August 29, 2009
HOW TO HAVE SEX IN A SNUGGIE. Wouldn’t your chances of having sex be drastically increased by avoiding Snuggies?
HOW TO HAVE SEX IN A SNUGGIE. Wouldn’t your chances of having sex be drastically increased by avoiding Snuggies?
THE IMPORTANCE OF DEATH RAYS FROM SPACE: “Although 30 light-years is small on a galactic scale, Fields thinks it likely that Earth has been caught in a supernova ‘kill radius’ as many as a dozen times over our 4.5-billion-year history.” I can live with those odds, I guess, but it would be better if we were widely dispersed throughout the galaxy.
Related (well, sort of): Make Plans Now: Earth to Be Destroyed in 2049.
HOW TO make a Marshmallow Gun.
IN THE MAIL — well, in the sense that they’ve put it in the mail, anyway — is Michael Leahy’s new book, Rules for Conservative Radicals. He urges combining the tactics of Saul Alinsky with the morals of Martin Luther King. Via email, he says he favors an “Army of Pauls” as a less-violent-sounding take on an Army of Davids. I’ll be interested to read that, though I’m temperamentally inclined to view giant-slaying favorably . . .
DOUG MATACONIS: Yes, American Middle Class, Barack Obama Will Raise Your Taxes. “Much like George H.W. Bush, Barack Obama could come to regret his ‘Read My Lips’ Moment.”
SIGN OUTSIDE THE BONEFISH GRILL. I assume this reflects corporate policy, but I couldn’t find anything on their website.
IS THE STOCK MARKET RALLY TOPPING OUT? My answer is, as usual, who knows? But this bit interested me:
However, traders have been concerned that on several days in the past week, market volume was dominated by heavy trading in low quality financial names, like Fannie Mae [FNM 2.04 0.12 (+6.25%) ], Citigroup [C 5.23 0.18 (+3.56%) ], AIG [AIG 50.23 2.39 (+5%) ] and Freddie Mac [FRE 2.40 0.16 (+7.14%) ]. “If you took the top traded stocks and gave them normal volumes, overall volume would be down 30 percent,” said Hogan.
So much of the “rally” is in junk-financial stocks for companies that are, basically, controlled by the government? I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it’s hard to see it as anything promising.
TWO AMERICAS: “There’s the America where Los Angeles is in the middle of an ongoing drought, and is thus subject to strong water restrictions – which are being pushed by its mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa (D). Then there’s the America where the mayor of Los Angeles was – illegally – watering his own lawn while everybody else’s was dying. And how does he explain this discrepancy? Heavy sleeping. No, really, that’s what Villaraigosa said.”
FOLLOWING UP ON HIS STAR WARS POST: John Scalzi’s Guide to Epic SciFi Design FAILs – Star Trek Edition.
But nothing beats this. I think it’s the halfhearted magic-marker on the side that really takes it to the next level.
CHARLES RANGEL UPDATE: CHARLIE’S MORTGAGE BARES HOME UNTRUTH.
Rep. Charles Rangel claimed on mortgage papers that a Harlem brownstone was his principal residence — even though he was living elsewhere at the time, The Post has learned. When the Democrat — who is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee — took out the mortgage in 1990, he said the property on West 132nd Street was his “principal residence,” records show.
But Rangel has been living since the 1970s in Harlem’s Lenox Terrace apartment complex, where he improperly amassed four rent-stabilized properties.
State law requires that rent-regulated apartments be the tenant’s residence. “I will reside in the Property (on 132nd Street) for at least six (6) months of every calendar year,” read Rangel’s mortgage contract with Citibank, which is on file with the city.
The terms of the $60,000 loan appear to be normal for that time, but lenders say claiming principal residency when you live elsewhere is a serious breach.
So, mortgage fraud?
Plus, Charlie’s angles: Rep. Rangel’s contempt for the rules needs to be reined in. “There are two sets of rules for Rep. Charlie Rangel – the ones he writes for everyone else and the ones that are, or were, beneath his compliance, powerful personage that he is. Over the past year, Rangel’s cavalier disregard of tax and ethics regulations became increasingly evident as his personal affairs were brought to light. There was a harrumphing alibi for each lapse, but the excuses became ever lamer as they mounted.”
