Archive for August, 2009

August 31, 2009

SMALL RETAILERS FEEL SHARPER PINCH. “Although the recession has been a struggle for all U.S. retailers, there is evidence that it has been especially difficult for the nation’s smaller, independent retailers. With Americans cutting back drastically on their spending, some stores have lost business as shoppers have turned to cheaper discount chains, while others have found that their customers have simply gone without the kind of discretionary items some small retailers sell.”

August 31, 2009

GERARD VAN DER LEUN: The Strong Horse vs. My Little Pony.

August 31, 2009

OBAMA ASKS FEDERAL WORKERS TO SACRIFICE — By 0.4 percent! “Citing the current economic recession — and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks eight years ago — President Obama says he will use emergency powers to cut the programmed across-the-board January increase in federal employees’ pay from 2.4 percent to 2.0 percent, according to a letter he sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday.” Given that lots of people in the private sector — and even in state and municipal goverments — are facing no raise at all, or actual pay cuts, I don’t think this will impress many folks out there.

UPDATE: A federal employee reader who asks that I not use his name writes: “Also note — that 2.0% is just the base increase. Once subjected to locality adjustments (all of them adjusted upward), that 2.0% becomes more like 3.5%. Last year the 2.9% increase in the general schedule ended up being in the neighborhood of a 4.2% increase for most working in the northeast (D.C included).”

August 31, 2009

ANN ALTHOUSE: “Oh, grotesque! So-called Kennedy seat. Who calls it that? I don’t. I hope you don’t.”

August 31, 2009

STEPHEN GREEN’S HAIR OF THE DOG: Don’t Google “Secretary of State” + “Angry” Without Safe Search On.

August 31, 2009

TRAILER PARK: Trailers for Whiteout, Ninja Assassin, and The Book of Eli.

August 31, 2009

BEYOND THE BIOPSY: A tiny monitor for cancer.

The reader who sent the link writes: “Do you think Obamacare will help or hinder the funding for similar projects?” I’m pretty sure the answer is “hinder.”

August 31, 2009

IT’S LIKE THEY THINK THEY’RE ROYALTY: Note: A Seat in Congress Isn’t a Lifetime Appointment. “So the government is a bunch of Nazis when you’re one of the people, and then when you win a position in the government, it’s the people who are the Nazis. Nazi see, Nazi do!”

August 31, 2009

DOES HAWAII HAVE A RACISM PROBLEM?

Celia Padron went on a Hawaiian vacation last year, lured by the prospect of beautiful beaches and friendly people. She, her husband and two teenage daughters enjoyed the black sand beach at Makena State Park on Maui. But a Hawaiian girl accosted her two teenage daughters, saying, “Go back to the mainland” and “Take your white ass off our beaches,” says Padron, a pediatric gastroenterologist in New Jersey.

When her husband, 68 at the time, stepped between the girls, three young Hawaiian men slammed him against a vehicle, cutting his ear, and choked and punched him, Padron says. Police officers persuaded the Padrons not to press charges, saying it would be expensive for them to return for court appearances and a Hawaiian judge would side with the Hawaiian assailants, the doctor contends. . . . With no known hate groups and a much-trumpeted spirit of aloha or tolerance, few people outside Hawaii realize the state has a racism issue. One reason: The tourism-dependent state barely acknowledges hate crimes. That makes it hard to know how often racial violence is directed at Caucasians, who comprise about 25% of the ethnically diverse state’s 1.3 million residents. Those who identify themselves as Native Hawaiian — most residents are of mixed race — account for nearly 20%.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has a full report at the link. Interesting to see the SPLC taking notice.

UPDATE: Reader Bob Gailey writes:

Thanks to Clinton coming here and apologizing for the U.S.A overthrowing the Hawaiian Kingdom (there is another side to that story if one cares to look) and the subsequent movement by Senators Akaka and Inouye to push for Hawaiians getting their own government thanks to the Akaka Bill, it’s not surprisng the natives are getting bolder.

