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Monthly Archives: May 2010

Double Take

May 24th, 2010 - 11:31 am

So I read the headline, “Bill Clinton Rear Ended… ” and my first thought was, Who?

Double Geek Out!

May 24th, 2010 - 9:16 am

For some all-new uses, the future of the printed page is LCD:

Here’s an intriguing idea: author Neal Stephenson and a few friends (including Greg Bear and Nicole Galland) are going to be releasing a set of serialized stories as apps for the iPad and the iPhone. The project is called “The Mongoliad,” and is based on a world designed by Stephenson (author of the great novels Snow Crash and The Diamond Age).

The apps will present “an ongoing stream of nontextual, para-narrative, and extra-narrative stuff,” and even ask readers to interact and create their own stories in the universe with some “pretty cool tech.” Interesting.

My iPad cannot get here soon enough.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

May 24th, 2010 - 8:15 am

Did you see the story off of Drudge this weekend, about the Saudi religious police? Check it out:

When a Saudi religious policeman sauntered about an amusement park in the eastern Saudi Arabian city of Al-Mubarraz looking for unmarried couples illegally socializing, he probably wasn’t expecting much opposition.

But when he approached a young, 20-something couple meandering through the park together, he received an unprecedented whooping.

A member of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the Saudi religious police known locally as the Hai’a, asked the couple to confirm their identities and relationship to one another, as it is a crime in Saudi Arabia for unmarried men and women to mix.

For unknown reasons, the young man collapsed upon being questioned by the cop.

According to the Saudi daily Okaz, the woman then allegedly laid into the religious policeman, punching him repeatedly, and leaving him to be taken to the hospital with bruises across his body and face.

Of course, violence against legal authorities is always to be disdained. But the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice isn’t any legal authority as we understand it. They’re thugs, thugs with quasi-legal/religious authority and clubs. They once drove 15 schoolgirls back inside a burning building to die, because the girls weren’t modestly covered.

So it’s difficult to get too upset when you read that one woman took one small step toward liberation.

From the Earth to the Moon

May 23rd, 2010 - 11:05 am

We’ve got the second-to-last man to walk on the moon on this week’s PJM Political — Harrison Schmidt — to talk about climate science. Who else? Ed Driscoll, Jennifer Rubin, James Lileks, PJTV’s Tracie Savage, California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, and a whole lot of stuff about Rand Paul.

The Dog That Didn’t Bark

May 22nd, 2010 - 5:52 pm

Here’s John Gruber on the Apple vs Google slugfest for dominance in smartphones — and eventually, in consumer electronics:

It’s exciting, vicious, fun to watch, and ultimately should prove to be excellent news for consumers. Competition drives innovation and innovation raises the bar for everyone. And the bar, for smartphones, is rising quickly.

Like any great rivalry, there are striking differences between the two competitors. Apple and Google are jostling to shift the comparison between the two platforms to their very different strengths. Apple’s strengths: user experience, design, consistency. Google’s strengths: the cloud, variety, permissiveness.

He’s right. But what’s interesting is who isn’t mentioned: Microsoft and Sony. Those two behemoths have been pretty much shut out already, and the contest is only just getting underway.

Bonus Trifecta: Scott Ott, Bill Whittle and I take your questions! And leave more questions in the comments, and we’ll get to them next week.

It’s an exclusive for PJTV members, but it’s cheap to join — just five bucks a month.

Buh Bye?

May 18th, 2010 - 8:16 pm

Just saw a Twitter claim that the AP has called Sestak the winner in PA, but can’t find the story.

Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash — Friday night.

In Arkansas, Blanche Lincoln got caught trying vote for herself, a second time.

Reporting Live on the Scene

May 18th, 2010 - 5:02 pm

Stacy McCain has boots on the ground in PA-12.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, in Kentucky, Dave Weigel tweets, “Guys, Trey Grayson is FROM Boone County and he’s losing it by 30 points. This is a slaughter. #kysen”

Now, Rand Paul’s a little too libertarian even for my tastes — but I think we need more voices like his in DC. I hope it is a slaughter.

