September 30, 2008
UNITED: Obama, McCain urge revival of bailout. As one of my colleagues noted today, they’re giving each other cover on this.
UNITED: Obama, McCain urge revival of bailout. As one of my colleagues noted today, they’re giving each other cover on this.
A TRAITOR in Williamsburg.
TRAFFIC: More than 12 Million in September. Thanks for stopping by!
THE WAY THE STOCK MARKET AND THE DOLLAR WENT UP TODAY, if they don’t do it soon they’ll be confirmed as irrelevant: Senate to vote on rescue plan with added tax cut.
HMM: Big Three Nets’ Evening News Programs Still in Collective Decline. “You might think that a presidential election year might give the Big Three networks’ evening newscasts a shot in the arm. You would be wrong.”
MEGAN MCARDLE on best and worst case experiences: “It is worth noting, in answer to the libertarians who are wary of government intervention in the economy, that if there is a serious crash, we will get even more government intervention in the economy–and intervention that is much less to our liking.”
Related thoughts from Fabius Maximus.
IN FRANCE rioting youths-of-no-particular-description have shot a policeman.
A NON-APOLOGY APOLOGY from Alcee Hastings. Toddlers and impeached judges needn’t apologize, because no sensible person takes their view seriously anyway.
BARACK OBAMA AND RESTORING ROTC AT COLUMBIA: Is lifting the ROTC ban change we can believe in?
In a forum on public service on campus earlier this month, Mr. Obama (Columbia ’83) and John McCain (Annapolis ’58) were both asked about the ROTC ban. When Mr. McCain predictably called on Columbia to “re-examine” the ban, he was predictably booed by a crowd of several thousand students who were watching the debate on a giant TV screen on campus.
The question was later put to Mr. Obama. “I think we’ve made a mistake on that,” Mr. Obama replied. “I recognize that there are students here who have differences in terms of military policy, but the notion that young people here at Columbia aren’t offered a choice or an option in participating in military service is a mistake.” The same students who had so lustily booed Mr. McCain, reported the New York Times, were “largely silent” when Mr. Obama gave the same answer.
Well, good for him. I hope that the powers-that-be at Columbia will listen.
UPDATE: Fred Thompson casts his vote. “Governor Palinâ€™s every comment was scrutinized by the media and judged against what Jefferson or Lincoln might have said. Never mind that her counterpart, the 30-year-Washington-veteran Joe Biden, apparently is unaware that America relies upon coal for a lot of its electricity or that he recently referred to a top level U.S. officialâ€™s visit to Iran that never happened. Thatâ€™s just Joe being Joe â€“ protected by the sheer number of his gaffes and the fact that he is Barack Obamaâ€™s running mate.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Re-debunking the rape kit smear.
Heck, even Slate has shot that down.
MORE: Reader Peter Sterne emails:
Democrats are questioning whether Sarah Palin is qualified to be Vice President while Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker-In-Tongues-of-the-House is two heartbeats (and one with issues) away from the Presidency. Nancy Pelosi is proving herself completely unqualified to lead anything. I wouldnâ€™t trust her to lead a troop of Girl Scouts. At a time when she should have been, umm, actually, leading the House (BTW, that means the entire House â€¦ both aisles), she morphed into House Majority Leader Pelosi, made a vicious partisan attack on Republicans, and derailed the $700B bail out.
Iâ€™ll leave the parsing of her motivations to more connected observers, but I suspect it was based on partisan calculus, since the only leadership Pelosi has ever shown is in her capacity to attack the opposition.
HMM: Unlike Clinton, Biden Gets Pass for Saying He Was ‘Shot At’ in Iraq. “When Hillary Clinton told a tall tale about ‘landing under sniper fire’ in Bosnia, she was accused of ‘inflating her war experience’ by Barack Obama’s campaign — but the campaign has been silent about Joe Biden telling his own questionable story about being ‘shot at’ in Iraq.” Pointing it out with Hillary helped Obama; pointing it out with Biden doesn’t help Obama.
COMING FROM SAMSUNG: An 8-Megapixel cameraphone. Nice, but I’d rather see better lenses.
