Friday, March 18, 2011

WORD OF THE DAY

"Is there any way … to reduce this tree-hugging hippie crap?"
-20th Century Fox exec on Avatar

Red Dawn Remake
Rumors about Hillary Clinton abandoning the Obama Administration are swirling again. Every so often people suggest she's going to leave the Secretary of State job over one complaint or another. This time its Joshua Hersh who believes she's considering resigning:

Fed up with a president “who can’t make his mind up” as Libyan rebels are on the brink of defeat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is looking to the exits.

At the tail end of her mission to bolster the Libyan opposition, which has suffered days of losses to Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, Clinton announced that she’s done with Obama after
2012 — even if he wins again.

“Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up,” a Clinton insider told The Daily. “She’s exhausted, tired.”
Perhaps its true, having a lack of leadership at the presidency and failure to take action would be difficult for someone in her job. It can't be easy to try to work with foreign governments when your boss deals with world crises by going golfing and showing how he fills out his NCAA basketball tournament brackets. Plus, she's not really very good at the job to begin with.

Newspapers are desperate for advertising revenue to survive, which perhaps explains why they're willing to sell out their integrity when an advertiser complains. Ray Wert at Jalopnik explains one example at The Detroit News:
Scott Burgess resigned today as The Detroit News auto critic after his editors bowed to a request by an advertiser to water down his negative review of the Chrysler 200. This is why we can't have nice reviews anymore.

The Chrysler 200 is the car that sits at the center of a multi-million-dollar, Eminem-starring "Imported from Detroit" campaign meant to symbolize the rebirth of not only the automaker, but of Detroit. Unfortunately, as we've experienced first hand, the car's just not competitive with current models — only competing well with the older version of itself, the Chrysler Sebring.
This isn't new, of course, magazines like Consumer Reports have long been inconsistent and even contradictory about products based on pressure from advertisers. They just have more reason to be ready to please advertisers these days.

Last week's WATN included a bit on Brandon Darby, the hero who prevented a firebomb attack on the GOP convention in 2008. He sued the New York Times for repeatedly claiming he encouraged and assisted in the attacks, and now the NYT has printed a retraction noting that he did not do any such thing. The only question remains: why on earth did they try to smear this guy, except that he helped Republicans and defeated leftists?

Confusing is the word that comes to my mind. Washington Mutual bank closed after extending home loans to people that could not possibly pay their mortgages for homes that were far beyond their means at the behest and pressure of the federal government. They were assured that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would cover them if the loans went bad, and financial laws crafted by Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Barney Frank (D-MA) allowed the trade of toxic loans (mortgages with no chance of being repaid) as if they were assets between financial corporations. Now, after all that, the FDIC is suing the top executives of WAMU for doing exactly what the government pushed them to do.

The NPR scandal in which shock journalist James O'Keefe caught execs admitting they thought leftists were superior and conservatives were racist scum, the video that had an exec stating that NPR was probably better off without government funding, and the video that showed them telling an alleged Muslim group how to donate anonymously to avoid government audit, was a big internet hit. I say internet, because the legacy media barely touched the story. CBS finally ran a bit on the scandal that lasted a few seconds and ran at 4:00 AM, according to Kyle Drennen at Newsbusters.

Early this week, a blog story came out alleging that talk shows use fake callers, hiring actors to call in with questions and make them look good. In a strange argument that Rush Limbaugh does this, little-known MSNBC talking head Ed Schultz noted that he used such a service early on in the show to establish the program and get calls. Brian Maloney at the Radio Equalizer has the transcript:
Now I have to tell you, this has been done. It's been done on the Ed Schultz radio show when we first started. But as we gained stations, we never did it again.
Rush never had to establish the show, but other, smaller hosts might have needed such a service. The blog implied that many people in talk radio are still doing this, without the slightest shred of evidence.

