Archive for August, 2011

August 31, 2011

THE USUAL OBAMA GOLDEN TOUCH: Solyndra to Declare Bankruptcy: President Obama touted the facility only a year ago. “Solyndra, a major manufacturer of solar technology in Fremont, has shut its doors, according to employees at the campus. . . . Solyndra was touted by the Obama administration as a prime example of how green technology could deliver jobs. The President visited the facility in May of last year and said ‘it is just a testament to American ingenuity and dynamism and the fact that we continue to have the best universities in the world, the best technology in the world, and most importantly the best workers in the world. And you guys all represent that.’ The federal government offered $535 million in low cost loan guarantees from the Department of Energy. NBC Bay Area has contacted the White House asking for a statement.”

August 31, 2011

JAMES JESUS ANGLETON ON who killed the Iranian nuclear scientists.

August 31, 2011

HE’S GETTING KIND OF PISSY, ISN’T HE? Minutes after his Sept. 8 address to Congress is set, Obama bashes both houses. “This evening’s email is likely revealing of the strategy this White House intends to follow for the 2012 presidential election, blaming Congress for what hasn’t happened in the economy and employment sectors.”

As a campaign slogan, don’t blame me, it’s their fault doesn’t inspire. Plus this: “Other than the chief executive’s threats and the lousy job performance review of both parties, it looks like Obama and Congress are in for a really nice working relationship in coming months.”

August 31, 2011

AMERICA GIVES CHINA a mineral monopoly. “Complaints from the Congo are growing about the U.S. legislation intended to stop illegal mineral sales. The Dodd-Frank bill (also called the Obama Law) has a clause that prohibits the sale of so-called conflict minerals may have been well-intentioned but it was not well-thought out. Rather than run the risk of buying any minerals that might have been smuggled from the Congo, many major mining companies are simply refusing to buy minerals from central Africa. The result is a de facto embargo. There are few buyers for Congo’s valuable minerals, especially tantalum and tungsten which have many hi-tech uses. This has damaged the Congo’s economy, because the nation relies on mineral exports. According to some sources, China, which does not have to meet Dodd-Frank standards, is snapping up many minerals at very cheap prices.” More like a monopsony, really.

August 31, 2011

THE “COLD CREEPINESS” OF FLUORESCENT BULBS. The newer ones aren’t as good as incandescents, but they’re not as bad as the old ones. On the other hand, they don’t last anything like as long as promised, and they’re expensive.

August 31, 2011

IGNORE THEM — LOOK AT ME! Obama schedules jobs address to coincide with GOP 2012 debate. It’ll be embarrassing for him, though, if his ratings come in lower.

Which is why he might want to take up Boehner’s suggestion instead. He’s got more to lose in that department than the GOP does. If a president outdraws a political debate, it’s no big deal. If a political debate outdraws the President, though . . . .

UPDATE: Peace In Our Time: Obama To Address Congress On Jobs The Day After GOP Debate. Somebody smarter than Obama must have figured the angles on this and realized a Wednesday address was a no-win proposition.

August 31, 2011

WHY YOUR SMARTPHONE WILL BECOME YOUR in-car Infotainment system.

August 31, 2011

GIRL USES GADGET BLOG to make fun of nerds. That plays badly.

August 31, 2011

AT AMAZON, bestsellers in power tools.

August 31, 2011

GREAT: Measles Resurgent Due To Fear Of Vaccination. Unfounded fear, that is.

August 31, 2011

HURRICANE IRENE: “It makes you think a lot about physics.” “It’s just water, earth, and gravity … a combination of an astonishing amount of rain, steeply sloped hillsides, and ground that was more-or-less completely saturated even before the storm hit. To give you an idea of how much water we’re talking about, take another look at that video of the stream behind our house. This little brook — much too small to even have a name — would, ordinarily, in late August, have a trickle of water in it, at most. The watershed that feeds it covers an area of around 5 square miles — one of thousands of such little watersheds feeding into little streams in southern Vermont (all of which feed larger streams, which feed larger streams, etc.). Five square miles is about 22 billion square inches. Eight inches of rain (which is about what we got) falling on that one little watershed makes for around 175 billion cubic inches (around 100 million cubic feet) of water. All of that water has to make its way behind our house.”

