Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Tale Of Two Bushes

Does this signify something?

Meanwhile, The One has trouble drawing a crowd:
President Obama wrapped up a weekend of last-minute campaigning in Ohio on Sunday, addressing Democrats in an indoor arena that, in a sign of the “enthusiasm gap” that the president is working so hard to close, was little more than half full.

About 8,000 people attended the Democratic National Committee’s Moving America Forward’ rally at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center, a hall where the capacity is 13,000. The rafters were largely empty.

Organizers noted the president was competing on a Sunday afternoon with church, football and Halloween.
Sorry, but I don't think that's the reason...

Meet The New Czars, Same As The Old Ones

Twenty years after they got rid of Communism, Russia is still muddling through:
The current government has made progress in fixing the economy and reducing the atmosphere of lawlessness. But corruption is still rampant, and the newly centralized government is seen as a return to autocratic rule of the past. The problem with autocratic strongmen is that they tend to stay in power long past the point where they are effective. The czars and communists both suffered from this, and it is feared that new "democratic dictatorship" will do the same.

A new mayor in Moscow (the old one had been in power for over a decade, but had gone against the national leadership and was dismissed) has said he will clean up police corruption and inefficiency. As part of that effort, 12 percent of Moscow police (11,900) will be fired. Cops taking bribes is only part of the problem here. A larger issue was police jobs becoming political patronage, with a proliferation of different police forces (like one for ecological crime), many full of friends of some politician, and not doing much of anything on the job.
Nobody ever said corruption was easy...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reporters Just Don't Understand

Suppose there was a revolution in Canada-and the media were totally caught off guard?
The people who work in much of the major media – the CBC, the Toronto Star, even my own beloved paper – were stunned by the Ford tsunami. After all, the polls had predicted a squeaker. But there’s another reason they didn’t see the big wave coming. Very few of these people live or work outside downtown Toronto. Very few ever hang around with someone who voted for Mr. Ford and will own up to it. They remind me of the super-smart editorial writers at The New York Times who are sincerely convinced that Tea Partiers are dangerous crackpots – even though they’ve never met any.

The media think they understand why people voted as they did. As one Toronto Star pundit helpfully explained, the voters – Ford voters, that is – “were full of largely pointless rage.” Only pointless rage could explain why voters ignored the editorial endorsements of two leading newspapers, as well as a long line of former mayors who begged them, in the name of decency, to vote for George Smitherman. Even Justin Trudeau’s twinkle dust didn’t work.
As we've seen, this attitude is not unique to Canada. I suspect many of our media types will be feeling the same way after Election Day.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Eleventh Hour

The clock is ticking. The Democrats seem to be imploding. And the usual suspects are having really bad days:
This is going to be terrible. In fact, future historians will probably look back at the 2010 election as a catastrophe for America, one that condemned the nation to years of political chaos and economic weakness…

In fact, if they get their way, we’ll get the worst of both worlds: They’ll refuse to do anything to boost the economy now, claiming to be worried about the deficit, while simultaneously increasing long-run deficits with irresponsible tax cuts — cuts they have already announced won’t have to be offset with spending cuts.

So if the elections go as expected next week, here’s my advice: Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Hmm. Maybe Stephen Colbert has a point...

Bloggin' In The Years: 1800

This year's Presidential contest has become nothing if not brutal between the two candidates. Witness the ferocity of their attacks upon each other:

Perhaps future generations will see more civility-or, perhaps not...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Hand Of Clinton

How desperate was Bill Clinton (and apparently the White House) to stop Rubio's rise in Florida? He tried to get the Democratic nominee to quit and support Charlie Crist instead:
Clinton campaigned with Meek in Florida on October 19 and 20, and thought he had won Meek over in an evening conversation the night they spent together in Jacksonville. But as the week wore on, Meek lost his enthusiasm for the arrangement, spurred in part, a third Democratic source said, by his wife’s belief that he could still win the race. Clinton spoke with Meek again at week’s end, three Democrats said, and again Meek said he would drop out…

The Crist, Meek and Clinton camps even set a date for an endorsement rally: the following Tuesday, October 26. Meek was to give Crist his blessing and explain to his disappointed supporters — many of whom deeply distrust the governor, who was elected as a Republican — that their votes could save the Senate for the Democrats and save America from the rise of Rubio, who is viewed both as a hard-line conservative and a potential national figure…

“Not being seen as a quitter was more important than stopping someone who was so opposed to what you and your party had stood for,” said one Democrat who had been hoping to close the deal.
This is an extremely odd thing for Clinton to have done, and it begs the question of what kind of message Clinton was hoping to send to Florida voters, particularly African-American ones-support the old white guy who used to be a Republican over the young black guy? Maybe Clinton and the Democratic leadership wanted to let Meek know that they considered him a lost cause? Good luck with either strategy now, guys.

The Left Gene

Researchers claim they've found the long sought-after liberal gene:
According to scientists at UC San Diego and Harvard University, "ideology is affected not just by social factors, but also by a dopamine receptor gene called DRD4." That and how many friends you had during high school.

The study was led by UCSD's James Fowler and focused on 2,000 subjects from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Scientists matched the subjects' genetic information with "maps" of their social networks. According to researchers, they determined that people "with a specific variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to be liberal as adults." However, the, subjects were only more likely to have leanings to the left if they were also socially active during adolescence.

"It is the crucial interaction of two factors -- the genetic predisposition and the environmental condition of having many friends in adolescence -- that is associated with being more liberal,” according to the study.
They could tell it was the liberal gene because it kept wanting the other genes to give their "Fair share" of material to poorer genes.

Who Killed The Great Pumpkin?

With the holiday right around the corner, a relevant look at how the nannystate wrecked Halloween:
Think of how Halloween used to be the one day of the year when gaggles of kids took to the streets by themselves—at night even. Big fun! Low cost! But once the party moved inside, to keep kids safe from the nonexistent poisoners, in came all the nonsense. The battery-operated caskets. The hired witch. The Costco veggie trays and plastic everything else. Halloween went from hobo holiday to $6 billion extravaganza.