The story is also correct about the law enforcement over here. The judges and many on the police force are related to many of those who create problems here so when they were told it would be useless to press charges, they were correct. Again, thanks to Clinton for opening Pandora’s Box and Akaka keeping it from closing with the racist Akaka Bill…Hawaii will never be the same.

Another reader emails:

You betcha. The University of Hawaii had a ton of stuff posted on how Hawaii was for Natives and how non-natives should not have voting rights when I visited last year to lecture. I was warned by some freinds that lived there to be careful outside the cities and if I got into problems with a native, not to expect the police to take my side. There are lots of native only area, from what I was told, and despite the fact they are legally open to all, its not in reality. It was kinda like being a Christian in Saudi Arabia again. There is a strong secessionist movement that is very anti-white and wants the return of the old royality.

See what happens when the public schools stop pushing integration and instead push diversity. The SW next?

And SayUncle writes: “I spent my formative years there. Check out Kill Haole Day. Haole = derogatory term for whites.”

I’ve never vacationed in Hawaii — the Caribbean is closer and cheaper — but this doesn’t make me want to go anytime soon . . . .

August 31, 2009

THE FUTURE OF ENERGY: Solar panels built into roads?

August 31, 2009

GOVERNMENTS USING more political Internet filters. Luckily, that could never happen here.

August 31, 2009

A LIST OF fellowships for aspiring law professors.

August 31, 2009

MARKDOWNS ON XBOX 360 and Playstation 3.

August 31, 2009

DELL NON-HELL (CONT’D): Following up on my post from the other day, reader Bruce Hamilton emails:

Thought I’d give you another good non-hell story about Dell. My brother’s wife’s Dell had a failing hard drive. I’m the families tech support, so I braced myself for multiple phone calls from what to rescue from the drive (it was dying, but not dead yet), to how to how to install the new drive and reload Vista. The computer was still under warranty, so the tech support guy in India mailed her a new drive with no fuss (!). That’s a surprise because companies typically demand it be completely broken first. Dell’s tech support in India then gave her a call (!) (same guy!) to let her know the new drive was on the way. When it did the next day, they called her again (!) to ask if she needed help installing it! They didn’t know that I had already told her how to hook it up. Well, lo and behold, the drive already contained a complete copy of Vista and all the drivers. All she had to do was turn it on and it started installing itself! What great service!

Since I don’t have a web site, I thought I’d write them some email of praise for their great tech support and thoughtful pre-loading of Vista and drivers on the replacement hard drive, but I wasn’t able to do so. Their one failing is to supply an email address that you don’t need a computer number and service number to write to. Spent 20 minutes on the site looking for one… Oh well, I guess that’s one failure we can live with.

Maybe somebody there will see this.

UPDATE: And they did: Dell’s Richard Binhammer wrote to say thanks for the feedback. On the other hand, a lot of people wrote in with bad stories about Dell, most of them very lengthy. But here’s a short one from reader Stu Wagner: “I won’t waste your time with the details, but I bought a high-end desktop from Dell and spent approx. 20 hours on the phone trying to fix it over a 10-day period (long-distance to India), never got it fixed and they were out of ideas, told them to come and get it, I was done. It took them three months to pick up a $3000 desktop. I now have a MacPro and have been very happy with it.”

August 31, 2009

AUTOBLOG: GM using bankruptcy to shirk responsibility for clunker mercury switches? “The Mercury Policy Project issued a press release earlier this week saying that GM ‘has reneged on a commitment to safely discard those switches so they don’t pollute our air and water’ by not funding ELVS since bankruptcy. This means that ELVS doesn’t have enough money to dismantle and dispose of the hundreds of pounds of mercury in the clunkers, 54 percent of which are GM vehicles.” It hasn’t reneged — it’s just dumped that commitment on a company that doesn’t have the money to do anything.

August 31, 2009

RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE in Malaysia.

August 31, 2009

BIZARRE, toilet-themed restaurant.

