Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ross Douthat Doesn't Like Dynasty Either

And he expresses his distaste with much better writing. Having quoted Ruth Marcus' WaPo column, Douthat writes,
This is, of course, a pretty good distillation of the case against dynastic politics: Namely, that it transforms the business of republican self-government into a soap opera...This sort of politics is entertaining to write about, which is one reason why fantasy sagas and Shakespeare are generally more interesting than Washington novels. But after twenty years with the same two families in the White House - which nearly became twenty-four (or twenty-eight) - for a political columnist to endorse a pointless escalation of dynastic politics because it fulfills the fairy-tale mythos her generation spun around a mediocre, tragically-murdered President and his good-looking family isn't "girly"; it's an embarrassment.

On a complete tangent, I thought George R.R. Martin's Ice and Fire novels were pretty marginal. And a big contributor to their mediocrity was, in my opinion, their focus on politics, which I found superficial and unconvincing. But like I say, that's a complete tangent.

(h/t Instapundit)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Kennedy Considering Senate Seat in NY

AP reports Caroline Kennedy is inquiring about replacing Sen. Clinton as U.S. Senator from New York.


Please, please, PLEASE: No more dynasties! No more Kennedy's, Clintons, or Bushes. No more Rockefellers or Roosevelts either! This is America. These family dynasties and cult-of-personalities undercut our democracy. Caroline Kennedy is no more qualified to be Senator than Hillary Clinton was. And neither of them is any more qualified to be President than George W. Bush was in 2000.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

U.S. Attorneys and Politics

David Kocieniewski wrote a piece Nov 18 on U.S. Attorney Chris Christie of New Jersey. Interesting article about Christie, but this para caught my attention:
Mr. Christie's resignation was essentially a foregone conclusion, as President-elect Barack Obama, a Democrat, was almost certain to replace him after being sworn in.

Didn't we just spend two years hearing the Democrats complain that Pres. Bush and Attorney General Gonzalez had fired certain U.S. Attorneys for political reasons? Where's the outrage now, when a U.S. Attorney resigns in part because he's about to get fired anyway, for no reason other than he doesn't belong to the President's political party?

Great Reporting

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) has sent a letter to the NY Times, challenging David Kocieniewski's reporting on Mr. Rangel's ethical troubles with Nabors Industries. The Times prints the letter, along with footnoted responses from Kocieniewski.

More reporting like that, please! The original article, along with the response to Mr. Rangel's letter, is a masterpiece. That's the sort of journalism I go looking for.

(h/t Instapundit)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sec. of State Clinton and the Emoluments Clause

Eugene Volokh thinks the Emolument Clause of the US Constitution might bar Sen. Clinton's appointment as Sec. of State. Mickey Kaus notes the Clinton team has smugly dismissed the Emoluments Clause, and wonders what kind of diplomat she'll really make.

I feel like indulging in a little conspiracy theory today: How do we know President-Elect Obama (the Harvard law grad and former Constitutional law prof) wasn't aware of the Emoluments Clause when he offered Sen. Clinton the job? If he had remembered it, what would that mean?

Lending Towards Depression

On the way into work this morning I heard a radio advertisement for a lending company. The ad bragged that they could write a home equity loan for 97% of home value. They also bragged that the recent government bailout was providing them with all the capital they needed.

Isn't this the exact sort of loans that got us in the current mess? Why hasn't Congress tightened lending standards already? What are they waiting for, Christmas?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

California Cross Stomping

Video here.

Two thoughts:
1. The woman should never have brought religion into the debate. Her values might be informed by her religion (good), but she shouldn't be using her religion or its symbols as a rhetorical club.

2. What absolute cretins. They'd already won the debate when she felt she had to resort to religious symbols, they didn't need to stomp on the symbols of her faith.

Instapundit sez "at least it wasn't a Koran." I know he's being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but it doesn't matter to me what religious symbol she had used. Religion in this context is an ad hoc argument, and such shouldn't be allowed in political debate.

