Archive for February, 2011

February 27, 2011

MICHAEL BARONE: Voting For The National Interest, Not Self-Interest.

The recoil in 2010 against the Obama Democrats’ vast expansion of the size and scope of government seems to have a cultural or a moral dimension as well. It was a vote, as my Washington Examiner colleague Timothy P. Carney wrote last week, expressing “anger at those unfairly getting rich — at the taxpayer’s expense.”

Those include well-connected Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs that got bailed out and giant corporations like General Electric that shape legislation so they can profit. They include the public employee unions who have bribed politicians to grant them pensions and benefits unavailable to most Americans.

A government intertwined with the private sector inevitably picks winners and losers. It allows well-positioned insiders to game the system for private gain. It bails out the improvident and sticks those who made prudent decisions with the bill.

Modest-income Americans think this is wrong. They want it fixed more than they want a few more bucks in their paychecks.

Traditionally, most Americans have opposed crony capitalism and corruption. But people in Washington have tended to misunderstand what’s behind this, interpreting it as a negotiating strategy rather than a values question.

February 27, 2011

BEWARE OF Food-Related Injuries.

February 27, 2011

PROTESTS IN CHINA: “Large numbers of police – and new tactics like shrill whistles and street cleaning trucks – squelched overt protests in China for a second Sunday in a row after more calls for peaceful gatherings modeled on recent democratic movements in the Middle East.”

February 27, 2011

VIRGINIA POSTREL: How to make the Oscars less boring.

February 27, 2011

THE HILL: Libyan turmoil, $100 per barrel oil fuel Republican drilling push on Capitol Hill.

Related: Interior officials won’t offer timeline for issuing offshore drilling permits.

February 27, 2011

AT AMAZON, up to 50% off in Sports & Outdoors.

Also, markdowns in Exercise & Fitness.

February 27, 2011

CLAYTON CRAMER ON HARRY REID’S CAMPAIGN TO END PROSTITUTION IN NEVADA: “Remember when people called Harry Reid’s opponent a crazy right-wing religious fanatic? Now Senator Reid says that Nevada should prohibit prostitution in the rural counties that still allow it — and his reasoning makes me wonder who is paying him to push this. . . . What always causes me to shake my head in disbelief is how strongly the Democratic Party imagines Republicans as a bunch of Puritans about to sew scarlet letters on the clothes of today’s Hester Prynnes. I can see a legitimate argument about whether prostitution should be legal. What I can’t see is why one of the most prominent leaders of the Democratic Party is making this argument — and making it on such astonishingly moralistic grounds.”

February 27, 2011

FRIENDS OF ANGELO IN HIGH PLACES: Angelo Mozilo Skates. And there’s more: “Most of the other Wall Street bigwigs whose firms took unconscionable risks — risks that nearly brought the global financial system to its knees — aren’t even on Justice’s radar screen. Nor has there been a single indictment against any top executive at a subprime lender. The only two people on Wall Street to have been prosecuted for their roles in the crisis are a pair of minor Bear Stearns executives, Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, whose internal hedge fund, stuffed with triple-A mortgage-backed paper, collapsed in the summer of 2007, an event that anticipated the crisis.” Well we know — some of — the people who got bargain loans from Countrywide as “Friends Of Angelo.” And we know who Wall Street gave money to in record amounts in 2008. So no big surprise here.

UPDATE: Reader Michael Harlow writes: “They told me if I voted for McCain, Wall Street millionaires who caused the financial crisis would get off scot-free, and they were right!”

February 27, 2011

TEN WAYS rising oil prices endanger the U.S. recovery. Such as it is.

February 27, 2011

SOBRIETY, LIKE TAXES, IS FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Former President of MADD Arrested For DUI. I thought maybe this was a case of defining intoxication down to catch even social drinkers, but blowing a .239 on a breathalyzer is more serious than that . . . .