UPDATE THE SECOND: AP calls it for Paul. And now, all eyes turn to Pennsylvania…

UPDATE THE THIRD: This is going to be an epic night, if the Guardian is already making the case that “November is still far away.” All I can say is, it’s later than you think.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

May 18th, 2010 - 4:31 pm

Today’s Trifecta: Since when did Democrats lose the ability to vote on spending gobs of money?

Coming later today, another bonus episode for subscribers.

Two medical stories out of Texas this morning. First up, Lone Star docs are dropping Medicare patients at accelerating rates:

Two years after a survey found nearly half of Texas doctors weren’t taking some new Medicare patients, new data shows 100 to 200 a year are now ending all involvement with the program. Before 2007, the number of doctors opting out averaged less than a handful a year.

“This new data shows the Medicare system is beginning to implode,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the Texas Medical Association. “If Congress doesn’t fix Medicare soon, there’ll be more and more doctors dropping out and Congress’ promise to provide medical care to seniors will be broken.”

Next up, doctors willing to see Medicare patients are more and more likely to have come from Third World medical schools:

Of the roughly 1,500 doctors who have received fast-tracked licenses in the last three years in exchange for agreeing to treat the state’s neediest patients, nearly 40 percent were trained at international schools, everywhere from India and Mexico to Uzbekistan and Rwanda, and a quarter were trained in Texas. The Texas Medical Board fast-tracked more licenses for doctors trained in Pakistan than it did for those educated in Louisiana or Oklahoma.

And there you have it. The best and brightest doctors aren’t willing to work for slave wages (relatively speaking, but still), and the doctors who are willing — surprise! — might not be nearly as well trained.

Sure, Harvard will keep producing lawyers, but fewer of our best and brightest will be attending medical school. And that indicates lower overall quality of care for everyone down the line.

Of course, there’s a solution for doctors who won’t treat Medicare/Medicaid patients. It’s called “single payer.” That’s when, doctors either take government payment and nothing but government payment, or they stop being doctors.

That’s the Progressive dream, and an American nightmare.

Megyn Kelly — Too Hot for TV!

May 17th, 2010 - 6:55 pm

But for PJTV? Oh, yeah.

On the new Hair of the Dog, we’ve got flying pigs, Megyn Kelly, and an all-new recipient of the fabled Dumbass Designation.

Check it out.

So Tired of Being Alone

May 17th, 2010 - 5:24 pm

It took some time, but the Mainstream Media is, finally, starting to get sick and tired of being President Obama’s rubes. Here’s the latest example, from CBS:

There was some rich irony at the White House today — President Obama signed the Press Freedom Act, and then promptly refused to take any questions.

That’s the lede to a story on some puff-piece legislation for the State Department. After a two-line summary of the new law, there’s this:

Recall that last Friday the president refused to take any questions after delivering his angry statement on the oil spill in the Rose Garden. And he has not held a prime-time White House news conference in many months, despite much pleading from pundits and members of the media.

Put plainly, the story — the narrative — has changed. The press used to just spoon feed you whatever the White House wanted you to swallow. But now? Now, the story is becoming: “Obama treats us like crap.” Or, to put it more simply: “Waaaaaaaaaaah!”

MSM, I’m glad you’re finally catching on. But what took you so long?

Beating the Unbeatable

May 17th, 2010 - 11:24 am

You’ll never look at Sim City the same way again.

And I’m sure there’s a comment to be made here about social planning, but I’m too dumbstruck to make it right now.

Having a Blast in the Past

May 16th, 2010 - 3:43 pm

If you missed the new Week in Blogs — what’s wrong with you? More seriously, one of this week’s picks was a photo essay on everyday life in Iran, before the Islamic Revolution. Happy people. Fun people. People who look a lot like, well, happy fun Western people.

Ed Driscoll was moved by it, and wrote some words you’ll want to read.