August 31, 2009

PRECISION VOTING: A new dispatch from Michael Yon. Plus this: “The helicopter shortage is causing crippling delays in troop movements.”

August 31, 2009

BEWARE THE shrinking polar bear.

August 31, 2009

IN THE MAIL: From Harvey Silverglate, Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent. Some years ago I started on a project entitled Due Process When Everything Is A Crime. The gist was that since criminal law has expanded to the point where everyone is some sort of a felon, the real action is in the area of prosecutorial discretion — in choosing whom to prosecute from among this population-wide mass of the guilty — where, in fact, due process basically doesn’t apply. That suggests that maybe there should be some due-process limits on decisions to prosecute. I never got to it (my scholarly rangetop has so many back burners it must be a half-mile deep) but the issue continues to deserve attention

Along these lines, you might also see Gene Healy’s Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything, and Angela Davis’s (no, not that Angela Davis) Arbitrary Justice: The Power of the American Prosecutor. It’s an issue that’s worthy of a lot of attention.

August 31, 2009

WILL OBAMA cut out on Afghanistan?

August 31, 2009

BUFFALO NEWS: Rangel Should Resign. “Charlie Rangel always has been an entertaining congressman. And not to damn him with faint praise, an effective one, too. But the New York City representative, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is having a problem with his numbers as they relate to the truth. He now can be neither entertaining nor effective. He needs to go. If he won’t, Speaker Nancy Pelosi needs to push him.”

Wall Street Journal: The Absent-Minded Chairman. “When normal people happen to ‘find’ their own money, it might mean a twenty left in a winter coat, or discovering change beneath the sofa cushions. But if you’re Charlie Rangel, it means doubling your net worth.”

Plus, Jail Time For Rangel?

August 31, 2009

RHUT ROH: Behold the fantasy Facebook ghost town! The New York Times meets those meddling kids. “In short a New York Times article, an article from The Newspaper of Record, is based entirely on a reporter talking to her chums.” Shocking, that.

August 31, 2009

HARRY REID: Kennedy’s death “going to help us” on health care.

I’d shout out “who killed the Kennedys?” but, well, you know. . . ..

August 31, 2009

GET A GRIP.

August 31, 2009

EDWARD VOORHEES: So how’s the Federal Reserve doing? “In other words, the value of the dollar remained extremely stable for 150 years, the Fed was created in order to ‘stabilize the value of the dollar,’ and the result has been a 95% devaluation of the dollar in less than 100 years following its creation.”

August 31, 2009

BRUCE BARTLETT ON THE REPUBLICANS: “I will know that the party is on the path to recovery when someone in a position of influence reaches out to former Republicans like me.”

August 31, 2009

PHIL BOWERMASTER: The Coupon Queen, the Safety Net, and the Future of Free.

August 31, 2009

POLITICO: Chris Dodd Says Obama Needs to “Step Up.”

August 31, 2009

“THAT WAS A GOOD ONE.”

August 31, 2009

CAROL SHEA-PORTER DOESN’T KNOW HOW MANY CZARS THERE ARE. Well, it’s hard to keep track. Maybe this will help.

August 31, 2009

HMM: Obamacare Fuels Surge of Grassroots Bucks for GOPers.

August 31, 2009

AMERICAN ROYALTY: A tale of two newspapers. “Glenn Greenwald is right. This nation might as well embrace royalty and be done with it. The only part I don’t get, is how he can get snarky about the fact that Jenna Bush just got a part-time TV gig, without once mentioning the colossal royal funeral we just witnessed or the subsequent succession struggle now starting to play out in the party of the little guy. Kennedy succession tea-leaf reading follows.”

August 31, 2009

APPARENTLY, HIS LAST WORDS WERE TWEETED: R.I.P., DJ AM.

August 31, 2009

ANDREW BREITBART: The End to Two Grim Fairy Tales.

August 31, 2009

IS “TEABAGGER” THE NEW “N-WORD?” No, but when I hear someone use it, I know that nothing they say on the subject is worth taking seriously. Either they’re deliberately using it as a sexual slur, or they’re too ignorant to be worth listening to.

