Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Luck Rush

Seriously, unironically, I hope Rush gets better.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Narrative Problems

Short memory department - Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber" also managed to get on a plane, was noticed by passengers (they complained of a smoke smell in the cabin) and subdued by them. And yet conservatives say that there were no incidents of terrorism during Bush's watch. These same people are complaining that the incident involving Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab over the weekend constituted a MASSIVE FAILURE of the Obama administration to keep us safe.


I think we should get Dana Perino in here to clarify.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Airline Security Proposal that Ought To Please Everyone ***UPDATE***

Eureka!

Having given some thought to the statistic I quoted yesterday, about the likelihood of you being on a plane during a terrorist incident, I think I have found a way to improve the system. Some feel that security measures at airports are unnecessarily time-consuming and largely ineffective; others feel that they aren't draconian enough. Nobody is satisfied with them the way they are, even the people responsible for them.

I think the checkpoint is in the wrong place.

In most airports everybody passes through a massive bottleneck to get to the inner terminal, then they go on to their individual gates. The main checkpoint is run by the TSA.

Where the checkpoint should be is as close to the departure lounge as possible. And instead of one, there should be a lot of them. If possible one for each carrier. Virgin should have their own checkpoint, United should have theirs, and so on. And yes, the airlines should fund the whole thing and the government should get out of that business. The airlines can cooperate with the FBI or DHS but it should be their show.

What's to like about this? It allows the consumer to pick an airline that has the security level they're comfortable with. Maybe you're willing to pay more for a company that screens for shampoo, maybe you're not; in either event it's your choice and you're not a victim of some arcane policy decision. People like me who think there is little chance of hijackings and explosions would pay less and get on a plane where they just check your IDs and wave you through.

I'm not even sure it would add to the price of the ticket, but there would surely be a reduction in the federal debt. Maybe the lines would be shorter as well. And a free-market security solution would be more nimble and timely than one that relied on regulation.

What's not to like? Inconsistency I suppose; and worry about whether a terrorist would choose a difficult target because it represents a greater payoff in fear or an easier target because it's you know, easier. If you worry that the majority of airlines would opt for lighter measures because it's cheaper, then that's a problem but it means you also have less faith in free-market economics than you probably claim.


***UPDATE*** WAMK says he proposed this idea several years ago on his old Townhall Blog. I can't honestly say I remember, but I can say that he's probably right. He does an awful lot of travelling by air too, so he'd have an incentive to come up with this plan.

He also says I ridiculed him for it, and I can't wait to hear what I said!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pre-9/11 Thinking

Courtesy Nate Silver: the odds against you being on a flight with an attempted terrorism incident during the last decade: less than 1 in 10 million. It's 1 in 500 thousand against you being struck by lightning, and yet we aren't all issued lightening rods. Just sayin'.

Yeah, I'm still cranky about the trip.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What Happens in Vegas

McCarren Airport, California Pizza Kitchen - Greetings and I hope you had a Merry, Merry Xmas. Me, I've been in a self-imposed Christmas exile here in Las Vegas since Thursday night. I'll be posting some pictures when I get home but in the meantime here's few observations.

1. This is the trip that I have cemented the flying vs. driving rule - driving is always better. I don't know if my flight will be delayed today (so far it's on schedule) but it takes about five hours to drive from my front door to the Golden Nugget parking lot. On the other hand, a shuttle picked me up at 2:00 Thursday and I left Burbank Airport at 5:30, arriving at the hotel around 7:30pm. Had the flight left on time I wound have arrived in Vegas an hour earlier than driving, but it still woulda cost me $200 more, not counting cab fares, shuttles, and replacing the leatherman all-in-one repair tool that I carry around in my murse. Airport security, dontcha know.

Incidentally there was a terrorist incident on Friday but as of tonight security is no more irritating than usual. Uh... thanks?

2. To hell with the Golden Nugget. I have said that I like the place because it's cheaper than the strip hotels (located as it is on Fremont Street, downtown) and it's closer to the real, mob-controlled Rat Pack Vegas that I treasure. And that's all great but - it's surrounded by nothin'. The Nugget is the best you can do within walkind distance, and it's not so good. Very slow at Christmas. Hell, I wasn't even approached by hookers until Saturday. See below.

3. Hookers are just like Priceline.com. I'm telling you at the start of this anecdote I did not, and will not ever, pay for sex. It's not a morality issue with me; I'm just cheap.

So I'm wandering around the casino floor and there at the end of a row of slot machines a lovely young woman is standing, She says, "hi, can I talk to you?" I try to defer, telling her, "thanks, but I already know where this is going." However, I did sit down for a chat because I had no plans and time to kill. And at least she wasn't tying to sell me a timeshare.

I explained that I have no problem with hookers, only they're kind of like fish in a barrel to me and I prefer real fishing. She persisted though, and described a few services that she offered normally for around $200, and asked me what I'd be willing to pay for them. I said I wouldn't insult her with a figure. She said she just wanted me to name a figure.

$40, I said, which was what I had on me.

She said, that's too low. Maybe if you were willing to go a little over $50 we could make a deal. So I'm thinking she would have settled at $45 had I not walked away from the deal. Remember this, negotiators. If you're negotiating in Vegas, remember its legal there. Though probably not in the Golden Nugget Casino, so use that as leverage.

4. Most strangers think I have a British accent. I don't, honest. Listen to this if you don't believe me. It must be my esoteric word choice.

5. You've got to bet small to lose small. I think I lost $45 dollars over the whole 3.5 days. On gambling, wiseguy. It's just as entertaing to watch other people lose their money as it is to lose your own. Just remember to keep moving, so they don't blame their bad luck on ya.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Vegas Hosts Own Metaphor!

videoA wishing well outside the new Aria Hotel.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hey, I Ain't Gonna Make No Excuses

I'm pleased to see Factcheck.org still churning away at false claims in the media, and even more pleased that there isn't a detectable bias in who they target.

The list of howlers includes the false claim that the stimulus bill would dictate to doctors what procedures they can and can’t perform, and assertions that health care legislation would require seniors to get advice on how to commit suicide. Democrats exaggerated the problems their legislation aims to fix — at one point Obama falsely accused an insurance company of being responsible for the death of an Illinois cancer patient. We debunked claims that the "swine flu" vaccine had killed some U.S. sailors, and another claim that a bill passed by the House would require homeowners to make expensive energy-saving modifications to their homes before they would be allowed to sell them. We dealt with false claims about levitating trains, "green jobs," gun control and — still — Obama’s place of birth.
Yeah, the left lies too. Go figure. What I am proud of is, unless I'm mistaken, I didn't quote any of this stuff as fact. Feel free to check me on this, but if you have the patience to wade through my blog you're a better man than I.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hoax or Lie?

What do you think? Is Breitbart just making this crap up or is there a tree somewhere within a hundred miles of the White House with these ornaments? White House 008

White House 005

Whither Obama?

Great title, huh? Pretentious much?

This is interesting. Drew Westin talks about what we all know already - the only people Obama isn't losing support from are the ones who he never had a chance of getting it from in the first place.


As the president's job performance numbers and ratings on his handling of virtually every domestic issue have fallen below 50 percent, the Democratic base has become demoralized, and Independents have gone from his source of strength to his Achilles Heel, it's time to reflect on why. The conventional wisdom from the White House is those "pesky leftists" -- those bloggers and Vermont Governors and Senators who keep wanting real health reform, real financial reform, immigration reform not preceded by a year or two of raids that leave children without parents, and all the other changes we were supposed to believe in.

Somehow the president has managed to turn a base of new and progressive voters he himself energized like no one else could in 2008 into the likely stay-at-home voters of 2010, souring an entire generation of young people to the political process. It isn't hard for them to see that the winners seem to be the same no matter who the voters select (Wall Street, big oil, big Pharma, the insurance industry). In fact, the president's leadership style, combined with the Democratic Congress's penchant for making its sausage in public and producing new and usually more tasteless recipes every day, has had a very high toll far from the left: smack in the center of the political spectrum.
My suspicion is that Obama's heart is in the right place, that he's governing from the center because that's what the American people have always wanted; that's what's necessary to heal the country after the Bush years. But he's early. He underestimated the desire for balance; that is, revenge.

