December 19, 2010
STEVE CROWDER: Hollywood’s Comedic Skin Gets Thinner and Thinner.
STEVE CROWDER: Hollywood’s Comedic Skin Gets Thinner and Thinner.
KATRINA: “The Louisiana Governor froze.”
HUFFINGTON POST: Rove Suspected In Swedish-U.S. Political Prosecution of WikiLeaks. Chumps! More disinformation! Assange was Rove-Cheney’s tool. They manipulated the leak, which really hurts their enemies — notice that we’re learning things that mostly embarrass the State Department, Michael Moore, and the Chinese — and they let lefties lionize Assange, and now that the hook is set the other shoe’s dropping. It’s all so obvious what’s going on and. . . . oh, somebody’s knocking at my door; strange, it’s so late at night. Gotta go.
MARKDOWNS ON shoes, boots, and accessories.
THIS IS BAD: Lousy food “safety” bill passes — by unanimous consent? An unforced error from the GOP.
IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, MORE ON RANDY BARNETT’S “REPEAL AMENDMENT:” Amendment Would Enable States to Repeal Federal Law. “The repeal amendment reflects a larger, growing debate about federal power at a time when the public’s approval of Congress is at a historic low.”
TRANSPARENCY FOR THEE, BUT NOT FOR ME (CONT’D): Lawyers cry foul over leak of Julian Assange sex-case papers. Heh.
TRANSPARENCY FOR THEE, BUT NOT FOR ME: Most Commenters at ABA Meeting Oppose Disclosure and Auditing of Law School Graduates’ Employment Data.
In 2007, C. Martin Gaskell, an astronomer at the University of Nebraska, was a leading candidate for a job running an observatory at the University of Kentucky. But then somebody did what one does nowadays: an Internet search. That search turned up evidence of Dr. Gaskell’s evangelical Christian faith.
The University of Kentucky hired someone else. And Dr. Gaskell sued the institution.
Whether his faith cost him the job and whether certain religious beliefs may legally render people unfit for certain jobs are among the questions raised by the case, Gaskell v. University of Kentucky.
Regardless, this will likely be a major millstone around the University of Kentucky’s neck as it tries to oppose budget cuts in a legislature whose constituents are far more likely to identify as Christians than as astronomers.
UPDATE: Reader Michelle Dulak Thompson writes:
It sounds as though Dr. Gaskell thinks all that business in Genesis about the universe arising ex nihilo in a great burst of light isn’t all a bunch of hooey. Self-evidently you can’t hire someone like that.
There’s this nagging recollection in the back of my mind, though, of some other astronomer or two having something of the same idea. Only the name they gave it is slipping me . . . Large Blast? Great Boom? Something like that.
Seriously, the Big Bang was controversial when first proposed precisely because it did look a little too much like the Genesis account for some people’s comfort. It looks that this guy’s difficulty with the search committee was less about astronomy than evolution — but since the job he was up for didn’t have anything to do with evolution, they had no business raising the subject. Do they also ask every applicant whether s/he believes in the Virgin Birth?
He says he believes in evolution. But what’s funny is that they didn’t want to hire him because they feared bad publicity. Oops. Now they’ve got an article in the New York Times saying that he wasn’t hired because they worried that he’s “potentially evangelical.” That’s going to play well. In Kentucky. When budgets are being cut anyway.
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails:
Regarding your post on Martin Gaskell, the astrophysicist who’s suing the University of Kentucky, I actually know him professionally, and we’re both in the same Christian Astronomers group. He’s a serious scientist (most of our conversations have been on our field of quasars and galaxy evolution), and even his religious opinions are perfectly mainstream. Mainstream not only for the country in general, but even among religious scientists. He’s absolutely not any Young Earth Creationist, for example.
