Archive for February, 2010

February 27, 2010

GINA LOUDON: Ask Not For Whom the Bell Tolls, MSM: It Tolls for Thee. Actually, the MSM has been tolling its own bell for decades. This isn’t a death, it’s a suicide.

February 27, 2010

GROOVIN’ ON RAHM: Another fun photo from the White House Flickr stream.

UPDATE: I’d missed this amusing animation. Heh.

February 27, 2010

UH OH: 8.8 Earthquake Hits Chile.

UPDATE: Via Jake Tapper on Facebook, here’s the State Department number for those concerned about friends or relatives traveling in Chile: 1-888-407-4747.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Chaiten volcano webcam is still up and showing a lot of smoke or something. Connection? Who knows? (Thanks to reader Joan of Arghh for the link).

MORE: A list of Hawaii twitterers covering the tsunami warning. More on the warning here: Tsunami expected at 11:19 a.m. Hawaii time, 4:19 p.m. Eastern.

February 27, 2010

MORE ON THAT BRITISH TEA PARTY MOVEMENT. They start today — wish ‘em luck!

February 27, 2010

AN UPDATE ON how Jim Treacher’s doing.

February 27, 2010

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Report shows government’s liabilities surging: Annual report shows government’s financial position hit $11.46 trillion deficit in 2009.

February 26, 2010

L.A. TIMES: What’s really behind the departure of Desiree Rogers from Obama’s White House. Personally, I blame racism . . . .

February 26, 2010

AT AMAZON, it’s the Friday Sale.

February 26, 2010

CHARLIE RANGEL’S Caribbean tic.

February 26, 2010

BRR: Winter Storm Leaves Over A Million In The Dark On East Coast.

UPDATE: 4th biggest snow in NYC in 141 years.

February 26, 2010

IMITATION IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY, so the Tea Party movement ought to be flattered by the me-too lefty “Coffee Party.”

This is actually the second imitation; the first was an epic fail. Maybe this one will do better, but so far they’ve got a message problem: “I don’t really understand what they’re about other than ‘we don’t like the Tea Party’ and ‘we’re for a better process.’”

However, if it does take off, it’ll just prove my point that we’re undergoing a Third Great Awakening, one that’s political, rather than religious in nature.

UPDATE: “Latte Liberals.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Steve Wylie writes: “Great job by the Post: they can finally write (somewhat) objectively about a movement that’s been around for a year and attracted hundreds of thousands to its ranks, but only by writing about another movement that’s been around for about a month and has not quite ten thousand ‘fans’ on Facebook.”

MORE: A reader emails: “Can we call them ‘Teabagees’?”

February 26, 2010

ADVICE TO JUDGES: “If you want to write like Dahlia Lithwick, get a blog.”

February 26, 2010

TALKING ABOUT ALIENS: “As far as I can tell, nobody talking about interstellar contact has a model even vaguely close to a reasonable analysis of the situation.”

Star travel is expensive; it costs on the order of a ship’s own mass in equivalent energy to get it up to relativistic speeds. Any culture capable of that will be at least a Kardashev Type I civilization, and most likely a Type II. And the reason they’ll be doing star travel is to work their way up towards Type III. Any sentient creatures that actually get here will be nanotech-based robots, not water-based organisms. They won’t have spacecraft, they’ll be spacecraft. They will be unlikely interested in the carbon-poor mudballs of the inner solar system, but reap abundant carbon from the outer planets and carbonaceous asteroids to build Dyson-sphere-like structures around the orbit of Mercury.

We simply aren’t going to see less sophisticated visitors due to the starship paradox: send a starship out now with all Earth’s current technological resources behind it, and then wait and send one in 50 years with full nanotech. The second one gets there first.

We aren’t going to see any less ambitious visitors due to simple evolution: in a universe where the ultimate meaning of “carbon footprint” is the total mass of the superintelligent diamondoid robots you’ve built, spaceships burning cellulosic ethanol simply aren’t going to be anywhere near the fittest. Indeed, cultures that aren’t inherently aggressive and ambitious aren’t going to put the effort into sending out starships at all. The question is, what are they going to think of us, the thin layer of green slime coating an insignificant rock?

