December 22, 2009

No Takebacks!!

Of all the things that have arisen about the mysterious Obamacare bill, this one seems, to me, to be the one that should get trumpeted from the rooftops. How is this Constitutional??

Buried in the amendment is a bombshell; there will be no way to amend parts of Obamacare. Apparently, Reid wants to make this bill something like a royal decree where no one can change what has already been wrought.
....
Get that? No repeal, no amendments, no nothing. That part of Obamacare is as set in stone as the idea that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. It is unalterable - which, of course, means the entire bill is off limits


Now, if I understand the issue (and it's entirely possible that I don't), the problem is that since an amendment in the bill changes Senate rules (which normally require a 2/3 vote), the entire bill should also require a 2/3 vote, rather than the 3/5 (60 votes) which it normally would require (and which it got). Anybody know for sure?

December 18, 2009

December 17, 2009

December 16, 2009

It's Like The Picture of Dorian Gray, But In Reverse

Bethenny Frankel ("The Real Housewives of New Jersey") stands next to a large poster of her naked PETA ad, in which the "real" housewife isn't looking so real.

I can only imagine that she forgot the proper punctuation in her written response to PETA's inquiry as to whether or not she wanted the photo altered and "Photoshop? My ass!" became "Photoshop my ass!"

December 15, 2009

Three-Card Barry

So the Obama administration is going to close Guantanamo Bay...and move detainees inside the U.S., to a maximum-security converted prison in Illinois? And the justification appears to be that it will
"[help] our troops by removing a deadly recruiting tool from the hands of al-Qaeda..."
First of all, that's like saying you switched from a red Hummer to a blue one to cut down on carbon emissions. The animosity of al-Qaeda isn't tied to the place, Numbnuts. It's not like the jihadists are sitting around, saying "Damn that balmy weather in Gitmo! If only we could force the Americans to move our brothers to a place where the winter winds will chill them to the bone!" Their hatred goes much deeper, and playing a glorified shell game with the detainees is not going to change that. All Obama, et. al have done is surround them with civilians. It's a good thing terrorists don't ever try to maximize collateral damage by attacking civil...oh, wait. That's right...THAT'S ALL THEY DO!!! All the talk about "maximum security" is bullshit. No one is afraid of them escaping. What we should be afraid of is that a giant bullseye has just been painted on an entire community.

And let's not pretend that this is anything other than political posturing, anyway. This just allows President Obama to claim he fulfilled at least one of his promises: that of closing Gitmo. When, in fact, he's done nothing but make the situation many times worse.

UPDATE: Ugh! Just saw a reporter, when talking about the detainees, use the phrase "looking for a new home." What the fuck are they? Orphans? Puppies?

Welcome Virginia!

I just noticed a new follower. Welcome, Virginia! Considering the season, I thought about making a "Yes, Virginia" joke as a welcome, but then I also thought I'd like Virginia to hang around for a while. There's been a dearth of posts lately, but I'm going to try to do better.

Pot. Kettle. You Know The Deal

I am so tired of reading comments at...well, any number of various websites. It discourages me. It makes me fear for the future. I especially hate the ones that are incredibly hypocritical (and they exist on both sides of the political aisle). You know, the ones that read something like this:

U teabaagers R so stoopid don't U no that BushHitler is evil. Y do U hat poor people. Dum REDnecks!!!!

It's like I need a secret "idiot decoder ring" just to figure out what is being said. I believe wholeheartedly in free speech, but I also feel not every brain fart deserves a platform. I don't post every single thought that enters my head here, and when I do post here or elsewhere, I do my best to make the posts both thoughtful and literate.

December 01, 2009

Best. Headline. Ever.

And possibly my newest pick-up line:

Small Hairy Balls Hide Foul-Tasting Healthful Enzymes

Well, That Answers THAT Question

  1. Mull it over for a few months.
  2. Start sending troops in 2010, which will take half to three-quarters of a year to get to promised levels.
  3. Pull troops by 2011

And here I had been wondering what the presidential equivalent of voting "present" was.

Anyone see Cool Hand Luke? The scene where Luke digs and fills in holes? "Fillin' it in, Boss." This reminds me of that.

November 12, 2009

But What About His Balls?

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez and his wife are the latest to pose nude for PETA's "I'd rather go naked than wear fur" campaign.

"The couple have jumped on the campaign bandwagon to showcase the mistreatment of animals and bring greater awareness to what they see as the grave error many people are making when they purchase and don clothing made of animal skins."

So...wearing animal skins=bad, but making millions catching balls covered with animal skins=good.

November 08, 2009

Yet Another List That Frustrates Me

So, PasteMagazine.com has a post up with their choices for the "50 Best Movies of the Decade." If you know me, you know that I generally hate these types of lists. I knew I was going to hate this one when I saw The Departed and Kill Bill 1&2 on there. I didn't think The Departed was the best picture of the year when it won, and I sure don't think it's in the top 50 of the decade. There were a few nice choices in there (Whale Rider, Memento, Amelie), and a few "really?" choices (Juno, which--only two years later--already seems tired, and High Fidelity), but overall, the choices struck me as a bit pretentious. There were a couple fairly obvious "mainstream" films listed, such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Dark Knight, but many of the films picked seemed designed to show off the authors' "hipness." I'm reminded of the "game show" episode from "Friends":

Ross: Rachel claims this is her favorite movie.
Chandler: Dangerous Liasons.
Ross: Correct. Her actual favorite movie?
Joey: Weekend at Bernies.
Ross: Correct.


I'm not saying that they're necessarily bad films*, but I thought there were some better choices out there. I'm thinking about making my own list of the best 50 of the decade, so feel free to send me your suggestions in the comments section.

*except for The Departed and Kill Bill. And fair disclosure--I haven't seen every film on the list.

If It's A Health CARE Bill, Then Why Do I Feel So Sick About It?

So the health care bill has passed in the house. It was a "historic" vote insomuch as it may be remembered as the beginning of the end, and it was "bipartisan" insomuch as they got one Republican vote, from Louisiana's Representative Anh "Joseph" Cao, which isn't all that surprising given his past history, and the fact that he gave President Obama a grade of "A" for his first 100 days in office. I blame Wheaton for this.

October 28, 2009

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Cuba

Sean Penn goes to Cuba to talk to Castro for vanity. Someone said it was for Vanity Fair, but knowing Penn, I'm pretty sure that must be a misprint.

October 18, 2009

"President Obama's going to talk to all the networks...."

except, you know...when he won't.

I love it when this administration gets all bitter and whiny about getting challenged by...well, I guess by Fox News in this case. And when I say "love," I mean "find it sad and a little pathetic." I mean, it's not as if other presidents were given a hard time by the media, right? Of course they were! Just take a look at the last 16 years, for starters.

I've gotta think that people--especially the independents--are getting sick of this attitude. If you're criticized for your lack of accomplishment, blame your predecessor. If you're questioned on your policies, blame the news organization that asks the questions. If people peaceably assemble to make their dissatisfaction known, pretend you haven't heard about them. It makes the president and his staff look petty and small and petulant. And they're not even very good at disguising it. Perhaps that's the "transparency" we were promised--transparent emotion.

This is the most frightening part of the piece, however:

Though Fox News has won the cable news ratings race consistently for years and is closing in on network news numbers, Axelrod and Emanuel both encouraged other news outlets to not treat Fox News as a news organization. 
"The bigger thing is that other news organizations, like yours, ought not to treat them that way, and we're not going to treat them that way." Axelrod told ABC.

