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Monthly Archives: February 2009

Dead in the Water

February 19th, 2009 - 8:53 am

The class-action lawsuit against Microsoft for its misleading “Vista Capable” campaign has lost its class-action status.

That sound you hear is Steve Ballmer sighing in relief. Or maybe even doing a little tap dance.

Required Reading

February 19th, 2009 - 7:40 am

The Liberaltarianist Folly” by yours truly, on the PJM home page.

“Crime of the Century”

February 18th, 2009 - 3:52 pm

Ken Elias looks at GM’s government-mandated turnaround plan and concludes:

GM’s plan was too late. It’s the plan that should have been implemented in 2005. Saab will return to Sweden—if the government there forks over the 17 kroner necessary. Otherwise Saab will be toast by the end of the month. Saturn and HUMMER will wither and die—unless Chindia gets tired of waiting for a C7 liquidation.

Don’t think so. India’s auto tycoons aren’t stupid; they’ve watched Ratan Tata drive Land Rover/Jaguar straight over the metaphorical bridge to nowhere. Mahindra & Mahindra has stopped making noises about entering the US with rough and tumble SUVs and chicken tax surmounting mid-size pickups. China may buy a US brand or they may not. If they do, GM will get pennies on the dollar, if not actually having to pay someone to make Saturn, Saab and HUMMER go away.

President Obama should laugh directly in the faces of GM and Chrysler and tell them to go pound sand — or better yet, to show themselves to a bankruptcy judge, pronto. Nothing less can save either company.

Except for the “new” Chrysler, which is pretty much doomed no matter what.

Must-See PJTV

February 18th, 2009 - 2:04 pm

Coming up around 2:00PM Pacific, today’s Blogger Roundtable with Rick Moran, Jeff Emanuel, and your over-medicated VodkaPundit.

We plan on discussing the latest on Burris, the Pork Package, Afghanistan, and something about Swedish models. But it’s live television, so you never know what will happen. Tune in.

Bottom Ten List

February 18th, 2009 - 12:30 pm

Microsoft has had almost two years now to copy the iPhone, but Windows Mobile 6.5 still sucks — or so says Engadget.

The Next Word He Should Hear: “Incoming!”

February 18th, 2009 - 11:49 am

Osama bin Laden: Found?

“Let Them Come”

February 18th, 2009 - 11:32 am

Mister Liberty Girl is getting ready for the riots.

You should, too.

The Tarnished State

February 18th, 2009 - 11:27 am

Stacy McCain on what effectively-one party rule has done to California:

The thievish, parasitical mentality of liberals, who view taxpayers only a source of plunder, eventually runs head-on into economic reality. Capital is portable, and predatory governments will eventually cause disinvestment, as investors seek opportunites elsewhere. As investment flees, private-sector employment stagnates and declines, and smart young people leave to find someplace where they have a chance to get ahead.

In all fairness, the people of California are as much to blame as the Democrats/liberals are. California’s idiot brand of “direct democracy” has put much of the state budget out of the hands of the Assembly and written it directly into the Constitution. Caveat voter, as the Romans would say if their Latin was really bad. Anyway.

On the larger theme, Stacy has it absolutely right. Sacramento has gotten, approximately, nothing right since around the time Reagan was governor, and even its Republicans behave more like Democrats than most western Democrats do. And it’s dragging the rest of the Western US down with it.

Required Reading

February 18th, 2009 - 11:16 am

Mark Bowden’s ode to the F-22 Raptor.

Hat tip, Will Collier, who wrote to Bowden, “It drives me nuts that I can’t really talk about just what the Raptor can really do, but you did a hell of a job with the information that’s available to you.”

Good Morning

February 18th, 2009 - 11:02 am

Started to write a post hours ago, realized how long it was going to go, also realized I had a column due for the main page, and thought, “Might as well kill two birds with one laptop.” Good thing I have AppleCare on this machine. Then a trip to the eye doc for the annual contact lens refill and exam (verdict: “You’re middle aged”).

The good news is, the column is going to be a hot one, and I’ll post a link as soon as it goes up. The bad news? Going by my eyes, I am so not joking about that middle-aged thing. Sigh.

Pointing Out the Obvious

February 17th, 2009 - 2:22 pm

Uh, Megan? They don’t call it “belt tightening” for nothin’.

Tis But a Scratch

February 17th, 2009 - 2:08 pm

Some folks don’t know when to stay down:

At a weekend meeting in Istanbul, 200 religious scholars and clerics met with senior Hamas officials to plot a new jihad centred on Gaza.

The BBC’s Bill Law was the only Western journalist at the meeting.

In a hall crowded with conservative Sunni Muslim sheikhs and scholars, in a hotel close to Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport speaker after speaker called for jihad against Israel in support of Hamas.

