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Monthly Archives: March 2009

Required Viewing

March 31st, 2009 - 7:45 pm

Hair of the Dog,” is the new show on PJTV where we make fun of the Sunday morning chat shows so you don’t have to.

Something different this week: The Hotter Seat. Check it out. Absolutely free.

Bottom’s Up

March 31st, 2009 - 2:49 pm

Colorado: Per capita, the best damn beer state in the Union.

Best Beer

Strange Maps has all the details.

Required Reading

March 31st, 2009 - 1:43 pm

Jules Crittenden remembers combat.

Visualize Whirled Peas

March 31st, 2009 - 12:44 pm

What does a trillion dollars look like? Strangely enough, it looks like quite a lot, really.

Breaking (Not)

March 31st, 2009 - 11:11 am

Drudge has red-linked a USNI report that China has a “kill weapon” designed to take out USN aircraft carriers. (Link is busted at the moment due to overwhelming traffic.) This is an old story, dating back at least to November and reported on StrategyPage:

China appears to be developing an over-the-horizon (OTH) radar that can spot large ships (like American aircraft carriers) as far as 3,000 kilometers away, and use this information to guide ballistic missiles to the area,. Such radars have long been used to detect ballistic missile launches, and approaching heavy bombers. Some OTH radars have been modified to take advantage of the flat surface of an ocean, to pick up large objects, like ships. Cheaper and more powerful computers enable such OTH radars to more accurately identify ships thousands of kilometers away.

China’s principal weapon would be their DF-21 ballistic missile, equipped with a high-explosive warhead and a guidance system that can home in and hit a aircraft carrier at sea.

To guarantee a successful strike, China might have to use a nuclear, rather than HE or kinetic, warhead — even with the new radar. I doubt that’s a game they really want to get into. Our targeting is still a whole let better than theirs, and there’s still an awful lot of water for soldiers to cross between the mainland and Taiwan. If they get into nukes, well, the Straits would become a “target-rich environment” for ours.

Mostly I suspect the Pentagon is worried about budget cuts — and that’s a fair cop. So brace yourself for more scary reports about this new “kill weapon,” along with stories that the Chinese are also arming themselves with shoot guns, flight planes, launch rockets and sinky ships.

UPDATE: Here’s a working link to the USNI story.

ANOTHER UPDATE: The Pentagon, of course, has every right to be worried about “painful budget cuts,” because that’s exactly what they’re going to get.

Put Up or Shut Up

March 31st, 2009 - 10:46 am

Talk about inexperience:

Rep. Joseph Cao (R-La.) may buck his party when the House votes on President Obama’s budget proposal later this week.

The freshman lawmaker told the Hill that his constituents are split, adding that he wants more information before deciding whether to stick with his party or side with the president who overwhelmingly carried his district in November.

“At this point, I’m not sure which is approach is better,” Cao said Tuesday morning.

I think Cao’s incoming class of freshman Republican congressmen in January consisted of… Cao. If Republicans think they can win by not refusing to play, then the incoming class will be even smaller. And President Obama will start peeling off even more votes.

Don’t Dare Call it Socialism

March 31st, 2009 - 8:55 am

Here it comes:

But now, in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the “Pay for Performance Act of 2009,” would impose government controls on the pay of all employees — not just top executives — of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

Our betters in Washington have been trying to determine salaries and wages for decades now, and most any method — or excuse — has been just fine with them.

Soon, they’ll determine what a manufacturing job is worth, as they struggle to “save” Detroit. The financial sector is already theirs. The health industry is going to feel Washington’s warm embrace in months or maybe weeks. Then the politicalization of everyone’s pay will become a simple fact of life.

Forget performance. Forget your worth. What will matter is your pull and your status as a victim. Value won’t matter nearly so much as your group’s ability to whine and agitate.

And this is how we’re going to achieve enough growth to offset Obama’s big budgets?

Next: Ann Coulter Refuses Seconds

March 30th, 2009 - 4:31 pm

If President Obama was as big a wuss as Alan Colmes, we’d be speaking Farsi already.

Not Getting It Department

March 30th, 2009 - 2:09 pm

Fortune’s Alex Taylor III on GM’s Rick Wagoner:

…if Wagoner had retired on January 1, 2008 instead of March 29, 2009, he might have been remembered as one of GM’s greatest leaders.

Without fanfare, he negotiated an historic agreement with the United Auto Workers to reduce the burden of pension and health care costs and to make its hourly labor costs more competitive.

