30 December 2010

Looking Back

...and awaiting the arrival of 2011.

I've been absent from the blog for several days -- but do not fret. I have been greatly enjoying myself, spending the majority of my time-off with my family. My brother and sister-in-law are in town from Texas, which has been fantastic.

So, what about the Year That Was?

The family started out living in Town #1, Pennsylvania. The Pajama Wife was working at Small Catholic College, The Boy was in Kindergarten and the Little Girl and I were enjoying time together at home (and at the library, and other places around town -- I was still a stay-at-home-dad).

25 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

From the Pajama Family to you and your family... Merry Christmas!

24 December 2010

Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve to you and yours.

As you have likely noticed, I have not been able to do much posting in recent days. Given all of my last-minute work responsibilities -- coupled with the busy preparations for Christmas -- I have had zero time to attend to the blog.

The remainder of the holiday break promises to be lots of fun for both me and my family. I'll see if I can get some posting in, but I don't want to make any promises that I am unable to keep.

So, for now, Merry Christmas to you -- and here's to a happy and healthy 2011!

23 December 2010

Red State

Here is the teaser trailer for Kevin Smith's "Red State". The film is purportedly inspired by true-life people and events.

Ugh. I hate linking there.

This film looks like it will be quite a departure from the type of movie that Smith usually makes -- which could be a good thing. I'm fine either way, because I love anything that Silent Bob does.

Head nod: /Film

22 December 2010

A Black And Gold Christmas

They should stick to their day jobs. =)

Head nod: Pam101

9/11 Responders Bill Could Pass Senate Today

Keywords: cautious optimism:
Senate Democrats have scheduled a key vote Wednesday on legislation helping rescue workers who responded to the 9/11 attacks.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that the Senate will hold a cloture vote at around noon to see if the bill providing healthcare benefits to 9/11 first responders can get the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.

If the Senate votes to end debate and no Senate Republicans throw up procedural hurdles, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Wednesday morning that the House will be waiting to approve the bill.

Hoyer said Wednesday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had told him that Reid "has an agreement" that can get the 9/11 bill through the Senate and to the House by early afternoon.
My emphasis.

Cartoon: John Sherffius, The Daily Camera, Boulder, Colorado

The Effects Of Marijuana On The Brain causes Juries to stage a "mutiny":
Touray Cornell was arrested after a search of his house turned up used joints, a pipe, and pot residue. The search was prompted by neighbors complaining that he was allegedly selling drugs, which he reportedly admitted to in an affidavit. According to Beaumont Enterprise, Cornell's "criminal history includes numerous felony convictions."

But none of this was enough for the potential jurors, who all told District Court Judge Dusty Deschamps that they would not convict him for the pot. "I thought, 'Geez, I don't know if we can seat a jury,'" Deschamps told the Missoulian.

He then called a recess, during which Deputy Missoula County Attorney Andrew Paul worked out a plea deal. Paul described the incident as "a mutiny."

Even Cornell's own attorney was flummoxed, calling it "bizarre."

"I think it's going to become increasingly difficult to seat a jury in marijuana cases, at least the ones involving a small amount," Deschamps said.
Wow, that scary guy who had some used joints and residue in his home is back on the mean streets of Missoula County!

What a waste of taxpayers' money.

Bryan Fischer Needs To Do His Homework

Aside from having the worst blog formatting that I've ever seen, the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer also has some of the worst notions that I've ever seen. Courtesy of James Joyner at OTB, here is Mr. Fischer arguing that our President wants to "give the entire landmass of the United States back to the Indians". Yes. He argues this:
President Obama likes the “U.N. Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” He says it can “help reaffirm the principles that should guide our future.”

The State Department added helpfully that although the declaration is not legally binding, it “carries considerable moral and political force and complements the president’s ongoing efforts to address historical inequities faced by indigenous communities in the United States.”

This declaration - which carries”considerable moral and political force,” don’t forget - contains this little gem of a paragraph, in Article 26:

“Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired,” and nations “shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources.”

In other words, President Obama wants to give the entire land mass of the United States of America back to the Indians. He wants Indian tribes to be our new overlords.

The Bush administration rejected this proposal in 2007, on the common sense grounds that it would give a sub-national group veto power over the laws enacted by a democratic legislature.

I see no reason why the president, after he leaves office, can’t submit himself to the authority of any Indian tribe he wants to. Perhaps he figures that, as an adopted Crow Indian, he will be the new chief over this revived Indian empire.

But for the other 312 million of us, I think we’ll settle for our constitutional “We the people” form of government, thank you very much.
My emphasis, for what I would think are obvious reasons.

Now, I don't normally make it a habit to quote entire articles -- but I made an exception in this case so that I could properly highlight the amazing stupidity which Mr. Fischer is so kindly demonstrating.