What makes me really scratch my head about U. Kentucky’s search committee is that the “lecture” they dug up online (I gather it’s this one: incolor.inetnebr.com/gaskell/Martin_Gaskell_Bible_Astronomy.html ) is his way of explaining to religious non-scientists that they don’t have to hold to a literal six-day interpretation of Genesis 1, and they don’t have to reject modern science on this score. He covers the wide variety of orthodox interpretations of Genesis, and then he shows how various findings of astrophysics could correspond to the statements in the verses. It’s *exactly* the kind of talk many of my colleagues and I have given to Sunday school classes. It’s pretty standard stuff, in that sense. It’s scientific outreach to religious groups, and these talks are even something the National Science Foundation is encouraging. (I just saw some email discussion of that today.)
A funny idea just came to me: His science is on solid ground among astronomers, and the *only* place there’s any room for quibbling might be in whether one thinks he’s interpreted Scripture correctly, considering the variety of opinions there. Does the University of Kentucky want to put itself in the role of judging religious orthdoxy in their hiring decisions?
If my Sunday school presentations (not anything I do in my research or in the classroom) are grounds for rejecting me for a job, then thank goodness I’ve gotten tenure, and I hope I don’t have to change jobs for a long time.
Assoc. Prof. of Physics
Shawnee State University
Good grief. They told me if I voted Republican, University scientists would be vetted for religious orthodoxy — and they were right!
A SUGGESTION THAT DON’T ASK DON’T TELL REPEAL may not be so good for the Democrats. If it were, would they be downplaying it?
ED DRISCOLL: It’s Still The Demography, Stupid.
THIS WEEK in the future.
THE CARNIVAL OF NUCLEAR ENERGY IS UP!
FIRST NISSAN LEAF OWNER reports on battery range. Not quite up to expectations, except at low speeds. “Still, even if you commute 25 miles each way at high speeds the car would still work for you if you could charge it every night. If you are commuting more than that you have my sympathy.”
UPDATE: Reader Chris Link emails: “A friend was figuring out where to open an office when he went solo with his law practice. It occurred to him if you worked 48 weeks a year, every minute of your commute equals an eight hour workday behind the wheel.” Hmm. That’s 240 workdays times 2 (driving in and back) = 480 = 8 hours. That’s a good reason to keep your commute as short as possible, all right. Unless you enjoy commuting, as I suppose some do.
SPENDING TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO divert websurfers away from anti-ObamaCare sites.
CLAYTON CRAMER ASKS: Why do Jews think Christians are anti-semitic? Yeah, your evangelical types seem to like Jews better than a lot of Jews do, in my experience.
A ONE-DAY ONLY SALE: 75% off coats, jackets, vests, parkas and other outerwear. (Bumped up, because it’s today only).
JOANNE JACOBS: Out of control schools in D.C.
CHANGE: House follows Senate, passes noise bil for electric cars and hybrids. As long as I can get that Jetsons-style bleebling sound.
UPDATE: Yeah, this is what I mean! Thanks to reader C.J. Burch for the link.
And reader Art Welling writes:
I am working with some of my students to build an electric car (go-cart of unGodly speed). One thing I noticed on the second test run, and we fixed at once…. the darn thing is silent as a ghost. I had visions of cars backing out in front of this cart, having never heard it coming along at ludicrous speeds.
I had the boys wire a horn circuit and install a horn. Two horns, actually. Loud ones.
All that said, is there really NOTHING more important for those highly paid legislators to deal with down in that swamp on the Potomac?
Look at it this way: While they were passing this, they were, briefly, doing no harm elsewhere.
PUBLIC VS. PRIVATE RETIREMENTS: Government workers get better deals — paid for by taxpayers. Alas, I don’t get one of those gold-plated retirement deals, just a standard defined-contribution plan. On the other hand, this may explain why Tennessee looks to remain solvent. . . .
WE DON’T HAVE TO SUFFER, WE’RE THE BEST BATCH YET: R.I.P. Captain Beefheart: The Legendary 1980 Profile by Lester Bangs. Speaking of which, I watched Almost Famous with the Insta-Daughter (who’s in a big classic-rock phase) the other night, and Philip Seymour Hoffman was awesome as Lester Bangs.
