Archive for November, 2010

November 28, 2010

BIG JOURNALISM: Media Matters Lies About Media Coverage of Sarah Palin North Korea Slip. Kind of a dog-bites-man story.

November 28, 2010

COMPETENCE: More Hope & Change… “Never Before Has a Superpower Lost Control of Such Vast Amounts of Sensitive Information.”

November 28, 2010

SIGN THAT OBAMA IS IN TROUBLE? People are telling him he could learn a few PR lessons from George W. Bush.

November 28, 2010

BEGINNING OF THE END? Godfrey Bloom given the Soviet treatment at the EU.

November 28, 2010

MATT WELCH: Today’s Thomas L. Friedman column is a familiar if distasteful brew of what-Americans-want ventriloquism and public policy by bumper sticker. Emphasis on the word “familiar.”

UPDATE: Prof. Stephen Clark writes: “That last paragraph of Welch’s post had me laughing aloud. Every college or university professor who has quietly endured serial idiocies emanating from a student utterly convinced of their brilliance understands the emotion driving that paragraph.”

November 28, 2010

RECOMMENDED GIFTS for the person who has everything.

November 28, 2010

KATRINA VANDENHEUVEL apologizes to John Tyner. Maybe next she should apologize to everyone else that article smeared . . . .

November 28, 2010

SCOTT JOHNSON: What Can We Learn From Mohamed Mohamud?

November 28, 2010

PROF. JACOBSON: “Admit it, many of us in the right-blogosphere are obsessed with liberals’ obsession with Palin.”

November 28, 2010

OLIVER HART & LUIGI ZINGALES: How to Improve the Financial-Reform Law: A brief proposal to protect the system—without stifling innovation.

November 28, 2010

ROGER SIMON: Sleazy WikiLeaks Meets the Digital Ninnies of the State Department. “The criminality of self-righteous WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange aside, the State Department or other government nincompoops who authored the leaked documents and emails calling Sarkozy a ‘naked emperor,’ etc., deserve to be terminated for extreme doofuss-ness. These days, a school child knows that what you write digitally is forever indelible.”

Is this what they meant when they were promising us “smart diplomacy?” It’s interesting to me that the WikiLeaks stuff seems to reflect so badly on the Obama Administration and the career foreign service, while Harold Koh is trying to keep it quiet. Meanwhile a certain former VP has been largely off the radar for months. Has anyone seen Julian Assange and Dick Cheney photographed together? . . . .

UPDATE: “A moment of remarkable impotence.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Okay, ever since I posted this I’ve had the Riverbluff Clan going through my head: “Somethin’ is leakin’ I’m two quarts low . . . “

MORE: Prince Abdullah, Neo-Con Warhawk?

November 28, 2010

PROF. JACOBSON: When Will AARP, Consumers Union and AMA Be Held To Account for Obamacare?

November 28, 2010

DIMINISHED: From Copenhagen to Cancun.

November 28, 2010

OUCH: Led by little people with little minds and little horizons.

November 28, 2010

READER JASON DOCTOR WRITES THAT telescopes are marked way down today. Those make good presents.

UPDATE: Earlier, a reader asked me for recommendations and I couldn’t help a lot — it’s been a long time since I bought a telescope. But now reader Lowell McCormick writes:

Hi Glenn, I have a number of telescopes, belong to the Ponchartrain Astronomy Society and attend many public outreach events where we invite the public to look thru our telescopes. For prospective new telescope owners, I would suggest the Orion XT8″ Classic dob. It gives the most bang for the buck, by far. I would suggest that beginners stay away from anything on a tripod. If a child is under 12 yrs old, go for the same Orion dob in the 6″ or 4.5″ diameter. Stay away from anything on a tripod. The dob style telescopes allow you to spend most of the money on the optics which is the thing you are buying a telescope for. An 8″ can be a scope that lasts a lifetime. And the views of the Orion nebula, Andromeda galaxy, Jupiter and Saturn can be fantastic and awe inspiring thru an 8″ reflector.

