January 30, 2011
SOVEREIGN DEBT CRISIS: Pointers From The Past.
SOVEREIGN DEBT CRISIS: Pointers From The Past.
“SHE’S SO GOOD-LOOKING THAT SHE LOOKS LIKE A MAN:” Transsexual model stirs Brazil fashion show.
ANNE BAYEFSKY: Mohammed El Baradei – The Iranian Frontman.
MORE HOLLYWOOD RACISM: Little diversity among this year’s Oscar nominees.
AS LOOTING AND CRIME EXPLODE, Egyptians create local armed militias. This will generally happen spontaneously most anywhere law and order breaks down.
TRIBALISM in the Middle East.
AT AMAZON, markdowns in sports and outdoors.
THOUGHTS ON EGYPT from Barry McAffrey. “We have few good options. The President and Secretary Clinton are carefully walking the line. Oddly enough— only the last Administration with President Bush and Secretary Condi Rice has ever taken a strong reform position with Mubarak.”
BORDERS BOOKS teetering on bankruptcy?
BUT WE’VE GOT OBAMACARE! China Moving Ahead On Thorium Molten-Salt Reactors.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH GREECE? Ask An Entrepreneur. “Sitting in his office, Mr. Politopoulos took a long pull from a glass of his premium Vergina wheat beer and said it was absurd that he had to lobby Greek politicians to repeal a 19th-century law so that he could deliver the exports that Greece urgently needed. And, he said, his predicament was even worse than that: it was emblematic of the web of restrictions, monopolies and other distortions that have made many Greek companies uncompetitive, and pushed the country close to bankruptcy.”
CHRISTINA HENDRICKS’ ETHICAL BODY: With pictures.
FRANCES FOX PIVEN: “She wouldn’t even harm a fly.” “In the course of this brouhaha, it becomes apparent that leftist academics don’t want to be and should not be taken seriously, that the cultural elite can dish out violent rhetoric but cannot take being called on it, that the NYT has blundered into another loser of an argument, and that people who want to waste their tuition money should major in sociology, which has obviously become the redoubt of clueless, revolutionary manqués. . . . Piven denied to the NYT that she advocated violence in the article. It’s hard to see how that defense stands up, unless she is saying that she didn’t know what happened in Greece when she urged the American unemployed to take action ‘like the strikes and riots’ there.”
Here’s a reminder of what Piven’s “strikes and riots” in Greece involved:
At the same time, tens of thousands of protesters marched through Athens in the largest and most violent protests since the country’s budget crisis began last fall. Angry youths rampaged through the center of Athens, torching several businesses and vehicles and smashing shop windows. Protesters and police clashed in front of parliament and fought running street battles around the city.
Witnesses said hooded protesters smashed the front window of Marfin Bank in central Athens and hurled a Molotov cocktail inside. The three victims died from asphyxiation from smoke inhalation, the Athens coroner’s office said. Four others were seriously injured there, fire department officials said.
Just for the record. And here’s the conclusion:
In sum, this was another week in which the media and cultural elites acted stupidly and were called on it. Twice in a row now they’ve tried to paint their opposition as violent thugs only to be revealed themselves as snobbish poseurs, projecting their own thuggish urges onto others. It was another week in which those living off the productive labor of others deride those others, try to undermine them, and are in the process undermining the very society which makes it possible for such foolish poseurs to live in comfort.
ROGER KIMBALL: The British disease, coming soon to a bureaucracy near you.
THOUGHTS ON closing post offices. “Unlike businesses in the private sector who have experienced a decrease in customer traffic or business, rather than improve service, increase product offerings, or cut prices, the USPS has chosen to continuously raise the cost of postage, and not offer new services. While the argument may be that rates need to be raised to keep up with inflation and increased costs, the increases simply force more customers into online bill paying, email, and the competition (FedEx and UPS).”