IN THE MAIL: Sir Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight of Terra.
MICKEY KAUS: Who killed DREAM? The Tea Party Did. “Not only had they threatened establishment Republicans with primary opposition, but they had actually beaten one … two … three of them. Nothing like fresh heads on pikes to, er, reinforce a persuasive (to my mind) policy argument. Score one for losing Delaware Tea Partier Christine O’Donnell, who knocked off establishment pick Rep. Mike Castle (who voted for DREAM) in the GOP primary. Even score one for Alaskan Joe Miller. He probably alienated Republican Lisa Murkowski by beating her in the primary, and ultimately she won reelection anyway as a write-in. But that’s just one lost Senate vote. By my count, Miller’s primary coup may have helped gain around ten votes by terrifying GOP incumbents who might otherwise have been tempted by the prospect of a feel-good, bipartisan, MSM-approved pro-DREAM stand.”
BREAKING THROUGH THE GREAT RADIO BLOCKADE: “The Local Community Radio Act, a bill to allow more low-power stations onto the FM band, has just passed the Senate. As regular Reason readers know, the National Association of Broadcasters was working overtime to block the bill.” Like I said, so far this whole lame-duck session is looking a lot better than I expected. . . .
UPDATE: D’oh! Somebody sent this to me and I didn’t notice the date. Old news. But hey, with all the drone attacks and tax-cut extensions, maybe the Dems would poll better now!
NOW THAT DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL HAS BEEN REPEALED, this column is relevant in a new way.
SO AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED, this whole lame-duck Congress thing worked out pretty well.
Tax-rate extensions passed. Good.
Omnibus Pork Bill failed. Good.
DREAM Act failed. Good.
Miserable food “safety” bill failed. Good.
DADT repeal passed. Good.
I hope this foreshadows how things will go in the next Congress. . . .
MICHAEL BARONE: Reid And Pelosi Finally Get Mugged By Public Opinion.
It is a source of continuing fascination for me to watch the interaction between public opinion, as measured in polls and election results, and the actions of members of Congress, elected in one political environment and looking in most cases to be re-elected in one that may be quite different.
Eleven months ago, after the Massachusetts Senate election, I was convinced that Democrats could not jam their health care bill through because voters had so clearly demanded they not do so. But Pelosi proved more determined and resourceful than I had imagined, and found enough House Democrats who were willing to risk electoral defeat to achieve what Democrats proclaimed was an historic accomplishment.
Pelosi and Obama predicted that Obamacare would become more popular as voters learned more about it. Those predictions were based on the theory that in times of economic distress Americans would be more supportive of or amenable to big government policies.
That theory has been disproved about as conclusively as any theory can be in the real world, and most of the Democrats who provided the key votes for Obamacare were defeated on Election Day.
Democratic congressional leaders did take note of the unpopularity of their policies when they chose not to pass budget resolutions last spring. Presumably they did so because they would have had a hard time rounding up the votes for the high spending and large deficits that would have ensued.
But had the House and Senate passed a budget resolution, Democrats might have been able to pass their preferred tax policy, raising taxes on high earners, under the budget reconciliation process. So the House vote Thursday night was a delayed consequence of the public’s long-apparent rejection of their policies.
Candidate Obama told Joe the Plumber that he wanted to “spread the wealth around.” November’s vote, presaged by more than a year of polls, was, as political scientist James Ceasar has written, “the Great Repudiation” of that policy.
Read the whole thing.
HOPE AND CHANGE: Jim Bennett emails:
So according to TNR, the new favorite reading among the young Chinese elite are Leo Strauss and the pro-nazi Carl Schmitt.
People have been comparing China to pre-World War 1 Germany for some time now. Looks like they’re going to skip the spiked-helmet stage and cut straight to the chase. Groovy.
