Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday cards



Just got my White House card today. I'm sure there are some on the far Right who will take Obama to task for not using the word Christmas, but those people don't need an excuse to take Obama to task--they live for that. Anyway, here they are:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Faux news, faux numbers, faux "authentic"

The natural end to the path the Wacky Right trods in which education = "elitism" is that you get graphs like this, on FOX:



You also get people who deliberately dumb themselves down in order to get jobs there.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Beck: Goldbug with an interest

Beck in trouble for his gold endorsements?

Seems like a clear conflict to me. The guy can believe what he wants to, but when he promotes the industry on his show without disclosing his financial interest, this is a no-no. No matter what your political persuasion.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Obama in Oslo

Text of Obama's Nobel speech.

I realize that the conservative backbiters aren't going to bother reading it, but I think it lays out Obama's worldview on the role of war in our times.

Friday, December 04, 2009

When they are quick to cite the Constitution...

Usually, they have no idea what they are talking about. Tom Schaller @ 538 with a nice little primer when you're faced with people who misunderstand the Constitution.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Scour your shelves!

Rare Darwin book found in guest bathroom.

The weird thing for me is that the cover looks like about half the covers on old books.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Social Security surplus

I haven't had much of a chance to look much deeper on this issue (and this may be all a matter of perspective--taking away legitimate earned revenues from Social Security, then crying "deficit!" seems a little overwrought). But this appears to be something worth digging in.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Did Christianity cause the Crash?

More particularly, did American-style prosperity gospel teaching lead to overextended consumers among believers?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fed to be audited?

Realizing I'm treading close to conspiracy stuff here, it is probably worth noting that the House has moved legislation along which would require audits of the Fed.

I have a small quibble with the article talking about the Administration as being "losers" in this debate--it seems to be a relatively easy thing for the Administration to re-cast this as another move for government transparency. But in general this is a good move, I think.

Holiday Mail for Heroes

I had neglected to note that Red Cross was already accepting mail for their Holiday Mail for Heroes program, but because there is still some time it is probably worth posting here.

There are some limitations on what can be sent through the program, but take a look. It is a good program if you have kids who want to take part and give thanks to those thousands of men and women (often, Dads and Moms themselves) protecting our freedoms overseas.

Cleaning for a reason

A foundation that offers free housecleaning services for women undergoing cancer treatment. Very nice.

Weird Windows error messages

A cornucopia of messages, with great commentary.

Dave Ramsey

Megan McArdel with a smart piece on Dave Ramsey. My wife and I have listened to him, watched much of his talk, read books, etc.

The most important aspect of Ramsey, IMO, is your relationship with debt. Many people carry some debt, but certain debt is stupid, frankly. There are people who carry debt because they would rather have the cash in their bank account (not making money) and then pay minimums on their credit cards even though they have enough to pay off their balances. Stupid debt.

But Dave Ramsey is much more than that--re-examining how you utilize budgeting (first, by placing a budget in its proper place as a record of what you spend your money on rather than a wish list of what you should be spending money on), how you save, what is important to save, etc. He's worth a long look by people not because you should buy into his system (literally), but because people sometimes need a real look at their own finances and Ramsey offers an easy yet bracing way of doing that.

Black Friday, 2009

Want to know what Wal-Mart will have on sale?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Mandatory gratuity"

PA couple arrested for not paying tip after bad service.

Another reason to get rid of tipping entirely and just add the cost of the food.

More ACORN blaming...

This is just dismaying:

A majority of Republicans think ACORN stole the election for Obama.

If given the choice: "Do you think that Barack Obama legitimately won the Presidential election last year, or do you think that ACORN stole it for him?" 52% of Republicans choose the latter.

Sigh.

The dingo stole my baby!

Hoffman blames ACORN for his election loss.

If nothing else, the last few elections should strip away the notion of Republicans as the party of personal responsibility.

Never again! Err....

The GOP Publicity Channel caught pumping up crowd sizes through wrong footage. Again.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hit the Bitch!

Somehow I don't think trying to get guys to stop domestic violence by letting them hit a woman virtually is the way to go. Call me crazy. Or an idiot.

