June 20, 2010
MARKDOWNS ON DVD and Blu-Ray.
MARKDOWNS ON DVD and Blu-Ray.
IRA STOLL: Fatherhood.Gov.
President Obama interrupted my Father’s Day with an e-mail announcing the launch of “The President’s Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative” and an associated Web site, Fatherhood.gov, which honestly I could have mistaken for an elaborate prank undertaken by some libertarian group trying to make the point that the next thing you know, Big Government and President Obama are going to try to insert themselves into the father-son or father-daughter relationship. Except that, sure enough, at the bottom of the Web site is language announcing, “This is an official U.S. Government Web site managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.”
So I ignored my children for a few minutes of Father’s Day and did what the president asked which was to check out the Web site, and especially the government’s “Tips for Parents.” They were infuriating. . . . The current federal government can barely do the tasks that it is assigned in the Constitution, such as keeping us safe from foreign invaders and regulating the value of money. I’d be happy if the government could just win Iraq and Afghanistan, secure the border, live roughly within its means, and make sure the beaches of Florida aren’t covered with petroleum products. If the government is going to beyond that and assign itself, unbidden, the all-new task of improving the nation’s fathers, it’s going to have to do better than telling people to filter their water, mute the television commercials, use more expensive lightbulbs, and check the Halloween candy for tampering, if President Obama wants to avoid spawning more of the very cynicism he went to Washington vowing to defeat.
AT AMAZON, an iPod clearance sale.
SHOCKER: A new study of the country’s largest red light camera program found no significant benefit to the use of photo enforcement. Except for the revenue.
PAUL MIRENGOFF: America — The Weak Horse By Choice.
BUT THERE’S NO ANTI-SEMITISM INVOLVED: Radicals, Islamists and Longshoremen blockade Israeli ship in Oakland.
UPDATE: East Bay Jew Hatred?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Barack Obama: Dreamer-In-Chief.
CRIME ON THE BORDER: Tom Maguire offers a statistical correction to the New York Times. “Measured by violent crimes per 100,000, the non-MSA portion of Arizona has seen a dramatic increase in crime.”
THERE AREN’T JUST TWO AMERICAS — THERE ARE ALSO TWO BRITAINS:
Public sector employees work nine years less than their private sector counterparts but are paid 30 per cent more, a bombshell report reveals today.
Extraordinary research tells a tale of two Britains – a state sector awash with taxpayers’ cash while the rest of the economy struggles to stay afloat.
Public sector workers enjoy better pay than those in the private sector, as well as better pensions, shorter hours, and earlier retirement. Over their lifetimes, those in the private sector work 23 per cent longer – equivalent to an extra nine years and ten weeks – than public sector employees. This is thanks to a combination of shorter hours, more time off and earlier retirement.
The findings explode once and for all the old idea that public sector workers have better job security and gold-plated pensions because they have lower salaries. They will be seized on by the Coalition Government, which has warned that the bloated state sector has been artificially insulated from the recession and is in line for massive spending cuts.
The report, by centre-Right think tank Policy Exchange, also found that the chance of being made compulsorily redundant in the civil service is an astonishing 0.00007 per cent.
This may become a source of tension in a lot of countries.
UPDATE: Reader Adam Sullivan writes:
You may want to link the Amazon DVD set for “Yes, Minister” which is a great, classic British comedy.
Aside from simply being funny, the series does a great job of deconstructing how career government workers rig the system to create benefit streams to themselves while coming up with cynically absurd rationalizations to sell the public. Sadly, we are told these same reasons today. And the politicians who enter the scene to reform the system quickly get co-opted, manipulated, duped or simply undermined by the ruling class of cynical, smart, and elite bureaucrats.
Highly recommended and completely relevant to today’s global political situation of government run for the governing class.
You could never get Hollywood to produce something like that for America, could you?
SO ALL THE DIRTY STORIES ARE BOGUS? How Frozen Head State Park got its name. I spent a lovely weekend camping there back in college.
BUT WHERE’S MY WARP DRIVE? Hundreds of Possible Alien Planets Discovered By NASA Spacecraft.
DWARF PLANETS are big this month.
WELL, THAT’S A RELIEF: ‘The grandaddy of all gushers’? Not this spill.
Scholars of environmental history, while expressing sympathy for the people of the gulf, say the assertion is debatable. They offer an intimidating list of disasters to consider: floods caused by human negligence, the destruction of forests across the entire continent and the near-extermination of the American bison.
