Monday, June 28, 2010

From Eric Burdon, a glimpse of late-Sixties London (Rolling Stone, 9/14/68): "The whole city has gone homosexual. All me friends have gone bent. They're freaking out . . . looking for something to do, I guess."

Later: These old Rolling Stones are fascinating. From the "Musicians' Free Classified" ads in the same issue:
SINGER / SONGWRITER, tenor voice, seeks work with rock group that has chick singer. Call Tom, 648-2193, Boston.
Any singer-songwriter today who expressed the desire to work with a "chick singer" would have his acoustic guitar confiscated and be enjoined for at least a year from listening to James Taylor, Joni Mitchell or Cat Stevens.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

 

An obvious comparison that for some reason I haven't seen elsewhere: Dave Weigel is a male, sixty-or-so-years-younger version of Helen Thomas, a leftist who concealed his/her biases well enough to get a job in mainstream journalism, and whose own words cost him/her that job. We'll be hearing more from both of them, I expect.

(A small roundup of posts from the right: Jonah Goldberg writes that "Weigel's real sin was getting caught," Philip Klein defends Weigel, a conservative in the MSM cheers Weigel's fall, and the Daily Caller posts a telling photo.) (Last link via Instapundit.)

Later: From "The Scrapbook" at the Weekly Standard:
Unfortunately for Weigel, the Post believed he was a diversity hire, someone they could point to whenever conservatives complained about ideological imbalance at the paper. . . . They wanted a reporter who would allow them to maintain the fiction that they run a balanced newsroom. He embarrassed them by holding opinions indistinguishable from their own.

. . . The editors of the
Post may have some hard questions to ask Ezra Klein, who had been reading Weigel’s anti-conservative tirades for some time before telling his editors that Weigel would be “the best reporter” on the conservative beat. But The Scrapbook hopes they’ll show a little understanding. From Klein’s end of the political spectrum, pretty much everyone else looks conservative.

Friday, June 25, 2010

 

Sign of the times:
VuvuX is a free AudioUnit plug in that suppresses the noise created by the South African trumpet called "Vuvuzela" in realtime without affecting the audio commentary or the stadium atmosphere, allowing you to enjoy a noise-free World Cup 2010.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

 

Don't know how old these are, but some of them made me laugh a lot: "How To Tick People Off."

 

We are in some ways a ridiculous culture.

Monday, June 14, 2010

 

Jay Nordlinger:
In Impromptus and elsewhere, I have griped and griped about a certain inhospitableness in America. You may remember this tale: One day, I went to the Sears Tower, to meet a friend of mine. We were going to go out — go back to his place, actually. He worked in the building, and I wanted to meet him in the lobby. I had been traveling for a long time — I think from the Middle East, for some reason. I was tired.

In the vast lobby, there were no chairs, no benches — no places to sit at all. Where I had just come from, they might kill you, but you would have a place to sit, and they would likely offer you a cup of tea and a cake. In the Sears Tower lobby, I went to sit on my suitcase — a suitcase that had gone through security screening. The guards forbade it. You could not sit on your own suitcase in the lobby. And they offered you no place to sit.

I went outside, muttering, “Is this the most inhospitable, rules-insane country on the planet, or what?” I know, I know: They don’t want bums camping out in the lobby. But they don’t have the nerve, because of political correctness, to keep the bums out and let others sit.

With Norwegian friends, I bring up this general subject: of ease and informality versus difficulty and rules, etc. They love the Anglo world, and they hesitate to criticize: but they tell me that, when they’ve traveled in Britain and the U.S., they’ve been amazed at the red tape. All the red tape to untangle, all the hoops to jump through.

And the Continent is supposed to be the place where you’re regulated to death!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

 

From John Derbyshire, a lovely tribute to writer Martin Gardner, who died a few weeks ago.

 

I wouldn't display the message—no obscenity where kids might see/hear it—but I'd give this driver (scroll down a bit) a thumbs-up.

 

From Christopher Hitchens's new memoir, a grimly funny anecdote of a POW camp during World War II. There must be someone else who read it and thought of this, which until now I found as preposterous as every other gag in that shamefully underappreciated movie.

(Wikipedia: "Tonbridge School is a British boys' independent school for both boarding and some day pupils in Tonbridge, Kent.")