But, no worries. We’ve got Barack Obama on the job.
Nobody tell Tom Friedman about this.
GEORGE WILL: The political fantasyland of the ‘No Labels’ movement. Why are they against labels? Because if they were labeled accurately, no one would listen to them . . . .
TWISTING THE KNIFE: Assange accuser says he was the “worst sex ever.” “Not only had it been the world’s worst screw, it had also been violent.”
I THINK THIS WILL BECOME A TREND: Toby Buckell’s new feature.
REMEMBERING Blake Edwards.
CHANGE: Burr, Ensign back Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal. It passed 65-31.
Meanwhile, a reader — a retired Navy JAG officer — emails:
For 17 years colleges and universities have used Bill Clinton’s incoherent Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell law (which they disingenuously called a “military policy”) to attempt to keep recruiters off undergraduate and graduate campuses, and stymie any efforts to establish ROTC programs. Now that the law will be undone when the President puts pen to paper, where are all the announcements from these schools that the military is welcome, that they are seeking to have ROTC programs, that they will be encouraging military service of their graduates? Perhaps being a weekend and the holidays it is too soon to expect such announcements, but does anyone seriously think such a change will be forthcoming?
The DADT law was convenient pretense and cover for those who loathe the military and always have. Will they now change their ways? Or will some new “principled” basis for their bigotry (e.g., Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, lack of natural fibers in uniforms, etc.) now be offered up to maintain their anti-military practices and rhetoric?
I’m going with the natural-fibers thing. But maybe I’ll be wrong. Columbia certainly has the room for a new ROTC center now . . . .
Some related thoughts here.
UPDATE: Wow, that was fast: Harvard, Yale moving on ROTC. “Some top universities moved quickly Saturday to respond to the vote repealing the ban on gays in the military, and those who don’t restore their ROTC programs in the wake of the vote are likely to face immediate pressure on the issue.”
Related: Thoughts from Dale Carpenter. I agree that the best thing about this is that it passed legislatively, with bipartisan support.
And I have to quote Michael Nehring one more time: “Just think, this week Barack Obama adopted Bush’s signature economic policy and ‘refudiated’ Clinton’s signature military policy.” Hope and Change!
MORE: Credit where credit’s due — Nehring writes: “Humbled as I am, I have to give credit where it’s due–that quote originated with DrewMTips.” So noted!
DAN MITCHELL: Jay Leno, Al Qaeda, and the War Against Christmas. Heh.
POLIWOOD: The Most Untruthful Movie of the Year.
MICHAEL S. MALONE: Why Can’t We Do Big Things Any More?
There was a time – was it just a generation ago? – when Americans were legendary for doing vast, seemingly superhuman, projects: the Interstate Highway System, the Apollo Missions, Hoover Dam, the Manhattan Project, the Normandy invasion, the Empire State Building, Social Security.
What happened? Today we look at these achievements, much as Dark Age peasants looked on the mighty works of the Roman Era, feeling like some golden age has passed when giants walked the Earth. Even when we can still see the aged survivors of that era sunning themselves outside the local convalescent home – or sitting down with us for family holiday dinner – it’s hard not believe that there was once something larger-than-life about them that they failed to pass on to us. . . . We no longer build the world’s tallest buildings – other countries do. We no longer reaching towards the moon – other countries are. And when we do attempt something big – universal health care, alternative energy, improved educational standards, mass transportation – the initiative inevitably snarls up in bad planning, corruption, political pay-offs, lack of leadership, impracticality and just sheer incompetence. The comparatively tiny Lincoln Administration managed to win the Civil War, open up the Great Plains through the Homestead Act, and kick off construction of the transcontinental railroad. . .all in four years.
Back then we had a leadership class that wanted America to be successful.
UPDATE: Reader Ray Van Dune emails:
The real reason we are starting to win in Afghanistan is that Obama has solved that huge problem Bush always had as CIC – every time we struck at the terrorists, we only created more of them!? Man, that was so futile, but dumb ole W just kept doing it, just because he didn’t know any better.
