March 4, 2012
WHAT WOULD BREITBART DO?
WHAT WOULD BREITBART DO?
TOM COBURN ENDORSES ROMNEY: “This Year, Nothing Trumps the Economy.”
TEN YEARS AGO ON INSTAPUNDIT: The war isn’t over, even in Afghanistan. That’s the problem with lightning victories. You win by destroying your enemy’s coherence and ability to fight in an organized fashion, but you don’t destroy your enemy. That makes mopping up a real issue. It’s still better this way, but it’s something to remember as we look at Iraq.
UPDATE: Reader Matt Carolan writes: “For fun, people should wear the Breitbart masks in photos – our version of the Guy Fawkes mask Anonymous and Occupy like to wear.” Heh.
SO LAST NIGHT I WAS PRETTY HARD ON ROBERT WRIGHT, calling him a “schmuck” for this post on Andrew Breitbart. Well, it was a schmucky post — where liberals are always “passionate about injustice,” people on the right are characterized as “hostile,” “rage-filled” or “angry,” and Wright’s post follows in this tradition in the course of making a not-very-interesting and not-very-well-supported point.
But on reflection, one schmucky post doesn’t a schmuck make. Sooner or later, every blogger will make a schmucky post, so taking a contrary view would make us all schmucks or schmucks-to-be. But I’ve known Wright for years and in truth have not found him to be a schmuck. So I’ll retract my characterization of Wright, which on sober reflection seems unfair, though not my views on the post, which really was a stinker.
THE REAL REASON WHY law school tuition keeps rising.
ROGER KIMBALL: James Q. Wilson 1931-2012. A must-read.
WASHINGTON POST Attacks Free Speech. Funny, I don’t recall them getting so upset over the attacks on Joe The Plumber. “What about President Obama? He has never repudiated Bill Maher for myriad of similar offenses including calling Sarah Palin the C-word and the T-word. Instead of demanding that Bill Maher apologize, Barack Obama accepted a million bucks from him.”
This is all battlespace preparation for the general election. Neutralizing Limbaugh is a priority — though I think there’s a risk of significant blowback in terms of energizing the Republican base. Though the base seems to be energizing itself.
TIME TO PAY UP, SUCKER: “Sha la la la la la la live for today… sang the Baby Boomers, who continue to live, and you’re being warned to get ready to come up with the programs they’re going to need to maintain themselves as the consequences of failing to make provisions for the future accumulate. Women and their needs… you’re supposed to understand that is what government is for.”
BUYING HABITS: Reader Art Weller writes:
I was in the process of buying my son a new Laptop today, on Amazon. I stopped in the middle of the process, backed out, and came back through the link on Instapundit. In a modern age, I can combine my consumer actions with supporting a part of my community. That’s interesting, and worth paying attention to.
That’s what was on my mind as I was grocery shopping this afternoon, and it led me to begin comparing prices at the big grocery store with what I pay on Amazon for some items (such as coffee). In every case, the local store was higher priced.
Even figuring in the cost of Amazon prime, I save money shopping online more often than not, making the convenience free.
Thoughtful day, especially in today’s economic climate.
Support the folks you’d like to see flourish. Let the ones you don’t like shrivel and die.
KENNETH ANDERSON: CIA, Drones and Proxy Forces, and the Exit from Afghanistan.
KIRSTEN POWERS ON LIMBAUGH: Rush Limbaugh apologized on Saturday for calling a Georgetown Law student a slut for testifying about contraception and starting a firestorm of outrage. Kirsten Powers says the liberals who led the charge need to start holding their own side accountable.
Let it be shouted from the rooftops that Rush Limbaugh should not have called Ms. Fluke a slut or, as he added later, a “prostitute” who should post her sex tapes. It’s unlikely that his apology will assuage the people on a warpath for his scalp, and after all, why should it? He spent days attacking a woman as a slut and prostitute and refused to relent. Now because he doesn’t want to lose advertisers, he apologizes. What’s in order is something more like groveling—and of course a phone call to Ms. Fluke—if you ask me.
But if Limbaugh’s actions demand a boycott—and they do—then what about the army of swine on the left?
During the 2008 election Ed Schultz said on his radio show that Sarah Palin set off a “bimbo alert.” He called Laura Ingraham a “right-wing slut.” (He later apologized.) He once even took to his blog to call yours truly a “bimbo” for the offense of quoting him accurately in a New York Post column.