And it blazed the way for adult-supervised everything else. Let kids make their own fun? Not anymore! Let’s sign our toddlers up for “movement” classes! Let’s bring on the extracurricular activities, travel soccer and manicure parties for the older kids. Once Halloween got outsourced to adults, no kids-only activity was safe. Goodbye sandlot, hello batting coach! . . . We can kill off Halloween, or we can accept that it isn’t dangerous and give it back to the kids. Then maybe we can start giving them back the rest of their childhoods, too.
The killjoys have become the equilvelant of Lucy and the football...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Elite Brigade

Megan McArdle on why elites are so often out of touch:
Elites are often missing crucial knowledge, and unaware of it. In some ways, that effect is more pronounced than it used to be, with more and more of the elites drawn from a narrow class of extremely well-educated people from a handful of metropolitan areas, few of whom have ever, say, been responsible for a profit and loss statement, or tried to bring a gas station into compliance with local and federal EPA regulations. In a world where your primary output is words, it is easy to imagine a smoothly operating process based on really smart rule-making. And there's a certain impatience with the grimy, self interested folks who complain about the regulations imposed for the good of society--a certain forgetting that in aggregate, those whiners are society. In essence, elites are always missing one vital piece of information: what it is like to be someone who is not in the elite.

The problem is not that the elites are venal self-interested autocrats out to screw the little guy and give their group more power; the problem is that, like every other group, they tend to understand the costs of programs that restrict their autonomy very well, and to be somewhat less sensitive to the freedom of others.
All too true, and, in the case of some, extremely arrogant about it.

Haunted By Healthcare

It's become the proverbial albatross around the necks of those who supported it:
There’s no doubt that the health care bill is unpopular. A new Battleground Poll shows 54 percent opposed to it, 40 percent strongly. This weeks' Society for Human Resource Management/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll, conducted with the Pew Research Center, showed voters favor repealing the law by a 10-point margin, 51 to 41 percent. Republicans have been hammering Democrats across the country over their votes for the legislation, even in solidly Democratic states and districts. Of the many Democratic lawmakers in trouble, only a brave and principled few, such as Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., and Rep. Scott Murphy, D-N.Y., have even mentioned their support for the bill – and the latest polls have both trailing in their reelection bids.

By contrast, Democrats who opposed the bill are in surprisingly decent shape, given the lousy political environment. Many of the anti-health care Democrats hail from Southern districts that John McCain comfortably carried in 2008. And while many of them still face tough races, members like Bobby Bright of Alabama, Travis Childers of Mississippi, Ike Skelton of Missouri, and Larry Kissell of North Carolina find themselves with a fighting chance despite the deeply conservative nature of their districts.
This probably explains why Joe Manchin has had a change of heart. Politicians do tend to live or die by the votes they cast.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Looking For A Few Good Fools

What's one of the best ways to beat the terrorists? By exposing their incompetence:
To be sure, some terrorists are steely and skilled—people like Mohamed Atta, the careful and well-trained head of the 9/11 hijackers. Their leaders and recruiters can be lethally subtle and manipulative, but the quiet truth is that many of the deluded foot soldiers are foolish and untrained, perhaps even untrainable. Acknowledging this fact could help us tailor our counterterrorism priorities—and publicizing it could help us erode the powerful images of strength and piety that terrorists rely on for recruiting and funding.

Current U.S. public diplomacy centers on selling America to the Muslim world, but we should also work to undermine some of the myths built up around our enemies by highlighting their incompetence, their moral failings, and their embarrassing antics. Beyond changing how the Muslim world perceives terrorists, we can help ourselves make smarter counterterrorism choices by being more realistic about the profile and aptitude of would-be attackers.
In other words, there's a reason these people are the rejects of Muslim society-if they had brains, they'd be, well, dangerous.

On The Road Again

Katie Couric, among the commoners:
Rick Kaplan, her executive producer, says that “when she’s on the road—in Iraq with David Petraeus—she has a great way with people. People like her and she likes them. There are anchors who consider being on the road a pain in the butt. She really looks for opportunities to feel the earth and touch people.”

That’s why Couric has spent recent weeks in Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston and New Brunswick, New Jersey. She is touring what she calls “this great unwashed middle of the country” in an effort to divine the mood of the midterms.

Therein lies a key reason why Couric has sometimes struggled in her current job. She’s always seemed constrained by the rigid, 22-minute format, a far cry from her freewheeling Today performances over a decade and a half. So she has devised ways to slip out of her $15 million-a-year prison—launching a Web show, engaging on Twitter, and getting out in the field.
It's nice to know that she cares about the little people. Being aloof can be so tiring...

The Final Days

It's getting nasty out there as the various races come down to the wire. First, there's this:
Some voters in Boulder City complained on Monday that their ballot had been cast before they went to the polls, raising questions about Clark County's electronic voting machines.

Voter Joyce Ferrara said when they went to vote for Republican Sharron Angle, her Democratic opponent, Sen. Harry Reid's name was already checked.

Ferrara said she wasn't alone in her voting experience. She said her husband and several others voting at the same time all had the same thing happen.

"Something's not right," Ferrara said. "One person that's a fluke. Two, that's strange. But several within a five minute period of time -- that's wrong."

Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax said there is no voter fraud, although the issues do come up because the touch-screens are sensitive. For that reason, a person may not want to have their fingers linger too long on the screen after they make a selection at any time.

"Especially in a community with elderly citizens (they have) difficulty in (casting their) ballot," Lomax said. "Team leaders said there were complaints (and the) race filled in."
But is it all the old folks' fault? Because then there's this:
A Craven County voter says he had a near miss at the polls on Thursday when an electronic voting machine completed his straight-party ticket for the opposite of what he intended.

Sam Laughinghouse of New Bern said he pushed the button to vote Republican in all races, but the voting machine screen displayed a ballot with all Democrats checked. He cleared the screen and tried again with the same result, he said. Then he asked for and received help from election staff.

“They pushed it twice and the same thing happened,” Laughinghouse said. “That was four times in a row. The fifth time they pushed it and the Republicans came up and I voted.”
Hmm. I wonder if this has anything to do with what's going on?

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Afghan Money Trail

Hamid Karzai knows where the money comes from:
Afghanistan – Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged on Monday that he receives millions of dollars in cash from Iran, adding that Washington gives him "bags of money" too because his office lacks funds.

U.S. officials said the money flowing from Tehran was further proof that Iran is playing a double game in Afghanistan — wooing the government while helping Taliban insurgents who are fighting U.S. and NATO forces.

The United States has itself used cash as a weapon in the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq — from local development projects to win public support, to salaries for Iraqi insurgents who switched sides, to cash payoffs to influential community leaders willing to back the U.S. and its allies.

Karzai said that once or twice a year, Iran gives his office $700,000 to $975,000 for official presidential expenses.

"This is transparent. This is something that I've even discussed while I was at Camp David with President Bush," Karzai told a news conference, referring to meetings with then-President George W. Bush at the U.S. presidential retreat outside Washington.