 

Daniel Gilbert, in Stumbling On Happiness:
And it isn't just the subtle changes we miss. Even dramatic changes to the appearance of a scene are sometimes overlooked. In an experiment taken straight from the pages of Candid Camera, researchers arranged for a researcher to approach pedestrians on a college campus and ask for directions to a particular building. While the pedestrian and the researcher conferred over the researcher's map, two construction workers, each holding one end of a large door, rudely cut between them, temporarily obstructing the pedestrian's view of the researcher. As the construction workers passed, the original researcher crouched down behind the door and walked off with the construction workers, while a new researcher, who had been hiding behind the door all along, took his place and picked up the conversation. The original and substitute researchers were of different heights and builds and had noticeably different voices, haircuts, and clothing. You would have no trouble telling them apart if they were standing side by side. So what did the Good Samaritans who had stopped to help a lost tourist make of this switcheroo? Not much. In fact, most of the pedestrians failed to notice—failed to notice that the person to whom they were talking had suddenly been transformed into an entirely new individual.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

 

"You don’t understand 'ordinary people'": Richard Feynman advises Stephen Wolfram.

Also, a charming letter from director Pete Docter to a fan.

 

Astounding ignorance:
With three shuttered oil rigs preparing to leave the Gulf of Mexico for foreign waters, Gov. Bobby Jindal ratcheted up the rhetoric Thursday against the Obama administration's moratorium on deepwater drilling, saying the White House still doesn't understand the economic pain the forced stoppage is causing Louisiana workers.

Jindal said he had a conference call with President Barack Obama's senior adviser, Valerie Jarrett, and appealed to her to shorten the six-month moratorium, arguing that a half-year pause would force oil companies to move drilling operations overseas for years and that the federal government could easily impose new safety standards and monitoring in a shorter time frame.

"She asked again why the rigs simply wouldn't come back after six months," Jindal said. "What worries me is I fear they think these rigs can just flip a switch on and off."
(Emphasis added.) Not that I'm expert on the oil industry, but nor am I senior advisor to the president. (Via Jim Geraghty.)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

 

While there's good reason to hope (and excellent reason to believe) that Saddam Hussein didn't ship WMD to Syria, I hope we can prove he did, because then the yammerers who ignore the rest of our casus belli might finally, finally, shut up.

 

Charles Krauthammer:
The whole point of this relentless international campaign is to deprive Israel of any legitimate form of self-defense. Why, just last week, the Obama administration joined the jackals, and reversed four decades of U.S. practice, by signing onto a consensus document that singles out Israel's possession of nuclear weapons -- thus de-legitimizing Israel's very last line of defense: deterrence.

The world is tired of these troublesome Jews, 6 million -- that number again -- hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists -- Iranian in particular -- openly prepare a more final solution.

 

Mark Steyn on Turkey's demographics:
As the think-tankers like to say: “Who lost Turkey?” In a nutshell: Kemal Ataturk. Since he founded post-Ottoman Turkey in his own image nearly nine decades ago, the population has increased from 14 million to over 70 million. But that five-fold increase is not evenly distributed. The short version of Turkish demographics in the 20th century is that Rumelian Turkey — i.e., western, European, secular, Kemalist Turkey — has been outbred by Anatolian Turkey — i.e., eastern, rural, traditionalist, Islamic Turkey. Ataturk and most of his supporters were from Rumelia, and they imposed the modern Turkish republic on a reluctant Anatolia, where Ataturk’s distinction between the state and Islam was never accepted. Now they don’t have to accept it. The swelling population has spilled out of its rural hinterland and into the once solidly Kemalist cities. . . .

Today’s young Turks are men who think as Erdogan does. . . . As Erdogan’s most famous sound bite puts it: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets, and the faithful our soldiers.”

 

Jay Nordlinger:
People say, with increasing frequency, “Why should there be a Jewish state? Isn’t that kind of racist — undemocratic?” There are 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference — almost 60 states that identify themselves specifically as Muslim. The world has no problem with them: only with the tiny, dusty sliver that identifies itself as Jewish. The Jews were storm-tossed, homeless, for 2,000 years — dependent on the goodwill of host nations, dependent on the kindness of strangers. And yet the world begrudges their one dinky state.

We have no problem with Thais in Thailand; we have no problem with Senegalese in Senegal; we have a problem with Jews in Israel — never mind the 1.5 million Arabs who live there, enjoying rights that are unknown to most Arabs elsewhere.

If the world lets Israel go under, a mere two or three generations after the Holocaust, we will have learned a sick, sick thing about the world.
Time magazine, I think it was, once had a very dramatic, hard-to-forget cover: “Thinking the Unthinkable.” It was about nuclear armageddon. (Remember when people worried about that stuff? Then Reagan came . . .) Events large and small — Iran’s nuclear drive, the Helen Thomas outburst — have led me to think about the unthinkable: the loss of Israel. They won’t go without a fight, I feel sure. And I know which side I’m on.