THEY CALL IT THE STUPID PARTY FOR A REASON:
The House Republicans’ first major technology initiative is about to be unveiled: a push to force Internet companies to keep track of what their users are doing.
A House panel chaired by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin is scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow morning to discuss forcing Internet providers, and perhaps Web companies as well, to store records of their users’ activities for later review by police.
One focus will be on reviving a dormant proposal for data retention that would require companies to store Internet Protocol (IP) addresses for two years, CNET has learned.
Tomorrow’s data retention hearing is juxtaposed against the recent trend to protect Internet users’ privacy by storing less data. Last month, the Federal Trade Commission called for “limited retention” of user data on privacy grounds, and in the last 24 hours, both Mozilla and Google have announced do-not-track technology.
Good grief. Bad move. Don’t do it.
UPDATE: On Facebook, Calvin Gordon Dodge comments: “I have an idea. Given that politicians are far more dangerous than the average person (since politicians wield far more power), let’s require that they keep track off all THEIR activity, and make it accessible to their employers (us) for 2 years.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reade Roy Horton emails: “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water. They are the stupid party.”
BRITISH MET OFFICE changed temperature data for press release to make 2010 look hotter than it was.
DAVID WARREN IS not too hopeful about Egypt. I hope he’s wrong.
WILL OBAMA BE “the President who lost Egypt?” Well, stay tuned.
But Chris Matthews is already warming up the blame-Bush narrative. Well, I guess it all started when the first Bush seized Egypt’s Panama Canal.
Meanwhile, Mike Rappaport agrees with my take.
ADVICE TO THE EGYPTIAN PROTESTERS from Andrew Exum.
TIGER MOMS and government schooling.
MARKDOWNS ON Swiss Army Knives and Multitools.
OBAMA’S DIPLOMACY: A matter of “neglect and disregard.”
RADLEY BALKO: “Do You Want Me To Throw It on the Ground?” “What is clear is that the officers are harassing a man who is legally recording the incident from a distance that in no way physically interferes with what the police are doing. One officer threatens to destroy his camera if he doesn’t put it away. Toward the end, several more officers confront the man again. One of them then tells him he’ll be ‘locked up’ for disobeying an order unless he stops recording.”
HEH: NPR: Why Bacon Is A “Gateway Meat” For Vegetarians. Is there anything it can’t do?
DAILY BEAST: PALIN ROCKS THE HOUSE IN GUN COUNTRY, WARNS OF NEW GUN CONTROL EFFORTS FROM OBAMA. “Palin isn’t the first politician to address an SCI convention; George H.W. Bush and Tom Ridge, among others, have beaten her to the punch. But she may be the most zeitgeist-y.”
POPULAR SCIENCE: The Perils Of An “Internet Kill Switch.” What could go wrong? Plenty.
PNEUMONIA BACTERIA EVOLVE to resist antibiotics and vaccines.
POLITICAL WIRE: “A Wilson Research Strategies (R) poll shows two Republicans within striking distance of Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).”
UPDATE: Reader Fred Nixon is troubled by the use of the term “striking distance” and writes: “Is there no end to the violent rhetoric at PoliticalWire?”
USHA RODRIGUEZ: A Students = Academics; C Students = Billionaires? “So apparently there was a session at Davos’ World Economic Forum that pitted Larry Summers against Amy Chua, Tiger Mom. No, I am not making this up.”
ARE JAPAN’S PUBLIC FINANCES AT A TIPPING POINT? “By some measures Japan is in a worse mess than Greece and Ireland.”
AT AMAZON, up to 70% off on men’s boots.
ISRAELI REPORTS “friendly atmosphere” in Cairo. “The attitude towards us as Israelis and tourist is very friendly. Actually, they’re overly nice compared to my previous visits in Egypt. The Egyptians want to explain themselves, to tell everyone about their struggle. They speak Arabic over here so it’s easy to communicate with them. On Friday we went right past the demonstrations on our way back from the pyramids, and people helped us get though the crowd.”
