December 20, 2009
FROM ROGER SIMON, A COPENHAGEN WRAPUP: “I have seen the future and it stinks.”
FROM ROGER SIMON, A COPENHAGEN WRAPUP: “I have seen the future and it stinks.”
FROM STEPHEN GREEN, it’s The Week In Blogs.
LEON DE WINTER: Mr. President, You Can’t Save the Economy and Save the Planet.
BREAKING RECORDS with the Large Hadron Collider.
LOTS OF MARKDOWNS on Men’s and Women’s Watches.
HMM: Walpin-gate may snag Mrs. Obama. We’ll see. Stay tuned.
TEA AND COFFEE cut Type 2 Diabetes risk.
DARK LIQUOR MAKES FOR WORSE HANGOVERS.
VIA MICHAEL YON, a Christmas letter from Afghanistan.
The bad news is that Senator Ben Nelson is not up for reelection until 2012.
The good news is that today, December 19, 2009, is the day we got clarity on the Obama-Pelosi-Reid effort to steal medical care and call it “reform.”
I hope that Ben enjoys his final two years in the Senate.
OK, that’s not quite right. Since it was Ben Nelson of Nebraska that finally got Harry Reid his desperately needed 60th vote for socialized medicine, I hope 1) that the next two year are unpleasant for Sen. Nelson and 2) that he loses in 2012 by a landslide.
I’m still not being entirely candid. Nelson is a pathetic pawn in this game. He’s history and I hope he has plans for a new day job. He’ll need ‘em.
The really bad news is that the American people are just about to find that their medical care got a whole lot worse and a whole lot more expensive and cumbersome. . . . I suspect that the “tea parties” of the last several months will look like modest dress rehearsals once people get a handle on what the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate are attempting to do to us.
I hope they’re properly angry.
MAJORITY OF U.S. COCAINE SUPPLY cut with veterinary deworming drug. “Cocaine’s a hell of a drug, and even more so when laced with another drug that’s commonly used to deworm opossums. Federal agents have found that 69 percent of cocaine shipments seized entering the United States contain levamisole, a veterinary drug linked to serious weakening of the immune system in humans. Here’s the real funny part: no one knows why.”
BOOK CLAIM: Prosecutors were ready to indict Clintons. “Prosecutors investigating Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton were prepared to seek indictments of them for their roles in the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky affairs, an explosive new book about the former president’s scandals charges. In ‘The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr,’ due out in February, author Ken Gormley also says that Lewinsky believed Bill Clinton lied about their affair during grand jury testimony about his relationship with the White House intern.”
IN THE MAIL: From Randal O’Toole, Gridlock: Why We’re Stuck in Traffic and What to Do About It.
UPDATE: Reader Kevin Greene emails:
A fundamental shift is occurring. The people are ridiculing the government. “Don’t bring guns to a snowball fight.”
Look at all those video cameras. There is simply nowhere for this arrogant police officer to hide. No way to lie his way out of it later on.
The watchers are being watched.
UPDATE: Ann Althouse thinks this is unfair to the cop. “There is a difference between a snowball fight and throwing snowballs at moving vehicles. In a snowball fight — like this cool one in Madison a couple weeks ago — you have voluntary participants playing at fighting with each other. Throwing snowballs at cars, on the other had, is surprising people who happen upon the scene and it’s distracting them — and doing so at a time when it is particularly difficult to drive. . . . ‘Brandished’ is a heavy word and ‘brandished… at’ connotes that he pointed the gun at people, which he did not.”
Fair point, but I believe that a civilian who behaved similarly would have been charged with “brandishing.” There was poor judgment by all concerned (and those who threw snowballs at the cop violated Niven’s Rule — “don’t throw shit at an armed man”) but the standards should be higher for sworn officers who carry guns, shouldn’t they?
KATHLEEN PARKER: Overreaching Leaves Obama With Few Friends. “Perhaps it is the spirit of the season, but my empathy receptors are in overdrive for poor Barack Obama. All he wanted for Christmas was a health-care reform bill — and all he got was a lousy insurance industry bailout that few can love.”
ZUBRIN ON MONCKTON on biofuels.
ED DRISCOLL: Deconstructing Jar-Jar.
RANKING THE James Cameron movies.
