Gov. Rick Perry's Emerging Technology Fund has invested $169 million in commercial firms to create 820 jobs since 2006.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
This past Friday night, congressional officials received a 'document dump' from the Department of Justice concerning Operation Fast and Furious. Contained in the cache of documents was a copy of an email confirming that US Attorney General Eric Holder was notified of the death of US Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, on the same day as the tragedy occurred.
According to the report, Dennis Burke, former Arizona US Attorney, received an email at 2:31 am, Dec. 15, 2010 that read,
"On December 14, 2010, a BORTAC agent working in the Nogales, AZ AOR was shot. The agent was conducting Border Patrol operations 18 miles north of the international boundary when he encountered [redacted word] unidentified subjects. Shots were exchanged resulting in the agent being shot. At this time, the agent is being transported to an area where he can be air lifted to an emergency medical center."
An hour later, Burke received a second email informing him that the agent had passed away.
Following standard operating procedure, Burke forwarded both emails on to Monty Wilkinson, then deputy chief of staff for Holder. In Burke's forward, he wrote that what happened was not good because it took place 18 miles within the US border.
Burke received a response from Wilkinson who said it was tragic and that,
"I've alerted the AG [Holder], the Acting DAG, Lisa, etc."
That same day, Burke learned that the guns used in the murder of agent Terry were part of Fast and Furious. He again emailed Wilkinson saying,
"The guns found in the desert near the murder BP officer connect back to the investigation we were going to talk about – they were AK-47s purchased at a Phoenix gun store."
Mexican narco-terrorists have already been linked to immunity discussions with the DoJ, but I believe that there is a chance that they felt like they were receiving a raw deal and decided to put some pressure on the department by incriminating the AG's office and linking them to the violence as a complicit accomplice.
Wilkinson responded to Burke telling him,
"I'll call tomorrow."
US Attorney General Eric Holder testified before Congress that he was only informed about Fast and Furious a few weeks before his testimony when in fact he had been notified five months earlier.
Later this week, Feb 2, Holder is scheduled to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. They will have an opportunity to grill the AG directly about his involvement and questionable testimony he presented in his three earlier Congressional hearings.
Monday, January 30, 2012
As often as anti-rights/anti-gun advocates and "progressives" have refused to participate or support public debate, their opinions and fears of a strong society willing to defend its freedoms support the invalidity of their position.
I've been debating pro-gun web surfers online (and offline) since 1998, and in that time, there has been almost no variation in the tactics they use in trying to support their belief that guns are awesome and make the world a better place. They may change the specific "evidence" they use, but the underlying arguments don't change. No matter how many times the arguments they use have been debunked, they continue to use the same faulty logic over and over again. Here's a quick guide to the most common arguments you're likely to hear...
One of the main ideas of pro-rights advocacy is that those who support and defend the rights of the many and the few also support the individual's choice whether or not to practice said rights. We respect those with opposing views to practice their natural and Constitutional rights as they choose, also refraining from infringing upon others. This is the main point of contention, that those who oppose the liberties of others so actively campaign to deny from others what gives them the freedom to denounce themselves. Simply, opposition to the freedoms of others is an oppressive position.
Ad hominem attacks: This is common with all right-wing argumentation, but is particularly common with gun proponents. Common insults include: Communist, socialist, liberal, liar, extreme, Democrat, etc. Yes, I actually am a few of those things, but even if I were all of them, none of these things belongs in a serious conversation about gun control or gun rights. Attempt to prove your case without namecalling or dismissing someone based on a label and then we can have a serious conversation. And this doesn't get into the more extreme and insulting namecalling that usually includes homophobia, misogyny and profanity.
Anecdotal evidence: One of the basic rules of science and logic is that one example of anything (or even a few examples) is not proof of anything systematic. Gun owners love to use anecdotal evidence to support their claims and they frequently make broad generalizations and come to definitive conclusions based on individual (or a handful) of incidents, usually of dubious veracity. The entire concept that guns are used more for self defense than they are for crime is based on a "study" that went something like this: "Three people in city A claim to have used guns in self defense, so multiply that times the number of cities in the U.S. and that's how many self-defense instances there are in a year." Completely nonsensical in terms of logic and science.
Conflation of gun crime and non-gun crime: In trying to prove your arguments wrong, they will mix and match the different types of crime as if they are interchangeable, using whatever statistics help make their current argument, regardless of how relevant they are. Gun control proponents argue that gun control lessens gun crime and violent crime and homicide, not other types of crime
Funny, that's pretty much the usual suspects of the anti-rights/anti-gun proponents. There are a few legislators I'd add, but the author pretty much lays the base quite well.
Conspiracy thinking: There is widespread conspiratorial thinking among the pro-gun set, arguing that everyone from the Brady Campaign, to the United Nations, to Democrats, to Media Matters, to the Joyce Foundation, is involved in a conspiracy to take away everyone's guns. And probably to kill gun owners on top of that. Or imprison them. Or something. As with most conspiracies, none of it makes any sense and it isn't backed up by any real evidence, it's more about innuendo and guesswork or flights of fancy. And anyone who ever says anything about gun control is part of the conspiracy.
