September 29, 2010
GREEN MONEY: The Perpetual Motion Machine.
GREEN MONEY: The Perpetual Motion Machine.
THE NEW NORMAL: For the young: “Funemployment.” For the old: Working during retirement!
MICKEY KAUS ON THE BROWN/WHITMAN DEBATE: “I didn’t like either one of these people coming into the debate. After the debate I like both of them less.”
TALKING WITH VAN TRAN ABOUT Loretta Sanchez’s racist remarks.
STEWART BAKER: EUROPE BAILS: “As the threat of major terror attacks rises, the European Commission has chosen to take action. Of a sort. It’s about to violate its existing antiterror agreement with the United States – and in a way that will make the current threat worse. . . . Remarkably, Brussels is pursuing this data boycott despite a solemn promise to the United States that it would not take such action.”
MORE SPACE ACTIVISM: Need to keep fighting for the Senate NASA Authorization bill. It’s less sucky and anti-free-enterprise than the House bill. (Bumped).
WILL ANYONE AT NBC ask about the 216?
ROGER SIMON: The J Street Implosion: Soros, Horse Racing and… Connie Esdicul? Don’t be silly. J Street is as authentic as the Coffee Party!
LAW PROFESSORS SET TO cross picket lines.
A REMINDER: What Christopher Coates Said.
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN WE’D SEE extrajudicial killing of Americans at a President’s whim, without any fuss. And they were right!
STANLEY FISH: “Liberal pundits and the politicians whose agendas they favor continue to misunderstand the Tea Party movement and, what is worse, fail to realize how much the disdainful tone of their criticism fuels it. This may be changing now as the ominous signs proliferate.”
OBAMA TELLS AMERICA TO “BUCK UP.” Maybe if America had any bucks left . . . . .
EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM FOR ME, but not for thee. Government school, like taxes, is for the little people.
OBAMA CONDESCENDS TO EVERYONE. It’s just taken a while for some people to notice.
MORE POLITICAL VIOLENCE: Video: Ted Strickland supporter dumps coffee on Iraq veteran. I blame the Administration’s extremist, eliminationist rhetoric.
BOY, THAT’S AN OVERWHELMINGLY WHITE CROWD: Pictures from Obama’s Wisconsin Speech.
FRANCISCO FRANCO IS STILL DEAD: Anderson Cooper’s Ratings Are Still Tanking.
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN, “CHRISTIANISTS” WOULD BE TRYING TO RUN MY LIFE TO SUIT THEIR TWISTED RELIGIOUS DOCTRINES: And they were right! “The Golden Rule is a fine idea, but it is not a principle of Christianity. Nor did Jesus ever say that we should be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers; Obama apparently referred to the story of Cain and Abel.”
UPDATE: A reader emails:
The Golden Rule is certainly a principle of Christianity; the most commonly quoted form of it is from Matthew 7:12, quoting Jesus: “do to others what you would have them do to you.” Other forms of it may have preexisted Christianity, but to say that it is not a principle of Christianity is fundamentally wrong. That said, it’s also fundamentally wrong to suggest that Jesus meant “do for others with tax money what you think they need,” which seems to be Obama’s exegesis…
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Bill Long writes:
I respect others’ religion as much as (or more than) the next person. The thing, though, that I’ve always wondered about the Golden Rule is this.
What if “what you would have them do to you” is “Leave me the F-word alone”? Does the Golden Rule still apply? Just curious.
Nah, they’ll never go for that. Because that’s what most people would say, and then where would they be?
MORE: Reader Sara Buchanan emails from Italy:
Obama got the brother’s keeper wrong, but he also got the Golden Rule wrong.
“treating others as they would treat me” – Obama
“do to others what you would have them do to you.” – Jesus
Not quite the same thing, is it?
Obama sounds like a kid on the playground. “They started it!”
FINALLY: Reader Joel Mackey writes: “Errr, doesn’t he have a brother living in abject poverty in Kenya?”
Hey, it’s not like he plans to live by this Bible stuff. It’s just a talking point. . . .
Naimark, author of the controversial new book Stalin’s Genocides, argues that we need a much broader definition of genocide, one that includes nations killing social classes and political groups. His case in point: Stalin.
