March 31, 2011
WHY THE PUBLIC doesn’t like ObamaCare.
WHY THE PUBLIC doesn’t like ObamaCare.
AUSTRALIA VS. ANDREW BOLT: “Andrew Bolt has been dragged before a judge and accused of thought crimes against the high church of political correctness.” I’m betting on Bolt.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS STORY?
A morbidly obese man is dead after he was found fused to a chair that he had been stuck on for two years. . . . Emergency crews had to pry him free, as his skin was stuck to the recliner with urine, feces and maggots.
It’s this bit: “The 43-year-old man from Bellaire, Ohio, was discovered unconscious on Sunday by his girlfriend.”
Well, like the song says, even Hitler had a girlfriend.
PRE-KHOMEINI: Photo Gallery: Iran Before The Chador.
30 YEARS OF food processing.
7 PROBLEMS THAT COULD derail the global recovery. Since it’s an “HO” gauge recovery, it wouldn’t take much . . .
HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE:
The Law School Admission Council confirmed on Wednesday that, with about 90 percent of applications for next year received, the number of applicants is down 11 percent from the same time last year. That’s the lowest it has been at this point since 2001.
Experts attribute the decline to the rising cost of law school and the diminished job prospects for graduates—factors that have resulted in a flurry of news articles and blog entries questioning the value of a law degree. In addition, with the economy slowly improving, some students who might have headed to law school to delay entering the work force are feeling more optimistic about getting jobs today, admissions officials say.
The University of Kansas School of Law, for instance, extended its deadline by one month, to April 15, but it still expects applications to be down 15 percent to 20 percent from last year.
Ultimately, the payoff has to justify the investment.
MARKDOWNS ON health and fitness equipment.
TRANSPARENCY: Politico: “President Obama finally and quietly accepted his ‘transparency’ award from the open government community this week — in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House on Monday. The secret presentation happened almost two weeks after the White House inexplicably postponed the ceremony, which was expected to be open to the press pool.”
TAKING OLD OIL from crankcase to gas tank. “Researchers at University of Cambridge have developed a process that uses microwaves to recycle old motor oil into gasoline-like fuel for use in conventional vehicles. They claim the process has ‘excellent potential’ for commercial use.”
HOW TO FIND INTELLIGENT EXTRATERRESTRIALS: First Look for Signs of Mining in Distant Asteroid Belts.
VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Genesis Of A Bad Idea. “So the omissions pose the question: how did Obama, the archetype war critic, find himself bombing—in optional and preemptive fashion, and without congressional authority — an Arab Muslim oil-exporting country, and one that posed no immediate threat to American national security, despite being governed by a monster who, nevertheless, had been recently courted by Western intellectuals, academics, universities, and diplomats?”
POPULAR MECHANICS gets started with a Nissan Leaf. “Downstairs in PM’s home, at 300 West 57th Street in New York City, electricians have just completed the installation of a 208-volt charging station, making our home base one of the first office towers in the city with that capability. . . . Aerovironment’s Richard Gershman wasn’t at liberty to speak about the cost of the actual charger, but Nissan is saying that the typical Level 2 charger installation will cost as much as $2000. If this triggers an upgrade to 200-amp service, the total cost could be substantially more. The installation is relatively simple for a licensed electrician, but the work will require a permit from the local building department and and an inspection after the work is completed.”
CAN WE REALLY measure happiness? “Wouldn’t voters’ calculations about the political impact of a happiness survey affect their responses?” I find it amusing that government officials think the way to increased happiness is . . . increased taxes! When you”re a parasite, every problem has the same solution. More blood from the host! . . .
AN INTERVIEW WITH JEAN AUEL, author of the Clan Of The Cave Bear line of books. “There was a time when I was working at a full-time job, going to night school, and raising five children, but writing is the hardest work I’ve ever done.”
Plus, the best gift someone can give an author: “Uninterrupted time.”
