Saturday, August 8, 2009

Glenn Beck: Anything For A Dollar

These are two tweets from Glenn Beck this evening. Be sure to "question with boldness but no before you buy my book." Glenn Beck anything for a dollar.

Is Beck trying to scare people with the second tweet. I don't get his point.

Glenn Beck
glennbeck1.Question with Boldness. 2.Hold to the Truth 3. Speak without fear.We are in grave danger.Read Common Sense.Danger from both sides.QUESTIONGlenn BeckglennbeckDO NOT PLAY INTO THE HANDS OF LEFT: THESE ARE OVERSEAS CAMPS. THIS I S N O T for domestic use. Sphere: Related Content

Can The U.S. Be More Scandinavian In Postal Service

Matt Yglesias wonders how to fix the USPS. Privatization or public private partnership? This question should definitely be explored?
I agree with Yglesias that we need to question the subsidy given to rural residents at the expense of metropolitan dwellers. I would be interested to know the cost basis of mail service for metropolitan versus rural regions.

Yglesias writes:
"Of course part of the story with the USPS is that it’s a way of having the majority of Americans who live in metropolitan area subsidize the rural minority. I assume this same issue exists in Sweden and Norway which contain US-esque large sparsely populated hinterlands and I don’t know how they handle it. Providing subsidies for rural living doesn’t strike me as a particularly worthwhile policy objective, but given the strongly pro-rural bias of our political institutions it doesn’t seem avoidable either."
Sphere: Related Content

Congressman David Scott Fights Back Against Health Care Protesters

The first time I watched this video from Georgia Congressman David Scott's public meeting I thought he overreacting but after a couple more viewings I believe Rep. Scott was correct in calling out the people questioning him on health care. Scott has two health care events later in the month, I imagine those will be crazy.

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Charles Krauthammer Proposal For Health Care Is "Phenomenally Stupid"

Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress accurately paints Krauthammer's health care fix as stupid.

Krauthammer writes:
"The plan is so simple it doesn't even have the requisite three parts. Just two: radical tort reform and radically severing the link between health insurance and employment."
Yglesias writes:
"He doesn’t just say that these are good ideas, but that they’re actually sufficient ideas. It’s nuts. Suppose you’re a 52 year-old with a pre-existing medical condition who kinda wants to leave his job and start a new company. Under the current system in the United States, you have a serious problem. Krauthammer’s proposals do nothing for you. Or suppose you had good insurance, got sick, and are now suffering from “rescission” of your policy. He’s got nothing. In Krauthland we’d have endless adverse selection problems and 'solve' the problem of cost largely by having people not get the health care."
I find Yglesias' comments snotty, which is unusual but totally appropriate in relation to Krauthammer ridiculous and flippant ideas. Sphere: Related Content

Coming Soon To Brooklyn

I am very excited by this:

Bark Hot Dogs
474 Bergen St., nr. Flatbush Ave., Park Slope 718-789-1939
One way Joshua Sharkey and Brandon Gillis, chef-partners of Bark Hot Dogs, intend to distinguish their enterprise from, say, Gray’s Papaya is by the method they’ll use to finish their pork-and-beef wieners. Rather than just turning them over casually on the griddle, they’ll baste them like a Peter Luger porterhouse with—get this—housemade smoked lard butter. Another example: making everything from pickles to sauerkraut in-house, and meticulously sourcing the rest from top-notch purveyors. The franks (including an all-beef version) are churned out upstate by a venerable Austrian sausage maker, the beans are of the heirloom variety, and the bacon from S. Wallace Edwards & Sons. Because hot dogs for breakfast—lard-butter-basted or not—can be a tough sell, there’s also a morning menu of homemade biscuits and egg sandwiches. Opens next week Sphere: Related Content

Is Hip Hop Getting Too Hard On Gay Men, No Homo

Slate has an interesting story on the ever rising homophobia in Hip Hop. The incessant defense against homosexuality doesn't sound like homophobia, but more like autoimahomophobia (not really a word). Favorite passages:
"No homo, to those unfamiliar with the term, is a phrase added to statements in order to rid them of possible homosexual double-entendre. ('You've got beautiful balls,' you tell your friend at the bocce game—'no homo.')"

"I once asked Method Man whether he thought we'd ever see an openly gay gangsta rapper. He grew visibly agitated. 'You can't be fuckin' people in the ass and say you're gangsta,' he responded. As Kanye West has observed, gay and hip-hop have traditionally functioned as mutually exclusive terms, Venn diagrams that don't touch (and get really testy at the suggestion that they might, you know, want to). In 1989, Big Daddy Kane summed up the reigning attitude: 'The Big Daddy law is anti-faggot.' When DMX insulted rivals 10 years later by rapping, 'Y'all niggas remind me of a strip club/ 'Cause every time you come around it's like I just gotta get my dick sucked," hip-hop was still so aggressively understood as hetero-centric that it was inconceivable to DMX that there might be anything the least bit gay about his fantasy of a roomful of men fellating him."

Do they protest too much? Sphere: Related Content

That Fort Worth Raid On A Gay Bar - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

That Fort Worth Raid On A Gay Bar - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Shared via AddThis
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You Don't Want To "Come Up Against The Second Amendment"

This is a recording released by the SEIU of what they say is a call they received from Diane. Diane seems real nice until she threatens to shoot someone.

