It’s another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs! And, as always, you’ll find the links to this week’s picks in the comments under the show.
On the new PJM Political, we’ve got Rush Limbaugh biographer Zev Chafets, Reagan’s “Tear down this wall!” speechwriter Peter Robinson and his Mark Steyn Adventure, Five Questions for James Lileks, and the Trifecta team on Rand Paul. I’m host, Ed Driscoll produces, and hilarity ensures.
Something like that, anyway.
But it’s still a great hour of radio. Listen in.
It almost certainly costs me traffic, but I just don’t blog that much about scandals. Both sides have plenty of them, they’re usually not more than he said/she said, and half the time if you blog too soon about them you end up looking like an idiot.
And I certainly need no help with that last bit.
But the Sestak Stuff is just too good to pass up, with today’s breaking news that Bill Clinton served as White House emissary to Joe Sestak. Here’s what the White House says happened:
The report said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel enlisted Clinton’s help as a go-between with Sestak. Clinton agreed to raise the offer of a seat on a presidential advisory board or another executive board if Sestak dropped his bid, “which would avoid a divisive Senate primary,” the report said.
We get additional details from The Caucus report:
The White House disputed Republican claims that the conversations might be illegal or improper. “There was no such impropriety,” Robert F. Bauer, the White House counsel, said in a memo released to reporters. “The Democratic Party leadership had a legitimate interest in averting a divisive primary fight and a similarly legitimate concern about the congressman vacating his seat in the House.”
But further down, The Caucus quotes the relevant federal statute:
Federal law makes it a crime for anyone “who directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or any other benefit” to someone else “as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office.” It is also illegal for a government official to use “his official authority for the purpose of interfering with, or affecting, the nomination or the election of any candidate” for Senate.
Four things seem pretty clear here.
1. The law was almost certainly broken.
2. It’s a damn silly law in this instance, outlawing a perfectly reasonable party function, and ought to be amended.
3. Republicans would be idiots to try and get charges filed – yet again! – against Bill Clinton. Don’t go there.
4. Republicans would be smart to keep this in the news, Chinese water torture style, all the way through the November election.
But honestly I wouldn’t be surprised if the GOP got everything wrong.
UPDATE: Elsewhere at PJ Media, my boss says that –
Frankly, I have a tad of nostalgia for Clinton because, Monica excluded, he was a much more sensible (and honest – believe it or not?) man than Obama and far less of a threat to our country and the world. Not nearly as much went wrong under eight years of Clinton’s watch than in less than two years of Obama’s. It’s pathetic, actually, that Bill is now so willing, as apparently he was, to carry water for the new President in this kind of cheesy operation. Can you imagine George W. Bush doing such a thing for some Republican president? I can’t.
I’d have even more nostalgia for Bill Clinton, if only he’d go away.
ANOTHER UPDATE: I’d forgotten that the White House tried the very same stunt here in Colorado a while back — probably because the Denver Post refuses to cover the story.
Kevin Drum pretty much punted yesterday in his “Why Did North Korea Do It?” piece — “running interference for Iran” never once came up, not even in the follow-up. But today he’s onto something, looking at how the Right pretty much owns social networking. We’ll get to the meat, but first read the lede:
Back in the early aughts, liberals took an early lead in the blogosphere and never looked back. Conservatives were apparently too stodgy, too top-down oriented to make effective use of online technology.
Then a couple snipped bits, followed by this:
I’m going to take a guess here: online technology is fundamentally more attractive for insurgents than it is for the party in power. Partly this is because the party in power already has lots of other tools available for fundraising and communications. Partly it’s because the party in power is more invested in leadership keeping control of its message. Partly it’s because the party in power is just flat out busier with the actual work of governing. And partly it’s because online chatter is riskier: if you’re tweeting all day long you’re bound to screw up sometime and say something stupid. That’s more dangerous for the party in power than it is for the party out of power.
Fair enough — but not far enough. Drum concludes that he doesn’t “expect this state of affairs to last much longer,” but he might want to rethink that. Once one side becomes entrenched, it becomes very difficult for the other side to win back control — or even parity — within a given medium.
