…do the top two science headlines on CNN have to be about the ISS???
In this case, I think “nude pictures” is more accurate than “porn”:
She says the pictures had been taken by her husband, Jay Robinson, in late 2003 and early 2004 to document the various stages of her pregnancy that resulted in the May 2004 birth of their son. The photos were put on the hard drive of the couple’s computer.
By October 2004, the early-pregnancy pictures —which show a smiling, still-slim Jessica Robinson standing in front of a wall — somehow ended up on several pornographic web sites. Authorities say the couple’s computer had been hacked.
She’s now the press secretary for Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, and the pictures have circulated through legislators’ offices. The governor, thankfully, stands behind her and says this doesn’t threaten her job.
In response to a post by Hubbard, I made a [possibly unseemly] long comment about porn becoming mainstream. Digital cameras are one of the things contributing to that as, through various means (self-publication, hacking, accidental publication, or spiteful exes), seeing nude and in-the-act pictures of friends and coworkers will become common. The pictures of a naked pregnant lady seem innocent enough, but what if they’d been hardcore pictures of her with her husband? In a just world she would not lose her job over that, but here in the City of Man, ca 2007, I think she might. By 2010, though, I imagine few people beyond some old fuddy-duddies will bat an eye at such things. Perhaps that year Jack Ryan will run for the same senate seat that he could have won in 2004.
Apollo posted this at 10:56 AM CDT on Friday, March 30th, 2007 as Pop Culture Is Filth
Some interesting comments:
(There’s a) scene where Leonidas and his ab-tastic Spartans run into some Greeks who’ve decided to tag along to fight for freedom. The Greek leader, Patheticus, points out that Leo’s brought just 300 oddly naked dudes to war, while the Greeks have brought quite a few more. Leonidas points to one of the Greek soldiers. “What’s your profession?”
“Potter,” the fellow replies.
“Farmer,” says the next.
At which point Leonidas yells back at his posse, “Spartans, what is your profession?” And they hoo-ahh! like crazy. Leonidas says “Looks like I brought along more soldiers than you.” Pretty cool scene, actually.
Now, what’s fascinating here is to roll back our national mythos to 1998, to Saving Private Ryan. This is the definitive film capping off the Baby Boomers’ guilty late love letters to the Greatest Generation. In one of its crucial scenes, Captain Miller — Tom Hanks — at long last reveals to his guys that he was a teacher back home. In almost every version of the Greatest Generation myth — and let’s be honest, that is the de facto American myth — the citizen-soldiers, the guys with day jobs who leave ‘em behind to fight and die, are the heroes. Even more, this quality of our warriors, their ordinariness, is not just a factor of our national identity, one could argue it defines our national identity. That we are not professional soldiers is why we’re the Good Guys. From the Concord Minutemen to the accountants tossing grenades into bunkers at Normandy, the Unlikely Amateur defines the American hero.
Actually, this was one of the things I sort of liked about the movie: in that scene at least, the Spartans weren’t fighting as proto-Americans and Leonidas didn’t come off as a proto-Washington.
Unfortunately, this was undone when I had to hear Gorgo remind me that “freedom isn’t free.” Bleh.
Tom posted this at 6:26 PM CDT on Thursday, March 29th, 2007 as Belles Lettres
Please welcome, Geoff – the newest Bastard.
Jamie posted this at 5:36 PM CDT on Thursday, March 29th, 2007 as Random Bloggish Things
This is what happens when you send a country’s teachers to masters in education programs.
conor friedersdorf posted this at 3:29 PM CDT on Thursday, March 29th, 2007 as Uncategorized
Tom posted this at 11:10 AM CDT on Thursday, March 29th, 2007 as Uncategorized
Fiscal conservatives rejoice: Steve Forbes has signed on to the Giuliani campaign:
Mr. Giuliani’s comments to Mr. Kudlow are encouraging. As is the endorsement of Mr. Forbes, who has one of the clearest grasps of the economic issues and tax and economic policy questions of any editor or politician in the country. Mr. Giuliani said yesterday, “Steve and I share an economic vision that embraces supply-side economics, tax relief, and spending restraint.” The election in 2008 will in part be about the war on terror, but it will also be about the ability of the candidates to articulate an optimistic, dynamic, growth-oriented economic policy that builds on a generation-long campaign for tax cuts that was started by President Reagan and is being expanded by President Bush.
Maybe the flat tax has a future.
Hubbard posted this at 9:35 AM CDT on Thursday, March 29th, 2007 as Politics
I wrote an email to Andrew Stuttaford today defending Neville Chamberlain. A letter at A. Sullivan’s website makes me think it’s strangely relevent. First my notes on Chamberlain:
In a Corner posting you referenced “the late, unlamented, Neville Chamberlain.” It is too little remembered that none other than Churchill actually did lament him. Churchill respected and liked Chamberlain because he had a vision and actively tried to shape events to preserve peace. After eulogizing Chamberlain, someone asked how he could speak so well of a man he had attacked so much, and Churchill commented on his respect for Chamberlain, and that he was glad he didn’t have to speak at the feckless Stanley Baldwin’s death because he couldn’t have said anything good about him.