IT’S TOUGH BEING A ROLE MODEL: “If only every blogger could link to stories the way Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit does. The libertarian blogger, with his hundreds of thousands of readers, offers up dozens of daily snippets that typically consist of a single sentence and a link. Sometimes it’s a headline or even a single word — ‘Heh.’ As a result, those being linked by Reynolds report above-average click-through rates to their content.”
Sending people elsewhere has been my philosophy since the beginning. They tend to come back. Meanwhile, I’ll note that the problem goes both ways — newspapers often lift story ideas from blogs without any credit.
THIS SITE CLOSED FOR YOUR PROTECTION.
TEST-DRIVING THE Power Wheels Mustang for kids. I would have liked an electric car when I was a kid. We got the Insta-Daughter a Barbie Jeep when she was 3, and it went over very well. When she outgrew it, we gave it to a nephew, whose dad converted it to an “Army Jeep” with a can of olive-drab spraypaint. I don’t know what ever happened to it after that, but it certainly held up well.
TIM NOAH: A CIA SWITCHEROO? “I spent two days trying to get an answer out of the Justice Department, expecting at any moment to be told that of course this was a clerical error and of course the Obama administration wouldn’t try to pull a fast one, especially given the near-certainty that it would be found out. But nobody was willing to discuss the matter at all. Finally, I got referred to the CIA, where Little finally said, in an e-mail, the following: ‘The documents that the former Vice President requested are being processed in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act.’ In other words … the CIA hasn’t released the documents Cheney requested. Or, rather, it released one but not the other.”
MORE ON Snow Leopard, Macs, and Malware.
TRAVELING IN EUROPE, Roger Simon writes that he finds Al Jazeera better than CNN. Damning, but not surprising. “Al Jazeera was clearly better, more honest, more informative and more entertaining than CNN International or the BBC. And kinder to the US. In fact, it wasn’t even close. Also, since much of the news they reported was coming from the Middle East, they seemed better informed about such things as the death of the Iraqi Shiite leader Hakim (they referred to Saddam Hussein flatly as a fascist, something you rarely hear on CNN) and the Al Qaeda suicide bombing in Saudi Arabia (they had nothing but withering contempt for Al Qaeda – no pussy-footing ‘insurgent’ rhetoric for them).”
JOKING ABOUT CHAPPAQUIDDICK: Like Ted Kennedy did. “All the funniest comedians wear neck braces.”
BALDILOCKS: What the sowers of racial discord have wrought.
Speaking of racial discord: Memo about a ‘black agenda’ in mayor’s race roils Atlanta. “It’s not hard to imagine the outcry that would have erupted had any group of conservatives proposed a ‘white agenda.’ Still, the memo, which argues that the African-American community should rally around a single black candidate to ensure that an African-American prevails, has caused a tremor in a city that prides itself on being ‘too busy to hate.’”
And more racial-discord-sowing here. Sigh. I remember when it was supposed to be about color-blindness and fairness. Now it’s about something very different.
THE ABSENT-MINDED CHAIRMAN: Charlie Rangel wins the personal lottery. “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.”
IT’S A RECESSION WHEN THEY CAN’T SELL DIAMONDS. It’s a depression when they have to have fire sales on cubic zirconia.
RON ROSENBAUM: Fellow liberals, we’ve been rope-a-doped by Sarah Palin. “They fell into a trap because all too many were blinded by their class-conscious, snobbish disdain for Palin, who, whatever else you think of her, is one cagey operator.” Considering what she accomplished using nothing but a Facebook page (!) I guess she’d have to be.
SAY, MAYBE THERE WAS SOMETHING TO ALL THAT “AXIS OF EVIL” TALK: UAE Seizes North Korean Weapons Shipment to Iran. “The United Arab Emirates has seized a ship carrying North Korean-manufactured munitions, detonators, explosives and rocket-propelled grenades bound for Iran in violation of United Nations sanctions, diplomats said. . . . Iran is under three sets of UN sanctions for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a process to isolate a uranium isotope needed to generate fuel for a nuclear power reactor or, in higher concentrations, to make a weapon.”
STACY MCCAIN: “Good God! I remember when Matt Cooper used to be a journalist! Now he’s doing some kind of pathetic Twitter haiku?” I remember when, instead of “journalists,” we had reporters, who actually reported things.
MOE LANE: Carol Shea-Porter has the political instincts of a tasered marmoset. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but . . . yeah.
UPDATE: More Town-Hall theatrics.
