Monthly Archives: May 2009

What We’ve Built Today

under-constructionUpdated posts:

George Will V. Portland, Oregon

The Amalek Controversy

Everybody’s Talkin’ Sotomayor, I Can’t Hear A Word They’re Saying

Is This The Plan For The Auto Industry?

Load Up On Guns, Bring Your Friends…

Jeffrey Rosen Gets A Post Of His Own

Bush v. Gore: The Reunion Tour ’09

Bubba And The Bubble

Leave a comment

Filed under Smatterings Of Nothing

George Tiller: The Blogosphere Reacts

The (mostly as of this writing) left blogosphere reacts to the death of George Tiller, who performed late term abortions, and was shot as he attended church today.

Few reacts from the right:

Gateway Pundit

Charles Johnson at LGF

Mr. Ed at Redstate

Two posts at Free Republic, here, here, here and here.

Concerning the comments on the posts at Free Republic, Doug J. and JMA at Daily Kos.

From the non-conventional right or left:

Ann Althouse

Andrew Sullivan with the O’Reilly connection.

Ann Friedman at Feministing

Amanda Marcotte

Matt Y.

And from the MSM, Karen Tumulty at Swampland at Time

More later.

UPDATE: From National Review’s the Corner, K-Lo has two press releases and commentary, here and here.

Robert P. George

From the left:

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Joan Walsh at Salon

UPDATE #2: Via Sullivan, Robert Stacy McCain Via McCain, Becky Brindle

James Joyner

Rod Dreher

UPDATE #3: Thanks to commenter Tim, Max Twain at Race42012.

Kathy Kattenburg at Moderate Voice

UPDATE #4: Andrew Sullivan gets some dissents from his O’Reilly post.

Via Sullivan, Al Giordano

UPDATE #5: Allah Pundit and Ed Morrissey

UPDATE #6: Several posts from Andrew Sullivan, here, here, here and here.

Sullivan links to Gabriel Winant in Salon

Two posts from Rod Dreher, here and here.

Dreher links to Damon Linker.

Michelle Malkin

David Frum

UPDATE #7: Kathryn Jean Lopez and John Cole

And two sides: Erin Manning and two posts by Hilzoy, here and here.

UPDATE #8: E.D. Kain

UPDATE #9: Megan McArdle

UPDATE #10: Conor Friedersdorf, linking to Linker, Dreher, Ezra Klein and McArdle. I haven’t quoted any bloggers on this post, but I will this. I associate myself with these remarks and hope that anyone who clicks on any link from this post observes these words.:

Anyway, I mostly posted all this to see what those in comments think about the debate aired above. Please keep in mind, as you post, that Rod, Ezra, Megan and Damon are owed civility — all are intellectually honest writers doing their best to grapple with the morality of an exceedingly thorny issue (and I’ve been forced to strip their posts of nuance by the need to excerpt, so due read their comments in full, especially if you plan to criticize them). An objectively correct conclusion is beyond mere logic, and it is only through conversations like the one they’re having that humanity can grapple toward the best conclusions we have the capacity to reach.

UPDATE #11: New Majority

Chris Good

James Joyner

Jacob Sullum at Reason.

UPDATE #12: McArdle again.

William Saletan in Slate

In The American Conservative,

Daniel McCarthy

Freddy Gray, responding to Sullum and others.

UPDATE #13: John Cole, responding to Sully’s posts

Rod Dreher, here and here.

Hilzoy responds  to McArdle

McArdle responds to Hilzoy

One more McArdle post.

UPDATE #14: Mark Thompson on McArdle and Hilzoy

Ramesh Ponnuru on Saletan

UPDATE #15: Scott Roeder found guilty Justin Elliott at TPM


Filed under Abortion, Crime

Off In The Distance, The Sound Of David Stern Sobbing


The LeBron/Kobe match-up won’t be happening this year. And what becomes of that commerical with the puppets? Has anyone thought of that?


