This Gertz brief ought to be jaw-dropping. From “a U.S. official involved in countering weapons proliferation”:
There are powerful incentives for [Iran] to close the door [to nuclear weapons] completely, but they are either purposefully ignoring them or are tone deaf. You almost want to shout, ‘Tune in Tehran.’
One of my favorite types of humor is when clueless people attribute their cluelessness to others. If you can read “Tune in Tehran” in much the same tone that Alicia Silverstone said “As if!”, this becomes the funniest quote you’ll read all day.
In what sort of bizarro world does it make sense that a popularly elected president and Congress need to “sell” a trillion-dollar society-altering law they’ve already passed?
Also, it’s neat that the president, after spending a year telling us that we need this law NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!!!!! is now entering “it’s-only-a-first-step” mode. Not only has change come to America, change will come to America again, and, presumably, change the change that’s already changed us. When he signed the law, he said, “This is what change looks like.” But I guess now it’s what the status quo looks like, and whatever it is that he wants to do next will be “what change looks like.” Those who thought George Bush to be a foundationless dunderpate and saw Obama as our coming Philosopher President should take note.
If you want to boost your faith in the future, you need to look no further than that. While some doom-and-gloomers have been saying that in the future we’ll all drive hamster-powered shoe boxes in order to save gas, the truth is that the market responds to consumer wishes and economic stimuli.
Every generation of cars gets faster, safer, cleaner and more fuel efficient. Long live the open road, and raise the damned speed limits, already!
I’m struck by the charge of “seditious conspiracy” for a couple of reasons. First, it sounds like a charge for which someone would have been hung, drawn, and quartered in 16th Century England. That has to be the most antiquated, medieval-sounding offense still on the books. Second, look how broad and vague the statutory definition is. If you thought “sedition” was vague, and “conspiracy” vaguer, just wait until you see you “seditious conspiracy”! I don’t know much about federal law, but just from the wording of the statute, I think I could commit the crime if Dorothy and I plotted to go into our front yard and take down our mailbox.*
*Dear ATF: We have made no such plot.bv
Update: I thought Glenn Reynolds’s snark against the elite legal community worth adding: “And I’m sure top lawyers from top law firms on Wall Street and K street will be lining up to provide the Huttaree militia with a pro bono defense, too.”
There’s a couple who have both been federal employees for some time. Long enough that they put in for early retirement this year. Originally they were told that their early retirement request had been approved. Then they were told that only x number of people at their office could take early retirement this year, and this couple were x+1 and x+2. So they put off their retirement plans for a year – them’s the breaks, right?
A month and a half after being told that they couldn’t retire until next year, the couple was approached and offered a large sum of money (combined, it was six figures) to take an early retirement this year.
So they were told they could retire, then told they couldn’t, and now they’re being paid a large sum of money to retire almost exactly at the same time the government knows full well they wanted to retire (gratis) in the first place.
I know that, these days, six digits doesn’t even qualify as a rounding error in a Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Assistant Undersecretary’s Administrative Assistant’s copier toner budget. But one is left to ponder whether, if this were a business where that money actually belonged to somebody, someone might notice that this was not an efficient transaction for the employer. In the federal government, it’s SOP, as we used to say.
Minor criminal, minor racer, major actor. Here’s to you, Steve McQueen.
He followed his mother across the country to New York, when he almost immediately jumped aboard a Merchant Marine vessel and wound up in Texas, where he worked as a towel boy in a brothel, roughnecked on oil rigs, and was a carny for a brief period. The types of jobs available to kids with no schooling and small but noticeable criminal background. The great Paul Newman played Cool Hand Luke to perfection, while McQueen simply lived it.
His real world experience racing motorcycles made him so much better than most of the stunt drivers while filming the famous chase in The Great Escape that it looked laughably undramatic. He simply torched his pursuers. Knowing this wouldn’t do for an action movie, the producers had to film him as his own character, then have him come back, change into a Nazi uniform, and film him “chasing” himself just to add some tension to the scene.
Apollo posted this at 11:11 PM CDT on Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 as Amer-I-Can!
Is when thousands of college kids cheer the president’s promise that insurance companies will be forced to allow them to stay on their parents’ plans:
And since you’ve been hearing a whole bunch of nonsense, let’s just be clear on what exactly the proposal that they’re going to vote on in a couple of days will do. It’s going to — it’s going to change health care in three ways. Number one, we are going to end the worst practices of insurance companies. (Applause.) This is — this is a patient’s bill of rights on steroids. (Laughter.) Starting this year, thousands of uninsured Americans with preexisting conditions will be able to purchase health insurance, some for the very first time. (Applause.) Starting this year, insurance companies will be banned forever from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions. (Applause.) Starting this year, insurance companies will be banned from dropping your coverage when you get sick. (Applause.) And they’ve been spending a lot of time weeding out people who are sick so they don’t have to pay benefits that people have already paid for. Those practices will end.
