December 13, 2009
HOLIDAY MARKDOWNS on videogames.
HOLIDAY MARKDOWNS on videogames.
THE CONAN APPEARANCE: A Sarah Palin turning point?
YOU CAN’T TELL THE PLAYAS without a scorecard.
COED DORM ROOMS: “Starting next fall, Columbia University in New York City will institute a ‘gender neutral’ housing policy for everyone but freshmen. This means guys and gals can share a room.” Like that never happened before . . . .
Still not quite to the point of Fred Saberhagen’s ahead-of-its time PC spoof, Love Conquers All, where coed dorm rooms were mandatory. But, like Fallen Angels, it’s a science fiction story that doesn’t seem as fictional as it once did . . . .
ARE I.U.D.s making a comeback?
ALLEN BARTON: 2009: The Year In Bailouts.
BEST BOOKS OF 2009: Some recommendations from the folks at Popular Mechanics.
CABLE FREEDOM: A click away?
PAUL SAMUELSON has died.
ONE DAY ONLY: Markdowns on warm coats for cold weather.
FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLARS per floozy?
TIM CAVANAUGH: Artificial Housing Respiration: Government-sponsored housing inflation is locking the next generation out of homeownership. “It’s easy to see why interested parties such as the National Association of Realtors would support interventions such as those above and the $8,000 Home Buyer Tax Credit. . . . Imagine a yard sale outside the biggest, fanciest house in town. You get there early, eager to buy cool stuff cheap. But every time you see something you like, a police officer comes along with a Sharpie, crosses out the price, and writes in another number that’s two or three times higher. Scale that up a bit, and you have the Obama housing plan.”
TWO-TONE IAPETUS explained with Cassini data.
IF YOU MISSED IT ON XM/SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO, the latest PJM Political is now online for your listening pleasure.
THE STATE OF NATURE IS ONE OF CONSTANT CHANGE: The big spill: Flood could have filled Mediterranean in less than two years. “The flood would have had a dramatic effect on local ecosystems, and could even have affected the global climate. The model suggests that global sea level dropped 9.5 meters as a result of the flood. The team points out that a much smaller flood in North America 12,000 years ago has been linked to a worldwide cold snap, and suggests that the Mediterranean flood may have had similarly significant effects.”
INSPIRED BY MAYOR BLOOMBERG, Bill Quick enters the polling biz.
TRYING TO BLUNT AN INTERNATIONAL CYBER-ARMS RACE with talks on Cyberwar.
One hopes these work out better than the 1972 germ warfare treaty, which sparked a huge (and illegal) Soviet biowar program, since they figured that with the U.S. having renounced biological warfare research, they’d have a chance to get ahead of us.
STEPHEN GREEN: The Week in Blogs.
HOURLY PAY makes people happier than salary?
MICHAEL YON: Arghandab & The Battle for Kandahar.
Remember that he’s supported by reader donations, so if you enjoy his work, you might consider hitting the tipjar.
I’M ON GEORGE KORDA’S RADIO SHOW if you want to call in or listen online.
Call in at 800-951-TALK if you want to, er, talk.
STEVE CROWDER: CSI: SANTA!
RASMUSSEN: A NEW LOW FOR OBAMA: “23% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-two percent (42%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -19. Today is the second straight day that Obama’s Approval Index rating has fallen to a new low. Prior to the past two days, the Approval Index had never fallen below -15 during Obama’s time in office.”
UPDATE: Even the DailyKos tracking poll is looking grimmer.
MARK STEYN: Obama Goes From Dazzle To Drone.
I’VE SEEN THIS SORT OF THING BEFORE IN LAW PRACTICE: completely blacked-out documents in response to WAMU FOIA request. Generally you can go back to court and force them to release more, but it’s a pain. Which it’s meant to be. On the other hand it makes ‘em look like they’re hiding something. Because, you know, they are. Another standard tactic: Sending a boilerplate list of all FOIA exemptions and claiming that everything falls into one or the other, without producing a Vaughn index listing documents and specific claims of exemption.
FRANK MUNGER: Even Scientists Retire — Occasionally.
BITES FROM THE APPLE: A roundup of news from the Apple Empire.
THOUGHTS ON CLIMATE AND DATA, from Jerry Pournelle.
WAR-ON-TERROR NEWS AND MORE, at Fred Pruitt’s Rantburg.
EMILY BAZELON: My boys love space; I couldn’t care less. “Also, and inconveniently, my boredom plays straight into tedious gender stereotypes I hate to reinforce. What’s the message I’m sending: Men are from Mars and women are from … not even Venus?”
GEORGIA GOV. SONNY PERDUE: “Conservation shouldn’t be a word of sacrifice; it really should be a word of honor.”
WHAT ASTROTURF looks like.