The book’s title is plural for a reason: He argues that the Soviet elimination of a social class, the kulaks (who were higher-income farmers), and the subsequent killer famine among all Ukrainian peasants – as well as the notorious 1937 order No. 00447 that called for the mass execution and exile of “socially harmful elements” as “enemies of the people” – were, in fact, genocide.
Is murdering a class somehow better than murdering a race? Is fomenting class-hatred somehow better than fomenting race-hatred? Why or why not?
A SALE ON MEN’S JEANS, with free shipping and free returns.
HEH: Lefty bloggers: Hey, this Obama guy is really unfair to his critics! Remember all that “One America” talk? Me neither.
CARRYING A METAPHOR A BIT TOO FAR? President Stuxnet.
NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Solar cells thinner than wavelengths of light hold huge power potential, Stanford researchers say. “A film that’s nanoscale-thin and has been roughed up a bit can absorb more than 10 times the energy predicted by conventional theory.”
HAPPINESS IS GOOD FOR YOU. Just don’t overdo it.
OH, THANK GOD: For a second there, I thought they said 3.7 million! There is a 50 per cent chance that time will end within the next 3.7 billion years, according to a new model of the universe.
BITES FROM THE APPLE: Apple TVs Are On The Way.
NANNY-STATISM FAIL: Texting-While-Driving Bans Don’t Work. Plus this: “I don’t see how checking email while driving is much worse than fiddling with the radio or the air conditioner or talking to the person in the passenger seat or reading the roadside billboards. But the whole situation is a great example of how incentives work in journalism. The New York Times won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for its series Driven to Distraction about the supposed dangers of texting while driving. The guy at USA Today, Larry Copeland, who wrote the article about how the laws the Times got passed don’t actually work is just going to get some praise from me, which is worth $10,000 less than a Pulitzer Prize. And the chances of the Pulitzer Board taking the Pulitzer back from the Times reporter for having whipped everyone up into a frenzy for which the cure is worse than the supposed problem are about 0%.”
DRINKING MILK increases weight loss? “Could it be that corn fed to a cow to make milk is healthier for us than corn oil consumed directly? Yes, I know, it is heretical to think the last few decades of mainstream dietary advice is mostly wrong.”
ON THE INEFFECTIVENESS of “law porn.”
MYSTERIES THAT HOWL AND HUNT: The Spread of Urban Coyotes. “In recent years, urbanites have been simultaneously charmed and disturbed by coyotes strolling in Central Park, trotting into a Quiznos restaurant in downtown Chicago and taking a dash around a federal courthouse in Detroit.”
As with bedbugs, the notion that there’s nothing we can do to get rid of them now that they’re back raises the question: How did we manage to get rid of them before?
CANNIBALISM AND GENOCIDE among the peaceful Pueblo people.
CHANGE: Consumer Confidence Falls to Lowest Level Since February. “Overall, consumers’ confidence in the state of the economy remains quite grim.”
WORLD FATTENS, WOMEN AND MINORITIES HARDEST HIT: New York Times: Obesity More Expensive for Women.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: How To Dial A Rotary Phone. Show it to your kids, so they’ll know what to do if they encounter one!
So Obama decides he’d better shore up the college vote and Rolling Stone cooperates with a softball puff-piece interview. Only problem is, how many college students read Rolling Stone any more?
BOB BECKEL DOESN’T KNOW WHO HE’S DEALING WITH, if he’s threatening Pam Geller. Really, Bob, stick to reading the White House talking points. You don’t want to open up the can of whupass you’ll open up here . . . .
UPDATE: Charlie Martin emails: “I expect Pamela will deliver Beckel to his next of kin in three shopping bags.” Yes, but they’ll be from Bergdorf Goodman.
ANOTHER UPDATE: In the comments, the meanest thing you can say about Bob Beckel: “Beckel was campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign.”
RACISM, COVERUPS, AND SCANDAL: “Like any administration snared in a Beltway scandal, the Obama team has two problems in the New Black Panther Party scandal: the wrongdoing and the cover-up. . . . I get the feeling that if it had been the Bush administration telling whistleblowers not to testify and withholding, absent any legal basis, key documents that could implicate high-ranking officials, the media would have already been all over this.”