UPDATE: Reader John Bade points out that this is just a local story, really, and he’s right — she’s the former President of a chapter, not the national organization. “Any large organization is going to have hypocrites and backsliders. In my opinion It’s when they get through their organization’s vetting process to high levels of national leadership that they become legitimate targets for national news stories.” True enough.

February 27, 2011

ERIC SCHEIE: Breaking The Narratives That Enslave Us.

February 27, 2011

CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS: The administration’s pathetic, dithering response to the Arab uprisings has been both cynical and naive.

I think what we’re seeing is a sort of John Birmingham-lite scenario. In Birmingham’s page-turner books Without Warning and After America, the mysterious disappearance of most of the United States causes all sorts of economic and security chaos to unfold, once America is no longer there to keep the lid on things.

Whether deliberately or accidentally, the Obama Administration has substantially reduced the United States’ military and economic leverage over the past couple of years. The result is that we’re seeing a lot of stuff bust loose. America hasn’t vanished. We’ve just become, as Hitchens says, about as important as Switzerland.

UPDATE: The CNN folks just emailed me a transcript from Candy Crowley’s State of the Union, — sorry, not online yet — but here’s a key bit from John McCain:

CROWLEY: You sound slightly critical, if I’m reading between the lines, of the Obama administration kind of holding back on its criticism of Libya, administration officials tell us because they were worried that Americans in Libya would be taken hostage or worse.

MCCAIN: Well, the British prime minister and the French president and others were not hesitant and they have citizens in that country.

America leads. America is — here we’ve been to these countries and every place we go they are looking to America for leadership, for assistance, for moral support and ratification of the sacrifices they have made in defense of democracy. America should lead.

The president should reverse the terrible decision he made in 2009 to not support the demonstrators in Tehran. Stand up for democracy in Iran and tell those people that we are with them. And that should be true not only throughout the Arab countries but as far as china and other parts of the world as well.

Emphasis added. Looking, but not finding.

February 27, 2011

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: Make the federal government as innocuous as possible.

February 27, 2011

I BOUGHT SOME DELICIOUS MILK YESTERDAY from Cruze Farm Dairies in Knoxville. Here’s a thought for you disaster-prep people — if we really face a disaster that introduces big and lasting disruptions into transport and the economy, wouldn’t it be nice to have people producing food somewhere close by? Not a reason to bankrupt yourself buying only “locavore” food, but something to think about.

February 27, 2011

MESSAGE TO CHRIS MATTHEWS: You’re next.

Better listen to Jerry Springer before it’s too late.

February 26, 2011

WHO TO TRUST? “Benjamin Barber, who only resigned this week from the Qadaffi Foundation and still belives Saif Gadaffi could be a saviour of his country?” Or “Bush and Reagan advisor Elliot Abrams, who wants Colonel Gadaffi to go down in history as a grotesque and bloody dictator like Bokassa and Idi Amin.” Stupid Neocons. Obviously we should trust Barber!

UPDATE: Pretense And Delusion: Libya Edition. Paid pretense, it seems.

February 26, 2011

YOU KNOW, I’ve never bought a drink for a strange woman. Not now and not when I was single. That’s for suckers. Are there really men who don’t know this? Apparently.

UPDATE: Phil Bowermaster emails:

You link to these game sites every now and then. Do you buy into their worldview?

I think it’s important for a guy not to be taken advantage of. But I find the arrogance of these game douchebags unbearable, and their contempt for the majority of the human race — virtually all men are sniveling “betas;” virtually all women are manipulative gold-digging whores — has a kind of Taliban ring to it.

Imagine the Taliban was totally focused on getting laid, rather than enforcing Sharia. I think they’d sound a lot like these guys.