James Joyner does a great job of digging up the much-more-reasonable truth:
Recall that the United Nations is a body chartered under the principle of state sovereignty. The people who passed this Declaration are representatives of its 192 member states. Rather clearly, then, the Declaration was not intended to give non-state actors – indigenous groups living inside state borders — power over states. Thus far, 143 countries have voted in favor.

Another clue in this regard is that the Declaration was issued by the UN General Assembly. It’s quite literally nothing more than a debating society. Each of the 192 states has equal voting power and the right to bring up matters. But anything passed by the assembly is nothing more than a recommendation. Indeed, that’s what the State Department announcement [PDF here] meant when it stated “The United States supports the Declaration which–while not legally binding or a statement of current international law–has both moral and political force.
So, it doesn't count! But, given Bryan Fischer's logic, if Mr. Obama gets his way, we will all be wearing stereotypical headdresses and doing Indian rain-dances.

Oh wait, that's not at all what the President has said.

It seems to me that Mr. Fischer needs to do a little bit more research about this topic. Maybe.

21 December 2010

On Haley Barbour's Comments

Jim Geraghty makes several good points:
Before emphasizing that no one can really know, The Economist asks, “IS HALEY BARBOUR a racist?” Of course, if you want to be president, you don’t want major publications asking if you’re racist and then giving any answer other than “absolutely not.”

Does Barbour’s kind interpretation of the Citizens Council make him unelectable? Alone, perhaps not, but coupled with the watermelon joke and other factors, almost certainly, and deservedly so if Barbour had a habit of using stereotypical caricatures.

But if Barbour’s future career is derailed by these comments, it will further reflect the epic double standard reflecting race and partisan politics. Harry Reid can marvel at Barack Obama’s lack of a “negro accent” with no real consequence. Bill Clinton can describe Obama to Ted Kennedy as a “guy [who] would have been getting us coffee” not long ago with no real consequence. Hillary Clinton faced accusations of racism for appearing to diminish the accomplishments of Martin Luther King in comparison to Lyndon Johnson – until the Democratic primary ended, and then no liberal had much reason to stir the controversy further. Joe Biden can utter awful stereotypical jokes about Indians running 7-11s and Dunkin’ Doughnuts with no major repercussion. The President’s mentor trafficked in explicit racial insults – referring to Italians as “garlic noses” – and the topic was deemed irrelevant by many. And of course, there is the former recruiter of the Ku Klux Klan who used the n-word on national television with little major repercussion.
Link added. The rest can be found here.

Photo: CNN

Hard Wuerk

-M.Wuerker, Wuerking Drawings

Quote Of The Day

“[T]hese people ran to ground zero to save people’s lives and we are not even going to give ‘em medicine for the illness that they got down there? It’s disgusting – it’s a national disgrace – it’s a shame – and everybody who voted against it should have to stand up for and account for himself or herself. Is anybody going to hold them accountable?” -Shepard Smith, host of "Studio B" on Fox News Channel.

20 December 2010

Jib Jab 2010 Review

These just get funnier every year.

Ending #DADT Will Lead To... A Draft?

...according to Citizens United? Yes.

Oh, and Lady Gaga is apparently now a wedge-personality.


Damn. And I have a Wii...

Head nod: Mr. Furious

19 December 2010

Sunday Morning Music

You are listening to Maceo Parker's "Shake Everything You Got", recorded live in 1994 for the album My First Name Is Maceo. Feel the groove.

What about the drummer?!

Enjoy your Sunday.

18 December 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Eat your Wheaties -- it's cartoon time!

17 December 2010

59% Polled Won't Even Consider Sarah Palin

The 2012 presidential election is still a long way away, and Sarah Palin hasn't even decided if she will make a run for the White House, but a second straight poll brings troubling results for the former Alaska governor if she does launch a bid.

An ABC News/Washington Post poll indicates that nearly six in ten Americans say they wouldn't even consider voting for Palin if she runs. Eight percent of the people questioned in the survey, which was released Friday, say they would definitely back Palin in 2012 if she runs and 31 percent say they would consider supporting her.

The 59 percent who flatly rule out Palin is 16 points higher than the 43 percent in the survey who say they wouldn't consider voting to re-elect President Barack Obama in 2012. It's also 17 points higher than the 42 percent of the public who said they wouldn't vote for then Sen. HIllary Clinton in the last presidential election.
I still maintain that Palin won't run for president in 2012.

...and with polling results like these, I would think that -- had she been considering a run -- she's probably re-thinking that now.

Pat Toomey Supports Repeal Of #DADT

Following the House of Representatives’ vote to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Senator-Elect Pat Toomey issued the following statement supporting repeal and supporting a Senate vote at the appropriate opportunity on the Senate calendar.

“As I’ve said previously, my highest priority is to have the policy that best enables our armed services to do their job,” Senator-Elect Toomey said. “Our civilian and professional military leadership have now spoken and said we should repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I would support a free-standing measure to do so.”
Good on you, Senator-Elect Toomey. I'm impressed.

