September 28, 2011
HOW A FREELANCER learned to be a hustler.
HOW A FREELANCER learned to be a hustler.
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Lessons from the “Global Dissing” of Obama.
WAITING FOR THE ARCHDUKE: Reader Bill Rudersdorf writes:
I have that “waiting for a bunch of shoes to drop” feeling about the current world situation. It’s not going to be nice. It’s not going to be over quickly. It’s like the summer of 1914, but I keep wondering “Where is the Sarajevo? Who will be the Archduke?”. What we now call World War I didn’t just happen without a long run-up, but still few predicted it. This is financial, at least in part, but then again, that was at the root of the beginnings of such conflagrations as the French and Russian Revolutions, whose aftershocks are still with us. So, where will it start this time, and when?
Yeah, our political class has managed things such that we don’t have much safety margin, in a whole lot of areas.
THE REACH OF online romance scams. “New online research led by the University of Leicester reveals that over 200,000 people living in Britain may have fallen victim to online romance scams – far more than had been previously estimated. The study is believed to be the first formal academic analysis to measure the scale of this growing problem. In the ‘online romance scam’ criminals set up fake identities using stolen photographs (often of models or army officers) and pretend to develop a romantic relationship with their victim. This is often done using online dating sites and social networking sites. At some point during the relationship they pretend to be in urgent need of money and ask for help. Many victims have been persuaded to part with large sums of money before their suspicions are aroused.”
THOUGHTS ON balancing Law School and love.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: The 12 Men & Women Who Won’t Make You Happy.
USING LIGHT TO CREATE a safer, more reliable pacemaker.
WORRIES ABOUT A “China Hard Landing.”
Related: Head Of UniCredit Securities Predicts Imminent End Of The Eurozone And A Global Financial Apocalypse. Glad I unloaded those Euros. . . .
ERIC S. RAYMOND: Reconsidering Sexual Repression. “I am led to a conclusion I don’t like. That is: Sexual equality is unstable. If women can’t buy marriage with sex, they’ll have to bid submission instead. This tactic also combines well with hypergamic desire – if the mean social power of men is automatically higher than that of women, more potential pairings constitute marrying up.”
SELF-ADJUSTABLE EYEGLASS LENSES. “I asked him how many people in the world needed glasses and don’t have them. He said it was about a billion.”
WHAT COULD GO WRONG? Obama OK’s Two Solar Loans Worth $1 Billion.
FASTER, PLEASE: Lithium Silicon Batteries 8 Times More Energy Dense.
JOURNALISM: Ignoring the scandal of the century. Ignoring, covering up, whatever.
TAR AND FEATHERS SEEMING MORE APPROPRIATE: New audio: NC governor struck serious tone on suspending congressional elections. “Newly released audio contradicts the claims of Perdue’s press team that her call Tuesday for suspending Congressional election was a joke or hyperbole. In the recording, her tone is matter-of-fact and her comments are part of a serious speech.”
THE HEALTH BENEFITS of kissing.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Bring In The Engineers!
MODERN LOVE PROBLEMS (CONT’D): “My Fiancé Wants a Sex Change!”
DESPITE, BECAUSE OF, WHATEVER: Investor’s Business Daily: Despite Obama Care, Health Care Costs Continue To Soar.
UPDATE: You don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind is blowing: Former Obama Fundraiser Gloria Estefan Throws Barack Under The Bus in Favor of HERMAN CAIN!!
Related: Obama’s Top “Fat Cat” Strays: “JP Morgan honcho Jamie Dimon, once a ‘fat cat’ ally of President Obama, seems to have strayed to Republican contender Mitt Romney. Dimon, a lifelong Democrat who was rumored to be on Obama’s short list for treasury secretary before he settled on Tim Geithner, met privately with Romney on Tuesday morning before a fund-raiser at Brasserie 8¹/2 hosted by Highbridge Capital, a JPMorgan-owned hedge fund.”
WAY PAST WATERGATE: “Watergate didn’t have a body count. Gunwalker has hundreds.”
OUTLET SALE: Cellphones and Accessories.
PERHAPS SHE SHOULD SUSPEND HER RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN: Criminal Charges Expected in Investigation of NC Governor’s Campaign Expenses.
SOLARGATE UPDATE: Solyndra Said to Have Violated Terms of Its U.S. Loan.