The “game” stuff pretty much is for douchebags, or at least the otherwise hopeless. It involves taking the sophisticated approach that someone with actual interpersonal skills might employ, and boiling it down to a set of simplified rules that produce a sort of cartoon version — much as you might boil down social interactions into rules for an autistic person; the result is better than nothing, but not the real thing. But although it’s a cartoon — and focused largely on picking up women in bars, a fairly limited and artificial environment to begin with — the simplification process does reveal things that might otherwise be obscured or ignored. And it’s interesting to see some of these insights going mainstream. (The other thing you learn from perusing some of these sites is just how much some men need the help. And I’m not sorry to see them get it.)

The Taliban are about cartoonishly oversimplified rules of a different sort, but hey — if we could get them to start cruising singles’ bars instead of dynamiting them, that would be progress. As with all the Islamist fanatics, much of their energy comes from blocked and distorted sexual impulses, after all.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Some surprisingly non-profane thoughts from Ace. And reader Anthony Argyriou writes: “I’ll cop to having bought drinks for strange women, but only after I was already dating them.” Heh.

MORE: Reader Jeff Younger emails:

You’re uncharitable towards “game” and PUAs. You shouldn’t be. Here’s why:

* Boys aren’t taught basic social skills, because they lack males to teach them.
* Most boys are raised by divorced women with an axe to grind against men. These women teach boys to be the perfect romance novel, self-sacrificial clod. They teach boys to put women on a pedestal.
* “Game” fills the avuncular void and educates young men about how modern women really are: hypergamous.
* Every new skill is broken down into rules, at first. You progressively gain judgement until you become prudent, and then you know how and how to apply and break the rules to achieve a good outcome. There’s nothing wrong with teaching rules to learn successful social behavior.

Well, I thought that was more or less what I said, but all of this is basically right. It’s a second-best solution, but much of the world runs on second-best solutions.

February 26, 2011

AN L.A. TIMES EDITORIAL ON the public-pension crisis:

Many state and local government employees have been promised pensions that the public couldn’t have afforded even had there been no crash. . . . The commission is right about the importance of reducing the liabilities posed by current employees. And though picking a fight with unions over unilateral reductions in pensions probably isn’t the solution, the report should persuade both sides to do more at the negotiating table to prevent pension costs from swamping state and local budgets. As the commission notes, public employees in California enjoy some of the most generous pension plans in the country. Those plans won’t do them much good, however, if their employer can’t afford to keep them on the payroll.

Read the whole thing.

February 26, 2011

WELL, THIS ISN’T THE “HOPE,” SO I GUESS IT’S THE “CHANGE:” Analysis: Oil prices could be game-changer for world economy. “Soaring oil prices are reaching levels that could threaten to brake improving but tentative global economic recovery, with an outside chance of a new recession or that most destructive of conditions, stagflation.”

February 26, 2011

MISERABLE FAILURE? Prof. Jacobson: 50-State Union Protest Falls Far Short Of Predicted Turnout.

UPDATE: Dems Left Red-Faced; Protesters Fail to Materialize at National MoveOn Rallies.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Troy Hinrichs emails: “It seems that unless government workers get a paid day off (from us) they’re not too interested in taking their unpaid days off to protest.”

MORE: DaTechGuy notes that it’s all about maintaining the fiction.

February 26, 2011

THE POLITICAL ECONOMY of government-employee unions.

February 26, 2011

WISCONSIN FUGITIVE SENATOR UPDATE: Hundreds Turn Out for Recall Senator Wirch Rally in Wisconsin.

February 26, 2011

MARKDOWNS ON bestselling power tools.

February 26, 2011

ERIC LIPTON RESPONDS, and the verdict is in. “Eric Lipton and the New York Times owe Tim Phillips, Americans For Progress and Charles and David Koch an apology, and they owe their readers a correction.”

UPDATE: A reader emails:

The story of a NYT reporter bastardizing statements made by a conservative is an excellent example of why cell phone cameras, digital recorders and the like are necessary instruments for any conservative in the public light. There should be a record of everything so that the truth has a chance to embarrass the S.O.B.s. The Army of Davids can’t travel without today’s version of a slingshot with which to repel the Goliaths.

