Thursday, June 28, 2012
Thought of the Day
Chief Justice John Roberts
Labels: John Roberts quote
Then Allow Me to Retort
It's a tax, liars!
That should show them.
Labels: Democratic Civility
Lemonade From Lemons
I haven't read it so take this analysis cum grano salis but it seems to me that:
The individual mandate could not have passed constitutional muster as a power of Congress under the Commerce Clause. There may be something in the opinion that talks specifically about that but I'll leave it to faster readers than me.
The Supremes have called bs on both the Democrats in Congress (who never identified the penalty as a tax) and our President who swore up and down that it was not a tax (even lecturing toady Stephanopolous when he dared to differ). It is a tax.
So this overwhelmingly unpopular bill, passed through overwhelmingly unpopular methods with nary a Republican vote, so it is all the Democrat's fault, is still the law of the land, everywhere in the land.
So, Romney gets the brain trust, such as it is, of Conservatives to get a better solution than Obama's statist "solution" and runs against the Obamacare tax saying only a majority in the House and Senate and a Republican president can cure the mess now.
Works for me.
The key lesson, if the opinion is well written, will be that the Democrats won't be able to tax us more by lying that it's not a tax but a Commerce Clause power. Fool me once and all that.
This may be some delusional cold comfort on my part. Stay tuned...
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Two Sides of the Coin
Here was my first post on the Fast and Furious fiasco.
Money quote from Ms. Coulter:
Right about the time the 90 percent lie was unraveling, the Obama administration decided to directly hand thousands of American guns over to Mexican criminals. Apart from the fact that tracking thousands of guns into Mexico is not feasible or rational, the dumped guns didn't have GPS tracing devices on them, anyway. There is no conceivable law enforcement objective to such a program.
This is what we know:
(1) Liberals thought it would be a great argument for gun control if American guns were ending up in the hands of Mexican criminals;
(2) They wanted that to be true so badly, Democrats lied about it;
(3) After they were busted on their lie, the Obama administration began dumping thousands of guns in the hands of Mexican criminals.
We also know that hundreds of people were murdered with these U.S.-government-supplied guns, including at least one American, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.
Here is the money quote from VerBruggen:
Fast and Furious is a horrific scandal. The public deserves answers as to who devised the operation and what they hoped to accomplish. But the theory that Fast and Furious was devised to promote gun control goes far beyond the evidence, as Issa basically admitted to ABC this weekend, and it does not withstand scrutiny.
Even if we assume the Obama administration places no value whatsoever on human life, it’s hard to see how the gun-control scheme would have passed a cost-benefit analysis.
First, the benefits are negligible. The Obama administration and its accomplices in the media have already been more than willing to twist statistics in order to claim that most guns involved in Mexican drug violence come from the U.S. Content with their falsehood, why would they need to inflate the real numbers to back it up?
Moreover, if the goal was to increase the overall use of U.S. guns in Mexican crimes, Fast and Furious wasn’t nearly large enough...[...]
It was always just a matter of time before Fast and Furious became public knowledge, and at that point the statistics and anecdotes become useless as gun-control propaganda — and a scandal is born.Money quote from Mirengoff:
The theory cannot be ruled out. However, I don’t find it persuasive.
First, Fast and Furious does not appear to have been the brainchild of President Obama or Attorney General Holder. Rather, the program reportedly was formulated by the ATF in Phoenix in response to an edict from Washington to focus on eliminating arms trafficking networks, as opposed to capturing low-level buyers, as had occurred under traditional interdiction programs. If Fast and Furious had been the product of a conspiracy by the administration to promote gun control legislation, the program would have come from the top down, not from the bottom up.
Now, it’s possible that a thorough review of documents would show that, contrary to current understanding, the plan originated in the White House or with Eric Holder. But it seems unlikely. For if this had happened, those who have been blamed for the program would likely have said they were following edicts from the highest reaches of the government.
Eric Holder’s claim that he knew nothing about Fast and Furious is implausible. But this doesn’t mean that he and/or the president came up with the idea. As far as I know, there is no evidence as of now that either did.
Second, Obama and Holder probably would not have believed that increased violence in Mexico could lead to tougher regulation of guns in the U.S. Americans simply don’t care enough about Mexico to alter domestic policy based on what occurs there, especially when it comes to an issue as passionately and endlessly argued as gun control. Americans view violence in Mexico the way they viewed violence in Colombia – unfortunate, typical, and not our problem at any fundamental level.
It was always possible that a few Americans, especially some involved in law enforcement, would be killed with guns that were part of Fast and Furious. But in this event, the probable consequence is what we have witnessed – major embarrassment for the administration, not an effective vehicle for advocating more gun control. On balance, it seems unlikely that the administration would come up with a program this risky in the pie-in-the-sky hope of incresing gun control.