Keith Olbermann has said that conservative commentator S.E. Cupp should have been aborted by her parents, apparently because he finds her having opinions offensive. He called Michelle Malkin a “mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick.” He found it newsworthy to discuss Carrie Prejean’s breasts on his MSNBC show. His solution for dealing with Hillary Clinton, who he thought should drop out of the presidential race, was to find “somebody who can take her into a room and only he comes out.” Olbermann now works for über-leftist and former Democratic vice president Al Gore at Current TV.
Left-wing darling Matt Taibbi wrote on his blog in 2009, “When I read [Malkin’s] stuff, I imagine her narrating her text, book-on-tape style, with a big, hairy set of balls in her mouth.” In a Rolling Stone article about Secretary of State Clinton, he referred to her “flabby arms.” When feminist writer Erica Jong criticized him for it, he responded by referring to Jong as an “800-year old sex novelist.” (Jong is almost 70, which apparently makes her an irrelevant human being.) In Taibbi’s profile of Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann he labeled her “batshit crazy.” (Oh, those “crazy” women with their hormones and all.)
Chris Matthews’s sickening misogyny was made famous in 2008, when he obsessively tore down Hillary Clinton for standing between Barack Obama and the presidency, something that Matthews could not abide. . . .
But the grand pooh-bah of media misogyny is without a doubt Bill Maher—who also happens to be a favorite of liberals—who has given $1 million to President Obama’s super PAC. Maher has called Palin a “dumb twat” and dropped the C-word in describing the former Alaska governor. He called Palin and Congresswoman Bachmann “boobs” and “two bimbos.” He said of the former vice-presidential candidate, “She is not a mean girl. She is a crazy girl with mean ideas.” He recently made a joke about Rick Santorum’s wife using a vibrator. Imagine now the same joke during the 2008 primary with Michelle Obama’s name in it, and tell me that he would still have a job.
It’s different when you say bad things about Republican women. Duh.
Also: “The irony is that a federal mandate for contraception coverage renders women’s personal sexual choices a matter for public debate. The folks plucking sex out of the private sphere in this situation are the mandate supporters, not its opponents.”
And does it make sense to expect people to be “gentlemen” in a society that does not reward or appreciate gentlemanly behavior? Is it fair to invoke archaic standards of behavior as a means of preventing criticism of modern standards of behavior?
A LEGAL SHOW WORTH WATCHING. “Federal lawsuits against Aereo, a startup that plans to show broadcast TV online, could influence the awkward relationship between television and the Internet. . . . Aereo is reminiscent of another technology the broadcasting industry once fought: cable TV. That began as a way for people who lived far from TV transmission towers to get better reception. Early cable pioneers basically just put up big antennas and ran cable out to customers The broadcasters squawked and got federal regulators to inhibit what the cable industry could do, but only for so long. It’s funny how things turn out: Now a company that was born slinging cable controls NBC. You can’t blame the TV broadcasters for trying to stop Aereo. Every company in the TV business is trying to make sure innovation happens on its own terms.”
Actually, I do blame people for trying to stop innovation.
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN: Nissan Is Reviving The Datsun Brand. I wish they’d bring back the 2000GT while they’re at it.
UPDATE: As dozens of readers reminded me, I’m thinking of the Datsun 2000, not the 2000GT, which was a Toyota.
AT AMAZON, coupons galore.
DID THAT AIRPLANE SWALLOW A NUCLEAR REACTOR?
PROF. JACOBSON: Make An Example of Carbonite. “Indeed, Carbonite still advertises on the show of Ed Schultz, who makes unhinged attacks on the Tea Party and conservatives daily, and called conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham a slut.” Ed Schultz’s show is still on? Who knew?
ANN ALTHOUSE WONDERS why I was angry at Bob Wright. Her commenters seem to have a pretty good handle on it.
SCIENCE: Polish Fracking Well Probe Shows No Harm to Environment. The science is settled. You can’t argue with science.
NEWS FROM AIPAC: Obama Claims Bush Administration Dropped Ball on Iran.
IN THE MAIL: From Thomas Sowell, Intellectuals and Society, now in paperback.
FRANK J. FLEMING: We Need A Modern Bill of Rights. “We want a strong government that guarantees us all the things we need, and we should have a new Bill of Rights that reflects that. I propose that we have a meeting of all the great minds (college professors, A-list Hollywood actors, people who watch ‘Downton Abbey’) to list everything people need — basics like food, transportation, and smart phones.”
PROFESSOR JACOBSON: Repeat after me: “The Shirley Sherrod tape was not misleading.”
No, it wasn’t. And the people who say otherwise either never actually read Andrew’s original post, or are miserable lying pricks. Just to be clear, here. Key point: “What really was going on was that the crowd reaction to the Sherrod’s comments caught on the tape was very damaging to the NAACP and those who attacked the Tea Party movement as racist. The crowd cheered when Sherrod recounted her long-ago hostility to the white farmer, and that crowd reaction was the real story. Focusing the debate on the editing of the tape was a convenient distraction.”