Elevated ego: Few people are more righteous in their own beliefs than the anti-gun contingent. They are convinced not only that their arguments are right, but that they are on a mission from God or something. They also are completely convinced that any sentence they utter is proof coming directly from God and that they are always right. And they are always convinced that everything they say should not only convince you that they are right, but that it would make any sane person convinced of their correctness. On top of that, they are the first to toot their own horns about how badly they invalidated everything you said. At least I'll give them this, they stick together and will team up with each other to congratulate each other for how awesome their arguments are.
Old information, like the proven connections between dictators and pupil ace disarmament? That's both relevant and historical.
False irrelevancy: It's common for pro-gun people to call any information that isn't very, very recent irrelevant because it's old. But we learned about the rotation of the earth hundreds of years ago and that information is still relevant today. Old information is only irrelevant if it has been proven untrue, which is almost never the case when these arguments are made.
Fictional constitutional rights: One should never accuse any anti-gun person making a constitutional argument of being a constitutional scholar. They consistently read things into the document that don't exist and reject things that are both in and outside of the document that count as law, since those things don't agree with their agenda. The text of the Second Amendment is: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Almost every pro-gun person leaves out the militia clause, which is there. Almost every pro-gun person ignores the words "well regulated," which explicitly authorize gun control. Almost every pro-gun person adds the word individual to this text, despite it not being in there. There is no right here to kill anyone. There is no right here to use guns against the government. There is no right here for anything beyond the right of the collective "people" to bear arms as part of a militia. The Supreme Court changed this interpretation way back in 2008. Because Republican appointees who were activist judges decided that was what it meant. The decision wasn't based on precedent or constitutional text.
Geographical nonsense: Every country in the world that has stronger gun control laws has lower rates of gun crime than the U.S., which has weak gun control laws. That's a simple fact and it's the big problem with all anti-gun control arguments, they can't get around this fact, it isn't possible. Another problem is the nonsensical claim that cities and states that have stricter gun control laws haven't eliminated gun crime, so they most not be effective. The reality, of course, is that a strict gun control law in state A is easy to evade if neighboring states B, C, and D all have weaker gun control laws. Guns don't stop at state borders and there is no way to check for them as people cross state lines, that's why gun crime isn't eliminated in those states. However, you do find that states with stricter gun control laws do have lower gun crime rates.
Godwin's rule: Whenever they run out of other talking points, pro-gun people fall back on the argument that "Hitler and Stalin took away people's guns, too," suggesting that any gun control argument is aligned with totalitarian dictators and that gun control automatically leads to mass murder by the government.
"If you outlaw guns, only criminals will have guns": This isn't true, of course, since law enforcement and military would have them, but this is beside the point. It's simply a matter of fact that if fewer guns exist, fewer criminals have them and fewer gun crimes happen.
Logical gymnastics: Pro-gun people love to use logical fallacies when pointing out the weakness of their opponents arguments. The problem is that they rarely use them correctly and they engage in many others while calling them out in others. The important point, though, is that you can't prove that gun control is a bad thing by pointing out logical fallacies used by proponents of stricter laws. Any individual who argues for something or against something can do a bad job at it and the original premise can still be true. Reality is independent of any individual's or group's understanding of it or ability to argue for or against it.
Reinventing the wheel: Every blog post, comment or argument with a pro-gun person has to go back to the very beginning of the debate and re-prove every argument ever, regardless of how many times something has been shown to be true. And if you, personally, can't prove something, they will claim that it isn't true, even if it has been scientifically proven elsewhere. I do not have the time, nor the interest, in proving every fact about the debate every time I say it. Nor should I have to. That's not how intelligent conversation works. Scientists and people interested in truth build off of previous information and previous evidence, they don't start at the beginning every time they broach a subject.
Source hypocrisy: Gun proponents automatically reject any source that comes from a liberal or a pro-gun control source, yet they will endlessly cite pro-gun sources (including Gun Cite), without even a hint of irony or acknowledgement of the hypocrisy of such an argument.
Source rejection: The only valid source to a hoplophobe is one that agrees with them. They automatically reject any evidence that comes from a right-wing or pro-gun source and reject any journalist or scientist who provides evidence that disagrees with them instantly. Unless that same source later agrees with them. Then they'll say it was right all along. Facts and reality are neutral to your argument (or mine). You cannot reject a source based on the fact that they came to a conclusion you don't like.
It is not surprising that those so vocal of their opposition to gun rights are also willing to trample on the rest of our Constitutional rights in their quest. To them, I say "tilt away," just as did Don Quixote. Tit away.
"You'll never stop criminals from getting guns, so gun control laws are ineffective": This one shows a basic misunderstanding of the concept of problem solving. There are few, if any, problems that can be 100% eliminated. That isn't the goal with real-world gun control laws. The goal is to lessen gun crime as much as possible, which is very clearly shown to happen when common sense gun control laws are put into effect.
Now that's a scary premise, but not outside potential activities of the US warfare state. It wouldn't be the first time we put out soldiers in harm's way hoping to use their deaths to justify expanding military offensive efforts.
How real is the possibility of a false flag attack on the USS Enterprise? A navy combat veteran who served in the Persian Gulf provides his perspective…
The USS Enterprise -perhaps one of the most well-known aircraft carriers in modern history- is scheduled to be decommissioned in one year.
Remember Pearl Harbor? What better way to encourage blind patriotism than to knowingly kill out own soldiers...