WASHINGTON EXAMINER: A Serious Plan To Replace ObamaCare.
JERRY POURNELLE ON going faster than light.
RACIST CUPCAKES? Berkeley Erupts Over Affirmative Action Satire.
THE GIBSON GUITAR RAID: Much To Fret About. “Federal prosecutors are proving themselves too highly strung.”
SOLARGATE UPDATE: GOP lawmaker demands independent probe into Solyndra. “A Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee is calling on the White House to appoint an independent investigator to examine the administration’s decision to approve a $535 million loan guarantee for a now-bankrupt solar company. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said the Obama administration should have quickly appointed a special investigator to look into Solyndra, the failed California-based solar-panel manufacturer, after the company announced late last month it would file for bankruptcy and lay off 1,100 workers.”
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED REPUBLICAN WE’D SEE PEOPLE DYING FROM CONTAMINATED FOOD. And they were right! “Cantaloupes grown in the US state of Colorado have been linked to a outbreak of listeria monocytogenes that has killed 13 people and infected dozens more, US health authorities said Tuesday.”
BLUFF, CALLED? Warren Buffett Should Release His Tax Returns. “If Mr. Buffett’s anecdote is going to be the main political basis for rewriting the U.S. tax code, Americans have every right to know the basis for the anecdote. We called Berkshire Hathaway last week to see if Mr. Buffett would release his 2010 return, but we haven’t heard back.”
ON SALE, TODAY ONLY: The Logitech Quick-Cam Orbit, $65.67. “The Logitech QuickCam Orbit AF features motorized tracking that follows your every move, keeping you right in the middle of the picture.” Cool.
MICKEY KAUS: Why’d Ford Pull That Ad? “Poor Ford. They don’t go broke like their rivals. Then Obama White House props up and promotes those rivals. They try to point out their relative independence in an ad, which then risks turning the Obama White House into an actual enemy. But when they pull the ad it only reinforces the point that they have to suck up to the Obama White House. Corporatism’s a bitch.”
BYRON YORK: The myth of Republican unhappiness with the field. “Some Republican elites, not just members of the commentariat but also big GOP money men, are in fact unhappy with the field. But what about the voters? Is dissatisfaction with the Republican field widespread among the people who will actually decide the next GOP presidential nominee? Not really.”
Thousands of Egyptian women fought in the 18-day uprising that unseated longtime President Hosni Mubarak. They hurled stones at pro-regime attackers, delivered meals to hungry protesters, and drew global attention to the struggle through their blogs and Twitter accounts.
At least 15 women died in the uprising, according to official figures. Hundreds were wounded.
And still, complain prominent Egyptian feminists, women are being sidelined from post-Mubarak politics: their names ignored for government posts, and their divorce and custody rights threatened by a powerful new Islamist lobby.
JOHN HINDERAKER: Obama’s Scandalous Department Of Justice. “The Obama administration has been such a policy disaster that little attention has been devoted to its scandals. But scandals there are, especially in Eric Holder’s Department of Justice.”
RIGHTHAVEN UPDATE: Judge: Righthaven lacked standing, abused Copyright Act.
CHANGE: Blacks Leave Obama. “According to a Washington Post/ABC News survey, his favorability rating among African-Americans has dropped off a cliff, plunging from 83 percent five months ago to a mere 58 percent today — a drop of 25 points, a bit more than a point per week!”
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MY POPULAR MECHANICS COLUMN: Invasive Species Problem? Just Eat ‘Em! (Bumped).
HMM: “Europe’s Crisis Is Real, Ours Is Self-Inflicted.” I think Europe’s is self-inflicted, too. Running out of other people’s money.
DORITOS CREATOR DIES AT AGE 97. I think the preservatives in junk food keep you young.
COMPETENCE: Nightmare in Libya: Thousands of Surface-to-Air Missiles Unaccounted For. “The White House announced today it planned to expand a program to secure and destroy Libya’s huge stockpile of dangerous surface-to-air missiles, following an ABC News report that large numbers of them continue to be stolen from unguarded military warehouses.” A day late and a few billion dollars short.
Plus this: “Every time I arrive at one of these weapons facilities, the first thing we notice going missing is the surface-to-air missiles.”
UPDATE: A reader emails: “Do I understand correctly, that the best intel in Libya is ABC News? Dark times.”