 

George Will:
We are witnessing a familiar government dance, the Prosperity-to-Hysteria Two-Step: When revenue grows, governments put in place permanent spending streams; when revenue falls, governments exclaim that any retrenchment, even back to spending levels of a few years ago, is a "catastrophe."

 

“All political theories assume, of course, that most individuals are very ignorant. Those who plead for liberty differ from the rest in that they include among the ignorant themselves as well as the wisest.”

F.A. Hayek (quoted by Don Boudreaux)

 

That's just weird.

 

David Pryce-Jones:
In the tried and tested Palestinian style, the flotilla’s organizers made sure to have on board children, elderly people, and Europeans, whose possible injury would certainly make the Israelis look bad. They couldn’t have cared less about that. They anticipated correctly that Israel was certain to inspect the ships for possible smuggling of armaments and ferrying in gunmen, that casualties were likely, and that the world would condemn Israel for defending itself. Easy, once you have the template for it.

Turkish sponsorship of this stunt is the one thing that matters. Whipping up anti-Israeli hysterics, the Turkish prime minister and his government openly declare that Turkey now opts for a Muslim and not a secular or Western identity. The consequences of losing Turkey are going to cause a lot of grief to a lot of people.

 

Cynical but plausible:
I hate to be a cynic, but have you looked at how the affected states have voted? How many of them did Obama carry? Also, at least 3 of the 4 governors are Republicans, although Charlie Crist is questionable.

I bet if it was California it would be all hands on deck from day 1.
Nonsense. If that cynical analysis were correct, we’d have seen Obama ignoring the Nashville flood, Kentucky ice storms, etc.

 

Obama and the Jewish Vote:* Roger L. Simon reports from the California Summer Bash (I think that's really what it's called) of the Republican Jewish Coalition:
I have been attending this annual RJC event for three years now. . . . I always asked essentially the same question: What’s the climate with your friends and relatives? Is everyone in your world (mishpocheh, in the parlance) still a knee-jerk liberal? Can you even speak to each other at the dinner table?

I always got basically the same response — a cynical shrug that signaled the old Yiddish expression “
Vat den?” (’twas ever thus).

But not last night. Almost uniformly the attendees to whom I asked this question responded differently. Yes, they said, things were changing. Their
mishpocheh – in the smaller and larger senses — were listening to them, not getting angry or walking away. Sometimes they just remained silent, but it was a thoughtful, worried silence. From what I could tell at the Beverly Hilton last night, the polls showing Jews deserting Obama were evidently not entirely apocryphal.

Most surprising to me were some words I exchanged with
Rep. Dan Lederman of the South Dakota House of Representatives. (I didn’t even know there were Jews in South Dakota.) Lederman told me of his recently making a speech strongly attacking Obama policies to an audience of seventy or so B’nai B’rith members in his neighboring Nebraska and not getting a peep of objection. This would have been unheard of a year ago.
Simon also spoke with Karl Rove, who "was more than guardedly optimistic, seeing the situation at this moment as a great opportunity for Jewish Republicans."

*Remind anyone else of the title of a Harry Potter book? Probably not.

 

Jonah Goldberg:
Obama talks as if the president really is in charge of things, both when he's grandiose and when he's self-pitying and thin skinned. When he's grandiose, he can do it all. When he's self-pitying, Obama would do it all except for the sad fact that George W. Bush used his presidential powers to thwart the forces of progress. And that raises a much lower standard than Messiah for Obama to contend with. Forget whether he can make the oceans recede, the relevant question is whether Obama is simply not up to the job of fixing Bush's mistakes. That's a question he raises every day.

 

How dare they? Why the hell do we allow it? (The second question contains the answer to the first, dammit.)

 

I'd never heard about Australia's 1993 plague of mice, which threatened to ravage the country and provoked a massive program of extermination that produced, in the words of this video's narrator, "more than one hundred million corpses." Gruesomely fascinating, but not for the musophobic or otherwise squeamish.

(Apparently it's small-mammal day here.)

 

Jay Nordlinger on one of mankind's greatest benefactors, Norman Borlaug.

 

I'd visited the blog called "Breath of the Beast" before Mark Steyn linked to it last week, but I'd never read the first post there. Powerful stuff.

 

An epiphany that will fade over time.

 

He seems a completely nice guy, and I hope the video brings him good things.

 

I think the Left just doesn't care what the truth is. To condemn Israel is to show one's virtue.

 

Jeepers creepers: "Lil Hobson remains baffled as to why raccoons targeted her house in the first place."