"It is not hidden," he said. "We are grateful for the Iranians' help in this regard. The United States is doing the same thing. They are providing cash to some of our offices."

Asked whether the U.S. actually gives bags full of cash to the presidential office, Karzai responded: "Yes, it does give bags of money."

David Sherzer, a spokesman for Bush, declined to comment on Karzai's comments.
Maybe he should start a bidding war for his services...

Not Your Grandfather's Great Depression

Virginia Postrel puts things in perspective:
Americans have a lot of stuff—so much, in fact, that getting it under control has become a major cultural fantasy. Witness the Container Store, whose aisles of closet systems and colorful boxes peddle dreams as seductive as any fashion shoot. Or consider shows like “Clean House,” on the Style Network, where hosts cajole, browbeat and bribe homeowners into getting rid of half their things and organizing the rest. . . . In today’s sour economy, however, what once seemed like waste is starting to look like wealth: assets to draw on when times get tough (and not just because of all those ads promising top dollar for your gold jewelry). Material abundance, it turns out, produces economic resilience. Even if today’s recession approached Great Depression levels of unemployment, the hardship wouldn’t be as severe, because today’s consumers aren’t living as close to the edge.
Of course, this doesn't mean that times still aren't tough-just that it helps to have a little historical perspective in comparing what we have now to what we didn't have back then.

Know The Enemy

Obama wants Hispanics to remember who the "Bad guys" are:
In a radio interview that aired on Univision on Monday, Mr. Obama sought to assure Hispanics that he would push an immigration overhaul after the midterm elections, despite fierce Republican opposition.

“If Latinos sit out the election instead of saying, ‘We’re gonna punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us,’ if they don’t see that kind of upsurge in voting in this election, then I think it’s gonna be harder and that’s why I think it’s so important that people focus on voting on November 2.”

Referring specifically to Republicans such as Senator John McCain, who are stressing border security and supporting strict immigration laws like Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration measure, Mr. Obama said, “Those aren’t the kinds of folks who represent our core American values.”
Well, at least he didn't call McCain an out-and-out racist. That would be, you, know, un-American.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Silent Minority

Have two years of Obama and the 2010 elections finally emboldened Hollywood's conservative community?
While a smattering of celebrities are trying to bolster Democrats in what may, in the end, be a death march to Election Day, it's entertainment figures from the right who've commandeered media attention.

"On this part of the spectrum, it is stronger than it has ever been," says writer-director Lionel Chetwynd, a longtime industry conservative whose involvement stretches back three decades.

Some of the most enduring stars who lean to the center or to the right, such as Clint Eastwood, keep working. Jon Voight, who has addressed Tea Party rallies and even accused Obama of having "promoted anti-Semitism throughout the world," followed up a regular role on "24" with one on the short-lived "Lone Star." "Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak more genially comments on such things as taxes and race relations in online blog posts -- most recently an item wondering if it was a conflict of interest for public employees to vote on laws they stand to benefit from -- but that hasn't hurt his gameshow gig. And Chuck Norris' embrace of Mike Huckabee during the 2008 campaign undoubtedly gave him a new dose of (kitschy) cachet.

Moreover, as much as there is a greater sense of organization among industry conservatives, they do not march in lockstep any more than liberals do.
For Hollywood, that's probably radical enough.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Slacking Is Our Business

The Obama Administration wants you-to remain unemployed:
Congressional Budget Office director Doug Elmendorf said Friday that ObamaCare includes work disincentives likely to shrink the amount of labor used in the economy.

In a speech on ObamaCare’s economic impact outside the health care sector, Elmendorf said that those effects will primarily be related to the labor market and “will probably be small.”

Factoring in additional demand for workers in health care and insurance, CBO estimates that “the legislation, on net, will reduce the amount of labor used in the economy by roughly half a percent,” he said.

The reason: The expansion of Medicaid and new health insurance subsidies will reduce “the amount of labor that workers choose to supply.”
In other words, Obamacare's goal is to turn us into...France.

Friday, October 22, 2010

You Say You Want A Revolution

There's a nutbar in every crowd:
Republican congressional candidate Stephen Broden stunned his party Thursday, saying he would not rule out violent overthrow of the government if elections did not produce a change in leadership.

In a rambling exchange during a TV interview, Broden, a South Dallas pastor, said a violent uprising "is not the first option," but it is "on the table." That drew a quick denunciation from the head of the Dallas County GOP, who called the remarks "inappropriate."

Broden, a first-time candidate, is challenging veteran incumbent Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson in Dallas' heavily Democratic 30th Congressional District. Johnson's campaign declined to comment on Broden.

In the interview, Brad Watson, political reporter for WFAA-TV (Channel 8), asked Broden about a tea party event last year in Fort Worth in which he described the nation's government as tyrannical.

"We have a constitutional remedy," Broden said then. "And the Framers say if that don't work, revolution."

In the interview, Brad Watson, political reporter for WFAA-TV (Channel 8), asked Broden about a tea party event last year in Fort Worth in which he described the nation's government as tyrannical.

"We have a constitutional remedy," Broden said then. "And the Framers say if that don't work, revolution."

Watson asked if his definition of revolution included violent overthrow of the government. In a prolonged back-and-forth, Broden at first declined to explicitly address insurrection, saying the first way to deal with a repressive government is to "alter it or abolish it."
For context, here's what Jefferson said about such matters. Needless to say, the Democrats will no doubt do what they can to give this guy his fifteen minutes of fame as an "Example" of current Republican thinking.

Harry The Saviour

So here's Harry Reid, making a somewhat dubious claim:

But even if it worked, who really saved us? Hint: It wasn't Harry.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

National Politically Correct Radio

It's no secret that NPR has long had a liberal bias. Now they're stepping in it:
NPR chief executive Vivian Schiller is defending the firing of news analyst Juan Williams after his comments on the Fox News Channel, saying his feelings about Muslims are between him and “his psychiatrist or his publicist.”

Schiller spoke Thursday at the Atlanta Press Club. She said Williams’ firing is not a reflection of his comments that he gets nervous when he sees people in Muslim garb on an airplane.

She says she has no problem with people taking controversial positions, but that such opinions should not come from NPR reporters or news analysts. Schiller says Williams is a news analyst, not a commentator or columnist.
He spoke his mind, so obviously Williams must be crazy. Bernie Goldberg responds:
Here's a bulletin, NPR: Lots and lots and lots of Americans feel the same way as Juan Williams. And that includes lots and lots of liberals. And probably a lot of liberals who work at NPR. Juan's "crime" wasn't that he said something bigoted. His crime is that he said something that liberals find politically incorrect. And that he said it out loud. And worst of all, that he said it on the Fox News Channel.