The Coronado PST solar telescope at $500 is also a good buy. It works well on a camera tripod.

The larger solar scopes have come down in price by 50% in recent years and the 60mm Coronado @ $1300 is a good buy but you’ll need a $500 to $1000 mount on a tripod for it to be stable.

The Sun is getting active again and the views have been great lately. The hydogen alpha type solar scopes (above) allow views of sunspots, surface detail and spectacular prominences around the edge of the sun.

www.telescope.com has a good “telescope buyers guide” and a listing of telescopes by user level.

I have a 16″ truss dob reflector, 3″ & 4″ refractors on eq mounts and a 60mm Ha solar scope.

So there’s some advice.

November 28, 2010

TAKING BETS ON 8 Offshore Wind Projects.

November 28, 2010

HEH: Presidential biographer Edmund Morris to Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation”: “That’s a fucked up question.” But it’s Edmund Morris who ran out of bullshit. I guess Schieffer’s stocks are limitless.

Plus, from the comments: “Love the way this guy seems to think he’s stumbled upon some novel insight when he calls Americans fat, stupid and insular. It’s not only bullshit, it’s boring, unoriginal bullshit that’s been sort of the European conventional wisdom on America since before the Civil War.” And that statement reminds me of this bit of history from Walt Whitman regarding Europe and America that you’d think a historian would consider. Or, in Morris’s case, I suppose, fictionalize. . . .

November 28, 2010

CREATING ELECTRICITY from automobile exhaust.

November 28, 2010

FRONT-LOADING: Amazon rolls out tomorrow’s Cyber Monday deals today.

November 28, 2010

FASTER, PLEASE: Stem Cell Spray Heals Burns.

November 28, 2010

AUBREY DE GREY VS. DAVID BRIN on rejuvenation.

November 28, 2010

INTERESTED IN DISASTER PREPAREDNESS? Check out Bill Quick’s discussion forum.

Related: List: Disaster-Preparedness Supplies.

November 28, 2010

THE FORD MUSTANG STATION WAGON that never was.

November 28, 2010

WHAT A SURVIVABLE CRASH looks like.

November 28, 2010

IN THE MAIL: From lawyer Leighton Rockafellow, Final Option, Diminished Capacity: A novel of legal suspense and Immaculate Deception.

November 28, 2010

IT’S NOT CHARITY WHEN YOU EXTRACT OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY AT GUNPOINT: When “I Can” Becomes “You Must.”

November 28, 2010

POLITICO: DEMOCRATIC SOUTH FINALLY FALLS. “For Democrats in the South, the most ominous part of a disastrous year may not have been what happened on Election Day but in the weeks since. After suffering an historic rout — in which nearly every white Deep South Democrat in the U.S. House was defeated and Republicans took over or gained seats in legislatures across the region — the party’s ranks in Dixie have thinned even further. . . . Protected by a potent mix of gerrymandering, pork, seniority and a friends-and-neighbors electorate, Democratic state representatives and senators managed to survive through the South’s GOP evolution—the Reagan years, the Republican landslide of 1994 and George W. Bush’s two terms. Yet scores of them retired or went down in defeat earlier this month. And at least ten more across three states have changed parties since the election, with rumors swirling through state capitols of more to come before legislative sessions commence in January. . . . Democrats lost both chambers of the legislature this year in North Carolina and Alabama, meaning that they now control both houses of the capitol in just two Southern states, Arkansas and Mississippi, the latter of which could flip to the GOP in next year’s election.”

November 28, 2010

NUMBER OF THE WEEK: 492: The number of days since the average borrower in foreclosure last made a mortgage payment. “In other words, people who default on their mortgages can reasonably expect, on average, to stay in their homes rent-free more than 16 months. In some states such as New York and Florida, the number is closer to 20 months.” Seems calculated to make people who are struggling to make their payments feel like suckers. “Millions of Americans still are paying their mortgages even though they owe more than their homes are worth. The more banks’ backlog grows, the more likely they are to join it, adding to the already giant pile of foreclosures weighing on the housing market.”

