Friday, September 23, 2005

Times Select Update

Mickey Kaus is on top of the Times Select story and does a better job writing about it than I have.

When Words Fail

This doesn't seem to be a hoax.

POCATELLO - To the rest of the country, Scott Stevens is the Idaho weatherman who blames the Japanese Mafia for Hurricane Katrina. To folks in Pocatello, he's the face of the weather at KPVI News Channel 6.The Pocatello native made his final Channel 6 forecast Thursday night, leaving a job he's held for nine years in order to pursue his weather theories on a full-time basis.

"I'm going to miss that broadcast, but I'm not going to miss not getting home until 11 p.m.," Stevens said. "I just don't have the hours of the day to take care of my research and getting those (broadcasts) out and devoting the necessary research to the station."It was Stevens' decision to leave the TV station, said KPVI general manager Bill Fouch.

"When Scott signed his current contract, he told Brenda and me at the time that it would be his last contract," Fouch said Thursday. "We knew, but the timetable moved up because of all the attention (he's been getting.)"

Since Katrina, Stevens has been in newspapers across the country where he was quoted in an Associated Press story as saying the Yakuza Mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina in a bid to avenge the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. He was a guest on Coast to Coast, a late night radio show that conducts call-in discussions on everything from bizarre weather patterns to alien abductions. On Wednesday, Stevens was interviewed by Fox News firebrand Bill O'Reilly.
Stevens said he received 30 requests to do radio interviews on Thursday alone.Fouch said Stevens wanted to leave as quickly as possible because his "plate is full," and he needs to take advantage of the opportunities that exist now.

Stevens said he's received offers that he's not at liberty to discuss.Stevens, 39, who was born in Twin Falls, plans to remain in Pocatello, where his family remains. He said his family wishes him the best in his future endeavors.

It costs him hundreds of dollars each month to run his Web site,, but he said that's a price he's willing to pay."There's a chess game going on in the sky," Stevens said. "It affects each and every one of us. It is the one common thread that binds us all together."
Although the theories espoused by Stevens - scalar weapons, global dimming - are definitely on the scientific fringe today, there are thousands of Web sites that mention such phenomena."The Soviets boasted of their geoengineering capabilities; these impressive accomplishments must be taken at face value simply because we are observing weather events that simply have never occurred before, never!" Stevens wrote on his Web site. "The evidence of these weapons at work found within the clouds overhead is simply unmistakable. These patterns and odd geometric shapes seen in our skies, each and every day, are clear and present evidence that our weather has been stolen from us, only to be used by those whose designs for humanity are rarely in alignment with that of the common man."

However, Stevens never discussed his weather theories on the air during his time at Channel 6 - an agreement he had with the station management. What the meteorologist chose to do in his off time was his business, said his manager of eight years.Fouch said he would miss Stevens, whom he described as energetic, easy-going and enthusiastic about the weather, but he is supportive of his decision to pursue his passion.

"His theories are his theories," Fouch said. "But, if you think about it - of all the TV weather people, he continues to be the most accurate. It isn't his theories getting involved with his professional job."For Stevens, however, the recent attention to his theories has been somewhat of a distraction from work."When there has been so much attention, it gets in the way of them doing their jobs and me doing my job," Stevens said.

Why can I not get the image out of my mind of Stevens being chased by two men in white outfits with gigantic butterfly nets?

Ginsburg For Congress

After this performance, she should resign and become a legislator. An embarrassing display...

Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience Wednesday that she doesn't like the idea of being the only female justice on the Supreme Court. But in choosing to fill one of the two open positions on the court, ''any woman will not do,'' she said. There are ''some women who might be appointed who would not advance human rights or women's rights,'' Ginsburg told those gathered at the New York City Bar Association.

Ruth, sweetheart, if you want to advance human and women's (aren't women, you know, human?) rights the go work for the U.N., run for office, or start a special interest group. But, and here is the "take away" part of this post: Get the fuck off the Supreme Court. Your job is not advocacy; it is jurisprudence. This is true for your eight colleagues as well, most of whom are a lot more discreet when it comes to discussing usurping their positions to subvert the Constitution to their own ends.