August 31, 2011

ASKING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Should A Man Always Pay For A Date?

August 31, 2011

ETHANOL: Vonore biomass plant could go commercial as switchgrass gains ground.

August 31, 2011

A DECEPTIVE PRESS REPORT ON A NONEXISTENT “MUSLIM HEADSCARF BAN” THAT WAS ACTUALLY A SAFETY BAN ON ALL HEADGEAR: “I’d say they were the opposite of an easy target. It was, in fact, very difficult to hold them to a rule that applies to everyone. They demanded a special exception, caused a scene when the didn’t get it, extracted refunds, and brought some terrible press to the park and the police.”

They should be ashamed, and so should the New York Daily News.

August 31, 2011

BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER: A profile of Tim Ferriss and The Four-Hour Body.

August 31, 2011

WIDOWED? A To-Do List For The Surviving Spouse.

August 31, 2011

AT AMAZON, bestsellers in comics and graphic novels.

August 31, 2011

FASTER, PLEASE: Measles Virus May Be Let Loose Against Cancer Cells.

August 31, 2011

NOBODY PROMISED IT’D BE PRETTY: Courts Uphold Right To Video Police, New Mexico Officer Makes Us Wonder If We Should.

August 31, 2011

THOUGHTS ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND TITLE IX.

August 31, 2011

BEWARE THE “ORGASM CURSE?” Ladies, Be Prepared To Fall In Love If You Have Sex. Especially in James Bond films . . . .

August 31, 2011

PRIVACY? Ohio Paper Outs CCW-Holding Politicians. “On the plus side, the article does highlight the clear double standard whereby some politicians want the right to carry in public meetings, many of which are designated off limits to concealed weapons. They want to be like you and me, only better. Or safer.”

August 31, 2011

RE-ELECTION PROSPECTS: How Do Barack Obama’s Chances Stack Up Next To Herbert Hoover’s? “Do we think that Obama is going to be running on either the stimulus, or the health care bill, in 2012?”

August 31, 2011

ELECTRIC CAR UPDATE: Analyst says limits on batteries mean electric vehicles are doomed.

August 31, 2011

GEE, WHO COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING? Many Mock Kansas State’s Environmental Mascot.

August 31, 2011

SPACE AGENCIES set two courses.

August 31, 2011

RONNIE SCHREIBER: Charles Kettering Liberated Women More Than Betty Friedan & Gloria Steinem.

August 31, 2011

IN THE MAIL: From David Drake & John Lambshead, Into the Hinterlands.

August 31, 2011

NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: First direct measurement of force generated by an individual synthetic molecular machine.

August 31, 2011

PERSONALLY, I BLAME RACISM: Why Is Darryl Hannah protesting against Ethical Oil at the White House?

August 31, 2011

INTERNAL FRICTION:

It turns out that President Obama much-exalted “green” jobs initiative is having a hard time getting off the ground in large part due to the federal government’s own extensive regime of regulatory red tape. Investor’s Business Daily reports that a number of internal reports have shown that certain federal regulations, many of them championed by labor and environmental groups, are thwarting efforts at the state level to create these “clean tech” jobs. (Ironically, these groups are some of the biggest supporters of Obama’s green agenda.)

Oft evil will shall evil mar.

August 31, 2011

HAPPY ENDING: Massage Parlor Mistrial Declared After Masseuse Recognizes Defense Lawyer as Client.

August 31, 2011

RELIGIOUS BURIAL PRACTICES: “A green alternative to cremation… dissolving the body in heated alkaline water.”

August 31, 2011

IN THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, NICK SCHULZ reviews Sonia Arrison’s new book, 100 Plus: How The Coming Age Of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith.

August 31, 2011

EUGENE VOLOKH: $60,000 Damages for Blogging the Truth About Someone, Intending to Get the Person Fired. “I’m told that an appeal is forthcoming, and I hope the decision is reversed on appeal.”