Indeed. Fortunately, there’s an Indian edition of An Army of Davids. So we’ve got that going for us, anyway. . . .
ANDY KESSLER: What’s The Matter With Wall Street? “There are too many traders, bankers and salesmen to support the new level of business. Thanks to Dodd-Frank, the shrinking of finance will continue.”
I READ LINCOLN CAPLAN’S PIECE ON JUSTICE BREYER AND FOUND IT QUITE UNPERSUASIVE, but didn’t think it was worth taking the time to post about. Orin Kerr took the time. “Sure, if you want to cherry-pick some stats to make Justice Breyer seem like a paragon of judicial restraint, you ignore the state cases and just recite the figure for challenges to federal laws. But you could cherry-pick the other way to reach the opposite conclusion: If you want Breyer to come off as a judicial activist, you note that he is among the Justices most likely to strike down state legislation. The reality is more complicated: Breyer is roughly average among the Justices in terms of how often he votes to strike down legislation, with his tendencies, like those of the other liberal Justices, being more likely than average to strike down state laws and less likely than average to strike down federal laws.”
CHANGE: Harvard Pilgrim Cancels Medicare Advantage Plan. “The decision by Wellesley-based Harvard Pilgrim, the state’s second-largest health insurer, was prompted by a freeze in federal reimbursements and a new requirement that insurers offering the kind of product sold by Harvard Pilgrim — a Medicare Advantage private fee for service plan — form a contracted network of doctors who agree to participate for a negotiated amount of money. Under current rules, patients can seek care from any doctor.”
MISBEHAVING PROSECUTORS: A USA Today investigation finds egregious misconduct at the Department of Justice, with few consequences. . . . USA Today’s finding of little to no sanction for misbehaving prosecutors is consistent with other studies. Consequences, like taxes, are for the little people. “The number of federal laws reaches well into the thousands, and it’s growing. Many are so broadly written they allow prosecutors to ring just about anyone they please up on federal charges. This creates a system driven by politics, not justice. It makes criminals out of all of us, making actual enforcement of the law arbitrary and corruptible. Worse, every incentive for a federal prosecutor pushes in the direction of winning convictions, with little if any sanction for crossing ethical and legal boundaries in the process. It’s a system that’s not only ripe for abuse, but that actually rewards it.”
Maybe we should go for a “loser pays” system in criminal law. Couple that with fully-informed juries and you could get somewhere . . . .
Plus this: “Public choice theory teaches us that public servants act in their own interest in the same way private sector workers do. There’s nothing transformative about working in a DA’s office as opposed to, say, a white shoe law firm. You don’t shed self-interest to become purely noble and altruistic once you’re sworn into office. If anything, prosecutors should be given more scrutiny and oversight than other members of the legal profession. Private lawyers at best can influence courts and government officials to move money around. Prosecutors put people in prison and, in some cases, send defendants to their deaths. When they cheat, there ought to be consequences.”
UPDATE: Reader Michael Altman writes:
Dear Mr. Reynolds, as a former Assistant District Attorney in New York county, my experience is very different from your perception. When we first joined the Office Mr. Morgenthau made clear to us that our obligation was to “do justice,” not get convictions. He told us that he was most proud of the cases he ultimately declined to prosecute. While many prosecutors’ offices are not run as they should be, that doesn’t change the essential differences between prosecutors and attorneys in the private sector (including white shoe firms). A prosecutor’s obligation is to see justice done, the obligation of an attorney in the private sector is to zealously represent his or her clients within the applicable ethical guidelines.
The incentives don’t point this way nowadays.
THE TRUE MEASURE OF just how far the “Coffee Party” has fallen.
A VICTORY IN THE WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY: Charges dismissed against Md. man who taped traffic stop.
A Harford County Circuit Court judge Monday dismissed wiretapping charges against Anthony Graber, a motorcyclist who was jailed briefly after he taped a Maryland state trooper who stopped him for speeding on I-95. Graber used a camera mounted on his helmet, then posted the video on YouTube. . . . Judge Emory A. Pitt Jr. had to decide whether police performing their duties have an expectation of privacy in public space. Pitt ruled that police can have no such expectation in their public, on-the-job communications.
