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Monthly Archives: April 2009

Cap & Trade & Decline & Fall

April 17th, 2009 - 12:20 pm

Here it comes:

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday formally declared carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases to be pollutants that threaten public health and welfare, setting in motion a process that for the first time in the United States will regulate the gases blamed for global warming.

The E.P.A. said the science supporting its so-called endangerment finding was “compelling and overwhelming.” The ruling triggers a 60-day comment period before any proposed regulations governing emissions of greenhouse gases are published.

Remember, this will involve no tax increases on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. But those five or six guys who’ll be left still earning that much, man, are we going to sock it to them.

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll calls it a “rendezvous with scarcity” in his latest Silicon Graffiti video.

Required Reading

April 17th, 2009 - 9:54 am

I would dearly love it if Lileks actually had plucked a burning Winston out of George Will’s mouth.

Quite the visual, no?

Such a Deal

April 17th, 2009 - 7:29 am

Bad credit? Have a giant car company or major country about to collapse? No problem! President Obama can get you the cash you need!

Mandrake the Magnificent Bastard

April 16th, 2009 - 8:13 pm

Wait — does Excitable Andy mean the Torture Memos which the White House is effectively ignoring, too?

Of course, if Sully quit trying to define the parameters of the debate on… well, everything, really… all he’d be left with is puppy talk and pictures taken out of other people’s windows.

Which, if you think about it, would make for a much-improved blog.

Timing the Market

April 16th, 2009 - 2:12 pm

Is June or July the real time to buy?

Pretty Soon You’re Talking Real Losses

April 16th, 2009 - 11:20 am

When I saw the lede

You’d think having $48 billion of cash on hand would be enough to get people to stop worrying that you might run out of it. The fact that, in GE’s case, it hasn’t highlights concerns about the ongoing deterioration of GE’s balance sheet.

…my first thought was that there must be a typo. Surely, Business Insider meant $48 billion wouldn’t be enough money to save GM (it isn’t). But, nope, General Electric could be in trouble, even with nearly 50 billion dollars in the kitty.

That’s just wrong.

If I Had a Trillion Dollars

April 16th, 2009 - 11:02 am

Katie Favazza knows how she’d spend her $1,273,000,000,000.00.

What, nothing on shoes?

Export Blues for the Lightning II?

April 16th, 2009 - 10:59 am

For countries with shrinking defense budgets, Boeing’s new F-15 “Silent Eagle” variant might be a better deal than Lockheed’s F-35. While not truly stealthy, the SE might be good enough to play defense against most likely opponents.

Other than us, of course.

Required Reading

April 16th, 2009 - 10:24 am

Ralph Peters is on fire today, maybe literally:

Let’s not quibble about little things like evidence. The Obama administration just knows that vets are all racist, Jew-hating crazies waiting to explode. Thank God, DHS has a fearless leader, Janet-from-another-planet Napolitano, who isn’t afraid to call white trash “white trash.”

In this administration’s published opinion, those who’ve served in our military are a menace to society and the state. And DHS’s racist, bigoted implication is that the only danger comes from white, Christian vets (there’s not a whisper about minority violence).

Thanks for bringing us together, Mr. President.

Read the whole thing; it’s required.

Department of Awards You Don’t Want to Win

April 16th, 2009 - 10:01 am

The world’s worst reporter? I dunno — is that vacuous Anderson Cooper guy still employed?

Department of Corrections

April 16th, 2009 - 9:43 am

Politico’s Andy Barr says Texas Governor Rick Perry’s “star is rising” in the wake of his speeches for yesterday’s Tea Party protests:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s star is rising among a new constituency — the anti-tax “tea party” crowd — in the wake of his recent endorsement of a Texas state House resolution affirming the state’s sovereignty.

The resolution urges that “all compulsory federal legislation that directs states to comply under threat of civil or criminal penalties or sanctions or that requires states to pass legislation or lose federal funding be prohibited or repealed.”

Which is great, so far as it goes. But then there’s this:

Speaking to an energetic and angry tea party crowd in Austin Wednesday evening, the Lone Star State governor suggested secession may happen in the future should the federal government not change its fiscal polices.

