March 8, 2009
OBAMA FAULTED AS indifferent on stocks.
OBAMA FAULTED AS indifferent on stocks.
JONATHAN ADLER: Elena Kagan Advances Without Answering Questions.
HMM: N. Korea warns intercepting ‘satellite’ will prompt counterstrike. We had an interesting discussion in my space law class last week about the legality of shooting down a North Korean satellite. If it’s really a satellite, and not a warhead, shooting it down is probably a violation of the Outer Space Treaty, which provides that “Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality and in accordance with international law, and there shall be free access to all areas of celestial bodies.” Note that there’s no limitation as to parties — the statement is universal. Of course, such considerations are unlikely to be determinative. Still, it’s an interesting question as to what degree of reasonable suspicion is required to justify a shootdown as self-defense.
Some technical background here.
OBAMA CRITICIZES ERIC HOLDER: Attorney general chided for language on race. “President Barack Obama has chided his attorney general, Eric Holder Jr., for describing America as a ‘nation of cowards’ when discussing race, wading into a tumult that flared over Holder’s indictment of the way this country talks about ethnicity.”
If you want to talk “Nation of Cowards,” perhaps someone should send Holder this essay instead.
IT’S A DIVERSITY PROBLEM: Left-Wing Preponderance in Academia.
WHAT HAPPENS IF CITIGROUP FAILS? “The short answer is that no one quite knows, and that’s the problem.”
“SMART DIPLOMACY:” Russian media teases Clinton over ‘reset’ button.
I suppose he’s got a point, but these protests are being well-covered in local media around the country. In terms of influencing Congress, I’d rather have a few hundred people march in each district than have a hundred thousand march in Washington, DC, even if the latter got a lot of coverage. Believe me, Green Bay congressman Steve Kagen knows there are people in his district who are upset, now. Getting 1,200 people who don’t usually protest to turn out and march on a Congressional office makes a point.
UPDATE: Robert McManus emails: “How long . . . before the tea parties become yet another manifestation of America’s indelible racism? they seem to be getting a little traction, so it can’t be long.”
I don’t know. Let’s ask her:
ANOTHER UPDATE: Some readers suspect that this is just a lame excuse to include a protest-babe pic. They are, of course, entirely correct . . . .
EVERYTHING’S COMING UP Brownies.
DISSENT: Formerly, the “highest form of patriotism,” now the preserve of “domestic terrorist wannabes.” Boy, things sure change with an election!
UPDATE: Plus, if you don’t support Obama’s economic plan, you’re a traitor. Ah, for the good old Bush days, when it was wrong to question people’s patriotism. . . .
THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE: Obama Marines video is a cheap shot at Obama.
UPDATE: Reader Jared Males writes:
Just backing up the Mudville Gazette. I’m a former naval officer, and that’s exactly what I saw in that video. Marines at attention in one part, Marines at ease in the other. Nothing more should be read into it as far as the military attitude goes.
Now as commentary on how little your average news media member understands the military, there’s maybe something there. And I’m wondering if there is a difference in the White House prep for such things. I’ll bet the President has some input into whether or not the room gets called to attention.
If anyone thinks to ask.
PATRICK HYNES: Will Mobile kill the website?
HERE’S A REPORT on the Monterey, California tea party protest:
A present-day version of the Boston Tea Party revolt took place at Monterey’s Window on the Bay Saturday, taking aim at the massive federal stimulus spending plan.
Demonstators brought American flags, tea bags, and even pig costumes to voice their anger over the stimulus plan, saying it is laden in pork-barrel spending and could trigger inflation. . . .
The watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense released it’s latest review of the spending plan earlier this week. In it, Central Coast congressman Sam Farr is listed as being a part of nearly $24 million dollars worth of earmarks, with more than $8 million credited to Farr alone.
DAVID FRUM: The New Minority?
THE MUDVILLE GAZETTE: An Iraq drawdown scam?