HT: Megan McArdle

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Israel keeps on building settlements

With many conservatives (particularly neocons) equating any deviation from Israeli policy on the part of the US with enabling terrorism, there should be no wonder that Israel feels it can do anything while the US pays the bills.

God forbid that anyone in the Administration even mentions that Israel has nukes.

Cut em off, I say.

Is your library included?

With all the talk of libraries closing, it is nice to know there are still many great public libraries around. Check out the Library Journal list of top public libraries.

A good point

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wolf Blitzer attacks Jag lawyer of Hasan

Looking for a show trial, perhaps.

I hate those weasely questions where some is suppose to respond to "they" instead of the person asking the question. I wish some of these people would get the balls to say "
I'm sorry--I don't answer any questions you don't take responsibility for asking on your own behalf."

Monday, November 09, 2009

What year is this?

Mendoza has faced sexual discrimination claims before. In 1999, he was manager of a Denny's restaurant in Allentown. A hostess accused him of following her around the restaurant with a vibrating sex toy in his pocket, buzzing his genitals and singing to himself.

Inevitable

IMO. And it makes me optimistic:



I realize many of these young people will change their minds (just as we know that there is a conservative trend as people get older). But we also know that once gay marriages are approved in some states and the arguments against them in all states are shown to be hollow, some that oppose gay marriage right now will start becoming more agnostic toward them.

The best book companies to work for

[I used to work for #5]

Friday, November 06, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Health care--getting to the root of the problems

David Goldhill with an excellent piece on health care that tries to get at the root of the problem. This, I think, is a classic description of what we are facing:

"Indeed, I suspect that our collective search for villains—for someone to blame—has distracted us and our political leaders from addressing the fundamental causes of our nation’s health-care crisis. All of the actors in health care—from doctors to insurers to pharmaceutical companies—work in a heavily regulated, massively subsidized industry full of structural distortions. They all want to serve patients well. But they also all behave rationally in response to the economic incentives those distortions create. Accidentally, but relentlessly, America has built a health-care system with incentives that inexorably generate terrible and perverse results. Incentives that emphasize health care over any other aspect of health and well-being. That emphasize treatment over prevention. That disguise true costs. That favor complexity, and discourage transparent competition based on price or quality. That result in a generational pyramid scheme rather than sustainable financing. And that—most important—remove consumers from our irreplaceable role as the ultimate ensurer of value."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cheated by clerk out of a million dollars

I realize that the sentiment is that the lottery should pay the guy, but (unlike businesses who can bend or break their own rules), the "rules" for lotteries are statutes and subject to very little interpretation as to when they can pay out money.

Busy secretary costs Pepsi $1.26 billion

Ooops. Too busy preparing for a board meeting to forward papers regarding a lawsuit results in a default judgment against PepsiCo.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Gingrich, RINO?

How far will the GOP fall? And what will it take for the Democrats to finally get a backbone and govern?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Boating around

Seth Stevenson posts his final entry in an engaging blog diary on sailing around the British Virgin Islands. Sounds like a boring tale, yes? Worth the read, however, just for reading about the unexpected pleasures such a trip can bring.

Friday, October 23, 2009

No English zone...

Dozens cited in Dallas over the past three years for not speaking English.

WTF?

Most of the text of that story gives the impression that this was a one-shot thing. But with 39 citations over the last three years it is clear that this is a rare, but ongoing, problem.

FOXy independence

Mickey Kraus with a sharp piece on FOX and the criteria of measuring whether something is a "news organization"

Maurice Sendak tells hand-wringing parents to STFU

Or "go to hell" which really means the same thing in this context.

Can't wait until I'm a cranky old man and can just say what I want...

Polling and the public option

Some interesting points being made by FactCheck on polling regarding the public option.

We all know that the right and left are talking past each other on the polling numbers--the left emphasizes the "choice" part of the public option, while the right emphasizes the "federal government administers" part. Not surprisingly, when the public is asked questions which include both aspects, they overwhelmingly support a public option. Take out the word "choice" from the question, support drops. Even those numbers are far, far higher than the right likes (or probably even believes).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recovery? Not yet it ain't...

As expected, job openings is not only a lagging indicator of any economic recovery, but in this case might actually be holding back the recovery. Dow is up (way up), business orders are up, interest rates are down and credit is now easing.

