January 29, 2010
CBS ISSUES AN O’KEEFE CORRECTION, but it’s incomplete.
CBS ISSUES AN O’KEEFE CORRECTION, but it’s incomplete.
RANDY BARNETT: FDR Knew Better.
J.D. JOHANNES on achieving “Old Man strength.”
WHITE HOUSE: The New Moon Mission Is Canceled.
Plus, Rand Simberg: We Haven’t Lost The Moon. My take: Given all the money he’s pissed away, it’s ridiculous for Obama to present this as a big savings. On the other hand, the program was a mess anyway, and needed to be cancelled for non-budgetary reasons. But will Obama back other means of promoting space exploration? My own guess is that he’s actually hostile too space, regardless of budget priorities, but who knows? If the rumored shift to commercial flight becomes a reality it’ll be a step forward, not a step back.
UPDATE: More from Rand Simberg. “Short version, human spaceflight policy is one of the few things that Obama seems to be getting right, at least from a conservative standpoint.”
And from Jim Bennett in the comments: “What I fear most about the new regime is that the commercial providers will be reviewed by the same agency that has an organizational incentive to see it fail so that they can revert to being a designer and operator. This approach very much wants an organizationally separate engineering analysis capability and safety authority with no ambitions to compete with the companies it supervises.”
FACT-CHECKING THE PRESIDENT IN BALTIMORE: “That means that over twelve years of Republican rule, there was an average annual budget deficit of about $104 billion. Compare that with an average annual deficit since 2008 of $1.074 trillion — or about $90 billion per month.”
SOME FINAL WORDS FROM HOWARD ZINN: “I’ve been searching hard for a highlight. The only thing that comes close is some of Obama’s rhetoric; I don’t see any kind of a highlight in his actions and policies. . . . I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president–which means, in our time, a dangerous president–unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.”
Ann Althouse comments: “I agree that a mediocre President is dangerous. But if a non-mediocre Obama would go in the direction Howard Zinn wanted to push, I prefer a mediocre Obama.” Wish granted!
HEADLINE OF THE WEEK:
HMM: Apple Change Quietly Makes iPhone, iPad Into Web Phones. “Apple updated the iPhone software development kit on Wednesday to allow internet telephony apps to work on the 3G network. The little-noticed move effectively unlocks the ability for the iPhone — and the upcoming iPad — to be used as web phones.” I already use my iPod Touch that way, with the Skype app. Works fine, though of course for the Touch you have to be in wi-fi coverage. But heck, that’s about as easy as being within AT&T coverage, from what I hear . . . .
UPDATE: Reader Joel Engel asks what I use for a microphone. I use those earbud/mic combo things from Apple.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Obamarang. “All politicians fudge on their promises. But this president manages to transcend the normal political exaggeration and dissimulation. Whereas past executives shaded the truth, Barack Obama trumps that: on almost every key issue, what Obama says he will do, and what he says is true, is a clear guide to what he will not do, and what is not true. It is as if ‘truth’ is a mere problem of lesser mortals.”
And when he criticizes foreign money in American campaigns, it means he got foreign contributions to his campaign.
SOUNDS LIKE GOOD ADVICE THESE DAYS: “Embrace The Bourbon.”
FROM CORNELL LAW PROF. WILLIAM JACOBSON, A CHALLENGE TO OBAMA: Request Special Counsel As To Foreign Contributions. “That the Obama campaign received foreign donations as a result of this scheme may be the only thing agreed-upon by both Pamela Geller and Charles Johnson. Indeed, Obama for America has admitted receiving foreign contributions. The fact that the Federal Election Commission is not investigating the allegations necessitates a special counsel.”
HOW TO DEAL WITH A SLOPPY, BUT VICIOUS, MAINSTREAM MEDIA: Big Journalism has a steady stream of published correction requests regarding various outlets’ botched handling of the O’Keefe story.
UPDATE: Moe Lane: “I’m sorry. ‘Retracto, the Correction Alpaca.’ If you don’t find that funny – not even a little – not only are you at the wrong site, but there might not actually be hope for you.”
