In a rare interview with Justice John Paul Stevens, New Yorker writer Jeffrey Toobin asks, “What will the Supreme Court be like without its liberal leader?” Stevens, the Supreme Court’s senior justice, has served 11 years longer than the next most experienced judge and is 13 years older than his closest colleague. He’s considering retirement now that President Obama is in office and could pick a successor. “I have a great admiration for [Obama] and certainly think he’s capable of picking successfully, you know, doing a good job of filling vacancies,” Stevens said, adding he will make up his mind in about a month: “You can say I will retire within the next three years. I’m sure of that.” Stevens also mentioned his aversion to State of the Union addresses, saying he will not, under any circumstances, be seen at another one. “First, they are political occasions, where I don’t think our attendance is required. But also, it comes when I am on break in Florida. To be honest with you, I’d rather be in Florida than in Washington.”
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Virginia Thomas is no ordinary activist. In fact, she’s the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and she has founded a Tea Party-linked group, which could stretch the court’s traditional sense of impartiality. Thomas’ new group is called Liberty Central Inc. It’s a nonprofit lobbying group set to issue score cards for Congress members during the November election. The group and work doesn’t violate ethical rules for judges, but it could potentially be grounds for conflict of interest for her husband. Liberty Central may be a nonpartisan group, but it leans toward conservative principles and its nonprofit title allows it to raise unlimited amounts of corporate money without disclosing its donors. The group is set to launch fully in May.
In Does Hollywood Make You Stupid? I noted, among other things, the release of Green Zone, the latest in Hollywood's long string of anti-Iraq-war movies.
Green Zone opened with a thud, garnering a measly $5 million on its opening night:
Universal's "Green Zone" became the latest Iraq War-themed movie to fall down the box office rabbit hole, debuting to just $5 million in the U.S. and Canada Friday, according to studio estimates.
Meanwhile, also in Wisconsin, a much smaller and racially monochromatic “coffee party” event:
The tea party movement has been criticized for being “racist” because of the alleged lack of minority participation. The Milwaukee coffee party that I attended did not have a single member of any minority group, although I strongly suspect that the alternative lifestyles community was well represented.
ANOTHER COFFEE PARTY ORGANIZER COINCIDENCE: “And here’s some more background on Coffee Party organizer Baxter Swilley. He was John Edward’s MO political director at the time. . . . Oh, then he was spokesperson for the Illinois Lt. Gov, who threatened his girlfriend with a knife.”
This Memo Proves The Runaway Prius Was A HoaxWe first raised doubts about the financial motivations and character of Jim Sikes, the runaway Prius driver, last week. Now there's evidence, in a draft memorandum obtained by Jalopnik from sources familiar with the investigation, that Sikes perpetrated a hoax.
According to the memo (first referenced by the AP, but below, exclusively in its entirety), prepared for members of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, a thorough investigation of the Prius in question revealed that, while the brake pads on the car were worn down, technicians from both Toyota and NHTSA were unable to duplicate the unintended acceleration Sikes claims.
Although unable to duplicate the unintended acceleration, investigators were, however, able to test the brake override system installed on the Prius on both the Sikes car and a test vehicle of the same year. The memo states:
Every time the technician placed the gas pedal to the floor and the brake pedal to the floor the engine shut off and the car immediately started to slow down. NHTSA and Toyota field representatives reported the same results with the 2008 Prius owned by Mr. Sikes.
Unsafe" LHC To Be Shut Down For 12 MonthsIt was only two weeks ago that we were getting excited about the Large Hadron Collider preparing to smash some serious atoms, but now it's been announced that it will be shut down for a year for safety issues. Why?
The problem, according to those in charge, is that the LHC is too powerful for its own good; if it were to run at full power, it's possible that it could tear itself apart.
MICHAEL BARONE: The Coffee Party Miniphenomenon.
On Wednesday, the day of Barack Obama’s appearance in St. Louis, 2,225 showed up for a tea party rally in St. Charles County and 2,300 participated in a protest outside a Democratic fundraiser in downtown St. Louis. In contrast, 30 people attended a coffee party gathering in St. Louis on Saturday.
The numbers tell you something. Something that the CNN producers might want to take note of.
“Kings” is the best TV series I have seen in years. The writing is great, but it is Ian McShane that makes this series.
King Silas Benjamin (Ian McShane) is the well-entrenched king of Gilboa, whose flag bears a divine butterfly symbol. Gilboa has its capital in Shiloh, a clean new city that is unspoiled by time or litter. Silas must deal with the tensions rising between Gilboa and neighboring nation Gath. When several prisoners of war are taken, a young soldier, David Shepherd (Chris Egan),
defies orders and crosses enemy lines to save them. Unknown to David, the soldier he saves is Jack Benjamin (Sebastian Stan), the son of the king. From that day forth, David’s life will never be the same.
A red kite killed by colliding with a turbine in Spain, where up to a million birds a year may be dying in this way. The same hills that provide lift for soaring birds offer heavily subsidised profits for wind farm developers, writes Christopher Booker.