But I can't answer this question and neither can Mirengoff or VerBruggen: If they weren't trying do do what Ms. Coulter and I think they were doing (providing raw material for reimposing the idiot assault weapon ban) what were they trying to do?
What was the purpose of facilitating straw purchases in America so the guns purchased would be smuggled into Mexico without any surveillance or tracking? What were they trying to achieve by allowing American guns to flow into Mexico?
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Eye of the Beholder
The pro-life community says it's because the foundation was exposed giving large amounts of money for abortions at Planned Parenthood.
The pro-abortion community says that it's because the foundation tried to stop giving large amounts of money for abortions at Planned Parenthood.
Tough call. Perhaps some mixture of both?
You know, with the way the Star Wars franchise went after a terrific sequel and the way the Alien Franchise went after Cameron's triumphant sequel (and the disappointment most fans had with its supposed revitalization in Prometheus), I'm thinking perhaps good directors never should go back.
It's the only way to avoid the suck.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Thought of the Day
Labels: John Hinderaker quote
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Andrew McCarthy Provides the Background
That last is another load of bunk. Here is former US Attorney Andrew McCarthy on how the justice department actually operates. Money quote:
There is little doubt that the wiretap applications would show that senior DOJ officials were aware of the gunwalking tactic long before Agent Terry was gunned down on December 14, 2010. But that’s not the half of it. Bet your bottom dollar that gunwalking was discussed in the consideration of whether to make Fast and Furious an OCDETF [Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force--a really big deal] case in the first place. OCDETF investigations, moreover, are carefully monitored by the Justice Department throughout, to ensure that the extraordinary flow of funding continues to be worthwhile. I’m wagering that senior DOJ officials — which is to say, Obama-administration political appointees — knew about the gunwalking for close to a year before Agent Terry’s death.
With that as background, consider this little-noticed paragraph from the Issa memo:
Washington-based Justice Department officials had earlier [in 2010] discussed bringing Attorney General Eric Holder to Phoenix for a triumphant press conference with Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke to herald the conclusion of the Department’s flagship firearms trafficking case. In the aftermath of Agent Terry’s death, the task of announcing indictments at a press conference fell to ATF Phoenix Division Special Agent in Charge William Newell and Burke. Holder did not attend.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Mendacem memorem esse oportet
Here is the time line for Fast and Furious, the Obama administration attempt to create a data base of straw purchased guns with no attempt to follow them into Mexico. It started on 10/29/2009 and ended with the press conference announcement of 20 indictments of the straw purchasers on January 19, 2011 (about a month after the murder of border agent Brian Terry). The feds pulled the plug because an American was murdered with one of the 2,000 or so guns they facilitated moving freely into Mexico.
Under oath on May 3, 2011, AG Holder testified that he first heard of Fast and Furious a few weeks before his testimony. Because he is such a liar, he later had to change that to a short time before the President mentioned Fast and Furious by name during an interview on CNN Espanol (March 22, 2011--Transcript here), and perhaps as early as February 2011.
Now Jay Carney, spokesman for the President, is crediting AG Holder with putting an end to Fast and Furious.
Well, hold on there, kitty cat.
If Fast an Furious ended in mid January, 2011 and Holder didn't even learn of it until February, March or April 2011 (take your pick), he necessarily had nothing to do with ending it.
Oh, and the Latin title translates: A liar must be good at remembering. Carney, or any of them involved in this deadly scandal for that matter, ain't so good.
UPDATE: Bill Whittle has a seven minute lecture on the subject that is brutally honest. The logical conclusion he reaches is difficult to evade. Shame on any reporter that doesn't follow the ideology here.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Minimizing the Malfeasance
For what this time? For seeking the truth about the devastating (if known about) scandal involving the Obama Administration called Fast and Furious. Let's look at the Time's argument here. They lay out the news about Republicans voting to vote to hold AG Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to turn over documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee last October. Shouldn't the Administration, pledged to be the most open and transparent in the history of our nation, turn over the requested documents? The NYT is uncommitted on that, but it is sure the Republicans were up to no good here.
The Republicans shamelessly turned what should be a routine matter into a pointless constitutional confrontation.Well, pointless is you don't care why the Administration facilitated arming Mexican Drug Cartels who used some of the nearly 2,000 weapons from America to murder fellow citizens and at least one American border guard, Brian Terry. If that's just something unworthy of notice, then the request for information on why this happened is indeed pointless. Stupid Republicans!
While Mr. Holder has turned over more than 7,600 documents to the committee, he has withheld some subpoenaed documents."Some"? He has withheld over 100,000 documents requested, (about 93%, I guess that's merely some).
