June 26, 2011
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED REPUBLICAN WE’D SEE LYNCHINGS IN SOUTH CAROLINA: And they were right!
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED REPUBLICAN WE’D SEE LYNCHINGS IN SOUTH CAROLINA: And they were right!
BIGGEST LIE OF THE WEEK: Geithner: Oil release not a political move. I mean, that’s worse than “It was Turbo Tax that done it.”
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION “STEALTH SURVEY” OF DOCTORS called “government snooping” and “Big Brother tactics.” Plus this: “This is not a way to build trust in government. Why should I trust someone who does not correctly identify himself?”
UPDATE: Reader J.R. Ott writes: “This could be a two way street as bloggers could call federal agencies and see how they respond if at all?”
ANOTHER UPDATE: A reader warns that this is how James O’Keefe wound up facing federal charges. Being checked up on is for the little people!
TIME FOR Carville’s Razor?
ADMINISTRATION JOBS POLICY REMAINS CONFUSED: Out: We’re losing jobs to ATMs. In: We’re creating jobs via robotics.
ANN ALTHOUSE: Lueders responds to my post about him, saying “We absolutely did not have information about an alternative version that we purposely withheld.” Althouse is not satisfied. “Me, I’m always suspicious about things that don’t look right… even that period after ‘alternative version.’ Many commenters, meanwhile, note that a denial is not the same as a refutation.
BOB SHRUM: Get Ready For President Cuomo! And why wait until 2016?
HOWARD NEMEROV: The “Gunwalker” Scandal And The Case For Impeaching Eric Holder.
THEY ATTACK BREITBART (“jowly face,” — really?) but they can’t ignore him.
UPDATE: Yeah, yeah — “jowly” is better than “low-sloping foreheads.” But the latter was blurted, while the former was presumably run past an editor.
ANOTHER UPDATE: NYT uses Blumenthal crony to attack Breitbart. And doesn’t mention it.
THE “CLUELESS” TSA.
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WELL, IT FITS THE PATTERN: Hot new idea: What if Obama just ignores Congress on the debt ceiling? “Now there’s a campaign platform I’d like to see in time for the 2012 election: The Constitution lets me run up as much debt as I want and there’s nothing your representatives can do to stop me.”
UPDATE: Reader Jerry Lawson thinks this could set a precedent he’s okay with: “What if Obama ignores the debt ceiling – what if WE ignore dictates from Washington?”
THE ECONOMIC LESSONS TO BE LEARNED from watching HGTV.
MARK STEYN ON WHITE COLLAR CRIME:
As to white-collar crime, what about the one type of white-collar crime that goes entirely unpunished? For an accounting fraud of $567 million, Enron’s executives went to jail, and its head guy died there. For an accounting fraud ten times that size, the two Democrat hacks who headed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick, walked away with a combined taxpayer-funded payout of $116.4 million. Fannie and Freddie are two of the largest businesses in America, but they’re exempt from SEC disclosure rules and Sarbanes-Oxley “corporate governance” burdens, and so in 2008, unlike Enron, WorldCom or any of the other reviled private-sector bogeymen, they came close to taking down the entire global economy. Yes, yes, I know two wrongs don’t make a right (unless you’re Jamie Gorelick), but what then is the point of the SEC?
GOING GALT VIA FLEA MARKET: Reader Mark Vavra writes:
Met an interesting couple, late 50′s. Decided to sell off assets a few years ago, home, furnishings, all of it. Bought a lovely motor home and small van. Now in Midwest selling a single easy to order/pack item in flea markets, country fairs, etc. Winter, they move down to Florida, Texas, Arizona. When I asked how they liked it; “It’s wonderful no property taxes, no upkeep on home…plus its all cash! (anyone who has worked flea markets understands the value of cash transactions…) The gas is a little high these days, but it hasn’t hurt too much…we love it, shows over, we grill up a couple steaks and go down the road, golf 18 before dark…” Partner saw them this morning…steaks were great and they nearly shot par…
There are a lot of folks like this, but The Who, as usual, saw it coming: Watch the Po-lice and the taxman miss me, goin’ mobile!
And after Tax Cheat Tim Geithner got a pass, who can call them wrong for following The Who’s advice?
