Bradley notes this total is way too high to be plausible, basically requiring Abramoff to out-lift Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. We Beverly Hills kids are strong, but not that strong. ... Ben Zycher solves the mystery in the fifth comment to Bradley's item--the impossibly impressive weight total given by the Times was almost certainly for eight lifts, not four. ... It's not clear whether the Times was spun or just ignorant and mistaken! ... 3:30 P.M.
Abu Betelgeuse: Jim Pinkerton comes up with a solution to the problem of terrorism and privacy--colonize outer space!** ... Hmmm. Won't the same dynamic (greater lethality of available weapons and the need for more intrusive means of detecting them) take hold wherever man goes--on Mars and Jupiter, in other solar systems? What about the Andromeda Nihilistic Brotherhood? ... Or is Pinkerton planning to just keep running and stay one step ahead of the terrorist posse? ... P.S.: I stole that point from my colleague Bob Wright, who nevertheless inexplicably holds out hope that we can reduce the general level of global hatred and grievance to such an extent that it balances out the greater lethality of aggrieved terrorists and avoids the need for greater invasions of privacy. Good luck. ...
Here's the most ludicrously amateurish major car design in a long time--the new Chrysler Imperial. A malproportioned pastiche of status cliches! A fake Rolls kit-car. If hip-hop appeal can sell this thing, it can sell anything. ... 10:38 A.M.
Conspiracy Central: Why might the Bushies believe in a Saddam-9/11 connection? Mark Hosenball has obtained copies of the slides used at the secret briefing given at the White House. They included some reports (perhaps bogus) on Atta-in-Prague I hadn't seen before.The implicit charge seems to be that these previously undisclosed tidbits (i.e., that Atta was seen in Prague by "several" airport workers) were "stovepiped" to the top levels of government without being vetted through normal channels, where they would have been discredited. ... It's always hard to believe top government officials actually make big war/no war decisions based on these simplified slide show briefings, as opposed to drilling down and assessing the veracity of the underlying raw intelligence. Did Cheney (who stuck with the Atta-in-Prague story) really not want to learn of any possibly-inconvenient doubts about what the briefings told him? Or are briefings less important than reporters tend to think they are? ... The actual slides can be seen here. ... 8:10 P.M.
Is it really so savvy for Hillary Clinton to make a showy stand against violent video games? Sure, it appeals to centrist, family voters. But it also highlights the least appealing aspect of Hillary's persona--the moralistic nanny who knows best and will use the government to tell you how to live your life (and who has little feel for free speech, or freedom generally). ... P.S.: I'm not saying the legislation Clinton co-sponsored isn't in itself sensible, though it's hard to believe regulating video game sales couldn't be handled on the state level. I'm questioning whether glomming on to this issue will help Clinton politically. ... 7:34 P.M.
OK, how about 45% slave, 55% free? So if only Polk had been more of a consensus president we would have ended slavery without a war? ... 7:06 P.M.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.