November 8, 2009
STEPHEN GORDON REPORTS ON HIS EXPERIENCE AT Thursday’s House Call On Congress.
STEPHEN GORDON REPORTS ON HIS EXPERIENCE AT Thursday’s House Call On Congress.
THOUGHTS ON CONSISTENCY. But if Bush was Hindenburg, then what does that make Obama?
QUIN HILYER: “Conservatives need to take a deep breath, relax, and stop bashing Joseph Cao. The man never claimed to be a fully committed economic conservative. He represents a district that is about 75 percent Democrat and 62 percent black (or thereabouts).”
You could see that when I interviewed him.
A BUNCH OF new releases on Blu-Ray.
BETTER SCREWED than rude.
FABIUS MAXIMUS CONTINUES TO INSIST that I misread a post of his — this one — in the aftermath of the Fort Hood massacre. That’s certainly possible, and certainly I don’t claim to know what he meant better than he did. I took his post on military stress as an endorsement of the PTSD-theory, and an implicit rejection of the Muslim-terror theory, but that was my inference, nothing he actually said.
OUCH: “Life is full of mysteries, but chief among them in this Marine wife’s mind at the moment is, ‘Just how stupid does this White House think we are?’”
CALLING ALL BLOGGERS for a bipartisan project to support veterans. With John Hinderaker and Joe Trippi.
ANN ALTHOUSE ON Obama’s Fort Hood Massacre reference: “I’m trying to imagine the political environment that Washington Democrats occupy. A President glibly lays out that analogy, and it is received — without any wincing or taint of disgust — as awesome inspiration. These are the minds that will be making decisions for us for quite a while.”
SHORTENING WORMS’ LIVES by adding sugar.
THE ROAD FROM SERFDOM. “Twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall came down and with it communist rule in Central Europe. Within little more than two years, the Soviet Union ceased to exist and the transition from communist dictatorship to free market democracy began in much of the former socialist commonwealth. . . . In spite of its monumental failure to bring social peace and material abundance, socialism is enjoying something of a renaissance. From Venezuela to Bolivia to South Africa, government ministers espouse the supposed virtues of socialism. Even in the West, some policies are taking government intervention in the economy to levels unseen in decades. Given the renewed interest in alternatives to capitalism, it is perhaps appropriate to recall the last time that socialism was tried with real gusto.”
Socialism is an opportunistic infection of the body politic. It occurs when defenses are low.
INFINITE IN ALL DIRECTIONS: Reporting from Singularity University.
FAR FROM A LAB? Turn a cellphone into a microscope. “In one prototype, a slide holding a finger prick of blood can be inserted over the phone’s camera sensor. The sensor detects the slide’s contents and sends the information wirelessly to a hospital or regional health center. For instance, the phones can detect the asymmetric shape of diseased blood cells or other abnormal cells, or note an increase of white blood cells, a sign of infection, he said.”
One step closer to the tricorder.
HEALTH CARE that’s always a scare.
BRITISH CORPORAL BECOMES MISS ENGLAND.
SOCIAL SCIENCE in the Drug War zone.
GOODBYE, RUBY TUESDAY? “Not quite. The stock has rebounded to $6.54, and the company has raised money to pay down debt. Even if a sense of imminent doom has passed, however, nobody is yet calling Mr. Beall’s makeover a success.” I haven’t tried the new menu yet, but my complaint about the old one was that the food got more expensive, and more fattening, while tasting worse. (The turkey burger, for example, became an over-800-calorie monstrosity, but didn’t taste nearly as good as the older, lighter version). I guess I’ll have to check them out again — we used to go there once a week, but I haven’t been to a Ruby’s in many months.
But there’ll have to have been big changes to justify this bit:
“If you really care what you put in your body, Ruby’s is a good place for you,” says Mr. Beall, as the wait staff clears away the plates. “If you don’t care, hell, go to Hardee’s.”