DEAL OF THE DAY: 400 bucks off a treadmill.
IF YOU’RE AT TODAY’S TEA PARTY RALLY ON MAUI: Well, mostly I’m just jealous. But send me some pics and a report if you can. . . .
Hundreds of protesters gathered Saturday afternoon outside Titletown Brewing Co., replacing Boston Harbor with the Fox River for a Green Bay tea party to rally against government programs and federal bailouts. . . . Speakers at the rally included Marc Savard, who is running for the 8th Congressional District (to unseat incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton) and WTAQ talk show host Jerry Bader.
Though coined as a taxpayer rally, taxes aren’t the only issue at hand, Bader said, it’s also about having a government that allows citizens to be self-reliant.
“Conservatism is based on I’ll take care of me, you take care of you. … This is often translated to mean we’re not compassionate — nothing could be further from the truth,” Bader said.
“Picking my pocket and deciding what’s compassion, is not compassion. When you are forced to be compassionate at the barrel of a gun, we have a word for that, it’s robbery.”
The mass of protesters marched into downtown Green Bay to bring their message to Kagen at his office at 700 E. Walnut St.
Michael Litscher has posted a photo set on Flickr. Here’s one. “Don’t Spread My Wealth: Spread My Work Ethic.”
UPDATE: This report from WBAY says there were 1,200 people protesting.
WELL, DANG: Venture capitalists say algae biofuels not ready. Faster, please.
WHO KNEW IT WAS SO SIMPLE? How to get your family out of a financial crisis.
IN THE MAIL: From Eric Flint, Worlds.
WHEN ENGINEERS have pets.
CHRIS DODD UPDATE: A Pardon For A Friend, A Good Deal For Dodd.
It takes considerable political skill for a U.S. senator to win a presidential pardon for a friend without the traditional review by the Justice Department. Sen. Christopher Dodd moved the furtive levers of power in 2001 for Edward R. Downe, convicted of tax and securities fraud eight years before. A man will do a lot for a former real estate partner. . . . A presidential pardon is a rare possession, especially when the man pardoned, Downe, still owed millions to the Securities and Exchange Commission for his violations.
Rarer still, however, is the real estate developer, like Kessinger, who appears to have left hundreds of thousands of dollars in appreciated value on the table for his minority-share partner. Dodd appears to have latched onto one — and, on paper, has turned a profit like the Wall Street pirates he once loved but now disdains.
Read the whole thing.
LOTS OF CITIZEN REPORTING FROM THE FULLERTON TEA PARTY PROTEST, where many thousands — 8-15,000 depending on the estimate — showed up for the biggest crowd so far.
UPDATE: A reader emails: ‘I’m just wondering if 8-15 thousand at Fullerton is enough for doom sayers like Rick Moran and others to deign to join in.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Antoinette Aubert writes:
The Fullerton Tea Party was promoted on the John and Ken radio show in Los Angeles all last week. John and Ken have a very popular show out here with a lot of listeners hence the large turnout. John and Ken by the way are not Republican by any stretch of the imagination or even conservative. They are very much a “pox on both your houses.” The success of their rally makes me wonder why conservative talk show hosts are not pushing this more. If a local station can get 8 -15,000 people imagine what Hugh Hewitt or Sean Hannity could pull off, never mind Rush Limbaugh.
UPDATE: A blog report.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Little Miss Attila isn’t that impressed with John & Ken.
FORGET JOHN GALT: Watchmen’s hero as an Objectivist saint?
AT TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE, a database of the biggest Omnibus Bill earmarkers.
EVERYONE SHOULD OWN ONE: The Audi Shark hovercraft. At least, I should own one . . . .
SO WILL THE ECONOMY WIND UP LOOKING LIKE Bretigne Shaffer’s predictions?
My prediction: By the end of Obama’s first four years in office, the US economy will be in much, much worse shape than it is now. Specifically:
1. The US will have massive inflation. The dollar will lose at least 50% of its value against most goods and services, and certainly against the goods and services most people use every day. This is a very conservative estimate. It will probably be much worse.