Nevertheless, it is still being deployed to the Persian Gulf, which has caused a lot of speculation about how the U.S. Government might provoke an attack (whether real or manufactured) to sink it and blame Iran to start a war.
The possibility of this event was first discussed a few days ago by talkshow host Mike Rivero.
Given the long track record of false flag attacks throughout U.S. Naval History, this is a scenario that cannot and should not be ruled out.
It is a well-known fact that the U.S. Government blew up the USS Maine in 1898 in order to blame Spain during the Cuban revolt, which led to the Spanish-American War. On June 8 of 1967, Israeli aircraft bombed the USS Liberty so the U.S. Government could blame the attack on Egypt.
More recently, Journalist and writer Seymour Hersh stated in public that during the Bush administration, Vice President Dick Cheney wanted to 'trigger' a war against Iran by using Navy SEALs disguised as Iranians attacking one of our own ships. These are only a few examples.
The Persian Gulf has very shallow water, with an average of 70 or 80 feet in depth. Therefore, a large aircraft carrier like the USS Enterprise would not fully sink. However, in the Gulf of Oman (which is where most carriers operate), the depth can reach over one thousand feet.
This would be the ideal area for a ship this size to sink.
However, the possibility for an aircraft carrier like the USS Enterprise to sink is still remote, given its massive size and how well the damage control teams can isolate the affected compartments.
Nevertheless, an attack that involves significant amount of damage can be sufficient enough to cause a psychological reaction that may change public opinion to favor a war against Iran.
Only days after the president declared, "No more bailouts, no more handouts," I see that Arlo Guthrie is touring the South in February and March. What's the connection? If you have the good fortune to see him, be sure to ask for "I'm Changing My Name to Fannie Mae." That 2008 song was itself a new version of Tom Paxton's classic song "I'm Changing My Name to Chrysler," sung here by Arlo: "When they hand a million grand out, I'll be standing with my hand out….If you're a corporate titanic and your failure is gigantic, Down in Congress there's a safety net for you."
The 2008 version is sung here by Arlo and here by Paxton. Besides the name of the company, they had to make a few other changes in the lyrics, like "When they hand a trillion grand out, I'll be standing with my hand out."
But that was October 2008. By the end of December, I was noting that it was a Merry Christmas for GMAC, which learned on Christmas Eve that the Federal Reserve had approved its application to become a bank holding company. That gave GMAC "access to new sources of funding, including a potential infusion of taxpayer dollars from the Treasury Department and loans from the Fed itself," as the Washington Post explained. GMAC wasn't the only company that suddenly became a "bank holding company" in order to cash in on the $700 billion financial bailout. Late one night in November, American Express was granted the same privilege, along with Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and CIT. Which was why I suggested then that Tom and Arlo needed a new version: "I'm Changing My Name to Bank Holding Company."
For now, enjoy "I'm Changing My Name to Fannie Mae":
I remember the line from George W. Bush on dictatorships, that he was fine with it as long as he got to be the dictator. Obama seems to be maintaining that idea through his occupation of the same office. The more things change...George Will takes President Obama to task for the theme in his State of the Union Address that America should be more like the army:
War, said James Madison, is "the true nurse of executive aggrandizement." Randolph Bourne, the radical essayist killed by the influenza unleashed by World War I, warned, "War is the health of the state." Hence Barack Obama's State of the Union hymn: Onward civilian soldiers, marching as to war….
I don't believe there is ever a good reason to give one person the open authority to take a democratic nation to war. It undermines the idea of representation.
The armed services' ethos, although noble, is not a template for civilian society, unless the aspiration is to extinguish politics. People marching in serried ranks, fused into a solid mass by the heat of martial ardor, proceeding in lock step, shoulder to shoulder, obedient to orders from a commanding officer — this is a recurring dream of progressives eager to dispense with tiresome persuasion and untidy dissension in a free, tumultuous society.
Progressive presidents use martial language as a way of encouraging Americans to confuse civilian politics with military exertions, thereby circumventing an impediment to progressive aspirations — the Constitution and the patience it demands.
He reminds us that President Franklin D. Roosevelt pioneered such rhetoric, and that FDR supporters demonstrated appalling enthusiasm for actual dictatorship:
In his first inaugural address, FDR demanded "broad executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe." He said Americans must "move as a trained and loyal army" with "a unity of duty hitherto evoked only in time of armed strife." …
Commonweal, a magazine for liberal Catholics, said that Roosevelt should have "the powers of a virtual dictatorship to reorganize the government." Walter Lippmann, then America's preeminent columnist, said: "A mild species of dictatorship will help us over the roughest spots in the road ahead."
Liberty holds no common purpose with blind subservience to a totalitarian State.
Ben Friedman deplored this theme in the speech as well:
There is an even bigger problem with this "be like the troops, put aside our differences, stop playing politics, salute and get things done for the common good" mentality. It is authoritarian. Sure, Americans share a government, much culture, and have mutual obligations. But that doesn't make the United States anything like a military unit, which is designed for coordinated killing and destruction. Americans aren't going to overcome their political differences by emulating commandos on a killing raid. And that's a good thing. At least in times of peace, liberal countries should be free of a common purpose, which is anathema to freedom.