UPDATE: Okay, there was supposed to be a link in this, but there’s not and now I can’t find the post it was supposed to link to. D’oh.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ah, here it is.

August 31, 2009

THINGS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED THIS WEEKEND: Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter has constituent arrested for disrespect.

Thoughts on the Singularity.

Next California Governor: Tom Campbell?

Poll: 57% would replace entire Congress.

Feds looking forward to de-suburbanizing America?

Dems moving to cover for Charlie Rangel. But their patience is running out.

1,000 show up for Tucson Tea Party town hall meeting.

Heath Shuler says healthcare bill should start over from scratch.

Dog abuse that would chill Michael Vick’s blood. Or William Shatner’s.

Stephen Green visits Bikini Bottom.

August 31, 2009

MICKEY KAUS: “Is Christopher Hitchens really offering up the most ancient, cliched rationalization of infidelity in defense of his friends, Elizabeth and John Edwards?”

August 31, 2009

WSJ: Raft of Deals for Failed Banks Puts U.S. on Hook for Billions.

August 31, 2009

TED KENNEDY SPENT HIS LIFE LOOKING OUT FOR OTHERS? Uh huh. That’s the ticket.

August 31, 2009

YOUR MORNING ROUNDUP of gloomy economic news.

August 31, 2009

THE TALIBAN PUSH BACK: Noah Shachtman is reporting from Afghanistan.

Plus, A close fight and a couple of miracles.

August 31, 2009

THE LATEST RASMUSSEN RESULTS: “If Barack Obama hoped to gain some breathing room with his vacation, or perhaps even pick up some sympathetic vibe for eulogizing Ted Kennedy on Friday, Rasmussen’s latest poll shows that nothing has changed in the direction of his approval ratings. With one of the three days in Rasmussen’s presidential tracking poll after the wake, Obama has hit his highest level of strong disapproval yet, at 42%. . . . The polling on ObamaCare has frozen at 53%-43% disapproval. That’s unchanged from two weeks ago, which indicates that the big push from unions, AARP, and other advocates in the wake of the town-hall meetings has had little effect. They may have arrested the free-fall, but they’re not changing any minds.”

August 30, 2009

A ONE-WOMAN STREETCORNER PROTEST AGAINST OBAMACARE gets a lot bigger.

August 30, 2009

L.A. FIRES: Jerry Pournelle had to cancel a book-signing. Plus, a threat to Mt. Wilson. Here’s a link to the Mt. Wilson Webcam. And below is what it’s showing at the moment.

towercam

August 30, 2009

READER PAUL HARPER WRITES:

I strongly recommend that you promote the hell out of the Shea-Porter video because nothing says ‘you don’t count’ like watching a hale, but older, tax-payer thrown out of a meeting by his elected rep and the cops he pays while a smirking SEIU thug smirks for the camera.

Nice people? Not so much.

Cops and firefighters are being laid-off.

Get your hands off me? Indeed.

Okay, here it is again.

August 30, 2009

MAUREEN CALLAHAN: Kennedy’s Free Pass With Women: Why Did So Many Dismiss His Crimes?

As I said before, I think it’s all about abortion. It was that way with Clinton, too. Just ask Nina Burleigh.

August 30, 2009

BOSTON GLOBE: Now That Ted’s Out of the Way, Hurry Up With That Cape Cod Wind Farm.

I like Greenpeace’s take.

August 30, 2009

MOE LANE: Meet Mike Halfacre (R Cand, NJ-12).

August 30, 2009

NOTHING SAYS “THIS ISN’T AN ASTROTURF PRO-OBAMACARE RALLY” like a preprinted ACORN sign!

August 30, 2009

DOUBLE-REVERSE-WACK-A-MOLE.

August 30, 2009

MICHAEL SILENCE: Harry Reid losing it.

August 30, 2009

A BUNCH OF interesting food links.

August 30, 2009

GORDON SMITH: torture and corporate social responsibility.