Chamberlain is worth a slight defense for the reason Churchill pronounced: “What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour.”
Chamberlain’s were not the actions of an evil man, a uniquely stupid individual, or a gutless coward. The desire to reason with others, even when they seem unreasonable, is a noble trait. The desire to seek peace in the face of war is a noble trait. Appeasement was the policy that most Britons of the time favored; it was well intentioned and in most circumstances it would have worked. We should understand—not demonize, ridicule, or caricature—Chamberlain in order to understand the failures of this formerly-esteemed public servant. How is it that a man of so many talents and virtues did not have the wisdom he needed most? Chamberlain was not a villain from whom we can learn little; he was a tragic character, and as such his all-too-human failure can teach us as much as our heroes’ successes.
Stuttaford’s point, though, was that there are too many “Chamberlain/appeaser” references in international affairs, which is true enough. Yet sometimes they actually do apply. From a letter on Sullivan’s site, which he says is “almost exactly [his] view”:
In hindsight, we should have gotten Bin Laden first, wiped out the Taliban, forced Pakistan to secure its “wild west territories” either on its own or with the intervention of US troops, and gradually stepped up pressure on Saddam to become a good international citizen. In doing so, we would still be in a position to effect changes in political attitudes in the ME, would have a much more secure Pakistan and Afghanistan, and we wouldn’t have an emboldened and largely unchecked Iran on our hands.
In hindsight the Byzantines should have just sacked Mecca circa 630 and we wouldn’t be having any of these problems at all. Nifty thing, hindsight. And if this guy has a clue where bin Laden is, he should probably call that tip in.
But leaving aside the “I-woulda-won-if” nature of this hindsight, it’s worth noting the proposed solution for Saddam Hussein. “Gradually stepped up pressure” for him to be “a good international citizen.” Let’s see, he already had 1) a humiliating peace treaty that allowed his enemies to patrol the sky over half his country, 2) a regime of weapons inspection, 3) a dozen or so UN resolutions telling him to abide by 1 and 2, 4) a crippling embargo that was causing thousands of Iraqis to starve and European countries to press for normalized relations. There are no “stepped up” actions beyond that. Beyond that is war. Oh yeah, and we still haven’t accounted for his WMD.
The lesson of Neville Chamberlain is that we must be able to tell the difference between enemies who can be reasoned with and enemies who cannot. We’re still trying to determine what category some fall into (Iran, China), but only the willfully blind can look back to 2003 and have doubt about what camp Saddam Hussein was in.
It’s also worth examining the bit in this letter about Iran. With Saddam still in power, the Iranians would have a reasonable case for needing a nuclear weapon (defending themselves from that loose cannon’s WMD). And if after all the diplomatic actions we took against Saddam our only response was “stepped up pressure,” exactly how would we check Iran? Would we seek “stepped up pressure” against them as well? Oh no, not the “stepped up pressure!” Anything but the “stepped up pressure!”
In hindsight, invading Iraq was a stupid, stupid move. In reality, it was the only responsible thing to do.
A nifty headline pairing from the Post:
Maryland is passing a bunch of environmental laws and keeping paperless ballots. The story about paperless ballots cites budget concerns, but I think the Post’s hinting at a potential winning strategy for opponents of
accurate and verifiable election results wasting paper.
Apollo posted this at 12:39 PM CDT on Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 as Politics
I’m surprised these people don’t get sucked into their own vortex of stupid. How is anyone swayed by these arguments?
Jamie posted this at 10:56 AM CDT on Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 as Science!
Britain seems to be going the diplomatic route:
Escalating its dispute with Iran, Britain today froze all “bilateral business” with Tehran to retaliate for the seizure of 15 British naval personnel six days ago in what the Royal Navy insists were Iraqi territorial waters.
“It is now time to ratchet up international and diplomatic pressure” on Iran to demonstrate its “total isolation,” Prime Minister Tony Blair told parliament after the Royal Navy made public details of what it said was the sailors’ position when they were apprehended.
The Royal Navy took the highly unusual step of making public charts, photographs and previously secret navigational coordinates purportedly proving that the sailors were 1.7 nautical miles inside Iraqi waters when they were seized.
The United States has grown used to doing the fighting and dying the other industrialized democracies refuse to do in order to defend themselves and their interests.
Britain has been an exception. In places like Bosnia and the Persian Gulf, and in operations like Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, its help has been solid and genuine, as well as important in a symbolic sense. America always looks better when a couple of frigates flying the Royal Navy’s White Ensignare side by side with those flying the Stars and Stripes. U.S. sailors also know that in a real fight, the men of the Royal Navy, which our navy men still call the “Senior Service,” will never let them down.