As did I, in the first few minutes of this post-speech interview on Stossel. Cato scholars have also quoted that appalling inaugural speech from FDR — asking for "broad executive power" at the head of "a trained and loyal army" — several times. Let's hope that after George Will's skewering, Obama will drop this theme. Hierarchy, centralization, common purpose, command, and control are appropriate for an army, not for a free people.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Earlier today the Mitt Romney campaign released a video of the 1994 debate he had with Ted Kennedy where a younger Mitt Romney argues against a government takeover of health care.
But in April 12, 2006 at a Faneuil Hall singing ceremony, Mitt Romney actually saluted Ted Kennedy, the very man he debated at Faneuil Hall in 1994 as a "parent" of healthcare. Then Romney celebrated Kennedy's ability to get a federal monies for their signature health care bill. Now Romney makes a states' rights appeal and says that the Massachusetts plan was for Massachusetts and didn't involve the other states.
According to NBC News' Michael Isikoff, White House visitors logs reveal that Romney's health care advisers and experts repeatedly met with senior Obama administration officials in 2009, while Obama's health care plan was being drafted. Indeed when Mitt Romney argued that Barack Obama ought to have called him and asked him what worked and what didn't, Romney neglected to mention that three of his own advisers decamped to Washington so Obama had little need to phone him.
Indeed, Obama actually contemplated naming ObamaCare after Ted Kennedy after the late (not great) Senator Robert Byrd suggested they rename it after Kennedy. Kennedy had referred to health care as "the cause of my life," and Obama, many members of Congress, and White House staff wore blue TedStrong wrist bands in honor of Kennedy at the signing ceremony for Obamacare, according to USA Today. As James Pethokoukis reports today at The American, a peer-reviewed health policy journal acknowledges the similarities in the plans.
Even Romney admits that the plan failed to control costs. "We had hoped that what we did would bring down the cost of health care, even in a modest way. That didn't happen," Romney acknowledged in December 2011. "There's some who say its come down a little bit, or the rate of growth has come down a little bit. But in terms of getting down the cost of health care, that's the real objective we ought to be looking at the federal level."
Sometimes laughter isn't the best medicine, especially when government gets involved (Boston Globe photo)
I guess he was for the government remaining out of healthcare decisions before he was against it.
Original Page: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/BigGovernment/~3/Wtf6XGJTqW4/
I'd like to be an optimist and think that Romney was simply rethinking his position and trying something new, but he is just being two-faced on the issue. He says he's against government health care, then supports it. He says he is critical of ObamaCare, but works with Obama on the program. Underneath, there is little difference between the two. A vote for either is one for more of the same.
At least he got the rate right.
When Barack Obama gives a speech, whether it's a State of the Union address or a campaign pitch, an unfavorable fact check is practically de rigueur. However, Obama's effort to make his point on corporate taxes got so badly botched on so many points that actually negated his entire argument [...]
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Would this term lend itself to a larger scale, with the US being a zombie debtor nation?
zombie debtor: n. An indebted consumer who is only able to pay the debt interest each month.
"There's a new term being coined for payday borrowers who are able only to pay the interest on their loans — zombie debtors — so that the principal debt just rolls on, and while there's talk of those institutions having a code of conduct introduced, that's only in the pipeline at present and we want people to know that there is an alternative in the shape of Scotcash," he said.
—Joan McFadden, "Loan service launches attack on the zombies," Herald Scotland, December 30, 2011It is feared that 3.5m people will turn to payday lenders in the next six months but research shows that nearly two-thirds will regret the decision.
Many will be unable to pay off the loan and risk becoming "zombie debtors", only able to pay off the interest on what they owe.
—Nick Sommerlad, "Church of England ban on payday investments," Daily Mirror, December 19, 2011
Original Page: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheBigPicture/~3/7jCVzjO8hYo/
This country would first need to revive its heritage and ability to produce rather than consume, living without a monetary system of debt but one based on physical resources rather than unstable fiat currency.
I think this is right. As I've said, I have doubts about relying upon increasing exports as our growth policy for the future, but what the president proposed in his State of the Union address is not what I think of as Mercantilism:
The mercantilist impulse, The Economist: Matthew Ygesias, writing at Slate, is perplexed by Barack Obama's plan to "boost the economy by hindering trade". He argues that in his state-of-the-union address, the president evinced "a strikingly retrograde, self-contradictory, and confused agenda of reviving American prosperity through mercantilism". ...
Others also perceived a mercantilist undertone in the president's speech, and not for no reason. The president called for the creation of a new Trade Enforcement Unit, extolled the virtues of a tariff on Chinese tires, and said the country was on track to fulfill his promise, made in 2010, to double export growth by 2015.
America will not always win, contrary to his claims. A level playing field would remove the mechanisms by which trade and wealth have disproportionately balanced in America's favor.
But mercantilism is about more than promoting exports. It also carries an implication of protectionism.... And on this count, setting the trade complaints aside for a moment, the evidence doesn't fully support the charge. Over the past three years Mr Obama has made a number of moves that effectively facilitate trade, smoothing the way for imports as well as exports. Last year, for example, he ended a ban on Mexican trucks entering the United States—a NAFTA provision that had not been previously implemented. He also signed free-trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea, which he cited in last night's speech.
