Archive for December, 2009

December 30, 2009

BETTER AIR SECURITY IN MOGADISHU? “A man tried to board a commercial airliner in Mogadishu last month carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe that could have caused an explosion in a case bearing chilling similarities to the terrorist plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The Somali man — whose name has not yet been released — was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops before the Nov. 13 Daallo Airlines flight took off.”

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey: How’s that 9/11 Commission reorganization working? “Does this sound like a streamlined organization, with reduced tensions and better cooperation, ready to defend America? Or does it sound like a dysfunctional mess, more concerned with turf wars than the war on terror? Perhaps the remarkable thing is how effective they have managed to be despite the mess Congress made of the intelligence community four years ago.”

December 30, 2009

AZIZ POONAWALLA: Mousavi is not Husain; Ahmadinejad is not Yazid.

December 30, 2009

ANN ALTHOUSE: Napolitano In Context. “That’s like saying you shouldn’t be worried about terrorism at all, because even if you were flying on 9/11, the likelihood of you being on one of the actual flights that were hijacked is very low.”

Meanwhile, in the comments, people are noticing that Hillary is getting a pass for the State Department’s visa issuance.

December 30, 2009

CHANGE: Oil Rises Over $79 a Barrel.

December 30, 2009

ROBERT POOLE: Are We Going To Get Serious About Aviation Security? Not yet, as far as I can tell.

Related: An interview with Bruce Schneier.

December 30, 2009

IN INTELLIGENCE, AS WITH EVERYTHING ELSE, bigger government is worse government. The post-9/11 bureaucratic consolidation didn’t help things, but made them worse. All I can say is, I told you so.

December 30, 2009

TYLER COWEN: Why hasn’t the Fed been targeting two or three percent inflation? “I also regard this as a somewhat gruesome hypothesis. It means that ‘Main Street’ is paying for ‘Wall Street’ (forgive me the use of those awful terms) in at least two ways: high unemployment and inability to earn much on one’s savings.”

December 30, 2009

IOWAHAWK HAS A SPECIAL GUEST COLUMN ON the problem with holiday jihad travel. “Time was, a suicide mission to explode an international jumbo jet was an event full of glamor and excitement; but now it seems to be a endless series of delays, hassles, pushy jerks and third-degree testicular chemical burns. And don’t even get me started on the crappy airline food.”

Plus this:

So she looks at her computer screen and says, “um, I’m afraid there’s a problem, this passenger’s name is on a watch list.” Oh, great. Looks like my dad is playing Mr. Buzzkill again, just because I took that semester off from Oxford to go backpacking in Yemen. So I showed her my official State Department visa.

So I’m like, “honey, do I look like I’m a US military veteran?”

“No.”

“Do I look like I’m some sort of right wing anti-tax teabagger?”

“No.”

“Do I look like anybody else on the DHS terrorism danger list?”

“No, but…”

“Then I suggest that unless you want a nasty anti-discrimination lawsuit on your hands, you’d best give me an aisle seat. With extended legroom.”

Read the whole thing.

December 30, 2009

EUGENE VOLOKH: $150,000 Settlement for Black Public School Students Harassed by Other Black Students for “Acting White”.

December 30, 2009

GREG MANKIW ON INFLATION: The Monetary Base is exploding. So what?

UPDATE: A hedge-fund reader emails:

The monetary high command is in full butt-covering mode now. There are so many ill-defined moving parts in their policy kit that both history and forecasts can be drafted to ensure their retrospective accuracy. Mankiw, by all accounts a decent bloke, labors under the Harvard brand, which has come to mean “From those wonderful folks who gave you Larry Summers…”

Ouch.

December 30, 2009

YALE WIMPS OUT AGAIN: A T-shirt calling Harvard men “sissies” proves too offensive for students and administrators.

December 29, 2009

ED MORRISSEY: Where is the national GOP in the Massachusetts special election?

Being disintermediated via the Internet, by all appearances . . . .

December 29, 2009

DAN MITCHELL: The Real Healthcare “Chart of the Day.”

December 29, 2009

WHO OWNS the National Counterterrorism Center?

December 29, 2009

GORDON CROVITZ: Technology Predictions Are Mostly Bunk.

December 29, 2009

MAX BAUCUS: I was totally sober. If I were trying to convince people of my sobriety, I probably wouldn’t invoke my 30-year friendship with Ted Kennedy as part of my argument . . . .

