June 3, 2012
THE NEW CIVILITY: George Zimmerman is back in police custody; Update: Twitter mob hopes for rape, death. So many people out to lynch a black man.
THE NEW CIVILITY: George Zimmerman is back in police custody; Update: Twitter mob hopes for rape, death. So many people out to lynch a black man.
I smell desperation.
The left was mostly raptured into political heaven four years ago when they elected Obama on bended knee. He spoke about things dear to their hearts: closing Guantanamo Bay. Ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Getting tough on bankers.
Guantanamo is still open. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down, but the military presence remains. (Smacks of imperialism. That’s something the left hates as much as libertarians do.) Then there’s the president’s bit about getting tough on bankers. Where has the White House come down hard on Wall Street? Fuhgeddaboudit. This is New York!
More at the link.
HOW TO MAKE A SUMMER “STAYCATION” more exciting.
AMERICANS VIEW THE NRA MUCH MORE FAVORABLY THAN THEY DO PRESIDENT OBAMA. Well, that seems about right. “Founded in 1871, the NRA views itself as ‘America’s oldest civil rights organization,’ an embodiment of American freedom values. These days, it seems that most Americans tend to agree.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Showing Up In Swimwear And Other Job-Hunting No-Nos.
WILL AFFIRMATIVE ACTION LEAD TO a resurgence in racial conflict?
HE’S SUCH A GLOOMY GUS: Mark Steyn: Twilight Of The West. Personally, I’m not giving up, whatever some Canadian guy says.
DISTANT OR DEVASTATED? How did You Feel When Your Kid Left for College?
APPARENTLY, THE SCIENCE ISN’T AS SETTLED WAS WE THOUGHT: Does ‘Good Cholesterol’ Really Help Prevent Heart Attacks? A Lancet study casts doubt on previous research. On the other hand, it is The Lancet.
WELL, THAT WILL SELL LIKE HOTCAKES, I’M SURE: Israelis Invent Pot With No High.
CROSS-CULTURE: Teenage Girls In Their Rooms.
TRANSPARENCY: The State Of Open Records Laws: Access Denied.
A TEA PARTY I-TOLD-YOU-SO: My Sunday Washington Examiner Column Is Up.
MORE SECRET SERVICE PROBLEMS: Driver in road rage ID’d as Secret Service agent.
The license plate on a black Dodge Charger recorded speeding erratically on Interstate 77 in Charlotte and using blue lights to pull over a vehicle was assigned to a Secret Service agent, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. Secret Service agency.
Special Agent in Charge, Russ Nelson, of the Secret Service office in Charlotte said, “The employee was working on duty in an official capacity in a US Secret Service vehicle at the time of the incident.”
Nelson said they’re investigating the incident and have placed the agent on paid leave until the issue is resolved.
Really, I’m beginning to have doubts about their professionalism. But three cheers for cellphone video. But why don’t we know the agent’s name?
FREEZING THE FIRST AMENDMENT: Cop Arrests NBC Reporters, Says Your First Amendment Right Can Be Terminated. What’s his name? The police officer’s name should be reported. If I ran a media operation, anytime someone laid hands on one of my reporters, I’d publish his or her name, picture, and disciplinary record. Then I’d file a lawsuit. Every single time.
DEPLOYING SOCIAL PRESSURE IN WISCONSIN: “We have seen the power of a single mailer disclosing the voting behavior of oneself and one’s neighbors.” Ann Althouse comments: “It’s important for people to know when political organizations, like the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund, are deliberately using a psychological manipulation that has been tested and studied. Please, get out the word that mailers like this are trying to mobilize… The Surveillance Effect.”
Have you noticed that the left’s nightmare is a small town where everybody sees and comments on whatever you do, but they try to turn every place into a small town where everybody sees and comments on whatever you do?
PROGRESS IN OBAMA’S WAR ON INEQUALITY: “Last year the US made great strides towards a more equal society: we cut the number of millionaires by more than 100,000. According to a study from the Boston Consulting Group, 129,000 evil US millionaires rejoined the ranks of the proletariat last year as the value of their stocks, cash and other non-business and non-property assets fell below the magic number.”
Leftists are unhappy not that some are poor, but that others are rich.
THEY TOLD ME IF I VOTED FOR JOHN MCCAIN, Glenn Greenwald would be mocking the White House for prosecuting leakers while engaging in self-serving, politically-motivated leaks itself. And they were right! Hey, rube!
