Michael Steele has been elected, somehow, to be the new chair of the RNC. From his acceptance speech: "For those of you who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over." Can't wait to see how this turns out!
BTW, we finally impeached Blagojevich, which means I smell a book deal! Woo hoo!
(h/t Swampland for the Steele quote)
Friday, January 30, 2009
Michael Steele has been elected, somehow, to be the new chair of the RNC. From his acceptance speech: "For those of you who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over." Can't wait to see how this turns out!
Ever since Karl Rove did his subpeona-dodge to Fox News, the Republican party has lost control of the message. Witness this scenario - the president does extrordianary bi-partisan outreach, the stimulus bill is revised with Republican input in mind even though their votes really weren't needed. Republicans vote in lock-step against the bill. Even some Democrats vote against it. It still passes.
Message: no matter what concessions you make to us, we're taking our tiny ball and going home.
That'll teach those Democrats! Specifically, it'll teach them to stop making concessions. Which is too bad because I happen to prefer bi-partisan input into governing. I like compromise - it leads to better, fairer laws.
Republicans have to realize that they can't keep bluffing while they are holding a pair of 2s. Otherwise, they can just expect more bad hands for a long, long time to come. Maybe we'll wind up with a 3 party system - Democrats, Republicans and Far - Right Republicans, who think those plain Repblicans are terrorist crypto-socialists and won't even speak to them. Democrats, who'll include any weirdo at the drop of a hat, won't split up like that. So maybe it'll be a 40/20/20 distribution. And one of those 20's is going to insist on Palin-Bolton for 2012.
Count on me for a contribution!
John McCain, September, calling on Rush Limbaugh to apologize for his "phony soldiers" comment:
If Mr. Limbaugh made the remark he is reported to have made, it reflects very poorly on him and not the objects of his offensive comment. I expect most Americans, whatever their political views, will have the same reaction. He would be well advised to retract it and apologize.John McCain, this morning, talking about Obama's single criticism about Rush Limbaugh last week:
Mr. Limbaugh is a voice of a significant portion of our conservative movement in America. He has a very wide viewing audience. He is entitled to his views, and he has a lot of people who listen very carefully to him. I don’t know why that the President would take him on. He’s part of the political landscape, and he plays a role.So taking McCain's most recent comments as the ones he believes, Rush should not be excoriated: if the thinks soldiers who speak out against the war should be excoriated, Rush is right.
My thinking is Rush shouldn't be censored, just listened to with the attitude that he is an extremist. Calibrate accordingly. Between McCain and that GOP spokesman who apologized after saying Rush didn't have that much influence on the party, I'm beginning to be reminded of Harry, the dude that Dick Cheney shot in the face. He publicly apologized, you'll recall, for getting the in the way of Dick's gun.
Why do you guys keep picking bullies to be your leaders?
Thursday, January 29, 2009
According to the Gallup organization, it graphs like this:
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
This, I think, is pretty cool. And I know Obama was for it, but I don't care. Enough delays!
House Republicans Reject TV Delay Bill
By Greg Tarr -- TWICE, 1/28/2009 1:45:00 PM
The bill, which had passed the Senate by unanimous vote on Monday, failed to get the required two-thirds majority vote after U.S. Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) called for the measure, which would have moved the deadline from Feb. 17 to June 12, to be denied.
The legislators called for the analog TV spectrum to be turned over as planned for use by emergency first responders and wireless services carries that had purchased the vacated spectrum at auction.
Resolution Congratulating Obama Rejected in Committee
By Mark Carter 1/28/2009 11:00:01 AM
A resolution congratulating President Obama on his election was killed in the House Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs on Wednesday.
These kinds of resolutions are considered standard operating procedure. But hey, whatever. You can't mandate good sportsmanship.
*update* See comments for more on this shocking bill!
The talk on the hill is that most Republicans are going to take Rush Limbaugh's advice and oppose the latest stimulus package. Is it the best thing for the country? Whatever. The important thing is if it works, then Obama doesn't fail. And a successful Obama presidency is, by Limbaughian definition, bad for America. A worldwide economic depression, on the other hand: Good for America.
The thing that is bothersome about this... well actually there is little that isn't bothersome about it. But here's what's annoying to me. Republicans are opposing this plan and claiming that their input is being ignored, but they aren't offering alternatives. More tax cuts will save us! is the best they can cough up. We've had quite a few of them leading up to the meltdown. I'm not saying they caused it, but tax cuts haven't done anything to prevent it either. Similarly more deregulation isn't going to be any help. Not enforcing the financial regulations appears to be exactly what got us into this mess.