Plus, a defense of sorts: “After a month filled with stories about this tool giving his girlfriend pay raises and trying to have her named a U.S. Attorney, getting liquored up on the floor would be the least of his sins.”

December 29, 2009

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: Rethinking Travel to Academic Conferences (Again). “Regular readers know that I keep threatening to quit traveling by airplanes to anything except for funerals of immediate family members. But if the new rules are as idiotic as they sound at first blush, I may finally carry through with that threat.”

December 29, 2009

JACOB SULLUM: Obama’s Medical Marijuana Muddle.

December 29, 2009

A BUNCH OF new releases on Blu-Ray.

December 29, 2009

FIRST MAX BAUCUS, now this. The smearers will stop at nothing!

December 29, 2009

REASON TV: Worst Decade Ever.

December 29, 2009

TAKE TWO: Obama admits ‘systemic failure’ on handling advance Nigerian terrorist info.

UPDATE: Related: Suddenly, Obama’s not so fluent any more.

Not enough sleep?

December 29, 2009

TONY WOODLIEF: An undying faith in the classroom. “Monsters are monsters, it seems, for want of enough lectures.” (Via Brutally Honest).

Seems like another example of Christopher Hitchens’ point about ignoring the guilty while visiting collective punishment on the innocent.

December 29, 2009

BLOWING UP A TV: But what’s that “Do not attempt to do anything like this on your own” business?

December 29, 2009

ISLATE, ITABLET, ISLAB, WHATEVER: Bites From The Apple: A Roundup of News from The Apple Empire.

December 29, 2009

TOP AVIATION ADVANCES of the last decade.

December 29, 2009

TAXPROF: U.S. Ranks 20th in Tax Support for R&D.

December 29, 2009

REVIEWING THE REVIEWERS: A roundup of book reviews from all over.

December 29, 2009

ALLEN BARTON: The Decade’s Worst Economic Blunders.

December 29, 2009

SO WHICH’LL IT BE — Alzheimer’s, or cancer?

December 29, 2009

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: “I was previously under the impression that Andrew was opposed to further military interventions in the Middle East.”

December 29, 2009

SORRY, STILL NOT SEEING THE ANEURYSM CONNECTION. Weigel’s snark notwithstanding, it was a weak point. As for the Biden angle, note that I updated very shortly when readers informed me. Weigel, on the other hand, didn’t respond to similar feedback in the same fashion. But he manages to work in an anti-Bush angle . . .

December 29, 2009

RASMUSSEN: Ben Nelson Down 30 Points After Health Care Vote. “Here’s an interesting internal: among those uninsured, 62% disapprove of Nelson after his vote on ObamaCare. In fact, fewer uninsured approve of Nelson (37%) than insured (39%).”

UPDATE: Reader James Somers writes:

Glenn, the Rasmussen poll you link to about Ben Nelson’s disapproval rating contains an interesting tidbit, showing how Nebraska GOP governor Dave Heineman would best him in a Senate matchup. Similar polls in North Dakota suggest that GOP governor John Hoeven would beat Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan in a race there next year.

Of course, the missing link here is that neither Hoeven nor Heineman has announced a candidacy for the Senate. Voters opposed to the ObamaCare legislation should be encouraging their candidacies; and if Hoeven and Heineman are dedicated conservatives, they should seriously consider stepping up and running. I personally think John Thune did the country a great service in having the courage to run against Tom Daschle in 2004, especially after Tim Johnson barely beat him in 2002 under questionable circumstances. That ought to be remembered by conservatives if Thune does run for president in 2012.

I wish that Hoeven and Heineman would seriously consider announcing, now, before the Senate has a final vote on ObamaCare, that they will run against Dorgan and Nelson if they continue to insist on shoving this bad legislation down our throats. Put aside the cynicism for a moment: these Republican governors went into politics, at least in part, to serve what they perceive to be the public good. It would be nice if they stepped up like Thune did, since they may have as much power as anyone to stop ObamaCare.

Good point.

December 29, 2009

MICHAEL TOTTEN: The Iranian Regime’s Battle Of Karbala.

December 29, 2009

CHINA’S NEW CROP OF DIY Aviators.

December 29, 2009

DAN RIEHL: Napolitano Must Go — Now.

UPDATE: The Plum Line: Skittish Democrats Refuse To Defend Obama On National Security.

December 29, 2009

IRAN: Khamenei Supporters Run Over Protesters In Trucks.