UPDATE: Reader Billy Rawl emails:
We hardly ever eat lunch out, but today some friends persuaded us to join them at our local Ruby Tuesday. Although the place was crowded the service was impeccable, the food was wonderful, and none of the staff during our whole visit ever addressed us as “you guys.” I couldn’t think of a thing to suggest on the online survey that would improve my next visit. I would be returning even if I didn’t get $4 off my next entrée for filling out that online survey!
I’ll give ‘em another try, maybe, although I looked at the nutrition information on their website and their turkey burgers are mostly in the 1100 calorie range. That’s two Big Macs worth of calories. For a turkey burger. You do better with a full slab of barbecue ribs. That’s just wrong. There’s one for 890 calories, which puts it just shy of the 920-calorie Double Whopper. Still pretty lame. Can’t we get a 500-calorie turkey burger?
LONG-TERM TEST RESULTS on the VW Jetta TDI.
TREATING the pain epidemic.
LOOKING AT THE PERFORMANCE OF Chevy Volt batteries in cold weather.
DISSING FREE SPEECH.
JERRY POURNELLE: “I would have thought that the Obama administration is at least as responsible for the US response to the Swine Flu problem as the Bush administration ever was for the New Orleans response to Katrina, but the media are not reporting it that way. I wonder how those who stood in long lines for hours only to find that there is no vaccine feel about the government’s coming takeover of the entire health care system? Will the new health care system work more smoothly than does, say, FEMA? Is there any reason to think so?”
UPDATE: Thunderous Applause.
ANOTHER UPDATE: List: Blue Dogs Who Voted for Pelosicare.
JEFFREY GOLDBERG: When Muslims Commit Violence.
I am not arguing, of course, that American Muslims, as a whole, are violently unhappy with America (I’ve argued the opposite, in fact). But I do think that elite makers of opinion in this country try very hard to ignore the larger meaning of violent acts when they happen to be perpetrated by Muslims. Here’s a simple test: If Nidal Malik Hasan had been a devout Christian with pronounced anti-abortion views, and had he attacked, say, a Planned Parenthood office, would his religion have been considered relevant as we tried to understand the motivation and meaning of the attack? Of course. Elite opinion makers do not, as a rule, try to protect Christians and Christian belief from investigation and criticism. Quite the opposite. It would be useful to apply the same standards of inquiry and criticism to all religions.
Yep. Heck, forget religion. If he’d just been a big Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh fan, that would be all the explanation required. . . .
HEH: Toronto Star Copyeditor Edits Memo Announcing the Elimination of Copyeditor Jobs. “This is very funny stuff, but having looked at the markup, I have to say that I would ask for a different copyeditor in future.”
ILYA SOMIN: Why the Neglect of Communist Crimes Matters.
ED MORRISSEY: Is this the high-water mark for ObamaCare?
The Democrats wheedled, cajoled, begged, and finally abandoned its defense of abortion — truly a watershed moment — in order to get their version of ObamaCare passed … in the House of Representatives, where they enjoy a 75-seat majority. In the end, they could only muster a five-vote win on Nancy Pelosi’s bill out of that strong majority. Until this week, most had assumed that any ObamaCare bill would pass the House easily, but that the fight would be in the Senate.
So what does this 220-215 vote tell us? Capitol Hill Democrats know that this bill is an albatross. It’s true that Pelosi was able at the end to negotiate votes to allow a few at-risk Democrats that supported the bill to oppose it in the final vote, but even that tells a tale of fear and consciousness of unpopularity. The razor-thin vote, as well as a number of earlier, more sincere defections, show that this bill was a radical and expensive approach to fix a 13% problem — and even most of the Democrats know it. . . . We always thought the fight was in the Senate, so the only real surprise yesterday was how weak Pelosi actually was on ObamaCare.
If you don’t like it, make sure your Senator knows.
SHANNON LOVE: “Fox is supplanting the role long played by the New York Times and the Ochs-Sulzberger family that owns the 88% of the paper. For nearly 50 years, the Times has sent out its headline for the next day out on the wire and newspapers and broadcasters have en masse synchronized their own stories to whatever the NYT decided to cover. . . . Now Fox has stolen the crown. Even people who hate Fox now find themselves forced to react to it. Politicos and pundits who want to reach half of the cable news audience have to show up on Fox. Other news organizations are forced to cover the same stories as Fox just to remain relevant.” I agree that the programming is visually kinda garish, but apparently they know what they’re doing.
