August 23, 2009
MARKDOWNS ON BIG-SCREEN TVs and the like.
MARKDOWNS ON BIG-SCREEN TVs and the like.
MICHAEL BARONE: Late August Heat: No Letup For Obama.
JONATHAN ADLER: “Let’s see now. Deficit projections are once again on the rise as Obama’s approval rating falls. Health care reform is faltering, climate change legislation is stalled, and David Axlerod is under fire for his conflicts of interest. Seems like a good time to change the subject. Contents of the CIA inspector general’s report on harsh interrogation methods have already leaked, so it won’t do the trick. If I were a betting man, I’d expect something else to drop Monday or Tuesday.”
Hmm. Dick Cheney collaborated with extradimensional aliens, gave them nuclear weapons? No, that’s already been done.
COMPETENCE: Most of Obama’s Top Appointees Are Not in Place. “Of more than 500 senior policymaking positions requiring Senate confirmation, just 43 percent have been filled so far — a reflection of a White House that grew more cautious after several nominations blew up last spring, a Senate that is intensively investigating nominees and a legislative agenda that has consumed both. The sluggish pace has kept Mr. Obama from having his own people enacting programs central to his mission. He is trying to fix the financial markets but does not have an assistant treasury secretary for financial markets. He is spending more money on transportation than anyone since Dwight D. Eisenhower but does not have his own inspector general watching how the dollars are used. He is fighting two wars but does not have an Army secretary.”
SOONER OR LATER, EVERYONE COMES TO KNOXVILLE (CONT’D): Had a nice get-together with Mary Katharine Ham and her significant other, Jake Brewer, as they passed through Knoxville.
PEEVED OBAMA TRUMPS PATERSON’S RACE CARD: “President Obama’s aides were so furious that Gov. Paterson dragged him into a rant about racism that they sent a message sharply criticizing the governor’s comments just hours after he made them.”
ANNIE LIEBOVITZ, ICON FOR THE AGE? “Budget is not something that enters into her consciousness.” With predictable results.
A LOT OF new science fiction series coming out this fall.
TOWN HALLS: Steve Crowder: Beware the mouth-foaming anger!
It’s been a hilarious August, watching media supporters of President Obama’s health care package puzzle over the obscure motivations of the noncompliant Americans rallying against it.
“Racial anxiety,” guessed New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
“Nihilism,” theorized Time’s Joe Klein.
“The crazy tree blooms in every moment of liberal ascendancy,” historian Rick Perlstein proclaimed in the Washington Post.
While the commentariat’s condescension is almost comical, the whole evil-or-stupid explanation misses the elephant in Obama’s room: Americans of all stripes, it turns out, aren’t very keen about the government barging into their lives. . . . This isn’t about liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. A majority oppose Obama’s policies because they fly in the face of this country’s bedrock values of personal liberty and limited government. Robbing Peter to pay Goldman Sachs does violence to that fundamentally American ethos.
Read the whole thing.
RELIVING THE “HORROR” of Thirtysomething.
ERIC S. RAYMOND, please phone home.
INSIDE THE AIR FORCE’S unmanned revolution.
HISTORICAL UNDERPINNINGS for the Tea Party movement. It worked, too — they haven’t tried to impose an income tax since.
A BUNCH OF interesting food links.
OLD IS the new beautiful.
THE WORLD’S WEIRDEST HOTELS.
ANTIVIRUS PROTECTION gets social.
OUCH: PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL INDEX HITS NEW LOW: “The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 27% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-one percent (41%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -14. These figures mark the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for this President.” (Via Gateway Pundit, who has some thoughts about why).
REPORT: GM Could Build 70,000 Chevy Volts a Year. Can they sell that many?
IDENTIFYING A BODY by the serial number on breast implants. They have serial numbers?
THE HORROR OF climate engineering?
IN THE MAIL: From Harry Dolan, Bad Things Happen.
IT’S ONLY WRONG WHEN BUSINESSES DO IT: VA workers given millions in bonuses as vets await checks. “While hundreds of thousands of disability claims lay backlogged at the Department of Veterans Affairs, thousands of technology employees at the department received $24 million in bonuses, a new report says.”
A PROFILE OF Candidate Scott Ott, of Scrappleface fame.
DANG: I could be partying down at the National Lentil Festival. Bring plenty of Beano!
KEEP YOUR GRUBBY LAWS off my body.
CHARLES LIPSON: Let insurance companies compete across U.S. “With public support draining away from a comprehensive health-care overhaul, it is time to consider modest changes such as encouraging more private competition in health insurance. This doesn’t require another big-government program. It only requires junking laws that prevent health insurers from selling across state lines.”