In liberal circles this is nothing less than a crime against humanity!

What makes this so crazy -- and so sad -- is that liberals are the open-minded ones, the ones who cherish the free exchange of ideas, the smart ones. And if you don't believe me, just ask any liberal, who will be glad to tell you how smart and open-minded he or she is. But these are the kind of people who believe in "free speech" only as long as they agree with you.
As we've seen with Bill O'Reilly and Whoopi Goldberg, this is glaringly obvious-except to the liberals.

Meanwhile, in related news, a well-known speculative fiction writer gets similar treatment.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

When don't you blame your predecessor? When you can take credit for something they did:
Out of 70 major wind farms that received the $4.4 billion in federal energy grants through the stimulus program, public records show that 11, which received a total of $600 million, erected their wind towers during the Bush administration. And a total of 19 wind farms, which received $1.3 billion, were built before any of the stimulus money was distributed. Yet all the jobs at these wind farms are counted in the administration's figures for jobs created by the stimulus.

In testimony to Congress earlier this year, the Department of Energy's senior adviser on the stimulus plan, Matt Rogers, touted the wind farm program for creating as many as 50,000 jobs. He acknowledges that these figures were provided by a wind industry trade and lobbying group. The trade group, in turn, cites a government study, which found that most of the jobs are short term.

The Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University fact-checked that claim, using the federal government's own documents. Not only were 19 of the wind farms already in place before the first stimulus payments were made, but 14 of them were already sending electricity to the grid.
I'm sure the wind farm operators are grateful for the extra hot air now coming their way...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Age Of Shoddy

If Chicago is to be taken as a model for stimulus projects, there's a problem:
A new report by the Department of Energy has found serious problems in stimulus-funded weatherization work -- problems so severe that they have resulted in homes that are not only not more energy efficient but are actually dangerous for people to live in.

The study, by the Department's inspector general, examined the work of what's called the Weatherization Assistance Program, or WAP, in Illinois. Last year, the Department awarded Illinois $242 million, which was expected to pay for the weatherization of 27,000 homes. Specifically, Energy Department inspectors took a close look at the troubled operations of the Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County, known as CEDA, which is the largest recipient of weatherization money in Illinois with $91 million to weatherize 12,500 homes. (Cook County is, of course, home to Chicago.)

The findings are grim. "Our testing revealed substandard performance in weatherization workmanship, initial assessments, and contractor billing," the inspector general report says. "These problems were of such significance that they put the integrity of the entire program at risk."

Department inspectors visited 15 homes that were being weatherized by CEDA and paid for by stimulus funds. "We found that 14 of the 15 homes…failed final inspection because of poor workmanship and/or inadequate initial assessments," the report says.
Jonah Goldberg has related thoughts. Meanwhile, some related history.

All Tomorrow's Tea Parties

Meet Moe Tucker, conservative rebel:
No country can provide all things for all citizens. There comes a point where it just isn't possible, and it's proven to be a failure everywhere it's been tried. I am not oblivious to the plight of the poor, but I don't see any reason/sense to the idea that everyone has to have everything, especially when the economy is so bad. I see that philosophy as merely a ploy to control.

My family was damn poor when I was growing up on Long Island. There were no food stamps, no Medicaid, no welfare. If you were poor, you were poor. You didn't have a TV, you didn't have five pairs of shoes, you didn't have Levi's, you didn't have a phone; you ate Spam, hot dogs and spaghetti. We all survived! I am not against food stamps, welfare or Medicaid, if only they would oversee these programs properly!

I am also against the government taking over the student loan program, car companies, bailouts and the White House taking control of the census (what the hell is that all about?); [about] any First Lady telling (I know, I know, "suggesting to") us what to eat, the mayor of New York City declaring "no salt" (screw you, pal!), the mayor/city commissioners of Anytown, U.S.A. declaring you can't fly a flag, can't say the Pledge of Allegiance and can't sing the National Anthem. I'm against a President dismissing any and all who dare to disagree; the water being turned off in (central) California, at [an] area where they've turned off the water because they want to save a one-inch fish -- turning that huge area of farming land into another dustbowl -- the insipid start of food supply control methinks! The government deciding what kind of lightbulbs we can use (all you "think green" people, three objections to this b.s.: 1) Those bulbs give off the light of a candle; 2) They're very expensive; 3) They have mercury in them - how the hell are we supposed to dispose of them?).

I am against the government now thinking about bailing out unions. The unions made the contracts which include insane pensions; the U.S. government didn't. I'm against the government closing down offshore drilling in the Gulf with one hand and with the other giving (lending?) Brazil money to help them do way deeper offshore drilling -- rather curious. I'm against a government that will not defend our borders; and on and on and on.

My anger stems from the unbelievable (criminal!) waste of money on pork and earmarks. It drives me nuts to see that X millions are being allocated to build a turtle tunnel, a donkey museum, a salamander crossing, etc, etc, etc. Billions spent every friggin' year on totally unnecessary crap so that these Congressbums can tell their constituents that they "brought home the bacon" and get re-elected. I'm sorry, but I don't want to pay for any Congress SOB's vote buying, and sure as hell not in these very very worrisome times!
Of course, these aren't just Tea Party sentiments but those shared by most conservatives in general. Which is what makes them so "Extreme" in the eyes of politically correct liberals.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Save Our Welfare State

In France, the kids are revolting:
Masked youths clashed with police and set fires in cities across France on Tuesday as protests against a proposed hike in the retirement age took an increasingly radical turn. Hundreds of airline flights were canceled, long lines formed at gas stations and train service in many regions was cut in half.

President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to crack down on "troublemakers" and guarantee public order, raising the possibility of more confrontations with young rioters after a week of disruptive but largely nonviolent demonstrations.

Sarkozy also vowed to ensure that fuel was available to everyone. Some 4,000 gas stations were out of gas Tuesday afternoon, the environment minister said. The prime minister said oil companies agreed to pool gasoline stocks to try to get the dry gas stations filled again.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon said, "The government will continue to dislodge protesters blocking the fuel depots. ... No one has the right to take hostage an entire country, its economy and its jobs."

The protesters are trying to prevent the French parliament from approving a bill that would raise the retirement age from 60 to 62 to help prevent the pension system from going bankrupt. Many workers feel the change would be a dangerous step in eroding France's social benefits — which include long vacations, contracts that make it hard for employers to lay off workers and a state-subsidized health care system — in favor of "American-style capitalism."
Oh, the horror! But this goes to the deeper problem the Continent has had as it realizes that it can't pay for its welfare state, while creating a generation raised to expect cradle-to-grave entitlements at the same time. Sooner or later, something has to give.