Ginsburg stressed that the president should appoint a ''fine jurist,'' adding that there are many women who fit that description. ''I have a list of highly qualified women, but the president has not consulted me,'' she added during a brief interview Wednesday night.

Surprising, since I am sure your opinion would carry such weight with the White House. I recall during Bill Clinton's presidency when Bill and Antonin, or "Nino" as his close friend the President would call him, sat around and talked about who Clinton should appoint. Where in Article 3 is advise and consent? Ginsburg is becoming the (female!) Lionel Hutz of the high court.

During the session, which was attended by hundreds, Ginsburg defended some of the justices' references to laws in other countries when making decisions, a practice strongly opposed by some U.S. legislators. The justice said using foreign sources does not mean giving them superior status in deciding cases. ''I will take enlightenment wherever I can get it,'' she said. ''I don't want to stop at a national boundary.''

There is a Latin term used in the law: res ipsa loquitur, which translates into "the thing speaks for itself" So does Ginsburg's idiocy. And she was confirmed 96-3.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Canard Of Racism

David Broder has a piece in WaPo on Bush, race, and New Orleans. As usual it is thoughful and thought provoking, unlike a lot of the recent dialogue from others, like, say, Jesse Jackson.

A major drawback to becoming a knee-jerk political ideologue is that once your reputation has been established all subsequent statements and actions are viewed with suspicion or dismissed outright. Does anyone take Jesse Jackson seriously any more and if so, why? Here is a public figure who purports to want to end racism and does so by judging every action and utterance of others through the prism of race. A compendium of inflammatory and irresponsible statements by Jackson would make War and Peace look like a pamphlet so there is little need to list them here.

The real question is this: to what degree have many of Jackson's insidious and often opportunistic allegations led a great many people to dismiss real racial injustice out of hand? When the Reverend shouts "racism" regarding the response to Hurricane Katrina is his voice heard outside of his amen corner?

It is inarguable that all forms of racism still exist in this country, including the kind practiced by Jackson, so we as a society still have a lot of work to do. Are there causes deeper than merely skin color that come into play? A few come to mind.

There is a strong correlation between race and economic stratification in America as well; this is evidenced in the fact that although it is true that Katrina affected black more than whites there are several factors implicated in that outcome. First, New Orleans is 67.25% black, (according to the 2000 census) so no matter what, African-Americans will feel a greater impact than say, Asians (2.26%) or whites (28.05%). What we do not yet know, and may never fully understand, is if more than 67% (a proportional effect) of the people affected by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans were black. For the sake of argument, let's assume they were. Why?

Aside from racial demography, economic factors must be considered as well. In 1999, the per capita income for whites in New Orleans was $31,971. For blacks it was $11,332. This is not a typo; the per capita income for whites was nearly three times what it was for blacks. (It should also be noted that in Louisiana the rate of white income to black is double, $20,488 versus $10,166.) So is this inherently racist? Not necessarily, and although it is nearly impossible to discern the true economic impact of racism it has to be conceded that race alone cannot solely responsible for this type of per capita income disparity.

Let's look at education, which strongly correlates to income, particularly true in a school district with a student population that is 93.5% black. In the Orleans Parish, the average expenditure per student is $7,296, not an inconsequential sum. And what does this buy? A school system in which, by its own standards, 46% of the schools are deemed academically unacceptable. (The state average is a little over 5%, by way of comparison.) An additional 26% of the schools are on academic warning. A mind-numbing 72% of the educational system there is effectively broken. Where is the accountability? Where are the claims of racism? A school district that is 93% black has nearly $7,300 spent per student and all it buys is failure? It couldn't have to do with the fact that the teacher's unions are, after the trial lawyers, the single largest contributors to the Democratic Party, could it? And what possible defense could there be in this case for not implementing vouchers? Wouldn't one want to empower the overwhelmingly black parents of school children with a credit of over $7,000 to find the best education that money could buy?

Furthermore, in the same Orleans Parish School District, nearly one in five (18.8%) of students do not graduate from high school. (Source: La. Department of Education) Again, this in a district that spends over $7,000 per student.

Another factor in success in life, and therefore a method of avoiding poverty, is becoming educated before having children and having a family under the auspices of marriage. This metric, from the federal government, is therefore interesting: Illegitimacy rates differ dramatically by state, from 17 percent in Utah to 56 percent in the mostly black District of Columbia. The next highest states are Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Mexico (all 47 percent). Half of all children in Louisiana are born out of wedlock. (I have been unable to find numbers specific to New Orleans.)