I’M SURE THE COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW WILL EXPRESS OUTRAGE: Union official poses as press to crash NHGOP fundraiser.
WISCONSIN UNION BOYCOTT THREATS illegal? What’s more troubling is that the police are involved in making the threats. “I can’t get my head around the concept of police involvement in boycotting businesses. That reads like pure corruption. I can’t believe it’s being done openly. Can someone explain to me how you can even argue that it is acceptable for police to extort political support from citizens?”
THE RICH REALLY ARE DIFFERENT: Their Incomes Fluctuate More. “This is one of the reasons that we can’t fix all our budget problems with higher taxes on the rich–if we do that, revenues are going to collapse dangerously every time there’s a recession.” Of course, it’s not like our political class is prone to thinking very far ahead. . . .
TESLA SUES BBC FOR LIBEL over rigged Top Gear test. Personally, I find it hard to believe that the BBC, of all media outlets, would start with a predetermined storyline.
MICHAEL YON takes on Rolling Stone. “The boycott of Rolling Stone Magazine advertisers is gaining traction. The magazine has deceptively attacked US Soldiers and intentionally misled readers for sake of profit and power.”
A TEA PARTY RALLY at the Capitol in Washington today.
EAT THE RICH! A new Firewall from Bill Whittle.
NEWS YOU CAN USE: Do Not Try To Catch A Dropped Gun.
CHANGE: Gas Prices Have Doubled Under Obama: “According to the GasBuddy gasoline price tracking web site, the price of a gallon of regular gas was around $1.79 when Mr. Obama took office. Today the national average is $3.58. . . . Four-dollar-a-gallon gas has arrived on average throughout California, and a number of other states are headed in that direction.” I think he’d like to see gas at about five dollars a gallon, to encourage alternative modes of transportation.
JOEL KOTKIN: Hanoi’s Underground Capitalism.
HOW CAN YOU RANK COMPANIES FOR ETHICS without being clear about what’s ethical?
UPDATE: Charlie Martin emails: “I know, I know! Pick the companies you want to abuse and call them unethical.” Ya think?
DANIEL GRISWOLD: What’s Wrong With Imported Oil?
DAVE RAMSEY on the 5 basics of personal finance. This should all be obvious stuff — but if it were that easy, fewer people would be in trouble.
UPDATE: Reader Vadim Lozko writes: “I’m glad you posted a link for Dave Ramsey. His ‘The Total Money Makeover’ book has had such a profound impact on our family. We’ve paid off all of credit cards and car loans within 1.5 years and even though we have about $200k in college loans between the two of us, we’ve already mapped out a plan on living debt free and with no mortgage within 10 years all thanks to his advice and encouragement.” He’s got a lot of fans. A while back Megan McArdle wrote that her household was living according to his principles, even to the envelope-based budgeting technique. I haven’t heard if they’re still doing that, but she found the approach powerful, and surprisingly easy.
ANDREW KLAVAN AND BILL WHITTLE ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS:
At least, they will if you subscribe to PJTV, or join the PJTV Facebook page and ask them one.
INSIDER TRADING AT THE FDA: Larry Ribstein comments: “Well, I suppose we should be happy somebody’s benefiting from the FDA’s unpredictable and overly careful policies.”
HOWARD STERN: “Dick Durbin Treats Me Like I’m An Idiot!”
TODAY ONLY: Family Guy for $12.99 a season. Never got into that show myself, but a lot of people like it.
A ROUNDUP ON Freedom Of Information Act Abuse At The Department Of Homeland Security. A minor but embarrassing point: “Napolitano’s personal FOIA team has no idea how FOIA works.” It’s not clear to me that Napolitano’s people know much about how anything works.
WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: The Shores Of Tripoli: Our Latest Wilsonian War. “The Wilsonians now have their war; they also now have their president. Barack Obama’s inner Woodrow Wilson has clearly won out; he has nailed his colors to the mast of a liberal international foreign policy. The cautious Jeffersonian realists have lost one policy battle after another in this administration. Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn law (‘if you break it, you own it’) has been cast to the winds. A president who won his party’s nomination as the most consistent opponent of unpopular interventions abroad has become an apostle of liberal war. Not since Saul went to Damascus has there been such a dramatic conversion. . . . Like Wilson, President Obama is going to find it easier to fight for humanitarian ideals than to make them prevail.”
Say, we sure haven’t heard much from Colin Powell lately, have we?
SO IS OBAMA LBJ NOW? In the New York Times, talk of “the President’s credibility gap.”
UPDATE: Honesty behind closed doors: “NBC White House reporter Savannah Guthrie told her viewers that sources had heard the president label the military action in Libya a ‘turd sandwich’ in a closed-door meeting.”
SMART DIPLOMACY: Administration briefing changes few minds on Libya involvement.
PUBLIC UNIONS: Is California Next? “Wisconsin’s public union fight is the battle of the century in American politics. But while the governors of Wisconsin and Ohio have led the pushback, it’s possible that the public-pension battle could shift in the future to California—with or without the participation of its governor, the endlessly recyclable Jerry Brown. Even in this bluest of states, the ground is shaking beneath the unions.”
All over, the gods of the copybook headings are having the last laugh.
ASSAD THUMBS HIS NOSE AT FREEDOM: Will The U.S. Fail Syria Again? That’s certainly the way to bet.
A LOOK AT the Bahraini opposition.
President Obama’s push to expand renewable domestic energy has put him in an awkward position following the explosions at a nuclear plant in Japan and the subsequent leakage of radiation. While Obama can still talk about solar, wind and biofuels, nuclear power is practically the only way to generate reliable and affordable energy without fossil fuels.
Making things more uncomfortable for Obama, three of his most intimate corporate friends — General Electric, Duke Energy and Exelon — are deeply involved in nuclear energy.
Read the whole thing. Personally, I see this as a case where the Obama Adminstration’s predilection for crony capitalism might actually work in the public interest.
RAND SIMBERG: The Senate Launch System.
PETER WEHNER: The Obama Administration’s Ineptness. “Mrs. Clinton could simply have said her previous comments were wrong and she was revising them. Instead we get a response that no one believes. . . . But what is truly disquieting is what our secretary of state said in the first place. It raises the question: Was she even remotely familiar with Syria’s record under Assad?” These people are above having to actually know things.
UPDATE: A reader emails: So let’s look at how one of those union employees performed recently. “Seriously, a unionized air traffic controller literally asleep in the tower at the main airport for the federal capitol? And now the president threatens to veto a bill that slightly curtails the power of the union protecting that guy? Remember these ATC union types say they’re all about safety but c’mon. The campaign ad writes itself.” Heh.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Another reader responds:
Just a quick correction to an update from a reader that you published. As an update to Obama issues veto threat over union measure in FAA bill. on March 30, you published a link from a reader regarding the supervisor (not air traffic controller) that fell asleep on the mid shift at DCA. Supervisors are not union members, at least not at the FAA. If you want to see what union controllers are doing, might I recommend http://www.natca.org/ULWSiteResources/natcaweb/Resources/file/Conferences/2011ArchieLeaguebooklet.pdf ?
It’s easy to demonize people without knowing the underlying facts. For Federal air traffic controllers, our pay scales were cut 30% in 2006. No such cut was enacted for FAA management (or any other FAA employees, for that matter.) When you see someone in Congress (or air traffic’s good friend, Robert Poole) point at the outrageous level of compensation received by controllers, you can be virtually assured that the salary they are using for comparison is that of a supervisor, not a controller. It does pay well, but not nearly as well as management, and that pay comes at a substantial physical and mental cost.