Head nod: United Liberty

Photo: Ann Foster/AP

The So-Called "Young Guns"

Jeff Vanke has a great post up over at Rise Of The Center parsing the "Young Guns", err, credibility:
Cantor and [the other "Young Guns"] are establishment Republicans. These three young guns might be shy of age fifty, but each one is a long-term, career politician. Cantor worked for his Congressman as a college student and has been an elected Republican since age twenty-eight (1992). That’s old compared to McCarthy and Ryan, who each went straight from college to working for Congressional Republicans (1987 and 1992, respectively) and never left politics. Combined, these three have worked fifty-eight years since finishing higher education. Combined, they have worked a mere two years exclusively outside Republican politics.

For the so-called young guns, then, the old ways are their ways – and they’re already backtracking to them. In March 2010, House Republicans proudly denounced budgeting earmarks. But in May 2010, most House Republicans colluded with nearly half of House Democrats to support $485 million for a duplicate F-35 engine unwanted by the Pentagon, the Obama administration, or even the Bush administration before it (Roll Call 316, HR 5136; Cantor and McCarthy for this engine; Ryan missed the vote).
The rest of the piece is here. Check it out.

Tea Party Victims 'Support Group'

Benjamin Sarlin has an interesting article at the Daily Beast about bipartisans, crying in their beers:
There was plenty of gallows humor to find among Washington's Walking Dead on Thursday morning, as ousted lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, serving out their final days in Congress, gathered for a breakfast discussion to lament their losses.

The participants often took on the tone of a support group, silently nodding their heads as they went over the many common factors they believed contributed to their defeats and the public's record-breaking resentment of Congress in the polls.

"As I look at this panel, I think there's a new definition of bipartisanship in Washington," Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX), who lost his reelection bid this year after nearly 20 years in office. "It's called 'former member.'"

Edwards may have been on to something. The event was hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a think tank founded by former Democratic and Republican Senate Majority Leaders Bob Dole and Tom Daschle, and populated with an array of gray-haired ex-lawmakers tasked with reaching consensus on policy.

Lamenting the lack of cooperation between the two parties, Departing Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) complained that the overwhelming number of safe seats in Congress forced lawmakers to extremes in order to fend off primary challengers.

"If you have a completely safe seat, your exposure is really at the fringe of your party," he said.
Which leads me to think that the Tea Party movement may eventually form a viable third party -- to the right of Republicans.

Cartoon: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

#Birther Army Doctor Sentenced

No surprises here:
The Army doctor who refused to deploy to Afghanistan because he challenged President Obama's birthright has been sentenced to six months confinement and ordered discharged from the Army.

Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin had considered any order from the commander-in-chief, President Obama, unlawful because he claimed the president has not proven he was born in the United States.

Besides today's sentence, Lakin will pay a potentially heavy financial price. At 18 years in the Army, he was two years short of retirement, which over the course of a lifetime could have added up to an estimated $2 million in retirement pay and benefits.

Lakin had pleaded guilty to one charge, and was convicted of another in failing to report for deployment to Afghanistan in a court martial at Fort Meade, MD.

The Brothers Mario Trailer

"Never bring a hammer to a gunfight!"

Inspired. And I would totally watch this movie -- if it were real.

Mildly NSFW. Watch behind you...

Poll Smoking The Media

The poll also found significant differences depending how people voted. Those who voted Republican were more likely than those who voted Democratic to believe that: most economists have concluded that the health care law will increase the deficit (voted Republican 73%, voted Democratic 31%); the American economy is still getting worse (72% to 36%); the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (67% to 42%); most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (62% to 26%); and it is not clear that Obama was born within the United States (64% to 18%)

On the other hand those who voted Democratic were more likely to incorrectly believe that: it was proven to be true that the US Chamber of Commerce was spending large amounts of foreign money to support Republican candidates (voted Democratic 57%, voted Republican 9%); Obama has not increased the level of troops in Afghanistan (51% to 39%); and Democratic legislators did not mostly vote in favor of TARP (56% to 14%).

In most cases those who had greater levels of exposure to news sources had lower levels of misinformation. There were, however, a number of cases where greater exposure to a particular news source increased misinformation on some issues.

Those who watched Fox News almost daily were significantly more likely than those who never watched it to believe that most economists estimate the stimulus caused job losses (12 points more likely), most economists have estimated the health care law will worsen the deficit (31 points), the economy is getting worse (26 points), most scientists do not agree that climate change is occurring (30 points), the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts (14 points), their own income taxes have gone up (14 points), the auto bailout only occurred under Obama (13 points), when TARP came up for a vote most Republicans opposed it (12 points) and that it is not clear that Obama was born in the United States (31 points). The effect was also not simply a function of partisan bias, as people who voted Democratic and watched Fox News were also more likely to have such misinformation than those who did not watch it--though by a lesser margin than those who voted Republican.