Hey, they’re already selling the bumper stickers.
UPDATE: Reader Arnie Schulberg sends this. Heck, some Republicans are missing Bill Clinton. I think before it’s over, even Jimmy Carter will look okay.
A NARROW SLIVER: “One would think such an historic and noble action, as the Democrats have styled it, would enjoy robust support from the full spectrum of the House Democratic caucus. But in this case, only those who occupy safe seats (or think they do) can be corralled. If Pelosi gets her 218 votes, it will be unprecedented. It is fair to say that never will a piece of legislation this sweeping (and damaging) have been passed over the opposition of so much of the electorate and on the votes of such a narrow ideological slice of the governing class.”
FAINT PRAISE: Don Surber compares me favorably to . . . Mike Dukakis.
MORE ON THAT Capitol Hill shoving incident.
“SMART DIPLOMACY:” “China on Friday accused the US of protectionist and biased trade policies less than a week before president Barack Obama’s first visit to Beijing. n a stinging rebuke to Washington, China’s commerce ministry promised to take measures to protect its domestic industry after the US slapped anti-dumping duties on $2.6bn of Chinese steel pipe imports. The duties are part of a growing roster of trade conflicts between the two countries, despite a high-level meeting last week in China aimed at reducing tensions.”
JERRY POURNELLE: “Unemployment is over 10%. It wasn’t supposed to get that high. TARP was supposed to fix that. . . . If the health care bill passes, it will fundamentally convert these United States into a different kind of popular democracy, which generally means rule by a unionized bureaucracy organized to vote. Once that much of the economy is run by government, economic recovery as many hope for will simply be impossible. Permanent unemployment at 7% or so; median income perhaps 10% higher than it is now, but not much higher; and a long period of stagflation. Reluctance to take on new employees, and great incentive to export jobs. Is this a picture of the future? We will have to see, as Congress debates the health care and carbon tax bills. . . . With Detroit a ruin and manufacturing industries on the ropes, small business is the only possible engine of recovery from what they don’t call a Depression; so the Congress is going to add an 8% tax on employing people. We already have the longest period of increasing unemployment since the Great Depression; I presume we are going for a really big record setting period of increasing unemployment. . . . The incentives are now to the job black market — hire illegal immigrants who don’t have to have health insurance — or to export the job if that can possibly be done.”
HEALTHCARE BILL PASSES HOUSE, 220-215. Elections matter.
IF WE DON’T GET NATIONAL HEALTHCARE, THE TERRORISTS WILL HAVE WON!
Participants also said Obama had referred to this week’s shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, in which 13 people were killed. His remarks put in perspective that the hardships soldiers endure for the country are “what sacrifice really is,” as opposed to “casting a vote that might lose an election for you,” said Rep. Robert Andrews, D-N.J.
Well, there you are then.
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DROP THE BALL: “While DHS was busy putting tea parties and anyone who dares fly the official military Gadsen flag on the domestic terrorist watch list, a real terrorist was spouting off online, glorifying suicide bombings and our mission in Iraq. I mean, I’m sure if I drink enough I might be able to understand the perception that a bunch of middle-class people peacefully dissenting with certain Washington policies are way more dangerous than a dude who talked about terrorist stuff on social sites and had gotten authorities’ attention six months ago.”
UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch emails: “Ah, but those middle class protesters are a threat to politicians’ power. Terrorists are just a threat to their constituents’ lives. See the difference?” Such a cynic.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Washington Post: Officials may not have heeded warning signs. “Law enforcement officials also faced questions about whether they had missed possible warning signs. Six months ago, investigators came across Internet postings, allegedly by Hasan, that indicated sympathy for suicide bombers and empathized with the plight of Muslim civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a federal official briefed on the situation. The official, and another source, said investigators never confirmed whether Hasan was the author of the postings and did not pursue the matter.” Too busy worrying about Glenn Beck viewers, military veterans, and Tea Party organizers, I guess.