The choice of Turkey was significant. Arab hardliners were keen to put aside historic differences with the Turks.

Seems like they’re also keen to keep their necks safe in Istanbul while encouraging their flock to risk theirs in Gaza. And here’s the relevant Monty Python scene.

Not Getting It Department

February 17th, 2009 - 10:42 am

Francis Cianfrocca explains why the Pork Package won’t work, to Paul Krugman and President Obama:

It will perform far below expectation. On top of that, its effects will not stimulate the economy in any permanent way, but will rather dissipate as soon as the stimulus does.

The standard argument against cutting or abating taxes as a tool of countercyclical policy, is that people will save rather than spend the money. Keynesianism targets current-period GDP as the measurement that matters above all, so saving more in a recession is a Bad Thing.

But the people don’t want higher GDP. They want stronger balance sheets, amid a sense that hard times are ahead. If anything, the stimulus debate has exacerbated this sense. Why? Because the people want to save more money, but they see their elected leaders proposing to borrow and spend more, and they think: “these people have no idea what’s really going on.”

Exactly. Re-read the first two sentences of that last paragraph. That‘s the mood of the country, and for good reason — our balance sheet is entirely out of whack.

First, we had a Republican Congress that spent like Democrats. Then we had a Democratic Congress that spent like Republicans always claimed Democrats spent. Now we have an entirely-Democratic government on a spending-bender the likes of which has never been seen in human history.

Unfortunately, that’s no exaggeration.

These days, cash is king — and our leadership would rather depose it than give it the respect it deserves.

Required Reading

February 17th, 2009 - 9:24 am

Chris Ayres on California:

This is a state whose money comes from the most bankable economic assets on Earth – the Long Beach ports, the Central Valley agricultural region, the defence contractors out in the Mojave desert, Silicon Valley, Napa Valley… Hollywood. How do you tax all this and end up amassing debts at the present rate of $1.7 million per hour?

Easy. Let Californians run the place.

Right. Into. The ground.

A Random Observation

February 17th, 2009 - 8:34 am

Let me get this straight. The Pork Package was too important to actually read, debate, or let the public see before Congress approved it. But not so important that it couldn’t wait a few days for President Obama to sign it at a big campaign rally event in a swing state.

Did I get that right?

Things Doctors Don’t Find Funny

February 17th, 2009 - 8:31 am

A Conversation from Real Life

New-to-me Urgent Care Doctor: When you cough, is the mucous any particular color?

Me: It’s a kaleidoscope of colors, if your kaleidoscope matches your ’70s kitchen.

New-to-me Urgent Care Doctor: Uh-huh.

Update/Stimulate THIS

February 17th, 2009 - 6:36 am

Here are the details for that anti-tax rally later today in Denver. I’d go, but I’m still recovering from a nasty case of acute bronchitis. Turns out that “cold” I sniffled through last week was a bit worse than I thought — kind of like people are about to discover about the Pork Package passed by Congress last week.

Must-See Radio

February 14th, 2009 - 2:03 pm

The new episode of PJM Political is available for your downloading or streaming pleasure. On this week’s special cold & flu edition of the show:

PJ Media’s DC editor Jennifer Rubin on Judd Gregg (R-NH) suddenly bowing out as Commerce Secretary. How big a role did “A Power Grab At The Census” play?

James Lileks enters…The Stimulus Zone! (Which is like the Twilight Zone, only with a much, much much larger budget. And with infinitely slower pacing, but ultimately much more scary, to boot.)

From PJTV.com’s ongoing Conservatism 2.0 series, Glenn Reynolds and Michelle Malkin on hoping that their kids will have some change left to spend in a few years after the economy has been stimulated into oblivion.

Brian Anderson of the Manhattan Institute on the seemingly daily calls from the left for a return of the “Fairness” Doctrine.

And, expanding upon his new Blacklisting Myself book, Roger L. Simon explains to Hugh Hewitt how he became a 9/11 Democrat.

Produced, of course, by Ed Driscoll and hosted by your friendly neighborhood VodkaPundit.

Bleg

February 13th, 2009 - 3:55 pm

Help a Zomby out, why don’t you?

Must-See PJTV

February 13th, 2009 - 2:14 pm

We’re just minutes away from today’s PJTV Blogger Roundtable, followed by my Week in Review.

UPDATE: Here’s the direct link to the Roundtable. Coming soon: the Week in Blogs, or whatever we’re calling it these days. Will I pick on Andrew Sullivan again? You bet!

ANOTHER UPDATE: And here’s the direct link to The Week in Blogs — now with its own spiffy graphic!

Trying Something New

February 13th, 2009 - 10:25 am

Shocking developments in Iran:

Reporting from Washington — Little more than a year after U.S. spy agencies concluded that Iran had halted work on a nuclear weapon, the Obama administration has made it clear that it believes there is no question that Tehran is seeking the bomb.