In other words, American businesses seem to be making do after shedding a ton of workers (including hiring some back part-time, without benefits). As we know, however, without consumer discretionary income any recovery will occur (at best) in fits and starts, and it it continues misfiring it might short-circuit the whole thing entirely.

We're paying now for the fact that the housing market carried us through about 8 years of expansion previously, masking many of the growing underbrush that typically would be burned away through much smaller market corrections. I have faith that we'll get through this in the next 2-3 years a stronger economy and country. But let's not make the mistake of thinking this is either the sign of full recovery or the opportunity to try to score political points on the news either way.

Pictures from space

I usually stop in at listverse.com a couple of times a week. One of their latest is a real treat: 10 More Stunning Pictures from Space

My favorite (see the caption to find out why):

Monday, October 12, 2009

Playing with numbers, tort reform style

CBO estimates that tort reform would save the government just 2% of its health care costs

That's not what the title of the article says, of course. And the CBO presumes that employers will plow the savings from health care premiums into increased wages (which I just don't see happening). But there you go. Limiting the payouts to people who proved in court that they are victims saves a tiny bit of money to the government, assuming that employers increase wages when they don't have to.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Peace Prize and bad losers

Some predicted GOP talking points--mostly turned out to be true, I think Sad just how bitter the GOP has become. Maybe that is why it is now down to being self-identified by just 22.5% of people.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Consumers Union jumps into health care reform debate

Unprecedented, it seems. But they advocate for reform.

In previous years (and issues) this might have meant something. But in these Beck-ful days the measured advocacy of a respected organization toward health care reform is merely another example to the wacky Right of how far toward Marxism Obama has already put us.

Oldest living things in the world

Cool photo site. Amazing how old some of these things are.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thank goodness I only saw one of these

The worst movies of the last ten years

Courting Hispanics

RNC's Hispanic outreach doesn't translate well

No Saturn, no mo

GM shuttering Saturn.

I've always thought of Saturn as the kind of car company GM should be as a whole. Pretty bad when your best division can't be spun off and sold.

Teaching 9/11

Marc Ambinder with a smart post about teaching 9/11 to schoolkids, many of whom have no idea of what 9/11 was about.

Got a Toyota with a driver's side mat with a mind of its own?

Toyota to recall 3.8 million cars over faulty floor mats.

My guess is that these mats probably slide around a bit and can interfere with the peddles.

From the article, the models (and model years) involved:

Toyota Camry (2007-2010)
Toyota Avalon (2005-2010)
Toyota Prius (2004-2009)
Tacoma (2005-2010)
Toyota Tundra (2007-2010)
Lexus ES350 (2007-2010)
Lexus IS250 (2006-2010)
Lexus IS350 (2006-2010)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Roman Polanski

Will we finally see this guy sentenced? Kate Harding with a fierce reply to the Polanski apologists. Amy Sullivan piles on.

Been awhile since I could say "F*ck yeah!" as I read an article.

Why more gambling probably isn't the answer to state tax revenue blues

Nate Silver, in a very good Esquire piece, believes we may be at the saturation point for gambling (sorry, I can't call it "gaming").

GOP deference

Andrew Sullivan riffs a little strangely on an excellent Conor Friedorsdorf column about how conservatives give military leaders great latitude (deference, even) when talking about military matters but experts in other fields are leavened by balancing costs and so on.

[I say strangely since Andrew goes off on neocons, perhaps because he has them on his mind today. But the GOP is much more than neocons, and the non-neocons are more likely to defer to military matters because the military goes to the heart of why there is a government in the first place. Andrew writes without his usual nuance in his post].

Vista!

Stupid Vista. Just got a new Gateway since my seven-year-old Dell is just too slow and full, but half my programs won't work on Vista (though, helpfully, several software companies offered to sell me upgrades ranging from $125 to $300. How nice.).