Under Operation Fast and Furious, which ran between 2009 and early 2011, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives let about 2,000 assault weapons slip across the border to Mexico so the guns could be tracked up the drug cartel ladder. The bureau kept A.T.F. agents in Mexico in the dark while their superiors botched the surveillance. Some of the guns turned up in deadly shootouts, including one where an American border agent was slain.This is actually a somewhat complete account of the scandal with a few caveats. The BATFE and US Attorney's office in Arizona didn't let the semi-auto weapons "slip across" the border, they helped them across, telling gun stores to let what were clearly illegal straw purchases go through. And superiors didn't botch the surveillance; there was no surveillance--neither planned nor attempted. The feds facilitated the illegal importation of the guns and then waited to trace the guns back to the United States when they were recovered at crime scenes and in uncoordinated drug busts by the Mexican Authorities. The letting slip the guns of war was not botched; it went exactly according to plan. The huge questions the Republicans want answered are: 1) What idiot thought up the plan; 2) Who authorized it; and, 3) What was the real purpose of this idiocy? They want this information presumably so the legislature can perhaps prevent such deadly, felony stupidity by our government in the future. Seems reasonable to the average Joe, but they are of a heightened sensibility at the NYT (and it's a Democratic scandal too). The Republicans also want to know why the DOJ initially lied and said no guns were allowed over the border and then months later copped to that lie. What was that about, say the Republicans? The mad fools.
Let's skip down to the big finish.
Executive privilege cannot and should not be allowed to shield the executive branch from regular, valuable Congressional oversight. There was no reason the House committee and the Justice Department could not work out a deal to produce the documents requested, or some form of them. Instead, they show again that every issue, large or small, can be turned into ammunition for political combat.I agree with the first part and it really seems to apply here. (See the incomparable Andrew McCarthy). But the committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), did try to work with Mr. Holder. He cut down the request to a mere 1600 documents. It's Holder that refused to "work out a deal."
And now the President is involved with the too little too late bogus claim of executive privilege. We'll ignore the 7,600 documents turned over as a waiver of privilege, and go right to the heart of executive privilege. Unless the documents involve high level administrators advising the President (which has been categorically denied) the claim won't work and is merely a dodge and delaying tactic. But it's the Republicans who are wasting everyone's time with this pointless partisanship, at least in the eyes of the Democrats.
This scandal was being ignored by the press (it's a Democrat scandal), and the President was somewhat insulated with the claims of his complete non-involvement. Now the press has to cover it and Obama has been sucked in.
Brilliant, these guys ain't.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Adding the Logical Conclusion
I'm pretty sure I've never blogged anything about the Fast & Furious program, which has long struck me as a fairly ridiculous invented controversy that Republicans care about only because (a) it involves guns, and (b) it involves the Obama administration.
Today, the White House asserted executive privilege to justify withholding the documents. Is this legitimate? It might be, but if the documents are truly covered by executive privilege, it's a little hard to believe that Holder was willing to let the committee "review" them yesterday. Something doesn't add up.
Conclusion: this whole thing is completely ridiculous, just a pointless piece of political theater. I shall now try to return to my previous policy of ignoring it. Anybody got a problem with that?
Well, allow me to retort.
In order to re-justify an assault weapon ban, the Obama Administration under the steady hand of Attorney General Eric "My People" Holder both allowed and encouraged straw purchases of thousands of semi-auto rifles destined for Mexico without any warning to the Mexican Authorities or any attempt to follow the weapons purchased in America to their ultimate users, usually criminal enterprises like drug gangs. The only tracing of the weapons was to be when they were recovered at the murder scenes of Mexican nationals. No one is making any of this up.
But let me offer the logical final statement Drum is making here sub silentio.
And who cares about the resulting hundreds of dead people, they're just Mexicans and a border guard? Screw 'em. (Sorry, that very last was Kos at his most sympathetic).
Things I Used to Believe
Apparently they do.
And here's more grist to the mill. A famous fellow who grew up in my home county in southwestern Virginia, just received a silver star for being shot down in a U-2 spyplane over the Soviet Union in 1960. That would be Francis Gary Powers, who died decades ago in a helicopter crash.
These guys are treating him like a hero. I want to believe that, but this is what I was told. Powers received extra pay to kill himself with a shellfish toxin needle in order to avoid capture if he were ever shot down, and Powers didn't do it. His continued existence became a real headache for the US Government when they decided to deny that there ever was a piloted spy plane over the USSR to shoot down. So first the Soviets displayed the wreckage of the U-2 and we accused them of manufacturing this evidence, then they displayed the live pilot. OOPS. We got caught lying. We got caught lying to our own citizens. Some historians think this was a turning point in our nation's feelings about our government, the tiny seed from which a huge Oak tree of distrust and disdain has grown.