“The White House is ignoring all the shades and complexities here to make a dramatic point,” said Donald E. Worster, an environmental historian at the University of Kansas and a visiting scholar at Yale.
The professors also note the impossibility of ranking such a varied list of catastrophes. Perhaps the worst disaster, they say, is always the one people are living through now.
Still, for sheer disruption to human lives, several of them could think of no environmental problem in American history quite equaling the calamity known as the Dust Bowl.
Well, the decade is young, yet. . . .
LOOKING AT HISTORICAL supervolcano eruptions.
ROGER KIMBALL: The Euro and EUtopia.
IN THE MAIL: From Nat Hentoff, At the Jazz Band Ball: Sixty Years on the Jazz Scene.
MISTAH CRONKITE, HE DEAD. If you missed it yesterday on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, the latest PJM Political is now online.
I merely asked a question with a video camera to a columnist. She answered me with an opinion that was unacceptable not just to me but to former and current press secretaries, politicians, the president, her agent and a great many other people. Her freedom of speech was not stifled; on the contrary, it was respected.
She didn’t say that the blockade was unjust, or that aid was not getting to Gaza, or that there was a massacre on the high seas, or that East Jerusalem is occupied, or that the settlements are immoral . . . and get out and go back to West Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Eilat. No. This was not the two-state solution. This was get the hell out and go back to the places of the final solution, Poland and Germany. The Jew has no connection with the land of Israel.
And why? Because, as Thomas went on to explain to me, “I’m from Arab descent.” That’s it? That’s all you got? Do we all travel with only our parents’ stereotypes to guide us, never going beyond them to get to a peaceful destination?
Funny, isn’t it, that the designated liberal icon turned out to be in the grip of ancient tribal bigotry?
REMEMBERING NEDA SOLTANI: “A young Iranian woman named Neda Soltani was brutally murdered on this date last year for doing nothing more than expressing her opinion along as other like minded people did that day. No one has been caught. No one has been charged. We have seen a lot of posturing and we have seen fawning requests for picnics from our State Department, but no accountability and no compensation by the Iranian regime for the wanton murder of this individual.”
JACK DUNPHY: What I Saw At The Lakers Riots. “If you thought L.A.’s mayor and police brass learned from last year’s embarrassment, you are not a police officer, certainly not one with the LAPD.”
WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS: An Easy Screw.
JOHN HINDERAKER: A Father’s Day Story.
DOUBTS ABOUT THE BENEFITS of biomass power. All this “green” stuff seems to be underperforming the hype lately. . . .
FORGET WATERBOARDING: Heavyset confessed rapist claims police used heavy-handed diet tactics. “Bruce Tuck, the confessed serial rapist identifiable by his oversized waistline, now says he was coerced into confessing by Weakley County authorities who had him on a lettuce-only diet while in jail last year.”
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MCCAIN, AMERICANS WOULD BE SHUNNED ABROAD — And they were right!
American expatriates are fast becoming the world’s financial refugees. Onerous legislation from the U.S. government is making it too difficult – and too expensive – for banks to service U.S. citizens that live abroad. Expats are being left with a fast diminishing range of options. An increasing number are taking the most drastic step and renouncing their citizenship.
THE MISSING GATES: Reader John Koisch makes an interesting observation:
For as long as I can recall, the media dubbed everything scandalous a “gate” of some sort after the famous Watergate. So we had Watergate, Contragate, and of course the blogosphere had Rathergate, and so on.
I can’t recall a single “xxxgate” since Obama came to office, at least not in common parlance.
On the one hand, it is welcome relief from a tired meme. But on the other, I wonder if the lack of Londongate, Stupakgate, Oilgate, Golfgate, [the democrat who was anti-abortion and wouldn't vote for the healthcare bill, but did anyway once he got a hug from Obama]gate, Tarpgate, and so on indicates some sort of complicity amongst the MSM?
It strikes me odd.
Hmm. It’s not as if there haven’t been scandals. . . .
UPDATE: Several readers suggest “Profli-Gate” as the catch-all description for this Administration . . .
OUCH: MORE PROFLIGATE THAN THE EUROPEANS. “It was bad enough when France’s President Sarkozy lectured Barack Obama on how to conduct a strong foreign policy. Then, it was: the Obama administration–weaker than the French! Now, it is: the Obama administration–more profligate than the Europeans! Germany’s Angela Merkel rejects Obama’s call for more government debt, world-wide.”
WHAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND about “No Asians?” Nice.
T.M. LUTAS: It’s easy to have a disciplined euro, but nobody would want to join. Wouldn’t a disciplined Euro be called the “Deutschmark?”
BIG GOVERNMENT: Has Anyone Noticed that the “Damn Hole” Is Still Not Plugged?
MICKEY KAUS: Why “Triangulation” Beats “Transcendence.”
STEWART BAKER, guestblogging, says:
I feel a little like Marshall McLuhan in the last funny Woody Allen movie. Glenn has invited me to step into the debate between him and Andrew Sullivan about the Lieberman-Collins cybersecurity bill and its alleged Internet kill switch.
Andrew Sullivan will probably regret this in the long run, but he and I agree. (To his credit, Glenn knew that when he invited me to post here).
The widespread claim that the bill contains a kill switch is, well, a bunch of bull switch.
The epithet “Internet kill switch” was first coined to describe (to attack, really) a much different bill proposed by a different committee. Maybe that bill justified the term.
But Lieberman’s bill doesn’t. It is a lot more limited and careful in responding to a serious threat — the possibility that another nation might use our increasingly networked infrastructure to disrupt phone, banking, and power service in large parts of the country. Since those services are in private hands, the government needs some legislative authority to respond to such an attack. (We don’t usually ask private companies to respond to military attacks on their own.)
So what authority does the bill propose to give the government? To cut to the chase, it doesn’t grant authority over “the Internet.” It gives the President the power to order certain critical infrastructure owners to protect themselves in a coordinated way.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of who’s covered (My apologies, but this is a little complicated.)
So the authority doesn’t extend to the Internet writ large, only to certain identified IT systems whose loss would have a debilitating effect on national security, health and safety. It can’t be used to shut down the blogosphere, not even if Secretary Napolitano finds it personally debilitating not to get a morning fix of Andrew Sullivan.
Okay; it doesn’t cover the whole Internet. But at least it’s a “kill switch” for the networks it covers, right?
Nope, not that, either. Under the bill, in an emergency, section 249 of the bill lets the government order owners of critical infrastructure to do two things:
No doubt there’s room for quibbling and improvement in the bill’s language, but a kill switch it ain’t.
In short, if you think that a cyberattack is possible, and I’ve devoted big chunks of a website to explaining why an attack is highly likely, then this bill simply gives the President the minimum authority he’ll need to assure protection for our most important assets — like phones, banks, power.
Then why is the blogosphere, right and left, full of fulmination about the kill switch? This post is long enough already, so I’ll just say that I think it’s a combination of privacy ideologues who automatically condemn new government authorities, even necessary ones, and anti-regulatory business interests — what I call the privacy-industrial complex. If you want to know more, it’s a theme I develop at length in Skating on Stilts.
[Glenn adds: Me, a dupe of the privacy-industrial complex? Say it ain't so! But I'm sure Andrew won't be troubled by these powers when they're employed by the Palin Administration!]
THE END OF THE DESKTOP PC? Soon there will be no reason to have a big, boxy computer on your desk. Really? I use laptops/netbooks a lot, but for serious writing I still prefer the desktop in my study. Am I old-fashioned?
IMPORTANT NEWS: The 4 Surprising Beauty Benefits of Sex for Your Skin. In case you were wondering about the source of my youthful glow. . . .
ROUNDUP: Television’s best dads. How could they leave out Gomez Addams? Sure, his parenting was unorthodox, but it was done with brio!
FROM STEPHEN GREEN, it’s The Week In Blogs!
FIRST NORTH KOREA EMBRACES FREE MARKETS, NOW THIS: Russia Getting Rid of Capital Gains Tax. I have seen the future, and it works! Onward to capitalism, comrades!
MORT ZUCKERMAN: World Sees Obama as Incompetent and Amateur. “The reviews of Obama’s performance have been disappointing. He has seemed uncomfortable in the role of leading other nations, and often seems to suggest there is nothing special about America’s role in the world. The global community was puzzled over the pictures of Obama bowing to some of the world’s leaders and surprised by his gratuitous criticisms of and apologies for America’s foreign policy under the previous administration of George W. Bush. One Middle East authority, Fouad Ajami, pointed out that Obama seems unaware that it is bad form and even a great moral lapse to speak ill of one’s own tribe while in the lands of others. Even in Britain, for decades our closest ally, the talk in the press—supported by polls—is about the end of the ‘special relationship’ with America. French President Nicolas Sarkozy openly criticized Obama for months, including a direct attack on his policies at the United Nations. Sarkozy cited the need to recognize the real world, not the virtual world, a clear reference to Obama’s speech on nuclear weapons. When the French president is seen as tougher than the American president, you have to know that something is awry.”
