August 16, 2009
“NOTHING HAS CHANGED:” Administration Official: “Sebelius Misspoke.” Of course she did.
“NOTHING HAS CHANGED:” Administration Official: “Sebelius Misspoke.” Of course she did.
RAGE AGAINST A REAL MACHINE: Russian punk rockers rage against the Putin machine.
“We live in a feudal society,” Nikonov fumed in a backstage interview before a recent concert. “Everything is decided by one person, the dictator. The dictator decides everything.”
Actually doing what western rock stars pretend to do. Following up on The Plastic People of the Universe. With similar results, one hopes.
HAVING TROUBLE taking the GOP seriously.
RADLEY BALKO: Why “Reading The Bill” Won’t Matter.
USA Today notes that even forcing legislators to read the health care legislation in the House probably wouldn’t do much good. The bill is so bogged down with bureaucrat-eze, few of them are likely to understand it. . . . This is another argument in favor of posting bills in their final form online for a considerable period of time before voting on them, or before they’re signed into law. Crowdsourcing by people who have experience wading through the parentheses and em-dashes might at least help decipher some of the mess to get a clearer picture of what it all means. As it stands, we’re left with the few politicians who helped craft the bill saying, “Just trust us.”
That rarely works out well.
Well, it works out just fine for some people, which is why they do it that way. But this raises another issue. My thought has been that — in order to avoid the perception of an Obama defeat — Congress would eventually pass some sort of watered-down bill, proclaim health care “reformed,” and declare victory. But the trust-level is so low now — with a majority of voters saying that it would be better if nothing passed at all — that I’m not sure that approach is viable. Once you don’t trust reports of what’s in the bill, you’re not likely to trust reports that “we’ve fixed all the problems.” Indeed, I think opposition to health care is largely about distrust of the entire political class, which is something you can’t fix with a few amendments. So they may try, but they may find it harder to pass anything than they think.
UPDATE: Reader Matt Barker emails:
You hit the nail on the head when you posted that citizens don’t trust their lawmakers or the legislative process that has produced “health reform.” Our leaders’ reluctance to place themselves under the laws and programs they create for the rest of us is a big part of this mistrust.
Yes. And trust, once lost, is hard to regain. Just ask the Republicans . . . .
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader David Good writes: “His argument is not an argument against making them read the bill, it is an argument for slowing the process down. He even says so. Doesn’t mean we can’t do both.” True enough!
GUNS ON CAMPUS: A Sheriff opines:
“In actual shootings, citizens do far better than law enforcement on hit potential,” said White. “They hit their targets and they don’t hit other people. I wish I could say the same for cops. We train more, they do better.”
To be fair, that’s because citizens tend to draw and shoot only in pretty clear-cut circumstances, while for police it’s often murkier. (Via SayUncle.)
TOM MAGUIRE: Obama’s Talking About His Grandmother Again; People Who Listened Last Time Are Now “Dishonest”. We have always been at war with
EastAsia Obama’s grandmother.
ARE WE HAVING A CONVERSATION YET? “Man, ‘conversation’ has become one of those Orwellian words.” I think a “conversation” is where they tell us what we want, and we say “yes sir.”
DRAWING A CONTRAST BETWEEN BOB DYLAN AND SKIP GATES. On the other hand, there’s this: “I find it pretty depressing. There was a time when we condescendingly used the term ‘your papers, please’ to distinguish ourselves from Eastern Block countries and other authoritarian states. Post-Hiibel, America has become a place where a harmless, 68-year-old man out on a stroll can be stopped, interrogated, detained, and forced to produce proof of identification to state authorities, despite having committed no crime. I guess I just don’t see the punchline.” Nope, but there’s a Ray Bradbury story reference. . . .
POPULAR SCIENCE: 9 Overhyped Health Headlines Debunked.
COMBINING NANOWIRES AND PROTEINS for nanobioelectronics.
CONTROLLING LIVING CELLS with light. “University of Central Florida researchers have shown for the first time that light energy can gently guide and change the orientation of living cells within lab cultures. That ability to optically steer cells could be a major step in harnessing the healing power of stem cells and guiding them to areas of the body that need help.”
RETREAT? White House Appears Ready To Drop “Public Option.” I suspect it’s a Parthian retreat.