By the way, for those readers who insist that Barack Obama is the leftiest leftist who ever governed from the far-left lefty left... ask the left about that one. Nixon was farther left than Obama.

The man is a savvy politician though. You don't come out ahead of that Clinton woman without knowing a thing or two about getting votes. So around this time next year you can see Obama abandoning any attempts to reach out the right (hopefully he'll still have fingers by then) and pushing for some REAL Socialism. He's gonna need the base back.

For the 2010 Congressional runs, I still think we have a Democratic majority. The economy is already stabilizing, the health care bill will prove to be a painless slight improvement and moderates will tend towards the party that believes in evolution and the other sciences. The supermajority of course, will be lost; that's fine with me. I'm not thrilled with supermajorities on either side.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Next President Of The United States!

Whoever wrote and faxed this.


All we can say for sure is that she/he is a teabaggist.

Aloha

Parker Griffith switches sides, goes Republican.

Whatever. That's his perogative. Me, I'd have waited a little closer to election time but it sounds from his record (and rhetoric) that he's always been closer to a Republican than a Democrat anyway. Good wishes and best of luck sir.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A White Flag In The War On Christmas



Special thanks to Alexis Kiley, cinematographer. Shot on the mean streets of Fullerton.

Proof That We Should Allow People to Filibuster

If someone threatens to filibuster, screw the supermajority - let them talk long into the night. I believe the filibusterer has more to fear. People who talk and talk and talk, especially under tense conditions without enough sleep, say stupid things. We got two pretty juicy ones out of the health care vote this weekend.



Sure all of those people are against Obama, but none of them are in the Senate. You can't pick who your ardent supporters are.

Across the aisle, we got this cranky guy.

At 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon -- nine hours before the 1 a.m. vote that would effectively clinch the legislation's passage -- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) went to the Senate floor to propose a prayer. "What the American people ought to pray is that somebody can't make the vote tonight," he said. "That's what they ought to pray."

It was difficult to escape the conclusion that Coburn was referring to the 92-year-old, wheelchair-bound Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) who has been in and out of hospitals and lay at home ailing. It would not be easy for Byrd to get out of bed in the wee hours with deep snow on the ground and ice on the roads -- but without his vote, Democrats wouldn't have the 60 they needed.
Point is, whether these guys mean those attackable statements or not, would they have said them if they were on a normal schedule? I think not. I'd like to see less rancor in politics. But if there is rancor, let's have it out in the open. And if the party of NO!!!!! is threatening to put themselves in the position to sound even more rancorous... I dunno, it just seems unfair to deny me the entertainment.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

When Will Harry Reid Unveil His Secret Health Care Bill?

Couple of hours ago, as it turns out.


The plus is that it's a filibuster-proof bill; that is as long as next week Lieberman doesn't get into an argument with this week Lieberman. The minus, of course, is that it sucks. It's a huge huge bill that makes what appear to be almost no changes to the current law.

There could be a hidden advantage here - when November comes along the Democrats can campaign on the meme that they had lots of CBO-approved plans to keep prices down but Republicans kept shooting them down because REPUBLICANS ARE IN THE POCKETS OF BIG INSURANCE. I don't know if Dems will use it, or if the voters will buy it, but there it is. Someone made this bill suck, and the Republicans were especially out front about stopping it from not sucking.

Can't wait for the vote! Then, I can't wait for the reconciliation!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Good News, The Sign Has Been Returned

Misty Watercolor Memories of the Way We Were

I’ve been around here 20-some years. First time I’ve ever seen a member denied an extra minute or two to finish his remarks. … I just haven’t seen it before myself. And I don’t like it. And I think it harms the comity of the Senate not to allow one of our members at least a minute. I’m sure that time is urgent here, but I doubt that it would be that urgent.

- John McCain, leaping to Sen Joe Liberman's defense when Al Franken denied his request for more time.

Alert researchers at Think Progress may have found an example of it happening before.

On October 10, 2002 — just ahead of the looming mid-term elections — the Senate rushed a debate on a war authorization giving President Bush the power to use force against Iraq. The resolution ultimately passed the Senate after midnight on an early Friday morning by a vote of 77-23.

During the course of the frenzied floor debate, then-Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) spoke in favor of an amendment offered by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) that would have restricted Bush’s constitutional powers to wage war against Iraq. After a minute and a half, Dayton ran out of time, prompting this exchange:

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator’s time has expired.

Mr. DAYTON. I ask for unanimous consent that I have 30 seconds more to finish my remarks.

Mr. McCAIN. I object.

Byrd stepped in to grant Dayton time to finish his remarks. But just moments later, Byrd asked for more time to speak for himself. Again, McCain objected, prompting Byrd to chide him for doing so. “This shows the patience of a Senator,” Byrd said. “This clearly demonstrates that the train is coming down on us like a Mack truck, and we are not even going to consider a few extra minutes for this Senator.”

After being publicly shamed, McCain acquiesced to Byrd’s request. But moments later, McCain added this disclaimer: “I wish to say very briefly that I understand people have a desire to speak. We have a number of Senators who have not spoken on this issue. It is already looking as if we may be here well into this evening. From now on, I will be adhering strictly to the rules.”
Speaking of war funding debates:

"Playing politics with the critical funding that our troops need now is political theater of the worst kind." – Sen. John Cornyn, [Press Release, 4/26/07]

"We have plenty of time and plenty of opportunity to have political debates... but it’s just unconscionable to me to tie the hands of the very troops that we all say we support." – Sen. John Cornyn, [Transcript, Senate Republican News Briefing, 4/10/07]

"Every day we don’t fund our troops is a day their ability to fight this war is weakened." – Sen. Mitch McConnell, [Press Release, 3/31/07]

"No way to treat the troops, and it is entirely inconsistent with [Senators’] expressions of support for the troops." – Sen. Mitch McConnell, [Congressional Record, 10/4/07]

"I don't understand this attitude of, ‘We can play with; we can risk the lives of these troops by waiting until the last possible minute to get the funding to them." – Sen. Jon Kyl, [FOX News Transcript, 4/10/07]

"Our obligation to those troops must transcend politics." – Sen. Jon Kyl, [Press Release, 11/8/07]
This talk makes it interesting, the the fact that they Republicans attempted to filibuster a war funding bill this morning. Since only three republicans voted in favor of the bill, you have to hope that it was these three above or someone must feel very, very bad about themselves right now. Or they feel fine and they hate the troops. Mustn't dismiss the idea that some of them may be sleeper terrorists.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Freedom Of Speech Under Fire in Charlotte!

Mecklenburg County commissioners Chair Jennifer Roberts said Wednesday that colleague Bill James should apologize for using a slur during an exchange with another board member, and said she may ask commissioners whether to take any further action.

The incident occurred Tuesday during a meeting in which a majority of commissioners agreed to offer domestic-partner benefits to county workers in same-sex relationships starting in 2011.

Toward the end of an emotional, two-hour debate on the topic, James leaned over to commissioner Vilma Leake and asked: "Your son was a homo, really?"

Leake responded: "You're going to make me hurt you. Don't do that to me. Don't talk about my son."

Leake had just finished speaking about her personal connection to the debate, including mentioning her son's 1993 death from AIDS. "To be insensitive to that is completely inappropriate," Roberts said Wednesday. "I think he does owe her an apology."

Man, it's getting so you can't say ANYTHING in this country without someone getting upset. Am I right, racist homophobes?

But James said he won't apologize, and said he was only asking Leake to clarify an earlier comment she made about her son's death and his lifestyle. He said he wasn't making a derogatory comment, and used a slang word used when he was growing up.
"People can believe whatever they want, they can believe in the tooth fairy and legend of Atlantis," James said. "I don't determine what I do based on what people think. I determine it based on what I did and what I did was I asked a question and that question doesn't deserve or require an apology."
Incidentally I have no idea whether James is a Democrat or a Teabagger, and it hardly matters. Point is, this Leake woman needs to take a chill pill. She THREATENED a guy for requesting information! That bitch has to go.