RANDY BARNETT: The Dangerous Effort To Delegitimate Supreme Court Justices. It seems particularly unwise for lefties, who have depended so heavily on the judiciary for decades, to pursue this strategy. But they seem committed to it, at both the federal and state levels.
Plus, as Randy observes, “When ‘ethics’ is used as a political weapon, ethics will ultimately suffer.” Indeed.
FROM JEFF SOYER, advice on cheap dinner.
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EVEN MYSPACE FOUNDERS no longer use MySpace. “MySpace has fallen so far that its own founders no longer bother updating their profiles. . . . Former CEO Chris DeWolfe, who founded the company with Tom Anderson in 2003, says he cringes on the rare occasions he visits his page, while Anderson’s last update was in March of 2010.” Cringing all the way to the bank, however.
UPDATE: Reader Rich Reilly emails: “Maybe they should change the name to bandspace and focus on what it does best. Bands who have Facebook pages often don’t have music files prominently featured. And the FB design is so ho hum…kind of like a DOS MySpace.” Good point.
ASTEROID TO buzz Earth on Monday. “Asteroid 2011 MD, a chunk of rock estimated to be 25 to 55 feet (8 to 18 m) across, is expected to pass less than 8,000 miles above Earth’s surface around 1 p.m. EDT (17:00 UT) on Monday, June 27th.” That’s close, and it was only discovered a few days ago. It’s fairly little as asteroids go, of course.
ON ROAD-SPEED SIGNS AND BLOOD NANOSENSORS: “An article in Wired reports about how drivers respond to dynamic speed display signs (with built-in radars by slowing down. FuturePundit wonders whether a cell phone tell that would tell you (unsolicited) when you’ve exceeded your calorie allotment would have a similar effect.” Well, I use the LiveStrong app on the iPhone, and I lost ten pounds — actually, a couple more than my goal — last semester, pretty painlessly. It doesn’t directly measure your calories consumed and expended, as you have to enter them. But it has a good database that covers most food and pretty much all exercise you’re likely to perform. It also tracks diet composition; I didn’t go Atkins but I did cut my carbs significantly, which I think helped, too.
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR MCCAIN, WE’D HAVE ONGOING WARS ALL OVER THE WORLD, AND FAT-CAT DONORS ENTERTAINED RIGHT IN THE WHITE HOUSE. And they were right!
I’M NEVER GOING TO SEE THOSE RERUNS THE SAME WAY: Brady Bunch mom got crabs in affair with NY mayor. My view of John Lindsay, on the other hand, is pretty much unchanged. . . . .
ANN ALTHOUSE WANTS THE TRUTH: How stupid/evil was Bill Lueders’s attack on Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser? “Lueders needs to tell us whether or not he knew the Bradley-as-the-aggressor story when he presented his original work of investigative journalism under the name of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. If he knew it, why didn’t he present the whole context at first? And what was in the ‘reconstructed account’ that got Prosser to decline comment? If Lueders didn’t know the alternate version of the story, in which Bradley was the aggressor, why on earth didn’t he know? The story he presented is so weird that any thinking person would demand to know more of the context.”
It’s as if the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is just a partisan hit shop or something. Plus this: “Finally, it must be said: If Lueders had the larger context of the story — including the allegation that Bradley was the aggressor — and he suppressed it in his original account, what he did was not only evil, shameful journalism, it was freaking stupid. All sorts of bloggers and tweeters like Millhiser committed themselves to the firm, righteous position that if Prosser did what is alleged, he must leave the court. Lueders’s article lured them into stating a firm and supposedly neutral principle about physical aggression. With that principle in place, they are bound to call for Bradley’s ouster, if Bradley really did take the offensive and transform the verbal argument into a physical fight.”
UPDATE: Professor Jacobson: Applying the Weiner Test to the Wisconsin Supreme Court: “If Bradley has not pressed charges, why not? Inquiring minds want to know.”
On the upside, the Wisconsin Supreme Court is getting a lot of attention from famous law professors. On the downside, this is the kind of attention it’s getting . . .
IN THE MAIL: From CD Baby creator Derek Sivers, Anything You Want.