UPDATE: On the other hand, you’ve got a real marketing problem when your own people are having to publicly pledge not to kill old people.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Related thoughts. “This is not a victory.”
MORE: A “Parthian retreat” is a feigned retreat, luring the enemy into a prepared counterattack. See, e.g., Crassus.
KATE MOSS: Before and after airbrushing.
SILENCING THE CRITICS: “A 34-YEAR-OLD woman, the mother of a 12-year-old girl, has been locked up in a Virginia jail for three weeks and could remain there for at least another month. Her crime? Blogging about the police. Elisha Strom, who appears unable to make the $750 bail, was arrested outside Charlottesville on July 16 when police raided her house, confiscating notebooks, computers and camera equipment. Although the Charlottesville police chief, Timothy J. Longo Sr., had previously written to Ms. Strom warning her that her blog posts were interfering with the work of a local drug enforcement task force, she was not charged with obstruction of justice or any similar offense. Rather, she was indicted on a single count of identifying a police officer with intent to harass, a felony under state law.”
Two thoughts: (1) This arrest is almost certainly illegal; and (2) Regardless, they’d never do it to an employee of a traditional media organization. Plus this: “All this information was publicly available, including the photograph, which Ms. Strom gleaned from municipal records. The task force’s officers may have worked undercover on occasion, but one wonders about their undercover abilities, given that Ms. Strom was able to out them so consistently. . . . It should not be a crime to annoy the cops, whose raid on Ms. Strom’s house looks more like a fit of pique than an act of law enforcement.” It’s not a crime to annoy the cops. Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo has a lot of explaining to do.
UPDATE: Tom Maguire does some research and suggests that there may be more to this story than the Washington Post editorial suggests, though it isn’t clear how that might justify an arrest for blogging. And if Strom had connections to drug-runners — or even what’s left of the KKK — wouldn’t she be able to make a measly $750 bail?
One of the goals of gun-controllers over the past several decades was to “denormalize” gun ownership, stigmatizing it instead as something deviant and suspect. It appears to have failed. (And, as Brannon Denning and I note in a forthcoming Hastings Law Journal article, the Heller case makes a big difference there.)
WHY MEN break up with women.
STEPHEN GREEN OFFERS “The greatest thing in the history of all stuff ever.” “It’s girls in bikinis reading Star Wars.” Now that’s art.
WOMAN’S DAY: 15 Vintage Household Ads. I wonder when granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances will go out of style, to be replaced by formica and Harvest Gold.
IN THE MAIL: From Bill Donohue, Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America. He and I probably disagree on, well, most of the issues he cares about, but way back in 1991 when I was on Larry King, he was on in the segment before me and he gave me some good TV sound-bite advice in the green room: Figure out the idea you really want to get across — one sentence, maybe two — and then, at some point, just say it whether it fits where the host is trying to go or not. That sentence is your payment for going along with the host the rest of the time.
EDITORIAL: THE NEED TO CONTROL PRIVATE PERKS FOR POLITICIANS:
Election to Congress should be an opportunity for public service, not personal enrichment. But given the examples of Sens. Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad, Congress needs to strengthen disclosure rules to help prevent special-interest favors from subverting the public interest.
The Senate Ethics Committee this week dismissed complaints against Dodd and Conrad regarding preferred mortgage terms they received from Countrywide Financial. Ethics rules bar legislators from accepting mortgage terms “not generally available to the public.” Yet, on orders of Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo, the company in 2003 cut a half-point off the interest rate on Dodd’s $750,000 loans, saving him $75,000. Also on Mozilo’s orders, Countrywide loaned Conrad $96,000 in 2004 to buy an apartment building — a breach of company rules on residential loans.
The mortgages put off a strong whiff of unethical conduct. Dodd heads the Senate Finance Committee, which develops legislation to regulate the mortgage industry and to subsidize home ownership. Conrad leads the Budget Committee, which sets spending targets for home-ownership programs. Both were in a position to grant preferred treatment to Countrywide in exchange for mortgage favors. But the ethics committee decided that special deals were also available to “Friends of Angelo” outside of government, and so Dodd and Conrad did not violate the rules.
Seems kind of iffy to me, but the Senate Ethics Committee is a toothless watchdog. Plus this: “The ethics committee’s decision was an indictment of the rules, not an exoneration of Dodd and Conrad.” Indeed.
