October 18, 2009
COUNTRYWIDE SCANDAL becoming an issue in New Hampshire elections.
COUNTRYWIDE SCANDAL becoming an issue in New Hampshire elections.
CORPORATE AMERICA worried about sinking dollar.
GOTH GIRL rising.
THOSE “CHRISTIANISTS” ARE EVERYWHERE: Morehouse College Bans Cross-Dressing.
WILL THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION MOVE TOWARD more targeted killing in Afghanistan?
AMERICABLOG: Top Obama Advisers Walk Away From Public Option.
A QUESTION ABOUT NEWSWEEK: “Is the ethnic sneer there Alter’s, or his editor’s?” Maybe the computer did it.
These young men are, de jure, British subjects and, de facto, the demographic energy of every city down the spine of the country. “Islam will dominate!” they yell, impatient that it doesn’t already, not entirely. The delusions of multiculturalism have brought about the death of England – in nothing flat. An amazing feat.
It’s what happens when you have a ruling class that decides that it doesn’t believe in the country it rules. And a citizenry that lets that rule continue, anyway.
WILL THE LEFT KILL BARACK OBAMA? I’ve been seeing this site show up in blog comments. Who’s behind it and why? A WHOIS search shows a non-public registration. Any thoughts?
THIS IS INTERESTING: Iran accuses Pakistan over attack. “Iran’s president has accused Pakistani agents of involvement in a suicide bombing in south-east Iran targeting a group of elite Revolutionary Guards.”
NOT EVIL, JUST WRONG: Live on Big Hollywood.
CASH FOR . . . GOLF CARTS? Stimulus!
CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Scandals, But No Censure.
Two years ago, after a scandal that centered on the disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the House created an independent ethics office as part of what Speaker Nancy Pelosi called an effort to end the “culture of corruption” in Washington. The Senate also took action, setting up what it described as tough new regulations.
Since then, however, no member of Congress has been censured, the toughest punishment short of expulsion, despite a number of recent scandals involving sexual impropriety, financial dealings and conflicts of interest. The record illustrates how Congress has struggled to police itself after years in which its ethics committees were often derided as ineffectual.
I don’t think they’re “struggling.” I don’t think they’re even trying very hard to look as if they’re struggling.
Read the whole thing, but here’s the bottom-line quote: “Congress will protect its own, no matter what.”
NO DOUBT: Bet on it: ACORN will be back.
THIS WEEKEND’S TWO-MINUTE HATE. “Exit question, as Allahpundit would have it: how much of this is just pique over the administration having to drop the Humana probe? I’m guessing at least a third.”
NOBODY COMMENTS ON PAUL KRUGMAN’S BLOG, IT’S TOO POPULAR: What is the theory here, economist guy? You don’t want too many people on your webpage? Well, I’d be the last one to say that people have any obligation to allow comments on their page. You can always comment about them on your blog! Including commenting about their decision to turn comments off when they say something incoherent . . . .
MCCLATCHY: Democrats’ Ethics Problems Spark GOP Election Hopes. Just remember, it’s not enough for the Democrats to look bad. The Republicans need someone who looks good.
PROGRESS: ‘ECG For The Mind’ Could Diagnose Depression In An Hour. “Monash biomedical engineer Brian Lithgow has developed electrovestibulography which is something akin to an ‘ECG for the mind’. Patterns of electrical activity in the brain’s vestibular (or balance) system are measured against distinct response patterns found in depression, schizophrenia and other Central Nervous System (CNS) disorders.”
ARE MARRIAGE PROPOSALS DEAD?
HURRICANE RICK: “Hurricane Rick continued to intensify yesterday. It may be the strongest hurricane ever observed in the East Pacific, and it is certainly one of the fastest growing ever, anywhere.”
NOSTALGIA: The joys of Lionel trains.
CALIFORNIA COURT upholds 1% tax on millionaires. Good news for Nevada and Arizona! And Texas!
