Sunday, March 14, 2010

How are W.C. Fields and Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens alike?

On the whole, they prefer to be somewhere else

Considering pending death, the comedian was quoted as saying, "I'd rather be living in Philadelphia." For Justice Stevens, death is not on his mind, but retirement is.
CS - Justice Stevens: Id Rather Be in Florida
J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

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.”

How are W.C. Fields and Supreme Court Justice William Stevens alike?

You don't read something like this every day ...

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' wife founds Tea Party group

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.

Perhaps against my better judgment, here's a post that may affect some of us ...

In praise of the middle-aged man

With changing times, the literature of the male midlife crisis has become richer and riskier than ever before

Dear BHO: Don't call us, we'll call you

Dems think they'll be better campaigning alone, than with the prez ...

Someone will probably call this racial

A composite image of Russ Carnahan, Earl Pomeroy, Baron Hill, John Barrow, and Allen Boyd.
Among the Democrats unenthusiaistic about riding the president's coattails this year are, from left to right, Russ Carnahan, Earl Pomeroy, Baron Hill, John Barrow, and Allen Boyd.

Moderate House Democrats facing potentially difficult reelections this fall have a message for President Barack Obama: Don’t call us; we’ll call you.

Interviews with nearly a dozen congressional Democrats on the ballot this year reveal a decided lack of enthusiasm for having Obama come to their districts to campaign for them — the most basic gauge of a president’s popularity.

Some cite the president’s surely busy schedule. Others point to a practice of not bringing in national politicians to appear on their behalf. While these members aren’t necessarily attempting to distance themselves from the administration, there is nevertheless a noticeable reluctance to embrace the president among a certain class of incumbent, now that Obama’s approval rating has fallen to a new low — 46 percent in the latest Gallup survey.

Read more:

They are slow learners.

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.

"The American people are getting tired of this crap," Fill in the blank for the antecedent.

Tea Parties vs coffee Parties cont


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.”


Pelosi confident House will pass healthcare bill...
Dem Whip: Not enough votes...
Linsdey Graham To Axlerod: American People 'Tired Of Crap'...
Demand for Obama wanes among Dem moderates...
Gibbs: By next Sunday, ObamaCare will be the law of the land

Seeing music...From Paris

Wassily Kandinsky and I share a condition that affects 1 in 2000. Tomorrow I'll confess the condition to you. I promise you, it's not contagious. Until then, here's one of Kandinsky's early works (Fugue). Doesn't it remind you of Bill's recent post?

As we reported last week, it was a scam

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.

Europeans screw it up big time

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.

Interesting patterns


Total Solar Eclipses, 2001-2025

Want to know where you can get a glimpse of the ultra-rare total solar eclipse? This map shows exactly when and where every eclipse in the next fifteen years will be visible—and why you should move to Memphis

This will not make Al happy: British regulator: Gov’t AGW claims “not based on solid science”

World's Best Beaches and Pretty Girls...From Paris

Jordan Simon has written an interesting piece, describing "lush volcanic beaches...crushed coral the consistency of confectioners sugar...sassy, sultry night life.. exuding sea scent and sensuality." For a moment, I thought Jordan was writing a bodice ripper, but soon realized she was describing what she believed to be the world's 'sexiest beaches.' Of course, Malibu and Ipanema made the 10 top ten. Not surprising, so did St Tropez. I looked through beautiful photos of those beaches. What I have concluded is that none of the splashy photos of those exotic beaches describes why they remain in the top 10. For me, a black and white photo of Brigitte Bardot and sheet music describes why those beaches remain a sensual choice.

Stelvio Pass in the Italian Alps, named one of the best driving roads in the world by Top Gear

Barone calls out CNN for covering the 30 and not the 4,500

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.

Here’s to the Duck

“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),

David Shepherd

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.

What a Pill!...From Paris

If you're a parent, you've been here. That frightening place called a toddler tantrum. Sometimes without reason or warning, the complete collapse into screaming and unreasoned behavior. I remember visiting my son's Montessori school one afternoon, and noticing a gorgeous little 3 year old girl sitting on the grass in full throttle tantrum. One of the Directors approached me and said "It's happening so frequently, we're recommending she be considered for Ritalin."
"What? I reeled back. "I always believed that the full time job responsibilities of a toddler were to be unreasonable and throw tantrums. That doesn't need a pill to fix. That just needs a year to fix." Today's WashPost has a book review written with great sympathy for parents who chose to medicate their children. Of course there are lots of worthy reasons and complex issues involved, which I don't mean to diminish. I'm just suggesting that I prefer the good ole' days when my mother would comment after she witnessed a child in a tantrum "What a pill" and not "Take this pill".

Wind turbines: 'Eco-friendly' - but not to eagles

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

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.

Quick Hits

Most have come to question the evidence surrounding global warming. Then there's Time magazine, which has apparently found the super-mega-ultra big gulp of kool-aid

Scientists discover evidence of massive climate shift that almost wiped out Norse Iceland and Greenland. Which is ridiculous since we all know Climate Change began 40.04 years Before Clinton

(Washington Post)
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

(Daily Mail)
"Soviet power was the opposite of faith in God. It was faith in the greatness of humanity and in the perfectibility of human society. The atheists cannot honestly disown it."

(USA Today)
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

Happy Birthday

One hundred and thirty one years ago, the greatest physicist in history was born. Happy birthday to Albert Einstein

Hadrian’s Wall shines for half an hour

Line of light illuminates Hadrian's Wall - and history


Image: Telegraph

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.

Can they be?

The Democrats Must Be Stopped

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:


Greedy Executives Loot Failing Company

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.

Models again. Just like the GW. Ignore reality and failure is assured.

Keynesian Economics and the Wizard of Oz

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.

A lot of people have buyer’s remorse.

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.

“We are shocked and stunned at the Administration’s tone and public dressing down of Israel,” Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman said in a statement.

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.

A litmus test for Holder and Obama?

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.”

May God Help US if she is right

Pelosi confident House will pass healthcare bill...