The good news is that the illegitimacy rate has been dropping; the bad news is that at the rate of decline it will take 115 years to return to the 22 percent level of the early 1960's that was a prime cause for Lyndon Johnson's War On Poverty.

Think about these numbers for a moment.

No public figure, or political party, has all the answers. It is beginning to look like those sources may not have any of the answers. But two things seem abundantly clear: that $6 trillion dollars and 40 years later conditions for the impoverished, of all races, haven't improved and that there is an inescapable, if broad, connection between personal repsonsibility and the manner in which one's life unfolds. Our government has done enough regarding the former and has little, if any, control over the latter.

The proper method of riding a dead horse is to dismount. In our quest to help the poor in this country, what do we do now?

The DSCC & Dirty Tricks

Two opposition researchers working for Sen. Charles Schumer at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee obtained copies of a confidential credit report on Maryland's Republican lieutenant governor, prompting calls for their prosecution.

In July, committee research director Katie Barge and Lauren Weiner, a junior staffer, used Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's Social Security number to get his credit report, according to a Democratic official familiar with the case.

The committee, which works to elect Democrats to the Senate, has been compiling research on Steele, Maryland's highest-ranking African-American official, a GOP contender for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by Democrat Paul Sarbanes in 2006.

Where is Jesse? If this isn't a case of racism, after all Lt. Gov. Steele is African-American, what is? Are Barge and Weiner white? Shouldn't we know this? When will Bob Herbert weigh in from the Times? Where is the outrage? Can Al Sharpton tear himself away from grieving mother/media whore Cindy Sheehan?

"The DSCC immediately ensured that Mr. Steele's credit report was not used or disseminated to anyone," added Singer, who called the matter an "isolated incident."

Singer offered an apology to Steele and said the committee has put in safeguards to ensure that incident isn't repeated.

Well is that a relief!

Will Schumer fire these two staffers that have committed a crime? Will he personally apologize to Mr. Steele? Will the media cover this at all?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

At The Public Trough

Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit must have been exactly the kind of guy Al Gore was thinking of when he invented the Internet. The latest on PorkBusters.

I will note than Don Young,mentioned in Glenn's post, is a Republican. With Members like this, I am so glad that the G.O.P. took back the House in 1994! Imagine where we would be without the type of fiscal restraint practiced by Chairman Young.

It seems to me that the only way something like PorkBusters is going to work is if Americans outside of individual districts get involved nationally. Rep. Young doesn't want to reconsider a boondoggle bridge? Fine, then I'll cancel my trip salmon fishing to Alaska and let my guide know why, along with Alaska Airways and the Anchorage Hilton. Sure it is trivial and insignificant in the big picture, but if enough people starting putting economic pressure to put an end to this sort of crap then there is an outside chance something might change. Otherwise, what disincentive does a voter in Alaska have to make Young change his porcine mind?

By the way, Young is an "at large" Member, which means he represents the entire state. His number in Washington is (202) 225-5765. You can email your thoughts on his bill here.

With Friends Like This

Via The WaPo:

The senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee announced Wednesday he will vote to confirm John Roberts for chief justice of the United States after leading senators met with President Bush to discuss candidates for a second high court vacancy.

The announcement by veteran Sen. Patrick Leahy came amid virtually unprecedented executive-legislative branch jockeying over not one, but two high court openings, the seats left vacant by the death of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and the retirement of Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Wow. I have to admit some new-found respect for Sen. Leahy. This may be a ploy to vote for Roberts, who put on a clinic at his confirmation hearing, and then vehemently oppose whomever Bush picks to succeed Justice O'Connor. Still, it would have been easier to vote with the party and vote against Roberts. On the other hand...

Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate in 2004, said "I refuse to vote for a Supreme Court nominee who came before the Senate intent on demonstrating his ability to deftly deflect legitimate questions about his views, opinions and philosophy.

No surprise here. Amazingly, Kerry's ability to deftly deflect legitimate questions about his service in Vietnam was the reason Swift Boat Veterans For Truth began. Has the botox addled Kerry's brain? Then again...

