Archive for January, 2011

January 24, 2011

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Our Superficial Scholars:

For most of the past 20 years I have served on selection committees for the Rhodes Scholarship. In general, the experience is an annual reminder of the tremendous promise of America’s next generation. We interview the best graduates of U.S. universities for one of the most prestigious honors that can be bestowed on young scholars.

I have, however, become increasingly concerned in recent years – not about the talent of the applicants but about the education American universities are providing. Even from America’s great liberal arts colleges, transcripts reflect an undergraduate specialization that would have been unthinkably narrow just a generation ago.

As a result, high-achieving students seem less able to grapple with issues that require them to think across disciplines or reflect on difficult questions about what matters and why. . . . I detect no lack of seriousness or ambition in these students. They believe they are exceptionally well-educated. They have jumped expertly through every hoop put in front of them to be the top of their classes in our country’s best universities, and they have been lavishly praised for doing so. They seem so surprised when asked simple direct questions that they have never considered.

And this is not because they’re becoming narrowly focused math geeks.

January 24, 2011

CHANGE: Cities Too Broke To Bury Paupers.

January 24, 2011

JENNIFER RUBIN on New Hampshire’s Tea Party and tea leaves.

January 24, 2011

STANLEY KURTZ: Frances Fox Piven’s Violent Agenda. “A leading light of the Democratic Socialists of America claims she is not a socialist and, after urging the unemployed to emulate the Greek rioters, claims she is not inciting violence. . . . Calls for the escalation and manipulation of violent rioting have long been central to Piven’s strategy.”

January 24, 2011

CHANGE: Soaring Food Prices Pinch Area Restaurants. “Caught between rising food costs and price-weary consumers, most local restaurants have been slow to pass their costs on to diners. Now, however, they’re finding there’s little slack left to give.”

January 24, 2011

DAVID BOAZ explains things to Alex Pareene.

January 24, 2011

INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY: Why Does The US Still Give Aid To China?

January 24, 2011

AT AMAZON, 3D HDTVs on sale.

January 24, 2011

R.I.P. JACK LALANNE.

Plus, nutrition. Still good advice, and remarkably similar to, say, Gary Taubes’ advice today.

January 24, 2011

ERIC CANTOR: “Every Dollar Should Be On The Table.”

January 24, 2011

CHANGE: The Hill: 20 Years Since Desert Storm, Congress Defers To The Pentagon. They told me if I voted for John McCain, we’d have a culture of unquestioned military supremacy. And they were right!

January 24, 2011

JOHN HINDERAKER: How Not To Create Jobs.

January 24, 2011

THOMAS SOWELL ON WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN WHEN BIG-SPENDING STATES RUN OUT OF MONEY: “They should go bankrupt. I’m looking forward to it.” It’ll hurt people who have relied on their promises to pay. But so did what was done to the Chrysler bondholders.

January 24, 2011

RON BAILEY LOOKS AT the science of libertarian morality.

January 24, 2011

PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: Count me dubious on the idea that government spending can boost competitiveness, since it’s allocated to political favorites instead of market winners.

Plus, proper scholarly opportunism: “Anyway, if Obama’s serious about boosting competitiveness, he might want to read my article Corporate Governance and US Capital Market Competitiveness.”

January 24, 2011

KAY HYMOWITZ ON Sarah Palin and the Battle for Feminism.

Related: Professor Jacobson: Why I Am So Intolerant.

January 24, 2011

“YOU FILM ME AGAIN, AND I’M GOING TO KILL YOU.”

January 24, 2011

BACKERS: “They do not back him because they think he is innocent. They back him because they believe he is guilty.”

January 24, 2011

WHY THEY’D RATHER TALK ABOUT SARAH PALIN (CONT’D): Higher pump prices coming your way this spring. “Gas pump prices that are around $3 a gallon now may seem like a bargain by the time your kids are on Easter egg hunts.”

January 24, 2011

LEBANON: We Want Peace and We’ll Cut Off the Hands of Anybody Who Says Otherwise.