Get Out the Vote

A field trip-or indoctrination?
Three van loads of Hughes High students were taken last week – during school hours – to vote and given sample ballots only for Democratic candidates and then taken for ice cream, a Monday lawsuit alleges.

The complaint was made by Thomas Brinkman Jr., a Republican candidate for Hamilton County auditor, and the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending & Taxes against Cincinnati Public Schools.

“They plan to bring four more high schools (to vote) this week,” Christopher Finney, COAST attorney, said Monday after filing the suit.

The suit alleges three van loads of Hughes High students arrived at the Downtown Board of Elections offices at 1 p.m. Wednesday, supervised by a school employee. School lets out at 3:15 p.m.

When they got out of the vans, the students, the suit alleges, also were accompanied by adults who appeared to be campaign workers or supporters for U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus, D-West Price Hill, the congressman being challenged this fall by Steve Chabot. When the students got out of the vans, the suit alleges they were given sample ballots containing only Democratic candidates.
You've got to get 'em while they're young...

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Evil One

Rush Limbaugh is puzzled by Obama's odd facial expressions:
There are some pictures on the Drudge Report. I'm gonna hold them up here to the Dittocam. I've got too many things to do here, but, folks, these pictures, they look demonic. And I don't say this lightly. There are a couple pictures, and the eyes, I'm not saying anything here, but just look. It is strange that these pictures would be released. Snerdley is looking at them and ... see what I'm talking about? It's very, very, very strange. An American president has never had facial expressions like this. At least we've never seen photos of an American president with facial expressions like this.
Of course, Drudge has a history of posting pictures of people he doesn't like in unflattering poses, but...this is kind of creepy, even creepier than when he simply looked arrogant.

Bloggin' In The Years: 1985

The late Yul Brynner delivers a message from beyond the grave:

Publius Anonymous

Darn those unknown authors:

Heh. As Reason TV asks:
Is anonymous political speech really that new - or that bad?

Indeed, anonymous political speech isn't just a great American tradition. It helped create the United States of America. The Federalist Papers, the series of essays that influenced the adoption of the Constitution, were published under the pseudonym "Publius" (in reality James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay). The anti-Constitution position was in turn articulated by "the Federal Farmer," whose identity remains a mystery.
Apparently it's only bad if the other side is doing it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Setting Sun

Is Japan a vision of the future?
Few nations in recent history have seen such a striking reversal of economic fortune as Japan. The original Asian success story, Japan rode one of the great speculative stock and property bubbles of all time in the 1980s to become the first Asian country to challenge the long dominance of the West.

But the bubbles popped in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and Japan fell into a slow but relentless decline that neither enormous budget deficits nor a flood of easy money has reversed. For nearly a generation now, the nation has been trapped in low growth and a corrosive downward spiral of prices, known as deflation, in the process shriveling from an economic Godzilla to little more than an afterthought in the global economy.

Now, as the United States and other Western nations struggle to recover from a debt and property bubble of their own, a growing number of economists are pointing to Japan as a dark vision of the future. Even as the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, prepares a fresh round of unconventional measures to stimulate the economy, there are growing fears that the United States and many European economies could face a prolonged period of slow growth or even, in the worst case, deflation, something not seen on a sustained basis outside Japan since the Great Depression.

“The U.S., the U.K., Spain, Ireland, they all are going through what Japan went through a decade or so ago,” said Richard Koo, chief economist at Nomura Securities who recently wrote a book about Japan’s lessons for the world. “Millions of individuals and companies see their balance sheets going underwater, so they are using their cash to pay down debt instead of borrowing and spending.”

Just as inflation scarred a generation of Americans, deflation has left a deep imprint on the Japanese, breeding generational tensions and a culture of pessimism, fatalism and reduced expectations. While Japan remains in many ways a prosperous society, it faces an increasingly grim situation, particularly outside the relative economic vibrancy of Tokyo, and its situation provides a possible glimpse into the future for the United States and Europe, should the most dire forecasts come to pass.
There was a time when this might have been considered the West's (particularly America's) "Revenge." Now, not so much, as we seem bent on making the same mistakes.

Democrats, Defund Thyselves

You know all that criticism that Obama was giving the Chamber of Commerce? Well:
Democratic leaders in the House and Senate criticizing GOP groups for allegedly funneling foreign money into campaign ads have seen their party raise more than $1 million from political action committees affiliated with foreign companies.

House and Senate Democrats have received approximately $1.02 million this cycle from such PACs, according to an analysis compiled for The Hill by the Center for Responsive Politics. House and Senate GOP leaders have taken almost $510,000 from PACs on the same list.

The PACS are funded entirely by contributions from U.S. employees of subsidiaries of foreign companies. All of the contributions are made public under Federal Elections Commission rules, and the PACs affiliated with the subsidiaries of foreign corporations are governed by the same rules that American firms' PACs or other PACs would face.
Of course, since these are Democrats, maybe those rules don't apply. So does this mean we can now consider them a "Threat to democracy?"

Will The Real Libertarians Please Stand Up?

When it comes to whether or not the success of the Tea Party means that the Republican Party is moving in a more libertarian direction, Matt Welch is skeptical:
If anything, the rise of the unwashed Tea Party types indicates that Republicans have lost the ability and/or incentive to produce credible candidates who take spending cuts anywhere near as seriously as tax cuts. Until that happens, and until anyone with an R by his or her name shows any inclination to cut back on defense spending, war making, and the stockpiling of Executive Power, let alone getting the hell out of whole swaths of private peacable transactions between consenting humans, the most enthusiasm you'll get from me is seeing politicians and parties get fired, while their captive customers increasingly defect from their tired, predatory bullshit.
I tend to agree, especially when it comes to social issues, where some Republicans are still somewhat screwy. But that doesn't mean they still can't learn-if they want to.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Obama Uncertainty Principle

Ken Langone, a co-founder of Home Depot, responds to Obama's business bashing:
Your insistence that your policies are necessary and beneficial to business is utterly at odds with what you and your administration are saying elsewhere. You pick a fight with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, accusing it of using foreign money to influence congressional elections, something the chamber adamantly denies. Your U.S. attorney in New York, Preet Bahrara, compares investment firms to Mexican drug cartels and says he wants the power to wiretap Wall Street when he sees fit. And you drew guffaws of approving laughter with your car-wreck metaphor, recently telling a crowd that those who differ with your approach are "standing up on the road, sipping a Slurpee" while you are "shoving" and "sweating" to fix the broken-down jalopy of state.