There were cases with some other news sources as well. Daily consumers of MSNBC and public broadcasting (NPR and PBS) were higher (34 points and 25 points respectively) in believing that it was proven that the US Chamber of Commerce was spending money raised from foreign sources to support Republican candidates. Daily watchers of network TV news broadcasts were 12 points higher in believing that TARP was signed into law by President Obama, and 11 points higher in believing that most Republicans oppose TARP.
So, the bottom line? Don't watch cable news. Or network news. Or public radio.

Just sit in front of your computer and read Drudge and Huffington. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Head nod: Mr. Furious

Double Quote Of The Day

#1: "Proposition 8 was passed by a great grassroots coalition that included people from all across the religious traditions, and also people of every race and color. We are the real rainbow coalition. The gay lobby does not own the rainbow. We can't simply let that go by. Families put rainbows in their children's nurseries. Little Christian preschools will have rainbows... Noah's Ark and all the animals... Those are great Christian symbols, great Jewish symbols. -Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute (a project of the National Organization for Marriage), explaining why she wore a rainbow-colored scarf to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on Proposition 8 to signify that supporters of traditional marriage still 'own' the rainbow symbol.

#2: "Let's make a deal: give us our full civil equality—repeal DOMA, let us marry legally in all fifty states, end DADT, pass ENDA, stop torturing gay kids to death—and we'll let you have your fucking rainbows back." -Dan Savage

Head nod: JMG

"The Zipper Club"


[ed note: sorry about the ad]

PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year

‘A Government take over of health care’:
But as Republicans smelled serious opportunity in the midterm elections, they didn't let facts get in the way of a great punchline. And few in the press challenged their frequent assertion that under Obama, the government was going to take over the health care industry.

PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen "government takeover of health care".
I’m not sure I totally agree with them, mainly because I would attribute this lie to 2009 and the summer of rage, but I suppose its right up there with a lot of them.

I think that the claim that the new health care law provides viagra for rapists probably ranks a little higher on my gauge.

There is also the lie put out by Gen. James Amos, that allowing gays to serve openly in the military would cause them to suffer higher causalities due to “distractions”. If I was a marine I would be wondering if the general just suggested that they were all pent up closet cases, just waiting for a release valve to open. Of course the hate group, Family Research Council has latched on to this and is spreading it around in an attempt to get their sheep to donate more cash.

And then finally, the lie I would call the lie of the year, is that Republicans are the party of fiscal responsibility or that they are interested at all in doing anything about the national deficit. When you pass a bill giving tax breaks to everyone, even people that don’t need it, and don’t accompany those tax breaks with real spending cuts, and just their fake earmark ban, then they don’t care about the deficit, because they just added to it.

16 December 2010

Quote Of The Day

"It could well be, ladies and gentlemen, that we're fighting the wrong enemy in the Middle East. Maybe the real terrorists that we face are on Capitol Hill. I mean, really, who's doing as good a job to undermine what this country stands for as the terrorists? 'Dingy' Harry, Nancy Pelosi. I mean, look, if they call us 'hostage takers' and 'gangsters,' then why can't we call them what they are? They are terrorists. They certainly seem suicidal. Look at what they're doing. Look at what they did. They knew they were going to get shellacked in this election and they did it! They knew they were gonna lose. And they want to take us with them." -Rush Limbaugh

Excellence In Broadcasting, my ass.


This looks pretty cool...

15 December 2010

#DADT Repealed In The House

And so it begins...
By a 250-175 vote, the House on Wednesday passed a stand-alone bill that would end the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy — a move supporters believe can build momentum for Senate passage in the final days of Congress’s lame-duck session.

But while gay rights activists and their Capitol Hill allies continue to believe that more than 60 senators support repealing the Pentagon’s 17-year ban on openly gay men and women in uniform — a view mirrored by nearly eight in 10 Americans — the House vote seems to have left the basic dynamic in the Senate unchanged.

For now, it appears that repeal advocates simply can’t get the Senate’s attention.

Senators from both parties remain consumed with other legislative challenges, and it continues to be equally evident that Republicans are willing do anything to run out the clock on Democratic priorities like the repeal.
Cartoon: Chan Lowe, The Sun-Sentinel

Tax Cut Extension Passes Senate

It wasn't even close:
The Senate on Wednesday approved a sweeping tax package negotiated by the White House and congressional Republicans, and House leaders - who were looking to amend the measure in a way that would satisfy liberals without unraveling the deal altogether - said a House vote could follow as soon as Thursday.

Before senators began debating the $858 billion package in late morning, President Obama urged lawmakers in both houses to pass it "as swiftly as possible." He called the plan "an essential ingredient in spurring economic growth over the short run."


It would extend for two years an array of tax breaks enacted during the George W. Bush administration that are set to expire Dec. 31, including benefits championed by Republicans for the wealthiest households. In return, Obama secured another year of emergency jobless benefits and fresh incentives to boost the economy, including a two-percentage-point reduction in the payroll tax for all workers in 2011.