January 24, 2011

RON RADOSH: Glenn Beck, Frances Fox Piven, and how the New York Times Falsely Depicts the Controversy.

The Nation defends Fox Piven, maintaining that she only supports “voter registration drives, grassroots organization, and when necessary, street protest” and “recognizing the leverage that oppressed groups have- and working with them to use it,” which is “her special genius.” But the good professor has gone way beyond this. I had discussed Fox Piven’s article in my PJM blog pointing out her call for unemployed Americans, and those otherwise hurt by the recession, to ‘become more disruptive’” and emulate “the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protests that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees. (my emphasis.)”

Although Stelter’s NYT’s article purports to be even handed, Stelter puts the onus not on Fox Piven for calling for violence which she denies, but on Beck for pointing out her statements on his Fox program. And Beck has as far as I have seen not only consistently argued for non-violence in all protest, but has been a strong advocate of First Amendment freedoms, and has quoted Piven’s own words accurately, and without distortion.

To add evidence of Beck’s culpability, Stelter cites a demand made by a group called “The Center for Constitutional Rights” to stop Beck’s “false accusations” against her. While they respect the right of free speech, a letter they wrote to Fox head Roger Ailes says, “Mr. Beck is putting Professor Piven in actual physical danger of a violent reponse.”

The implication of such a statement is that the only way to prevent such vicious attacks by crazed rightists is to censor Beck, whom Fox News correctly noted that “Beck had quoted her accurately and had never threatened her.”

One must also note the identification of The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) as a “liberal nonprofit group,” which comes after Stelter identifies Fox Piven as “a liberal academic.” Fox Piven is an academic, but she is part of the radical far Left, and she is not a liberal. And anyone who knows anything about the CCR is laughing heartily.

Read the whole thing. When leftists call for violence, it’s “hatemongering” to quote them accurately. But actually lying about what people on the right say . . . that’s just journalism, apparently.

And just to keep the record straight, here’s a flashback on Piven’s call for violent riots.

And also, just so people are clear, here’s what those Greek riots she was calling for Americans to emulate looked like:

At the same time, tens of thousands of protesters marched through Athens in the largest and most violent protests since the country’s budget crisis began last fall. Angry youths rampaged through the center of Athens, torching several businesses and vehicles and smashing shop windows. Protesters and police clashed in front of parliament and fought running street battles around the city.

Witnesses said hooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner’s office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.

Rampaging mobs and people burned to death. This is what Piven wanted to see in America. So who’s inciting violence here?

January 24, 2011

I’LL STICK WITH GDP, THANKS: “Buy A Gun” Google Queries Hit All Time High, And Other Off The Grid Economic Indicators. On the other hand, I’d certainly encourage most InstaPundit readers to own at least one gun, and a substantial quantity of ammuntion.

January 23, 2011

BRYAN PRESTON: Dissing The SOTU, George Will Speaks For Me.

January 23, 2011

OH, CANADA: Man faces jail after protecting home from masked firebomb attackers. “His surveillance cameras caught the attackers lobbing at least six Molotov cocktails at his house and bombing his doghouse, singeing one of his Siberian Huskies. But when Mr. Thomson handed the video footage to Niagara Regional Police, he found himself charged with careless use of a firearm.”

So the Niagara Regional Police are a bunch of clowns. Or just corrupt. Noted.

UPDATE: Reader Jim May emails:

The problem is not the NRP, it is Canada itself — in particular, its antipathy towards self-reliance in the realm of self-defense. Along with socialized medicine, this topic is one of those where dissent has been quite rare, and has often been derided with comments to the effect that the “anti-Canadian” dissenter should just emigrate to the States. I ended up doing just that.

That being said, your post confirms something peculiar that I noticed on my last two visits home last year: suddenly, I was hearing angry stories about people being brought up on charges after successfully defending themselves at home. That was notable in and of itself, but what was more surprising was the reaction to my expression of gratitude that I now live in the U.S., where I own guns and have the relative freedom to use them in self-defense. Instead of the usual condescension about American “violence” or “gun culture”, I got a surprise; more than a smidgeon of actual envy of that freedom.