The reporter makes it a point that he doesn’t record his own interviews. How convenient! It’s as if he wants to create no record, no paper trail, no evidence of actual malice. That’s fine. But now that the ground rules are abundantly clear conservatives must do some heavy lifting of their own.

To all potential 2012 GOP candidates for President, listen well: Record every encounter with the press. Tape everything. And then try to push back, twice as hard, when the inevitable attacks begin.

Good advice. I had some related thoughts here.

ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails:

In this post, http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/115783/, your reader says politicians should record every encounter with the press. In fact, conservative politicians should record every moment of their day, not just encounters with the press. There is too much opportunity for misleading clips or snippets to derail a potential campaign. And more important than recording everything is keeping it. The price of storage has decreased to the point that days and days of decent resolution footage can be stored for little money. I own multi-drive NAS that can store a few thousand hours of 720p video. The cost was less than $2500 with the drives. Campaigns by conservatives will need to be able to fight the active opposition they can expect from the news media, and there is no better way of doing so than with video.

BTW, I work in the news bureau of a major international/financial news service. The comments I have heard are astounding. The only saving grace is that since I work with financial journalists, there are several libertarians/conservatives in the mix. Sadly though, there are none in the regular news units.

Please do not use my name if you decide to publish this.

I understand.

February 26, 2011

THE CHANGING FACE OF FAME: Comparing modern stars with stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age: “There seem to be two correlated trends here: 1) more feminine features for both males and females, and 2) more youthful features for both males and females.”

February 26, 2011

RADIO NEW ZEALAND: Quake Death Toll Stands at 146; Expected To Rise.

February 26, 2011

SOMEBODY SHOULD HAVE SHOT MUGABE YEARS AGO: Zimbabwe Prof Arrested, Tortured for Watching Viral Vids. And plenty of Zimbabweans know where the people who arrested him live. They should do something about it. Rule-of-law concerns don’t apply in a murderous dictatorship, which Zimbabwe’s certainly is.

UPDATE: M. Simon emails:

I do agree with you but it causes problems “after”. Look at France’s post WW2 with governments changing every year or less because of the loss of rule of law caused by guerrilla warfare. It also explains why Franco was so good for Spain long term. It was still suffering from Wellington’s Peninsula Campaign 120 years later.

May I suggest reading B.H.L. Hart’s “Strategy” (a classic in the field and recommended reading for every member of the military from E-1 up) on the problems of irregular warfare. I re-read the book every year.

I read that back in high school. But yeah, it’s dangerous medicine, only applicable in extremis. But Zimbabwe is really sick, and has been for a long, long time. If it doesn’t justify guerrilla resistance, not much would.

February 26, 2011

AT AMAZON, markdowns on multitools. Leatherman, Gerber, and more.

UPDATE: Just hope you never have to use your Leatherman for an emergency amputation.

February 26, 2011

WHAT ABOUT BRINGING DEMOCRACY TO IRAN? Report: Iranian democracy leaders Mousavi & Karoubi taken to secret prison.

February 26, 2011

PJTV: Sheriff Joe Arpaio at the Tea Party Summit.

Also, Tim Pawlenty: The Government Is Too Damned Big, and the Obama Administration Is Incoherent.

February 26, 2011

EUGENE VOLOKH: Thugs Win Again. We would, of course, be better off in a society without thuggery. However, so long as thuggery is rewarded — and at the moment, it pretty clearly is — many people who would otherwise avoid thuggery will choose to engage in it, because the incentives point that way. I have been warning of this phenomenon for a while, but I predict that it will change only when we start to see thuggery emanating from groups whose thuggish behavior tends to threaten, rather than entrench, the position of those establishing the incentives. In that sense, this may be a mildly hopeful sign . . . .

February 26, 2011

TEA PARTY SCRUTINY: Each member of Congress to get a dedicated blogger.