This getting real crazy. I can't help but think that someone is going to die because of their views on health care. Hopefully not, perhaps this recording is a fake by random SEIU members. But with the recent shootings in Kansas and Washington we know how some unbalanced people can take the extreme rhetoric they hear and turn into some "Son of Sam-esque" murdering lunatic. If the recording is real and you combine it with the following report you will cringe.

Talking Points Memo
yesterday reported on a string of Twitter tweets from anti reform protester named Scott Oskay. Here is just a sample:

Who brings a gun to a debate. License to carry are you kidding. If SEIU members did attack a anti-reform "protester" they should be prosecuted. But this is going too far. We have to stop. Sphere: Related Content

The Labor Market For Online Dating Profile Writers

Megan McArdle promotes the market for online dating profile writers. Sphere: Related Content

Friday, August 7, 2009

Get A Tan This Weekend, Try One Of These Fun Activities

Found at PourMeCoffee
Sphere: Related Content

Unemployed and bad credit -- No new job for you!

The NY Times published an interesting article about credit inquiries and the unemployed. Here's the link:

Should your credit score determine your employability? Sphere: Related Content

Small Town Preacher Talks About The Health Care Fear And Paranoia

Country Parson: Town Halls and Health Care Sphere: Related Content

They Are Racheting Up The Nazi Talk

At around 2:18 into this video the bad person with the microphone again compares Barack Obama with despots and tyrants. Specifically Stalin, Mugabe, Pol Pot before he says this:
"Adolf Hitler issued six million end of life orders--he called his program the final solution. I kind of wonder what we're going to call ours."
Wow, really.

Toward the end of the video the bad person with microphone encourages the gathered people to visit their representatives, "go to their office and put the fear of god in them."

Sphere: Related Content

If Anyone Can Find The Ezekiel Emanuel Paper Which Michelle Bachmann References In This Video

I would like to read it.
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Palin In the Health Care Debate Today

Here is a statement from Sarah Palin on Health Care released just thirty minutes ago:

As more Americans delve into the disturbing details of the nationalized health care plan that the current administration is rushing through Congress, our collective jaw is dropping, and we’re saying not just no, but hell no!

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Health care by definition involves life and death decisions. Human rights and human dignity must be at the center of any health care discussion.

Rep. Michele Bachmann highlighted the Orwellian thinking of the president’s health care advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the White House chief of staff, in a floor speech to the House of Representatives. I commend her for being a voice for the most precious members of our society, our children and our seniors.

We must step up and engage in this most crucial debate. Nationalizing our health care system is a point of no return for government interference in the lives of its citizens. If we go down this path, there will be no turning back. Ronald Reagan once wrote, “Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.” Let’s stop and think and make our voices heard before it’s too late.

The bold is my doing. These are the statements that stand out as either outrageous, wrong or fear and paranoia promoting. Please let me know your impressions.

This may be Palin's most organized statement in many many months.

Here Palin is just scaring people:

"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."
Here Palin is supporingt Bachmann's House floor statement in which he is quoting Ezekiel J. Emanuel. Unfortunately I've read through all of Emanuel's Health Affairs papers and was unable to find the quotes she is citing:
"Rep. Michele Bachmann highlighted the Orwellian thinking of the president’s health care advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the White House chief of staff, in a floor speech to the House of Representatives. I commend her for being a voice for the most precious members of our society, our children and our seniors."
Palin is correct we need an engaged conversation on these proposed changes. She should attend some town halls and tell people to not disrupt and maintain civility in order to have the conversation we need:
We must step up and engage in this most crucial debate.

Sphere: Related Content


AIG's share price one year ago today was $514.40. On March 9, 2009 the price was $6.60. Last night it closed at $22.53. Today it will close at around $27.50. I am not offering any comments on this except to say I can't understand how the AIG share price has gone up nearly 400% in five months. Sphere: Related Content

The Hot Tub Makes Everyone Happy

Found at The Daily Dish Sphere: Related Content

Who Will Be The Next Senator From Florida, Crist Decides

If Mel Martinez resigns Pushing Rope thinks "it would take brass ball for Crist to appoint himself." Sphere: Related Content

Want To Be Happy, Don't Believe In God

A new survey from the Center for Inquiry, a secular think tank, reports that confident nonbelievers are emotionally healthier than god 'fence sitters' or religious doubters. Atheism equals happiness, I guess I should be happier.

The report from the Center for Inquiry says:
"This new survey reports that confident nonbelievers are more emotionally healthy with respect to 'fence sitters' or religious doubters, shows that 'spirituals' report less satisfaction with their lives than those who identify with other self-labels, and suggests that the common assumption that greater religiosity relates to greater happiness and life satisfaction is not quite true."