After a spate of these stories nationwide, most notably that of David Chen, a Toronto retailer who detained a repeat shoplifter in his store and called police — only to be charged with kidnapping — it seems like Canadians may finally have had enough.

You have to be in my shoes — from Canada, but having been away for some years — to appreciate the significance of this shift.

Americans defending against the Left’s latest spot of gun-control opportunism would do well to take note of where the Left’s road leads, for you’ll find Canadians standing there — disarmed. And not too happy about it anymore.

No reason they should be, but I’m glad they’re waking up.

January 23, 2011

WHY THEY’D RATHER TALK ABOUT SARAH PALIN (CONT’D): Global Price Fears Mount: As Food, Raw Materials Soar, Europe’s Central Bank Head Warns on Inflation.

January 23, 2011

JENNIFER RUBIN: Not so fast on trying to narrow the 2012 Presidential field. Read the whole thing, which is full of good advice. Let the primaries do the winnowing.

Meanwhile, I’d note too that it’s a mistake to get too distracted by Presidential politics. Here in Tennessee, for example, our new governor, Bill Haslam, is a competent country-club Republican, but no Tea Party type. Nonetheless, the big news is that the legislature has gone Republican. That was a much bigger deal than the gubernatorial election, even though it was harder to see while it was happening. For what it’s worth, my advice to Tea Party activists would be to focus on Congressional elections now, and worry about Presidential politics later.

January 23, 2011

PENETRATION: The Obama hair-dye story has reached the women’s / style websites like The Frisky and StyleList. And I think it all started with an observation by Ann Althouse.

January 23, 2011

JACK LALANNE dies at age 96.

January 23, 2011

FORBES: DO WE NEED A DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY OR A TSA? No. Next question?

January 23, 2011

BEWARE OF BUREAUCRATS BEARING GIFTS: When a bureaucrat calls for accountability, it means he has found a way to game the system.

January 23, 2011

AT AMAZON, markdowns in kitchen and dining.

January 23, 2011

OLBERMANN’S SNIT:

I don’t begrudge Olbermann wanting more money, even though I thought he was wildly overpaid. If you think you can fetch a better price from a giant corporation for your low-rated show, why not go for it? Of course, putting your “greed” ahead of the cause you consider yourself vital to is a nice bit of hypocrisy for a prog like Olbermann.

But letting your staff sit in the dark until they hear the news on air, strikes me as precisely the sort of thing you’d expect from a self-involved jerk.

Indeed.

January 23, 2011

SO, HOW’S THAT “SMART DIPLOMACY” GOING? “Chinese Pianist Plays Propaganda Tune at White House: US humiliated in eyes of Chinese by song used to inspire anti-Americanism.” This seems like quite an expression of contempt toward one’s hosts. It’s certainly quite a slap in the face to Obama, and a demonstration that our State Department remains not ready for primetime. On the other hand, it should remove any shreds of guilt I might otherwise feel when China dissolves into civil war after we default on our bonds. . . .

UPDATE: Reader Aaron Krol counsels caution: “I did a little digging on the story about the Chinese pianist
allegedly playing an anti-American propaganda piece at the White House. It looks like the original source of this story is the Epoch Times, which according to Wikipedia is a Falun Gong outfit. The story may or may not be true, I don’t know, but the source does have an agenda given their persecution by the Chinese government.”

Well, the only pushback I’ve seen is the claim in the NYT that it was unintentional. I’m skeptical about that.

January 23, 2011

WHO’S HURT BY FEDERAL BUDGET CUTS?

The federal employee unions gave nearly $5 million to Democratic House and Senate candidates between 2001 and the 2010 campaign, according to data cited by MAPLight from the Center for Responsive Politics compared to just over $1 million to Republicans.