“There’s a lot of different scenarios,” Perry said. “We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that. But Texas is a very unique place, and we’re a pretty independent lot to boot.”

Perry might one day make it to the Senate, but otherwise, this statement is — and should be — the end of any White House ambitions he might have entertained. The secession issue was settled, quite forcefully, in 1865 at a little place called Appomattox. And a good thing, too.

UPDATE: Doug Mataconis agrees.

By the Numbers

April 16th, 2009 - 9:16 am

The honeymoon is over:

Over the past few months, short-term expectations for the economy have improved dramatically, but longer-term expectations have moved in the opposite direction.

On April 15, 25% of American adults said the economy was getting better. That’s up from 19% a month earlier and 10% at the beginning of the year. The number who believe the economy is getting worse declined from 67% at the beginning of the year to 57% in mid-March and 48% on April 15.

Similar trends were found in the attitudes of American investors. Thirty-one percent (31%) of investors now say the economy is getting better while 44% say it is getting worse.

However, the number of adults who believe the economy will be stronger in five years fell to 57% in April. That’s down seven points from 64% in March. At the beginning of 2009, 62% said the economy would be stronger in five years.

Another indication of growing long-term concern is the fact that 57% now say that today’s children will not be better off than their parents. That’s an eight-point jump since March when 49% offered that pessimistic assessment.

Those are the latest numbers from Rasmussen, and they indicate that folks are already sour on Washington’s plans to tax & spend & inflate-away-the-debt. People might also be tuning in to the fact that, although they might be getting a “tax cut,” the hidden tax of inflation is going to take it away — and then some.

Global Warmening Update

April 16th, 2009 - 9:06 am

It’s a pretty typical April here in Monument, Colorado. Which means that between about right now and midday Saturday, we’re expected to get between 19 and 31 inches of snow. The useless wet, heavy kind, just in case you were entertaining any thoughts of hitting the slopes.

So as a personal favor to me, I’d like to ask everyone to idle your cars for no good reason, release a bunch of CFC into the air, and leave your lights on, your fridge door open, and maybe turn on a bunch of hair dryers all at once.

Thank you for your cooperation. And could you aim all those hair dryers at my driveway?


April 16th, 2009 - 8:44 am

Jay Tea forwarded this item — a Playmobil wine bar. And just in time for my birthday!

I’ll use my imagination to pretend they’re really having martinis.

The USS Enterprise

April 15th, 2009 - 9:38 am

Boldly going into… early retirement.

Must-See PJTV

April 14th, 2009 - 3:05 pm

Robots are now taking my picture on the latest Hair of the Dog — so I look 45% less like a circus freak. On the show:

Argh! Pirates!

Evan Bayh is agnostic for Easter.

George Stephanopoulos gets my complete sympathy.

Meet the Press is so boring I can hardly make fun of it.

New York Times reporter David Sanger wins our first-ever Trifecta of Stupid.

…and a whole bunch of dead dogs. Only not really. But sort of. Plus lots more. Tune in and check it out.

Long Time Coming II

April 14th, 2009 - 11:00 am

Forrester Research has reversed its earlier position and is now recommending Apple’s iPhone for business use:

Using the web is a “chore” on a BlackBerry but intuitive on an iPhone, Schadler writes, and many workers are ultimately happier when they can pick their phones instead of having that choice dictated by IT.

Where Forrester had previously warned companies to avoid iPhones when possible due to the high phone prices and lack of security, it now says that many of these legacy worries have been softened significantly in the wake of Apple’s iPhone 2.x firmware and uses Amylin Pharmaceutical, Kraft Foods, and Oracle as examples of how permitting the phones ultimately helped their respective bottom lines.

Amylin’s senior IT director Todd Stewart describes iPhones as being easier to support than “other mobile platforms” and that iPhone 2.0′s hooks for Exchange calendaring and e-mail meant it only took three days to ready the 3,000-person firm to support iPhones. The relative strength of mobile Safari and the e-mail client has led many to treat their systems more like netbooks than mobile devices.

On a pure cost basis, the phones themselves are less expensive to run: their combined plans save about $360 per year, per phone. Stewart adds that individual ownership of devices, instead of handing them out from a corporate pool, has also trimmed costs by persuading workers they should be more careful with their smartphones.