Interactive Maps

...are really cool:

Unfortunately, this one is not "interactive". Go to the New York Times for that nifty one. You can sort by race, income, housing and education. Pretty cool.

'Pirates' Teaser Trailer

Has this series jumped the shark yet? I'm not so sure.

Another movie goodie after the jump...

NRO: Steele Should Go

The National Review wants to see Steele step-down from the chairmanship of the RNC:
Say what you will about him — Michael Steele plays by nobody else’s rules. He shocked the political world on Monday night by announcing he’d run for reelection as chairman of the Republican National Committee. We admire his pluck, but not his judgment. It’s time for someone else to run the RNC.

Steele is an infectiously likeable guy with an inspiring personal story. The adopted son of a laundress and a truck driver who credits his bootstrapping mother and Ronald Reagan with leading him to the GOP, Steele became one of the first in his family to attend college, and spent years at the Catholic seminary of Villanova before leaving to pursue a career in law and public service that would see him become the first African American to hold statewide office in Maryland and the first to chair the Republican National Committee.

We don’t doubt he will continue to be an asset to the party and to the conservative cause in any number of ways, but he has turned out to be ill suited to the RNC job.
Read the rest of the editorial here. You know that it's not going to be a favorable review when the title is "Anybody but Steele"...

Quote Of The Day

"It is easy to stand on the sidelines and criticize this deal. And it would perhaps be politically expedient to stand on the sideline and criticize this tax deal. But to advocate against this tax deal is to advocate for a tax increase." -Senator John Thune (R-SD), denouncing potential 2012 GOP candidates for criticizing the tax deal that Congressional Republicans and President Obama reached.

Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times


Nerd porn. Literally:

The full TRON effect here. WARNING: definitely NSFW.

UPDATE:: A reader writes in to say that a better post title would be TRON PRON -- since that's what it is. An awesome suggestion. I've changed the post title.

14 December 2010

Quote Of The Day

"I'm not overly enamored with her. As a candidate nationwide I don't think she is electable for a presidency, and I think that over time you will see reasons why." -GOP operative Sig Rogich, who worked on the presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan and both George Bushes, commenting on Sarah Palin's presidential aspirations.

RINO. =)

Head nod: Taegan Goddard

Army Birther Pleads Guilty

Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin pleaded guilty to not reporting to Fort Campbell (KY) for his deployment to Afghanistan. Lakin claims the order from President Obama as commander-in-chief is "unlawful" because he has not proven he was born in the United States.

Lakin could face up to 18 months in prison, but Army officials tell NBC News instead of jail time it's "likely" the court will order him discharged from the Army.

That could prove to be expensive. Army officials say at 18 years of service, Lakin is two years short of full retirement, which over a lifetime could total as much as a couple million dollars in retirement pay and benefits.
Birthers jump the shark in 3... 2... 1...

That Mandate

Aside from being my bad pun to describe a guy's night out, Reihan Salam sees the mandate as something else altogether:
The individual mandate is a rhetorical device. To pay for a new health entitlement, we need to impose a tax. But to mask the cost of the new health entitlement, the president and his allies chose a more complex structure. That’s really all there is to it. The federal government can very easily offer everyone health insurance, and it can offer a choice of private insurance providers through an exchange. This is roughly what happens in a number of advanced market democracies. Yet if the individual mandate is found unconstitutional, the federal government will have to do this through a more transparent and coherent vehicle.


There are some writers, including Matt Miller of the Washington Post, who insist that the individual mandate is essential to the preservation of a private insurance system. But one wonders if a system centered around an individual mandate is any more private than a system in which public dollars are used to purchase insurance from various private providers. As I understand it, food stamps haven’t destroyed the private marketplace for foodstuffs.
I like the food stamps analogy.
It mak
However, I don't think that many average Joes (plumber or not) are going to buy into any of this while people are still referring to the entitlement as a "mandate".

I wonder what the political conversations sounded like in the lead-up to the creation of Social Security in 1935...

Worst. Headline. Ever.

Mythology 101

Mitt Romney's Health Care Woes

All of the hub-bub surrounding Judge Henry Hudson’s ruling regarding President Obama’s health-care overhaul does not bode well for the former Governor of Massachusetts:
A likely U.S. Supreme Court battle over a key component of Obamacare — which was modeled on a Bay State law championed by former Gov. Mitt Romney — could plague the GOP presidential wannabe just as the 2012 White House race heats up, experts said yesterday.

“The longer this goes on and the more it’s in the headlines, the worse for Romney,” said Larry Sabato, who heads the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “When will it get to the Supreme Court? At least a year. That puts it right in the middle of the presidential political season — which would be a nightmare for Romney.”


“Obviously he’s got a problem regardless of how the courts rule,’’ Sabato said. “He’s got a political problem here, not a legal problem.
Sabato is right on here. It will be interesting to see how Romney -- if he runs -- reacts to his own party's criticism of so-called "Romneycare" (since it was so similar to "Obamacare").