Just fertilizing the fields for middle-class anarchy.

November 28, 2010

PETER INGEMI: Pay No Attention to Those 63 Tea Party Victories in the Congress.

November 28, 2010

BLACK FRIDAY WEEKEND markdowns on jewelry.

November 28, 2010

AN IRISH BAILOUT DEAL, AND MORE: Will The EU Drop A ‘Shock & Awe’ Announcement Tonight To Stop The Crisis? I’ve been shocked at their incompetence for quite a while. And awed by their dishonesty. Does that count?

UPDATE: Krugman’s chickens come home to roost? Nah, whatever happens he’ll say they should have done more. It’s worth it for the umbrella photoshop, though.

November 28, 2010

THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED REPUBLICAN WE’D HAVE A BIBLE-READING “CHRISTIANIST” IN THE WHITE HOUSE. And they were right! Obama: I pray every night, read the Bible.

Praying and reading the Bible are part of his everyday life, President Obama said in a wide-ranging interview broadcast Friday.

Speaking with Barbara Walters, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama also described how they involve their daughters in daily prayer.

“Michelle and I have not only benefited from our prayer life, but I think the girls have too,” the president told Walters. “We say grace before we eat dinner every night. We take turns.”

Those people who told me what would happen if I voted Republican sure are right a lot.

UPDATE: Jim Treacher emails: “Remember Jesusland?” This was Ken Layne after the 2004 elections:

I’ve got a big problem with Jesusland. If you want to worship the ghost of a jew from the Roman Empire, that’s cool. Enjoy it! But when you people and your bizarre mystery cult claim the goddamned president as your prime convert who rules by the voices in his head, I call bullshit.

I guess we all live there, now. Change!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Yes, I did see this coming.

November 28, 2010

PORTLAND: Saved in spite of itself? “In 2005, leaders in Portland, Oregon, angry at the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror, voted not to allow city law enforcement officers to participate in a key anti-terror initiative, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. On Friday, that task force helped prevent what could have been a horrific terrorist attack in Portland. Now city officials say they might re-think their participation in the task force — because Barack Obama is in the White House.” Good point. There’s never a threat to civil liberties so long as there’s a Democratic President!

November 28, 2010

LOOKING FOR WAR ON TERROR NEWS? Check out Fred Pruitt’s Rantburg.

November 28, 2010

JOHN MAULDIN: Why it doesn’t feel like a recovery. “There is a theme to a lot of the positive news we’ve been getting lately: it is positive, but not by much. Normally at this time in a recovery we would be seeing 4-5% (or more!) GDP growth and some real recovery in employment.”

November 28, 2010

DR. GINA LOUDON: Fear Factor: Sarah Palin and 2012.

November 28, 2010

BLACK FRIDAY RETAIL SALES UP, but only by 0.3 percent. “Shoppers crowded stores on Black Friday but spent only a little more than last year on the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, data released Saturday shows. . . . Meanwhile, online merchants saw a 16 percent revenue spike, according to research company Coremetrics.” Not sure if the online increase is counted in the retail-sales number.

November 28, 2010

CHANGE: The Triumphant Return Of Hayek. (Via NewsAlert). “In a sign of the times, some of the most popular videos on YouTube this year are satires on economic policy; the latest lampoons the Fed amid a growing feeling that policymakers are committing what economist Friedrich Hayek called the ‘fatal conceit’ in micromanaging the economic cycle.”

November 28, 2010

YOU DON’T SAY: Undocumented UCLA law grad is in a legal bind.

November 28, 2010

HARBINGER IN HAMTRAMCK: The bankruptcy lesson from a Detroit suburb.

More bad news out of Michigan: Facing a $3 million deficit on its $18 million budget, the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck is seeking permission to file bankruptcy. Other towns may not be far behind.

Hamtramck suffers from high unemployment and falling income, but its budget problems go deeper than the recession. The town began running million-dollar deficits 10 years ago due to union contracts that would make Greeks blush. City workers were entitled to annual wage increases at four times the inflation rate and eight paid weeks of vacation each year. That’s in addition to 15 paid sick days, three paid emergency leave days, three paid personal days and one paid birthday.