The Left owns movies, TV, and the blogosphere (not to mention academia). The Right owns talk radio and social networking. And there’s no sign yet of any insurgencies, not even against the insurgents.
Found a couple ledes from Apple Insider that just don’t go together. Here’s the first one:
In 2007, Steve Jobs set a big goal for Apple in launching the iPhone: 10 million phones sold in 2008. Microsoft is now setting the goal of selling 30 million Windows Phone 7 devices by the end of 2011.
OK, fine. But then there’s the second story:
Ron Spears, AT&T’s chief executive of its Business Solutions unit, told a conference audience this week that 40 percent of iPhones were being sold to business users and that the enterprise is viewing the device as secure, powerful, and even as a potential replacement for laptop purchases.
Enterprise is Microsoft’s playground, and Apple nearly four million iPhones to enterprise users just in the last quarter? And Android already, or probably soon will, generates as many or more smartphone business sales than Apple.
So it’s difficult-to-impossible to see where the market exists for 30 million Windows 7 phones.
Peggy Noonan: “But Mr. Obama was supposed to be competent.”
No, Mr. Obama claimed to be competent. Mr. Obama put on airs of competence. But Mr. Obama had never actually proven to be competent, except at exactly two things: Winning easy elections and convincing the Mainstream Media not to look too deeply into those airs. And you, Ms. Noonan, were among the convinced.
Others can, and do say, “I told you so.” But not with any glee, Ms. Noonan, because we’re all paying for your unforced error.
More 20/20 hindsight from Noonan:
I don’t see how the president’s position and popularity can survive the oil spill. This is his third political disaster in his first 18 months in office. And they were all, as they say, unforced errors, meaning they were shaped by the president’s political judgment and instincts.
The press is supposed to push and prod and pester and generally make life unlivable for presidential candidates. The reason is: Nothing the press can do is even close to the real pressures of the Oval Office — but it’s as close as we can get. Obama never went through the mandatory pushing and prodding and pestering, so the press failed in its prime duty to test this man before Election Day.
And now, the chorus arises — first Chris Matthews, now Noonan — that maybe this empty suit might not be filled with all the stuff the MSM poured into it.
Golly, ya think?
Then the Noonans and the Matthews and the rest wonder why Obama treats them with such disdain. He’s right to.
And now it’s our turn.
A tidbit from a story on the arcane subject of money supply might be the scariest thing I’ve seen in a week chock full of scary things:
Mr Bernanke no longer pays attention to the M3 data. The bank stopped publishing the data five years ago, deeming it too erratic to be of much use.
This may have been a serious error since double-digit growth of M3 during the US housing bubble gave clear warnings that the boom was out of control. The sudden slowdown in M3 in early to mid-2008 – just as the Fed raised rates – gave a second warning that the economy was about to go into a nosedive.
That’s right. Our central bank chief doesn’t care how much money there is.
“As we enter the summer of 2010,” writes Austin Bay, “the risk of all-out war on the Korean peninsula is quite high, and possibly the highest it has been since the armistice was signed in 1953.”
The good news: It’s unlikely that North Korea has enough gasoline to fight for more than a few days.
The bad news: they could really mess up the South in less time than that.
The worse news: nobody knows what would happen after the inevitable North Korean collapse, but everybody knows that nobody could afford it.
The downright scary news: even a wildly unspectacular North Korean invasion would serve as a test of our CINC’s mettle — a test we can’t be certain he’d pass.
Let’s go through these points one at a time.
Tablet skeptic Fred Wilson turns into a fan — after using one for a few weeks:
I realized that I had become smitten with it yesterday when I was headed to a place I like to grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat and read alone before work. When I go to this place, I take out my Google phone and read blogs and occasionally do some email. I wanted to take the iPad with me but decided not to so it could stay at home on the kitchen counter. Then I thought seriously about getting another iPad just for me. I’m not going to do that just yet, but the urge is there. I’ll probably wait for the first Android tablet and get that for my personal use.
So I’ve changed my mind about the iPad and tablet computers. In my initial review, I focused on capabilities. And tablets are stuck between the power and utility of the notebook and the size and features of a smartphone. But they also create a middle place in terms of usability. And that is what I missed in my first day with the iPad. It feels less like a computer than any computing device I’ve owned. It’s easy on me in a way that the other devices are not. So I’m now convinced that tablets will have an important place in our homes and our lives.
