they’re careful to have multiple videographers at their events, so that they can document misbehavior by others and refute charges of misbehavior on their own part. Not a bad idea. Probably best to have one really obvious video camera, and then one or more not-so-obvious ones that can record any hassling of the obvious one. . . .
And really, it’s amazing you can do this with something that costs under two hundred bucks and that fits in a shirt pocket.
TANNED, RESTED, AND READY: Debts paid, Hillary Clinton builds $3+ million campaign fund for …? Hmm. Plus, “Business friends of Hillary Rodham Clinton have purchased the web domain name HRC2012.”
BYRON YORK: New poll is bad, bad news for Obama, Democrats.
GREENHOUSE TREASON? Is the Obama Administration turning its back on nuclear power?
OF COURSE HE DOES: Dan Rather wants government-run news.
“CASH FOR CLUNKERS” RUNNING WITH TRUE GOVERNMENTAL EFFICIENCY:
Dealers reported problems with the government’s online system to get the transactions approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is running the program.
Scott Lambert, vice president of the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association, said he was “astounded” to learn at a meeting Tuesday representing about 150 Minnesota dealers that not one has had a deal approved.
“We had dealers representing 1,500 to 2,000 transactions,” he said. “We asked how many had a deal approved yet, and not one hand went up.”
Lambert said the government has created a program that’s “so big and cumbersome that it can’t find a way to accept anything. We’re sending in good, reliable deals.”
It’s nerve-racking for the dealers, he said, because they have given the customer $4,500 and now the dealers need to be reimbursed.
Don’t worry, though — I’m sure they’ll do a better job with your prostate.
UPDATE: Moe Lane is not surprised. “Note that the program started on July 1, they only published the actual rules Friday, and they’re still working out how to get the dealers their money. If you’re shrugging over that, consider this: what’s essentially happening here is that car dealerships are giving $4,500 interest-free, unguaranteed loans to the federal government… and the determination of whether or not those loans get paid off is more or less going to be at the discretion of mid-level bureaucrats at the NHTSA. Even if they do repay every loan, it’s apparently going to take time for the system to smooth out; it’s an open question whether it’ll straighten out before the official end of the program in November. And the car dealerships – the only producers of goods in this particular equation, and the ones that the government is ostensibly trying to help – get all the headaches.”
Producers can’t catch a break under this Administration.
SAVAGE NATION vs. Halfwit State.
COMMERCIAL SPACE COMPANIES STEP UP PRESSURE FOR SUPPORT. So what do you think — pork, or valuable infant-industry support?
CANADIANS ON THEIR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM: Paul Krugman gets an unexpected response.
NEW YORK TIMES: Taxing Face Lifts and Abortions to Pay for Health Reform. But not tummy tucks, surely. That would be inhuman.
TEA PARTIES IN OHIO on Saturday.
UPDATE: Justin Binik-Thomas writes:
I do have one update if I may:
The conservative groups in Ohio have banded together for a Statewide tea party on Saturday (list under “additional information”).
Theme: State Sovereignty
Location: Ohio Statehouse, Columbus OH
1. Judge Andrew Napolitano is the keynote speaker
2. Conservative groups from Akron, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Canton, Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Defiance, Findlay, Lancaster, Mansfield, Marietta, Marion, Marysville, Millersburg, Mount Vernon, Newark, Springfield, Ottawa, and Zanesville and associated metro areas have confirmed.
If anybody attends, please send pics, etc.
JENNIFER RUBIN: Congressional Reaction to the Crisis in Honduras.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN politicians’ flacks attack bloggers.
IN RESPONSE TO MY EARLIER POST ABOUT NON-LIBERTARIAN TRANSHUMANISM, reader Jason Bontrager writes:
What would they look like? They’d look a lot like Steve Stirling’s Draka. The superhuman Optimates who’d rule, for our own good of course, the rest of us mind-gelded Servus.
Eugenics + Genetic Engineering + New Soviet Man = Homo Drakensis.
And another reader sends this video. Which, in my opinion, isn’t even a worst-case scenario. . . .
ARRESTED: Bikini-wearing Carjacker. “Employees at the dealership weren’t convinced by her gun claims (according to police, the gun was actually a mobile phone), and took the opportunity to wrestle the bikini-clad woman to the ground and call the police. According to a police spokesman, Haley appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during her crimes.” Gee, go figure.
CAR LUST: Looking back at Automobile Magazine’s 1994 All-Stars. Most hold up pretty well.
HYBRID POWER comes to aviation.
SHOCKER: Canadian copyright collecting agency subverting open debate on copyright. No stranger than the Canadian Human Rights Commission having lots of Nazis in its employ . . . .
INSTAVISION: I talk with Asheville Tea Party organizer Erika Franzi about taking on her local congressman (Heath Shuler) and local media (the Asheville Citizen-Times) and about bringing Tea Party organization to a hippie town. She’s a mother of four and a blogger — is it just me, or are the blogger-moms the main organizing force in the Tea Party movement? She says it’s because she cares about her kids’ future.
Check out the Asheville Tea Party website. She’s meeting with the publisher of the Citizen Times tomorrow.
UPDATE: More protesting moms.
GRASSROOTS VERSUS ASTROTURF: Tea Party Overwhelms Obamacare Advocates in Fort Collins. This kind of thing just keeps happening . . . .
SOFTWARE that cares.