Sunday, June 19, 2011

One & The Same

On the same day that Jon Stewart states unequivocally that the NY Times does not work as a liberal activist organization, they pull an all-time great mental-gymnastics move to slime (or at least make the attempt) Justice Clarence Thomas.

Which one didn't get the memo?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

9:30 AM PDT

I hate Daylight Savings Time. This study out of UCSB makes a good case against the most absurd DST myth: energy savings.

Decide for yourself.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Smoke & Mirrors only go So Far

TM notes: "Something isn't working".  No kidding.

We work with flowers and it's easy to see when the bloom is off the roses. Nobody wants the President to come and indoctrinate address their graduating youth:

The White House is ramping up an effort to promote a nationwide competition to decide which high school wins a commencement speech by President Obama.

An internal White House memo indicates that the White House is facing a shortage of applications less than a week before the deadline.

The competition was extended from the February 25 deadline until Friday, March 11 after few schools met the original application deadline. CBS News has learned a White House Communications Office internal memo dated February 22 noted "a major issue with the Commencement Challenge."

"As of yesterday we had received 14 applications and the deadline is Friday," the memo said. The memo also urged recipients to, "please keep the application number close hold."

A follow-up memo on February 28 reported receipt of 68 applications. Noting the competition among more than 1,000 schools last year, the memo said, "Something isn't working." It called on staffers to ask "friendly congressional, gubernatorial and mayoral offices" to encourage schools to apply.

The President became president by fooling people into believing charisma and grandiose rhetoric were an actual accomplishment. The bloom is off the rose and people are beginning to notice just how empty the suit really is.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Keep telling yourself that!

Pointing out the idiocy of Juan Williams used to be a hobby of mine. Then he went and started making sense; imagine how much of a monkey-wrench that threw into things!

Well, during yesterday's FNS panel discussion about Republican Presidential candidates, the idiot reappeared, if ever so briefly. It takes nearly all 9 minutes to get there, but the amazingly ridiculous statement in question comes at the 8:44 mark.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Making them Earn It

The NY Times is going for the dough with an online pay model, details to be coming soon according to this report:

During a New York Press Club Q&A session at CUNY's Graduate School of Journalism, a man who identified himself as a retired reporter named Ken wanted to know why he should keep paying to receive the Grey Lady in hard copy.

"I subscribe to home delivery, but I get the next day's paper around 11:30 p.m. on the Internet," explained Ken, an older gentleman with a deep drawl. "The depth of the online edition is so vast," he said--and "the thinness of the print edition is so noticeable" as to be useless.

Keller clearly hadn't anticipated the question. "Um," he paused at the outset of his reply. "I'm not gonna argue that you should pay for something that you don't find useful. . . . I still personally like the print edition of the paper." For instance, "I like that I can read it on the subway," Keller continued. "I like that I can share it around the breakfast table. I like lying back in bed reading the newspaper better than I like lying back in bed reading the website on my iPad. ... But look, if you don't find that it's worth the money, I'm not gonna argue that you should donate to the New York Times as an act of charity."

Ken will soon be getting more bang for his buck. As a print subscriber, he won't be impacted when the Times moves forward with its long-delayed plans for erecting a metered paywall around its online content. Habitual online readers who don't buy the paper in print, however, will have to start paying for monthly access to New York Times Co. chief executive Janet Robinson announced earlier this week that the set-up for the new online model is in its "final testing phase," and that "We expect it will launch shortly."

But "Will it be worth it?," is the bigger question. 

Friday, March 04, 2011

One Man's Flimflammery is another Man's Crime

Bill Gates on-stage in CA has this to say about Government accounting practices:

The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist said state budgets have received a puzzling lack of scrutiny and have been "riddled with gimmicks" aimed at deferring or disguising the true costs of public employees' health care and pension obligations, citing California's ongoing budget crisis as an example of creative deficit spending and the subsequent cuts to education spending as an unacceptable cost.