MORE: Reader Donald Gately emails: “It’s probably nothing. I bet Eric Holder just sold them to Mexican gangs.”
Related thoughts: “They’ll turn up eventually. Around Heathrow, Sheremetyevo, Reagan National and LAX. And when they do, the question will be asked, ‘Why in the hell didn’t we blow these caches in place, when we were running around blowing the hell out of everything else?’”
“SMART DIPLOMACY:” Germany slams ‘stupid’ US plans to boost EU rescue fund. “Germany and America were on a collision course on Tuesday night over the handling of Europe’s debt crisis after Berlin savaged plans to boost the EU rescue fund as a ‘stupid idea’ and told the White House to sort out its own mess before giving gratuitous advice to others.”
LUCKILY, SHE’S NOT A REPUBLICAN SO IT’S NO BIG DEAL: Hey, Let’s Cancel The Elections! You know, there were some Bush-deranged Democrats who claimed Bush would cancel the 2008 elections, but there weren’t any high-ranking Republican officeholders saying idiotic stuff like this.
UPDATE: Democrats Oppose Democracy. “The press assures us that she was just kidding. I would modestly submit that suspending elections is not something an elected executive should kid about.”
Tar and feathers is the traditional remedy for excessive “kidding” along these lines.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Charles Austin isn’t buying the press spin: “The self-proclaimed guardians of democracy can’t lose their power soon enough.”
They’re bigger on the self-proclaiming than on the democracy-guarding.
MORE: Reader Don Noone emails:
So, the Governor of North Carolina is suggesting we suspend having elections, huh? Pollster Pat Caddell has said America is in a “pre-revolutionary” mood. Gee, I wonder why that is…
IT’S STARTING TO HURT THEM ECONOMICALLY, I SUSPECT: In China, business travelers take extreme precautions to avoid cyber-espionage.
PLENTY OF OTHER EARTHS OUT THERE: One third Of Sun-Like Stars Have Earth-Like Planets In Habitable Zone. Which only makes the Fermi Paradox more significant.
BRIAN STANLEY: EVERYTHING IS INTERESTING. “Nothing is boring, except people who are bored.”
JIM ROGERS: America’s Problems Are Worse Than Europe’s. “Europe’s got some bad problems but the entity as a whole is not nearly as deep in debt as the U.S. They don’t have a huge balance of trade deficit, like we do.”
OVERCRIMINALIZATION: As Federal Crime List Grows, Threshold of Guilt Declines.
For centuries, a bedrock principle of criminal law has held that people must know they are doing something wrong before they can be found guilty. The concept is known as mens rea, Latin for a “guilty mind.”
This legal protection is now being eroded as the U.S. federal criminal code dramatically swells. In recent decades, Congress has repeatedly crafted laws that weaken or disregard the notion of criminal intent. Today not only are there thousands more criminal laws than before, but it is easier to fall afoul of them. As a result, what once might have been considered simply a mistake is now sometimes punishable by jail time.
In my opinion, this should be regarded as a due process violation.
THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED: At last, statistics that prove a sexist stereotype… Women are worse at parking.
SUSANNAH BRESLIN: Here’s Why No One Reads Your Blog.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Report: Consumers spent less, earned less in 2010. I predict that 2011 will be an average year: Worse than 2010, but better than 2012. So, average. Hope and change!
A. BARTON HINKLE: Elizabeth Warren’s Voodoo Economics: “Perhaps, like film critic Pauline Kael, who famously didn’t know anyone who had voted for Nixon, Warren doesn’t know anyone who believes government and taxes should be small. And, therefore, perhaps she does not understand their reasoning. She certainly doesn’t give any indication that she does.”
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): Behind Closed Doors, Poverty Pervades Suburbia. “Guess where most people in poverty live? Hint: It’s not in the inner cities or rural America. It’s in the idyllic suburbs. A record 15.4 million suburban residents lived below the poverty line last year, up 11.5% from the year before, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of Census data released Thursday. That’s one-third of the nation’s poor. And their ranks are swelling fast, as jobs disappear and incomes decline amid the continued weak economy.”
MORE CRUSHING OF DISSENT: Ford Pulls Anti-Bailout Ad After White House Complaints. “Ford Motor Company has shelved a television commercial indirectly criticizing its competitors for accepting government bailouts to avoid bankruptcy in the wake of media criticism and, reportedly, a call from the White House.”