BALANCING family time and social media.
ANN BARTOW: “I don’t understand PETA at all.”
JESSE WALKER: In Defense of Quentin Tarantino.
GERARD VAN DER LEUN: Is It Too Soon?
INDEED: “Observing the mental performance of stoner college roommates convinced me that regular marijuana usage is a bad idea. ‘Oh wow, I forgot to go to class’ and ‘Oh wow, I forgot I was supposed to meet [name-of-some-hot-babe].’ Heavy pot smoking is the road to loserdom.”
TAX FOR CLUNKERS: TaxProf is on the story.
RON BAILEY: Ezra Klein’s Confusion Over “Rationing.”
SOME STAR TREK-INSPIRED ANIMAL ABUSE. Warning: Photo is not for those with weak constitutions.
UPDATE: Reader Bill Lux writes: “Another easter egg! ‘Weak constitutions’. ‘Cause the Enterprise is a Constitution-class vessel. Yes? Yes? Maybe?” Got it in one, Bill. Though this’ll probably just cause Stacy McCain to call me a geek again. Like that’s news.
TAXES ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE (CONT’D): OOPS! CHARLIE FORGOT THIS $1M HOUSE.
RICH GALEN: “Don’t tell me that all the good ideas have been taken. If you’re so smart, why didn’t YOU think about making chocolate from camel’s milk and selling it in the US?”
DELL 1, APPLE 0. Okay, so I bought a new MacBook Pro a while back. The old one, meanwhile, has died of a hard-drive problem. No sweat, I’ve got the 3-year AppleCare, and it says I can just drop it at the Apple Store. So when I went by at lunch today, they tell me I have to make an appointment at the “Genius Bar” before I can drop it off. No appointments til Monday; first appointment I can actually arrive at, Tuesday Night.
Dell, meanwhile, sent a guy to my house the day after I called, fixed things in 15 minutes. Advantage: Dell. Having the old Macbook out of service for a while is no big deal to me — I have, ahem, other computers. Most people don’t have multiple backups like I do, though, and given how expensive the 3-year AppleCare contract is, the service ought to be better. Apparently, I”m not the only one to feel that way . . . .
UPDATE: Reader Ernest Gudath draws a larger lesson:
The situation you describe doesn’t just apply to Apple computers. In any care and maintenance system, if the demand exceeds the capacity, you are going to get either rationing or queuing.
That’s why it’s good to have a backup. When Apple is covered up, Dell is there. When the Toronto clinic has a six month waiting list, an ailing Canadian can drive across the border.
When you don’t have a backup is when you’re screwed, like if there’s only one brand of computer, or only one way to see a doctor.
MADOFF, sex, and money.
WOW: Study: GPS systems with real-time traffic can save drivers four days per year, cut emissions by 21%. Seems kinda high, but even if it’s double the real number that’s a big deal. I’m pretty sure that you couldn’t cut my commute enough to save that kind of time, though. . . .
UPDATE: Reader Kevin Murphy writes: “I have a GPS + Sirius Traffic Data in my Escape Hybrid. It’s fairly accurate if slightly delayed, but it lets me pick among my 3 routes to and from the office. It probably saves me 15 minutes a day in L.A., in my ‘mere’ 10 mile drive. Fifteen minutes a day over 200 days is 50 hours a year, so I cannot fault their numbers.”
WELL, MAYBE I’LL WAIT A BIT: I mentioned Snow Leopard’s malware protection earlier, but this says it only scans for two trojans.
COURTROOM CHIC: Ably demonstrated by one of my former students.
IN THE MAIL: From Paul Rahe, Montesquieu And The Logic of Liberty.
PJTV: Dr. Helen talks with Psychology Today blogger Barbara Oakley about the politicization of the American Psychological Association.
Oakley is the author of Evil Genes.
WILL CHRIS DODD OR BARBARA MIKULSKI TAKE OVER THE HEALTH COMMITTEE?
Now, in what would be a unique parting gift, there is a chance that Kennedy’s death could elevate Mikulski to the chairmanship of a major committee for the first time in her 23-year Senate career. For her to inherit his job, though, Kennedy’s closest friend in the Senate would have to turn it down first.
The odds of that happening are difficult to gauge. They depend on a complex blend of seemingly unrelated factors, including President Barack Obama’s legislative priorities, arcane Senate rules and the political calculations of one of the most endangered Democratic senators in the country.