2. Unemployment in the US will be worse than it is now. It will be at least in the double digits.
I hope not.
BAD MARKS for Tim Geithner. But how reliable is the grader?
THOUGHTS ON POLITICS and the need for villains, at Gay Patriot.
“SMART DIPLOMACY:” London vs. The West Wing.
“SEMPER FI” VERSUS a tepid response.
TEST-DRIVING THE Pontiac Solstice GXP. Sure looks cool.
SO I GET AN EMAIL PROMOTING The Financial Collapse Survival Guide and Cookbook. But there’s something odd about the format. See if you can spot it . . . .
ARE BIG LAW FIRMS built on implicit leverage?
IN THE KANSAS MEADOWLARK, a report on the third weekly Kansas City tea party protest.
Plus, from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Hundreds Protest Bailouts in Harrisburg:
Several hundred people gathered on the Capitol steps today to protest the “B word”–the ongoing bailout, by the federal government, of mismanaged banks, poorly run auto makers, homeowners who can’t pay their mortgages and state officials who can’t control their spending.
The event, organized by the Commonwealth Foundation, a politically conservative group, and two local radio talk show hosts, was called the “Harrisburg Tea Party.”
“These are people who believe in limited federal and state government, but who think government has overstepped its limited role in our lives,” said foundation President Matthew Brouillette.
Speakers and participants denounced both Republicans, such as former President George Bush and Sen. Arlen Specter, and Democrats, such as President Barack Obama and Gov. Ed Rendell.
I think we’ll see more of this.
UPDATE: Reader Genny Grace sends a picture.
THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS. “Obama is overwhelmed.”
ADVICE ON HOW TO REVITALIZE YOUR WORKSHOP. Mine just needs to be cleaned up. Somehow, things accumulate in stacks — and, like my office, it seems that when I spend less time there, it gets messier faster than when I’m there a lot.
BITES FROM THE APPLE: A roundup of news from the Apple empire. And there’s a lot.
CAN YOU FIRE A GUN IN SPACE? I think I should get a grant to do some vacuum-chamber research on zero-gravity firearms design.
FANNIE MAE AND FINANCIAL DEREGULATION: A reminder of how things were, as compared to the revisionist history being peddled now.
HMM: “Today I received a letter from the IRS that my 2007 tax returns are being audited. Less than one month after launching TaxCheatStamps.com.” The timing hardly proves a nefarious political purpose, but this deserves some looking into, I’d think.
UPDATE: Reader Corey Appleby doubts that Treasury is up to persecuting its foes this quickly: “I suspect it would take Geithner 3 months just to organize a BBQ.”
THE MODERATE OBAMA ERA: Activists want to redistribute foundation wealth based on racial quotas.
HOW REASSURING: Obama Car Czars To Visit Detroit To Learn About Industry.
The country’s in the very best of hands.
SO I THINK THIS IS GOOD NEWS: Oil producers running out of storage space: Glut caused by world slowdown leaves the world awash in crude. Cheap, plentiful oil is good — and a glut of out-of-the-ground oil is a nice hedge against problems in the Middle East — but on the other hand, it’s a sign that the economy really has, er, tanked.
OH, THE THINGS THAT HAVE become unforgivable.
MY FATHER ASKS FOR NOTHING.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows that 39% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-one percent (31%) Strongly Disapprove to give Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of +8 (see trends). Ratings for Congressional performance have moved up, but just 19% of voters believe any significant legislation has been passed to improve their lives over the past year.
Voters are evenly divided in their reaction to President Obama’s proposed budget. However, 75% are concerned that it will lead to too much government spending. . . . Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters nationwide say the President should hold off on health care reform until the economy is better. Forty-two percent (42%) disagree and say the time to act is now.
Read the whole thing.