February 26, 2011

LOS ANGELES MAYOR VILLARAIGOSA: Hey, maybe building a fence to keep people out isn’t such a bad idea.

February 26, 2011

ROBERT SHIBLEY: The Greek Tragedy of Campus Censorship.

February 26, 2011

RADLEY BALKO: Obama’s War On Whistleblowers. Even Glenn Greenwald is incensed. Well, they told me if I voted Republican we’d see rampant coverups involving cronyism and corruption — and they were right! Again.

UPDATE: Message to Greenwald: You reap what you sow.

February 26, 2011

SO LAST NIGHT my brother Brad’s band Copper, which has been on hiatus for a while, put on a new show at the Valarium as they gear up again. My other brother Jonathan came down, and we went — along with my sister Katy — for a family musical reunion. (All pics taken with the Lumix –the old one, not the new one. I took the old one because a rock club is a high-threat environment for cameras. . . .)

A rare appearance by all three Reynolds Brothers at once:

Brad hasn’t lost his rock & roll moves:

And a good time was had by all.

For those unfortunates who weren’t there, here’s a song. It’s one of my favorites, and not just because of the cool bass-solo intro by my brother.

UPDATE: Reader Light Maleski emails: “I just bought their latest album. The kicker was the youtube video you posted. Perhaps you could post their MySpace page which has more music to listen to, after which I went to their website and bought the CD. I’ve been reading you for a decade, but this is the first I’ve bought or even really listened to music from Copper. They have a great sound.” Yes, they do. Here’s the MySpace link.

February 26, 2011

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Three Law Schools Freeze Tuition. Put this together with Sewanee’s tuition cut, and I wonder if we’re seeing an upper limit on pricing here.

February 26, 2011

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Impact of Earmark Ban Already Being Felt:

When House Republicans were searching for cuts to offer Senate Democrats as part of a temporary spending plan to avert a government shutdown, they were able to reach into accounts set aside for earmarks and find nearly $2.8 billion that would have previously gone to water projects, transit programs and construction programs. No earmarks, no need for that money, and the threat of an imminent shutdown was eased.

Lawmakers said the absence of earmarks also allowed for a more freewheeling debate on the House floor during consideration of the Republican plan to slash $61 billion from this year’s budget since Democrats and Republicans were not caught up in protecting the special provisions they had worked so hard to tuck into the spending bill.

“This is a completely new experience, and a good one,” said Representative Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who had lost scores of attempts on the House floor to strip earmarks from spending bills.

While spending on earmarks is a tiny portion of the budget, critics like Mr. Flake and Mr. Boehner said they played an insidious role in pushing up federal spending through what is known in legislative terms as logrolling. . . .

Top members of the Appropriations Committee might, for instance, grant a lawmaker’s request for a few million dollars for an important project back home. That lawmaker would then be obligated to support the entire multibillion-dollar bill despite possible reservations. . . .

“You get millions for an earmark and end up voting for billions of dollars that you may oppose,” said Steve Ellis, a vice president at Taxpayers for Common Sense, a government watchdog group.

Can I just say I told you so? Because, you know, I did.

February 26, 2011

DANA MILBANK WONDERS IF THE WHITE HOUSE HAS ANY IDEAS. The Carterization proceeds apace — though, as I’ve said before, at this point a Carter rerun is the best-case scenario.

February 26, 2011

RESEARCH: Moderate alcohol consumption can prevent heart disease. “An alcoholic drink a day can help keep heart disease at bay, according to a review of 30 years of research. The work, published in the British Medical Journal, showed a 14% to 25% reduction in heart disease in moderate drinkers compared with people who had never drunk alcohol.”

February 26, 2011

A NEW WEB AD targeting those fugitive Wisconsin legislators.

February 26, 2011

IN THE MAIL: From Walter Olson, Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America.