Why do they think this will help their brand? Digging their heels AND burying their heads in the sand at the same time, the Republican leadership is basically doing everything it can to keep out of power for another few years. And that, by my definition, is GOOD for America
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
They say when you take office, the "firsts" you pick need to be well-chosen because they carry a lot of weight. Here's one that will freak out a few of my blogger pals: Obama has given his first formal interview as President with Hisham Melhem of al Arabiya television.
Among the more interesting pull quotes:
Now, my job is to communicate the fact that the United States has a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world...even as we are decisive in going after terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians, that we're going to do so on our terms, and we're going to do so respecting the rule of law that I think makes America great. ... I cannot respect terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians and we will hunt them down. But to the broader Muslim world what we are going to be offering is a hand of friendship.This is going to anger a lot of people on the right, if Malkin or Limbaugh get their hands on it. It amounts to "nuance", this distinguishing of Muslim Terrorists from Muslims. Most Muslims have no interest in killing Americans. But if you insist that all Muslims are terrorists who must be killed, then what incentive do they have to behave differently? And yeah, I've heard that viewpoint expressed more than once, though if you try to pin 'em down they'll say only the majority of muslims are terrorists. If you think this, you are mistaken.
Look, if you imprisoned a few hundred Americans without trial, you could expect a little retaliation from America. If Iran posted soldiers around Boston, local Bostonians would try to remove them. These are not unreasonable responses.
The hand of friendship is going to make us a hell of a lot safer, if it's accepted at this late date, than all the bombs and rhetoric we can throw out there.
(h/t THINK PROGRESS)
I've been hearing a lot of whining from Congressional Republicans that they're not being allowed to participate in the lawmaking process by those mean Democrats. Here's a sign that perhaps they're mistaken.
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats are likely to jettison family planning funds for the low-income from an $825 billion economic stimulus bill, officials said late Monday, following a personal appeal from President Barack Obama at a time the administration is courting Republican critics of the legislation.Mr. Boehner's point is well taken, that this legislation doesn't belong in the stimulus package. However, it belongs somewhere. If you want to shrink government spending, it's just a fact that contraceptives cost less than poor people. Since they most likely won't buy them on their own, it behooves us as a nation to pass them out.
Several officials said a final decision was expected on Tuesday, coinciding with Obama's scheduled visit to the Capitol for separate meetings with House and Senate Republicans.
...Under the provision, states no longer would be required to obtain federal permission to offer family planning services — including contraceptives — under Medicaid, the health program for the low-income.
..."How you can spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives how does that stimulate the economy?" House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio said on Friday after congressional leaders met with Obama at the White House. "You can go through a whole host of issues that have nothing to do with growing jobs in America and helping people keep their jobs."
The acceptable alternative from a Republican standpoint is abstinence education, but that's not exactly 100% effective with the teens. It's a lot like locking cocaine addicts in a meth lab and telling them all they have to do is not touch the cocaine. So by itself, abstinence education just results in more kids on welfare. So let's eliminate welfare! That will stop poor people from breeding!
No it won't. It's just make America better resemble a third world country. If you like flies, let the poor fend for themselves.
Getting back to the stimulus package: enough with the tax cuts! We've had plenty of tax cuts over the last 8 years and I don't know if you've looked at the economy lately, but it doesn't seem to have helped much. Besides a third of the package IS tax cuts. That's probably as bipartisan as we need to be this month.
Monday, January 26, 2009
This is kind of a crosspost, but recently I was encouraged by my Facebook buddies to jot down 25 things of interest about myself. The fact that a man my age HAS Facebook buddies is a good place to start, but what I actually wrote follows.
1. At my heart, I worry that there aren't 25 things about me that are interesting.
2. On weekends, if I have the time, I bake my own bread. It doesn't save any money but the smell of fresh-baked bread is really appealing.
3. Since this time last year, I lost twenty pounds.
4. I made a video short in the nineties which won an award of some kind at SMOFI, a Polish film festival. They called to congratulate me at 4:00am. I have no idea what prize I took and googling the award now - well, as of 2002 they were accepting submissions in VHS only.
5. I was brought up Catholic but became an atheist at the age of 12 because the story just didn't hold together.
6. There's a scene in the first Star Wars movie (Han Solo and Chewie trying to hold down the prison detention center) that always seems fresh to me because when I saw it originally, I was making out with the girl I eventually lost my innocence to. It was great, but I still kind of regret missing a part of Star Wars.
