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Monthly Archives: June 2009

Chapter 7, Anyone?

June 8th, 2009 - 2:16 pm

Wow. I really didn’t think the Supremes would do it:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled moments ago that Chrysler cannot yet sell most of its assets to Fiat, a move that has been opposed by three Indiana state pension and construction funds.

The ruling grants a stay in the sale as the court gathers more data and schedules a hearing on the matter.

It temporarily blocks the way for Chrysler to complete its merger with the Italian automaker and begin its new, post-bankruptcy life.

The U.S. favors the Chrysler-Fiat merger and wants to remove the Indiana road block.

“I’m delighted it appears we will be getting our day in court,” Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock said in an interview on CNBC.

Finally, someone is applying a brake (albeit a very small one) to our headlong rush into Obamanomics, aka “Industrial Policy.” Which, as you know, worked such wonders for Japan in the ’90s and has lifted millions of hepatitis-suffering, inebriated Russians into [sic] poverty.

Sell Twice As Many at Half the Price

June 8th, 2009 - 2:03 pm

The new iPhone 3GS (the S is for “speed”) just debuted and hits the shelves on June 19th. Video camera and editing, voice controls, compass, now accepts hardware accessories. Oh, and 16GB and 32GB models at the old 8GB and 16GB prices, respectively. (No 64GB iPod Touch, however, which I would have found tempting as all Elle.)

Very nice, but nothing game changing, I don’t think. I’ll wait until my second year of AppleCare coverage runs out in October before I buy a 3GS.

But starting today, you can get the “old” 8GB 3G model for just $99. Now that might just be a game-changer.

Must-See PJTV

June 8th, 2009 - 10:59 am

It’s an all-new Meet the Blogs with Bill Whittle, Rick Moran, and your friendly neighborhood VodkaPundit. On this week’s show:

Walking like an Egyptian.

Receiving a presidential parsing.

The unbearable lightness of being unemployed.

Plus, the excitement of being the second-tallest building in Tulsa.

And if you enjoy the show, don’t forget to give it a nice star rating.

Fight the Future II

June 8th, 2009 - 9:23 am

Here’s a CAFE 2016-compliant car, ready to drive today. Of course, car aficionado Jay Shoemaker says he would “rather visit my dentist than drive the Prius again.”

Must-See Radio

June 7th, 2009 - 8:21 pm

There’s an all-new PJM Political for your downloading pleasure. On this week’s show:

Five questions for James Lileks.

Ed Morrissey of Hot Air.com, on watching his site smeared by master-of-the-Internet Bill O’Reilly last Wednesday, then its boss attacked (along with nine other conservative women) by a writer in search of a “hate-f***” at Playboy.com.

From PJTV.com, Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd ponder why politics no longer stops at the sports arena’s edge.

Plus, Ed Driscoll and I talk about the suckitude which is the New Newsweek, Silicon Valley’s death wish, and Arlen Specter’s filthy mind.

I would be remiss if I didn’t praise the Obama Administration for at least considering reversing one of President Bush’s stupid mistakes.

Now if only they’d get down to the serious business of not effing up absolutely everything else.

The Grand Unification Theory of Sucking

June 7th, 2009 - 8:06 pm

It's All So ObviousReading Drudge can be so entertaining. Or educational. Edutational? Anyway, check out this series of headlines on your right, presented by Drudge without context.

The media critic’s job is to provide context, so here we go. Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up.

First headline – Big government spending programs — having opposite desired effect… :

The Federal Reserve announced a $1.2 trillion plan three months ago designed to push down mortgage rates and breathe life into the housing market.

But this and other big government spending programs are turning out to have the opposite effect. Rates for mortgages and U.S. Treasury debt are now marching higher as nervous bond investors fret about a resurgence of inflation.

Well, duh. Some of us have been warning you about this since before Obama was even sworn in. Look, stimulus spending can’t work, because of one of three things happens:

1. That extra spending means extra taxes which means the whole thing is a wash. (Government spending having some “multiplier” effect unknown to consumer or business spending is a big, fat lie.)

2. That extra spending means extra debt, which drives up interest rates, which chokes off growth.

3. That extra spending means extra money being printed, which means inflation which means any growth is illusory.

Of course, there’s no rule saying you can pick only one result. Mix and match up to all three to suit yourself! If I had to bet, I’d say we will indeed get all three.

Next headline — Unemployment Rate Gallops Ahead of Expectations… :

The White House says America’s employment picture is worse than the Obama administration had anticipated just a few months ago. The somber admission follows the latest jobless report showing the highest unemployment rate the United States has seen in more than 25 years.