That short-sighted wavering—between condescending encouragement one day and hostile disparagement the next—creates uncertainty that, as any investor could tell you, causes economic paralysis. That's because no one can tell what to expect next.
Maybe he really is turning into McCain...

Friday, October 15, 2010

If The Crime Doesn't Fit, You Must Acquit

Call it a victory for free speech:
In a surprising twist, the prosecution in the trial of Dutch MP Geert Wilders asked for complete acquittal today. With this, it strongly condemned the decision of a higher court to prosecute Wilders.

In a two-day long precise analysis of the remarks of Wilders, who had to stand trial for discrimination against Muslims and incitement to hatred, the prosecuting officers explained to the court that Wilders may have been insulting and provocative, but his words were within the limitations of Dutch law.

This doesn’t mean that the trial has stopped — next week the defense will continue. The Dutch law system demands a full cycle of prosecution and defense, and will end with an extensive verdict.

Though — in theory — the court could still convict Wilders, it now seems almost impossible.
I hope the Canadian Human Rights Commission is paying attention...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Non Comeback Kid

Victor Davis Hanson notes how different the tone of-and reaction to-the Endless Campaign is now from the bygone days of Hope and Change:
Gone are the faux columns and classical backdrops. There are no more vero possumus seals (now they fall off the podium). All pretense of “no more red states, no more blue states” nonpartisanship has long ago been dropped. Even the shrill, boilerplate evocation of “Bush-Cheney did it” sounds strained. The blatant divisive appeal to unions, young people, and “black folks” is now unapologetic. Them versus Us is the new theme. Gone is the pretense of inclusivity. Even the fainting now seems rigged rather than spontaneous, the faux cadences forced and more Rev. Wrightish rather than inspired. The eyes of the crowd roll, and have lost their glazed zombie look of 2008. It all reminds me of the failed comeback tour of the proverbial fading rock star, the desperate promos for the sinking supposed blockbuster Hollywood movie, or perhaps something akin to Jerry Ford’s WIN buttons or the Carter desk thump.
It doesn't help that History's Worst Monster looks better by comparison, either.

Barney Frank's Excellent Adventure

Along with not being able to win a debate, Barney Frank makes no apologies for being a hypocrite:
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank didn’t get just a free luxury jet ride to the Virgin Islands with a financier who got a $200 million federal bailout, he also stayed at the billionaire’s tropical mansion, his aide said.

“They’re friends. Are you not supposed to have friends if they’re wealthy?” Frank spokesman Harry Gural said of the Newton Democrat’s relationship with S. Donald Sussman.

The Herald reported yesterday that Frank, chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, flew to the Virgin Islands last Christmas on Sussman’s $25 million Dassault Falcon 2000EX luxury jet.

Frank, who has become the face of the unpopular federal bailouts, told the Herald the trip was “personal,” saying he and his partner, Jim Ready, are friends of Sussman and his fiancee, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine). Gural said all four stayed at Sussman’s St. Thomas manse.
Of course it's OK to have wealthy friends, Barney. I just wish your own party would acknowledge that.

The No BS Zone

Bill O'Reilly's been there before, but this time a debate over the NYC mosque/community center got testy:
"Seventy percent of Americans don't want that mosque down there," O'Reilly said.

When asked why, O’Reilly explained that the mosque was not supported by the majority of Americans because its location was “inappropriate."

When Goldberg asked why it was inappropriate, citing 70 Muslims who died in the attacks, O'Reilly said: "Because Muslims killed us on 9/11. That's why.”

Goldberg responded, “That is such bulls**t."

"Muslims didn't kill us? Is that what you're saying?" O'Reilly asked.

"Extremists did that!” Goldberg said.

As the conversation became more heated, Behar got up from her seat beside O'Reilly.

"I don’t want to sit here right now, I don’t," Behar said. "I am outraged by that statement.”

Goldberg joined her colleague and the two walked off stage.
They're both right, and O'Reilly could have phrased his response better, but Whoopi's reaction underscores the problem that Hollywood's leading liberals-and others-have had with identifying who the bad guys are. A little more maturity and less bloviating, please.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Police departments are looking for a few good people:
Police agencies across the country are recruiting thousands of civilians for a growing number of duties previously performed by uniformed cops, in an unusual concession to local budget cuts.
The positions — some paid and others volunteer — are transforming every-day citizens into crime-scene investigators, evidence gatherers and photographers in what some analysts suggest is a striking new trend in American policing.

"It's all being driven by the economy and we should expect to see more of it," says University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, who analyzes law enforcement practices. "As budgets are squeezed, an increasing number of duties are going to be moved off officers' plates."

The chief opponents of the movement are police union leaders who believe cash-strapped agencies are lowering standards and undermining professionalism in the ranks. In some cases, the civilian positions circumvent pay and benefit obligations outlined in hard-fought labor contracts, says Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO).

"The economy ought not to be pushing this," Johnson says. "You want the real deal when you call 911."
Translation: The police unions don't seem to want the people they claim to protect and serve stealing their thunder-or their influence...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Don't Ask, Don't Enforce

A federal judge does what Obama wouldn't/couldn't:
A federal judge issued a worldwide injunction Tuesday stopping enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, ending the military's 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips' landmark ruling was widely cheered by gay rights organizations that credited her with getting accomplished what President Obama and Washington politics could not.

"This order from Judge Phillips is another historic and courageous step in the right direction, a step that Congress has been noticeably slow in taking," said Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, the nation's largest organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans.
I fully expect the Obama administration's Justice Department to challenge this, but shouldn't Obama himself be happy? He said he'd be:

"It's important to be honest with our friends." He probaly wishes he'd meant it at the time...

Update: It looks like the administration will indeed challenge the ruling. It kind of contradicts what he told his MTV crowd, doesn't it?

Looking For Scapegoats In All The Wrong Places

If that's what Obama was doing, it seems to have backfired:
In a potential sign of Democratic unease with the White House midterm political strategy, some of President Obama's allies have begun to question his sustained attack on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has long claimed bipartisanship but is being increasingly identified as a GOP ally.

Some Democrats on Capitol Hill worry that the White House is going too far in charging that the politically powerful business lobby may be using foreign money to fuel its election efforts. The charge ignites strong feelings among job-hungry voters. But Democrats are concerned that it may be overstated and could harm moderate Democrats in swing districts.

