This year’s two conference championship matchups both seem so lopsided that I forgot to even post my picks before the first game was played. Suffice it to say that I like, I think, almost everyone on the planet, expect to see the Spurs facing (and in all likelihood beating) the Pistons in the NBA Finals. It’s really too bad, since we’ve had some great playoff series thus far, but the current round looks certain to be a dreary momentum-killer. I can’t recall both series being this one sided in quite a while.
The ace crime reporting team of Ackerman and Yglesias utterly fail to figure out who fired all those shots right by our house.
The 21-year-old soldier son of right-wing talk radio host “Dr. Laura” Schlessinger “is under investigation for a graphic personal Web page that one Army official has called ‘repulsive.’”
The MySpace page, publicly available until Friday when it disappeared from the Internet, included cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation; photographs of soldiers with guns in their mouths; a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee captioned “My Sweet Little Habib”; accounts of illicit drug use; and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets.
“After the screening, several hard-nosed U.S. critics and journalists admitted to crying during the film.”
White House defending Al Gonzalez against no confidence motion by describing no confidence motions as un-American.
Probably half of all the media queries I get these days concern hydrogen — thanks to my last book, The Hype about Hydrogen. Today’s New York Times Magazine has an exceedingly long article, “The Zero-Energy Solution,” on a solar-hydrogen home. The author refers to me as “an environmental pragmatist,” no doubt because I don’t automatically embrace every environmental solution that comes along, but judge each on its technical and practical merit.
I have written a number of articles arguing hydrogen has been wildly overhyped as an energy and climate solution, when in fact it holds little promise of being a cost-effective greenhouse gas reduction strategy for at least the first half of the century, if not forever. Since ten years ago I ran the Federal office that does all the hydrogen research, I am one of the go-to guys for a skeptical quote or two.
This article is no exception, and the author accurately writes, Romm “says he believes that the problems of global warming are urgent and that hydrogen technologies are too remote in time to be of any real help.”
Somewhat annoyingly, the author focuses on my concerns about hydrogen safety, which I think are quite genuine for home hydrogen production — but which pale in comparison to the basic technical, cost, and practical considerations for a solar hydrogen home. Still, I stand by every statement, including, “The last thing you want is somebody making hydrogen in his garage.” I did add, though it didn’t make publication, that “I wouldn’t want someone making gasoline in their garage either.”
The article has some hype but is still worth a read as it presents both sides.
“In a biting rebuke, the White House on Sunday dismissed former President Jimmy Carter as ‘increasingly irrelevant’ after his harsh criticism of President Bush. Carter was quoted Saturday as saying ‘I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history.’ … ‘I think it’s sad that President Carter’s reckless personal criticism is out there,’ White House spokesman Tony Fratto responded Sunday from Crawford, where Bush spent the weekend.”
An interesting article details efforts by some college administrators to sabotage the US News and World Report rankings by getting enough schools to agree to decline to provide the information they’re asked for. It’s a good idea. TheUS News rankings are a terrible farce and killing them off would be a good thing. This even seems like a reasonable tactic.
All that said, the very best way to deal a death-blow to this scheme would be for America’s colleges and universities to work together and with third parties to try to come up with some meaningful metrics for higher education performance. All magazines make lists, but the reason the college rankings are such a hit is that there’s nothing out there. Ordinal rankings are inherently kind of dumb, but higher education leaders both can and should come up with some kind of theory about what service they’re providing to students and some method of measuring how well they’re doing it. Since the schools don’t do anything like this themselves, and since their lobbyists are wildly opposed to having the government do it, the upshot has been to outsource the function to a struggling newsmagazine that deploys screwy formulae to boost sales.
If the higher education community itself provided some kind of better product, then university presidents wouldn’t find themselves under US News‘ thumb.
The AP reports:
Gonzales, a friend and adviser to Bush since their days in Texas, calls their close relationship “a good thing.”
“Being able to go and having a very candid conversation and telling the president: ‘Mr. President, this cannot be done. You can’t do this,’ _ I think you want that,” Gonzales told reporters this week. “And I think having a personal relationship makes that, quite frankly, much easier always to deliver bad news.”
“Do you recall a time when you (were) in there and said, ‘Mr. President, we can’t do this?’” Gonzales was asked.
“Oh, yeah,” the attorney general responded.
“Can you share it with us?” a reporter asked.
“No,” Gonzales said.
Steve Benen has more.
“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a little trick up his sleeve that could spell an end to President Bush’s devilish recess appointments of controversial figures like former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton.” U.S. News reports:
We hear that over the long August vacation, when those types of summer hires are made, Reid will call the Senate into session just long enough to force the prez to send his nominees who need confirmation to the chamber. The talk is he will hold a quickie “pro forma” session every 10 days, tapping a local senator to run the hall. Senate workers and Republicans are miffed, but Reid is proving that he’s the new sheriff in town.