February 26, 2011

SEX ON CAMPUS, and the implications of female hypergamy. “As just about everyone (from Dennis Prager to pickup artists) has figured out by now, women tend to want men of high status, men they look up to — literally, in terms of height, and figuratively, in terms of social standing, income, and education. If women systematically outpace men on these status markers — as they are beginning to — they will have to compete for men they deem suitable at a less-than-even ratio. There’s nothing we can do about this that I can think of, but it will not be good for marriage.”

And here’s a much longer treatment from Slate. “When attractive women will still bed you, life for young men, even those who are floundering, just isn’t so bad.”

February 26, 2011

A PERFECT STORM in undergraduate education.

February 26, 2011

EUGENE VOLOKH ON Suppression of Jury Nullification Advocates’ Speech Outside Courthouse.

February 26, 2011

UNEXPECTEDLY: GDP Growth Revised Down.

February 26, 2011

PROTECTING CONSUMER PRIVACY in an era of rapid change.

February 26, 2011

ANN ALTHOUSE: Protesters at the Wisconsin Capitol disrespectfully have taped signs on and piled junk against the Veterans Memorial. “Meade and I confront them, and we’re told we’re the first people who’ve had a problem with it. I try to explain how that attempted defense of the behavior is only going to make it look worse. It means that of all these crowds of people in the Capitol, no one else has noticed or cared enough to say anything.”

February 26, 2011

AT AMAZON, markdowns on electronics.

February 26, 2011

REASON TV ON STATE BUDGET SHOWDOWNS.

February 26, 2011

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER:

We have heard everyone — from Obama’s own debt commission to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — call the looming debt a mortal threat to the nation. We have watched Greece self-immolate. We can see the future. The only question has been: When will the country finally rouse itself?

Amazingly, the answer is now. Led by famously progressive Wisconsin — Scott Walker at the state level and Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan at the congressional level — a new generation of Republicans has looked at the debt and is crossing the Rubicon. Recklessly principled, they are putting the question to the nation: Are we a serious people?

I’m thinking, I’m thinking!

February 26, 2011

SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY: Pharmacy association can’t sue Georgia over copyright.

February 26, 2011

HOW TO CASH IN on Borders’ bankruptcy.

February 26, 2011

HOW SEA TURTLES Navigate.

February 26, 2011

FATHERS separated from their kids.

February 26, 2011

HAPPY BACON DAY! “The Iowa House has declared Feb. 26 Bacon Day in honor of ‘nature’s perfect food.’”

February 26, 2011

FUN FACT: Rep. Michael Capuano, recently seen calling for union protesters to “get a little bloody,” has a wife whose maiden name is “Teebagy.”

February 25, 2011

BANNED IN AUSTRALIA: The new Mortal Kombat release.

February 25, 2011

ERRORS AND ODDITIES on the U.S. Citizenship test.

February 25, 2011

TAXPROF: U.S. Effective Corporate Tax Rate Among Highest in World.

February 25, 2011

TWO PLANETS sharing one orbit. “Buried in the flood of data from the Kepler telescope is a planetary system unlike any seen before. Two of its apparent planets share the same orbit around their star. If the discovery is confirmed, it would bolster a theory that Earth once shared its orbit with a Mars-sized body that later crashed into it, resulting in the moon’s formation.”

February 25, 2011

BRINGING MOBILE PAYMENTS to Afghanistan.

February 25, 2011

MARKDOWNS ON Brother printers, labelers, and faxes.

February 25, 2011

POLIWOOD: What Wisconsin Unions Could Learn from Hollywood Unions. Former union officials Roger Simon and Lionel Chetwynd offer advice.

February 25, 2011

AND ABOUT TIME: State Budget Battles Herald The Return Of The Grown-Ups.