The worst is that BestBuy seems to have mangled the data transfer, both not transferring everything to the new computer, but preventing me from accessing the old computer (no boot drive). Nice, again!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nice job, Dad

Man finally catches the first foul ball at a game in his life, gives the ball to his little girl, who promptly throws it back on the field! What does the dad do? Take a look:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Texas yahoo with money doesn't get it

Hotelier's Rules Rile Hispanics (free reg required)

Being a hardass boss is one thing. But forcing Hispanic employees to "simply" their names and so on is really over-the-top.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Battle of Jericho (Arkansas)

Town Fire Chief, tired of the ticket crazy police force, gets shot in open court.

Seriously.

Seven cops for one little town? And no one knows where the ticket money is.

HT: Megan

Monday, September 07, 2009

Republicans against Medicare

In April, the GOP was against Medicare but for subsidies to help retirees enroll into private plans. In August the GOP ran screaming against subsidies to help non-retires enroll into private plans and made videos extolling the virtues of keeping Medicare.

Hard to tell what the GOP is for anymore. Except they are against whatever Obama is for.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Great bike prank

HT: MITH


Funny Tour De France Prank - Watch more Funny Videos

The Let's domestic terrorists

Earth Liberation Front (ELF) topple radio towers because the AM signals cause cancer.

Does anyone listen to AM radio anymore? Couldn't they have just let the free market do their work for them?

Putting that aside, I hope many on the left continue to call ELF what they are: domestic terrorists.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

How can he backpedal when he wasn't pedalling?

A Tom Ridge simulacrum?

Or, what happens when the press doesn't check original sources:

So it has gone with the story of Tom Ridge's assertion. He made a statement. His publisher summarized the statement, distorting it slightly. The press distorted the statement further. The press began talking to itself about the distortion. And then the original statement, which Ridge had put down in the book and remained unchanged, ceased to exist. His statement was replaced by a popular simulacrum: All that remained was the distortion of what Ridge said in his book. The original statement was gone. And so, we have big news today: Ridge Backpedals!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mark Levine--Strawman killer

Conor Friedersdorf with a good piece on the misogynist Mark Levin.

Certainly as a Democrat if I were in charge of running the GOP, I'd have Mark Levin as its prime mouthpiece (I'd keep Michael Steele as the frontman at times as well). Conor's piece highlights the Beck/Levin/F&F bubble mentality--one that confronted and was eventually overcome by Democrats. Simply unable to accept that their own policies were rejected by voters, they construct wild and wilder nefarious theories of people being hoodwinked by shadowy anti-Americans.

Keep the light shined on them.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Health insurance reform follies

Some more Hawking pushback.

This is the kind of stuff I think that Democrats need to concentrate on. Dems are getting caught up talking about the tactics of the town hall confrontations, the lies in the ads, the distortions of what are in plain English in the bill, etc. This becomes a "he said she said" thing, which plays into the media who want to talk about any issue in simple conflict terms.

Dems need to run against the current system. There's plenty not to like, lots and lots of anecdotes that nearly everyone understands and can relate to, and even those who want a free market system would have a hard time defending one in which consumers are unable to get information to make informed choices.

The system, as it is, is a mess. Demonstrating how the plan will straighten out the clear problems should be the priority of those who want it passed. Everything else detracts from that.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Horrible flight might spur airline passenger "bill of rights"

Passengers spend 6 hours on the ground.

Hard to argue with the need for passenger protection when airlines continue to do this kind of thing. For a highly subsidized industry, this is just not something that can continue to get passed over.

Friday, July 31, 2009

House committee give Big Pharm big market

High-tech drugs given 12-year monopolies.

It is awfully hard to bring down health-care costs if Congress keeps rolling over on drug companies.

China reports a stunning 13 million abortions last year

A perfect storm of government-mandated family size and a secretive government which withholds sex information from the young.

Apparently, contraception is difficult to come by as well. So those lucky few who know to take steps to avoid pregnancy can't take those steps.

This jumped out at me as well: Nearly half of Chinese women seeking abortions used no contraception. Which means that 6.5 million women in China used contraception but still got pregnant, which sounds like a real educational problem.

One of those simple ideas that can yield big dividends

Lighter colored roofs cut energy costs.

Most of us, of course, can barely afford our mortgages, let alone a new roof. But millions of people this year have to put on a new roof anyway, and lighter colored shingles will cut down energy costs substantially.