THE 75 HOTTEST SITCOM BABES OF ALL TIME. A few of the choices seem a little . . . iffy. But Barbara Eden and Dawn Wells hold up surprisingly well. And Laura San Giacamo, well. . . . . Suffice it to say that she narrated the first season of Helen’s Snapped series on Oxygen, but I was disappointed not to meet her at the premiere party. I really liked her work in Sex, Lies and Videotape, too.
UPDATE: I took this down because a reader complained about spyware. Now people want to know where it went, so I’m putting it back up with a warning. I’m pretty sure that it was just one of those annoying fake-scan java things in the ads, but I’ve disabled the link just in case. Proceed at your own risk . . . .
ANOTHER UPDATE: Okay, other readers say it’s a spyware site, too. I’ve removed the link entirely.
KYOTO PROTOCOL IS DEAD, says NPR.
GIANT RIBBON at edge of Solar System.
TREVOR BUTTERWORTH: A Beer Tax Won’t Reduce The Clap.
NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Researchers use nanotech to detect early-stage cancer.
IN THE MAIL: From Dave Freer, Dragon’s Ring.
STUNNER: Most Media Ignore Media Protests. Or at least, don’t report on them. “Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson could announce a can opening and every media outlet in town would be there. Some people show up to protest media bias and it’s as if it never happened.”
ANN ALTHOUSE: Al Sharpton is threatening to sue Rush Limbaugh for defamation? But that’s what Rush wants, isn’t it? “Let me explain my theory.”
“IF YOU STRIKE ME DOWN I SHALL–” Oh, hell, you know the rest. New York Times declares Fox News winner in fight with Obama. Best bit: “People who work in political communications have pointed out that it is a principle of power dynamics to ‘punch up’ – that is, to take on bigger foes, not smaller ones. A blog on the White House Web site that uses a ‘truth-o-meter’ against a particular cable news network would not seem to qualify. As it is, Reality Check sounds a bit like the blog of some unemployed guy living in his parents’ basement, not an official communiqué from Pennsylvania Avenue.”
WALL STREETER POSTS $100 MILLION BOND. Thank goodness Obama is standing up to those crooks! Oh, wait: “He was a big donor to Barack Obama — and a charity linked to Tamil terrorists.”
BANKER BONUSES IN TIME OF CRISIS. Last year the bonuses were “bad,” because the bankers hadn’t been brought under control. Now they’re okay, because they’re a payoff. . . .
CONGRATULATIONS TO Washington Institute Book Prize Winner Ron Radosh.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Tea Party “Insurgency” Marches Into Key States.
Begun as a loosely affiliated groundswell of Constitution-waving protesters in tri-cornered hats, the Tea Party movement is now starting to rock the political establishment in key arenas.
The growing numbers of Americans coming out to the Tax Day Tea Party, the Fourth of July Tea Parties, and then the 9/12 Tea Party march on Washington are going back to their home districts and keeping up — even intensifying — the fight for smaller government and more transparency on spending and taxation.
In places like New York, Florida, California, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania, local, state, congressional, and gubernatorial seats are suddenly being tugged to-and-fro by the new and unruly political force.
The street energy is welcome for an otherwise moribund Republican party looking for new moorings amid a tumultuous electorate.
The downside is that early examples shows that, in the short run, Tea Party-sponsored candidates could make it more difficult for Republicans as they — Ross Perot-like — split races as they target both “tax and spend” Democrats and those they like to call RINOs, or “Republicans-in-name-only.”
For the Republicans, the obvious solution is to run candidates who are less RINO-ish. For the Tea Party folks, the obvious solution is to push hard for their guys in primaries, then vote for whoever wins even if they have to hold their noses a bit sometimes. That’s politics. Though even RINO-ish candidates will be less so if they have to worry about primary challenges. (Via NewsAlert).