Image is from Sphere: Related Content

Don't Hide Behind The Environment When You Want To Throw A Bone To The Auto Industry

The Economist's Democracy In America Blog has an issue with how some people are claiming Cash for Clunkers is a boon for the environment. From the blog:
"JUST wanted to throw in my two cents on this cash-for-clunkers business as I seem to be at odds with my fellow bloggers. It's a ludicrous waste of taxpayer money wrapped in offensively cynical packaging. If you want to save the environment and/or reduce America's dependence on foreign oil there are about a million things you can do before you resort to a $3 billion boondoggle. You can sit around and fiddle with the numbers so it sounds like we're going to eventually save petrol, but of course the proponents of the programme don't try to puzzle out how much we'd save if we just raised the petrol tax like a normal country. Because of course the point isn't to help the environment, the point is to help the car dealers. So why can't we just say that? Is our sense of entitlement so swollen that we not only think we deserve handouts at every turn but we need to be praised for taking them? I'm with the cranky commenters who find the whole thing grotesque."
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The Barack Obama Joker Poster And The Purpose Of The Artist

I don't particularly enjoy the image. It is not original and it is hyperbolic. An example of how we turn disagreement into charges of evil and fascism without any understanding of the charges being made. These charges and name calling are mostly unnecessary and wrong during the Bush administration as they are now.

Here is a defense, by Patrick Courrielche, that I don't entirely agree with but I can not argue with proposition that art will enter politics and the artist should maintain the right to present ideas and images that cross boundaries and cause vigorous discussion, but that discussion should remain civil. Sphere: Related Content

Congressman That Claimed Barack Obama Could Have Been Aborted By His Mother Is Running For U.S. Senate

Rep. Todd Tiahrt, republican of Kansas, is running to fill Sam Brownback's senate seat.

What's the matter with Kansas? Sphere: Related Content

Unemployment Turns Unexpectedly Better, Not By Much, Don't Get Too Excited

Bureau of Labor Statistics revised June estimates of job losses. Don't get too excited. The unemployment rate fell to 9.4% from 9.5%. Predictions were for increases in the unemployment rate. Any unexpected good is great and gives more signs that the recession is ending but that should be tempered by the fact the reduction in unemployment estimates may due entirely to the large number of people that left the labor force or are considered discouraged workers. According to BLS data the labor force declined by nearly 400,000 workers. Falling from 154,926,000 to 154,504,000. In another seemingly positive change hourly earnings are up.

Have to love the BLS.

Here is a link to NY Times article and Matt Yglesias

Sphere: Related Content

Alaska Has Been Stimulated

Alaska received more stimulus than any other state. Receiving $1,024.28 per capita, almost $150 more than the number two state. Sphere: Related Content

The Right On Health Care: Fear The Absurd, Ignore The Present

It seems that much of the debate from the right on many issues comes from a position of wanting paranoia and fear of the next piece of legislation. For example, if gay people can marry each other the next thing people want is to marry their dogs. It is an absurd argument but it has been made. When the bill comes to define marriage between a man and his dog I will join the paranoid nuts and oppose it. I am fairly certain that this paranoia flame is fanned by people who don't actually believe in the fire they are creating. The fear and paranoia is developed to influence less sophisticated people.

In parts of the health care debate the right has succeeded in developing the same paranoia and fear. For instance President Obama took a question a woman named Mary at a town hall meeting last week. She asked, "I have been told there is a clause in there that everyone that's Medicare age will be visited and told to decide how they wish to die. This bothers me greatly, and I'd like for you to promise me that this is not in this bill." Now, Mary has probably heard this dozens of times from people on television, the radio and people she knows who heard it on television or radio. The president answered her question and hopefully calmed her fears.

Pundits from the right continue to promote the fear and paranoia even after they acknowledge that end of life planning is important. Suzanne Fields in the Washington Times tells a story with genuine feeling about end of life planning with her mother. She writes:
"When my mother was in her late 80s, I took her to a lawyer's office one bright sunny day to sign her 'living will.' We read over the questions and her answers and she signed on the dotted line. She had made her decisions weeks before and she was pleased.

We went shopping afterward, and she bought an antique watch that caught my eye in a shop window. This was an appropriate gift, she joked, because she had named me to be in charge of her 'life time.' If the time should come that a doctor asks whether to prolong her life when all hope was gone, I was to produce her living will."

It is nice story that we should all take to heart. We should all follow Fields and her mothers lead. Fields takes this important message and then twists it to the paranoid and fear-mongering position. She writes:

"Trying to allay Mary the questioner's fears, the president offered a flippant answer: 'We just don't have enough government workers to send to talk to everybody to find out how they want to die.' But what if it did? What kind of Big Brother government have we created that makes us feel so small? Collecting information about how the elderly want to die is not the problem. Who manages that information is what's crucial."

Honestly, the people she is trying to scare may not be the most sophisticated but this idea that the only obstacle to creating this big brother hospice authority is the lack of people is sick. It is also silly because there are plenty of people looking for work right now.

An open dialogue and honest debate is not possible if the people with any perceived authority whether it is Glenn Beck or Suzanne Fields continue to agitate and promote fear and paranoia of the next fight. Especially when the next fight is unlikely and absurd as a member of congress drafting legislation to allow me to marry Apple (my dog).

Sphere: Related Content

Iraqi Parliament Is Debating A National Smoking Ban?

Is this a priority for the Iraqi Parliament? While the prospects of rebuilding the political structure of Iraq seems positive do they really need ban smoking now? Written in the Washington Post these reactions, while likely hyperbolic, do express a questioning of national priorities:
"'We have no electricity, no jobs, people still get killed,' said Waleed Habba, 49, as he bought a pack of cigarettes at a tobacco store in downtown Baghdad. 'We all have to deal with anger issues here. That's the reason people smoke here, to run away from that.'