Pitt wrote: “Those of us who are public officials and are entrusted with the power of the state are ultimately accountable to the public. When we exercise that power in public fora, we should not expect our actions to be shielded from public observation. ‘Sed quis custodiet ipsos cutodes’ (“Who watches the watchmen?”).”
Indeed. This is obviously correct, and it is an utter disgrace that Harford County state’s attorney Joseph I. Cassilly brought charges anyway.
UPDATE: Or maybe not. Reader Carl Dahlman writes:
In a TV interview last summer, Cassilly said that he believes that the police have no right to privacy when stopping people on the highway. He stated that he brought the suit in order to get legal clarification of the basic issue. If he lost, he’d be happy; if he won, the State legislature would have to act.
Seems to me Cassilly got the matter settled without needing statutory remedy. Bully for him. Maybe you should not be so hard on him.
Also, kudos to the State AG who issued an opinion last summer that troopers have no right to privacy on the highway. I’m sure that influenced the judge.
ANOTHER UPDATE: On the other hand, reader Steven Wells writes:
I read with some interest the comments of your reader Carl Dahlman regarding the dismissal of charges against the Maryland man who taped a traffic stop. Mr. Dahlman suggests that it is a good thing the prosecutor brought charges because this clarified matters without getting a statutory remedy. I disagree.
As a criminal defense lawyer, I think this type of prosecution is a disgrace, as you wrote in your initial post. Criminal charges endanger our most fundamental rights and liberties. For a prosecutor to file charges simply to clarify a vague statute is greatly troublesome. If a statute is vague, then prosecutors should not be filing charges at all. The defendant in this case had to hire an attorney (although I understand from some accounts he may have had pro bono counsel, this is still a real issue), have his name broadcast throughout national media, go through the process of obtaining bail (which is a restriction on liberty), and face the very real possibility of being a convicted felon. All of this when the prosecution admits that there was a distinct possibility that there was no basis for a charge?
There is no need for a statutory remedy in this circumstance. Prosecutors have a great deal of discretion in how they do their jobs and that discretion is all the ‘remedy’ this situation needs. I do not know Maryland’s ethical code, but under Rule 3.8 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, prosecutors should not prosecute a case if they know the charges are not supported by probable cause. It seems to me that if the prosecutor admits that the statute is vague, there is a very real argument that the prosector should know these charges are not supported by probable cause.
Just some food for thought.
CELEBRITIES GETTING GUN CARRY PERMITS. Not a threat to public safety like ordinary Americans getting gun permits . . . because if there’s one thing that celebrities are, it’s responsible.
TALKING CARS with the Car Lust guys.
WOW: Rasmussen: West Virginia Senate: Raese (R) Eases Ahead of Manchin (D). “Manchin, despite his popularity with voters in the state, faces an electorate that is even unhappier with the national Democratic agenda than voters in most other parts of the country.”
UPDATE: Connecticut Senate Race Moves to the Margin of Error. Democrat’s Lead Cut to 3 points in Q-Poll. “Mr. Blumenthal will feel a particular dismay at one Q-Poll finding: His favorable rating among likely Connecticut voters continues to erode, descending to 51%, down another 4 points in two weeks. His unfavorable rating is at 41%, a chilling change for the man who was long enjoyed being the state’s most popular politician.” Maybe Blumenthal’s lies about Vietnam service are starting to register. Or maybe it’s just contagion from the Obama Administration’s unpopularity.
Meanwhile, Moe Lane wonders who the DSCC will abandon to “firewall” Connecticut?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Don Surber: “Barack Obama is the Official Albatross of the 2010 American Election. . . . From Safe Democrat — no way Joe Manchin can lose — in July to biting nails 5 weeks away from an election that is looking redder by the hour.”