FIVE ENGINEERING LESSONS from the new, reopened Minnesota I-35 bridge.
Remember a few months ago when oil was heading ever higher, gasoline reached unheard of prices, and Americans were essentially hysterical? Remember when Americans demanded, actually screamed in the politicians’ ears that we wanted to drill in our offshore areas? . . .
Well, the politicians apparently don’t remember it at all.
Short memories, big mouths.
RADLEY BALKO INTERVIEWS DEA Whistleblower Sandy Gonzalez.
RERUNS BUT NOT RENEWAL FOR SWINGTOWN, and worries about how The Sarah Connor Chronicles is doing. I’ve watched the first two episodes this season and the show’s as good as last year. It’d be a shame if it were cancelled.
BONNIE & NIXON: A new episode of Silicon Graffiti.
NOT A SIGN OF A HEALTHY CIVILIZATION:
At the recent European Science Open Forum conference in Barcelona, for example, I was strolling through exhibits aimed at â€” please don’t gag â€” science outreach. The underlying theme of all these displays seemed to me to be: since their schooling actually teaches many ordinary people to be discomforted by â€” if not to actually fear and loath â€” science, let’s see if we can’t do something in these venues to get people to hate science a little bit less.
(Via Classical Values, where there are more thoughts).
MORE THAN JUST AN EXPRESSION? Salsa so hot it’ll give you a heart attack.
PEOPLE ACT AS IF IT’S JUST AN AMERICAN PROBLEM, but . . . . Euro Falls Most Against Dollar Amid European Banking Failures.
READER RAYMOND ECKHARD writes that this is creepy. Yes. Roger Simon finds it disturbing, too. “It is the kind of exploitation of children that reminds me of Young Pioneer Camps I saw when visiting the Soviet Union in the Eighties.”
UPDATE: “Daddy says if we sing well enough, we might get an extra flour ration!”
PUSHING SOLAR POWER in Knoxville.
AT THE TRUTH ABOUT CARS, a review of the 2009 Mazda RX-8 (R3 Sport Package).
HANDS-ON WITH M.I.T.’s new robotic submarine.
To test Nancy Pelosiâ€™s hypothesis that after eight years of President Bush the economy is in far worse shape than it was under President Clinton at a time of â€œbudget surpluses,â€ I went to Lending Tree to see what kind of mortgage terms I could get to buy my first home today. . . .
So what kind of offer did I get today in the midst of this horrible financial crisis? I got four offers, the lowest of which was a 15-year fixed-rate VA mortgage of 6.0%, zero points and zero down, yielding a monthly payment of $948.20. Yes, thatâ€™s right, as bad as everyone says the economy is today, I can get the same mortgage as I had twelve years ago for about $250 a month less than I was paying 12 years ago in the midst of a â€œgreatâ€ economy.
But what about the rise in prices of real estate, you might argue? Good question. So I checked Realtor.com to see what my old house might cost today. While that particular home isnâ€™t currently on the market, another home with the same floorplan and in the same division is listed at $139,000. Plugging that amount into the 6.485% effective annual percentage rate of the mortgage I was offered today and I could buy my old home again today for $1,209.69 a monthâ€“about a dollar less than what I was paying for the same home in 1996.
Yeah, but try getting a 120% no-doc interest-only loan now!
UPDATE: Reader Todd McLaren writes: “I’m not all that surprised that this guy could get a good mortgage at a great rate and payments… but I was SHOCKED that he could buy a house for 139,000.” Todd was emailing from California. Houses are a lot cheaper elsewhere.
BRUCE BAWER: Who’s Sleeping More Deeply — Europe, or America?
NOT IMPRESSED WITH “LIBERTARIAN PATERNALISM:” Will Wilkinson reviews Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler’s Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness. We did a podcast interview with Sunstein a while back — it’s here.
PROGRESS IN MAKING CHEAP HYDROGEN FUEL using nanotechnology.