Hard to argue, but Bill Quick is unimpressed to see former Obama-boosters like Zuckerman and Peggy Noonan realizing their mistakes now:
Listen up, you punked, chumped boobs: We looked at Obama not through your rose colored hallucinations, but through the cold, clear spectacles of reality. None of what he’s done since has surprised us one bit. In fact, many of us, myself included, predicted it even before his coronation by people like you. Yes, it’s nice that after a year and a half of horrible examples, the truth about him is finally beginning to penetrate your skulls. But why, for the love of god, couldn’t you see it at the beginning, when it was no less obvious, but your understanding of it might have done some good?
Because he went to Harvard. Duh.
STARTUP WILL OFFER PATIENTS a genetic profile of their cancer. “Many cancer researchers believe that therapies could be more effective if they target genetic aberrations in a patient’s cancer. In recent years, there have been a handful of successes in targeting cancer treatments in this way: for example, the drug Herceptin can be effective in breast cancer patients with a specific mutation in the HER2 gene. But so far, this kind of targeted cancer treatment has been limited to a select few genetic mutations in specific cancers, even though most cancers derive from several genetic mutations in combination. Foundation Medicine wants to create a test that gives a comprehensive view of the genetic aberrations in a cancer sample.”
BUMMER: The euro’s inevitable failure will be horrendous for all of us. Perhaps some of those “precautionary principle” fans should have spent more time thinking about possible consequences of a Euro collapse before adopting the single currency. But have you noticed that the precautionary principle only gets applied to technology, not politics or vast government schemes?
FATHER’S DAY: It’s not too late to send an Amazon Gift Card.
DUELING OUT-OF-TOUCHERS? White House chief: Yacht trip another gaffe by BP.
UPDATE: I’m not the only one to note the contradiction. Love the pic.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Obama Says He “Won’t Rest Until Leak Is Stopped”… Then Attends Nationals Baseball Game (Video). It’s just an endless stream of PR gaffes with these people.
MORE: Drudge is having fun.
A HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE? More thoughts.
UNDERFUNDED PUBLIC PENSION UPDATE: Pension ‘reform’ will cost Pa. $52 billion.
A LOOK AT “Egalitarian Superiority.”
RECOVERED: Thomas Edison’s words.
The unlikely resurrection story began when archivist Chris Hunter grew curious about 13 undocumented film canisters tucked away on a bottom shelf among 5 million items in the basement archives of the Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium.
Hunter had no idea what they contained, aside from a few vague jottings that indicated they involved radio programs from the 1920s.
There was an even bigger obstacle to solving the mystery. He had no machine that could play them.
He might as well have been looking at ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The canisters were not going to give up easily their mute secrets. . . . DeMuth accepted the challenge to try to unlock the film canister mystery. Using modern digital equipment and tinkering for hundreds of hours spread out across two years of nights and weekends, he created what is believed to be the only functional pallophotophone in the world.
With that, the trio magically loosed Edison’s voice, which had essentially been frozen in time for more than 80 years.
DOCTOR ZERO: The Helpless Titan. “It’s not necessary to ignore the misdeeds of British Petroleum to criticize the appalling performance of our massive super-State. Big Government and Big Business have become so entwined that any disaster on the scale of the Gulf oil spill, or the subprime mortgage crisis before it, will have both public and private agencies to blame. Suggesting that government cannot be criticized until every one of its private-sector ‘partners’ has been bankrupted or nationalized is a recipe for tyranny. We should study the example of BP and understand that only one half of the government-business alliance can call press conferences at will, addressing a media prepared to extend them unlimited credit for their good intentions. One of the reasons Big Government is so helpless in the face of an actual crisis is that it never learns anything, because it evades blame and consequence for its failures. The politicians who brought you the subprime crisis are richer and more powerful than ever before. The Gulf oil crisis may well end the same way.”