'We want Saddam back,' said Ala al-Kanini, a patron at the store, referring to the late Iraqi leader. 'You could do anything during Saddam's time.'"

Sphere: Related Content

If Health Care Reform Is A Test Of Whether We Live In A Civil Society We Are Failing That Test

Steven Pearlstein on the Health Care debate:
"The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems."
Sphere: Related Content

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Young Republicans Don't Know Much but...

man can they rap.

Thanks to Pushing Rope Sphere: Related Content

Pushing Rope: The Poison of Glenn Beck

Pushing Rope: The Poison of Glenn Beck
Beck being Beck. Will say anything for the dollar. Sphere: Related Content

Cash For Clunkers MPG Success

Time magazine is reporting that new cars purchased through Cash for Clunkers are 61% more fuel efficient than the traded in cars. That is an additional 10 mpg. An environmental success? Sphere: Related Content

Greed Can Be Good

Megan McArdle at The Atlantic asks why shouldn't people get huge amounts of dollars if they create innovative products or services that improve the quality of people's lives.

I agree with McArdle. My concern with the health care reform proposals is the lack of discussion and understanding of the impact on innovation and research. Perhaps there will be none or a negligible amount, but I intuitively doubt it. McArdle writes:
"The injustice of his demands for profit rankles more deeply than the miracle of his inventions can soothe. If they have to risk some innovation in order to wring this profit out of the system, and distribute the goods he's already produced for us more widely, they're fine with that tradeoff.

I'm not. And I don't think this is a gap we can bridge by discussing the thing. We're doomed to keep getting angry at each other."
I haven't found any research on this subject. If anyone knows of any let me know.

What do you think? Sphere: Related Content

Why a Doctor in Congress Has No Health Insurance

Interesting Story from Jill Lawrence at Politics Daily

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Competitive Naturalization--I See An Immigration Reality Show

The UK is proposing an immigration naturalization program that gives immigrants hoping to become UK citizen points for behavior that is British and deducting points for un-British behavior. Apparently un-British behavior includes exercising the right to protest the government, a right held by all British subjects.

Keith Best of Immigration Advisory Group, an immigration advocate says:
"'I would be very surprised if the government would say to probationary citizens, 'You need to curtail your freedom of speech as a probationary citizen in order to be able to enjoy it fully once you become a British citizen.''"
I understand the need to control immigration but this doesn't sound right. Does it control immigration or just the number of citizens? It does not seem to reduce the number of migrant workers coming to Britian.

Either way I can't wait until the BBC show that crosses the Weakest Link and Monty Python's Twit Olympics. Sphere: Related Content

Old Obama Videos

Lynne Sweet writes at Politics Daily about the release of older Obama videos. Sphere: Related Content

Weigel Reports On Newest Fake Birth Cert.

David Weigel is reporting that the last fake birth certificate from Kenya was created by Barack Obama supporters. Sphere: Related Content

More Pres. Obama Hilter Comparisons. WTF

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

American Thunker: Barack Obama is just Like Adolf Hitler?

Bart Willruth at American Thunker asks, "Does this sound like the country you know (knew)?" Willruth asks this after he insanely equates nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, N. Korea, Cuba, Yugoslavia and China with the Obama Administration. What compelled Wallruth to make this syllogistic fallacy? I don't really know, but the faux issue he is so scared of is this post on the White House blog. The post asks people to send anti-health care reform emails they receive to a White House email address. The blog post says:
"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to"
OK the White House is using technology to combat what they believe is disinformation. How is that comparable to regimes that arrest opposition at best and kill them at worst.

Willruth asks, "Are we now like one of those totalitarian states?" This question is being asked now, after the past decade. The decade of wiretapping and "see something say something."

Willruth writes:
"Our forebears sacrificed so much to pass on the blessings of liberty. The least that we can do in the shadow of those heroes is to exercise our right to speak, and to do so out loud, not in whispers fearing that someone will forward our thoughts to the Watchers. These intimidating tactics must end."
He does not explain what is intimidating about the White House request. It is obvious that Wallruth is comfortable with lies that mislead debates on important issues. But it is clear that Wallruth is entirely comfortable making really poor ad hominem attacks. Sphere: Related Content

Make Your Own Kenyan Birth Certificate

Found through Slate Sphere: Related Content

DICK Morris Says Journalists Should Pay Price For Going To North Korea

DICK Morris on FoxNews

DICK. thinks journalists should not go to dangerous unknown places to find the truth.
Some of the right are just like DICK. Ben Armbruster at Think Progress pulls the stupidity together. Sphere: Related Content

Frozen Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwiches?

Do people really buy frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have never even seen them before.

Michael Pollan's NY Times magazine article this past weekend is a little to quick to dismiss the cooking shortcut. He is also too nostalgic for the 1950s. Pollan writes:
"Today the average American spends a mere 27 minutes a day on food preparation (another four minutes cleaning up); that’s less than half the time that we spent cooking and cleaning up when Julia arrived on our television screens."
It seems that Pollan is telling us that we will have a better life if we follow his lead and spend more time prepping our food and seeking out the freshest and more exotics ingredients. What he forgets is that busier people may get more pleasure from other activities at home. Playing with the kids or watching movies with the family. What do we have to give up to cook more?