Can you still make it from scratch in America? That’s the question that Adam Shepard asked himself in college. On graduation, he took a train to Charleston, South Carolina and started out with nothing but $25 and a backpack. A year later, he had a car, and apartment, and $2500 in the bank. How he did it — and what he learned along the way — is the story of his new book, Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream.
We talk to Shepard about what it takes to get ahead, how better-off Americans have lost touch with the world of work, and what politicians and pundits ought to be talking about.
Music is by Todd Steed and the Suns of Phere.
FIVE DISEASES YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT: Where the next pandemic will come from. Er, get back to me later — busy worrying about economic collapse today.
UPDATE: On the other hand, at the moment the market, and the dollar, are both up. Go figure.
OBAMA’S TELEPROMPTER issues its demands. “Hot, kinky young iMacs?”
JOHN TIERNEY ON JET-SETTING ENVIRONMENTALISTS: “Iâ€™ve given Brad Pitt and Al Gore grief about their carbon footprints. But itâ€™s clear from a study in England that celebrities arenâ€™t the only greens with a fondness for jet travel. . . . So are the green habits at home doing such a good job of mitigating guilt that theyâ€™re interfering with more realistic strategies to cut greenhouse emissions? If so, to me thatâ€™s one more argument against recycling.”
ABC NEWS: And What About Those 95 Democrats? “Considering that only a dozen votes needed to switch in order to provide a different outcome, and 95 Democrats in the House voted against it, critics are now wondering why couldn’t House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., have assured a different outcome considering how important she said its passage was? Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., told me yesterday that he felt no pressure at all to vote for the bill.” That’s decisive Congressional leadership . . . .
REVIEWING THE REVIEWERS: A roundup of book reviews from all over.
AT THE CBC, an apology for a column about Sarah Palin.
MICKEY KAUS: “If Nancy Pelosi had wanted to screw Sen. McCain, could she have done a better job? Just asking!”
UPDATE: Reader Greg Shea writes:
Here’s what I don’t understand:
When Republicans have control of Congress, it is Republicans’ fault for not passing legislation to stave off economic trouble.
When Democrats have control of Congress, it is Republicans’ fault for not passing the bailout. Must be nice…
THE U.S. NAVY IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Fighting Pirates. No, really.
MAKING LIFE EASIER FOR ACORN: Courts Allow Same-Day Registration, Voting in Ohio.
A REMINDER OF Barney Frank’s role in the current mess. “Well, give the congressman points for gall. Wall Street and private lenders have plenty to answer for, but it was Washington and the political class that derailed this train. If Frank is looking for a culprit to blame, he can find one suspect in the nearest mirror.”
NANCY’S DISASTER: “The fact is, 95 Democrats – 40 percent of the party’s House membership – voted against the bill. Pelosi – who allegedly controls the chamber – couldn’t even deliver her own members. How humiliating is that?” Many of those Democrats who voted against, of course, did so with Pelosi’s blessing.
MARK STEYN: “As a general proposition, when told by unanimous elites that a particular course of action is urgent and necessary to avoid disaster, there’s a lot to be said for going fishing.”
AT OUROBOROS, blogging the Cold Spring Harbor Conference on the Molecular Genetics of Aging. Interesting stuff, just keep scrolling.
P.J. O’ROURKE: “I looked death in the face. All right, I didn’t. I glimpsed him in a crowd. I’ve been diagnosed with cancer, of a very treatable kind. I’m told I have a 95% chance of survival. Come to think of it — as a drinking, smoking, saturated-fat hound — my chance of survival has been improved by cancer. . . . I have, of all the inglorious things, a malignant hemorrhoid. What color bracelet does one wear for that? And where does one wear it?”
IT’S PROBABLY NOT THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT: Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit to Halt Operation of Particle Collider:
A federal judge in Honolulu has dismissed a lawsuit trying to stop the running of a giant particle accelerator outside Geneva, dodging the issue of whether it could actually cause the end of the world. The judge, Helen Gillmor, said in her ruling Friday that the court lacked jurisdiction over the Large Hadron Collider, which is located on the Swiss-French border and was built by CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, with help from the United States and dozens of other countries.
I think that’s the right decision. You want to sue over this, you’ve got to go over there.