(h/t Insta)

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Love This Guy

Tom Coburn on President-Elect Obama's historic victory:
The unmistakable mandate from the 2008 elections is one that applies to both parties in equal measure--it's time to define a "new kind of politics" not just with our words but with our actions. If anything, a "new kind of politics" means elected officials putting aside their careerist aspirations in pursuit of solutions that work.

And then some tough love for his own party:
What led the Republican Party to this day was not the application of conservative principles but the abandonment of those principles while hypocritically appealing to those tenets. The past few years have shown a strong correlation between electoral success and fidelity to limited government conservatism. The more Republicans abandoned conservatism, the more voters abandoned Republicans.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One comment on election day

I hope for one of two things...
1. Whoever wins, wins by an easily proven margin.


2. Sen. Obama wins the electoral count, but Sen. McCain wins the popular vote.

The latter would really only be possible if McCain enjoys an astoundingly close race in large states like California and New York. In other words, not gonna happen. But if it did, I will spend the next four years throwing it in the faces of the Bush haters.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ongoing Earmark Battle

The Seattle Times has a great story on earmark-related corruption in the 2008 defense spending bill.
But time after time, Congress exploited loopholes or violated those rules, a Seattle Times investigation has found. An in-depth examination of the 2008 defense bill found $8.5 billion in earmarks. Of those, 40 percent — $3.5 billion — were hidden.

(h/t Instapundit)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bush and Palin

Read through the transcript from the Biden-Palin debate. Who does Palin remind you of?

"May I call you Joe," "Darn right," "Bless their hearts."

Then read what Peggy Noonan of the WSJ said about Palin.
She is not a person of thought but of action. Interviews are about thinking, about reflecting, marshaling data and integrating it into an answer. Debates are more active, more propelled—they are thrust and parry. They are for campaigners. She is a campaigner. Her syntax did not hold, but her magnetism did.

I'm done with action-only people. I want action AND thinking. I don't want any more "campaigners". Such people lack persuasion skills. And you cannot govern a nation of 300 million without persuasion.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paulson Plan One Week Later

Larry Kudlow argues the Paulson plan is good for the economy, good for the financial markets, and good for taxpayers.
I don't think a lot of folks understand this win-win scenario. Let me repeat: The taxpayers own the bonds the Treasury buys; the taxpayers own the cash flows generated by the bonds; the taxpayers own the profits when the bonds are sold; and the taxpayers benefit when the profits and cash flows are used to pay-down government debt.

The troubled assets purchased by the Treasury right now are likely to be very under-priced because of the chaotic and frozen market conditions. But over time, through monthly cash-flow payments or through loan sales, taxpayers will get all their money back and in great likelihood a handsome profit.

The troubled assets are underpriced because they're troubled. They're based on bad loans. Many of them have or will default unless the borrowers get some kind of relief.

Thus there's no guarantee that those assets will appreciate as Kudlow predicts. Of if they do appreciate, it will be because the Democrats in Congress get their way and vote a huge subsidy for the foolish homeowners that bought more house than they could afford. Either way, there's a decent chance the Paulson plan will in fact result in a government bailout for someone: Wall Street, unwise borrowers, or both.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


When Sec. Paulson first introduced the $700 billion bailout package, critics focused on the lack of oversight. But in the days since, all we've heard from Congress is complaints about executive compensation and home mortgage assistance.

It seems very odd to me that the same people who created this mess out of shortsightedness are now the ones responsible for fixing it. These are the same hacks that made it possible for Fannie and Freddie to run uncontrolled. They blocked any meaningful GSE reform. They also blocked any regulation of the derivatives market, for fear such regulation would impact the GSE's. Now they want to prop up all those homeowners that buried themselves in risky mortgages.

And lest we forget, these are the same legislators that thought they could prevent future securities scandals with Sarbanes-Oxley.