UPDATE: An Iranian reader emails:

The word “supporters” is in this context a little misleading. Those are not “supporters” of the regime, or of Khamenei, that carry out killings, shootings and terrorizing of the populace at large. They are the regime’s paid agents. They are the security apparatus. The trucks seen in the video linked to, belong to the security forces and not “supporters” as the word is ordinarily understood.

I apologize for sounding pedantic, but I felt the term, as used, gave a false impression as to exactly who was doing the killing in Iran.

Fair enough.

December 29, 2009

JOHN FUND: Invasion Of The Election Snatchers: Urban Democrats are flooding rural districts to steal elections.

As long as they’re not lying about where their principal residence is located. . . .

December 29, 2009

ETHICS COMMITTEE launches investigation of Pete Stark.

December 29, 2009

REPORT: 76% of “electric propulsion vehicle” patent applications come from Japan.

December 29, 2009

JOHN TIERNEY: “How, in 2010, can you avoid the awful temptation to postpone fun?”

December 29, 2009

BOB HERBERT, JANE HAMSHER, AND TEA PARTY PROTESTERS ALL AGREE: “ObamaCare Stinks.”

December 29, 2009

IN THE MAIL: From Lee Smith, The Strong Horse: Power, Politics, and the Clash of Arab Civilizations.

December 29, 2009

BILL WHITTLE, STEPHEN GREEN, SCOTT OTT: 2009: The Year Of Squander?

trifecta122909

December 29, 2009

YEMEN SET TO collapse within years?

December 29, 2009

HERE’S A HINT — THE ONES WHO WANT TO PUT A BOMB IN YOUR CROTCH DON’T COUNT, EITHER:

The 23-year-old Nigerian man accused of the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an American airliner apparently turned to the Internet for counseling and companionship, writing in an online forum that he was “lonely” and had “never found a true Muslim friend.”

Loser.

December 29, 2009

IRAN: Khamenei planning an escape to Russia? It’s quite hard to know what information coming out of Iran is reliable, but this is interesting. I would have thought China . . . .

More here.

December 29, 2009

RON RADOSH: President Obama’s Failed Response to the Attempted Terrorist Attack.

December 29, 2009

MORE ATTENTION FOR BLOOMBERG’S MAYORS AGAINST GUNS PLAN: “Some folks sent a FOIA request and received a copy of the document. And it’s pretty telling. The focus doesn’t seem to target illegal guns but all guns and gun owners, including banning the importation of ammo and ‘non-sporting’ firearms. The plan consists of items that are administrative and regulatory in nature and, therefore, don’t require legislative action.” Well, you want to bypass the people as much as possible when you’re trying to take away their freedoms . . . .

December 29, 2009

A READER EMAILS: Wired Magazine unknowingly explains Climategate.”

December 29, 2009

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Dodd Cut Aviation Security Funding In July.

December 29, 2009

2009: Not really a great year for global freedom.

December 29, 2009

BACKYARD egg envy.

December 29, 2009

GOOGLE: Openness For Thee, But Not For Me.

December 29, 2009

A HARDER LINE? Obama Voices His First Public Support for ‘Unjustly’ Detained Political Opponents, Signaling a Harder Line Toward Tehran. “Senior U.S. officials said the Obama administration recognizes that it is now at a ‘pivot point’ in its strategy toward Tehran.”

December 29, 2009

ABC NEWS: Muslim Cleric Anwar Awlaki linked to Ft. Hood, Northwest Terror Attacks: A U.S.-Born Preacher Affiliated with Al Qaeda Has Been Linked to Several Terror Plots Against Americans.

December 29, 2009

VIRGINIA POSTREL: The Collapse of Professional Journalism, Cont’d.

December 29, 2009

NATIONAL SECURITY: Time to distance from the White House?

December 29, 2009

A HIRING COUP for Tucker Carlson?

December 29, 2009

GAY PATRIOT: Obama to Speak Softly and Thwack Yemen With a Big Stick?

December 29, 2009

A.C. KLEINHEIDER: “Both nationally and in Tennessee, the most beloved and vocal conservative leaders these days seem to be women.”

December 29, 2009

CLARENCE PAGE distinguishes himself.

December 29, 2009

OUCH: “When the news is bad and lives are on the line, I want my government to give it to me straight. Instead I’ve got a head of DHS who’s impersonating Kevin Bacon at the end of Animal House.”

December 29, 2009

TARGETED STIMULUS: Report: ICE orders 200 million rounds of ammo. “Now, in case the entire population of Mexico tries to cross the border over the next five years, this would be enough to shoot everybody twice; however, this event seems unlikely, and would represent a pretty harsh response, anyway.”

