April 10, 2011
THE NEW YORK TIMES VENDETTA continues.
THE NEW YORK TIMES VENDETTA continues.
POLITICO: The GOP’s Winning Streak.
SO OBAMA’S PEOPLE ARE TALKING TAX INCREASES AGAIN. Here’s my proposal: A 50% surtax on anything earned within five years after leaving the federal government, above whatever the federal salary was. Leave a $150K job at the White House, take a $1M job with Goldman, Sachs, pay a $425K surtax. Some House Republican should add this to a bill and watch the Dems react.
UPDATE: Should we also provide that salaries paid to former government officials aren’t deductible for corporations? Or is that going too far? I say: Put it in as a negotiating point!
PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: A Question for Kevin Drum re Obama’s Libya Adventure.
MARK LEVIN: These Are Very Dangerous Waters.
BECAUSE IT WORKED SO WELL THE FIRST TIME: Emulating the Wisconsin Protests in Washington State.
PROVOCATIVE! REVOLUTIONARY! “As edgy as the school depicts itself, it being in California means the vast majority of its graduates will end up as government employees with union collective bargaining rights.”
MARK WHITTINGTON: What If America Had Beaten The Soviets Into Space?
BARACK OBAMA, THEN AND NOW: Remembering the wild praise of 2008. Rubes.
RAND SIMBERG ON SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy rocket. “The Falcon Heavy could have major space business implications. A cheaper launch cost could bring in customers that were priced out before, and the extra payload capacity could entice new customers, too. That could include the Air Force and NASA. While the Falcon Heavy has only half the capacity of Saturn V, it offers twice the payload of its American competitors—United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V and Delta IV rockets, and for quite a bit less per launch—at least according to Musk’s plan.” Well, let’s hope things go according to plan.
TURNING THE VACUUM into a superconductor.
AT AMAZON, markdowns in Patio, Lawn & Garden.
YEAH, WE’VE BEEN ASSEMBLING FURNITURE. Not only a computer desk, but a file cabinet/credenza. (An office chair, too, but that didn’t take very much in the way of actual assembly). The desk was nicely set up, with all the parts clearly labeled and with straightforward instructions. The credenza, on the other hand, came with bags of loose, unlabeled parts and instructions written in several languages, one of which was probably intended to be English, along with crude and hard-to-read drawings. It turned out okay, and honestly wasn’t that bad, but I just don’t like doing this any more.
When I lived in DC my apartment looked like an Ikea showroom, and I didn’t mind putting furniture together so much. Nowadays, I’m pretty much over it. I’m sure it helps keep my manual skills up to snuff but I think I’m just offended when stuff is poorly packaged and presented.
WE’RE NUMBER ONE! Beating out Louisville by a substantial margin, 100 points to 94.25.
GUNFIRE ERUPTS as army seals Syrian city.
CLOSE: Huge Asteroid To Pass Near Earth In November. “It’s the case of asteroid 2005 YU55, a round mini-world that is about 1,300 feet (400 meters) in diameter. In early November, this asteroid will approach Earth within a scant 0.85 lunar distances. Due the object’s size and whisking by so close to Earth, an extensive campaign of radar, visual and infrared observations are being planned. Asteroid 2005 YU55 was discovered by Spacewatch at the University of Arizona, Tucson’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory on Dec. 28, 2005. En route and headed our way, the cosmic wanderer is another reminder about life here on our sitting duck of a planet.”
UPDATE: Reader Ross James emails:
Do you remember in Lucifer’s Hammer, when Dr. Sharps is on the Tonight Show, he talks about the bounty of space, specifically the asteroids. He says, “It’s raining soup and we don’t even have a bowl”. I don’t know the composition of this asteroid, but it is passing right by us, we don’t even have to go to the Belt to get it. I know we can’t do anything about it yet, but maybe in the future one of the private companies can capture one of these things and mine it in Earth’s orbit.
That would be nice, though I guess if I owned mines on earth I’d object, and try to find ways to block it. . . .