August 31, 2011

NOW OUT: Michael Totten’s new book, In the Wake of the Surge. If you like his work, show your support and buy a copy!

August 31, 2011

BRYAN PRESTON ON THE GIBSON RAIDS: Is It Really That Simple?

August 31, 2011

NO WONDER THEY CAN’T FIND KHADDAFY!

August 31, 2011

EMAIL OF THE DAY:

I work for Karen Anderson, Poul Anderson’s widow, as assistant, chief cook, bottle washer, computer geek and, lately, Kindle content creator. We are going to be trying to get Poul’s entire backlist up as I get them converted, and the first one – “Call Me Joe” – went live over the weekend. That’s the one that contains the immortal line “I’ve yet to see any problem, however complicated, which when you looked at it the right way didn’t become still more complicated.” This edition has the original Kelly Freas Cover from Astounding in 1957 and all four of Kelly’s interior illustrations, and is authorized by the estates of both.

A Poul Anderson story you probably haven’t read, for 99 cents? Sounds like a deal to me.

August 31, 2011

UH OH: NASA fears leaving space station unmanned. “The possible first-ever evacuation of the International Space Station, if a Russian spacecraft is not launched in November, would risk the loss of the orbiting lab, a NASA official has warned.” Hmm. If the ISS goes all Skylab on us, it’ll just be another Jimmy Carter parallel. . . .

August 31, 2011

MICKEY KAUS: Alan Krueger’s Union Heresy.

August 31, 2011

JERRY POURNELLE: DESPAIR IS A SIN: “I do not warn you of a future you cannot avoid. On the other hand I have for forty years warned that we are approaching a precipice, and yet we continue to move toward it. Sometimes I get discouraged.”

August 31, 2011

MORE ON Warren Buffett’s Tax Hypocrisy.

August 31, 2011

BILL DYER: Yes, Rick Perry Flew Jets In The U.S. Air Force.

August 31, 2011

WASHINGTON EXAMINER: New Warning Bells In Operation Fast And Furious Probe.

A bruised and battered veteran of the U.S. Civil Service explained how the government silences whistleblowers and other uncooperative employees: “They give you a big promotion, a fancy title and a new office, but no staff and nothing to do. Then they tell you to watch the flagpole in front of headquarters and, if that flag moves, you come tell us immediately. After that, you’re never heard from again.” Whistleblowers in the Washington bureaucracy come in all ideological stripes, but the one thing they almost invariably have in common is being subjected to this treatment. Some stick to their guns and alert the public to a problem in government, but most are bored into submission.

Kenneth Melson, the now former acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at the center of the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, appears to be getting the treatment now.

It does look suspicious.

August 31, 2011

HIGHER EDUCATION POLITICS: Fund Raising for Iowa State’s Harkin Institute Draws Criticism. “According to the Associated Press, the donations include $150,000 from MidAmerican Energy and $100,000 from the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, both of which lobby the U.S. Senate. But the initial donations have fallen short of what the university said last spring it expected to receive for the Harkin Institute for Public Policy, which will house Senator Harkin’s papers and conduct research. Meanwhile, Iowa Republicans have criticized the notion of honoring a politician while he is still in office, and questioned whether research at institute would be biased.” So, possibly corrupt, but certainly disappointing. Quite appropriate for Harkin’s legacy. . . .

August 31, 2011

BANG: New Mexico Governor Gets Perfect Score On Her Concealed-Carry Permit. “New Mexico’s pistol-packin’ governor is a sure shot. Gov. Susana Martinez received perfect scores on recertification for her concealed-carry permit over the weekend in Las Cruces. She scored 100 percent with both .38- and .45-caliber handguns, her staff said.”

August 31, 2011

INCIVILITY: Obama Targets GOP For Fall Offensive. “In this new age of civility and decorum, isn’t such military jargon sending the wrong message to the children? Well, I guess all that goes out the window when your approval rating is 38% and fading fast.”

August 31, 2011

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Highly publicized solar project delay a disappointment. “Prior also speculated Solar Trust may have been unable to nail down financing for the project, even with the $2.1 billion federal loan guarantee the company received, also in April. The company would have had to raise at least $800 million, he said.”