Lots of chatter about LeBron walking off without shaking hands and not doing any press last night. Joel Barker at the Bleacher Report:

He left the court without congratulating or talking to a single member of the Orlando Magic. Then after all was said and done he did not show up to the post-game press conference.

This is the same LeBron that has been eager to talk after sweeping each of the Cavs first and second round opponents. The same LeBron that “doesn’t do radio” yet went on the Dan Patrick Show two weeks ago to interview with the best show on the radio.

Of course it didn’t hurt that the interview would end up in Sports Illustrated either.

No, this LeBron James seems to hate losing so much that he won’t even consider an interview, a post-game handshake, or even as much as a wink and nod letting Cavs fans know that he’ll be back next year going for that same elusive title.

Jay Mariotti at Fanhouse:

The King looked lethargic in the final game, unable to muster otherworldly dominance as he did late in Game 5, when he scored or assisted on 32 consecutive points. Can we rescind that Coach of the Year trophy given to Mike Brown? James never should be reduced to exhaustion — 8-of-20 shooting and 25 points in 45 minutes — because he carries too much of a burden. The burden must be lightened with an offseason makeover — Shaquille O’Neal, anyone? — or else James will be sitting there in the summer of 2010 in an 0-for-7 titles rut and wondering if it’s time to bolt. Consider it a warning to Cleveland, which must brace itself for its next possible sporting calamity.

Afterward, LeBron refused to attend the news conference. He put on his headphones, left the locker room and walked straight to the team bus. I will interpret that not as a slight at the media but as his way of conveying disgust about an inferior supporting cast. Should he have showed up for the gathering? Sure, it’s crybaby stuff not to. But I get it. James never will say as much, but Orlando’s Rashard Lewis spelled out the problem in Cleveland.

“LeBron’s a great player, but at the same time, you need more than one or two guys,” he said. “You need five guys, guys off the bench, a good coach. It’s a combination. We have that in Orlando.”

Eric Kane at The Bleacher Report will absolutely be stoking a great deal of controversy for writing this:

Maybe people should start realizing LeBron James isn’t as good as people make him out to be.

In Game 6, Delonte West had 22 points on almost 50% shooting. Mo Williams had 17 on 50% shooting. Varejo had 13 points on 5-7 shooting. Zydrunas didn’t show up at all and neither did Wally, but that can happen on any given night, more often than not.

Before the game, I pointed out to my friend that LeBron James doesn’t play that well on the road. Yes, he still gets his stats (mainly because I swear he guns for them, as evidenced by some of his teammates deferring rebounds to him), but his shooting percentages are awful. He shot 8-20 from the field in Game 6 and 7-11 from the line.

The excuse? Fatigue. Yes, he plays long minutes, but no one made that excuse last year against Boston when he almost beat them. Again, it’s an excuse.

So I told my friend that LeBron would have a bad game and the media would make excuses for him. Sure enough, the announcers and people on Sportscenter said he was tired. Three of his other teammates were in double figures, one of them over 20 points, shooting a very high percentage, but he didn’t get any help? That’s ridiculous.

Vox Absurditas

EARLIER: Cleveland Should Be Worried

Leave a comment

Filed under Sports

Puttin’ On My Top Hat, Tyin’ Up My White Ties, Brushin’ Off My Tails

Blogosphere on fire over the Obamas’ date night in NYC.

Flopping Aces:

It’s bad enough that the taxpayers were left with a bill for hundreds of thousands of dollars for staff, security, military and police time. It’s also the fact that all these people had to give up their Saturday night with their families to spend it so the Obamas could cause massive traffic jams all over New York inconveniencing thousands more.

Legal Insurrection

Ed Morrissey:

But the real foolishness was the Gulfstream and helicopters for the media.  Are we to believe that the national news media has no reporters in New York City?  The BIg Apple isn’t exactly the Badlands of the Dakotas, or the remote peaks of the Rockies, in terms of media saturation.  It looks like Obama wanted to make this a media event and didn’t mind using three planeloads of taxpayer money to stage it.