I had to get half of my roof replaced last year because of a leak, and the roofing guy talked me into getting light gray shingles instead of the dark brown ones that we had. Glad he did. Now, I just have to save up some money to do the other half of the roof...

On Gates-gate

Great comic.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why the free market can't fix the health care problem

Krugman on why the free market can't cure healthcare.

Krugman makes an important point (one that Obama is trying to now make) that the problem isn't health care per se, but health care insurance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Insurance coverage of abortions?

In the larger debate over health care reform, er, health insurance reform, the far right seems particularly focused on their belief that a government plan would force taxpayers to cover abortions. This is a particularly small argument to make, IMO, but it does raise the question: What percentage of current plans already offer abortion coverage? The answer? No one seems to know.

New York as Lego City

Hey, I recognize some of these places!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rick Rolling?

Cool mashup. HT: Andrew Sullivan.

The identity politics of the Right

While McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as running mate was one of the more obvious examples of the Right playing its own brand of identity politics, James Kirchick is exactly right in his critique of Harry Alford in his post.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Changeable Book

Hemingway classic coming out in a new, cleaned-up version.

I remember working at Macmillan many years ago when it owned Scribner. There was one book by Hemingway that we would not grant permission to reprint from, since each of the three heirs wanted 50% of the income from any sub-rights deals.

The Hemingway estate should be Exhibit A in the argument "Why we need a shorter copyright term in the United States."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Frank McCourt, RIP

Frank McCourt, the American with deep Irish roots, passed away of cancer, at age 78. Yahoo reprints the AP story.

I typically never read biographies, but the grip of Angela's Ashes was tight and didn't diminish even after I finished it. A terrific, horrifying, and amazing book.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lazy blogging

Many bloggers are lazy.

The flip side of the huge army of bloggers overlooking mounds of data is that many of the aren't really reading, understanding, and forming coherent opinions on the topic. They are skimmers. Most of them are just looking for stuff that matches their own biases--the internet is a sort of arms bazaar for those people, where they can go from table to table gearing up for the fight.

The problem (among many) is that these are the self-appointed "new news" people. And on complicated issues like climate change, health care, and the economy skimming for sound bites is a huge disservice all around.

I don't have an answer here, BTW. I'm just sayin'.

Tomato be gone?

Fungus threatens crops.

In the dead of night, Amazon comes creeping...

Amazon deletes George Orwell's 1984 from their Kindle catalog--and from individual customer's Kindles.

Obviously Amazon screwed up and thought they had rights. But their "fix" made it much worse for them from a PR standpoint.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Media, left, right, and center, kissing ass

South Carolina's The State has pulled together sympathetic conservative media emails received by Sanford's office while he was out.

I don't think the story is so much about conservative media bias, because that has been self-evident all the time. I do think that the deeper story is how quickly media, of any sort, are willing to bend over in return for access. Glenn Greenwald has been all over that issue for years now, but it comes through very clearly in looking over this piece.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The mind of Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin decides to flex some policy muscle on cap-and-trade. Conor Clarke slaps her around a bit.

As has also been pointed out, Palin's piece (ostensibly about cap and trade) neglects to use any of the following words: pollution, emissions, carbon, or global warming.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Good economic news?

Jobless claims take a dip.

Good news. Hard to tell, at this point, if this is a sign of recovery or not. But good news is good news.

No black kids in the pool!

A black kid can grow up to be president, but in 2009 black kids can't swim everywhere, it seems.

A report on Philly's FOX News 29.

Apparently they were unaware that the camping group was mostly black before they took their money to swim.

Friday, July 03, 2009

The nuclear option

I've been a big fan of making sure that nuclear energy is included in the mix when we talk about energy independence. Many liberals (and even Greens) are coming to agree. Taking tips from the French on reducing nuclear waste can only help matters.

Increase the bounties!

It doesn't work in, say, Afghanistan and Iraq, but perhaps securities fraud can be uncovered just by increasing the rewards for those who bring it to the attention of the SEC.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Judge blocks distribution of Salinger "sequel"

Word is that the author & publisher thought Salinger would come around once he read the book. Idiots.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Balance the California budget!