An Open Letter to Webmasters

May 16th, 2010 - 11:21 am

Dear Self-Defeating Fools,

You’re out of control, and it’s got to stop. You think you’re helping us. You think you’re helping your employers. Of course, what you’re actually doing as annoying us all to hell and making us hate your employer. Just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should. Allow me to give you three examples.

Let a hyperlink be a hyperlink. When I want a link to open in a new window, I know the key combination to make that happen. When I want a link to open in a new tab, I know the key combination to make that happen, too. And when I want a link simply to take me to the got-dam link, I want it to do just that thing. Your tricky little HTML code to make my browser behave the way you want it to, just makes me hate your site. Mmkay?

Oh, and that goes double for Flash-based sites, where Whomever only knows what will happen at any given moment. Stop it.

Get out of my clipboard. Let me repeat that: Get out of my clipboard. Don’t put things in there I didn’t highlight myself. I’m talking to you, Politico. Want to know why I almost never quote Politico stories anymore? Look at this screencap from a Politico story, and take note of the highlighted text:

The highlighted text is what I expect to find when I paste. But take a look at what Politico’s idiot/rude/stupid/abusive webmaster has done:

That’s right — they’ve put an effing advertisement, and a working link, in my clipboard. Of course, the link doesn’t work as-is, when I post the text to VodkaPundit. So even if by some stupid chance I did want their ad, it doesn’t do me (or Politico) any good. So, every time I post text from Politico, they force me to delete a bunch of extraneous stuff.

In short, Politico’s idiot/rude/stupid/abusive webmaster makes it more difficult for me to send him traffic. Or as we call traffic here on the innerwebs: Money. So I don’t do it anymore, unless I absolutely must. Which is near-never.

Finally, get over the whole hover-command thing for ads/Diggs/Tweets/menus/etc. If I don’t click it, it shouldn’t pop up — just like every single other thing on my computer has behaved for almost 20 years. And if I didn’t click it, I certainly shouldn’t have to click it to make it go away. I’m sick and tired of having to spend half my time worried about where my cursor is, when all I’m trying to do is scroll down your page. And if I’m scrolling down your page, it’s to see if I want to quote it, and send traffic your way. Don’t make it a pain-in-the-rear for me to send you money. Dig?

Most of the smarter webmasters finally gave up on popover, popunder and click-the-monkey trickery. Now it’s time for you to give up on the rest.



PS Bit.ly, this all goes triple for you — you suck now. I’m taking my business elsewhere.

Must-See Radio

May 15th, 2010 - 8:41 pm

We had so fun putting together this week’s PJM Political for Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. So much so, that now we’re putting it on the web so everyone can enjoy it.

On the big show, we’ve got James Lileks, Glenn Reynolds with David Kirkham, the good folks in Little Miami from Babalu Blog, advice goddess Amy Alkon, and a double dose of my unrequited voice-crush*, Dr. Helen Smith.


From The Hill:

The new healthcare law will pack 32 million newly insured people into emergency rooms already crammed beyond capacity, according to experts on healthcare facilities.

A chief aim of the new healthcare law was to take the pressure off emergency rooms by mandating that people either have insurance coverage. The idea was that if people have insurance, they will go to a doctor rather than putting off care until they faced an emergency.

People who build hospitals, however, say newly insured people will still go to emergency rooms for primary care because they don’t have a doctor.

Huh. So Obamapelosireid crammed a 2,700-page bill through Congress, without enough time to even read it, much less reflect on it, and yet somehow things aren’t working out how the Invisible Legislation Fairy promised they would?

Huh again.


Hot Zombie Babes and Hotter Links

May 15th, 2010 - 10:48 am

It’s another exciting installment of The Week in Blogs!

As always — or at least as I’ve done lately — you’ll find the links in the comments section.


May 14th, 2010 - 6:03 pm

Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed $12.4 billon in cuts to California’s budget would reduce state spending to levels unseen since… 2008!

Surely, Californians were suffering a from a dearth of government all those years ago.