August 31, 2011

VIDEO: Ethical Oil. “Why would those enviros rather bankroll Saudi Arabia’s oppression of women than allow the pipeline to run through the United States?”

August 31, 2011

GOVERNMENT: How Does A Wine Monopoly Lose Money?

August 31, 2011

MICHAEL BARONE: Clarence Thomas: Liberal nightmare on Obamacare.

August 31, 2011

CHANGE: ‘Obama Clock’ climbs iPhone reference app chart.

August 31, 2011

MISJUDGING IRENE: Nature’s toll invariably recedes wherever wealth and technology advances. “The great cliché of our age is that the march of civilization is an act of hubris that invites nature’s terrible blowback. The reality is that nature’s toll invariably recedes wherever wealth and technology advance. I feel desperately sorry for the 37 people who lost their lives in the hurricane, and for their families. It’s remarkable the numbers weren’t higher. Would that all the world were as safe from nature’s fury as New York.”

August 31, 2011

THE CONFIDENCE RECESSION:

There is no way to sugarcoat this. The expectation of rotten times ahead colors purchasing and hiring decisions, leading to a further contraction of the economy. Low confidence begets low growth which in turn begets low confidence.

The president and the Democrats keep promising more spending and taxing. But that’s not a recipe to improve the outlook of investors, consumers and employers. . . The trap for many conservatives is to likewise fall into the habit of talking exclusively about budgets, debt and government spending. The missing element is growth. What should government be doing (or not doing) to promote the private sector job creation and bolster confidence? I don’t think Obama has a clue. Maybe one of the GOP presidential contenders has some ideas.

Let’s hope.

August 31, 2011

THE HILL: Perry pans Obama’s jobs policies as ‘dumb.’ “Policies from Obama that have driven the increased spending and the downgraded U.S. credit rating are what’s dumb, Perry said. He accused the president, who formerly lectured at the University of Chicago law school, of relying too much on the counsel of academics.”

Related: Politico: Perry Panic Fires Up Left. “Perry panic has spread from the conference rooms of Washington, D.C., to the coffee shops of Brooklyn, with the realization that the conservative Texan could conceivably become the 45th president of the United States, a wave of alarm centering around Perry’s drawling, small-town affect and stands on core cultural issues such as women’s rights, gun control, the death penalty, and the separation of church and state. The epidemic of lefty angst isn’t just a matter of specific Perry policies though; it goes to the heart of the liberal worldview. His smashing debut on the presidential stage suggests that the victory of an urban liberal Democrat, Barack Obama, wasn’t a step toward a more progressive nation, but just a leftward swing of an increasingly wild pendulum, now poised to rocket to the right.”

August 31, 2011

AT A.T.F., MEET THE NEW BOSS, YADA YADA. “Jones was appointed to chair the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee back in August of 2009, and was briefed in Gunwalker. According to Senator Charles Grassley’s June 15, 2011 congressional testimony attachment 4, the chair of AGAC (Jones) was a member of the Southwest Border Strategy Group and attended at least one briefing on Fast and Furious in October 2009. He appears to be complicit in the coverup, just like Melson.”

August 31, 2011

TRENDING AWAY: Rasmussen: Generic Republican Beats President Obama by Eight Points.

August 31, 2011

STANDING UP TO THE HATERS: Facebook phenom Stephen A. Burroughs announces Swagfest despite threats.

August 31, 2011

SAYUNCLE: The ATF is having a party to celebrate successfully breaking the law.

August 30, 2011

EVEN WITH CONTROVERSIAL COVERS, Newsweek Can’t Sell Magazines.

August 30, 2011

ANN ALTHOUSE: “I favor the bill myself, because people who are considering breaking into a house shouldn’t have a complicated set of risk/benefit factors to weigh. It should be really clear.”

August 30, 2011

MEDIA: NYT Shocker: ‘MSNBC Is Less a News Provider Than a Carousel of Liberal Opinion.’