7. Fear serves a purpose but for the most part it does more harm than good.
8. I have a younger brother and an older sister - you could conclude from conventional wisdom that I'm the stable one.
9. DARK MEAT: MUSIC FOR DEPRESSIVES is basically an extension of a thing I used to annoy my friends with. I have odd musical tastes and I was continually trying to get them to listen to the artists I like. It still isn't working, but at least I'm annoying strangers instead.
10. I have a fetish for cherry red appliances. Current inventory - a microwave oven, a toaster, a coffee ginder, a coffee maker, and a vacuum cleaner.
11. I've always looked younger than my age. At present the average guess is 10-15 years short.
12. My IQ is above-average.
13. I have written 13 (or so) screenplays and about 5 TV spec scripts. For a while I had an agent, though my career never quite took.
14. My SEINFELD spec, as I recall, was terrible. I had only seen one episode of Seinfeld and I just didn't get it at all.
15. There was a show on UPN called THEY CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, a goofy comedy. I wrote a pretty good script for them and even managed to get it into their production office, but they were canceled later the same day.
16. I don't need to spend as much time alone as I do. I suspect if I got out more, I might be quite popular.
17. Women who are too beautiful freak me out, the same way that people without limbs or disfigured people do. Try to keep to the center of the bell curve, people!
18. I'm not happy with most of my body, except my legs. The legs are golden.
19. When I got divorced and moved into my own apartment, I declined to get cable. Now it's over a year later and it just doesn't seem like a sensible investment. If I read about a good show, I'll just download it.
20. Numbers and statistics fascinate me. If I don't watch myself, I start to see everything in terms of ratios and percentages. It's not healthy.
21. Once I was on a cult radio show called SIMUL TREK, and this is the most famous I have ever been. It was ideal - there was praise from strangers, but you wouldn't recognize me on the street. If only there had been money also.
22. I hardly ever go to movies nowadays because I recognize the same six plots coming back over and over again.
23. Everything that is fun about photography - composition, subject, focus and exposure - is there if you shoot in black and white. Color is only an annoyance. Unfortunately, it's usually nicer to look at.
24. I prefer slow zombies to fast, or sprinting, zombies.
25. Damn, I was right.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
If you were following the inauguration (and you may not have been, the ratings were high but not historic) you probably noticed a little problem with the swearing-in ceremony.
ROBERTS: I, Barack Hussein Obama --See, the order of the words there? It's supposed to be "faithfully execute." If you're the kind of person who insists that a short-form birth certificate is no proof of citizenship, that kind of detail can be very comforting.
OBAMA: I, Barack --
ROBERTS: -- do solemnly swear --
OBAMA: I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear --
ROBERTS: -- that I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully.
OBAMA: -- that I will execute --
ROBERTS: -- the offi -- faithfully the pres -- the office of president of the United States.
OBAMA: -- the office of president of the United States faithfully.
My first paranoid thought is Justice Roberts was messing with Obama, or trying to lay the groundwork for some byzantine deal whereby Norm Coleman could get the Minnesota senate seat. But it's just as likely it was a mistake. Maybe Roberts didn't practice the night before.
It's a mostly moot point now, because a day later the two got together again and retook the oath. I'm saying "mostly" because obviously there are going to be some tinfoil hat types who will insist that the second time doesn't count and Obama isn't president until we have another election. I'm glad to let them have fresh material anyway, because the certificate thing was gettin' stale fast.
UPDATE: Speak of the devil in the details!
Today on his new Fox News show, Glenn Beck panicked about the re-do oath of office President Obama took last night, because Obama did not place his hand on a Bible. “I checked. We have never had a president sworn into office without a Bible,” he intoned dramatically.The posting points out, by the way, that Teddy Roosevelt and John Quincy Adams swore in on non-bibles; plus Lyndon Johnson is rumored to have sworn in on a catholic missel because it was an emergency. So Beck is excited about nothin'.
Hey, Rush Limbaugh states the obvious on Sean Hannity's show last night:
You know racism in this country is the exclusive province of the left. (Italics mine) We're witnessing racism all this week that led up to the inauguration. We're being told that we have to hope he succeeds.He's absolutely right too. If it wasn't for those moonbats and their racism stuff like this wouldn't even have been controversial.
By the way, I don't have cable - what's the show called nowadays? HANNITY AND MORE HANNITY?
To be fair, it's possible to hope that Obama doesn't succeed but support the greater good of the nation. I'm not sure that's what is happening here. I think Rush is hoping for a big "I told you so" at the end of four years: he wants everything to go to hell so he can blame it on Obama. He wants the democracy in Iraq to collapse, he wants the economy to tank, he wants everyone investigated for sex crimes. If things don't go wrong, he wants to be able to make up figures that suggest they are anyway. Rush Limbaugh, american hero.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
So this morning I'm working, listening to the inauguration on the radio, and my boss' voice appeared on the intercom. "If anyone wants to see the inauguration, please come into the main conference room." I thought, that's pretty cool of him. Then a few minutes later there was a followup announcement. "If you're watching the inauguration on the Internet, please come to the conference room instead. We need the bandwidth."