So, to me, it seems abundantly clear that the Democrats don’t see the current situation as a crisis, and are acting like everything is business as usual. To me, that says — far more clearly than their words — that they don’t think things are anywhere as bad as they say they are.
And that is what convinces me that things are far worse than they think.
Because the Democrats have been consistently wrong on the whole situation, and have been for years. There is no end of videos of leading Democrats praising Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s stability, of their performance, defending the leaders (most notably Franklin Raines and Jim Johnson), and thoroughly denouncing and scuttling numerous attempts to head off the problems that have started to come to a head in the past month or so.
It’s a kind of negative evidence, but it’s persuasive to me: the Democrats have a solidly established record of being utterly and completely wrong on the whole mess. They are now acting as if the situation isn’t so bad, and are still far more interested in playing their run-of-the-mill political games with the whole process. If they are still wrong (and the odds are highly in favor of that conclusion), then we are in real trouble and the bailout that they don’t seem to care about whether or not it passes is probably a necessary evil.
What’s scary is that it makes sense . . . .
Meanwhile, an important credit debate at IowaHawk.
UPDATE: Reader Richard Fairgrieve writes:
I am an investment manager based in London specializing in emerging markets. My wife is a financial jounalist for a major European business magazine who specializes in writing about asset backed securites like CDO’s & CDS’s. I’d like to make two comments about the current mess. The first is that she believes that since the credit problems emanate from the housing market there will be no stability in the financial system until their is stability in the housing market. Why not use the $700bn to provide increased tax relief on mortgages, help lower mortage payments for those under threat of foreclosure (a foreclosed house rapidly falls in value) and take other steps to shore up house prices? From a free market economic point of view this may not be the optimal solution but it seems to me a lot more palatable then giving more power to the Treasury for a program that is at best opaque and ordinary taxpayers find difficulty in seeing the benefit.
The second point I’d like to make is that markets, at least in theory, try to put a price on future events. Given the falls yesterday they are discounting a rapidly slowing global economy and the election of Obama. If you actually look at market action yeseterday, especially in commodities, it was not great even before the bill was passed. The markets are fearing that the impact of this crisis will be deep and global. Secondly, the results of the debate on Friday and the growing econmic stress are, according to the polls, allowing Obama to build his lead. An adminstration that undoubtedly will believe that the best solutions to the U.S. economic policies lie in Washington and revolve around higher taxes, more regulation and protectionism is bad for markets. Gotta run to work now and watch fear at work.
Yes, why not turn the mortgage interest tax-deduction into a refundable credit for a couple of years. Surely that would drastically reduce the default rate, wouldn’t it?
More thoughts on the bailout vote from Jeff Goldstein.
IF YOU’RE A DEMOCRAT, AND YOU MISHEAR THINGS AND GIVE A DUMB ANSWER, the press will helpfully explain things for you.
YEAH, THEY’RE NOT TREATING IT LIKE A CRISIS: “We’re on the verge of financial meltdown, but Congress can afford to take a day or two off? I understand that it’s a major religious holiday for some members, but this is an ’emergency.'”
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Rezko courthouse visits fuel rumors he’s talking. “Convicted political fixer Antoin ‘Tony’ Rezko has been quietly visiting Chicago’s federal courthouse, setting off speculation that he may be spilling secrets to federal prosecutors in return for a lenient sentence. Prosecutors investigating Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration would plainly like to hear what Rezko knows, and there is plenty of incentive to talk.” (Via NewsAlert).
12 congressmen need to switch their votes. But whoever does will suffer mightily not merely for voting for the hated bill, but for having flip-flopped. If the bill passes, and nothing bad happens, people will blame those congresscritters even worse than their fellows. And from what I understand, the people who voted no tend to be people facing competitive races in November.
Diogenes spent a lifetime searching for one honest man. Where are we supposed to find 12?
Well, I hate it that we have to start looking in Congress . . . .