Read the whole thing. Some interesting links, too.

February 26, 2010

FROM WASTE BIOMASS to jet fuel. As long as they’re not making it out of food.

February 26, 2010

THE ST. LOUIS TEA PARTY celebrates its one-year anniversary tomorrow.

February 26, 2010

ALWAYS TRUST CONTENT FROM INSTAPUNDIT: Not long ago I warned of insufficient condom stocks at the Winter Olympics. Readers laughed, but now there’s this: Emergency shipment of condoms headed to Olympic athletes. “Health officials in Vancouver have already provided 100,000 free condoms to the roughly 7,000 ahtletes and officials at the Games. That’s about 14 condoms per person. But as of Wednesday, those supplies started running dangerously low.”

February 26, 2010

KILLER WHALE: The clue’s in the name. Gee, do you think?

February 26, 2010

AN INTERVIEW WITH ANGIE JACKSON, the woman who live-tweeted her abortion.

February 26, 2010

BILL DELAHUNT UPDATE: “U.S. Rep. William Delahunt blew nearly $560,000 in campaign cash last year – much of it on lavish meals and a family-friendly payroll that includes his ex-wife, son-in-law and daughter – stoking speculation the Quincy Democrat is emptying his war chest and won’t seek re-election.”

February 26, 2010

HOW TO FEED THE WORLD: Monsanto vs. Michael Pollan.

February 26, 2010

SHOCKER: CNN poll: Majority of Americans … agree with founders. “This shouldn’t be a surprise; it should be basic civics. . . . A massive federal government and the crushing debt it produces is exactly what the founders wanted to avoid. Thankfully, 56% of Americans have awoken to the danger of Leviathan. It’s hard to figure out what it will take to get the other 44% to comprehend it, short of total collapse.”

UPDATE: Reader Joe Johnson writes:

Prof. Reynolds, please recall that some 40% or so of American households now pay zero federal/state taxes, so they really haven’t much incentive to agree with the founders about the debt crisis and the coming tax increases to pay interest on the debt.

I think you mean income tax. Well, about 33% disagreed with the founders at the time of the Revolution, so we haven’t fallen all that far.

February 26, 2010

SENATOR BUNNING: “I object.”

February 26, 2010

LOSING GOOGLE would hit Chinese science hard.

February 26, 2010

DAILY CALLER: Defeated congresswoman’s car still in House parking lot — more than 3 years later — even though she’s a registered lobbyist.

February 26, 2010

SHUT UP ABOUT MY CARBON FOOTPRINT, HARRISON: Enviro-Hypocrisy: Harrison Ford’s Private-Jet Cheeseburger Runs.

February 26, 2010

BURT RUTAN says he was misquoted.

February 26, 2010

SPACE LAWYERS, ROBERT HEINLEIN, AND THE U.N. The reference to “metalaw” comes from early space law writer Andrew Haley, and shows that Heinlein actually knew something about what he was invoking.

February 26, 2010

“BORIS KARLOFF EYES?” That would be an awesome song. But see the picture and judge for yourself. Don’t go for the video, though, unless you’re brave. Or, you know, a Blumenthal fan.

February 26, 2010

MEGAN MCARDLE: Everyone knows that people without health insurance are more likely to die. But are they?

February 26, 2010

REASON: Who Will Watch The Watchmen? An interview with National Journal’s Shane Harris, author of The Watchers: The Rise of the America’s Surveillance State.

February 26, 2010

MONEY CAN’T BUY HAPPINESS, but high status gets you more dopamine receptors. This is why politicians seldom retire early.

February 26, 2010

MATT WELCH: Remember that PATRIOT Act thingy? You didn’t think it would be going away just because the Democrats campaigned against it every day in 2008, did you?