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: GEOPOLITICS, PUTIN STYLE. “According to Germany’s Spiegel, a chill has fallen over German-Russian relations even as summer reaches the far north. The Kremlin’s recent snubbing of German President Joachim Gauck and Putin’s absence at the G8 summit have led to suspicion as to how much swagger the Russian leader will exhibit in the coming months as his EU neighbors struggle. . . . Putin is certainly likely to enjoy some geopolitical benefits as the European Union writhes in its currency woes. But it takes more than weakened neighbors to make a great power. Putin’s Russia is essentially a limited and secondary power in the sense that its own wealth depends large on the prosperity of others. If the world economy slows, the price of oil and gas fall, and the position of whoever rules Russia weakens. The EU might suffer in such a scenario but Russia’s ability to capitalize on its neighbors’ distress will be limited by its own financial weakness.”
JIM TREACHER: Smartest. President. Ever.
INDEED: David Kirkham emails:
I walked into Wal-Mart last night to buy some ammo and saw Wal-Mart is selling guns again after years out of the business.
The world is changing.
Yes. I believe they’re even selling Evil Assault Rifles.
His decision comes after news last week that the five-term lawmaker had failed to collect enough signatures to appear on the ballot in his bid for reelection to the House.
McCotter was quick to acknowledge the misstep saying that the “buck stops with me” and had begun efforts to wage a write-in campaign. . . .
McCotter had suggested that his campaign’s failure to secure 1,000 valid signatures to be on the ballot had been the work of political sabotage. Of the 2,000 signatures submitted, reports said only a few hundred were deemed valid by Michigan state election officials.
The whole thing smells. But somebody should give him a TV show. I’ve seen him on Redeye and he’s got a wicked sense of humor.
AT AMAZON, markdowns on software downloads.
INTERNET SECURITY FAIL: Why Antivirus Companies Failed To Catch Flame and Stuxnet.
HOW’S THAT BLOGGER-INTIMIDATION THING WORKIN’ OUT FOR YA? Stacy McCain Investigates Neal Rauhauser.
ANOTHER UPDATE: SWATting Story Again In Big Media.
IN WISCONSIN, another creepy political letter.
We expected the Law School administration to be upset about our choice of topic, and timing, in implementing Professor Sunstein’s suggestions about how to ensure consideration of a diversity of information in the marketplace of ideas, via paper-based communication with passersby. We expected some sort of counter-speech (though we heard none). What we didn’t expect was something reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel 1984 — that the Harvard Law School administration would respond by censoring our speech, and acting to erase it from the historical record.
We didn’t expect the Spanish Inquisition.
Nobody ever does, kid. Nobody ever does.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: 3 Ways To Get Better Customer Service Using Social Media. “Your CEO may have a compensation package that’s bigger than what 100 of us make in a year, but our viruses? Man, are they contagious.”
DAVID BARON, CALL YOUR OFFICE: Bear disrupts Bakersfield graduation, forces playground evacuation. “A young black bear nearly crashed a middle school graduation Thursday morning when it wandered over a fence and onto an adjacent Bakersfield elementary school playground, scattering students and providing a spectacle for parents.”
U.C. BERKELEY DEAN CHRIS EDLEY ON The Great American Public Law School of the Future.
THE PROBLEM WITH AIRLINE SEATS.
Changes are happening now, as major U.S. carriers look for new ways to pump up profits by either adding to or reducing the number of coach seats, increasing legroom or cutting the distance between rows.
You might call it a game of aeronautical chairs that will directly affect passenger comfort, convenience and cost.
Two experts with inside knowledge of the airline seat industry– a vice president at a seat manufacturer and a nationally recognized expert in the study of body measurements — recently talked frankly about some of the reasons behind the anger and discomfort.
Are the seats getting smaller? Closer together? Are passengers getting bigger? Are we getting angrier?
Well, no. Yes. Yes. And it’s unclear.
Read the whole thing.
IS FACEBOOK LOSING ITS COOLNESS? Some teens aren’t liking Facebook as much as older users.
LIVING OFF THE GRID in a mail-order home. “House Arc is designed to be put together like a piece of Ikea furniture, according to Bellomo. In other words, anyone with moderate carpentry skills should be able to assemble it. If the home is no longer needed, it can also easily be taken apart and shipped somewhere else.”
NEWS YOU CAN USE: The Economics of High-End Prostitutes. “I look back on my post from a year ago and recognise my ignorance: high-end prostitutes do have a unique skill-set.”
AT AMAZON, bestsellers in biographies & memoirs.
EMPIRE OF THE DRONES: EPA told to come clean on feedlot flyovers.
GOING FOR A JOG WITH A HELICOPTER DRONE. Nobody tell Obama about this . . ..