California is so screwed. Mostly because of the ease with which propositions can done and passed, tying the hands of politicians. But hey, maybe you can balance the budget!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Blackberries and meetings

Mind your Blackberry.

I'm sorry, but anyone who uses their Blackberry in a meeting who isn't looking up something for that meeting is a dick.

An end to the UBS tax case?

The United States has, for a few years now, been pushing hard against the Swiss bank UBS to disclose the names of accounts where it appears Americans have been stashing money in order to avoid US taxes.

As expected, the Swiss have been pushing back hard on the efforts, but it looks like a settlement might be around the corner.

Frankly, it sounds like the lawsuit already did much of the work in smoking out many of the account holders anyway, plus a fat fine that UBS already paid. Presumably they'll be writing the US Treasury another big check.

The GOP's Southern Asshole Philosophy

Sen Bob Corker blows off meeting with hobbling Sotomayor because she was late.

Wonder what the topic of the next meeting was that it was more important that a SCOTUS nominee? Starting the next meeting early is a nice gesture, too. I'm guessing this stunt ends up in a future political ad for his next opponent.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Warp drive setback?

Warp drive theoretical, though it might form a black hole.

That would definitely be a bug, not a feature. though perhaps the ending point need not be at the actual destination, but farther away....

Friday, June 12, 2009

Holocause Museum shooter's son puts out a statement

A good one, I think.

Photoshop follies...

City of Toronto digitally adds black guy to magazine cover to add diversity.

As Andrew Sullivan points out, The Onion got there first.

PAYGO returns?

Obama urges a return to binding PAYGO rules.

This is great news, particularly if Congress follows through. There was no bigger act of fiscal responsibility than passing PAYGO in 1990, despite its inclusion in the Omnibus Budget of 1990 which cost Bush Republican support (and eventually, the Presidency in 1992).

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Railroading a college student for murder in Italy?

The "case" against Amanda Knox

Interesting how perspective can change everything about a case.

Sounds to me like a spacey college student, with little understanding of her circumstances, having everything so does and says twisted around.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Settlements

Coming late to the party, but not because I haven't read and thought about it. But this Eric Martin post on the settlement question (vis-a-vis Israeli sanctions against the US (!!)) seems spot on.

Holocause Museum

Worth a mention.

When does three far right wacko shootings make a trend? How about accompanied by the level of hatred that continues to spill out on the far right about Obama?

Shep Smith expresses his concern about the base.

Am I saying the GOP is violent? No--no way. Not for a moment. But I think the GOP in general, and some Republicans in particular, find that irresponsibly fanning the flames of citizen anger against their perceived political opponents to be about the only thing they know how to do anymore.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Train a comin'?

Sounds like it. Maybe some stimulus money can be used? Or gambling revenues? Seems to me a train to Mount Airy would be in their best interest as well.

Missing the point...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

"Least. Welcome. Convert. Ever."

Charles Taylor. The ChristiJew.

Save Salt Publishing

The arts are getting hammered in the recession, all over the globe. A publisher I've long admired, Salt Publishing in the UK, typifies what is going on, and is struggling to keep it going. Some of their fans have worked to help save them, through a Just One Book campaign. Vince Gotera has the lowdown.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Obama's Cairo speech

Many on the right are left, as we've seen time and time again after a very good Obama speech, as sputtering obstructionists.

Some are just making stuff up. Others (like Hewitt) are bemoaning that Obama has abandoned thuggish neo-con foreign policy so publicly. These people confuse the fact of Obama speaking on Muslim issues in a Muslim country with him seemingly agreeing with Islamists--they are looking for the codes, in other words.

His actual speech, however, lays out, to a Muslim audience very solid and non-controversial policies: The case for a two-state solution to the Palestinian/Israeli conflict (while taking a direct shot at Holocaust deniers), telling Muslims that they have a responsibility toward peace (loved this line: "America will align our policies with those who pursue peace"), telling Iran they cannot have nukes, and so on.

The difference Obama brings is the same one that got him elected: The willingness to negotiate through respectful interactions instead of pre-conditions, presidential war authority as a negotiating tactic, and the recognition that diplomacy works, by and large, by getting people to concentrate on the mutual goals rather than on the concessions to get there.

