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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Well This Can’t Be Good

June 30th, 2009 - 8:24 am

The MacBook boot screen looks like this now.

ts1892_1

And then it just sits there. I’m guessing a hard drive failure, since I don’t hear it spin before the Apple logo turns into that thing up there. Genius Bar, here I come…

Done Fishin’

June 29th, 2009 - 8:37 am

I’ll be spending most of the day in long, drab hallways and inside of very noisy cylinders. Back later.

Happy Blogaversary

June 26th, 2009 - 7:06 pm

Said before, and I’ll say it again — nobody can work out all the angles on a story like Mickey Kaus. Just can’t believe he’s been at it on the web now for ten years.

Aw, hell.

UPDATE: I’ll take an even dozen in a variety of sizes.

Cap and Horse Trade

June 26th, 2009 - 2:14 pm

UPDATED below and often.

“We’re making deals on the floor.”

BREAKING: House leadership is refusing to provide a copy of the text of the bill.

LEADERSHIP: Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) is “keeping a tally of callers and his office says he’ll vote based on the number of callers for or against cap and trade.”

REPORTEDLY: There is exactly one extant copy of the bill. It his hidden in the Congressional cloakroom. I believe it is on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the Leopard.”

TYPO: The “new” printed version of the bill is still missing 300 new pages. Assuming anyone can find it.

GOHMERT: New GOP star?

WHAT A JOKE: Cap and Trade as permanent welfare?

GOING: Out to dinner. Back shortly.

By a Whisker?

June 26th, 2009 - 12:23 pm

Cap’n’ Trade is still too close to call:

“We’re getting there, but we’re not there yet,” said Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the majority whip, later telling reporters the majority has the 218 necessary votes, but “maybe 217.”

This morning, the House adopted the rule for debate on the climate bill, 217-205.

“I think we’re going to be OK,” added Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). Asked if he was nervous about the proposal, Hoyer replied, “I’m always concerned.”

Now would be a good time to call your Congressman. Hell, call somebody else’s, too.

Here We Go?

June 26th, 2009 - 11:33 am

Control & Tax clears a hurdle in the House.

Required Viewing

June 26th, 2009 - 11:30 am

It’s no Pickle Surprise, but it’ll do.

Max Baucus: Subtle As a Union Goon

June 26th, 2009 - 10:02 am

Card check failed, but that doesn’t mean Washington is finished looking for ways to bribe or threaten you into joining a union:

The U.S. Senate proposal to impose taxes for the first time on “gold-plated” health plans may bypass generous employee benefits negotiated by unions.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, the chief congressional advocate of taxing some employer-provided benefits to help pay for a $1 trillion overhaul of the U.S. health system, says any change should exempt perks secured in existing collective-bargaining agreements, which can be in place for as long as five years.

The exception, which could make the proposal more politically palatable to Democrats from heavily unionized states such as Michigan, is adding controversy to an already contentious debate. It would shield the 12.4 percent of American workers who belong to unions from being taxed while exposing some other middle-income workers to the levy.

Also note that most union employees are in the public sector, working on your dime.

Just how bad is the new Cap and Tax bill? Greenpeace is against it.

Cap and Trade and Screw You

June 26th, 2009 - 5:46 am

The Wall Street Journal on the real costs of cap’n'trade:

To get support for his bill, Mr. Waxman was forced to water down the cap in early years to please rural Democrats, and then severely ratchet it up in later years to please liberal Democrats. The CBO’s analysis looks solely at the year 2020, before most of the tough restrictions kick in. As the cap is tightened and companies are stripped of initial opportunities to “offset” their emissions, the price of permits will skyrocket beyond the CBO estimate of $28 per ton of carbon. The corporate costs of buying these expensive permits will be passed to consumers.

The biggest doozy in the CBO analysis was its extraordinary decision to look only at the day-to-day costs of operating a trading program, rather than the wider consequences energy restriction would have on the economy. The CBO acknowledges this in a footnote: “The resource cost does not indicate the potential decrease in gross domestic product (GDP) that could result from the cap.”

To put it another way: You’re the frog, Washington is the pot of water, and Henry Waxman is the sadist with his hand on the gas.

RIPx2

June 25th, 2009 - 4:34 pm

I’m reminded of Les Nessman announcing the death of Bing Crosby on WKRP. “First Elvis, now Bing. Coincidence? I wonder…” Even the timing — 1977 — is just about right.

Honestly, not much of Michael Jackson’s work any later than Side 1 of Thriller has aged very well. And I’d deleted all my MP3s of his stuff after it became undeniable that his relationships with children were just too creepy. Sexual? Probably not; I think Jackson was largely asexual. But still, undeniably creepy. So much so, it became difficult to listen even to his good tracks.

And Farrah? I’m pretty sure she helped to induce my pubescence. ‘Nuff said.

Gonna Stand My Ground

June 25th, 2009 - 10:55 am

Mir-Hossein Mousavi — not backing down.

Heartening, but as a 30-year veteran (and vanguard) of the Islamic revolution, don’t expect him to treat us as kindly as the Shah did.

Tax THIS!

June 25th, 2009 - 7:22 am

Under the Obama Plan, 95% of all Americans will receive a tax cut, except for the 180 million or so who get their insurance at work.

Transformers 2: Oh Cut It Out

June 25th, 2009 - 5:35 am

Michael Bay: Auteur.