MORE CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT WORKERS retiring early.
THINKING OF RUNNING FOR OFFICE? Advice for new candidates from the Chicago Tribune. It’s focused on Illinois, but I think it’s got broader application.
KLEIMAN ON TIERNEY on heroin and methadone.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: Good news: Feds pulling workers away from FAA to staff exploding Cash for Clunkers bureaucracy. “Employees of the FAA’s air-traffic-control unit were asked to help.” But don’t worry, it’s overstaffed anyway . . . .
Plus: “Percentage of dealer claims that had been reimbursed by the feds as of Thursday: Seven. How bad does a program have to be to goose sales as much as C4C has and still be badmouthed by the industry? This bad, I guess. . . . There’s actually a serious risk here that the feds are going to mismanage a simple car-rebate program into bankruptcy. Oh, and more good news: Confirming earlier suspicions, it’s foreign carmakers that are getting the lion’s share of the sales. Exit question: Which is more frightening as an omen for ObamaCare’s future problems? Yesterday’s $2 trillion upwards budget revision or this wheezing canary in the coal mine?”
A REPORT FROM TUCSON: Aug 21 Recess Rally at Rep. Giffords’ Office Draws Nearly 1000!
MAYBE SHE CAN GET BILL TO HELP: Hillary Clinton Pledges to ‘Banish Sexual Violence’.
THE SECRET TO GREAT GRILLED CHEESEBURGERS.
DON’T WORRY: This won’t hurt a bit. “A nurse wielding a hypodermic needle is unlikely to conjure up calm thoughts, let alone inspire you to go solo and administer the injection yourself. But a new patch lined with short needles, each the width of just a few strands of hair, may soon grant squeamish patients a reprieve as well as a relatively simple opportunity to take matters into their own hands. The innovation could eliminate the pain and fear of getting shots, researchers say, and it could also make future vaccines and medical treatments safer, more effective and easier to self-administer.”
A REPORT FROM FLORIDA: Recess Rally In Front Of Rep. Kathy Castor’s Office.
UPDATE: Here’s a report from the Nashville Recess Rally at Rep. Jim Cooper’s office.
And another from the Franklin, TN Recess Rally at Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s office.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: The San Diego Zoo’s PandaCam.
UPDATE: At Big Hollywood, a pool: “How long before the media starts their dirty work on this man?”
AUTOBLOG: VIDEO: Chevy dealer training film from the Eighties makes you wonder how GM sold any cars back then. Yeah, but hairstyles from the Eighties make you wonder how anybody got laid back then, too. And yet . . .
REPORT: MoveOn.Org, SEIU, ACORN To Infiltrate/Disrupt Recess Protests. “I have a contact who claims to have seen unofficial communications from ACORN, SEIU, and MoveOn.Org members not to just protest for the government option, but it infiltrate the anti-government protesters and attempt to stir up trouble. Precisely what kind of trouble was not specified, and was no doubt communicated verbally. Keep your eyes open folks, and don’t allow yourselves to be provoked. Also, keep an eye on the more excitable and antagonistic folks protesting Obamacare. If they’re acting provocatively in front of news crews or private video cameras, they may not be on your side at all.”
So far I haven’t seen any sign of this, and it may be just talk, but stay tuned. And stay calm even if provoked, which is always good advice.
STEPHEN GREEN, JAMES LILEKS, AND MORE: On the latest PJM Political.
BITES FROM THE APPLE: A roundup of news from the Apple empire.
SWINE FLU VACCINE TRIALS: No side effects so far.
SEARCHING FOR gravitational waves.
SO THE KNOXVILLE TEA PARTY CROWD HAD A RECESS RALLY at the Federal Courthouse, where Rep. Jimmy Duncan and Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker have offices. They had 100-150 people (I heard that about half that many counterprotesters were there at the beginning, but they were marching off and beating drums as I arrived, so I can’t attest to precise numbers.) A fairly impressive turnout, though, considering that I believe that Duncan, Corker, and Alexander are all opposed to ObamaCare. Local media — and alt-media, as I was joined by Michelle from KnoxViews, who I was happy to catch up with as we hadn’t seen each other in a while — were covering it. (An earlier interview with Knox Tea Party folks is here.)
UPDATE: John Casey sends this via iPhone from Chicago: “Chanting ‘no more Dick’ outside of Dick Durbin’s office.”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Joe Scott sends this from Asheville, where Heath Shuler (D-NC) was the target: “Glenn, there were about 150 people at Rep. Shuler’s office today. People directed their questions to an empty podium since Mr. Shuler apparently had more pressing business today.” Plus a cellphone pic:
To be fair, Shuler already told the Asheville Tea Party folks that he’d vote against the bill.
