Monday, 29 December 2003

HOT lanes getting hotter

Robert Prather notes the increasing enthusiasm for introducing High Occupancy/Toll lanes for congestion relief in the Washington area.

Signifying Nothing goes mobile

Prompted in part by my new cell phone, which includes a built-in web browser, I’m pleased to announce the debut of Signifying Nothing Mobile. There isn’t a lot of support for navigating between posts yet, but hopefully I’ll be able to add that soon. Any reports of success or failure would be appreciated!

Only Stinson Can Go To China

Matt Stinson finally stops teasing us and announces his big plans for the new year. Très cool.

Julian Sanchez under the microscope

Will Baude has yet another 20 Questions interview, this time with Reason writer/blogger Julian Sanchez. Plenty of good stuff there; go RTWT™.

Soak and poke

While waiting in line at Books-A-Million today here in Ocala (a long wait, since the computers crashed due to a power spike), an elderly woman noticed that I was buying a copy of the latest book on Southern politics by the Black brothers, Merle and Earl, The Rise of Southern Republicans (a real find in a general-interest bookstore). The woman, who I really didn’t want to get into a political conversation with,* informed me that she hoped Bush would be reelected in 2004, and that she considered two Democrats particularly “dangerous”: Howard Dean and Hillary Clinton. I nodded, smiled, and seriously considered backing away slowly.

She didn’t seem quite as interested in the copy of The Economist’s “The World in 2004” I was buying.

This is my entry in today’s Beltway Traffic Jam.

Separating people from their leaders

I think Michele has the better of the argument in contrasting Lair’s and Meryl’s reaction to the U.S. sending aid to the earthquake victims in Iran with her own. Personally, I think it’s worthwhile even if not a single Iranian mind is changed about America—the point of charity, after all, isn’t to make the beneficiary think better of you for doing it.

Update: Add Glenn Reynolds to the list of people who can’t seem to make the people/leaders distinction—even if I agree that the U.S. efforts to play arbiter are unlikely to be effective.

Dean's lead

While Stephen Green points out that the latest Zogby numbers show Howard Dean in statistical dead heats in both Iowa and South Carolina (but with a commanding lead in New Hampshire), James Joyner retorts that Dean’s lead is more durable than the numbers indicate:

...this is now Dean’s race to lose. While he’s not running away with anything, he’s got a huge lead in New Hampshire and a small one everywhere else. Meanwhile, there is no consistent number two. More importantly, he’s absolutely dominating the money primary.

More to the point, the rules are such that you can effectively discount anyone not named Al Sharpton* unless they get double-digits, because the Democrats’ delegate allocation system works at the congressional district level—and, as I keep pointing out, you have to get 15% in a congressional district to win delegates from it. This effect will massively inflate Dean’s standing at the convention.

Like James, I’m becoming more convinced than ever that South Carolina will be pivotal. And, barring a seismic shift after Iowa, I can’t see any S.C. scenario that Dean can’t spin as a win—realistically, he needs to be blown out by 10% or more by a credible candidate (at this point, either Clark or Gephardt), which just ain’t happening with Edwards still in the race and a lot of Republicans coming out to vote for Sharpton. A narrow ABD victory gives Dean the line that he “polled well in the South,” even if he only gets a third of the primary vote.

You say that like it's a bad thing

Eugene Volokh, in a post defending Strom Thurmond against the charge of child molestation, notes a handy table that lists the age of consent in all fifty states, and comments:

I also suspect that the table is mostly designed for people who like to have sex with teenagers, but it seems to be pretty accurate, and I’ve found it useful even for more academic purposes.

Now, I’m not an expert on such matters, but it seems to me that having sex with teenagers is quite a popular activity, particularly among college students; the only thing I can figure is that law professors—the only academics who, as a group, don’t have much contact with the 17-21 demographic—are unaware just how much sex goes on among undergraduates.

Draft: daft

Dave of dave’s not here thinks the arguments of some in favor of reinstating the draft don’t hold up against scrutiny. Me? I’d be even happier if Congress killed the Selective Service System—and the ridiculous line-item in the budget attached to it—once and for all.

Safe and Sound in SlOcala

I safely arrived at my dad’s house in a secure, undisclosed location in southeastern Marion County, Florida last night. Traffic on both I-10 and I-75 was horrible, albeit fast moving—though I-10 could use an extra lane from Pensacola to I-75, as left-lane traffic was continuously stacked up trying to pass the few stragglers in the right lane.

Anyway, if you’re a regular SN reader within, say, a two-hour radius of Ocala (roughly anywhere north of I-4, south of I-10, east of Tallahassee, and not in the Atlantic Ocean), the first beer’s on me.

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the primary

Stephen Green and Matt Stinson note the latest whining from Howard Dean about his fellow candidates picking on him.

Also of note: Dean’s Bushian energy policy coverup. Truth to power indeed.

Update: Steven Taylor points out that DNC head Terry McAuliffe couldn’t do much about the attacks, even if he were inclined to do so. And, the Diktat has the Stalinist perspective, as always.