SEIU AND UNIONS RUNNING A false-flag Tea Party operation? “It’s exactly this kind of big-special-interest manipulation that has given rise to the Tea Party movement — and why Big Labor is so ardently trying to kill it off.” And vice versa, of course. . . .
MEGAN MCARDLE: Dude, Where’s My Job? “I’d argue that the better measure of whether the economy has returned to health is employment–at least, that’s when the improvement starts to translate into improvements in peoples’ real lives. Prolonged unemployment is one of the most crippling things that can afflict people in the modern world. Yet despite a second consecutive quarter of growth, prolonged unemployment is what we’re stuck with. . . . That has particular implications for a skilled economy. In 1930s, when FDR was trying to combat mass long-term unemployment, all he needed to do was create a construction project; most of the men in the country did some sort of hard physical labor. It was relatively easy to create jobs that they could fill. But what kind of public works projects would absorb mortgage brokers or mid-level managers? As jobs have gotten more skilled, more human capital is specific to firms, industry, and job classifications.”
THE MYSTERIOUS SURGE OF APPLICATIONS TO CORNELL LAW SCHOOL. “Some things just can’t be explained. Stonehenge. Davos. What really happened to Oceanic Flight 815. The hype over indie-rock darlings Animal Collective. And there’s this: that applications to Cornell Law have jumped 52% over the number of applications filed last year. . . . But why 52%? At Cornell? We have no idea. Nor does the school’s dean, Richard Geiger, who told the University’s paper he was as mystified as anyone.”
I credit an exploding presence in the blogosphere, personally.
MONSTROUS: Michael Moore Mooches Michiganders’ Money.
CHARGING YOUR ELECTRONICS WITH EVERY STEP? Flexible Sheets Capture Energy from Movement.
THEODORE DALRYMPLE: Lessons In Health Care From The Edinburgh Zoo.
ANGRY OBAMA LASHES OUT AT HOUSE REPUBLICANS: “I am not an ideologue.” Or a crook!
UPDATE: Tom Spaulding writes:
How can the Republicans be accused of being the Party of No, if they are in fact voting as their constituents want them to and rejecting the president’s agenda? Doesn’t that make us the People of No?
And what does that make the voters in Massachusetts?
The State Of Negativity?
HOW TO LIVE LONGER ONCE YOU’RE OLD: Be moderately overweight.
WHAT THE iPAD MEANS.
CONSTITUTION, DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, whatever.
A COLLECTION OF home-brewed electric cars.
REASON: Class War: How Public Servants Became Our Masters. A must-read article.
BUSH’S THIRD TERM? Side-by-Side Comparison of Bush and Obama SOTU Quotes. Heh. So much for the fierce urgency of change. Of course, he mostly emulates the Bush stuff I didn’t like, while failing to deliver on the things I hoped for from the Obama administration. Sigh.
But maybe that explains this headline from the Washington Post: After Obama speech, Democrats confused about path ahead. Maybe somebody just loaded the wrong script into the teleprompter . . . .
JAMES O’KEEFE: “The government has now confirmed what has always been clear: No one tried to wiretap or bug Senator Landrieu’s office. Nor did we try to cut or shut down her phone lines. Reports to this effect over the past 48 hours are inaccurate and false.” Yeah, the story’s not totally gone, but it has completely failed to live up to the hopeful — and subsequently retracted — hype from a lot of Big Media outfits that took ages to cover O’Keefe’s ACORN story, but something akin to a Planck Interval to jump on to an embarrassing story about O’Keefe.
WELCOME, Lech Walesa. He looks good!
UPDATE: A reader emails: “I’ll see your Nobel Peace Prize winner, and raise you one of my own. And Walesa, he’s a winner from when the Prize actually meant something!”
FASTER, PLEASE: Laser Fusion Test Results Raise Energy Hopes.
OBAMA WAS IN TAMPA YESTERDAY, and the Tampa Tea Party turned out. More pics and a full report, later.