Democrats expressing reservations have worked on behalf of moderate candidates with business backing. They recalled past attacks on former President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore for receiving foreign money and warned that White House charges now could lead to GOP reprisals, particularly if Republicans gain control of the House.

"The White House may reap the whirlwind," said one top Democratic staffer. "What are we going to do next year if a Republican Congress is making baseless claims about President Obama? We'll want the media to hold them accountable to the facts and the evidence."
Well, we all know the Democrats would never stoop that low themselves, right?

Going, Going...

Oh, how they turn:
More than 4 of 10 likely voters who say they once considered themselves Obama backers now are either less supportive or say they no longer support him at all, according to a Bloomberg National Poll conducted Oct. 7-10.

Three weeks before the Nov. 2 congressional elections that Republicans are trying to make a referendum on Obama, fewer than half of likely voters approve of the president’s job performance. Likely voters are more apt to say Obama’s policies have harmed rather than helped the economy. Among those who say they are most enthusiastic about voting this year, 6 of 10 say the Democrat has damaged the economy.

The poll shows that almost two-thirds of voters believe the country is on the wrong track and unemployment is the top concern for about half the electorate. The budget deficit, which was $1.291 trillion for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 and $1.416 trillion for 2009, ranks as the second most pressing issue, cited by 27 percent.
Not good news, especially since even George Soros is now predicting defeat for the President's party. Of course, when your legacy is one of failed hype, people tend to remember that.

When In Doubt, Read

Byron York has a shockingly simple idea: Make Congresscritters actually read their own bills:
It wouldn’t be hard to do. Republican Rep. John Culberson and Democratic Rep. Brian Baird already have a measure pending, H.R. 554 — aka the “Read the Bill” bill — that would require that the final language of a bill be available on the Internet for 72 hours before it is voted on. So far, it hasn’t passed.

Of course, the Pledge can’t promise that every lawmaker will actually read every bill. If enacted, it would just assure that all have a chance to do so. And even if lawmakers take the time to read a particular bill, there is always the question of whether they will understand it. While some things Congress passes are pretty simple, others are quite complex. Bills amend obscure sections of legislation that has been passed, amended and amended again over the years. Complicated formulas for Medicare are adjusted in ways that can cost the taxpayers billions. Byzantine tax provisions are laid out. It’s not always easy to understand.
Hanah Volokh has a similar proposal. Of course, if it were that easy, politicians probably wouldn't want to do it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Retired Health Care

The unintended consequences of Obamacare just keep coming:
3M Co., citing new federal health laws, said Monday it won't cover retirees with its corporate health-insurance plan starting in 2013.

Instead, the company will direct retirees to Medicare-backed insurance programs, and will provide reimbursement for that coverage. It'll also reimburse retirees who are too young for Medicare; the company didn't provide further details.

The company made the changes known in a memo to employees Friday; news of the move was reported in The Wall Street Journal and confirmed Monday by 3M spokeswoman Jackie Berry.

In its memo, the company said the new health-reform act would create new opportunities for people in their 50s and 60s to find affordable insurance.
Of course, given that Obamacare's goal seems to be to give the people what it wants, rather than what they want, the question remains as to how these people will now be able to find such affordable insurance schemes in the future.

Sounding The Alarm

So who's the latest person to become concerned about our fiscal future? None other than Obama's own Federal Reserve Chairman:
History makes clear that countries that continually spend beyond their means suffer slower growth in incomes and living standards and are prone to greater economic and financial instability.


If current policy settings are maintained, and under reasonable assumptions about economic growth, the federal budget will be on an unsustainable path in coming years, with the ratio of federal debt held by the public to national income rising at an increasing pace. Moreover, as the national debt grows, so will the associated interest payments, which in turn will lead to further increases in projected deficits. Expectations of large and increasing deficits in the future could inhibit current household and business spending--for example, by reducing confidence in the longer-term prospects for the economy or by increasing uncertainty about future tax burdens and government spending--and thus restrain the recovery. Concerns about the government's long-run fiscal position may also constrain the flexibility of fiscal policy to respond to current economic conditions.
I suppose it's important that he's saying this now, as is his boss. It's just too bad that they didn't see fit to actually try and do anything about it.

Some Speech Is More Protected Than Others

I'd hate to think this is where we're headed:
Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders went on trial Monday for alleged hate speech, even as his popularity and influence in the Netherlands are near all time highs.

Prosecutors say Wilders incited hatred against Muslims with remarks comparing Islam to Naziism and by calling for a ban on the Quran. Wilders argues he has a right to freedom of speech and his remarks were within the bounds of the law.

If convicted, he faces up to a year in prison. He could keep his seat in parliament.

On his Twitter account, Wilders said the start of his trial was a "terrible day."

"The freedom of expression of at least 1.5 million people is standing trial together with me," he wrote, referring to the voters that made his Freedom Party the third-largest in national elections in June.

But his lawyer, Bram Moszkowicz, told presiding judge Jan Moors at the start of the trial that Wilders would not answer questions during the trial.

"My client will, at my advice, exercise his right to silence today, tomorrow and the other days," Moszkowicz said. Moors then adjourned the case to consider a request from Wilders to explain his decision not to speak.
Of course, this isn't new for Mr. Wilders, but unfortunately it has become another by-product of the European Union's zeal for political correctness at the expense of democratic traditions.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Engine Of Unemployment

Is this just temporary? Or a sign of our economic future?
The true figure of our jobs predicament is 17 percent: the combination of the unemployed and the underemployed—those who can only find part-time work. That 17 percent is the highest figure since the 1930s.

Men are bearing the brunt of the crunch. Recently, their unemployment rate was 11.4 percent; women's was 8.8 percent, making for the largest jobless gender gap since tracking became possible in 1948. Why? Because men predominate in manufacturing and construction, the hardest-hit sectors, which have lost almost 4 million jobs since December 2007. Women, by contrast, are a majority in recession-resistant fields such as education and healthcare, which gained slightly fewer than 600,000 jobs during the same period.

Finally, 2 1/2 years into the most stimulative monetary and fiscal policy in our history—with fiscal deficits running at twice the rate that President Franklin Roosevelt ran during the Great Depression—the economy, at best, added just about 600,000 jobs. Compare that with the 8 million more jobs we need just to return us to the peak of December 2007, when our troubles started. We are way behind where we were in all previous recoveries.
But hey, at least the recession's officially "Over..."

911 Is A Joke

Chuck D might have been more right than he knew, at least when it comes to folks in Florida:
According to the Broward Sheriff's Office call center, nearly half the 911 calls they receive are for things not quite a life or death situation - unless you consider a fast food order an emergency.