ARE WE ALL TUCKER MAX NOW?
I THINK IT’S A RESPONSE TO WIDESPREAD KAKISTOCRACY: Where Are All The Libertarians Coming From? “There’s a silent revolution happening on campuses across the world. Libertarian activism is on the rise. Political figures like Ron Paul have started to draw huge support from younger voters, but the trend seems to be much deeper and more sustained than any single political campaign. Rather than simply throwing support behind individuals and politicians, students are rallying around distinctly pro-liberty ideas and ideologies.” But it’s not just happening in the United States.
HEY, WAIT, I THOUGHT EVERYTHING WAS SOLVED: Greek default looms as voluntary debt deal looks set to fail.
NICK GILLESPIE ON People’s Problems With Chik-Fil-A.
AMHERST, MASSACHUSETTS contemplates moral hazard.
AT AMAZON, bestsellers in Health, Fitness & Dieting.
MY SUNDAY WASHINGTON EXAMINER COLUMN: The future will be better than we think, if politicians don’t ruin it.
Inspired by Diamandis and Kotler.
NOBODY TELL ELIZABETH WARREN: Three Occupy Oakland protesters arrested for robbery and a hate crime, both felonies.
Say, if “hostility” kills, why haven’t the Occupy protesters been dropping like flies?
RESPONDING TO THE LEFTY “BREITBART GOT WHAT HE DESERVED” CLAIMS:
Regretfully, I must remind these deans of civility that when Tony Snow announced that his cancer had returned, gleeful cheers rose up from prominent quarters of left. Tony, as absolutely everyone knew, was courtly, contained, a devout Evangelical Christian, who’s unflappable public style could not have been more different than Andrew’s flamboyant, and, yes, often combative personality. It didn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. Low key, or fever pitch. The standard that counts is influence. If a conservative has it, they can expect to be savaged, even in death. And Andrew knew this.
No decency. No decency at all.
UPDATE: Getcher “I am Breitbart” t-shirts right here.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Learning Languages Makes You Smarter.
Twenty years ago, most well-off US citizens owned a camera, a video camera, a CD player, a stereo, a video game console, a cell phone, a watch, an alarm clock, a set of encyclopedias, a world atlas, a Thomas Guide, and a whole bunch of other assets that easily add up to more than $10,000. All of which come standard on today’s amrat phones…that’s how quickly $10,000 worth of expenses can vanish.
From Peter Diamandis & Steven Kotler, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think.
WSJ: The Export Subsidy Boomerang. “If you thought Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Solyndra would teach Congress a lesson about politicized credit, think again. The federal Export-Import Bank is up for reauthorization, and the only question seems to be how much more taxpayer money Washington wants to put at risk. If the GOP wants to have a principled battle about fiscal waste and market distortions, this is a good one. . . . Business lobbies claim the country can’t afford to let the bank expire or—gasp—private banks like Citigroup and J.P. Morgan would have to do more trade financing. California Republican Gary Miller, supported by fellow Republican Spencer Bachus, Democrat Barney Frank and others, has a bill pending in the House to prolong the bank’s life through 2015 and raise its lending cap to $160 billion from $100 billion. The House Financial Services Committee waved the bill through in a voice vote last year and it’s likely to get a floor vote this month.”
ED DRISCOLL, 2002: We Came, We Saw, We Left No Trace.
FRATRICIDE: Bob Kerrey Bid Causes Left To Lash Out.
PERHAPS THE LETHAL “HOSTILITY” CAME FROM supercilious schmucks like Robert Wright. Just sayin’ . . . .
Really, how pathetic is this piece? When it starts out “I didn’t know Andrew Breitbart,” and then praises an “acute” observation by David Frum, the cause is already lost. Robert Wright: You should apologize to your readers, and to everyone who actually did know Andrew Breitbart. This is unworthy of you. You schmuck.
UPDATE: Reader Simon Jester emails:
Just saw your post about Robert Wright. Indeed, a schmuck.
But something else. Many people, including me, have noticed the Left demonstrating classic psychological projection—accusing other people of what they do themselves.
In that light, I found Robert Wright actually attempting to psychologically diagnose someone else interesting. I keep thinking how he would feel about trying to fit certain people in high office (and in journalism, ahem) being symptomatic of narcissistic personality disorder.
No, that’s not his real name. But he has a job where he can’t use that.
