Friday, October 30, 2009

Micheletti Caves in Honduras

Obama "wins". Fausta has the details.

Reconciliation government, November elections honored, a generation of Hondurans feel the weight of completely unnecessary American interference.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weakest Caffeine Addiction Ever

Apparently pro-basketballer Caron Butler had a tough time giving up Mountain Dew:

Honestly, those first two weeks without The Dew [were] the roughest two weeks of my life. I'm talking headaches, sweats and everything. Before that I drank at least six 12-ounce Mountain Dews a day.

Dude? That is pathetic. Lemme do some math for you. One 12-oz serving of Dew has 54.5 mg of caffeine... times a six-pack and you have 327 mg of caffeine per day.

Wikipedia says drip coffee has (to take the middle of the given range) 145 mg caffeine per 7-oz serving. So your six pack of Dew is about two and a quarter cups of coffee. And honestly, who the heck drinks 7-oz cups of coffee?

Dude, you have the weakest caffeine "addiction" ever. Coffee drinkers drink your daily allotment with breakfast. Then they go to work and drink some more. And maybe a pick-me-up in the afternoon. A single Starbucks tall coffee has 240 mg. An Excedrin tablet has more caffeine than a can of Dew.

Well, slightly more "extreme" would be those two-liter bottles he used to drink during games. Approx 307 mg in the whole thing. So yes, he got a lift, but night sweats? Come on now.

Nobody give this man a beer, please. It could end his career.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lefty Pushback on Honduras

Interesting insinuations here from a TPM blogger who linked to me...

Apparently Forbes published a counter-argument to the CRS report arguing for the Micheletti government. A few things occur to me -

(1) The Honduran Constitution (and state of Constitutional jurisprudence) looks like a hot mess.
(2) The CRS report is not the only analysis reaching that assessment.
(3) The Honduran Supreme Court can strike down measures in the Constitution (Article 218, section 9 specifically)???
(4) If the striking of Article 218 Section 9 (granting the Congress the authority to interpret the Constitution) was legitimate, then the Court has amazingly broad authority to, well, pretty much do as it pleases.
(4a) If the striking of said provision was not legitimate, then the Congress retains that authority and could rightfully act upon it.
(5) The Court and the Congress were aligned on this, so whoever had the power to interpret and enforce the provisions of the Constitution, the relevant party was on board.
(6) The Honduran court cited US precedent? (Marbury v Madison) -to strike down a provision of the Constitution?? This is why conservatives don't like the introduction of foreign legal reasoning into US Constitutional jurisprudence.

But back to the TPM blogger, handle "neoboho":
The Report, CRS LL File No. 2009-002965, was requested by Republican Aaron Schock, one of the group of U.S. legislators who recently visited Honduras in order to undermine official Obama Administration policy on the Honduran coup d'etat. [...] The question lingers: do we have here a case of incompetence within the Law Library of Congress, or do we have a case of intentional disinformation, a species of propaganda?

"Undermine" Obama policy? Wow, there's a list of "undermining" efforts from the left as long as my arm.... Nancy Pelosi's trip to Syria for starters...

Incompetence or malice? No chance CRS could be right, eh? The Forbes bit is interesting, but not fully persuasive.

Back to the Forbes bit for the conclusion:
By embracing these weak rationalizations, the Law Library of Congress has rendered itself complicit in the illegal acts of an authoritarian and undemocratic regime.

And that's where they lose me. For all the aforementioned hot mess, you have two sides: One is a Chavez-ista unconstitutionally prepping the way for his lifetime Presidency, and the other side is just about literally everybody else, Congress, Court, military, who clearly made some mistakes (as just about anybody has acknowledged), but are holding elections in November which do not include interim President Micheletti.

As to who best represents "authoritarian and undemocratic", I'm looking at Zelaya, not the guys holding an election.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Koalas for Competition

Opponents of Obamacare need a mascot. Some sort of anthropomorphised critter with a funny accent. Say... a koala? Kangaroo maybe? Marsupials are pretty cute, maternal creatures, no? (Ok, maybe not all of them.)

MoveOn is running a celebri-tard ad promoting "competition" with the public option. Now, we don't believe for a second that it's really about competition, but if that's what they're going with, I think we need to meet them on that field of battle. Americans like competition. Competition is usually a GOP talking point, which the left has smartly coopted. They're using it because it works. Take it back from them.