That man is veteran Sen. Christopher J. Dodd. The Connecticut senator hasn’t tipped his hand, but if he decides that shoring up his shaky re-election prospects is his top priority, Mikulski would remain the most senior Democrat without a major committee chairmanship.
Dodd told reporters Wednesday that he had not given “a second’s worth of thought” to whether he would take over for Kennedy as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
The same day, Dodd spoke by phone with Mikulski, according to a Mikulski aide.
I question whether getting involved in the healthcare debacle will help Dodd’s reelection prospects. But he and Kennedy were certainly close.
DECLAN MCCULLAGH: Healthcare bill taps IRS information.
Section 431(a) of the bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and “other information as is prescribed by” regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for “affordability credits.”
Section 245(b)(2)(A) says the IRS must divulge tax return details — there’s no specified limit on what’s available or unavailable — to the Health Choices Commissioner. The purpose, again, is to verify “affordability credits.”
Section 1801(a) says that the Social Security Administration can obtain tax return data on anyone who may be eligible for a “low-income prescription drug subsidy” but has not applied for it.
THOMAS LIFSON: “An unpleasant smell attends the Department of Justice decision to not prosecute New Mexico Governor (and Obama ally) Bill Richardson. Fresh on the heels of the Department declining to prosecute the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation, while appointing a special prosecutor for CIA interrogators, the appearance of a politicized Justice Department is being created.”
UPDATE: “Get in their faces.”
LOOKING BACK AT KATRINA, FOUR YEARS LATER: “Ordinary people mostly behaved well. Those in power panicked, spread fear and fiction, and showed eagerness to kill.”
RON BAILEY: Sunspots Do Really Affect Weather Patterns, Say Scientists. “A new study in the journal Science by a team of international of researchers led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research have found that the sunspot cycle has a big effect on the earth’s weather.”
ACLU SUES HOMELAND SECURITY OVER LAPTOP SEARCHES AT BORDER. I see no justification for suspicionless searches of laptops at the border, though I’m not sure how strong the ACLU’s case really is; you don’t have much in the way of constitutional rights when crossing the border. But hey, if you don’t want your laptop searched, you can always just have an illegal immigrant carry it across for you. . . .
A TV MAKER YOU NEVER HEARD OF: How Vizio Went From Nowhere to No. 1.
NO NUDES ALLOWED HERE — this is an art museum!
SNOW LEOPARD IS NOW SHIPPING. I said I would probably wait, but now that I hear it’s got enhanced anti-malware functions I may not wait as long as I’d planned.
EARTH MESSAGES TO EXOPLANET ready for broadcast today. “A total of 25,880 text messages will be broadcast into space, transmitted 20.3 light-years to Gliese 581d. That world is the outlying planet in the Gliese 581 system, and orbits its parent star every 66.8 days. It may be covered by a large and deep ocean and is the first serious ‘waterworld’ candidate discovered beyond our Solar System. The effort was carried out as by the Australian magazine, Cosmos, to celebrate Australia’s National Science Week and the International Year of Astronomy. The initiative was done with the support of NASA, Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), and the Australia’s Science Minister Kim Carr.” Is this a good idea?
UPDATE: Sarah Natividad writes:
Aliens, omg ur my new bffs! u got life on ur world? txt me to ur leader!
Yeah, THAT’ll advance interstellar society
Txt me to your leader! I love it.
CHARLES RANGEL UPDATE: The New York Post editorializes:
Rep. Charlie Rangel’s multimillion-dollar “oops” this month raises plenty of good questions, but this may be the best: How can Democrats continue to close their eyes to such sleaze?
And, more to the point, this: Will prosecutors follow up on any of it?
Rangel’s “corrections” to his financial-disclosure statements from 2002 through 2007 are stunning, even by the low standards of this “error”-prone paperwork-filer — who, by the way, happens to be in charge of writing the nation’s tax laws.
The Harlem Dem now admits that he failed to disclose several million dollars in income and business deals during those years — including up to $1 million from the sale of a building on 132nd Street.
How could that happen?
Charlie won’t say.
I’m sure that Eric Holder’s Justice Department will be right on it. . . .
STEVE CROWDER GOES UNDERCOVER.