ANOTHER UPDATE: At the memorial, I spoke with Conservative Lesbian Cynthia Yockey who thought that it was lefty hostility aimed at Andrew that killed him. Perhaps Wright should have entertained that hypothesis too? You know, since we’re being all scientific and all? Cynthia also talked about how kind and generous Andrew was toward her, something missing from Wright’s crayon-and-brown-paper sketch. But then, as Wright admits, he didn’t know Andrew Breitbart.
MORE: See this update.
TEN YEARS AGO ON INSTAPUNDIT: I respond to a reader: “Oh, come on, Jon. Next you’ll be saying that there’s something odd about the Times printing page after page on Enron campaign donations without mentioning that Senator Fritz Hollings is bought and paid for by entertainment companies who want to take control of every American’s computer.”
NOW THAT’S JUST SAD: The Spirit of David Frum Hacks Breitbart Twitter Feed. Note that he said “spirit” and not “soul.”
AT AMAZON, it’s the portable audio and video outlet.
BE BREITBART: So I read this letter from a reader at the Breitbart memorial tonight — partly for the closing, but also because it belies the media idea that there’s no enthusiasm among Republicans these days.
I attended my first caucus today.
It was a great experience. We filled a middle school cafeteria to the brim, there must have been almost a thousand people in attendence (just a wild guess). The caucus was well organized but unprepared for such a large turnout, they rolled with it and did a great job pulling it off.
Of the seven people from my precinct, only one had attended a caucus before. We are all involved now chiefly because of the man in the white house and our belief that he has the wrong policies for the problems facing the nation.
Being a caucus, the actual candidate will be elected at the state convention but our mini-straw poll for my precinct read 5 votes for Romney, 1 vote for Ron Paul and 1 vote for undecided.
Just thought you would like to know what’s going on up here in the Evergreen state.
Greg in Seattle
They want you to be depressed and dispirited, but don’t be. Be Breitbart, who was never either of those.
UPDATE: Another reader writes:
I was just about to e-mail you about the Washington caucuses. This was the case in my area too. I live in a suburb of Seattle, an area that has had sent a republican to congress for a long time but has voted for democrat in presidential elections since Clinton’s second term. This seem consistent with the recent piece by Michael Barone regarding the Detroit suburbs. I think there are a lot more people that are aware that Obama is destroying any chance the Nation has of re-establishing prosperity than the MSM would like to admit.
Dave in Bellevue
Remember — they’re spreading Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt because they need to. Don’t be fooled.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More email:
Just saw the post about the Washington caucus first-timer and how he was inspired by Breitbart. I had a strange feeling reading it, almost an out of body experience, as I could have written the same email, only thing that was different in my experience was the location – hotel conference room vs school. I was a first timer too, inspired by the need to replace the current administration and the impact that Mr. Breitbart has had on me. Our caucus had to delay the start by an hour due to overwhelming crowds, it was just amazing. Next I will attend the county caucus in April, a smile on my face and a Happy Warrior in my thoughts.
MORE: Reader L. Johnson writes:
I’m from the southern part of Washington State in Clark County. We caucused in a Middle School. When I caucused in 2010 (when the Tea Party was burning bright) only 3 or 4 people showed from my precinct. This year there were fifteen. We had representatives of each of the four candidates (mine was Newt), but I left with the impression that we will all support our eventual nominee in November. Actually, I think that a lot of us would crawl over broken glass to vote against President Obama in November. Some other precincts were so full that the people could not even get to their table and participated from two tables away. The material ran out before half the people received copies. Something is happening here in Washington State this year. I haven’t seen this level of intensity since 1994- and this seems much stronger.
Well, stay tuned. It’ll be stronger if people make it stronger.
Plus, a “Be Breitbart” icon.
GIRLS AND GUNS: It’s A Social Thing.
SCIENCE: People Aren’t Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish, Scientists Say. Of course, as Thomas Jefferson noted, if people aren’t smart enough to rule themselves, then who is smart enough to be a ruler?
But here’s the key bit:
Nagel concluded that democracies rarely or never elect the best leaders. Their advantage over dictatorships or other forms of government is merely that they “effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders.”
That’s no small thing.
UPDATE: Reader Barbara Skolaut writes:
Your posting quoted the Nagel guy’s view about democracies: “they ‘effectively prevent lower-than-average candidates from becoming leaders.’”
Didn’t work in our last election, did it?
No system is perfect. And that closing seems to be catching on.
AFTERBURNER: Bill Whittle remembers Andrew Breitbart. Helen and I will be at the memorial for him tonight in DC.