Can we please get back to the serious issues? Like oversight on the biggest government bailout in world history?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Further Adventures with Struts 2

I'm in the process of reading Struts 2 in Action, by Brown, Davis, and Stanlick. Found this little gem on page 54:
In this section, we're going to introduce the ActionSupport class, a convenience class that provides default implementations of the Action interface and several other useful interfaces, giving us such things as data validation and localization of error messages...The framework doesn't force you to use this, but it's a good idea to use it when learning the framework. In fact, it's pretty much always a good idea to use it unless you have reason not to.

The Struts 2 project just doesn't get it. Why must I implement an interface in order to get data validation and i18n? Or more specifically, why aren't these features modeled as services that can be injected, rather than interfaces which must be stubbed?

Seriously, why must an action implement ValidationAware? Struts 2 has added support so I can name my action methods anything I want, why can't they do the same for the validate() method? This principle can also be applied to the error messages: they can be retrieved dynamically from various getErrors() and getMessages() method.

It looks to me like Struts 2 is trying to glom onto Spring's IoC buzzwords without actually adhering to the underlying principles. Of course, if they actually adhered to dependency injection and convention-over-configuration, they'd be pretty much identical to SpringMVC.

Monday, September 22, 2008

More McCain Train Wreck

Sen. McCain has announced his choice to replace SEC chair Chris Cox: Andrew Cuomo. Ay chihuahuah.

(h/t Kausfiles)

The Impending McCain Train Wreck

Sen. McCain is ratcheting up the rhetoric on illegal immigration. In Pennsylvania today, McCain said...
I believe we have to have a commitment -- because it's a national-security issue as well as an economic issue as well as a humanitarian issue that we enact comprehensive-immigration reform.

Nothing about "securing the borders first". He apparently thinks Sarah Palin is enough to win the support of anti-illegal-immigration conservatives. More importantly, he's still demagoguing the anti-illegal position as being anti-immigration:
This nation is stronger for the infusion of fresh blood and vitality that has come to this country in wave after wave," he said. "Everyone that has come to this country has enriched this nation, including our Hispanic citizenry.

Only the bigots are saying we should stop all immigration from Central and South America. And there just aren't that many bigots. The real opponents of comprehensive-immigration reform are those who worry about the effects of a lawless border. These opponents agree that uncontrolled borders are in fact a major " well as a humanitarian issue." But they argue that the way to solve it is to solve it, by enhancing border security and improving immigration policy and procedures. Sen. McCain wants to ignore the problem. He wants to make the problem disappear by granting amnesty to the millions of illegal immigrants in the country now, but without securing the borders to insure the problem doesn't repeat itself in a few years.

UPDATE: In an interview with Univision, Sen. McCain promised to introduce comprehensive immigration reform on his first day in office as President.

To paraphrase Gov. Palin, what should we make of a candidate who promises his party he'll secure the borders first, and then tells Univision he'll push his original comprehensive reform on day one?

(h/t Kaus)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Disaster Entitlement

On the way home I listened to an NPR story on Bolivar Peninsula. Several hundred residents remain on the peninsula after Hurricane Ike all but obliterated their town. They're afraid the government won't let them return to their property later.

The story takes pains to mention that some of the residents are living on land originally settled by their parents in 1920. That would be eleven years after the great 1909 hurricane killed 600 people in the same area.

Why do these people want to return to this property? Yes they've been through a horrible experience, but do they not realize that, if they stay, sooner or later they'll get hit by another tropical storm, and then another, and another?!

More importantly, why are we spending federal dollars to underwrite their decision? If they want to choose a "coastal" way of life, that's entirely their choice. But why do federal taxpayers have to pay for it?

McCain and Short Selling

Sen. McCain says he'd fire SEC chief Christopher Cox for having "betrayed the public's trust" (WSJ).

Fair enough. In hindsight there seem to be plenty of steps that could have been taken to eliminate risk in the sub-prime and derivatives markets. But that's not what's got McCain angry:
Sen. McCain said the SEC allowed abusive short-selling, or bearish bets on a company's stock, to turn "our markets into a casino."