TOOLS THAT EVERYONE SHOULD OWN. I don’t use my sledgehammer much, but when I do, it’s very satisfying.
UPDATE: Lou Dolinar emails: “1) Hand truck (ideally with caterpillar for going up stairs) and 2) furniture dolly. Moving large objects is an essential home improvement skill, and will inevitably wreck your back as you get older. Better to take care when you’re young.” Yeah. I’ve got a dolly; I’d rent the caterpillar thing because it’s not something I use much.
RICHARD FERNANDEZ: A major diplomatic failure is underway.
TRANSLATED: The Egyptian Activists’ Action Plan. I think it’s safe for me to link this one now.
A TREADMILL WITH A BUILT-IN WEB BROWSER. That’s what I need!
CLINT EASTWOOD BACKS THE FLAT TAX.
Another sign of the coming middle class anarchy? If the middle class gives up on the rule of law, beware.
UPDATE: A reader who requests anonymity emails:
This is something I have thought about a lot, and is an important story. There are so many important stories, it’s easy
to miss a long term one, like this. Everyone agrees the possibility of a middle class, and its belief in the fairness of the system has been one of the main drivers, in differentiating America, maybe the most important.
We now have a system that increasingly, means you have to either work for or sell to the government, or have its blessing through interpretation of the rules and regulations to operate. We see the favored and connected moving forward regardless of actions. Here in TN, they are building a Volkswagen plant and Nissan USA moved to Nashville with private funds, but the favored were bailed out because of Big Labor. We see the out of favor not be allowed to drill for oil or receive permits for coal, as easy examples. We see the bond and shareholders of large financial firms protected by changes in accounting rules, and given liquidity using failing loans as collateral at 100 cents on the dollar, while community banks are closed or merged out weekly.
We read monthly of large firm “settlements” of civil fraud, and other deeds, that would make any smaller business close their doors, because of shame, lawsuits or being barred from any new business, But those firms pay some money, and are valued guests at the White House and mainly at fundraisers.
We read that large multinationals through overseas subsidiaries, pay single digit US taxes, keeping the money overseas. While the smaller companies I am associated with, pay the full rate. We have no Irish solution to taxation. We read that a repatriation holiday probably will be allowed. We know that Hedge funds pay at the Capital Gains rate, while we pay at regular rates.
We have 10-20 million “guest” workers, that have to work off the books, which means all their employers, have to pay “off the books, so everyone is learning to break the law together. Unless the government needs a headline and an arrest, all are fine, so, why not do the same with Non Guest Workers ?
Anyone of us can go on and on with examples, probably better ones. The point is, the people and companies that do everything “by the book”, are like the Redcoats in the revolutionary war, using an old system, matching down the middle of the economic battlefield. The people that are connected, or simply ignore the rules are hiding behind the trees and rocks, shooting at the system.
Now the middle class knows, we do not have the money, lawyers and connections, to get away with as much as the larger firms, so most people will not attempt as much. But the belief system is being eroded, and quickly, like the banks of a full river, iT takes some time, but the water is brown with the eroded soil.
But more and more, I feel stupid for playing by the rules, and I know I am not alone. Because the rules are no longer what I thought they were all my life.
The new system is get what you can, and throw away the old fashioned economic moralities.
Everybody loses in such a system, but at least they don’t feel so much like suckers. As I’ve noted before, while Obama has been accused of not appreciating the role of financial capital, he’s even more ignorant — or unconcerned — about the importance of moral capital. But you cannot run a prosperous, civilized country without it.
However, if the middle class asserts itself it can change things for the better instead. That’s why so many fear the Tea Party movement.
UPDATE: A high-school friend emails:
Had to chime in on this one.
In the 80′s a thought struck me. The extraction of resources and creation of wealth in our country had produced the middle class as a by-product, not as a desired goal. The new “natural resource” available for plunder was now the wealth accumulated by the middle class.