THE LITTLE WHITE BOX that can hack your network. “Built by a startup company called Pwnie Express, the PwnPlug is pretty much the last thing you ever want to find on your network — unless you’ve hired somebody to put it there. It’s a tiny computer that comes preloaded with an arsenal of hacking tools. It can be quickly plugged into any computer network and then used to access it remotely from afar. And it comes with ‘stealthy decal stickers’ — including a little green flowerbud with the word ‘fresh’ underneath it, that makes the device look like an air freshener — so that people won’t get suspicious.”
Anonymous uses tools such as the Low Orbit Ion Cannon or Slowloris to perform distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against its targets, with sympathetic Anons downloading the software to become part of a voluntary botnet.
In January the group decided to hit the websites of the US Department of Justice and various media companies in response to the takedown of file storage site Megaupload, providing a guide on Pastebin for those who wished to take part in the attacks. Symantec says that an attacker appears to have copied that guide and inserted their own version of the Slowloris software containing a secret Trojan that downloaded a copy of Zeus, a piece of malware often used to take control of an infected computer.
Computers infected with the malware still took part in the Anonymous DDoS attacks, but were also secretly sending online bank account and webmail logins back to the attacker. Anonymous members have tweeted links to to this fake guide nearly 500 times, referring to it as “Tools of the DDos trade” and “Idiot’s Guide to Be Anonymous.”
What kind of idiot downloads software from hackers to the same computer that he/she uses for online banking? First rate.
Hey, I’ve been pushing paper ballots since 2002 for a reason. . .
AT AMAZON, Warehouse Deals in Lawn & Garden.
USING 3D PRINTING to build human tissue. “Unlike some experimental approaches that have used ink-jet printers to deposit cells, Organovo’s technology enables cells to interact with each other much the way they do in the body. They are packed tightly together and incubated, prompting them to adhere to each other and trade chemical signals. When they’re printed, the cells are kept bunched together in a paste that helps them grow, migrate, and align themselves properly. Muscle cells, for example, orient themselves in the same direction to create tissue that can contract.”
A NO-PULSE ARTIFICIAL HEART.
Building a heart that mimics nature’s lub-dub may be as comically shortsighted as Leonardo da Vinci designing a flying machine with flapping wings. Nature is not always the best designer, at least when it comes to things that humans must build and maintain. So the newest artificial heart doesn’t imitate the cardiac muscle at all. Instead, it whirs like a little propeller, pushing blood through the body at a steady rate. After 500 million years of evolution accustoming the human body to blood moving through us in spurts, a pulse may not be necessary. That, in any case, is the point of view of the 50-odd calves, and no fewer than three human beings, who have gotten along just fine with their blood coursing through them as evenly as Freon through an air conditioner.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PARACHUTE.
A Cook County judge today ruled the state’s controversial eavesdropping law unconstitutional.
The law makes it a felony offense to make audio recordings of police officers without their consent even when they’re performing their public duties.
Judge Stanley Sacks, who is assigned to the Criminal Courts Building, found the eavesdropping law unconstitutional because it potentially criminalizes “wholly innocent conduct.”
Well, that’s certainly true.
IN THE MAIL: From Tom Clancy & Mark Greaney, Locked On.
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Candidate Putin on the State of the World. “Victory in this week’s Presidential election is almost certain, but the Prime Minister is no longer the absolute master of Russian politics. Not only does he face a protest movement that includes some of the most thoughtful and creative people in his country; the old techniques don’t seem to be working anymore. As a recent German documentary shows, Putin’s old routine of judo, swimming, and hunting polar bears ‘no longer comes across as virile but, rather, as exhausting and joyless.’”
J. CHRISTIAN ADAMS: Eric Holder Wants Race Preferences and Benefits . . . Forever. Of course he does.
Some are surprised by Holder’s brazenness. I am not. As I like to say, I wrote a bestseller about Holder’s racialist DOJ. Nothing surprises me anymore. The only surprise is the dumbfounded, stuck, GOP response — which would be none.
If the GOP nominee does not make this a Presidential campaign issue because they are afraid to talk about such unpleasantries, then shame on them. In tough economic times, the last thing middle America wants to hear is the Attorney General grousing about people of color getting benefits because of their color.
One way that the Dems silence the GOP is by spreading the idea that it’s somehow bad manners to criticize them on their chosen issues. Part of Andrew Breitbart’s secret to success was that he didn’t care about that. For the non-Frumish GOP, there’s a lesson there.
COLONOSCOPY UPDATE: A reader emails:
I hope I am writing to the right address. I read Instapundit and wanted to thank you for posting about your colonoscopy yesterday (coincidentally, I had a scope too).