In his news conference this week, President Obama went so far as to describe Iran’s “development of a nuclear weapon” before correcting himself to refer to its “pursuit” of weapons capability.

Mad mullahs making massive missiles? You don’t say. Cross-posting at Richard Fernandez‘s place, Tigerhawk concludes:

Procedurally, this episode is going to reinforce the view of conservatives that after Iraq, at least, the intelligence agencies undermined the Bush administration at each opportunity. If there was “politicization” of intelligence during the Bush years, it cut against Bush policies more than it facilitated them.

Snarkily, we are waiting for all those lefty blogs to deliberate thoughtfully about whether the December 2007 report, which the Bushies nefariously “suppressed” for a year after its development, might have itself been the “intelligence failure.” Perhaps it is important for a president to question the judgments of the bureaucracy.

President Obama — to his credit? — seems to be trying to do something like that. He’s got enough Czars and Special Envoys and Chiefs of This and That to effectively neutralize his own cabinet. As Dick Morris noted earlier this week:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is finding that her job description is dissolving under her feet, leaving her with only a vestige of the power she must have thought she acquired when she signed on to be President Obama’s chief Cabinet officer.

I always wondered why Clinton took the job — the office of SecState tends to take dry, tired men and spit them back out drier and more tired. And can you name a single modern SecState who went on to bigger things after leaving office? Anyway, I’ve gotten off the point here, which is this: Obama is putting together Cabinet-Within-(or is it “Above?”)-the Cabinet, answerable to no one but himself.

The question of course is, “how will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?”

I dunno. I’m not sure this has ever been tried before on this scale in the White House. It could either lead to a streamlined and effective Administration, or make Reagan’s bickering, leaking cabinet look like the very model of efficiency and loyalty. We’ll see.

Calling It Quits

February 13th, 2009 - 6:34 am

Rubin on Gregg:

The bottom line: this is another executive management debacle, which if isolated, would be no big deal. That it is part of an emerging pattern of questionable judgment, poor execution and destructive partisanship suggests there is something seriously out of whack in the White House.

What worries me longer-term is Obama’s attempt here to politicize the census. It’s already a messy exercise as it is. Bringing it into the White House might mean years of lawsuits. But Obama the Community Organizer proved last year that long-term campaigns are won with a great ground game — and there’s no bigger game than the census.

Must-See PJTV

February 12th, 2009 - 2:35 pm

I’m going live on the air around 1:40PM Pacific for today’s Blogger Roundtable.

Down to the Bone

February 12th, 2009 - 10:07 am

Is GM getting ready to sell off its China operations to SAIC?

Headline of the Day

February 12th, 2009 - 9:43 am

From Drudge:

Fraud suspect caught with $70,000 in boots…”

That’s a lot of boots.

Going Where No Blog Has Gone Before

February 12th, 2009 - 9:08 am

An open letter to President Obama.

Product Non-Review

February 11th, 2009 - 11:23 am

The new Kindle isn’t out yet, but already there’s a promised “Kindle-killer.” Read:

Amazon’s new E Ink-powered Kindle 2 is all the rage right now, but a Canadian bookseller is confident it can give you the same experience on your smartphone, and without the hefty pricetag.

Shortcovers — occasionally touted by its makers as “the Kindle Killer” — is set to launch in the coming days as an app for the iPhone, the BlackBerry, and the Android operating system. So can it really live up to its king-sized claims?

I finally got to play with a Blackberry the other night. Terrible input, and the screen was even worse. And I’m supposed to read a book on it? No thanks. I don’t even want to read much on my iPhone. The screen is just to small and the resolution (about 160 dots per inch) is still no match for print (300 dpi or better).

If anything can kill the Kindle, it’s… real books.

It’s Getting Crowded Down There

February 11th, 2009 - 10:31 am

The Telegraph’s Toby Harnden writes:

Pity poor Joe Biden. His “there’s still a 30 percent chance we’re going to get it wrong” quote is put straight to President Barack Obama during the White House press conference just now and his boss seemed to want to say: “Vice-President Who?”

As reporters started giggling, Obama came close to conceding that Biden was indeed a joke. “You know, I don’t remember exactly what Joe was referring to, not surprisingly.”

Biden will find plenty of company under that bus, including, of course, the President’s former pastor and own grandmother.

Behind the Scenes

February 11th, 2009 - 10:22 am

The stealth campaign to turn the District of Columbia into a virtual ministate just chalked up another win.

Congressional FAIL

February 11th, 2009 - 9:13 am

Rasmussen reports:

When it comes to the nation’s economic issues, 67% of U.S. voters have more confidence in their own judgment than they do in the average member of Congress.

Honestly, I’d have expected that number to be higher.