As a fan of the “imperial presidency,” this is one conservative blogger who does not have a problem with our president living the high life. I remember the Carter presidency, what with its hair shirts cardigan sweaters, beige limousines, and all-around oppressive gloom, and I want none of that. Obama is doing it right, as far as I’m concerned, and I have no problem with us paying for it, either. Given the things that politicians spend money on, this does not seem particularly wasteful and it is admirably free of long-term engineer-our-society consequences.

But, I am very much with Rob. If you believe, and President Obama says he does, that the production of greenhouse gases will lead to global catastrophe and therefore that we have a fierce moral urgancy to give up our energy-intensive ways, flying three planes to New York to take in a show is nothing less than outrageous. Imagine the entirely different pro-Gaia message if the Obamas had taken over a few cars on an Accela Express and ridden it up to Penn Station Biden-style?

Jazz Shaw at Moderate Voice:

To be fair here, our first observation should go out to our Republican and conservative friends who were supporters of President Bush for the last eight years. If you didn’t complain – and do so loudly and often – about President Bush shattering all previous records for presidential vacation time in the midst of two wars that he began and various other crises, you should know how you look if you complain now. All those trips to Crawford and other destinations were on the public dime, involving Air Force One, staffers, supporting crew, etc. And they cost a fortune. If you take to the streets in manufactured outrage over this evening out, you are hypocrites, and there’s really no other way to put it.

Now, for the rest of our friends, if you were critical of President Bush for his vacationing ways, will you really just shrug your shoulders and say this is “no big deal” since it’s Obama going out on the town? The trip still involved three Gulfstream Jets, a large staff and press corps following, blocking off traffic for hours across several blocks in Manhattan on a Saturday afternoon and evening and a total taxpayer bill which the White House couldn’t even estimate for us. And it took place not only in the midst of two hot wars, but on the eve of GM likely going bankrupt and a rising unemployment rate where millions of Americans are wondering if they’ll be able to afford all their groceries next month. Could the optics of this Broadway fiasco possibly be any worse?

James Joyner:

I don’t, however, blame the Obamas for this but rather the culture of security we’ve built around the presidency, especially, but to other high offices as well. Since we can’t expect — and shouldn’t desire — for our leaders to live in seclusion for the entire tenure of their offices, we really need to figure out a way to let them get out and about without inordinate inconvenience to the rest of us.   There’s got to be a way to simultaneously provide them with reasonable security and not shut down the town around them.

Tom Maguire

Steve Benen


And it wasn’t even a musical! What the Tommy Tune is up with that?… “Midnight, Not a sound from the pavement, Has the moon lost her memory?….” sob…sniff….oh, Grizabella, you are so very wise in the ways of the world….

Leave a comment

Filed under Political Figures

News Of The Week In Music Vol. 5

#1 Sonia Sotomayor

#2 North Korea Rocket Launches

#3 GM Headed For Bankruptcy

#4 LeBron Out Of The Play-Offs

#5 Jay Leno’s Final Tonight Show

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

What We’ve Built Today

under-constructionBuilding our temple…

Hilzoy And The Uighars

Taguba, The Telegraph and Torture

Jeffrey Rosen Gets A Post Of His Own

Cleveland Should Be Worried

And The Crowd Will Shout For “Ripple”

Bubba And the Bubble

Everybody’s Talkin’ Sotomayor, I Can’t Hear A Word They’re Saying

The Spanish Word for “Kabuki” is “Kabuki”

Is This The Plan For The Auto Industry?

Leave a comment

Filed under Smatterings Of Nothing

Mingora Mambo


Earlier this week, Pakistani troops entered Mingora in Swat.

Bill Roggio at Long War Journal:

The Pakistani Army has just made its initial advance into the Taliban stronghold of Mingora, the main town in the insurgency-racked district of Swat. Soldiers appear to have encountered lighter than expected resistance from the Taliban, who were reported to have entrenched in the town and mined the roadways.

Pakistani troops moved into the district’s main town after securing the Kambar Ridge to the west over the weekend. Five Taliban fighters and three soldiers were reported to have been killed during the opening round of fighting in Mingora, Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told Dawn. Fourteen Taliban fighters were captured and six soldiers were wounded during the fighting. Security forces encountered 12 roadside bombs during the advance into the town.