FORT HOOD UPDATE: Telegraph: Texas army killer linked to September 11 terrorists. “Major Nidal Malik Hasan worshipped at a mosque led by a radical imam said to be a ‘spiritual adviser’ to three of the hijackers who attacked America on Sept 11, 2001.”
RECOVERY! Freddie Mac posts $5 billion loss. “Freddie Mac, the second largest provider of U.S. residential mortgage funding, on Friday posted a loss of $5 billion in the third quarter and predicted it would need more government support amid a ‘prolonged deterioration’ in housing.”
MORE SKEPTICISM regarding Barney Frank’s professed unfamiliarity with pot. I think he’s being as honest as he has been on the stimulus and healthcare. . . .
THE JOYS OF MONOPOLY.
STEPHEN GREEN: The week in blogs.
SUNNY THOUGHTS FROM ARNOLD KLING: “Everything the Fed has been doing over the past fifteen months makes sense if you think of their goal as transferring wealth from taxpayers to banks. If you try to explain it as an attempt to implement an expansionary monetary policy, you won’t even get past my high school students.”
OBAMA, AYN, CAESAR, SCOZZAFAVA: The latest PJM Political is online, in case you missed it on XM/Sirius.
JULES CRITTENDEN ON phony “backlash” fears. The fact that the powers-that-be are so afraid that ordinary Americans will suddenly form a mindless angry mob tells you more about powers-that-be, and what they fear, than about ordinary Americans . . ..
HARNESSING SPACE INTERNET PROTOCOLS with Android.
BUSTING GLENN GREENWALD FOR DISHONESTY ABOUT THE POSITIONS OF PEOPLE HE DISAGREES WITH. My experience with Greenwald is that such is typical.
UPDATE: A defense of Greenwald.
A LIST OF KEY CONGRESSMEMBERS ON HEALTH CARE.
GENOME SEQUENCING for under five grand.
WANT TO HELP WOUNDED WARRIORS? Support Project Valour-IT.
DICTATORSHIPS AND DOUBLE STANDARDS: Tough on Fiji, Soft on Iran.
BITES FROM THE APPLE: A roundup of news from the Apple empire. Including an iPhone / Droid comparison.
UPDATE: Okay, played with a Droid at the Verizon store. I found the slideout keyboard nice, but the touch pad a bit clunky — though that might be b/c they still had the plastic cover on the demo model. No Kindle App, though, which is a deal-killer for me. No doubt they’ll come up with one later.
YOU CAN FIGHT CITY HALL: An election victory for the Tucson Tea Party. Next week they’re dropping by Rep. Gabriell Giffords’ office. . . .
SCENES FROM “THE MEAT MARKET.” Plus, in the comments we learn that the Florida International law faculty is “easily the best looking faculty appointments committee in D.C. Like the cast of CSI Miami.” Well, yes, but that’s because I’m not on the appointments committee for Tennessee this year. Hey, quit laughing!
PAUL MCCARTNEY SAYS THE BEATLES WEREN’T THAT GOOD when they started out. I’ve heard that first Beatles demo and, well, it sucked. I wouldn’t have signed them either. Which only says that (1) the guy who did sign them had a great ear for raw talent; and (2) there’s no substitute for experience.
On a related note, though, the InstaDaughter has been very into the Beatles lately (all her friends are into ’60s and’70s stuff now: Beatles, Stones, Cream, Kinks, etc.) and listening to a lot of those songs I’m struck again by McCartney’s virtuosity on the bass. Listen to the bass line on, say, Rain sometime. Being a Beatle, he rises above mere talk of performance skill, but, really he was amazing, particularly for the time.
ASSOCIATED PRESS: What recovery? Unemployment shoots past 10 percent.
FORT HOOD: Blaming The Victims. Again.
ED DRISCOLL: Godwin Weeps. A little more help for Robert Gibbs. Though I’ve met Mike Godwin, and he seems more likely to snort derisively than to weep . . . .
THIS IS COOL: MarineTraffic.com, tracking ships around the world. Try zooming for detail. (Via Caterina Fake on Facebook).