August 30, 2009

SUPERMAN SAYS: Hop On The Welfare Wagon!

August 30, 2009

HOT AIR: Video: Shea-Porter has constituent arrested at town-hall forum. “This is a curious re-election strategy, especially for a Representative who made her name by bird-dogging her former Congressman at his town-hall forums. Consistency isn’t Carol Shea-Porter’s strong suit, apparently, as she demonstrates in this clip from the meeting she finally held with constituents after dodging them for most of the month. When one of her constituents challenges the presence of union enforcers in the crowd, Shea-Porter asks for police intervention.”

They can dish it out, but they can’t take it. And until now, they haven’t had to . . . .

August 30, 2009

UH OH: Negative job growth for 2009-2010, says OMB.

August 30, 2009

THE EQUUS: Hyundai’s new Lexus-competitor luxury sedan. I was afraid it would make me want to scratch my eyes out, but it actually doesn’t look bad at all.

UPDATE: Denver reader Matt Dupree writes: “Speak of the devil, I saw the Equus doing high altitude testing on Mt Evans today. It’s a much better looking car in person than those pictures suggest. It is a very substantial car. Toyota should be a little worried, because these seem to be great cars for a good price that carry gobs of ‘luxury’ for buyers who don’t care about performance; in other words, Lexus customers.”

August 30, 2009

2004: Ted Kennedy to Spanish Ambassador: Thanks for supporting the Iraq War.

August 30, 2009

THEY SAID MCCAIN WASN’T HIP TO TECHNOLOGY, but at least he didn’t leave his server open to spammers.

August 30, 2009

POPULAR SCIENCE: Singularity University Grads Plan to Help a Billion People in 10 Years.

I’ve been getting a lot of singularity-related email lately, and it’s reminded me of two quotes from Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End, describing the state of the world in 2025. First the upside: An Army of Davids success in fighting disease:

The first bit of dumb luck came disguised as a public embarrassment for the European Center for Defense Against Disease. On July 23, schoolchildren in Algiers claimed that a respiratory epidemic was spreading across the Mediterranean. The claim was based on a clever analysis of antibody data from the mass-transit systems of Algiers and Naples.

CDD had no immediate comment, but in less than three hours, public-health hobbyists reported similar results in other cities, complete with contagion maps. The epidemic was at least one week old, probably originating in Central Africa, beyond the scope of hobbyist surveillance.

But there’s a downside:

Every year, the civilized world grew and the reach of lawlessness and poverty shrank. Many people thought that the world was becoming a safer place . . . Nowadays Grand Terror technology was so cheap that cults and criminal gangs could acquire it. . . . In all innocence, the marvelous creativity of humankind continued to generate unintended consequences. There were a dozen research trends that could ultimately put world-killer weapons in the hands of anyone having a bad hair day.

That’s looking like our future, all right.

August 30, 2009

GEORGE WILL: After the Governator, the Calculator. “Because California’s calamitous present — creative accounting as a rickety bridge to the next budget crisis, coming soon — might prefigure the nation’s future, next year’s gubernatorial election is portentous. An especially intriguing candidate in a colorful field is Tom Campbell. . . . If Campbell is nominated, he can win, but if Californians were sufficiently rational to nominate him, their state would not be shambolic.” Well, the prospect of hanging concentrates the mind wonderfully.

August 30, 2009

MARK STEYN on airbrushing.

August 30, 2009

ANN ALTHOUSE: “Come on, Andrew! Raise your game!”

August 30, 2009

REMEMBERING THE FORD PROBE, in a Star Trek kind of way. I had the Mazda MX-6, which was the Mazda version of the same platform, with the V6 engine. I liked it; though the 150hp would seem underpowered today, it felt smooth and powerful then, and the interior was very fancy for the time.

August 30, 2009

ORSON SCOTT CARD, WHOLE FOODS, and the Shadow Complex boycott.

August 30, 2009

A PICTURE OF A SINGLE MOLECULE.