Then we had to give up a pretty big fish from the KGB in order to get Powers back.
Not our finest hour and adding a silver star for failure on failure seems to me pretty lame.
Would I be happier had Powers crashed the plane (yes) or, failing that, taken the toxin? (Hmmm. Maybe not.)
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
He Who Laughs Last...
Smug, difficult to take seriously* Andrea Mitchell and often-wrong-but-never-in-doubt Chris Cillizza laugh at a heavily edited clip of Romney on the campaign trail.The humor is supposedly in how out of touch Romney is. The trouble is the edit completely destroys what Romney was getting at--the difference between the innovative efficiency of the Private Sector versus the creaky, inefficient Federal Government. And the fatuous talking heads laughed at Romney as the rube, implying that Romney was saying, in effect, 'Gol dang, can you believe how cool the ordering system is at WaWas? I never seen the like of that' when in fact he was saying look at the instant efficiency of WaWa opposed to the bureaucratic sclerosis delaying for months the opthomologist changing addresses.
This clearly amateur video restores the real context and it's Mitchell and Cillizza who are the rubes, now revealed. I'm pretty sure they won't be laughing as heartily November 7.
" Mitchell said it was well known in Washington that non-spy (analyst) Valerie Plame was working for the CIA, and then she backtracked, lied and said she didn't know why she had ever said that, she must have not been concentrating or something.Yeah, right.
Consciousness of Guilt
We former prosecutors have a legal term we apply to people trying to flee from justice. It's not a good thing to have applied to you if you're a criminal defendant.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Thought of the Day
President Obama, 2011 (you have to include the date because everything the President says seems to have an expiration date left unsaid)
Here's what the Constitution says about the President's Duties:
"he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed;"
The words "shall" and "faithfully" indicate that the President is not free to pick and choose which laws he (or, I guess, she) will inforce and which will be ignored. The President was right in the 2011 quote,and is now guilty of not fulfilling his constitutional duties when he announced Friday he would ignore immigration laws regarding a subset of the illegal alien population in America. We need to vote this clueless shirker out as soon as possible. Like in November.
Hope and Change
Labels: Recovery Summer
Friday, June 15, 2012
Doing the Math the NYT Refuses to Do
Mr. Romney’s entire campaign rests on a foundation of short, utterly false sound bites. The stimulus failed. (Three million employed people beg to differ.) The auto bailout was a mistake. (Another million jobs.) Spending is out of control. (Spending growth is actually lower than under all modern Republican presidents.) He says these kinds of things so often that millions of Americans believe them to be the truth.Of course the left leaning newspaper calls different opinions about the efficacy of Obama's policies lies. We all know that everything the President does is golden; how could the statements not be lies if they are critical of the One. But let's look closer.
So the Stimulus, which cost taxpayers $831 Billion (not counting interest payments) produced, according to the NYT, 3 million jobs. (Many others disagree with that figure). In any event, do the division andyou find that each job cost us $277,000. That may be success in the lefty world, not in mine.
I'm not sure the bailout of GM and Chrysler saved any more jobs than a lawful bankruptcy would have done. But even if it saved a million jobs, look at the cost. For example, secured creditors, who are supposed to be first in line in a bankruptcy, were placed after the Unions. On top of the rippling damage to American justice and the rule of law, who is going to invest in these entities again, knowing the government can change the rules and render your hard fought and costly position worth less? Many people think the only thing that was actually saved was Union funds. That's success?
Now the new Big Lie. Federal spending growth under Obama is less than under other Republican presidents. Really? How about the amount of spending actually and as a percentage of GDP? How does that compare? No matter what fiscal legerdemain the left uses to come up with so-called slower growth of spending by Obama, here are the actual facts.
Federal spending in 2001, under President Bush, was $2.326 Trillion. It rose steadily to $3.035 Trillion in 2008. (GDP also rose from $10.2862 Trillion to $14.3611 Trillion under Bush, a 39.6% rise.) That last year of spending under Bush, with a Democrat controlled Congress, was also bad as a percentage of GDP, it was 21.12% (that's too high--it should never be higher than 18%).
Here are the figures for federal spending under President Obama.
2009 $3.576 Trillion (25.65% GDP which was $13.939 Trillion)
2010 $3.618 Trillion (24.9% GDP which was $14.5256 Trillion)
2011 $3.7 Trillion (24.53% GDP which was $15.0796 Trillion)
2012 $3.8 Trillion (24.03% GDP which is projected to be 15.8125 Trillion)
So spending us up, way up, under Obama, both in actual dollars and in percent of GDP. GDP is only up only 13.4% for the whole period. That ain't so good
These are the facts underlying Candidate Romney's statement that federal spending is out of control. Actual facts.