The FAA Reauthorization Bill would allow us to have a concrete budget for maintenance, staffing, and technological improvements. We’ve been working under a series of continuing resolutions for several years now. Parts of the system are to the point where just treading water is becoming difficult to impossible. For example, our Runway Incursion Device (RID) system is now several years past the end of its service life. (It provides a visual and aural warning regarding a closed or occupied runway.) We have been advised that replacement parts are no longer available, so when it breaks, it will stay broken. The deployment schedule for its replacement is based on getting an actual authorization bill passed, not the multi-year series of continuing resolutions we’ve seen. We’ve got efficiency and safety improvements pending for the air traffic system that will save us all billions of dollars as consumers. Yes, it may cost us some actual money as taxpayers, but the resulting savings for us as consumers will be several times greater. If we could get our overlords in Congress to stop using FAA Reauthorization as a vehicle for pork or political grandstanding, we might be able to enact some of the improvements that are currently in a holding pattern. Instead, we’ll probably see these improvements continue to be held hostage to whatever “flavor of the month” the Dems and Repubs think will score them the most brownie points with their respective bases.
When politics makes the air traffic system less efficient than it can be, we all end up paying for it in higher ticket prices and cost of goods. (If I’ve got a line of 6 air carriers at a runway and have to delay the first one for a minute, that’s actually 6 minutes of fuel, crew costs, engine life, value of time for 900 people, etc. that just got added to the cost of the commercial aviation system.)
There is also an automatic assumption that “privatizing” air traffic will somehow always be more cost effective than what we are already doing. It’s an article of faith, much like Socialists/Communists always seem to think that their system will work (despite a century of mass graves, economic failure, and oppression) if only the right people were running things. The world already has a wide variety of air traffic control systems in use. There are public, private, and public/private air traffic systems all around the world. The US system has the lowest cost per operation in the developed world. We also have the safest system, while running more traffic than the rest of the world combined. Rather than automatically demonizing people that are trying to improve what is already the safest, busiest, and most cost-effective air traffic system in the world, I’d ask your readers to find the working business model out there in the world that will out-perform what we are doing now. Not just an automatic assumption that a private enterprise just has to be more efficient, but a system in use somewhere else. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I am from Missouri on this. Show me. Or should we just assume that it will be more efficient if the right people are running it?
If you chose to publish any portion of this, please do not include my name or contact information. Thanks!
Well, Canada has privatized air traffic control. But I suppose we can’t expect to become as hardcore free-market as them.
CHANGE: In Case You Missed It: Democrats Waving White Flag on Taking Back House in 2012. “I would add that, if we take this as evidence of demoralization and disarray in Democrat ranks — combining it with Obama’s sagging poll numbers – this provides a strong argument against GOP leaders rolling over easy on the budget showdown.”
WISCONSIN: WSEU CIRCULATING BOYCOTT LETTERS:
Members of Wisconsin State Employees Union, AFSCME Council 24, have begun circulating letters to businesses in southeast Wisconsin, asking them to support workers’ rights by putting up a sign in their windows.
If businesses fail to comply, the letter says, “Failure to do so will leave us no choice but (to) do a public boycott of your business. And sorry, neutral means ‘no’ to those who work for the largest employer in the area and are union members.”
What’ll they do if people boycott ’em back — by not paying taxes?
UPDATE: Reader George Pepper emails:
What about the joys of being a kid? I teach guitar to a lot of youngsters, and for an alarming number of them, their parents have every hour of every day planned out for them. Not only do they seem stressed out, but they don’t have enough time to concentrate on any one thing that they may prefer to do over other activities. Are there any free range kids left? It would seem that this kind of hyper-parenting removes much joy from both parties.
Yes, it does.
STRIKING BACK AGAINST civil asset forfeiture in Georgia.
MARKDOWNS ON grilling accessories.
“SMART DIPLOMACY:” NATO Is All Over The Place On Arming Libyan Rebels.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Judge Sumi Warns Attorneys About Criticisms.