Not only did I not think it would be going away, I thought the people who were going on about the fierce moral urgency of change were either tools or rubes. And I was right!

UPDATE: Mathprof Stephen Clark writes: “Be sure that your readers understand that you are using the mathematical ‘or’ in your statement above. Surely, one can imagine a nonempty intersection of those two classes.” Indeed.

February 26, 2010

A BLACK GUY DOESN’T HAVE A CHANCE IN NEW YORK: First they squeeze out Paterson, then they call for Charlie Rangel to surrender his chairmanship, and, of course, they’re gunning for Harold Ford, Jr. Somebody tell Keith Olbermann, quick!

Oh, wait, he’s got to deal with charges of NBC racism from the Congressional Black Caucus.

UPDATE: Now they’re pushing out Desiree Rogers. Maybe it’s not just New York!

February 26, 2010

JOHN SCALZI on how creative work produces jobs. Obviously, then, the solution is to tax creative people more, so that they’ll have to work harder! [Don't give 'em any ideas -- ed. I think that horse is already out of the stable.]

February 26, 2010

VIDEO: The Last Ever Test Firing of the Space Shuttle Rocket Booster.

February 26, 2010

OFFICIAL: Lexus’s new hybrid hatchback.

February 26, 2010

IN THE MAIL: Tails of Wonder and Imagination: Cat Stories.

February 26, 2010

PJTV: Reconciliation 101: The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund Dissects the Dirty Trick For Dana Loesch.

February 26, 2010

I GUESS THIS MEANS MORE SNOW: U.T. Offers Honorary Doctorate to Al Gore. There’s some controversy.

February 26, 2010

BYRON YORK: Why Obama defies the public on health care.

February 26, 2010

“A PHENOMENAL WASTE OF TIME:” Megan McArdle on the healthcare summit. Plus: “When Kevin Drum and Clive Crook are both giving the edge to Republicans, I’m prone to agree.”

February 26, 2010

I’M GOBSMACKED: Patriot Act Renewal passes House. Plus, House leaders strip ban on degrading interrogation. So much for the fierce moral urgency of change. . . .

February 26, 2010

REDUCING “FREEDOM OF RELIGION” TO “Freedom of Worship?”

February 26, 2010

SHOULD JEWISH STUDENTS stop attending U.C. Irvine?

February 26, 2010

THE NEW CLASS WAR: “The old social and political divisions have given way to two new classes — rather as on the trains. Those in economy are most of us, paying for the comforts of those in first class. And those in first class are the new political class — all those who owe their advancement and their security and their pensions and their privileges not to their backgrounds or their talents, or even necessarily their political parties, but to the state and our taxes.”

February 26, 2010

JOHN MCCAIN: Passing Health Care Bill Through Reconciliation Would Have ‘Cataclysmic Effects’. Opponents, I feel sure, will regard this action as illegitimate.

February 26, 2010

THE OBAMA TALK RADIO PUSH: Report Your Call!

February 26, 2010

STEVE CHAPMAN: Obama Embraces Nixonomics: The folly of imposing wage and price controls.

February 26, 2010

MEGAN MCARDLE: New York will miss David Paterson: “David Paterson is not a great politician. . . . But when the state had a crushing budget deficit, he made some hard choices. Unpopular choices, which a better politician wouldn’t have made–but which are ultimately the reason that New York is not yet California. . . . It’s not all that likely that we’ll get a higher degree of moral probity from whoever succeeds him in the governor’s office. But it’s quite likely that we’ll get a lower level of willingness to make tough calls when the chips are down.”

February 26, 2010

IT AIN’T EASY: How to buy and register a handgun in the District of Columbia.

February 26, 2010

CAR LUST: Remembering the Saab Sonnett III. I always liked the looks of those.

February 26, 2010

PJTV: OBAMA AT THE BAT.

February 26, 2010

“YOU WOULDN’T LIKE ME WHEN I’M ANGRY.” What makes him think we’re crazy about him when he’s cheerful? Still, it could be a lot worse . . .

