Traci Skene: Stand-up comic, sensible righty, blogger.
Jules Crittenden compares the internet to Amazon’s Kindle 2:
It’s kind of how I feel about sailboats and 747s. Sometimes I like to feel the wind and spray. Other times I need to get across the ocean fast. This thing sounds a little more pleasant than being jammed in a can full of strangers at 30,000 feet … which now that I think of it, sounds a lot like the Internet.
I don’t know what he’s talking about. Now if you’ll get your elbow out of my tiny package of peanuts, please.
Bad news for hopey-changey peaceniks, good news for the civilized world:
In what would be a major escalation of the “war on terror”, the New York Times reported that the US may push its firepower into Pakistan’s vast, economically backward, Baluchistan province.
Washington has so far targeted militants based in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal areas, which run along Afghanistan’s eastern border. Baluchistan, however, is a “settled” region and considered a regular part of the country. However, the province, and especially its capital, Quetta, has long been considered the home of the Afghan Taliban and an important sanctuary for al-Qaida.
Now that Islamabad has pretty much given up any pretense of governing anything much outside of, well, Islamabad (and that only in daylight), we’ve gained the freedom of action to pursue the Taliban/al Qaeda pretty much anywhere. I’m glad to see President Obama taking advantage.
Rasmussen reports his latest numbers:
Support for the Democratic Congressional candidates fell to a new low over the past week, allowing the GOP to move slightly head for the first time in recent years in the Generic Congressional Ballot.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 41% said they would vote for their district’s Republican candidate while 39% would choose the Democrat.
Investors now favor Republicans by a 46% to 36% margin, while non-investors would vote Democratic by a 45% to 33% margin.
The question remains if Republicans will prove honest, tough and smart enough to take advantage of the Democrats’ many missteps. The evidence so far isn’t very encouraging.
Today’s Meet the Bloggers show starts — live! — in just a few minutes, with Jeff Emanuel, Andrew Ian Dodge and myself.
You can watch on digital delay, too, but they then they’ve edited out all the curse words and gratuitous nudity. The tasteful nudity I think they leave in, if it’s essential to the plot.
I don’t yet know enough about Meg Whitman’s politics to decide if she’d make a good governor of California, but there’s no denying she’s one brave gal. Check out the mess she’s willing to try and clean up:
Whitman’s living room – for now her campaign office – is the starting block of what is certain to be one (no, make that two!) of the most dramatic reinvention efforts in a long while. One reinvention is California, which is more critical to the recovery of the U.S. economy than any other state. Twelve percent of Americans live here. Ten percent of Fortune 500 companies have headquarters here. California’s GDP, at $1.8 trillion, makes it the eighth-largest economy in the world. In the past year more people have lost jobs here than in any other state. More homes have gone into foreclosure. More banks have failed. And as Whitman notes, businesses are moving out at an alarming rate, most often citing excessive regulation and intolerable taxes. For top earners, California’s taxes are the highest in the U.S. And to what end? California’s credit rating is the lowest in the nation.
And she’d take a giant-ass pay cut for the thankless task. I’d wish her, or whoever her opponent is, well — except for one little thing: California is too broken to fix. Trying to fix California by sticking someone new, no matter how ballsy, in the governor’s office is like changing the oil in an engine in need of a total rebuild.
California voters run the budget process, thanks to the state’s initiative process. And judging by their current situation, California voters are big stupid idiot dummy heads, for whom the words “basic accounting” and “prioritizing” are even more alien than “coat and tie required.” If you want to fix what’s wrong with California, scrap the state’s constitution and start over.
And if you’ll allow me, a few modest proposals:
1. No provision for an initiative process.
2. No amendments to the new constitution without the approval of two-thirds of both houses of the legislature and three quarters of the county governments, ala the federal constitution.
3. A 25-year-long 5% budget surplus requirement, to inculcate some decent spending habits, and to provide for an emergency reserve in a state with lots of potential for natural disasters.
4. A taxpayer’s bill of rights, modeled on Colorado’s, minus the stupid loopholes we left in.
5. Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars will be required to send a case of Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon each year that it’s produced, to a certain Stephen Green of Monument, Colorado.
6. The new Constitution should be short enough to fit on a few sheets of notebook paper.
7. Limit state spending to 5-7% of state GDP. A hundred billion dollars ought to be enough spending for anyone sane.
With 35+ million people, California might be just too big to govern effectively on the state model. I’d advise authors of the new constitution to try a sort of “mini federalism,” treating the counties as the US Constitution used to treat the states — with strong protections against encroachments from Sacramento. Simple laws, laboratories of democracy, a nice cash reserve? It wouldn’t be long before California returns to being the envy of the nation instead of the laughingstock.
It’s nothing against the Irish. It’s just that heredity is utter BS.
Look. Three of the nationalities I come from are German, French, and Jewish. So if national origin actually meant anything, I should have some special day just for me to invade myself then stick my head in an oven.
Obviously, none of that is going to happen.
And yet here’s a special day for one particular group (or even those who just want to pretend — huh?) in what might be the world’s most mixed-up, polyglot republic. It’s the drink-until-you-puke bacchanalia of identity politics. It’s silly. And in some ways, it ought to be seen as slightly offensive to the Irish. Imagine if everybody was supposed to spend Black History Month dressed like a Hollywood version of a ’70s pimp, carrying around a 40oz in a paper sack.