August 30, 2009

POLL: 57% Would Replace Entire Congress. “If they could vote to keep or replace the entire Congress, just 25% of voters nationwide would keep the current batch of legislators. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% would vote to replace the entire Congress and start all over again. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure how they would vote.”

August 30, 2009

IN THE MAIL: From James Anderson and Mark Sebanc, The Stoneholding: Legacy of the Stone Harp.

August 30, 2009

NEW GOVERNMENT POLICY: De-suburbanization?

UPDATE: The comments are unsympathetic, to say the least. And reader Rich Egan writes: “It is so much easier for the people running things to put us all together and besides that leaves so much more room for the estates of the superior people .”

Funny you say that, Rich. Robert Breugmann’s book, Sprawl: A Compact History, notes that rich people always have places outside the city, and always complain when the working folk start moving out there, too. I had a column on the subject here.

August 30, 2009

ALTHOUSE ON CLIFT ON why women continued to support Ted Kennedy despite Chappaquiddick, the Palm Beach rape case, etc. “Face it. Liberal politics always came first for the so-called women’s groups, which is why they are not really women’s groups at all.” I think it’s abortion. Abortion gets you a pass as long as you’re useful if you’re a Republican (see., e.g., Robert Packwood), and as long as you live if you’re a Democrat. But maybe we’re saying the same thing here.

August 30, 2009

NEGATIVE STIMULUS. Reader C.J. Burch writes: “You know Muir is pretty much beating Gary Trudeau’s eyes out at Trudeau’s own game. Heh.” Indeed. But then, Muir is mocking the powerful, while Trudeau is covering for them. . . .

August 30, 2009

STIMULUS! AP IMPACT: Secret process benefits pet projects. “Despite Obama’s promises that the stimulus plan would be transparent and free of politics, the government is handing out $720 million for border upgrades under a process that is both secretive and susceptible to political influence. This allowed low-priority projects such as the checkpoint in Whitetail, Mont., to skip ahead of more pressing concerns, according to documents revealed to The Associated Press.” Say it ain’t so. More, with references, from Omri Ceren.

August 30, 2009

CHARLES RANGEL UPDATE: Rangle Untangle: DC Dems Move to Save Him. “House Democrats are willing to rally around Rep. Charles Rangel in his latest spate of tax missteps — but only as long as no more embarrassing revelations come to light, sources told The Post. The head of the powerful Ways and Means Committee last week amended six years’ worth of financial disclosure forms and revealed he’d earned $1.3 million in previously unreported income. That’s on top of ongoing House Ethics Committee probes into four other areas of Rangel’s financial past — including failure to properly report income taxes on a Caribbean villa he owns. ” Of course, there’s also a risk of criminal prosecution, but I suppose he feels pretty safe with Eric Holder at Justice, who’s already shown considerable willingness to let politics influence decisions on who to prosecute.

Really, this isn’t a bug, but a feature: The more vulnerable he becomes, the easier it is for the Democratic leadership to keep him in line.

August 30, 2009

NPR: “Tea Party Express” Takes Protests Cross-Country.

UPDATE: A report from the Rush Holt town hall in New Jersey.

August 30, 2009

TOWN HALL SPEAKER THREATENED — IN CANADA: Copyright Town Hall security threatened MP, students with ejection for handing out flyers.

At last week’s Canadian copyright town hall meeting in Toronto — the one where the speaker-roster was overwhelming stacked with representatives from giant entertainment conglomerates — security guards prevented the Canadian Federation of Students from distributing literature by the doors that advocated for more liberal copyright rules. They also stopped a Member of Parliament from one of the opposition parties from distributing flyers.

Gosh, it sounds like healthcare here in the States. Nobody wants to hear what the people think, do they?

UPDATE: And look at what’s going in in New Hampshire. “In four short years Carol Shea-Porter has evolved from a rabble-rousing, town hall disrupting anti-war activist who once had to be forcibly removed from a President George Bush event in Portsmouth to a Member of Congress who instructed armed security guards to remove a frustrated voter from her own town hall event in Manchester on Saturday.”