In other words, Democrats got 82 percent of the campaign cash contributed by federal employee unions.

MAPLight points to another interesting aspect of this question, noting that contributions from defense industry firms are almost evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, though with a slight tilt in favor of the latter.

Since 2001, defense firms contributed more than $23.5 million to Republican incumbents, compared to just over $21.2 million to Democrats, a 52-47 percent division between the two parties.

Defense industry contributions are not infrequently assumed to be tilted very much in favor of Republicans who consistently more solidly in favor of bigger defense budgets than do Democrats.

We need these cuts to avoid bankruptcy. Somebody needs to remind the cuttees of all that “shared sacrifice” talk from before the election.

January 23, 2011

NORM AUGUSTINE: America Is Losing Its Edge In Innovation.

In fact, scientists and engineers are celebrities in most countries. They’re not seen as geeks or misfits, as they too often are in the U.S., but rather as society’s leaders and innovators. In China, eight of the top nine political posts are held by engineers. In the U.S., almost no engineers or scientists are engaged in high-level politics, and there is a virtual absence of engineers in our public policy debates.

Why does this matter? Because if American students have a negative impression – or no impression at all – of science and engineering, then they’re hardly likely to choose them as professions. Already, 70% of engineers with PhD’s who graduate from U.S. universities are foreign-born. Increasingly, these talented individuals are not staying in the U.S – instead, they’re returning home, where they find greater opportunities. . . .

Global leadership is not a birthright. Despite what many Americans believe, our nation does not possess an innate knack for greatness. Greatness must be worked for and won by each new generation. Right now that is not happening. But we still have time.

Read the whole thing.

January 23, 2011

THE MAINE VERSION OF A PRANK: “Instead of vandalizing his house when he wasn’t home, we shoveled his driveway.”

January 23, 2011

AT AMAZON, up to 60% off on men’s and women’s boots.

January 23, 2011

“SIMPLY INDEFENSIBLE:” Dave Hardy on the District Court’s denial of attorney’s fees in the McDonald case. Hey, can’t encourage those damn gun nuts with civil rights attorney’s fees. They might bring more lawsuits for those damn “civil rights” of theirs. Judge Milton Shadur is looking a bit petty here.

January 23, 2011

COMING THIS WEEK FROM TYLER COWEN: The Great Stagnation: How America Ate All The Low-Hanging Fruit of Modern History, Got Sick, and Will (Eventually) Feel Better. “In a figurative sense, the American economy has enjoyed lots of low-hanging fruit since at least the seventeenth century: free land; immigrant labor; and powerful new technologies. Yet during the last forty years, that low-hanging fruit started disappearing and we started pretending it was still there. We have failed to recognize that we are at a technological plateau and the trees are barer than we would like to think. That’s it. That is what has gone wrong.The problem won’t be solved overnight, but there are reasons to be optimistic. We simply have to recognize the underlying causes of our past prosperity—low hanging fruit—and how we will come upon more of it.”

January 23, 2011

WHEN FOUL becomes fair.

January 23, 2011

AT OAK RIDGE, double dismantlement milestones. Since I’m pretty sure I’m less than nine megatons away from Oak Ridge National Lab, I’m happy to hear of this.

January 23, 2011

HMM: Twitter and Facebook don’t connect people – they isolate them from reality, say a rising number of academics. That hasn’t been my experience. I had some related thoughts here.

UPDATE: Reader Bob Hicks writes: “Aren’t academics more in danger of being isolated from reality?” Yes.

January 23, 2011

MAURICE STUCKE: Lessons From The Financial Crisis.

January 23, 2011

IN THE MAIL: Drowning in Oil: BP & the Reckless Pursuit of Profit.

January 23, 2011

SHOULD YOU GET a Verizon iPhone 4? Here’s something I didn’t know: “The Verizon iPhone will act as a five device mobile hotspot.” That’s handy.