The iPhone saves money? Must be that “Apple tax” Microsoft is always talking about. But I’ll be happy when the iPhone 3.0 firmware is released in a couple months and I can finally cut’n'paste on the thing.

Why Is No One Talking About This?

April 14th, 2009 - 9:48 am

President Obama:

But economic improvements do “not mean that hard times are over — 2009 will continue to be a difficult year for America’s economy. The severity of this recession will cause more job loss, more foreclosures and more pain before it ends.”

Obama also is expected to warn that “credit is still not flowing nearly as easily as it should” and that the ongoing process “for restructuring [insurance giant American International Group] and the auto companies will involve difficult and sometimes unpopular choices.”

That sounds about right, especially on jobs and foreclosures. And, yes, credit remains a sticking point. So here’s an idea: Why not reduce banks’ capital requirements a bit?

Boom — credit is created out of thin air, and the weaker banks get a little extra breathing room. If people and business are ready to assume some risk, they’ll have the opportunity, and without running up a bunch more federal debt.

During the Depression, we responded to a deflationary spiral by increasing capital requirements, and sucked even more money out of the system. That was a huge mistake. So why not reduce the required levels today?

Required Viewing

April 14th, 2009 - 9:34 am

In his latest Silicon Graffiti video, Ed Driscoll takes on General Motors.

There They Go Again

April 13th, 2009 - 3:55 pm

A typically-professional hit job by the mainstream press on the blogosphere’s Stephen Bainbridge. Nope, I’m not being facetious — the kind of sloppiness on display here is so effective that it must be on purpose.

But remember: Only bloggers have agendas!

Amazon.com comes across as a socially-liberal company — a community, even. So what to make of this:

Amazon.com Inc. is facing criticism from authors of books with gay themes who say the e-commerce site deleted the sales rankings of their titles.

By midday Monday, the rankings of many books that had been missing in recent days, including titles by E. M. Forster and Gore Vidal, began to be restored.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The Associated Press on Sunday quoted a company spokeswoman blaming the problem on a technical “glitch” that it was fixing. But at least one author says Amazon told him the problem stemmed from a reclassification of the books as adult.

Weird. You have any theories? Because I’m stumped.

Once More from the Top

April 13th, 2009 - 2:43 pm

President Obama:

“I want to be very clear that we are resolved to halt the rise of (piracy) in that region,” the commander-in-chief said.

“To achieve that goal we’re going to have to continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, we have to continue to be prepared to confront them when they arise, and we have to ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes,” he said.

I’m not sure the President really needs to address piracy head-on, in public. A few forceful acts (maybe even a landing party of Marines to destroy a few “fishing” docks), done as quietly as possible, ought to get the message across. The message being: Don’t (ahem) do this stuff any more.

But you have to wonder if the president sticking his neck out like this doesn’t escalate matters unnecessarily. Or put more of our reputation on the line than is warranted. It was bad enough to see the might of the US Navy being held in check by a 16-year-old pirate/”negotiator.” It would be worse still to see the president himself put in that spot.

Long Time Coming

April 13th, 2009 - 9:16 am

Here it comes, as it always does, the inevitable:

The U.S. Treasury Department is directing General Motors to lay the groundwork for a bankruptcy filing by June 1, even though the automaker has publicly stated it could reorganize outside of court, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

GM is operating under emergency U.S. government loans. It has been told by the Obama administration’s task force overseeing its bailout that it must cut costs and reduce its debts in order to continue to receive aid.

Of course, GM could have gone C11 back in ’05 or ’06 when it was effectively bankrupt, but still had enough cash in the bank (or unmortgaged assets) to finance its own restructuring. Instead, taxpayers have sunk billions into GM — money we’ll almost certainly never get back — and it seems we’re on the hook for billions more.

Now watch as Cerberus gets ready to put the “new” Chrysler through the old Chapter 7 liquidation.

UPDATE: Another $70 billion of your money for GM?