I think we should cook more at home. It may help the obesity problem and I find it therapeutic but Pollan seems a bit to strident.

Still he is worth the read. Sphere: Related Content

Is Climate Change A Priority? Everywhere But Here.

A survey of 19 nations asking residents to rate if climate change should be a national priority. The U.S. brings up the rear. 10 is greatest, 1 is least. The Palestinian Territories believe the issue is a greater priority that we do.

Sphere: Related Content

WTF! Lehman Brothers Owes NYC $600,000,000

NY Times story about Lehman tax bill. Why is this only being caught now.

$600,000,000!!!! Sphere: Related Content

Can The Town Hall Be Closed To All Except District Residents

It seems the easiest solution to the disruptions of health care town halls caused by the organized roving gangs of zealots is to close the meeting to non district residents. Is this possible? Is it legal? Sphere: Related Content

Rebuttal To Conor Friedersdorf On Cash For Clunkers

Alas! A Blog has an excellent rebuttal to Friedersdorf's Clunker's post. The Alas! post uses more sound economic arguments. Going back to the basics. Perhaps I was swayed by nostalgia. Alas actually draws a demand curve bringing me back to my school days.

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Glenn Beck Being Crazy Doesn't Make You Right -- The Debate On $$$ For Clunkers

Conor Friedersdorf offers a sensibility to the debate over the effectiveness and efficiencies of the Cash for Clunkers program. Just becasue the arguments of the loudest critics are crazy and make no sense that does not mean the there are no good arguments against the program. Friedersdorf writes:
"Just because the right includes a lot of people making very bad arguments right now doesn’t make the people they’re arguing against right. It’s a lesson I learned when I saw the behavior of bombastic, juvenile folks on the left translate into support for President Bush’s bid to invade Iraq."
Friedersdorf offers these places as good arguments against Clunkers:

Radley Balko
Challenging Jon Stewart's treatment of Democrats, Balko takes issue with Stewart piece on Clunkers. Balko breaks it down to a mathematical equation:
(all of the energy that went into making the old car) + (the energy it will take to destroy it) + (all of the energy it took to make the new car) + ($3,500)

Rich Lowry
Lowry argues that Clunkers only creates an illusion of demand. Essentially reducing future demand. Also, destruction of the trade in cars is a waste of goods with economic value.

Derek Thompson:
Thompson point is that C4C, as he calls it, incentivizes the purchase of environmentally unfriendly SUVs and has only encouraged auto sales that would have happened soon regardless of C4C. Unlikely to increase the annual auto sales number. Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Andrew Sullivan Asks Conservatives-- What Use Is Conservatism

Andrew Sullivan crafted a remarkably eloquent response to Robert P. George's essay on gay marriage. In contrast to my response to George or my response to Cooper , Sullivan's response is tempered and pleasant. It raises thoughtful questions that George should answer.

Sullivan's response was pleasant and friendly until it wasn't. Sullivan writes:
"Alas, having studied George's work for years, I can tell you his social policy toward me and my kind. It is that gay people should be celibate, and if not celibate, invisible. But this much we know: gays in free countries are neither going to be celibate nor invisible for the foreseeable future. So what is George's prescription except quixotic when it isn't demotic?
Beneath the elegant philosophical language is a blunter message to George's gay fellow human beings: be straight or go away. And since when is that a practical option in the 21st century?"
I enjoy reading Sullivan's blog for his thoughtful writing. He doesn't write responses this long very often, but when he does it is usually excellent.

George's essay has brought Sullivan to the question:
"I repeat to conservatives: we know what you're against, in healthcare, energy, counter-terrorism, taxation, gay rights, abortion. What are you actually for? How do you intend to actually address the questions of our time and place? And if conservatism cannot do that, what use is it?"
Good question. Sphere: Related Content

Life The Biggest Cause of Death For People

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Is Chuck Norris Hunting For The President's Birth Certificate; There Is A $100,000 Bounty

Chuck Norris gets on board the Birther bandwagon. Norris writes a birthday "letter" to President Obama offering political advice to release his borth certificate. Norris writes:
"I hardly can believe that individuals are offering bounties — one for $100,000 — for any personal witness or sufficient evidence to your American birth."
"Speaking of birthdays, I couldn't help but hear and read all over the news this past week about the fresh attention to your constitutional eligibility and natural-born citizen status. I hardly can believe that individuals are offering bounties — one for $100,000 — for any personal witness or sufficient evidence to your American birth."
Sphere: Related Content

Russian Subs Off U.S. Coast

The NY Times reports that two Russian Nuclear Submarines have been patrolling 200 miles off the east coast of the United States. Sphere: Related Content

John Bolton Is Wrong Again

This afternoon John Bolton wrote an essay for the WashPo that called the Bill Clinton trip to N. Korea a mistake. Since Pres. Clinton's visit was unexpected Bolton must have rushed to write this essay. Perhaps he should have taken a little more time. Bolton writes:
"The point to be made on the Clinton visit is that the knee-jerk impulse for negotiations above all inevitably brings more costs than its advocates foresee. Negotiating from a position of strength, where the benefits to American interests will exceed the costs, is one thing. Negotiating merely for the sake of it, in the face of palpable recent failures, is something else indeed"
I guess talking does work. John Bolton consistency under pressure. Is he always wrong? Sphere: Related Content