Granted, this story is from Fox news, but I just can't keep the phrase "TASS is authorized to announce" from popping into my head when I read about this kind of interaction between this administration and (the rest of) the mainstream media. "We don't just want to dismiss dissent; we want you all to dismiss it as well." the sad thing is, I'm sure CNN, et. al will be more than happy to do so.

Paranormal Activity

For a small-budget movie, it was decent, but overall I was a little disappointed. I didn't find it all that frightening. My biggest complaints were some believability issues, but I think you run into that any time you have a film done in that "shot from a character's videocam" mode. It wasn't bad, necessarily, but if you're thinking about going to see it, go in with realistic expectations. Leave the hype at home.

Fact Checking SNL

For the record, Barack Obama does not turn into "The Rock Obama" when he gets angry. Thought I'd save Wolf Blitzer some time.

October 09, 2009

The Ig-Nobel Peace Prize

"Members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said their choice could be seen as an early vote of confidence in Obama intended to build global support for his policies."

This just in: The Lombardi Trophy, normally given to the NFL Super Bowl winner, was just awarded to the Seattle Seahawks, for their outstanding pre-season record, which shows outstanding potential.

Let's face it, no matter what side of the aisle you're on, this is ridiculous. The nomination deadline was February 1, which means that Obama was president for less than two weeks before being nominated. His time as a senator was fairly unspectacular. So, what did he do in those two weeks that made him a worthy nominee for a Nobel Peace Prize?

I would argue that Angelina Jolie is more deserving than Barack Obama. That's not saying that Angelina should win, mind you, but you get my point.

UPDATE: And by the way, for those of you who are arguing that the prize is NOT for acheivements, I would offer up this quote from Alfred Nobel's will:
"The whole of my remaining realizable estate shall be dealt with in the following way: the capital, invested in safe securities by my executors, shall constitute a fund, the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind." (emphasis mine)

October 03, 2009

September 30, 2009

Just a Warning...

If I happen to run into you somewhere, and you attempt to defend Roman Polanski, I will punch you square in the face.

September 23, 2009

I Like Will Ferrell, But...

I have to take issue with his latest video, which sarcastically attacks health insurance company executives, in part by highlighting how much money they make.

Really?

Will Ferrel's salary for Talledaga Nights was $20 million dollars. The film's U.S. gross was just over $148 million. That means Will got about 13.5% of the money the film made. His salary for Bewitched was also $20 million. That film wasn't quite as successful, and only grossed about $63 million. In that case, will got about 32% of the film's money. I wonder how that compares with your average insurance executive?

Let's take a look at everyone's favorite villain: AIG. According to their 2006 Annual Report, AIG got about $14 billion (that's net, not gross, by the way). Now, I could look up the CEO's salary, I suppose, but as you'll see in a moment, there's no real need to, to make my point.

Now, if one of those big, bad insurance executives was to make those same percentages that Will Ferrell makes?

13.5% of $14 billion=$1.89 billion
32% of $14 billion=$4.48 billion

I couldn't find one single CEO who makes that much. And because I do like Will, and I didn't want to be unnecessarily cruel, I didn't even bring up the percentage he make from Kicking and Screaming (about 38%). I suppose you could crunch those numbers yourself, if you were so inclined.

Look, I don't have much sympathy for these high-paid executives, but...celebrities? Celebrities who are making $20 million a movie? They should shut the fuck up.

P.S. I looked it up. AIG's CEO made about $14 million (or about a tenth of one percent of the company's net) in 2007.

Maybe THIS Guy Should Be President...

Dr. Brian Forrest, from Apex, North Carolina, has been in his current practice since 2002. That may not seem all that surprising, until you consider that he's done it without accepting insurance. "People that come here that are uninsured save about 80 to 90 percent over what they traditionally would."

Sometimes the answer is so simple, no?

September 22, 2009

Hypocritical Massholes...

Normally, I'd just say "fuck you" because I don't care what happens in Massechusetts, but seeing as it's a senate seat, and the vote could potentially screw things up for all of us, I say "fuck you sideways, you hypocritical bastards...twice."


‘‘Some people say this is political. Of course, it is political,’’ said state Representative Cory Atkins, a Concord Democrat. ‘‘This is the largest domestic vote so far in this century. This vote will be as important as the Social Security vote. This will be as important as the civil rights vote.’’

If it's that important, isn't that all the more reason to give the voters a chance to fill the seat? Isn't it better to be elected, rather than selected? Let's face it, in all likelihood, a special election would fill the seat with a Democrat. It's not about the result; it's about hypocrisy and adhering to the process.

hat tip: Petitedov

UPDATE: You see? This is what happens:
Kirk, 71, a retired lobbyist and lawyer who lives on Cape Cod, raked in a whopping $250,942 in salary and stock options as a board member for Hartford Financial Services, the umbrella for The Hartford, which sells health coverage to retirees.
Until a successor is elected in January, Kirk would wield a critical vote in health insurance and financial industry reforms, raising concerns about potential conflicts.

Quad Erat Demonstrandum, Beeyatch

Defending Joe Wilson's outburst (content, at least) in a syllogism:

1) Obama said "the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally."

2) Obama's proposal, from his own website, states: "Barack Obama and Joe Biden will guarantee affordable, accessible health care coverage for all Americans. Currently, there are over 45 million Americans lacking health insurance."

3) The U.S. Census Bureau report on Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2007 lists 45.6 million Americans without health insurance, including illegal immigrants. (This is the report that the Obama document references, by the way.)

4) Looking at the numbers, it is clear that illegal immigrants are counted under Obama's definition of "Americans."

So....

Obama promises health care coverage for all Americans.

Those who are here illegally are considered Americans.

Therefore, Obama promises health care coverage for those who are here illegally.

Two And A Half Men Met My Mother

I don't watch the awards shows much anymore. I saw a few minutes of the Emmys, but that's all. Now that all the stories and results are coming out, I just have to say:

1) Neil Patrick Harris loses to Jon Cryer? That alone is enough to make me glad I didn't watch. I don't quite get the "Two and a Half Men" thing. It's funny enough, I guess, but it's got to be the worst "best" show ever.

2) I'd rather watch several hours of Olivia Wilde in that dress. (Did I mention that pictures came out with those stories and results?)

September 18, 2009

A Laugh For Friday

Jealousy, Thy Name Is WaPo

So what if The Washington Post tries to marginalize Hannah Giles by making sure you know her father is "Doug Giles of the radical Clash Church in Miami," and that she "spent the summer learning about how to be a journalist from conservative media experts"? At least they're being consistant. I mean, we all remember all those WaPo articles that reminded voters of Barack Obama's Muslim father and stepfather, and his religious education at the hands of Reverend Wright, right?


(scratches head) Right?


Oh well, maybe they're just jealous.

September 16, 2009

Do I Smell "Mom Jeans" on Fire?

I'm no fan of insurance companies, but there are any number of reasons to trash them. Why resort to lies of omission?

From Jim Hoft:

Obama said the evil insurance company canceled her policy for failing to report a pre-existing "acne" condition. But, Barack Obama forgot to mention a couple of things. The woman, Robin Beaton, had her insurance canceled not because of her acne condition. She also had a heart condition she knew about and hid this from her insurance company

That's like saying "I got arrested for driving 57 in a 55 zone," and not mentioning that you were driving on the sidewalk.

There's more. Read it.

I've Done That A Few Times Myself

The Men Who Stare at Goats looks hysterical. Can't wait!