STUART TAYLOR: FRESH ROT AT DUKE: “You might think that a university whose students were victims of the most notorious fraudulent rape claim in recent history, and whose professors — 88 of them — signed an ad implicitly presuming guilt, and whose president came close to doing the same would have learned some lessons. The facts are otherwise. They also suggest that Duke University’s ugly abuse in 2006 and 2007 of its now-exonerated lacrosse players — white males accused by a black stripper and hounded by a mob hewing to political correctness — reflects a disregard of due process and a bias against white males that infect much of academia.”
IF YOU MISSED IT ON XM/SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO, the latest PJM Political is online.
PROF. KENNETH ANDERSON: Copenhagen as UN Politics, Not Climate Change Substance. “At bottom, the question is one of legitimacy and what it means to say that a climate change deal requires, in Secretary General Ban’s words, an ‘equitable global governance structure’ to administer it, and the many, many, many things that apparently fall under its tent. What is this global governance? What makes it equitable and, therefore, legitimate? Is it legitimate to do a deal of global proportions, on climate change or anything else, and not involve everyone? If your issue is simply the substance of climate change policy, and not UN politics, then you don’t much care about these abstract issues of legitimacy, global governance, and the UN. Until the end of Copenhagen, in which it turns out that — given the breathtaking scope of things to be governed under the rubric of climate change, starting, really, with the whole of the global economy — that the meanings of global governance, legitimacy, and the UN matter after all. . . . That’s not a problem for me, because I ascribe minimal legitimacy to the UN and zero to the General Assembly and its members qua members. But for a large number of international law experts and devotees, among others, this is a problem.”
MORE ON THAT Andrew Sullivan ghostblogger thing. “Andrew was the gold standard for solo bloggers. And now… Trig is not his baby!“
DAVE KOPEL: The Right to Arms In The Living Constitution.
TOM MAGUIRE: “A recent Rasmussen poll showed that the US is about as skeptical about man-made global warming as they are about Obama’s health care, so Obama is on the precipice of two pre-Christmas ‘successes.’”
UP TO 70% OFF on holiday toys.
Also paid for: Bernie Sanders. Why not? It’s your money they’re buying votes with, not theirs.
UPDATE: Thoughts from Prof. William Jacobson.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Megan McArdle: “No bill this large has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote, or even anything close to a straight party-line vote. No bill this unpopular has ever before passed on a straight party-line vote. We’re in a new political world. I’m not sure I understand it.”
Obama won. But will this cause people to treat the bill as illegitimate, leading to tax revolts or worse? Or will people grumble and go along?
Plus this: “We’ve just increased substantially the supply of unrepealable, unsustainable entitlements. We’ve also, in my opinion, put ourselves on a road that leads eventually to less healthcare innovation, less healthcare improvement, and more dead people in the long run.” And that’s from an Obama voter.
HOW UNDERCOVER COPS get suspects’ DNA. “And this is one of the main reasons that biometric identifiers are so very risky… You can protect the PIN for your debit card by shielding the keypad when you enter it, but how do you keep counterfeiters from getting your DNA for authenticating the debit-card of the future? We throw off fingerprints, DNA, hand-geometry impressions, gaits and other biometrics at a titanic rate, and there’s no way to stop, short of spending all your time in a hazmat suit.”
BAD DEAL FOR DOCTORS, worse deal for patients.
DIPLOMATIC PROBLEMS with asteroid deflection.
AT AMAZON, lightning deals.
AN AVATAR REVIEW from Knoxville reader Marlon McAvoy:
Thought I’d offer the tiniest possible back-backlash to Avatar, after taking the nieces to see it yesterday on the really big screen.
Oh, it’s stupid. It’s so relentlessly, ubiquitously stupid that my b.s. sensors burnt out early in Act I and left me free to enjoy the spectacle. We had to sit third row from the front, which was too close, but there were some beautiful vistas and swooping scenes that occasionally felt more like a ride than a movie. I’ve got a 65″ TV at home and will buy this in BluRay whenever the price dips below retail. Can’t wait to see a good movie at this level of tech!
But as regards the outcome of the Avatar “war”: obviously a consequence of interstellar travel is that it physically restructures the brain, so as to make kinetic weapons delivered from high orbit an impossible concept. Sort of the way that Star Trek’s warp technology wiped the very idea of “seatbelts” from human consciousness.
UPDATE: A less positive review, from Christopher Althouse Cohen.
ANOTHER UPDATE: a pan from John Podhoretz. “The movie is nearly three hours long, and it doesn’t have a single joke in it. There is no question that Avatar is an astonishing piece of work. It is, for about two-thirds of its running time, an animated picture that looks like it’s not an animated picture. On the other hand, who cares? . . . The real question is this: If Avatar were drawn like a regular cartoon, or had been made on soundstages with sets and the like, would it be interesting? Would it hold our attention? The answer is, unquestionably no. There’s no chance anybody would even have put it into production.”