Greenwald Gets To The Issue Of Mohamed Jawad's Guantanamo Detention

Glenn Greenwald has the vital question as to why Jawad is being detained. Greenwald:
"So here you have somebody, who as I indicated earlier, is basically accused of attacking members of an invading army, of an army that invaded, whether justifiably or not, legally or not, that invaded his country. Is the reason that that's considered a war crime, or that he's treated as being a terrorist or war criminal, is because he's not part of a regularly constituted army, and was acting as a civilian? I mean, obviously, people who are involved in regular armies have the right under the laws of war to do things like throw grenades. Why is he being treated essentially as a terrorist, even if the accusations were true - and I understand the argument is that they're not - but even if they were, why would that justify taking him halfway around the world to Guantanamo?

And how is that different from - if you know - under the laws of war, from things like having Blackwater or civilian contractors engaging in violence in foreign countries in conjunction with our armies?"

Greenwald talks with the ACLU's Jonathan Hafetz. The entire podcast is worth a listen but this question is asked in the eleventh minute. Here is the itunes link.

Greenwald creates one of the best podcasts on policy, politics and laws.

Sphere: Related Content

Geithner Knows A Little Finance, Let Jon Stewart Know

Gawker fact checks The Daily Show. Is that really necessary.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Home Crisis Investigation
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorSpinal Tap Performance
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WOW! I Am Not Going To Write About This

ObamaCare Equals Government Funded Euthanasia

Found through The Daily Dish Sphere: Related Content

Birthday Card For The Pres.

Found through The Daily Dish Sphere: Related Content

Sotomayor Confirmation: Is She "Your Hispanic"

The American Prospect Tapped Blog does a nice job of asking what Miguel Estrada has to do with Sonia Sotomayor. Apparently they are like towels, his and hers Hispanics.

This makes me like Lindsey Graham more. Although, I don't know why. Sphere: Related Content

If religion allows you to ignore suffering, thank god I don't have it

Cal Thomas writes in the Washington Times today, " there are always euphemisms to help us through the troubling practices we might not, under other circumstances, wish to pursue." He is not referring to the trite little things people say when someone dies. "It was his time." "She's in a better place." "Their with god now." My favorite, "at least they're not suffering." What bullshit. Of course, dead people don't suffer. The living can suffer and most don't want to. No, Thomas is not referring to these arrogant mostly religious niceties; he is referring to the phrases "right to die" and "compassionate assisted suicide." He does not believe that individuals have a choice in how they die.

If people could choose to alleviate their own suffering there would be "a significant loss for the human race." Thomas does not explain what the human race would lose. I imagine the loss that Thomas thinks will be significant to the human race is purely sacramental. The bible is the ultimate argument for Thomas' position. As he writes, "in a sense, we all have a 'right,' or more precisely, an obligation, to die." Presumably because we are owned by god. As the Catechism says, "we are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of." Bullshit. Even Thomas does not believe this entirely as he writes, is death even "ultimately our decision? We did not create life... The state is supposed to protect life, not take it except in cases of capital murder." Hypocrite.

As I expect of any religious hypocrite the right to life only extends to the point of when you begin to choose how you want to live. At that point Thomas wants to impose his religious will on your life choices. Thomas wrote during the end of Terri Schiavo's suffering, "there is little legal or (shudder) theological precedent for any such 'right.'" I am not a theologian nor do I care for Jesus but in John 10:18 of the bible it says, "No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord." Did Jesus choose?

Of course Thomas connects this argument to abortion. But he also decided to perpetuate the myth that President Obama want to euthanize senior citizens. He writes:

"The One who gave us life has, or ought to have, sole discretion as to when it ends. However, if increasing numbers of us think 'the One' refers to a character in 'The Matrix' and that we are just evolutionary accidents, the conclusion of it all is euthanasia for the elderly, the 'defective,' the inconvenient and the unwanted. It's coming sooner than you think to a senior center near you, especially if Obamacare becomes law."

I can't imagine how someone as self-righteous as Cal Thomas can continue to live with lies he tells everyday. Oh wait, he goes to confession and a man in a wood box tells him it OK, say a Hail Mary or two and all is forgiven. While the people not burdened with religion have to think about the actions they take, the words they use and the suffering people feel. If religion allows you to ignore the suffering of people I am glad I don't have it.

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The U.S. Is Still Blue Six Months Later

Gallup poll shows states still strongly Democrat.

Found through The Daily Dish - Blue Nation Sphere: Related Content

Is Cash For Clunkers Sound Environmental Policy

Gwen Ottinger questions the environmental effects of Cash for Clunkers. Sphere: Related Content

There Should Be More Naughty Words Used

Apparently Tim Geithner's language in a meeting yesterday with financial regulators got a littler more colorful than usual. The writer of a Wall Street Journal story called it an "expletive-laced critique." I think I like the angry Tim Geithner. We should have more cursing.