In 2000 the state appointed an Emergency Financial Manager who in five years managed to balance the budget by cutting the city work force, privatizing services and selling bonds. He got the unions to renegotiate some benefits by promising retirement service credits and promotions, but that set the city up for future pension woes.

Fast forward and the city again teeters toward bankruptcy. Workers still receive five weeks paid vacation and their health plans have no co-pays or deductibles. City health costs have risen nearly 40% this year and are expected to shoot up another 40% next year. Pension costs have climbed 36% in a year. . . . While many cities blame their deficits on the recession, their insolvency is the natural result of politically dominant public unions. By allowing workers to collectively bargain, states and cities have ceded control of the public purse to workers whose main interest is enlarging government. Hamtramck is a harbinger of bankruptcies to come, and a case study in why politicians from FDR to Fiorello LaGuardia opposed the creation of government employee unions.

They’ve only almost run out of other people’s money.

November 28, 2010

SHOULD TEA PARTIERS TARGET OPRAH as part of their campaign against big businesses who supported Obama?

November 28, 2010

PARASITES: The bedbugs of New York turn up in BBC studios.

November 28, 2010

GEORGE WILL: Our puritanical progressives.

Concern for children’s sensibilities is admirable. The coarsening of the culture is a fact with many causes, but its consequences are unclear. And it can bring out a Puritan streak in progressivism.

The lawyer for the video-game industry warned the Supreme Court that “the land is awash” with contemporary versions of Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), the crusader for censorship of indecency, as he spaciously defined it. “Today’s crusaders,” the lawyer said, “come less from the pulpit than from university social science departments, but their goals and tactics remain the same.”

Progressivism is a faith-based program. The progressives’ agenda for improving everyone else varies but invariably involves the cult of expertise – an unflagging faith in the application of science to social reform. Progressivism’s itch to perfect people by perfecting the social environment can produce an interesting phenomenon – the Pecksniffian progressive.

The important thing is the pleasure to be derived from running other people’s lives. “Perfecting” is beside the point.

UPDATE: Some earlier thoughts of mine on progressives and puritanism.

November 28, 2010

RECRUITING ROBOTS FOR COMBAT. Just remember that the model should be Bolos, not Terminators. . . .

November 27, 2010

THEY COME NOT TO PRAISE CAESAR: Look who’s calling Obama racist. “Cornel West is Professor of Religion and African American studies at Princeton University.”

November 27, 2010

READER BILL RICKORDS WAS SURPRISED TO SEE THIS IN THE HOUSTON CHRONICLE: It’s time for Democrats to give in on voter ID bill.

November 27, 2010

THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE: A EuroZone Breakup?

November 27, 2010

THE FISCAL TRAP: “Most of the baseline assumptions about the size of our debt assume that today’s exceedingly low interest rates continue. If they don’t—even if rates just return to the average of the past 20 years—the picture looks far more grim. . . . As Lindsey points out, if the current very low rate continues, and our fiscal policy basically follows the track laid out by the president’s last budget, then the interest on the debt 10 years from now will be a little over $350 billion. If the rate goes back to the 20-year average, however, interest on the debt 10 years from now will be more like $1.15 trillion. Again, no small difference. Indeed, it is enough to make some prominent elements of our deficit debate seem a little ridiculous.”

November 27, 2010

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH points out the obvious.

November 27, 2010

THE SALE ON EARPHONES I LINKED EARLIER SOLD OUT, so they’re making it up to people with a special one-day sale on speakers.

November 27, 2010

MORE THOUGHTS ON bankruptcy for states.

November 27, 2010

BELGIAN PROBLEMS? Think BIIGS: There’s One Euro Country Under the Radar. “Belgium faces an important test Monday, when it aims to sell between 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) and 2.5 billion euros worth of bonds in an auction that will indicate the level of investor confidence in the nation plagued by political turmoil and high levels of debt.”