Yet Another Suggestion I'd Love To See Happen

Mickey Rourke's awesome quote about Kanye's behavior...
"Come take the microphone out of MY hand, brother."

Healthcare "Downfall"

There's a crapload of these things, but this one made me laugh a couple of times.

September 15, 2009

Go West...No, Seriously....Go!

I have to admit that I stopped watching MTV when they stopped playing music videos. I did watch Kanye West's utter idiocy on YouTube, though. He's never really impressed me, as a musical artist or a human being, but that little tantrum (obviously) hit a new low.

One thing I can't fathom is how can he think that Beyonce's video is "one of the best videos of all time." We are talking about a video that is nothing but her and two backup dancers doing the same dance moves that they do in live performances.(which, frankly, don't seem all that impressive to me. That punching part looks like the dance that Beavis & Butthead do.)  Let me say that again: it's essentially a video of her live performance. If you brought a video camera to a Beyonce performance, you, too, could make this video. Not only is it not "one of the best videos of all time," that kind of thing was already dull when MTV began all those years ago. I know. I was there. Seriously, how did she get nominated in the first place? There's very little that's innovative or creative in terms of the video.

I'll bet you can think of a bunch of videos that kick that video's ass. If so, throw 'em in the comments. Here's some off the top of my head:
Sledgehammer--Peter Gabriel
Thriller--Michael Jackson
Sabotage--Beastie Boys
Toe Jam--The BPA (featuring David Byrne & Dizzee Rascal)
Fell in Love with a Girl--The White Stripes
Take on Me--A-Ha

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go watch the "Toe Jam" video, and possibly Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice."

P.S. I know "Weapon of Choice" is a "dancing" video, but at least there's background scenery. Plus, it's Christopher Walken. Dancing. In an empty hotel.

September 10, 2009

Here Come De Judge

Judge Andrew Napolitano just made the point that the Constitution indicates that if the government provides benefits (such as healthcare) for all citizens, it must also provide those same benefits for illegal immigrants, even if the language of the healthcare bill directly prohibits it. This has been ruled on in two federal courts, apparently. You'd think that a Constitutional law specialist-turned-president would know that, wouldn't you?

Unless he was...lying?

This Doesn't Surprise Me...

 Rats are always first off a sinking ship.

Thanks to Ken for pointing this one out.

So Many Pants, So Many Fires

I'm Johnny-come-lately on this, I know, but I've been turning it over in my mind, and reading what else is out there, and I think I have something to add. Joe Wilson yelled "you lie" after President Obama made a statement about illegal immigrants and healthcare during last night's speech. Apparently, this was the main event of the speech, and if you listen to the Democrats, as a result of Wilson's outburst, grown men wept openly and grown women fainted. The entire fabric of reality was nearly torn asunder.

Now, a lot of folks out there have pointed out a number of events that make the Democrats seem....shall we say "hypocritical"?

Apart from the fact that Obama's statement was a lie (or at least a half-truth), the thing that really irritated me was that--literally--mere sentences before that, Obama had called talk-radio hosts, cable talk-show hosts, AND politicians...wait for it...LIARS!
Some of people's concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.
 I initially thought that Wilson's outburst was disrespectful, but the more I thought about it, and thought about Obama's own accusations, the more I came to think that the latter was worse. Not only was it a thought-out accusation, but unlike Wilson's statement, it left no chance to respond. That is, the president carefully crafted a statement accusing many people of lying, knowing that he had a captive audience, and knowing those accused could do nothing by way of response. Contrast that with Wilson, who--by his own admission--acted on emotion (and apologized quickly). Did he do anything worse than Obama himself did? As Michelle Malkin points out, Obama issued the challenge “If you misrepresent what’s in the plan, we will call you out.” Why are we shocked when someone actually does what he promises will be done?

Frankly, I'm surprised that these things are as peaceful as they are. In other countries, they sometimes come to blows. Just between you and me, it actually might be worthwhile to see our politicians go at it. Instead of voting for bills, you could use best two out of three falls. Maybe even make C-Span pay-per-view, and help pay off the deficit.  The Combat in the Capitol! The Beat-down in the Beltway! The Altercation over Education!

I'd pay.

And Not Always For The Better

This one's another must-see. Photos that changed the world all collected in one spot. It's just saddening to see how many of them have to do with violence, tragedy, and war.

September 08, 2009

A Must-Read Editorial

From a former citizen of the USSR in Investors Business Daily about the direction we're heading.

In the USSR, economic equality was achieved by redistributing wealth, ensuring that everyone remained poor, with the exception of those doing the redistributing. Only the ruling class of communist leaders had access to special stores, medicine and accommodations that could compare to those in the West.

The rest of the citizenry had to deal with permanent shortages of food and other necessities, and had access to free but inferior, unsanitary and low-tech medical care. The egalitarian utopia of equality, achieved by the sacrifice of individual self-interest for the collective good, led to corruption, black markets, anger and envy.

Government-controlled health care destroyed human dignity.

It's short, so read the rest.

Hat Tip: Mary Katharine Ham

September 04, 2009

Best Quote I've Seen This Week

Regarding the upcoming school address by Obama, from the comments section of an article by AP writer Ben Feller. The article is about Robert Gibbs' response to the increasing fervor over the perceived inappropriateness of the address.
"I think we've reached a little bit of the silly season when the president of the United States can't tell kids in school to study hard and stay in school," presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. 
 And this, from commenter dojo711:
Why would anyone "study hard and stay in school" under this new regime that punishes hard work and rewards complacency?

Indeed.

Curse You, Lorne Michaels!!!

So...it appears that Casey Wilson (and Michaela Watkins) have gotten the Saturday Night Live hook. As some of you readers may know, I have a bit of a thing for Casey Wilson. Well..."bit of a thing/unhealthy obsession," "poTAYto/poTAHto." But it's totally in a non-stalkery way. (Although Casey, if you read this, and you're in the market for a stalker, I have some evenings free, and my own car and binoculars...call me.)

I'm a little upset by it all. I know Casey gets slammed in internet comments (there's a great video of her reading said comments out there), but I always looked forward to every sketch she was in. What do I have to look forward to now? Huh? Tell me that, Lorne Michaels...TELL ME THAT! Yet another sketch where Kristin Wiig acts weird and twitchy? I think not. Darrell Hammond doing some sort of impression? Okay, some of those are kind of funny...but NO!

You have cut me, Sir. Cut me to the quick. And I'm not sure that an SNL without Casey Wilson is an SNL that I particularly want to watch. And I even watched the Robin Duke/Tim Kazurinsky years.

Have you no shame, Sir?

September 01, 2009

Is It Too Soon?

The Ted Kennedy Health Care Bill: It provides coverage for ALL Americans...except those riding in the passenger seat.

Movie Tip: The Silence

I've been wanting to write about the typical political crap I usually do, but there's been so much of it lately, I don't know where to start. And I'm afraid if I do, I won't stop. But I didn't want to stop writing altogether, so I thought I might put up the occasional post encapsulating films I've seen lately that have been particularly good or bad. I see a LOT of films, partially for work, but mostly because I have a problem. (Isn't that the first step, admitting it?) I've seen a number of ones recently that fall into both categories, but I thought I'd start with the one that moved me enough to start writing these things.