POLL: Iraq War A Success: “Here’s a final set of numbers from our new NBC/WSJ poll that we find fascinating: 57% say the Iraq war has been successful, versus 40% who say it has been unsuccessful. It’s a reversal from July 2008, when 43% said Iraq was successful, and 53% said it was unsuccessful.”
Yeah, but that was when there was a lot of election-related propaganda. Now that’s dissipated, being no longer useful.
TRANSPARENCY! The health care bill no one can see. “Harry Reid has yet to present a final health care reform product to his colleagues. Not that anybody would understand what’s in it anyway.”
JACK BAUER INTERROGATES SANTA CLAUS.
MAGNIFICENTLY SILLY: $25,000 worth of communications gear in a $500 car.
IN THE MAIL: From D.B. Grady, Red Planet Noir.
DARK MATTER: “An international team of physicists working in the bottom of an old iron mine in Minnesota said Thursday that they might have registered the first faint hints of a ghostly sea of subatomic particles known as dark matter long thought to permeate the cosmos.”
OUR ANGRY PRESIDENT: “Does it concern anyone else that anger is the only emotion that President Obama has displayed in public over the last month? . . . . How does someone so ‘cool’ get angry so often?” Anger is depression turned outward.
Plus, body language. “This is a photo from Obama’s own Flickr site, so it presents Obama as Obama’s people want him to be seen.”
More on body language here. “So if this photo of Obama leaning way over to stress his point isn’t technically a bow, who do you think in this picture out of Copenhagen is doing the selling/pleading — China’s Wen Jiabao or America’s Democrat president?”
IT’S OFFICIAL: Saab To Be Wound Down.
CLIMATEGATE: Washington Post: On environment, Obama and scientists take hit in poll. “As President Obama arrives in Copenhagen hoping to seal an elusive deal on climate change, his approval rating on dealing with global warming has crumbled at home and there is broad opposition to spending taxpayer money to encourage developing nations to curtail their energy use, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.”
THE ASTEROID THAT WILL ALMOST HIT THE EARTH.
Any number of undiscovered near-Earth objects could one day careen into the Earth, and there is a lot of talk here at the American Geophysical Union meeting about tracking them. So far, though, only one discovered object has seemed even mildly likely to hit our planet.
That asteroid is Apophis, a 900-foot asteroid. Calculations released on Christmas Eve 2004 appeared to show that there was a greater than 2 percent chance the asteroid would hit the Earth in 2029. The asteroid appeared ready to give the Earth its closest shave since astronomers began looking for such things. It was judged a 4 on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale for a short time, the highest rating any near-Earth object has received.
As it turned out, more precise observations brought the risk of collision down to just 1 in 250,000, but the scare sparked greater interest and study in the fields of asteroid detection and defense.
As it should.
CAN WE PLEASE STOP IT WITH THIS “marinating in Andy’s cerebral juices” metaphor?
LORRIE GOLDSTEIN ON COPENHAGEN: “It has everything to do with some of the world’s most corrupt dictators and regimes extorting billions upon billions of dollars from the developed world — us — which they will then spend not on reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), but in any way they please.”
TAXING College Tuitions?
JUDITH WARNER SUFFERS THE FATE of all who seriously annoy Althouse.
JASON MATTERA PRESENTS A GENERATIONAL-THEFT INVOICE TO THE AARP.
Garrison Keillor, self-appointed cultural representative of regular old Americans, ruffled some feathers yesterday with a mildly xenophobic rant about Christmas. After lambasting a Unitarian church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for “spiritual piracy and cultural elitism”—tweaking the lyrics of “Silent Night” for a singalong, in layman’s terms—he turned his ire in a different direction:
And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write ‘Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we’ll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah’? No, we didn’t. Christmas is a Christian holiday—if you’re not in the club, then buzz off.
Does this mean my Eid carols don’t have a future?
TODAY-ONLY GPS Savings.
ROGER SIMON interviewed Charlie Rangel in Copenhagen. “I was at the Marriott to interview Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WISC), when, on my way out, who do I spy in the gift shop (where else?) but Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). I knew instantly why God had invented the Kodak Zi8 flip cam I had in my pocket.”