IN THE MAIL: From Steven Landsburg, The Big Questions: Tackling The Problems of Philosophy with Ideas from Mathematics, Economics, and Physics.
Title’s not bad, but I think More Sex Is Safer Sex has got it beat . . .
IT’S OKAY, HE’S NOT A REPUBLICAN: Barney Frank Present During Pot Bust. “Congressman Barney Frank was present during a marijuana arrest at James Ready’s home in Ogunquit, Maine. Ready is well-known for his relationship with Congressman Frank.” Now if this were Sarah Palin’s ex-stepcousin-in-law it would be real news . . .
I’m finding this kinda hard to believe, though:
Congressman Frank tells FOX25 that he was surprised and disappointed with what police found. He also tells us that he wouldn’t recognize a marijuana plant if he saw one because he is, “not a great outdoorsman,” and ,”wouldn’t recognize most plants.”
I thought only Republicans were supposed to be that stodgy and out-of-it. Anyway, Moe Lane offers him some help to avoid future unpleasantness.
UPDATE: A reader emails:
“Surprised and disappointed”? Frank has gone off-script.
“Shocked, shocked …!” is supposed to be the preferred adjective of Corrupt Public Officialdom.
I could see Claude Rains as Barney Frank, actually.
OBAMA RIDES TO CHRIS DODD’S RESCUE: Dodd Getting Presidential Help in Reelection Campaign.
Embattled Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Ct.), whose low approval ratings make him one of the most vulnerable Democrats seeking re-election next year, gets help from President Obama tonight.
Obama will appear at a $1,000-per person fundraising event for Dodd in Stamford.
Dodd is crucial to Obama’s hopes for getting the overhaul of the regulation of financial services passed. The House Financial Services Committee is currently marking up the measure. Yesterday it approved the component that would create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency. . . .
Dodd’s low approval ratings stem from several factors, including the sluggish economy and questions raised about favorable treatment he received on a mortgage from Countrywide Home Loans.
Dodd will need all the help he can get, though Obama’s record with Corzine and Deeds may worry him.
MIKE FLYNN: SEIU And Political Intimidation In St. Louis.
THOUGHTS ON the fall of communism.
SO I’VE BEEN USING THE NEW GPS for about a week, and it seems swell. The traffic feature seems to work — it warns me if I’m heading into traffic even if I don’t have a route programmed, and it seems to be reasonably accurate — I haven’t hit a traffic jam that it hasn’t warned me of, anyway. And, most impressively, the suction-cup windshield attachment actually works. The last one was a joke that fell off within an hour every time. I don’t know if the suction cup is better, or if it’s just that the new one is a lot lighter . . . .
Plus, it’s eco-friendly. I’m a Green Hero!
SOME PEOPLE ARE PUSHING THE STORY THAT HASAN WAS INVOLVED IN THE OBAMA TRANSITION, but that appears to be an unfair stretch. As you can see from the updates to this Gawker story, he seems to have attended some public events and gotten his name on a list of “participants,” but not to have actually been part of the process.
I DIDN’T LIKE THE EDITORIALIZING ON THIS CHART, and reader Paul Golba writes:
I wanted to comment about the House Republican Conference chart that you have on your blog. It is a piece of chartmanship, using a chart to mislead without actually making things up. You’ll notice that the bottom of the chart is roughly 7% with the top being the current 10.2%. While the numbers themselves are accurate, this setup uses a cherry picked range to make the differences look more dramatic. If the vertical range was 0% to 15%, which would be a fairly standard range for this sort of thing, the effect would be less impressive.
With that said, I would say this is just a minor violation of chartmanship. A chart with an unbiased setup still looks really bad. This just makes it look worse.
So how about this one?
JENNIFER RUBIN: Something Is Missing. Actually, I think I this is a law-professor thing. In the classroom you discuss all sorts of things without getting heated up, and you try to minimize the effect of any distractions on the lesson plan. I’m not sure it translates that well to the Presidency, though.