After 10 years, billions of dollars, and absolutely zero progress, Obama is proposing rules that will make it easier for schools to make it look like their minorities are doing better when in fact they are not
About that state tax refund you are wainting for. You'll just have to keep waiting a few months. By the way, April 15 is just a little over a month away. Don't be late, or we will penalize the crap out of you
Line of light illuminates Hadrian's Wall - and history
A "line of light" shadowed the remains of Hadrian's Wall as several thousand volunteers held beacons at 820-foot intervals. The first torch was lit at Segedunum Roman Fort in Wallsend, North Tyneside, at about 6pm on Saturday.
The final beacon was ignited at Bowness-on-Solway, on Cumbria's west coast, about an hour later, with the entire "line of light" remaining illuminated for about half an hour. Hadrian's Wall Heritage organized the event.
Built by Roman legions and completed in AD 136, Hadrian's Wall ran from the River Tyne to Solway Firth and marked the northern limit of Roman control in Britain. Six feet high, 8 feet thick and 73 and a half miles long, bristling with forts and Roman soldiers, the wall was meant to isolate the islanders of the north who had not surrendered.
But they would not stay put. They broke through the wall, and when a second wall was built, they broke through that. Eventually, with their empire under attack, the Romans abandoned Britain.
Brits never forgot that they loved freedom. Over the next two thousand years they would face invaders at least fifteen times. Even when defeated by Normans, they successfully resurrected their liberties, customs and independence.
There are several reasons why some people still don't understand the fiscal disaster that Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are visiting on our nation. The first is the sheer enormity of the numbers involved. It is hard for anyone really to comprehend the difference between "billion" and "trillion." The second is that we have been hearing about spending increases, deficits, and so on for so long that it isn't immediately obvious why the current crisis is different. We conservatives criticized the Bush administration and the Republican Congress for excessive spending; now we're criticizing the Democrats for the same thing. What's the difference? The third factor, as usual, is deliberate media myopia. The mainstream press could educate voters about what is going on, but prefers not to.
Pictures, as always, are better than words. Like this chart from Investors Business Daily:
The failing business would be the New York Times Company, which, like most newspapers, has fallen on hard times and laid off many employees. The greedy executives include Chairman Pinch Sulzburger:
Top executives at the beleaguered New York Times Company reaped hefty rewards last year, with Chairman Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger more than doubling his total compensation to $6 million. CEO Janet Robinson got even more, reaping $6.3 million, a 31.9 percent hike.
The increases come against a backdrop of declining ad revenue, layoffs, frozen pension plans, unpaid vacations and a 5 percent pay cut for most of the rank-and-file workers last year.
When Dorothy and her friends finally reach Oz, they present themselves to the almighty Wizard, only to eventually discover that he is just an illusion maintained by a charlatan hiding behind a curtain. This seems eerily akin to to the state of Keynesian economics. It does not matter that Keynesianism isn’t working for Obama. It does not matter that it didn’t work for Bush, or for Japan in the 1990s, or for Hoover and Roosevelt in the 1930s.
In the ultimate triumph of theory over reality, the Keynesians say all that matters is the macroeconomic model behind the curtain showing that more government spending leads to more jobs and growth. Consider the recent report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which claimed that Obama’s stimulus created at least one million jobs. As Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation noted:
CBO’s calculations are not based on actually observing the economy’s recent performance. Rather, they used an economic model that was programmed to assume that stimulus spending automatically creates jobs — thus guaranteeing their result. …The problem here is obvious. Once CBO decided to assume that every dollar of government spending increased GDP…, its conclusion that the stimulus saved jobs was pre-ordained.
LONDON TIMES: Does Barack Obama give a damn about us?
“The paradox is Europeans think Obama is one of them, that he ran [for office] on repairing American relations with them — damaged by Bush and the war in Iraq — and now feel he doesn’t care about them.”
UPDATE: Reader Anne Butzen writes:
Had to chuckle when I saw that quote from Mr. Foxman. I receive fundraising letters from the ADL now and then, and always marvel at his harangues – to read him, you’d think that Evangelical Christians were the greatest threat to world Jewry today. So this must have come as a terrible shock to him. If it actually causes him to wake up to the real world, though, then it may be a blessing in disguise.
ARE SOME RACES MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS? “How will the Obama administration respond to a formal complaint in the wake of serious black-on-Asian violence at South Philadelphia High School? . . . According to Asian advocates, the whole Philadelphia district has been plagued by harassment and violence towards Asian students for many years. At SPHS, the assaults have occurred in the cafeteria line, in bathrooms, in stairwells, on school buses, and elsewhere. The incidents ran the gamut from verbal abuse, physical intimidation, blocking doorways, cutting in line ahead of Asian students in the cafeteria, use of anti-Asian racial epithets, and more serious physical abuse including shoving, kicking, and punching—sometimes at the hands of more than one assailant. Advocates have accused school officials, including school Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and Principal LaGreta Brown (both black) of indifference to the plight of Asian students in their charge.”