To paraphrase the immortal words of Flavor Flav, 911 callers are a joke in this town.

"My toilet's overflowing, what do I do? That's my personal favorite," BSO Sheriff Al Lamberti said.

While it's a stretch, a busted toilet at least could, conceivably, be considered an emergency. But there is no rationale for the number calls that sound something like this:

"I ordered chicken nuggets and they don't have chicken nuggets," one woman called 911 to report.

The fast food offenses are usually the most common and often the most annoying because people think it's really an emergency worthy of 911, one operator said.

"Screaming in my ear, 'I wanted the sausage, and he gave me the burrito!'" April McGill recalls from one call. "She's trying to force me to eat something off the menu that I don't want!"

The penal code hasn't quite addressed customer service in the fast food industry, but that hasn't stopped Broward residents from picking up the phone and calling the police. People have asked for police escorts, rides to the liquor store and instructions on how to make meatballs.

One woman even called to ask what day it was.
And bear in mind, these people are allowed to vote...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Exploding Greens

Suddenly, blowing people up who disagree with you isn't quite as popular as it was:
The charities that backed a Richard Curtis film for the 10:10 environmental campaign said today that they were "absolutely appalled" when they saw the director's four-minute short, which was withdrawn from circulation amid a storm of protest.

The film, entitled No Pressure, debuted on the 10:10 website on Friday. Featuring a cast including film star Gillian Anderson and England footballer Peter Crouch, with music donated by Radiohead and shot by a 40-strong professional film crew led by director Dougal Wilson, it was intended to galvanise viewers into taking personal action to reduce their own carbon footprint.

In several graphic scenes, committed environmental campaigners use a detonator to blow up recalcitrant members of the public, including two schoolchildren and the ex-footballer David Ginola. Distribution plans for UK cinemas have now been scrapped.

The charity ActionAid, which co-ordinates the 10:10 schools programme, today welcomed the move. "Our job is to encourage proactive decisions at class level to reduce carbon emissions. We did it because evidence shows children are deeply concerned about climate change and because we see the impacts of it in the developing world where a lot of our work is. So we think the 10:10 campaign is very important, but the moment this film was seen it was clear it was inappropriate."
That's what you get for not screening something before you buy it...

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Other Great Depression

It seems Americans are literally in a sad state of affairs:
Nearly one in 10 Americans is depressed, and one in 30 meet the criteria for major depression, with the rate higher among the unemployed and those who can't work, a study said Thursday.

Nine percent of more than 235,000 adults surveyed between 2006 and 2008 across 45 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, met the criteria for depression, and 3.4 percent for "major" depression, according to the study by US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Among people who classified themselves as unable to work, nearly a quarter -- 22 percent -- met the criteria for major depression, as did nearly 10 percent of those who said they were unemployed.

Although the survey did not ask respondents why they were unable to work, study co-author and clinical psychologist Lela McKnight Eily said they were probably disabled or suffering from illness.
Or it could be, you know, the economy...

Friday, October 01, 2010

The Green Terror

Good news! Osama bin Laden has apparently become an environmentalist:
Osama bin Laden criticised relief efforts in Pakistan and called for action against climate change in what appeared to be a new audio tape from the al Qaeda leader issued on Friday in an Islamist forum.

The audio message, entitled "Pauses with the Method of Relief Work", was about 11 minutes long and was broadcast with a video showing still images of Bin Laden and images of natural disasters, the Islamist website used by al Qaeda said.

Bin Laden also touches on global warming, the second time he is believed to have made climate change a prominent theme of one of his statements.

"The huge climate change is affecting our (Islamic) nation and is causing great catastrophes throughout the Islamic world," he says in the tape.
Considering that he's been rotting away in a cave for the last nine years, he could certainly make the case that he's greener than Al Gore. And, since real envirowhackos apparently like to blow stuff up, this could be a new outlet for him.

Bloggin' In The Years: 1995

So the verdict is in. There has already been a lot of reaction, but to recap, here's a look back via David Letterman.

Rest And Relaxation

Because, you know, he's had so little:
At a Democratic fundraiser Thursday night, the president said, "I'd appreciate a little break."

The fundraiser -- $30,400 per person -- was at the home of Linda Douglass, the former CBS and ABC News reporter who joined the Obama White House to sell national health care to a skeptical public. Douglass is now a top executive at Atlantic Media, the Washington-based company that runs The Atlantic, National Journal, and other publications. Douglass' husband, John Phillips, is a wealthy lawyer, and according to a White House pool report, he introduced Obama tonight by saying, "I can remember walking down those snowy streets of Des Moines in the primary…We sleep much better knowing that you are our president at this difficult time."

According to the pool report, Obama thanked Phillips for the work he and his wife have done for Team Obama. Then the president mentioned that Phillips and Douglass have an opulent place in Italy and wondered why there had been no invitation to visit. "I'd appreciate a little break and some Tuscan sun," the president said, according to the pool report. "Some pasta. I can use it."
I guess the local golf courses weren't available...

Career Suicide

That looks like what CNN's Rick Sanchez is intent on committing:
Sanchez calls Stewart “a bigot,” then walks it back a bit, and he implies CNN is run by Jews.
Dominick was not just a radio show host – he is a CNN contributor who has a regular gig on John King, USA (more on that below), and he formerly was the warm up comic at The Daily Show. Which is why when Sanchez says “I think Jon Stewart’s a bigot” early in the interview, Dominick pushed back:
Dominick: How is he a bigot?
Sanchez: I think he looks at the world through, his mom, who was a school teacher, and his dad, who was a physicist or something like that. Great, I’m so happy that he grew up in a suburban middle class New Jersey home with everything you could ever imagine.
Dominick: What group is he bigoted towards?
Sanchez: Everybody else who’s not like him. Look at his show, I mean, what does he surround himself with?
A few minutes later, Sanchez takes back the word “bigot,” changing it to “prejudicial” and “uninformed.”

Later in the interview, Dominick brings up the fact that Stewart is Jewish, so is a minority himself. Sanchez laughs this off:
I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority? Yeah.
If that wasn’t clear, the “yeah” was sarcastic. “I can’t see somebody not getting a job somewhere because they’re Jewish,” says Sanchez.
I can see somebody like Sanchez not getting a job because of their uninformed prejudice, however.

Update: He's been canned.

Atomic Ocean

What could go wrong? Constructed by the state nuclear power firm Rosatom, the 144 by 30 metre (472 by 98 foot) ship holds two reactors with ...