Beaked Whales are being cited by scientists as a reason to not build wind farms. Professor Ian Boyd, of the University of St Andrews claims that these timid creatures become confused and frightened at strange new things, possibly causing them to beach themselves and interfering with their reproduction. Funny, I thought the theory of evolution was all about survival of the fittest and adapting to new environments, with superior species supplanting ones that could not. I guess that doesn't apply here. Again. Tim Blair has the details, although the Telegraph recently admitted that there's zero evidence to back these claims, just supposition.

Even if national defense, interstate highways, national parks, homeland security, and all other discretionary programs somehow became absolutely free in the US budget, we'd still face budget deficits, because more than half of the budget is mandatory spending. Jeffrey Andersen runs the numbers at the Weekly Standard, pointing out that there must be a serious shift in how we run things and major cuts just to begin chipping away at the budget.

Keith Koffler, no enemy of the President or Democrats, recently wrote all about how the White House has been engaging in bullying and strongarming of the press to stop negative reporting or even neutral reporting about the president that they do not happen to appreciate.
It’s not just a series of uncontrolled outbursts. It is a planned, methodical, and highly artificial effort to either squash a story or get inside a reporter’s head so they think twice about doing a piece next time that negatively impacts Obama.
They want to control the narrative, so even with an incredibly supportive and protective media, the White House wants to make sure nothing gets out that can harm their president. Its not surprising that a Chicago machine politician is doing this, its surprising that the media is so willing to put up with it. But the, the way they see it, its him or a Republican, and they'd rather gouge out an eyeball than have a Republican victory.

Several rather foolish (or deliberately deceptive) leftists have recently claimed that the US has no fiscal problems, only improperly redistributed money. They say that if the rich were taxed enough, why, we'd be out of debt right away! Michael Moore, multi-millionaire faux documentarian recently claimed this with a straight face, pretending that he is just one of the folks int he crowd instead of one of those millionaires. Moore did not offer to simply give his money away, it should be noted. As Nick Gillespie notes with hard facts, the US is, in fact, broke, and Kevin Williamson goes into great detail showing how even if every single person considered "wealthy" in the US was taxed 100% there still isn't enough money. This isn't new, its been true for decades, its just gotten much, much worse recently.

William Jacobson is frustrated with the lack of economic understanding on the left. At Legal Insurrection, he writes "Growing the pie is a concept the Democratic Party doesn't understand." And that's the basic problem. The left thinks that there's only so much money around and we have to figure out how to more evenly distribute that finite amount. The right thinks we should focus on how to make that happen so there's more for everyone; more opportunity and more wealth. That's the basic difference between the two political sides when it comes to economics. The left thinks the problem is that the pie isn't divided up properly. The right thinks we should work on a bigger pie.

Something about all those ads for remote assistance in your car, the ability to start your car through your cell phone and so on don't mention, but me and my friends always shout at the TV is this: if you can do it, someone else can. MIT's Technology Review recently ran an article all about hacking into other peoples' cars, something I expect Hollywood to depict in a thriller soon. Erica Naone writes:
The researchers were able to control everything from the car's brakes to its door locks to its computerized dashboard displays by accessing the onboard computer through GM's OnStar and Ford's Sync, as well as through the Bluetooth connections intended for making hands-free phone calls.
Well, yes. If someone can access this stuff wirelessly, anyone can. And that's sold as security and safety?

Red Dawn was a cheesy but patriotic movie made in the 80's about an incredibly improbable invasion of the US by Russians that somehow took over most of the country. Hey, they had to set up the real story of resistance, which was not terrible. Now a remake is in the works, originally featuring a Chinese takeover of the US. I write "originally" because they're digitally editing the entire movie to remove every mention of China and instead making the bad guys North Korea. Now, the premise was absurd enough to begin with but... North Korea? Seriously? The reason? China was mad at being depicted as the bad guys and since the US has such heavy trade deals with the nation, well money talks. Russia didn't have financial clout in the 80s.