HARTFORD COURANT: LEGISLATORS CAN’T ANSWER HARD QUESTIONS:
Members of Congress are cosseted from direct contact with large groups of restive voters. Their constituents usually show no interest in spending time with them. These “town hall” meetings are traditionally forlorn, scripted events featuring a small group of people prodded into attending by staff, lobbyists or local political supporters.
This summer’s rowdy events are jarring our leaders. . . . Another serious problem is that politicians disdain short answers to clear questions. They mistake a cloud of nonsense for a clever reply. This fuels the skepticism permanently infecting political discourse.
MICHELLE MALKIN’S CULTURE OF CORRUPTION is #1 on the New York Times bestseller list again this week.
NEW HAMPSHIRE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION Under Fire for Failing to Engage Constituents During August Recess. “Members of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation are under fire today from the editorial pages of the conservative New Hampshire Union Leader and the liberal Portsmouth Herald.”
MICKEY KAUS isn’t letting up on the John Edwards story.
MORE ON TROPICAL STORMS ANA AND BILL, from Brendan Loy.
THE WHOLE HOW NOT TO ACT OLD THING IS DEEPLY PATHETIC IN SO MANY WAYS, but it’s also a font of really lousy advice. For example, #145: Do Not Listen To Your Sorry-Ass Old Music. “When my daughter threatened to jump out the window of the speeding car, I hit on the idea of letting her download new songs for me, and in the process give me a musical education.”
My own experience is precisely the reverse: Like James Lileks, I find that “Techno does for me now what rock used to.” But my daughter and her friends are all into classic rock — at a sleepover Friday night they all watched Tommy. My daughter got me to put some classic rock on my iPod for car trips — The Who, Stones, Beatles, Zeppelin– and it’s actually encouraged me to listen to that stuff again after going years without doing so. But when I picked ‘em up from The Time Traveler’s Wife I was listening to “Acid Hustle” by the Plump DJs.
ANN ALTHOUSE IS UNHAPPY WITH “THE MODERATE VOICE” over a Whole Foods boycott post. Well, it’s a guest-post, so I dunno. But regardless of TMV’s general moderation, here’s the bit I liked:
I am all for freedom of speech. Mr. Mackey had every right to express his views on health care in the WSJ, even as anathema as those views might be to progressives. Similarly, we progressives have every right to decide whether or not we want to spend our food dollars in a store whose CEO clearly doesn’t support the most important progressive cause of the moment.
Fair enough. Of course, Obama’s plan — and Big Government in general — is all about ensuring that we don’t have the right to decide how to spend our dollars but should instead let somebody else take them at gunpoint and decide how they’re spent. If the health care “reform” passes, you won’t have the option of directing your health care dollars where you think they should go (and I’m not so sure about your food dollars, either . . . ) . And to the pro-Obamacare folks, that’s not a bug, it’s the whole point.
MAN’S INHUMANITY TO ALIEN: PETER SUDERMAN on District 9.
ROBIN GIVHAN sneers at the dress of Town Hall protesters, thus underscoring the press’s identification with the rulers rather than with the ruled. There was a time when journalists were badly-dressed working stiffs, rather than upper-middle-class strivers putting on airs. That time is long past. But — since although she’s a snob she’s sometimes an insightful one — she nonetheless hits upon a key insight: “Washington’s power brokers have suited up to underscore their authority and the seriousness of the subject matter. And bully for them. But their attire also says: I am the boss of you. All those howling citizens — in their T-shirts and ball caps and baggy shorts — are saying: No, you’re not.”
UPDATE: Reader Thomas Prewitt writes:
The article by Robin Givhan in the Washington Post leads one to wonder, “What do I wear to a town hall event?’
Are protestors part of an astroturfed Brooks Brothers brigade, or are they unserious, ill-kempt, bloviating whiners?
Ms. Givhan’s commentary tells us more about Washington D.C. than it does about the Tea Party movement. The government-political-media establishment cannot seem to understand that their employers/customers are furious. This isn’t about a civil discourse; this is a really bad job review.
The people are hoppin’ mad and are trying to say, “We aren’t taking it anymore.” The recipients of this sentiment ignore it at their own peril.
Funny, if you saw this ABC News report you’d draw a different conclusion. (Via Troglopundit). Maybe ABC should have, you know, asked somebody who knew first, instead of just regurgitating stuff from alarmist nonprofit fundraising . . . .