JON STEWART RIPS CHRIS MATTHEWS on the “I forgot Obama was black” bit. “Stewart seems to have cornered the market on ridiculing the Left in the American comedy world, mainly by default. Of course, Matthews makes himself an easy target — so easy, in fact, that many people on the Left seemed reluctant to come to his defense yesterday. If they’re tiring of Matthews’ schtick, MS-NBC may be left with nothing but Jesse Ventura fans … all three of them.”
KEITH HENNESSEY: What Does It Mean to Focus On Jobs?
RYAN MAURO: The George W. Obama Administration’s Foreign Policy. Unfortunately, he’s emulating second-term Bush, not first-term Bush . . . .
OBAMA GIRL: “At Least I Wasn’t The Edwards Girl.”
POLITICO: Health Care Moves To Back Burner.
BYRON YORK: Has Obama Become Bored with Being President? “Many observers have remarked that, even when dealing with the most momentous issues facing the country, Obama has seemed oddly removed from the hands-on work of making policy. Maybe they’re noticing the same thing Harry Reid did. The president’s dissatisfaction is shining through; perhaps he’s not really cut out for — or up to — the job.” Well, let’s face it — being President is a step down from being a law professor, so dissatisfaction is a natural response. . . .
THE SITCOM PRESIDENCY? It’s not that funny.
I’m sorry, I’m having a really hard time getting worked up about Alito’s “breach of protocol”. It’s totally true that justices usually sit there like a stone. On the other hand, president’s don’t usually call out said justices for being too wrapped up in that dumb first amendment–much less call them out with statements that seem to be unequivocally false.
Using the state of the union as an opportunity to call out supreme court justices, who you expect will have to sit there impassively while you rake them over the coals is, well, kind of a jerk move.
And, unfortunately, very much in character, it seems.
IT’S BEEN A BAD YEAR FOR SCIENCE SO FAR: Researcher Who Sparked the Vaccine/Autism Scare “Acted Unethically.”
PHIL BOWERMASTER: Why We’re So Positive. Even in a recession, some companies do well.
GDP UP: This is good news, if the numbers hold up.
UPDATE: On the other hand: Wages and benefits rise in 2009 by smallest amount on records going back 27 years. They told me that if I voted for McCain, business would be golden while the working man took it in the neck. And they were right!
ANOTHER UPDATE: Oops, it’s not even that good. “However, almost two-thirds of it came from a slowdown in liquidation of inventories, leaving an anemic 2.2% of actual growth.”
OH, GOODY: A Live Avatar Action Figure.
HOW TO REPORT THE NEWS:
ROGER SIMON: Climategate: The Shaming of Scientific American.
RAND SIMBERG: End Of The Shuttle Era: 24 Years after Challenger. “The Shuttle is and was a magnificent technological achievement, but it is not, and in retrospect, never was the key to opening up space, despite the hopes and hype of the seventies. If it makes it into next year, it will have flown for almost three decades, and for a quarter of a century, since early 1986, with the knowledge that it had failed the promises of cheap, safe access that had been made when the program was initiated almost four decades earlier. It will be the end of an era for NASA, from a naive assumption that there is a single government-operated solution to space transportation, to a more mature and robust future of a variety of space transports, for humans and cargo, in a thriving commercial sector. That is a future that will finally fulfill the failed promise of the Shuttle.”
FRANK WOLF IS CALLING FOR A CONGRESSIONAL PROBE into the dismissal of the New Black Panther case.
CYNTHIA YOCKEY: Why Ridicule is Obama’s Kryptonite. With help from Eric Hoffer.
THE LAST OF HIS KIND: Remembering Louis Auchincloss.
Shaking one’s head and mouthing 2 or 3 words is “flamboyant”? Alito was sitting in his seat and he evinced a subtle reaction to a severe political attack. That doesn’t make what he did “highly politicized.” If anyone was “highly politicized,” it was Obama. Alito’s response was more of a reflex, and it was, I would assume, grounded in a belief that the Court does what it is supposed to do — decide cases according to the law. . . .