Juan Cole

Now it looks as if Pakistan controls the area.


Nadezhda at Attackerman:

Via Dawn, the Pakistan Army has announced that it has secured “complete control” of Mingora, the main city in Swat, and is continuing search and control operations in the region. Exactly what has been accomplished will be unclear for some time, since even the military admits that many of the Taliban have melted away as the Army has moved in.

What does seem clear, with the bombings in Lahore and Peshawar this week, is that Pakistan can no longer view the threats from militant violence as capable of being restricted to the tribal regions. The Taliban and their allies may escape to the mountains in order to fight another day. But they may also make their way, along with some 2.5 million plus IDPs, into the urbanized areas of Pakistan’s main provinces.

One traditional safety valve for Pakistan, the eastern regions of Afghanistan, is likely to become less available as the US beefs up its military presence there. In theory, the hammer of US/NATO forces will strike the Taliban, forcing it back against the anvil of Pakistan’s own military presence.

The anvil now seems to be getting a bit worried.

More later.
UPDATE: Peter Wehner in Commentary

1 Comment

Filed under Af/Pak, Foreign Affairs, GWOT

The Lilliputians Raise Taxes on Gulliver


It is too late to raise taxes on Wadlow, but what about other tall people?

Conor Clarke:

That, at least, is one possible takeaway from a new paper by Gregory Mankiw and Matthew Weinzierl that National Bureau of Economic Research spit into my inbox a couple of days ago. (Link here, though it’s subscription only.) The paper has two steps. First, they argue that the consensus among utilitarian optimal tax theorists is that we should be taxing productivity. (Since income is a function of productivity and effort, and we do not want to discourage effort.) Second, they argue that a person’s height is strongly correlated with their productivity. So why not tax tall people?

Emmanuel Saez responds by e-mail.

Mankiw responds:

Well, no, to my knowledge no one is eager to tax height, intelligence, and race. But there is a prominent guy who lives at a nice home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who wants to “spread the wealth around.” The moral and political philosophy used to justify such income redistribution is most often a form of Utilitarianism. For example, the work on optimal tax theory by Emmanuel Saez, the most recent winner of the John Bates Clark award, is essentially Utilitarian in its approach.

The point of our paper is this: If you are going to take that philosophy seriously, you have to take all of the implications seriously. And one of those implications is the optimality of taxing height and other exogenous personal characteristics correlated with income-producing abilities.

Clarke responds:

There are plenty of small things to say about this. Height is not perfectly exogenous — we can imagine people trying to reduce their height to reduce their tax burden, can’t we? — and the fact that the correlation is not perfect suggests there will be some individuals unfairly affected by a height tax. (On the other hand, as the government’s information gets better we could imagine that unfairness disappearing.) But mostly, I want to say this: Isn’t moral and political philosophy exactly like a smorgasbord?

Consider everyone’s favorite hypothetical from ethics 101: A runaway train is barreling down the tracks toward five workers, unaware that they’re in for a grisly demise. You are standing on a bluff overlooking the scene, in front of a magic lever that can divert the train to a separate track on which there is a lone worker. Do you pull the switch?

Yglesias on Mankiw.

More on taxing tall people and/or utilitarianism when I find it.

UPDATE: Alex Tabarrok

Matt Yglesias May 30, 09:

This goes back to a point I was making a while ago about how dangerous it is that the public discourse is so dominated by low-quality freelance philosophy done by people with PhDs in economics. I’m fairly certain that if Mankiw were to walk over to Emerson Hall he could find some folks (possibly T.M. Scanlon who I know sometimes reads this blog) who could explain to him that there’s little grounds for the belief that a commitment to utilitarianism is the main justification for redistributive taxation.

Matt Yglesias July 20, 09:

…the point here is that the marginal utility of money income declines as it grows. This is also a strong argument for believing that redistributing money from wealthy or high-income individuals to the poor or to public services will be welfare-enhancing.

