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Monthly Archives: September 2007

That’s (Not) Gonna Leave a Mark

September 12th, 2007 - 12:42 pm

Uh-oh:

Senate Democratic leaders on Wednesday rejected the call by the top U.S. general in Iraq for a reduction of up to 30,000 U.S. troops in Iraq by next summer, saying it does not go far enough.

“This is unacceptable to me, it’s unacceptable to the American people,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

If Reid’s new opposition to stuff and things is as effective as his old opposition, then Gen. Petraeus could be in real trouble. Or, you know, not.

That’s Gonna Leave a Mark

September 12th, 2007 - 12:29 pm

Hugh Hewitt spanks Doug Bandow, without so much as the privacy benefit of an airport bathroom stall.

Filibuster’d

September 12th, 2007 - 12:09 pm

Frank Williams wrote to 99 US Senators, asking what kinds of cars they drive. And he nearly got a response from one whole senator. Williams speculates:

So what

There’s a Nasty Thought

September 12th, 2007 - 10:58 am

There’s an angle I missed from an earlier post — the angle of attack. Read:

A Defense Department official said Israeli jets had struck at least one target in northeastern Syria last Thursday, but the official said it was still unclear exactly what the jets hit and the extent of the bombing damage.

Now I can read a map well enough to tell that Israel borders Syria’s southwest tip. So how’d those plane get all the way to Syria’s northeast? Did they fly over Turkey? Did they come in over Iraq, via Jordan? Both seem unlikely to me. Most likely, those IAF fighters took the direct route, all the way across Syria, and never once worried too much about Syria’s Russian-made air defenses.

Come to think of it, Iran uses the same equipment…

Lefty Mantra

September 12th, 2007 - 10:28 am

This just in from the Middle East:

Israel believes that North Korea has been supplying Syria and Iran with nuclear materials, a Washington defense official told the New York Times.

We’ll Take Double Our Money Back – Guaranteed!

September 12th, 2007 - 10:06 am

Hillary Clinton is willing to take a second chance at taking your money:

The campaign is refunding $850,000 to these donors, viewing the money as tainted. Yet the campaign is also risking another public relations mess by saying that it would take back the money if it clearly came from the donor

Pardon the Language

September 12th, 2007 - 9:55 am

Russia has answered Mark Steyn’s theories about demographic decline with a hearty “fuck you!” Literally:

ULYANOVSK, Russia (Reuters) – The governor of a central Russian province urged couples to skip work on Wednesday and make love instead to help boost Russia’s low birth-rate.

And if a woman gives birth in exactly nine months time — on Russia’s national day on June 12 — she will qualify for a prize, perhaps even winning a new home.

“It’s normally something for the home — a fridge or a television set,” Yelena Yakovleva at the Ulyanovsk regional administration press office, said.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a girl or a boy.”

Next month, Russia plans to hold Pee On a Plastic Stick Day.

Well It’s True

September 12th, 2007 - 9:46 am

Iraq: The big lie.

A Farewell To Delta

September 12th, 2007 - 9:14 am

I travel a lot on business. I’m on travel right now, in Orlando. Luckily for me, my business this morning was completed ahead of schedule, and as I left my vendor’s office, I phoned Delta Air Lines to move up my return flight time a few hours.

This kind of thing happens all the time; up until Delta joined the ranks of the bankrupt airlines, making a change on the day of a flight was free, assuming seats were available on the alternate flight. A while back Delta tacked on a $25 fee, which was annoying but not a show-stopper. It’s worth $25 for me to not waste half a day waiting on a flight.

Unfortunately, I’ve just discovered that Delta has changed the rules again. Now it’s a $50 fee to make a change, plus another $20 if you make the change over the phone. It’s “only” $50 if you put in for a change on Delta’s web site–but you can’t make a change on the web site if your original booking wasn’t directly through Delta. Like most corporate travelers, I’m not allowed to book directly with an airline, I have to use my company’s contracted travel agency.

I can defend a $25 fee. I’d have a hard time defending a $70 fee, and even if I could, I don’t want to. I’m not going to give Delta any more money for this flight. The original ticket, booked on Monday, was more than pricey enough.