I am 32 years old and currently in remission for stage 3c rectal cancer. A few years ago, a colonoscopy saved my life. I was having stomach issues and was initially told it was stress related. A colonoscopy was performed just to be safe and it revealed a very large tumor. After a year of chemo, radiation, and two major surgeries, I am now in complete remission. If it wasn’t for the colonoscopy, I probably would not be here.
I’m not sure if you are aware, but March 2012 is colorectal awareness month. According to the WHO, colon cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths, and more people die from colon cancer each year than breast cancer. However, colon cancer typically does not get the same attention as other types of cancer, particularly compared to breast cancer (have you ever watched an NFL game in October). While I’m thankful for media attention regarding any type of cancer, I can’t help but to feel a little jealous of the fact that I can’t turn around in October without seeing pink, and yet most people do not know that March is colorectal awareness month.
Due to the part of the anatomy involved, many who are diagnosed with this disease feel stigmatized. Let’s face it, it’s more fun to talk about breasts than colons, rectums, bowel movements, and ostomies. I feel fairly confident saying that, on behalf of all colorectal patients, I really appreciate your openness about getting proper screening. Publicity on a prominent blog is wonderful and I hope the trend continues.
The procedure is no big deal, and it can save your life. It’s one of the few diagnostic procedures that can also actually prevent the problem it’s looking for.
AT AMAZON, bestsellers in Grocery and Gourmet Food.
GLOBAL WARMING: Already Saving Lives!
GUNWALKER: Connecting The Dots On Fast And Furious.
Over the last thirty years, time and again, after a contempt citation was filed by either a House or Senate committee, compromise was reached before a full vote in the corresponding body.
During the Bush administration, Karl Rove and Harriet Miers were cited for contempt in the U.S. attorney firings, but a deal was worked out before a full House vote. In 1996, Clinton aide Jack Quinn (who would later conspire with Holder during the Marc Rich pardon) was cited for contempt in the Travel Office firings, but a compromise was reached before a vote in the full House.
In 1982, Reagan Interior Secretary James Watt was cited for contempt over documents related to Canadian energy policy, but a compromise was reached when members of the House were allowed to view them. But the exception to the rule of compromise or capitulation occurred later that same year, and would continue into 1983.
Ronald Reagan’s EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) administrator, Anne Gorsuch, was cited for contempt by the House Public Works Committee over documents related to lax enforcement of the cleanup of hazardous waste dumps. In December 1982, she was held in contempt by the House in a bipartisan vote, and was the first Cabinet-level official to suffer that fate. She resigned in March of 1983, and Reagan then gave Congress full access to the documents.
The previous month, Reagan fired one of Gorsuch’s top aides, Rita Lavelle, who was in charge of the clean-up fund. In April, Lavelle was cited for contempt by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and in May was found in contempt by the House in a unanimous vote. Lavelle was acquitted in federal court of contempt but later convicted of perjury for lying to Congress and served four months of a six-month sentence in prison. Twenty-two EPA officials, including Burford and Lavelle, lost their jobs over the scandal.
So now the current issue is whether Eric Holder should be held in contempt. The EPA scandal of the Reagan years, and other issues such as the Travel Office and U.S. attorney firings, pale in comparison to the deadly Fast and Furious scandal, along with its apparent cover-up.
Read the whole thing.
SHUT UP, PLEBES: FCC Inquires Into Its Own Authority To Regulate Communication Service Shutdowns. “The Federal Communications Commission is reviewing whether or when the police and other government officials can intentionally interrupt cellphone and Internet service to protect public safety. A scary proposition which will easily become a First Amendment issue. Does the FCC have the authority to [regulate local or state authorities' decision to] take down cellular networks if they determine there is an imminent threat? The FCC is currently asking for public input (PDF) on this decision.”
A cellular or Internet shutdown should be interpreted as a serious warning sign of ongoing government misconduct.
Related: Courts, not FCC, Should Protect Free Speech against Mobile Service Shut-offs. Shutting off service should be a strict-liability tort, with no government immunity. Not that that’s likely. Responsibility is for the little people.
Space engineers in Japan are scoping out an ambitious follow-up to the country’s Hayabusa mission, which snagged samples from the asteroid Itokawa and returned them to Earth in 2010.
The successor spacecraft, known as Hayabusa 2, would carry out an aggressive study of another asteroid. The probe would drop off two landers, blast the asteroid with an impactor and send more samples back to Earth for close-up inspection.
Scientifically interesting — and also very useful if you’re thinking about asteroid mining down the line.
TED NUGENT ENDORSES MITT ROMNEY.
JURIES: Yesterday’s post on jury duty produced this email from Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton in Knoxville:
Enjoyed the link today to “Why Does Everyone Hate Jury Duty”.