I assumed that robber barons and snake-oil salesmen would arise to attempt this feat, but it never occurred to me that a collusion of our own government, unions and financiers would organize to kill the golden goose. I also never thought the voters would line up in sufficient numbers to be lambs for the slaughter.
I sure love my country. I would never do to her what this collection of S.O.B.s has done.
I’m hanging on to hope that we can ride out this storm. I think we can.
Me too. Some additional effort from our so-called leaders would be nice, though.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Some somewhat-related thoughts from Jerry Pournelle.
WHEN HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLES EXPLODE:
So if it isn’t politics or economics, what is it that lead the people of Tunisia to rise up and overthrow their government?
Tunisia’s big problem is said to be unemployment. But unemployment there is running at somewhere between 13 percent and 14 percent, which isn’t really so bad. The real problem is that Tunisia cannot create suitable employment for the huge numbers of college graduates it creates every year.
That’s right: the education bubble popped in Tunisia.
Tunisia has a gigantic education apparatus that has earned it plaudits for years. Free university education is guaranteed to anyone who passes the government’s exams at the end of high school. As a result, an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 university graduates enter the job market every year. Fifty-seven percent of young Tunisians entering the labor market are college educated.
It turns out that creating a large class of college-educated workers is not necessarily a recipe for prosperity. Tunisia has discovered it can be a recipe for political unrest and mass unemployment. For Tunisia’s recent college graduates, the unemployment level reaches to at least 30 percent. If you count in various forms of under-employment, it’s safe to say that as many as half of Tunisia’s recent college graduates are losing out in the jobs market.
Tunisia has clearly over-invested in higher education. It is spending 7.2 percent of its GDP on education, more than any European or North American country that isn’t Denmark (which manages to spend 7.9 percent of GDP on education) or Iceland (7.5 percent). It’s a very typical malinvestment bubble: keep spending based on expected returns that don’t materialize, and suddenly find yourself with a worthless asset. Whether it’s dot com sites selling pet food, homes near Las Vegas, or really well-educated Tunisians the results are the same.
Luckily, nothing like that can happen here.
HEH: Photo: Two Retail Stores With Sexual Tension.
“PENNSYLVANIA IS NOT A THIRD-WORLD COUNTRY.”
NOT THE SHARPEST KNIFE IN THE MSNBC DRAWER: Chris Matthews, who derides Palin as stupid, says Panama Canal is in… EGYPT! It is, of course, the kind of mistake anyone can make on the air. But it’s true — if Palin made it, it would be proof of stupidity. So, goose, meet gander.
I GUESS THAT MEANS I NEED TO COME OUT WITH MY OWN LINE OF SUITS: the Johnny Carson of the digital age?
AT AMAZON, DVD markdowns on movies & TV.
“LIFE SUCKS” FOR COLLEGE FRESHMEN, but Dr. Helen is unmoved. “Maybe if the rewards for being a grown-up were greater and the rewards for acting like a self-indulgent teen well into your 30′s were less, we would see fewer miserable college freshman.”
COULDN’T HAPPEN TO A NICER GUY: Is Qaddafi Next?
CLIMATEGATE: British Met Office Keeping Two Sets of Books.
WHAT OBAMA DIDN’T MENTION, when he praised a school in the SOTU address.
PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE ON the beauty of the corporation. “We should be eternally grateful that slave owning, miscegenating, Jacobin-leaning Jefferson failed to squelch the corporation.”
Hey, don’t be dissing miscegenation. Otherwise, yeah.
BARRY RUBIN: Egypt: Three Possible Outcomes.
CLOSING DOWN THE COMPETITION: TSA shuts door on private airport screening program. “A program that allows airports to replace government screeners with private screeners is being brought to a standstill, just a month after the Transportation Security Administration said it was ‘neutral’ on the program. TSA chief John Pistole said Friday he has decided not to expand the program beyond the current 16 airports, saying he does not see any advantage to it.”