Said spokes-creature should say something like, "Hey, you buy your car insurance from some lizard headquartered in Maryland, and he saves you money, right? If Congress wants more competition, why don't they allow competition across state lines? Then you'd have all sorts of people competing for your business. Like me. Or maybe that lizard fellow."

Interstate competition surely isn't the be-all/end-all of healthcare, but it's a potent rhetorical check against the bogus "competition" motivation for the public option.

Have the koala sell it. People will understand.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pen mightier than the keyboard

Apparently kids write better and faster with a pen than on a keyboard.

I discovered a long time ago that I write very differently on paper than on the computer. Some of the better stuff I've written was outlined and rough-drafted on paper and later pieced together and edited on the computer. Even if I've already started drafting on the computer, jotting a few notes down on paper has often proved useful.

Funny how the brain works.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Case Study in RINOism: The Chamber of Commerce

Ok, the Chamber isn't "Republican" and therefore is technically ineligible for a RINO designation, but who are we kidding?

The Chamber supported the $787-bil stimulus earlier this year. Now that the Chamber has found religion on "free enterprise" and is opposing Cap & Trade and Obamacare, the Chamber is finding it's old pal Barack Obama is less chummy.

Politico - White House plan: Neuter the Chamber

[Valerie] Jarrett said she requested a meeting with [Chamber President] Donohue when she first heard about the [Chamber's free enterprise] campaign months ago. At the meeting, she said, she brought up the Chamber’s support for the bailout of the financial system last fall and the $787 billion stimulus package passed earlier this year.

“How do ask for all that government assistance and then say you believe only in the free-market system,” Jarrett recalled asking Donohue. “And he really didn’t have an answer.”

The Chamber says that there’s no disconnect between its support of those economic rescue programs and its new campaign. Those programs, said Josten, were necessary to pull the country out of the deep recession.

“We in the rest of the business community put aside our normal free-market tendencies,” said Josten. “We stepped out of our box.”

What purpose does the Chamber serve at this point? They abandoned small/independent business long ago, capped off with their support for the stimulus, and Big Business is discovering that they can cozy up to His Magnificence, Barack H. Obama II without the intercession of the Chamber. Nike, Apple, and PG&E have left the Chamber. They lack a constituency and they lack a coherent message. Project "Neuter the Chamber" accomplished.

At what point did the Chamber think selling itself out on the stimulus would earn them any favor with the White House when it came to supporting business in this country?

How many companies pulled out of the Chamber over their support for the stimulus?

Attention NFIB, you have a great opportunity to eat some of the Chamber's lunch.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Quote of the Day: The Un-COLA

Rep. Jeff Flake on the proposed $250 bonus payment:
"If Congress doesn’t even have the political will to tell seniors that there will be no COLA this year because there was no inflation, what are the chances that we’re able to find hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare cuts to pay for the healthcare bill?"

Many seniors may refer to their COLAs as a "raise", but the Cost Of Living Adjustment is merely a nominal adjustment for inflation. Seniors are actually better off without a COLA this year (accompanied by deflation) than had there been inflation plus an equivalent COLA increase.

The $250 is political redistribution at it's most crass.

And no, no serious person believes the reduction in Medicare will approach the order of magnitude promised by the administration.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Quote of the Day: Staffing Up

Russ at AoSHQ muses on Tim Pawlenty's recent hiring of numerous McCain-08 staffers:

You don't hear a lot of ESPN talking heads downplaying the Lakers' chances at making the playoffs this year due to their inability to sign any former Washington Generals starters, do you? Wouldn't this be somewhat of a similar situation?

Now, to be fair, not all of McCain's staffers were incompetent. But some of them certainly were. It's just not the roster I'd be examining if I were building a staff. And of course, Pawlenty's not the only Republican building on a base of people who just got their behinds handed to them. This is a very pervasive tendency in Republican hiring patterns -- and that's one of the things I worry about for 2010 and beyond.

Friday, October 09, 2009

In Da Nobel Club

Now that I've overcome most of my shock (and had a little fun at Obama's expense today regarding his Nobel Prize), I can't really fault Obama for the Nobel committee's ... uh... prematurity.

Everybody - everybody - was caught off guard by this, even Obama, who clearly had no speech prepared. Obama delayed his public remarks for about an hour and a half past when it was announced he was to begin. The President rightly acknowledged the rather speculative nature of the award in his speech. That was about all he could do.
Groucho Marx - "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member."
This is, of course, widely viewed as a slap at George W. Bush. Apparently that's enough for the Euroweenies. This is yet another demonstration of why conservatives don't put much currency in the opinions of the self-professed Euro-elite. We're not interested in their fickle approval, and we don't have a favorable view of any club that would make Obama a member for such petty reasons.