WHITEY BULGER: The Book That Still Needs To Be Written. “Some of the obvious and not-so-obvious political issues that need deeper coverage are: the general climate of fear on Beacon Hill during the height of the Bulgers era; how the city was still reeling from the forced-busing crisis as the Bulgers rose to power, and how many of their supporters/critics eerily lined up along those old forced-busing fault lines; the mysterious state agency budget cuts and demotions of anyone who dared cross the Bulgers; the cushy government and industry jobs landed by mobsters, their relatives and ex-FBI agents; the politically wired rise of FBI agent Zip Connelly and his gross FBI retirement party; the alleged push to make Zip chief of Boston police; the former governor of Massachusetts who effectively handed over the keys to state government to Billy while he ran for president in ’88; the once crusading U.S. Attorney-turned-governor who ended up cynically playing footsie with the younger Bulger. Etc., etc.”
UPDATE: A reader emails: “Isn’t it interesting that blogs have figured out how to update an evolving story without disappearing the original, but the paper of record can’t seem to manage?”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Scott Rosenberg notes that Wikipedia has handled this problem and comments: “Versions of stories are just data. For the Times, or any other website, to save them is a matter of (a) storage space and (b) interface tweaks to make the versions accessible. Today, storage is cheap and getting cheaper, and Web interfaces are more flexible than ever. Really, there’s nothing unrealistic about preserving an ‘immutable, permanent record’ of every post-publication change made to every story. . . . By making story versions “not a priority,” the Times is essentially abdicating its longstanding status as our paper of record as it makes the transition from paper to digital. I doubt that’s what its leaders intend to do.” Oh, I’m not so sure.
On July 1 Moroccans will vote on a set of constitutional changes proposed by their king, Mohammed VI. These new amendments guarantee the full equality of women and the rights of minorities, like the Berbers, whose language, Amazigh, will now be an official language alongside Arabic; they criminalize torture, establish the independence of the judiciary, and invest more executive authority in a head of government chosen from the party that wins the most seats in parliament.
The king’s speech announcing these proposed amendments didn’t win the international attention afforded the street demonstrations that brought down longstanding authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, but here’s a Muslim-majority Middle Eastern state where reform has become a reality, not a slogan. The pity is that the Obama administration seems oblivious.
Given their recent diplomatic record, that’s probably the best thing for Morocco.
NATO IN AFGHANISTAN: “Maybe your country is at war, but not mine.”
THE 100 LONGEST entries on Wikipedia.
MICHAEL BARONE: Like Chauncey Gardiner, Obama Is Profoundly Aloof.
MICHAEL LEDEEN: What’s Up With All The Presidential Gaffes, Anyway?
STEPHEN MOORE: Recovery Bummer: “On economic growth, real GDP has risen 0.8% over the 13 quarters since the recession began, compared to an average increase of 9.9% in past recoveries.”
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BYRON YORK: In Allegation Of Supreme Court Scuffle, Wisconsin Politics Hits A New Low. “After Democratic lawmakers fled the state in an attempt to stop Governor Walker’s budget bill; after pro-union protesters occupied the Capitol for weeks; after name-calling came to dominate the debate — after all that, some observers believed Wisconsin politics could not get any uglier. It turns out they were wrong.”
Wisconsin’s entrenched ruling class is not used to being challenged, and isn’t dealing with the challenge very well.
ANOTHER cheap external hard drive on sale, this time for $34.99.
HOPE AND CHANGE: Forecasts For Growth Drop, Some Sharply. “The likelihood of a negative surprise is bigger than the likelihood of a positive surprise.” But it’ll be unexpected when it comes . . . .
UPDATE: Reader Michael Costello sends this headline: Unexpectedly bad economy now expected. Heh.
OKAY, NOW LET’S WORK ON THE CLOSETS FULL OF ASSAULT WEAPONS: You Can Thank A Few Rich Republicans For Gay Marriage.
Actually, a reader wrote to suggest a legislative deal — repeal of DOMA and national recognition of gay marriages in exchange for national recognition of carry permits and gun ownership. It works for me! (Could Congress preempt state gun-control laws nationally? Yes! Bonus question — what clause of the Constitution, besides the obvious choices of Commerce and 14th Amendment section 5, would support this?)
More here. “Barbaro focuses on Cuomo’s efforts behind the law, but without rich Republican donors, it would not be possible.” Say, Andrew Cuomo’s really been on a roll lately. I wonder if he’s ever thought of running for President in 2012? . . .