This speech, the latest of a series of speeches of the century by Obama, is one I'm thinking over in light of a fantastic Ambinder column I've been mulling over for the last day or so.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The incredible shrinking economy

5.7% last quarter.

There appear to be some signs of recovery in the medium-term. But 5.7% in one quarter is stunning.

Painless way to save some energy costs?

Painting your roof white.

Won't work for a lot of people who can't paint their roof (!), and renters aren't helped. But I had half my roof replaced last year with much lighter colored shingles and it does seem a bit cooler on that side of the house where before the sun room there would get very, very warm in the summer.

Iococca to lose pension and car in Chrysler bankruptcy

Executive plan is unsecured, it seems.

It does kind of suck, even though he's doing fine. One of the few cases of company executives not being first in line, however.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Smacking down the anti-Sotomayor rhetoric

Nate Silver is on the case. The best thing that Democrats are doing is letting the Republicans have a go at it, however.

Given the way many of the base have gone at it, you'd have thought that Obama appointed an outright socialist. Certainly the far-right, who were girding for this fight long before the actual appointment (with their fill-in-the-blanks talking points), are acting like Obama appointed Krugman or something. Most people, so far, realize at least that Obama did not actually nominate a far left wacko. Could he have? Sure, but he didn't.

And God forbid a judge should have empathy! For all the wackiness about empathetic judges, it was Robert Bork, during his nomination hearings, that tried to save himself by acknowledging the necessity for empathy by a judge for the people in the process.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

As a father, these images still affect me very deeply.

I know it is anecdotal and all. But war always kills innocents. It is worth remembering, even on this memorial day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pelosi! Pelosi! Pelosi!

The woman the Right loves to hate, isn't she? Can't say I like her, but I do like how the Right gets themselves all twisted up trying to show how she's the anti-Christ.

On the "what she knew, when she knew it front" it doesn't appear that her story is straight, which has caused a tizzy among the GOP who sense blood in the water (not realizing, I think, that most of the blood in the water is theirs, and is self-inflicted). As a Democrat I would love to make this torture issue about Pelosi: It means the GOP concedes that torture is bad and is something that should have been confronted years ago.

And the more they go after Pelosi, the more effective the counterpunch will be: What did Bush know? When? And why didn't he do anything?

As it turns out, of all the people involved Pelosi is the only one asking for an independent Truth Commission. Seems hardly the thing a guilty person would call for. And in any case, the CIA records on this very issue isn't altogether trustworthy.

Remember those lost videotapes of torture sessions? Still trust the CIA over Pelosi? For some on the far Right, it is a tough call: Trust a torturing secret government group with a huge (growing) and unaccountable budget, over a San Francisco Democrat. Hmmmm.

Showing dinosaurs means you are un-American!

Or something like that. Hard to tell with the mumbling far Right these days.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Michael Steele: A Walking Democratic Ad

Michael Steele at the NRA: "Whenever they can, wherever they can, the Democrats want to take away the rights of law abiding citizens to own and purchase a gun - a right that is guaranteed under the United States Constitution. ..

This is so 2004, Michael "my man."

All the Dems have to do is act, well, human. A tough act at times, I know. But Steele set the bar so low for Democrats he might as well have left it on the floor.

Wayman Tisdale passes away of cancer

CBS Sportsline blurb

A very good college player who stuck around in the NBA a long time. But he made a new career for himself as a smooth jazz bassist. A good guy taken far, far too soon.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Crist tosses his hat in

Charlie Crist running for Senate

I hope he gets the nod. Given the sad state of the GOP, the only way I can see to save the party (and allow a range of conservative voices on the national stage) is to hope for the success of the moderate GOP member campaigns.

Nothing breed success like success, as the Democrats found out when a moderate Southern Governor (Clinton) ran, won, and dominated Democratic politics for 10 years.

And no, I'm not of the mind that Charlie Crist is hoping for the evangelical bad speller vote.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Does the GOP need a little affirmation?

Maybe they need a Therapy Buddy.

I can just see Glen Beck clicking on the "Hear My Voice" link over an over during the course of the day.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Israel and the NPT

I, for one, had no idea that Israel was not a signatory to the Nuclean Non-proliferation Treaty. Well, for two.