August 30, 2009

THE PC WORLD FIGHTS BACK AGAINST STEREOTYPING BY THE MAC CROWD. As someone who’s bi-computeral, I can say that the difference is exaggerated. The Macs crash a lot more than advertised — especially when browing the Web, where performance seems to have gotten worse with software updates — while the PCs quickly get expensive as you add features.

August 30, 2009

BALTIMORE SUN: Maybe President Obama should see more C-SPAN. “President Barack Obama has lately taken to depicting the press, especially the cable TV part of it, as a troublesome child. According to him, cable TV never met a “ruckus” it didn’t like, and from time to time, the pundits in the press lose control altogether and get all ‘wee wee’d up.’ . . . I hope someone shows the president at least part of C-SPAN’s coverage Tuesday night. Not just for all the insight into the passions, anger and competing interests on health care that the cameras captured. But also for the way in which C-SPAN showed how balanced, informative, contextualized and even-handed cable TV coverage can sometimes be. Maybe the next time the president dons his media critic cap and speaks about the press and cable TV it will be with some wisdom and nuance — as well as with distinctions made among channels.”

August 30, 2009

THE BROKEN-TOY EXPERIMENT.

August 30, 2009

MEDICAL TOURISM:

In our survey of major U.S. employers, we found very little interest in medical tourism.

But there is a great deal of interest in it among the major media – the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and today, Forbes (via the Associated Press) have done major stories on it.

But here’s something curious.

All three stories have featured the exact same medical tourist – Ben Schreiner of Camden, South Carolina.

Sounds like journalists, at least, are bending the cost curve . . . .

August 30, 2009

LOCKERBIE BOMBER “set free for oil.” Also, they don’t have to worry about bombings and beheadings from the people who side with the victims.

August 29, 2009

REPORT FROM RALEIGH: Busing in pro-Obamacare marchers. “Oh, and there were many, many identical pre-printed signs.”

UPDATE: Report: Organizing for America Stages Show in Denver. An extensive account, with photos. Who’s paying for the buses?

August 29, 2009

MOE LANE: Where’s the GOP’s Ted Kennedy?

August 29, 2009

MORE DOG ABUSE. I still prefer this, though.

UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch writes: “Oh the humanity! Really, could Michael Vick have done worse?” Not where their dignity is concerned, anyway . . . .

August 29, 2009

STEPHEN GREEN, THE WEEK IN BLOGS: Bikini Bottom Problems & The Huffington Post’s Most Offensive Question Ever Asked.


Picture 15

August 29, 2009

THE TUCSON TEA PARTY’S RECESS RALLY: Robert Mayer sends this link to a blog report, and this collection of pictures and videos.

KOLD-TV reported a thousand there. Robert emails:

The townhall went very successfully, with a local news channel reporting 1000 in attendance.

However, one thug showed up at the very beginning and elbowed one of our attendees in the face. . . . The news coverage between the two stations were worlds apart. KOLD 13 gave us great, on topic coverage while KGUN9 focused on the imbecile who disrupted the event. It just goes to show that the mobsters are not the Tea Partiers, but the thugs who are trying to cram through the government takeover of health care.

It does seem that way.

August 29, 2009

POLL: 62% Like Tax Cuts Over More Government Spending. “The new findings mark a nine-point increase in support for taxpayers as the best judges of spending since January.”

August 29, 2009

WALL STREET JOURNAL: The best 5 novels on political conspiracy.

August 29, 2009

THE TOP TEN BOOKS that don’t get enough respect.

August 29, 2009

WAPO Vindicates Cheney. Apparently harsh interrogation / torture turns out to have worked. “How unusual it is for the media to disillusion us about that and force the moralists to get by on moral ideals alone!”

Kinda makes you wonder what’s in the documents the Administration won’t release.

UPDATE: Marc Ambinder: Does It Matter Whether Torture Worked? No, not unless your position is based on it working or not.

August 29, 2009

WI-FI PROSTITUTES: “You gave yourself a virus, by the way.”