Never Retreat, Never Surrender

Here's an RNC talking point that caught on like wildfire: I first saw it a couple of days ago on the Facebook page of Maurice LeMarche, voice actor extrordinaire and staunch conservative.

Source: Dems Threaten Nelson In Pursuit of 60

While the Democrats appease Senator Lieberman, they still have to worry about other recalcitrant Democrats including Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson. Though Lieberman has been out front in the fight against the public option and the Medicare buy-in, Nelson was critical of both. Now that those provisions appear to have been stripped from the bill, Lieberman may get on board, but Nelson's demand that taxpayer money not be used to fund abortion has still not been met. According to a Senate aide, the White House is now threatening to put Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base on the BRAC list if Nelson doesn't fall into line.

Offutt Air Force Base employs some 10,000 military and federal employees in Southeastern Nebraska. As our source put it, this is a "naked effort by Rahm Emanuel and the White House to extort Nelson's vote." They are "threatening to close a base vital to national security for what?" asked the Senate staffer.
Maurice was furious with those ruthless Democrats for willing to shut down a vital defense of our nation just to push though their agenda. Admittedly he added this: "if true, the mind boggles." This turns out to have a been a prudent qualifier.

Last night, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer wrote on the White House blog that the “absurd rumor” of the threat was “completely baseless and false.” Nelson spokesman Jake Thompson also put out a statement, saying “The rumor is not true” and that “this misinformation is coming from inside-the-Beltway partisans who only want to derail health care reform.” Nelson himself told reporters today that no threat was made.
So the White House says it isn't true (of course they would) but also Ben Nelson says it isn't true. Still there is the source.

In the interview, Goldfarb said that Emanuel “delivered” the “message to the Senate leadership” about Nelson and Offutt. When Beck interviewed Goldfarb later on his Fox show, Goldfarb “changed” his “story from this morning,” saying that rather than Emanuel it was “just someone in the White House.”
Still just because no one involved will vouch for the story, still doesn't mean it didn't happen, right? Glenn Beck is being a sensible journalist by keeping this one alive. After all, Democrats are thugs. You saw the way one of them carved a B in that poor girls cheek! Or those AFL-CIO guys who savagely beat that man at the Teabagger rally! Or Harry Reid and ... uh... well, just look at him! Never forget!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Meanwhile

Since I'm pretty depressed about the way the Senate version of the health care bill is shaping up, I'm going to write about something else. I will say that normally, I consider congress the idiots and senate the smart ones, so this is doubly depressing. Because now, it's clear Obama IS the one - the only man in Washington with brains.

Meanwhile:

Guy robs a bank, then mails the money back. Now that's a little passive-aggressive, dontcha think?

Roy Disney dies. I am almost prepared to forgive him for The Black Hole. Get back to me in a few years.

I have been cast as "Smith" in the West Valley Playhouse's production of Agatha Christie's Murder On The Nile. Any day spent above ground is a good day; but if I'm using my British accent it's even better. We go on at the end of January.

Dog without hind legs walks erect! Can human/animal hybrids be far behind?

Costco removes tomatoes from the shelves for Sara Palin visit. Considering recent spikes in the sales of rock salt and teabags, I think Costco missed a splendid marketing opportunity.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Guy Who Is Running The Health Care Debate



Special fun staring at 3:00 - short version: "I don't know who that guy was on TV, but he was probably talking about something else." Or I'm talking about something else now. Psych!

h/t Wonkette

Friday, December 11, 2009

When There Are No More Stats In Hell, The Dead Will Walk The Earth

Ever wonder why zombies want to eat brains? So they can prevent strategizing like this.

Working with a professor and two other graduate students, Munz built a mathematical model of a city of one million residents, in which an outbreak occurs when a single zombie arrives in town. He based the speed of zombie infection on the general rules you see in George Romero movies: after getting bitten, people turn into zombies in 24 hours and sometimes don't realize what's happening to them until they change.

When he ran the model on a computer, the results were bleak. "After 7 to 10 days, everyone was dead or undead," he says. He tried several counterattacks. Quarantining the zombies didn't work; it only bought a few extra days of survival for humanity. Even creating a "cure" for zombification led to a grim result. It was possible to save 10 to 15 percent of the population, but everyone else was a zombie. (The cure in his model wasn't permanent; the cured could be rebitten and rezombified.)
Turns out the only thing that worked was smacking the zombies down quickly and early. Word to the wise, people!

(h/t Boing Boing)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Runner-up

Here's a whole page of Don't Blame Me I Voted For McCain merchandise. That's gotta be a pretty tortuous choice to make!

Polical Souvenir Curiosity of the Day

Sweet Jesus, what IS this?












The gargoyle McCain doesn't make things any better.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Not Knowing Who To Root For

The news cycles have of late been tossing around Tiger Woods' personal life and Harry Reid's unfortunate allusion to slavery in a speech. I have little interest in Tiger Woods, though my friend A. is a writer for the Enquirer and he's spending an awful lot of time in Vegas this month. You want to know about it, check out his blog. Right, he doesn't have one.

Reid though, that's interesting. He's usually such a milquetoasty little man that the notion that he would say something offensive seems surreal. And make no mistake, he did go too far. At least he didn't invoke the Nazis, people! Still, if you'd asked me about this last night, I'd have said that you can feign outrage about it all you want, but Harry Reid will never back down! And then I'd have laughed that sad, bitter laugh I reserve for all occasions when Democrats wimp out about stuff, because getting Harry Reid to apologize is easy like Sunday morning. It's easy as pie. It's easier than Paris Hilton.

And yet he still hasn't apologized. What's up here? Is he busy? Are the microphones at his press conference area being worked on?

Probably he's aware that the Republican Level Of Outrage will not be lowered by an apology. I offer this reminder:



(Thanks to the IT guys at work, who decided to enable YouTube viewing in my office. So this is what the 22nd century looks like!)

Increasingly it looks like Democrats, knowing they have little to lose by baiting the right, are goin' for it. Fine with me. I bet it raises their poll numbers.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Word Of God Has a Liberal Bias

At least according to these guys. I'd have written about this a long time ago but I just became aware of it this morning. I'd have probably expressed opinions like this and this and this.

Damn, I hate being late to a good party.

The Accountant is in the Details

Thanks to WMK for pointing me at this.

The latest attempt to convince us that the rich are being unfairly burdoned by taxes comes from Mark J. Perry at the American Enterprise Institute. Did you know that the top 5% of the country now pay more taxes than the bottom 95%? You didn't? They got graphs!

taxshare
This is not as big a deal as Perry is making out, but he's not lying either. Read the whole thing of course, but I'll quote a few salient paragraphs.

Tax Foundation economist Scott Hodge reports that “the percentage of tax returns with no liability was fairly low in the 1960s (only 16 percent in 1969) and again in the early 1980s (17.9 percent in 1984). A record had been set every year since 2002, as tax cuts throughout the Bush years, especially the refundable child tax credit, pushed low-to-middle income people off the tax rolls.”

What are the implications of a rising number and percentage of “non-payers”?

1. American Enterprise Institute economist Alan Viard commented on Fox News that “there’s concern that when you have so many people not paying the most visible tax—the individual income tax—you might lose a certain check that otherwise would be in place on government spending.”

2. It also means that the burden of income taxes is falling on a shrinking percentage of income tax filers who actually pay taxes, especially higher income groups. As the chart below shows (data here), the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.42 percent of all income taxes collected in 2007 ($451 billion), the highest share in modern history for that group, and more for the first time ever than the entire bottom 95 percent of taxpayers, who paid $439 billion, or 39.4 percent of the total.
The truth that is hiding in plain sight here is that the graph doesn't document people who aren't paying taxes; it documents people who don't have taxes due when they file returns. In other words, people who have sufficient deductions during the year to cover their tax bill. If the rich are paying more when they file, it's simply because they're choosing to pay it then instead of deducting it in advance. Which is a pretty good strategy if you can swing it because you can keep your money longer and earn interest on it.