THUGOCRACY: “Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), prone for throwing his own political bombs at Republicans, has threatened a local critic with five years in jail for creating the website ‘mycongressmanisnuts.com.‘ The Orlando Sentinel reports that Grayson wrote a letter this week to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that the federal government imprison Republican activist Angie Langley for five years because of her website criticizing him.” Seems like Grayson is determined to prove his critics not merely correct, but understatedly so . . . .
20 SECRETS your waiter will never tell you.
WISTFUL THOUGHTS: The cars I didn’t buy.
WE’RE ON A Road To Nowhere.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Long March From California To Copenhagen.
RON BAILEY ON the Green Jobs Delusion.
JONAH GOLDBERG: Global Wealth Can Heal The Planet: Free-market nations are better at protecting their environments than statist regimes. “Copenhagen does have its uses. For starters, it reminds us that environmentalism continues to be a cover for uglier agendas.”
ED DRISCOLL on Howard Kurtz, Tiger Woods, and Barack Obama.
IN THE MAIL: From Michael Scammell, Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic.
It’s Robert Mugabe, lecturing the leaders at the Copenhagen.
And now President Barack Obama is there. He’s saying, “The time for talk is over.” Ironically, he’s talking.
If every leader did to his country what Mugabe has done, carbon emissions would drop dramatically, and yet leaders could still jet off to conferences and talk about how moral they are. And the conference organizers would treat them with respect.
REASON TV: Why This Is The Best Christmas Ever!
WE STAND UPON THE PRECIPICE, and it is time to jump! Freudian slip?
JULES CRITTENDEN: Oh The Inhumanity. Plus, “Doppelbloggergate?” And naked weathervanes? More from Tom Maguire. “So Andrew is a weathervane pointing whichever way the wind is blowing? Well, sure, he supported the war in Iraq when it was cool and opposed it when that was cool, but really – shouldn’t he and his minions aspire to pointing boldly towards The Truth, regardless of the prevailing breezes?”
AT AMAZON, it’s the Friday Sale.
A FEW GOOD SURGICAL IMPLANTS. “Senator, we live in a world that has patients, and those patients have to be treated with technology. Who’s gonna invent, develop it, and build it? You, Senator Sanders? You, Senator Reid? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for high health care costs, and you curse new medical technology. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That new medical technology, while expensive, saves lives.”
TOP 5 DVDs of the week.
THE HILL: Georgia lawmakers: Biden snubbed us.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH Christmas sweaters?
STEVE CROWDER: Sneak Peak: Detroit Decays Under Democrats’ Watch.
ATTACK OF THE 50-FOOT HOWARD DEAN. I prefer Darryl Hannah, personally.
Another place where actions don’t match rhetoric.
RAND SIMBERG: Big news on the commercial space front. XCOR has closed a deal with the Koreans to fund Lynx.
OBVIOUSLY, THEY NEED RE-EDUCATION: Women avoid computer science because they’re prejudiced against geeks.
FEAR OF being labeled.
NETBOOK COMPUTERS under 300 dollars.
KENNETH ANDERSON: The Climate Change Fund as the New Millennium Development Goals?
MORE ON THAT BOEING 787 DREAMLINER first flight.
RECORDING Jeep Techno.
FIRST TIGER WOODS, now Fred Flintstone.
EDITORS’ PICKS: Recommended kitchen gifts.
INSTAVISION: I talk with Cato’s Dan Mitchell about economic illiteracy, the stimulus flop, and . . . pirates. Plus exclusive footage from my undercover investigation.
POPULAR SCIENCE gives a lukewarm (at best) review to Avatar and asks: “It’s an intriguing paradox–the success of a film as technologically elaborate and ambitious as James Cameron’s Avatar will come down to a simple question: Will audiences marvel at the movie’s groundbreaking production methods enough to forgive Cameron’s curious choice to frame everything on a script that is, almost above all else, obsessed with the evils of technology in the wrong hands?”
Cameron doesn’t think of himself as “wrong hands.” To me, though, the stills I’ve seen look ugly, populated by what appear to be Terminator Smurfs, as stiff and unrealistic as a kid’s diorama. Less tech, more aesthetics might have been smart. Er, and better writers, apparently.
BYRON YORK: Why Are Republicans In Copenhagen? “The House members are in Copenhagen after Pelosi rushed four major pieces of legislation to votes yesterday so the delegation’s plane could leave late last night. Most of the legislation, including a new stimulus bill, had only been introduced the night before, giving lawmakers just a few hours to consider them before being forced to vote.” The country’s in the very best of hands.
LEAKED LAW EXAM PROVIDES a teachable moment.
PROGRESS ON low-power radio.