My 3G iPad finally shipped today — and it’ll be interesting to see if it instantly becomes a “family device,” the way it did for Wilson.
Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with tiny Global Equities Research, contends that 7 minutes of the June 7 keynote by Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been blocked off for a presentation by Microsoft (MSFT) to talk about Visual Studio 2010, the company’s suite of development tools. Chowdhry says the new version of VS will allow developers to write native applications for the iPhone, iPad and Mac OS. And here’s the kicker: he thinks Microsoft’s presentation could be given by none other than Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.
Developers! Developers! Developers!
My Dear Fellow Conservatives and Libertarians:
We need to give up this notion of “states’ rights.” First of all, it’s in bad taste. The phrase used to be code for “Jim Crow.” And while I’m certain that’s not true for 99% of us, we can — and should — do better than to emulate vile racists. Secondly, however, “states’ rights” is a misnomer. It’s an impossible thing. It doesn’t exist, and shouldn’t.
Let me explain…
Trifecta : Bill Whittle hosts, asks, as our government encroaches into “nanny-state” territory, are the violent protests of European going to land on our shores as well? “Unlike Greece, when you get away from the Chicago political thugs and incompetent Washington politicians, America is still fundamentally sound. Can we avoid a Greek tragedy?”
Good questions. Scott Ott and I have answers.
Having the FCC regulate the internet is such a lousy idea that you can even find 73 House Democrats who are against it — and taking action:
A slew of House Democrats have sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission warning the agency not to go forward with its plan to partially reclassify ISPs as common carriers, a move needed to impose net neutrality rules.
“The uncertainty this proposal creates will jeopardize jobs and deter needed investment for years to come,” wrote Texas Congressman Gene Green on Monday. “The significant regulatory impact of reclassifying broadband service is not something that should be taken lightly and should not be done without additional direction from Congress.”
Good news, but a “slew” of Democrats? I thought they traveled in an appropriation.
It’s about to get a little more dangerous to be a terrorist, thanks to sniper rifle “scopes that ‘see’ wind turbulence.” Read:
It’s been years since DARPA put out its original RFI for a “one shot” sniper system, and if you’re the type that prefers to kill at extremely long ranges we have some great news for you. The program, which is developing laser scopes that detect and compensate for wind, seems to be somewhat on track (which must really freak DARPA out). It was hoped that the technology would let shooters take down targets at 2,000 meters while enduring forty mile-per-hour crosswinds. Currently, we’re looking at something like 1,100 meters and eighteen mile-per-hour winds — still no mean feat. The next step? To get fifteen field-testable prototypes into the hands of soldiers by next year, to the tune of $7 million.
I really have nothing to add, other than — Cool.
Here’s a short & sweet review of the Gold version of Chrome for OS X.
Pros: Lightning fast page-rendering. I mean, seriously. It’s Hammer Time fast — you can’t touch this.
Cons: If you like Safari, you’ll hate the way Chrome handles tabs and bookmarks.
The jury is still out on whether Chrome’s rendering is fast enough to make up for what to me is a clumsy interface. I always have enough windows and tabs open (usually a dozen windows, each with multiple tabs) that waiting for a page to render is no big deal. But speedy navigation through all those pages is vital.
Late start on the blogging today. Got inspired in the shower (no, not like that), then had to run downstairs right after and write a piece for the PJM home page. Not sure when it’s going to run, but it will piss some people off — and I don’t mean people on the Left.
Sometimes, inspiration is like that.
Now I can’t be the only one who does his best work in the shower. All night long, while you dream of talking cheese ferrets or whatever, other parts of your brain are getting up to all kinds of mischief. Oftentimes those bits are sorting through tomorrow’s tasks you need to do and yesterday’s jobs you accomplished. And then you wake up, and most of those thoughts disappear. But I find that a cup of coffee and a hot shower and a really excellent shave can shake them loose again.