 

An Israeli flotilla to Turkey is a horrendous idea. I appreciate the intent, and nothing would please me more at this foreign-policy moment than to see Turkey's leaders revealed as the deceitful, oppressive hypocrites they are, but once again Israelis and their supporters are inexplicably projecting onto their enemies their own decency and sense of fair play. Boats filled with unarmed Jews challenging a Muslim nation, and by extension all Muslim nations? At best they'd be hostages-in-waiting, at worst targets in a terrorist shooting gallery, and most likely both. What compunction does anyone believe would prevent jihadists from using force against them? What retaliation would the attackers have to fear from the world? People, your intentions are good, but you'd be delivering yourselves into the hands of those who hate you more than you can evidently imagine and who would revel in your capture, humiliation and torment. For your own sake and that of your country, don't do it.

 

"What iPads Did To My Family." Semi-ominous title, funny/interesting post (no doubt funny/exciting to Apple shareholders). (Via Newmark's Door.)

 

Glad to see this from Glenn Reynolds (not that it's surprising from him): "Public employees — who function without the discipline of markets, and apparently, politics — should not be allowed to unionize."

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

 

Marc Thiessen: "Why No One Wants to Be Director of National Intelligence Under Obama." Another good argument for eliminating the position.

 

Via Instapundit, an email from "Engineering Prof Chris Kobus" (I'm guessing this is he):
Diesel technology is inherently more efficient [than gasoline-engine technology]. . . . If all spark-ignition engines were replaced with diesel, we’d reduce our dependence on foreign oil by almost 50%. As good as hybrids are in terms of fuel economy, hybrid diesels would blow them all away. Locomotives have been hybrid diesels for some time now.

 

Stephen Spruiell:
William Galston has written an excellent piece for TNR asking an important question that I haven't heard the Keynesians answer: If the U.S. is more like Japan circa 1992 than Greece circa 2009, and Japan is still mired in a recessionary funk after a decade of low-quality growth, then why are we using the same policy tools that Japan used to fight the recession?

 

From Stephen Moore, a nice tribute to Art Linkletter:
He hosted a series of daily TV shows that were all hits, the most enduring of which was the wildly popular "Kids Say the Darndest Things."

Linkletter could go on for hours telling hilarious stories from that show. One of his favorites was of the 7-year-old boy whose dog died. He told the teary-eyed lad, "Don't be sad because your dog is up in heaven with God." The boy responded, "Mr. Linkletter, what would God want with a dead dog?"

A staunch political conservative, he told me he'd tried to talk his friend Ronald Reagan out of running for the White House because "an actor will never be president . . . Thank God he ignored my advice, because Ronnie really turned this country around."

 

Terry Teachout:
A critic should always strive to recapture the sense of wonder and surprise with which he first beheld a now-familiar work of art. . . . For most of us, however, that means taking an occasional vacation from even the greatest of paintings, and this recommendation is truer still in the case of artworks that, like novels or films or pieces of music, can be consumed at home and at will. In the age of mechanical reproduction, it has become too easy to experience them too often for our own good.

To this end, I propose a thought experiment: a "masterpiece moratorium" in which the participants agree not to view, listen to, read about, discuss or take part in performances of certain selected masterpieces for a full year.

 

From Ralph Peters, "five areas in which our troops deserve better. And we’re going to give politicians and generals letter grades."

(One note: Peters praises a particular report as "[t]he most-important article written about our military this year." The report's author: Peters's wife. I don't hold his possible uxoriousness against him, but he should've mentioned the connection.)

 

"The Cuban government likes to bring the violence that is its very nature to other countries."

 

Useful data via George Will:
Barack Obama, an unbeliever genuflecting before the altar of frugality, is asking Congress, as presidents do, to give him something like a line-item veto. Coming in today's context of his unrelenting agenda of expanding government, his proposal constitutes a counterfeit promise to get serious about controlling spending and the deficit. . . .

Today, 62 percent of federal spending goes to entitlements (56) and debt service (6). Both will be growing portions of budgets, and both are immune to any vetoes. Defense and homeland security are 21 percent of the budget and will be almost entirely immune. So the line-item veto's target would be at most 17 percent of the budget.

What about earmarks? If all 9,499 of last year's had been vetoed, this would have saved $15.9 billion, or a risible 0.45 percent of spending. . . .

Last year, Obama ordered 15 department heads to find economies totaling $100 million, which was then 13 minutes (0.0029 percent) of federal spending. His new rescission proposal also is frugality theater and is similarly frivolous.

 

Not my style, but I'm sympathetic:
To look upon this beauty in the western U.S. state of Oregon is to understand what people mean when they say this is God's country, and that's exactly why Brother Gregory lives here.

He is part of a wider movement of conservative Christians who are choosing to live their lives on the edge of society, unplugged from civilization as much as they can, living under basic biblical principles. . . .

"Christians should be looking for a way to take care of one another without forcing their neighbor to contribute to their welfare. In essence that's coveting your neighbor's goods through the agency of the governments you create."