August 30, 2011

OBVIOUSLY, SHE’S A RACIST: Daryl Hannah Arrested at White House. “Hannah was taking part in an ongoing protest against the unbuilt Keystone XL oil pipeline.”

August 30, 2011

ROBERT FARAGO: ATF Death Watch 66: Obama Fires Acting ATF Director Melson.

August 30, 2011

AT AMAZON, Warehouse Deals.

UPDATE: Link was bad before, fixed now. Sorry!

August 30, 2011

FUNDING STACY MCCAIN’S RETIREMENT: No Honor Among Thieves, No Curiosity Among Journalists: Perez Hilton Re-Pirates Video, CBS News Repeats Smear.

August 30, 2011

FACT CHECKING YOUR ASS: Ten Years Gone—Long Gone. Indeed.

Plus, the real breaking news: “Wonkette Is Still Online?”

August 30, 2011

UTAH TEA PARTY UPDATE: Kirkham Considering 2012 Run Against Hatch.

August 30, 2011

WHEN IS IT CLIMATE, AND WHEN IS IT WEATHER? Simple. Irene was Climate, a monster storm clearly brought about by human changes in the planet. Stories like this, on the other hand, are mere randomly-varying Weather: Parts of Britain suffer coldest summer for nearly two decades. Got it?

August 30, 2011

FORTUNATELY, WE HAVE OBAMACARE: Could Being Healthy Actually Make Your Retirement Worse?

August 30, 2011

NEW YORK CITY BANS DOGS FROM BARS. “Property rights are particularly important for protecting unpopular people and groups against persecution. In this case, however, New York City has undermined property rights in a way that harms a much wider range of people for little or no benefit. Dog ownership is extremely widespread and even many non-dog owners enjoy interacting with man’s best furry friends.”

If I owned a bar in NYC, I’d post a sign that said “No dogs or mayors allowed.”

August 30, 2011

BRIAN CUNNINGHAM WRITES ON CELLPHONES AND DISASTER-PREP:

Hey, I saw your post from yesterday that mentioned using text messaging over voice during an emergency. I wanted to point out a good example of SMS being better than voice that just happened last week: The 5.8 earthquake that hit the east coast.

When the quake reached the particular area where I work in Maryland, pretty much every cell carrier’s voice service was unavailable as everyone was jamming the system trying to call their families. Texting worked fine, however, and in only a few moments I was able to text my wife to see if all was well on the home front, and check in with other friends to see if they were OK. All while people around me were still trying to use voice calls to contact family…on phones that were SMS capable. I guess it’s a generational thing.

Well, people find hearing family members’ voices reassuring in a crisis, I guess. But that instinct certainly carries costs. We should encourage people to avoid voice and use text in disasters or other situations where the system might be overwhelmed.

August 30, 2011

JACOB SULLUM ON HOW F.I.R.E. is combating sex discrimination on campus.

August 30, 2011

PHOTOS: Irene After The Storm.

August 30, 2011

AT AMAZON, IT’S the Musical Instrument outlet sale.

August 30, 2011

MORE THOUGHTS ON the state of the publishing industry. “Piracy is work. Almost no one knocks off a cheap, easy to get legally, well-supported product. See Baen webscriptions for proof.”

Plus this: “They won’t have the money for things that add no value to the reader’s appreciation of the book. Like a NY office. I’ve broken down as best as possible on Steam Powered Cuttlefish what the vital parts (editing, proofs, covers) of publishing actually cost. Those need stay. The disposable bits… like, um, CEO’s and NY offices don’t. Guess what they’ll try and keep. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.”

August 30, 2011

TEA PARTY UPDATE: FreedomWorks to Hold First Tea Party Debt Commission Field Hearing in Salt Lake City.

August 30, 2011

FASTER, PLEASE: Patient in stem-cell treatment for MS reports improvement.