U.S. unemployment jumped a half percent in May, to 9.4 percent prompting this comment by Austan Goolsbee, a member of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors:

“The economy clearly has gotten substantially worse from the initial predictions that were being made, not just by the White House, but by all of the private sector,” said Austan Goolsbee.

Here’s the missing context: The Obama people are the ones making it worse, those stupid idiot dumb-dumbs. What, with the printing of the money, the driving up of the interest rates, and the impending raising of the taxes.

Look. When you hire an employee, you’re betting on the future. You’re betting your own money that there will be enough new business to justify your new hire. And to put a human face on it, you’re making a commitment to another human being who will be counting on the power of your judgement to put food on his table.

Are you going to take that risk and make that commitment when the dumb-dumbs are in charge?

Next headline, sans link: NYT MONDAY: TENSIONS GRIP OBAMA ECONOMIC TEAM… DEVELOPING…

Well, duh.

Let’s pretend for a moment that, god forbid, you break your arm. And somehow you end up with a team of doctors all trained at Obama University. As you lie there on the table in the ER, one doctor treats your arm by banging on the unbroken one with a ball-peen hammer. The second doctor takes the unusual course of setting your hair on fire. And the third one uses leeches.

Undeterred by your arm’s stubborn refusal to set, soon the doctors start blaming one another. And even though all of them are doing nothing but compounding your injury, none will take any blame. In fact, the louder you scream, the harder they go to work on you.

That, apparently, is what’s going on in the West Wing these days. Our economy is being managed by Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, and Dr. Howard.

Last headline, again no link yet: OBAMA PLANS FOR NEW BANKING REGULATIONS… DEVELOPING..

So now in walks a fourth doctor. This one has some Percocet and a splint, and when you see him you think, “Oh, at last, someone who knows what they’re doing!” At which point, Hospital Administrator Obama shoots the fourth doctor in the face with a pistol. And wait until you see the hospital bill – they’ll charge you for everything, including the bullet.

Are the banks too scared to move? Then threaten them with an all-new regulatory environment, one which might leave them as screwed as a GM bondholder!

Add up all the headlines and here’s what you have: The certainty that the government will screw up the markets, and uncertainty as to what new rules the markets will work under. Everyone is too scared to move, and for good reason. So there will be no new jobs, there will be no growth.

Until Team Obama gets its collective head out of our asses, all we have to look forward to is bumbling incompetence and pointless arguments. Which might be entertaining if they didn’t result in taxes, stagflation, and the Francification of a once-great nation.

Fight the Future

June 5th, 2009 - 6:44 pm

Get a taste of the new CAFE standards, when a new car that “isn’t much when it comes to stopping, going and turning” will be about the most exciting thing you’ll be able to buy.

Must-See PJTV

June 5th, 2009 - 2:19 pm

Give me five minutes, and I’ll give you the blogosphere. That’s right — it’s an all-new episode of the Week in Blogs. On this week’s show:

Homicidal zombies.

Take two aspirin, then take a number.

The missing hand grenades.

Plus, the crime of the century! Free, no registration required.

Banks, Too!

June 5th, 2009 - 8:30 am

Remember, the President has no interest in running General Motors, except to tell them how much to pay their executives.

Promises, Promises

June 5th, 2009 - 8:27 am

The Obama Plan means a tax cut for 95% of Americans, especially the ones with no income to tax because their jobs were forced overseas.

June 4, 1989

June 4th, 2009 - 3:23 pm

And June 4, 2009.

Running on Empty Promises

June 4th, 2009 - 2:24 pm

Remember, the government has no interest in running General Motors — unless there’s a plant due to be closed in the district of a powerful Congressman.

Pre Mortem

June 4th, 2009 - 12:46 pm

By all accounts, the new Palm Pre is a really good smartphone. But is it good enough? Henry Blodget thinks not:

The smartphone game has become a waltz of elephants, and Palm is just a Jack Russell terrier. In the US, the smartphone war is between Apple, RIM, and, to a lesser extent, Google. Palm can yip a bit and run around nipping at the others’ feet, but it’s too late to become one of the big dogs.

He has other reasons to think so as well, but I hope he’s wrong. Competition has done some great thinks for the cell phone market the last couple of years, and I’d like to see the innovation accelerate.

UPDATE: Here‘s a contrary opinion.

Location Location Location

June 4th, 2009 - 9:31 am

Why did President Obama give his big speech in Cairo, capital of one of the Muslim world’s most-dysfunctional states? Why not Baghdad, home of the only (mostly) functioning democracy? Or Amman? Jordan isn’t just home to a bunch of Palestinians, but also its government is one of the nicer ones in the region.