SAFETY CONCERNS REGARDING swine flu vaccine.
10TH CIRCUIT: Gun Rights Don’t Apply in Domestic Violence Cases.
Doug Berman writes: “As I have said before and will say again, anyone seriously committed to the Second Amendment and gun rights getting serious constitutional respect should be seriously disturbed by how willing and eager lower courts have been to accept federal prosecutors’ arguments that Heller is of no consequence for an array of broad and severe federal gun possession crimes.” Domestic violence is real problem currently enjoying the status of “moral panic,” meaning that the Constitution doesn’t apply, much as it doesn’t apply to the drug war.
THE CHICAGO WAY: City Government Closed For Business On Monday due to budget problems.
AT THE BLOG PROF: Macomb Township Tries To Repeal 2nd Amendment, Fails Epically.
JIM DICKINSON HAS DIED: “During the course of his colorful half-century career, Dickinson built a worldwide reputation as a session player for the likes of Dylan and The Rolling Stones, a producer for influential groups including Big Star and The Replacements, a sometime solo artist and the patriarch of a small musical dynasty through his sons, Cody and Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars. . . . As a student at Whitehaven High School, Dickinson formed his first band, The Regents; he later had the distinction of singing on The Jesters’ 1966 garage-rock nugget ‘Cadillac Man,’ the final release on Sun Records.”
BYRON YORK: The Netroots’ Agenda: War? What War? “I attended the first YearlyKos convention, in 2006, and have kept up with later ones, and it’s safe to say that while people who attended those gatherings couldn’t stand George W. Bush in general, their feelings were particularly intense when it came to opposing the war in Iraq. It animated their activism; they hated the war, and they hated Bush for starting it. They weren’t that fond of the fighting in Afghanistan, either. Now, with Obama in the White House, all that has changed. . . . Not too long ago, with a different president in the White House, the left was obsessed with America’s wars. Now, they’re not even watching.”
Yeah, funny how the fierce moral urgency drained out of the antiwar movement as soon as a Democrat was elected President.
IT’S NOW TROPICAL STORM ANA: “Mark it down: on August 15, two-and-a-half months into the Atlantic hurricane season, we finally have our first named storm. Tropical Storm Ana formed overnight.” And we just got our second, Bill, which is expected to become a hurricane.
UPDATE: Steven Den Beste emails:
Related: it’s now been 36 days since the last sunspot.
Based on previous cycles, solar cycle 24 should have begun a year ago, and we should have been well into it by now. But the sun has been amazingly quiet, and that’s probably why it’s been so damned cold lately.
My tomatoes are just starting to bear. If I’m lucky, I’ll get a few before the first frost. But it’s been hot some places.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader John Braue emails:
Den Beste’s comment is misleadingly benign. There are other measures of the beginning of a sunspot cycle, such as reversal of magnetic polarity and the latitude of disturbances. Every one indicates that cycle 24 began with 2009…except the presence of sunspots.
We’re not seeing a prolonged tail-off to cycle 23, or an inexplicable gap, or anything like that; we’re seeing a spotless cycle. We don’t have good data, but it would not be unreasonable to suggest that the Maunder Minimum began like this.
We’ll find out, I guess. And gardenblogger Dave Walters writes:
Ditto on the tomatoes here in Alberta. I just picked a pink one, more to save it from the slugs than because it is ripe. Everything has been 11-14 days behind this year and with a frost warning on Friday and 2 C (~34 F) at the International Airport this morning and the hummingbirds and yellow warblers already migrating south, it looks like it will be another bumper crop of hard green tomatoes wrapped in newspaper in the basement. Good news is that green tomatoes, unlike green potatoes, are edible and with their firm consistency are good for a number of treats like green tomato pie and fried green tomatoes with bacon.
Trouble growing tomatoes in Alberta is one thing, trouble in Tennessee is another. I got more than we could eat from a couple of plants last year; I’ll be lucky to get a few salads from twice that many this year. I’m only guessing that it’s the cold, rainy summer — I don’t think we’ve broken 90 even once — but I don’t know what else it could be.
MAKING THE IRS the new health-care enforcer?
TAKING THE BACKDOOR ROUTE? Overlawyered on David Michaels, The Gun-Control Proponent Named to Head OSHA. “Senators have put nominations on hold for less. It will be interesting to see whether they take an interest in Michaels’ views on gun restrictions and their place in OSHA’s agenda.”
