DOING A DNS MOVE ON INSTAPUNDIT. The transition should be pretty seamless, but if you need to email me the pundit / instapundit address may not work. Try emailing directly to mail4instapundit --at-- gmail dot com.
ORIN KERR: "I don't think it's a secret that The New York Times tends to be particularly one-sided when reporting on matters of concern to The New York Times. Given that, perhaps everyone expects that a Times story on conservative support for a federal reporter's privilege is going to be as much a work of advocacy as a work of reporting. Still, isn't it a bit odd that Saturday's story on the reporters' privilege doesn't disclose that both of the credited authors, Eric Lichtblau and Philip Shenon, have been personally involved recently in high-profile DOJ leak investigations?"
Sunday was a day of celebration for the friends and families of 300 Tennessee National Guardsmen and women. The 1175th Transportation Company was away from home for a year.
The 1175th transportation company returned home Sunday after a one year tour of duty in Iraq. They left for Iraq in May of 2007. Friends, family and supporters welcomed the soldiers as they flew in to the guard's flight facility in Smyrna. Soldiers got a hero's welcome as they stepped off the plane, and loved ones say perhaps best of all, every member of the company returned home safely.
A BREAKTHROUGH PROCEDURE for appendectomies? "According to doctors who performed the operation in San Diego, a flexible tube is used to thread miniature surgical instruments down the patient's throat into their stomach. At that point, the fun begins—unless you're an appendix, of course. Once the tools are safely inserted into the patient's gut, a tiny incision is made in the stomach wall to get at the appendix. The inflamed appendix is cut away, grabbed by one of the mini-tools, and bagged in a special mesh pouch. The organ is then pulled back into the stomach and out of the mouth."
posted at 07:04 AM by Glenn Reynolds
May 11, 2008
SINCE COOKWARE IS A FREQUENT TOPIC AROUND HERE, I should note that they're having a 50% off sale over at Amazon. I guess, post-Mother's Day, they're trying to clear stuff out.
posted at 11:30 PM by Glenn Reynolds
KIDS ATTACKED BY COYOTES in the Los Angeles suburbs. I guess the Wild West is back. Better strap on a six-shooter. Er, unless you're six. Still, it's more evidence that David Baron was onto something. And the advice from experts in the article is stupid: "Authorities dissuade people from hunting renegade coyotes themselves and suggest that they instead make noise or throw objects to scare them from neighborhoods." Yeah, a few yells and they'll leave the neighborhood. Right.
They're not scared of people because there's no reason for them to be scared -- why should they be, when the worst they're likely to encounter is people yelling or throwing rocks? Some related thoughts on that problem, here.
UPDATE: Reader Chris Steinmayer emails:
I live in a Detroit suburb, that is relatively forested (Farmington Hills). For the past several years, Coyotes have been an issue. Peoples pets go missing, and we see coyotes quite often. Not long ago, my step daughter pointed out a funny looking dog just standing by the road - a busy street no less! I told her, that’s no dog, that's a coyote!
They used to avoid people because people used to kill 'em. Now there's no reason to avoid people, and plenty of yummy reasons to hang around. There's no magic about settled areas that keeps predators away. On the other hand, there's this bit of advice from Shannon Love:
Guns are not effective against coyotes. More effective techniques include canyon cliffs, anvils, defective novelty items and non-newtonian physics.
Who says you can’t learn from TV?
Well, for certain values of the word "learning," anyway . . . .
After anointing Obama as the nominee on Tuesday, the media narrative has shifted to the West Virginia and Kentucky "Appalachian" contests. They are reduced to quaint curiosities in which poor, white, uneducated mountain people from a "bygone era" have been trained to make their way to a school gym and push a button just like real people for the delight and amusement of the media elite.
The "dueling banjos" video in this post entitled "On to Appalachia" is a good example. Presumably it is a reference to the retarded West Virginia inbred voter demographic making up Clinton's 20% to 40% margin of support there.
Because it's "silly season," as Obama called it, let's analyze that more closely.