Photo: Flickr user TomSomero

Richard Holbrooke, 1941 - 2010

Perhaps best known for orchestrating the 1995 Dayton Accords between Bosnia and Herzegovina, Richard Holbrooke lived a very interesting life:
A tall, stocky man with a mop of graying hair and twinkling blue eyes, Holbrooke was a throwback to a time when diplomacy was glamorous — a dashing world of whispered confidences at elegant receptions, of Soviet-U.S. intrigue in shadowy locales, a world before WikiLeaks and when foreign policy was mostly insulated from rank partisanship.
Read the rest of the article here.

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Sarah Palin To Make Another Rare Non-Fox Appearance ABC. TV Newser:
Because [Palin] is a paid contributor to Fox News, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin rarely gives interviews outisde of the channel. An exception was made last week, when ABC’s Barbara Walters interviewed Palin as one of her “Most Fascinating People” of 2010.

Now, Palin is set to do another interview with ABC, this time with Robin Roberts at “Good Morning America.” Roberts will travel to Alaska and spend a “day-in-the-life” with Palin and her family, and will talk to her about her new book, as well as the political news of the day.
I'm sure that it will be a hard-hitting expose on the reasoning for Sarah Palin's departure from the Alaka Governor's Mansion....

Right. The "lamestream media" indeed.

13 December 2010

Canadian Military Mandates... Cross Dressing?

Bryan Fischer is really serious, isn't he? Geez.
According to a just-issued mandate, [Canadian] military personnel must conform to the dress code and standards of their “target” gender. So a man who believes he is a woman will be required to start dressing as a woman, despite carrying around fully functional male equipment. This is regardless of whether genital mutilation surgery has taken place or not.


If you want to see where the overturning of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will lead in the U.S., just take a glance at our neighbor to the north. It’s not a pretty picture.
Check please.

Head nod: JMG

Sunday Morning Music

...on Monday afternoon.

Because of a freak furnace malfunction yesterday, I didn't get to post my weekly edition of Sunday Morning Music. So, here it is, about 30 hours late:

You are listening to "Thé à la Menthe" ("mint tea") by Nikkfurie, one half of the French hip-hop team La Caution. This song was made popular in America after it's appearance in the 2004 film "Ocean's 12".

Fisking Glenn Beck's Terrorism Claims

...with your host, CNN's Fareed Zakaria.

"Total nonsense" indeed.

Quote Of The Day

"This isn’t a perfect deal and it’s not what I would have written, but after what we have seen the past two years with more government and more taxes, this deal is a big relief in the nick of time. We have a Democratic Congress that doesn’t leave office until January 5, taxes are set to go up on January 1 without this agreement, and once Washington raises taxes, it almost never cuts them. If we can get this through the Democratic Congress, even with its flaws, it will be the best legislation they’ve passed in two years." -Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R), commenting on the White House's proposed tax legislation.

Healthcare Ruled Unconstitutional

As you no doubt have heard, a federal judge in Virginia has ruled the recent healthcare law unConstitutional:
Casting a shadow of doubt over the future of the Affordable Care Act, a federal judge in Virginia ruled this afternoon that a major tenet of the new health reform violates the Constitution.

The decision, from George W. Bush-appointed Judge Henry Hudson, says that the federal government does not have the authority to require Americans to have health insurance. This so-called “individual mandate” is a critical companion to law's requirement that insurers sell coverage to everyone without charging sick people more. The mandate allows insurers to spread risk through the entire population. Without it, health policy experts say many Americans will buy insurance only when they are ill or injured, creating what's known as an insurance “death spiral,” with costs continually rising for everyone.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who spearheaded the case, argued that because the Affordable Care Act did not expressly write the law to make the individual mandate a stand-alone provision, voiding the mandate amounted to voiding the entire law. Judge Henry Hudson rejected this argument and stayed his ruling, meaning implementation of the law will continue while the decision is appealed by the Obama Administration.
...and now, the #tcot community is declaring victory while the #p2 folks are crying in their beers.

BUT WAIT, Stephen Taylor sees things more rationally:
This isn’t going to be settled until the Supreme Court weighs in. As such, while such rulings are of interest, no one should celebrate/mourn at this point.

The Party Of No

-Gary McCoy, The Flying McCoys

Lisa Murkowski's Victory "Decisive"

Joe Miller has officially been defeated. Right?
A state judge has rejected losing Senate candidate Joe Miller's attempt to overturn Sen. Lisa Murkowski's write-in re-election victory, and Friday granted the Division of Election's request for dismissal of Miller's challenge.

Superior Court Judge William Carey found the state's write-in count valid, rejecting every one of Miller's claims.

Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell called the ruling "decisive," and said it moved the state closer to having full representation in the U.S. Senate in January.

