September 28, 2009
PLAYING the downward dollar.
PLAYING the downward dollar.
STEPHEN GREEN’S HAIR OF THE DOG: Putin the Plumber, Clinton’s Leaky Diplomacy and the Other Clinton’s New Nuke News.
TEST-DRIVING THE 1948 Frazer Manhattan.
FROM THE PJTV DOCUMENTARY UNIT: Obama and Chavez and Castro, Oh My. The Truth About the Honduran Coup & Our President’s Wrong Move.
OBAMACARE MIGHT GET TO 50% APPROVAL WITH this approach to preventive medicine: “A study by German scientists showed that 10 minutes a day of ogling women’s breasts by men was as good at warding off heart disease, high blood pressure and stress as 30 minutes of aerobic exercise.”
UPDATE: The story appears to be a hoax. But I say, why take chances? If breast-ogling saves just one life, it’s worth it. . . .
LIZ CHENEY: “Red-state rock star?”
17 NUCLEAR REACTORS, saved by Germany’s election. That’s good news for the planet!
TOP TEN “GREEN” CARS that met their fate during Cash for Clunkers.
REMEMBERING William Safire.
FROM MY COLLEAGUE DEAN RIVKIN: Decriminalizing Students with Disabilities.
SELF-REGULATED MORPHINE DELIVERY FOR WOUNDED SOLDIERS: “DARPA-funded nanotech drug automatically regulates its morphine dose on the battlefield.”
MICHAEL SILENCE: The NYT’s anti-social social media editor. “Doesn’t this seem just a wee bit of a contradiction? You assign someone to following a group of people, or movement, whose fundamental plank is transparency, but then you won’t be transparent as to who that is? . . . I’ve never heard of a newspaper having a Private Editor.”
RADLEY BALKO: Should absolute immunity protect prosecutors who manufacture evidence? “Believe it or not, it’s still an open question. In November, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on Pottawattamie v. McGhee in order to resolve it.”
GIVE US BACK OUR BULLETS: “One year after the Supreme Court struck down D.C.’s gun ban, big-city mayors are still working to keep citizens defenseless.”
DAVIS POLK PUBLISHES financial crisis manual.
FOR WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING DIFFERENT: A ride on a jet-powered carousel.
DON’T I KNOW IT: Most of us have a finite supply of willpower.
A NEW WEBSITE for the Michigan Law Review.
IN THE MAIL: From Harry Maclean, The Past Is Never Dead: The Trial of James Ford Seale and Mississippi’s Struggle for Redemption.
THE GUANTANAMO DECISION: what went wrong.
JAMES TARANTO: Secret Agent Editors. “The Obama administration, as we noted Wednesday, was supposed to usher in a new era of transparency in government, Instead we find ourselves in a new era of opacity, not only in government but in the media. The New York Times now employs secret agent editors.”
A.C. KLEINHEIDER: Leave Jim Cooper Alone!
SILENCING DISSENT: Something is rotten in the state of Egypt.
CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Secret Countrywide Phone Tapes Destroyed:
The discovery that Countrywide Financial Corp. recorded phone conversations with borrowers in a controversial mortgage program that included public officials — and that those recordings have been destroyed — has prompted new congressional calls for more information about the program.
Rep. Darrell Issa of California, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is trying to subpoena the remaining records of Countrywide’s VIP loan program. So far, the committee’s chairman, New York Democratic Rep. Edolphus Towns, has turned down that request. . . . Among the prominent VIP program borrowers were two Democratic senators, Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Kent Conrad of North Dakota. Both men have denied wrongdoing, and said they never asked for favorable loan terms from Countrywide. . . .
In August, The Wall Street Journal reported that Mr. Towns, the oversight committee chairman, had received two mortgages from Countrywide — one on his home in Brooklyn and the other on a house in Florida. The loan documents indicated that both had been processed through the VIP unit. At the time, a Towns spokeswoman said his decision not to subpoena the VIP records had “nothing to do with his mortgages.” If the mortgages, which were originated in 2003, came through the VIP unit, Mr. Towns was unaware of that fact and never asked for special treatment, the spokeswoman said.
Sure is convenient that those tapes are gone. . . .
FROM THE ALWAYS CALM FRANK J. FLEMING: “Advice to liberals about how to calm down those dangerous, racist, angry, fire-breathing right-wingers.”
CANADIANS PUSH FOR PRIVATE OPTION: “Whereas U.S. healthcare is predominantly a private system paid for by private insurers, things in Canada tend toward the other end of the spectrum: A universal, government-funded health system is only beginning to flirt with private-sector medicine.” (Via American Power).