No advantage for him, as it was making TSA look bad. Er, I mean, worse.
ARE WE ALL NEOCONS NOW? “So having already endorsed the essentials of the Bush war on terror, Obama is now belatedly embracing the freedom agenda too. Does that mean we’re all neocons now?” Of course not. Obama’s implementation of Bush’s policies is completely different. I do wish that Bush had continued Bush’s policies after 2005, instead of dropping the ball.
COLD TRUTHS ABOUT electric cars’ cold-weather shortcomings.
NOT HOW I ENVISIONED THE 21ST CENTURY: Six Cases Of Cholera Suspected In Massachusetts.
CHRIS CHRISTIE TO ILLINOIS BUSINESSES: Come to New Jersey!
REVERSE ANGLE. Heh. Cheap, but they were asking for this. . . .
ANSWERING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Why ARE women’s breasts getting bigger?
UPDATE: Reader Arthur Lueck writes: “While I am not the most religious sort, I think the reason is clear: God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
“THE LAW PROFESSORS HAD A FAILURE OF IMAGINATION.”
And to politicians who dismiss the constitutional allocation of power as a “technicality,” be reminded that on tax day people pay taxes, instead of treating you like robbers, because of the constitutional allocation of powers. Without that, you’re just another bandit to be treated accordingly. Do you really want to dismiss the rule of law that way? The answer, of course, is that to politicians, the rule of law — like the taxes — is for the little people. I would recommend against pushing too hard on that front right now, though.
MORE EGYPT LIVEBLOGGING AT THE ATLANTIC. Note the formation of armed citizen patrols against looters.
GREG BEATO: The More We Spend On Higher Education, The More We Spend On Higher Education. Things that can’t go on forever, won’t. More: “In the face of the Internet and other technologies that have made information and instruction cheaper and more accessible than ever, you might have predicted that the ever-expanding multiversities of the 1980s and 1990s would suffer the same fate as the music industry and the newspaper business. Instead, scope creep has functioned as an ingenious survival mechanism. . . . It’s true that for-profit institutions are raking in huge profits in large part because of federal subsidies. (The CEO of the holding company behind Strayer University made $41 million in 2009.) But it’s also true that few if any for-profits are using federal money to finance lengthy sabbaticals for high-paid professors who teach a handful of classes a year, or the athletic pursuits of undersized linebackers who should have hung up their cleats after graduating high school. Non-profit institutions of higher learning have been using federal money to make sure American college kids are the tannest, best-fed, most vigorously administrated students in the world for decades now. For a little extra credit, our elected officials should start holding them more accountable too.”
MARKDOWNS ON fitness videos.
WHY THEY’D RATHER TALK ABOUT SARAH PALIN (CONT’D): IMF to US: Better Start Taking Care Of Business. Plus this: “Offering the discretionary-spending freeze as an answer to the IMF’s legitimate concern is akin to telling your mortgage holder that you’ve started an austerity program by deciding not to buy more pay-per-view porn each month than in the previous few years.”
GUANTANAMO AND “detention policy fatigue.”
THE OTHER DAY, READER JASON WHITWORTH ASKED: “For those of us that were in school in the late 80’s/early 90’s and never had a Western Civ course, can you or your readers recommend one?”
I published that, the recommendations poured in, and of course I got too busy to properly digest them. But now here are some.
An anonymous reader emails: “Try The Rise of The West – W H McNeill…”
Rev. Todd Hester emails: “Glenn, Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation is forty years old now, but peerless in my estimation. Clark was an avowed humanist and anti-Marxist, and it showed. I was an English major in the early nineties; it was the basis for my humanities coursework, and was still deeply relevant. I suspect it is more so now.”