MORE: Connecticut reader Mike Latina says it’s not the Vietnam stuff:
The Vietnam stuff has faded into the background. The real surprise is that she’s beating him (in liberal CT!!) on the issues. She’s hammering him with one negative and one positive ad right now which have been very effective. The negative one calls the Cap n Trade bill “Dick Blumenthal’s Energy Tax” and says that residents’ electricity and gasoline bills will go up ($968/yr and $0.68/gallon, respectively.) The positive one uses stock footage of JFK from 1961 expounding on the virtues of tax cuts to grow the economy. It ends with an old story board that says something to the effect of: “good idea then, even better idea now” followed by, “I’m Linda McMahon and I approved this message.” Don’t know if she can pull it off, but it’s going to be very close. Made sure my son got his absentee ballot at school.
Stay tuned. But don’t get cocky!
MICHAEL LOTUS: The Insurgency, Part II: The Road Ahead.
REDUCTIO AD SOMALIA: “This post by Michael O’Hare is an example of the sort of rhetoric that seems appealing–nay, irrefutable!–when you are crafting it over drinks with like-minded friends, and that falls entirely flat when you deploy it against people who don’t share your priors.”
We see a lot of those — surprisingly from the people who claim to possess a keen awareness of nuance, and who charge others with “epistemic closure.”
AN INTERVIEW IN THE HILL of the pseudonymous David Kahane, author of Rules for Radical Conservatives: Beating the Left at Its Own Game to Take Back America. The book’s out today.
THEY’LL BE GOING AFTER “HOARDERS AND WRECKERS” NEXT: Savers Told To Stop Moaning And Start Spending. I predict that this will produce precisely the opposite of the desired effect. What, are they using Atlas Shrugged as a policy manual?
UPDATE: Bob Krumm emails:
The Bank of England (and by logical extension, the US Fed) admits that they have purposely kept rates low to disincentivize saving. This follows a decade of near-record low interest rates and concomitant record low personal savings rates–and look where that got us.
Over-borrowing, under-saving, and over-spending by both individuals and governments is what got us into this mess. And the “elites” tell us that to get out, we have to do even more of the same???
That’s all you need to know to understand why the Tea Party is so popular.
Oh, I noticed that.
WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Special Report: Democrats got 96 percent of Big Green campaign contributions.
UPDATE: Charlie Martin on Green Power and “Long Green.” “This is how the big money in the environmental activism industry translates into political power.”
REACHING OUT to Hamas. “Bradley’s omission of this information about Kifah Mustapha in his report on Sunday is all the more curious since his own station aired an extensive investigative report of Mustapha’s terrorist ties earlier this year.”
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE — BUT TELLING ALL THE SAME: Manchin Comes Out For Partial Repeal of ObamaCare.
TIM LYNCH: “The standard line from police departments is that they ‘vigorously investigate every allegation of police misconduct.’ That is something we want to hear and believe, but it is not always the case.”
PLANE FROM MAINE causes Congresswoman pain.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: President 40/60.
The President does not conduct himself in a sober and judicious manner and neither do those around him. On any given day he can slur Arizonans as wanting to round up innocents on the way to ice cream. He can slander police as stupidly-acting stereotypers. The Attorney General can call us cowards and swear without reading a bill that it profiles the innocent. Legitimate worry over a ground zero mosque translates into anti-constitutional efforts to stifle freedom of worship. Those with money—defined by an arbitrary annual income level of $250,000—owe the rest of us their ill-gotten gains. Surgeons transmogrify into tonsil-loppers, insurers are greedy, investors put back at the end of the creditor line, all worthy of a boot on their necks and a kick in the ass.
The First Lady can likewise say anything at anytime that would earn about a 10% approval rating. “Deign to run”, “raise the bar”, “never been proud before”, “downright mean country” and all that have gone somnolent only because of a fleeting January 2009 70% approval rating. When polls hits 40% , expect the 2008 tropes to return. The result won’t be pretty. Bush was stoic and philosophical at 38% after six years; the aggrieved Obamas will not be after two.
Read the whole thing. And Obama should have taken some lessons on why Presidents act “Presidential.” It’s not because they’re stuffy stick-in-the-muds, but rather because experience has shown that acting otherwise is political suicide.
MICKEY KAUS: Liberal Paper Bites Barbara Boxer.
MICHAEL MOYNIHAN: “Is Alan Grayson the most loathsome member of Congress?” As Moynihan notes, he’s up against some stiff competition, but he’s a contender.