November 27, 2010

PETER INGEMI, better known as “DaTechGuy” is on the radio in just a moment. You can listen live at the link.

November 27, 2010

GARRY WILLS, THEN AND NOW: “I don’t think Wills has been guilty of a heterodox political thought since his turn to the left. His 1962 review shows a bit of what was lost.”

November 27, 2010

AT AMAZON, bestsellers in Toys & Games.

November 27, 2010

SISSY WILLIS: “We’re not looking for an unprincipled common ground.”

November 27, 2010

KNOXVILLE NEWS: Market Square skating rink now open.

November 27, 2010

BRIAN MICKLETHWAIT: They Are Not Liberals And They Are Not Progressives.

The statists who argue for the destruction of the dollar and for bank bail-outs (again) and for nationalised derangement of medical care and for green-inspired economic sabotage aren’t “liberals”. They do not believe in liberty; they believe in curtailing liberty. But neither do they believe in anything which it makes sense to anybody except them to call “progress”. Progress is the exact thing these statists are now trying and have always tried to destroy, and just lately have been doing a pretty damn good job of destroying. Progress means things getting better. These self styled “progressives” are only making things worse.

So what do we call them?

November 27, 2010

HAPPY HOLIDAYS from space.

November 27, 2010

TIRED TALIBAN WANT A TIME OUT. Boo hoo. “The commanders informed Zakir that they and their men were temporarily suspending combat operations and asked that he either transfer them to less hotly contested areas or let them recover in Pakistan until the spring thaw. ‘We have lost many friends and commanders,’ one member of the delegation told Zakir, says Mullah Salam Khan, a midlevel commander in Helmand province who was briefed on the meeting by a participant. ‘We are tired and want to take a rest.’”

November 27, 2010

AT AMAZON, markdowns and gift ideas in Kitchen and Home.

November 27, 2010

VODKAPUNDIT: Sink The Deutschmark!

November 27, 2010

RETAIL SUPPORT BRIGADE SITREP: Shoppers Back in Black Friday Binge. But is it a “broken army” that won’t be able to keep up the pace for the long term? It’s had a lot of demands put on it since September 11.

Related: Online Sales Surge 16% On Black Friday. Not too broken to stage a successful surge!

November 27, 2010

GRANDMA, PUT A LID ON IT: “President Obama is NOT a Muslim, whatever else he may be. But he needs this kind of story like a hole in the head.” Of course he’s not a Muslim. If he were a Muslim, he’d have to believe in something greater than Barack Obama.

November 27, 2010

MICHAEL TOTTEN: This is how you stop terrorists. “The TSA may be a useless invasive bureaucracy that has never caught a single terrorist, but the FBI knows what it’s doing.” Stopping a terrorist within walking distance of Michael Totten’s house.

November 27, 2010

EUGENE VOLOKH: I’m Proud To Have Such A Courageous Colleague.

November 27, 2010

A NUCLEAR STANDOFF WITH LIBYA.

November 27, 2010

FASTER, PLEASE: 3D printing offers ability to print physical objects. It’s Neil Gershenfeld’s world and we’re just living in it. Or soon will be. I had a column on this a while back.

November 27, 2010

BRINGING BACK THE BLASPHEMY LAWS IN BRITAIN. Jeez. A dozen guys with Korans and cigarette lighters could bring that place to its knees. But who would benefit from that?

UPDATE: Ann Althouse: “Is contempt for religious indoctrination a ‘deeper problem’ that government should concern itself with? I think the deeper problem is that government officials in the U.K. seem to have lost touch with basic principles of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”

November 27, 2010

DAVID SKEEL: Give States A Way To Go Bankrupt: It’s the best option for avoiding a massive federal bailout. “When the possibility is mentioned of creating a new chapter for states in U.S. bankruptcy law (Chapter 8, perhaps, which isn’t currently taken), most people have two reactions. First, that bankruptcy might be a great solution for exploding state debt; and second, that it can’t possibly be constitutional for Congress to enact such a law. Surprisingly enough, this reaction is exactly backwards. The constitutionality of bankruptcy-for-states is beyond serious dispute. The real question is whether the benefits would be large enough to justify congressional action. The short answer is yes. Although bankruptcy would be an imperfect solution to out-of-control state deficits, it’s the best option we have, at least if we want to have any chance of avoiding massive federal bailouts of state governments.”