The WSJ article states:
"Friday's roughly hourlong meeting was described as unusual, not only because of Mr. Geithner's repeated use of obscenities, but because of the aggressive posture he took with officials from federal agencies generally considered independent of the White House. Mr. Geithner reminded attendees that the administration and Congress set policy, not the regulatory agencies."
It continues:
"Government officials said Mr. Geithner had expected regulators to object to parts of the plan that threatened their power or authority, but Treasury officials appeared caught off guard at how much the criticism resonated with lawmakers.
Mr. Geithner wanted to tell the attendees they shouldn't let turf battles get in the way of fixing a system that is clearly broken, Mr. Wolin said. He declined to comment on Mr. Geithner's tone and language."
I have not been able to digest the Financial Regulatory Reform proposal, I probably won't be able to either. Nevertheless, Geithner's primary goal is to create a new regulatory agencies and boards, for example the Financial Services Oversight Council and the National Bank Supervisor. I will read more of the plan and hopefully be able the answer the following question. Is Geithner's proposal going to alleviate the rent seeking tendencies of regulators or is he creating a whole new agencies of rent seekers? Sphere: Related Content

Happy Birthday To You. Happy Birth....

Happy Birthday President Obama.

Hope the birthers get you something nice. Sphere: Related Content

Will This Recession End In October

Economic analysts revise 3Q GPD forecast. Hopefully these revised estimates materialize. Even if economy does reach these numbers most people won't feel the improvement for many months.

Analyst Q3 - Prev. Q3 - Revised
Credit Suisse 1.3% 2.0%
Deutsche Bank AG 0.0% 2.0%
J.P. Morgan 2.5% 3.0%
Moody’s 1.1% 1.6%
Morgan Stanley 1% 3%-4%
UBS 2.0% 2.5%
Wells Fargo 2.2% 3.0%
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Monday, August 3, 2009

Pres. Clinton Lands In Pyongyang

I hope he can secure the release of the captive journalists. Sphere: Related Content

The President Can Wear Those Awful Jeans But This Woman Gets Lashed

National Review column about a woman threatened with 40 lashes for wearing indecent trousers. Sphere: Related Content

Weigel Must Have Teams Of Debunking Muckraking Superheros

David Weigel reports that the inspiration for the fake Kenya birth certificate had been found.
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Weigel Debunks The Nuts

David Weigel has quickly debunked the nut that is Orly Taitz (still love that name). Taitz's new fraud was Barack Obama's Kenyan birth certificate. Weigel writes:
"This has always been a red flag for conspiracy theorists, so it deserves some explanation. Barack Obama Sr. was born and educated in Nyanza Province, in southwestern Kenya, on Lake Victoria. This is the area where Obama’s family lived and continues to live; Sarah Obama, the step-grandmother of the president, lives in Nyang’oma Kogelo, a small town in the province. But Mombasa is a city on the Indian Ocean, a thousand miles to the east. It didn’t even have an international airport until 1979. And the city wasn’t even part of Kenya when the future president was born. Mombasa was a part of Zanzibar until December 12, 1963, when it became part of the newly independent Kenya."
Related post: Barack Obama's Kenyan Birth Certificate? Sphere: Related Content

Sand Animation (Sandimation?) From Ukraine's Got Talent

This is interesting art from the Ukraine. The music is just right. The video is long but enjoyable.
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Greenwald On Corporate Media

Glenn Greenwald continues to look into GE's editorial control of MSNBC.

"Instead, GE is now openly and proudly boasting of their editorial control over the news organizations they own, and publicly rubbing it in the faces of NBC News journalists that they're subservient to GE's corporate agenda...
The reason the journalism industry insisted for so long on the ludicrous fiction that corporate parents never violated the sanctity of journalistic independence is precisely because everyone understood why that would be so dangerous. Apparently, they no longer feel a need to maintain that fiction."
Related post: If Olbermann Can't Attack O'Reilly Why Watch UPDATE Sphere: Related Content

Yglesias On Unemployment

Matthew Yglesias writes, "Of course it’s hard to deny that, in isolation, the availability of unemployment benefits has some disemployment effect." He continues, "Amidst mass unemployment things probably look different." Sphere: Related Content

Sex And Privacy At Nursing Homes

LA Times asks why nursing home residents lose privacy rights when they enter the home. What if they want to have sex?

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Some Want To Stop Gays From Marrying But They Let These People

Crazy people in Maine have super hero themed wedding. Sphere: Related Content

A Shockingly Familiar Picture Of Military Overspending

Visual Economis Sphere: Related Content

Another "The End Of Civilization" Argument Against Same Sex Marriage

In today's Wall Street Journal Robert George uses the end of the world as we know argument against gay marriage. He actually makes the claim that gay marriage "entails abandoning norms such as monogamy." He takes it one step further that I have not heard before. He says advocates for same sex marriage are also trying to define marriage to include poly-amorous families.

I have not seen anyone fighting for the rights of marriage also ask for poly-amorous marriage rights. If you have I would be curious to see the arguments.