He was also in the final stages of the consolidation of GM’s North American operations after a century of balkanization. At last, what was then the world largest auto company would be able to leverage its global scale to become cost- and efficiency-competitive.

None of this was accomplished easily, or without the shedding of thousands of blue- and white-collar workers. But through it all, Wagoner retained the respect and loyalty of the vast majority of GM’s enormous workforces.

Well… no. Not even close.

Read this from Wikipedia:

During his reign, GM shares have plummeted from around $60 in June 2000 to as low as $1.27 in March 2009, a loss of approximately 98%, and GM’s share of North American cars sales went from 28.3% to 18.3%.

Bad luck? Bad timing? Hardly.

Wagoner reaped huge profits from SUV sales, then pissed them away on rotten deals with FIAT and badge-engineered monstrosities. He pissed away every brand in the GM portfolio except for Chevy (although not profitable enough to save the company) and Cadillac (far too small to save the company). He turned GM’s “import-fighter” brand, Saturn, into a brand of rebadged imports.

As early as spring of 2006, it was clear to some that Wagoner had already failed. GM couldn’t make money selling cars, and SUVs had become unfashionable and undesirable in Katrina’s wake. When GM still had money in the bank, Wagoner could have killed off the dead brands walking (Buick NA, GMC, Pontiac, Saturn, SAAB, Hummer) and still had enough cash to restructure the surviving operations. Instead, he led GM to where it is today — a bottomless pit of your tax dollars, building cars no one wants, maintaining divisions no one needs, and giving the Federal government ownership of its very own auto workers’ union (and vice versa).

By Taylor’s date, Wagoner had taken on exactly two of GM’s five fatal problems, and those only in part. He’d been at the helm for ten years. This is how Fortune magazine measures success?

For his efforts, Wagoner walks away with about a hundred million dollars in salary and bonuses over the years, and a golden parachute no one can take away.

And thanks to the Bush & Obama Wonder Twins, you get to pay for it all.

What He Said

March 30th, 2009 - 12:33 pm

Collier on the Government Motors Corp: “Do we not have enough open-ended entitlement commitments these days?

Here’s Your Hope and Change

March 30th, 2009 - 11:33 am

So. Congress lets the Oval Office virtually write its own legislation concerning the distribution of most of a trillion dollars. And now the President has usurped the powers of the judicial branch by becoming his very own bankruptcy judge.

The executive branch — is there anything it can’t do?

Washington is a Harsh Mistress

March 30th, 2009 - 9:00 am

I am Simon Jester.”

Are you?

Must-See PJTV

March 29th, 2009 - 5:01 pm

On today’s Meet the Blogs, National Review’s Mark Hemingway, Bill Whittle and I riff on… pretty much everything.

Long Time Coming

March 29th, 2009 - 4:23 pm

GM CEO Rick Wagoner has been forced out by President Obama.

A few quick thoughts.

1. Getting rid of Wagoner was long overdue.

2. Using TARP (or any Federal program) to give the President the power to fire CEOs is just wrong.

3. The GM Board of Directors should have forced Wagoner out years ago.

4. The GM BoD should have been forced to step aside years ago.

5. The same ineffective BoD will mean nothing really changes at GM, so that all these new extra bonus bailout bucks will also go to waste.

6. Chapter 11 would have gotten rid of Wagoner and the BoD ages ago.

7. But Bush and Obama have effectively sidestepped bankruptcy, using all those TARP dollars Congress never approved of for bailing out automakers.

8. This whole situation is so messed up that if I have any more thoughts, my head will explode.

9. And my bride doesn’t have time to clean up that kind of mess before our guests arrive.

What are your thoughts?

Sheesh

March 29th, 2009 - 9:46 am

If the world doesn’t love President Obama, it’s Bush’s fault.

You can’t make this stuff up. Unless, of course, you’re the New York Times.

Buy This Book!

March 29th, 2009 - 9:04 am

Longtime blogger (and fellow Colorado guy) Dave Cullen has a new book out on the Columbine shootings. And it’s getting rave reviews.

Must-See Radio

March 28th, 2009 - 8:37 am

This week’s PJM Political is bleary-eyed and looking for a cup of coffee.

No, wait — that’s me. But producer Ed Driscoll tells me this week’s show is already streaming. Remember, you can download or stream from PJ Media, listen live on Saturday mornings on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, or subscribe on iTunes.

On the show:

Ed Driscoll interviews Alvin Toffler, the legendary author of the best-selling Future Shock and The Third Wave discusses the technological aspects of our current economic crisis.