The Big Lie about tepid spending growth under Obama is Baghdad Bob at the airport stuff. Who are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?
And the left continues to wonder why the left leaning media, like the NYT continue to hemorrhage readers and profits. It is a mystery.
UPDATE: John Hinderaker at Powerline blog has a clear eyed review of the horrible speech which even the NYT can't praise. Obama is losing it. Thank God.
Thursday, June 14, 2012
So Much for Certain Sports Clichés
(h/t This Isn't Happiness)
Labels: There is an I in Team
Udall plugs the continued taxpayer support as saving jobs. How much does each job actually cost the taxpayers and their kids and grandkids in future debt? This position alone disqualifies Mr. Udall from being re-elected by a serious electorate.
* The power generated by the few hundred or so working windmills we have in this state does not save a single watt of coal or gas produced electricity, nor a single ounce of CO2 (if that mattered) because the coal and gas fired plants, which supply over 90 % of the electricity in this state are generally not nimble enough to ramp up power if the wind is not blowing right then (or if it's blowing too hard) and so just set baseline power as if there were no intermittent sources, like wind or solar, around. Gas fired plants could be nimble enough in theory.
Right now wind and solar combined 'produce' 5.83% of our state's electricity and are legisatively mandated to produce (along with CO2 producing biomass) 30% of our electricity, over 5 times what we're supposedly doing now, in less that 7 and 1/2 years. Good luck with that.
So far the Congress has not voted to renew the subsidy and if they don't, the lost taxpayer support will certainly end this madness for useless intermittent 'green' power production as it did recently in Spain.
(h/t Joshua Sharf)
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Beyond the Pale
I could be mistaken, but from the trailor I saw before Prometheus, this looks to be the worst thing ever.
Labels: Rock of Ages
Monday, June 11, 2012
Venus Transit -- The Musical
But maybe that's just me.
Labels: Venus Transit
Sunday, June 10, 2012
10% Never Get It
Politics is frequently a game, and a stupid game at that. Politicians are human; sometimes they choose poor phrasing. When they do, opponents can be counted upon to exploit them and the media can be counted upon to dwell on them. But good politicians understand this fact and act accordingly. The best politicians figure out a way to avoid making those statements, even as they speak candidly and in a mature way to the American public.President Obama is not the most adept at avoiding making stupid statements. There is a huge list of them, from 57 states to the Austrian language. What he had enjoyed was getting full omerta from the left leaning media every time he uttered something stupid. I'm talking full John Edwards like ignoring--no coverage whatsoever. But that seems to be ending, largely because of the precipitous, self-imposed decline of the left leaning media while the net and new social media rise and rise. But let's get to the meat of Mr. Cohn's piece.
Obama is usually among the most adept at doing that. Today he was not.
So let's look at what Obama actually said, in full context:The last Obama sentence quoted is not a sentence but a subject and dangling clause, alas, never to be united with a verb to make a sentence. But beyond the quibbles of grammar, the analysis, broad or narrow, is wholly incorrect. The private sector suffered a huge hit and is not recovering. The "steady" pace of new jobs is wholly inadequate for recovery. It doesn't even cover our population growth, as college grads are learning to their chagrin. And lately it's been bad; last report was 69,000 new jobs in May. Doing fine indeed.
The private sector is doing fine. Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government. Oftentimes cuts initiated by, you know, Governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don't have the same kind of flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in.
Broadly speaking, the analysis is correct. The private sector has been creating jobs at a steady pace, but the public sector has been shedding them, slowing growth. And there is no reason why that has to happen. Stabilizing the public sector workforce or, better still, increasing it would be among the very easiest things for the federal government to do: It can simply write checks to state and local government, as it did with the Recovery Act and has traditionally done during times of economic distress.
The compression of the public sector, to the extent it exists, is a wholly good thing, would that it spread to the federal government. The slightly downsized state or local government is having little effect on economic growth, it's certainly not slowing private growth. Then comes the long telegraphed punch, fully expected from a lefty like Cohn, who says: We need to have the Federal government, borrowing 40 cents of ever dollar it spends, "simply write checks to state and local governments" to expand their workforce. I'm not kidding. Cohn seems unaware of the votes in Wisconsin, San Diego and San Jose. He certainly has no finger on the pulse of the middle class, who support smaller government by a good margin.
