A Busy Saturday

Saturday is normally a quiet news day, but not today.

1. Did anyone actually go to the White House at 11 AM like the president ordered? Supposedly the Senate and House were negotiating a short-term deal, but that seems to have fallen apart as well.

A correspondent of Instapundit's offers this sobering thought: what if Obama and the Democrats are flirting with a market panic because they don't realize that the US is really out of $$ to fund all of their brilliant ideas?
What has me worried is the idea that the Democrats ACTUALLY DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS IS THE END OF THE ROAD. What if they actually aren’t capable of recognizing when they’ve lost? Or when we’ve run out of other people’s money? None of these people work for a living. Their concept of where money comes from and how wealth is created (and destroyed) is completely divorced from reality because they live in a government bubble. And the very small minority among them that do understand this from previous jobs and experience are okay with Progressive policies aimed at leveling/equalizing/delivering-economic-justice because they just assume that the economy can handle some siphoning. And usually it can. But not at this volume or for this time scale.
Monday should be fun.

2. Norway looks like it has been the victim of right-wing terrorism of the sort the left has been dreaming about for years. I don't think you can get away with saying Anders Breivik was crazy. The amount of planning that went into this event, and the length of time he spent carrying out his plans, belies any claim of craziness. He was simply evil incarnate. I mean, what kind of person deliberately targets children, shooting them point-blank while they beg for their lives?

A grim thought: I have no doubt that Breivik is an outlier, and that the right-wing in Norway is no more prone to violence than anyone else. But, it had to have crossed his mind that violence was the only way he could get his message out, given the appeasement offered in the face of jihadi violence.

Regardless of ideology, it's incredible the amount of destruction that one man was able to wreak in such a short time. It's also incredible how long his rampage at the youth camp was able to last. No one there seems to have had a gun or a means of quickly communicating with the police, something that is very hard to imagine in the United States.

btw, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Norwegian police have labeled Berwik's crimes to be acts of terrorism punishable by up to 21 years in prison. Gotta love enlightened Europe's approach to crime.

3. Cong. David Wu (D-Oregon) has been accused of making an inappropriate sexual advance towards - or having a sexual relationship of some sorts with - the barely-legal daughter of one of his donors. You may recall Wu's election campaign, which was suspended by his own staff the week before the election because of concerns about his mental health. Naturally, the very sophisticated voters in Wu's district returned him to office.

Althouse offers a dissent from right-wing crowing over yet another creepy lefty sex scandal.
At this point, we hear about "erratic" behavior that doesn't ostensibly involve sex. What exactly are the "new questions"? This is a cheap and ridiculous article in my view. A woman who is unhappy with her sexual relationship with Wu has called his office but has not called the police, and now we're supposed to review everything else we know about him in some new context? Is this the way we are to do politics in America now?

Note that the woman who has brought this chaos into Wu's career is shielded by the newspaper's policy not to "use the names of victims of sexual assault without their permission." That's convenient. I think if you are going to have a policy like that, you should not report at all unless the alleged victim has reported a crime to the police. It's not fair.
I was at a San Francisco French bistro a couple weeks ago. The place has racks of European and French magazines, one of which had a big cover story about the aftermath of the DSK rape case. They had published several pictures of the accuser, as well as her name, (which I don't remember), of course. And it made sense. It was, after all, a part of the story. The practice of maintaining the anonymity of rape accusers makes less and less sense.

4. China's high speed rail, which the American left from Obama to Thomas Friedman to Arnold Schwarzenegger has been touting as the wave of the future, has gone from triumph to triumph. First the trains were slowed down to "normal" speeds. Now there has been a spectacular accident, triggered by a lightning strike (wah?), leading to the deaths of 32 people.

At least 32 people died when a high-speed train smashed into a stalled train in China's eastern Zhejiang province Saturday, state media said, raising new questions about the safety of the fast-growing rail network.

The accident occurred on a bridge near the city of Wenzhou after the first train lost power due to a lightning strike and a bullet train following behind crashed into it, state television said.

The total power failure rendered useless an electronic safety system designed to warn following trains of stalled trains on the tracks up ahead, and automatically halt them before a collision can occur, the report added.

It showed one or possibly two carriages on the ground under the bridge, with another hanging above it. Several other carriages derailed in the accident near Wenzhou, some 860 miles south of Beijing.

More than 200 people have been taken to hospital, the official Xinhua news agency added.

One train was heading from Beijing to the coastal city of Fuzhou, the other was running from Zhejiang provincial capital Hangzhou, also to Fuzhou.

"The train suddenly shook violently, casting luggage all around," Xinhua quoted survivor Liu Hongtao as saying.

"Passengers cried for help but no crew responded."

In a command economy, you can command something to be done, but you can't command it to work.

5. Amy Winehouse has, not surprisingly, died. It's not just that she was well known for being a heavy drug user. Her entire image, and career, was defined by drug use. The expectation was that she would die. Perhaps there were performance incentives in her contract with a big pay-out to her heirs.

One thing I've never understood about pop stars and drug use. Why is it that the people making money off of them - i.e. their managers and the suits at the record label - don't make more of an effort to protect their investment from destruction? Winehouse's big breakthrough was in 2006, and since then she's been little more than a tabloid feature more than a singer. Did the A&R people at her label realize that, maybe she should have been making music instead of headlines? Keith Richards never let drug use or police raids stop his music making, after all.

Britney Spears, of all people, is the exception to this depressing rule. When she was on the road to oblivion, the suits and her family stepped in to

Along those lines, I remember an interview where Clive Davis lamented the early death of Janis Joplin, and said he regretted not stepping in when he saw that she had a serious drinking problem. Got that right. Can you imagine how much more music (and money) Davis would have gotten out of her if she'd just stayed alive?

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