Matt responds:

Contra Alex Tabarrok’s cute post here there’s nothing contradictory between pointing out that Greg Mankiw is wrong to imply that utilitarianism-based arguments are the only (or even the primary) arguments available for redistributive taxation and also to point out that considerations related to the declining marginal utility of money do, in fact, militate in favor of redistributive taxation.

For example “Allah forbids it” is not the only reason one might decline an offer of whiskey at breakfast. Indeed, “Allah forbids it” is, for most people, not going to be an important consideration. But of course many people are observant Muslims. And insofar as you are going to be an observant Muslim, Islam will count as a good reason to avoid whiskey at breakfast.

Matt links to Neil Sinhababu on the height tax.

Leave a comment

Filed under Economics, Go Meta

Dropping Dimes With Edmund Burke

The Republican Hip-Hop project is proceeding as planned.

Chris Good:

Young Conservatives rap about being a young and conservative in the Obama era: “I debate any poser who don’t shoot straight/government spending needs to deflate” … “We need more women with intellectual integrity/I’m talkin, Megyn Kelly not Nancy Pelosi” … “Superman that socialism, waterboard that terrorism”

Scott Johnson at Powerline

Allah Pundit:

It’s making the rounds on Twitter and destined for viral status so you might as well watch it now. I want to call shenanigans and say this is a false-flag operation, but how often do you see a political parody play it absolutely straight? If this were a goof, surely there’d be some sign — an obviously jokey line, a bit of comic overacting, something.

Adam Sewer at Tapped

This whole conservative rap thing is nothing new under the sun. We believe the focal point, the nexus, may be Eli Lake. Or Reihan Salam.

Reihan Salam and Eli Lake on Bloggingheads on rap and twap.

Reihan’s twitter feed. Eli Lake’s twitter feed.

Some of their twaps:

Eli Lake:

@reihansalam Condi aint a neocon/soft like scowcroft/underboss rick-ross style realist/anti-idealist/freedom lovin neos never feelin it/

Tbogg had something to say about that.

More Lake here:

Haters quote me/anti-okey-dokey/aint no joke/ E’s just to low-key/ i order code reds like I’m jessup/stress up a source to fess-up of course


my shaolin is DPRK/karate juche/no se/anyway/ I’m Kim jong illin 2 blackbelt status/rhyme apparatus/pyonyang’s general mattis


plugged in like a socket/check the court docket/wanted: unbelieva/Bagdadis call the e mr. man shia/cause i love ali but i don’t love sharia

Some recent Reihan rhymes:


Ascending lofty heights/Steve Kroft in striped tights/Lesley Stahl’s appalled/ + Andy Rooney drawls so off-the-wall/”I hate some s*” y’all


Twitter it/David Vitter is not illiterate/so why not read the statute bout knocking boots with prostitutes/I’d rather be a cheater like Newt


Ran into Dick Armitage/he was mangled my a marmoset/the pharmacist said, “I’m out of leeches/let’s cross-dress and listen to Peaches”/yes


Pakistan Zindabad/Ichabod Crane insane/headless on horseback/welcome you back like Horshack/my keyboard setting: Dvorak/Dorothy Zbornak

Back at CPAC, there was  a conservative rapper called Hi-Caliber that got some attention.

Spencer Ackerman and Eli Lake on Bloggingheads on conservative rapper Hi-Caliber.

Max Blumenthal in Daily Beast on Hi-Caliber.

Spencer Ackerman:

“Yeah I’m a PC, I’m a positive conservative/ A hip-hop emcee and a life-long Jersey kid/ Got my degree from the streets just like Curtis did.” Yo, your style is suicidal because you just self-murdered it. So this is what would have happened if 50 Cent came from New Jersey? Mountain Lakes, stand up for your boy!

And for bonus points:

Attackerman and Vitamin’s (Spencer Ackerman and Eli Lake) Blago rap:

For even more bonus points, Jeff Chang and Eli Lake on whether rappers are natural Republicans.