SHOWING MORE COURAGE THAN YALE: Danish cartoons go on exhibit. “The caricature—one of twelve satiric drawings published in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten—represents Muhammad wearing a turban in the shape of a bomb with a lit fuse. Muslims found the drawing, which confounds the prophet with terrorism, offensive. The seventy-four-year-old Westergaard had words of praise for the gallery director, Erik Guldager. “[He] is the first to dare to exhibit my works, even if my watercolors are not political.” In May 2008, Westergaard received the Sappho Prize from the Society for the Protection of the Freedom of Expression of the Press and the Right to Criticize Religion. Westergaard had originally hoped to show his watercolors in an unnamed gallery in Hoejbjerg near Aarhus. But his participation was canceled when an unnamed Swedish artist invited to participate in the same exhibition threatened to pull out if Westergaard showed his works.” The unnamed Swedish artist, not so much.
JOHN NOLTE REVIEWS Taking Woodstock.
WHAT THE PRESS doesn’t want to know. It’s all about the narrative.
P.J. O’ROURKE: Still ‘Crazy’ — And Proud of It.
IF YOU STRIKE ME DOWN, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.
MARY JO KOPECHNE: A joyous martyr.
SO, HOW’S THAT STIMULUS WORKING FOR YOU? “The evidence suggests that continental Europe–which generally adopted smaller stimulus programs–is recovering faster that the U.S. or the U.K. They might have been wise to resist the assertions of Paul Krugman and the Obama administration that they should be doing more.” Meanwhile, a look at employment in the United States:
Nothing very comforting here, though. . . .
Plus, 1,000 Banks to Fail In Next Two Years: Bank CEO. Hope things don’t get that bad.
WHAT YOU CAN LEARN by exploding celery.
DEMOCRATIC REP. BETSY MARKEY: Yep, Medicare Will Take A Hit.
HISTORY’S NOT-SO-SUCCESSFUL CARS, at the amusingly named Concours d’LeMons.
The Tax Man is a deadbeat.
Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, has failed to pay taxes on two plots of land he has in New Jersey, records show.
Rangel’s ownership of the small, undeveloped properties came to light on Tuesday only after he drastically amended at least six years of financial-disclosure forms he had filed annually with the House clerk as required by law.
The corrected filings as much as doubled the amount of personal wealth Rangel has claimed going back years and revealed at least $780,000 in previously unreported assets.
He’s much too important to be bothered with such trivia.
HEATHER HAVRILESKY: What if you set Grey’s Anatomy in outer space?
FROM JAPAN, a new breakthrough in wheelchair technology.
NEW INSIGHTS INTO honeybee colony collapse disorder.
DEPRESSION’S EVOLUTIONARY ROOTS: An adaptation, not a malfunction?
LET’S GO GET DIRTY down on the farm.
JOHN STOSSEL on Cash For Clunkers.
PUTTING A CHEVY VOLT underwater.
CLASSIC GO KART COMIC BOOKS: You’ll never guess the artist.
SIX THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW about Snow Leopard.
SOMETHING NICE: An Esperanza Spalding video.
VIRGINIA POSTREL: “Ted was the Kennedy who lived. He was, as a result, the Kennedy who wasn’t glamorous.”
IN THE MAIL: From Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Fledgling.
I THOUGHT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO HELP AMERICAN CARMAKERS: Big winners in Cash for Clunkers: Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.
CLAUDIA ROSETT: The Age of the Celebrity Tyrant.
PHILIP K. HOWARD IN THE ATLANTIC: Stonewalling Legal Reform.
DAVID HARSANYI: America needs a warning system to identify the threats coming out of Washington. We’re clearly approaching “Code Red.”
REPORT: Richardson Probe was “Killed in Washington.” “New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former high-ranking members of his administration won’t be criminally charged in a yearlong federal investigation into pay-to-play allegations involving one of the Democratic governor’s large political donors, someone familiar with the case said. The decision not to pursue indictments was made by top Justice Department officials, according to a person familiar with the investigation, who asked not to be identified because federal officials had not disclosed results of the probe. . . . A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Albuquerque said he had no information about the Justice Department’s decision and couldn’t comment.”
MICHELLE MALKIN’S Culture Of Corruption is number one on the New York Times bestseller list for a fourth week.
WRONG-DOOR RAIDS AND INJUSTICE IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM: I talk with Radley Balko about the Cory Maye case, SWAT raids gone wrong, and more. Now if they’ll just let me out of this cage . . . .