I snapped this photo in Fort Stockton, TX the other night. (It was too late to call.)
Andrew Sullivan characterizes my characterization of Libertarians as “silly.” Of course, Sully then goes on to accuse me of “defending or ignoring every abuse of government power under the Bushies.”
My take on wartime power grabs? Don’t play “slutty cheerleader for the Feds.” My take on Abu Ghraib? “Heads must roll.” My take on Mission Accomplished? A “fiasco.” My take on Bush’s buddy Sam Alito? “We’re about to get a new Supreme Court justice who never knows when to say no to executive power.” And those are just four links I stumbled across in the space of a minute.
Let’s face it. In Sullivan’s mind, it’s not enough to disagree with Bush, or to call him on his many blunders. Nope. You’ve got to hate Bush with the same cleansing fury Sullivan has. You know, enough to rinse your soul clean, after going all giddy about Bush in the awful days immediately after 9/11. I never went giddy for Bush then, so I guess it’s easier for me to keep my perspective today. And if I haven’t spent enough time criticizing exactly the things Sullivan wished I had, well, it’s my blog, and my opinion is: There are currently greater dangers abroad than at home. I choose to focus on those. It is, I think, possible to do so without having to check in first with the Daily Dish & Moral Rehabilitation Center.
I also seem, unlike Andrew, to have at least read and experienced the things I criticized today. Sully says he’s relieved that I no longer self-identify “as a libertarian,” which is an odd complaint coming from someone who never did. Anyway, had Sullivan spent five minutes in my archives, I’m sure he would have thought twice, or at least maybe once, before posting his little hit piece.
RELATED: Doug Mataconis took the same journey I did. Does that make him “silly,” too?
ONE LAST UPDATE: Um, dude… Nick G runs a magazine called “Reason.” I run a blog called VodkaPundit. I know what claim I’m making. Does Nick? At “Unqualified Offerings,” I thought you’d catch that tiny little wee small detail. And it is possible to understand the Libertarian critique of the government’s war-making powers without agreeing with it. Truly! Not even all Big-L Libertarians need to goosestep to the exact same offbeat drummer.
Yet more top-down dissent in Iran:
Signs of a split over nuclear policy at the heart of Iran’s leadership emerged yesterday after MPs and an adviser to the country’s most powerful political figure criticised the departure of its chief negotiator, Ali Larijani.
Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy adviser to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, praised Mr Larijani and said his resignation should not have happened. His comments coincided with a letter of support for Mr Larijani signed by 200 MPs in Iran’s parliament. The parliament’s foreign and national security committee wrote to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, complaining that Mr Larijani’s departure “put the country in danger”.
Of course, during those years I’ve been totally wrong about the Iranians’ willingness to throw an actual revolt. But while we still have time to give them, I think they deserve the chance to free themselves.
Almost exactly 20 years ago at University of Missouri-Columbia, I attended Professor Johnson’s Econ 101 lecture, “Why The Ticket Scalper Is Your Best Friend.”
Now that Games 3 and 4 of the World Series here in Colorado are sold out, we’ll find out if that’s still true.
Without debate, the House voted 196-173 to kill the proposal to censure Stark for “his despicable conduct.” The vote was mostly along party lines, with all 168 Republicans on hand supporting the measure offered by Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. Five Democrats joined them.
But then there’s this:
Democratic Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark of California apologized Tuesday for comments he made last week suggesting President Bush was sending troops to Iraq to get their “heads blown off for his amusement.”
All in all, I’d chalk it up as a minor win. Note also that Stark is 75, and simply can’t serve that much longer. I’d just rather he spend his dotage somewhere other than in Congress.
The Race-to-December, front-loaded primary season just got weirder:
In letters that went out today, RNC Chairman Mike Duncan informed New Hampshire, Michigan, Florida, South Carolina and Wyoming to expect that only half of their delegates would be allowed to come to the convention.
The action was widely expected in the wake of decisions by the states to move their primaries into early January. With a few exceptions, the RNC had insisted that all contests take place between Feb. 5 and July 28.
Leaders in the five states have come to the conclusion that it’s better for their state to be more relevant by holding their nominating contests earlier. Iowa and Nevada hold contests in January, but officially select their delegates later in the year, so they were not punished.
If I understand it correctly, Rudy’s strategy pretty much hinges on hanging in until Florida, where he’s expecting a big win. But how big is a win when it’s half the win it once was?
…And I can’t make demands”
European missile defense will have to wait:
The Czech government firmly favors hosting a U.S. missile defense site but believes it will take longer to negotiate a deal than U.S. officials had hoped, a senior Czech official said Tuesday.
Tomas Pojar, deputy minister of foreign affairs, told U.S. reporters traveling with Defense Secretary Robert Gates that his government’s support is based not only on a shared worry about future missile threats but also a “moral, historical” sense of appreciation for American support for Czech democracy.
Apparently, Parliament isn’t as hot on the deal as Czech president Vaclav Klaus, and will require some persuading. How do you say “pork” in Czech?
NASA still doesn’t have a Space Elevator winner:
The NASA-sponsored challenge is in its third year of running, and while technology is improving at a rapid rate, it’s still not quite ready to meet the Space Elevator challenge’s demands. Speed requirements have been boosted to 2 meters per second, and this year’s contest seems have gone off without the geeky rule disputes of last year. The University of Saskatchewan came closest to claiming the prize with its ground laser-powered bot, and only fell a few seconds short of the required speed.