August 29, 2009

HEATH SHULER ON HEALTH CARE: Start Over From Scratch.

UPDATE: GOP senator signals fading hopes on health care. “A leading GOP negotiator on health care struck a further blow to fading chances of a bipartisan compromise by saying Democratic proposals would restrict medical choices and make the country’s ‘finances sicker without saving you money.’ The criticism from Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., echoed that of many opponents of the Democratic plans under consideration in Congress. But Enzi’s judgment was especially noteworthy because he is one of only three Republicans who have been willing to consider a bipartisan bill in the Senate.”

August 29, 2009

YEAH, GOOD CHANCE I’LL WIND UP with this in my stocking.

August 29, 2009

DAVID HARSANYI: Forget Death Panels, let’s talk Circumcision Panels.

Here’s the problem: Why is the CDC launching campaigns to “universally” promote a medical procedure? If you’re an adult (and nuts) or a parent, no one stands in your way of having a bris. Today 79 percent of men are circumcised already, and even if 100 percent were, the effect on the collective health of the nation would be negligible. If this is the standard, where does it stop?

And what would a proactive CDC mean if government operated health insurance? No, I don’t believe Washington would deploy a phalanx of grinning, twisted doctors to perform coerced circumcisions. But when the CDC dispenses medical advice of the “universal” brand, it’s difficult to accept that a government-run public insurance outfit wouldn’t heed advice and act accordingly.

What if the CDC, through meticulous study, were to realize that circumcision is an entirely worthless procedure? Why would “we” waste $400 a pop? Would the CDC campaign to “universally remove” the operation from hospitals? Today, incidentally, government-run Medicaid doesn’t pay for the procedure in 16 states. Most private insurers, on the other hand, do.

Though dismissed by public-option proponents, this is an example of how government persuasion can influence our decisions—first by nudging and then, inevitably, by rationing.

Indeed.

August 29, 2009

THE OFFICIAL Bacon Photo Contest. With bacon!

August 29, 2009

BITES FROM THE APPLE: A roundup of news from the Apple empire. Augmented reality, and more.

August 29, 2009

HOMELAND SECURITY: Ex-TSA screener gets 90 days. “A 30-year-old former Transportation Security Administration worker has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years of probation for stealing jewelry, gift cards and other items from tourists’ luggage as they were screened at Kahului Airport.” Seems like a rather light sentence for what was, after all, a breach of security as well as a crime.

August 29, 2009

AN AMUSING COMMERCIAL for the L.A. County Fair.

August 29, 2009

IN THE COMMENTS TO THIS VOLOKH POST on the right to bear arms and felons is a comment raising an important point:

I would start by pointing out that over the years, the legal system has “inflated” the value of a felony conviction, both by not adjusting the value of thefts for inflation over decades since these amounts were cast in statute, as well as multiplying the number of crimes that are felonies. The most recent example comes from, of all places, the Consumer Product Safety Commission where it is now a federal crime to sell a recalled product.

In my own state of Missouri, any theft over $500 is a felony. We can thank the Federal Reserve’s printing press that this is not nearly as much wealth as it used to be. How many golf club sets cost more than this?

In particular, we have downright multiplied the non-violent crimes that are felonies. A lot are more technical in nature. Having a blanket rule that felons lose their RKBA, in my opinion, does not serve justice at all.

Indeed, having felons lose any of their civil rights over nonviolent “regulatory” felonies strikes me as unjust, and I’ve meant for years to look at whether it might violate due process. At any rate, I believe the distinction between malum prohibitum and malum in se should come into play here. Here’s a related comment.

August 29, 2009

aspenpitkin

STIMULUS! A reader emails:

Who’s paying for upgrades to Aspen’s Pitkin County airport, where private jet usage dwarfs commercial jet operations? The taxpayer, of course.

The private jet tails made a nice backdrop for the shiny new “your tax dollars at work” sign at the airport this morning.

Thank goodness the Democrats are in power, or the fat cats would really be making out like bandits.