Sen. McCain also criticized Mr. Cox for eliminating a trading rule that acted as a speed bump to prevent short-seller from pounding a stock. The rule, known as the uptick, said traders could only place short-sales following a higher bid in a stock price. The SEC eliminated the rule in July 2007, and market participants have been urging the SEC to reinstate the rule ever since. Mr. Cox has said the rule is ineffective today since markets have changed since it went into effect around the Great Depression.

Short selling didn't cause the current crisis. Yes it's hurt, and it's probably a good idea to reign it in, but we already have rules on the books for dealing with it. Chairman Cox is right, reinstating the uptick rule won't materially affect the credit markets, which is what's causing the failures at Bear, Lehmann, Merrill, and Morgan. But as always short-selling is a convenient target when times are bad, and Sen. McCain apparently believes he can get a political bounce from aggressively attacking both Chairman Cox and the bears.

McCain also supports creation of a Resolution Trust Corp-like entity to isolate the bad paper currently clogging financial markets. First suggested by Brady, Ludwig, and Volcker yesterday, it sounds like a plausible solution. What's not clear is whether he agrees this entity should be temporary, lasting long enough to resolve the current crisis and then disbanding, or whether he favors a new permanent agency with broad regulatory power.

Once again, he sounds like a johnny-come-lately. Never mind that Sen. Obama has been every bit as much blind-sided by this week's events, I kind of expected Team McCain to keep more of a level head. Talking tough about short selling and (possibly) proposing huge new federal bureaucracy right in the middle of a crisis doesn't recommend his economic expertise.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Coolness and Inexperience

Richard Cohen of WaPo wants to know why Sen. Obama doesn't attack Gov. Palin's inexperience head-on:

[Everyone knows] McCain picked someone so unqualified she has been hiding from the media because a question to her is like kryptonite to what's-his-name. But did Obama say anything like that? Here are his exact words: "Well, you know, I'll let you ask John McCain when he's on ABC." Boy, Palin will never get over that.

Personally I think Sen. Obama is smart. He knows he doesn't have any more significant experience than Gov. Palin. If he got too aggressive with these attacks, he'd be exposed to the exact same type of attacks from Sen. McCain. Those attacks haven't stuck until now, largely due to Sen. Obama's charisma. But once he gets aggressive, the charisma doesn't work as well.

Here's what I don't get: Sen. Obama can see his weakness, why can't his supporters?
(h/t RCP)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Action-based Web Frameworks

I'm in the process of grokking Struts 2. It's basically what I remember in Struts 1, with the addition of some nice features like annotations.

But I'm struck by the clunky action-view configuration. Yes annotations help, but why does Struts still want to map action results to views at all? Should this be a programming rather than a configuration issue? Consider the following trivial Struts example (taken from Starting Struts 2):
class MyAction {
public void String execute() throws Exception {
if( myLogicWorked() ) {
return "success";
} else {
return "error";

The result strings ("success" and "error") then need to be mapped to specific views. Here's how it'd be done in struts.xml:
<action name="my" class="com.fdar.infoq.MyAction" >
<result name="error">error.jsp</result>

Contrast this with the Grails/Rails "convention instead of configuration" philosophy:

def myAction = {
// do stuff

Grails automatically maps myAction to myAction.gsp. If the result of my action requires a different view, I simply program it that way:

def myAction = {
// do stuff
render( view:"someOtherView.gsp")

I guess the Struts team thinks it's a good idea to keep the action-view mappings in configuration. But I don't know why. I can't ever imagine a non-programmer diving into struts.xml to remap application flow. It seems like an unnecessary complication.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Headlong Rush to Solar

The NY Times reports California is planning two large solar plants:
The plants will cover 12.5 square miles of central California with solar panels, and in the middle of a sunny day will generate about 800 megawatts of power, roughly equal to the size of a large coal-burning power plant or a small nuclear plant.