WILL A DARK CHOCOLATE A DAY keep the doctor away?
ALEX NUNEZ likes the Kia Rio. “Man, if you’re in the market for a new small car, you’re in luck, because there are a slew of good options that are priced attractively, well-equipped, and don’t shortchange you on style or fuel economy. I’ve mentioned a few that resonated with me so far, and have since spent some meaningful time with a few more. The biggest and most pleasant surprise of the bunch is the one you see here: the 2012 Kia Rio SX. This one is fully loaded, and carried a sticker price of $20,545 including freight and handling charges.”
ANOTHER READER BOOK PLUG: Tom Brosz asks that I link his book, Castle Falcon.
And reader Jeff Burhans writes: “I LOVE when you plug books written by your readers – I’ve purchased several from your tips (e.g. Hegemony, Temporary Duty, etc.) and have been THRILLED with the value for each of them. I’ve enjoyed them all.” Glad to oblige.
FASTER, PLEASE: Computer-designed proteins programmed to disarm variety of flu viruses. “Computer-designed proteins are under construction to fight the flu. Researchers are demonstrating that proteins found in nature, but that do not normally bind the flu, can be engineered to act as broad-spectrum antiviral agents against a variety of flu virus strains, including H1N1 pandemic influenza.”
LEGAL EDUCATION UPDATE: The Broken Economics Of Legal Education.
ANN ALTHOUSE: Incredibly creepy mail today from the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund. “This is an effort to shame and pressure people about voting, and it is truly despicable. Your vote is private, you have a right not to vote, and anyone who tries to shame and an harass you about it is violating your privacy, and the assumption that I will become active in shaming and pressuring my neighbors is repugnant. . . . This may be the most disgusting thing I have ever received in the mail.” It may be disgusting, but it certainly comes across as desperate.
THE DIPLOMAT: 12 Things Missing From The Pentagon’s China Report.
Will plastic, toxic-free baby bottles made in another country be a deciding factor in who wins the California State Assembly’s District 50 race? In one of the most unabashedly liberal, environmentally conscious — and wealthiest — voter strongholds in the United States, which includes cities such as Malibu, Santa Monica and West Hollywood, which have banned plastic bags or nonrecyclable food containers, yes, they just might.
“This district is La La Land,” says Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science geographer Paul Robinson, an expert on social issues in California. “It’s divorced from the reality of what’s happening in other parts of L.A.” . . .
Known in political circles as President Barack Obama’s ATM, the new district is home to deep-pocketed contributors, who have donated many millions of dollars to his 2012 re-election campaign and tens of millions to his successful 2008 bid. It includes not only eye-popping wealth but also high-powered celebrity and political clout.
Read the whole thing, for the chuckles at least.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Americans Have No Idea How Few Gay People There Are. That’s because there are so many on TV.
THE MANOLO: Young Billionaires, Then And Now.
AT AMAZON, Father’s Day Gifts in Kitchen & Dining.
Also, today only: Transcend 64 GB JetFlash 500 Retractable USB Flash Drive, $36.99.
I’LL BET HE DOES: In tough fight with Romney, Obama longs for McCain.
ELIZABETH WARREN, FORECLOSURE PROFITEER?
Elizabeth Warren, who has railed against predatory banks and heartless foreclosures, took part in about a dozen Oklahoma real estate deals that netted her and her family hefty profits through maneuvers such as “flipping” properties, records show.
A Herald review has found that the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate rapidly bought and sold homes herself, loaned money at high interest rates to relatives and purchased foreclosed properties at bargain prices. . . . Herald columnist Howie Carr reported yesterday that Warren and her relatives also profited from two additional Oklahoma City foreclosures — in both cases showing triple-digit percentage gains.
Warren’s campaign issued a statement last night: “Elizabeth and (her husband) Bruce are fortunate to be in a position where they can help their family. They have been able to help relatives buy their homes and her nephew — a contractor — fix up houses.”
However, Warren and her family’s private investments don’t seem to square with her public statements about the latest real estate boom and bust.
Nobody tell the Occupy Movement. Er, wherever that is, now.
NEW YORK SUN: BLOOMBERG’S NEUROSIS. At least this latest bit of idiocy should ensure that he has no shot at a VP slot.
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Richard Posner: Is Student Debt Excessive?