"[R]eally, when you get down to it, the guys at Enron never would have done this. This is so blatant, so extreme," Gates said of state governments' accounting practices generally. "Is anyone paying attention to some of the things these guys do? They borrow money -- they're not supposed to, but they figure out a way -- they make you pay more in withholding to help their cashflow out, they sell off the assets, they defer the payments, they sell off the revenues from tobacco."

Gates argued that government accounting practices should be more like private accounting.

The Enron line of course is splashy and makes the headline at the Huffington Post. I wonder though if that assessment is wholly accurate; they wouldn't because they were more upstanding guys who understood how wrong it was or they wouldn't because they knew it was a one-way ticket to pound-me-in-the...well, you know...prison.

Government accounting rules, by necessity, are different than what us little guys here in the real world have to live with. Acknowledging for a moment that this is 100% necessary and true, I'm still left to wonder how this is okay. What does it say of a government that allows itself the luxury of what it willingly imprisons it's citizens for?

Thursday, March 03, 2011

It's the Policies, Stupid (Or How I learned to stop worrying and love my Inner Racist)

According to a Quinnipiac poll released this morning, 52% of voters disapprove of the President's policies. From the Topline summary:

Three out of four American voters - 74 percent - like President Barack Obama, but a narrow majority disapproves of his policies, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. President Obama gets a split 46 - 46 percent job approval rating, little changed from his 48 - 44 percent score January 13, and voters split 45 - 47 percent on whether they think he deserves a second term in the Oval Office.

Broken down by category, it's easy to see that, much like President Bush, the public likes the man but isn't so appreciative of what he's doing:

Voters disapprove 58 - 36 percent of the way Obama is handling the federal budget deficit, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey finds. They say 51 - 10 percent that he will cut spending too little rather than too much, with 32 percent saying he'll cut the right amount, and 44 - 14 percent that he will raise taxes too much rather than too little, with 36 percent saying he'll get it right. By comparison, voters split 33 - 32 percent on whether congressional Republicans will cut spending too little or too much, with 29 percent saying they'll get it right, and by 33 - 25 percent they say GOP lawmakers will raise taxes too much rather than too little, as 36 percent say they'll get it right.

"President Barack Obama is a charmer. The American people like him a great deal, but they aren't nearly as sold on his policies. This combination of personal appeal and skepticism about his policies explains why his overall approval numbers seem to be stuck in the middle," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Having spent 3 1/2 years in market research certainly doesn't make me an expert but at the same time I look at this and it all makes reasonable sense unless there's something truly screwy in the sampling or a biased questionnaire. Seems pretty straight-forward, no?

Well, maybe not. Over at Pajamasmedia, Roger Simon notes that the President still seems hung-up on the issue of his black-ness:

In an an excerpt (linked in red on Drudge) from his new book, Family and Freedom: Presidents and African Americans in the White House, US News journalist Kenneth T. Walsh writes:

But Obama, in his most candid moments, acknowledged that race was still a problem. In May 2010, he told guests at a private White House dinner that race was probably a key component in the rising opposition to his presidency from conservatives, especially right-wing activists in the anti-incumbent “Tea Party” movement that was then surging across the country. Many middle-class and working-class whites felt aggrieved and resentful that the federal government was helping other groups, including bankers, automakers, irresponsible people who had defaulted on their mortgages, and the poor, but wasn’t helping them nearly enough, he said.

A guest suggested that when Tea Party activists said they wanted to “take back” their country, their real motivation was to stir up anger and anxiety at having a black president, and Obama didn’t dispute the idea. He agreed that there was a “subterranean agenda” in the anti-Obama movement—a racially biased one—that was unfortunate. But he sadly conceded that there was little he could do about it.

That was then and this is now and the assessment doesn't seem to have changed much. The left in general, including the President, still views things--far too many and far too much--through the prism of race.