Anyway, that's why you keep seeing "non-payers" in quotes, because they are actually paying. The blog post I'm quoting doesn't have anything to say about who among these groups pays the most taxes; just what they haven't witheld. I'm willing to stick with conventional wisdom until someone shows me otherwise.

We Report You Fail to Do Simple Addition, Part... Uh, 30?

Fox poll

Hat tip Think Progress

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Russ Feingold and I Agree

From The Situation Room:


FEINGOLD: ...The president says, we're doing this. We're adding 30,000, 35,000 troops to finish the job. And I ask the question, "What job?" because the president has been so eloquent in pointing out our issue is fighting al Qaeda.

The argument falls apart when you realize that al Qaeda does not have its headquarters in Afghanistan anymore. It is headquartered in Pakistan. It is active in Somalia, and Yemen, North Africa, affiliates of it in Southeast Asia.

Why does it make sense to have a huge ground presence in Afghanistan to deal with a small al Qaeda contingent, when we don't do that in so many other countries where we're actually having some success without invading the country and attacking those that are part of al Qaeda? It doesn't make sense.

BLITZER: Well, here's how the president responds to that. I will play this clip from his speech last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We must deny al Qaeda a safe haven. We must reverse the Taliban's momentum and deny it the ability to overthrow the government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: I guess the main point he's trying to make is, if -- if the U.S. were to lose, let's say, in Afghanistan, just walk away, all those al Qaeda operatives who have crossed the border into Pakistan would simply go back to a pre-9/11 situation that the Taliban would control and give them that safe haven in Afghanistan.

FEINGOLD: That's an incredibly unlikely scenario, in my view, that al Qaeda would find that to be the ideal place to return to. The notion that the Taliban would automatically welcome them with open arms is questionable, in light of the fact that in the first place they came into Afghanistan with the Taliban's blessing because they had a lot of money to pass around.

Now they are hiding in caves in Pakistan. And I'm wondering why the president thinks he shouldn't have ground forces and troops in countries all over the world that are not only potential, but current safe havens for al Qaeda. Why aren't we doing that approach of a huge land presence in those places, as in Northern Africa, in Yemen and Somalia? It doesn't make sense. Why this one place, where it's not the place that al Qaeda actually is headquartered in?

Word, my man.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Troop Buildup

I'm often criticized for worshipping everything Obama does (by people who literally cannot ever find a complimentary thing to say about him, even when he does exactly what they want him to do) so it's a weird pleasure for me to say this. I wish we weren't sending more troops to Afghanistan.


I like the idea that we're at least setting a goal for leaving that country, but the time we spend between now and 2011 (assuming we're not trapped then) will likely be wasted. It won't improve conditions, it won't prepare the Afghans to defend themselves. Nothing can. Nobody has ever whipped that place into a civilization and I can't imagine we will either. Most likely we're just going spend the next few years funneling surplus weapons to warlords, which they will use to kill each other with after we're gone.

And yes, they will blame the Americans for it.

If we pulled out now, the place would wind up in the exact same chaos only with less of our descendants' money wasted. On the plus side, like all wars, this one could stimulate the economy. It's government spending to create jobs! I'm for that; I just prefer the spending that gives me a bridge or a dam or something and doesn't kill a bunch of people. Call me irresponsible.

It's Jonathan Coulton's Birthday!

In honor of it, this piano medley of most of his best songs.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pixley

Visited my mom for Thanksgiving (and bought her a Roomba! That's how much I love my mom.) On the drive back from Sacramento I eschewed the 5 freeway and took... hell, I have no idea which freeway it's on. My GPS does the thinking for me. Oh wait, it was the 99. Thanks Google!

About halfway down I chose for my gasoline stop the tiny town of Pixley. I liked the name, and I have a vague memory of it being thrown around as a gag on Green Acres. They suggested it was smaller than Hooterville. And wow, is THAT true.

My experience with Pixley is as follows: A freeway exit which becomes a single road. Halfway down the road, a convenience store/gas station sharing parking spaces with a burger restaurant. Across the street, a place to wash your truck. The road terminates in a freeway entrance. Now leaving Pixley!

Therefore, it's easy to assume the town has a population of 2; the guy running the gas station and the guy running the burger joint. Maybe there is a third guy who works the swing shift. Turns out, I'm close.

Pixley is a census-designated place (CDP) in Tulare County, California, United States. The population was 2,586 at the 2000 census.
I can't imagine the place (I'd call it a city, but the census calls it a place) has had a surge of population since 2000.

I also assumed Pixley is only a mile along the road, but I'm way outta line there. It's 3.1 square miles. That must be where they're keeping the other 2,584 citizens.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Climategate

Who knew - the entire science community takes its marching orders from UCAR. They'd have to, otherwise the talking point I'm about to document doesn't make a whole lot of sense.


I've been getting a lot of flack from WAMK about failing to address a recent incident in which The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research's emails were hacked, and were full of damming evidence PROVING that GLOBAL WARMING is a HOAX! My first response was to ignore the whole thing, because they used to have PROOF that there IS NO GLOBAL WARMING! Then there was some, but it OBVIOUSLY WASN'T MAN MADE! Then even IF IT WAS, the EARTH would REGULATE ITSELF! So you know, why bother? Then I found that the proof linked too was from a British newspaper columnist at the Telegraph, under the following weasel word intro (WWs in boldface):
These alleged emails – supposedly exchanged by some of the most prominent scientists pushing AGW theory – suggest: Conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more.
So you can see why I was a little skeptical. However, I clicked around a little and Phil Jones, the head of the CRU division that was hacked, confirms the emails are probably authentic. This is more than my skeptic friend WAMK seems to have done. Apparently if the columnist says the blogger says the hacker says they're authentic, well, that's all the proof he needs! By the way, the link to the emails? From a UCAR press release.

The most damming phrase to be plucked out of context from the emails is "hide the decline". Why would scientists want to hide the decline? To protect their jobs? To advance the liberal agenda? Nope. I seriously believe there is an anomaly in the data that looks like a decline and they were afraid morons would get on YouTube and ridicule the science like... oh, look!


Anyway the point I'm making here is no matter what the emails say, the majority of climatologists who believe in Anthropogenic Global Climate Change do not work for UCAR and rely on their own conclusions and raw data. This email dump simply doesn't prove anything. It doesn't even prove that UCAR's conclusions and data are wrong. It does cast a tiny shred of doubt, but it's really, REALLY tiny. And the globe? Pretty big.

By the way, I won't accept any counter-arguments about the first ice age having no man-made components - most climate change deniers think the world is only 4000 years old and the devil put dinosaur bones in the ground to fool us. To them there WAS no ice age!

I'm Really Enjoying the Comments Section This Week

There is so much to learn!


Science is corrupt. ACORN is one of the few things that doesn't have a liberal bias.

People are best convinced with the phrase "you're a fool!" Accusations of racism are best countered by global warming theory.

The WORDS used by spokespeople aren't important, what's important is what you think they meant.

Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2012.

A Big Misunderstanding

I've often wondered how Republicans seem so enamored of Bush's foreign policy. Maybe some if it stems from this perception:

PERINO: They want to do all of their investigations. I don’t know. All of the thinking that goes into it. But we did not have a terrorist attack on our country during President Bush’s term. I hope they’re not looking at this politically. I do think we ought it (the Fort Hood shootings) to the American people to call it what it is.
Here's a way to solve this. Instead of urging people to "remember 9/11" let's urge them to remember 9/11/2001. Perhaps we can also urge people to remember the anthrax mailings that happened the following weeks too?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

More Non-Racism: The Story Behind the Story

I was going to shrug this one off, a local story about inexpensive billboard space being used instead of Townhall.com for speech. It's racist in the broad sense that the whole talking point is racist (why isn't there a John McCain Is Panamanian talking point) but the illustration could just be infelicitous, not a racial caricature.