Just a Thought

May 14th, 2010 - 5:11 pm

In 2008, Barack Obama had John McCain playing defense in Arizona.

What are the odds President Obama will manage the same trick against the GOP candidate in 2012?

All your Ground Zero are belong to us.

So Very Hard to Go

May 14th, 2010 - 12:26 pm

It’s the last flight of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, so here’s a complete history of her hits and near-misses.

WWW Stands for “What Went Wrong?”

May 14th, 2010 - 12:22 pm

Google is scaling back plans for its Nexus One phone:

Although Google launched the Nexus One with grand plans to radically change the way consumers purchased phones and service, it looks like the experiment has fizzled to an end — the company just announced that will eventually stop selling handsets online and instead partner with carriers to sell the N1 in-store while using its website to promote “a variety of Android phones available globally.”

I just don’t get it. The Nexus One is a beloved smart phone — according to both people who bought one. Seriously, great hardware, better-than-average touchscreen, and the first phone running onAndroid 2.0. Yet Google couldn’t sell any of them.

Is T-Mobile really that bad?

UPDATE: Smitty says “T-Mobile is fine,” so I’m at a complete loss.

The Future As Past

May 14th, 2010 - 12:01 pm

Welcome to the New Detroit, same as the Pre Detroit:

Mayor Dave Bing has pledged to knock down 10,000 structures in his first term as part of a nascent plan to “right-size” Detroit, or reconfigure the city to reflect its shrinking population.

When it’s all over, said Karla Henderson, director of the Detroit Building Department, “There’s going to be a lot of empty space.”

Right-sizing? Really? Let’s call this what it really is — decivilization. And let’s also note that Detroit in particular (and Michigan more generally) represents what the Left wants to see more of: More unionization, more taxation, more regulation, more government, more spending.

And eventually, less civilization, as the wilderness reclaims what liberalism destroyed.

Emoticon Intelligence

May 14th, 2010 - 10:45 am

One of the things that makes Trifecta so much fun is, Bill Whittle gets these crazy ideas that would never work in a million years. And then, well, we make them work.

On today’s minisode, Bill forces Scott Ott and I to answer questions using emoticons, then a quick explanation. Sure, the questions are kinda softball, but that’s part of the fun. Besides, how often do you get vulgar Kurt Vonnegut references on a conservative TV network?

The Political Wisdom of Jim Henson

May 14th, 2010 - 10:26 am

A call to bork Elena Kagan — from The Nation? Yes, indeedy. Check it out:

What is less remarked upon is that in her article Kagan proposed a model for a more vigorous and candid confirmation hearing—that of Judge Robert Bork. The process worked in that instance, she argued, not because of the particular result but because the hearings “presented to the public a serious discussion of the meaning of the Constitution, the role of the Court, and the views of the nominee; that discussion at once educated the public and allowed it to determine whether the nominee would move the Court in the proper direction.” In both popular and right-wing parlance, “borking” now means to vilify and defame a nominee in order to block his appointment, but Kagan’s description is in fact a far more accurate account of what happened—senators rigorously probed and considered Bork’s legal opinions and voted accordingly. So it is with this understanding that we propose, in the spirit of democratic deliberation of which she so eloquently wrote, that Elena Kagan should be borked.

Well then, in the wise words of the Swedish Chef… “Bork! Bork! Bork!”

Open Thread

May 13th, 2010 - 9:47 pm

I’ve never done one of these before, so I’m kind of nervous. But here goes.

What part of “this country was born of a tax revolt” does Washington not understand?

OK, have at it.

UPDATE: The answer I was looking for was… the next revolt comes on election day. Anti-incumbent fever — catch it!


May 13th, 2010 - 5:41 pm

Will Collier emails from Ft Lauderdale — where the airport’s been evacuated for some kind of emergency. Ed Driscoll has Will’s full report.

UPDATE: Says Will: “Now letting security back in. TSA officer said (informally), ‘alarms go off a lot in this terminal.’”