UPDATE: An apology from Moe Lane:
Recently, I compared Alan Grayson to an ex-KGB agent who was now engaged in a second career as a Mafia pimp. I don’t know what I was thinking: the KGB tried not to hire babbling fools, and neither does the Mafia.
It’s nice to see a man who’s big enough to apologize when he gets it wrong.
BUSINESS INSIDER: NJ Gov Chris Christie Had An Amazing Week, And He’s Now Set Up Beautifully To Run For President. Well, the Insta-Daughter’s theory of Presidential opposites is working in his favor!
INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Tea Party Movement A Political Tsunami, Thanks To Internet.
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN, bureaucrats would be burning books. And they were right! I guess I should have voted for a constitutional law professor who appreciated free expression.
Hey, wait — that’s me!
JOHN HINDERAKER: “The situation in Mexico is a disaster, and one that directly threatens our national security. For reasons that I don’t understand, most Americans don’t seem to care, and the Obama administration reflects that apathy. Mexico makes Iraq look like Switzerland. Iraq is, I think, important to our security, but Mexico is much more so.”
UPDATE: A reader recommends the Borderland Beat blog for reports of goings-on in Mexico, many of them rather gruesome.
DVDs as low as $6.49. Thank goodness for the competition from Netflix, Hulu, etc.
MICKEY KAUS: Is Twitter Protecting Ashton Kutcher? “If that happens, why would Twitter want to keep it a secret? Because it would reveal that Twitter’s uncontrolled expressive democracy is a bit of a fake.”
BYRON YORK: Unable to govern, Dems turn to Stephen Colbert.
THEY SHARE A LOVE OF DEMOCRACY AND AMERICA: Iran leader Ahmadinejad met with Farrakhan, New Black Panthers in New York.
DON SURBER: ASTROTURFING, USA. “Big Government busted this SEIU/ACORN/AFL-CIO/NAACP special interest-palooza that will rally in Washington on Saturday. Unlike the Tea Party rallies that the Professional Leftists envy — true populism — the Democratic Party’s various arms have to pay people to rally.”
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN, THE COUNTRY WOULD BE SPLIT OVER THE WAR AND INTERNAL SECURITY — AND THEY WERE RIGHT! Hundreds protest FBI raids on anti-war activists. I guess I should’ve voted for a conciliatory, post-partisan figure . . . .
RAHM EMANUEL TO LEAVE WHITE HOUSE FRIDAY?
STEPHEN GREEN: Hair of the Dog: Democrats Defy Logic on Taxes and Spending.
HEARTACHE: “Here was Axelrod trying to get the lefty bloggers to help Obama out, but — gasp!!! — he doesn’t even read their blogs. How devastating for them! . . . Imagine if Axelrod sat around reading Pandagon, Eschaton, and Hullabaloo?” Judging by the results, I thought he did.
MICHAEL LOTUS: The Insurgency: The times, they really are a-changin’.
BE STILL MY BEATING HEART: The Sportiest Volvo Ever.
MOVING TOWARD CONSENSUS: “White House officials view Krugman as an irritant who has become predictable and whiny in his criticism.” I think people felt that way in the Bush Administration, too. . . .
GOOGLE VS. the Harvard history professor.
SHALE GAS REVOLUTION shakes up green energy.
CLAUDIA ROSETT: The Dark Side of a UN Envoy for Extraterrestrials.
THIS WEEK in the future.
PREVENTING COLON CANCER with low-dose aspirin.
A ROUNDUP OF NEWS from the Kid-lit world.
SPACE TOURISM UPDATE: “Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson said Monday that Virgin Galactic is on track to offer commercial space travel within 18 months, and that space hotels are next on the drawing board.”
OUT OF TOUCH WITH MODERN REALITIES: “The Social Democrats unveiled a political program Sunday aimed at stopping the extension of the life of nuclear power plants and allowing people to retire earlier than age 67, a change the party itself introduced when it was in power.”
TELLING PEOPLE TO EAT MORE VEGETABLES has been a miserable failure.
HILLBILLY HOUSEWIFE: A site on low-cost home cooking from scratch.