Explanations, anyone?

Yes, On Your Dime

June 3rd, 2009 - 6:21 pm

Your tax dollars are now paying for GM’s lobbyists to squeeze you for more tax dollars. So it doesn’t matter whose car you buy, because you’re GM’s biotch.

Feeling stimulated?

Better Than the Real Thing

June 3rd, 2009 - 12:10 pm

Is it the best blog ever? I dunno yet, but it might just be the best blog name ever.

Try Again, Redmond

June 3rd, 2009 - 11:42 am

Forget “netbooks.” Microsoft wants you to call them “low cost small notebook PCs.” If you find that tag too unwieldy, try this easy acronym: LCSNPC. It’s pronounced… uh… Licks-na-pick.

Say it out loud, right there at your desk.

Licks-na-pick.

Louder, please – I can’t hear you.

LICKS-NA-PICK!

C’mon, like you mean it.

LICKS-NA-PICK!!!

There. Now you sound as sensible as Steve Ballmer.

No Duh

June 3rd, 2009 - 10:03 am

Wait — I thought they were supposed to like us better now.

Getting What They Asked For

June 3rd, 2009 - 9:41 am

The bright folks in Silicon Valley might just come to regret helping to elect the most anti-business administration in recent memory:

Apple, Google, Yahoo! and Genentech are subjects of a fresh antitrust investigation surrounding hiring and recruiting practices among companies in the tech industry, according to Washington Post staff writer Cecilia Kang.

“By agreeing not to hire away top talent, the companies could be stifling competition and trying to maintain their market power unfairly,” antitrust experts said in the article. Hiring and recruiting can sometimes be a touchy affair, as Apple found out late last year when trying to hire Mark Papermaster. The investigation may suggest some kind of written agreement among large tech firms to not hire away each other’s top talent.

According to the New York Times, Justice has only requested documents for the ongoing investigation. Neither the Justice Department nor any of the companies mentioned in the story had any comment.

Stories like this just go to show there’s real room in this country for a real small-government party — fiscally conservative and socially liberal. And there’s plenty of money to support one.

Well, for now, anyway.

All That and Less

June 3rd, 2009 - 9:07 am

David Harsanyi has a few questions about Government Motors:

Will GM be run as profitably and efficiently as Amtrak? Will GM be paid not to produce like the agricultural sector? Will it feed into an economic bubble like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? Will it boast the negligible oversight and waste of the so-called stimulus package? Will it feature the fiscal irresponsibility of Social Security? Or will we see the runaway costs of Medicaid?

And the correct answer is — yes!

The Truth Hurts

June 2nd, 2009 - 3:48 pm

For once, Joe Biden didn’t commit a gaffe:

Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged on Tuesday that some waste is inevitable in the spending of a $787 billion economic stimulus package, in a characteristically blunt assessment.

“We know some of this money is going to be wasted,” Biden said during a roundtable discussion in New York with business leaders aimed at promoting the two-year stimulus plan.

Unless, of course, you use Michael Kinsley’s definition that in Washington, a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth. In that case, Biden is in Gaffe City.

But of course, the stimulus in its entirety is a waste. Most of the spending won’t take place until 2010 or later, the glut of debt is jacking up interest rates and hurting the economy, and nobody ever borrowed their way into prosperity.

Now those are some truths I’d like to see Biden tell in his next speech.

Tilting at Windmills

June 2nd, 2009 - 1:04 pm

So I spent a few minutes trying out Microsoft’s new Bing search engine to see if it was any good. And all I could think was, “why am I looking at windmills?” And then I thought, “Why does a search engine need wallpaper?” And, “Why not images from Belgium? Or from the tiny Republic of Togo?” Followed very quickly by, “Why can’t I just leave my cursor in one place without having to worry about popup text popping up in my line of sight every time I scroll?” Followed even more quickly by, “Why am I bothering with this muck when there’s Google?” Finally, “Maybe the windmills are supposed to represent Microsoft’s doomed effort to take on Google.”

Bing!It’s too early to pronounce Bing (say it like it’s a drop of Retsyn!) a failure. And I suppose there’s nothing wrong with the results it produces. But people use search engines to, well, find things. We don’t need distractions like windmills, or text popping up in front of our results.

BTW, the obvious acronym for “Bing Search” is BS. I somehow doubt that’s the impression Microsoft wanted to give, but there you have it.

And who in their right mind wants to have to admit that they just spent five minutes binging themselves? Well, at least they didn’t name it “Boink.”

American Leyland

June 2nd, 2009 - 11:59 am

President Obama has no interest in running GM, although he might tell them where to keep their headquarters.