I've always liked foreign films, but I've been particularly impressed with some of the stuff that's come out of Australia in the last few years. (Especially films like Wolf Creek and Rogue.) The latest one to impress me is The Silence, which was apparently a television offering Down Under, but was just released on DVD here in the States. There's nothing about it that made me say "wow," but it was a solid little film with some good acting, which kept me interested throughout (particularly from lead Richard Roxburgh and his "Gal Friday" Emily Barclay, who stole just about every scene she was in). I won't go too much into the details of the plot, as you can look those up on IMDB, but I will say that this was a '40s style film noir, set in modern day Australia. It's like a Chandler novel, brought to film, with a little bit of Blow Up thrown in. There are a number of cliches (the haunted cop, the bad relationship, etc.), but rather than detract from the film, I thought they contributed to the overall noir-ish vibe.

If you like a thriller without all the explosions and gunfights, it's worth a rent. I suppose I'll have to come up with some sort of rating system, although I really hate that sort of thing, as films are such diverse creatures that it's hard to compare or quantify them. I'm open to suggestions, though.

August 15, 2009

By The Numbers

The best breakdown I've seen regarding the "46 million uninsured" number we keep hearing about.

Full disclosure: Hennessey was the senior economic advisor for the George W. Bush administration.

Can You Hear Us Now?

Just noticed a Rasmussen poll that shows that 54% of voters polled said that passing no healthcare plan would be better than passing the congressional one. This is a higher percentage than voted for our current president (52.9%) and much higher than voted for his opponent (45.7%). I'm not a big believer in polls, but I think that this one makes it clear that opposition to this one is not just partisan politics. It doesn't seem to be an economic issue, either, as those who make under $20,000--who would likely "benefit" from the plan--are "evenly divided"* over the issue. What it does seem to be is an age issue, with the majority of those over 30 against the congressional plan. I'm not sure that bodes well for congress and the president should they continue to push this agenda.

*The actual numbers for the breakdown are only available for premium members.

August 12, 2009

It's All In The Way You Tell It

President Obama awarded Ted Kennedy (among others) the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor available. During the ceremony...

...the president recounted a story he said Kennedy sometimes tells about a little boy who sees an old man collecting stranded starfish on the beach and throwing them back into the sea.

"'There are so many', asks the boy. 'What difference can your efforts possibly make?'" Obama said, recounting the story. "The old man studies the starfish in his hand and tosses it to safety, saying, 'It makes a difference to that one.'

I have my own little story to tell. Maybe it'll catch on.

A young boy sees the President of the United States adding Ted Kennedy to his list of candidates to receive the highest of civilian honors. "Why would you add him?" asks the the boy. "While drunk, he drove his car off a bridge and left his young date in the car to drown."
"But in his career he has done so much for so many others," the president responds. "What difference is one life in comparison to the many he has helped?"
The young boy turns in disgust and walks away, muttering "It makes a difference to that one."

August 06, 2009

Hey...I Didn't Get A Tee Shirt!

Thanks to Ken for alerting me to this insightful guide to spotting those no-goodniks, the "astroturfers."

Can you say "Obama's Enemies List"? I knew that you could.

Because People And Economies Are So Much Alike?

Christina Romer, chairperson of the Council of Economic Advisers, today compared the economy to a sick patient.

"Suppose that you go to your doctor for a strep throat. And he or she prescribes an antibiotic. Sometime after you get the prescription and maybe even after you've taken the first pill, your fever spikes. Do you decide that the medicine is useless? Do you conclude that the antibiotic caused the infection to get worse? Surely not. You probably conclude that the illness was more serious than you and the doctor thought and are very glad you saw the doctor and started taking the medicine when you did."
I wish people would stop trying to use logic when they don't know what they're doing. What we have here is a mixture of two fallacies: a false analogy and begging the question. A false analogy results when you attempt to compare two things that have only a superficial similarity. Here, Romer tries to compare a prescription's effect on an illness to the stimulus's effect on the economy. To be fair, I suppose the analogy is not so much false, as it is incomplete. After all, if we really want to examine the analogy, we might point out that there are a number of reasons your fever might spike after taking a pill. The medicine might have some serious side effects (some of which might be worse than the original illness). The patient might also be allergic to the medication, in which case the patient would certainly have been better off not taking it in the first place. A good doctor might take those possibilities into account.

The bigger problem is the "begging the question" falacy, which results when one assumes that the very point being argued has already been proved. For example, arguing that women should not be allowed into men's clubs because they're for men only. Isn't the question being argued whether or not the clubs should be for men only? And that's essentially what Romer does. You'll notice she says the doctor prescribes "an antibiotic." Since we all know that antibiotics are an accepted and effective treatment for strep throat, of course we might not conclude that the antibiotic is useless or harmful (barring the conditions in the previous paragraph). But isn't the question at hand whether or not the antibiotic (the stimulus) is an effective treatment for the strep throat (bad economy)? To initially equate the stimulus with an acknowledged successful treatment is a clear "begging the question" fallacy. A more accurate analogy would have been to compare a doctor giving a patient a prescription that is untested, or that other doctors have speculated to be potentially harmful. In that case, I think a fever spike after taking that first pill would have caused our patient a great deal of alarm, and in fact may have been the result of the medication. In that case, a good doctor might very well take the patient off of that medication and try another one. I only hope others out there can spot the flaws in her logic.

One last thought: If I took a pill and afterwards my fever spiked, or any other symptom showed up, I very well might be justified in thinking the pill is the cause. I certainly wouldn't dismiss the idea as "surely" as Romer does because I care about my health. Perhaps Romer's flawed medical analogy should actually give us important insight into the administration's views on health care...

August 03, 2009

I Can't Stop Clicking!!

So I've been absorbed with this website lately: flickchart. There's not much to it, really, but it's addictive. You start out being given a choice between two films. Depending on your choices, flickchart makes a personal ranking for your top movies. You also get information on others' picks, and can discuss the various choices. Sound boring? It's not. And sometimes the choices are easy. But sometimes they're not. I would guess that most people would have no problem choosing between Rocky and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, but is it equally as easy to choose between, say, Die Hard and Raiders of the Lost Ark?

It's not perfect. Since the first several movies you rank create your list, I've found it tough to get some of them off your top 20. Dumb and Dumber was in my top 20 for a loooong time. For the most part, though, it does a fairly accurate job, especially the more choices you go through. For example, I've got just over 1000 decisions, and here's the makeup of my top 20:

  1. The Wrestler
  2. The Professional
  3. Midnight Run
  4. Spider Man
  5. Dark City
  6. Spider Man 2
  7. Young Sherlock Holmes
  8. Deliverance
  9. The Sixth Sense
  10. Jaws
  11. The Bourne Identity
  12. Rocky
  13. Live Free or Die Hard
  14. Caddyshack
  15. Sharky's Machine
  16. Die Hard
  17. Mission Impossible III
  18. Batman Begins
  19. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
  20. Boogie Nights

Some of them should be higher (Jaws, Die Hard) and some lower (The Wrestler, Deliverance), and some are missing (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars), but if these twenty were at a film festival? I'd never leave my seat.

You can create your own profile at www.flickchart.com, but I understand the waiting list could be a couple of weeks. I, however, have a few invites that I might be enticed into giving away. Make me an offer I can't refuse...