UPDATE: Michael Greenspan emails: “You’re exactly right, though if either the Republicans or the Tea Partiers learn their lesson before the 2010 elections I’ll be amazed.” Hey, I just blog this stuff. Whether people listen is up to them.
ANOTHER UPDATE: On the NY-23 race, reader Michael Kennedy writes:
Glenn, the Republicans are upset at the tea partiers in NY 23 for backing Hoffman but that will be a nice test. The election is only for one year so little is lost if the Democrat wins a split race. But, if Hoffman wins, they will have to start to take the movement seriously instead of trying to co-opt them. First, I think the tea parties are libertarian, not “right wing.” That’s what I’ve seen in Mission Viejo, where we have turned out 500+ on each occasion.
This will be a very important race, more so than Virginia or New Jersey which are old line pols running on both sides.
I do wish Hoffman’s donation software was better. I tried to give him money and couldn’t.
MANDATORY GARDASIL VACCINATIONS FOR BOYS? “If the boys don’t stand to benefit from the vaccine, then are we making boys into The Island? Well, that’s an awfully inflammatory way to start out, I grant you. Here’s another inflammatory way to start out … would forcing boys to be vaccinated against their will but without any medical benefit to them, with the benefits accruing instead to girls, violate Roe v Wade?”
BARACK OBAMA’S NOBEL, the income tax problems it presents, and Charles Dawes.
SUSANNAH BRESLIN: Now That Porn Has Gone Mainstream, Hollywood Is Going XXX.
WELL, THAT’S A RELIEF: Bill Maher: “I’m not a germ theory denier.”
And Chris Matthews responds: “You’re like Tom Cruise saying I don’t believe in therapy.”
Plus, Maher’s ultimate defense: “At least I’m not f–king my interns.” Well, okay then.
EUGENE ROBINSON blasts Obama’s “Drive-By Compassion” in New Orleans. “President Obama’s brief display of drive-by compassion Thursday in New Orleans was, for me, by far the worst outing of his presidency thus far — and the biggest disappointment.”
President Obama mounted a frontal assault on the insurance industry on Saturday, accusing it of using “deceptive and dishonest ads” to derail his health care legislation and threatening to strip the industry of its longstanding exemption from federal antitrust laws. In unusually harsh terms, Mr. Obama cast insurance companies as obstacles to change interested only in preserving their own “profits and bonuses” and willing to “bend the truth or break it” to stop his drive to remake the nation’s health care system. The president used his weekly radio and Internet address to challenge industry assertions that legislation will drive up premiums.
Shrill. Desperate. Bullying. But mostly desperate. Meanwhile, speaking of “deceptive and dishonest,” what about this?
UPDATE: Reader Andrew Linder emails: “I think the question someone ought to ask Obama is whether there is anyone, anywhere who disagrees with his plan but is not ‘dishonest and deceptive’. Is such a thing even possible in Obama-world? “
MARGE SIMPSON Poses For Playboy. The end times are upon us.
GREAT TEA PARTIES, KID: Don’t get cocky. “Do the failures of the current administration represent a fantastic opportunity for the Republican party come 2010? Absolutely. Is it a done deal? Not until the votes are counted just over a year from now. And a year in the political arena is an eternity.”
Related: Harris Poll Puts Obama Approval at 45%. But remember, Obama won’t be on the ballot in 2010.
UPDATE: Bill Quick: “Here’s the nut of it: The GOP establishment sees their problem as being that they are out of power. People like me see the problem as being that they are out of power because they have turned their backs on the principles those who once voted for them believe in.”
BELIEVING AT LEAST ONE THING Shepard Fairey says.
FIREWORKS at Western CPAC. Well, sparklers and smoke-bombs, anyway.
TEST-DRIVING plug-in Volvos.
ROGER KIMBALL: The Maoist explains herself: egg, face at the White House. “When will voters begin that long countermarch through the institutions in order to take back the country? If not now, when?”