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER ON THE WAR POWER:
No president should accept — and no president from Nixon on has accepted — the constitutionality of the WPR, passed unilaterally by Congress over a presidential veto. On the other hand, every president should have the constitutional decency to get some congressional approval when he takes the country to war. The model for such constitutional restraint is — yes, Sen. Obama — George W. Bush. Not once but twice (Afghanistan and then Iraq) did Bush seek and receive congressional authorization, as his father did for the Persian Gulf War. On Libya, Obama did nothing of the sort. He claimed exemption from the WPR on the grounds that America in Libya is not really engaged in “hostilities.”
To deploy an excuse so transparently ridiculous isn’t just a show of contempt for Congress and for the intelligence of the American people. It manages additionally to undermine the presidency’s own war-making prerogatives by implicitly conceding that if the Libya war really did involve hostilities, the president would indeed be subject to the WPR.
The worst of all possible worlds: Insult Congress, weaken the presidency. A neat trick.
The country’s in the very best of hands.
HEADLINE OF THE DAY, FROM JIM TREACHER: You can marry a person of the same gender in New York City, but you can’t eat your own wedding cake without Bloomberg slapping it out of your hands.
SNICKERING AT THE RUBES, I THINK: Where Is Barack Obama Now That We Need Him? “I am absolutely certain that generations from now we will be able to look back and tell our children that . . . this was the moment when we ended a war.” Ha, ha. That one still gets me.
THE RETURN OF STAGFLATION: Obama’s Carter-era policies bring back Carter-era problems. As I keep saying, a Carter-rerun is a best-case scenario.
And note this:
One possible difference is that interest rates were extremely high during the Carter years. Right now, real interest rates are close to zero. Banks have plenty of reserves but they still aren’t lending. Banks won’t lend if it isn’t profitable to do so. Businesses won’t invest if the expected benefit doesn’t exceed the risk. That has to do with uncertainty in the system, and in view of fact that when interest rates are nearly zero, there isn’t much wiggle room there to change the calculus.
Today’s uncertainty runs the gamut from monetary to fiscal policy. Uncertainty about another ineffective “helicopter drop” of money by the Fed does not help the situation. There’s no telling what’s going to happen on the fiscal and regulatory side. Obamacare is in legal limbo, some states are starting implementation, and many employers have no idea what it’s going to mean for them. Congress and the president have no agreement on addressing the debt crisis as we edge up to the point of default. Spending cuts have to be part of the solution because what we have is a spending a problem.
Yes, it is.
WASHINGTON POST: Obama’s focus on visiting clean-tech companies raises questions.
MORE ON THE WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT’S SHENANIGANS from The Isthmus:
In other words, Abrahamson’s clique wanted to game the system in order to buy time for the Democrats to make their political comeback, either in this summer’s recall elections or in the 2012 election cycle in a case brought by Democrats, including the Assembly minority leader and the Dane County district attorney, against the majority party. . . . The best one can say about Abrahamson is that she is a sore loser. If she does not get her way on the court she will bring down the entire house around her.
So much of liberalism’s success in the 20th Century was based on the authority of institutions, especially the judiciary. They seem hell-bent on undermining that authority, now. Why?
BAD NEWS ABROAD is good news for Florida real estate. So if you’re governed by a corrupt kleptocracy, it’s a good idea to get some assets overseas that are hard to get at because they’re stuck to the ground. Should Americans be thinking this way too, with a Federal revenue crisis coming?
FLORIDA: Physicians ask for injunction against ‘Docs v. Glocks’ law. “The physician groups suing to block a new Florida law that bans doctors from asking patients about guns in their homes asked a federal judge in Miami Friday for an injunction to block enforcement of the law.”
From the comments: “Why does a doctor need a specific list of your guns to warn you to keep them safe or whatever?”
If a doctor asks questions you think inappropriate, make an ethics complaint to the state medical board. Nothing will happen, probably, but the hassle-value is so high that they’ll soon quit.
UPDATE: A reader who asks anonymity writes:
I am an Emergency Physician, and this article is just rife with manipulative inferences. First, it clearly states that if you have a good faith reason to ask about guns pursuant to the patients *MEDICAL* well-being, then you may do so. Nowhere is it mentioned that you cannot say “If you have guns in the home, keep them locked up,” which is not a question, but a statement. Nobody is bringing the govermnet into the exam room with this law. OTOH, this law is keeping the doctors from using the exam room to get the government into the patient’s home.