If this reform becomes law, all new insurance plans will be required to offer free preventive care to their customers. (Applause.) If you buy a new plan, there won’t be lifetime or restrictive annual limits on the amount of care you receive from your insurance companies. (Applause.) And by the way, to all the young people here today, starting this year if you don’t have insurance, all new plans will allow you to stay on your parents’ plan until you are 26 years old. (Applause.)
The already-enthused crowd literally started screaming on that last line; it was probably the loudest cheer Obama received in the entire speech and the kids sustained it for 25 seconds. It begins in this clip at 2:49:
There is nothing wrong with families helping their grown children, especially during tough economic times.* Indeed, that’s much of the point of family, and most people do so with the expectation that they’ll do the same for their kids some day.
But taking your parents’ charity — like living in their basement — is not something to be proud of, let alone positively excited about. I can’t imagine any conceivable circumstance where a college-aged Tom (and, believe me, that kid had a sense of entitlement that frightens me today) would applaud the opportunity to remain dependent on his parents through his 26th year, let alone cheering a government mandate that a third party be required to allow him to do so.
* Having considered it at one point myself, I’m also cognizant that many families would arrange for the kids to write their parents a check each month to be on their plan. But even so, isn’t it pathetic that even after under the greatest, bestest, awesomest health care reform package in history, this kind of ridiculousness will still be necessary?
Christopher Hitchens might be misstating the church’s position on contraception and homosexuality—I’m not enough of an expert on Catholic dogma to know the exact teachings here—but he’s very much right about the problems of pedophile priests:
Almost every week, I go and debate with spokesmen of religious faith. Invariably and without exception, they inform me that without a belief in supernatural authority I would have no basis for my morality. Yet here is an ancient Christian church that deals in awful certainties when it comes to outright condemnation of sins like divorce, abortion, contraception, and homosexuality between consenting adults. For these offenses there is no forgiveness, and moral absolutism is invoked. Yet let the subject be the rape and torture of defenseless children, and at once every kind of wiggle room and excuse-making is invoked. What can one say of a church that finds so much latitude for a crime so ghastly that no morally normal person can even think of it without shuddering?
It’s interesting, too, that the same church did its best to hide the rape and torture from the secular authorities, even forcing child victims (as in the disgusting case of Cardinal Sean Brady, the spiritual chieftain of the Catholics of Ireland) to sign secrecy oaths that prevented them from testifying against their rapists and torturers. Why were they so afraid of secular justice? Did they think it would be less indifferent and pliable than private priestly investigations? In that case, what is left of the shabby half-baked argument that people can’t understand elementary morality without a divine warrant?
For the record, I believe that the Catholic Church is one of the great forces for good in the world, but unless it cleans house, whether it will so remain is an open question. I realize that Hitchens is hardly a friend of religion, but some things are true about the church even if he says them.
Yes, Wikipedia often gets things wrong. But sometimes, as in the case of this article about Cocktail glasses, it get things gloriously right [emphasis added]:
Oversized cocktail glasses, ranging in capacity from 6 fl oz to cartoonishly large glasses of 12 fl oz and over, have become popular in recent years, driven mainly by the rise in popularity of the Gin & It, Vodka & It, and other similar castrato cocktails mistakenly believed to be martinis.
Admittedly, I agree with Judge Bork that olives belong in salads rather than martinis, but I think Wiki just hit one out of the park here.
Hubbard posted this at 10:50 PM CDT on Friday, March 19th, 2010 as The Right Words
Deem and pass? Are you kidding me? Is this what the Revolutionary War was fought for? Is this what the boys on Normandy beach were trying to defend? Is this where we thought we would end up when Obama was speaking so beautifully in Iowa or promising to put away childish things?
Yes, I know Republicans have used the deem and pass technique. It was terrible then. But those were smallish items. This is the largest piece of legislation in a generation and Pelosi wants to pass it without a vote. It’s unbelievable that people even talk about this with a straight face. Do they really think the American people are going to stand for this? Do they think it will really fool anybody if a Democratic House member goes back to his district and says, “I didn’t vote for the bill. I just voted for the amendments.” Do they think all of America is insane?
Rush Limbaugh? Glenn Beck? Mark Levin? Andy McCarthy?