January 23, 2011

SHUT UP, THEY EXPLAINED: “It seems Glenn Back, by accurately quoting Francis Fox Piven, has gored the Ruling Class ox again. Professor Piven wrote, and The Nation published, an article calling for violent, angry protest. . . . Beck and The Blaze have publicized the piece . . . The reaction in the Times? Why obviously, to accuse Beck of fomenting threats against Piven.” If you don’t want your inflammatory statements publicized, perhaps you should think before making them? But Piven’s stuck in the old world, where selective media attention would have ensured that inflammatory statements made in The Nation wouldn’t have received national exposure. It doesn’t work that way any more.

UPDATE: Here’s a flashback on Piven’s call for violent riots.

And, just so people are clear, here’s what those Greek riots she was calling for Americans to emulate looked like:

At the same time, tens of thousands of protesters marched through Athens in the largest and most violent protests since the country’s budget crisis began last fall. Angry youths rampaged through the center of Athens, torching several businesses and vehicles and smashing shop windows. Protesters and police clashed in front of parliament and fought running street battles around the city.

Witnesses said hooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner’s office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.

Praising riots involving Molotov cocktails and people burning to death? Fine. Criticizing a lefty on a cable TV network? Why that’s “hatemongering” and incitement.

January 23, 2011

REMINDER: A quote from Robert Heinlein:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Related: Post-tax-increase, the exodus from Illinois begins.

Also: America’s Dying Cities: “In several dozen cities nationwide, the population actually declined significantly as residents presumably began to flee the region’s toxic financial atmosphere, or perhaps in some cases, even held off on having kids due to a lack of resources.”

January 23, 2011

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: IGNORE OBAMA’S SPEECH:

We all know what is coming in 2012 — the most well-financed, Wall Street-subsidized, vitriolic camping in modern memory, in which Obama’s rivals will be metaphorically reduced to caricatures of racist, selfish, and cruel nativists. The 2011 Tucson speech will have about as much resonance with Obama’s impending campaign style as the 2004 oration affected his 2004-9 political behavior. . . .

And finally, why not an iota of presidential follow-up when in nanoseconds Obama’s own progressive supporters returned to form and took up the old successful hate tropes? Rep. Cohen (D-TN) was soon comparing conservative opponents to Nazis in their Goebbels-like propaganda that likewise would, we were to believe, result in a Holocaust-like denial of basic human compassion. Columnists in Slate were back to the old Jonathan Chait-style (“I hate George Bush. There, I said it”) of declaring their unabashed loathing for political opponents (“Why I Loathe my Connecticut Senator”). All that was left was the reemergence from his Atlanta peace center of a smiling Jimmy Carter, quoting scripture as he might yet again remind us that the elder Bush was “effeminate,” Vice President Cheney was a “militant,” the younger Bush was the “worst” president, and Israel is an “apartheid” state.

Running dogs, I think they used to call them.

January 23, 2011

TODAY ONLY: An exercise bike sale.

January 23, 2011

THE GREAT 2010 CASHOUT: Evan Bayh becomes a hedge-fund lobbyist. Sometimes I get the feeling that our political class sees things unraveling and is trying to grab what it can, while it can. Of course, it’s pretty hard to tell that from simple unrestrained greed. . . .

January 23, 2011

I’M PRETTY SURE THAT “TARGETED INVESTMENTS” TRANSLATES AS “more taxpayer money diverted to my cronies.” I don’t think that’s what this country needs, or wants. It’s probably what Obama will offer at the State of the Union, though.

January 23, 2011

“I’M NOT A RACIST, I know people who voted for Obama.”

January 23, 2011

WITH CLIMATE BILL DEAD, Obama Faces Pressure From Greens. And, probably, pressure for green . . . .

January 23, 2011

TED KOPPEL: 30 years after the Iran hostage crisis, we’re still fighting Reagan’s war. Um, wasn’t Jimmy Carter President when the Hostage Crisis began? And if he’d taken decisive action instead of dithering, we probably wouldn’t still be fighting this war, and doing badly enough that supporters of the current Democratic President are trying to blame Reagan. Instead, Carter temporized, much as Obama has been doing on numerous fronts. I don’t remember Koppel sounding bellicose back then, but of course I was young and might have missed it.