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader emails: “FYI the ’2005′ in 2005 YU55 means that’s when a human first spotted this 400-meter object due to stage a near-Earth flyby just 6 years later. Good thing it wasn’t aimed at us. What on Earth would we do then? Theoretically we could shoot it. Better hope you break it into small enough bits so you don’t get hit with a shotgun blast. Or nudge it, provided we have a space program geared up for that sort of thing.”
Yes, “Spacewatch” is about noticing this kind of thing. Doing something about it is someone else’s problem, alas. Maybe once the Falcon Heavy is flying . . . .
IN RUSSIA, growing rumblings of discontent.
THOUGHTS ON blog marketing and hustle.
JUDGE STRIKES DOWN BALTIMORE GUN OFFENDER REGISTRY: And this relevant commentary: “I’m all for tough sentences for violent criminals in general, and criminals guilty of gun violence in particular. But once a criminal has served his or her sentence, they should have all their Constitutional rights restored. Yes, this includes child molesters and other sex offenders. Wait! If these deranged criminals are too dangerous to place in society—and I believe they are—they should be sentenced to life in prison without parole or worse. But this idea of creating two classes of citizens—one with full rights and one without—is profoundly un-American.”
HOW ABOUT “Parasite Cartels?”
UPDATE: Violent SEIU Mob Arrested After Charging Troopers in WA State House. Rage all you want, looters and moochers, but the gods of the copybook headings will not be impressed. And they’re in charge now.
ANOTHER UPDATE: It’s the attack of the cash register.
STRONG SHOW OF SUPPORT IN TAMPA for Cuban prisoner of conscience.
NARRATIVE FAIL (CONT’D): Spending Cuts, Not Policy Riders, Held Up A Deal. “House and Senate Democratic lawmakers spent most of Friday attacking Republicans for holding up a government funding measure over a controversial social policy rider to defund Planned Parenthood, but a source close to the situation said that Democratic attacks were ‘just a ruse.’ In fact, the issue of how to handle the abortion-related rider was decided Thursday night: The Senate would take an up or down vote on the matter. But White House officials told reporters early Saturday that funding for women’s health groups was the sticking point.”
MARK STEYN: “What with all the budget talk, I was just wondering whether that third war – or kinetic scope-limited whatchamacallit – was still going. You remember, it was in all the papers for a couple of days. So I guess things have gone quiet because it’s all wrapped up now? Apparently not. . . . If you wanted to devise a forlorn emblem of the impotence of the hyperpower, this non-war for non-victory is hard to beat.”
UPDATE: Gaddafi Forces Besiege Rebels in Ajdabiya. “Scarcely three weeks after the U.S. military launched Operation Odyssey Dawn, the war in Libya is beginning to look like President Obama’s worst failure to date.”
Some criticized me for this position at the time, but it appears to be being borne out, as it generally is. War seldom rewards half measures.
AT AMAZON, warehouse deals.
MICKEY KAUS ON THE BELTWAY INSIDERS’ PROTECTIVE LEAGUE: “From another perspective, it looks like a tacit conspiracy of Washingtonians not to sacrifice the jobs of any of their friends, or the local economy, by any kind of actual slimming down (of the sort a private company in similar straits would have undertaken years ago). … In effect, the respectable ‘pivot to entitlements’ position says,”we’re going to cut Social Security checks and Medicare for mid-income old people to save the jobs of $180K equal opportunity officers at the DOT.” … Why not wring the fat out of government first?” Why not do both?
TEA PARTY 1, OBAMA 0: Video of Bill Maher: ‘Obama is a Terrible Negotiator – Does He Not Even Know a Jew?’
DODD HARRIS: “Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen on Thursday filed a filed a Petition for Supervisory Writ [PDF] directly to the state Supreme Court over a circuit court judge’s temporary blocking of the Budget Repair Bill. The petition is absolutely devastating to Judge Sumi’s actions with respect to the bill.”
SORRY, I’M GOING WITH JAMES TIBERIUS KIRK SMITH.
HOPE AND CHANGE: Feds Defend Twitter Dragnet On Wikileaks Supporters.