TO YOUR HEALTH: Tea and coffee ‘protect against heart disease.’ “Drinking several cups of tea or coffee a day appears to protect against heart disease, a 13-year-long study from the Netherlands has found. It adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting health benefits from the most popular hot drinks.”
Next they’ll be telling us that sex is good for your health!
CORY DOCTOROW GETS PHISHED: “Here’s how I got fooled. . . . Phishing isn’t (just) about finding a person who is technically naive. It’s about attacking the seemingly impregnable defenses of the technically sophisticated until you find a single, incredibly unlikely, short-lived crack in the wall.” Nobody’s immune.
IN THE MAIL: The Squam Lake Report: Fixing the Financial System.
TRANSPARENCY! Walpin defeat means president can fire IGs at will. “A federal judge in Washington has dismissed the wrongful-termination lawsuit filed by Gerald Walpin, the AmeriCorps inspector general who was fired last year by President Obama. And not just dismissed; if the decision by U.S. District Judge Richard Roberts stands, in the future the White House will be able fire other inspectors general as it fired Walpin without fear of legal consequences.”
TOUGH: “Lawmakers are increasingly frustrated with guerrilla-style reporters, bloggers and campaign operatives who ambush them on video to provoke an aggressive or outraged response.”
Try restraining yourself next time guys. Or go into another line of work. Meanwhile, here’s how to respond. You just have to know what you’re talking about . . . .
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD ON The Killings In Kyrgyzstan.
WELL, PEOPLE SEEM TO BE SHAVING EVERYTHING THESE DAYS: The Growing Popularity of Shaved Ice.
PEGGY NOONAN: A Snakebit President: Americans want leaders on whom the sun shines. “Mr. Obama is starting to look unlucky, and–file this under Mysteries of Leadership–that is dangerous for him because Americans get nervous when they have a snakebit president. They want presidents on whom the sun shines.”
Is it really luck? Or is it just lousy management?
UPDATE: Joy McCann is going with lousy management.
ACTUALLY, THAT’S A BEST-CASE SCENARIO: Der Spiegel: Will Obama Be The Jimmy Carter of the 21st Century?
MICHAEL BARONE: THEY DON’T LIKE THE DOG FOOD:
William Galston, than whom there is no better thinker among Democrats today, has been reading the same polls as his Brookings colleague E. J. Dionne, but takes a much harsher view of what Democrats can do. “In a blogpost on The New Republic website headlined “Prepare yourself for Speaker Boehner,” Galston tell House Democrats “it’s time to press the panic button,” and cites the analysis of political scientist Alan Abramowitz on Larry Sabato’s website and the analysis by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg of the poll he and Republican pollster Glenn Bolger conducted for NPR. Here’s Galston’s advice for House Democrats: “
Democrats must face the fact that much of the legislation that seems both necessary and proper to them looks quite different to the portion of the electorate that holds the balance of political power. And they must face a choice as well—between (to be blunt) the politics of conviction and the politics of self-preservation. . . . It reminds me of the old story about the advertising agency and the dog food. The best ads in the world failed to increase sales of the dog food. So they sent a market researcher in and found the reason: The dogs didn’t like the dog food. The Democrats’ problem is similar. The American people don’t like the dog food (“legislation that seems both necessary and proper to them”) produced by the Obama Democrats
Read the whole thing.
ANOTHER FRIDAY, another bank shutdown.
NOT QUITE CHURCHILLIAN.
HE’S GOT A HISTORY: FORMER RESIDENT RECALLS RUN-IN WITH ETHERIDGE:
A video of Rep. Bob Etheridge physically confronting a college student in Washington brought back unpleasant memories for one former Moore County resident. . . .In the fall of 1996, when Leslie was a senior at Pinecrest High School, he said he met Etheridge at a Pinecrest football game. Etheridge – then the state superintendent of public instruction – was challenging incumbent Republican David Funderburk for his congressional seat. At the time, Moore County was part of the 2nd District, which Etheridge now represents.
Leslie said he introduced himself to Etheridge and asked him about his stance on a particular education program. He said Etheridge didn’t answer his question, so he pressed him two more times.
“And that’s when he grabbed me by the shoulders, he shook me, and I’ll never forget it, he said, ‘Son, you need to learn to respect your elders,’” he said by phone on Wednesday. “I was just so taken aback, I think my jaw just dropped, and he walked off.”