PJM POLITICAL: The Bioethical Plot Against The Astroturfing Evil-Mongers!
PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: Rick Perlstein’s Asinine Take on the Health Care Town Yells.
UPDATE: Perlstein and Bainbridge engage in the comments.
NEW YORK TIMES: HEALTH DEBATE FAILS TO IGNITE OBAMA’S WEB: “Mr. Obama engendered such passion last year that his allies believed they were on the verge of creating a movement that could be mobilized again. But if a week’s worth of events are any measure here in Iowa, it may not be so easy to reignite the machine that overwhelmed Republicans a year ago. . . . ‘People came out of the woodwork for Obama during the campaign, but now they are hibernating,’ Ms. Smith said.” Yes, it’s pretty clear where the grassroots energy is, and isn’t. Even in San Francisco.
AN OPERATING SYSTEM for the Cloud.
TIM CAVANAUGH: Would Obama-As-The-Penguin Posters Have Been OK? Nope. Obviously racist.
WHAT WE EAT when we eat alone.
TIM CAVANAUGH: Biggest Bank Failure of the Year, So Far.
MORE SHEILA JACKSON LEE astroturf.
ROGER KIMBALL: Yale and the Danish Cartoons: The Plot Thickens.
OUR GOVERNMENT: Making merely astronomical numbers sound puny.
SCENES FROM A NEW AMERICA: So I dropped the girls off at a movie, and — since the Insta-wife was lunching with her mom — stopped at a Sonny’s Barbecue for lunch. A man — late 40s, big, with a wife and a daughter — came in with an empty holster on his belt. As he sat down at the booth next to mine, the manager came by and asked him if he’d left his gun in the car. Yes, said the man, who had a permit but thought he wasn’t allowed to carry in restaurants in Tennessee.. Well, they’ve changed the law, said the manager, and if you want to go get it that’s fine with us. It’s legal now, and I’m happy to have you carrying — if somebody tries to rob me, it’s two against one.
The man stepped outside and returned with a Springfield XD in the holster, chatted with the manager for a bit about guns, and then sat down and had lunch with his family.
FEELING THE LOVE for Kourtney and Khloe.
A MATHEMATICAL MODEL for a spreading zombie infestation.
IN THE MAIL: Charles Stross’s The Revolution Business: Book Five of The Merchant Princes.
CELEBRATING THE 50th Anniversary of the Hovercraft. Plus, a human-powered version. What?
ANOTHER ARLEN SPECTER TOWN HALL:
About 1,500 people waited for hours near Kittanning under the beating sun for the town hall meeting on health care reform. . . . Taunts followed many of his comments. When he said he wouldn’t support a bill that would increase the deficit, many laughed. And when he said he wants to encourage people to stop smoking, one person yelled: “What about Obama smoking?” . . .
After the meeting concluded, Specter told about two dozen reporters that he has been surprised at the rising anger and the number of people attending the meetings. As Democrats on break hold similar town hall meetings across the nation, the angry crowds have garnered headlines and some live TV coverage.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Specter said.
Give him credit for showing up, though, which is more than some have been willing to do.
TEA PARTY FALLOUT? Democratic Senators say no vote on cap-and-trade this year.
AN OOZING SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT? “She absolutely would not show her card or check in; she felt like she shouldn’t have to.”
MICHAEL BARONE ON OBAMACARE: Why The Public Isn’t Buying It.
JAMES TARANTO ON SARAH PALIN: If she’s dim and Obama is brilliant, how did he lose the argument to her?
BITES FROM THE APPLE: A roundup of news from the Apple empire.
REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FILLS IN after Democratic Congresswoman a no-show at Town Hall.
SO IS THIS BAD NEWS, OR GOOD NEWS? Pace Of Stimulus Spending Plummets:
Stimulus bill spending has slowed to a trickle, despite President Obama’s June order to his Cabinet to speed it up.
The average stimulus spending per week has dropped severely, to just $4.2 billion over the past month from $9.7 billion during the prior four months. The government spent $2.9 billion in the week ending Aug. 7.
Taxpayer groups say the numbers show spending decisions are random and prove that the $787 billion stimulus program has had no effect on the economy.
