Okay. Let’s discuss the devastation of an eco-system, an economy and a damn pretty place. Why is Obama hanging all his hopes on BP and not turning to every oil company who has had experience in capping and containing oil spills? There’s certainly enough of them. This could turn from catastrophe to triumph for him. Even the liberal blogs are asking these questions. He’s acting more like an “oil man” than that “oil man” who last resided in the White House. Someone illuminate me.More
I’ve spent the entire morning congratulating myself on not having watched Lost. Does that make me shallow? (If not, how can I become shallow?) I stopped watching after the first six episodes when it became clear to me (as a certified professional maker-up of things) that the conclusion could only be 1) it was all a dream or 2) everyone was dead. The only thing that would have redeemed it is if the entire cast had awakened in bed with Bob Newhart.More
… I’m supposed to open a conversation about something conservative here, then wait for our hungry acolytes to reply. Is that right?More
Not just yet. But North Korea’s sinking of a South Korean vessel raises yet another round of grim questions about how long Pyongyang can perpetuate its national hell without lurching into open, general hostilities. What to do? Read Michael Magan at Foreign Policy‘s outstanding Shadow Government blog.
Update: Outside the Beltway’s Doug Mataconis gives pause.More
I’ve managed to watch exactly zero minutes and zero seconds of LOST, the supposedly gripping series which has, apparently, now come to an end. Lest I seem anti-TV, let me emphasize that I’ve made time in my life for The X-Files, Deadwood, Project Runway, and many other shows great and small. I’m susceptible to hype. I’m inclined to trust my friends’ judgments. But I never felt even a shiver of longing to dip into Lost. And with reactions like this coming in from trusted sources, I’m feeling certain of my final verdict on the end of Lost: no big loss.More
So I spent most of the day at the Maker Faire in San Mateo. Sort of one part geek convention, one part Burning Man, one part Renaissance Faire. But it’s sort of a cool new movement in the culture, the Do It Yourself (DIY) movement.
What I liked the most about it was the sheer joy the exhibitors had in busting open stuff that you’re really not supposed to bust open — a propane tank, a computer, an iPod, a barbeque grill, a bike — and “fixing” it, modifying, making it cooler, or better, or just more fun.More
By way of an introduction to the rest of Ricochet’s intrepid contributors, I’d like to share my delight with the LA Times. It always lightens my day. It took but three short minutes to get a couple of laughs on this dreary Monday morn.
I hooted with when I saw a below-the-fold 10 paragraph story that “Survivor” producer and chief suspect in his wife’s murder, Bruce Beresford-Redman, has just waltzed right back into his comfy LA lifestyle. No problems at the border for him….even after they took his passport. See, we don’t stop anyone illegally leaving Mexico, even those polluting our society with reality TV. And how about that pathetically incompetetent Mexican justice system? All this after the Times lauded Mexican President Felipe Calderon for lambasting the U.S. to the standing ovation of congressional Dems.More
According to the Jerusalem Post, a member of the Saudi religious police found himself on the receiving end of a righteous pounding from a lady who is evidently fed up with this whole repression bit. A member of the euphemistically-titled Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice approached the lady and a man not related to her, as the two were seen together at an amusement park in violation of the law. The Saudi daily Okaz reports that when the religious policeman asked the couple for some identification, the young man promptly collapsed, at which point our heroine began punching the absolute sharia out of the religious cop, necessitating his trip to the hospital.
I saw an interesting indicator of growing weariness with this religious police business years ago when I was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A religious cop evidently thought a woman was showing a bit too much wrist from beneath her cover and thwacked her hand with a stick. She dutifully pulled her sleeve lower and waited until he turned his back to her before displaying the single-fingered universal sign of defiance. While it elicited an appreciative chuckle from my colleagues and me, it was a very risky gesture for a woman in such a society.More
Okay, so I did that thing where I forwarded an email and the chain went with it. I had written something dopey — and a little snotty — early in the chain. I feel pretty bad about it. Do I try to apologize? Ignore it and hope no one bothered to scroll down through boring emails to see the one incriminating one? No state secrets involved. Just might make my child’s teacher think I’m a little selfish. *Sigh* Not the best Monday morning.More
I know you’re all wondering what’s new in Turkey. This is the big news. I also know it makes little sense to anyone outside of Turkey, so let me explain the two key points. If you remember these, you’ll be able to fake your way through any dinner party. Or Senate hearing, for that matter.