PETER BERKOWITZ: Academia Goes Silent On Free Speech. It was a useful slogan when countering anti-communists, but now that’s not an issue anymore. . . .
MATT WELCH: Corporate Welfare For Baseball’s Richest Team.
A BIG PROFILE OF ANDREW BREITBART IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Taking On the ‘Democrat-Media Complex’. Nice piece, but the conclusion is weak.
Even if one accepts Mr. Breitbart’s critique of the mainstream media, nobody should root for their downfall or destruction. Their role—that of impartial watchdog and broker of information—is a vital one, whether or not they perform it well. While Breitbart-style opinionated journalism can provide healthy competition, it cannot substitute for straight news. As Mr. Breitbart himself says, in an unusually modest moment, “I’m not looking to slay the dragon . . . but I wanted to embarrass the dragon into being a more reasonable dragon.”
The question is whether the dragon remains capable of embarrassment. And whether — forget performing their role well — the “mainstream” media still perform it at all. Recent evidence is not encouraging, and wishing that someone would perform that role doesn’t entail giving credit to those who could do so, but do not.
PLAYING the Wiktionary game.
NATURAL GAS CHANGES THE ENERGY MAP: “Vast amounts of the clean-burning fossil fuel have been discovered in shale deposits, setting off a gas rush. But how it will affect our energy use is still uncertain.”
UPDATE: Reader Stuart Wagner writes:
I have been in the energy industry for nearly 30 years, much of it as an investment banker and am now the CFO of a private exploration and production company who is exploring in the Marcellus and Barnett shale plays, both in the lower-48 states. I found the article to be well done and fairly complete, particularly on the technical issues surrounding natural gas. However, I found the content addressing how it stacks up against alternative energy to be disappointing.
In comparing nat gas to coal, coal is definitely cheaper on a BTU basis than nat gas (which in turn is cheaper than fuel oil). However, nuclear power is a fraction of the cost of coal on a BTU basis. Alternatively, nuclear power plants are far more expensive to build on an output equivalent basis than coal, which is in turn far more expensive on an output-equivalent basis than gas. Point is, its simplistic to compare the two on just the cost of the fuel. Moreover, the cost of the waste product for each again makes gas the clear victor–nuclear waste versus high levels of carbon dioxide of coal versus moderate levels of carbon dioxide for gas (although I’m a GWT skeptic).
That issue works against natural gas, though, in that the high cost of plant construction for coal and nuclear plants is borne by rate-payers and are owned by powerful, politically-connected utilities who have successfully lobbied for exemptions in the Waxman-Markey bill (which is why Waxman-Markey is a joke–this is about control of the means of production–socialism–not cleaning the environment). The article does address the fact that coal loses its competitive edge when emissions costs are included, but its very questionable as to whether Waxman-Markey puts ANY emissions costs on coal.
Most of us in the energy industry know that alternative energy is a joke and is unlikely to ever meet a meaningful amount of this country’s energy needs. Put aside the fact that its not cost-competitive and unreliable. It has its own environmental issues. Bird kill and surface disturbance for wind and surface disturbance and water for solar (did you know solar panels need to be washed once a week?) not to mention the huge amount of power lines that need to be built. Nimby or Banana (build absolutely nothing, near anything) are already rearing their head vis a vis alternative energy. Even if alternative energy were to meet a meaningful amount of our electricity needs, natural gas-fired power generation will be needed in large volumes because they are the only plants that can cycle up and down rapidly to keep maintain the integrity of the grid as the wind stops blowing or clouds pass over solar panels. Coal and nuclear are base load–meaning the size of the plants necessary for the economies of scale needed are not conducive to easily turning them on and off.