LET THEM BUY HYBRID VANS: “No doubt, even folks who disagree with President Obama on just about everything would pull back from endorsing a ten-child family unless the parents can afford them. But that’s pretty much the point: Doubling the fuel bill on the car by which the large family gets around reduces affordability. Moreover, it reduces affordability for a family already in particular circumstances, and it’s not inconceivable that the family size resulted from adoptions meant to rescue the children from worse. To declare that the father should spring for a large, expensive hybrid vehicle is to skirt the question, to put the blame for difficulties on the asker, and to impose government priorities on a highly diverse population — diverse not only in the liberal meaning of multiracial, but in the more significant (more conservative) meaning of varying circumstances and priorities.”
Also, is there such a thing as a “hybrid van?” My Highlander Hybrid SUV is really just a minivan with plausible deniability, but you can’t buy a full-sized van — or even an actual minivan — that’s a hybrid, can you? Apparently, people are begging for them, but none have appeared. Clearly, this calls for more government subsidies! And over at The Truth About Cars they’re wondering “why doesn’t anybody make a hybrid van?” So maybe some enterprising reporter will ask the President what model he had in mind?
Yeah, like that’s gonna happen.
THE PROBLEM CONFRONTING AN ECONOMIC RECOVERY: Demand is slack because everyone who could afford more crap already owns more crap than they need or even want.
THE TENNESSEE EVOLUTION BILL IS DUMB, but Doug Mataconis is wrong to blame Republicans for anti-evolution sentiment — Tennessee passed plenty of anti-evolution bills under Democratic legislatures too. Remember the Scopes Trial? It would be fairer to say that the new GOP legislature, the first since Reconstruction, is carrying on a Democratic tradition. . . .
Speaking of Scopes, that’s a good excuse to plug Ed Larson’s excellent A Summer For The Gods. Also, here’s a documentary on the Scopes trial that I did with Ed Larson and John Seigenthaler, originally on Court TV.
AT AMAZON, it’s the Outlet Sale.
PJTV: Trade in Our SUVs? Can We Trade In Our President Instead? (Bumped).
If you like this programming, please consider subscribing to PJTV.
One thing that seems odd to me is that if you emphasize the importance of government funding for “women’s health” more generally — with talk about cancer screenings and STDs — then how do you explain the gender bias? Why should we be all fired up about women’s health and not men’s health? Is there a special role of government in taking care of women? Why?
Because women want an Uncle Sugar to take the place of a husband? Meanwhile, does Planned Parenthood provide cancer screenings for men? You’d think I’d know, but I don’t.
UPDATE: A reader emails:
Yes, at least at my local office, PP provides testicular/prostate cancer screenings for men, along with STD testing and treatment and vasectomy referrals. Not a clue about their offices in other areas. They also provide adoption referrals around here along with abortion referrals. All the abortion referrals go out of town since our only abortion doctor was murdered by a “pro-life” zealot.
As I also pointed out, women are heavy utilizers of health care throughout life whereas men tend to to be serious avoiders until middle age. Women are more than twice as likely as men to have regular checkups and screenings, even after you factor in the pre-middle-years male avoidance. (I’ve seen this at work in jails as well — the line for sick call for women is always MUCH longer than in the men’s wards.) To some extent the discrepancy is simply that that’s where the big demand is, and to some extent one has to look to the Anglo-American attitude of women and children first. Our welfare systems are certainly geared that way.
It was Nixon, by the way, who first brought federal funding into the PP mix in 1970 with Title X. I think they would survive just fine without Title X, myself. It’s only about a quarter of their federal funding — the rest is earned Medicaid fees for other service provision. If you’re familiar with Medicaid payment schedules, you know they’re not subsidizing abortion mills with Medicaid payments. More likely the other way around.
Meanwhile, reader Patrick Cox notes that women already get 1/3 more health care dollars than men. Clearly we need affirmative action to remedy this disparity.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I’m not the first to note this: “Although women tend to love the notion of government control more than men do, it is women who will be told they’ll have to cut back. On treatments. And years. You know we’ve been taking more than our share.”
