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OTB Latenight – Talking Heads


Live in Rome, 1980, with Adrian Belew on guitar:

14 Reasons List Posts Are Bad

Responding to a Twitter exchange this morning, Jay Canono lists “Fourteen reasons I hate list posts.”  Several of his reasons are valid. The genre is popular for understandable reasons and they can in fact (contrary to objection #6) sometimes produce very interesting debates in the comments sections.  But the posts themselves are seldom very illuminating.

Al Franken Won: Minnesota Supreme Court – Coleman Concedes

Senator Al Franken Photo

In a 5-0 decision, the state’s highest court ordered that Al Franken be declared the winner. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled today that Democrat Al Franken won the U.S. Senate election and said he was entitled to an election certificate that would lead to him being seated in the Senate. “Affirmed,” wrote the Supreme Court, […]

Asked and Answered – Workaday Life Editon


Conor Friedersdorf asks, “am I really expected to work 40+ hours per week, 50 weeks per year, for decades? Am I to savor only two days off each week? Am I to vacation but two weeks per annum?” Yes. (Well, actually, you should get some holidays off.  And, maybe, get a third week of vacation […]

Firefox 3.5 Available


Mozilla has just released version 3.5 of its Firefox browser. CNET’s Stephen Shankland: Firefox 3.5 has a range of new features, including a new JavaScript engine for faster Web applications such as Google Docs; the ability to show video built into Web pages without plug-ins; a private browsing mode; fancy downloadable fonts; and geolocation technology […]

Health Care, Pooling, and Monopsony


At a recent press conference President Obama had this to say about the public health care option he is floating as part of his proposal for reforming health care and its impact on private health care options, Now, the public plan I think is a important tool to discipline insurance companies. What we’ve said is, […]

More on the Honduran Crisis


I was able to find the exact text of the plebiscite that Manuel “Mel” Zelaya wanted to proffer to the citizens of Honduras this past Sunday. The text and a photo of the ballot that was to be used can be found here. The odd thing, and a fact that hasn’t made it into a […]

Madoff vs. Murderers


Dr. Helen Smith (aka Mrs. Glenn Reynolds and The InstaWife) asks, in re Bernie Madoff’s 150 year sentence, “Why is it that someone who set up a Ponzi scheme gets more jail time than the majority of murderers?” Glenn Reynolds, Esq. (aka, the InstaPundit) answers, “I think it’s because he made powerful people look stupid.” […]

SOFA, So Good


In accordance with the status of forces agreement negotiated between the U. S. government and the Iraqi national government last year under Presidents Bush and Maliki, respectively, U. S. forces are no longer to be seen on the streets of Baghdad: BAGHDAD — Iraq declared a public holiday Tuesday to celebrate the official withdrawal of […]

MPAA Loses Again


The Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear an appeal from the MPAA, thus letting stand a lower court ruling that Cablevision’s new remote DVR technology does not constitute a “retransmission” of the programming and thus require additional fees. The new DVR service would work by storing a viewer’s recordings in computers housed at the cable […]

Taking Ockham’s Razor to Sarah Palin Haters


Since his departure from the Washington Times, Stacy McCain has become perhaps the most skilled attention whore in all the blogosphere. Yeah, I just wrote that. And put it on the Internet. In seeking to explain why Ken Layne and Andrew Sullivan seem to loathe Sarah Palin and, in particular, make sport of her Down […]

Caption Contest Winners


The Easy Pieces of Eight Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

US Hands Baghdad to Iraqis

Baghdad Handover Ceremony

Given how much of the early years of OTB was devoted to writing about the war in Iraq, it wouldn’t do to fail to mention the fact that we have formally handed over control of Baghdad to the Iraqis, withdrawing our combat troops.  It was not at all long ago that the headline currently topping […]

Ricci Opens Up Businesses To More Lawsuits?


Via Mark Thompson, Ilya Somin argues that today’s decision in Ricci will potentially open employers up to even more lawsuits alleging race-based discrimination. Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion holds that an employer may not use race-conscious measures to try to avoid “disparate impact” liability under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act unless it “can […]

Do Something! Anything! Don’t Read It Just Pass It!