The point is, natural gas is the bridge fuel whether we acknowledge it or not. While Pennsylvania will not become the OPEC of natural gas, there are many more shale plays than were mentioned (the Fayetteville and Haynesville come to mind) plus there are huge deposits in Canada (Horn River) and the North Slope that weren’t even mentioned, plus nat gas offshore that has not even been explored for to date. In addition, liquified natural gas is even cheaper than U.S. supplies and come from places like Australia, Equatorial Guinea, Norway, and Qatar. I would also point out that a national natural gas grid is already in place to move natural gas to market (most cities already have natural gas lines under the streets) so refueling cars would actually be very easy. Most likely it will be conversion of fleets to nat gas, but that could be significant.
I know this has been long and a little rambling, but I believe natural gas will play a tremendous role in our energy future and also believe that the ultimate answer is nuclear.
Thanks, Stuart. And I agree about nuclear.
BITES FROM THE APPLE: A roundup of news from the Apple empire.
REASON TV: Whole Foods And Health Care.
JOHN TIERNEY: The Non-Tragedy of the Commons.
The 2009 Nobel Prize for economics is a useful reminder of how easy it is for scientists to go wrong, especially when their mistake jibes with popular beliefs or political agendas.
Elinor Ostrom of Indiana University shared the prize for her research into the management of “commons,” which has been a buzzword among ecologists since Garrett Hardin’s 1968 article Science, “The Tragedy of the Commons.” His fable about a common pasture that is ruined by overgrazing became one of the most-quoted articles ever published by that journal, and it served as a fundamental rationale for the expansion of national and international regulation of the environment. His fable was a useful illustration of a genuine public-policy problem — how do you manage a resource that doesn’t belong to anyone? — but there were a couple of big problems with the essay and its application.
First, Dr. Hardin himself misapplied the fable. Declaring that “overpopulation” was a tragedy of the commons, he warned that “freedom to breed will bring ruin to all.” He and others advocated a “lifeboat ethic” of denying food aid, even during emergencies, to poor countries with rapidly growing populations. But “overpopulation” was not even a theoretical example of the tragedy of the commons. Parents are not like the cattle owners who profit individually by adding cows to the pasture (while collectively destroying it). Parents, unlike the cattle owners, have to pay to feed and house and educate their children, and the high economic costs of children are one reason that birth rates have declined around the world — without any of the coercion discussed by Dr. Hardin and some other ecologists (like Paul Ehrlich).
Read the whole thing. Sometimes I think the desire for coercion comes first, then the theory to justify it. . . .
MICHAEL MALONE: Sorry, “the cloud” ate your data.
INVASION OF THE giant snakes.
GOOD NEWS FOR APTERA: DOE Funds for Three-wheelers.
IN THE MAIL: 1989: The Struggle To Create Post-Cold War Europe.
Plus this: “Huckabee is easily dispatched. He is not a conservative. Anyone suggesting that remains blinded by those wonderful crosses they saw dancing across their TV screen in last year’s Huckabee campaign ads. Fiscally, he’s a populist, at best. And he actually has quite a liberal streak. Distributing income is just as much a desire with Huckabee as it is with the Left. He simply wants to use those tax dollars in a different way.”
IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Rush Limbaugh Responds to His Critics.
Numerous sportswriters, CNN, MSNBC, among others, falsely attributed to me statements I had never made. Their sources, as best I can tell, were Wikipedia and each other. But the Wikipedia post was based on a fabrication printed in a book that also lacked any citation to an actual source.
I never said I supported slavery and I never praised James Earl Ray. How sick would that be? Just as sick as those who would use such outrageous slanders against me or anyone else who never even thought such things. Mr. Wilbon refuses to take responsibility for his poison pen, writing instead that he will take my word that I did not make these statements; others, like Rick Sanchez of CNN, essentially used the same sleight-of-hand.
How long before we start reading on Wikquotes that Rick Sanchez called black people genetically inferior? Of course, no one would run that without checking . . . .
THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST: Harvard admits to $1.8b gaffe in cash holdings: Operating funds were lost to stock, hedge fund trades. “Harvard University, one of the world’s richest educational institutions, stumbled into its financial crisis in part by breaking one of the most basic rules of corporate or family finance: Don’t gamble with the money you need to pay the daily bills.” (Via NewsAlert).