SO MAYBE IT’S NOT A 1970s RERUN AFTER ALL: ‘Welcome to Obamaville’ Sign Marks Colorado Homeless Tent City.
MORE LIVES SAVED BY MTV: “A Times Square bloodbath was narrowly avoided because the machine-pistol-toting thug who fired at a cop flipped the gun on its side like a character out of a rap video, causing the weapon to jam after two shots, law-enforcement sources said yesterday.”
LOTS OF MARKDOWNS on camera and photo products.
CLIMATEGATE: From Russia With Love?
ANN ALTHOUSE spanks CNN for getting it wrong. “Is this willful misreading or crashing idiocy? Gadahn says ‘Muslim’ and CNN turns it into ‘innocent.’ Read on and we see that these are not peaceful sentiments. This is a call specifically aimed at Muslims to side with al Qaeda.”
AN INSTRUMENTAL TRUTH.
I HOPE THIS IS TRUE: Reports of a military mutiny in Iran.
TOY DEALS you shouldn’t pass up.
HARRISON BERGERON, CALL YOUR OFFICE: State schools admit they do not push gifted pupils because they don’t want to promote ‘elitism.’ “Bright youngsters told inspectors they were forced to ask for harder work. Others were resentful at being dragooned into ‘mentoring’ weaker pupils.”
RAND SIMBERG ON HIDING THE DECLINE: “I think that there are going to be huge reverberations of untrust throughout many areas of authority resulting from this. As was pointed out early on, it’s not just a scientific scandal, it’s a journalistic one.”
ED DRISCOLL: Editor & Publisher’s Final Years A Cautionary Tale.
JOEL KOTKIN: Is Obama Separating From His Scandinavian Muse?
THE GOP’S SECRET WEAPON: William Shatner?
CLAYTON CRAMER: Guns on trains.
ROGER SIMON: Watch Out, Al Gore: I’m Going To Copenhagen!
DID EARTH’S ATMOSPHERE have an alien origin?
MEGAN MCARDLE: The New Breed Of Deadbeats.
YOU DON’T SAY: Looming Population Crisis Forces China To Revisit One-Child Policy. “Last year, people 60 and older accounted for almost 22 percent of Shanghai’s registered residents, while the birthrate was less than one child per couple.”
FIRST IMAGES from the VISTA infrared telescope.
HEH: Elevator mural casts you as Adam on the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. This is cute.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT WHOLE “War For Oil” thing, anyway?
HOW TO set up a webcam.
ERICK ERICKSON HAS THOUGHTS on What the GOP could be doing to fight Obamacare.
GALLERY: The World’s 18 Strangest Homes.
SOME adoptable animals via Claire Berlinski.
MARY GRABAR: Why Are Tiger’s Women Getting A Pass?
SURPRISING PRAISE for the George Foreman Grill. I’ve got one, and it’s great, especially for paninis. Haven’t tried it for bacon, though. I’ll have to remedy that omission.
MORE THOUGHTS ON BEATING PARALYSIS from Cynthia Yockey. “The biggest scandal and most heinous atrocity about paralyzing injuries or illnesses in the United States is that the patients are so neglected during their acute care hospitalizations that their muscles and tendons contract and harden irreversibly.”
DAN COLLINS SPEAKS OUT AGAINST CONTEMPORARY AMERICA’S appalling racial insensitivity.
DENNIS MILLER: Swingin’ Copenhagen.
WELL, I’M COMFORTED: Pakistan: Mullah Omar Is Here, But Isn’t A Threat.
A TIGER WOODS HOROSCOPE from an “astro-sexologist.” Would’ve been more impressive if it had come out before the scandal . . . .
ANTI-OLYMPIC MURAL CENSORED IN VANCOUVER. The Olympics are all about local elites trying to look good to elites from elsewhere.* The little people shall not be allowed to get in the way.
* Well, looking good and, you know, graft. But that goes without saying.
VIDEO: Sarah Palin and William Shatner do dueling dramatic readings on Conan. Interestingly, Palin gets lots of applause from the Tonight Show audience.
CAN I CALL ‘EM, OR WHAT? Back in September, noting a continuing pattern of White House incompetence, I predicted: “Expect this to play out in thumbsucker columns on whether America is ‘ungovernable.’”
And, right on cue, here’s Matthew Yglesias: “The smarter elements in Washington DC are starting to pick up on the fact that it’s not tactical errors on the part of the president that make it hard to get things done, it’s the fact that the country has become ungovernable.”
Funny, that dumb cowboy Bush seemed to get a lot done with fewer votes in Congress. . . .
Plus, from the comments: “There have been no major institutional changes in the United States government in recent history that have caused it to ‘become ungovernable.’ There just isn’t enough political support to enact various news laws and policies that you favor. Tough. If you hadn’t become seduced by the delusion that Obama is a ‘progressive’ and that last year’s election represented some kind of historic realignment in favor of ‘progressive’ policies you might have seen this coming.”