February 26, 2010

FREQUENT EMAILER C.J. BURCH notes that his books are on Amazon. Given all his pithy comments, a plug seems only fair.

February 26, 2010

SURPRISE: Many words but few revelations from health care summit.

February 26, 2010

CAR AND DRIVER on unintended acceleration.

February 26, 2010

DAILY BEAST: Obama’s 10 Biggest Health Care Mistakes: “The Daily Beast breaks down the strategic missteps that drained Obama’s political capital—and left him empty-handed on his top domestic priority.”

February 26, 2010

DAVE KOPEL: Judicial nominee Goodwin Liu on the Second Amendment. From the comments: “Sounds like a rather long winded way to complain that you prefer your constitutions left unenforced.”

February 26, 2010

TUNKU VARADARAJAN: What Was Obama Thinking? “Was he trying to make the Republicans look bad—retrograde ogres who would leave uninsured babies to die in their cribs? If so, he didn’t succeed at all. On the contrary, they came out of it looking rather alert and grown-up. . . . The marathon TV teach-in—in which Obama was more schoolmarm than president—should be regarded by Democrats as a great disappointment. They made no clear gain, and won no clear argument. . . . What was so striking about the summit was the preparedness of the Republicans. All of them had done their homework: Lamar Alexander, Tom Coburn, John Kyl, John McCain, Dave Camp, John Barrosso, and Paul Ryan. The Democrats, by contrast, suffered from an acute case of “anecdotitis” (is it a preexisting condition?)”

February 26, 2010

RANGEL ETHICS UPDATE: Ethics panel finds Rep. Charles Rangel broke rules.

February 25, 2010

RUSH LIMBAUGH “is an antibody, not a toxin.”

February 25, 2010

R.I.P. Chilly B.

February 25, 2010

AL QAEDA LINKED TERRORIST claims U.S. support?

February 25, 2010

HMM: David Gergen on the summit: Republicans had their best day in years. “Obama’s problem today was that he couldn’t fly solo; he tried to, speaking for more minutes at the meeting than either the Democrats or Republicans did, but surrounding him with sad sacks like Reid and Harkin was bound to dilute the effect.”

UPDATE: Slate: Obama and Republicans seemed reasonable. That’s bad news for Democrats.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader James Somers offers two ways to tell that the Dems lost the health care summit today:

If you look right now:

1. It’s not the lead headline on CNN.
2. It’s not the lead headline on the NYT.

If this had turned out the way it was supposed to, it would be leading both of those sites in 60 point font.

Well, 32 point, anyway.

MORE: No comfort for Obama from ABC News.

Plus, a wrapup, with some video, from Ann Althouse. Plus, from the comments:

WTF? The world is all screwed up, and it’s not even Wacky Wednesday…

Here we have a Republican speaking thoughtfully about finance. I thought all that Republicans spoke about was how God loved them, how God hates gays, and how they want to crush the testicles of the children of terrorist suspects.

And we have a Democrat Rep named Slaughter – from New York no less – telling her folksy tale with a hick accent.

The world turned upside down. And Stacy McCain, predictably enough, takes the low road. Is there some kind of a Max Blumenthal connection?

FINALLY: If there were a right-leaning Jon Stewart, this clip would absolutely lead off tonight. . . . .

February 25, 2010

THOUGHTS ON extraterrestrial ethics.

February 25, 2010

AT AMAZON, a kitchen and dining outlet sale.

February 25, 2010

SOME TOYOTA PRAISE: So, my Highlander Hybrid is the first Toyota I ever owned, and I’ve had it for going on five years now. In over 80,000 miles it’s been a great car, nearly trouble-free, and very pleasant to drive while getting excellent mileage. I would absolutely buy another one, and if the Toyota love-us-again deals get good enough, might do so sooner rather than later.