I’m also done with Delta. I’ve been flying Delta most of my life, and I’ve accumulated hundreds of thousands of miles over the years, but this is the last straw. I’ve already cashed in what’s left of my frequent flyer miles, and I see no reason to bother with this pain in the butt of an airline any more, especially if this is how they treat their best customers.

To hell with ‘em. AirTran is cheaper, much more accommodating, and unlike Delta, their gate reps and stewardii don’t act like they did you a favor by showing up for work.

So long, Delta. You suck.

Rating the Bad Guys

September 11th, 2007 - 9:11 am

TERRORISM: A strong enough brand?

Taking Measure

September 10th, 2007 - 5:07 pm

Austin Bay finds the subtext in today’s hearings:

The US Congress is sending a message to the Iraqi government

Screw’im

September 10th, 2007 - 1:39 pm

Kos on Petraeus:

We won! Therefore, our troops need to stay there forever.

Or something like that.

And that’s all Kos had to say about that. No, really – somebody finally managed to nearly shut him up.

All’s Fair

September 10th, 2007 - 11:53 am

The Surge

Lying by Numbers

September 10th, 2007 - 11:36 am

ThinkProgress seems to think that this chart measures some kind of progress. They just don’t say for whom.

img.jpg

Seriously though, if insurgent attacks are up, while our casualties are down, then I’d say that chart represents desperation on the part of the insurgents. It certainly doesn’t show any increase in effectiveness. Unless, of course, increased lame-osity is meant to shock and awe the anti-war crowd, in which case — mission accomplished.

Debate Drunkblogging — NOT!

September 9th, 2007 - 1:54 pm

Live on tape from Miami:

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP)

The Great American Whatever Hero

September 9th, 2007 - 8:49 am

GI Joe — too American for Hollywood?

Aaaa-Hsu! Gesundheit.

September 7th, 2007 - 7:33 am

San Jose Mercury News report from last night:

Norman Hsu’s quickly jumpstarted life on the lam came to a screeching stop less than 48 hours after it began when he got sick on the California Zephyr and was nabbed after being rushed to a Colorado hospital, according to the FBI….

He was still in St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction – 250 miles west of Denver – Thursday evening, according to Pete Smarr, a nursing supervisor. Smarr declined to say what Hsu was suffering from – other than to report him in custody and in “fair” condition.

HT: da blogfaddah

Cheating by the Rules

September 6th, 2007 - 11:09 am

Is Hillary locked in to win Florida and Michigan? It looks that way to Bob Novak:

Defying DNC rules, Florida moved its primary to Jan. 29 and Michigan then went to Jan. 15, not specifying whether it would be a caucus or a primary. The early states responded that they would adjust their own dates to make certain that they voted first. The DNC imposed sanctions on the rebellious states: loss of their national convention delegates and prohibition of candidates from campaigning there. The word in Democratic political circles was that Florida and Michigan would get back their delegates before the convention and that nothing could stop presidential candidates from campaigning there.

But all Democratic candidates a week ago agreed to follow the DNC rules. Contending that early primary states “play a unique and special role in the nominating process,” the Clinton campaign statement said “the DNC’s rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role.” What the statement did not say is how much she actually welcomed Michigan and Florida breaking the rules.

If Obama & Edwards & Co. can’t campaign in Michigan and Florida, then Clinton will win them almost by default. Two big wins in two big states could carry her all the way to the Denver Democratic Convention in August.

Good Question

September 6th, 2007 - 9:58 am

He’s been raising money. He’s been campaigning. He’s been asked about by all the pollsters. And now Fred Thompson is sho’-nuff fo’-real running for President. At least he is if you can believe anything you see on Leno. The question is, since Fred’s already been doing all the things that candidates do, will his big announcement (just watched here at the VodkaManse via TiVo) make any difference?

Thompson took so long to announce, that anything short of a Who Shot J.R.?-sized event was going to seem a bit of a letdown, especially after coming on so strong with his Michael Moore video way back when. Last night he put in a credible appearance on Leno, and by “credible,” I mean he could have just been there to talk about Red October II, “due in theaters this Friday, Jay — I have a clip.”

So, no, I don’t think Fred’s Big Announcement is any big deal. The Republican race stands where it stood. Yawn.

UPDATE: Down in the comments, Frank Martin says, “I get the feeling watching Fred that he would drop out of the race tommorow if you showed up fishing pole in hand with a 5lb folgers coffee can full of nightcrawlers.”