And that is a sin.

 

Heather Mac Donald on "the increasingly surreal hysteria over the Arizona immigration law":
The two main lines of attack against SB 1070 — that it is preempted by federal immigration laws and that it will lead to racial profiling — make sense only if you believe that we should not be enforcing our immigration laws.

Putting state resources behind immigration enforcement interferes with federal enforcement only if it is federal policy not to enforce the immigration laws. Without question, more people will be picked up in Arizona for being in the country illegally with SB 1070 than would have been picked up without SB 1070. . . .

That is SB 1070’s only effect. Opponents of SB 1070 can argue that a state’s detection of illegal aliens conflicts with federal policy only if it is federal policy that those illegal aliens never be subjected to the immigration laws in the first place. . . .
As to the second objection:
There is a greater chance that a legal-alien Hispanic in Arizona driving without his license could have a question asked of him regarding his immigration status during a stop than a native-born Anglo driving without his license. According to the illegal-alien lobby, that possibility renders the law unconstitutional and a fundamental assault on human rights. . . .

[I]f the possibility that a lawfully resident alien or person of ethnic ancestry may be asked a question about his status is unconstitutional, then we can’t have any immigration enforcement at all.
Which is, I gather, the goal of SB 1070's opponents.

 

Mark Steyn:
Almost every problem we face today arises from the vanity of Big Government. Why has BP got oil wells 5,000 feet underwater in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico? Because government regulated them off-land, off-coast, and ever deeper into the briny. . . . BP, not to mention its customers, would have been better to push back against government policies that drive energy suppliers into ever more unpredictable terrain in order to protect the Alaskan breeding grounds of the world’s largest mosquito herd. Instead, we’ll do the opposite. There’ll be even more government protection of “the environment,” and even more government regulation of the oil industry, and BP will be drilling for oil in that Icelandic volcano. . . .

The princelings of the new ruling class rarely have to live with the consequences of their narcissism. Nancy Pelosi can monkey with your health care, but hers will still be grand. Greek bureaucrats can regulate your business into the ground, but they’ll still have their pensions and benefits. And, when the cakes are burning to a crisp, King Barack the Verbose won’t be in the peasant hovel with you but off giving a critically acclaimed speech about how the world works best when we all get an equal slice of the pie.

 

Victor Davis Hanson:
[W]e sometimes forget the third leg of the old NATO equation: America in, Russia out – Germany down. . . .

[W]hat will happen with Germany when it is lectured by the French, insulted by its debtor dependencies in southern Europe, and starting to become angry that only its own work ethic and productivity — not some grandiose platitudes about the EU — keep Europe going? . . .

Very soon German workers are going to grasp that all the financial reserves they piled away the last two decades from not doing what a Spain or Italy did are essentially gone. Someone in Munich worked 40 hours a week until age 67 for someone in Athens not to — and for someone in Athens to demand that someone in Munich do so or else. The idea that nations like Greece, both overtly and implicitly, insult nations like Germany has no basis in historical terms. . . .

In a sane world, a financially solvent United States would now step up to the plate, reassure Germany of both its long-standing financial and military support, and seek through its friendship and alliance to deflect any natural German inclination to translate its economic power and present seething into something other than mere anger at the EU.

But we don’t live in a sane world. U.S. finances are following the Greek example. President Obama either does not understand the West or perhaps does not care to. To the new America, a Germany is no different from a Pakistan or Venezuela, just another member of the international community, no better or no worse than any other. Our commitment to NATO and the U.S. defense budget will soon be redefined, as even more entitlements along the lines of the recent trillion-dollar health care plan are envisioned.

In other words, in such a vacuum, very soon, if we are not careful, we are going to have a German problem — again.
They'll have to contend with ascendant Muslims. Or will Germans and Muslims form another alliance? Deeply scary thought.

 

I think I agree with Mark Krikorian that John McCain's shameless reversal on immigration makes him unworthy of reelection, but I like most of what McCain says here and here. And I still wish he'd won the presidency. He'd have been unsatisfactory in many ways, but . . . ah well.

 

Awww.

 

Peggy Noonan on the Deepwater Horizon spill:
I wonder if the president knows what a disaster this is not only for him but for his political assumptions. . . .

Katrina did at least two big things politically. The first was draw together everything people didn't like about the Bush administration, everything it didn't like about two wars and high spending and illegal immigration, and brought those strands into a heavy knot that just sat there, soggily, and came to symbolize Bushism. The second was illustrate that even though the federal government in our time has continually taken on new missions and responsibilities, the more it took on, the less it seemed capable of performing even its most essential jobs. Conservatives got this point—they know it without being told—but liberals and progressives did not. They thought Katrina was the result only of George W. Bush's incompetence and conservatives' failure to "believe in government." But Mr. Obama was supposed to be competent. . . .