DEPRESSIONS LOOK DIFFERENT when the country is really rich.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG isn’t into the class warfare stuff: “The rich are the ones that go to the expensive restaurants where, as a matter of fact, I looked at a list the other day of restaurants where the staff is unionized. They’re the expensive restaurants. They’re not the cheap restaurants. You know, the yelling and screaming about the rich – we want rich from around this country to move here. We love the rich people.”
PHOTOBLOG: The Road to Little Rock.
GLOBAL WARMING FEARS translate into tax increases.
PETER ROBINSON ON the disillusionment of the Obamacons. “The elite journalists, I repeat, got Obama wrong. The troglodytes got him right. As our national drama continues to unfold, bear that in mind.”
UPDATE: George W. Obama?
MORE: A.P.: Obama Recovery Plans Sowing Unease. “Although the administration likes to say it ‘inherited’ the recession and trillion-dollar deficits, the economic wreckage has worsened on Obama’s still-young watch.”
STILL MORE: Obamacons as Otter.
MORE STILL: A reader emails: “Obamacons aren’t Otter ….they’re Flounder. Obama is Otter.” Well, they’re both — as relates to Obama, they’re Flounder. As relates to anyone who believed their stuff, they’re Otter.
SPRINKLES of hope.
AT WIRED, worrying about National Security “Storm Troopers.” Hmm. I thought this kind of over-the-top talk would end with the Bush Administration.
IF YOU’LL BE ATTENDING ONE OF THE TEA PARTY PROTESTS scheduled for today, please send me pics and reports. Also, please copy the pics to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALAN BOYLE: Your guide to exoplanets. “The planet-hunting game is shifting into high gear with the launch of NASA’s $591 million Kepler mission, but how can you possibly keep track of all those alien worlds without a program? Fortunately, the Planetary Society has just the thing: a free online catalog of exoplanets that will keep up with a tally expected to escalate into the thousands.”
I love it, but when will somebody invent the warp drive? Or, heck, the Manschenn Drive, I’m not choosy. Gilpin Space?
PRESIDENTIAL POWERS: Obama Channels Cheney. Now there’s a surprise. . . .
UPDATE: HMM: “I think it’s worth noting that Rush Limbaugh, the infamous crazy-person to whom, according to the president, we listen only at our great peril, has been saying for weeks that Obama would adopt Bush’s national-security policies — especially in the area of secrecy — because Obama wants to take advantage of these very policies. Where does Rush come up with this nutty stuff?”
STUART TAYLOR: Obama’s Left Turn.
HERE’S A REPORT ON YESTERDAY’S “TEA PARTY” PROTEST IN SALT LAKE CITY, from the Deseret News:
Conjuring the fighting spirit of the country’s founders, a large group of defiant protesters gathered on the west steps of the Capitol rotunda Friday for a “tea party” modeled after the Boston Tea Party of more than 200 years ago. . . . The event was part of what has become known as the Tea Party Movement, a series of rallies and demonstrations taking place in cities around the country to protest increased taxes, budget deficits, the recently passed federal stimulus package and trillion-dollar bailouts of the financial and auto industries. . . . Many in the crowd were there to prompt state lawmakers to pass HJR17, a joint resolution urging Congress to reject any future bailout legislation and stop spending money the federal government does not have.
More Salt Lake City coverage here.
PROFESSOR JOHN MCGINNIS on originalism.
MATT WELCH: So, Is Human Rights Watch “Neocon” Now, Too?
Neocons — they’re everywhere you want them to be!
MICKEY KAUS: “So it was Begala and Carville’s idea for the White House to go after Rush Limbaugh? Hmm. No one can read Bob Woodward’s The Agenda and go away impressed with Begala’s judgment. He’s overcombative and underadaptive. And weren’t he and Carville Hillary people? So why is Obama letting these underemployed publicity-craving operatives mess around with his administration?”