Gas prices are on the rise, as are food prices. Wholesale food prices went up by 1.6% in February, something anyone who has gone grocery shopping can attest to. Driven by a weak economy, the US dollar's drop in value, the increase in gas prices, and extremely poor fruit and vegetable crops in many areas this winter, food prices continue to go up. Inflation has a whole leg in the door at this point, and I don't see anyone pushing it out this time. Let's all hope I'm wrong.

Average life expectancy of residents in the United States has risen to 78 years, the highest ever. When Social Security was devised and implemented under FDR in direct violation of the US Constitution, the average life expectancy was 66.

Another "green" company has died. A Pennsylvania company that was going to burn biomass for energy has gone under, citing the lack of market for the reason. It turns out that no matter what government subisdies, tax breaks, or pressure there is brought to bear, people just don't want to pay extra for energy. When you turn on the computer, it doesn't care if the power came from nuclear, coal, biomass, or burned baby seals.

According to the LA Times, more people get their news from internet sources than newspapers. That's great for the quality and quantity of information, but not so great for the legacy media and the Democratic Party.

Charlie Martin at Pajamas Media has a very useful and informative article about the Japanese Nuclear Power plants, pointing out several key things to consider.
  • Nobody really knows what's going on in those plants yet.
  • Most of the "experts" being cited by the legacy media are anti-nuke think tank guys.
  • The plants in Japan are several generations better than 3 mile island and aeons beyond Chernobyl.
  • Even if there is a meltdown it doesn't mean that the radiation in these plants will go anywhere outside the containment core.
  • Much of what you read is misleading such as "nuclear explosion" instead of "explosion in nuclear plant."
We're not going to know exactly what's happening yet, but so far it appears that these 40 year old plants sustained a 9 point earthquake, a 30 foot wall of water, and an outer containment vessel hydrogen explosion without exposing the inner core, which is a pretty amazing achievement to begin with.

Primary elections are the beast of the political parties, they are not part of the constitutional election system set up by the constitution of the US. They are simply mechanisms for parties to choose their candidates which then run for elections, and they are part of the problem with the US political system. Michael Barone explained recently in the Washington Examiner:
The weakest part of our political system is the presidential nomination process. And it's not coincidental that it's the part of the federal system that finds least guidance in the Constitution.

There is no provision in the Constitution that says that Iowa and New Hampshire vote first. The idea of giving any two states a preferred position in the process of choosing a president would surely have struck the Framers as unfair.

But we are stuck with Iowa and New Hampshire voting first because no politician who contemplates ever running for president -- i.e., most politicians -- wants to arouse the ire of the political and journalistic establishments of Des Moines and Manchester.
Other points he brings up is that the system favors the rich and the politically connected over the capable and the well-informed, and that campaigns tend to lag behind the elections by as much as ten years, meaning that policies and positions can be locked in which are contrary to the changing situation and needs by the time elections come around. So we get politically astute dilletants with dated policy positions chosen by party elites in a front-loaded system that does not represent the people very well.

Another Democrat has admitted that the Government Health Insurance Takeover Act was designed as a trojan horse to get socialized medicine into place. This time it was Representative Conyers (D-MI) who told CNS News:
When asked if he thinks President Obama's health-care law will lead to a single-payer health-care system in the U.S., Conyers said: “Well it’s a platform. I don’t think they flow smoothly but without that, if we didn’t have this then health care, universal health care would be an even more difficult legislative objective,” he said.
That's always been the plan, and it hasn't even been secret, despite the deliberate lies by Democratic Party leaders when they are pressed on it.

WATN mentioned this in another piece but it bears repeating. The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that threats of violence are not coercive. RedState reports:
Under the National Labor Relations Act, employees are presumably free to choose to unionize or not to unionize free from coercion or interference. In previous cases, the National Labor Relations Board had considered threats (even by third parties) enough cause for an election to be overturned.

Unbelievably, on Friday, the union-controlled NLRB ruled that threats of physical violence by pro-union supporters is not coercive.
So now they can threaten non union members with physical violence to force them to join the union. Well, they're losing membership very rapidly, I guess they figure to survive at any cost.

And that's the Word Around the Net, March 18, 2011.

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