1) The AKP has been able to dominate Turkish politics since 2002 not because everyone here loves them so much, but because there’s been no credible opposition. The reason there’s been no credible opposition is that the main opposition party, the CHP, has been under the control of the elderly, authoritarian, singularly uninspiring Deniz Baykal. Think John Kerry’s populist touch mixed with John Edwards’ feel for fine ethical judgments. The big news — huge, from the Turkish perspective, although I’m aware it barely registered outside of Turkey — is that somehow, by means of a devilishly ingenious and typically Turkish conspiracy, Baykal’s enemies have finally forced him out. They caught him on tape with his mistress. Who caught him? Beats me. It’s not the kind of thing anyone claims credit for, really. But they got him. And he’s out. No, I haven’t seen the tape: The man is 71 years old, for God’s sake, that’s the last thing I want to watch.More
Dinner at our place. Kinda blah. Kinda nutritious. I wish I was the type to whip up Sunday roasts, but, alas.More
…in this case, it’s on to something. Sort of, but worth thinking about. Virginia Heffernan, who it’s been scientifically proven is wrong about everything, is wrong about what she frets about in the Times today, in her article “The Death of the Open Web,” which is a typical piece of NYT silliness.
She’s worried that with more stuff going behind a paywall — a lot of News Corp’s titles, for instance — and she frets about the app universe, especially Apple’s, for its restrictions and censorship and general all-around supervised play.More
we become habituated to viewing all information — literature, science, journalism, scholarship, whatever — as something to be “strip-mined [for] relevant content” (p. 164), and rather than thereby supposedly refining our ability to recognize (in classic marketplace of ideas fashion) good information from bad, in fact our capacity to make learned judgments is physically undermined.
I had picked up a load in Chicago and was headed south on I-65 between Gary, IN and Indianapolis. The first real winter storm had blasted through the area the previous day, with winds so strong it had knocked over other 18 wheelers. Luckily, I had a heavy load in the trailer and was less vulnerable to the blustery conditions. Driving through a windmill farm just south of Gary, I noticed offhand that the gusts were making the turbines spin at a very rapid clip. At about the same time, another trucker keyed his CB mic and slowly drawled, “I’ll bet that wind would die down if someone would climb up there and turn them fans off.” Such wonderful dry humor! It seems that a frequent problem of listening to CB traffic is trying to keep from shooting coffee out one’s nose at comments like that. But the remark highlighted the fact that different people can look at the same objective data and reach dramatically different conclusions.
Some people look at a staggering debt, a government that displays weakness abroad while wielding a heavy Orwellian hand at home, and their hearts go aflutter with the fulfillment of a progressive utopia. To other people, in the circles I frequent, an alarm has sounded. Oddly enough, many people in that great swath of territory known derisively as “fly-over country” are not terribly well disposed to having their lives, health care, light bulbs, toilets, houses, vehicles, energy, food, firearms, religious freedom, earnings, news sources and more, taxed, regulated, prohibited, curtailed and otherwise micromanaged. They are not citizens of the world. They are Americans, free people with an indomitable spirit. Sporting a large “Don’t Tread On Me” flag in my truck, and a POW/MIA license plate on the bumper, I’m honored to count myself in their number.More
Judging by the careful and qualified reactions of the left-friendly Julian Sanchez and Dave Weigel, the answer might just be yes. It’s a truism nowadays that everything wrong with American culture is driving us deeper and deeper into narrow, self-selecting, self-congratulatory cubbyholes. There’s no doubt that the distinctions among our political alternatives are, like our tongues, getting sharper and sharper. But at the same time, the old battle lines are shifting as circumstances change and fertile new ideas spread and interact. Our national arguments are becoming less productive in some ways and more productive in others. And that’s not a wash; the phenomenon points toward some of the productive political ground of the next several years — if not beyond.More
“This book,” Mark Steyn writes in America Alone, “is about…the larger forces…that have left Europe…enfeebled….The key factors are: 1. Demographic decline; 2. The unsustainability of the advanced Western social-democratic state; 3. Civilizational exhaustion.” Today, four years after the publication of America Alone, the New York Times confirms the enfeeblement of Europe in every particular. Excerpts:
In Athens, Aris Iordanidis, 25, an economics graduate working in a bookstore, resents paying high taxes to finance Greece’s bloated state sector and its employees. “They sit there for years drinking coffee and chatting on the telephone and then retire at 50 with nice fat pensions,” he said. “As for us, the way things are going we’ll have to work until we’re 70….”
We’re all familiar with the decline in quality, relative to market choices, associated with government-supplied goods and services. But who could have predicted this?
High school students and college-age adults have been complaining to District officials that the free condoms the city has been offering are not of good enough quality and are too small and that getting them from school nurses is “just like asking grandma or auntie.”
That’s what Simon Schama sees coming:
Objectively, economic conditions might be improving, but perceptions are everything and a breathing space gives room for a dangerously alienated public to take stock of the brutal interruption of their rising expectations. What happened to the march of income, the acquisition of property, the truism that the next generation will live better than the last? The full impact of the overthrow of these assumptions sinks in and engenders a sense of grievance that “Someone Else” must have engineered the common misfortune.
Whatever happened to Reddy Kilowatt? I have indelible childhood memories of the friendly power company mascot extolling the virtues of electric power on radio and television. Reddy’s purpose was to encourage all and sundry to purchase more of the reliable, inexpensive electricity being produced down at the power plant: Capitalism 101. That was before green […]
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