The scene is from the movie Deliverance. It was filmed on the Chattooga River, which is the border between Georgia and South Carolina. Obama won both of those primaries. Other scenes were filmed in North Carolina. Obama won that primary, too.
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Reader B. Hartwig emails: "You really think a parochial backwater like Kentucky, with half the population and gross state product, equals North Carolina?" Sounds to me like this is making Randy's point.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Chad Olson emails: "Just echoing B. Hartwig's thoughts here that it's weird that a parochial backwater like North Carolina, with half the population and gross state product, equals Florida. How many delegates does Florida have at the convention this year?"
And Will Cate emails: "Pooh-pooh our friends in the Mountain State at your own peril: no Democrat has won the presidency and failed to carry West Virginia since 1916." I'm guessing that calling them a bunch of dumb hillbillies won't make that easier for Obama.
VACCINATION UPDATE: Tightening up in Britain? "Children who have not received all their vaccinations should not be allowed to start school, a Labour MP has suggested."
Meanwhile, in the United States: Bay Area School Closed Due to Whooping Cough. "The state averages a 99 percent immunization rate. But at East Bay Waldorf School, health officials say less than 50 percent are protected from the disease and say that's why it was able to spread so easily. . . . The Waldorf School System was founded by Rudolph Steiner in 1919. He believed children were made stronger through illness and believed in a holistic approach to medicine. A school spokesperson says they do not make recommendations to parents regarding immunizations."
I do. My recommendation is, get the shots. Meanwhile, has McCain ever backtracked from his Imus-inspired anti-vaccine talk? According to this report from Farhad Manjoo he hasn't, and Clinton and Obama seem to be on board too. However: "McCain and Obama are the worst offenders."
HILLARY'S STILL GOT HER FANS: "Pundits marvel at how and why Hillary Clinton would keep going when her chances of winning the nomination are now essentially nonexistent. We can all examine the psychological and political motives that keep her going long past the point when common sense would dictate that she throw in the towel. But they underestimate the fervor of her support, and perhaps the difficulty many Democrats will have in moving on to support Barack Obama."
OOPS (CONT'D): Second McCain aide quits. "The second McCain aide in as many days has left the campaign over ties to a public relations firm that once represented the Burmese junta."
posted at 06:25 PM by Glenn Reynolds
TIPS FOR TAMING RISING GROCERY PRICES, plus some perspective: "Food prices have actually been fairly stable for more than a decade. According to the latest Department of Agriculture figures (from 2006), American households spend less than 6 percent of their income on food -- that's less than in any other country."
UPDATE: Various readers dispute that six percent figure. Well, Steven Malanga says this: "In 1984 the average family spent 9.3 percent of its after-tax income on food at home, but by 2006 (the latest year statistics are available) that percentage had fallen to just 5.9 percent of after-tax income." That's a Bureau of Labor Statistics number. On the other hand, this USDA figure is 9.5 percent for 2004. I assume different measurement techniques account for the difference, but I have no idea how to determine which is more accurate.
posted at 05:22 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MORE ON PROBLEMS WITH IMPORTED ELECTRONICS: "Are chip makers building electronic trapdoors in key military hardware? The Pentagon is making its biggest effort yet to find out."
Commercial hardware tends to turn over pretty fast, reducing this risk somewhat. Military hardware tends to stay in service for a long time, making the hazard greater.
MORE VITAMIN D NEWS: "New research shows that people who regularly use sunscreen and avoiding sunlight may be sacrificing important vitamin D, which is made by the skin when it's exposed to sunlight. Now, the recommendation is to get 15 minutes of sun at the peak of the day three times a week to help avoid a vitamin D deficiency. . . . For years, Americans have been taught that as summer approaches, they should reach for sunscreen to protect themselves from a scorching burn - and the skin cancer it might trigger. But new research shows that by covering up, they may be sacrificing important vitamin D, which is made by the skin when it's exposed to sunlight. . . . Vitamin D deficiency is associated with reduced bone strength and risk of fracture; a twofold increased risk of some cancers such as colon, breast and prostate; an increased risk of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes; worse control of diabetes for those who have it; decreased immune function; and possibly also heart disease."