My colleague at Free Exchange is also critical of the president's rhetoric on trade. He argues that it will bring us to a thankless zero-sum game, at best. The president said that "if the playing field is level, I promise you–America will always win." ... It's a sympathetic intuition on his part, but I interpreted the president's comment as a narrower critique of China's business practices. And that critique is widely shared; you hear it from Republicans, from Democrats, from business, from environmental and human-rights organisations, and so on. Mr Obama has arguably been on the dovish end of the spectrum when it comes to China. Just last month, his adminstration declined to accuse the country of manipulating its currency; Mitt Romney, by contrast, has repeatedly said that it is, and urged the president to take action.
On balance, then, I would say that Mr Obama's mercantilism is overstated, even if he has rhetorical impulses in that direction. ...
I am just at a loss to see how this policy could benefit American producers or consumers other than at the extremes of the wealth gap. I foresee maybe a larger, low-wage workforce in this country than ever before, with a nearly nonexistent middle class.
Economy based on physical, tangible assets? What, like we had with the Gold Standard?
Mercantilists believed gold and silver are the most desirable forms of wealth. They also believed that the wealth of a nation depended upon the quantity of gold and silver in its possession. To maximize their holding of gold and silver, countries should maintain a positive balance of trade (with every country in the early years, but in later years they thought that an overall positive balance of payments was the goal, not a positive balance with every country you trade with).
They did not see lowering costs of production, or production in general, as creating wealth. This was a time when guilds produced most goods, and they were very inefficient. Thus, there was no notion of say, using division of labor and innovation to reduce costs and gain a competitive advantage over other producers (producers were not thought to add any value to production). The key to wealth was arbitrage and astute trading, not production. So trade -- and merchants who could win the trade battle -- were the focus of attention. Nations became strong by winning the zero-sum trade game.
Maybe Obama is a mercantilist with a statist penchant?
They believed a strong central government would also help with another goal, that of maintaining a large, hard-working, poorly paid labor force (e.g., they had maximum wage laws) . The point of focus was the nation, not the individual, and a productive, cheap labor force helped to keep goods cheap, made producers competitive, and hence helped with the accumulation of gold and silver. They did not tolerate idleness, and forced children into the workforce as soon as they were able (e.g. by age six or the family paid a penalty). If children (or anyone else, e.g. the unemployed) could produce something for export, then put them to work so they can help the country grow strong.
Someone needs to Newter Mr. Gingrich and keep him from propagating. I'm only shocked that such a philanderer is capable of garnering support from a segment of the population often linked to family values.
It's the presidential debate question that America just can't stop talking about. Regardless of where one stands on the appropriateness of CNN's John King asking GOP candidate Newt Gingrich about his ex-wife's "open marriage" claims at last week's Southern debate, a new admission from the Gingrich campaign is noteworthy.
Now, following the candidate's insistance that ABC ignored individuals the campaign offered up to counter his ex's story, the campaign is conceding that Gingrich's claims — both in the original debate and during a follow-up interview — were, well, bologna.
On Tuesday, Gingrich and King faced off on CNN to discuss their uncomfortable debate exchange. As we reported, Gingrich, again, insisted that his campaign had offered up character witnesses who were willing to refute his ex-wife's story, but that ABC News (the network that aired the bombshell interview with Marianne Gingrich) refused to interview them. When King said that ABC claims they would have talked to these people, but that the campaign never brought them forward, Gingrich claimed this simply wasn't true. "Oh, that is just plain bologna!," he responded.
A security video of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul at a Nashville International Airport checkpoint doesn’t show him being “irate,” as police asserted.
The Kentucky Republican ran afoul of a millimeter-wave screening machine Monday morning that went off as he tried to enter the airport terminal. Transportation Security Administration officials asked him to undergo a pat-down, but he refused.
An incident report describes the police response as encountering “a passenger being irate.” But videos released by the Metro Airport Authority late Wednesday show Paul entering the security line at 7:57 a.m. and then alternately sitting and standing in a glass cubicle while being watched by authorities. Paul appears to make a few phone calls as well.
Nashville airport video doesn't show 'irate' Sen. Rand Paul
Since both junior and senior members of the Paul family have been quite vocal about their objections to the TSA invasive practices, you would think that media spin of Rand Paul's detaining would have had at least some basis. Those spinning the story have just been outed as statists and opponents of privacy and personal liberty.
Rand Paul is seen being non-confrontational in the detention area.
A security video released by the Transportation Security Administration of Senator Rand Paul at a TSA airport checkpoint in Nashville appears to contradict an initial report to police that described the Kentucky Republican as being ''irate.''
On Monday, TSA officials detained Paul when the Republican from Kentucky refused a patdown after triggering an millimeter wave body scanner alarm at a security checkpoint.
This morning in "As The World Turns… Around Barry," we see where the Governor of Arizona dared to write something about The Won that El Presidente did not like.
Ah Republican Jan Brewer learned the hard way why so few Democratic politicians greet President Obama when he travels to their state.
"There was not a word about the oil spill. He was concerned about looking bad because of the letter. "Careful," he said to me, "this is going to get bad for everyone."
English teachers graded the president's big speech on Wednesday:
Barack Obama's State of the Union speech scored at an eight-grade readability level, according to the University of Minnesota's Smart Politics blog. His three SOTUs all rank among the six lowest scoring ones ever, and are on average "more than two grades lower than the 10.7 grade average for the other 67 addresses written by his 12 predecessors."