Anti-Obama Billboard

But then I read this.
The sign belongs to a car dealership. "Since Fort Hood, I've had it," owner Phil West told FOX 31 News Friday. "You can't suggest things. You can't profile. You gotta call a spade a spade."
Good grief! West can't possibly not be aware of the connotations of "spade." He's doing it on purpose, I say!

To be fair, Obama brought it on himself by shooting all those soldiers at Fort Hood. Well not him, his people. You know, they have a secret underground network. And they control the banks and the media.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Democrats Are Doomed In 2012

Look at the graphic - even if 100% of Democrats turn out for Obama, how will they beat the Republican numbers?


Friday, November 20, 2009

The Over/Under on President Palin

FiveThirtyEight.com has been applying its rigorous logic to the prospect of Republicans putting Sarah Palin forth as the presidential candidate in 2012. This is murky water for statisticians because there are no hard numbers available, but they take a stab anyway. First off, the question of rather Sarah will run at all. Nate Silver thinks she will:

2012 is a year when an incumbent, Barack Obama, will almost certainly be running for re-election, and incumbents seats are much tougher to pick up than open ones...Palin's polling has gone somewhat sour against her potential GOP rivals, which might deter her from entering.

...(however) was quitting the Alaska governorship -- particularly in the sudden and disorganized way that Palin did it -- a decision characteristic of someone who carefully ponders all the facts and circumstances before jumping to a conclusion? Not hardly. Palin is impulsive, impatient, ambitious, thrill-seeking: not the type of politician to prudently wait for a better moment.
Spoken like a guy who values logic above all else. And then Nate goes on to list ten reasons why the GOP might nominate such a controversial candidate. Then Tom Schaller, who has a cash bet with Nate about this, lists ten reasons why they might not.

Obviously I like the idea of candidate Palin because I believe she's a polarizing figure who would most easily ensure a second Obama term. Chances are good that the GOP candidate is someone we're not aware of yet though.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hey, Jesus is Just Sayin'

Pray for Obama: Psalm 109:8

Yeah, it's a bible-verse-based slogan circulating around right-wing circles. Psst! It's code! They think we'll never figure it out because no one outside the big tent prays, and the only time we ever see a bible is when we're in our motel rooms, shooting up and havin' gay sex. As it happens though, The Christian Science Monitor is a fly in the ointment of that strategy.

The psalm reads, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.”

Presidential criticism through witty slogans is nothing new. Bumper stickers, t-shirts, and hats with “1/20/09” commemorated President Bush’s last day in office.

But the verse immediately following the psalm referenced is a bit more ominous: “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.”
OMG! This is awful! The people who are quoting this (and putting it on teddy bears and t-shirts and bumper stickers) surely have no idea what 109:9 says! They'll be appalled when they find out!

I just wonder what kind of person is so racist that they'd prefer President Biden over Obama? I mean, ewwwwww.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Retract! Retract!

Further proof that the left at least EVENTUALLY gets jokes:

Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported that syndicated columnist Mark Shields said this weekend on Inside Washington, referring to Obama’s Afghanistan war decision, that he is “nostalgic” for the days when the U.S. “had a manly man in the White House who could say, ‘Let’s kick some tail and ask questions afterwards.’” Shields contacted ThinkProgress this morning and kindly informed us that his comments were intended to be sarcastic. We regret our error in misinterpreting his comments and for questioning his motives.
I thought there was something odd about this story, because Mark Shields is the nuanced liberal opposite of nuanced conservative David Brooks on The News Hour. But let's face it, he's still in OUR big tent. Brooks would be a victim of the echo chamber and kicked out of the Republican one. If he hadn't already been kicked out long ago for things he actually meant.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Elephant Backs Wrong Horse Again

The Democrats are, we all know, a feckless bunch. The only reason they ever win any elections is if they are perceived as an alternative to something even worse. To look like heroes they need a villain. And we all know that Democrats are awful at vilifying, being so sensitive and all.

Fortunately the people who are great at creating villains are doing it to themselves. One of their favorite demons, Al Franken, recently sponsored an amendment that would "prohibit the Department of Defense from contracting with companies that require employees to resolve workplace complaints — including complaints of sexual assault — through private arbitration rather than the courts. " As it happened, Tell us more, Politico!

Franken says the amendment was inspired by the story of Jamie Leigh Jones, who worked for defense contractor KBR and alleges she was gang raped at the age of 19 when stationed in Iraq — only to find that her contract required that her dispute go through the arbitration process. (My note - gang raped and then imprisoned for several days in an empty tank, denied food and water, and so on.)

...Thirty Senate Republicans voted against the amendment, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, liberal commentators and state Democratic Party chairs have been merciless.

Angry letters denouncing Republican senators have appeared in newspapers from Tennessee to Idaho. Unflattering videos of senators trying to explain their votes have gone viral on the Internet, including one of Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) swatting away a hand-held video camera held by a liberal blogger questioning his vote against the amendment.

And Democratic strategists are salivating at the prospects of using the vote against the eight GOP senators who voted against the amendment and are up for reelection in 2010.

“I think anyone who voted against that has some tough explaining to do,” New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told POLITICO. “And I think particularly some incumbents already in a challenged position — it can be very detrimental to them because women voters are going to look at that and wonder, ‘Does this senator stand on my side?’”

...Privately, GOP sources acknowledge that they failed to anticipate the political consequences of a “no” vote on the amendment. And several aides said that Republicans are engaged in an internal blame game about why they agreed to a roll-call vote on the measure, rather than a simple voice vote that would have allowed the opposing senators to duck criticism. "
My guess is the roll call was an attempt to satisfy that rabid base, who are for anything that Franken is against. Unfortunately beyond that, most people see this as a pro-rape/anti-rapeissue. Or if not, siding with corrupt defense contractors doesn't look swell either. See, this is what happens when you feel like you can't moderate! Pro-business is okay as a position, unless the business is Enron or Haliburton.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fuel For the Fire

Oh great, this is JUST what the wingnuts need:

BEIJING – The Chinese have learned English from his speeches and celebrated the way he rolls up his sleeves. Now President Barack Obama is finally coming, and he's being greeted with "Oba Mao" T-shirts and a statue of him that bursts into flames.

Sunday's arrival of a U.S. president admired for his charisma is already a source of profit and brief fame for some Chinese.

Strangest is the burning Obama, tucked away in a Beijing warehouse. Artist Liu Bolin hopes Obama can take time from his visit to drop by.

"He's so hot right now, so I wanted to translate that through my work," said Liu, who was inspired by the idea of the first black U.S. president.
Look, the Chinese are really fond of Nixon too. Back off, Hannity.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Good Reason To Not Send More Troops

If you're planning on withdrawing troops! My favorite leak of the month:

President Barack Obama does not plan to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

That stance comes in the midst of forceful reservations about a possible troop buildup from the U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, according to a second top administration official.
Assuming we can't win there, and the Afghans are too destroyed after 20 years of continuous bombing to be a threat, this makes plenty of sense. In addition to freeing up troops for more useful work, this would also plug up a considerable hole in that budget the Freepers and Tenthers and Teabaggers keep screaming about.

And don't believe that nonsense about Afghanistan being the "central front in the war on terror". Even is Afghanistan is made into a smoking hole (wait, it already IS a smoking hole) there are terrorists everywhere. We ain't gonna stop 'em by destroying the countries they live in.

If this is a trial balloon sent up by Obama, tell him I approve.

The Free Market Speaks

Lou Dobbs resigned from CNN last night. Though I didn't see it happen, I understand he didn't allude to the well-known root cause: his show had simply become unprofitable. Dobbs couldn't attract sponsors.

Okay, admittedly the sponsors were pressured by special interest groups who objected to a few things that Dobbs had said. Okay more specifically, he is a crazy closeted white supremecist who was operating outside of his natural habitat. Since he wasn't on Fox News he stood out like a sore thumb. I'm prettty sure CNN got a lot of email from the non-white supremecist citizens of Aztlan as well. Damn, America! I meant America! I gotta remember to not slip up like that again or we'll be found out.