UPDATE: Reader Stephen Clark writes: “Well Glenn, for years, Bush’s control of the White House and policy was questioned because it was assumed he was too stupid. Isn’t time to question Obama’s control due to apparent cluelessness and inexperience?”
So if the report is accurate that others are crafting his political strategy (just like the Pelosi-Reid machine is drafting his legislation), it should should come as no surprise. George W. Bush was lambasted for poor management skills and excessive delegation. But that was nothing — Obama has delegated the entire task of governing. He will keep the campaigning for himself.
We’ll see how that works out, if so.
REUTERS CALLS THINGS GRIM: “President Barack Obama tried to highlight some good news and tout his economic plan on Friday, but the grim reality of plunging employment and faltering stock markets once again stepped on his message.”
SOUNDS LIKE BUSH ON IRAQ: Obama on stimulus: ‘I know we did the right thing’.
HEIGHTENING THE CONTRADICTIONS: “The contrast is no longer between the young, personable, historic candidate Obama and a creaky, cranky old Republican White Guy, it’s between what America thought it was getting in a President Obama (cool, reasonable and beyond partisanship) and what it now sees as the reality of a President Obama (government spending out of control, an uncertain hand on foreign policy, broken promises, more bureaucrats, etc. etc.). Put another way – what we see now is neither what we were promised, nor what we expected.”
UPDATE: Speaking of contradictions: A Reid/Pelosi swearing match.
MORE “TEA PARTY” NEWS.
Plus, a news story on plans for a rally tomorrow in Green Bay. Video at the link.
And, another case of tea party spirit going local: 350 People Attend Anti County Government Tea Party in Yonkers.
UPDATE: A list of protests scheduled for tomorrow, in case one is near you. L.A., Monterey, Kansas City, South Florida, Boise, Harrisburg, and more.
VIDEO: A “tea party” protest at the Utah state capitol. Plus, reader David Kirkham emails this report:
There were 75-100 people there. Way more than I expected for a Friday when most of us have to work. We secured a place inside the capitol building, right at the bottom of the stairs below the representatives. When the broke for lunch, I started my speech. 4-5 of them even spoke after I gave my little speech. They were quite nice to me and thanked me for organizing the event. Overall, I felt a lot of resentment at the entrenched Washington Republicans. That was good news. Love your blog; keep up the good work! The local talk guys have interviewed me several times now. I think I want to do another one–now that I know what to do.
Repetition is key. And some pictures. Kirkham’s crowd estimate came in smaller than KSL-TV’s, though, which shows he’s new at protest-organizaing. They said it was 100.
UPDATE: Reader Grace Nunez loves the kid in the picture above:
The caption for this picture could be, “You want my generation to pay for WHAT?”
This kid’s facial expression is priceless in capturing a challenging skepticism about what taxpayers are being asked to do, and there’s no doubt I would want him on my side in any battle. I guess in addition to protest babes, it can’t hurt when endearing children become the face of a revolution.
JAMES FALLOWS defends Chas Freeman.
Perhaps predictably, Ayn Rand is making a comeback on the right, with Congressmen handing out her books, and loose talk of rich people “Going Galt”. . . . What’s interesting to me, though, is how many details Rand did get right–like the markets in “unfreezing” Ukrainian bank deposits, so similar to the frozen railroad bonds of Atlas Shrugged. Or the cascading and unanticipated failures, with government officials racing to slap another fix on to fix the last failing solution. . . .
She was able to describe these things so well, of course, because she’d seen what an economy looked like while it was being wrecked. All of Rand’s writing is dominated by the fact that she lived through the birth pangs of Soviet Russia, and saw her family’s business destroyed by Lenin’s ideology, and extraordinarily incompetent economic management.
Well, we’ve got at least one of those going on now.
Plus, a roundup of Rand commentary from the blogosphere. And remember, kids — if going “John Galt” doesn’t appeal, you can always go “Tim Geithner.” That way you get to speak about the importance of compassionate government, without having to foot the bill. Win/win! (Warning — the I.R.S. may treat you less sympathetically than a man nominated to be its boss.)