Plus, over 1,000 in Birmingham, Michigan. Pics and video at the link, but here’s one.
And reader John Marcoux sends this from Charleston.
MORE STILL: Another report from Birmingham, Michigan.
PROGRESS TOWARD EQUALITY: “Women are responsible for an increasing number of drunk-driving arrests, according to data released today by the NHTSA. FBI statistics (PDF) show that DUI arrests of men fell 7.5 percent between 1998 and 2007, while the arrest rate for women climbed by nearly 29 percent in the same period.”
THE VICIOUS TRUTH about sunflowers.
IN THE MAIL: David Pogue’s The World According to Twitter.
MARK STEYN: Stimulus Hits A Pothole. “Meanwhile, in Brazil, India, China, Japan and much of Continental Europe the recession has ended. In the second quarter this year, both the French and German economies grew by 0.3 percent, while the U.S. economy shrank by 1 percent. How can that be? Unlike America, France and Germany had no government stimulus worth speaking of, the Germans declining to go the Obama route on the quaint grounds that they couldn’t afford it. . . . And yet their recession has gone away. Of the world’s biggest economies, only the U.S., Britain and Italy are still contracting. All three are big stimulators, though Gordon Brown and Silvio Berlusconi can’t compete with Obama’s $800 billion porkapalooza. The president has borrowed more money to spend to less effect than anybody on the planet.”
MATT WELCH ON THE WHOLE FOODS BOYCOTT: “I’ll just make one observation: The liberal commentariat keeps telling us that we need to have a ‘serious debate’ about reforming our dysfunctional health care system. Well, love ‘em or hate ‘em, Mackey came up with eight tangible ideas to do just that, and this is the reaction he gets.”
DECLAN MCCULLAGH: Sorry, Mandatory Gun Registration Is Constitutional. Though I disagree with that as policy, that’s probably right. I could certainly construct a chilling-effect sort of argument that would be no more unfounded than many other constitutional doctrines that are “good law” today, but I’m not sure that such is really compelled by the Constitution. On the other hand, that the 1792 Militia Act required people to prove that they owned at least one qualifying gun is not necessarily support for the notion that you must account to the government for every gun you own.
ILLEGAL HEALTH REFORM: Is ObamaCare’s health-insurance mandate unconstitutional?
A CONVERSATION WITH BUZZ ALDRIN. He’s got a new autobiography out, called Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home from the Moon.
MARC DANZIGER ON OBAMA’S SLIPPAGE AMONG INDEPENDENTS: “Looking at why Obama seems to be having such a popularity collapse suggests that models of the polity that were bipolar – i.e. D’s and R’s – probably don’t represent reality as models that are tripolar – D’s, R’s, and I’s. And while the I’s may be largely ideologically rooted in one side or the other, their “brand attachment” is weak, meaning that they can be flipped easily or else that they aren’t necessarily going to come out and vote unless they are engaged.”
Plus, from Mickey Kaus: “Next thing you know, the NYTers will be grabbing the mike at town halls. … At least when voters are having notentirelyirrationalfears that Obama would have the state play god by exercising yes/no power over life-ending medical decsions, he didn’t go and say something creepily extravagant and provocative like ‘we are God’s partners in matters of life and death.’ … Whew!” Also, some amusing annotation.
THE TESLA MODEL S SEDAN in action.
ALL 435 DISTRICTS: ‘Tea Party’ Organizers Plan Anti-’Obamacare’ Rallies Across the Country.
UPDATE: Tucson’s was yesterday, and Robert Mayer reports: “The Recess Rally was great everyone! About 700 at our peak, with probably 1000 total. Keep it up everyone! Gabby [Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ] has now announced that she will hold three townhalls, including one in Tucson on Sept 1. Can’t wait to be at that manufactured mess! Also, don’t forget about our townhall on Aug 28!”
ANOTHER UPDATE: Blue Dog: Hey, this town-hall anger seems pretty real to me. “Why are people scared? The government is about to take over one-sixth of the nation’s economy, even though soaring deficits make it clear that it can’t properly handle what’s on the plate now. It just fumbled a stimulus package and a program to kill old cars, and somehow people have the notion that this competence will continue with something more vital — their health care. They don’t want the government in charge of those decisions and invading their personal lives. The only surprise here is that elected officials didn’t see this coming, although clearly the White House had an inkling — which is why they tried to rush the bill through to a vote.”