Michael Barone of US News & World Report and Real Clear Politics discusses his new article in the DC Examiner titled, “Obama’s 21st century campaign stuck in a mid-20th century program.”

Joe Hicks of PJTV interviews John Avlon, the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics. Avlon explains how some of President Obama’s toughest upcoming battles may be with the leftwing of his own party, not with Republicans. (Joe’s interview with Avlon can be viewed in its entirety at PJTV.)

Plus, Ed and I talk about the “Newspaper Revitalization Act” floated this week by Maryland’s Senator Benjamin Cardin–and President Obama’s sudden hostility to medical marijuana.

Dude, what a show.

Must-See PJTV

March 28th, 2009 - 8:28 am

It’s this week’s Week in Blogs.

You Have Got to be Kidding Me

March 26th, 2009 - 11:43 am

California is considering banning black cars.

A Cunning Plan

March 26th, 2009 - 9:14 am

Yesterday’s PJTV Issue of the Day (subscription only, but get spendy with the five bucks already) was more fun than a paper sack full of Hooter’s girls — but how could it not be, with Bill Whittle, Scott Ott and myself. And none of us were wearing bright orange short-shorts. So far as I know. Anyway.

Bill threw out the question, “The markets tank every time Secretary Geithner or President Obama say or do anything. What’s to be done?”

That’s a good question. I have a bad answer. It’s called the Shut Up and Go Away Reform Act (SUGAR Act) of 2009. And it’s amazingly simple.

We as a nation will pay Obama and Geithner 1% off the top of any and all stock market profits. In exchange, they’ll shut up and go away. They’ll keep their jobs; they just won’t do anything. Surely, Treasury couldn’t do any worse with 18 of 18 top positions vacant, than it has with only one position filled. And after 75 years of presidential overreach, it might be a nice change of pace to have a chief executive whose chief goal is to enjoy a nice cocktail.

I’m sure the SUGAR Act has holes in it, but you’ve got to admit — Pelosi & Reid would twist some serious arms to get the thing passed.

Raptor Down

March 26th, 2009 - 9:02 am

Saw the headline on Google News last night, that an F-22A Raptor had gone down outside of Edwards AFB in California. Read Melissa the details, including that the plane had crashed mid-morning, but that the pilot’s condition was unknown.

“Oh, no,” Melissa said. “They know. That just means they haven’t been able to notify the family.”

Sure enough, the memo went out to Lockheed employees this morning:

I am deeply saddened to inform you that one of our test pilots, David Cooley, was killed yesterday in the crash of an F-22A near Edwards Air Force Base, California.

David, 49, was an outstanding pilot who joined Lockheed Martin in 2003 after a 21-year career with the U.S. Air Force. He worked with our customers at the 411th Flight Test Squadron, 412th Test Wing at Edwards. He was part of the F-22 Combined Test Force, where a team of Lockheed Martin and Air Force pilots conduct F-22 aircraft testing. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family and friends during this difficult time. We will remember David with great admiration for his courage, his dedication, and his many contributions to our company and our nation.

Damn.

Required Linking

March 25th, 2009 - 5:51 pm

After large sacks of non-sequential bills were delivered late in the night by dangerous men dressed all in black, Bill Whittle agreed to bring Eject! Eject! Eject! “inside” PJ Media.

Adjust your bookmarks accordingly.

And Now for Something Completely Disgusting

March 25th, 2009 - 2:54 pm

Remember, the Russians never invaded Czechoslovakia. There was a “fraternal socialist neighborhood restructuring.” Anyway, that’s to hear the Obama Administration tell it.

Below the Beltway nabbed a couple fine examples of Newspeak coming out of the White House.

Me, I’m going to go happy fun boinking in the snow.*

(more…)

Must-See PJTV/Who Let the Dogs Out?

March 25th, 2009 - 11:50 am

Our second try at shooting a new pilot segment went much better than the first. So much so, that we’re even running the thing. As the last seven-plus years of blogging prove, I’m not a very fast learner — but got some great direction from Paul & Mark and the rest of the PJTV gang.

The directions mostly consisted of, “Faster! More energy!” By the last take of each shot, the camera lens was, Chris Matthews-like, covered with spittle. Anyway, it’s almost a sure thing that no other news show promises — and delivers! — “Arnold-on-Arnold action.” Or has strong enough journalistic principles to call Steve Kroft “dreamy.” Now that we know we can do six minutes, all we have to do is quadruple that and we’ll have a real show.