UPDATE: Reader C.J. Burch emails: “Thanks for this…read the comments. Breaks down thus…people who have had jobs and businesses. People who haven’t. By the end of the year the people who haven’t worked a real job (outside of government or academia or the press) or run a business are in for one hell of a surprise.”
MORE: “A time for choosing.”
HEH: “The E.U. delegate from Athens must have been particularly impressed by the Secretary of State’s command of history.”
It’s called “smart diplomacy!”
WELL, IT WORKED FOR MSNBC UNDER BUSH: Glenn Beck strikes ratings gold by challenging Barack Obama. And it’s working for Rush Limbaugh. The Obama White House’s tendency to lash out at critics by name provides added incentive, of course.
HOW NEWSPAPER STOCKS are doing.
A READER SENDS THIS “Awesome Whiskey Ad.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opened her first extended talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov by giving him a present meant to symbolize the Obama administration’s vow to “press the reset button” on U.S.-Russia relations.
She handed a palm-sized box wrapped with a bow. Lavrov opened it and pulled out the gift: a red button on a black base with a Russian word peregruzka printed on top.
“We worked hard to get the right Russian word. Do you think we got it?” Clinton asked.
“You got it wrong,” Lavrov said.
Instead of “reset,” Lavrov said the word on the box meant “overcharge.”
The country’s in the very best of hands.
UPDATE: Heh: “Even beyond the mistranslation and the annoying cutesiness of the gesture, whose brilliant idea was it to give Russians a button to push? I thought that was what we’ve been working for decades to prevent.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Hmm: “My friends and I have been talking about this all day. The only conclusion we could come up with is Hillary was set up by Obama supporters at State. Nothing else makes sense. Huh. Maybe the last guy wasn’t so dumb after all, picking a gal that spoke fluent Russian.”
“THE ONLY PHYSICS I EVER TOOK was Ex-Lax.”
AMAZON IS NOW TAKING Video Game Trade-Ins.
Plus, via Randy Barnett, Make Mine Freedom:
THE GREEN SIDE OF online shopping.
MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT OBAMA’S ECONOMIC LEADERSHIP, from Silicon Valley.
MEGAN MCARDLE: SHOULD GEITHNER GO? “So far, Geithner’s performance has been shockingly unimpressive.”
PROFESSOR BAINBRIDGE: Is Health Care a “Right”? “Think Progress is blasting Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) for saying that health care is a privilege rather than a right. The privilege/right dichotomy is certainly inept politics, but it’s also inapt legally and constitutionally. The real distinction is between negative and positive rights.”
CHAS FREEMAN UPDATE: Dem Congressional Leaders Telling White House They’re Concerned About Freeman.
HEY, THEY SAID “HOMELESS,” not “cellphoneless.”
BUSINESS WEEK: Did Obama Cause The Stock Slide? “BusinessWeek interviewed a wide array of investment professionals, and many said the first six weeks of the Obama Administration have soured their outlook on the stock market.”
UPDATE: A reader emails: “From Election Day 2000 to Election Day 2008, the S&P 500 fell 29.8%. From Election Day 2008 til this afternoon, it’s down 33.3%.” Ouch.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More at Betsy’s Page.
MORE: A fascinating political history of the stock market.
STILL MORE: It’s all about “profit and earnings ratios.”
ONLINE SHOPPING REALLY IS good for the environment! “The scientists found that by far the largest environmental cost of traditional shopping is a consumer driving his or her own car to a store. (They assumed that the average person drives about 14 miles round-trip per shopping outing, and buys about three different items on one trip.) Much of the energy expenditure for e-commerce also goes towards last-mile delivery. But a UPS truck delivering dozens of packages along its daily route uses a less energy per package, on average. That’s where e-commerce really shines.” This doesn’t surprise me.
THE TRUE STORIES BEHIND 5 famous WTF? pictures.