If it weren't so funny I'd be offended

DNC spox says, "The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists - the Taliban and Hamas this morning - in criticizing the President for receiving the Nobel Peace prize."

Just to be clear...

Things that are treasonous or anti-American (or racist): criticizing the merit of Obama's Nobel Prize, criticizing Obamacare, criticizing Cap & Trade, criticizing the stimulus, attending a Tea Party, heck - just criticizing Obama generally.

Things that are not treasonous or anti-American (or racist): Wanting to pull out of one or more wars before they are won, being a "human shield" for a dictatorial regime, saying the opposition wants Americans to die, suggesting the government was complicit in 9/11 (Van Jones, Rev. Wright, many, many others), calling Colin Powell a "house nigger".

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Maggie cuts to the crux of the matter

Back when it was ok to call a socialist a socialist...

Monday, October 05, 2009

Govt is the biggest cash hoarder

Part of the theory behind the stimulus was to rectify the "paradox of thrift" by spending when others are supposedly hoarding cash. But the government itself has ironically become a mega-hoarder of cash. They borrowed the funds --taking that money out of the economy-- and have been doling the dollars out slowly.

The stimulus has exacerbated the situation it was supposedly intended to rectify.

This is almost certainly not an original idea on my part, but I haven't seen it elsewhere.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

What's on Joe's DVR

Fringe has been excellent, and is probably the best show I'm watching right now. They did a great job picking up the intensity from last season's mind-blower revelation. Fringe is probably better than The X-Files was when The X-Files was still a good show. They even worked in a reference to "the X designation". Nice job.

Dollhouse is not working as well. The show really found its stride at the end of the first season, but didn't pick up on the intensity of last season like Fringe did. Some long-arc seeds have been planted, but Joss faces a conundrum -- If they're going to tease this bit about Echo "waking up" for the entire season it's going to get boring. If they actually have Echo "awaken", they're going to run out of show material by the end of the season. Given that the second season is probably the last season, I'd rather see it go out with a bang.

I haven't seen Flash Forward, but I hear good things. Should probably check that out.

The premier of the new NCIS spinoff didn't work for me. Not worth getting involved with. Probably has something to do with the fact that I don't like Chris O'Donnell. Generally speaking I'm not into cop/detective shows, but there was something about the original NCIS cast that clicked.

The Stargate Universe premiere was passable. The campiness was kept to a low roar, mostly the Richard Dean Anderson cameo scene, which was actually pretty appropriate. After the success of Battlestar Galactica it's pretty clear they're going for a grittier feel to the Stargate franchise. Could work. Sure there were plot holes big enough to drive a truck through, but it's just Sci-Fi SyFy Channel schlock -- what are we to expect, Masterpiece Theatre? I have to think this is the last incarnation of the show though -- they've pulled the old "let's turn it up to eleven" trick with the gate twice now.

Friday, October 02, 2009

About the Stimulus

Today's as good a time as any to muse about the stimulus. A few weeks ago, VP Joe Biden was saying the stimulus was working better than he could have imagined. With today's disappointing employment figures I heard several media-types asking if we need yet another stimulus. Yowza.

Conservatives are split as to whether the stimulus is completely awful and unable to promote even short term growth, or whether government stimulus can give a short term boost at longer term expense. I find myself torn between these two ideas.

What I'm more sure of is that, at the margin, the degree of "badness" of the stimulus has to do with whether the government is spending the money on things that are of real economic value, or whether the funds are being blown on multiple upgrades of the recovery-dot-gov website, dog parks, homeless projects for cities without significant homeless problems, upgrading airports for nobody, and other generally porky projects.

But assuming that stimulus can "work" (at later, greater expense), in order to stop unemployment quickly it must be spent swiftly and profligately. This is in direct conflict with the idea that it be spent smartly, which would take some time and careful planning.

The Obama stimulus is in many respects the worst of both worlds. It was jammed down with little to no planning, assuring maximal waste. But it was also designed to spend out relatively slowly in such a way that the short term boost (that may or may not be theoretically possible) would not materialize.

Thus, I criticize the stimulus both for being spent too slowly and also too wastefully, yet accomplishing the goals of neither model.