Matt Welch points to the story of how a British maker managed to get $2.7 billion in TARP money. The hurried legislation adopted by a Congress voting under the threat of sudden global economic collapse led to hidden tax breaks for firms in dozens of industries. They included builders of Nascar auto-racing tracks, restaurant chains […]

Supreme Court Takes NFL Apparel Case

NFL Logo

The Supreme Court today agreed to consider whether the NFL is violating federal antitrust law in its exclusive licensing deal with Reebok. The court said it will hear an appeal from American Needle Inc., of Buffalo Grove, Ill., that challenges an agreement the NFL struck with Reebok International Ltd. American Needle had been one of […]

Bernie Madoff Gets 150 Years

Madoff Scandal

Bernie Madoff got the maximum 150 year sentence. Bernard Madoff has been sentenced to the maximum 150 years in prison for his multibillion-dollar fraud scheme. U.S. District Judge Denny Chin handed down the sentence in New York on Monday. Defense attorneys had sought 12 years, while prosecutors wanted the maximum. The federal probation department had […]

White Firefighters Win, Sotomayor Loses

Scotus Firefighters Lawsuit

By a slim 5-4 margin, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the white New Haven firefighters whose promotions were denied because not enough non-whites passed the promotion exam.  Among those ruling the other way on the lower court was a certain wise Latina. The Supreme Court ruled Monday that white firefighters in New Haven, […]

Will There Be a Velvet Revolution for Iran?


This morning Fareed Zakaria holds forth in the Washington Post on the question above and reaches the conclusion that there will not: When we see the kinds of images that have been coming out of Iran over the past two weeks, we tend to think back to 1989 and Eastern Europe. Then, when people took […]

OTB Radio – New Time

The next episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live from 5:30 to 6:30 Eastern Wednesday afternoon.  That will be the default time for the foreseeable future although we will occasionally skip a show during slow news periods or do an impromptu episode at an alternate time if a hot topic […]

Do Republicans Cheat More?

Republicans Democrats Affairs Divorce Separation Compared

Yet another rehash of the factoid that “states that went Republican in November accounted for eight of the 10 states with the highest divorce rates in 2006” causes John Sides to commit social science. Welcome to another episode of “The Ecological Fallacy”! Once again: you cannot infer the behavior of individuals — Democrats and Republicans […]

Language Shapes Thought


Stanford neuroscientist Lera Boroditsky passes along the consensus in her field that “people who speak different languages do indeed think differently and that even flukes of grammar can profoundly affect how we see the world.” She provides a fascinating example: Follow me to Pormpuraaw, a small Aboriginal community on the western edge of Cape York, […]

On the Honduran Coup


The events in Honduras today have been some of the more dramatic in recent Latin American (and especially Central American) politics. The events are certainly of relevance to the democratic evolution of Honduras. Dave Schuler asked that I post a few comments given my academic focus on Latin America. If anyone is interested in the […]

Making Germany Happy

Yesterday Glenn Reynolds linked to an article in Der Spiegel complaining about “Obama’s mistakes”: Just as the US public initially rallied behind the war President Bush — even to the point of re-electing him — Americans have now thrown their support behind the debt president Obama. The mistakes of the Bush administration are now widely […]

How the FBI Broke Saddam

Saddam Hussein FBI Interrogation

James Gordon Meek has a very interesting two-part story on how FBI Special Agent George Piro successfully interrogated Saddam Hussein.  Shockingly, it does not involve waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation, nudity, or German shephards. The FBI prides itself on “rapport-based” interrogations that have a high success rate for yielding confessions from the likes of 1993 […]

Too Much [Internet] Bad for Marriage


Glenn Reynolds points to an incredibly thinly sourced AFP report that “Too much time spent on the Internet” is straining marriages in Ireland.   One naturally extrapolates that to other countries causing the man who spends approximately 27 hours a day online to quip “Uh oh.” Rather than spend time harping on the fact that professional […]

OTB Latenight – Mojo Nixon


Why is ProPublica Writing Articles for the Washington Post?


My “Obama Wants Indefinite Detention Power” post was based on a widely-cited WaPo piece by Dafna Linzer and Peter Finn. I didn’t want to derail the discussion there with a sidebar but there’s an odd journalism angle here.  The authors are bylined as “ProPublica and Washington Post Staff Writer,” respectively. There’s a graphic box further […]

Obama Wants Indefinite Detention Power


Once again, President Obama is adopting a policy of the Bush administration that Candidate Obama ran against. This time, it’s indefinite detention.   Dafna Linzer and Peter Finn for WaPo: Obama administration officials, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, are crafting language for an executive […]

China to Block Hummer Acquisition?


The BBC is reporting that China National Radio has said that the Chinese government will reject a Chinese firm’s acquisition of the Hummer division of General Motors: A Chinese firm’s bid to buy the gas-guzzling Hummer car brand will be blocked on environmental grounds, according to Chinese state radio. Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery emerged […]

Manus eBay Auction Ends, USA Lucky Bidder

Kyrgyzstan US Base

Until yesterday, it seemed a fait accompli that the vital NATO supply base in Krygyzstan was closing, owing to a combination of geopolitics and a strong bid by Russia.  Thanks to an eleventh hour deal, Manus Air Base will stay open after all. I analyze this in some detail at the link.  The short story, […]

Caption Contest Winners


The Jackpot Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

Does America Still Love Germany?