A related post: "The End Of Civilization" Argument Against Same Sex Marriage Sphere: Related Content

Malkin Is Correct About Unemployment Benefits Update/Clarification

Since a few people were upset by the previous Malkin post I should be more clear. In no way am I advocating that the congress not extend unemployment benefits. I was just expanding on Malkin's point which was a valid economic theory even though she did a poor job at explaining it. I was unclear as to my point. Perhaps I should have pointed out that Lawrence Katz, the economist to which Malkin referred, came out publicly that the theory that he proved in his research was not appropriate because on the current ratio of jobs to labor. Which is around 1 to 5.7. Sphere: Related Content

Nevada's Bunny Ranch Will Accept Cali IOUs At Face Value

The Bunny Ranch will take the IOUs issued to people owed money by the state of California. Sphere: Related Content

Malkin Is Correct About Unemployment Benefits

Michelle Malkin on This Week with George in addition to being slightly snotty was correct about the incentives of unemployment benefits.

There is a fair amount of research, including the Katz paper Malkin mentions, that show the escape rate of unemployment insurance gets closer to 100% as the recipient gets nearer to benefit exhaustion. At the point of exhaustion the recipients expected utility will decrease. Therefore, an unemployed person at the end of benefits will likely reduce their reservation wage and accept a position that they would have passed on earlier in their benefits period.

The incentive to accept a job depends on at least two factors for the insurance recipient. First, the availability of jobs that pay more than the current unemployment benefit. Second, the number of weeks available from unemployment programs.

The last few weeks of benefits will likely be the time when the unemployed commit more time to finding a job. Because at the end of benefits the search costs for the unemployed became too high.

There is an intrinsic benefit to allowing time for job search that creates quality job matching. Placing the right person to the right job increases productivity. But I am not sure that should be the priority now. So maybe we should not extend the unemployment benefits?

I did not think I would ever need to recall my thesis research. Title: "Exploring The Canada United States Unemployment Gap In Regards To Repetitive Use And The Duration of Unemployment Spells" Sexy title?
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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Barack Obama's Kenyan Birth Certificate?

Orly Taitz, the crazy birther lawyer, claims to have a copy of the President's Kenyan birth certificate.

I expect this to be sufficiently debunked by Monday morning.

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Washinton Post Reports Barack Obama's Impressions From The Campaign

The WaPo reports the Presidents impressions of the campaign. It reads fairly candid but you never know. Definitely worth a read.

My favorite passages:
"He was asked how the writer in him would spin the tale of what ultimately happened in 2008. 'The way I would tell the story would really have to do with what this campaign said about America and where we've traveled,' Obama said. 'The fact that just a little over 40 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, that I can run. That just a few decades after women were admitted to professions like law or medicine in any meaningful numbers, that Hillary could run in a credible way. The generational changes between John McCain's era and our own, and sort of the vestiges of Vietnam, the shift that's taken place in the salience of some of the culture wars that emerged in the '60s that really were the dominant force in our politics, starting with Ronald Reagan, and how that had less power. Which, by the way, includes why the issue of Reverend Wright or Bill Ayers never caught as powerfully as it might have 15 or 20 years ago. The way the Internet served our campaign in unprecedented ways.'"

"In the days leading up to Obama's decision to run, Axelrod prepared a private strategy memo -- dated Nov. 28, 2006 -- that has never been published before. He wrote that an outgoing president nearly always defines the next election and argued that people almost never seek a replica -- certainly not after the presidency of George W. Bush. In 2008, people were going to be looking for a replacement, someone who represented different qualities. In Axelrod's opinion, Obama's profile fit this historical moment far better than did Hillary Rodham Clinton's. If he was right, Obama could spark a political movement and prevail against sizable odds. He also counseled Obama against waiting for a future opportunity to run for president. 'History is replete with potential candidates for the presidency who waited too long rather than examples of people who ran too soon. . . . You will never be hotter than you are right now.'"

"'What was remarkable in my mind about our campaign was we never really changed our theory. You could read the speech we gave the day I announced and then read my speech on election night, and it was pretty consistent.'"

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Is The Crisis At NYC Art Istitutions A Learning Experience

City Journal describes the trouble New York City's cultural venues are experiencing and struggles they will face over the next two years. Some institutions became too reliant on endowment investment income and have seen losses around 35%. Coupled with that contributions are down while art supporters feel the economy tightening their own belts and the city contribution to institutions is predictably down. Lay-offs, reduced hours, reduced service and canceled exhibits are being seen all over the city. Unfortunately some smaller institutions close amid this economic terror for the arts.

Sad times for the city. What is the impact on the tourist cache? Will institutions learn to be more conservative with endowment investments? Sphere: Related Content

The Bible According To Bedford Avenue

I miss my old neighborhood. I was there for nearly a decade but luckily the hipsters that live there now bring there hipsterness to the web.

The bible according to Bedford Ave.
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Palin Mountain - I Can Quit You? Update

Meg Stapleton, Palin spokesperson, issues statement via Facebook:

"No Truth to Latest Rumors

Yet again, some so-called journalists have decided to make up a story. There is no truth to the recent 'story' (and story is the correct term for this type of fiction) that the Palins are divorcing. The Palins remain married, committed to each other and their family, and have not purchased land in Montana (last week it was reported to be Long Island).

Less than one week ago, Governor Palin asked the media to 'quit making things up.' We appreciate that the more professional journalists decided to question this story before repeating it."

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Palin Mountain - I Can Quit You?

Reports out of Alaska that the Palins are getting divorced. Sphere: Related Content
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