“This is a typical bureaucracy. They don’t operate in an efficient way. They can’t operate in an efficient way and make an impact,” said Leslie Paige, media director for Citizens Against Government Waste.
The spending has slowed despite Mr. Obama’s declaration in June that he was “not satisfied” with its pace, and his demand that his Cabinet secretaries accelerate the distribution of stimulus funds.
Tentatively, I’m going with “good news.” It certainly undercuts calls for a second stimulus package, when they can’t even manage to spend the first one properly.
THIS ROBERT REICH COLUMN ON THE HEALTH CARE DEBATE is supposed to make you feel bad about the “right wing hate machine,” but instead it’s a stunning admission of incompetence:
Why are these meetings brimming with so much anger? Because Republican Astroturfers have joined the same old right-wing broadcast demagogues that have been spewing hate and fear for years, to create a tempest.
But why are they getting away with it? Why aren’t progressives—indeed, why aren’t ordinary citizens—taking the meetings back?
Mainly because there’s still no healthcare plan. All we have are some initial markups from several congressional committees, which differ from one another in significant ways. The White House’s is waiting to see what emerges from the House and Senate before insisting on what it wants, maybe in conference committee.
But that’s the problem: It’s always easier to stir up fear and anger against something that’s amorphous than to stir up enthusiasm for it.
Hmm. So it’s like this:
Obama: I’m going to turn healthcare upside down. Not sure how.
People: I don’t think I’ll like this.
Remember how Bush was supposed to be the idiot who went into Iraq without a plan, while Obama was supposed to be the cool methodical one? But Reich is admitting that despite all the Administration hoopla, there’s still no plan. Or, possibly, that the White House has a plan, but won’t tell us what it is. And yet the people who don’t want to see a bill — some bill, doing who-knows-what — rammed through in the dead of night are somehow the ones who are ignorant and being manipulated. Right.
UPDATE: Reader John Copella writes: “What’s especially hilarious is this delusion taking root among the left that these things are ‘astroturfed’. Have you ever seen a clear case of projection in your life?”
VIDEO: An ObamaCare protest in San Francisco. “If you can get a few 300-500 anti-liberal protesters onto the streets of San Francisco, well, it can only mean there must be a disturbance in the Force.”
UPDATE: Quent Cordair emails;
I was there all afternoon, protesting with a dozen friends from the Golden Gate Objectivists club. Even more proof that there was a disturbance in the force: from what I saw, there was only one lonely counter-protester all afternoon! She’s the one in the video, pacing the back of the crowd with the sign “Who would Jesus insure?” with “Answer: Everybody!” on the sign’s reverse. During a few minutes of silence being solemnly observed by the protesters, marking the politicians’ refusal to hear our concerns, the counter-protestor continued to frenetically march around the perimeter, chanting loudly, “Free Health Care For Everyone!” We endured her silently for awhile, until someone raised the responding chant, “Free Beer For Everyone!” The counter-protester gave up and went away. It was a good day.
Free Beer For Everyone! I like it. And here’s another report, with photos, at GayPatriot.
Still more here, with lots of pics.
SILENCING DISSENT? There’s An App For That!
Then: “I’m a fan of disruptors. Nothing could be more American.”
Now: “Disruptors are simply un-American.”
Then: “I understand your anger.”
Now: “I can’t stand your anger.”
ANOTHER DEM JUMPS SHIP: Conrad Won’t Vote for Public Plan. “Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. presented his cooperative health care proposal here Thursday and told an audience of 100 that he would not vote for a government-run health care program.”
JONATHAN ADLER REPORTS FROM MONTANA:
As for the President’s visit, most of the national coverage I’ve seen stressed the generally favorable audience at the town hall. For what it’s worth, the local coverage I’ve seen and heard out here has stressed that anti-ObamaCare protestors substantially outnumbered supporters outside the meeting. This should not be surprising — this is Montana.
And the reporting shouldn’t be surprising — this is the media.
YES WE DID: Jim Treacher updates the t-shirts.
GUESS I’LL SKIP THE GYM AND GO HAVE A BEER INSTEAD: Potbellies Become Stylish. And we can thank President Obama! “Hipsters, by nature contrarian, according to Dan Peres, the editor of Details, may be reacting in opposition to a president who is not only, as the press relentlessly reminds us, So Darn Smart, but also hits the gym every morning, has a conspicuously flat belly and, when not rescuing the economy or sparring with Kim Jong-il, shoots hoops. ‘If we had a slob in the White House, all the hipsters would turn into some walking Chippendales calendar,’ Mr. Peres said. Instead, the streets of Williamsburg are crowded with men who are, as he noted, ‘proudly rocking a gut.’”