My New Atlanticist essay “German-American Partnership in Peril?” answers a question that likely hasn’t occurred to many Americans. Angela Merkel is in town, though, and a spate of pieces in the German press this week have expressed the concern that Asia and “Europe” are getting all the attention while Berlin is becoming an afterthought. There […]

Michael Jackson Dies, Kills Internet


Not sure this is BREAKING NEWS, as CNN does, but it’s amusing nonetheless: How many people does it take to break the Internet? On June 25, we found out it’s just one — if that one is Michael Jackson. The biggest showbiz story of the year saw the troubled star take a good slice of […]

Rhode Island May Change Name to ‘Rhode Island’


The only non-Michael Jackson story atop Yahoo News‘ page is “Rhode Island closer to changing state name over slavery.” Not having previously heard Rhode Island was considering a name change — let alone over slavery — I was intrigued. After reading the story, much less so: The country’s smallest state has the longest official name: […]

Michael Jackson News Saturation – Micheal Jackson Tops Iran!


Michael Jackson died yesterday and given that his death was unexpected and that he was arguably the world’s most famous entertainer, one would naturally expect a significant amount of news coverage.  But methinks this is overdoing it a mite: Amusingly, a misspelled variant of his name (“Micheal Jackson”) is the fourth most popular search right […]

Google Reader Annoyance


The other day, Kevin Drum noted that he was having trouble with his blog and Google Reader: Instead of showing up a few minutes after I write them, my posts seem to sit in limbo for a few hours and then show up in batches all at once.  I’ve checked the feed itself, and it […]

OTB Latenight – The Cardigans


Michael Jackson Dead at 50


BREAKING: LA Times: Michael Jackson hospitalized – Yahoo News Michael Jackson has been rushed to the hospital, a fire department official told the Los Angeles Times. Capt. Steve Ruda said Thursday that Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at his Los Angeles home about 12:30 p.m. The […]

Repeating History


Looks like Reps. Barney Frank and Anthony Weiner want both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to loosen lending standards for condos. Two U.S. Democratic lawmakers want Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to relax recently tightened standards for mortgages on new condominiums, saying they could threaten the viability of some developments and slow the housing-market recovery, […]

Farah Fawcett Dead at 62


Breaking: Actress Farrah Fawcett dies at 62, according to AP CNN (Farrah Fawcett, sex symbol and actress, dies): Farrah Fawcett, the blonde-maned actress whose best-selling poster and “Charlie’s Angels” stardom made her one of the most famous faces in the world, has died. She was 62. People (Farrah Fawcett Dies of Cancer at 62): Farrah […]

Advil Strip Search Illegal, Says Supreme Court


The Supreme Court sided with a 13-year-old honor student suspended after she was strip searched for Advil. The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a school’s strip search of an Arizona teenage girl accused of having prescription-strength ibuprofen was illegal. In an 8-1 ruling, the justices said school officials violated the law with their search of […]

Headline of the Day

“Obama To Mullahs – I’ll Cut Off Your Weenies” – Tom Maguire

Get Fit in Six Minutes a Week

Interval Training

When I saw Glenn Reynolds‘ post “Can you get fit in six minutes a week?” I was sure I had a candidate for an Asked and Answered post:  No. But, dutifully clicking the link, I found a NYT health blog from Gretchen Reynolds (presumably, no relation) with the same title. There was a time when […]

Caption Contest


Time for the Thursday OTB Caption ContestTM REUTERS/Eliana Aponte (MEXICO SOCIETY) Winners will be announced Monday PM This will be the last contest until the Middle of July, or so. I will be taking my usual summer hiatus.

OTB Radio – Tonight at 7 Eastern

The next episode of OTB Radio, our BlogTalkRadio program, will record and air live from 7-8 Eastern. Dave Schuler and I will be talk about Mark Sanford, Iran, health care, and President Obama’s poll numbers. Please join us. We’ll also be taking calls at (646) 716-7030. Owing to a high trolls to legit callers ratio, […]

Quote of the Day, Wise Latina Edition


“Perhaps South Carolina governor Mark Sanford was moved by the remarks of Sonia Sotomayor …, and decided to study deeply the wisdom of a Latina woman.” — Emily Yoffe

Haley Barbour Takes Over RGA


With Mark Sanford resigning in disgrace, the Republican Governor’s Association needed a replacement.  They didn’t wait long: The Republican Governors Association just announced that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour — already “in line” to take the chairmanship of the RGA — has assumed it. ” As a former RNC chairman and one of the best governors […]

Quote of the Day – Turnabout is Fair Gay Edition


“We should not allow Republicans to marry. It undercuts the entire institution of marriage.” Michael Reynolds of Sideways Mencken

Iran Banned Chanting “Allahu Akbar”


On the Rachel Maddow show last night, NBC Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel reporterd that the government in Iran has actually banned the chanting of the phrase “Allahu Akbar!” The cries that they have been calling out at night, a lot of people have heard them. They have been calling out “Allahu Akbar.” Sometimes, they were […]

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