THE TRUTH ABOUT CARS: Review: 2011 Lexus IS350 AWD.
HOW TO TELL if your neighbor is a bombmaker.
IT’S LIKE A ROTARY ENGINE FROM BIZARRO-WORLD, or something: The Wave-Disk Engine.
WHY FACEBOOK open-sourced its datacenters.
A COMMONER IN OUR MIDST: Highlights of bigoted barbarian bombast from the uncommon, undreary Glenn Greenwald! “Where does Greenwald get the word ‘Muslim’? His imagination? Is that why he has to put it in bold? . . . In his mind, if you condemn barbarianism you become a stupid bigot.” That’s pretty much Greenwald in a nutshell.
ENHANCE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM BY “Vajazzling” your genital warts. No, I didn’t make this up. It’s just the spirit of the current age, or something.
AT AMAZON, markdowns on vacuum cleaners.
OF COURSE THEY DO: Russia wants ‘red button’ rights for US missile defence system.
WHEN IS A WAR CRIME NOT A WAR CRIME? When it’s conducted by actual war criminals.
ELENA KAGAN’S RECUSAL MANEUVERS: “While serving as Solicitor General, Justice Elena Kagan allegedly began maneuvering to avoid having to recuse in any eventual challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, months before her nomination was announced — indeed, even before she was told she was under consideration — according to a series of documents released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.”
CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Blocking Gun-Control Bills In Maryland. But note how the Washington Post spins it. Here’s the real problem: “Although Democrats have controlled both houses of the General Assembly for decades, several in the majority represent relatively conservative areas with voters who strongly support Second Amendment rights.”
OBAMA LIED, PEOPLE DIED? Johann Hari: We’re Not Being Told The Truth On Libya.
FASTER, PLEASE: Silicon Valley Startup Looks To Mine Moon.
ROGER SIMON: Is Boehner Our Sun Tzu? “While I agree with Roger Kimball that what has been achieved here is but the tiniest tip of the tip of a particularly giant iceberg, I suspect Boehner may have changed the atmosphere. He has negotiated some pretty difficult shoals, using, in Kissingerian fashion, his right flank to gain more advantage from his adversaries.”
UPDATE: Mark Levin is skeptical.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Likewise, Dan Riehl.
FRANK J. FLEMING: My Plan On How To Fight The Next Middle East War.
SURE ENOUGH, IT HAPPENED: After studying ancient rocks, a Japanese geologist warned that a disaster was imminent—to no avail.
IN THE MAIL: The Ethics of Voting.
LET THEM BUY NEW CARS:
This week President Obama replied to a man who told the president that he is hard-pressed to buy gasoline for his van that he ought to trade it in for a new car with better mileage. Obama assured him he’d probably get a great deal these days—from GM, Ford, or Chrysler, he added. The Associated Press first reported this incident and then scrubbed it from its story; most of the media did not care about it at all, because Obama is awesome.
Some might be tempted to shrug this off as an anecdote about a clueless ruler and his palace-guard press, unsympathetic to people clinging to their vans and religion. But we all occasionally say silly things—we’re only human, not sort of a deity—and it would be unfair to equate the president’s response with Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” remark, because Marie Antoinette did not actually say that.
Good point. Plus this: “So Marie Antoinette was the victim of the tea partiers of the day, who attributed to her a remark she never made. Monsieur Le Deficit, on the other hand, actually made the remark that historians will not be able to find in the Associated Press.”
YOU DON’T SAY: Rising Oil Prices Beginning To Hurt U.S. Economy.
WHY EAT CORN WHEN YOU CAN BURN IT? U.S. Corn Reserves Expected To Fall To 15-Year Low. “Rising demand for corn from ethanol producers is pushing U.S. reserves to the lowest point in 15 years, a trend that could lead to higher grain and food prices this year. The Agriculture Department on Friday left its estimate for corn reserves unchanged from the previous month. The reserves are projected to fall to 675 million bushels in late August, when the harvest begins, or roughly 5 percent of all corn consumed in the United States. That would be the lowest surplus level since 1996.” Maybe I’m just channeling John Ringo, but I feel like we’d be better off with bigger than usual food reserves, not smaller than usual ones.