The lefty model is to 'ensure' growth by taking ever increasing amounts of money from wage and profit earners so they necessarily have less money to spend to goose the general economy, and giving it to an inefficient and sometimes incompetent government generally to spend on things that do not goose the general economy and at worst, to squander and to waste, sometimes on benefits to non-wage or profit earners. That, in Republican eyes, is a wet blanket on the economy, generally impeding economic growth.
The Republican plan, of which Mr. Cohn feigns complete ignorance, is to cut government spending so that it (eventually) equals government income and to lower individual tax rates so that citizens have more of their own money to spend and goose the economy and to lower corporate tax rates to cut free the lead weights that second sweep from citizens' pockets imposes on our corporations competing globally. (Lefties don't get this--Corporations don't pay taxes, they collect them from real individuals. You never can 'punish' corporations with higher taxes as the tax is necessarily passed on to the consumers of the corporations' goods or services). This is not a secret, but there is a certain percentage of the population that you cannot educate.
Lowering the amount of money the government collects from citizens will boost the economy generally--it always does--and sometimes that boost leads to more tax revenue than would have been collected under the old rates. But it's not revenue that is the major problem, although in any recession and slow recovery less revenue is a problem. Less revenue is dwarfed, however, by the incredible rate of spending. Only less spending (and thus less borrowing) will stop the ticking time bomb cumulative debt over 100% of GDP is to any nation which reaches that high plateau. And we reached it under President Obama and nearly 1/3 because of President Obama and a like minded Democrat dominated Congress.
Cohn is fully for putting construction workers back to work on public projects of infrastructure. Did he miss the two year period when the Democrats had substantially more Senators and Congressmen than the Republicans? Did he miss the near Trillion in so-called stimulus which was pitched as infrastructure building "shovel ready" projects (about which President Obama now jokes there were none) but instead went largely to, well, state and local governments to overpay the public sector. That stimulus was a complete waste of money as far as goosing the economy, even using the Administration's own masking metrics regarding the unemployment rate. Because the left always thinks the failure of its fiscal and tax policies occurred because the spending was too small (and never because the fiscal and tax policies they propose are just wrong), Mr. Cohn and the Democrats have been trying to get another stimulus ever since. The left savages the right for opposing more government spending. It's traitorous the dim bulbs on the left say. Fortunately, the now Republican dominated House of Representative is not going to pass another stimulus package of any size because it's the wrong way to go. It will achieve nothing vis a vis the general economy and it will increase the debt, hugely.
We need less government spending, not more, and a growing majority knows it. But there are some, Mr. Cohn included, who will never see it, never get it.
Late Friday Movie Review -- Prometheus
Not all that good. Three word review:
Beautiful but meaningless.
Part of the film's failure goes to these facts: Every character is unlikeable in one or more respects and the universe they inhabit is incredibly hostile and deadly, emphasis on the 'incredibly'.
Let's start with minor quibbles. 3% concentration of CO2 is NOT deadly, it is in fact the minimum safe concentration. 10% is deadly (death within 30 minutes, which is just the measurement the movie used). (By the way, 3% is nearly 850 times our concentration here on Earth, still it somehow controls all our planet's weather, or so some say). You cannot hear roaring engines out in space--there is no medium for sound wave transmission. Kubrick could get that exactly right, why not Scott? The star system Zeta 2 Reticuli (where the movie says the moon they land on is located) is 39 light years distant from Earth. You cannot get there in 2 years. You cannot get there in 39 years (as traveling faster than say .7 of light generates massively deadly radiation). The biggest stumbling block to space opera is the incredible distances versus the speed limit. Most movies merely ignore the immutable laws of physics. Like this one. There is no such thing as artificial gravity. Not now, not in 2091. Not in 4091 for that matter. Just spin a large barrel shaped spacecraft and walk upright on the inside walls. Sheesh. I have to think of everything around here... Oh yeah, the guy who maps the inside of the beehive installation gets lost in the beehive installation. Right, pull the other one. Can planets, if there are any, rotating around a double star generate life? Wouldn't the necessarily chaotic orbits preclude a stable enough environment to generate it? Just asking (Zeta 2 Reticuli, as the name implies, is a double star system). OK maybe it is merely an outpost, but why put the outpost on the cave drawings, etc. And how did the system get on the cave drawings, etc.? Something in the DNA? Some later visit or visits? Why would a second visit be necessary? Finally, you can't choose to believe. You either believe or you do not; belief, as P. B. Shelley pointed out, is involuntary. It is distinct from faith, which I compare most closely to the human emotion of love. Does Shaw have faith or is she delusional?