The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said he urged President George W. Bush today to delay nominating a replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, said he talked to Justice O'Connor about staying on the high court. ``She's prepared to do that'' through the court's term ending in June, Specter said. The president ``was noncommittal,'' Specter said. ``The body language was not very positive,'' Specter said.

I am confused here. Senator Specter purports to be an authority on the Constitution but apparently has confused Article 1 with Article 2. Perhaps he should take a leisurely drive down Pennsylvania Avenue and take note of the large white house located in the 1600 block. From that location emanates the power to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court. The round building from which he traveled has the responsibility to advise and consent.

Any questions?

P.S. This is the same White House, I might add, that supported Specter in a challenge from his right, admittedly a large flank, by a Republican in the primary election in 2004.

The Peril Of Subsidies

Anne Applebaum raises some good, and uncomfortable, points in her op-ed in today's Washington Post. Putting aside the fact she uses a convenient target, the "notorious" Senator Trent Lott, the question arises: Is Ms. Applebaum willing to pursue her logic to its intellectual headwaters?

She laments, and not without reason, the fact that massive governmental involvement in the recovery of the Gulf Coast is little more than another subsidy program. I agree with her completely, particularly when the professed aim of such a program is to rebuild the same type of structures in the exact same spot where they were so recently destroyed. This area lies in the heart of hurricane country and will suffer the same cruel and capricious fate again sometime in the future. Hurricane Camille, which struck much of the same region in 1969 and cost $1.42 billion dollars, would have cost, in constant dollars and not factoring the growth in the area, $75 billion dollars today. In 35 years from now if yet another hurricane strikes the same area, and the inflation and growth factor from 1969 to the present are roughly the equivalent, that hurricane would cost $3.45 trillion. That is almost a trillion dollars more than the entire federal budget for 2006.

These numbers do not, and cannot, take into account the human toll of the disaster. Our hearts go out to all of those who have lost everything, but must we be forced to proffer our wallets as well? If the answer is yes, how many more times?

Hurricane Katrina has thrust upon us disquieting questions that deserve open and honest debate. Concurrent with this discussion should be the efficacy and fairness of other subsidy programs as well, many of which are legacies from Roosevelt's New Deal and Johnson's Great Society. Will Ms. Applebaum and others like her welcome that colloquy?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Honore In 2008.

Lt. General Honore, in a press conference regarding Rita and New Orleans, kicks ass and takes names. RadioBlogger is there.

Black Tuesday At The Gray Lady

Via Editor and Publisher

The New York Times Co. announced a staggering staff reduction plan Tuesday that will likely mean some 500 job losses at the company's many properties, including an expected 45 newsroom positions at The New York Times newspaper and 35 at The Boston Globe.

There is no chance one of these 45 will be Paul Krugman, will it? But wait, with the infusion of cash anticipated from Times Select, you'd think they would be rolling in the dough. I am sure if management took a 25% pay cut, along with all of the columnists, then no one would have to lose their job. But wait, it is much easier, not to say remunerative, to sack the "little people" and blame Bush.

In a memo to staffers, company chairman Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. and CEO Janet Robinson wrote: "We regret that we will see many of our colleagues leave the Company; it is a painful process for all of us. We have been tested many times in our 154-year history as we are being tested now."

Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is fast becoming the Joseph Hazelwood of the newspaper business. He is "running" a newspaper in which circulation is dropping, the ombudsman is openly complaining about one of its op-ed columnists (Krugman strikes again), alternative media is exploding, while the Times is trying to charge for something that is overpriced when it is free.

They promised this would not impact the quality of the paper's journalism.

Oh, THANK GOD! The whole of America was really worried about this.

The Theological Stylings of Cindy Sheehan

Daniel, who is a better man than I am, actually reads Michael Moore's website. Go here to read Cindy's latest silliness at his blog Life, Liberty, and Property.

Hurricane Arnold Ziffel

N.B. A Green Acres reference.

Howard Kurtz has a run down of opinion on how much unnecessary spending will be attached, appended, affixed, added, (and I am still just on "A") to the Hurricane Katrina relief legislation. Some highlights:

Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress briefly achieved a balanced budget in the late '90s, but that was in part because a booming economy helped stave off more difficult choices. In the post-9/11 world, Bush's budgets have grown so much-- without a single veto-- that even some conservatives now label him a big spender. The pork-encrusted highway bill, with such "earmarked" goodies as an Alaskan bridge to a nearly deserted island, shows that the Hill isn't serious about spending restraint.