HMM: Army Tests Sole-Killer Theory As Details Emerge. “Military and federal investigators pointedly refused to release further details on how the shootings happened, why there were initial reports of multiple attackers and why officials took several hours to correct news media reports that Major Hasan had been killed. Most significant, officials were not prepared to say whether the attack was the act of a lone and troubled man or connected to terrorist groups, foreign or domestic.” As I said before, early reports are often wrong. Stay tuned.
NEW YORK TIMES: Broader Measure of Unemployment Stands at 17.5%.
HMM: Muslim Veterans Group Says No Reports of Harassment of Islamic Soldiers. “A Muslim veteran affairs organization says it has not received reports of harassment from Islamic soldiers, contrary to claims by a relative of the man authorities say is responsible for the worst mass killing on a U.S. military base.”
BLOGGER YOANI SANCHEZ ARRESTED AND BEATEN IN CUBA, along with other top Cuban bloggers. Dictators really don’t like bloggers, do they? Well, the feeling is mutual. . . .
MOE LANE OFFERS more memory-jogging for Robert Gibbs.
COBURN THREATENING TO have Senate healthcare bill read on Senate floor. I think we should require that all bills be read aloud, which would ensure that at least someone has read them all the way through . . . .
ANOTHER REPORT FROM THE ASHEVILLE TEA PARTY’S “House Call” On Heath Shuler. With photos.
OFFERING ROBERT GIBBS A LITTLE HELP. He can always use it!
FOR CERTAIN VALUES OF THE WORD “WE,” ANYWAY: Chris Matthews: We may never know if religion was a factor at Fort Hood.
Plus this: “You’ll know it’s okay to start speculating about Hasan’s motives when cops find a Glenn Beck book on his bookshelf. In fact, if the same ‘PTSD by proxy’ elements had been present in Hasan’s bio but it turned out he’d attended a tea party or two, we’d already be well into hour 30 of a full-on media speculation orgy.”
BUY A $15,000 POLICY, or go to jail.
MEGAN MCARDLE: Worst. Talking Point. Ever. “If this is the best the Democrats can come up with, they are in deep, deep trouble.” Worries about unemployment, like taxes, are for the little people.
THOUGHTS ON FORT HOOD FROM JERRY POURNELLE: “The politically correct spin is coming like a tidal wave. He is a crazy guy who happens to be a Muslim. All of that misses the point: he was disloyal to the United States, and said so openly and many times; yet he remained a commissioned officer of the United States. That is the point that is being overlooked. Whether the disloyalty is due to a psychotic episode or some other cause is not important.”
Related: Why wasn’t Hasan investigated?
IT’S THE Friday Sale at Amazon.
JAMES TARANTO: Unemployment tops 10%. Let’s wreck health care!
A CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR WINNER who isn’t.
UNDER HEALTH CARE “REFORM,” WILL LIVER TRANSPLANTS BE HANDLED WITH SIMILAR CARE? Post Office Returns 107,831 Tax Refund Checks to IRS Due to Faulty Addresses. “The number of undeliverable refund checks is up 16% this year.”
WE’RE NOT THUGS: White House Strongly Denies Threatening Dem Who Appeared On Fox.
POLICY DECISIONS slow H1N1 vaccine production.
SAD AND SWEET: 6-Year-Old Girl with Brain Cancer Hid Love Notes for Her Parents to Find After Her Death. “When 6-year-old Elena Desserich was diagnosed with brain cancer, she began hiding hundreds of little love notes around the house for her parents to find after she was gone.” Pictures of some of them at the link.
UPDATE: Reader Ernest Gudath writes:
1. That web site cauesd my firefox to run at 100% CPU Usage for several minutes. The mouse was inoperative. I finally had to shut it down using Task Manager..
2. Numerous comments suggest that it is not on the level.
Worked fine for me, but beware.
MORE THAN YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW about the bacteria inhabiting your body.
IT’S NOT A CUTTING BOARD. It’s a “Chef’s Board!”
ED MORRISSEY interviews Carly Fiorina. Live at 3 pm.
STATE AGENTS RAID ACORN OFFICES IN NEW ORLEANS.