December 29, 2009

AN “I TOLD YOU SO” on air security, from Stewart Baker.

Plus, six uncomfortable answers. And note this: “Since border measures were strengthened after 9/11, al Qaeda has tried three separate plots using the same basic technique — get on a transatlantic flight and blow it up before it lands and before the terrorists are put through our border screening process. Every plot has failed. But if this doesn’t remind you of the successive World Trade Center attacks, you’re not paying attention. They’ve got a schtick, and they’re going to keep using it until it works.”

Meanwhile, Bruce Schneier comments: “Only one carry on? No electronics for the first hour of flight? I wish that, just once, some terrorist would try something that you can only foil by upgrading the passengers to first class and giving them free drinks.”

December 29, 2009

RON ROSENBAUM: Was The Times ”Hoaxed” By TMZ’s JFK Nudes “Scoop”?

December 29, 2009

PAUL MIRENGOFF: Lawyers At War.

December 29, 2009

MARK STEYN: “Islam is bilingualism on steroids.”

December 28, 2009

OUCH: “In fairness, perhaps one of his staffers did the judging.” You never know anymore, do you . . . ?

December 28, 2009

AFTER-CHRISTMAS MARKDOWNS on bestselling small appliances.

December 28, 2009

NEVER MIND WHEN ANGELS GET THEIR WINGS HERE: Inventor spends Christmas with his perfect woman – a £30,000 custom-made fembot. I just hope the robophobes don’t get too upset.

December 28, 2009

SO, MAX BAUCUS WASN’T DRUNK, because Joe Biden had an aneurysm?

And — though this is an aside, and not really relevant — if Biden is a teetotaler, as Weigel says, what’s he being served in this White House video? Or was the beer just for show, to bolster his “ordinary guy” credentials?

UPDATE: Bucklers NA Beer? More here. So, yes, for show.

December 28, 2009

MAYOR BLOOMBERG’S WAR ON GUN RIGHTS: A summary.

December 28, 2009

HOPE AND CHANGE! As college costs rise, loans become harder to get.

December 28, 2009

MEGAN MCARDLE: “I don’t know what annoys me more: Janet Napolitano saying ‘the system worked’ when what she means is ‘the system failed, but smart passengers proved that the system is unnecessary’, or the moronic new rules the TSA is apparently putting into place in order to ‘prevent’ future such occurences. The TSA’s obsession with fighting the last war is so strong that I expect any day to see them building wooden forts at our nation’s airports in order to keep the redcoats at bay.”

December 28, 2009

A “horrible desiccated complacency.”

December 28, 2009

STAR TREK’S “SYNTOHOL” GETS CLOSER: An alcohol substitute that mimics its pleasant buzz without leading to drunkenness and hangovers is being developed by scientists. Faster, please!

December 28, 2009

POPULAR SCIENCE: 100 Best Innovations of 2009.

December 28, 2009

RATINGS: Too much decline for CNN to hide.

December 28, 2009

AND YOU, A LAW PROFESSOR: Dick jokes at Althouse.

UPDATE: D.C. Bar Sending Out Porn Spam?

December 28, 2009

THE CHICAGO WAY: Black Panther case: Has a head rolled? Via Ace, via Dan Riehl. Ace comments: “I guess you can afford not to care when the media’s biggest FAQ is ‘how might I better pleasure you, Master?’”

December 28, 2009

EMBEDDING microphotovoltaic cells in clothing.

December 28, 2009

IF SARAH PALIN HAD DONE THIS, Andrew Sullivan would draw deep sociological points. Or gynecological, whatever.

December 28, 2009

VIDEO: “This is a moment in history, and he’s missing it.” Krauthammer on Obama and Iran.

December 28, 2009

QUITTING PORN: “I didn’t leave the porn industry because I object to porn. I left because I love it.”

December 28, 2009

AN AFTER-CHRISTMAS SALE on LCD TV sets.

December 28, 2009

ROGER SIMON: Fire Janet Napolitano Now.

Plus, from Christopher Hitchens: Why are we so bad at detecting the guilty and so good at collective punishment of the innocent? “The answer to the first question is: Because we can’t—or won’t. The answer to the second question is: Because we can.” Tar. Feathers.

December 28, 2009

MICHAEL LEDEEN: The Iranian Body Snatchers At Work.

December 28, 2009

ED DRISCOLL: Big Journalism’s Bronx Cheer For The Common Man. You know what really speaks truth to power? The market.