posted at 02:51 PM by Glenn Reynolds
A GREEN TAX REVOLT IN BRITAIN: It seems large majorities of voters believe that climate-change talk is mostly an excuse to raise taxes. So is this in spite of all the PR about global warming, or because of all the PR about global warming? It's been pretty heavy-handed. Anyway, as I've said before, this is why if you want to implement carbon taxes, etc., they need to be revenue-neutral. And it's also why, if our "leaders" want us to treat this as a crisis justifying public sacrifice, those leaders need to act as if it's such a crisis themselves, instead of treating it as an opportunity.
IT MAY BE the last Kay's Ice Cream stand left, but the staff is still smiling.
posted at 10:30 AM by Glenn Reynolds
I MENTIONED the lukewarm response to Lamar Alexander's grand energy plan, but this take is my favorite:
Good Lord, now we've got Republicans proposing Five Year Plans and Seven Step programs like some 1930's Soviet Beet Kommissar. The last thing we need is the know-nothings in Congress pretending they have the expertise required to plan the future of a market segment as huge and critical as energy. They have no such knowledge because that knowledge doesn't exist anywhere as some type of accessible whole. It takes a market with millions upon millions of people, each with their own intimate knowledge of their own needs and capabilities, participating in an open energy marketplace with free prices to coordinate such an unimaginably huge, ever-changing body of knowledge and action. Gas prices have been elevated for several years now due to many reasons, and already the marketplace is responding with the millionth shipped hybrid, high mileage clean diesels, flex-fuel vehicles, and endless number of promising technologies from compressed air vehicles to hydraulic drive trains, all with ZERO input from Washington.
The problem for politicians is that voters often demand a plan, even when letting the market work is best.
OOPS: "The McCain campaign's handpicked RNC convention czar, Doug Goodyear, resigns after Newsweek reports that his firm, the DCI Group, was working to make the government of Myanmar look good." Possible McCain spin: "We wanted a guy who's not afraid of a challenge!" Don't see that flying, though . . . .
posted at 09:39 AM by Glenn Reynolds
JAMES LILEKS: "It’s a good thing to set safety standards, but they also lead to mind-numbing self-righteous PSAs."
MORE ON CELEBRITY CARBON FOOTPRINTS: "How are the chattering classes going to cope with this kind of scrutiny? If you travel frequently by air, even on commecial flights, you can’t escape having a huge carbon footprint. Yet many of the most vocal advocates of cutting emissions — politicians, environmentalists, journalists, scientists — are continually jetting off to campaign events and conferences and workshops. Are they going to change the way they operate? If not, how are they going to persuade anyone else to cut back emissions? (My advice to the peripatetic preachers: Do not try explaining why your work is more important than everyone else’s.)"
JOHN BIRMINGHAM on the dangers of becoming a holodeck junkie. I believe the first story on this -- it's been ages since I read it -- was In The Imagicon, by George Henry Smith, and the neat gimmick was that the reader couldn't tell which world was real and which was fake.
IS IT TIME TO INVADE BURMA? Man, those neocons will stop at nothing.
posted at 06:24 PM by Glenn Reynolds
JOHN KASS: Obama unstained by Chicago Way. "Will Barack Obama's presidential candidacy serve his state and city by finally drawing national attention to the sleazy and corrupt politics of Illinois and Chicago?"
posted at 05:51 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MEGAN MCARDLE ON MIDDLE CLASS DEBT: It's hard to know what this means for the economy; the graph looks bad, but lots of economic graphs look bad without actually indicating bad news. Personally, however, I'm quite averse to debt -- nearly as much so as my wife! -- and I suspect that many people would be happier if they incurred less. I'm not saying everyone should go the full Dave Ramsey route, but if you've ever listened to financial call-in shows like his or Suze Orman's you know that there are people out there who have incurred a lot more debt than any reasonable person should. But is it a national problem? Perhaps not.