On the other hand, I can’t help but think that to a lot of Democrats, heating things up with Iran now might seem to have short-term political benefits. It would distract people from what’s going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and, for a while, at least, in the American economy.

January 23, 2011

AMERICA’S TOP fitness model.

“A lot of times they want you to smile while you’re holding a squat for two minutes. It’s burning, and you’re trying to keep your form,” Strother says. “Sometimes you forget to smile.”

I pretty much always forget to smile during my workouts. On the other hand, I was next to Jessica Putnam on the stairclimber the other day, and she wasn’t smiling either, just sipping steadily from a gallon jug of water as she went on and on and on. But then, there were no cameras present.

January 22, 2011

VIOLENCE AND RACIAL EPITHETS TO overrun Sunday television.

January 22, 2011

BREAKING: FoxNews Hires Keith Olbermann.

January 22, 2011

SO IS THIS THE HOPE, OR THE CHANGE? Here Comes $4 Gas, $5 Cups of Coffee.

January 22, 2011

SIGH.

January 22, 2011

AT AMAZON, markdowns on business, home-office, and tax-prep software.

January 22, 2011

LASER INCIDENTS INVOLVING AIRCRAFT are on the rise.

January 22, 2011

POWER LINE: Jeffrey Immelt, Obama’s Pet CEO.

January 22, 2011

REDESIGNING the Gadsden Flag.

January 22, 2011

ROBERT HEINLEIN AND THOMAS JEFFERSON ON the real meaning of political parties.

January 22, 2011

JOHN HINDERAKER: THE LEFT’S TUCSON STRATEGY, STAGE TWO. Glenn Beck accurately quotes France Fox Piven’s calls for violence, then gets called evil when she gets “threats.”

Glenn Beck has pulled back the curtain on this disgraceful specimen by quoting her accurately. No one has identified any statements he has made about Piven that are incorrect, or claims that he has in any way threatened her. Unlike Piven, Beck is a staunch opponent of political violence. But the mis-named Center for Constitutional Rights–another Orwellian touch–thinks there is such a thing as too much free speech. They want Fox News to shut Beck up because of the “sheer quantity” of Beck’s references to Piven.

They can take anything except honest discussion.

January 22, 2011

LITTLE MISS ATTILA WILL BE A GUEST ON DATECHGUY’S RADIO SHOW, at 9 PM Eastern tonight. You can listen live right here.

January 22, 2011

IS THERE A GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS IN THE WORKS?

January 22, 2011

TEA PARTY CANDIDATE JACK KIMBALL elected to head New Hampshire GOP. And note the picture Politico chose for this story. No hidden agenda there, Politico! No, really, the agenda isn’t hidden at all . . . .

January 22, 2011

SCREENSHOT OF THE DAY, from Memeorandum.

Kinda sums up the whole “new civility” thing, doesn’t it?

UPDATE: Reader Allen S. Thorpe responds to Gail Collins: “Now if we can get through the SOTU without the President insulting the Supreme Court, . . .”

January 22, 2011

MORE NEWS THAT DOESN’T FIT THE NARRATIVE.

In September 2010 Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon was scheduled to speak at Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City.

At some point, wearing black clothes and a bullet-proof vest, 22 year-old Casey Brezik bolted out of a classroom, knife in hand, and slashed the throat of a dean. As he would later admit, he confused the dean with Nixon.

The story never left Kansas City. It is not hard to understand why. Knives lack the political sex appeal of guns, and even Keith Olbermann would have had a hard time turning Brezik into a Tea Partier.

Indeed, Brezik seems to have inhaled just about every noxious vapor in the left-wing miasma: environmental extremism, radical Islam, anti-capitalism, anti-Zionism and Christophobia, among others.

Read the whole thing.