GORDON CROVITZ: You Commit Three Felonies a Day: Laws have become too vague and the concept of intent has disappeared. I would restore — and strengthen — the distinction between malum prohibitum and malum in se too.
ANDREW BREITBART: Podesta Spends Soros’ Money Stupidly.
ERIC S. RAYMOND: Mighty Aches From Little ACORN’s Fall.
SO DOES THIS Roman Polanski conflict of interest make a difference?
OBAMA’S AFGHANISTAN PROBLEM: “Obama will buck public opinion if it is for a liberal-base issue, such as health care and cap-and-trade. But his problem on Afghanistan is that it is both unpopular with the public and an anathema to his base. Moderates and conservatives will support him on Afghanistan, since they think stabilizing the country is necessary, humane, and doable, but they are those whom he has so far ostracized and caricatured on other issues, and may not wish to reach out to. So his options and time are limited.”
Related: Frank Rich, Afghan War Hypocrite. “We are experiencing a festival of liberal hypocrisy on the Afghan war, as all the left-wing doves who touted the war as absolutely essential for years back off now that it’s no longer a politically convenient war. . . . So when did circumstances change? When did al Qaeda basically leave Afghanistan so the Taliban is the real worry there and the chief home of the terror group is Pakistan? If you read Rich literally, it must have been sometime between August and today, because Obama didn’t just come to the presidency saying Afghanistan is a necessary war, he said it at the VFW last month. But circumstances changed? Again, when?” When it was convenient, of course. Once again, we must distinguish between “bourgeois truth,” which is concerned with sterile facts, and “revolutionary truth,” which is concerned with what will promote the revolution. Rich clearly has transcended mere bourgeois truth. . . .
RASMUSSEN: Support for ObamaCare Hits New Low: “Just 41% of voters nationwide now favor the health care reform proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That’s down two points from a week ago and the lowest level of support yet measured. . . . Senior citizens are less supportive of the plan than younger voters. In the latest survey, just 33% of seniors favor the plan while 59% are opposed. The intensity gap among seniors is significant. Only 16% of the over-65 crowd Strongly Favors the legislation while 46% are Strongly Opposed.”
ANN ALTHOUSE thinks the NYT is lying. “They had to be lying. I’d prefer to think they were lying. How could they be that out of the loop? It takes 2 seconds to glance at Drudge and Memeorandum. If you have any interest in current events, it’s harder not to do than to do.”
Related: Welcome to the jungle.
BANK OF AMERICA turns on ACORN.
MICKEY KAUS: Elizabeth Edwards, Blog Mystery Woman?
IS BILL FRIST endorsing the Baucus plan?
I emailed him to ask if this was true and got a one-word response: “No.”
HEH: “They said this one blonde was especially suggestive and kept rubbing up against the president. Finally, Michelle said, ‘Look, Chris Matthews, get away from my husband’.”
KATHERINE KERSTEN: Worst trouble with ACORN is at the polls.
MICROSOFT’S WINDOWS ADS: Finally good?
CHANGE: “The dollar is dead – long live the renminbi.”
DANIEL DREZNER: What if author bios were brutally honest?
MARK BOWDEN: What Bush Got Right Offers Clues for Obama.
Who, on Afghanistan, seems increasingly clueless.
SOME THOUGHTS ON ALL THE INSTA-POLLS: So among InstaPundit readers, Sarah Palin leads substantially, pretty much no matter how you slice it. Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, is doing terribly. (How terribly? Worse than Bob Corker.) That probably says more about Insta-readers’ preferences than the electorate generally, of course — but then, any 2012 poll is unrepresentative right now, because very few ordinary voters are thinking about the subject. In presenting the polls in different ways, I wasn’t — as one commenter suggested — trying to “hold Sarah’s head under the water,” but to see how different stuff played.
Is Palin viable in 2012? Conventional wisdom says no — but then, in 2006 conventional wisdom said Hillary had it locked up. Heck, in 2007 the CW was still expecting a Clinton/Giuliani match. But the lack of enthusiasm for the other candidates at this point is palpable. Except Gary Johnson — I’m still getting emails demanding that I “put him in my poll” even though I polled him twice to minuscule response. This seems to be a Ron Paul-lite operation, generating angry email but without the ability to actually stuff the online polls. As I’ve said before guys, it’s nice that you like your candidate, but you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Anyway, Republicans don’t need a leader/candidate to win in 2010. But they do need one to win in 2012. A smart move, I think, would be for Republican aspirants to put their energy behind supporting GOP Congressional candidates in 2010, thus proving their mettle in advance and making the reputation, and building the base of support, they’ll need in 2012.