February 25, 2011

SO IT’S SEVERE WEATHER AWARENESS WEEK, and Dave Foulk was on the radio here in Knoxville encouraging people to buy one of those automatic-alert weather radios. I’ve had this model for several years. I turned the audible alerts off except for the highest-level (tornado, tsunami, etc.) and it’s worked fine, letting us know when there’s a tornado warning and not bothering us over trivia. No tsunami warnings for Knox County yet, and frankly, we’d all better hope it stays that way . . . .

February 25, 2011

STILL NOTHING from Eric Lipton.

February 25, 2011

THE SOCIAL SECURITY “TRUST FUND” MAY NOT JUST BE WORTHLESS, but actually worth less than zero.

February 25, 2011

EXPOSED AT LAST: The Koch Brothers’ Right-Wing Conspiracy to Undermine the PATRIOT Act.

February 25, 2011

SO I GOT A MESSAGE ANNOUNCING markdowns on the new Apple Macbook Pros, and, well, technically they’re marked down, but come on . . . .

February 25, 2011

THOUGHTS ON politicians and attractiveness.

February 25, 2011

HALF MACGYVER, HALF STEPHEN GREEN: How To Make A Laser From A Gin and Tonic.

February 25, 2011

UNION PROTESTERS IN TRENTON explain why Chris Christie is exactly the same as Khadafy.

February 25, 2011

“SMART DIPLOMACY:” State Dept. Chartered Boat Too Small To Evacuate Citizens Stranded In Libya. “The U.S. needed to charter a bigger boat like the Greeks’.”

So our State Department isn’t up to Greek civil-service standards? . . .

UPDATE: Reader Anthony Williams isn’t so sure:

Regarding that rescue boat: I’ve not been a fan of our State Department either, but there’s a lot less fire to that story than might appear. The boat was big enough to carry the Americans (all 167) of them, plus various other foreign nationals. The “too small” comment was made by the editor of a shipping magazine. He wondered why the ship did not leave Tripoli earlier and speculated that the captain didn’t think it could handle the rough seas. But his comment also makes it sound like the Maria Dolores should have been able to handle the seas, even if they were rough (and thus the captain was being overly cautious). Bottom line is, he doesn’t know.

There’s not enough information to say that the State Department mishandled the evacuation; maybe they did, or maybe they made the best of a bad situation. Given the usual levels of government competence, I’m just happy that we got our people out safely.

Hmm. Well, I’d rather believe we’re not inept, so . . . .

February 25, 2011

AT AMAZON, it’s the Friday Sale.

February 25, 2011

BILL WHITTLE: Take A Movie To Work.

February 25, 2011

ED DRISCOLL: Useful Idiots, Then And Now. Some of them are idiots. Some of them know exactly what they’re about.

February 25, 2011

WHEN THE STATE radicalizes people.

February 25, 2011

ANN ALTHOUSE: SHOW ME THE VIDEO OR SHUT UP: “If you don’t know the ‘exact wording,’ why do you have some words in quotes? This non-quote has gone viral in the leftosphere, the leftosphere where no one seems to mind all the violent and over-the-top language and imagery at the week-long Wisconsin protests. If you don’t have that quote, why are you spewing it out there? Maybe what hasn’t changed post-Tucson is you?”

The other thing that’s gone viral in the leftosphere is putting quotation marks around things that aren’t quotes.

UPDATE: No video, but the Secret Service interviewed the guy, matter now closed.

February 25, 2011

JAMES PETHOKOUKIS: Why A U.S. Government Shutdown Is Worth It. All of a sudden, the conventional wisdom on this seems to be shifting.

February 25, 2011

A LOOK AT Volvo’s V60 Plug-In Hybrid.

February 25, 2011

MITSUBISHI’S ELECTRIC CAR gets 4-star crash rating.

February 25, 2011

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: DNA molecular robots learn to walk in any direction along a branched track.

February 25, 2011

POLITICAL COVERAGE: Networks Skip Democratic Congressman’s Call for Union Protesters to ‘Get a Little Bloody.’ Doesn’t fit the narrative.

February 25, 2011

ANNOUNCING THE 2010 Nebula Award Finalists.