January 22, 2011

BALDING MEN worry about marketability. This was all explained in The Simpsons.

January 22, 2011

THE DRESSMAKING SKILLS might have been a clue. Or, hey, maybe not.

January 22, 2011

A BLEAK OUTLOOK ON THE FUTURE, but not bleak enough?

January 22, 2011

AT AMAZON, a roundup of new cameras and camcorders.

January 22, 2011

MICHAEL MUKASEY ON the decline of the Justice Department under Eric Holder. I’m quite surprised to see this from the mild-mannered Mukasey; things must be even worse than I thought.

January 22, 2011

MORE ON what happened to the antiwar movement.

January 22, 2011

HOW TO SET UP multiple computer monitors.

January 22, 2011

VIOLENT RHETORIC: Is Chris Matthews “A Ticking Time Bomb?”

January 22, 2011

GETTING AROUND CHINA’S RARE-EARTHS CHOKEHOLD by designing motors that don’t need ‘em.

January 22, 2011

MORE ON THE DECLINE AND FALL OF BORDERS:

Borders was a major force in redefining Americans’ reading habits, selling millions of books in places where they had once been scarce and helping scores of novels to become movies and subjects of national conversation. Now, Borders faces a pool of potential customers who quickly spread culture themselves, one viral video or status update at a time.

Somebody should write a book on this phenomenon.

January 22, 2011

CASUALTIES OF OVER-REGULATION? The Phantom 15 Million: Taming unemployment starts with solving the mystery of the jobs that were supposed to have been created in the past 10 years but weren’t. Or is it illegal immigration and outsourcing? Or something else?

UPDATE: A reader emails:

I saw that National Journal story the other day (on the mysterious lack of new jobs this last decade) and it contains its own answer: Look at the graphs of investment in plant and equipment, and national job gains. The investment graph is pretty spiky, but average the (down) slope from ’99 on and it’s a good match for the jobs downslope.

We’ve been getting fewer new jobs in the US these last ten years because we’ve been investing less in plant and equipment in the US these last ten years. QED.

Presumably we’ve been investing less here because the US is no longer the best place to invest. The whys of that are left as an exercise for the student. Hints: Sarbanes-Oxley, EPA, OSHA, roving packs of feral lawyers (no offense), ever lousier schools, an ever more uncertain tax regime… And we’re shocked – shocked, I say – that structural unemployment here is rising to European levels.

No offense taken.

January 22, 2011

AS PEOPLE LOOK AT BUDGET CRISES, these thoughts on “shared sacrifice” from 2008 are worth noting.

January 22, 2011

OWEN BRENNAN’S Keith Olbermann prediction seems to have been pretty close.

January 22, 2011

IN THE MAIL: The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr.

January 22, 2011

LAW SCHOOL BUBBLE BURSTING? LSAT Test-Takers Down 10%, Law School Applications Down 12%. I suspect that potential applicants are beginning to react to the stories of law-school grads with heavy debt and no jobs.

Or maybe they’re seeing things like this.

January 22, 2011

UPGRADING THE WORLD: Andrew Klavan reviews Jane McGonigal’s Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.

January 22, 2011

ALAN BOYLE: Don’t get too scared by this California Superstorm talk. “We don’t really have to wait until 2012 for a wakeup call on the threats posed by severe storms: All you have to do is look at what’s been happening in Australia and Brazil this month.” If that’s supposed to make me feel better, it’s not working.

January 22, 2011

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Did Obama dye his gray hair away? Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

January 22, 2011

TODAY ONLY: A sale on the Sony Dash Personal Internet Viewer. Like a poor man’s iPad? Well, sorta I guess. Anyway, it’s a lot cheaper.

UPDATE: Reader Tim Gee emails: “We gave our 13 yo son a Chumby a few years ago. He listens to it every night, and has had fun using and trying out all the widgets. I’ve just ordered the Sony Dash for his birthday as an upgrade — thanks for the heads up.”