Must-See PJTV

April 12th, 2009 - 1:42 pm

The Sunday chat shows have all wrapped — or have they? Don’t miss Meet the Blogs, with host Bill Whittle and panelists Scott “Scrappleface” Ott, RedState’s Jeff Emanuel, and some guy with a martini.

It’s free to non-subscribers, and today’s panel was an awful lot of fun.

It’s Still So Simple

April 12th, 2009 - 1:09 pm


An American ship captain was freed unharmed Sunday in a U.S. Navy operation that killed three of the four Somali pirates who had been holding him for days in a lifeboat off the coast of Africa, a senior U.S. intelligence official said.

One of the pirates was wounded and in custody after a swift firefight, the official said.

Capt. Richard Phillips, 53, of Underhill, Vermont, was safely transported to a Navy warship nearby.

The missing context is this — the might and will of the United States were held hostage, until one brave civilian captain took matters into his own hands. Philips risked his life escaping, and opened the door for the Navy SEALs — who ought to be in the business of kicking doors down.

This particular event ended well, due largely to the actions of Captain Phillips. Next time we might not be so lucky.

Their Makeing A Good Point

April 12th, 2009 - 10:19 am

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Support your school. Conspire with your children’s teachers. But screw the unions.

Cheap at Twice the Price?

April 12th, 2009 - 8:28 am

Slate’s David Samuels looks at the secret tie-in between a Palestinian state and a neutered Iran:

Israel’s leaders know that the security threats inherent in giving up most of the West Bank will be greatly augmented or diminished depending on how a Palestinian state is born. A Palestinian state born as the result of Israeli weakness is a much greater danger to Israel than a state born out of Israeli strength. Ariel Sharon was able to withdraw from Gaza because he defeated Arafat and crushed the second intifada. Desperate to rid themselves of the bad PR and the demographic threat posed by maintaining Israel’s hold over the West Bank, Sharon’s successors have been unable to find a victory big enough to allow them to retreat. Nor are they able to reconcile themselves to the threat posed by images of a defeated Israel being forced to withdraw from Hebron and Nablus by triumphant Palestinian militias backed by Iran.

The inevitability of a future Palestinian state is the most powerful argument for the inevitability of an Israeli attack on Iran—unless the Iranian nuclear program is stopped by other means. Taking out the Iranian nuclear program is the one obvious avenue by which Israel can turn the debilitating drip-drip-drip of territorial giveaways and international condemnation into a convincing appearance of strength.

Read the whole thing. Hope it doesn’t ruin your Easter.

Must-See Radio

April 11th, 2009 - 11:52 am

If it’s Saturday, there must be an all-new edition of PJM Political. On the big show:

Pajamas Express blogger Michael Ledeen interviews Karlyn Bowman of Forbes magazine, for her take on the partisan differences showing in today’s polls.

Ed Driscoll interviews Christian Toto, the Washington Times’ film critic, about his new article at PJ Media, which explores what journalism schools think of Bias and Arrogance author and former CBS (now with HBO) producer/on-air talent Bernard Goldberg.

Michael Patrick Leahy of Top Conservatives on Twitter interviews musician Lloyd Marcus, who’s written and recorded an “anthem” for the tea parties, and who also spoke last weekend in Santa Barbara.

Talk radio host Tammy Bruce discusses emceeing last weekend’s “Tea Party” protest in Santa Barbara with Ed Driscoll.

Allan Barton and Joe Hicks of PJTV.com interview Jon Avlon of the Daily Beast, the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change America, and frequent O’Reilly Factor guest Margaret Hoover, for the downside of those tea parties.

Plus, Ed and I talk proliferation, missile defense, and take advice from PJTV science officer Ellen Ripley. Listen here, or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

It’s So Simple

April 11th, 2009 - 10:45 am

Reuters has removed the quote from their latest update on the Somali pirate story, but Drudge is still running it:

‘We are not afraid of the Americans’

That is why we have piracy. When the only navy in the world capable of enforcing freedom of the seas is prevented from doing so, this is what results.

Furthermore, it’s the only possible result. And the only solution is to meet barbarism with a display of the overwhelming force civilization can bring to bear.

Required Reading

April 11th, 2009 - 9:40 am

Latest column for the PJM home page: Pentagon goes shopping, clips wrong coupons.