ED DRISCOLL: Great moments in cognitive dissonance.
Andrew Breitbart is an “outsider” despite his years in media because he doesn’t run with the herd of lemmings. That’s all.
MARKDOWNS ON reconditioned tools.
SOLAR POWER, without all those panels. “Companies are creating solar tiles and shingles in colors and shapes that fit in, for example, with the terra cotta tile roofing popular in the Southwest, or with the gray shingles of coastal saltbox cottages.” As solar materials get better, we’ll see more of this. In fact, inexpensive and ubiquitous solar power is one of the promises of nanotechnology, but we may well get most of the way there without it.
GERMANY SWINGS TO THE CENTER-RIGHT: “Sunday’s election results follow a trend in which Socialist parties across Europe have seen sharp declines in their popularity.”
COMBAT SEARCH AND RESCUE: Michael Yon posts another dispatch from Afghanistan.
JENNIFER RUBIN on the 2012 Presidential race.
DAVE BARRY ON POLITICS AND FREE SPEECH.
CHANGE: “The unemployment rate for young Americans has exploded to 52.2 percent — a post-World War II high, according to the Labor Dept. — meaning millions of Americans are staring at the likelihood that their lifetime earning potential will be diminished and, combined with the predicted slow economic recovery, their transition into productive members of society could be put on hold for an extended period of time. . . . A study from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, a government database, said the damage to a new career by a recession can last 15 years. And if young Americans are not working and becoming productive members of society, they are less likely to make major purchases — from cars to homes — thus putting the US economy further behind the eight ball. Angrisani said he believes that Obama’s economic team, led by Larry Summers, has a blind spot for small business because no senior member of the team — dominated by academics and veterans of big business — has ever started and grown a business.”
Plus this: “Labor Dept. statistics also show that the number of chronically unemployed — those without a job for 27 weeks or more — has also hit a post-WWII high.”
UPDATE: Reader Tom Hynes writes that BLS gives a teen unemployment rate of “only” 25 percent. Hmm. Could be different metrics. Or a typo? Anybody have an idea what’s going on?
ANOTHER UPDATE: More here: Confusing the unemployment rate with the “employment-population ratio?”
THEY CALL HER “GLAMBO.”
AND DON’T LET US CATCH YOU BEING NEIGHBORLY AGAIN: State bureaucrats threaten to fine, jail a Michigan woman for watching her neighbors’ kids. If people are neighborly, they need the state less. This cannot be permitted.
UPDATE: A reader emails: “‘If people are neighborly, they need the state less.’ You have unwittingly provided every ‘social-service’ bureaucracy with a motivational slogan to be posted prominently in parts of the building where the public is not allowed.” I don’t think it’s anything they haven’t figured out already. . . .
IN THE MAIL: From A.C. Clark, The Revolutionary Has No Clothes: Hugo Chavez’s Bolivarian Farce. The book looks good, and is very well blurbed, but the image of a naked Hugo Chavez is one I could live without . . . .
SERGIO RODRIGUERA: Give General McChrystal Time To Succeed.
UPDATE: McChrystal report officially backburnered now. “The problem with this is that the Obama administration has already had plenty of time for political calculation. They have been in office since January, and Obama campaigned for two years on the pledge to fight in Afghanistan with more resources and focus than the previous administration. The politics of the war have not changed much, at least in terms other than polling. . . . So far he has done a good job of fighting the war in Afghanistan, but this very public vacillation undermines the projection of American strength in the region and encourages a defeatist attitude.”
UPDATE: IowaHawk emails:
In 1966 my hero Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was commissioned by ABC TV to build a custom car for the Addams Family (a la the ‘Munsters Koach’ that George Barris built for the rival CBS show), but by the time Roth completed it the series was canceled. The car — featuring a trunk made out of a baby coffin — eventually toured the car show circuit under the name “Druid Princess.” My pal Fritz Schenck restored it last year, and it went up on the auction block at the Petersen Automotive Museum in LA yesterday. A steal at $185,000.
I could totally see the Spanish first family driving around in that.
Then there’s the history of Jed Clampett’s truck, which was built by Barris.
CHANGE: Durable goods orders, housing sales plunged in August. It’s like they’re pumping air into a leaky tire. Pump hard enough and you can forget about the leak for a little while, but . . . .
UPDATE: Bob Krumm writes:
Regarding the drop in home sales/durable goods in August. One cause I’ve not yet seen presented is Cash for Clunkers. When customers decide to accelerate the purchase of a car that they probably weren’t yet ready to purchase except for the “free” money that the government threw at them, that likely also meant that they delayed another purchase they had originally planned for August. So not only did Cash for Clunkers accelerate auto sales from the future into August, they likely decreased the total purchases of other items.