Am I under-appreciating the “sudden unintended acceleration” issue? Maybe. I can’t help but remember the Audi stink, which sounded very similar but turned out to be because people were stepping on the gas when they thought they were stepping on the brake. P.J. O’Rourke wrote a hilarious chapter on that, and the bureaucratic response, in his A Parliament of Whores, and I assign that chapter to my Administrative Law class at the beginning of the semester.

February 25, 2010

WELL, IT SAVES GAS: Instead of dashing to the scene of an accident, lawyers in need of clients dash to blog posts about accidents.

February 25, 2010

AMY BISHOP UPDATE: Norfolk DA seeks an inquest in Seth Bishop’s 1986 death. “Saying he had questions about the original investigation, Norfolk District Attorney William R. Keating today requested an inquest into the death of Seth Bishop, who was killed by his sister, Amy, in 1986 in Braintree.”

February 25, 2010

CHANGE: British Tea Party Movement To Launch On Saturday. “Oh, and this being England, we’ll be serving actual, you know, tea.”

February 25, 2010

VIDEO: Lamar Alexander vs. Barack Obama.

February 25, 2010

WEATHER UPDATE: Eric S. Raymond is ready to turn Viking.

February 25, 2010

CHEAP SOLAR POWER: Hard to achieve even with cheap solar cells?

February 25, 2010

NIKOLA TESLA’S LETTERHEAD. Okay, now that’s cool. (Via BoingBoing).

February 25, 2010

NOSTALGIA: How books used to be made.

February 25, 2010

REASON TV: Treat Me Like A Dog: What Human Health Care Can Learn From Pet Care.

February 25, 2010

VIRGINIA: Yoo to speak at UVa forum; protest planned. Wonder if any pro-Yoo protesters will show up?

UPDATE: Reader Ian Watson emails:

I’m a Boalt student, and he taught a class right next to my tax class last semester. At the beginning of the semester there were a bunch of protesters that would just invade the school (orange jump suits, black hoods, the whole shebang). There were never “pro-Yoo” protesters here, but he does have support from many students. The thing is, most of his supports wouldn’t really be considered “pro-Yoo”, rather more like “anti-these idiots that invade our school.” I remember walking out of my class and having some moron shove flyers in my face, his friend blowing some whistle, and all of them being generally disruptive. I thought, “do these people understand that most of these students know the issue better than they do, likely already have strong opinions that won’t be changed by your legally incorrect flyer, and just want you to get the f*%^ out?” I told them as much.

What the people that advocate for these disruptions don’t understand (such as Andrew “don’t allow Yoo in civilized company” Sullivan) is that administrators likely won’t change their actions simply because of these idiots. Anyone that invites Yoo to speak already has a (likely educated) opinion of the man and his work, and won’t allow these people to dissuade them. Anyone that would be, likely wouldn’t invite him in the first place. So all we get is a pointless, mindless disruption that interrupts the rest of us… all in the support of “civilization” or some such idiocy.

It’s only support of civilization when you shout down people with the wrong ideas. Otherwise it’s “McCarthyism,” or something.

February 25, 2010

BEN CUNNINGHAM: Wow, that astro-turfing works great!

February 25, 2010

EVERY MAN a sex addict? “The treatment for sexual addiction is a form of pseudo-redemptive window dressing in which no one, especially the addict himself, really believes.”

February 25, 2010

TIMES CHANGE: Back in 1967, this was your average camcorder. “Actually, the Ampex VR-3000 backpack—only $42,000 for the basic recorder without accessories—with BC-300 BW Camera—just $12,685—was the only camcorder available.”

Now you can get a camera that is in many ways superior, but that fits in a pocket and costs less than $200.

UPDATE: Reader Jerry Davis emails:

I worked with one of those 3000′s. The blurb’s not quite accurate, in that they recorded either NTSC or PAL, not both. The four heads were attached to a wheel that rotated across the width of the videotape. That mechanism was needed because recording video requires a high head-to-tape speed, and the only other way to get it would have required huge reels of tape moving very fast.