But shouldn’t Obama have shown some respect for the members of the third branch of government who honored him with their presence? What is the “acceptable political rhetoric” when one person has the microphone for over an hour and everyone else is supposed to listen respectfully? Really, if it were known in advance that Obama wanted to use the occasion this way, the Supreme Court Justices should have stayed home. Or send over 1 or 2 that do opinions that the big man likes.
STOP THE CAR, LARRY. I want to get out. “While the folks at Cato would respond to special-interest lobbying by reducing the size and scope of government so less of life is politicized and there is less to lobby about, Lessig would respond by amending the Constitution to restrict freedom of speech.”
MAJOR CLIMBDOWN: White House orders Justice Department to look for other places to hold 9/11 terror trial. “Estimates put the cost of a multiyear terror trial in lower Manhattan at about $200 million a year. Leaders have suggested other venues for the trial, such as the Military Academy at West Point or Stewart Air National Guard Base in upstate Newburgh.”
A NEW AD FOR TEA-PARTY-BACKED ADAM ANDRZEJEWSKI:
A FRONT-ROW SEAT at the iPad media circus.
FORBES: College Endowments In Jeopardy. “College and university endowments in the United States and Canada collectively lost $93 billion during the 2009 fiscal year, according to a study jointly released Thursday by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Commonfund, which manages investments for nonprofit institutions. In a sign of how deeply the pain was felt throughout higher education, the study found that the average institution lost 18.7% after fees. The report’s findings were the grimmest since 1974, when the average college lost 11.4% of its endowment.” Okay, actually they were a lot grimmer than 1974 then, and you’d probably have to look back to the Depression for similar bad news.
THE MAVERICK OF MOJAVE: an interview with Burt Rutan.
MARKDOWNS ON home audio and home theater stuff.
OBAMA’S GLASS JAW: “That’s his greatest weakness. Republicans should just start laughing at him and making jokes.” It won’t just be Republicans. There’s plenty of material to work with.
The Jan. 25 article “Is the President Panicking” originally stated that Fox News led the charge against Bill Clinton in the ’94 midterm elections. Fox News did not come into being until 1996. The story has been corrected. [Correction made 1/27/10]
HMM: Young Blood Reverses Signs of Aging in Old Mice. “The antiaging power of blood might not be just the stuff of vampire stories. According to new research from Harvard University, an unspecified factor in the blood of young mice can reverse signs of aging in the circulatory system of older ones. It’s not yet clear how these changes affect the animals’ overall health or longevity. But the research provides hope that some aspects of aging, such as the age-related decline in the ability to fight infection, might be avoidable.”
ANDREW BREITBART: How David Shuster Lied to Get Me to Appear on MSNBC. Shoulda stuck with PJTV. Probably more viewers anyway. . . .
And note Andrew’s success in getting retractions from Big Media organizations over the many glaring errors in their gleeful coverage of the O’Keefe story. Be aggressive.
GLOBAL WARMING, GLOBAL COOLING — either way, climate engineering research is a good idea.
REASON TV: Obama’s jobs program success.
ANN ALTHOUSE: Justice Alito overshadows Obama on the day after the President’s address. “Isn’t it fascinating that the lengthy, amplified, magnified speech of the most powerful man in the world with his big captive audience — in the magnificent room and in smaller rooms all over the country — is outweighed by one man’s headshake and silent mouthing of 2 or 3 words? And isn’t it ironic that, right when we saw the judge’s minimalist expression that overwhelmed the President’s torrent of words, Obama was railing about the ‘powerful interests’ and that would use their great wealth to speak far too much during election campaigns?”
WHICH CAR COMPANY SHOWS A PROFIT? Ford swings to first annual profit since 2005. .
LOST LANDSCAPES of Detroit.
GLENN DERENE GOES hands-on with the Apple iPad. “For the most part, the thing works like a really big, and far faster, iPod Touch. Which may sound a bit anticlimactic given the hopes for this thing, but it’s really more important than you might think. The larger screen makes all sorts of things that seemed like compromises before—reading, movie watching and, frankly, Web browsing—into rich, rewarding experiences.” But no Flash support, which a lot of people are unhappy about.