More here: “With President Barack Obama tuning his re-election campaign amid dismal economic conditions and simmering antipathy toward his stimulus spending and associated bailouts, the Ford ad carried the makings of a political liability when Team Obama can least afford yet another one. Can’t have that. The ad, pulled in response to White House questions (and, presumably, carping from rival GM), threatened to rekindle the negative (if accurate) association just when the president wants credit for their positive results (GM and Chrysler are moving forward, making money and selling vehicles) and to distance himself from any public downside of his decision. In other words, where presidential politics and automotive marketing collide — clean, green, politically correct vehicles not included — the president wins and the automaker loses because the benefit of the battle isn’t worth the cost of waging it.”
Plus this: “Gosh, if I had a reporter in the White House press corps, I’d be sure to have them ask about this. After all, this situation highlights perfectly why bailouts are so un-American. I don’t care who you are or how you felt about the bailout in the first place: at the point that the President is pressuring competitors to government-owned companies to yank truth-telling ads, you’ve got to wonder what happened to this country.”
Yeah, but asking tough questions isn’t a specialty of the White House press corps these days.
GREEN JOBS for Chinese workers? “Mullally: Ford eyeing production of electric vehicles in China.”
CNN: White House Fails Basic Geography Test. “Wyoming is highlighted, not Colorado. To be fair, both states are rectangular, nearly identical in size, and stacked next to each other. But we doubt our third grade teachers would buy that!”
RICHARD EPSTEIN: Obama’s Jobs Bill: Read It And Weep.
GLOBAL STUDY: More Youngsters Having Unsafe Sex.
FIGHTING CERVICAL CANCER with vinegar and ingenuity.
PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH: John Mearsheimer Further Beclowns Self. Film at Eleven.
HOW’S THAT HOPEY-CHANGEY STUFF WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? (CONT’D): L.A. Times: A Lasting Toll. “As the economy falters, families that lost homes and livelihoods in the Great Recession are increasingly confronting the possibility that they may never fully recover. Previous recessions have taken a lasting toll, reducing family earnings and children’s odds of academic success.”
INDEED: Mitt? Rick? Herman? How much does it matter? “I am thinking more and more that the GOP presidential candidate is a distraction. Whoever it is will be better much than Mr. Obama, so don’t worry about it. Mr. Obama makes Mitt Romney look like George Washington. So, what does matter? Making sure we have a Tea Party Congress in 2012 is the most important thing.”
PETER WEHNER: Obama’s Disquieting Heroic Fantasies.
I have written before about Obama’s deep, almost desperate, need to portray himself as the opposite of what he is, to conceive of himself in a way that is at odds with reality. We have seen it in all sorts of areas, including claiming himself to be a voice of civility, portraying himself as a champion of bi-partisanship, lecturing others about profligate spending, and saying he is the only responsible “adult” in Washington. Now we see this habit in a new arena – this time, the president as Obama the Stoic, a man so committed to “pressing on” for the cause of social justice he just doesn’t have time to feel sorry for himself. Indeed, he has now decided to sermonize to others not to complain, not to grumble, and to “stop crying.”
This is akin to John Edwards hosting a weekend seminar on the importance of marital fidelity.
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TAKING ON Space Pork.
THE FUTURE IS IN TEXAS: SpaceX’s Grasshopper to Be Latest Rocket to Fly in the Skies of Texas. “SpaceX, the commercial space company that is a participant in President Barack Obama’s commercial crew program, has acquired an experimental permit to test fly a vertical take off and landing rocket called the Grasshopper at its McGregor, Texas, test site. The Grasshopper will consist of a Falcon 9 stage 1 fuel tank, a single Merlin-1D engine, four steel landing legs, and a steel support structure. The spacecraft will burn a refined kerosene fuel with liquid oxygen for 122,000 pounds of thrust. The spacecraft’s height will be 106 feet, with the fuel tank being 85 feet in height. . . . Texas seems to be becoming a center for a new vertical take-off and landing spacecraft industry.”
EVEN AT HIS AGE, HE CRAPS BIGGER THAN YOU: Donald Rumsfeld brushes off hecklers in Hub visit.
UPDATE: And so does this commenter. Heh.