Via the Volokh Conspiracy, where there’s this additional suggestion: “Any law that lets states be bailed out should require them to renounce their state status and revert to being territories, to be reorganised by the federal government as new states. That has the advantage of getting rid of the old, dysfunctional, state government, removing the state and its inhabitants from national influence until they’ve had a chance to learn some wisdom, and being enough of a penalty to make bailouts unattractive to other states.” I see many problems with this approach, but I admire its spirit.

UPDATE: A Wall Street reader emails:

A big part of the hysterical elite reaction to the Tea Party is the justified belief that the outsiders would do everything possible to obstruct a federal bailout of the states and their unions’ pension/benefits funds.

Federalizing all the state workers’ liabilities has long been a unspoken goal of the permanent government.

Hmm. Meanwhile, Jim Bennett emails on state bankruptcy:

Something like it is inevitable. I think there should also be a provision permitting the subdivision of bankrupt states into two or more new states, analogous to the restructuring of companies which often involves spinoff of divisions. No accident that all of the really bad Too Big to Fail states are in the above-average half of the ranking of states by size. California is as big as a middle-sized EU member and acts like it, only with a less competent civil service.

By the way, there is a historical North American example of a state-level bankruptcy and receivership process during the previous depression. They ended up merging it into a larger entity.

It was voluntary, as a condition of a bailout.

Interesting. And reader Stephen Clark writes:

I too admire the spirit of the last VC suggestion you highlighted, if only out of malicious delight. If it ever became a serious proposal or seemed even the least bit likely of becoming reality, I imagine that the old concept of “states’ rights” would gain sudden and renewed respectability in some unlikely places. That alone would be worth the price of admission.

Heh. Indeed.

November 27, 2010

IN THE MAIL: From Travis S. Taylor, One Good Soldier.

November 27, 2010

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH ON JIMMY CARTER, SLOW LEARNER. “There are a number of reasons why Ronald Reagan’s victory over Jimmy Carter was so utterly lopsided. One reason why the voters rejected the 39th President for a second term had to do with his unbelievably naïve approach to, and conception of foreign policy. Clearly, in the 30 years since his electoral debacle, Carter has learned nothing about statecraft.”

November 27, 2010

HOMELAND SECURITY is seizing Internet domains left and right. It’s not clear what protecting fatcat entertainment folks’ copyrights has to do with homeland security, though.

UPDATE: Protecting rappers instead of the border. “What the devil are these idiots doing? . . . This is a case for the music industry’s lawyers — not the $35 billion-a-year Department of Homeland Security.” Well, to be fair, the entertainment industries make a lot of political contributions to Democrats.

November 27, 2010

MORE ON THE STUXNET WORM: Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Ambitions. With a social-software component, too: “One additional impact that can be attributed to the worm, according to David Albright of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is that ‘the lives of the scientists working in the facility have become a living hell because of counter-intelligence agents brought into the plant’ to battle the breach.”

November 27, 2010

TODAY ONLY: Earphones marked down from $399.99 to $94.99.

UPDATE: Reader Michael Crane writes:

Thank you for the pointer.
I like the UE headphones. I have the UE11 IEMs and am in awe of its clarity and natural presence of sound. I used the Shure 530 until moving to the UE11. My partner is in need of headphones and a $300 discount is too good to pass up.

Yeah, I think I may crack and buy some too.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Too late! Next time, I’ll buy first, then post . . . .

MORE: Now Amazon’s offering a consolation sale to make up for the sell-out.

November 27, 2010

GOOD FOR THEM: Teenagers adrift in Pacific for 50 days reach land.

November 27, 2010

AT AMAZON, the Black Friday sales continue through the weekend.

November 27, 2010

SPEED CAMERAS making millionaires.