Ratings were down again, this time by 12%. The White House fears cancelation of his annual shows come November.
"So while budgets are tight right now, there are schools across the country that are showing that it doesn't take a whole lot of money or resources to give our kids the nutrition they deserve. What it does take, however, is effort. What it does take is imagination. What it does take is a commitment to our children's futures.
"So today, I am asking parents and educators and food service workers across this country to embrace this effort on behalf of our children. Embrace it. Because we all know that we are some of the best role models for our kids. We are the first and best role models. And if kids are like mine, if I'm excited about something, they're excited about it — right? If we as adults embrace it, the kids will follow suit. They're looking to us to figure out how to make this happen. So if we get pumped up about this effort, get excited, get creative, the kids will follow suit and they will do it with vigor and vim, and they'll be out there out front in a way that we would never expect.
"So now, as I mentioned, I'm a little hungry. I understand that I get to hang out with the kids, have a little lunch. And it's turkey tacos! Sounds really good. So with that, I want to thank you all for being here, and we're going to have some lunch."
Sadly, Missus Obama is unaware of the risks of eating processed turkey meat. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes… oh my!
"First lady Michelle Obama comes to town tonight for a tete-a-tete with Palm Beachers at a private fund-raiser hosted by Howard and Michelle Kessler. The first lady will stop this morning in Tampa, where she will be joined by Bob Unanue, president of Goya Foods, the largest Hispanic-own food company. Goya is a partner in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Mi Plato — "My Plate" — program, an initiative to encourage people to add fruits and vegetables to their plates."
Mi Plato. She will be safe from those deadly turkey tacos.
Finally, Dear Reader is saving the planet:
Warren Buffett's Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration's decision to reject TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit. With modest expansion, railroads can handle all new oil produced in western Canada through 2030, according to an analysis of the Keystone proposal by the U.S. State Department.
"Whatever people bring to us, we're ready to haul," Krista York-Woolley, a spokeswoman for Burlington Northern, a unit of Buffett's Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in an interview. If Keystone XL "doesn't happen, we're here to haul."
For a small donation, the president will save the planet for you, too.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
By Sarah Laskow
We at Grist List know more or less how your State of the Union experience went last night: You intended to watch it, but oooooh, you forgot there was a new Downton Abbey episode you hadn't watched yet. You started watching the speech, but booooooring! You changed the channel/zoned out/got distracted by YouTube. Or you watched the speech but your drinking game involved a word that no one thought would come up. But then it did! Like a million times! Ugh, now you are hungover.
To help y'all out, we have condensed here the most important energy-related bits of the speech:
- Hydrofracking is in: the president said his administration "will take every possible action to safely develop" the country's natural gas resources. But companies drilling on public land will have to disclose what chemicals they use — a concession probably meant to help appease fracking opponents.
- Clean energy is in, despite Congress: The executive branch will open up enough public land to clean energy development to power 3 million homes. The Department of Defense is also going to re-commit to clean energy.
- But Congress could help! They could pass clean energy tax credits, which are expiring for the wind industry. They could also pass a bill to incentivize efficiency in factories and commercial buildings.
Hey, more natural gas, more clean energy; who's even gonna notice that you didn't say a thing about climate change? (Pro tip: Make "climate change" your drinking game word next year.)
Not really anything substantive or even productive, but opening the door to the energy industry to pick the taxpayers' pockets through tax breaks and subsidies. Thanks, Obama.
My drinking game involved taking a shot every time he lied or misrepresented the truth, so I spent the morning having my stomach pumped from alcohol poisoning.
Frak the fracker...
Obama thinks the only problem with America is that we don't realize how awesome he is.
To sum up the SOTU: “I went … I know … My … My … I took office … I’m president … I will work … I intend … I will oppose … I want to speak … I took office … I refused … told me … My message … Send me … I’ll sign … I set … I signed … I will go … I will not stand … It’s not fair … I’m announcing … I promise you … I also hear … I want … Join me … My administration … I want to cut … I call on … I spoke … let me put … I believe … my administration … I took office … I will sign … I’m directing … my administration … I’m requiring … I will not walk away … I will not walk away … I will not cede … I will … I’m directing … I’m proud … Send me … I will sign … I’m sending … I’ve approved … my presidency … I’ve ordered … I guess … I’m confident … I will not back down … I will not back down … I will not go back … I will not go back … I’m asking … fair play … So do I … I told … I’m prepared … fair share … my fair share … I get tax breaks I don’t need … I recognize … I bet … I’ve talked … Send me a bill … I will sign … I ask the Senate … I’ve asked … I’m a Democrat … I believe … my education reform … I will keep taking … I can do … I have no doubt … I will take … I’m president … I intend … I have proposed … I have already … I’m proposing … brings me … my proudest … I sat … I look at … I’m reminded.” – BO
The Opera Singer of 1600: “Me, me, me, me, me!” | The Federal Observer
While Rick Perry may be mired near the bottom of the polls, the Texas governor can take solace in the news he has been immortalized in plastic. Hero Builder, a Connecticut-based company that bills itself as the “last American toy company,” has created a Rick Perry action figure. (Tiny Ruger pistol and plastic dead coyote sold separately.)