The change in the financing of college from the 1950s, when I was growing up, is dramatic. In those days your family paid for your tuition and living expenses, or you received a scholarship from the college (and perhaps in partial exchange for it had to work part time for the college, for example by waiting on tables in the college dining room), or you worked your way through college, or college was free—or you didn’t go. But you didn’t borrow, and you didn’t graduate with any debt, and your career choices, and your marital plans, were not influenced by your having to pay off a substantial debt. This system of financing college education was feasible because a much smaller percentage of young people went to college in those days, in part because the financial returns to college were smaller than they are today. Student loans enable many students to go to college who couldn’t afford college without them yet would benefit from a college education, though student loans also enable colleges to jack up tuition, for which the students pay in the end unless they default on their student loans.
A complication for high school students trying to assess the value of a college education is the nation’s current economic situation. True, as in the 1930s, so now, the unemployment rate of college graduates is well below that of other workers. But it is more than 5 percent, which is twice what it was five years ago. And it is about twice that high—10 percent, at least—for young college graduates. If one adds in underemployment, that is, employment in a job for which a college education is not a qualification—for example, a college graduate employed as a waiter—the combined rate of unemployment and underemployment is almost 33 percent for all college graduates under the age of 25. (College graduates who are in graduate or professional school rather than have on average better job prospects than those seeking work with just a B.A. or B.S. under their belt.) Wages for young college graduates in the work force have also fallen.
No guarantees — which is why you don’t want to take on too much debt. If only there were a short, readable book on this subject out there somewhere. . . .
I WAS EXPECTING AN EARTH-SHATTERING KABOOM: The Green Energy Bubble Is Bursting Fast Everywhere.
So the tech bubble burst a decade ago, and the housing bubble five years ago. The higher education bubble is swelling to the bursting point, but it is the green energy bubble that is bursting loudest at the moment, and as usual environmentalists are slow to see that they’re about to get run over by a revival of the hydrocarbon economy. Those old dinosaurs may have been big lumbering animals, but the nimble fossil fuels they threw off are crushing the so-called green “fuels of the future” beloved of fruit-juice drinkers and vegans everywhere.
I’d prefer a space-solar/nuclear/hydrogen economy myself, but the greens don’t seem to favor that and I’m not sure the tech is ready yet anyway.
THE HILL: Jobs Report Upends 2012 Race.
A dismal May jobs report is being perceived as a possible game-changer in the presidential battle between President Obama and Mitt Romney, with Republicans saying the numbers provide further proof that the economy isn’t improving.
The report showing unemployment increasing to 8.2 percent and the creation of only 69,000 jobs shook some Democrats, crystallizing their fears that the economy could tip the election in Romney’s favor in November.
It also threatened to turn Obama’s argument that the economy is improving on its head and provided flashbacks to the spring economic slowdown of last year.
“It is a little scary,” said one former White House official. “There’s no sugarcoating this one.”
Another former administration official called it an “ ‘Oh, s–t’ moment.”
“It’s not good,” the former official said. “I’ll say this, I’m glad it’s June and not October.”
Well, you take your comfort where you can find it, I guess.
CHANGE: Handful of genetic changes led to huge changes to human brain. “Changes to just three genetic letters among billions led to evolution and development of the mammalian motor sensory network, and laid the groundwork for the defining characteristics of the human brain, Yale University researchers report.”
JIM TREACHER: Obama doesn’t have to write “I will not call them Polish death camps” on the blackboard 100 times. “But close enough. The Smartest President Ever, the living, breathing deity who restored America’s standing in the world after the evils of the Bush era — Predator drones? What Predator drones? — seriously ticked off the Poles the other day. The issue hasn’t gone away just because he wants it to, and now, in an undoubtedly ego-bruising development, he’s been forced to publicly apologize.”
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Wesleyan University Abandons Need-Blind Admission.
MICHAEL WALSH: “Solyndra! Solyndra!” “Axelrod is a charter member of Obama’s Chicago mafia, the man behind the curtain, and to send him out where he could be humiliated was a dreadful blunder. What, Bill Clinton wasn’t available? Oh, wait . . . The Romney camp has already shown itself to be an adept counter-puncher, but now seems to be moving toward a more aggressive, offensive posture. Yesterday was a series of Doolittle Raids, to test the enemy’s reactions.”
IS HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF, or just stuttering?
JEREMY LOTT: Yes, that dress does make you look fat.
“PRESUMED” BEING THE KEY WORD: Radicals Justify Their Evil by Invoking Their Presumed Moral Superiority.
UPDATE: Bill Quick is not impressed.
A FREE KINDLE BOOK TODAY: NOLS Wilderness Medicine: 4th Edition. Thanks to reader Mike Puckett for the tip.
IS THIS A GOOD THING? SAYING GOODBYE TO CASH.