Now, in spite of pushing ahead with both of Bush’s surges, and turning the drones loose in Pakistan, no less, you never hear about that happening anymore! This guy Obama is clearly a military genius.
He’s the lightbringer. It’s just that sometimes it’s the light of an incoming Hellfire missile.
STEPHEN GREEN: Obama’s not a Great Compromiser, he just got beat.
AT AMAZON, markdowns on automotive, motorcycle, and ATV gear.
POLITIFACT’S BIGGEST LIE: “PolitiFact exists largely as an attempt to deligitimize certain political opinions. We now know which political opinion most bothered the establishment in 2010. That is a valuable service to everyone.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE? Higher education’s price-earnings ratio looks like Nevada housing circa 2007. “The financial data are making a college education tougher and tougher to defend. If we were to follow the lead of college marketing departments and treat tuition as an investment, what price-earnings ratio–or P/E–would we assign to it? Unlike a traditional stock, both the price and the earnings are fairly opaque (a warning signal in and of itself), but let’s make some ballpark assumptions. . . . And let’s keep something very important in mind: A college education contains a risk factor that no stock or bond does: zero liquidity. For good or for ill, you’re stuck with it. You can sell a security back to the market, but you can’t sell your degree back. Every college in the country hangs out the same invisible sign: No Refunds. And things are only going to get worse.”
CLAYTON CRAMER ON avoiding cold-induced asthma.
ROGER KIMBALL ON Lee Bollinger and Friedrich Hayek.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG? U.N. Plans Internet Regulation. Apparently, a lot of people who were embarrassed by WikiLeaks want to make sure nothing like that can happen again. But don’t worry: “The Brazilian delegate stressed, however, that this should not be seen as a call for a ‘takeover’ of the internet.” Well, with free-speech stalwarts like China and Saudi Arabia involved in the push, who’d worry about that?
THE WAR ON FOR-PROFIT EDUCATION: Sweating Bullets At The GAO.
The authors of the Government Accountability Office’s for-profit secret shopper investigation pulled off a statistically impressive feat in August. Let’s set aside for the moment that on Nov. 30, the government watchdog quietly revealed that its influential testimony on for-profit colleges was riddled with errors, with 16 of the 28 findings requiring revisions. More interesting is the fact that all 16 of the errors run in the same direction — casting for-profits in the worst possible light. The odds of all 16 pointing in the same direction by chance? A cool 1 in 65,536. . . . The problem is that the “we were in a hurry” defense doesn’t explain why the errors all point in the same direction — one that happens to reflect the policy preferences of the chairman of the Senate HELP committee and of administration appointees at the Department of Education. Lanny Davis, the veteran Clinton hand who has now taken to the barricades for the for-profit providers, told us Wednesday that he thinks there is an obvious distinction between “gross incompetence” and “setting out to deceive” — and that the original GAO report crosses the line.
Is it a coincidence that the for-profit education sector isn’t very unionized? Plus, from the comments: “Public schools take as much tax payer money as for profits, they just take it from all of us, whether we are in school or not, AND we never see the waste. Let’s take that same hidden camera into some public schools, where some are more concerned about their break or day off than this so-called quality education.” Yes, the traditional education sector has its own problems, but it hasn’t been targeted the same way.
UPDATE: Reader Robert Crawford writes: “I’ve noticed NPR running hit pieces on for-profit colleges the last 6 months or so.” Messaging!
ACCOUNTABILITY IS FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: TSA Worker Avoids Prison After Stealing Travelers’ Laptops.
“He put the luggage through special machines to see whether there was any explosives or anything of concern in the luggage,” she told KYW Newsradio. “When he saw that there was something of value in the luggage, he took out the computers or the games.”
So at least those machines can spot valuable consumer goods.