The actual move from film to video for newsgathering came a few years later, in the early seventies. It was primarily driven by the availability of the Norelco PCP-70 portable color camera, and the Sony portable 3/4 inch tape recorder.

Those with a technical bent might be interested in knowing that the 3000 had no capstan pinch-roller, resulting in the tape speed varying from the front to the back of the reel. Playing the material back on a studio quad recorder required you to constantly adjust speed. They also had no built-in color playback capability. And the bloody thing weighed about 30 pounds. Lots of fun jogging up a hill with one of those on your back.

TV cameramen used to be big guys; now not always.

February 25, 2010

MILES O’BRIEN: To the Moon? I think not, Alice…. “While I give the Administration plan high marks for its steely-eyed reassessment of priorities – it did a horrible job telling this story.”

February 25, 2010

LOVE AMONG THE RUINS: Matt Labash on Haiti.

February 25, 2010

PHOTO GALLERY: Behind the Scenes With the U.S Military in Haiti.

February 25, 2010

A SIGN THAT THE RECESSION HASN’T HIT BOTTOM? Women getting “Vajazzled.”

UPDATE: While not at all racy, this story may be NSFW in some Taliban-like workplaces — which apparently are pretty common.

February 25, 2010

DESIGN WITH DOOCE: Heather Armstrong at HGTV.

February 25, 2010

TOBY BUCKELL on delaying gratification.

February 25, 2010

HOW FAT IS too fat to fly? “Airlines need to acknowledge that the current policies aren’t solving a problem but are rather turning one passenger’s comfort into another passenger’s embarrassment. Another solution must be found. (How about some wider seats in coach?)” Now that’s crazy talk!

February 25, 2010

IN THE MAIL: From Poul Anderson: David Falkayn: Star Trader. Glad they’re keeping this classic stuff in print.

February 25, 2010

CBS NEWS: Americans Running Out of Patience on Health Care, Polls Show. “The poll, taken before the president unveiled his health care proposal earlier this week, gives the president his lowest marks on handling health care to date. Nearly half (48 percent) of Americans say he has spent too much time on the issue, and increased economic concerns have led to a majority (53 percent) that now say the U.S. cannot afford to fix health care at this time. . . . One problem for the president is that, so far, he has been unable to convince Americans that they will benefit from health care reforms. CBS News Polls conducted throughout the health care debate have found that only about one in five Americans think health care reform will benefit them personally.”

February 25, 2010

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH interviews Bruce Bartlett. “I have yet to find anyone on the right who takes any of my arguments seriously.”

February 25, 2010

TOM BLUMER: An Orchestrated Campaign Against Toyota in Overdrive? “An unsettling series of events before its leaders’ congressional testimony points to just that. . . . I do hope that the folks at Toyota fully appreciate the ugliness they’re up against.”

February 25, 2010

A SHORT LIST: Pro-Business Movies.

February 25, 2010

AT CATO, live-blogging the health care summit.

February 25, 2010

GERARD VAN DER LEUN: On the Inevitable Relationship Between Obamacare and the Taxpayer: It Really Is… Just. This. Simple.

February 25, 2010

SHOCKER: New Jobless Claims Rise “Unexpectedly.”

February 25, 2010

ANDREW BREITBART: Max Blumenthal, You’re Being Booger-Boarded. “Correct, retract, and apologize to James O’Keefe for your slanderous attempt to ruin his life. And if you do so, we will take this video down.”

February 25, 2010

ANNALS OF GOVERNMENT MEDICINE: “Unimaginable Suffering.”

February 25, 2010

VODKAPUNDIT: The Brutal Truth About Californians. I suspect that too many of the people with more sense have already moved away . . . .

February 25, 2010

A ONE-DAY WIRELESS-PRINTER MARKDOWN. Also, markdowns on batteries.

February 25, 2010

A SPECIAL TEA PARTY TV EDITION OF INSTAVISION: Don’t Tread On Her: Dana Loesch Has Tar & Feathers Ready for the Tyrants.