Leslie said he was angrier about Etheridge’s attitude and “patronizing” tone than the physical contact. . . . Leslie, a self-described Democrat who “supports the Obama agenda,” said watching the video was “almost like looking in a mirror.”
“He doesn’t like to be pressed,” he said. “He’s kind of a bully.”
It’s that arrogant sense of entitlement.
HOW REFLEXIVELY IGNORANT AND PERSONAL-ATTACKISH IS ANDREW SULLIVAN? This much.
Glenn Reynolds, Paranoid Gun Nut
Who else would fall for an hysterical conspiracy theory about the feds and the Internet?
Here’s Insta’s knee jerking:
If they shut down the Internet, I’m getting out my gun. And I think everyone should take it as a signal to do the same — because one way or the other, it means the country’s under attack.
He soon realizes he’s been had, although characteristically fails to take responsibility for the error. Stewart Baker:
There’s an Internet kill switch all right, but it ain’t in Washington. It’s in Beijing and Moscow. And soon in Pyongyang. The Lieberman-Collins-Carper bill, which might take the kill switch away from our foreign adversaries, will soon have bipartisan support in the House.
By “soon realizes,” Andrew means I linked to Baker in the same post — not even in an update. But Baker doesn’t actually say there’s no US kill switch. Baker thinks a US kill switch is a good idea, in response to threats from other countries. Meanwhile, let’s look at some other paranoids on this issue. There seem to be a lot of us:
While the bill’s sponsors say it is intended to create a shield to defend the United States and its largest companies from the growing threat of cyberattacks, civil-liberties activists tell The Daily Beast they fear the bill could give the White House the ability to effectively shut down portions of the Internet for reasons that could prove to be politically inspired.
“We have seen through recent history that in an emergency, the Executive Branch will interpret grants of power very broadly,” said Gregory Nojeim of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a group that promotes Internet freedom. He said the bill, which he described as moving “at lightning speed in congressional terms,” was too loosely worded in its definition of which companies would be regulated and what they would be required to do in an emergency.
Wayne Crews, vice president of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-enterprise think tank, said he believed the bill was so broadly worded that it might even allow the White House to take aim at whistleblowing websites that were believed to pose a national-security threat, such as WikiLeaks, in the guise of a “cyber-emergency.” “That would be a concern of mine,” Crews tells The Daily Beast. “The way it seems to be worded, the bill could easily represent a threat to free speech.”
They’re also worried at The Huffington Post. And here’s a report from Declan McCullagh: “The idea of an Internet ‘kill switch’ that the president could flip is not new. A draft Senate proposal that CNET obtained in August allowed the White House to “declare a cybersecurity emergency,” and another from Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) would have explicitly given the government the power to ‘order the disconnection’ of certain networks or Web sites.”
This would seem to be the same kind of bipartisan civil-liberties consensus that I thought Andrew favored, at least back before the election, but I guess he’s got reason now for unthinking loyalty where the Obama Administration is concerned. The rest of us, not so much . . .
And here’s something on the subject that I wrote for the Wall Street Journal last month. Readers can decide how paranoid it sounds.
As for the large numbers of readers who always email that I shouldn’t respond to Andrew’s trolling, well, I usually don’t. But every once in a while it’s worth noting just how sadly he’s declined. And, as is done with regard to a certain other attention-seeking blogger he’s coming to resemble, I’ll try to make it up to you with a picture of Joy Riddle.
UPDATE: A reader emails: “Andrew Sullivan, Paranoid Gyn Nut — Who else would fall for an hysterical conspiracy theory about the birth mother of Trig Palin?” Heh.
ALAN BOYLE: See The Solar Sail In Space.
THE UNITED NATIONS of Ulysses.
MASHUP: Mike Stopa vs. Obama. Boy, don’t those old Obama-kids videos look impossibly dated already . . . .
ANATOMY of a post. Oh, there’s some anatomy involved, all right.
JAMES PETHOKOUIS: Did Goldman Sachs Just Throw Cold Water On Dems’ 2010 Election Hopes?
WHEN GOVERNMENTS ARE DESPERATE, THEY TURN TO CAPITALISM: North Korea Turns To Private Markets In Effort To Avert Second Famine. That’s because it works.
AT AMAZON, it’s the Friday Sale.
FROM THE CRACK EMCEE, more advice to Millennials.