How could there not have been a plan? How could it all be so ad hoc, so inadequate, so embarrassing?

 

On the possibility of a tea-party-like movement in Ireland. Interesting observations on the Irish character.

 

Two columnists, prompted by the same sensational story, reflect on the newspaper industry.

Anchorman,* at The Daily Caller:
I’ve written often in these columns about the stifling and paralyzing effects of political correctness on our culture. Political correctness is a deceit. It is a lie. It is an Orwellian form of propaganda. It is censorship. . . .

And so it is, with much of the coverage of two recent murder cases in Washington, D.C.—the murder of D.C. school principal, Brian Betts, and that of a promising young attorney, Robert Wone. They are arguably two of the richest mother lodes of both tabloid titillation and murder mystery in Washington, since Chandra Levy turned up missing. But so much of the reporting of these cases fails to uncover the real hidden truths. Most reporters are sticking to a non-controversial script. Why? Because homosexuality is involved.
A few days later, Jonah Goldberg (in a newsletter—no direct link) on the Washington Post's staid coverage of the Wone case:
For generations, newspapers were such a profitable business, it's like they forgot they were businesses at all. It's not that they forgot they were providing a service, but they saw themselves as providing a "public service." This high-minded goal got so high-minded, the keepers of the craft seem to have lost sight of the very public they're supposed to be serving. It's hard to think of many businesses that have strayed so far from their customers. . . .

With the obvious exceptions of the
New York Post and, to a lesser extent, the Daily News, it's not clear that any of the major American newspapers care that much about making their newspapers fun to read. . . .

I'm not just talking about political correctness or media bias -- though Lord knows I could be -- I'm talking about making things interesting for the reader. Mark Steyn has made
similar observations more than a few times.

So let's get back to Wone. I'll admit, this might not be the best example, because the
Washington Post is a family newspaper and this is a story that's hard to tell in PG-rated terms. But this is also a story that lots of people living in Washington, D.C., can't stop talking about. If this had happened in the New York Post's backyard -- or in London! -- the story would be a huge national sensation.

I hope I'm not telling anybody something they don't know, but people are interested in sex. They're also interested in murder. They're also interested in cover-ups. And, while I have less evidence to back this up, I suspect they're also interested in strange, alternatively structured "families" involved in murder mysteries that are festooned with sex-dungeon props.

And yet the
Washington Post has been covering the story of Robert Wone's murder as if it were an ag-bill mark-up. I want to be fair: The coverage has been adequate in the journalism-school sense. The who, what, when, where, and whys have been addressed, if not exhaustively, then at least professionally. But in no sense has the Washington Post covered this bizarre story in a manner you'd expect from a business trying to sell newspapers.
*Anchorman is "a well-known news anchor from a top-10, big-city station. The Daily Caller has elected to redact his identity to protect his anonymity."

 

Inexcusable governmental intrusion exemplified.
Steven Den Beste writes: “Why do you need a note from a doctor to keep your kids out of school?” Because now they belong to the state. You just get them on loan, weekends.

 

Mark Krikorian at The Corner:
I don't write the editorials, and I'm a firm believer is letting a hundred flowers bloom and all that, but I disagree with NR's endorsement of McCain in the new issue of the magazine. Sure, a blustering sportscaster wouldn't be the ideal senator, but a body that includes Lindsey Graham, Arlen Specter, Harry Reid, and Al Franken is in no position to say that J. D. Hayworth somehow doesn't measure up. Retiring John McCain — even if his replacement was a cashier from Trader Joe's — would be an important act of lustration. Unfortunately, his likely reelection demonstrates that, while you can't fool all of the people all of the time, you can come close enough for government work.
("Lustration" is a great word.)

 

Maybe to her it tasted like soup.

I know, gross.

 

Jim Geraghty (via newsletter), 5/26/10:
So, Arizona's law is racist and xenophobic, and when a foreign leader comes to the U.S. Capitol and denounces it from the floor of the House, our social betters applaud -- but we're also going to send 1,200 National Guard troops to the border to act as additional watchdogs.

I've adjusted to living under a governing class that's megalomaniacal and egomaniacal, but the schizophrenia is hard to keep up with.

 

Gary Andres:
Last week, "Desperate Housewives" star, turned immigration/federalism expert, Eva Longoria, attending a White House state dinner for Mexican President Felipe Calderón, scolded, “You can't have these states doing their own punitive laws when immigration is a federal issue.” Thanks, Eva. Maybe next you can tell us why it was a good idea to use budget reconciliation to pass health care? . . .