HOPE: And deception. Shepard Fairey just doesn’t seem very admirable.
WALL STREET JOURNAL: Tea-Party Activists Complicate Republican Comeback Strategy. Well, they should.
ARE LIFE COACHES the root of all evil?
HOW TURKEY was lost to the West. “Once the apotheosis of a pro-Western, dependable Muslim democracy, this week Turkey officially left the Western alliance and became a full member of the Iranian axis.”
WE’RE NUMBER ONE! State and local sales tax rates.
AT TEXAS A&M, STUDENTS, OTHERS PROTEST OBAMA VISIT.
OBAMA AND HARPER: Two leaders’ contrasting styles.
WHAT RUSH LIMBAUGH HAS IN COMMON WITH ARISTOTLE: Both are subjects of fake quotes made up by Democratic political operatives.
People who aren’t worried about setting up a big new entitlement, because after all, we’re going to have to fix it eventually, are encouraged to read Paul Blustein’s excellent book on the Argentinian crisis, And the Money Kept Rolling In (And Out). Unsustainable fiscal policies can end when the government tightens its belt and raises taxes and cuts spending–or it can end when the whole thing melts down spectacularly. . . . At best, when we do start cutting back, we will make various people who planned their lives around current government policy substantially worse off. That’s something that we should be thinking carefully about, not blithely endorsing.
BAD POLICY: The Peril Of Anointing a Favored Financial Few.
2010 CORVETTE GRAND SPORT vs. BMW M3.
CAR LUST: Remembering the Triumph Spitfire and GT6.
NO SURPRISE HERE: MSNBC Admits ‘Unable to Verify’ False Limbaugh Quote, No Retraction or Apology. Reader C.J. Burch writes: “The problems at CNBC and CNN are deepening. I wonder why they’ve decided to ride this one into the ground? There were better hills to fight for. Are they going to throw themselves on their sword when an athlete in the NFL misbehaves and the rest of the country calls for him to be banned from the game? I just watched CNN try to tie a posthumous pardon of an African American in South Carolina to Limbaugh. Why? The trial happened in 1913. Did Limbaugh travel back in time or something. Or is CNN just that desperate, vicious and dishonest?” I think he means MSNBC, not CNBC, but yeah.
Meanwhile, reader Kurt Winkelmann writes: ‘Right now, CNN is showing a graphic of the $1.4 trillion deficit on its homepage. It’s the same graphic that you’ve been showing us for the past several months. That is how far behind the curve they are (or how far ahead you are).” Yeah, but I don’t have their layers of editors and factcheckers. . . .
UPDATE: For an example of how it should work, see Ta-Nehisi Coates. “I’m a little sick that I got it wrong, as I should be. But not sick that I have to apologize to Rush. The thing is this: I don’t think that you guys expect me to get it
write right 100 percent of the time. I think you expect me to try very hard to be accurate, and immediately acknowledge when I’ve failed to do so. I don’t fear losing readers because I was wrong. I very much fear losing readers because they think I’m not being honest.”
MICKEY KAUS: Explain Away The Health Care Shell Game, Please.
MORE ON THE POLITICIZATION OF FINANCE: Does Citi Make Cheaper Loans In Battleground States?
RECIPE: Candied Bacon Ice Cream.
BIG HOLLYWOOD: NFL Owners Who Use The N Word and Wet Their Pants on Stage.
RAND SIMBERG: The Dishwasher.
APPLE PLANNING ITS OWN WINDOWS 7 CAMPAIGN: Buy a Mac Instead. They’ll need a price-cut to make that one work . . . .
STEVE CROWDER’S NOBEL PEACE PRIZE.
ALEX BEAM: Ted Kennedy, Without Tears.
ANOTHER REASON FOR separating marriage and state.
ANN ALTHOUSE on judicial review.