UPDATE: Dday on the Young Conservatives

UPDATE #2: Dave Kasten at Attackerman on the Young Conservatives:

Look, maybe their passions will moderate, but what scares me far more is that this is where people who used to believe that “Ideas have consequences”  now see no deep rhetorical contradiction in traditional values being defending by Soulja Boy’s favorite move. It’s not the contradiction, it’s the lack of irony  that freaks me out.

UPDATE #3: Sadly No on the Young Conservatives

UPDATE #4: John Schwenkler on the Young Conservatives

George Hawley

The conservative movement knows that it has a problem with young voters. Specifically, they have no young voters. The Young Cons, or any similar group, will not help. Hip-hop will never be a good medium for promoting supply-side economics – or any other Republican buzzword these tools will ever want to advance. BET and the GOP are not natural allies. A disingenuous rap song explaining that Martin Luther King was “really a conservative” (which is simply not true, by the way) will not change that essential fact.

You occasionally hear that the conservative movement needs to “engage in some culture,” and finally abandon the myopic strategy of focusing exclusively on the electoral health of the Republican Party. I simultaneously agree and have no idea what that means.

The trouble with efforts to advance “conservative art” is that artists are a self-selecting group. I am not sure what can be done to change the fact that most musicians and screen writers tend to lean toward the statist left. However, if someone decides to be an artist of any sort simply because he is a conservative and he thinks more conservatives should be artists, it’s a good bet that he will churn out crap.

Daniel McCarthy


Filed under Bloggy Funnies, Conservative Movement, Music, New Media

Exeunt Stage Right

Jay Leno’s last Tonight Show was last night.

Lee Stranahan in HuffPo:

Leno isn’t my comedic inspiration – I like sketch stuff like Monty Python’s Flying Circus or Mr. Show With Bob And David or The Upright Citizen’s Brigade – but Jay is a professional who knows what he’s doing. I watched him work on comedy pieces and what I learned is – cut, cut, cut.

Jay and his writers would watch segments, notepads in hand. The more consistent note I saw Leno give was to make small edits. Lose a half a second here or cut that joke there. Being able to look over Leno’s shoulder for years effected me; I’m always looking for things to cut in my own comedy pieces.

I also got to watch a really interesting moment once where the “Standards And Practices” person at NBC – the company censor, in other words – was trying to kill a piece. I believe it was a segment showing stuff being sold on eBay and the item in question was two petrified frogs who were humping each other. Apparently, the sight of two freeze dried frogs having sex would be too much for the delicate sensabilities of the Tonight Show audience.

Leno didn’t get angry. He seemed genuinely perplexed. He asked how Conan O’Brien was able to air the “Masturbating Bear” routines that aired about 45 minutes later. Jay told the would-be censor he wasn’t mad or trying to be defensive, he just actually wanted to understand how Conan was able to sell NBC on the Masturbating Bear. After a few minutes, the S&P person seemed to give up and America was allowed to see dead frogs do it.

TV Guy


The Watcher:

If Leno was choked up — and it looked as though he may have been a little emotional, right before the show ended — he hid it pretty well. The torch was smoothly passed to O’Brien, and now Leno’s preparing for a little downtime.

Leno said he had learned from Carson that “when times are silly, you make serious jokes, and when times are serious, you make silly jokes. But you always want to have jokes, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do for the last 17 years — make you laugh.”

Leno surely knew he could never compete with Johnny Carson’s final “Tonight Show” broadcast, and he didn’t really try. Instead, his final episode felt more like a “so long, I’ll see you soon” sendoff.

Hollywood Reporter

Clip from the final “Tonight Show With Jay Leno”

Clip from the final “Tonight Show With Johnny Carson”

Jack Paar with Robert Kennedy

A clip of Steve Allen, from the first episode ever of the Tonight Show

And the new host, Conan O’Brien, from his old show “Late Night With Conan O’Brien”

UPDATE: Ann Althouse

UPDATE #2: Kim Masters in Daily Beast

1 Comment

Filed under TV