July 07, 2009

Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone...Unless It's At A Big Concert On TV

It seems to me that Michael Jackson ended up being more popular dead than alive. I guess that always happens, though, doesn't it? The public and the press always tend to speak better of people in death than they did when they were alive. After all, it's considered bad manners to speak ill of the dead (although that never stopped me before, as anyone who read my work, especially about Nixon, in college can attest). But I just want to educate the public and the media about two specific terms:

eulogize /"ju;l@dZVIz/ (also eulogise)
· v. praise highly.
– DERIVATIVES eulogist n. eulogistic adj. eulogistically adv.

deify /"deIIfVI, "di;I-/
· v. (deifies, deified) make into or worship as a god.
– DERIVATIVES deification n.
– ORIGIN ME: from OFr. deifier, from eccles. L. deificare, from deus ‘god’.
When it came to Michael Jackson's death, the first would have been entirely acceptable. The second is what we got. To be fair, I listened to Michael Jackson's music, but to see people call him "the greatest entertainer ever"? Really? I think that's a bit much. First of all, I thought his two greatest albums were "Off the Wall" and "Thriller," and I suspect that was due in some significant part to Quincy Jones. The rest of the music...eh. Good but not great. Frankly, I think that strictly in terms of musical ability--writing, singing, arranging, etc.---some of those attending the memorial service were better than Jackson. Stevie Wonder jumps to the top of the list. I don't think that Jackson was the first artist to unite black and white America, either, even though I've heard that over and over again, mostly as an excuse for the overwhelming media coverage of his death. What about Nat "King" Cole, or Sam Cooke, or Marvin Gaye, or any number of other Motown artists. (Again, I think Stevie Wonder might be included.) It's true, Jackson sold an incredible number of albums and tickets, but I'm not that sure that in and of itself makes him great, any more than the Big Mac is somehow "better" than a burger or steak from your local diner, or the film Titanic is somehow "better" than, say, The Wrestler, simply because the former sold more tickets, or that the Facebook user with 1,000 "friends" is somehow a better person than the user with 50.

We sometimes have an exaggerated sense of our own era. How many times have you seen a top 20 list of the greatest (insert topic here) of all time, and noticed that most of them are from the last couple of years. To put things in a little perspective, I could mention that Rudolph Valentino's funeral drew about 100,000 mourners, and a) his career was much shorter, b) it was in 1926, well before the modern technology available to disseminate an artist's work around the globe, and c) it was a funeral, not a glorified concert. And the anniversaries of the deaths of Elvis Presley (in 1977) and James Dean (in 1955) still draw tens of thousands to Graceland and Fairmount, Indiana, respectively. If, in fifty-five years, people are still flocking to Neverland Ranch (or wherever), I'll gladly admit I was wrong. Until then, Michael's got a long way to go.

Look, I have no problem with Jackson. He made good music. He was influential. He was acquitted of any criminal activity. But let's be realistic. He was just an entertainer. And I don't even think he was, as many people have said, "the greatest entertainer ever." For my money, that title belongs to the great Sammy Davis, Jr. No one else even comes close. (And he's another one that united black and white America before Jackson.) The really ugly thing about all this is that it made a spectacle of what was obviously a tragedy for Jackson's family. I hope they found some comfort in all of it.

July 03, 2009

You Go, Golden Girl!

I really never thought I'd be cheering on Helen Thomas, but I'm glad to admit I was wrong. I've said a couple of times on here that Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is an incompetent bumbler (at least in press secretary terms). I have to admit, though, that I felt the slightest bit of pity for the guy as he was figuratively bitch-slapped by Helen Thomas and Chip Reid.

First Reid asked why the questions for Wednesday’s town hall on healthcare were being preselected. After Gibbs tried to dodge that question a few times, Thomas became involved, saying, “We have never had that in the White House. I’m amazed that you people … call for openness and transparency."
Gibbs' nervous laughter is almost as embarrassing as the spectacle at President Obama's town hall meeting when he hugged Debby Smith, an audience member with cancer, who said she couldn't afford treatment. Not only is it shameless (jeez, couldn't he find a baby to kiss?) and borderline inappropriate (I don't know where you work, but hugging strangers is frowned upon where I work), it turns out that Ms. Smith, rather than being a random audience member, actually "volunteer[s] for the political arm of the President's Democratic National Committee Organizing for America," and was there at the invitation of the White House. So, if the audience is hand-selected, and the questions are pre-approved, where's the debate?

I certainly don't want to downplay Ms. Smith's situation. It's a terrible illness. But let's be frank. The White House used her. She became a prop in one more dog and pony show by this administration. Another attempt at emotional manipulation because they know that the facts and logic just don't support their position. My god, Obama even referred to her as "exhibit A" for what's wrong with the current health care system...because that's what she is to a practiced lawyer like Obama--an exhibit. Thanks to Michelle Malkin, I can guess who won't be appearing as "exhibit B."

In February 2009, outrage in the Obamas’ community exploded after a young boy covered by Medicaid was turned away from the University of Chicago Medical Center. Dontae Adams’ mother, Angela, had sought emergency treatment for him after a pit bull tore off his upper lip. Mrs. Obama’s hospital gave the boy a tetanus shot, antibiotics, and Tylenol and shoved him out the door. The mother and son took an hour-long bus ride to another hospital for surgery.

I’ll guarantee you this: You’ll never see the Adams family featured at an Obama policy summit or seated next to the First Lady at a joint session of Congress to illustrate the failures of the health care system.

If that's how Obamas handle health care, I think many people are going to be in for a rude awakening...

June 27, 2009

What's Wrong With Us?

Don't get me wrong, I feel for Michael Jackson's family and friends, and I wouldn't deny his impact on popular music. But it's been over 24 hours of non-stop Jacko news (literally) on some news stations. On my local station, they even featured an interview--I'm not making this up--with someone who once went to one of his concerts.

It really disturbs me that most of the people I've talked to have no idea what I'm talking about when I tell them about a young girl dubbed Neda who was shot down in the streets of Iran while demonstrating for the right of suffrage. And yet, within minutes of Jackson's death Twitter and Facebook and television media were rife with information about it, and have been at it non-stop for over a day.

In a better world, we would all be overwhelmed by news coverage of Neda's murder. Scratch that. In a better world, Neda would still be alive.

Cap And Trade THIS!

Looks like somebody's got some 'splaining to do. Richard Morrison, over at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has authored a press release about some skulduggery going on at the Environmental Protection Agency. I guess it's more of that "transparency" we were promised. The release is so short, I'm just going to post the whole thing. If you want to go to the original, it's here.

CEI Releases Global Warming Study Censored by EPA

Washington, D.C., June 26, 2009—The Competitive Enterprise Institute is today making public an internal study on climate science which was suppressed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Internal EPA email messages, released by CEI earlier in the week, indicate that the report was kept under wraps and its author silenced because of pressure to support the Administration’s agenda of regulating carbon dioxide.

The report finds that EPA, by adopting the United Nations’ 2007 “Fourth Assessment” report, is relying on outdated research and is ignoring major new developments. Those developments include a continued decline in global temperatures, a new consensus that future hurricanes will not be more frequent or intense, and new findings that water vapor will moderate, rather than exacerbate, temperature.

New data also indicate that ocean cycles are probably the most important single factor in explaining temperature fluctuations, though solar cycles may play a role as well, and that reliable satellite data undercut the likelihood of endangerment from greenhouse gases. All of this demonstrates EPA should independently analyze the science, rather than just adopt the conclusions of outside organizations.

The released report is a draft version, prepared under EPA’s unusually short internal review schedule, and thus may contain inaccuracies which were corrected in the final report.

“While we hoped that EPA would release the final report, we’re tired of waiting for this agency to become transparent, even though its Administrator has been talking transparency since she took office. So we are releasing a draft version of the report ourselves, today,” said CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman.