The lesson of all subsidies is that when government subsidizes one thing it can only do so at the cost of penalizing alternatives.
POLICE VIOLENCE AT THE G20: A law school classmate of mine, Curt Vaszquez, emails:
I just wanted to say that my daughter Martha, a 19 year old sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh, on Thursday night was rousted by police from the school library where she was studying, ordered to leave her belongings behind and herded into the street where she was tear-gassed, sound cannoned and hit by a plexiglass shield for exercising her right to be a young person outdoors on her campus on a pleasant fall night. I suppose I should be grateful because other kids were roughed up much worse by the police that night. This is just one aspect of the G20 that will never receive the attention it deserves. You have no idea how bad it was here.
Also, you might be interested in the linked article in which Pitt’s police chief pats himselfs on the back for his handling of the situation and cynically refers to the victims as “innocents” who chose to put themselves in harm’s way. Note the Chief’s presumption that the police have the right to break up any assembly. Very disturbing.
I regard the G20 protests as idiotic, but that doesn’t excuse police overreaction. Violent protesters deserve to be arrested, but the reaction here does seem to have been excessive.
MICKEY KAUS: “Why watch Saturday Night Live in L.A. when the twitters from back East say it’s weak?”
SONJA SCHMIDT: The Secret Code of Right-Wing Racists — Broken!
JOHN TIERNEY: Scrubbing The Atmosphere. “Governments are doing practically nothing to study the removal of carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, but this technology could be a much cheaper form of climate protection than photovoltaic cells and other approaches getting lavish support, according to an article published today in Science.”
Not enough opportunities for graft and control, I’d guess . . . .
VIRGINIA POSTREL thinks the “jew boy” email is a fake.
ANN ALTHOUSE gets up close and personal. Very cool pic.
RICHARD FERNANDEZ: “The most likely reason for Russia’s objections to US missile defense is not that it degrades their vast and unstoppable arsenal, which remains effective in any case, but it reduces the effectiveness of sock puppet proxies who threaten the US. Russia is not about to threaten the US directly. But wouldn’t it be convenient if others would? And wouldn’t it be even more convenient if the US could not defend against them.”
JOHN BIRMINGHAM tells the zombies, “Eat My Dust.”
THE GHOULS surrounding Bill Sparkman. As with the NBC email controversy, why not find out actual facts?
CLAUDIA ROSETT: Learning to Love The French: When Sarkozy Spoke Truth To Obama.
MICKEY KAUS: “Hmmm. If voters oppose by a 64-34 margin a health care bill with individual mandates but no public option, doesn’t that mean voters will oppose by a 64-34 margin any health care bill that is likely to pass? … That would put Obama’s reform up in Dick Morris’ the-Democratic-party-isn’t-a-suicide-pact range.”
THE GENERAL’S BOOK CLUB: What’s Petraeus Reading?
BOMB PLOT AGAINST REP. AARON SCHOCK (R-IL): “I blame MSNBC, CNN, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and the leftwing blogosphere for fostering this climate of hate against Republicans.” It’s a fair cop.
“I’M NOT INTERESTED IN VICTORY.” Reader C.J. Burch writes, “Well, I sure hope he isn’t interested in losing. Geez.”
EXCESSIVE POLICE FORCE at the G20 protests?
MICHELLE MALKIN, NORMAN PODHORETZ, JAMES LILEKS, AND DR. HELEN: on the latest PJM Political.
WELL, THE NEXT JOHN RINGO NOVEL PRETTY MUCH WRITES ITSELF: Swords, Knives, and No Men: Ukraine’s All-Women Amazon Tribe.
OF LOUIS VUITTON and Armageddon.
STEPHEN GREEN: The Week In Blogs.
PJTV: Virginia Healthcare Debate. Mark Hemingway interviews both Whip Cantor and Congressman Scott after an actual debate, sponsored by the Richmond Times Dispatch. PJTV producer Owen Brennan writes: “The best part is when Hemingway calls BS on the suggestion that Dems and Republicans are only separated in the debate on about 20% of the issues.”
BLACKFIVE: A direct challenge to you.
THOUGHTS ON Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.
A BUNCH OF interesting food links. Including set-it-and-forget-it kitchen appliances.
THOUGHTS ON military media relations.
LIVING JOE TRIPPI’S DREAM? Andrew Breitbart.
ANOTHER INSTA-POLL: This time give me your top two choices.