Wow. The means and ends of Obamacare* are both so lousy, even Howard Fineman had to sit up and notice. Here’s a bit from his latest Newsweek blog:
On the day the president signed into law the “fix-it” addendum to the massive health-care measure, two new polls show just how fearful and skeptical Americans are about the entire enterprise. If the numbers stay where they are—and it’s not clear why they will change much between now and November—then the Democrats really are in danger of colossal losses at the polls.
I say this even though I was one of those who always said that Obama would get a bill passed—and that, politically, he personally had no choice but to get it done if he wanted to have a successful presidency. But his reputation as a can-do guy was purchased at a very high political cost.
Now that the hope’s been dashed, maybe we’ll get some real change.
President Obama’s energy plan might be a case of too little, too late. A snippet from the WSJ‘s report:
At the same time, Mr. Obama’s plan wouldn’t allow new oil and gas development off the coasts of Northern Atlantic states or California, whose political leaders have long opposed offshore drilling. The administration will call off a plan drafted by the administration of former President George W. Bush that would have given oil companies access to Alaska’s Bristol Bay, an area teeming with wild sockeye salmon and many commercial fishing interests concerned about the impact of drilling on their livelihoods.
Something is better than nothing, sure — but cheap energy and thousands more high-wage energy jobs wouldn’t exactly suck. Then there’s MSNBC’s take, which blames the rise in oil prices on greedy capitalists:
“People are using oil as a store of value rather than as a commodity,” Beutel said. “It’s the investors who are buying.”
Maybe if we had an Administration with even the slightest interest in protecting the value of the dollar or just maybe stopping every now and then on their endless quest to wreck our finances, investors wouldn’t be looking for hedges in commodities.
Today’s Trifecta: The big winners under Obamanomics are… House staffers? Plus, Nancy Pelosi ain’t doing so bad, either. But what do we get for our money?
It was just three years ago that our best intelligence people assured us Iran had no bomb-making potential. And now this:
Iran is poised to begin producing nuclear weapons after its uranium program expansion in 2009, even though it has had problems with thousands of its centrifuges, according to a newly released CIA report.
“Iran continues to develop a range of capabilities that could be applied to producing nuclear weapons, if a decision is made to do so,” the annual report to Congress states.
Golly. Who knew?
Megan McArdle on those billion-dollar charges big corporations are being forced to make under Health Care Collectivization, and Henry Waxman’s resulting temper tantrum:
And now a bunch of companies with generous retiree drug benefits have announced that they are taking large charges to reflect the cost of the change in the tax law.
Henry Waxman thinks that’s mean, and he’s summoning the heads of those companies to Washington to explain themselves. It’s not clear what they’re supposed to explain. What they did is required by GAAP. And I’ve watched congressional hearings. There’s no chance that four CEO’s are going to explain the accounting code to the fine folks in Congress; explaining how to boil water would challenge the format.
It’s not the format that’s challenged; it’s the Congressmen.
The youth vote went overwhelmingly for President Obama in 2008. Here’s their payback:
Health insurance premiums for young adults are expected to rise about 17 percent once they’re required to buy insurance four years from now. That estimate is from an analysis by Rand Health.
Young people will need to carry more of the burden of health care under the new health overhaul law. The new law limits an industry practice of charging older customers more.
The elderly — with secure SS incomes and usually much greater asset wealth — get fixed prices. The young — with the worst job prospects of the last 75 years and usually nearly zero in assets — get to foot the bill.
How’s that hope and change working out, kids?
Even iPad skeptics have to admit that there is nothing but good news this morning — for the device, but more so for writers. Read:
According to DigitalBeat, the self-publishing service Smashwords has signed a distribution deal with Apple to put books on the iBookstore, which will be a part of the iBooks application, available as a free download on the iPad through the App Store. Mark Coker, chief executive of Smashwords, announced the agreement in an e-mail to authors who use the service.