I Swear I Didn’t Grab Your Ass

June 2nd, 2009 - 10:41 am

Michael Levine on President Obama’s promised “hands-off” approach to government ownership of General Motors:

Instead, the Obama administration overtly played favourites to get the United Auto Workers protection it would not have received under Section 1113, probably elevating costs in a way that will damage prospects for a successful reorganisation. It made and imposed business judgments on GM about what cars to make and what plants to close (and perhaps about suppliers and distribution) that no one in the government or on the task force had the experience to make and for which no one would be financially accountable. Worst of all, despite Sunday’s desperate attempt to distance itself from GM’s future decisions, it left its fingerprints all over the new plan. Inevitably the White House will take political and hence financial responsibility for its success, relieving pressure on management and labour to succeed. Ultimately it elected to adopt an industrial policy toward the industry that failed utterly in the UK, and has worked out badly and expensively in France and Italy.

I guess maybe that’s “hands off” as defined by a serial subway groper.

“Heathers” Is So ’89

June 2nd, 2009 - 9:34 am

Suddenly I have an urge to purge. I mean, a “Heathers” sequel, 20-plus years later? It’s only one of the best high school movies ever made, but making a sequel would be worse than sexually perverse photography exibits involving tennis rackets. I’d rather have a brain tumor for breakfast.

Sorry — did that sound bitchy?

You’ve Got to be Kidding Me

June 2nd, 2009 - 9:27 am

They’re in Chapter 11, they’ve been hemorrhaging billions for years, they haven’t made a dime selling passenger cars for decades, and yet GM still doesn’t have a restructuring plan:

The truth: GM’s management still doesn’t have the slightest idea how to right the sinking ship—sorry, raise the Titanic. Henderson point blank refused to specify a deadline for a return to profitability. No goals. No timelines. Nada. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Rick Wagoner’s hand-picked clone/successor was trying to give this GM Death Watch series closure, in that “here we are at the beginning again” way. But no; there is no plan.

Does anyone believe we’re done shoveling tax dollars into the GM bonfire? Does anyone believe that President Obama won’t ride roughshod over management?* Does anyone believe that the White House will ever let go?

I sure don’t.

(more…)

Must-See PJTV

June 2nd, 2009 - 9:02 am

It’s an all-new “Hair of the Dog” on PJTV. On this week’s show:

Is Sonia Sotomayor a racist?

Paul Krugman gets very, very stupid.

Senatorial math.

Plus, Arlen Specter talks dirty. No, really.

That’s four hours of Sunday chat shows in under ten minutes, because at PJTV we’re just that efficient. Check it out — and leave a nice star rating if you enjoy the show.

Put Out to Sea or Pasture?

June 1st, 2009 - 3:55 pm

What is going on with the Navy? Their procurement/construction system seems to be an even worse wreck than the Air Force’s. Read:

The U.S. Navy has yet another ship building disaster on its hands. This time it involves quality control, or, rather, that lack of same. A weld inspector at the Newport News shipyard was recently found to be falsifying the inspection of welding jobs on four Virginia class submarines and a Nimitz class carrier. Some 10,000 welds have to be re-inspected, as these are how many the now dismissed inspector handled in four years on the job. Each Virginia class sub has about 300,000 welds that have to be inspected.

This comes on the heels of all kinds of problems (and ultimate cancelation) of the LCS, and cost overruns on pretty much everything else.

A Letter to Everybody

June 1st, 2009 - 8:17 am

Dear American Taxpayer,

Congratulations! You are now the proud part-owner of fabled US automaker, General Motors.

Acting on your behalf, your Federal government now owns 72.5% of the company, which manufactures American automobiles in places as diverse as Canada, Mexico, and South Korea.

It’s true your GM has gotten itself into trouble these last few years, which is why the President’s Automotive Task Force is now overseeing the company for you. Together, we hope to return GM to totally-private ownership just as soon as is “practicable.”

Together, our goal is to create a New General Motors, where management and union work hand-in-hand to build the cars America really wants: Smaller, more efficient, and safer (pick two).

But with ownership comes responsibilities, and you’ll have yours to shoulder, too. Your Presidential Automotive Task Force has hardly begun its work on reshaping GM, despite spending more than $50 billion of your tax dollars. Another $50 billion might still be required from you to protect your investment. Maybe more. And we’re sorry to have to tell you that for now, even after GM starts making money — which could happen any day now, we swear — it won’t be paying taxes.

Those are just a few of the many things we’re doing to protect your investment.

We’ll be writing to you again soon,

Your Government.