Incidentally, it's ironic about the white power thing since his own complexion is closer to orange. He and John Boehner are two members of the same weird race.

Well, now that Dobbs' career is completely over, for good, I'll miss him. Adios Lou!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

Saluting all those who have served. Saluting those Americans who protected America, those who protected the world, those who died in battle and those who survived. Sincere gratitude to you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Bet Rupe Doesn't Follow It Up

This really has nothin' to do with politics, though it does have to do with Rupert Murdoch.

The billionaire tyrant (his words, not mine) expressed a desire to keep Google from indexing his news sites.

"If they're just search people... They don't suddenly become loyal readers." They get 15-20 headlines and just click on the most interesting. There's no loyalty built from Ask, Google or Microsoft. "

Earlier in the interview, he says he has to charge for his sites because there are "no news websites or blog websites anywhere in the world making serious money." In his opinion, "there's not enough advertising in the world."
The idea is that Murdoch will charge for access to the websites, forcing people to bypass Google et. al. It's a sensible idea except that so far, it hasn't worked. Content providers have attempted it again and again only to find that they simply limit their audience to the point that it's more profitable to open it up with web ads. And while there's practically no money in that, it's more no money than option one.

Google, for its part, is okay with Murdoch's folly.

Google said it was up to individual news organisations to decide whether they wanted their stories listed on Google News, and there were "simple technical standards" that would remove them if they wished.

"News organisations are in complete control over whether and how much of their content appears in search results," it said said in a statement issued in London.

"Publishers put their content on the web because they want it to be found, so very few choose not to include their material in Google News and web search. But if they tell us not to include it, we don't."

It added: "If publishers want their content to be removed from Google News specifically all they need to do it tell us."
So in the great chess game, it's Rupert's move. Like usual.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Not Bothering With Sarah Palin Today

My quick survey of political topics this morning reveals two: Sarah Palin gave another laughable speech over the weekend and Congress sucessfully passed an version of the healthcare bill, with a public option but without government funding of any kind for abortions. The latter amendment was sponsored by a Democrat.

I have no more new to offer than Sarah does about Sarah, but the bill pleases me. Mostly because it completely belies the overheated rhetoric thrown at it by Republicans. “This bill is a wrecking ball to the entire economy,” from Rep Jack Kingston, (R, Georgia) is a typical example. If there is no government funding of a controversial medical procedure, I'm fine with that. As long as it's still legal. So hopefully, fingers crossed, the bill will go on its merry way, pass, and drive pundits to increasingly out-of-sync statements that will keep the party out of power until it calms down and starts governing again.

Friday, November 06, 2009

This is What A Million People Looks Like


Here's a picture from yesterday's Teabagger rally in Washington. G. Gordon Liddy's radio producer, Franklin Raff, says it looks like a million people to him. Virginia Republican Eric Cantor estimates the number only in "the tens of thousands."
The liberally-biased hatemongers on the DC Police force say attendence was between 3000-4000 people. It's an easy mistake to make. Most people don't know that teabaggers are an elfin bunch, some of them no taller than Dick Morris. You can fit many more of them in a square foot than full-size human beings. This is why so many of them carry signs on sticks - to avoid being hit by cars. Or bicycles. Or kids on skateboards.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Speaking of Demonization

I mean for pete's sake! Let's just dial it down a notch!


Quoting Myself

The idea that everyone who voted for Obama is a terrorist, or hypnotized (or whatever other dehumanizing characteristic you want to apply to people who disagree with you) is ... crazy.

Politics boils down to this - both sides want to make the country better and disagree about the best ways to do it. People who hate America don't do politics.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Happy Election Day

Snarky as I am being in the comments section of yesterday's post, I have to admit that conservatives have many reasons to be encouraged by the results of yesterday's election. Congratulations, y'all! Democrats will probably lose some seats in 2010 - certainly any chance of a supermajority.

Still, I wonder if they'll take away any lessons from NY-23 where they forced out the Republican Candidate and supported a far-right independent? He lost to a democrat. Here's the analysis of Erick Erickson at Redstate.com.

Posted by Erick Erickson (Profile)
Wednesday, November 4th at 12:04AM EST 145 Comments

The race has now been called for Democrat Bill Owens.
This is a huge win for conservatives.

“Whaaaa. . . ?” you say.

First, the GOP now must recognize it will either lose without conservatives or will win with conservatives. In 2008, many conservatives sat home instead of voting for John McCain. Now, in NY-23, conservatives rallied and destroyed the Republican candidate the establishment chose.

I have said all along that the goal of activists must be to defeat Scozzafava. Doug Hoffman winning would just be gravy. A Hoffman win is not in the cards, but we did exactly what we set out to do — crush the establishment backed GOP candidate.

I'm thinking maybe I was a little hasty with that supermajority talk.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Why I Concern Troll

I spend a lot of my time (less than before the election, but still plenty) concern-trolling rightwing websites, pointing out what I consider obvious logical flaws and strategic missteps. And sure part of my motivation is revenge for the Clinton years and the Bush years, but there's more to it. The other part: I really am concerned.

Santa Cruz, the loin of my birth, was home to the most extreme hippy socialists I've ever seen. The kind of extremists who scared off the Miss America Pageant by throwing meat at the contestants. The far left, the REAL far left, is bad news. They're unpleasant, strident and annoying, and they'd bring down the American way of life in a hot minute if they ever got into power.

Similarly though the far right, the REAL far right, would accomplish the same thing from another angle. America, like it or not, is optimized to work best as a compromise. The whole constitution is constructed to keep too much power out of the hands of one man or group of men. Negotiation forces a path toward the center of the road.

The Right as it operates today is hell-bent towards extremism. They're actively trying to force out the moderates. This would be great for schematic if there was a comparable strong crazy left but the truth is there is a broad wishy-washy left, a broad moderate vote and an increasingly tiny group of solid conservatives struggling to become more solid and more tiny. Ideologically pure perhaps but useless as a voting bloc. The useful right is making itself less so. So it will become a country where policy ranges from center to far left, with a handful of impotent screamers whining on the sidelines. Once in a while they'll be correct but I'd rather have them actually preventing the excesses of my side.

Plus, I have to say it'd be nice to have conservatives who act like adults again.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Quote of The Day

I believe we have more to fear from the potential of that (health care reform) bill passing than we do from any terrorist right now in any country.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)

This kind of thinking is why we never caught Bin Laden.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jujitsu

I'd like to see Joe Leiberman filibuster the public option.

No seriously, that's exactly what I want. I want EVERYBODY who is threatening a filibuster to actually line up and do it. Two reasons:

A. The public option is mighty popular. Only slightly more people dislike the option then like Congress. It takes a lot of courage to stand up to your constituents for several hours (maybe days!) and speak against it. On C-Span. And there is no better visual metaphor for obstructionism than a filibuster. And let's face it, after about ten minutes no one pays attention to the content of a filibuster, only the length.

B. As Media Matters has shown, when a person is forced to keep talking for hours and hours a day (like, say, talk radio hosts) the resulting word salad is a goldmine of out-of-context pull quotes. Who knows what crazy racist crap will slip out over the course of the debate?! The mind boggles. I bet at least one Republican congressman uses the word "uppity". Another one will point out that the country ran better when we were allowed to keep slaves. Michele Bachman will probably bring up the right to use incandescant bulbs again - we don't need a filibuster to make her talk crazy.

Anyway, a Republican filibuster isn't a threat - it's a promised gift. We should gracefully accept.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Don't Care What Party He's With, This Is Delightful

Arnold Schwarzenegger, of my great state of California, recently vetoed a bill having to do with a minor San Francisco port funding issue. The wording was a little odd, even more so than you'd usually expect from the Governator.


But Tim Redmond at the San Francisco Bay Guardian Online notes that perhaps there is a Da-Vinci-Code-style hidden message.

Tim is outraged by this, but I'm someone who views politics as entertainment. So kudos to Governor Conan for this bit of scaberous lawmaking. After all, it's really what we elected him for.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ha Ha Just Kidding: Quote of the Day

...and remember: this is not a threat to Nancy Pelosi’s or Harry Reid’s person…it is a prophetic witness of what awaits them when they die if they do not repent for this horrific sin.
Hopefully this will provide context, once the traffic dies down a little.