Certification of the results of Murkowski's 10,000-vote margin of victory was put on hold by a federal judge, pending the outcome of the state case. It is anticipated that Carey's Superior Court ruling will be appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court, though the Miller campaign was unclear on that Friday.
In other news, the state's Lieutenant Governor is named "Mead Treadwell". That's an awesome name.

Head nod: FirstRead

Michael Steele To Step Down As RNC Chair

Not really all-that-surprising:
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is expected to announce he will drop out of the highly contested race to keep his post, multiple RNC sources told on Sunday.


Republicans picked up 63 seats in the House, narrowed the gap in the Senate and picked up 19 state legislative bodies in the November midtem election, but pressure has been mounting all year for Steele to step down from the position.

Critics have described the chairman as gaffe-prone and said he hasn't raised enough money. The criticism has resulted in an array of challenges for Steele's job from Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus, former RNC Co-Chairwoman Ann Wagner, longtime Republican official Maria Cino, former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis and former RNC Political Director Gentry Collins.
Head nod: The Daily Caller

Ron Paul's New Chaimanship... And Beyond

Ron Paul gets a new leadership position and weighs a 2012 presidential run. I can hear the Mr. Furious cheering from here:
[Congressman Ron Paul] is about to gain even greater visibility. He says he will use his new [position as chairman of the House subcommittee on domestic monetary policy] to renew his push for a full audit of the Fed and to hold a series of hearings on monetary policy.

On Web sites for Ron Paul fans, there are urgent pleas for a father-son (or son-father) “Paul/Paul 2012” ticket. But in an interview, the senior Mr. Paul seemed taken by surprise by the suggestion of teaming up. While he is bursting-proud of his son, he is not necessarily ready to yield the spotlight: He is pondering another presidential run on his own.

“I’d say it’s at least 50-50 that I’ll run again,” he said, adding that he would look at where the economy is. (Aides add that it would depend a lot on what his wife, Carol, says.)
The article offers a good review of how Paul used to be treated by his fellow colleagues in the GOP -- and how they are now embracing him and his message. Finally.

Photo: Reuters

11 December 2010

Saturday Morning Cartoon

Eat your Cheerios -- it's cartoon time!

10 December 2010

Hard Wuerk

-M.Wuerker, Wuerking Drawings

Seeing The World Through Partisan Eyes

Jonah Goldberg doesn't like centrists (particularly that newfangled 'claptrap' group, No Labels):
What no-labelers really mean [by calling themselves centrists] is that they don't like inconvenient disagreements that hinder their agenda. And that's what is so troubling, indeed so undemocratic, about this claptrap. When they claim we need to put aside labels to do what's right, what they are really saying is you need to put aside what you believe in and do what they say. When activists say we need to move past the partisan divide, what they mean is: Shut up and get with my program. Have you ever heard anyone say, "We need to get past all of this partisan squabbling and name-calling. That's why I'm going to abandon all my objections and agree with you?" I haven't.

No Labels says it's "about taking the politics out of problem-solving." It is amazing how cavalierly people say this sort of thing, as if this wasn't the rationale behind pretty much every dictatorship since the dawn of man. Nearly once a week, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman gives voice to his full-blown man-crush on China's one-party dictatorship because — according to Friedman — the Chinese, unlike us, can implement "optimal" policies without getting bogged down in such distractions as elections, the rule of law, human rights, etc.

Look: You can't take the politics out of problem-solving. Politics, even in China, is the art of problem-solving. People aiming to yank the politics out of government invariably end up removing the democracy instead. argument to which I would counter with what my new(ish) friend Solomon Kleinsmith (of quasi-fame) says in his WNYC op-ed:
Many on the left look at No Labels and see a conservative wolf in centrist clothing, ignoring the democrats and centrist independents who are throwing their support behind it. They’re myopically focusing on conservative supporters like David Frum, as well as Mark McKinnon, a long time Republican operative who is among the founders. On the right, they are more focused on the staff, many of whom are veterans of moderate Democratic groups like the Democratic Leadership Council and Third Way. Having another founder in Democratic operative Kiki McLean proves, to them, a left wing conspiracy is afoot.

These people cannot possibly know if there is a hidden agenda behind No Labels, nor can they know who the financial backers are who haven't come out publicly, but this doesn't stop them from pretending. Many are claiming that No Labels is a political party, laying the foundation for a Bloomberg Presidential run in 2012.


As for all the theories flying around, John Avlon, centrist independent pundit on CNN, former Giuliani speechwriter and columnist at The Daily Beast, might say these folks have a variant of what he calls Obama or Bush derangement syndrome, where ideology has blinded them to such a degree that they can’t just see something for what it is. No Labels doesn’t fit into their artificial ideological worldview, so they pull off mental gymnastics to invent wingnut conspiracy theories about how the group must be a puppet of dark forces from the other end of the political spectrum.