January 22, 2011

“POLITICS:” ProPublica: Why a Gruesome Pennsylvania Abortion Clinic Had Not Been Inspected for 17 Years.

According to the grand jury report [2][PDF] released this week by Philadelphia prosecutors, Pennsylvania health officials deliberately chose not to enforce laws to ensure that abortion clinics provide the same level of care as other medical service providers. . . .

The grand jury report said that one look at the place would have detected the problems, but the Pennsylvania Department of Health hadn’t inspected the place since 1993. Here’s the grand jury report, in surprisingly strong language:

The Pennsylvania Department of Health abruptly decided, for political reasons, to stop inspecting abortion clinics at all. The politics in question were not anti-abortion, but pro. With the change of administration from Governor Casey to Governor Ridge, officials concluded that inspections would be “putting a barrier up to women” seeking abortions.

“Even nail salons in Pennsylvania are monitored more closely for client safety,” the report states. “Without regular inspections, providers like Gosnell continue to operate; unlawful and dangerous third-trimester abortions go undetected; and many women, especially poor women, suffer.”

I’m surprised to see the lefty outfit ProPublica pick up on this.

January 22, 2011

JOURNALISM: Washington Post Organizes News Boycott of Sarah Palin; Starts Twitter Campaign Against GOP Star.

January 22, 2011

JESSE WALKER: Unpacking Jared Lee Loughner: If you’re the Southern Poverty Law Center, the media will mistake your guesses for gold. Even when they turn out to be crap later.

January 22, 2011

THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARING TAMPON BRAND. “Drugstore shelves have been mysteriously empty of o.b. nonapplicator tampons since late fall, leaving the feminine hygiene product’s devotees puzzled and peeved. The popular product is in such short supply that eBay users are bidding up to $76 for three packs, which usually sell for just $8.79 a pack.” This reminds me of the Seinfeld “spongeworthy” episode. Well, sort of.

January 22, 2011

A. BARTON HINKLE: CIVILITY IS NICE, NONVIOLENCE IS BETTER:

The frenzy surrounding Jared Loughner’s rampage in Tucson this month has finally died down. As tempers cool, perhaps distance could turn reflection toward some bigger questions. Many Republicans and Democrats have lamented the frequency of violent rhetoric in politics. Fewer seem to have regrets about the actual use of violence itself.

I’m not referring here to death threats, terrorism, assassination attempts, and similar heinous acts. Nobody considers those violent deeds by non-state actors legitimate. But what about violence by the state? Liberals and conservatives alike often embrace it as a means to an end they desire. . . . The debate over the size and scope of government, then, is an argument over when to use violence to change things and circumstances consensual activity cannot. . . .. Force is sometimes necessary. We must have police and courts and national defense and environmental protection and so on. But government at all levels does much more nowadays than is strictly necessary, because both liberals and conservatives delight in using it to make other people do what they would not do through mutual consent.

In the wake of the butchery in Tucson, it has been nice to hear many people say we should not speak so well of violence. It would be even nicer to hear more say we should not vote for it quite so often, either.

Read the whole thing.

January 22, 2011

USAID MONEY: Part of our national security budget.

January 22, 2011

TONY BLAIR ON IRAQ; Stop with the whining apologies, you pathetic wimps. “Be sure to spend a few minutes watching the video in the Guardian’s report. Blair responds with barely-concealed disdain to the notion that he hid his policy decisions from his cabinet, almost laughing aloud at one point.”

January 22, 2011

LISA MURKOWSKI proves the Alaska Tea Party right.

January 22, 2011

IN THE BOSTON GLOBE: Mike Stopa: The Reality of “Death Panels:” ObamaCare’s end-of-life planning comes down to economics.

January 21, 2011

PROF. JACOBSON: If “she can’t win” is the means by which one of the candidates wins the Republican nomination, then we can’t win either.

January 21, 2011

THIS IS OLD NEWS TO INSTAPUNDIT READERS: New Hampshire GOP Faces Tea Party Takeover? It won’t just be New Hampshire, either, I suspect.