It's worth checking out the link to the report covering the e-mails as well.

UPDATE: Fox finally got around to this.
Big story developing right now in Washington...
No, jerkweeds, it was developing days ago. You know, while you were drooling over the death of a pop singer.

June 20, 2009

The Funniest Thing I Haven't Seen Anyone Mention

I'm sure you've all heard about the "incident" between Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer and Brigadier General Michael Walsh, in which Boxer lectured Walsh for addressing her as "ma'am" and insisted he address her as "senator" because "I worked so hard to get that title, so I'd appreciate it."

Goodness, where do I begin?

1) She worked so hard to get that title? More so than the general, whom she didn't see fit to address by his title? I doubt that.

2) The general was well within military protocol. Section 4.18 of Army Field Manual 7-21.13 states:
A soldier addressing a higher ranking officer uses the word sir or ma’am in the same manner as a polite civilian speaking with a person to whom he wishes to show respect. In the military service, the matter of who says sir or ma’am to whom is clearly defined; in civilian life it is largely a matter of discretion.
3) I've seen some writers claim that the "ma'am" was a result of some kind of misogyny on the general's part. The previous point shows that not to be the case, but in case you needed some more evidence, I would point out that Walsh called male senators "sir" on many occasions.

4) Apparently Boxer had no problem with "ma'am" two years ago, as she called Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "ma'am" three times. (Of course, at the linked article points out, calling Rice "ma'am" was nowhere near the most offensive thing Boxer said to her during the hearing.)

5) I'm not sure about this, but I believe that a U.S. Senator is nowhere in the hierarchical structure of the U.S. Army. The use of "sir," "ma'am," or even a title for someone outside the military is done as a courtesy, a show of respect. It seems to me that Boxer insisting the general call her "senator" is a lot like a McDonald's manager asking a Burger King worker to call him "manager." The general obliged the senator because frankly, he has more class than she does.

Oh yeah, I promised a funny thing that no one else has mentioned. I guess it's not so much funny as...interesting? Ironic? Inane?

6) My gut feeling is that Boxer didn't care for "ma'am" partly because she is ignorant of the military protocol, but mostly because she thinks of it as a misogynistic term for old ladies. I'd just like to point out that the term she insisted on--"senator"--comes from the word senex, meaning...old man. It's the same place we get the words "senior" and "senile." In contrast, "ma'am" is a shortened form of "madam," which comes from the French "ma dame" and Latin "mea domina," meaning "my lady." It's used (of course) as a respectful term for addressing a woman.

Hmm...perhaps Boxer was right to insist that she not be called "ma'am" after all.

May 24, 2009

Wait...Did You Hear That?

Abandoned places. Creepy photos accompanied by hilarious text. How can you go wrong. Just click here already.

May 17, 2009

You Got To Please Yourself

Speaking of Saturday Night Live, I was telling someone about this sketch the other day, so I thought I'd embed it here.

Now THAT'S The Way To End A Season!

The best episode of SNL I've seen in a long time. Will Ferrell is much too funny to be entirely human. My old friend, celebrity "Jeopardy"nearly made me spit liquid across the room, and the "Goodnight Saigon" skit (see below) was awesome. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, it did. Cameo after Cameo. Plus, Casey Wilson in a black dress--be still my heart! I'm telling you, I didn't even mind the crappy funeral sketch, or that fact that SNL (once again) apparently couldn't find anything funny about the current administration (c'mon you guys--no Pelosi?), yet managed to still make jokes about people who have been out of office for four months. Oh, hey--I've got a couple of jokes about the Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act of 1930. If I dust them off, do you guys want them?

May 14, 2009

New Summer Fashion: Pants On Fire

So...Nancy Pelosi first said that she didn't know nothin' bout no waterboarding:

When Pelosi first addressed the question in late April, she said only that those present at her 2002 briefing were not told that the practice had been employed.

"We were not — I repeat, were not — told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation methods were used," she said at the time.

Then, when the records and recollections of others seemed to contradict her, she "clarified" her statement:

Later, her spokesman elaborated, saying Pelosi had been told the methods were legal but that they had not yet been used.
Now, it's that mean 'ol CIA that is at fault:

On Thursday, Pelosi accused the CIA of having lied during that session by explicitly telling her that waterboarding was not used.
So you see...it's not her fault. Apparently, either the CIA lied by omission ("We were not told..."), or by comission ("explicitly telling her...")

And yet...

But Pelosi defended her own lack of action on the issue, saying her focus at the time was on wresting congressional control from Republicans so her party could change course.

"No letter could change the policy. It was clear we had to change the leadership in Congress and in the White House. That was my job — the Congress part," Pelosi said.

So...if she didn't know anything about waterboarding, then why would she be trying to "change the policy"? After all, doesn't one have to know about a policy in order for one to set about changing it? If she is telling the truth about the CIA explicitly telling her waterboarding was not used, then just what policy was she trying to change?

May 13, 2009

Somebody Went To Jared

So today, Jared Bernstein, Biden's chief economist, said "I challenge you, or anyone watching me right now, to come up with any program like this federal, state, or local that has obligated $90 billion in 77 days with the level of oversight that we need to enforce this very important trail."

Ninety billion. In 77 days. Like it's a good thing.

He also kept skirting the line between money "obligated," "contracted," and "dispersed."

May 01, 2009

More Poll Dancing

Sigh...another one of these. This time, it's a New York Times/CBS News poll, just in time to celebrate Obama's first 100 days in office. I'm not going to insinuate that this poll is untrustworthy because it comes from NYT/CBS, or because it's been linked to by articles singing its praises while all-but-ignoring its negatives. I'm going to tell you flat out that it's untrustworthy. How can it not be, when--for example--you notice that the percentage of Republicans is only 20 percent, compared to 38 percent Democrat and 36 percent Independent? That 20 percent is the absolute lowest percentage of Republican respondents in the included statistics, which go back to January of 1992. Is it really that surprising that Obama's approval rating went up 5% since February when the percentage of Republicans polled went down 6%, and Democrats went up 2%? I'm only surprised it didn't go up more.

It's also untrustworthy for questions such as this one:
Do you feel things in this country are generally going in the right direction or do you feel things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?
This is what's known as a false dilemma. You only provide two options, one of which is in some way unsatisfactory, thereby influencing people to choose the other one. "America: love it or leave it!" is a good example. Here, you'll notice that you only have two options as well: the first one, that things are generally going in the right direction, and the second, that things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track. See? If you don't think things are seriously wrong (an extreme), you are left with only one other choice--that they're going in the "right" direction. This question is horribly worded, whether through deceit or incompetence. Seeing as this is from NYT/CBS, neither reason seems all that unlikely. This question should either have been written with balanced options:

In general, do you feel things in this country are going in the right direction or the wrong direction?

or with more alternatives:

How do you feel things are going in the country: seriously in the right direction; generally in the right direction; generally in the wrong direction; seriously in the wrong direction?

Why would NYT/CBS do this? Well, I suspect that it was an attempt to show how great the new administration is doing. "Look," they could trumpet, "the public thinks things are going great!"