Now let's talk about the stupid plot and casting mistakes this film makes. Why Guy Pierce in unconvincing latex wrinkles? Are there no actual elderly actors out there? Why not use Lance Henriksen? He's pretty old now. Why is Guy Pierce's character on the ship? Isn't David a much better conduit for immortality than asking an unknown alien race for a little help here? If there is flowing water on a planet and a nitrogen/oxygen atmosphere, it already has life on it. So there is an irreducible conflict vis a vis the suicide of the alien at the beginning (near a famous Icelandic waterfall, I believe) which dumps a lot of DNA into the water which leads sometime later to we humans having exactly the same DNA as the aliens. Then why aren't we all marble skinned, hairless and 10 feet tall? If I dumped a ton of raw DNA into a river would a bunch of fully formed creatures drag themselves out downstream a few minutes later? Ridiculous. So much for the hominid fossil record. History is bunk apparently for the writers (on whom I place all the blame for the film's failure). Why the murderous hostility of the single surviving alien? Is there a cogent explanation for that within the confines of the Prometheus universe? What was the point of infecting Dr. Holloway? So he gets infected, infects his paramour Dr. Shaw, and then welcomes immolation. What a pointless arc. I'm aware it ultimately leads to a somewhat different version of the xenomorph in Alien.
After two paragraphs of bitching, let me pivot and talk about the good things. Michael Fassbender as David is awesome, perfect. Noomi Rapace is great as the plucky incarnation of Ridley in the earlier films. Uh, oh. I'm running out here... Oh, Idris Elba is very good as a sort of working class starship pilot (who is hip to late 20th Century minor rock musicians), and Charlize Theron is good as a second robot "child" of Pierce's character, although she really is pointless to the whole of the plot. It all hinges on Shaw and David, coincidentally, the only human survivors. The rest are, nearly by definition, redshirts.
Let me take a second to answer a question some of the slower viewers seem to be asking. Why didn't the last surviving humanoid alien die in the chair with a chest burster wound? Dimwit, that's what happened on a different ship on a different planet (although still in the same star system). (Check out the LV numbers if you doubt me). We know from Prometheus that there are many ships of the same design (although different from the design of the ship in the first scene--strange that). So the giant humanoid aliens are near godlike in their abilities. So what kills them? Hubris? And what is in their bag of genetic tricks (which leaks out of the urns something fierce--is there something wrong with the urns or are they supposed to do that? And why are they safe stored in the ship but leaking fiercely inside the installation?--sorry I digressed in mid-sentence) what is in the genetics which leads to an acid blood, jaw within a jaw, bipedal alien with a banana head? You can't have the black stuff produce a white fleshy tentacled monster one time (interacting with human DNA) and the black non tentacled exoskeleton of silicone and protein polysaccharides xenomorph (interacting with, well, human DNA) the next. It just don't add up.
Is the general deep theme of the movie merely rewarmed Frankenstein (Mary Shelley's original, that is, which, by the way, was subtitled The Modern Prometheus)? The creation of the scientist goes unbound and deadly and destroys the creator? Is that it? Really? Have there been no new thoughts about science and creation since 1818?
The bulk of this review is unanswered questions. That's not a sign of a well written movie, and it is not. My final questions. Here are the combined previous achievements of the two writers of this: The Darkest Hour; Cowboys and Aliens and some TV shows generally episodes of Lost. Is that a resume you let near what was to be the reawakening of the multi-million dollar Alien franchise after the unfortunate AVP cul de sac? Are those successful credits? What, were John Scalzi or David Howard or Christopher Nolan unavailable?
UPDATE: The news is that World War Z has hired Damon Lindlof, the Lost, Cowboys and Aliens, Prometheus writer, aluded to just above, to rewrite a movie that was completely shot about a year ago. Re-shooting is said to be extensively planned. Mistake, guys. Big mistake.
Labels: Prometheus; Ridley Scott; Alien
Saturday, June 09, 2012
Labels: Venus Transit
(h/t This Isn't Happiness)
Labels: Ear Earings
Classical Beauty is Only Skin Deep
The noted military historian Ms. Parker says: The guy who ended the Iraq War... referring to President Obama.
What? Can she really be so ignorant of very recent history to think that the successful completion of Gulf War I was anything other than President Bush's victory (due to his determination to find the right general and strategy despite savage criticism from Ms. Parker's ilk)?
But there's more: The guy who created 4 Million new jobs...again referring to President Obama. I'm pretty sure the President didn't create a single private sector job, but even if he gets credit as Ms. Parker says, it's woefully inadequate. We need 150K new jobs a month to keep up with simple population growth (I won't count what we need to recover from the big losses at the transition between Bush and Obama). The President's been in office for 41 months so he's just 2 and a quarter Million jobs behind a static, non-recovery, break-even recovery. Wow, no wonder she praises 'that guy'.
Spare me your ignorant elitist drivel.