Simon notes the seeming duality inherent in the President's thinking...he wants to be "post-racial" but is trapped, stuck in--or happy to stay in--his racial stereotypes and seemingly will remain there until he leaves the White House for the last time in early 2013 or '17. Sometimes there is no changing minds and people will believe what they believe.

Given a choice between the President's stereotypes and hard data showing a full 3 out of 4 like the man but hate the policies, it ought to be clear though.

It's the Policies, stupid!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Happy Anniversary

A marvelous gift from staff at the shop. The adventure started four years ago this month...

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

If Government were a Corporation...

I've been saying it for a while, and after seeing this today have decided I'd write it as well.

If the CA legislature and executives were a corporate board, I'd sue them for corporate malfeasance. The same can be said for the dummies in DC:

The unfunded liabilities of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid already exceed $106 trillion. That’s well over $300,000 for every man, woman and child in America (and exceeds the combined value of every U.S. bank account, stock certificate, building and piece of personal or public property).
Glenn Reynolds called it political malpractice. Well, to be clear, I haven't been saying that. Better A, better B...whatever you want to call it, it's criminal and far exceeds the excesses of Enron and those other greedy, nasty Evil Corporations.

You could tax 100% of earnings of 100% of the work-force for 100 years and not even begin to scratch the surface.

Friday, February 25, 2011

In the immortal words of Sheriff Brody...

It's an Iconic quote. And it may become so again for far different reasons:

Malta's Valletta Harbor was full of EU warships from France, Germany, Britain and Malta. The port is known for its cruise ships, and tourists were busy snapping photos of the warships, while air forces from all around the EU, including Germany, Ireland, Austria and Britain, are holding ground in Malta.

President Obama has been under intense criticism for his muted response to the bloodshed in Libya, with speculation that Colonel Gaddafi had intimidated the White House into silence by blocking the evacuation of U.S. citizens.
And last night, while the Dolores remained stranded, the president enjoyed a White House pop concert in celebration of Black History Month.

Tony Munoz Editor of shipping magazine The Maritime Executive said: 'I don't understand why this vessel didn't leave earlier - The Maria Dolores is a new vessel built for Mediterranean seas.

'I can only imagine the captain was refusing to sail because he felt the vessel was not capable enough of taking the sea on.
Speaking to MailOnline, Mr Munoz said that there was no comparison between the 68 metre Dolores and the 204 metre Hellenic Spirit, used by the Greek government to evacuate its citizens from Benghazi.

'The U.S. needed to charter a bigger boat like the Greeks' he said.

'The fully hulled Spirit will be more durable outside a port, this much bigger vessel could take the rough seas on.

'There is no question about it, they [U.S.] should have been out of there long ago - why haven't they chartered a bigger boat like the Greeks or Turkish.

'At the very least, the government should have had a larger back up vessel on the way.'

Who put these clowns in charge of the country anyway?

Just for fun, here is Martin Brody in all his shark-hating glory:

The Lady in Red

It's perhaps the most mind-blowing quote I've seen in quite some time. This entire episode comes to us courtesy of

As background, this little adventure took place earlier in the week in Denver as local unions stormed the streets in solidarity of their brothers & sisters in Wisconsin. Our friend in red got in the face of Black Republican Leland Robinson:

Next, this lady in red rudely got in Robinson’s face.
Lady in red: “I asked you a question: Do you have any children? That you claim, that you claim.”
Robinson: “Do I need children to understand what’s going on?”
Lady in red: “You need children to understand education.”
Robinson: “No I don’t.”
Bystander: “What did you mean when you said does he have any children that he claims?”
Lady in red: “Because he’s such a free spirit and an entrepreneur, I would assume that he’s not supporting children. …
(To Robinson:) You are a big-mouth take-care-of-yourself man. You don’t care about anyone.”
At this point, police interceded. Seeing a lone black man being shouted at by union goons, they decided it was better that he joined the tea party protest at the bottom of the stairs, where he would be safe.