SEEING IMPOSTORS: When loved ones suddenly aren’t. “Capgras delusion can be brought about by a variety of conditions — changes in brain chemistry associated with different mental illnesses, or physical trauma to the brain — but the delusion always involves the distinct feeling that the people around you have been replaced by impostors. While they may look and act just like the real person, some essence of the person is missing, almost as though ‘the soul of the person isn’t in there,’ Berman says.”
ALEX LIGHTMAN ON FACEBOOK: ” Just got off the phone with someone who has video footage of the ‘cleanup ops’. He says there is not much actual clean up happening, just enough for a show. Let me say it first: Potemkin cleanup.”
Judging by the polls, it’s not fooling anyone.
UPDATE: More bad-news polling here.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Still more: “Gallup is out with a new poll finding that by a 51 percent to 46 percent margin, Americans don’t believe President Obama deserves to be re-elected.”
SCOTT ROSENBERG: Why Can’t Journalists Handle Public Criticism? “Surely they, of all professionals, ought to be able to take what they readily dish out. . . . Unfortunately, this means that the typical blogger has more experience dealing with criticism — measuring a reasonable response, managing trolls and restraining the urge to flame — than the typical newsroom journalist.”
KEITH HENNESSEY: How To Waive The Jones Act. If you work in the White House, you may want to read this . . . .
THE ECONOMIST GOES AFTER “VLADIMIR OBAMA:”
For several reasons. The vitriol has a xenophobic edge: witness the venomous references to “British Petroleum”, a name BP dropped in 1998 (just as well that it dispensed with the name Anglo-Iranian Oil Company even longer ago). Vilifying BP also gets in the way of identifying other culprits, one of which is the government. BP operates in one of the most regulated industries on earth with some of the most perverse rules, subsidies and incentives. Shoddy oversight clearly contributed to the spill, and an energy policy which reduced the demand for oil would do more to avert future environmental horrors than fierce retribution.
Mr Obama is not the socialist the right claims he is (see article). He went out of his way, meeting BP executives on June 16th, to insist that he has no interest in undermining the company’s financial stability. But his reaction is cementing business leaders’ impression that he is indifferent to their concerns. If he sees any impropriety in politicians ordering executives about, upstaging the courts and threatening confiscation, he has not said so. The collapse in BP’s share price suggests that he has convinced the markets that he is an American version of Vladimir Putin, willing to harry firms into doing his bidding.
Nobody should underestimate the scale of BP’s mistake, nor the damage that it has caused. But if the president does not stand up for due process, he will frighten investors across the board. The damage to America’s environment is bad enough. The president risks damaging its economy too.
Ouch. The Brits are not happy. Read the whole thing.
TAKING THE FALL: BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward was relieved from duties today.
TEXAS VS. CALIFORNIA: Who’s Moving Where?
ASTRONOMY REBOOTED: “Crowd Science” Reaches New Heights. “Today, data sharing in astronomy isn’t just among professors. Amateurs are invited into the data sets through friendly Web interfaces, and a schoolteacher in Holland recently made a major discovery, of an unusual gas cloud that might help explain the life cycle of quasars—bright centers of distant galaxies—after spending part of her summer vacation gazing at the objects on her computer screen.” Gosh, somebody should write a book on this phenomenon or something.
FEED THE “WATCHDOGS” WELL and they’ll go to sleep. “There are strict rules for White House and administration staffers about the acceptance of gifts, particularly from foreigners. There are rules in Congress, too, that apply to Schock. As far as the journalists are concerned, there is in some media circles a growing concern about the appearance of coziness between Obama administration figures and some in the press. The al Otaiba dinner will not do anything to diminish that.”
BARB AND HELEN take a romp in the Batcave.
VITAMIN D UPDATE: Gwyneth Paltrow no-sun rule backfires.
SOLAR ROADWAYS: Paving roads with solar panels you can drive on.
WHAT’S THE BEST BLOGGING PLATFORM? I’ve used Blogger, Movable Type, and WordPress. They’re all more similar than different, though I found Movable Type more esthetically pleasing for some reason.
COMMERCIAL SPACE UPDATE: SpaceX Signs Biggest Commercial Launch Deal Ever. Not sure this is true if you count Delta or Titan as “commercial,” but . . . .
NRO: Did Elena Kagan Compare the NRA to the KKK? That would be most injudicious.
COMING IN 2012, a VW Jetta hybrid. But will it get better mileage than a Jetta TDI?