When I was a resident, and had to ask questions about guns, I would often watch parents of these kids start to become suspicious of me as I entered such an area of discourse. Make no mistake; when physicians ask this question, they are threatening the trust of the relationship. Once this happens, then parents start wondering if you, as a physician, have an agenda, which dissuades them from honest disclosure, and instead they will say what they think you want to hear, or become hostile, which destroys communication.
Personally I would follow up such an interrogation with suggestion that the child get firearms training as soon as they are intellectually, physically and emotionally capable. My reasoning is the same as to why I advocate for all children to learn how to swim; While you may not have a gun or a pool at your house, your child will someday be in a circumstance which does. If you have not trained your child in how to deal with these circumstances, then you have left them exposed to great peril.
I also got a little chuckle when I give this same suggestion to the parents who were brimming with pride when they say there are no guns in the house. They become almost apoplectic when I suggest that they take junior to an NRA gun safety course.
From the comments: “Personally, I don’t think any man who actually wants the job of President of the United States is much of a husband-catch.”
STACY MCCAIN KNOWS that nothing boosts traffic like a good blogwar.
MORE PRO-UNION VIOLENCE? Another Account Of The Prosser-Bradley Story, with two sources saying that she charged at him with “fists raised.”
Obviously she’s unfit for the court. Right?
From the comments: The first rule of Supreme Court Fight Club is: you do not talk about Supreme Court Fight Club.
Also: In retrospect, “Margarita Mondays!” may not have been the most prudent manner in which to build camaraderie amongst the justices…
LULZSEC HACK reveals cops’ least favorite iPhone Apps:
One document labelled “Law Enforcement Sensitive” lists the following apps, and warns officers to “take the time to look at an arrestee’s cell phone to see what applications they have.”
Cop Recorder: Developed under the OpenWatch project, the app lets users stealthily record their interactions with police or other authority figures and upload them to OpenWatch’s server, where some of the videos are anonymized and posted online with legal analysis. The latest version of the app for Android, called OpenWatch rather than Cop Recorder, allows the secret capturing of video as well as audio.
Trapster and Police Alert: Both apps aim to show users the location of speed traps. The free app Trapster crowdsources the problem, allowing users to add or confirm police locations, even tracking users’ reputations to improve the accuracy of their submissions. Police Alert, a $3.99 app for Android, seems to map out police locations without user interaction, but users warn in reviews that it rarely updates and is largely inaccurate.
Read the whole thing.
PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY: “It is worth noting, in the course of this discussion, the intellectual cowardice of the incumbent President of the United States, who constantly tries to avoid a serious debate about same sex marriage by telling everyone and their pet canaries that his position is in the seemingly interminable process of ‘evolving.’ I recognize that evolution takes a while–Darwin and scientists who followed him pointed out as much–but evolution towards a position of decency towards one’s fellow human beings shouldn’t take nearly as long. So much–once more–for Hope, and Change We Can Believe In.”
He’s right about what this requires from the GOP field. And I should note that Pawlenty’s moment of weakness regarding the unfair Loughner-based attacks on Sarah Palin hurt him a lot — and probably not just in my estimation. Likewise Gingrich’s backstab at Paul Ryan, which basically ended his campaign before it started. You won’t get the nomination — and you surely won’t win the election — by cozying up to Big Media folks.
Anderson Cooper who?
So you’ve seen my ratings.
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TEA PARTY NATION: David Kirkham emails from Washington, DC:
Over 100 Tea Party leaders from 41 different states are meeting this weekend at Freedomworks’ headquarters in Washington DC. We are discussing deficits, Cap and Trade, Obamacare, and many other topics that are hurting our economy and costing everyone jobs.
All our focus is on organizing for the next elections. I took this picture from the middle of a standing room only presentation on repealing Obamacare. The Utah Tea Party delegation has 19 members attending.
A lot of other people seem to be there, too.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Reader Brian Durant emails:
Professor Reynolds- I am a long time reader, but have never emailed you. Many times you have mentioned the need to be ready for disaster including having a “bug out” plan with bags ready, etc. Last THURS evening we learned the lesson the hard way. A wildfire forced us to evacuate our house in about 15 minutes- we grabbed a few valuables, a change of clothes, some toiletries, and headed out thinking we’d be gone for a couple of hours. More than 36 hours later were we were allowed to return. Fortunately thanks to God and some great volunteer firefighters, our house was spared. During the time away, I spent a lot of time trying to determine what I should have taken, would need to replace, etc. Please remind us again of the importance of being prepared (and a good list would be helpful, too.)