CNBC: Toxic Dollar: Why Nobody Seems to Want US Currency. “Traders are warning of a dramatic change in dollar selling. They fear central banks from the Middle East may force their Asian rivals to more aggressively drive the dollar down.”
SHOCKER: U.S. To Stay In Iraq.
AT AMAZON, markdowns on Blu-Ray.
JAMES TARANTO: Landslide! It looks like Waterloo in Wisconsin for government unions. “It must be acknowledged that the pro-union left succeeded in making this campaign into a referendum on Walker. Had it not, it’s likely that turnout would have been much lower and Prosser’s margin of victory much wider, as in the primary. But they lost the referendum. With Prosser proffered as a proxy for Walker (we dare you to say that 10 times fast), the justice’s approximately 50.5% of the vote is a swing of less than 2% away from Walker, elected last November with 52.3%.”
THE NEW CIVILITY: “The only good Republican is a dead Republican.”
Nothing, he said, has changed our lives over the past decade more than technology innovation. “It opens new business sectors, creates additional wealth that didn’t exist before,” he said. “That means we have greater efficiencies, which just means that we have more money left over for other things.”
Public education remains a passionate subject for Woz, who was unabashed in saying that schools today are far too structured and thus impede innovative thinking – which is key to “the artistic side” of technology.
At issue, he said, are rules that tell each student exactly what they should be studying and when.
The learning cycle between what is taught and when a student is tested on it is far too short, he proclaimed. Short learning-testing cycles, Wozniak said, are nothing like the projects that technology innovators are afforded in real life.
When pressed by an audience member about how schools should judge student performance, Woz said they should be given one long project that spurs innovative thinking at the beginning of a semester and graded on their results.
“A really innovative person is known for something that usually took an awful lot of thinking, maybe even over years, and a lot of development in a laboratory putting it together and getting it to work. And it’s new and it’s different. And it’s not something you read about in a book,” he said.
“In school, intelligence is a measurement,” he continued. “If you have the same answer as everyone else in math or science, you’re intelligent.”
Read the whole thing. Here are my somewhat-related thoughts on the lower education bubble.
CIVIL RIGHTS UPDATE: Opponents of Gun-Free Zones at Universities Find Unlikely Hero in Nevada Woman.
Across the country, lawmakers are debating whether universities should let students and faculty with permits carry their concealed weapon on campus. Those who want to put an end to such gun-free zones have found an unlikely hero in a petite, soft spoken, young woman who wonders why colleges protect most Constitutional rights, but not the one that matters most when staring into the face of a violent criminal.
Amanda Collins, 25, is a wife and new mom, and a concealed weapon permit holder for years. At her father’s law office in Reno, she showed us the 9-mm Glock she carries for her safety.
“It’s got a pretty standard magazine,” she said, “and night sights so you can see in the dark when you’re aiming.”
However, Collins couldn’t aim her gun at the serial rapist who attacked her at the University of Nevada at Reno, where she was a student. That’s because, like most public colleges outside of Utah and Colorado, UNR is a “gun free” zone. The rule required her to leave her gun at home, leaving her defenseless the one time she needed its protection most.
Read the whole thing.
AFTER I WENT TO BED LAST NIGHT, Congress struck a budget deal.
Related: Boehner Wins Big.
As Boehner himself repeated throughout this debate, “Republicans control just one-half of one-third of the federal government.” And yet look out the outcome. Perhaps more significant than the $38.5 billion in cuts, which Boehner told members was “the best deal we could get,” are the political implications as both side prepare to tackle the bigger spending issues. “We’ve changed the conversation,” said freshman Rep. Tim Griffin (R., Ark.). “This year we’re talking about how much we’re going to reduce — cut — and that’s a major cultural shift in a matter of months.”