Unfortunately for them, those polled must really think things are sucking hardcore because even with the obvious bias built into the question, they still thought by a 50-41 percent margin that we have gotten "pretty seriously off track." Of course, this still didn't stop news outlets from writing glowing articles about the poll. The CBS News headline:

Poll: 100 Days In, High Marks For Obama
On The Cusp Of His 100th Day, President Enjoys High Approval Ratings On A Host Of Issues - But Few Republicans Are On Board

Oh yes, those high marks...like the 54% who had a favorable opinion of Obama, down from 60% when he took office, and the percentage of those who had an unfavorable opinion of him in the same time period, which doubled, from 9% to 18%. High marks, indeed. Oh, and don't forget the people who are optimistic about the next four years with Obama--they dropped from 79% in January to 72%. Again, you should remember that the percentage of Republicans is the lowest since '92, which should be reflected by an increase in Obama's numbers.

I could go on, pointing out that although 68% of people thought he was a "different kind" of politician, only 9% thought it was because of his policies*, or that one of the choices in the question asking how many of his campaign promises Obama would be able to keep was "all of them," which--considering he's already broken several of them--is impossible. I could mention that the percentage of people who think Obama will divide different groups of Americans has increased ten points since November of last year, which is distressing for a president who ran, partly, on the idea of unification.

What's obvious here is that NYT and CBS put together a poorly written, slanted poll designed to artificially inflate Obama's numbers, and when that didn't work as well as they expected, they wrote puff pieces on it, highlighting the good, burying the not so good. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. Even the NYT/CBS poll itself shows that the percentage of people who think the news media has "gone easier" on Obama than other candidates/presidents has steadily risen over the last year, from 24 to 40. 'Nuff said.

* I find it interesting that they used the term "different," since depending on one's mindset, "different" could be a positive or a negative.

April 25, 2009

I Guess It Depends On What Your Meaning Of The Word "Is" Is...

A politician named Clinton playing semantic games--now there's something you don't see every eight years.

Here's the headline for Hillary's speech to Iraq:
Clinton to Iraqis: US not going to abandon you
Unless by "abandon" you mean "take all of our soldiers and weapons and protection out of your country." In that case, yes, we are going to abandon you.

And let's not overlook this gem:
"We are very committed, but the nature of our commitment may look somewhat different because we are going to be withdrawing our combat troops over the next couple of years," Clinton said.
I'd love to see someone try that one in other aspects of life...

"Honey, I'm totally committed to you and the kids, but I'm taking my stuff and leaving and you won't see me again."

"Boss, I am completely committed to this job, but the nature of that commitment is going to look somewhat different because I'm clearing out my desk and not coming back."

And one last whopper:

On her first trip to Iraq as America's top diplomat, Clinton said the country has made great strides despite a recent surge in violence. High-profile attacks this past week primarily targeted Shiite worshippers. More than 150 people, many of them Iranian pilgrims, have died.

Ahead of her arrival, Clinton said the attacks are a sign that extremists are afraid the Iraqi government is succeeding.

"I think that these suicide bombings ... are unfortunately, in a tragic way, a signal that the rejectionists fear that Iraq is going in the right direction," Clinton told reporters aboard her plane.

Note that its a recent surge in violence. Maybe, just maybe, rather than being a sign the Iraqi government is succeeding, it's a sign that those responsible are ramping up in anticipation of our leaving. You know, that maybe they're invigorated by the thought of the U.S. going home.

April 23, 2009

What Bias?

So I'm reading an AP article about an AP poll that shows just how wonderfully people think Barack Obama is doing as he nears his first 100 days. Here's a sample:

In a sign that Barack Obama has inspired hopes for a brighter future in the first 100 days of his presidency, an Associated Press-GfK poll shows that 48 percent of Americans believe the United States is headed in the right direction — compared with 44 percent who disagree.
Now there's a sign of objective journalism. It gets better:

Nobody knows how long the honeymoon will last, but Obama has clearly transformed the yes-we-can spirit of his candidacy into a tool of governance. His ability to inspire confidence — Obama's second book is titled "The Audacity of Hope" — has thus far buffered the president against the harsh realities of two wars, a global economic meltdown and countless domestic challenges.
And these:

The AP-GfK poll suggests that 64 percent of the public approves of Obama's job performance, down slightly from 67 percent in February. President George W. Bush's approval ratings hovered in the high 50s after his first 100 days in office....

Just as many people say Obama understands the concerns of ordinary Americans. That's a sharp contrast to Bush, who won re-election in 2004 despite the fact that 54 percent of voters on that Election Day said he cared more about large corporations.

Well...there you go. Everything will be fine. He's doing much better than that other guy.

Now far be it for me to expect the AP to include all sides of the numbers. Maybe they figured no one would be interested in reading the actual poll results. And few people probably will. Good thing I'm here to do it for you. Here's a few things I found...

First of all, the poll (like a lot of AP polls, I've noticed) isn't quite as balanced as you might think. Twice as many surveyed consider themselves to be Democrat (36%) as Republican (18%). When pressed, 10% of independents stated they leaned Democrat and 9% stated they leaned Republican. That means we end up with 46% Dem. and 27% GOP, if my math is correct. That becomes important, not only because the group polled is woefully unbalanced in favor of the left, but because the AP article implies that everything's copacetic. Do the numbers bear that out? Let's see...

A larger percentage does think the country is on the right track, but just barely--48% as compared to 44% who think we're on the wrong track. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1%, which seems to me to make those numbers pretty darn close. And since the political makeup of the group isn't close, those numbers don't seem as favorable as the AP would have us believe. For example, if everyone who claimed to be/lean Democratic was behind the president, and all those "no affiliation" people split evenly, I would think the numbers would be around 60/40 that we're on the "right track." The fact that it's actually a dead heat doesn't inspire me.

What about approval ratings? That is split about 60/40, which is what you'd expect; however, one thing is notable: Obama's approval rating has gone down 10 points since January, and his disapproval rating has doubled, from 15% to 30%. And more importantly, the number who strongly disapprove has tripled from 7% to 22%! Does that sound like "a sign that Barack Obama has inspired hopes for a brighter future" to you? Yeah, me neither.

More nuggets:
  • More people disapprove than approve (57% to 38%) of the way congress is handling things.
  • Obama does get a majority who approve of the way he handles the issues, but most of them break down along that 60/40 split.
  • One thing that surprised me was that 65% said that they disapproved of the job the Republicans in congress were doing with the economy, with 39% strongly disapproving. I guess it makes sense if Republicans aren't voting along party lines, but I still would have thought the number would have been a little lower, considering they're outnumbered in both houses.

To be sure, there are some positive results for Obama here, but are they enough to warrant the glowing interpretation from the AP article, especially since the current Rasmussen poll says 57% of likely voters think the nation is heading in the wrong direction? (I couldn't find the breakdown of those polled.)

April 22, 2009

I Swear...

...if they cancel "Chuck," I'm taking a road trip to NBC and kicking somebody's ass.

April 21, 2009

At Least He's Getting Older

So the question arises: just how old is the Somali pirate? Here's an idea--cut the bastard in half and count the rings. Fifteen, sixteen, twenty-five...here's what's important--he was old enough to hold an AK-47 to a man's head and stood ready to pull the trigger. That's how old he is.

Apparently he cried in court. I wonder how much he would have cried had he succeeded in his plans and made off with the ransom? I wonder if he would have been even slightly nagged by a guilty conscience had his hostage...sorry, his victim, been killed?

I have no sympathy. None.

April 16, 2009

Are You Sure You Don't Mean The 10th Commandment? Because I've Never Heard Of The 10th Amendment.

At the risk of being considered an "extremist" for my slavish devotion to such wild concepts as, you know, the Constitution, I wanted to send you to two interesting columns about state's rights and the 10th Amendment.