And, really, just spend 15 minutes now — when you’re not distracted by having to evacuate and your head is comparatively clear — thinking about what you’d take, and where it is in your house, and then make a list. Then look at the list in a day or two and add what you forgot. Do that a time or two and you’ll be much better off.
CHANGE: Saudi embassy on Delta rumors: American Jews are always welcome! Well, sorta-kinda. But note this, which I think is right: “The irony is, the Saudi royals have been unusually proactive among Middle Eastern regimes in pushing reforms to try to head off any Arab-Spring-type revolt among their population. They might be susceptible to western pressure for social liberalization too, especially since they need western allies to fend off the threat from Iran. Leaning on U.S. businesses and the U.S. government to lean on them about discrimination is all to the good, and it might have some small impact. . . . Seize the opportunity.”
NO MORE FREE PASS: Activists Disrupt U2 Concert, Tell Bono: ‘U Pay Your Tax 2′. Like Al Gore, Bono’s actions don’t match his policy urgings.
UPDATE: Mike McNally: “Of course, no conservative is going to quibble about the band’s right to take all legally-available steps to minimize their tax liability. The trouble is, such business dealings sit rather uneasily alongside Bono’s repeated calls for Western governments to send more money to developing nations, and write off outstanding debt. From the conservative point of view, if Bono devoted his energy to encouraging private individuals and business to hand over their cash to charities, there wouldn’t be an issue here; the problem is, if governments are to send more money to Africa they need to get it from someone, and that someone is you, me and U2.”
The Louis Vuitton ads don’t help Bono here, either.
IMMIGRATION IN EUROPE GOES FULL CIRCLE? “Ten years ago, as Denmark joined the European Union’s visa-free open travel zone, the outraged Danish People’s Party bought a decommissioned border guardhouse, vowing that one day it would be in use again. Back then, most Danes dismissed the move as a colorful publicity stunt by the newly formed right-wing party. But last month, the Danish People’s Party was doing a victory dance, offering to donate its picturesque brick guardhouse at the German border to the government. The party had achieved its goal: Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen had agreed to restore 24-hour customs control in exchange for support on a difficult budget package.”
KEVIN WILLIAMSON: How Much Credibility Does The GOP Have On Taxes?
They’re going the full by any means necessary, aren’t they?
THE HEADLINE THAT MUST BE CAUSING HEARTBURN AT THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama Apologizes to Family of Fallen Soldier.
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HMM: Power grid change may disrupt clocks. “A yearlong experiment with the nation’s electric grid could mess up traffic lights, security systems and some computers – and make plug-in clocks and appliances like programmable coffeemakers run up to 20 minutes fast.”
NICE GOING, ATF: Another Smuggled ATF Gun Used In A Murder: “CBS News has confirmed that ATF Fast and Furious ‘walked’ guns have been linked to the terrorist torture and murder of the brother of a Mexican state attorney general last fall.”
Worse than Iran/Contra.
UPDATE: Reader Lev Bronstein writes: “Remind me how many people died due to Watergate?”
THE BEST WAY TO END a booty-call relationship.
A lot of people are puzzled.
ADAM OZIMEK: Legalizing Marijuana Could Save Thousands Of Lives.
CYNTHIA YOCKEY: Conservative Arguments For Gay Equality.
IN THE MAIL: From Rita Cosby, Quiet Hero: Secrets from My Father’s Past.
WSJ: The Facts About Fracking. “The U.S. is in the midst of an energy revolution, and we don’t mean solar panels or wind turbines. A new gusher of natural gas from shale has the potential to transform U.S. energy production—that is, unless politicians, greens and the industry mess it up. . . . The question for the rest of us is whether we are serious about domestic energy production.”
R.I.P. Peter Falk. “Falk used to hang around the park near my house sometimes. Once he joined our basketball game. I think he was actually wearing a raincoat. People said, ‘Pass it to Columbo.’ He was a terrible player. …”
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: The Failure Of Al Gore: Part One.