A READER AT A MAJOR NEWSROOM EMAILS: “Off the record, every suspicion you have about MSM being in the tank for O is true. We have a team of 4 people going thru dumpsters in Alaska and 4 in arizona. Not a single one looking into Acorn, Ayers or Freddiemae. Editor refuses to publish anything that would jeopardize election for O, and betting you dollars to donuts same is true at NYT, others. People cheer when CNN or NBC run another Palin-mocking but raising any reasonable inquiry into obama is derided or flat out ignored. The fix is in, and its working.” I asked permission to reprint without attribution and it was granted.
UPDATE: The Anchoress hears similar things. And reader Eric Schubert: “The Edwards debacle was proof enough of where the heart of the MSM lies, and lack of curiousity of the press about Edwards probably cost Hillary the nomination. And that shameful episode offers a warning to the MSM. What if Obama does have a skeleton in his closet (such as a shady deal or outright bribe) that is revealed after he wins the election? While the chance of this scenario is remote, imagine the backlash against the MSM if it could be shown that a reasonable investigation by the MSM would have easily revealed this secret to the public prior to the election?”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Rand Simberg isn’t so sure: “Where was the backlash against this about Bill Clinton in 1992? They just seem to continue to get away with it.” Well, yes and no. Their reputation and readership/viewership keep falling. And layoffs keep happening. I think they’re willing to pull out all the stops because they realize this is the last election where they have a chance at swinging things this way. No point saving your credibility for the future when you don’t have a future, I guess . . . .
ILYA SOMIN: “The stock market’s record 778 point drop today will no doubt lead many people to conclude that the House of Representatives was wrong to vote down the bailout plan backed by both the Bush Administration and the Democratic leadership. Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has already made that argument. Here’s why I think such claims are wrong.”
I keep hearing that opposition to the bill from constituents was overwhelming for members of Congress of both parties, with the House switchboard and website overloaded. And certainly the bailout polled badly. So, whether it was a good idea or not, the rejection would seem to meet with the voters’s approval. Of course, the politicians know that if it turns out badly, those same voters will still blame them . . . .
I’M NOT THEIR TARGET MARKET: Kid Rock Branded Beer Coming Soon.
MORE FANNIE AND FREDDIE HISTORY: “Holmes had it right in 1999. One might expect the New York Times to point this out a little more often. Instead, they continue to echo Barack Obama and blame ‘greed’ for the failure. There may have been greed at the bottom of this â€” but it was greed for political power.”
That kind of greed seems to get a pass.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST? For the press? Ridiculous. “Shouldn’t the MSM look closer at the conflicts of interest in their own newsrooms? I’m not talking liberal bias, but issues like David Gregory’s marriage to a senior executive at Fannie and Andrea Mitchell’s marriage to Alan Greenspan.” Read the whole thing.
USING VOICE STRESS ANALYSIS to tell when politicians are lying. Can’t you just watch to see if their lips are moving?
SO THE HOUSE WON’T RECONVENE UNTIL THURSDAY? That seems like a sure loser. If things get better over the next couple of days, it’ll make it harder to do a deal and make them look irrelevant; if things get worse it will make them look like they slacked off at a crucial time.
Speaker Pelosi’s speech before the House today was remarkable, but not in a good way. She was trying to round up votes for a bailout package that shes claims to believe is essential for the stability of the American economy. She can’t, and doesn’t want to, pass the bill without a substantial number of Republican votes. So what does she do? You would think she would say, “let’s pass this emergency measure now, in the best interests of the country, and talk about who is to blame later.” Instead, Pelosi began her speech with a highly partisan tirade against “Bush” and “Republican” economic policies, which were allegedly to blame for this situation. She focused on an attack on the growth of federal deficits, which clearly are at best tangential to the current crisis. That, to me, is the sort of irresponsible thing you do when (a) you’re not claiming there is a vast emergency; and (b) you are in the minority, and not claiming to exercise leadership. . . .