If by "booming economy" one means "Internet bubble" then yes, the budget was balanced briefly, until irrational exuberance collided with earnings per share. Investors learned in a hurry that a singing sock puppet is not the same thing as a business plan. It is also true that Bill Clinton was President at the time, we all remember that, but he was about as happy to cut spending, and work with Republicans, as the guest of honor is at a briss. Lastly, considering how adulatory the mainstream media has been to Bush #43, imagine the reaction if Bush made an effort (and he hasn't, unfortunately) to cut spending? In the aftermath of Katrina much has been made about the poverty of many in New Orleans; how much has been made of the fact that the federal government has spent $6 trillion dollars in the last 40 years in its "War On Poverty"?

Andrew Sullivan suggests the following:

Here's my basic list: postpone or repeal or radically scale back the Medicare drug benefit so it only affects the truly needy; restore the estate tax in full; phase in the means-testing of social security; end agricultural subsidies; kill off all corporate tax relief and the mortgage deduction and move toward a flat tax. That's a start. How many fiscal conservatives will bite these bullets?"

Bzzzzz! Sorry Andrew, wrong answer. Thanks for playing. As much as I hate to admit it, we'll have a flat tax about the same time the Stanley Cup Finals are played in Hell. The worst idea in that litany, and there is a surfeit of them, is ending the mortgage deduction which is the single most important factor in home affordability in the U.S. Most chilling is the idea of moving toward a flat tax, which sounds to me like eliminating beneficial tax breaks like the mortgage deduction, beginning means testing of social security, et al., and commissioning a blue ribbon panel to study the effects of a flat tax, guaranteeing it will never happen. Thank you, no, I remember 1986.

Steve Moore opines:

"When President Bush announced last Thursday that the feds would take a lead role in the reconstruction of New Orleans, he in effect established a new $200 billion federal line of credit. To put that $200 billion in perspective, we could give every one of the 500,000 families displaced by Katrina a check for $400,000, and they could each build a beach front home virtually anywhere in America.

"This flood of money comes on the heels of a massive domestic spending build-up in progress well before Katrina traveled its ruinous path. Federal spending, not counting the war in Iraq, was growing by 7% this year, which came atop the 30% hike over Mr. Bush's first term. Republicans were already being ridiculed as the Grand Old Spending Party by taxpayer groups. Their check-writing binge in response to the hurricane only confirmed, as conservative leader Paul Weyrich put it, that 'the GOP, once the party of small government, has lost its bearings and the Republican establishment doesn't seem to get the message that the grass roots of the party is enraged.' . . .

Mr. Moore is, disappointingly, absolutely right. Excluding the attacks of 9/11 and subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, fiscal restraint in the last five years has been non-existent. True, the deficit has remained pretty consistent as a percentage of G.D.P., but that metric depends upon a robust economy, something that can't continue unabated forever.

Porkbusters is now also tracking Congress and the cuts each member has agreed to make. Check it out and see where your representatives sit on the issue. If not, some day you will be able to travel the Edward Kennedy Expressway, take the Tom DeLay exit, cross the William Jefferson Clinton Bridge, to the Robert Byrd Hurricane Center.

In Fairbanks, Alaska.

Update: Ace has a stomach-turning list of pork from the transportation bill.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Thank you, Mr. Taranto

The redoubtable James Taranto, of the Opinion Journal, obliges an earlier post (though I wasn't the catalyst) and juxtaposes the NYT's editorial positions on John Roberts and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Click here for the hypocrisy.

Times Select Begins

From Nicholas Kristof on the Left to Paul Krugman on the Far Left, an Iron Curtain has descended across the pages of the New York Times. Times Select has begun.

Where can one go now to find a Manolo Blahnik reference in a discussion of foreign policy? Who will tell me what evil plans KKKarl Rove (You don't honestly think he spells his name with a "K" instead of a "C" on accident, do you?) has for his weather control device/Ronco Hurricane-O-Matic? How will I know what normal Americans, you know, the kind who live on the Upper West Side, dine often at Le Bernadin, and graduate from Harvard, are thinking?