Sounds great. Except there's a catch.
Though the California installations will generate 800 megawatts at times when the sun is shining brightly, they will operate for fewer hours of the year than a coal or nuclear plant would and so will produce a third or less as much total electricity.

"Or less." Oh, and there's another catch as well.
Neither approaches the economy of fossil-fuel burning plants, said Ms. Zerwer, the spokeswoman for Pacific Gas & Electric. But they will be competitive with wind power and with power from solar thermal plants, which are equipped with mirrors that use the sun’s heat to boil water into steam. And prices will fall, she predicted.

It's great that California is willing to experiment with large-scale solar deployment. This project can only help to improve solar as an alternative to fossil fuels. But the article clearly points up the number one biggest problem with solar (and wind): by it's nature, it can never replace traditional power plants on a one-for-one basis. Which means even after you've developed hyper-efficient batteries, or hyper-efficient transmission, you're still building solar plants that are less cost-efficient than hydrocarbon or nuclear plants that can run 24/7.

Missing from the story is any mention of the life expectancy of the solar cells. Also no mention of transmission costs from what must be a fairly rural site.
(h/t Jonathan Adler at VC)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Obama: the Democrats' Bush

Glenn Thrush outlines seven worrisome signs for the Obama campaign. More interesting to me is this quote from Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown:
This election is about Barack Obama — not John McCain — it's about whether Barack Obama passes muster. Every poll shows that people want a Democratic president, the problem is they’re not sure they want Barack Obama.

This describes exactly how I've felt in the last two elections, only reversed. I knew in 2000 that I didn't want another Democrat, but I also knew I didn't want Bush.

What finally convinced me to pull the lever for a Bush 43 presidency was the people Bush had around him: James Baker, Colin Powell, and Dick Cheney. I think this is a problem for Sen. Obama. Who does he have advising him on foreign policy? I know Madeleine Albright is loosely associated with his campaign, as well as Bill Richardson. But I haven't seen anything that suggests either of those individuals would likely be asked to join the Obama administration.

Who else is there? In my opinion, Sen. Obama needs to spend as much time selecting his foreign policy staff as he does selecting a vice president. I guess we'll find out soon enough where he stands.

All for One?

Sen. Obama's association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a problem. And I don't believe it's just political. It demonstrates a core problem with Obama as a prospective President: he tolerated Wright's agenda and rhetoric until Wright questioned his credibility. Then Obama severed ties.

Given all that, this piece from RealClearPolitics' Steve Mitchell is, in my opinion, a tenuous stretch. Mitchell writes on the subject of embattled Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who has been charged with perjury and assault(!). Mitchell opines...
Although Kilpatrick has distanced himself from Obama and Obama has distanced himself from Kilpatrick, they are both inextricably linked to Rev. Jeremiah Wright. And, that is Obama's problem.

Nowhere in the article does Mitchell tie Kilpatrick directly to Obama. The only connection routes through Wright, whom Kilpatrick introduced at the Detroit NAACP meeting. Whatever I might think of the Obama/Wright association, linking Obama with Kilpatrick strikes me as entirely unfair. It would be like linking McCain with Ted Stevens or Tom Daschle, just because they all know James Dobson.

Update: Glenn Thrush of Politico also makes the point that Kwame Kilpatrick can damage Obama in Michigan, because he's "an Obama supporter." Meh.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic Propaganda

The Olympics have been political for as long as I can remember. But I don't remember ever seeing this much propaganda. Case in point, here's a little press release published in Xinhua:
Returning from China after attending the opening ceremony, the president told the Seychelles media at the airport that Beijing was a clean city with high-spirited and progressive people.

Now as it turns out China and the Seychelles have been buddying up recently. I'm not up on my Indian Ocean geopolitics, but for whatever reason the Seychelles seem to be pretty friendly with China. So it's no surprise their president would want to give the Middle Kingdom some good press.