I want a ride.
Apple profits are up 67% this quarter. Critics might tell you that Apple if coasting along on “fad” items like the iPod (now in its sixth year of market domination), or the iPhone (the best selling smartphone on the market, and fourth cell phone in sales). But they’d be wrong. Apple is making its big money the old-fashioned way, by selling lots and lots of Macs:
Apple said it sold 2.16 million Macintosh computers during the quarter. The market research firm Dataquest estimated last week that it had sold 1.3 million computers, and I.D.C. put the figure at 1.1 million. Dell sold 5 million computers and H.P. sold 4.3 million in the same period, according to the I.D.C. report.
With those numbers, Mac’s Q3 US market share is now approaching nine or ten percent, including the lowest-of-the-low end, where it doesn’t even compete.
I don’t know who at MLB or in the Rockies organization thought it would be a good idea to do all their own World Series tix sales online, themselves… but it was not well thought out. Their servers are dying under the strain, and three hours later, they still have plenty of tickets left. But no one can get in to buy them.
If they’d have turned this over to the pros at Ticketmaster or somewhere like that, the whole thing would have been over an hour ago. And whether you’d gotten tix or not, at least you’d be back to real life by now.
As things stand, I’ll be sitting here a while yet.
UPDATE: Then again, maybe I shouldn’t complain about things in Colorado. Because elsewhere, “we are on the verge of witnessing a perfect storm of douchebaggery emanating from the greater Boston area.” From there, the language gets a bit strong.
UPDATE: Here’s the official Rockies statement:
This morning, after more than 8.5 million hits on the Colorado Rockies website, Paciolan, Major League Baseball’s ticket vendor, experienced a system wide outage that impacted all of its North American customers. As a result, the Colorado Rockies have suspended the sale of 2007 World Series tickets scheduled to be played at Coors Field.
“It’s been an extremely frustrating morning for our fans and the entire Rockies’ organization,” said Keli McGregor, Rockies’ team president. “We are working diligently with Major League Baseball and Paciolan to resolve the issues impacting online ticket sales for the 2007 World Series.”
Although some ticket transactions (less than 500 seats) did take place this morning, virtually the entire allotment for all three games of the World Series scheduled for Coors Field remains intact. A plan for the sale of the available World Series tickets will be announced as soon as the details are available.
No rush, guys. No home games until Saturday, and it’s not like people have to make plans or travel or anything.
Out in San Diego, my cousin Brett has all the family photos packed in the car, the wife and kids are on standby, and they’re all just waiting for an evacuation order. The good news is, the fire doesn’t seem to be coming at them any more.
It all sounds very familiar.
UPDATE: Brett just got the mandatory evacuation order. This sucks.
More dissent in Iran, this time at the top of the ranks:
Iran’s ex-president Mohammad Khatami has made a rare criticism of successor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, saying inflation was a growing problem which government statistics were attempting to conceal, the press reported on Monday.
The reformist Khamati has until now refrained from commenting on Ahmadinejad’s policies since he left office in 2005, but his stinging attack comes amid intense manoeuvring ahead of parliamentary elections in March.
“Inflation exists in society… every single person in society says that it exists and ordinary people feel it every time they purchase something,” Khatami was quoted as saying by the economic daily Sarmayeh.
As I commented last night over at OP-FOR:
The Iranians are begging us to attack them. Therefore, we shouldn’t. If Tehran warned us not to wear pink tutus, I’d take the whole family down to the next big sale at the local Ballet Supply Warehouse.
For at least now, let them tear themselves apart.
Melissa is in the kitchen on her laptop, I’m in the bedroom on mine. Between us, we have three different browsers, each reloading the same webpage every 60 seconds or less. What are we doing?
We’re trying to buy World Series tickets. Wish us luck.
Mixed results on keeping reform alive in China:
Hu is no exception and had to make compromises. He failed, for example, to name Li Keqiang, his favored candidate, as sole successor. Indeed, Li stepped out on to the podium Monday after Xi, confirming a belief among analysts that, for the moment at least, Xi has a slight edge in the race to lead China. (If previous practice is followed and no unforeseen events intervene
It’s always good to listen to Jaco Pastorius, no matter the season or mood.
Here he is. Don’t you dare look away.
Here’s how I summed things up at PJM:
My last (first? only?) thoughts: Thompson exceeded expectations, I think, keeping him running. McCain had the best soundbites, Rudy had the best instincts, and Mitt turned out his worst performance to date. Tonight’s winner: Hillary Clinton, for being the focus of 15 minutes of a short debate.
Fox News viewers would seem to agree, because they couldn’t settle on a Republican victor. This one goes to Hillary by default.
UPDATE: K-Lo pretty much echoes the VodkaPundit summary. Advantage: VodkaPundit, for saying the same thing, seven minutes sooner. The blogosphere is rough, baby.
UPDATE: Tonight’s loser? Fox News. I know these debates don’t really mean much, but this one seemed especially vapid, concentrating on hot issues like “Who’s the real conservative?” and “The Woman Who Isn’t Even Here.” Lame.