I get the same feeling, Frank.

There’s a Hole in the Sky

September 6th, 2007 - 8:13 am

Via Slashdot comes this:

A joint U.S.-Czech team from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and Charles University in Prague suggests that the parent object of asteroid (298) Baptistina disrupted when it was hit by another large asteroid, creating numerous large fragments that would later create the Chicxulub crater on the Yucatan Peninsula as well as the prominent Tycho crater found on the Moon.

Wish them good luck finding the rest of those giant fragments. Meanwhile, prepare to duck and cover.

Luciano Pavarotti, 1935-2007

September 5th, 2007 - 11:59 pm

My evening in California ends on a sad note; perhaps yours, too. Opera lovers the world over are learning the news of the death of Pavarotti.

Here is how I will remember him. In his prime, and in his element. He sings “Una Furtiva Lagrima” from the Donizetti opera “L’Elisir d’Amore” recorded at the Metropolitan Opera in 1981.

Sleep well, sweet man.

Debate Drunkblogging — LIVE!

September 5th, 2007 - 6:52 pm

All the fun is at PJ Media.

All Things J

September 5th, 2007 - 3:31 pm

Jill Sobule is one of my favorite musical artists (“Bitter,” “I Kissed A Girl,” etc), but she’s having trouble finding a (solvent) record label to represent her. And that means she doesn’t have the money to make a new record. And that’s not the kind of news I want to hear. Now she’s looking for advice from her geekier fans:

For us, in this YouTube, long-tail, Kara-and-Walt world, it

There Is That II

September 5th, 2007 - 12:16 pm

Steve Jobs just announced that Apple has discontinued the anemic 4GB iPhone – and that he’s cut the price on the 8GB model by one-third, down to $399. Which tells us two things:

1. They really were getting great margins those first two months.

2. Why I hadn’t bought one yet.

And one more thing — point 2 is about to become so outdated.

There Is That

September 5th, 2007 - 10:04 am

David Weigel explains why there’s no Daily Kos for righties:

Is it really so hard to grok why one of these models is popular and one isn’t? How big would YouTube have become if Chad Hurley and Steve Chen decided that they needed to bring in a bunch of established web stars to “run the place” and strict guidelines for posting videos? OK… so, why would the world of political blogging work any differently? The web rewards randomness and openness, not big names and five year plans.

And if you want to know why there’s no Kos for libertarians, just try getting even two us to agree on how to run anything. Before even settling on a name, we’d undoubtedly have splitters (and maybe fistfights) between the Randians, the Hayekians, and the anarcho-capitalists.

Bush Will Get What He Wants

September 5th, 2007 - 8:40 am

Here’s a sentence I wish I’d written:

Teddy Kennedy will bloviate, Carl Levin will castigate, Harry Reid will susurrate and Chris Matthews will hyperventilate.

That’s from John Podhoretz, handicapping the so-called Petraeus report. Read the whole thing.

Notice

September 5th, 2007 - 8:23 am

We must be getting into the presidential primary race for real now, because tonight’s Republican debate will air in primetime. Look for the drunkblogging to start at PJ Media at around 9pm Eastern.

Room at the Top

September 4th, 2007 - 4:42 pm

This can hardly be bad news:

Opponents of hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have assumed leadership of two of Iran’s top institutions, a shakeup that reflects Western economic pressure on Iran and could lead to a less confrontational foreign policy, particularly on the nuclear issue.

On Tuesday, Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a pragmatic former president who lost to Ahmadinejad in 2005 presidential elections, was elected head of the Assembly of Experts. Under Iran’s political system, the 86-member body of Shiite Muslim clerics appoints Iran’s supreme leader

Nice Start

September 4th, 2007 - 12:07 pm

In its first two months, the iPhone took over half of the entire market for smart phones, and nearly 2% of the global cell phone market. And, oh yeah, it’s only being sold in the US.

Also, sales in August were up over the July debut, perhaps dispelling any notion that the iPhone will be a flash-in-the-pan.

Tell me again why I don’t have one yet?

CORRECTION: Re-reading the original story, Apple captured 1.8% of the US cell market, not global. Still, that’s nearly double what Steve Jobs said he was aiming for. Nice start, indeed.

Will Soldier for Shelter

September 4th, 2007 - 10:45 am

The problem is always logistical.