I have no idea why any particular member, or group of members, of the House, voted for or against the bill. All I’m saying is that if you are trying to rally the House to pass an emergency bill, you make it seem like there is AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY, which more or less precludes partisan attacks. To the extent any Republican voted against the bill because of Pelosi’s speech, it may not be a question of them being offended by her partisanship, but the perspective that if Pelosi thinks that the situation calls for partisanship, it must not be a serious emergency, because leaders simply don’t engage in such antics when a true emergency is at hand. For that matter, if I were a Democrat skeptical of the bill, Pelosi’s speech may have discouraged me from voting for it for the same reason.
Plus, a more cynical take on Pelosi’s motivations.
EXPLAINING “EARMARKS AS A GATEWAY DRUG.” Like out-and-out bribes, the amount of the earmark isn’t a measure of the amount of harm it ultimately does. If I bribe a Congressman to fund a $50B program with a $50,000 bribe, the $50,000 isn’t the measure of the problem. Likewise, if $50 million in earmarks gets $300 billion in budget items passed, it’s not a $50 million problem, it’s a $300 billion problem.
A VERTICAL-TAKEOFF COMMUTER PLANE: It would be great, but I’m not holding my breath.
IRON MAN comes out on Blu-Ray tomorrow. I didn’t see it in theaters — is it worth buying?
IN THE POST, MORE ON THE CLOSE CONNECTIONS between Obama and ACORN.
The movement’s biggest victory, of course, came when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac began buying up the riskier loans – providing fresh incentive for banks to make even more of them.
No need to recount where all that led.
Meanwhile, Obama was right there by ACORN’s side all along.
“I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career,” he told the group last November.
Indeed, in the early ’90s, Obama was recruited by Talbott herself to run training sessions for ACORN activists.
ACORN also got funding from two charities, the Woods Fund and the Joyce Foundation, when Obama served on their boards, and from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge – the radical “education reform” outfit Obama ran from ’95 to ’99.
Read the whole thing. Funny this hasn’t gotten more media attention. . . .
THE BAILOUT BILL just failed in the House.
UPDATE: The Democratic leadership couldn’t hold its majority together: “As Jim Geraghty points out, a third of Republicans voted against the bill. But Dems are in control of Congress. The power of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama couldn’t convince loyal Democrats to vote for this bill? Seems shocking.” Well, Obama’s not really part of the Senate leadership. Meanwhile, I heard Rush Limbaugh condemning the deal earlier, then looked at my email to find a message from International A.N.S.W.E.R. condemning it too. Strange bedfellows . . . .
But if 2/3 of Republicans had voted for it, and if the Dem leadership could have gotten 2/3 of Democrats to vote for it, then it would have passed handily. Reportedly, though Pelosi’s harshly partisan speech alienated a lot of Republicans. Now why would she do that at a time like this? Did she want the bill to fail?
ANOTHER UPDATE: I think that should be 2/3 of Republicans voting against, above.
HMM: Boeing, Virgin, Join Group Committed to Biofuel Development for Commercial Airlines. “The mission of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group is to bring renewable fuel sources (that will reduce carbon emissions) into commercial aviation, while simultaneously lessening the industryâ€™s exposure to the volatility of oil prices, and dependence on fossil fuels. The group is receiving support and advice from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).”
TENNESSEE’S SUPREME COURT is now majority-female. According to the News-Sentinel, this makes Tennessee the first state with a majority of women on its highest court.
TV’S BACK. DOES ANYONE CARE? “We have a small data set so far, but it makes one wonder whether the writerâ€™s strike has done serious long-term damage to traditional network programming.” I’ve only got a few shows that I watch regularly, and I usually record ’em and watch them at my convenience. I suspect that as more people watch this way, subscription-based online services will be real competition for the networks. I’m already meeting more and more people who watch TV this way.
ED CONE ON Obama’s ground game.
HMM: EU energy chief backs Arctic drilling. I had missed this last week. But if environmentalists want to get the Europeans to back off, they should try to get President Bush to endorse it . . . .
BETTER DNA TESTS FOR CANCER, with nanotechnology.
INTERESTING TENNESSEE POLL: “A quarter of Democrats who voted for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary said they will now vote for McCain, according to the poll. 56% of Clinton supporters say they will vote for Obama and the rest remain undecided.”