That contribution has never been vital to America — yet it was a badge of honor for Britain. It had echoes of past glory as an empire, of course, but also of Britain’s historic role as protector of a civilized and stable world order, and specifically the role of the Royal Navy. The British navy had wiped out the slave trade; it had single-handedly defied tyrants from Louis XIV and Napoleon to Hitler; and it served as midwife to the ideas of free trade and the balance of power.
Now those days are gone for good. Yet, if today’s Britons thought that by shedding that historic responsibility they could buy themselves some peace of mind, the current hostage crisis has just proved them wrong.
Herman also devastatingly quotes Harold Nicolson:
Today, British politicians seem determined to make the same mistake. They exude the spirit not of Winston Churchill or Margaret Thatcher but of diplomat and Labor Party stalwart Harold Nicolson, who used to sigh to friends in the dark days after France’s surrender in 1940: “All we can do is lie on our backs with our paws in the air and hope that no one will stamp on our tummies.”
It appears that the British have replaced John Bull with a panda.
If we’re looking for proof that Mexican immigrants are assimilating to American culture, their use of lawsuits qualifies:
There seems to be a pattern developing on our border. Illegal aliens, sometimes smuggling drugs, sometimes just smuggling each other, are caught sneaking into the U.S.
They resist, flee and, with the help of a cooperative U.S. attorney, file criminal charges against the law enforcement officers who caught them. Top it all off, they file a lawsuit for civil rights violations.
That’s assimilation for you.
Tony Blankely on Big Sister:
Hillary’s strengths are not yet as appreciated as they will be. Don’t get me wrong, personally I find her and her candidacy detestable as the worst form of unprincipled, ruthless, nihilistic, mud-throwing demagogic politics. But for the Democratic Party electorate (and some Independents and soft Republicans) her apparent strengths will become more persuasive. Currently she suffers by the media’s focus on her lack of spontaneity, charm or pleasant voice — particularly when compared with Obama and, to some extent, Edwards.
But charm is not the only path to the American voter. Richard Milhous Nixon won more national elections than any politician in our history (two vice presidents, three presidential nominations and two presidencies — three if you count the stolen 1960 election against Kennedy). He didn’t have any charm — but he was smart, shrewd, highly political, hard working and ruthless. Sometimes the voters are looking for what they think is competence rather than a love affair.
That is why I sometimes use the name Hillary Milhous Clinton for the junior senator from New York. It is only partially meant to be negative. But it is meant to be a warning to my fellow Republicans. Beware. It will be up to the Republicans to protect the country from the increasing likelihood of a Hillary presidency.
I think this comparison is unfair to Nixon. The man grew up in grinding poverty, saw two brothers die young from tuberculosis, financed his first political campaign with poker winnings he’d accrued during his service in WWII, attacked Alger Hiss before it was politically safe to do so, and was able to give speeches that resonated with Americans when he needed to fight the media. Remember the Checkers and Silent Majority speeches?
Has Mrs. Clinton overcome the same kind of obstacles with Nixonian doggedness? I don’t think so.
Hillary is strong because she’s aggressive and has the MSM on her side. The MSM are formidable, but she’s still a flawed candidate. Youtube will hammer her unscripted moments, which are where candidates like Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, John Edwards, and Barack Obama are stronger than she is. She’s a formidable woman, but not yet a juggernaut.
Hubbard posted this at 6:44 AM CDT on Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 as Politics
Just days after Knut the polar bear cub warmed even the most satirical of hearts, tragedy has struck Berlin zoo with the death of the panda Yan Yan.
A dead panda is a bad thing. But that’s not all. There are accusations in the German press that Knut was in part responsible, with the disruption from the visitors who crowded the zoo at the weekend leading to the 22-year-old’s untimely demise.
As Germany’s Spiegel Online (in English) puts it:
Some 30,000 people crowded the zoo at the weekend, several times more than usual, and many who couldn’t get a glimpse of Knut went over to check out Yan Yan.
Following the worldwide success of Knut, whose first public appearance was witnessed by about 300 journalists from around the world and broadcast live on CNN, the death of Yan Yan marks something of an emotional rollercoaster for the zoo.
A polar bear is born, a panda dies. It seems somehow emblematic of the relative cultural values of the two bears.
So how did Yan Yan die?
A post mortem showed that she died of heart failure caused by acute constipation, zoo vet Andreas Ochs told the Associated Press. There had been no signs that Yan Yan had been in any pain so it had been impossible to detect that she was constipated, he added.
Oh well. Better luck next time, Knut. You don’t get in if the panda dies because it’s not bright enough to drink lots of water.
Hubbard posted this at 7:29 PM CDT on Tuesday, March 27th, 2007 as Animal Kingdom Strikes Back