November 27, 2010

HMM: 45% OF SOUTH KOREANS SUPPORT MILITARY ESCALATION.

November 27, 2010

HOW DOES THIS GRAB YOU? Jim Dunnigan on Airport Security. “The main criticism is that many of the security measures adopted since September 11, 2001 have been more for show than for effectiveness. An increasing number of potential passengers are no longer flying because of these new methods, which have, so far, not caught a single terrorist. This is described as a sign of how effective the new measures are. But the new techniques would not have detected the ‘underwear bomber’ of last Christmas, who secreted explosives in his underwear. Moreover, there have been many cases where passengers got weapons past security, usually by accident. . . . Finally, as was demonstrated recently with two airfreight bombs coming out of Yemen, air freight in general is very vulnerable, especially since a lot of this freight ends up in the cargo holds of passenger aircraft. Thus for determined and well organized terrorists, there are more vulnerable areas to get a bomb onto an aircraft than via a passenger. These more vulnerable areas are given less attention partly because they are less visible, and thus provide less visibility for politicians seeking to demonstrate that they are ‘doing something’ about airline security.”

November 27, 2010

SHOCKER: Report: ‘Issues of Culture, Ethnicity and Identity’ Raised in U.K. Rape-Gang Case.

November 27, 2010

FAILED TERROR ATTEMPT AT TREE-LIGHTING IN OREGON: “The FBI thwarted an attempted terrorist bombing in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square before the city’s annual tree-lighting Friday night, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon. A Corvallis man, thinking he was going to ignite a bomb, drove a van to the corner of the square at Southwest Yamhill Street and Sixth Avenue and attempted to detonate it. However, the supposed explosive was a dummy that FBI operatives supplied to him, according to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint signed Friday night by U.S. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, a Somali-born U.S. citizen, was arrested at 5:42 p.m., 18 minutes before the tree lighting was to occur, on an accusation of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.”

November 27, 2010

HOUSE MAY BAN honorific resolutions. “Celebratory bills — honoring historical figures, or a town’s anniversary, or a major local attraction — are a big part of House business. Incoming Republican leaders say they’re a waste of time.” What, no more National Goat Week?

November 27, 2010

“GERMANY GETS IT. OBAMA DOES NOT.”

November 27, 2010

NEW JERSEY: Anti-Violence ‘Activist’ Arrested for Inciting a Riot.

November 27, 2010

ROGER KIMBALL on Democracy in Europe.

November 27, 2010

SUBWAY SERVICE TO HOGWARTS?

November 27, 2010

ALAN SIMPSON: The Greediest Generation.

November 27, 2010

CHANGE: Iceland elects ordinary folk to draft constitution. More thoughts here.

UPDATE: Reader Bjarni Olafsson writes:

Hey Glenn,

Regarding the Icelandic constitutional convention. I’m Icelandic and I’m very apprehensive about the whole thing. To you American Tea Party people this might sound like an awesome idea, but then you live in a country where one fifth of the country identifies as a tea partier and more than half has a positive view of the tea party. In Iceland, on the other hand, the electorate is much further to the political left. I’m not going to smear my countrymen and call them all socialists – because they’re not – but there are strong socialist trends in the electorate, especially after the crash. I’m afraid that the outcome will be a constitution that will have a massively engorged bill of rights, packed with the sort of “rights” people like you and me are not overly fond of. I’m also afraid that property rights will take a beating, especially when it comes to ownership of natural resources. The system of transferable fishing quotas – which has made the Icelandic fishing industry one of the few in the West to operate in the black – is very likely going to be gutted (no pun intended).

This sounds like a good idea on paper, but when you have 520 people running for 25-31 seats (the exact number of delegates will be decided after the election to ensure gender equality – it’s that kind of convention) it really isn’t much more than random chance who gets in and who doesn’t. Sure the first ten will be the most recognizable people on the ballot but seats 20+ will be essentially random.

Also, I’m not entirely sure, but I guess that Madison took a bit longer than 2 months to write your constitution, and he didn’t have to fight with 24-30 other people all the time while he did it.