Here in the Eastern District, we put the comfort, security and needs of our jurors first. As a result, our “exit surveys” of former jurors shows overwhelmingly positive experiences on jury service. Maybe the L.A. court administrator should spend some time in East Tennessee.
Never a bad idea. And reader Brian Oxley writes:
I was recently on a state felony trial here in Harris Co. (Houston) and was most impressed with the respect the entire system showed jurors.
One quick example. Everyone stood for the jury as it entered and exited, even the judge. We did not rise for the judge when she entered or exited.
In fact, I was so impressed by our judge and her peroration honoring the jury, I plan to work for her reelection campaign.
Maybe this is an argument for elected judges. Meanwhile, reader Yakko Warner writes:
My take: I don’t hate the concept of jury duty itself. The problem is, it’s mandated service for less than minimum wage.
I’ve been called for jury duty twice in the past decade. The first time, I was a contractor, and as a contractor, my employer was only obligated to pay me the state-mandated amount of $50/day. The second time, I was a full-time employee, so I got my full salary for the two days of jury selection. However, the trial was estimated to last eight days, and employers are only required to give their employees full pay for three, after which we get the same $50/day. There’s no way I’d be able to pay my mortgage — let alone all the other bills, plus food for my family of six — on that.
For reference, minimum wage is over $7, or over $56 for an eight-hour day.
Plus, from reader Brian Finlay:
I’ve been conducting jury trials for about 8 years now as a criminal defense attorney and now prosecutor.
In my jurisdiction, it is usually obvious from the moment potential jurors enter the courtroom that they are unhappy about being there. I try to use that to my advantage by acknowledging that fact during voir dire. Normally, one of my first questions is whether anyone is really thrilled and excited to be there. Predictably, no hands go up, which usually leads to some laughter. I then spend the next few minutes talking to them about why it’s so uncomfortable and inconvenient and how important their job as jurors is. From that point forward, they are usually much more comfortable and responsive. It may or may not lead to a better verdict, but at least I don’t have an angry mob glaring at me for the duration of the trial.
Reader Claire Toohey emails:
I’ve heard horror stories about jury duty, but I was recently on a long-ish trial, about 5 weeks. Second degree murder was the most serious charge. Plenty of people who thought they might be eliminated as jurors ended up included, and we had a couple of lawyers, financiers, a retired police chief, a recently elected town official, teachers, and other people with glancing knowledge of the issues that would be raised. The issues included were complex enough we were allowed to take notes, which the court kept in custody. A court officer said he’d never seen a jury take so many–most of us had to request second pads of paper. If I were being tried for as serious a crime, I’d want a jury like mine, full of smart, experienced people who really did have other stuff to do, but who meant their oaths. They considered what was presented with the care it deserved, and no person tried to or was allowed to dominate other people’s opinions.
We were treated cordially, as if we were VIP guests, by every court officer. Our judge decided matters quickly, kept to her declared schedule, and kept the trial rolling (especially important as we were fast approaching Christmas). Even with that, there were unexpected issues that turned 3 weeks to 5, but what I most appreciated was the free wifi in the jury room and lounge, so I could at least log in to work during breaks, and that we were allowed to keep our cellphones until final deliberations. I know relying on the court-admitted evidence, not outside info, is vital to the process, but if we want more qualified people to be willing to serve, we have to be willing to rely on people’s oaths and to see violators prosecuted for knowingly breaching them. Treat us like responsible adults whose presence and service is valued. The nature of the crimes and the defense made the going difficult at times, but the court officers and procedures didn’t make it any worse. It was a valuable experience, and improved my confidence in the system.
And reader Fred Butzen writes:
Well, people hate jury duty because the pay is lousy, it screw up your work schedule, and, with few exceptions, it’s mind-numbingly boring. The only time in my life that I saw Oprah show was when I was called for jury duty at Cook County family court. The jurors had to wait in a dingy cafeteria-style room that had a TV on each wall, all of which were tuned
to Oprah: there was no escaping her!
On the other hand, I did serve on a jury once, for a medical malpractice case, again in Cook County. It was a two-week trial, a difficult case. I have to say, the experience raised my opinion of the legal system enormously. What impressed me most was the fact that two parties placed their intractable dispute into the hands of 12 fellow citizens, drawn more or less at random, trusting that we would render a just verdict. We were a cross section of the Cook County population, ranging from a woman with a doctorate in pharmacology, to a retired school teacher, to a young Hispanic homemaker, to a garage mechanic. The scope of knowledge in that room was impressive, as was the wisdom with which it was applied in our deliberations. I think I’m a better citizen for having had the experience.
