The French right wins a parliamentary majority, but winds up losing seats relative to its pre-election position of strength. This tends to bolster my sense that the dawn of the Sarkozy Era will ultimately be less consequential than many seem to hope or fear.
The New York Daily News reports:
O’Reilly, the FoxNews Channel talking head, got inside the visitors’ clubhouse before Stadium security realized that he was not wearing a credential granting clubhouse access. He and his party then were escorted out of the room.
According to a reporter from The Record of Hackensack (N.J.), the Big Righty complained to the security officer, “You don’t have to escort us out – we’re going.”
Coincidentally, If there is some irony surrounding the incident, it’s that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann was in the Mets’ clubhouse before Friday night’s game. Olbermann hosts the left-leaning “Countdown” on MSNBC and he and O’Reilly have frequently exchanged barbs on their respective programs.
More than four years after the fall of Baghdad, the United Nations continues to spend “millions of dollars in Iraqi oil money to continue the hunt for Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.” But a new report in the New York Times indicates that the search “appears close to an official conclusion, several years after their absence became a foregone one”:
The United States and Britain have circulated a new proposal to the members of the United Nations Security Council to “terminate immediately the mandates” of the weapons inspectors. Staff meetings on the latest proposal have already taken place, and officials say that the permanent Council members, each of whom has veto power, seem ready to let the inspection group — the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission — meet its end.
Via Ann Friedman, Barbara Ellen makes the case against pink stuff (cell phones, clothes, etc.), which she says “infantilizes” women. To me, this seems a bit backwards; a feminist should object to the association of womanness with immaturity, not object to women associating themselves with a female-identified color.
Ace of Spades cranks out a compelling critique of Glenn Greenwald’s work on media representations of masculinity: “I really think that questioning others’ masculinity is a game probably better left to people who haven’t had more cock in and out of them than a Tyson Chicken regional distribution center.” Hm. He continues:
Not that I’m saying homosexuality is incompatible with masculinity, of course. Consenting biweekly to having one’s duodenum battered with the manic hydraulic fury of a tricked-out V-12 jackhammer manned by an epileptic Con-Ed worker with an ancestral oath of vengeance against asphalt would, I think, tend to butch one up, at least as regards one’s pain threshold.
Naturally this garners the old approving link from Glen Reynolds, law professor and erstwhile libertarian.
It’s a new Wikipedia of the environment by experts:
The Encyclopedia is a free, fully searchable collection of articles written by scholars, professionals, educators, and experts who collaborate and review each other’s work. The articles are written in non-technical language.
Worth a look.
The New York Times has published a review of interviews with more than 50 NYC firefighters and department officers who server under former mayor Rudy Giuliani. “Many firefighters praise his years in office, citing his success in reducing crime and his leadership after the terrorist attacks. Others harbor a resentment for what they describe as his poor treatment of the department before and after Sept. 11.”
Some still speak bitterly about a contract that left firefighters without a raise for two years. Some also say Mr. Giuliani has exaggerated the role he played after the terrorist attacks, casting himself as a hero for political gain. The harshest sentiments stem from Mr. Giuliani’s decision nearly two months after 9/11 to reduce the number of firefighters who were allowed to search for colleagues in the rubble — a move that he partially reversed but that still infuriates many firefighters. [...]
The International Association of Fire Fighters, an umbrella union based in Washington, spoke out against Mr. Giuliani in March. The group is also preparing a short DVD outlining its grievances that it plans to send to fire departments across the country. [...]
Officials with another union, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, said they planned to work against Mr. Giuliani’s campaign. “I don’t think the person in Nebraska has any idea yet how we feel,” said John J. McDonnell, a battalion chief and president of the association. “He probably assumes that we think he’s great.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on CBS Face the Nation this morning:
SCHIEFFER: Well, you said the other day — and I’m going to use your words here — the handwriting is on the wall, that we are going in a different direction in the fall, and I expect the president to lead it. What did you mean by that, Senator?
MCCONNELL: Well, by that, I mean the surge is going to come to an end, obviously. It’s now — the buildup in troops is now complete. It will obviously go on over the summer. I think everybody anticipates that there’s going to be a new strategy in the fall. I don’t think we’ll have the same level of troops, in all likelihood, that we have now. The Iraqis will have to step up, not only on the political side, but on the military side, to a greater extent. We’re not there forever. I think they understand that. And the time to properly evaluate that, it strikes me, is in September.
When Al Gore sat before both House and Senate committees, he made recommendations for legislative action to combat global warming in the United States, one of which was the eventual ban of incandescent light bulbs.
To do so would follow the lead of Australia and the European Union, and groups in the U.S. have launched their campaign. Energy efficient light bulbs are more expensive but last longer, emit less pollutants, and are the economically and environmentally wise choice. By switching out what is already in the market, homes and businesses can nearly effortlessly reduce their emissions.
The reduction represents a few years’ worth of domestic electric emissions. Every building block counts. And the illustration carries an important message potentially applicable to the entire effort to makeover energy use – strategized change can be simple, effective, and beneficial.
There’s a pretty great New York Times Magazine article about Chinese World of Warcraft “gold farmers” out today. If you don’t know what that means, you really have to read the piece, though everyone should check it out. This made me wonder:
At the end of each shift, Li reports the night’s haul to his supervisor, and at the end of the week, he, like his nine co-workers, will be paid in full. For every 100 gold coins he gathers, Li makes 10 yuan, or about $1.25, earning an effective wage of 30 cents an hour, more or less. The boss, in turn, receives $3 or more when he sells those same coins to an online retailer, who will sell them to the final customer (an American or European player) for as much as $20.
One interesting thing is that as best I can tell the only reason the online retailer is making so much money is that the gold farming is against the rules of the game. If you’re able to sell gold at $20 then it would make sense to offer more than $3 for the sake of increasing your volume; the retailers should be competing against each other and bidding the price up. But since the farmers need to be wary of drawing too much attention to themselves, they have a limited ability to switch retailers. At the intersection of this reality and cheap Chinese labor, the most valuable commodity in the whole process is knowledge of the supply chain, rather than the gold itself.
Incidentally, a good friend of mine is working this from a different angle — a basement full of computer playing the game automatically according to some kind of program he’s written, rather than relying on outsourced labor.