I think this is still cool. It's something to celebrate about America: the idea that we can participate in Democracy but we don't have to. You know, Saddam Hussein was elected to his office several times, and each time it was with almost 100% participation and unanimous victories. In some other countries, conceivably my boss would have been required to marshall us all into the conference room, and perhaps pass out horns and flags. This system is better.
Also heartening is the incredible traffic jam of humanity in the national mall right now. Allowing that many people to show up for an event is an massive inconvenience, but DC is knuckling down and dealing with it because allowing people to participate if they want to is important too.
Perhaps the best thing about these United States is this: we can disagree about the flaws, the shortcomings, about how to fix them, about who will do the best job. And even if we disagree with the leaders of our nation, we won't be arrested for it. You can still be arrested for side issues, like throwing a SHOE at the president, but even then it's not like they'll beat you in prison and force you to sign a statement disavowing your actions. We don't do that here.
So good times. Best of luck to the new guy.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Well, let's see - I bought groceries, including a nice cut of salmon which I had for dinner. And I did some laundry and I watched a whole lotta TV. And I shaved off all my chest hair. Oh, and I was in the hospital for a couple of days.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Look there in the bottom left corner - it's the Star Wars Logo... it's the STAR WARS TELEGRAPH! Brilliant, as in brilliantly wrong. It wasn't until Warner Brothers licensed THE MATRIX buggy whip that a worse idea came along.
h/t Boing Boing
I wound up buying both of them. The coffee maker works fine once I cleaned it very, very thoroughly and swiped a filter basket from the floor model. Freshly ground coffee: slightly more delicious than its pre-ground cousin, but that smell of beans - fantastic. My life is better.
The iMac is sleek, fast and just thinking about it is giving me little shivers of pleasure. I installed Windows 7 last night just for kicks, and it runs like a champ, so far doing all those cool graphic tricks that Vista is famous for without the annoying security popups. The only thing I haven't been able to manage yet is installing my all-in-one fax/printer, on either system. That's gonna take some tech support calls. Well, I love meeting foreigners.
Is it irresponsible to be spending like a sailor when the economy is sinking like a stone? Whatever, I got the cash this month. Or rather, I had it until this week. I'll recoup some when I sell off the old iMac. The rest, maybe I'll sell coffee and processor time.
Don't confirm him. Look, I know he has already paid the money back, and it probably was a mistake made in a 40-page tax document. However, we have RABID anti-Democrats out there (you can't really call 'em Republicans any more) and the last thing we need to do is give them material. Let's get Krugman or Reich for the job instead. Best of luck, Geith.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Members of the Senate Finance Committee met Tuesday with treasury secretary nominee Tim Geithner over concerns involving his personal taxes and the immigration status of a former housekeeper, transition officials said.
Timothy Geithner has been nominated for the post of treasury secretary in the Obama administration.
The Geithners employed a housekeeper whose employment authorization document expired about three months before she stopped working for them in October 2005, according to a written statement from the Senate Finance Committee.
Later, the housekeeper, who is married to a U.S. citizen, was granted a green card, transition officials said.
The second concern involves Geithner's taxes while he worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to a statement released by the committee, Geithner failed to pay self-employment taxes while the IMF paid him from 2001 to 2004.
In 2006, the Internal Revenue Service audited Geithner for tax years 2003 and 2004, and he paid $16,732 for the taxes and interest for those years, the statement said. After Obama nominated him for treasury secretary, Geithner voluntarily amended his taxes for 2001 and 2002, paying $25,970 for those taxes and interest, the committee said.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
To hell with politics - Patrick McGoohan is dead.
Friday, January 09, 2009
I did a little shopping last night, looking for post-holiday bargains. None to be had. And weird experiences in both cases.
Case one: A new iMac. My old iMac is starting to show its age. The internal hard drive is near maxed out, the processor is slower than I'd like. Newer iMacs are neater. So I took a l'il trip to the Apple Store to discuss options. Ideally, I wanted to trick out a model (maximum memory, maximum storage) and walk out that night. Only, they don't do that in store. The guy in the store recommended I buy it online instead. What the hell is that? Well, I'll probably do it this weekend.
