January 30, 2011

Our Friends, the Saudis?

See here (HT: Instapundit).

Bacterial Biofuels?

There are reports that bacteria can be engineered to create biofuels (HT: Instapundit).

This might be like the situation with affordable human spaceflight: apparently impossible...while incremental progress in a number of fields crept on over decades. And suddenly we are at the verge. (Even if Western bureaucracies seize on catastrophic failures as a pretext to cripple the efforts, the work will continue somewhere.)

January 23, 2011

Lang Lang

Submitted as a comment to the Tatler report:
1. This is gross negligence by whoever, presumably the State Department, vetted the program. A senior head should roll: somebody at the undersecretary level, and maybe the Secretary herself, should be fired.

2. Imagine if an American residing in China had done this kind of thing. He'd be lucky--lucky--to be kicked out of the country on the spot.

Yes, my immediate reaction is that that Lang Lang should be expelled from the US (I gather he does not have dual citizenship). Unfortunately, this would only deepen the tragicomedy since our Left would rally around him as a human-rights victim--but so be it.

3. Since I don't expect Lang Lang to be expelled, I have a more modest proposal: have him play at the opening of the Ground Zero Mosque.

4. From sean Carlsd #6: ...The song is also the opening theme song for 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony (the lip-syncing brouhaha is on this song), G.W. Bush attended the opening ceremony, nobody seemed to think China showed disrespect back then.

Bush also stayed at the Olympics (and was photographed with our bikini-clad female volleyball team) while his BFF Vladimir's army invaded Georgia.

Bush and Obama: Chimpy and Chumpy.

No wonder the Chinese believe that history is on their side.
The comment is posted here.

Addendum 20110202: John Derbyshire thinks this is much ado about little as far as Lang Lang is concerned. Money quote:
I applaud Lang Lang as an honest patriot. I only wish our ruling class had half as much love for their country as Lang Lang has for his.
There's a lot of ruin in a great nation. For the time being our wounds are primarily self-inflicted. As the ruling class continues to weaken the country, at some point that will no longer be true.

January 11, 2011

Round-Up of Smears Against the Right

Michelle Malkin collects examples.

Perusing conservative blogs leaves no doubt that there are similar smears against the Left, but the so-called mainstream media is not a willing participant in these.

January 1, 2011

Comments: January 2011

On demographic inevitability and the GOP.

On IRS proactive cooperation with foreign tax authorities.

On Obama's show of conciliation: here and here.

On US abolition of slavery.

On the incestuousness of the superelite. (Scroll down to Posted by: gs | Jan 13, 2011 9:07:54 PM.)

On airbrushing RFK Jr.'s antivax article.

On the Curse of the Bambino.

On Obama and oil prices.

On using the massacre as a pretext for authoritarianism.

On the Giffords attack: here, here and here.

On suing the government taxpayers.

On creativity and rote learning.

On activist fraud, especially wrt vaccines: here, here, here, and here.

On the revival of civil defense.

On the purges in Iran.

Abuse of Prosecutorial Discretion and
the Presumption of Innocence

Abuses of government authority, like the prosecutorial abuse unleashed against Siobhan Reynolds and her Pain Relief Network, the Smithwick case, etc etc etc etc, have got me to thinking.

It's accepted that if an accused person cannot afford a lawyer, he will be assigned a public defender. Given the enormous disparity between the resources of government prosecutors, especially at the federal level, and most individuals, maybe that needs to be taken a step further.

For brainstorming purposes: Maybe beyond a certain percentage of an individual's assets and income, their defense costs should be compensated as a fraction of what the government spends on the prosecution, with such compensation coming out of the prosecutor's budget. Ditto for the costs of complying with a subpoena. Ditto for jury duty; as an alternative, jurors should be offered a tax credit at their ongoing income level.

Prosecutors wwould scream that this will make their job much harder--but making their job harder is the whole point if they've acquired too much power and are abusing it. No doubt some guilty people would walk free--but our system is supposed to be predicated on the presumption of innocence.

The Stupid Party and the Evil Party

According to M. Stanton Evans, the USA has two political parties, the Stupid Party and the Evil Party. Bipartisanship occurs when they occur to do something both stupid and evil.

Actually, some people find it expedient to join the Stupid Party and pretend to be stupid. They are called RINOs.