Or, as Ed Morrissey noted a while ago: “Who could have warned us that a man who served seven years in the state legislature and three years in the Senate would not have been prepared for the toughest executive position in the Free World? We did. Repeatedly. So did John McCain, and for that matter, so did Hillary Clinton.”
UPDATE: Moe Lane says Matt and I are both right. “The country is indeed ungovernable. …By Democrats.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails: “What I appreciate especially is how Matthew notes that the smarter elements are starting to pick up on some observation of his…”
MORE: Ed Morrissey offers some fresh thoughts.
Plus, reader Zachary Terry writes: “That silly, silly Constitution. It always seems to get in the way. In all seriousness, though, wasn’t the United States intended to be relatively ‘ungoverned?’ Why is it not surprising that blatant deviation from the intended structure and function of our national government has led to this quandary?”
Can we get a T-Shirt that says Proudly Ungovernable Since 1776?
Further thoughts over at TalkLeft. “I suppose this is all a set up for a Truman-like ‘Do Nothing Republican Congress’ campaign in 2012 by Obama. Of course that will require the Democrats lose the Congress in 2010. Hey, wait a minute . . .”
FINALLY: Reader John Hendrix writes:
The MSM didn’t start saying things like that until Carter’s fourth year.
So can we now say that the Obama’s main achievement was to get the MSM to go all “The country is too big for one man to govern” in his first year instead of his fourth year?
Yeah, it’s like Carter on fast-forward or something.
KEITH HENNESSEY: The “using TARP funds for stimulus” gimmick.
FABLES OF THE RECONSTRUCTION: IowaHawk Explains Climate Math. In his day job he has to know something about statistics . . . .
WOULD A PLANETARY ONE-CHILD POLICY DOOM THE WELFARE STATE? “A welfare state is in one sense a big Ponzi scheme. Without increasing numbers of people entering the scheme, there is no money to pay the people receiving the money.”
A DOUBLE-STANDARD on sex scandals?
DANIEL DREZNER: China’s Soft Power Hits The Brick Wall Of Economics.
TOBIN HARSHAW ON CLIMATEGATE in the New York Times: “So, will the old ‘Nothing to see here, folks, move right along …’ strategy keep climate skeptics at bay? Actually, it’s not even keeping some climate scientists from demanding that the document leak be more thoroughly investigated and that their colleagues show more neutrality in their research. . . . Perhaps the lesson of Copenhagen is that raw politics and thinking critically don’t mix. One hopes, however, that the politics of science allow some room for open debate. That doesn’t mean letting your opponents run roughshod over the facts. Nor does it involve shutting off their microphones.” Read the whole thing.
RICH LOWRY: Reid’s health care bill “tottering.” “Since the Senate debate began, the bill has only gotten more unpopular. It’s all still in flux obviously, but we just might be watching the bill fall apart before our eyes.” Let’s hope. Somebody give it a push?
JOHN TAMMES on electronics books and his father.
AT AMAZON, it’s the Friday Sale.
HAVING AN INQUISITION, Global-Warming style.
YEAR OF THE GUN: Tennessee Demonstrates Trend of Looser Laws.
MICHAEL S. MALONE: An Obituary For Obituaries. “You probably didn’t read the story – because what red-blooded American reads a newspaper anymore? – but apparently the nation’s newspapers, having already lost their editorial dominance to cable news and the Web, their sports coverage to fan sites, their classifieds to Craigslist, and their editorial pages to the blogosphere, are now under heavy assault on their last profitable redoubt: the obituary page.”
PJTV: Bruce Bawer reports from the Copenhagen shadow conference. Best part is when Tom Harris defends the skeptical scientists and demands the United Nations release the evidence that its climate-change claims are based on.
THE INSTA-WIFE WILL BE ON THE BIOGRAPHY CHANNEL AT 8 PM TONIGHT, talking about Canadian “pig farmer” serial killer Robert Pickton.
DECLAN MCCULLAGH, CBS NEWS: Physics Group Splinters Over Global Warming Review. “As the science scandal known as ClimateGate grows, the largest U.S. physicists’ association is finding itself roiled by internal dissent and allegations of conflict of interest over a forthcoming review of its position statement on man-made global warming.”
SO DOES THIS MEAN ED BEGLEY, JR. EATS BABIES? Can organic produce and natural shampoo turn you into a heartless jerk? “New research by Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong at the University of Toronto levels an even graver charge: that virtuous shopping can actually lead to immoral behavior. In their study (described in a paper now in press at Psychological Science), subjects who made simulated eco-friendly purchases ended up less likely to exhibit altruism in a laboratory game and more likely to cheat and steal.”