It must be as perplexing to his many admirers as it is frustrating to himself that a man of Vice President Gore’s many talents, great skills and strong beliefs is one of the most consistent losers in American politics. . . . Gore has the Midas touch in reverse; objects of great value (Nobel prizes, Oscars) turn dull and leaden at his touch. Few celebrity cause leaders have had more or better publicity than Gore has had for his climate advocacy. Hailed by the world press, lionized by the entertainment community and the Global Assemblage of the Great and the Good as incarnated in the Nobel Peace Prize committee, he has nevertheless seen the movement he led flounder from one inglorious defeat to the next. The most recent, failed global climate meeting passed almost unnoticed last week in Bonn; the world has turned its eyes away from the expiring anguish of the Copenhagen agenda.
The state of the global green movement is shambolic. The Kyoto Protocol is withering on the vine; it will almost certainly die with no successor in place. There is no chance of cap and trade legislation in the US under Obama, and even the EPA’s regulatory authority over carbon dioxide is under threat. Brazil is debating a forestry law that critics charge will open the floodgates to a new round of deforestation in the Amazon. China is taking the green lobby head on, suspending a multibillion dollar Airbus order to protest EU carbon cutting plans.
It is hard to think of any recent failure in international politics this comprehensive, this swift, this humiliating. Two years ago almost every head of state in the world was engaged with Al Gore’s issue; today the abolition of nuclear weapons looks like a more hopeful cause than the drafting of an effective international treaty that will curb carbon emissions even a little bit.
Read the whole thing. Gore’s fame was a bubble, a hothouse flower that could not survive the harsh realities of the post-Bush era, where many enthusiasms are failing for insufficiency of other people’s money.
Also, there’s the hypocrisy:
If the heart of your message is that the peril of climate change is so imminent and so overwhelming that the entire political and social system of the world must change, now, you cannot fly on private jets. You cannot own multiple mansions. You cannot even become enormously rich investing in companies that will profit if the policies you advocate are put into place.
It is not enough to buy carbon offsets (aka “indulgences”) with your vast wealth, not enough to power your luxurious mansions with exotic low impact energy sources the average person could not afford, not enough to argue that you only needed the jet so that you could promote your earth-saving film.
You are asking billions of people, the overwhelming majority of whom lack many of the basic life amenities you take for granted, people who can’t afford Whole Foods environmentalism, to slash their meager living standards. You may well be right, and those changes may be necessary — the more shame on you that with your superior insight and knowledge you refuse to live a modest life. There’s a gospel hymn some people in Tennessee still sing that makes the point: “You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.” . . . Consider how Gore looks to the skeptics. The peril is imminent, he says. It is desperate. The hands of the clock point to twelve. The seas rise, the coral dies, the fires burn and the great droughts have already begun. The hounds of Hell have slipped the huntsman’s leash and even now they rush upon us, mouths agape and fangs afoam.
But grave as that danger is, Al Gore can consume more carbon than whole villages in the developing world. He can consume more electricity than most African schools, incur more carbon debt with one trip in a private plane than most of the earth’s toiling billions will pile up in a lifetime — and he doesn’t worry. A father of four, he can lecture the world on the perils of overpopulation. Surely, skeptics reason, if the peril were as great as he says and he cares about it as much as he claims, Gore’s sense of civic duty would call him to set an example of conspicuous non-consumption. This general sleeps in a mansion, and lectures the soldiers because they want tents.
What this tells the skeptics is that Vice President Gore doesn’t really believe the gospel he proclaims. That profits from his environmental advocacy enable his affluent lifestyle only deepens their skepticism of the messenger and therefore of the message
CREEPY HEADLINE OF THE DAY: Woman marries her dead fiancé .
JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG, climate skeptic.
SALE, TODAY ONLY: The Andy Griffith Show: The complete series on DVD. 40 discs at less than 2 bucks apiece.
THIS ISN’T GOOD: The Return Of The Broadcast Treaty? I don’t think that more sweeping copyright laws are what the world needs right now.
A SLOGAN FOR 2012: RE-ELECT OBAMA: Because Bombing Foreigners to Smithereens Is Only Wrong When Republicans Do It! Sounds like a winner!
UPDATE: Reader Dean Jackson is harshing my mellow: “Around April 15th next year, there’s gonna be a whole lot of couples in New York that are going to be pretty pissed when they find out they have to pay more taxes as a couple than they do as singles.” Well, I certainly pay a marriage penalty. But doesn’t DOMA mean that the IRS can’t recognize a gay marriage, so that they’ll still file separately? Which would be a sweet deal if I could get it . . . .