“[Perry] really fit the bill, even though he’s kind of slipping in the polls and all that good stuff. He still makes a good action figure,” Emile Vicale, the owner of Hero Builders, told Texas Public Radio’s David Martin Davies. “He’s got a good physique. He looks heroic. He’s been in the military. He’s just… he’s an excellent action figure.”
For $39.95 you can buy a “Regular Man Rick Perry,” dressed in jeans and (gasp!) sneakers instead of cowboy boots. But a mere $20 more will fetch you the “Executive Rick Perry,” clad in a black suit. For $10 more, you can snag a talking version of either doll featuring the sound bite of Perry’s infamous “oops” moment. As of Thursday, a “couple dozen” of the Perry dolls had been ordered, Vicale told CBS Dallas/Fort Worth radio.
Perry, the third 2012 GOP presidential hopeful created by the company, joins plastic versions of Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann. Frontrunner Mitt Romney’s chiseled jaw has yet to appear in doll form, but that action figure is in the works, Vicale said.
Does Rick Perry Make a Better Action Figure than Presidential Candidate? | TM Daily Post
The National Gun Victims Action Council has declared a Valentine's Day boycott of Starbucks to protest the coffee chain's support for American gun laws. TTAG Commentator Greg in Allston has a counter-proposal (so to speak) . . .
"OK everyone, let's have some real fun, shall we? Good! Listen up and please hear me out. The antis are planning a boycott. Let's counter with a BUYcott. On February 13, 14 & 15, please make the effort to go to Starbucks and buy something. Don't like their coffee? Get a tea, a cocoa, a pastry, anything. Thank the clerk for Starbucks' support of the Constitution. And here's the cool bit . . .
Pay with two dollar bills. Thomas Jefferson, Mr. Liberty himself. If Starbucks sees a huge influx of payment in two dollar bills, people in general, and Starbucks management in particular, are sure to notice.
Why the day before and the day after you ask? Simply to show that we have the power (financial, organizational and political) and the wherewithal to absolutely swamp anything that the antis can muster. Bomb Starbucks with 2A love and money. Three days in a row. What's it going to cost you? Twenty bucks tops.
There's a Starbucks a block away from where I work in Cambridge. I plan on giving them a little extra business.
Link to this post: http://wp.me/pOQae-q1Z Spread the word."
Sounds like a good idea to me.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Call this the Battle of Dueling Disclosures. Newt Gingrich made a lot of political hay in South Carolina by demanding that Mitt Romney release his tax returns, getting Romney to trip up twice in debates last week on the topic. When Romney finally decided to release his tax returns, he issued a demand that Gingrich [...]
Tonight we will have to endure another Obama State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress. I had in mind to suggest a drinking game based on the Occupier in Chief's lies and half truths but I'm afraid hospitals all over the country would be overwhelmed with cases of alcohol poisoning and liver failures. It did however give me the idea to go back and take another look at fibs in O's previous addresses to Congress. I was dumbfounded as I read, to list all his whoppers would require a book, but let's examine some of the highlights.
In his first State of the Union address in 2009 we got these doozies. Speaking about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the precedent President stated:
"Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs. More than 90% of these jobs will be in the private sector - jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges; constructing wind turbines and solar panels; laying broadband and expanding mass transit."
In March of this past year, the Pravda of the Obama administration otherwise known as the New York Times had to admit that after all the spending from the ARRA, instead of saving or creating 3.5 million jobs, we lost an additional 2 million.
He then talked about the dangers of growing the deficit, this was kind of like Rosie O'Donnell extolling the virtues of charm school.
"There is, of course, another responsibility we have to our children. And that is the responsibility to ensure that we do not pass on to them a debt they cannot pay. With the deficit we inherited, the cost of the crisis we face, and the long-term challenges we must meet, it has never been more important to ensure that as our economy recovers, we do what it takes to bring this deficit down."
This from the man who has added more debt to our children's future serfdom than any past President.
"Yesterday, I held a fiscal summit where I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office. My administration has also begun to go line by line through the federal budget in order to eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs. As you can imagine, this is a process that will take some time. But we're starting with the biggest lines. We have already identified two trillion dollars in savings over the next decade."
I defy anyone, to find one single item other than the military that this President has asked to be cut.
In 2010 the jug eared elocutionist really encouraged us to have a "willing suspension of disbelief" with these little myths.
"Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will."
Yes Virginia, he really said that. Of course he didn't really believe it, and neither did we. But he wasn't through yet with his proboscis growing statements. He then cut loose with this little gem on lobbyists.
"That's what I came to Washington to do. That's why -- for the first time in history -- my administration posts on our White House visitors online. That's why we've excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs, or seats on federal boards and commissions."
The fact is there are more unrecorded visitors to the White House these days than to a cheap New Orleans whore house. And they have a little work-around to the visitor logs anyway. They just get together at the satellite offices with the folks they don't want us to know they are meeting with. This administration also has plenty of lobbyists on the payroll.
Last year Obama not only continued to grow the deficit, he also grew the "deficit of trust" of the American people. First he went back to his support of freezing spending.
"So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. Now, this would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was President."
Of course we know he has gone back and asked for debt ceiling increases twice since then. And then, he pushed another recycled lie.
"Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done -- put that information online."
So we face another Obama State of the Union address this week, and there will no doubt be a plethora of lies and half truths spilled forth from the teleprompter during it. But in the interest of public safety, if you must play a drinking game based on these fables, make the shots small.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Carl Franzen's history of the SOPA/PIPA fight on Talking Points Memo is a fascinating account of the behind-the-scenes stuff that created the series of ever-larger protests that resulted in the bills' demise. Of particular note is his credit to Tiffiniy Cheng, who, along with Nicholas Reville, and Holmes Wilson, forms a trio of Boston-bred activists who are three of the most creative, passionate, skilled and engaged shit-disturbers I know. You may remember them as Downhill Battle, but they're also the folks behind Universal Subtitles, Miro, FreeBieber, and many other interesting and noteworthy campaigns and projects.
"There was sustained effort for the past three months," said Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight For the Future, an online advocacy non-profit that was founded in mid-2011 with a grant from the Media Democracy Fund, itself a fund-raising and distribution organization founded in 2006 "on the belief that freedom of expression and access to information are basic human rights."
Fight for the Future played an early leading role in coordinating the various websites and groups opposed to SOPA and PIPA into a cohesive coalition.
That coalition, which ended up including upwards of 70 different companies and advocacy groups — From Tumblr to Demand Progress to Don't Censor the Net — first took shape as a coalition in November 2011 under the banner "American Censorship," just in time to rally opponents ahead of the House Judiciary Committee's first hearing on SOPA.
When Barack Obama ran against John McCain, conservatives noted his lack of executive experience, mocked his oratory, scoffed at his vague promises of "change," and insisted his supporters were naive to think he'd transform Washington D.C. The critique turns out to have had merit. In office, President Obama didn't try to change how the system worked, something he once called a precondition of meaningful reform. Instead, he worked within the system.
Skip forward to the present. Newt Gingrich is surging, and casting himself as the anti-Obama. They've got many substantive differences, to be sure, but the similarities are interesting too. It isn't just that Gingrich lacks executive experience and affects a professorial air. Look at his message. "This election is about fundamentally changing the direction of our nation," he said in the latest advertisement his campaign sent to National Review's email list. Here he is on "Meet the Press," having been asked if "the establishment" should fear a Gingrich Administration (emphasis added):
Well, the establishment is right to be worried about a Gingrich nomination, because a Gingrich nomination means that we're going to change things. We're going to make the establishment very uncomfortable. We're going to demand real change in Washington, real audit of the Federal Reserve, real knowledge about where hundreds of billions of dollars have gone. And I think that if you look at a lot of these guys, they have really good reason to worry about an honest, open candidate who has no commitment to them, and who has no investment in them. And I think they should be worried, because we intend to change the establishment, not get along with it.
One can't help but marvel at the pliability of the partisan mind. It isn't so long ago that Obama detractors objected to his inflated sense of self, his penchant for grandiosity, his use of the first-person pronoun, and stagecraft like the marble columns that served as backdrop for one of his speeches. Don't you see how comically full of himself this guy is? they asked Democrats, marveling when they didn't. "I mean, I saw it back during the campaign," Rush Limbaugh once said. "I'm talking about who Obama really is, this petulant, self-absorbed, egoistic little man-child."
Now Gingrich is running around calling the wife he cheated on a liar, comparing himself to historical figures, avowing he is a man of destiny, and insisting at every opportunity on a series of Lincoln-Douglas debates. Can you imagine the reaction had Obama kept repeating the words "Lincoln-Douglas debates," as if merely suggesting the format conferred the gravitas he was owed?
Given the high hopes of voters in 2008, Obama's broken promises are a minor tragedy. Gingrich is taking the most mockable aspects of his 2008 campaign and repeating them as absurdist farce.
Image credit: Reuters
Original Page: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheAtlantic/~3/mOkEFOkpgRs/
More of the same, or time for something completely different?
How does a successful liberal playwright and screenwriter such as David Mamet become a conservative? In a way he probably has always been a conservative but didn't know it. When you have grown up in a liberal cocoon in which all your friends, teachers, colleagues, and relatives are liberal Democrats, you tend to go along with the flow.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Republican voters don't just want a nominee who can fight Barack Obama. They also want a fight, period. That's the lesson of Newt Gingrich's stunning victory in South Carolina, which seemed improbable just a few days ago.
The Gingrich campaign seems to understand the pugilistic mood among conservative voters, e-mailing picture of boxing gloves to supporters as the final votes were counted, asking voters to deliver a "knockout punch" in Florida.
It's not quite clear that Republicans want the fight to be over, however. Though a long, drawn-out primary risks bruising the eventual nominee, it also allows Obama's opponents to hold onto the spotlight, airing criticisms of the president–and the media–that might otherwise be muffled.
That's a lesson also evident from Ron Paul's fourth-place finish, behind Rick Santorum. Republicans will not support a candidate who freely makes use of the anti-war left and frequently bashes his own party from the podium.
Too bad Ron Paul didn't garner the support as the Independent Libertarian candidate he is. I'd rather see the outsider parties gain the proper support they deserve from the American voters rater than keep playing the two-party game. That is a false paradigm, one which pushes us closer to the precipice with each vote. He is the only anti-war candidate on either side these days...