Nothing to see here beyond some average, run-of-the-mill Union ridiculousness, right? And where's this mind-blowing quote? Well, for that we need actually to back up a bit:

At this point, an aggressive woman with a purple SEIU shirt assailed Robinson with a flurry of insults.

“That’s your problem. You’re an entrepreneur, so you don’t work. You don’t know what work is until you get into an educational area. … You’re uneducated, unethical, immoral, and you don’t know what life is. That’s your problem. Why don’t you go behind that fence where you belong? Why don’t you go back with your own kind?” She said this indicating towards the bottom of the Capitol Steps, where a couple of hundred tea partiers were gathered listening to speeches.

You're an entrepreneur, so you don't work. Unfortunately there is no picture of this sage, the speaker of truth about all-things entrepreneurial. A shame; I've always wanted to see what exactly the face of stupidity looks like.

They Used to Call it Stagflation

Now they just wish it away.

Yesterday, the Rocket scientists in the White House had this to say about the recent surge in Oil prices:

Higher oil prices caused by unrest in the Middle East and North Africa are not at a level where they would derail the U.S. economic recovery, White House economist Austan Goolsbee said on Wednesday.

"Thus far, they're up, but we're not forecasting -- and you haven't seen the private forecasters forecasting -- that at these levels they would derail the recovery," Goolsbee said in a conference call discussing the president's annual economic report, which was released on Wednesday.

Meanwhile,later in the day some folks who've actually taken a Macro-Economics course and--even more importantly live and work with the rest of us in the real world--noted the effects that are already seen:

Rising energy prices threaten the global economic recovery, a big reason the stock market and prices of non-energy commodities have tumbled in recent days. Economists estimate each 1 cent increase in gas prices takes $1 billion out of consumers' pockets, making it the ultimate "tax" on Americans already struggling with high unemployment and falling home prices.

Here's a sample of how higher energy costs are hitting consumers from a variety of angles:

Gasoline prices: Average prices at the pump rose to $3.23 Thursday, the highest level since September 2008, according to AAA. Gas prices have jumped more than 7 cents per gallon in the past week and have already risen more than 7% so far in 2010, or about 30 cents per gallon.

Heating Oil: U.S. heating oil futures hit their highest level since late 2008 Wednesday ahead of key inventory data due out today. With much of the country suffering through a winter of extreme cold and frequent snowfall, there's no relief in sight for homeowners on the heating front.

Airfares: Airlines have already increased their fares four times this year vs. just three times in all of 2010, The NY Times reports. For every dollar that the price of oil rises, airlines face $1.6 billion in increased costs, Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association said in a speech in Tokyo earlier this week.

Your 401(k): Thanks to a two-year rally in financial assets and continuing contributions, the average balance of 401(k) managed by the Fidelity hit the highest level in 10 years, the mutual fund giant reported earlier this week. But that was before the Dow suffered its worst two-day decline since August; stocks, which still make up the bulk of most 401(k) plans, appear headed for another losing session Thursday.

Food prices: Higher transportation costs are likely to keep upward pressure on global food prices, which have risen dramatically in recent months. There is concern the unrest in the Middle East will prompt governments around the world to horde food supplies and raise subsidies in order to keep local food prices down and preempt unrest. However, wheat, corn and soybean prices have fallen sharply in recent days as the geopolitical uncertainty has spooked commodity speculators.

The Dollar: You might think higher energy prices would get the Federal Reserve worried about inflation, but that's not how Ben Bernanke is likely to see it. In fact, the threat higher oil prices pose to the economy might make the Fed more likely to keep rates at zero and embark on another round of quantitative easing (a.k.a. QE3). That's one reason the dollar is falling this week vs. other major currencies such as the euro, Swiss franc and yen.

In other words, just as American consumers face higher prices for necessities like gas and heating oil, the dollar literally doesn't go as far as it used to. With wages stagnant for most workers, that means this oil spike is going to be even more painful.

It's that last couple of lines that should scare the spit out of people...

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