So does this mean that we could solve our national obesity problem by electing Jack Black?
A REPORT FROM THE HUGO AWARDS, with pictures. There are more attractive women than I would have expected.
IIHS ANNOUNCES crash test success for the Toyota Prius, Kia Soul, and Honda Insight.
TOSHIBA ANNOUNCES world’s largest SD card. “Toshiba has announced the world’s largest SD memory card, a 64-gigabyte card that employs the new SDXC (XC for extended capacity) memory standard.” It wasn’t so long ago that a 512 MB card was a big deal . . . .
ARE YOU THERE ALIENS? It’s me, Earth.
MORE ON THOSE ALLEGED “HATE GROUPS.”
Plus this: Black Man Pleads Guilty to Posing as Obama-Hating White Supremacist on Facebook. “An African-American man from Mississippi admits posing as a white supremacist to send a death threat across state lines by Facebook. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 20-year-old Dyron L. Hart of Poplarville pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to making a threat in November 2008. Hart admitted creating a name and using a white supremacists’ photo to pose as a white man who planned to kill blacks because Barack Obama had been elected president.”
NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Capping Two-faced ‘Janus’ Nanoparticle Gives Engineers Complete Control.
IT’S WABBIT SEASON.
GOVERNMENT SURVEILLANCE targets license plates.
REMEMBER, IF YOU OPPOSE OBAMA’S POLICIES, YOU’RE A RACIST, FASCIST HATER: Fear for Obama’s Safety Grows as Hate Groups Thrive on Racial Backlash. As others have noted, we didn’t see this kind of concern when people were saying the same kinds of things about Bush. This storyline seems like a pretty transparent effort to delegitimize the protesters particularly when you see who’s quoted. But perhaps — as some did during the Bush era on the few occasions when they deigned to notice the hate — we should ask what Obama has done to so divide the country?
Meanwhile, Matt Welch notes a lot of pundits who seem eager to turn Obama-opposition into race-war. And here I thought the Obama presidency was supposed to usher in a post-racial America. How’s that working out so far?
And Jesse Walker called it: The Paranoids Are Out To Get Me!
BOYCOTTING WHOLE FOODS over an anti-Obamacare op-ed.
THE IRANIAN MULLAHS are watching PJTV.
2006 TOWN HALL FLASHBACK: PELOSI TELLS ANTI-WAR PROTESTERS ‘I’M A FAN OF DISRUPTORS’.
A PHYSICIST PROPOSES LAWS OF TIME TRAVEL.
He omits Niven’s Law of Time Travel, though: “If the universe of discourse permits the possibility of time travel and of changing the past, then no time machine will be invented in that universe.” The reason is that if it’s possible to change the past — and, thus the present — change will continue until it reaches the stable state in which no time machine is invented anywhere. Or as Hans Moravec glosses it:
There is a spookier possibility. Suppose it is easy to send messages to the past, but that forward causality also holds (i.e. past events determine the future). In one way of reasoning about it, a message sent to the past will “alter” the entire history following its receipt, including the event that sent it, and thus the message itself. Thus altered, the message will change the past in a different way, and so on, until some “equilibrium” is reached–the simplest being the situation where no message at all is sent. Time travel may thus act to erase itself
So maybe it already has.
WILL ELECTRIC CARS wreck the grid?
DON’T TELL ME HOW THIS ENDS: Michael Totten on Iraq. “The uptick in violence following America’s partial withdrawal shouldn’t shock anyone. If you scale back security on the streets, more violence and crime are inevitable. The same thing would happen in the United States if local police departments purged the better half of their officers. That does not mean, however, that Iraq is doomed to revert to war.” I certainly hope not. I still think we’re pulling back more quickly than is optimal.
MICHAEL MALONE: The Myth of Valley Wages.
REMEMBERING Super Friends, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more.
KILLING cancer stem cells.
IN THE MAIL: From Stephen McClellan, Full of Bull (Updated Edition): Unscramble Wall Street Doubletalk to Protect and Build Your Portfolio.