ERIC SCHEIE: The deeper subtext of “deeply entrenched divisions.”
ADVANCED BATTERIES for electric cars?
NO SAFE SEATS: Wisconsin Senate: Thompson 47%, Feingold 43%. “One more Democratic senator who has long been regarded as a safe prospect for reelection may be facing a challenging year in 2010. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in Wisconsin finds Republican Tommy Thompson edging incumbent Russ Feingold 47% to 43% in a hypothetical U.S. Senate match-up.”
LECH WALESA TO APPEAR at Chicago Tea Party.
GOVERNMENT-PAID LAWYERS IN CIVIL SUITS? Ben Barton says no: Against Civil Gideon (and for Pro Se Court Reform).
CHRIS MATTHEWS ISSUES A CLARIFICATION on his “I forgot he was black” comment.
POLITICO: Backlash on White House Backroom Deals. “A top House committee responded to the mounting voter backlash against backroom deals on health reform by seeking more information Wednesday about White House negotiations with industry groups.”
VIDEO: Cato Institute Scholars Analyze the 2010 State of the Union Address. It’s like a video Fisking. Highly recommended.
DON SURBER: Justice Alito’s You Lie Moment. “The mouthing of words was one of the few newsworthy moments in a speech that dragged on for more than an hour as Obama grasped at any and all straws in a desperate attempt to salvage his presidency. He failed. He has become an uninspiring speaker who has used up all his magic. Quantity cannot make up for quality.”
UPDATE: Photo of the Day.
PATTERICO: CBS News and the L.A. Times Owe O’Keefe Corrections and Clarifications. Plus, the Washington Post issues a correction.
OBAMA VISITS TAMPA TODAY, and the Tampa Tea Party folks will be there.
ILYA SOMIN: Obama Perpetuates The Myth of Bush as Free Marketeer. Yeah. If only . . . .
KENNETH ANDERSON ON THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S POLICY OF Targeted Killing Aimed at a US Citizen Abroad. They told me that if I voted for McCain we’d see “extrajudicial murder” as U.S. policy — and they were right!
STEVE CHAPMAN: Understanding Obama’s plummeting approval ratings.
LINDA GREENHOUSE: Alito was right, Obama was wrong. When you’ve lost Linda Greenhouse . . . .
UPDATE: Tunku Varadarajan says that hectoring the Supreme Court was wrong, but has some positive things to say about other parts of the speech. Meanwhile, Pejman Yousefzadeh writes: “It is difficult to catalog just how many contradictions there were in the President’s State of the Union address. A President calling for bipartisanship and an end to the permanent campaign gave a speech that was–in tone and in substance–a campaign speech. A President calling for unity gave a speech that practically cried out ‘all the bad stuff that happened was George W. Bush’s fault!’. A President calling for a renewal of national purpose spent large amounts of time playing class warfare games, and seeking to turn Americans against Wall Street.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Ann Althouse: “One expects such rigid decorum from the Justices on these occasions that it’s really striking when a Justice is anything other than a statue of a Justice. I think that if they knew they were going to have to listen to that kind of in-your-face disrespect, they wouldn’t have done the President the honor of sitting there, providing the scenery. But they were there, and I’m not going to criticize Alito for moving his lips and letting us see a silent defense of the judicial branch of government.”
It’ll be interesting to see if they show up next year. And whether Alito does, or doesn’t, this whole story will come up again, stepping on Obama’s delivery a second time.
MORE: Orin Kerr: “I tend to think the episode shows the wisdom of Justice Harlan’s view that the Justices shouldn’t attend the State of the Union address at all. It will be interesting to see how many Justices attend next year. (As I re-watch the clip, I image a collective bubble over the Justices at about the 25-second mark, representing their thoughts, with the text, ‘We are so not coming to this next year.’)”
Plus, more thoughts from Ira Stoll.
HEH: Obama: You Liked My Speech? Please Send Money! “About an hour after the end of his State of the Union address, in which he called for an end to the partisan conflict that has plagued his first year in office, President Obama sent out a political fundraising appeal through his permanent campaign organization, Organizing for America.”