August 30, 2011

CHINA BACKING AWAY FROM electric vehicle plans: “Beijing appears to be rethinking its singular focus on electric vehicles as a way to reduce fuel consumption and seems ready to revise its alternative-energy vehicle estimates as it becomes increasingly evident that the city’s electric vehicle targets were completely unrealistic. Beijing – and in some ways, the whole of China – had set out to leapfrog conventional engine technology by developing and manufacturing huge amounts of electric vehicles. In particular, the city had hoped its push to develop plug-ins would give it an advantage over the West in electric vehicle technology. But hopes and dreams don’t always jive with reality.” Somebody tell Obama.

August 30, 2011

NEWS YOU CAN USE: Eating chocolate regularly could cut the risk of heart disease by a third, according to the largest analysis of its kind to date.

August 30, 2011

THE LATEST FAD: “Divorce Rings.” “We get that this is supposed to be an empowering thing, and maybe some women will be so excited and releaved to be free from their exes they’ll be psyched to have a piece of jewelry representing their split. But on the other hand, wearing a ring of a broken heart split by a diamond bolt might look a little nuts.” It just might.

August 30, 2011

LESSONS FROM PROPERTY VIRGINS: A Two-Tier Housing Market?

August 30, 2011

HERETIC: Being ‘hung up’ about sex isn’t so horrible.

August 30, 2011

GUNRUNNING UPDATE: Melson being bounced out of ATF? Punishing whistleblowers?

August 30, 2011

CHANGE: Another California City Joins Red Light Camera Revolt.

August 30, 2011

THE SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP between overcriminalization and plea-bargaining.

August 30, 2011

PHIL BOWERMASTER: Usain Bolt And Transparency In Sports.

August 30, 2011

DON’T MESS WITH STACY MCCAIN: Lowlife Who Pirated My Video Apologizes for Smearing Michele Bachmann. But an apology may not get him off the hook. Like a boy named Sue, a guy named Stacy has to grow up extra-tough. . . . Also, it’s worth noting that “mashup culture” or no, if you copy someone’s video and deliberately fake it, you open yourself up to a world of legal hurt.

August 30, 2011

IN THE MAIL: Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens.

August 30, 2011

REASON TV: A Conversation With Vernor Vinge.

UPDATE: Here’s an old episode of the late, lamented Glenn & Helen Show where we talk to Vinge about his then-new book Rainbows End, and Helen expresses skepticism about computer-simulated sex.

August 30, 2011

CASTRO, THE INTERNET, AND JEWS: Repression in Cuba.

August 30, 2011

HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Consumer Confidence Falls To Lowest Level Since April, 2009.

August 30, 2011

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Corruption In India: Not Finished Yet. “Taking power from those who pay bribes and giving it to those who extort them is almost never a recipe for reducing corruption.” No, but it’s always popular with the political class.

August 30, 2011

INTERVIEW: Roger Kimball On 30 Years of The New Criterion.

August 30, 2011

MARK TAPSCOTT: If demographics are destiny, 2012 could be big. Plus: “With Texas Gov. Rick Perry now the front-runner in several national polls for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, others in the mainstream media are just now beginning to report on and assess the facts about how Texas compares with other states, including California.”

August 30, 2011

WALTER OLSON: Devil’s Bargain: Wall St. And The Martin Act.

August 30, 2011

RICHARD EPSTEIN: The Perils Of Price Controls.

August 30, 2011

REPORT: Rick Perry at the VFW. “Perry and his advisers are drinking from the proverbial fire hose right now. They have to find advance men, fund-raisers, organizers and attend to a million details. But if he is going to dispel the idea that he is light in the policy department he’ll have to, well, show he’s not light in the policy department. That means setting out at least some general foreign policy views, for example, on Iran, the Russian reset, Hugo Chavez, China, Cuba and human rights.”

August 30, 2011

SUPERVILLAIN TO THE RESCUE: Steve Postrel emails:

Step 1 of my supervillain plan to save the US space program is now complete. Step 2 is to sabotage the follow-on Russian tests. Step 3 is to get NASA to evacuate the ISS. Step 4 is to blow the orbiting cash sump out of the sky with my “laser.” Step 5 is to bribe the Congress to divert all the funds that used to go into the space RV into a prize fund for private operators to go to the moon, asteroids, and Mars.

Bwa-ha-ha!

So far, so good.