December 28, 2009

SHOCKER: Rasmussen: Gov’t workers a lot more optimistic on economy than private sector. “While a near majority of private-sector employees see the economy as deteriorating, the opposite is true of public-sector employees. Forty-six percent of government workers think the economy is improving.”

UPDATE: A reader emails:

Re your post about the optimistic outlook by and for government workers. I’m active duty military (34 years) who just transferred from Hawaii to the Beltway. Government workers aren’t just optimistic, they’re ECSTATIC! Tons of openings for careerists who want upgrades–just switch agencies and get a $34K/year raise. NSPS just gave everyone PHAT raises and now that it’s been repealed, nobody has to live up to the objectives they agreed to to get the big raises they got.

I’m in IM/IT at the Undersecretary level. We cannot hire enough, fast enough. We’re having billions (yeah, billions with a B) shoved into our budgets with no real plan on how to execute a budget that size, just a mandate to do so.

I’m well-positioned to move from active duty military to a SWEET government job, but I’m just not that big a fan of DC. I’m stuck on Active Duty because my wife needs a lung transplant and I had to move here to get her one. Once I get a disposition on that, I’m outta here like a boner in sweatpants.

Er, right.

December 28, 2009

INTERNS behaving badly.

December 28, 2009

WIRED: 20 FAVORITE IPHONE APPS OF 2009.

December 28, 2009

JEFFREY GOLDBERG: It seems lately that “neocon” has become Andrew Sullivan’s term for any Jew who disagrees with… Andrew Sullivan.

December 28, 2009

DEMI MOORE’S LAWYERS THREATEN BOINGBOING, GET SMACKED. It’s over a claim that a W magazine cover was photoshopped to make Demi’s hip look thinner. Looks to me like BoingBoing’s got the better of that argument. “Since receiving this letter, we have discovered that an alternate, and seemingly more anatomically correct version of the W magazine cover (with more hip-flesh) was published in W’s South Korean edition. We have also been informed that Ms. Moore’s attorneys have sent similar letters to other blogs that discussed the possible digital alteration of the US cover image. The story is now being covered by a number of other news organizations and blogs.” If the goal was to get people discussing the dimensions of Demi’s hips, well, nice legal work guys.

UPDATE: Various readers point out that Demi Moore’s lawyers should have learned from Ralph Lauren’s experience.

December 28, 2009

OBAMA ON TERRORISM: “This has to be the most perfunctory speech the orator in chief has ever given. It’s as if he resents being pulled away from his vacation to make it. . . . He’s literally reading a press release and it shows. Where is all that charisma we’ve heard so much about? It’s as if the issue doesn’t even interest him at all.”

UPDATE: Video.

December 28, 2009

ACCOUNTABILITY: Administration Won’t Even Estimate Total Losses of Fannie and Freddie. “This is the culmination of an unprecedented policy disaster, inflicted on the American taxpayer by congressional supporters of Fannie and Freddie who refused over many years to approve new and tougher regulations for the two GSEs.”

December 28, 2009

REASON TV ANNOUNCES 2009′S NANNY OF THE YEAR.

December 28, 2009

RETHINKING JOHN ASHCROFT:

Never mind that many of Ashcroft’s worst alleged sins are now pretty much Obama-Pelosi policies. But the Napolitano-Ashcroft comparison is telling.

Ashcroft was demonized for suggesting that Americans be on the lookout for terrorists. One of Napolitano’s main talking points these days is the need for vigilance from the public. Heck she claimed the “system worked” because a flying Dutchman took out the “alleged” terrorist.

Ashcroft was demonized because he allegedly was turning America into a police state where political enemies were targeted (remember that’s why Naomi Wolfe had a years-long mental breakdown). Janet Napolitano oversaw a report that singles out American citizens and returning vets as potential terrorists because of their political views.

Ashcroft was mocked as a provincial hick who didn’t know much. Napolitano — who runs our immigration service and was governor of a border state — thinks it’s not a crime to illegally cross the border and insists that the 9/11 hijackers came from Canada.

John Ashcroft was a dangerous ideologue because he believed the war on terror is real. But Janet Napolitano isn’t a dangerous ideologue for believing the war on terror isn’t real?

What sounds more ideologically blinkered after 9/11?

Also, Ashcroft was competent. Holder and Napolitano, not so much.

December 28, 2009

BRAKE COMPLAINTS on the new Prius.

December 28, 2009

THE 10 WORST TAX IDEAS OF 2009.