And what do you think? My money is on the whole thing being a joint venture of Fox News and Kinkos.

Oddly, I Find This Comforting

Gallup has concluded that more people identify as conservatives than moderates or liberals. To quote the article, "Forty percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative, 36% as moderate, and 20% as liberal. This marks a shift from 2005 through 2008, when moderates were tied with conservatives as the most prevalent group."
Political Ideology, 2008 -- by Party ID
Political Ideology, 2009 -- by Party ID
My sparring partner WAMK is thrilled with this, and published some of the charts to bolster his belief, I think, that 2010 will sweep all the Democrats out of office. However, if you look at these charts, which examine the spread by party identification... well, it's complicated but consider this. The number of people who self-identify as Republicans nowadays is pretty small. It's like 25% or something. So that big bar of Republicans who call themselves conservatives doesn't matter so much. Plus you'll note that 1% more of Republicans call themselves liberals this year.

The Independents who consider themselves conservative is on the rise, at the expense of Moderate and Liberal. But will they vote Republican? The Republican brand right now is anything but conservative. The Republican brand is Glenn Beck, a foaming-at-the-mouth crazy; it's Sarah Palin, a flakey rogue. Most states have Conservadems who will be acceptable alternatives to them wild-eyed Hitler-accusin' gun-totin' refusenik Republicans.

And the current movement in the Republican party is to kick out the moderates ("melt Olympia Snowe! haha) so if you are looking for conservatism, you're just going to find Cheney-style neocon radicalism instead. If the country does move back to the right, I'm not so upset. Maybe we're a conservative country, but we're not nuts.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ha Ha, Just Kidding: Now I Know How Joan of Arc Felt

Republican activist Ed Napolitano has apologized to U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, and resigned from all his Republican Party positions, over the actions of a Wasserman Schultz political opponent at an event sponsored by the club Napolitano used to lead.

Napolitano’s resignation and apology were prompted by what happened at the Southeast Republican Club on Oct. 6. Instead of the usual community center meeting room, the Napolitano-led club met at a gun range.

Among the approximately 40 people at the event was Robert Lowry, a Republican seeking his party’s nomination to run against Wasserman Schultz next year.

Lowry shot at a target bearing the letters "DWS" next to the silhouette head.

Lowry said he didn't know who wrote Wasserman Schultz' initials on his target, but said he knew they were there before he started shooting. He initially described it as a "joke," but after answering several questions he said it "was a mistake" to use a target labeled "DWS."

After the event was reported on in the Oct. 9 Sun Sentinel, it was picked up, reported, and commented on by national news outlets, generated a fury in the blogosphere, and drew critical reactions from Democrats.
Napolitano said he wasn’t aware of the target with Wasserman Schultz’ initials on the night of the event.

But in a letter to the congresswoman dated Oct. 12, he apologized.
-Sun Sentinel

Sweetness, I was only joking when I said by rights you should be bludgeoned in your bed.

Whatever. Run With It.

I'm starting to understand why people were so upset about those fake Rush Limbaugh quotes... because the same people tend to swallow hoaxes hook, line and sinker.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Maybe It's A Strategy

What is up with Republicans putting forth people who either communicate in baby talk (see Bobby Jindahl giving the response to the State of The Union Address, and this) or can't talk at all (see Michele Bachman's remarks here)? Then there's this guy.

While Bush's speech was mostly eloquent and free of the language gaffes he admits he is famous for, he said he regretted appearing in front of a "Mission Impossible" sign during a televised address in 2003. The controversial banner referring to the U.S. mission in Iraq, actually said "Mission Accomplished."
It doesn't send a great message to voters, the way the elite in the party think these are the people you'll see as your surrogates in government. I suppose it's also a way to maintain what Kissinger (or was it Nixon) called "plausible deniability"; you can always insist that you didn't say something if no one can tell what the hell you did say.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Few Poll Results That Don't Matter

WaPo, take it away!


A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that support for a government-run health-care plan to compete with private insurers has rebounded from its summertime lows and wins clear majority support from the public.

Americans remain sharply divided about the overall packages moving closer to votes in Congress and President Obama's leadership on the issue, reflecting the partisan battle that has raged for months over the administration's top legislative priority. But sizable majorities back two key and controversial provisions: both the so-called public option and a new mandate that would require all Americans to carry health insurance.

Independents and senior citizens, two groups crucial to the debate, have warmed to the idea of a public option, and are particularly supportive if it would be administered by the states and limited to those without access to affordable private coverage.

But in a sign of the fragile coalition politics that influence the negotiations in Congress, Obama's approval ratings on health-care reform are slipping among his fellow Democrats even as they are solidifying among independents and seniors. Among Democrats, strong approval of his handling of the issue has dropped 15 percentage points since mid-September.

...Poll respondents are evenly divided when asked whether they have confidence in Obama to make the right decisions for the country's future, but just 19 percent express confidence in the Republicans in Congress to do so. Even among Republicans, only 40 percent express confidence in the GOP congressional leadership to make good choices.

Only 20 percent of adults identify themselves as Republicans, little changed in recent months, but still the lowest single number in Post-ABC polls since 1983. Political independents continue to make up the largest group, at 42 percent of respondents; 33 percent call themselves Democrats.

The wide gap in partisan leanings and the lack of confidence in the GOP carries into early assessments of the November 2010 midterm elections: Fifty-one percent say they would back the Democratic candidate in their congressional district if the elections were held now, while 39 percent would vote for the Republican. Independents split 45 percent for the Democrat, 41 percent for the Republican.
My advice to Republicans: don't let up! Why quit now, at the moment of of your greatest triumph?

Twitter Has A Liberal Bias Too

Just like Wikipedia, the NFL and science, Twitter has shown its true colors.

Twitter, Inc., shut down 33 fake Twitter accounts created by Republicans using the names of Democratic state representatives. The Republican scheme was to send out posts under the Democrats' names mocking the liberal tax-and-spend bastards.

"That's unfortunate," was state Republican Chairman Chris Healy's response when told of Twitter, Inc.'s decision. "I'm not quite sure what the issue is, other than that the Democrats were successful in stopping free speech."

Healy's party may have suffered a setback with the loss of its Twitter campaign, but Republicans are still operating the 33 Web sites they created using the names of those same Democratic lawmakers.

...According to Twitter, Inc., the fake posts violated the immensely popular social networking system's anti-impersonation policy.

In an e-mail reply to a Democratic legislative leader's complaint, a Twitter representative stated:

"A person may not impersonate others through the Twitter service in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse or deceive others. ... Impersonation is against our terms unless it is a parody. The standard for defining parody is, 'Would a reasonable person be aware that it's a joke?' "

"Because this is not the case in your situation, we have removed the profile(s) from circulation."

"That's silly," Healy said of the decision. "That's not impersonation; that's satire."
And if we learned anything from the triumphant run of The Half-Hour News Hour, it's that Republicans understand satire.

Hey, maybe one of these sites is where those phony Rush Limbaugh quotes came from! I'm just saying, I'm no longer obligated to question the more stupid LIBERAL talking points. If it's stupid enough, it's coming from Healy.

Quote of The Day

"...we want a pro-freedom agenda. And he’s trying to throw people around who he believes will increase a non-pro-freedom agenda."

- Michelle Bachman, expressing her anti-non-pro-freedom-agenda views about President Obama.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

All Politics Is Local

Therefore all attempts to usurp the will of the locals must be done nationally.

Can someone with a working knowledge of how parties work on the county level and state level tell me how difficult it would be -- how many bodies, how much time required -- for an insurgent group of conservatives to simply take them over, or at least win a few seats on their governing boards or whatever board actually makes decisions?

This would solve a lot of problems.

The tent is big, but unless we get these RINOS out of it, we'll keep losing the elections! Isn't that how I'm supposed to read this? The concept kind of hurts my head a little bit.