There are some bright spots – quite a few of the candidates want to strengthen the separation of powers. We essentially have a British style parliamentary system, where the same party controls the parliament and the executive. If the result of the convention is more in the direction of the US system (special elections for PM/President) then something good will have come out of it, but I’m not holding my breath.

Well, Bjarni, you just need to get involved and push for pro-market reforms. The future belongs to those who show up. After all, things didn’t look so great here a couple of years ago. Then the Tea Party appeared. Only it didn’t just “appear.” It was created by people who were told they were outnumbered and unimportant. They demonstrated otherwise.

November 27, 2010

WORD OF THE DAY: Eleutherophobia: A fear of freedom. There seems to be a lot of that out there, often accompanied by Oikophobia.

November 27, 2010

MICHAEL PETRELIS: “The SPLC’s new 2009 IRS 990 filing shows they have a bank account in the Cayman Islands. Now, stop for a good long minute and ask yourself what the hell is a supposed poverty-fighting Alabama-based tax exempt organization doing with such an account. Then ponder this: how much money is in it. . . . Assets for the organization are listed at $190 million, a nice chunk of change in these economic hard times. When was the last time this group, with almost $190 million in assets, did a damn worthwhile thing about, um, poverty?” Well, nobody who works for them is poor. . . .

UPDATE: SPLC: The Wolf Who Cried Hate.

November 27, 2010

CHANGE: Irish Banks Get Downgraded As Bailout Fears Grow.

Related: Irish Relief Fleeting as `Day of Reckoning’ Nears. “Borrowing costs for Europe’s most indebted nations are at record highs as Ireland’s capitulation in accepting a bailout of its banking industry stokes concern that other countries also will have to seek aid.”

November 26, 2010

THE PARANOID STRAIN IN AMERICAN POLITICS: Liberals resort to conspiracy theories to explain Obama’s problems. “Following two years of poor economic performance and electoral repudiation, liberalism is casting around for narratives to explain its failure – narratives that don’t involve the admission of inadequacies in liberalism itself.” Is it fair to compare these pundits to Nazis for peddling a stab-in-the-back theory of the economy? Well, that sort of thing has been done.

November 26, 2010

BLACK FRIDAY: Up to 70% off Movies & TV.

UPDATE: Reader Janet Tague writes: “Hi Glenn — I am a daily (at least once) visiter to your blog. In fact, you were my very first bookmarked blog. I noticed your link to Amazon and, in my quest to participate in Black Friday but at all costs to avoid the mall, linked through both yesterday and today, purchasing about $600 of books, DVDs and cooking stuff. I hope many other readers of your blog did the same and that your very small percent of a big number turns out to be, well, a big number!” I thank you, and my family thanks you!

November 26, 2010

VOTERS TO THE GOP: “We’re watching you.”

November 26, 2010

U.S. / SOUTH KOREA RELATIONS: Michael Yon just got there. If I were Korean, I’d consider that a bad portent. . . .

November 26, 2010

SIGH: MSNBC Inspires Left-Wing Hate Hoax.

November 26, 2010

TEA PARTY TARGETS BIG BUSINESSES THAT SUPPORTED OBAMA AGENDA. Buy some stock and disrupt a stockholders’ meeting. Lefty groups have done it for years. It seems to be fun . . . .

November 26, 2010

SLEEPWALKING THROUGH HISTORY. “Most presidents don’t arrive at the White House so bored with the quotidian details of the American people.”

UPDATE: Reader Eugene Dillenburg emails: “This may explain why Obama spends so much time golfing and, to a lesser extent, playing basketball. You can believe you are the smartest person in the room, and you can surround yourself with people who tell you that you are the smartest person in the room. But the ball is not impressed. On the green, or on the court, you have to actually perform, and no amount of spin can turn a bogey into an eagle. Sports seems to be the one area of his life where right and wrong are not predetermined by how closely they align to his own thoughts.”

November 26, 2010

IN VIRGINIA, Tea Party goes local. This is actually happening all over, in various ways.