Case two: A coffee maker. I have a nice cheap Black & Decker unit already, works great, even has a timer. But it lacks one important quality - it's not red. I was in Target looking for a coffee grinder (I want fresh beans!) and there it was - the red Mr. Coffee maker of my dreams. I took it home with a matching Red grinder.
But I opened the factory sealed box, and it was soaking wet! Seriously, water all over the inside of those plastic bags. And the filter basket was missing. I'm taking it back tonight, getting a refund on the grounds of sheer weirdness.
The consumer economy is going to have to meet me halfway if it wants MY stimulus.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
The latest industry to petition congress for a bailout? Porn.
Welcome to the newest and most problematic member of the Senate, Roland Burris. Legally appointed by the shadiest character in recent political memory, Rod Blagojevich, Burris takes the seat vacated by Barack Obama, the one that Blago is so in trouble for putting up on eBay.
It's fortunate that Harry Reid doesn't favor the phrase "over my dead body!" because with all the stuff he's backed down on, we could legitimately build a footbridge over his grave. To be fair, there is little Reid could do legally to stop the appointment. In fact, after all the research they've been up to in the last few days, I bet they determined there is nothing.
I got nothing against Roland Burris, though I'm mighty uncomfortable with all the grandstanding he's done in the last few days. Here's looking a couple of years without scandal and legitimate election in 2010, and here's hoping the people of Chicago have the wisdom to break their streak and hire a Governer who just wants to serve the people.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Okay, I just noticed this one while arguing with GWK over at Where Are My Keys. Those guys are upset that Ann Coulter has been cut from NBC because they don't want people with an anti-Obama bias. How do they know that's why?
NBC CUTS COULTER; KEEPS PEREZAs usual when Drudge reports on the media, no one spoke for attribution. Presumably this is because the MSM would instantly fire anyone who admitted to a liberal bias, like the way Slate fired anyone who said they'd vote for Obama last year. On the other hand, it could be because Drudge is makin' this stuff up. After all, his track record is a little less than accurate on stories. Like Obama's $30k ring. Or Oprah's participation in the Obama Informercial. Or the couple of times he informed us that we've caught Osama Bin Laden.
Mon Jan 05 2009 17:50:57 ET
The nation's top selling conservative author has been banned from appearing on NBC, insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT.
"We are just not going to have her on any more, it's over," a top network source explains.
But a second top suit strongly denies there is any "Coulter ban".
"Look for a re-invite, as soon as Wednesday," said the news executive, who asked not to be named.
NBC's TODAY show abruptly cut Ann Coulter from its planned Tuesday broadcast, claiming the schedule was overbooked.
Drudge does, for a change, cite another source:
Coulter was also to appear on the TODAY's fourth hour. A host even teased the segment saying the 'conservative pit bull and bestselling author' would be a guest.See that link? Here's the opening paragraph of the MediaBistro story he cites.
Drudge Report says Ann Coulter has been "banned for life" from NBC, quoting an anonymous NBC source saying, "We are just not going to have her on any more."
So somehow, Drudge manged to recursively source himself! Nice. Of course, the test here is whether the Today show re-books Ann Coulter. I'm putting my bets on yes. Of course, by Wednesday we'll all have forgotten this happened, and those who trust Drudge will have only a vague memory that the MSM doesn't allow conservatives on the airwaves. As the always do, 15 minutes after they see conservatives on the airwaves.
By the way, the MSM has failed to get organized again, and Coulter reportedly appeared on CBS's THE EARLY SHOW instead this morning.
Monday, January 05, 2009
The Minnesota Recount results are officially in, and they favor Al Franken to the tune of 225 votes. You may recall at the beginning of the legally-mandated process (a requirement when the margin is within 1% of the population if I recall correctly) many convervatives called for Franken to concede, on the grounds that a long legally-mandated recount would hurt Minnesota. I wonder how they feel about this?
"Given our campaign’s unwavering commitment to ensuring that the vote of no Minnesotan is disenfranchised, today’s ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court is both disappointing and disheartening,” Knaak said in a statement.I'm going to take a stab that NOW, conservatives will say further challenges to the result are the only way to ensure the people of Minnesota are served. For my part, it looks like there is a new Senator in Minnesota, and you can call him Al.
He also said: “Today’s ruling...ensures that an election contest is now inevitable. The Coleman campaign has consistently and continually fought to have every validly cast vote counted, and for the integrity of Minnesota’s election system, we will not stop now.”
Such a legal showdown could take weeks to resolve. In addition to the Coleman campaign’s request to have the absentee ballots reconsidered, a lawsuit also include claims by Coleman that some votes in Democratic-leaning areas were counted twice.