Ha Ha, Just Kidding

My pal Skot once said that the literal translation of the phrase "ha ha, just kidding" is "I'm not kidding." This is how entertaining comedians like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck get in so much trouble, because people are hip to the meanings behind jokes.

I'm a little disturbed by this "rock salt to melt Olympia Snowe" campaign. Why choose the joke in which the punchline is you obliterate your subject? Innit that a l'il harsh? And isn't this?

"We hunt liberal, tree-hugging Democrats, although it does seem like a waste of good ammunition."
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), when asked what the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus does.

There's usually a couple of examples a day of this stuff. Keep your eyes open!

Friday, October 16, 2009

WARNING GEORGIA VOTERS

The Republican Party believes you are retarded.

We Got This Rush Thing All Wrong

It's unfair to the NFL to say they declined to do business with Rush Limbaugh on the grounds that he has said racist things. We don't really know that. Maybe they were squeamish about selling the team to an admitted drug addict. Perhaps they were troubled by his apparent penchant for sex tourism. Maybe they have a policy of not selling things to people they have fired.

To claim they made the deciscion based on Rush's racial comments, well, that's just racist.

Desperate For A Diversion From Politics

Maybe it's not so bad that I don't have any 24-hour news channels at my fingertips. I at least managed to miss almost all the coverage of that kid who was thought to be caught in a homemade ballon just as I am now managing to avoid most of the coverage of it dawning on people that the whole thing was probably a lame hoax perpetrated by a former reality-show participant and apparent fame-whore and compulsive liar.

Let's face it though, the news channels are climbing the walls looking for something, ANYTHING, that isn't politics based. Or are they? How would I know? Truth is, that's what I'M looking for. Anyway I'm glad the kid is okay, even if he did wind up vomiting on the Today Show. Who hasn't wanted to do that some time?

Shoulda Seen This Coming, Rush To Judgement Edition

LIMBAUGH: They [Democrats] have to have a villain to advance everything, because they cannot sell their ideas. They had to demonize me with false, fake, made up quotes. To protect their precious little — National Football League as an outpost of racism and liberalism, which is what it is.

Yes.... football has a liberal bias! Why didn't I see it before! And who is in the NFL? Millionaires! Millionaires hate conservatives MONEY HAS A LIBERAL BIAS!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Metaphors Can Literally Kill You

HOST: Very quickly, Chairman Steele. The feeling in some circles is that this health care train has left the station with President at the wheel, and Republicans better jump on board.

STEELE: Well, I’m the cow on the tracks, and you’re going to have to stop that train to get this cow off the tracks and move forward.

(Michael Steele appearing on Fox News, h/t Think Progress)


1. Nobody is at the wheel of a train. You don't actually steer trains.

2. Michael Steele speaks the truth, metaphorically. Literally the role of Republicans is to block the progress that everybody wants. And also he's correct in assessing the balance of power between the two parties. One if a freight train, the other is a lone cow. And now that I think of it, you can't really train steers either.

However, getting back to the train - there are things called Cow Catchers on the front of trains, and they are shaped so that they scoop up cows and throw them aside! America didn't become a superpower by stopping the train for cows. It became one by recognizing that creatures too stupid, lazy and obstinate to stand in front of a moving train deserve what they get.

Great Sales Op In Protests

Say you have a zero-growth market item like teabags. How are you going to get a sales spike? Tie it to a protest! Start a viral marketing campaign that encourages people to buy your crap and then then dump it uselessly in an empty symbolic gesture. It's capitalism at it's most elemental.

I forgot... why did I bring this up? Oh yeah.


Olympia Snowe has sold out the country. Having been banished to our world
after Aslan chased her out of Narnia, Snowe is intent on corrupting this place too.

So we should melt her.

What melts snow? Rock salt.

I’m going to ship this 5 pound bag of rock salt to her office in Maine. It’s only $3.00. You should join me.

It is a visible demonstration of our contempt for her. First she votes for the stimulus. Now this.

It’s time to melt Snowe. ORDER YOUR BAG HERE.

The mailing address is:
3 Canal Plaza
Suite 601
Portland, ME 04101
Main: (207) 874-0883

I got an even better idea! Let's send XM Satellite Radios to Joe Biden, to remind him to listen! Or ZUNES! Yeah, them Zunes will teach him a lesson!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Love Your Insurance Company ***Updated***

Here's something to love them for - they're not jacking up your rates by covering fat, lazy babies.

GRAND JUNCTION — Alex Lange is a chubby, dimpled, healthy and happy 4-month-old.

But in the cold, calculating numbered charts of insurance companies, he is fat. That's why he is being turned down for health insurance. And that's why he is a weighty symbol of a problem in the health care reform debate.

Insurance companies can turn down people with pre-existing conditions who aren't covered in a group health care plan.

Alex's pre-existing condition — "obesity" — makes him a financial risk. Health insurance reform measures are trying to do away with such denials that come from a process called "underwriting."

"If health care reform occurs, underwriting will go away. We do it because everybody else in the industry does it," said Dr. Doug Speedie, medical director at Rocky Mountain Health Plans, the company that turned down Alex.

By the numbers, Alex is in the 99th percentile for height and weight for babies his age. Insurers don't take babies above the 95th percentile, no matter how healthy they are otherwise.

"I could understand if we could control what he's eating. But he's 4 months old. He's breast-feeding. We can't put him on the Atkins diet or on a treadmill," joked his frustrated father, Bernie Lange, a part-time news anchor at KKCO-TV in Grand Junction. "There is just something absurd about denying an infant."
Quit whining. If you cover that child, an insurance company shareholder might have to give up one of his cars. Is that what you want?

***Update*** My more-widely-read blogger pal WAMK points out that the people at Rocky Mountain Health Plans did an about-face before I posted, and now promise to cover all healthy babies, too fat or not. I'm not as comforted by this as he is. Why did they review the policy? Because they are trying to beat down the threat of the public option. Without the publicity and threat, I doubt we'd have the same result. More likely they'd cover babies two years from now only after tweaking the rules to disallow acne sufferers. AND raising rates again.

And more importantly, this result came about because of the threat of competition from a public option, which proves that it does exactly what proponents promise it will do - keep the insurance companies honest.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Republican Reaction Not As Bad As I Predicted

You may recall a few weeks back there was this viral video of a bunch of school kids singing the praises (literally) of Obama, our nation's first African-American president for Black History Month. Predictably, this footage roused the ire of right-wing bloggers. When I saw it mentioned on Where Are My Keys, I remarked, "somebody needs to set those young traitors straight! Tree of liberty!" No one agreed with me, but curiously no one saw fit to back down from the ugly implications of my snarky comment.

Anyway, the blowback appears to be a lot more benign than MY worst case scenario.

Conservative groups plan to rally Monday near a New Jersey school where students performed a song celebrating President Barack Obama.

The planned rally has school district officials planning to beef up security at the B. Bernice Young School in Burlington Township, which houses kindergartners through second-graders.

...Citing concerns for the safety of students and staff, Superintendent Christopher Manno has asked organizers to reconsider the protest because classes will be held that day. Manno said protesters will not be allowed on school property and additional district staffers will be on hand.

Bill Haney, a rally organizer, said members of several groups would take part in the protest, although it was not clear Sunday how many people would be involved.

"Consider this a protest to squelch this trend to politicize our youth," organizers said in a prepared statement. "We are supporting the constitutional rights of our children and protest against the progressive social agenda promoted by the New Jersey Education Association and the National Education Association."
I haven't heard how this went but I suspect it was peaceful if obnoxious. I doubt if any kindergartners were roughed up. In fact, here's what happened, from the same newspaper.

The protesters sang patriotic anthems and chanted slogans such as "Free children, free minds."
So at least they learned that schools shouldn't be politicized, thanks to the efforts of apolitical Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity viewers. Personally as a sensitive 5 year old, I'd have been terrified of an angry group of protesters outside my school, just as I was by some angry liberal hippies back in the day. But who knows... maybe, just maybe, these 5-year-olds can be convinced to not vote in the next election.