Dare I summon the strength to go on?

As an aside, am I the only one to find it interesting that the Op-Ed columnists, who never fail to find fault with the idea of a corporation turning a profit while continually lamenting how the Republicans are "disenfranchising" the poor and downtrodden, and the newspaper for which they work, now slightly to the Left of Trotsky, have no problem charging $50 a head to access their propaganda?

I have a better idea: Why doesn't the Times ask Washington to start a government program to both raise revenue for Times Select and provide access? Like our tax system, it would be progressive, so George Soros would have to pay $643,000 a year to access it but someone in inner-city Minneapolis would be paid to read the columns. It would take a bureaucracy to do this, of course, so in the first year the Times would probably wind up getting about $9 per person subscribing to Times Select. In year two, a study would find that the Department of Times Select was woefully understaffed and that amount would drop to $5. In year three, the Times would be writing a check to the government.

Does the Times like this idea? If not, why not?

Update: Ann Althouse describes the process of upgrading.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


If the world ended tomorrow, two things would likely survive: cockroaches and Arianna Huffington. And I mean no disrespect to cockroaches in writing this. The latest from Cindy Sheehan, who is still flogging her son's death, along with the misfortune of those affected by hurricane Katrina, to gin up publicity:

Join Cindy Sheehan & CODEPINK for the spirit of Camp Casey as we send Cindy off to the bus tour and send aid to Louisiana ... Friday, September 9 7:30-9pm Agape Spiritual Center 5700 Buckingham Parkway Culver City, CA 90230

Speakers will include: Cindy Sheehan, Arianna Huffington, Jodie Evans of CODEPINK, Jeff Key of Mehadi Foundation & Iraq Veterans Against the War, Eisha Mason of Agape International Spiritual Center & AFSC, Members of Veterans for Peace, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, as well as inspiring music from LA women!

Arianna Huffington, the former Miss Ariadne Stassinopoulos, was an author, living in Greece as her name might reflect, who moved to this country in 1980. In 1985 she was introduced to Michael Huffington through Ann Getty, who was kind enough to make a list of the ten wealthiest and available bachelors in California as prospects for her new friend. (Regrettably, Ann forgot to include "sexual orientation" on her list.) The Huffingtons were married in 1986.

After serving in the Reagan Defense Department, Michael Huffington moved to Santa Barbara and effectively bought a seat in the House of Representatives, ousting an incumbent Republican by running to the right of him. At the time, Huffington described himself as a "staunch conservative." After one term in the House, he ran for the Senate against Dianne Feinstein in what was, up until that point, the most expensive non-presidential election in America's history. He spent $28 million, most of it his own money, in losing the race. Arianna was right along side her husband, describing herself as "a political soulmate" of Newt Gingrich.

After losing the Senate race, Michael Huffington publicly announced he was gay and he and Arianna divorced. Shortly thereafter Arianna made the facile switch from conservative to liberal faster than you can say gyros.

She does profess a rather interesting type of liberalism, however. In 2003, when she was contemplating a run for governor in the recall election of Gray Davis, it emerged that:

Although she rails against tax loopholes, Huffington -- despite being wealthy -- paid very little federal income tax the past two years. Her campaign made her tax documents available for several days after she announced she was running but no longer will show them to reporters.

"We've moved on," said Parker Blackman, her press secretary. "That's an old story."

Huffington's federal tax was less than $1,000 for the two past years, despite the fact that she lives in a $7 million Brentwood mansion.

Equally incongruent is her support of the Detroit Project, a group lobbying Detroit to make more fuel efficient cars (which is, in my opinion, a great idea.) while traveling the country often by private jet. (In fairness, Ms. Huffington does drive a Toyota Prius, although it seems to have low mileage. Here is what the Sierra Club sent to shuttle her around in. Thank you, Michelle)

You can't make this stuff up. Also, it should be noted that Ms. Huffington's wealth, in no small part derived from her marriage, came from the company founded by her in-laws. The industry? Wait for it... oil and gas.

How does one say chutzpah in Greek?

Pork Busters

Truth Laid Bear has put up a site for people to expose pork barrel projects in their home state. This may well be an unintended and unexpected benefit from Hurricane Katrina. Then again, I am an optimist.