HEY, I CAN’T CATCH ‘EM ALL: Reader Drew Cloutier writes:
All the Amazon links but not one to today’s MP3 special? It is “Music for the Zombie Apocalypse” for just $2.99.
I can’t think of a “They told me that if I voted for McCain…” joke to insert, but it still seems to perfect for the blog.
THOUGHTS ON THE JOHN EDWARDS CASE:
Edwards is, of course, a skunk. But he isn’t only a skunk; he was the Democratic Party’s vice-presidential nominee in 2004 and the party’s third-leading presidential contender in 2008. Edwards is a young man, and it was not at all unreasonable to think that he could be president someday, even after Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton finished ahead of him that year. When Edwards went to the seemingly-insane length of persuading a campaign aide to claim that he was the father of Edwards’ illegitimate child, it was not just because he was afraid of his wife’s wrath. This, after all, is not Italy in the 1950s; divorce is a realistic option. No, Edwards was trying to preserve his viability as a presidential candidate or, failing that, a nominee for Attorney General.
And, as crazy as his stashing of his mistress and child now seems, if it had been up to the Washington Post and the New York Times, he would have gotten away with it.
With an assist from the L.A. Times. Keep Rockin!
FASTER, PLEASE: Paralyzed Rats Walk Again.
REPLACING $100K DEVICES WITH $1K DEVICES: Microfluidic Device Detects Leukemia Or HIV. I actually think — as Andy Kessler has argued — that we may be approaching the point where technology drives costs down, not up. That’s another reason I opposed ObamaCare, since it would likely freeze things in place by drastically slowing the pace of medical innovation.
SPACE CASES: The Weirdest Legal Claims In Outer Space:
“Every now and then, someone thinks no one has claimed the moon before, and then rushes to claim it,” wrote Virgiliu Pop, a space law researcher at the Romanian Space Agency, in an email to Wired. “Humankind has a short collective memory, so the claimant is able to create some buzz before the story dies out — to be followed by a similar story, years later.”
As we enter an era when people are seriously advocating that the U.S. establish property rights on the moon and scholars debate the legality of mining asteroids, it’s interesting (and relevant) to look back at the people who have tried to assert ownership of the moon, Mars, other planets, and stars throughout history.
In 2006, Pop literally wrote the book on this matter, titled Unreal Estate: The Men Who Sold The Moon, which he describes as “a serious analysis of a trivial subject.” The compendium offers plenty of outrageous stories, and here we look at some of the book’s most spurious and strange space cases.
Pop’s a smart guy. If you’re seriously interested in space property rights, you should check out his Who Owns the Moon?: Extraterrestrial Aspects of Land and Mineral Resources.
Meanwhile, here’s an interesting argument for treating asteroids as chattels instead of real property, which would take them outside the Outer Space Treaty’s non-appropriation rule.
RESPONDING TO ANTI-MORMON BIGOTRY.
THOUGHTS ON HAPPINESS.
WHEN THE LAW IS A SERIOUS BUSINESS.
PUNCHING BACK TWICE AS HARD: “Mitt Romney Wins Over The Right By Confronting Obama.” Key bit: “This is right out of Breitbart’s playbook.”
Yes. And also my “hammer and tongs” advice.
DATING: Same Woman, Two Years Apart. This is kind of sad.
AT AMAZON, markdowns on bestselling notebook computers.
INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE: Caveman Blogger Fights for Free Speech and Internet Freedom.
More background on the case here.
CHANGE: What Happens When A State No Longer Forces Workers Into A Union? They Quit Paying The Dues. “That’s the reason that the PEUs hit the panic button in February 2011. They knew that the law would severely cut into their membership once the state refused to force dues payments as a condition of employment. This also undermines the credibility of union leaders who claim to speak for public-sector workers, as it shows a significant number of them don’t support the union at all, especially in the literal sense now.” Not enough value-added, apparently.
CANDLEPOWER EQUALS AUTHORITY — AN UPDATE. Reader Mike Cullison writes:
I took your advice and went with the 1000 lumen LifeGear model. What a beast. I can light up every square foot of our 3 acres from the house. Sure is a big monster, though. Weight isn’t terrible since it uses 6 C cells instead of Ds, but it’s exactly 18″ long.
Seems to be as well made as a Maglite, which used to be my go-to light.
Yeah, I meant to blog a followup, as I swapped my 700-lumen model for the 1000-lumen model. I took the latter outside the other night, and the beam is noticeably brighter — not only does it reach farther, but it seems wider. It’s quite a flashlight.
THE ART OF TATTOOING BANANAS. The video’s cool, but the autoplay soundtrack is annoying.