Prof. Stephen Clark writes: “In response to Mr. Whitworth, let me bang the drum for Jacques Barzun’s, From Dawn to Decadence: 500 Years of Western Cultural Life 1500 to the Present. A life’s worth of scholarship has been distilled in this work. Beautifully written, Barzun takes you on a grand 500 year tour of the Western world that will leave you in awe of all that has preceded you, but also in awe of a model of classical scholarship that Barzun represents.” I read that, and it’s excellent.
Linda Seebach emails: “Columbia’s course was called Contemporary Civilization, and Amazon has a number of used copies at reasonable prices (new are ~ $85). I took a version at Gettysburg in the late ’50s, but I don’t think that was ever commercially published. Also links to reading list, study guides online, for instance at http://www.wikicu.com/Contemporary_Civilization.”
Reader Dwight Green writes: “I saw the request one emailer made for Western Civ classes. There are many online courses available now at sites like Academic Earth (http://academicearth.org/) or Open culture (http://www.openculture.com/). There really is a burgeoning online industry for courses that I’m happy to see. For those that feel overwhelmed at taking courses, their best bet may be exploring the flourishing world of book blogging. Anyone interested, even casually, in reading is sure to find several that fits their tastes and style. For example, I’m currently working my way through Thucydides and posting my thoughts on it…it’s a challenging read but so well worth it.”
Josh Mandir sends: “I think a good start on Western Civilization is the book Carnage and Culture by Victor Davis Hanson. It covers 9 battles in world history from the Battle of Salamis to the Vietnam War, describing the unique properties of Western Civilization. I learned more about Western Civilization (and, really, history overall) than I did in college.”
Reader William Berry emails: “In response to reader Jason Whitworth’s query about a course in Western Civ for one who missed out on it the first time around, I would suggest the seminar reading list at St. John’s College, available at this link . There is Western civilization, laid out in all its glory. St. John’s is the best college most people have never heard of, where the humanities still flourish. Our eldest son is a student there now, and loves it. But if you can’t go there, the next best thing is to work through the readings on your own.”
Claudia Brown writes: “Your reader who’s looking for a Western Civilization course might consider purchasing the textbooks to the Providence College (Rhode Island) two-year Civ core. Two of my kids went to Providence, and we were really impressed with the course. During various campus visits we met other parents who had themselves attended Providence, and looked back on the Civ course as one of the best they ever took, regardless of what they ended up majoring in or what profession they pursued. (You don’t declare a major at Providence until late in Sophomore year — that’s a good sign.) Even without a course, I’m sure the readings textbook would be valuable.”
Andrew Morriss writes: “The Teaching Company has many, many marvelous courses on the essentials of western civilization. Prof. Rufus Fears’ courses on Rome are spectacular – he’s got a great voice! The best ‘why we got rich’ book is Deidre McCloskey’s Bourgeois Dignity – fabulous, well written, erudite, etc. Basically: don’t kill entrepreneurs and be nice to them and your society will prosper. It is the only explanation that fits the data. Her web page is here, and her website has the book for downloading, reviews (including mine), etc.”
Speaking of how-we-got-rich, the classic is Nathan Rosenberg’s How The West Grew Rich. Many readers recommended this.
Reader Will Danford recommends Roots Of Freedom: A Primer On Modern Liberty. “It was written (by my dad – sorry) for college students, but it was adapted from lectures delivered via Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty before the wall fell. It’s a concise summary of the Western political tradition.” Nothing wrong with plugging your dad’s work.
Reader Jonathan Good recommends this video series on the Western Tradition.
And, of course, if you’re in a big hurry, there’s always Andrew Klavan’s video history of Western culture in 2 1/2 minutes.
PETER SUDERMAN: Egypt’s Internet Kill Switch. “Here’s what happens when a dictator has access to an off-switch for an entire country’s Internet: Via the Committee to Protect Journalists, a visual representation of Egypt’s Internet traffic on January 27th.”
HMM: Porsche considers selling diesel-engined Panamera, Cayenne in U.S. I like the Panamera, and if I were rich I’d consider buying one. But would I be more likely to buy a diesel? I don’t think so. Now a diesel Cayenne makes sense. Or am I missing something?