ROGER KIMBALL: Conrad Black: justice denied (again).
EPIDEMIOLOGY AND SOCIAL MEDIA: Conference Fail? Nobody’s perfect.
Meanwhile, this is interesting. “If you start digging around in the evolutionary medicine literature, you’ll see that one oft-repeated tenet is that many more ‘chronic’ and ‘lifestyle’ diseases are actually caused by microbes than we currently realize. (I’ll note that there is active disagreement here in the field–one reason noted is that many of these diseases would decrease one’s fitness and thus they are unlikely to be genetic, but many of them also have onset later in life than the prime reproductive years, so–still controversial). But whether you agree on the evolutionary reasoning or not, I think it’s safe to say that those who make this claim (like the Neese & Williams book I linked) are probably right on the overall assertion that more and more of these ‘lifestyle/genetics’ diseases are going to be actually microbial in cause than we currently realize.”
TV TORNADO WARNINGS really make a difference. I’m sure they do, though I’m also sure that tornado warning fatigue is setting in with a lot of folks.
UPDATE: Reader Kevin Johnson writes: “I understand your point about warning fatigue, but if people aren’t taking the weather seriously after the events of this summer then there’s not much help for them. I’ve lived in Knoxville since ’83 and this is by far the worst summer I can remember for damaging bad weather (of course I wasn’t a property owner until ’99, and I’m sure that makes a difference as to my concern level).”
TOO HOT for the HuffPo.
EDITORIAL: IT’S TIME TO LEGALIZE FIREWORKS IN MAINE.
AMAZON UPDATE: Reader Jay Borgmann writes:
Just wanted to thank you for your posting of links to deals at Amazon.
The other day (Tuesday I think,) you posted a link for deals on electronics. I’ve been looking for a new lap-top and found the one I’ve been eyeing for the past couple of months for $175 off the normal price.
Needless to say, I bought it in a heart beat.
Glad to be of help. And I appreciate people buying through the Amazon links on the site, as it puts a little money in my family’s pocket at no cost to you.
JAMES TARANTO ON MYTH AND REALITY: “The truth is, there’s an Emperor’s New Clothes aspect to Obama’s supposed status as the World’s Greatest Orator. We’ve heard the myth of his eloquence over and over, yet he keeps ‘unexpectedly’ making gaffes or tin-eared statements.”
By now, those are pretty old clothes.
CHANGE: Gay marriage legal in New York State after Senate passes historic bill 33-29. I think it’s good that it was passed by the legislature rather than imposed by a court.
IT’S BEEN BASICALLY BLACKED OUT IN THE NEWS, but Thomas Ball’s courthouse-steps self-immolation is still big news in the blogosphere. Was that blog-comment calling his death spouse-abuse really from Amanda Marcotte? On the Internet, nobody knows if you’re a dog.
UPDATE: An email from famed blogger/blog commenter Assistant Village Idiot:
Assistant Village Idiot here. People who have a hair across their ass in general about the family court system are trying to keep the Thomas Ball story alive as if he is some kind of victim. In his efforts to have unsupervised visits with his daughter, he was told to have his visits supervised by Monadnock Family Services. He refused because he blames them for his problems.
I deal with that agency all the time, though not the children’s services – I have for 30 years. They are entirely reasonable people who make adjustments and accommodations for people who don’t like them or are suspicious of them all the time. Hell, they are a mental health center, so most of their clients are difficult and suspicious. They are not some Orwellian controlling agency. Ball decided that being pissy and proving that he was right about one incident ten years ago was more important than seeing his daughter. He’s no victim.
Family courts may indeed be prejudiced against fathers – I hear that, but I don’t know. I’ve certainly dealt with many cases of NH courts ruling in favor of fathers in custody disputes, though, and I don’t see a massive trend here. It pays to remember that MFS cannot tell its side of the story because of confidentiality, and that some pathological people hide by trying to tie themselves to legitimate causes. Wolves hide in sheep’s clothing, because it doesn’t do any good to hide in wolves’ clothing, does it?
Well, this is why there should be more media coverage, rather than a blackout.
JUST A THANK-YOU to everyone who’s bought through the Amazon links on this page, or the search box in the right sidebar. Your support is much appreciated!
A CONFLICT OF INTEREST at Politico?