A ONE-DAY-ONLY SALE on the Flip Mino HD video camera. Ubiquitous video cameras rule.
MOVING AHEAD WITH Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal.
UPDATE: Michael Nehring on Facebook: “Just think, this week Barack Obama adopted Bush’s signature economic policy and ‘refudiated’ Clinton’s signature military policy.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Nehring writes that the quote originated with DrewMTips, not himself. So noted!
THIS WAS ALL PRESCIENTLY PORTRAYED IN AIRPLANE: While TSA Was Groping Grandma… A Businessman With a Gun Slipped on the Plane. “Iranian-American Farid Seif was screened by Transport Security Administration officials at Houston airport in Texas. His hand luggage was also X-rayed before he took off on his international flight. It wasn’t until Mr Seif arrived at his hotel several hours later that he realised that he had forgotten to unpack a loaded snub nose Glock pistol from his luggage before he embarked on his journey.”
UPDATE: Various readers want to know what a “snub nose Glock” would be. Filtered through the press, I assume that’s a “Baby Glock” model 26 or somesuch.
JUST SAY NO TO NANNIES: Americans Don’t Like the Lunch Michelle Obama Packed For Them, Want to Trade It For Your Twizzlers. Plus this: “Most Americans across the demographic board don’t believe that childhood obesity is a national security issue.”
SENATE DREAM ACT VOTE fails. Manchin voted against, interestingly.
UPDATE: Correction: He didn’t vote.
IN THE MAIL: Back to the Moon.
BYRON YORK: DREAM Act Causes Ugly Breakup On Left.
VIRGINIA POSTREL: Still Gripped by the Ideal of the Princess. “Why, in a society without princesses, does this archetype remain so intensely glamorous to girls with all sorts of backgrounds and personalities?” I dunno, but my 4-year-old niece is getting a princess costume for Christmas, because that’s what she’s into these days.
NEW YORK POST: The Collapse Of The Obama Democrats. “What the hell happened? ObamaCare, for one thing.”
FROM RAND SIMBERG, thoughts on a California bankruptcy.
I like the thought in the comments of seeking a California ballot initiative dissolving the state and returning it to territory status. Hey, in California, who knows . . . .?
DOWNSIZING GOVERNMENT is a department-by-department guide to cutting the federal government’s budget.
UP TO 60% OFF on toys for boys.
Plus, kid-test reviews on the Plan Toy City Crane Set and the Power Wheels Barbie Jammin Jeep Wrangler — which, technically, isn’t a toy for boys. But when the Insta-Daughter had one of these at age 3, her male cousins seemed to enjoy it plenty, even though it was pink.
STEPHEN KRUISER: Frosty The Racist.
UPDATE: Reader J.T. Smith emails:
When Harry Reid pulls a trillion dollar pork-fest from the Senate floor because he doesn’t have the votes then we can truly say that we have got the wrong people doing the right thing. From Milton Friedman’s famous quote:
“I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.”
Harry Reid defeated the right candidate…but it was Harry Reid that was ultimately forced to do the right thing.
Keep up the good work Glenn. You certainly deserve a large share of the credit for this through your Porkbusters exposure and your tireless promotion of the tea party movement
Now, though, to quote another great philosopher, “[we have to] keep our boot on their neck until the job gets done”.
Amen. The people should always have their boot on the politicians’ neck, because the political class is always either at your throat, or your feet. And thanks for the credit, but while I did the promotion, it was a lot of other people who did the actual work, and that’s what really counts.
MORE: Reader Bob Likes emails:
I just returned from an early Saturday meeting and sat down comfortably in front of my computer clicking on your site. Ahh! Like it used to be with coffee and the LA Times.
Then it did occur to me that your deal is like that of my parents before they threw in the towel as dairy farmers. Every day the work has to be done. What is fun for me has to be produced from work by you.
So thank you for your daily efforts. Don’t know how you do it but I am glad you do. And I hope you are getting paid handsomely for it!