February 25, 2011

IN THE MAIL: Torch of Freedom and Much Fall of Blood.

February 25, 2011

BYRON YORK: Why The GOP Shouldn’t Fear A Government Shutdown.

Related thoughts from Bill Quick. “As I’ve said before – keep the major entitlement checks coming – SS, Medic-blah, Unemployment, and close Health, Education, Energy, BATF, and a host of other warrens of parasites, and I think the real horror will come when Democrats understand just how little the public in general cares about that stuff. They’ll be begging to surrender inside of two weeks. Hide and watch.”

February 25, 2011

JASON KUZNICKI ON THE NON-DEFENSE OF DOMA:

Liberals: If you think declining to defend DOMA is the right decision, how will you feel when a Republican administration declines to defend in a school prayer case? Or an abortion case? Or on Obamacare itself?

There are two very, very distinct issues here. One concerns gays and lesbians. The other concerns the proper relationship among the three branches of the federal government. One is about policy; the other is about procedure. Deciding a procedural question based on what it means for a one-time policy outcome is just bad governance. The questions we should be asking are — How much power would this really give the president? Is this a particularly new power? (Arguably it’s not.) And in any case, are we comfortable with the president having it, even if he or she has radically different views about policy?

When we look at it that way, there’s a near-perfect parallel to the perennial debate over the filibuster. Everyone hates it when they’re in the majority. Everyone loves it when they’re in the minority. Politics really is the mind-killer.

Well, it’s not quite the same thing, but Thomas Jefferson pardoned everyone convicted under the Sedition Acts and refunded their fines because he believed them unconstitutional, though the Supreme Court had never so held. But, as I say, this isn’t quite the same thing.

February 25, 2011

UP AND RUNNING: An earthquake early-warning system in California. Now all we need is one for the New Madrid area. . . .

February 25, 2011

VIDEO: More violent rhetoric from union protesters in Wisconsin.

February 25, 2011

TODAY ONLY: Half-price on H&R Block tax software.

February 25, 2011

WAR AGAINST PHOTOGRAPHY UPDATE: Police in Weare, NH arrest man for recording traffic stop. My message to the Weare police: What are you afraid of? Do you have something to hide? If you’re innocent, you should have nothing to fear . . . .

February 25, 2011

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Wisconsin Unions vs. The Tea Party: A Classic Double Standard. As James Taranto said the other day, all the lies the press recited about the Tea Party being violent, racist, homophobic, etc. actually describe what’s been going on in these labor protests — only when it actually happens on the left, it’s not reported. That’s only for when it’s imagined to happen on the right.

Of course, many journalists are union members themselves.

February 25, 2011

JENNIFER RUBIN EXPLAINS how Young Ezra Klein was snookered on voter ID.

February 25, 2011

CNBC: Has MERS captured the government? “Economists use the phrase ‘regulatory capture’ to describe this dynamic. But that’s a misnomer. It implies that at some point regulations and regulators were free and had to be captured. In fact, they are typically born captives, remain captive, and die captive deaths.”

February 25, 2011

LEFTISTS RAGE as Gov. Walker’s budget bill passes the State Assembly.

February 25, 2011

MICHAEL GRAHAM: Labor Brute Force Rules. “The only person who had worse press coverage this week than organized labor was Moammar Gadhafi — and he had to bomb his own people to get it.” And that’s even though the press has soft-pedaled the violence, racism, and homophobia demonstrated at the labor protests in a way it would never have done if, say, the Tea Party were involved. Of course, more journalists are union members than Tea Partiers, I suspect.

February 25, 2011

GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE GUNS. No, really. Just visit Regis Giles’ GirlsJustWannaHaveGuns.com.

February 25, 2011

HEY, SO ARE WE: “Iraqis are fed up with cronyism, corruption, and graft.”

February 25, 2011

AT THE EPICENTER of the New Zealand earthquake.