It’s called “Hair of the Dog,” and you can watch it, absolutely free.

Live on Tape with the Brain Dead

March 25th, 2009 - 9:36 am

If this video was from “24,” then by the end of the episode, Maxine Waters and Tim Geithner would be murdered on the orders of a shadowy group of old rich white guys.

But reality makes even less sense than the last five or six seasons of 24, when Waters is involved.

CORRECTION: VodkaPundit did not mean to imply that Maxine Waters has any involvement with reality, and apologizes for the error.

007: Quantum of Buyer’s Remorse

March 25th, 2009 - 6:08 am

On a lark I cancelled my Amazon pre-order of the new James Bond movie on Blu-Ray, and downloaded the Apple iTunes “HD” version instead.

I put “HD” in quotes because, well, so should Apple. 3.5 gigabytes of data downloaded off the internet is in no way able to replace 25 or 50 gigs served off a silvery platter.

The iTunes version looks pretty good. Better than DVD, truth be told. But if this is what Apple calls Hi-Def, then they’re going to have to offer a better price. A much better price. I’d rather have paid $24 for the Blu-Ray and gotten real HD, than the $20 I paid to Apple for the faux version.

If you haven’t yet blown $300 or more on a Blu-Ray player, but have spent nearly that much on an Apple TV unit (I believe I’m addressing an audience here nearly in the double digits), then Apple’s not-really-HD would be a step up from your regular fare. Everybody else? Don’t bother. Spend the extra four bucks on the Blu-Ray, and buy yourself 20-45 GB worth of extra picture and sound.

The Big Lie From the Big O

March 25th, 2009 - 5:01 am

President Obama keeps promising to go “line by line” through the budget nobody can read, in order to “cut the deficit in half” no later than the year 2525 or whenever. But look at this chart (courtesy in the general direction of Glenn Reynolds):

If you’re brain-dead enough to accept the President’s rosy scenario, his best year still has 25% more red ink than President Bush’s worst year. And keep in mind that — again, by Obama’s own spendthrift reckoning — Obama’s best year assumes 3% growth, while Bush’s worst year suffered a 2% or greater contraction.

In other words, as bad as Bush was (and he was pretty goddamn godawful), Obama can’t keep it zipped, not even when no one else is in the room.

Then there are the numbers provided above by the CBO. The CBO is typically a lot better at forecasting than the fortune tellers employed by the White House (any administration, Democrat or Republican). If we go by the CBO numbers… then just go on have have seventeen more babies, because the future is going to need a lot more taxpayers to pay for the thriftless triumvirate of Obama, Pelosi & Reid.

Crazy on You

March 24th, 2009 - 4:31 pm

Instead of taking a critical look at the Pork Package passed by Congress last month, it seems the newspaper industry is getting ready to receive a little something-something in return:

With many U.S. newspapers struggling to survive, a Democratic senator on Tuesday introduced a bill to help them by allowing newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits with a variety of tax breaks.

“This may not be the optimal choice for some major newspapers or corporate media chains but it should be an option for many newspapers that are struggling to stay afloat,” said Senator Benjamin Cardin.

A Cardin spokesman said the bill had yet to attract any co-sponsors, but had sparked plenty of interest within the media, which has seen plunging revenues and many journalist layoffs.

Well, the MSM got their man elected last fall. And like any powerful lobby — or high-priced call girl — they should expect to get something for their services.

Apparently, Congress thinks children are undoing zippers with their teeth.

Finally an Issue You Can Really Get Behind

March 24th, 2009 - 4:03 pm

Nevada is looking into new ways of raising… revenue. Read:

A key state lawmaker has proposed a $5 tax on acts of prostitution in Nevada, where brothels operate legally in some areas, and a counseling agency for sex workers that would be funded by part of the tax revenue.

“We’re desperate to find money for essential government services, so I will go anywhere to do that,” Senate Taxation Chairman Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, said todayin discussing his plan that by his estimate would raise at least $2 million a year from sex acts in the legal bordellos.

Coffin said the idea of getting taxes from the brothel business has been discussed for years but was rejected because “people weren’t willing to get their hands dirty” — even though the legal brothels volunteered to be taxed.

“I don’t know why people won’t recognize that we have a legal industry,” Coffin added. “I’m willing to go in and do the dirty work if no one else will.”

I’m sure Coffin will have to do lots and lots of research on this pressing issue, which touches deeply the lives of thousands of people. So much so, that it now requires an act of congress. Er, legislature. Anyway, the turgid point here is that they’ve finally found a way to tax thingy.