Yes, most people who actually serve on juries come away fairly impressed with the experience. It’s the non-jury waiting time that seems to be the most galling aspect.
SHOCKER: Yes, Chicks Dig Jerks. “Fertility and violence interact in complicated ways: Men are more likely to be violent toward fertile women, and fertile women select men who are more likely to be violent.”
NARCISSISM IN HIGH OFFICE: Obama Likens Himself to Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. A reader comments: “Obama left out Jesus Christ and Moses…pretty cocky for a guy that bankrupted the USA.”
WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ WARRANTS: Who Needs a Warrant? Florida Cop Dresses As Power Company Repairman to Gain Access to Home. Will he do jail time? Because I’m pretty sure if I were caught infiltrating the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office disguised as a repairman, that’s what would happen to me.
A NEW FACEBOOK PAGE: One Million Breitbarts.
HIS NAME IS AKASH DALAL: “Religious Agnostic” Rutgers Student Arrested For Masterminding Synagogue Firebombings.
WELL, THE POWER’S OUT and we’ve just sat though another tornado warming in the basement. Fortunately, I still have power for the Internet courtesy of a big uninterruptible power supply. I also had multiple flashlights handy — and the power-off nightlights in the hall and on the stairs worked fine for initial lighting that made it easy to get ‘em. The weather radio warned us of the tornado warning about 90 seconds before the EAS on the TV did, which is typical.
In short, all the prep worked fine. I just kinda wish I’d sprung for the whole-house generator now. . . .
UPDATE: A reader emails:
Weather radio is nice, and certainly better than nothing, but you seriously need to use www.Weathercall.net
As the Emergency Manager for my city, I can’t publicly endorse a product, but I actually use this product to trigger activation of the tornado sirens for my city.
I get a text message directly from the National Weather Service system when a warning is generated, and I get a phone call from Weathercall before the text message, and usually about 5 minutes before any EAS messages come out.
My wife’s hospital uses them, and our local water plant uses them as well.
For $9.95 a year, what more can you ask for? If the registered address is in the warning box, it will trigger calls to three phone numbers and emails to three email addresses.
Maybe I need it. Sigh.
TOM MAGUIRE deplores my lack of vision.
GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, ALAS: Issa Challenges Dems to ‘Restore Civility’ on Contraception Debate.
SO GO TO BED: Law Is Second Most Sleep-Deprived Profession.
Back when he was interviewing for lawprof jobs, one of my friends said he noticed that past the mid-thirties practicing lawyers tended to look about 5 years older than their actual age, while lawprofs tended to look about 5 years younger. Maybe this explains it.
MICHAEL WALSH stands up against Frummery.
Frum pretends to be standing up against the unrefined elements of the right. But there’s nothing refined about opportunism and backstabbing.
ERIC SCHEIE: My Gain With No Pain.
WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS: A Waring Professional Popcorn Maker on sale.
PALEOHACKS: A Paleo Diet website.
IS ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE a waste of money?
When it comes to computer security, he’s paranoid — and for good reason. He’s seen what the bad guys can do. But when he met with Wired at the RSA Conference in San Francisco this week, he said something surprising: He doesn’t use antivirus software.
As it turns out, many of his security-minded peers don’t use it either. The reason: If someone is going to try and attack them, they’re likely to use a new technique, one that most antivirus products will miss. “If you asked the average security expert whether they use antivirus or not,” Grossman says “a significant proportion of them do not.”
Dan Guido, the CEO of security startup Trail of Bits also doesn’t use AV. Some security pros use it because they’re in regulated industries, or because they work with customers who require it. “If it weren’t for that,” he says, “almost nobody in the security industry would run it.”
It’s a story we heard again and again at RSA this week. The pros are generally smart enough to avoid the things that will get them hacked — visiting malicious websites or opening documents from untrusted sources. But even if they get fooled, the odds are their antivirus software catching it are pretty low. But many of these pros also believe that antivirus isn’t always that useful to the average business either.
NEANDERTHALS WERE ANCIENT MARINERS. “Neanderthals may have beaten modern humans to the seas. Growing evidence suggests our extinct cousins criss-crossed the Mediterranean in boats from 100,000 years ago – though not everyone is convinced they weren’t just good swimmers. . . . Ferentinos thinks Neanderthals had a seafaring culture for tens of thousands of years. Modern humans are thought to have taken to the seas just 50,000 years ago, on crossing to Australia.”
21st CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: My Life As A Prison Wife.
#GREENFAIL: Chevy Volt “Temporarily” Halts Production.
ANNE BAYEFSKY: The Atlantic Interview: Obama Rewrites His Record on Israel.