I do okay, and it’s still fun. But, yeah, every morning the milking has to be done. So thanks! Nice to be appreciated.
TWO-EDGED SWORD: Stuxnet ‘virus’ could be altered to attack US facilities, report warns. For security purposes, we should probably be building less intelligence into these systems. And maybe all the software should be on ROM chips?
Free Press, the media reform and pro-net neutrality think tank, *seemingly* has mud on its face yet again: It appears that in their haste to besiege the Federal Communications Commission with petitions signed by “real Americans,” calling for the implementation of “net neutrality” rules, Free Press mixed up their documents.
The problem isn’t ideology, it’s competence. Oh, who am I kidding? It’s ideology, too.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Is Going To An Elite College Worth The Cost? “The sluggish economy and rising costs of college have only intensified questions about whether expensive, prestigious colleges make any difference. Do their graduates make more money? Get into better professional programs? Make better connections? And are they more satisfied with their lives, or at least with their work?”
AN ATM THAT spits out gold bars.
FORGET FRIENDS-WITH-BENEFITS: Now it’s ex-husbands with benefits. There was a New Yorker cartoon about this years ago.
YOU KNOW, THIS LAME-DUCK SESSION WORKED OUT PRETTY WELL: Food-safety bill victim of omnibus defeat, incompetence.
When Harry Reid pulled the plug on the omnibus spending bill Thursday night, he also ended his best hope of fixing a monumental blunder committed earlier in the lame-duck session. Senate Democrats bragged that they had passed a far-reaching food-safety bill opposed by conservatives for its overreach and regulatory expansion, until their counterparts in the House pronounced it dead on arrival for its unconstitutional creation of new tax policy. Reid had hoped to sneak the House version into the omnibus in order to wipe the egg off of his face, but that plan ended up under the omnibus.
You’d think the Senate Majority Leader would pay closer attention to constitutional requirements, but . . . oh, who am I kidding? Anyway, it was a lousy bill, and it’s dead because of his ineptitude and overreaching. T.S. Eliot said that there’s no greater treason than to do the right thing for the wrong reason — but when you’re talking about Congress, you take what you can get.
DAVE PRICE: Muddled In the Middle: “The problem with the No Labels idea is that it amounts to defining ‘reasonableness’ as something between center-leftism and centrism and then declaring everyone else out of bounds. That’s not especially useful.” Oh, some find it so.
FIGHTING OVER CROSSES at an Oklahoma bank.
A CUBAN HOSPITAL IS NO PLACE TO BE SICK. And according to the WikiLeaks cables, the Cuban government banned Michael Moore’s Sicko because “it knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.”
For fifteen minutes the Long Beach Police watched Douglas Zerby sitting on an interior courtyard stoop playing with a toy gun. They never announced their presence. There was no danger to anyone. They never announced their presence. There were at least five police officers there. Then, after fifteen minutes, two or three of them opened fire with shotguns and pistols. There was no warning, and no command to drop the weapon. Apparently his first notification that the police were present was to be shot dead.
This, according to the LBPD, was to protect the citizens and make certain no one got hurt.
If they have the resources for this kind of thing, then they ought to be able to handle a 50% budget cut. More here. It was apparently a pistol-grip water hose, and police say he pointed it at them.
KEVIN WILLIAMSON ON THE VALUE OF FEAR:
Something has got into the Republican leadership, and that something is: fear. Wonderful, salubrious fear. For this we can thank the Tea Party movement, for several reasons. The first is that, while our European cousins are out rioting in the street for more and more government spending, the one significant, genuinely popular movement afoot in American politics is demanding the opposite. No Washington poobah wants to get yelled at by rowdy constituents at a town-hall meeting back in the district. They really hate that.