GROWTH OF THE FEMINIST HAWKS: “Consider the feminist-hawk position — the one that advocates the use of force to liberate Muslim women from persecution and burkas. This position has become an integral part of the ideological Web. Feminist-hawk arguments may even be considered an artifact of the Web, just the way the revolutionary arguments of 18th-century America can be seen as an artifact of pamphlets.”
JOHN TIERNEY: Prescription Heroin?
POLITICO: Obama’s Big Bang could go bust. “Barack Obama’s Big Bang is beginning to backfire, as his plans for rapid, once-in-a-generation overhauls of energy, financial regulation and health care are running into stiff resistance, both in Washington and around the country. The Obama theory was simple, though always freighted with risk: Use a season of economic anxiety to enact sweeping changes the public likely wouldn’t stomach in ordinary times. But the abrupt swing in the public’s mood, from optimism about Obama’s possibility to concern he may overreaching, has thrown the White House off its strategy and forced the president to curtail his ambitions. . . . By doing so doing so much, so fast, he has left voters — especially independents — worried that he got an overblown sense of his mandates and is doing, well, too much too fast. A Washington Post-ABC News poll published Friday found that independents’ confidence in Obama’s ability to make the right decisions had dropped 20 points since the Inauguration, from 61 percent to 41 percent.”
MICHAEL S. MALONE ON TRUST:
I’m writing this column from table #3 at Peet’s Coffee in Cupertino, California.
Why am I here, instead of working from my own home office two miles away? Therein lies a story.
Simply put, my Comcast cable service crashed yesterday afternoon at 4 p.m. That not only means my Internet access is down on all five of our family computers, but my cable television is down as well. In fact, the only service still working in our house in the landline phone – and that’s only because, when Comcast offered that service as well, my wife replied, “I don’t trust you people not to screw that up as well. I need something in this house I can depend on to work right.”
And, in fact, she used that phone to call Comcast to report the outage. And I took off for Peet’s to file this column.
Read the whole thing. Especially if you work for Comcast.
THE MILK-CARTON CAMPAIGN SEEMS TO BE DRAWING THEM OUT: Carol Shea Porter to hold town meetings next Saturday.
Plus, John Tanner to appear at public meeting. “U.S. Rep. John Tanner will appear at an event in his hometown of Union City protesting his refusal to not hold a town hall forum.”
UPDATE: Reader Rachel Kowalick writes:
I actually emailed my district Congressman Jason Altmire (D-PA) to ask if he’d schedule a town hall.
Yesterday I received an email invitation from him to attend on August 24. The interesting thing about it is the venue. He will be meeting with people in Farrell, PA. If you look at a map of the 4th district (Altmire’s) and look for Farrell, you will see that he seems to have carefully chosen the farthest edge of his district for the meeting. He picked a very small town at the very top edge of the district – a choice which will (intentionally, I’m sure) put him as far away from the majority of his constituents he can get.
We’ve had many appearances by other politicians here in the center of his district, including Obama himself… but Altmire wants to hide on the fringe.
As a consolation, he’ll also be offering a “telephone town hall” the following week. The emails states it will last for one hour, and you must call ahead to be included.
Talk about making yourself accessible to your voters!
And if people from outside his district show up — even if they live nearby — he’ll call them astroturfers!
MORE TEA PARTY NEWS FROM OHIO: Justin Binik-Thomas emails:
The Eastern Hills Community Tea Party (part of Cincinnati Tea Party) and the Cincinnati 9/12 Project were alerted to an ACORN healthcare rally in the Community of Kenwood Ohio.
We had 90 minutes notice and they had paychecks. We outnumbered them by a margin greater than 2:1.
Brenda and Gena from Eastern Hills Community Tea Party reported:
Everything went really well – we outnumbered our opponents at least 2-1. Our posters were far superior to theirs (no exaggeration – “Jesus wants Healthcare” “People before Profit” “Medicare for All” , “Public Option”) We received beeps from car horns and ‘thumbs-up’ 4-1 and even ONE great big SEMI AIRHORN agreement with a thumbs-up from the driver from his back window as he went by!! It was totally cool. And just as Richard predicted the ACORN people left right on the stroke of 6 o’clock. We couldn’t believe it. So it was high 5’s all around. One thing I forgot to tell my partners in crime at dinner afterwards was the following: As I was going across the street back to get my car a driver slowed as he turned the corner to say out his window his heart felt Thanks for showing up with our signs against the others. I could see the emotion in his eyes how much it meant to him. It was ALL Good.
This keeps happening.