That is, if “auteur” is French for “tiny little penis.”

Required Viewing

June 24th, 2009 - 6:32 pm

sg20090624It’s an all-new Silicon Graffiti, covering the distance between Don Draper and… this.

Barbarians

June 24th, 2009 - 4:08 pm

Iran has executed its Tiananmen Square.”

The Real Saboteurs Wear Police Uniforms

June 24th, 2009 - 3:03 pm

Another crack in the regime? Read:

Tehran’s mayor has urged relevant Iranian officials to authorize peaceful opposition rallies, saying the public should have an outlet to express its opinions.

In a Tuesday interview with IRIB channel two, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf said that legalizing street rallies would prevent ‘saboteurs who draw weapons and kill people’.

Qalibaf drew a clear line between ‘those protestors who had voted in the presidential election but had doubts about the result’ and ‘some saboteurs, taking advantage of the situation’.

Qalibaf seems to be admitting that those “doubts” are legitimate enough for the state to allow peaceful protests.

More from Iran

June 24th, 2009 - 12:01 pm

The chat is live, the video is mostly pre-recorded.

Breaking

June 24th, 2009 - 9:46 am

From CNN, via The Guardian:

“I was going towards Baharestan with my friend. This was everyone, not just supporters of one candidate or another. All of my friends, they were going to Baharestan to express our opposition to these killings and demanding freedom. The black-clad police stopped everyone. They emptied the buses that were taking people there and let the private cars go on. We went on until Ferdowsi then all of a sudden some 500 people with clubs came out of [undecipherable] mosque and they started beating everyone. They tried to beat everyone on [undecipherable] bridge and throwing them off of the bridge. And everyone also on the sidewalks. They beat a woman so savagely that she was drenched in blood and her husband, he fainted. They were beating people like hell. It was a massacre. They were trying to beat people so they would die. they were cursing and saying very bad words to everyone. This was exactly a massacre… I don’t know how to describe it.”

More here, updated continuously.

There Can Be Only One

June 23rd, 2009 - 11:07 am

At long last, someone has dared to compare the true value of the iPhone 3GS next to… the Commodore 64.

A Few Random Thoughts on Iran

June 23rd, 2009 - 10:27 am

Let’s not pretend that the street revolt in Iran — is it too early to call it a revolution? — is occurring in a vacuum. It isn’t. Something approaching secular democracy is working for millions of Muslims, most of them Shiites, in Iraq.

And the people of Iran have noticed.

If their revolution succeeds, Iran still might not be our friend. But a new government would have a lot to deal with — and might find it profitable not to directly support quite so many terrorists. And a less-bellicose Iran would reduce tensions around the Gulf, where a mostly-unnoticed arms race has been going on for the last few years. Hell, the Saudis helped fund the Pakistani bomb, and you’ve got to figure they expect some return on their investment.

Meanwhile, who knows what Tehran is willing to do. Another Tiananmen? Something stupid, insane, and deadly to provoke the US and rally the people? Or maybe to provoke Israel? The mullahs still have some big cards left to play, although currently they’re accusing the UN of meddling, which defines lameness down.

Of course, President Obama looks set to play his own deflection game here in just a few minutes. So there’s a lot of that lameness redefining going on.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way? Mostly the last one, but if we do any leading, it would best be done quietly. What we shouldn’t be doing is pretending nothing is happening, or that it isn’t any big deal. Finding where the line is between that and staying out of the way… well, that’s the tough one.

As American as a Great Rack

June 23rd, 2009 - 9:43 am

Jules Crittenden calls it “Hotdog Diplomacy,” but it’s pretty much a bunch of hot women in bikinis.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The Center Cannot Hold

June 23rd, 2009 - 8:45 am

I’m not much of a poll watcher, but I’m pretty sure people in the White House are looking at these numbers with a little concern:

The shifting attitude among independent voters, in fact, is the most significant change to emerge from a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, completed just last week. In that survey, Mr. Obama’s job-approval rating among Americans overall slipped a notch, to 56% from 61% in April. That’s not much of a drop, and is in keeping with the pattern for a new president at this point in his term.

But the slide was much more pronounced among self-identified purely independent voters — that is, Americans who express no loyalty to either party.

Among these people, who tend to reside in the middle of the ideological spectrum, the president’s job-approval rating fell to 45% from 60% in April.

The problem for Republicans of course, is that they aren’t exactly proving themselves an attractive (or even merely viable) alternative.

So. The center got turned off by Republicans over the last eight years, and now might be getting turned off by Democrats, too. Where will they go? Uh… want to ask me one I know the answer to?

It’s the Math, Stupid

June 23rd, 2009 - 6:36 am

Or maybe it’s the stupid math.

The Face That Launched a Thousand Tweets

June 23rd, 2009 - 5:24 am

For the mullahs, this is the enemy.

The Bloodshed Will Be Televised

June 22nd, 2009 - 1:12 pm

Video from Iran — not safe for work, not for the squeamish.

Screencap of headlines from Drudge.

dr20090622

No snarky comment required.

Well, other than the snarky headline.

Mission Accomplished!

June 22nd, 2009 - 7:25 am

Tax This

Treacher: Obama snacked, Iranians got whacked.

Vacation Slides

June 21st, 2009 - 10:17 pm

That Blowed Up Good

Combustibles. Preschoolers. What could go wrong?