Funny what catches the notice of politicians. I was a newspaper editor for years, and I’ve had at least a dozen politicians tell me: “We don’t really give a damn what you write about us in the editorials. We don’t even really read them. But if we start seeing letters to the editor, we notice. Any time one constituent is ticked-off enough to take the time to write a letter, that’s significant. One guy writing a letter means that there are 500 more who agree but don’t take the time to write.” One guy writing a letter represents a few hundred people in the mind of Joe Congressman. Those Tea Party rallies, too, loom a lot larger than the raw numbers would suggest, impressive as those raw numbers have been. Joe Congressman does not want to see that crowd camped out on his doorstep.
The second reason used to dabble in witchcraft. Say what you like about Christine O’Donnell and her incompetent nut-cluster of a campaign, she showed the Republican establishment that the Tea Party, and the fiscally discontent at large, are willing to run a kamikaze candidate against any RINO target of opportunity.
Yes, that was the best argument for Christine O’Donnell. She scared the right people. Plus this:
The third fear factor is: reality. In Washington and in statehouses around the country, the reality of the pending Fiscal Armageddon is starting to seep into the thick skulls of the elected class. Jerry Brown pronounced himself “shocked” once he got a good peek at California’s balance sheet. Off the record, politicians of both parties are starting to concede that a lot of the old ideological disputes at now moot, because there simply isn’t any money. It’s not a question of whether there are going to be deep cuts and fundamental restructuring, but when and how much.
Indeed. The answers, by the way, are soon and rather a lot, really.
NEWLY-BUILT GHOST TOWNS haunt banks in Spain. “It sits in a desert surrounded by empty lots. Twelve whole blocks of brick apartment buildings, about 2,000 apartments, are empty; the rest, only partly occupied. Most of the ground floor commercial space is bricked up.”
ON FACEBOOK, DAVID BOAZ WRITES: “The distinguished economist Alan Blinder says it’s a ‘Christmas present’ when the government doesn’t raise taxes on the rich. So I’ve got a present for Dr. Blinder: I’m not going to steal his car.”
ERIC SCHEIE: Defending Evil Can Be A Good Career Move. Just ask Walter Duranty! Or Michael Moore.
AT AMAZON, Top Christmas Deals. Buy early and often!
OBAMA SIGNS TAX PACKAGE INTO LAW: A roundup at TaxProf.
IS AN “IDEOLOGICAL MONOCULTURE” sustainable?
THE ECONOMIST: Jonathan Chait’s Regulatory-Capture Denialism. “I must say I’m dazzled by the audacity of Mr Chait’s claim that the ‘private capture of public functions’ is rare. My reading of the economic and political history of the United States is that regulation is very, very, very often turned into (or originally fashioned) as a weapon of business power. . . . Mr Chait’s regulatory-capture denialism is especially notable when the matter at hand is the Washington-Wall Street nexus, as the case for a significant degree of coprorate control over financial regulation is extremely compelling. Indeed, that this revolving door is so well-trafficked constitutes perhaps the most impressive piece of evidence that financial regulators are too bound up socially, professionally, and ideologically with their regulatees to offer impartial oversight in the public interest.” Indeed.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR: Collapse of the omnibus spending bill: rise of the ‘tea party Congress’?
CHANGE: The UBS Dress Code Memo. “If business casual was a by-product of the tech bubble, where everyone was making so much money we didn’t care what we looked like and anyway the richest people are wearing jeans and sneakers, then the current fiscal realities are turning back the clock to office conservatism. . . . Wear black, gray, navy. Skirts should be mid-knee. Men should leave the earrings and bracelets at home.”
They told me if I voted Republican everything would become stuffy, uptight, and buttoned-down. And they were right!
WELCOME TO “POST-RACIAL” AMERICA: Meeks says minority contracts should only go to blacks.
JUST SAY NO TO GEOFFREY NUNBERG: “And that’s how NPR sees you voters: You’re children. You’re resisting potty training. Your Tea
Potty Party is mindless emotionalism. You’re — as Andrew Sullivan would put it — intellectually inert brats.”