FEDERAL RESERVE VICE-CHAIRMAN: The Economy Is Worse Than You Think.
SOLARGATE UPDATE: L.A. Times: Obama advisors raised warning flags before Solyndra bankruptcy. “Long before the politically connected California solar firm Solyndra went bankrupt, President Obama was warned by his top economic advisors about the financial and political risks of the Energy Department loan guarantee program that boosted the company’s rapid ascent.”
BRITAIN: UK Labour Party wants journalism licenses, will prohibit “journalism” by people who are “struck off” the register of licensed journalists. “The UK Labour party’s conference is underway in Liverpool, and party bigwigs are presenting their proposals for reinvigorating Labour after its crushing defeat in the last election. The stupidest of these proposals to date will be presented today, when Ivan Lewis, the shadow culture secretary, will propose a licensing scheme for journalists through a professional body that will have the power to forbid people who breach its code of conduct from doing journalism in the future.”
I’d suggest that they read the Areopagitica, but they are undoubtedly both ignorant of, and contemptuous of, the English-speaking world’s long opposition to press licensing. But the fact that press censorship is part of their strategy after being defeated crushingly tells you a lot about both their connection to reality, and their core instincts.
MAXINE WATERS: Obama Got “Carried Away” In Comments About Black Community.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on Monday tried to downplay friction between the black community and President Obama but warned the president might have gotten “carried away” in remarks made over the weekend. Waters, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), appeared in a number of media interviews on Monday following Obama’s speech to the CBC Gala on Saturday, where the president told the audience to “stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying.”
Waters said that there was room for improvement in the relationship between the CBC and Obama. . . . She then noted that black lawmakers didn’t go on vacation during the August recess. “We were actually working during our break,” she said. Obama spent a week over the August recess in Martha’s Vineyard with his family.
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CHUCK SIMMINS LOOKS AT POVERTY AND HEALTH INSURANCE:
Is a lack of health insurance in America a problem? According to Washington, it is. The Census Bureau has released the 2010 report on poverty in America. Table 8 on page 26 covers some of the data on those without health insurance. Here’s what caught my eye. . . .
792,000 people over age 65 have no insurance. Why not? Medicare is designed for that age group.
16.2 million people earning less than $25,000 per year have no health insurance. Why not? Medicaid is designed for low income folks. 28.5 percent of those uninsured did not work at least one week in 2010, again the people Medicaid was designed for.
2.6 million calling themselves “disabled” have no insurance. Why not? Both Medicare and Medicaid are available to those folks.
Table 10 on page 29 shows the breakdown by type of plan. 14.5% of Americans were on Medicare and 15.9% on Medicaid.
9.5 million people earn $75,000 a year or more and have no health insurance. It’s just an assumption, but shouldn’t many of those people be able to afford coverage IF THEY WANT IT?
less non-citizens 9,667,000
less half of those eligible for Medis 8,479,000
less top earners 9,473,000
Over half of those that the Census Bureau reports as without health insurance coverage are eligible for coverage and don’t have it or don’t want it, or are non-citizens. Do we have a health insurance coverage problem in America?
If we do, it’s a lot smaller than advertised.
A KITCHEN BLOG: Cooking In Clarendon.
THE ANSWER IS YES: James Pethokoukis: Did Obama Make It Worse? “Republicans have a competing argument. Instead of saving us from a Greater Depression, the Obama stimulus (together with his health-care plan and financial reforms) was a two-year waste of precious time and money that may actually have impeded economic growth. The evidence for their proposition comes in part from the White House itself; its own economists predicted the stimulus would prevent the unemployment rate from hitting 8 percent. But the rate actually rose as high as 10.1 percent, has settled in above 9 percent now, and even Obama’s own team currently hopes for a rate of, at best, 8.25 percent by the end of 2012—if nothing else goes wrong.”
ROGER SIMON STANDS UP TO RACISM: Disband the Congressional Black Caucus.
LIBEL PROBLEMS for Random House?
NOTHING CREEPY HERE: Morgan Freeman Free To Marry Step-Granddaughter.
MAXED-OUT OBAMA DONOR is sick of Obama’s class-warfare rhetoric. “This is a bad move all designed by some pollster who said this is the way to get votes during the re-election. It should be stopped. We should be healing and creating teams NOT dividing and pitting people against one another.”