UPDATE: Reader Matthew Hennessy says I am:
On purely performance grounds, diesel doesn’t cause engine damage from ‘knocking’ (since diesel compression combustion is essentially controlled ‘knock’ already) you can crank up turbocharging.. Also, it can run leaner than gasoline engines, thus leading to better economy. In the US these days, most diesel performance tuning is done on truck platforms (Gale Banks Engineering is big on diesel) but a high-pressure turbo system on a modern common-rail diesel along with a huge # of gears in a multiclutch trans could be a real winner.
Well, stay tuned.
IN BRITAIN, a call for men’s liberation.
INSIDE THE BRAINS OF PSYCHOPATHS. “Not all psychopaths lack the ability to comprehend emotions felt by others. It isn’t that they lack the ability to model the emotions of others. Rather, their emotional reaction to their own modeling of others is different than it is in most people. This is, by the way, why I fear future artificial intelligences. I do not expect they will have behavior-restraining empathy.” Not unless it’s designed in. Some people are working on how to do that.
IN THE MAIL: Gulag Boss: A Soviet Memoir.
PC WORLD: Get Internet Access When Your Government Shuts It Down. “In the land of no Internet connection, the man with dial-up is king.” Plus, thoughts on ham radio, etc.
UPDATE: Reader Tom Hill writes: “Would you mind asking your readers if fiber optic phone systems (such as Verizon Fios) could be shut down as part of an internet shutdown?” I’m sure they could be, but my guess is that Internet would be blocked at the ISP gateway. Others may know more than me.
And what’s the point of dialup if the ISP gateways are shut down? With dialup, you can reach foreign dialup nodes. Of course, it’s also possible to just shut down international phone calls, but that’s another step, and also a costly one.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Egypt Cuts The Net, The Net Fights Back.
I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ONE GODDAMN WORD ABOUT MY CARBON FOOTPRINT: FOIA Request Reveals Pelosi Logged 43 Flights Covering 90,155 Miles from January to October 2010. “According to previous documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the former Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.”
CHANGE: Gallup Poll: Positive views of GOP for first time since 2005. “The view of the Democratic Party, meanwhile, has improved slightly. The poll showed 46% of Americans viewed Democrats positively, compared with 47% who have a negative view. Still, those numbers are among the worst Gallup has recorded for Democrats since 1992.”
MARKDOWNS ON blankets, bedding, and bath goods.
TIMOTHY DALRYMPLE: Why We Have Children.
POLIWOOD ON THE Kennedy Mini-Series Suppression.
UPDATE: Chinese nervous? “CHINA has blocked the word ‘Egypt” from the country’s wildly popular Twitter-like service, while coverage of the political turmoil has been tightly restricted in state media.”
JAMES TARANTO: Eliminationist rhetoric against Sarah Palin: a production of the Missoula Children’s Theater. “In all seriousness, though, like much of what we have been writing about in the past few weeks, this incident is shocking but not surprising. For all the bogus accusations being thrown at Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, genuinely hateful political rhetoric is commonplace in the art world, even in art that is not overtly political.”
KEVIN WILLIAMSON: Statistical Chicanery: Texas Budget Edition. “The fact is that Texas, at $985 per capita, received less stimulus funding than almost any other state. (Virginia and Nebraska were lower.) It is no surprise to find Paul Krugman manipulating figures, but I am surprised by the number of people who fell for this storyline.”
RANKINGS: College and University Endowments.
MEGAN MCARDLE: What would a U.S. debt downgrade mean?
I think the answer is: Nobody really knows. But probably nothing good.
IMPORTANT HEALTH NEWS: “Adults who make love first thing in the morning apparently not only feel more upbeat for the rest of the day, but also benefit from a stronger immune system. Research suggests that adults who begin their day this way are healthier and happier than those who simply opt for a cup of tea and some toast before heading out of the door.”