Apparently the fact that Israel is a country with nukes is a wink-wink kind of thing--for years! From the Andrew Sullivan reader:

There is a very simple reason why we have to pretend that Israel does not possess nuclear weapons- the Non Proliferation Treaty. Under the treaty and US law, a non-signatory to the treaty (such as Israel) who acquires nuclear weapons is prohibited from receiving any foreign aid or military aid (the last estimates I saw were that Israel receives about a quarter of the US's entire foreign aid budget, and half of our foreign military aid budget). So there you go.

Damn, who knew?

I predict Israel's signing the NPT will be a precondition for negotations very, very soon. After all, if they won't sign, what incentive would other nations in the Middle East have to sign?

Joe the Plumber now leaving the GOP

OK, you know things are tough for the GOP when Joe the Plumber leaves the party

Meanwhile, Rush excuses Colin Powell from GOP work.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

FOX Crops

Like your news a little on the cropped side?





HT: MITH

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Byron York: Hack, racist, or both?

You decide.

David Weigel gets out his beatin' stick.

Arlen Specter, D-PA

Some responses from the De-Nile:

Jim DeMint: The GOP Lost PA Because of "Forced Unionization" (Rebuttal: Union membership in PA is flat or has dropped the last few years)

Losing is Winning!: Bill Kristol and Jim Inhofe, among others. (Rebuttal: None needed here, really. Let's make it a party of say, 25 dudes, then. Now that's winning!)

Michael Steele: Specter is ungrateful--his mamma would be embarrased. (Rebuttal: I guess the GOP thought Specter was their bitch forever.)

My own belief is that Specter looks out first for Specter, and he saw the writing on the wall. But the GOP made his switch awfully easy. Ths blocked quotes from Specter at this post about his press conference about sums it up. The far right GOP members worked very hard and were very up-front about getting rid of Specter. For them to be whining now about his switch just shows how amateur they all are.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Federalist Case for Gay Marriage

Steve Chapman makes the case.

How it should work when questioning people

First, no blood splatter, yes? That photo Andrew Sullivan uses all the time is just crazy gross.

How it should work.

Alec Baldwin writes!

Daniel Adel review:

“I never wanted to write this book,” he tells us at the outset, in a hangdog advisory that we shouldn’t expect too much. It was also a book I never wanted to read, but here we are, Alec and I, making the best of a bad situation.


HT: The Millions

Friday, April 24, 2009

Barcelona!

Spent half my honeymoon there (one week). Beautiful town--one of the prettiest cities in the world. Nice piece in the NYT on it.

Time, dammit

Running for Mayor has sucked up nearly all my blogging time, sorry. Will work harder at it!

Friday, April 17, 2009

The story, from El Paso

The border city weighs in on the drug war, "border warriors," and media breathlessness.

I've always thought that we need to be listening to those who actually live on the border when developing border strategies. You know, kinda like listening the the Iraqis when developing Iraqi strategy, the economy when developing economic strategy, or science when developing climate strategy.

Silly me.

One would have thought giving local viewpoints a bigger voice in this issue would be right up the GOP alley, particularly coupled with obvious-to-point-out media overreach. Heh. Philosophical consistency isn't a GOP strongpoint, it seems.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Mall operator files for bankruptcy

Operates over 200 malls in the US.

This is all needed, but I'm hopeful we'll come out of all this with a change in how we view success in the economic sphere. No longer should success be defined by continuous and overexcited growth, but rather by steady returns and profits.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some counterintuitive information on trade deficits from PPI

Trade deficits are down (way down)--that's a good thing, right? Maybe not.

"Higher imports (and usually, therefore, higher trade deficits) have usually been indicators of falling unemployment, while lower imports and trade deficits [as in 1982, 1991 and 2001] go hand-in-hand with rising unemployment."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Obama derangement syndrome

At least Democrats were behind Bush before they turned on him. The Republicans seem to have no trouble turning on a dime when a Democrat gets elected:

Jonah Goldberg taking some heat for mentioning Obama but not accompanying it by making a devil-warding sign and spitting.

Meanwhile, conservative media has already shot its wad over doomsday predictions.