I would imagine that every piece of legislation every introduced by Robert Byrd will eventually be listed on the site. (Via Instapundit)

A Broken Clock That Isn't Right Even Twice A Day

Former President Bill Clinton convinced world and business leaders to commit more than $1.25 billion to address major global problems, ranging from poverty to clean energy.

The three-day event, which coincided with a world summit at the United Nations, included a series of workshops on topics including religious conflict, poverty and the environment.

At a Saturday session, former Vice President Al Gore said Hurricane Katrina should serve as a warning that the world must not ignore the consequences of global warming. "We face a global emergency, a deepening climate crisis that requires us to act," Gore said.

Scientists are split over whether a man-made change in world climate is fueling stronger storms.

At least one recent study suggested that a rise in the surface temperature of tropical seas may be responsible for an increase in the severity of hurricanes. But many say the temperature rise is a natural environmental cycle.

The price of admission was $15,000, and participants were required to commit to some sort of action to help solve a major global problem. If they don't follow through, they won't be invited back to what organizers intend to make an annual event.

One could safely assume, after being subjected to the ravings of the Inventor of The Internet, Mr. No Controlling Legal Authority Himself, The Protean: Wonk Gore, Alpha-Male Al, Maul My Wife Randy Al, The Bearded Philosopher, and, to go back to his days in the House and Senate, Pro-Life Al and N.R.A. Al, (Christ, this guy has reinvented himself more often than Madonna), that most attendees at this year's conference would happily pay $15,000 to get out of attending next year.

Although I am obviously not a fan of the Clintons, who are really the Tom and Daisy Buchanan of the Democrat party, (They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made. --The Great Gatsby) I respect that Clinton is making an effort to do something to make, in his conception, the world a better place. (Sure he has an agenda. This is, after all, the most solipsistic politician in memory but his motives shouldn't negate the good he may do.)

Gore, for his part, has become a parody of himself which is quite an accomplishment. Instead of pulling a Nixon, who famously worked very hard behind the scenes for Republican candidates from 1962 to 1968, creating debts of gratitude and getting to know local representatives and county party leaders that would ultimately lead him back to the White House, Gore has just gone off the rails. He must have given up on his life-long ambition to become president and the bitterness he feels is evident in his increasingly shrill and irresponsible rhetoric.

I am surprised that Gore attended the conference; there have been rumors of a strain in the Clinton-Gore relationship dating back to the campaign of 2000. It would have been interesting, however, to see them together again, such a contrast in style. One man the most adept political figure of his generation, basking in the glow of post-presidential encomia; the other, less Cassandra than Chicken Little, still trying to escape the shadow of his more successful political sibling.

Lost: Credibility. If Found, Please Return it to the New York Times

The WaPo has two articles on the Roberts nomination, both endorsing his confirmation, one an editorial and another by David Broder, not exactly a fire-breathing conservative, who writes:

The question of whether Judge John Roberts is qualified to be chief justice of the United States has been rendered moot by his performance in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. He is so obviously -- ridiculously -- well-equipped to lead government's third branch that it is hard to imagine how any Democrats can justify a vote against his confirmation.

(Well David, you apparently aren't as imaginative as Sens. Schumer, Kennedy, Durbin, etc., and that is meant as a compliment.)

But the New York Times, in what has to be the biggest surprise since the sun rose in the East this morning, opposes his confirmation.

This got me to thinking that the Old Gray Lady may have a more nefarious purpose for its new Times Select subscription service, which I predict will make NBC's Olympic TripleCast look like a brilliant business decision: By charging for their op-ed writers and archive access, it is going to make it much more difficult for bloggers to find and expose the embarrassing hypocrisy of this once venerable newspaper plunging head-long into irrelevancy.

It would have been nice to have been able to access the Times editorial on the confirmation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and compare it to the logic employed in opposing Roberts for Chief Justice. Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that not only did the NYT support her elevation to the Supreme Court, but also found that her disinclination to answer specific questions on cases that might come before the Court entirely reasonable?

As I get to think about it, is $49.99 a year too much to ask for the opportunity to make invidious comparisons and note the far-left bias of America's "paper of record"? Maybe not.