I don’t live in Arizona, but many of my family and friends do. I travel there a lot and just returned from a trip several weeks ago. My light-hearted references above about the Hollywood glitterati should in no way detract from the seriousness and complicated nature of this issue.

Residents are frustrated, angry and, even, fearful. They live with an immigration emergency every day. Most believe the situation has spun out of control, including the clergymen, teachers or law enforcement professionals dealing [with] its consequences, or Latino families worried about their families’ future.

Achieving consensus in this debate is like finding a pebble in the Sonoran Desert. But Arizonans reached a state of panic.

 

Two Corner posts on an exotic subspecies.

 

Byron York:
"Most of you covered me," he told the media elite at the 2009 White House Correspondents' Association dinner. "All of you voted for me."

That's the attitude coming out of the Oval Office every day. Why does Obama do it? Because he can.
But for how long? Until the Dems lose badly in the elections this year, I'd guess. Journalists don't want the GOP in power, so they'll try to sharpen him up, and if that fails they'll hammer him until the Congressional Dems see him as enough of a liability to cut him loose.

 

Funny ad.

 

Mark Steyn, with the math of Europe's bleak future:
In 1950 in Greece, one retiree was supported by roughly eight workers; by 2030, that ratio will decline to the point where one retiree will have to be supported by a mere two workers. That's according to the official OECD figures. But the OECD defines "retiree" as "64 and over", and workers as 20-64. And nobody in Greece works till 64. Hairdressers retire at 50 because it's categorized as a "hazardous profession". So realistically the worker/retiree ratio is probably heading for something closer to one-to-one-and-a-half. And, once that math becomes widely known, at least one of that one-and-a-half is gonna get the hell out rather than throw away his working life in a vain attempt to prop up Andreas and Spirou's lavish retirement home.

Oh, but don't worry about Greece. It's being bailed out by Germany - a nation with marginally less insane social programs but
just as fatal demographics.

 

In a word, yikes:
The FHA and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which regulators seized in 2008, have been financing more than 90 percent of U.S. home lending after a retreat by banks and the collapse of the market for mortgage bonds without government-backed guarantees.

 

Maggie Gallagher:
What are the odds that that a young woman will get pregnant during her first year on the Pill?

The answer is: At typical rates of contraceptive failure, nine out of 100 of these young women will get pregnant. (Actually, that's the average for all Pill users; young users probably have higher failure rates.) Among condom users, 17 young women will get pregnant for every 100 who rely on this method (IUD's and implants are the most successful methods in "typical use"). That's just the risk in the first year. If you spend ten years being unmarried and sexually active, the odds you will get pregnant, or get someone pregnant, are quite substantial.

Newsflash: Sex makes babies.

 

So much harm from one flawed medical study:
[T]he vaccines-cause-autism canard created more than just a public-health risk. It also expanded the U.S.’s vulnerability in our efforts to fight bioterror. Vaccines are a key component of our arsenal against a host of agents that our enemies could potentially weaponize, such as anthrax and smallpox. Effective vaccines and a populace willing to take those vaccines are essential to our ability to combat these threats.

Dr. Wakefield has a lot to answer for.

Monday, June 7, 2010

 

"What was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's promise in 2006 about the most honest and transparent Congress ever?"

 

Jonah Goldberg: "How do you know when a proselytizer of nonviolence is full of it? When he doesn’t object to the use of violence."

Also:
Among Israel’s friends, there’s a deep and wide consensus that the “flotilla fiasco” was a public-relations disaster, proof that Israel doesn’t know how to work with the global media to shape world opinion.

The first part is almost indisputable at this point. The raid was a disaster. As for the second part — that Israel’s problems are about public relations — I’m not so sure. . . .

North Korea recently sank a South Korean ship. The international reaction has been muted and sober. Turkey — the Palestinians’ new champion — has been treating Kurdish nationalists harshly for generations; no one cares. The Russians crush Chechens, the Chinese trample Uighurs. Real genocides unfold regularly in Africa. Iran is pursuing a nuclear bomb. Hamas is openly dedicated to the destruction of Israel. So is Iran.

And yet the only villain as far as much of the world is concerned is Israel. Always Israel.

 

"Sentimental one-worldism" in the face of "high-tech barbarism": Mark Steyn on our fatuous president.

 

Nima Sanandaji and Robert Gidehag at Newgeography.com:
If Americans with Swedish ancestry would form their own country their per capita GDP would be $56,900, more than $10,000 above the earnings of the average American.

The old Sweden, in contrast, has not done as well in economic terms. . . . Swedish GDP per capita is now $36,600. . . .