UPDATE: A reader emails:
It took a “Special Investigations Unit” to dig that up? I wonder if they have special SIU jackets for these special journalists. I’d say they probably just sit around reading blogs, but judging by how little they pick up on Ayers and other stories, I guess not.
They’d probably do better if they did. But hey, give ’em credit for more reporting than most media are doing here.
CAN I HAVE ONE? An electric Porsche Cayman from Ruf.
A LOOK AT THE REVAMPED Audi A8?
IN THE MAIL: Michael Tucker’s Peaceful Endings: The NOPOSAM Project.
MORE ON the ongoing Rangel scandals.
STANLEY FISH says that we’ll like George W. Bush a lot more in a few years. “How will he occupy his time? Roving ambassador? Baseball commissioner? University president? (Donâ€™t groan; heâ€™d probably be good at it.)”
IS BIG BROTHER riding shotgun? “When the Germans â€” who, after the Gestapo and the Stasi, know a little something about surveillance and the loss of privacy â€” ban these devices, why should we let them into our daily lives?”
VOIP TECHNOLOGY AND TROOP MORALE: “With high speed connections, troops can make voice, or even video, calls to back home, at no (or very little, like a penny or two a minute) additional cost. This has proved to be a big boost to morale.”
SO HERE’S YOUR PROBLEM: CO2 emissions are up, but the increase is coming from poor countries. That’s why, if you really care about carbon emissions, you can’t follow the two-sided Kyoto approach. U.S. emissions will probably fall over the coming years, but it won’t matter because of much greater increases from China, India, and Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, Europeans are now talking about abandoning their carbon-emission limits in the face of economic problems.
LARRY SUMMERS: Bailout is no reason to abandon big government. “A time when confidence is lagging in the consumer, financial and business sectors is not a time for government to step back.” Confidence in the government is even lower, though. And with even more reason.
“WE DO NOT HAVE A CRISIS AT FREDDIE MAC, AND PARTICULARLY AT FANNIE MAE.” Because of the “outstanding leadership” of Franklin Raines. And check out Bill Clinton at the end.
But here’s a really silly idea for this gotcha society:
If a candidate’s family is not being arrested or not out on the campaign trail inviting news coverage as McCain’s 96-year-old mother, Roberta, does, why don’t we just leave them alone?
The way the U.S. media has so conscientiously managed to deny itself virtually any inquisitions of Barack Obama’s poor half-brother in Africa and his half-sister in Hawaii and Joe Biden’s mother and Michelle’s family.
The conscientiousness about family privacy seems rather selective.
NEW YORK POST: DOCS DETAIL BARACK TIES TO RADICAL.
While Barack Obama has long downplayed his connection to Bill Ayers, a co-founder of the violent Weather Underground radical group, new documents show the two worked much more closely together in starting an educational foundation than has been previously known.
The press has been trying to avoid covering this for months. Will they be able to keep it up until November? If not, it won’t be for lack of trying . . . .
UPDATE: Much more here. “Radicalism disguised by a claim to be postideological.”
With the economy struggling, at least some people are urging a pro-growth tax cut. Too bad they live in Stockholm. As a recent headline in Agence France-Presse put it: “Sweden Announces Income Tax Cuts to Boost Jobs.” The government is planning to cut business taxes and the personal income and payroll tax. . . .
Now, however, Sweden is discovering that it must cut taxes to compete with Ireland, Eastern Europe and fast-growing Asia. Three years ago Sweden eliminated its inheritance tax.
I wonder if this will percolate into the U.S. debate? Is it a global tax revolution?
MICKEY KAUS on L.A.’s “unshrinkable” education bureaucracy:
Also “2,400 administrators … earn more than $100,000 annually.” Want to fire some of the less useful ones? Ah, they have “‘bumping’ rights to displace other workers.”
I HOPE THEY NEVER LEARN THE DIFFERENCE FIRSTHAND: There’s The Optimistic American Spirit: 33% Think We’re Already in a Depression. It’s as if the press coverage had been overwhelmingly negative for years.
Don’t worry — if Obama’s elected, everything will be rosy even with 15% unemployment.