HOPE AND CHANGE: As part of a program called “Resale Roundup,” the Feds are going after garage sales. “The initiative, which targets toys and other products for children, enforces a new provision that makes it a crime to resell anything that’s been recalled by its manufacturer. . . . Secondhand sellers now must keep abreast of recalls for thousands of products, some of them stretching back more than a decade, to stay within the bounds of the law.”
COMPARING THE S&P 500 with Obama’s disapproval numbers. The worse Obama does, the better the market, or so’s the claim. . . .
EVAN COYNE MALONEY: Hitler Comparisons and Media Reporting: Then and Now.
WHAT KIND OF FOOLS DO THEY TAKE US FOR? First class.
WHAT WOULD YOU COOK, if you were on Top Chef? I favor the “alcohol and raw meat” approach.
ON NRA NEWS, I talked with Cam Edwards about Heller, the Second Amendment, and my piece in the Hastings Law Journal on how the Second Amendment is doing in lower courts. You’ll have to wait until my face appears on the rotating-link screen. I’m wearing my “Enjoy Capitalism” shirt from Bureaucrash. Cam actually recognized it.
TEST-DRIVING Kia’s new hybrids.
JOHN BOOT really likes Inglourious Basterds.
UH OH: AP sources: $2 trillion higher deficit projected. “The Obama administration expects the federal deficit over the next decade to be $2 trillion bigger than previously estimated, White House officials said Friday, a setback for a president already facing a Congress and public wary over spending.”
Don Surber calls it this week’s Friday Afternoon Bombshell.
PROTECTING NEW ORLEANS, the world’s largest water pump.
FROM C-SPAN, some Dan Lungren Town Hall Video.
A MUCH-IMPROVED VERSION OF WINDOWS MOVIE MAKER: But there’s a catch.
THE ROSS PEROT OF 2012? Wayne Allyn Root talks about his new book, The Conscience of a Libertarian: Empowering the Citizen Revolution with God, Guns, Gambling & Tax Cuts. And about his planned run for President. On Reason TV. Er, but how’d that Perot thing work out last time?
BILL WHITTLE, SCOTT OTT, STEPHEN GREEN: Laughing At Our Enemies: The Power of Parody.
3D PATTERNED NANOSTRUCTURES: “Patterned tin and nickel panels self-assemble into nanoboxes.”
ANDREW KLAVAN: A Subtle Theological Point.
According to Ben Smith over at Politico, President Barack Obama gave some theological weight to his health care plan during a phone call to a group of Rabbis the other day. Referring to the belief that God decides during the Jewish New Year “who shall live and who shall die,” Obama told the rebs, “We are God’s partners in matters of life and death.”
In response to this statement I would like to make a subtle theological point: No, we’re not. For those of you who aren’t versed in the finer points of theology, let me try to simplify that for you: No. We’re not. Or to put it even more simply: No. We. Are. Not.
Related: Obama’s Twisted Faith. As when Obama started talking tonsillectomies and cardiology, he’s opened his mouth and revealed his ignorance. I’d just as soon, of course, that the President didn’t try to justify policy on religious grounds — and, until January 20, so did most of the media and punditocracy — but this effort is particularly lame.
PUTTING EMBEDDED VIDEO IN PAPER MAGAZINES. “The chip technology used to store the video – described as similar to that used in singing greeting cards – is activated when the page is turned. Each chip can hold up to 40 minutes of video.”
A CORVETTE’S dying gasps.
MORE ON MSNBC’s “Edit-Gate.” “The fact that an African-American man was willing to show up to protest Obama, while carrying an AR-15, and that MSNBC evidently found his presence at the event inconvenient, speaks volumes about the MSM’s current attempts to discredit the Mobs of August by painting them as racist.”
POST-PARTISAN, POST RACIAL? Voight: Is Obama creating a civil war in America? We’re a long way from that, but he’s certainly been the most divisive President since Nixon.
UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson:
Worse still, his base is now arguing for him to get more partisan, get meaner, get angrier, and get more fired up — also at precisely the time that polls suggest he is falling for already doing just that — and losing his once bipartisan, no-more-red/no-more-blue-state supposed transcendence.
In truth, as partisans tell Obama to get nasty, his rhetoric the last 90 days has already been exclusively polarizing. The administration and its supporters have ridiculed tea-parties, town-hallers, Republican skepticism about deficits, etc. — evoking everything from Brooks Brothers to the Nazis, from being un-Christian to now getting “wee-weed up.”
Even Nixon never did that. Of course, he had Agnew, who was a more reliable hatchetman than Joe Biden.
ROGER KIMBALL: My final piece on Yale and the Danish cartoons: Martin Kramer connects the dots. You’ll be shocked to hear that there’s Saudi money involved.