A Scandinavian economist once stated to Milton Friedman: "In Scandinavia we have no poverty." Milton Friedman replied, "That's interesting, because in America among Scandinavians, we have no poverty either." Indeed, the poverty rate for Americans with Swedish ancestry is only 6.7%, half the U.S average. Economists Geranda Notten and Chris de Neubourg have calculated the poverty rate in Sweden using the American poverty threshold, finding it to be an identical 6.7%. . . .

[T]here is much to admire in Sweden. But when it comes to economic policy and copying Swedish institutions, Americans are probably better off being inspired by Swedes in America, rather than Swedes in Sweden.

 

One small step for the UK. I think the day has passed, though, when a former Prime Minister is safe riding the Tube.

 

Easy to see why biologists didn't name them "envies" or "wraths." Really cute.

 

William A. Jacobson on a public-pension case in Rhode Island:
As I posted two days ago, the City of Central Falls (whose slogan is "A City With a Bright Future") filed for receivership, the state equivalent of bankruptcy. . . .

The implications of the Central Falls receivership are enormous. Under receivership, the receiver has the power to modify all contracts, including union contracts.

Central Falls could be the first union domino to fall, as municipalities see receivership (or bankruptcy, if permitted by state law) as the only viable option to escape unsustainable union contracts.

 

Arthur C. Brooks:
Free enterprise brings happiness; redistribution does not. The reason is that only free enterprise brings earned success.

Earned success involves the ability to create value honestly -- not by inheriting a fortune, not by picking up a welfare check. It doesn't mean making money in and of itself. Earned success is the creation of value in our lives or in the lives of others. Earned success is the stuff of entrepreneurs who seek value through innovation, hard work and passion. Earned success is what parents feel when their children do wonderful things, what social innovators feel when they change lives, what artists feel when they create something of beauty. . . .

Not surprisingly, unearned money -- while it may help alleviate suffering -- carries with it no personal satisfaction. Studies of lottery winners, for instance, show that after a brief period of increased happiness, their moods darken as they no longer derive the same enjoyment from the simple pleasures in life, and as the glow of buying things wears off. . . .

The goal of our system should be to give all Americans the greatest opportunities possible to succeed based on their work and merit. And that's exactly what the free enterprise system does: It makes earned success possible for the most people. This is the liberty that enables the true pursuit of happiness.

 

What Obama has wrought, geopolitically:
[R]ising powers, traditional American allies, having watched this administration in action, have decided that there’s no cost to lining up with America’s enemies and no profit in lining up with a U.S. president given to apologies and appeasement.

 

I think we've all wondered: "Why is (DC taxpayer) Jonah Goldberg buying condoms for 30-year old men he doesn't know?"

 

Lawrence Solomon at NationalPost.com:
Four years ago, when I first started profiling scientists who were global warming skeptics, I soon learned two things: Solar scientists were overwhelmingly skeptical that humans caused climate change and, overwhelmingly, they were reluctant to go public with their views. Often, they refused to be quoted at all, saying they feared for their funding, or they feared other recriminations from climate scientists in the doomsayer camp. When the skeptics agreed to be quoted at all, they often hedged their statements, to give themselves wiggle room if accused of being a global warming denier. Scant few were outspoken about their skepticism.

No longer. . . .

[S]olar scientists are increasingly conveying a clear message on the chief cause of climate change: It’s the Sun, Stupid.

Jeff Kuhn, a rising star at the University of Hawaii’s Institute for Astronomy, is one of the most recent scientists to go public, revealing in press releases this month that solar scientists worldwide are on a mission to show that the Sun drives Earth’s climate. “As a scientist who knows the data, I simply can’t accept [the claim that man plays a dominant role in Earth’s climate],” he states.

 

Reminds me of someone. (She doesn't read the blog, not that I'd refrain if she did.)

 

Bush would've been excoriated for this during a recession.

 

"Whom the gods would destroy, first they make pensioners at 40."

 

A brief argument for eliminating the post of director of national intelligence.

 

A good, poignant short film.

 

"Suddenly"? Where have they been? (Rhetorical questions.)

 

Photoshop is a useful program.

 

I believe genetic engineering will bring us enormous, even unimaginable benefits, and I support continued experimentation, but I admit to being less than nonchalant about the possibility of unintended consequences.

 

As he mocks her: a nice catch from Newsbusters.

 

Arthur Laffer: "The economy will collapse in 2011."

 

Worth remembering when people refer to deregulation under Bush: in fact, "His administration added 31,634 new regulations to the books, and repealed hardly any. . . . Even the regulation-intensive Obama administration is passing new regulations at a pace nearly ten percent slower than President Bush."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Nice article on Richard Scarry, who'd have turned 91 on June 5.