Indeed, Harry’s Reid dramatic shift on spending cuts — from denouncing the initial GOP offer ($32 billion) as “draconian” and “unworkable,” to celebrating a $38.5 billion spending cut as “historic” — is remarkable in and of itself. Also telling was the way that Democrats artificially inflated the amount of cuts being offered. (At least they care enough about the political sensibilities of American voters to lie to them about it).
ANOTHER UPDATE: Peter Ingemi: “In terms of the Tea Party Agenda this is an important change; culturally the ‘idea’ of these cuts is huge and it’s just the beginning, particularly when we see so many democrats forced to give lip service to them.” Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.
Don’t run away from the issue, Planned Parenthood. Own it!
Heck, I’m even willing to stand up to Mary Katharine Ham’s fashion criticism.
UPDATE: Dana Loesch on Facebook: “If you expect people to pay for your ‘family planning’ you are inviting Uncle Sam into your bedroom. And he’s a pervert.”
AT AMAZON, markdowns on camp knives and tools.
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON: “It’s time DC told the Congress to go straight to hell.” Don Surber comments: “The feeling should be mutual, lady.”
When I was a student at Yale Law, she was held up as a Great Thinker and Moral Role Model. I saw the video of her on this and she looked like an angry ignoramus. How are the mighty fallen. Or, perhaps, revealed to be as they always were. . . .
LIBYA: The Rebels Are Unimpressed.
OPEN SECRET: Planned Parenthood turns tax dollars into donations to Democrats. “It has everything to do with the Democrats’ political health. They would be voting to cut off their own campaign cash, pried from the hands of taxpayers.”
MICKEY KAUS: The Opposite Of A Smoking Gun In Wisconsin.
AT AMAZON, it’s the Friday Sale.
WIND POWER: Even Worse Than You Thought: “A new analysis of wind energy supplied to the UK National Grid in recent years has shown that wind farms produce significantly less electricity than had been thought, and that they cause more problems for the Grid than had been believed.” Oh, goody. Plus this: “High electricity prices worsen the case for electric transport, electric heating and electric industry, so there are reasons to dislike windfarms even from a carbon-emissions point of view. There would be little point going to partially-wind electricity if the effect is to drive people more and more into using fossil fuels wherever possible. But that’s the way we’re headed.”
L.A. TIMES: Now, Obama is warning Syria about deadly violence. They told me if I voted for John McCain, we’d have a blowhard in the White House who’d go around threatening dictators indiscriminately. And they were right!
QUITTING THE SMARTPHONE MAY PRODUCE Gadget Withdrawal.
CHANGE — AND HOPE: “Whether the government shuts down or not, here’s the big takeaway from all of this: We are currently debating how much to cut rather than debating whether or not to cut.”
SILICON VALLEY BOOMING? Investors Not Buying It. “In truth there are reasons to worry. For starters, growth in IT spending continues to decelerate steadily. In the 1970s IT outlays grew on average 15% a year. In the 1980s annual growth slipped to 13.1%; in the 1990s, 10.8%. In the 2000s, in the period between the bubbles–2003 to 2008–growth was around 10%. This year, according to Gartner, spending should grow less than 6%.”
I’M WATCHING BILL O’REILLY TALK WITH REP. PETER ROSKAM ABOUT THE SHUTDOWN, and O’Reilly is being dumber than usual, acting as if the only thing this is about is a couple of billion dollars’ difference in spending levels.
CONDITION ONE: An iPad photojournalism app.
P.J. O’ROURKE reviews Amy Chua’s book.
STUDY: Smartphones Can Really Improve Public Transit. “The point is for transit agencies to provide enough information to put riders in control of their experience and have greater choice in when and where to ride. People don’t want to feel they are at the mercy of paper schedules, even if they are, and there’s nothing worse than waiting for buses that may or may not be on time.”
DON’T LET YOUR IPHONE see you naked.
WHO KILLED THE DEEP SPACE CLIMATE OBSERVATORY: “Nearly a decade ago, NASA built an Earth-monitoring satellite that could have observed global warming in action. Then the agency stashed it in a warehouse in Maryland, where it remains to this day.”
JOHN GLENN ON the future of space.