These ad hominem attacks are one sign that No Labels is my kinda group. I put up with the same attacks every day myself.
Now, I haven't bought-in to No Labels with the same furvor as Solomon, but I tend to agree more with him than I do with Goldberg. Duh.

Jonah Goldberg approaches the idea of centrism with the cynical skepticism of a man blinded by partisanship. To Golberg, everything is either right or left.

Conservative or liberal.
Capitalist or Communist.
Republican or Democratic.

There is no grey area in Golberg's view -- for there can be no room for it. Everything is either black or white. It is this this type of thinking that frustrates me about politics -- for many hyper-partisans, there can be no compromise.

And therein lies my disagreement with people -- on the right or the left -- like Goldberg; I believe that compromise is what needs to happen for anything to get done.

[ed note: Please don't misunderstand my point here -- I do realize that there are certain issues that, for some people, are uncompromisable (if that is indeed a word). I just think that if people never compromise, sh*t won't get done -- on a personal or a governmental level.]

Photo: Flickr user AnotherPrintPlease

Navy Test Fires The So-Called "Rail Gun"

It's a long-ass video, but the ending is well worth it.

Frightening cool:
An electromagnetic railgun offers a velocity previously unattainable in a conventional weapon, speeds that are incredibly powerful on their own. In fact, since the projectile doesn't have any explosives itself, it relies upon that kinetic energy to do damage. And at 11 a.m. today, the Navy produced a 33-megajoule firing -- more than three times the previous record set by the Navy in 2008.

"It bursts radially, but it's hard to quantify," said Roger Ellis, electromagnetic railgun program manager with the Office of Naval Research. To convey a sense of just how much damage, Ellis told that the big guns on the deck of a warship are measured by their muzzle energy in megajoules. A single megajoule is roughly equivalent to a 1-ton car traveling at 100 mph. Multiple that by 33 and you get a picture of what would happen when such a weapon hits a target.

Ellis says the Navy has invested about $211 million in the program since 2005, since the railgun provides many significant advantages over convention weapons. For one thing, a railgun offers 2 to 3 times the velocity of a conventional big gun, so that it can hit its target within 6 minutes. By contrast, a guided cruise missile travels at subsonic speeds, meaning that the intended target could be gone by the time it reaches its destination.

Furthermore, current U.S. Navy guns can only reach targets about 13 miles away. The railgun being tested today could reach an enemy 100 miles away. And with current GPS guidance systems it could do so with pinpoint accuracy. The Navy hopes to eventually extend the range beyond 200 miles.

"We're also eliminating explosives from the ship, which brings significant safety benefits and logistical benefits," Ellis said. In other words, there is less danger of an unintended explosion onboard, particularly should such a vessel come under attack.
Whenever I hear "rail gun", I always think of the move "Eraser"...

Bill Maher On Independent Voters

Independents don't pay that much attention. Independents are the people who just throw out the party that's in power - because Obama got elected and it didn't immediately start raining twenties. So throw the bums out. By the way, these same bums that they just threw out two years ago, they just put back in. No wonder we can't get anything done in this country.

So this idea that the independents are these careful thinkers ... I don't think that is who the independent voter is. I just think they're cranky people who want change. They voted for change in '06, they voted for change in '08.
Head nod: The Hankster

Coming Out Of The Closet

click to embiggen

Andrew Sullivan has found yet another way to make money off of his blog. While I find this subject excruciatingly interesting, it maddens me to the point of exhaustion that this guy has made a highly successful living out of blogging.

So. Unbelievably. Jealous.

Mmmm... brownies.

"Times Have Changed, Old Man"

Matt Lewis, as always, has some very astute observations about Tea Party-backed candidates in the 2010 election cycle:
Much of my concern with the "tea party" candidates who ran in 2010 had nothing to do with their political philosophy (much of which I share), but instead, everything to do with their political sagacity and -- for lack of a better word -- competence (sadly, all criticism was treated equally by some -- as an example of apostasy).

Typically criticism was brushed aside the way a teenager might ignore his parents admonitions. The message coming from the tea party seemed to be: "Times have changed, old man!"

Unfortunately, the problem with eschewing all the old ideas of the past, of course, is that some of the things that have always been done caught on precisely because they are wise.


Much of my concern with some of the Tea Party candidates was confirmed this week when it was revealed that two of the prominent conservative senate candidates ended their races with hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank.
Hint: he's looking at you, Christine O'Donnell...

I too share much of Lewis' sentiment regarding what has become of the Tea Party movement.

As recent as three years ago, during the run-up to the 2008 presidential elections, if you had asked me to describe the Tea Party movement, I would have told you that it was basically a libertarian-style philosophy. Small government, low/no taxes, lots of personal liberties and individual freedom.

But now? Now the Tea Party has taken on a very different form. Oh sure, it appears to be inclusive of those original tenets -- but it seems that the movement has garnered more of a socially conservative air as well. To me, this is contrary to what the Tea Party of three years ago represented.

Photo: Getty Images

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