THE RETURN OF THE OFFICE AFFAIR: I blame George Bush! (Possibly NSFW).
posted at 04:02 PM by Glenn Reynolds
CAR LUST: The Porsche 928: "It is inconceivable to me that the Porsche 928 doesn't have a more glorious reputation than it does. What was one of the all-time great cars of the 1980s (with some spillover from the 1970s and into the 1990s) is remarkably often regarded as a bloated, fat, ugly failure of a car, somehow barely worthy of the Porsche name. Bah!"
posted at 03:01 PM by Glenn Reynolds
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL looks at judicial reform in Tennessee. (Via Point of Law, which has more). I don't believe, however, that -- despite what the WSJ story suggests -- Tennessee courts are particularly friendly to trial lawyers.
KEVIN DRUM ON OIL PRICES AND DRIVING HABITS: I think it'll take a while to see if there are lasting changes in people's behavior, but it would be a strange thing indeed if people didn't respond to higher gas prices by figuring out ways to use less, either by driving less, driving more slowly, or getting more efficient vehicles. (My brother has retired his truck to occasional haulage duties and is now commuting to work in a Mazda 3, bought used. He was going to sell the truck, but it's got 150K miles on it and is worth very little on the resale market anyway -- he said looking at used car prices suggests that gas hogs are selling at a much steeper discount than a few months ago, and more efficient used cars are selling at a premium.)
LAMAR ALEXANDER'S 7-STEP PLAN for energy independence. He's getting a fairly lukewarm response in the comments so far.
posted at 10:56 AM by Glenn Reynolds
THEY TOLD ME THAT IF GEORGE W. BUSH WERE RE-ELECTED, even mentioning constitutional rights could be banned. And they were right! "Lawyers for Mayor Bloomberg are asking a judge to ban any reference to the Second Amendment during the upcoming trial of a gun shop owner who was sued by the city."
posted at 10:35 AM by Glenn Reynolds
UH OH: "A lethal variant on an ancient disease affecting wheat has spread from its base in Africa to Iran and now threatens vast fields in South Asia, the Middle East and Europe at a time of global food shortages, agricultural specialists warn."
CINDY MCCAIN WON'T RELEASE HER TAX RETURNS: You could try to put a feminist-independence spin on this, I guess, but in the post-Clinton era the notion that a First Lady isn't part of the overall political operation is going to be a tough sell.
SOMETHING I MISSED in the run-up to the North Carolina Primary, from K.C. Johnson: "Obama was, of course, the only presidential candidate of either party to support a DOJ investigation of Mike Nifong. . . . Hillary Clinton remained silent on the issue, even though one of her constituents was among the falsely accused." Bravo for Obama. Boo for Hillary. (Via Tom Maguire).
posted at 09:36 AM by Glenn Reynolds
I CAN'T SAY I'M SURPRISED TO HEAR THIS: "Experts say sex abstinence program doesn't work."
In his victory speech after the North Carolina primary, Sen. Barack Obama said something that is all the more remarkable for how little it has been remarked upon.
In defending his stated intent to meet with America's enemies without preconditions, Sen. Obama said: "I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did."
That he made this statement, and that it passed without comment by the journalists covering his speech indicates either breathtaking ignorance of history on the part of both, or deceit.
Read the whole thing. And also Tom Maguire, who observes: "Think about this - the probable next President of the United States does not know even the broad outlines of the history of American foreign policy from WWII forward and does not know the history of Democratic icons Roosevelt or Truman. " Then there's the fact that he's still hazy about how many states there are in the Union . . . . "I would tell him to check the flag in his lapel, but of course he won't be wearing one."
posted at 08:16 AM by Glenn Reynolds
IN MY EARLIER LAWNMOWER POST, I mentioned the coolness of lawnmowing robots. That subject gets more treatment in Slate, but of course it ends with a robophobic twist: "They have no idea what's coming."