Friday, June 08, 2012
Bob Welch- Hypnotized (Roxy 81 Live)
Bob Welsh, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot headwound yesterday at age 66, was lead singer/guitarist for Fleetwood Mac in its second transformation in the early 70s. That's when I started listening to them, but I discovered that their earlier period, when they were heavy into the blues with twin leads Green/Spencer/Kirwin (it's complicated) was much, much better. I have to admit that adding Christine Perfect (a woman who got better looking over time) was good for the band. After Welsh left, when they added Nicks and Buckingham, and were heavy into pop, they got famous. Some of the songs then were pretty good, but most of them were fluff.
This one's OK
Actually I can barely listen to the Welsh period stuff anymore. Way too laid back and, well, boring.
There was a little noticed fourth re-iteration with Dave Mason on guitar and Bekka Bramlett singing, but it was just awful. And short-lived.
Anyway, to the extent a suicide can RIP, requiescat in pace, man. Heroes are hard to find.
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
In memory of a writer I almost always enjoyed, here is a blast from the past which I saw in 4th grade and it scared the bejesus out of me. Not quite the same impact on second viewing but still a good little story along with interesting biography about Ray Bradbury, dead at 91.
(h/t Joshua Sharf, who found this, long after I had given up)
Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Venus is currently the barest of crescents as it turns its darkside to Earth before the transit starts. Lovely.
Labels: Venus Transit
The Unions Already Lost
Here's the real story on how important and powerful these unions are. Money quote:
According to the Journal, when Walker first proposed his fiscal reforms in early 2011, AFSCME’s Wisconsin membership stood at a healthy 62,818. By February 2012, the labor behemoth had shrunk to 28,745. “It’s a profound shift,” says George Lightbourn, the president of the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and the state’s former secretary of administration. “It’s similar to what Indiana experienced after Governor Mitch Daniels changed the collective-bargaining laws. If these numbers are borne out, it will significantly change the whole nature of Wisconsin’s state workforce and the relationship between management and employees.”Despite the already profound change, the true believers are taking a never say die position. Like Katrina vanden Awful. She thinks the loss of union membership and the pending loss, again, at the ballot box is actually a hopeful sign. Check it out:
And in the last 15 months, Wisconsin’s progressives have shown us that the battle against bankrolled austerity can be bravely waged by an army of dedicated people committed to protecting working families. They’ve reminded us that good organizing is our only chance to withstand the blitzkrieg of corporate funded advertising — and better yet, leave a lasting mark. Their movement, with thousands of new Wisconsin activists mobilized, energized and educated, can be permanent — and it can keep growing.Or not.
UPDATE: I noticed this in the vanden Heuvel at-least-we-went-down-fighting piece I linked to above. It's a little weird for what it doesn't contain:
Elections are over in a matter of hours, but movements are made of weeks, months and years. The Declaration of Sentiments was issued at Seneca Falls in 1848, yet women did not gain the right to vote until seven decades later. The Civil War ended with a Union victory in 1865, yet the Voting Rights Act was not passed until a century later.Regarding the last example of the delay in fruition, the civil war, slavery and voting rights, let me add some relevant historical details between 1865 and 1965.
1) Republicans pass the 15th Amendment (The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude) and it becomes part of the Constitution on Feb 3, 1970, less than 5 years after the Union victory.
2) Rutherford B. Hayes commits a rare mistake for him and withdraws Union troops from the South way too soon.
3) By 1890, nearly all the Southern States, under exclusively Democratic leadership, erect as many roadblocks to black voting rights as possible, including the infamous poll taxes and literacy tests.
4) Meanwhile, In the absence of Union troops, the KKK begins a murderous black vote suppression campaign. All of the KKK members are Democrats.
Just thought I'd make it clear why the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was necessary in light of the Republican 15th Amendment.
Is it possible Ms. vanden Heuvel doesn't know this history?
It's Just a Flesh Wound
Bill McKibben has an awesome article over at Mother Jones with a subtitle: Climate change deniers are on the ropes. You can read it, but if you just watched the Black Knight scene from Holy Grail again, you'll have a distinct sense of deja vu.
Labels: Global Warming
Friday, June 01, 2012
My Favorite Planet
(h/t Tim Mak on Facebook)
My source was not the New York Times, but here--The Umbral Magnetic Field. I could be wrong.
Labels: Sunspot Predictions
Thin End of a Fat Wedge
UPDATE: Jon Stewart goes a different, far funnier way.
Thought of the Day
Mona Charen, writing about Obama's woes.
And the 1/32nd claim is not true. Warren is the female Ward Churchill. Actual Indians should be outraged.
Labels: Mona Charen quote