PAR FOR THE COURSE: Jimmy Carter leaves Cuba without jailed US contractor.
Former President Jimmy Carter left Cuba on Wednesday without gaining the release of a U.S. government contractor jailed the past 16 months, a deflating end to what was otherwise a groundbreaking visit.
Carter spent hours talking about improving ties with brothers Raul and Fidel Castro, describing the latter as an “old friend.”
Jeez. And we probably have decades of similar stuff to look forward to once Barack Obama is an ex-president.
Much more on Carter’s beclownment here.
GUNWALKER: That ATF gun-running scandal explained.
TOMORROW IN D.C.: The Tea Party Patriots’ Continuing Revolution Rally.
COULD DECLINING HOUSE PRICES spark the next taxpayer rebellion? “Something remarkable happened to property taxes in the U.S. while housing lost 31% of its value from 2006 to 2009: they went up by $100 billion (27%). . . . So though U.S. housing continues losing value–U.S. home prices declined in January, continuing a downward trend that began in August, with average U.S. home prices retreating to summer 2003 levels, according to the S&P Case-Shiller home-price indexes–property tax revenues continue their inexorable rise. . . . As their properties continue sliding in value, devastating their net worth, do you reckon the average homeowner might start resenting the rapid rise of the taxes they pay for the privilege of owning real estate?”
SYRIA: President Assad vows to defeat ‘plot’. I hope he fails.
JUST WHAT YOU NEED FOR YOUR ZOMBIE-PREPARATION KIT: A crossbow that shoots machetes. “In the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse of the future, a machete-shooting crossbow will be as practical and everyday as a Leatherman is today. But right now, it is possibly the most dangerous contraption I have ever seen.”
REPORT: CIA already on the ground in Libya. “This is coming from US officials. Why? Why now? There is a war over the war-we’re-not-calling-a-war within the administration.”
HMM: U.C. Irvine Facilitates Secret Meeting With Hamas For Their Students. “Meanwhile, federal anti-Semitism complaints have been filed against two UC campuses — Berkeley and Santa Cruz. Is UCI next? Jerry Brown, are you listening?”
TOKYO HACKERSPACE mounts a DIY response to the earthquake/tsunami. Reader Brian Hepler writes: “It’s all about adapting to situation of a large scale disaster and how to fend for yourself and your community. Barely anywhere is there a mention of officials or authorities. These guys & gals self-organized across the planet to get useful & necessary technology to those in need. They’ve been making lanterns from cheap solar cells, LEDs, some circuit boards and glass mason jars. They designed & built their own Geiger counters for nog’s sake!”
Plus, from the article, this local color:
The nuclear meltdown was bad enough, but the rolling blackouts added even more uncertainty. You couldn’t be sure if you could make it home at night because the trains could stop at anytime. We had to give ourselves a margin of 2-3 hours for any type of travel because the train schedules were so uncertain.
At the same time, staple items like bottled water and dry goods disappeared from shelves within days of the earthquake. You had to literally race out to check store shelves because you weren’t sure how long the food runs would last. With a gasoline shortage going on at the same time, it was questionable how long shelves could stay stocked. The convenience store underneath my apartment was almost stripped bare of food.
Another reason why self-sufficiency is important, and why trains may not be so great as a substitute for cars.
TARP INSPECTOR GENERAL: Bank bailout mostly benefited banks. “Worse, Treasury apparently has chosen to ignore rather than support real efforts at reform, such as those advocated by Sheila Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to simplify or shrink the most complex financial institutions. In the final analysis, it has been Treasury’s broken promises that have turned TARP — which was instrumental in saving the financial system at a relatively modest cost to taxpayers — into a program commonly viewed as little more than a giveaway to Wall Street executives.”
Who could have seen that coming?