But the propaganda goes way beyond that. Look at the coverage of the Bachman murder: all the stories are laden with assurances that Beijing is a safe city, even though the murder rate rivals that of Atlanta.

Also look at the pollution controversy. Despite assertions that pollution is under control, we still see reports of extreme particulate counts.

I'm not sure what to make of this. It's no surprise that a highly centralized and tightly controlled government like China's would be orchestrating such propaganda. But at the same time, I would kind of expect someone in the Western media to highlight the fact.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

GOP Choice

John Fund of the WSJ observes that the GOP is at a crossroads: rally around old-school pork monsters like Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young, or join Sens. Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, and Rep. Scott Garrett in fighting corruption.

Mr. Fund believes that a number of events will combine to reduce the political desirability of earmarks: Stevens' indictment, Young's probable primary defeat, and the defeat of the "Coburn Omnibus". I would like to agree with Mr. Fund, but I think there's more work to do. Republican leaders didn't help defeat the "Reid Ramrod" out of any sense of anti-corruption altruism--they just wanted to black Reid's eye. And even if you knock out Stevens and Young, there are still plenty of pork monsters remaining on both sides of the aisle, including the greatest of them all Robert Byrd.

On a brighter note I'm heartened to see Mr. Fund write this:
The day before, Republicans enjoyed a rare success when they beat back an attempt by Majority Leader Harry Reid to ram through an earmark-laden omnibus bill that Mr. Coburn had refused to help pass by the often-abused "unanimous consent" process.

That's a perfect description of Coburn's procedural tactics. Kudos to Mr. Fund for getting it right.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Coburn wins, Reid whines

Sen. Reid's "Coburn Omnibus" bill, designed to be rammed through the Senate with as little debate and amendment as possible, failed to get the 60 votes necessary to proceed.

The MSM is still portraying the 35 bills contained in the omnibus as "noncontroversial". If there weren't any controversy, they'd have already passed by unanimous acclaim. That's the whole point of the Senate: provide a check on the tyranny of the majority, which is especially important now that Congress has learned to trade favors with itself to protect incumbents.

Update: I should add, kudos to the MSM for even covering the so-called "Coburn Omnibus" vote. But why is their coverage (NYT, WaPo) so slanted against Coburn? Is it because he's a Republican? Or is he being covered by DC journalists who're miffed by his opposition to expanded DC Metro spending?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Reid vs. Coburn

John Fund posts at the WSJ:
Mr. Reid is telling reporters he will no longer tolerate the Oklahoma Republican blocking about 100 bills using the power Senate rules give individual member to stop legislation from coming to a floor vote.

This is incorrect. Sen. Coburn is not blocking any bill from coming to the floor. Rather he is blocking unanimous consent, because he wants those bills to come to the floor, where they can be debated and amended.

It's hard to tell where the error in the post comes from, whether it originated with Reid or was introduced by Fund. Either way, it doesn't help Coburn's cause.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Posting from the new 3G iPhone

So far I'm liking it well enough. As with all PDA's, the keyboard is not optimal for written composition, but I like it better than any other hand-held I've tried. I really like the iPhone version of Safari. It helps to have the larger screen, but what's really nice are the zoom and scroll functions. So far I've only found a few websites that don't work in the small browser.

The native mail app is okay, but I don't like it with gmail. It doesn't offer any way to archive conversations, and I don't see a way to search the archive. Which is fine, since gmail works great in Safari.

Things to try...
- Bluetooth headset
- Bluetooth sync (if that's possible?)
- Downloading/installing new apps

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Coburn Omnibus

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is currently blocking 95 spending-related bills in the Senate. He won't release them until they've been debated and amended. This prevents them from being passed with unanimous consent, and requires an actual floor vote if not debate and/or amendment.

Senate Majority Leader Reid has now bundled many of those bills into what he calls the "Coburn Omnibus" bill, which he plans to ram through in late July. He believes the combination will enjoy broad support, and will therefore quickly pass with a veto-proof majority.