In this case, the process started last night on The Rick Moran Show. It’s always fun doing Rick’s show, because he expects you to do your homework, and he hits you with challenging questions. Even better, Rick never has any dumb guests. Last night’s show featured IBD’s Monica Showalter, Rich Baehr of the American Thinker, and yours truly.
Unlike most of what you’ll see & hear & read from the MSM, we talked frankly about Rand Paul and race. And we had plenty of criticism for the left and the right. Monica came up with an angle on Title II of the ’64 Civil Rights Act that I’d never heard anywhere else — and it’s worth listening to the show just for that. Then thanks to the sharp conversation (and, to be honest, a second vodka-rocks), I came up with my own angle. It was good angle, but missing something. Incomplete. Sometime late last night, Sleep Brain put it all together. Then the shower jostled it back out.
So it’s a pretty good bet than whenever I write a column I’m particularly proud of — whether or not any of them are any good is for you to decide — it’s usually almost fully-formed by the time I’m toweling off. All that’s left is to get in front of a screen somewhere and get the thing typed out.
Which is what I spent my morning doing, which was “music to the ears of a traffic-hungry editor.” And then I felt the need to type all this out, probably still on the writing rush of putting out a good column without too much effort.
So… uh… now I’ll do some real blogging.
North Korea does its best to alarm the South, but it’s not as bad as it seems. Read:
North Korea said it will sever all ties with South Korea and expel the South’s workers from a joint industrial zone as “punishment” for accusing it of sinking a warship and killing 46 South Korean sailors.
“There is no need to show any mercy or patience for such confrontation maniacs,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported late yesterday, citing the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea. North Korea will “abrogate the agreement on non-aggression” and handle all issues with South Korea under wartime law, the group said.
North Korea will cut off all communication links, ban passage of South Korean ships and airlines through its territories and resume propaganda broadcasts across the border, KCNA said. The communist country earlier yesterday warned of military action in the disputed maritime area off the peninsula’s west coast after accusing the South of violating its territory in the zone.
North Korea probably doesn’t have enough fuel to fight for more than a few days, after which their tanks will simply stop. Certainly, the Norks could do some serious damage to the South, but the final outcome would never be doubt — not even to the Dear Leader. Best case scenario – if the North really does look ready to strike, Chinese paratroops land in Pyongyang and install a puppet.
But the real chances of war: Very slim.
Here’s Senator Judd Gregg on the Senate version of the financial reform bill:
“You’ll basically have a consumer protection agency which decides to go out and in the morning and say, ‘well everybody who’s XYZ should have a loan, even though the local community bank says XYZ shouldn’t have a loan, because if we give them a loan, we know they’re not going to pay back,’” he said. “It’s going to become an agency that defines lending on social justice purposes instead of safety and soundness purposes.”
Social engineering by Fannie and Freddie is what got us into this mess, and the Senate Democrats are saying, “More like that, please.”
They say there are only two sure ways to avoid a hangover. One, never drink. Two, never get sober. The Democrats are going for option number two — and we’ll get stuck with their bar tab.
So what does the text say? Do you really need to know?
From an interview with Marc Faber by BigGovernment’s Andrew Mellon:
However, last year Economist Gregory Mankiw articulated the position which according to Faber essentially echoes that of Fed #2 Janet Yellen and pervades much of the Fed generally, that “The problem is that people are saving money instead of spending, and we have to get the bastards spending to keep the economy going,” so the key is to inflate the money supply at something like 6% per annum.
Well that’s just brilliant — We’ll somehow create wealth by debasing wealth’s store of value.* Yellen received her PhD in economics from Yale. How can someone so smart be so stupid?
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
More silliness from the Bay State:
Governor Deval Patrick, even as he decried partisanship in Washington, said today that Republican opposition to President Obama’s agenda has become so obstinate that it “is almost at the level of sedition.”
We get it, OK? We can’t question your patriotism (and haven’t), but you can call us traitors any time you like.
But do you have to keep rubbing it in?
That health care bill nobody read before passing? The one with tax credits to encourage small businesses to hire? Yeah, that one?
Well, it turns out the tax credits are having the opposite effect — suppressing small-business job-creation.
It’s almost as if total ignorance can’t overcome the law of unintended consequences.