ISRAEL: THE THIRD NATION ON THE MOON? “If all goes according to plan, by December 2012 a team of three young Israeli scientists will have landed a tiny spacecraft on the moon, explored the lunar surface, and transmitted live video back to earth, thereby scooping up a $20 million prize (the Google Lunar X Prize), revolutionizing space exploration, and making the Jewish State the third nation (after the U.S. and Russia) to land a probe on the moon. And they’re doing it in their spare time.”
A SOLAR SYSTEM weather report.
TO GO WITH THE AMAZON CLOUD DRIVE, the Amazon Cloud Player. “In big music industry news, Amazon launched their Cloud Player service which enables users to store their music in the cloud (dubbed Amazon Cloud Drive) and listen to it from Mac, PC, and Android devices. This comes as a shock to most of the music industry as speculations about Google and Apple streaming music services have been circulating for a while.”
GOP FRESHMAN TO HARRY REID: “Your record on spending in the Senate is one of failure. You have failed to pass a budget, failed to restrain spending, and failed to put our country on sound fiscal footing. We do not accept your failure as our own. The American people did not send us here to fail.”
OPEN ACCESS LEGAL SCHOLARSHIP 50% more likely to be cited.
NANOTECHNOLOGY UPDATE: Turning Infectious Bacteria Into “Nano Mummies.”
WHY THEY HATE US: Jersey Shore. ‘When I see this, I wonder whether Bin Laden had a point.’
OBAMA UNDERWATER: “A new poll out this morning from Quinnipiac of over 2000 registered voters nationwide puts Obama’s approval level at 42%, the lowest in any Q-poll for Obama, with 48% disapproving. His re-elect number is actually even lower.” That’s because he’s been a miserable failure at pretty much everything. Even the NCAA bracket . . . .
NINE WAYS to prepare for food inflation. Prepare? What, it’s not here already?
MEGAN MCARDLE ON BLOGGINGHEADS TV: Why It’s Time To Panic On The Deficit. “I had always assumed we were going to get it under control, and I don’t think we are.”
HIDING FOOD INFLATION in tinier bags. “With unemployment still high, companies in recent months have tried to camouflage price increases by selling their products in tiny and tinier packages. So far, the changes are most visible at the grocery store, where shoppers are paying the same amount, but getting less.”
WHAT’S REALLY BEHIND the U.S. action in Libya.
PROFESSOR JACOBSON: Don’t Just Talk: Help Get This Ad On The Air In Wisconsin.
IN THE MAIL: From Michael J. Totten, The Road to Fatima Gate: The Beirut Spring, the Rise of Hezbollah, and the Iranian War Against Israel.
INSTAVISION: Breitbart Interview, Part Two: Andrew Breitbart’s Journey From Hollywood Liberal to Conservative Bad Boy. Plus, more talk about his new book. And what he thinks about Sarah Palin. (Bumped).
VIK RUBENFELD: How To Manage Our Politicians.
MICKEY KAUS: Tea Party better wake up to Wisconsin Supreme Court election. “If Walker gets beaten, public employee unions all over the country will stop being so amenable.”
HOLMAN JENKINS: Medical Progress, Please: Your Next Melanoma, Courtesy Of The FDA. “Of course, nobody at the FDA is ever fired for failing to approve a device. So grating has the agency’s hyper-cautiousness become that, under prodding from university researchers and Congress, it recently rolled out a plan to allow speedier reviews very similar to the agreement struck with Mela Sciences. How this promise is supposed to now have any credibility is itself a bit of a medical mystery.” Make the FDA liable for all the people it’s killed via inaction or delay, and everyone there would be dead.
DEBT AND DEFICITS: The Symptoms, Not The Disease.
DON SURBER: Deficit Math Is Hard For Politico.
ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN LAW SCHOOLS Goes to War Over ABA’s Proposed Accreditation Standards Changes.
TODAY ONLY SALE: VHS To DVD Conversion. “Convert your old videotape collection to DVD or Blu-ray with VHS to DVD 5.0 Deluxe, featuring editing tools, one-click upload options, and more.”