Welcome!

I should point out that I have my first "follower." Look up in the right-hand corner, and you'll see someone with exceptional taste who has decided to follow this blog. Go and do likewise.

TEA, Anyone?

In case you didn't realize how successful the TEA Party movement was (and why wouldn't you, with all the coverage it's been getting in the mainstream media....hahahahahaha!!! Oh, man...I almost got it all out without laughing!) Michele Malkin has some pictures over at her site.

April 09, 2009

Bow...Wow!

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

A photo of President Obama apparently bowing in front of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is stirring a royal-size controversy.

The photo and a video were largely ignored by mainstream media outlets but created outrage in some quarters.

Look, first of all, I don't really care whether it was a bow or not. If I hadn't read that it goes against protocol or tradition or whatever, I wouldn't have known, honestly. That's not the issue, as far as I'm concerned. The issue here is the fact that the Obama Administration thinks we are a bunch of idiots. It was a bow. It was clearly a bow. It wasn't even questionable in the slightest. He couldn't have bowed any deeper if he was tying his shoes. If the administration had just said "Ooops, it was a blunder, a mistake," no one but Hannity would have cared. But they didn't. They tried to pass it off with one of the most ridiculous explanations/excuses I've ever heard: that it was because the Saudi king was short. Not only does it make me angry for insulting my intelligence, it makes me cringe because it's so lame that it ranks right up there with "the dog ate my homework."

But what should we expect, I guess. This is the man who spent years in Rev. Wright's church, but didn't pick up any ideas from him. This is the man who worked with Bill Ayers, but...you know...didn't really know him all that much. This is the man who played the race card to tell us that his opponent would play the race card. This is the man who told us he would lower taxes for most of us, knowing all the while that thanks to energy tax increases (among others) we'll likely pay more taxes overall. This is the man who ran on a platform of hope and change, and so far, has given us very little of either. This is the man who said he was going to raise our status among the world, who not only couldn't find anyone to translate a single word to Russian correctly, but apparently couldn't give a thoughtful gift to a world leader if his life depended on it. Why wouldn't he try to float this idiotic explanation past us? We've bought all the other ones.

And where is the media? Where are the pundits who came out of the woodwork every time George W. Bush so much as pronounced something wrong? Where are the people who criticized the decision to go into Iraq because "hey, most of the hijackers were Saudis!" Where's their outrage over a president who bows to a Saudi King? Where is Michael Moore with his baseball hat and camera? The same Michael Moore who argued so vehemently about Bush's connections to the Saudis. Where is he? I would think he ought to be able to make one of his typical "documentaries" with all the half-truths around Obama. Questions about his birth, his early schooling in religion, his connections with...unsavory characters, many of whom I've mentioned above. And now the bow.* C'mon, Michael, where's your working man's persona now? Hell, I'll even give you the name: Hussein. It practically writes itself.

Again, I don't give a shit about the bow. Do it, don't do it; I don't care. I just want a little consistency in the way we treat our leaders. And if you're going to lie, at least do it with a little style, a little smoke and mirrors. Photoshop the image, doctor the video, but "the king is too short" sounds suspiciously like "the Emporer has no clothes on," if you know what I mean.

* I'm not saying I believe all of those things about Obama. I'm just saying that Moore never seems to worry too much about the truth in his films, so why start now?

March 25, 2009

Sometimes You Just Can't Pass Up The Joke.

I see Bruce Willis's new wife worked for Victoria's Secret. All I can say is "Yippie-kai-ay, Modelfucker!"

Seriously, though, I'm a huge fan of Bruce's and wish the happy couple the best, and I'm not just saying that because he could totally kick my ass.

March 19, 2009

Shut Up, Chuck

Someone asked me why I dislike Schumer so much. It really all started with the hearings about the seige at Waco years ago. Schumer was part of the committee and I heard him say the most astonishingly stupid and arrogant thing I had ever heard any politician say.
Anyone who knows anything about these things ["flashbang" grenades] knows they can't [kill, injure, or maim]

Watch from about 3:45-5:45


I have loathed Chuck Schumer ever since. I'm embarrassed to say that he's a senator for my state. "Flashbangs" are explosives. I don't know if anyone's ever died from one, but there have been numerous injuries from them (just do a Google search). If you think they're harmless, watch these two videos. You'll note that the "flashbang" that Schumer thinks is so harmless sets off the alarm in the car across the street.

And the second one:

At one point during the hearings, I believe that Schumer maintained that he could hold a "flashbang" in his hand with no problem (which is why they ask the fellow in the first video above if he would feel comfortable holding it). Clearly, you wouldn't want to do that.

Hypocritical Thinking

In today's AIG hearing, Massachusetts Representative Stephen Lynch (not to be confused with comedian Stephen Lynch, who has penned such masterpieces as "Hermaphrodite") along with others committee members, lambasted AIG CEO Edward Liddy for the bonuses to be paid to AIG executives. A couple of points:

1) Liddy was not the CEO when the bonuses were drafted. He made that clear to the committee, and added that he would not have done them this way. Despite this, Lynch still went after him personally, so much so that Liddy took offense. "Offense was meant, Sir," replied Lynch.

2) Liddy was there voluntarily, because he was asked, much like he was asked to take over the failing AIG, by the government. His salary as CEO? One dollar.

3) One committe member said (condescendingly, I thought) that Liddy should just not pay the bonuses, pointing out that the bonuses amount to only about a tenth of one percent of the bailout money AIG received. I guess the idea is that because it's not that much, it's not worth causing all this trouble. The trouble is, you could argue that same point the other way: since it's only a fraction of the bailout money, and is contractually required, it's not worth causing all this trouble. Just pay it and move on. Institute measures to prevent it in the future, if you want, but this is done. Seriously, how much is it costing in time and money just to hold the hearings, not to mention the probable resulting lawsuits should either AIG or congress try to renege on the contracts. I'm no happier than anyone else that some of these people are getting bonuses, but a contract is a contract. I think it's a dangerous precedent to let congress decide what contracts should or should not be upheld.

4) So...Democratic congressmen are going after the current CEO of AIG, even though he wasn't presiding over the company at the time everything happened? The same group of congressmen who keep insisting that the current crisis isn't the fault of the current administration, and keep reminding people that they inherited it? Really? Pot...kettle...you know the drill.

5) I can't say this enough: these bonuses are contractual. Not only are they contractual, but the legislation, written by Congress, that provided the bailout monies to AIG had language in it to preserve the bonuses!! Chris Dodd and Barack Obama were the top two recepients of AIG contributions from 2000-2008, so one might wonder how that language got in there...but I digress. All that is happening here is that Congress is trying to deflect their own incompetence in passing this bill (obviously without having read it) by going after Liddy, who frankly is the only innocent in the whole shebang.

6) This didn't happen today, but I just wanted to say that Chuck Schumer is a miserable fuckin' lowlife for a lot of reasons, but lately it's because of his statement that if the bonuses weren't returned voluntarily, "we will do it for you." Frankly, I'm surprised we even heard the statement, considering that his head was, as usual, up his ass. Someone should remind this assdart, who recently remarked that the American people didn't care about "porky" amendments, that like AIG after receiving bailout money, he also is responsible to the American people! I wonder how he would respond if he was asked to give back his salary because of Congress's miserable approval numbers and track record, including failure to prevent this economic crisis. It would actually be easier to influence that money, I think--let's just not vote him back to office. I just can't express strongly enough my dislike for Chuck Schemer.