In other words, despite his anti-pork rhetoric, Reid is bound and determined to spend all the money he wants to spend. I wish I could find a list of the bills included, but apparently I'm not very good at searching

Ryan Grim at Politico says "Coburn is blocking roughly a hundred bills that are generally non-controversial or have broad support." That's the point: Coburn believes government spending is a controversy, and is trying to raise awareness.

Question: Why isn't this getting any attention in the MSM?

(h/t Bob Novak via RCP)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mark Halperin lists fifteen ways that John McCain underestimates Barack Obama. Halperin doesn't offer any concrete insight into McCain's campaign, however, so who knows whether McCain is really that blind. But many of Halperin's points do seem relevant, in particular his point #3 is particularly apt:
3. The inherent difficulty/sensitivity of running against two figures at once. McCain will have to 1) explicitly criticize a sitting Republican president before Republican audiences and 2) prevent the historic event of electing the nation’s first African-American president that many in the country (and the media) desire.

It occurs to me that there's a relatively painless solution to this problem: don't criticize Bush/Cheney, just criticize Cheney. He's the real lightning rod in the administration, the most powerful vice president in our nation's history.

(via RCP.)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Resistance Is Useless

...says the Vogon.

Meanwhile back on Earth, the French feel the need to line dancing?

The nut graf...

In a peculiarly Gallic approach to the phenomenon, French civil servants say line dancing should be submitted to the same rules as sports such as football and rugby. This means imposing training courses for line dancing teachers and a state-approved diploma for anyone who wants to give lessons or run clubs.

Amateur instructors will have to take 200 hours of training under the new rules. Professionals will get 600 hours, including such subjects as line dancing techniques, “the mechanics of the human body” and the English (or at least Texan) language. They will also learn how to teach line dancing to the elderly.

The cost of the courses, about €2,000 (£1,570) for the professionals and €500 for the amateurs, will be largely met by taxpayers. Mr Chauveau said the regulations highlighted the French state's obsessive desire to organise all public activity. “France is the only country in Europe apart from Greece where sport is controlled through the state,” he said. “Line dancing is now considered a sport, so it is being controlled, too.”

(Via Instapundit.)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sen. Clinton and Anti-Woman Bias

E.J. Dionne notes that many women are upset over the way Sen. Clinton has been treated. He offers the following quote from the Therese Murray, president of the Massachussetts Senate...
"From the beginning, she's been treated very badly," says Therese Murray, the president of the Massachusetts Senate. "No woman would have run with Obama's resume. She wouldn't have been considered." But Clinton has been "demonized by the press and the talking heads. How do you get away with that?"
Ridiculous. What exactly is on Sen. Clinton's resume that isn't on Sen. Obama's?! That she's married to a former U.S. President? Wow.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Krugman and Denial

Paul Krugman makes the point that Republicans don't want to admit that government must solve the pollution problem, even thought the Bush 41 administration gets credit for having solved acid-rain via tradeable emission permits. It's a fair criticism.

Missing from his analysis, however, is the fact that in 1996 government solved the welfare problem largely through a rigid cap on unemployment and welfare disbursements. Clinton took all the credit he could for this policy, even though it had been both a Republican idea as well as a Republican ideal.

Now Obama is trying the same tactic on the pollution front, taking a traditionally Republican idea (market-based reform) to solve a Democratic ideal. I would think that if Krugman really cared about the environment, he'd applaud Obama rather than criticize him.

Penny Arcade On Letting Experts Be Expert

At 26:29 in this podcast (warning: it's a big dowload), Penny Arcade's Mike Krahulik makes a point about working with experts...
I don't have the skills, and I don't really understand animation, and so I feel like I would be stepping on toes if I laid out second by second what they need to be doing. Honestly I prefer when I'm collaborating with somebody who has a specialty, I like to give as little instruction as possible, because the whole reason that I'd be working with them is because they're good at what they do.
Would that more people understood that principle.