MORE CHINA NEWS: "The United States is offering to help China in its fight against a viral infection that has killed 34 children, including two reported Friday, and sickened thousands of others."
posted at 07:25 AM by Glenn Reynolds
BARACK OBAMA SACKS ADVISER OVER TALKS WITH HAMAS: "One of Barack Obama’s Middle East policy advisers disclosed yesterday that he had held meetings with the militant Palestinian group Hamas – prompting the likely Democratic nominee to sever all links with him." I hope he didn't tell them that Obama secretly supports NAFTA . . . .
It's a good thing for Obama that everybody thinks he's got the nomination locked up, because otherwise all this bad news would do some damage.
Gack. Now Obama is ranting about how he's going to make the corporations give us super fuel-efficient cars, find awesome new sources of oil, make renewable energy affordable, and invent a really delicious fat-free ice cream. However did we manage to get through the first 200 years without Barack Obama to beat some progress out of the corporations that have been holding us back?
To be fair, it's not clear if Obama is talking about "nationalization of the means of production," or something even stupider, but if I were an Obama booster I wouldn't be calling attention to the issue. Instead, I'd try to make sure Obama knew how many states are in America. Baby steps, baby steps . . . .
IF MCCAIN DID THIS: Marc Ambinder comments, "But if John McCain did this -- if he mistakenly said he'd visited 57 states -- the media would be all up in his grill, accusing him of a senior moment. Just saying...."
MORE STILL: Can he spell potato? "This is much worse than anything Dan Quayle ever did." But there's no Obama-is-stupid narrative for it to reinforce.
STILL MORE: Dreaming of empire? "Grand Strategist (and likely Obama supporter) Thomas P.M. Barnett in his seminal work 'The Pentagon’s New Map' urged America to add several states to the nation, perhaps as many as a dozen. . . . I'm shocked that Obama apparently believes in a hyper-muscular 21st century version of Manifest Destiny. Truly, I didn't see that one coming."
FINALLY: Reader Jeff Cauthen emails: "Somebody should ask him to name all 114 US Senators."
posted at 09:57 PM by Glenn Reynolds
MOWING IN PEACE AND QUIET: I've had one of these push-reel mowers since 2004, and it rocks. For anything up to an acre or so I think it's as good as gas, and if you have a bigger lot you might as well go to a riding mower. The only downside is you can't let the grass get too tall, and it doesn't do well with weeds. Although the muscular effort is higher than a gas mower, you're less tired at the end because it's not as noisy. Plus, it doesn't burn any gas. Not as cool as a robot lawn mower, maybe, but a lot cheaper.
posted at 08:56 PM by Glenn Reynolds
NOAH POLLAK: The Lesson of Lebanon. "Islamic supremacist groups, despite their claims to the contrary, cannot be integrated into states or democratic political systems."
When Bush v. Gore was decided in December of 2000, everyone thought it was a hugely significant case. But was Bush v. Gore a significant case after all?
When the votes were actually counted, after the fact, they showed that Bush would have won anyway. Nearly eight years later, it is safe to say that the case has not generated a jurisprudential revolution, even though a panel of Ninth Circuit judges tried to stop the California recall election by relying on Bush v. Gore, only to be overturned by an en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit. The Supreme Court has not cited the case at all, as far as I know, since Bush v. Gore was decided. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a constitutional law case decided in the past eight years that has been referenced less than Bush v. Gore has been referenced.
HMM: In big concession, militia agrees to let Iraqi troops into Sadr City. "Followers of rebel cleric Muqtada al Sadr agreed late Friday to allow Iraqi security forces to enter all of Baghdad's Sadr City and to arrest anyone found with heavy weapons in a surprising capitulation that seemed likely to be hailed as a major victory for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki." It's looking as if Maliki had a better idea of what he was doing than various press-and-pundit types in the United States.
For all the hype about Barack Obama being some new kind of politician, in one respect he is very similar to recent Democratic presidential nominees: He takes criticism very badly, responding to it by getting both defensive and nasty. It is a most unattractive quality.
And it involves passing up more constructive responses, as Michael Totten noted.