I say: We’re all Americans; be that. Our special day is Independence Day — which, considering the drubbing we gave the English, ought to be plenty enough for everybody, even the Irish.
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has told American International Group he wants details about employees set to receive millions of dollars in bonuses on his desk by Monday afternoon or he will subpoena the company.
Cuomo said his office will investigate whether the employees were involved in the insurance giant’s near-collapse and whether the payments are fraudulent under state law.
Yes, this is the same Andrew Cuomo whose policies at Freddie & Fannie helped get us — and AIG — into this mess.
Not that I’m defending AIG, mind you — broke companies suckling on the public teat have no business paying out bonuses. Then again, had AIG been allowed to go broke, they’d have new management and new contracts. And their troubles would be their own, not ours.
Via Jay Rosen on Twitter, comes an unintentionally revealing news item about the new, all-digital Seattle P-I:
Hearst said it will maintain seattlepi.com, making it the nation’s largest daily paper to shift to an entirely digital news product. “Tonight we’ll be putting the paper to bed for the last time,” editor and publisher Roger Oglesby told a silent newsroom Monday morning.
Television news quit sleeping with the launch of CNN almost 30 years ago. Print journalism never figured out how to respond effectively to that. And failed even more miserably when it gained the same kind of technological insomnia when the web became both practical and widespread.
Anyone still thinking of “putting the paper to bed” in 2009 is at least ten years late to the party — in an age where business mistakes get punished almost immediately.
Wake up, fellas.
The Truth About Cars is the best automotive site on the web. And although it’s never been printed, it’s the best auto magazine, too. And their reporting beats the bought-and-paid-for auto section of any newspaper in the country. But their ad revenue is hurting.
So click on over, read some great stuff, and while you’re there, please click on an ad or three.
Here are a couple of happy-fun spending items to make your Monday morning chipper and cheerful. First up, a little line buried at the bottom of a Politico report from the weekend:
Obama’s budget calls for the largest deficit in U.S. history and a doubling of the national debt to $23 trillion in 2019.
That’s assuming, of course, that the government doesn’t grow any faster than promised (but it will) and that the economy will grow as fast as promised (but it won’t). So how long before the debt doubles? Who knows! But we do know that even if we assume a generous 3% growth every year –including this one — out to 2019, the Federal deficit will balloon to about 125% of GDP.
Then there’s this treat:
Government spending on most domestic programs is growing at its fastest pace in nearly 30 years.
Who was President 30 years ago? If memory serves, it was this strange looking fellow.
Which brings us to this week’s Relevant Monty Python Sketch — killer bunny!
Of course, what the Chinese are worried about is not that the United States government will default on its bonds. That obviously won’t happen. The Chinese concern, now being expressed openly for the first time, is that the U.S. will adopt the standard debtor’s remedy of inflating its currency and paying back its debts in shrunken dollars. Why are the Chinese worried about this? Because Barack Obama’s budget proposes to borrow trillions of dollars, injecting them into the U.S. economy without any offsetting wealth being created. The inevitable result, as any economist not in the pay of the Obama administration or the Democratic Party will tell you, is inflation.
For years, various scaremongers on the right and left warned us that selling so much debt to China would mean surrendering some of our sovereignty to Beijing. Usually, the warning was that we’d lose control of our foreign policy — China would invade Taiwan, then threaten to dump US securities if we sent the 7th Fleet anywhere near the Taiwan Straits. American foreign policy hobbled by foreigners? “It would be the end of the world!”
Instead, China might just be proving helpful on our domestic front.
When inflation strikes, borrowers benefit and lenders take it
right in the nads on the chin. And, well, China is one big-ass lender to the US. And now they’re warning us, quite publicly, that they’re not very fond of the idea of us inflating away the savings they have socked away the last thirty years. Can’t blame a country for that, can you? And you certainly can’t blame Beijing for reminding Washington, somewhat subtly, that if we can destroy their holdings, they can ruin our credit. Since American voters show no willingness or ability to rein in Washington, it’s up to China to provide a little tug on the leash.
It’s the end of the world — and I feel fine.
On this week’s PJM Political:
James Lileks expands upon his “Screed” this week on Tony Ward, President Obama’s nominee to head the Justice Department’s Civil Division–and former attorney for John Walker Lindh.
Glenn Reynolds and Michelle Malkin on the pros and cons—and internecine struggles—of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Steele.
Dr. Helen Smith interviews Megan McArdle of the Atlantic magazine on “Going John Galt.”
PJTV’s Bill Whittle talks with Pajamas Express blogger Claudia Rossett about her Forbes column, “Can We Give To Gaza Without Giving To Hamas?”
Plus, the usual shop talk between producer Ed Driscoll and your lovely hostess, Vanna White.
Er, uh, me, actually.
Mark Steyn reports that America’s young people are even dumber than they appear:
Just between you, me, and the old, the late middle-aged and the early middle-aged: Isn’t it terrific to be able to stick it to the young? I mean, imagine how bad all this economic-type stuff would be if our kids and grandkids hadn’t offered to pick up the tab.
Well, OK, they didn’t exactly “offer” but they did stand around behind Barack Obama at all those campaign rallies helping him look dynamic and telegenic and earnestly chanting hopey-hopey-changey-changey. And “Yes, we can!”
Which is a pretty open-ended commitment.
Like others, they asked for it.