The e-mail from Coker also revealed Apple’s pricing rules for the iBookstore. Each title’s price must end in 99 cents (i.e. $12.99), and books can be priced as low as 99 cents. The price of the book must also be less than its print counterpart.
Author Dean Takahashi said users can submit their work to Smashwords through a simple process that involves uploading a Microsoft Word file, setting the price and deciding where the book is to be published.
If Amazon does the same for Kindle, this could be the most exciting development for independent writers since blogging.
Here it comes, Phase II of the Great Collectivization of 2010:
President Barack Obama, after a year of fitfully searching for compromise, is taking a more aggressive tack with his Republican adversaries, hoping to energize Democratic voters and possibly muscle in some Republican support in Congress.
On Thursday, the president challenged Republicans who planned to campaign on repealing his health-care bill with, “Go for it.” Two days later, he made 15 senior appointments without Senate consent, including a union lawyer whose nomination had been blocked by a filibuster.
President Obama is taking a more aggressive tack with his Republican adversaries, hoping to energize Democratic voters and possibly muscle in some Republican support in Congress, Jonathan Weisman reports.
At a bill-signing event Tuesday, he is set to laud passage of higher-education legislation that was approved despite Republican objections through a parliamentary maneuver that neutralized the party’s filibuster threat.
So much for healing the divisions and all that. But one line from the first graf stuck out. The one that claims Obama is “hoping to energize Democratic voters and possibly muscle in some Republican support in Congress.”
At this point, I’d say those two goals are mutually exclusive. It’s one thing to claim that there are over 200 Republican amendments in the Health Care Fiasco, but it’s quite another to find one of actual substance. (Hint: Uhhhhh.) The GOP has been treated like… well, even worse than the Republican Congress treated the Democratic minority just a few years ago — and that’s saying something. So any expectation of getting Republican votes on left-wing bills, whether through “muscle” or bribes, has got to be little more than posturing for the press.
And I’m surprised the Wall Street Journal fell for it.
Size counts on the new Hair of the Dog, where we find the fun in five hours of Sunday morning chat shows. On this week’s show:
It’s Rubio vs Crist in a knock-down, drag out debate.
Chuck Schumer tells a whopper, even grading on the Schumer Curve.
Bob Schieffer slanders the Tea Party and weeps for the poor, poor Democrats.
Plus, hunky Jake Tapper plants a wet one on Haley Barbour. Or something. Honestly, I had to look away.
I post this because I can’t be the only one to have ever had this issue — but I also can’t find any online reference to it. And if I can save just one iPod, it will all be worth it.
Problem was: iTunes wouldn’t let go of my beloved iPod Classic. After syncing, the iPod would go through its “Safe to Disconnect” routine… then reconnect and resync all over again. Clicking eject didn’t help. Switching “Disk Mode” on and off and back again didn’t help. Sometimes, I’d have to go through the disconnect procedure four or five times before iTunes would finally let go.
So I made an appointment at the Apple Store, and even though the nice tech couldn’t replicate the problem, she was happy to replace my iPod, no further questions asked.
Got home, uploaded 11,000 songs, and… the same problem.
I was getting angry. Apple Care wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
(At one point, I became convinced that Steve Jobs had sabotaged the iPod Classic software, so he could stop making those old, “ugly” models and force everyone into switching to prettier Nanos and Touches. If my paranoia gets any worse, I’ll see my endocrinologist ahead of schedule and make sure my thyroid isn’t out of whack again.)
Next best guess was that something had gotten corrupted in iTunes. But rather than try to fix it, I just dealt with the issue for a few days. See, I’d messed up iTunes a couple years before, poking around where I shouldn’t have. And as a result, lost all my star ratings, play counts, smart play lists, brilliant play lists, etc. Pretty much everything got nuked except for the actual music and cover art.
And I really didn’t want to go through all that again. So I just planned my days around it taking a couple minutes, sometimes longer, to eject my iPod.
Last night, I was poking around the system, doing stuff I maybe shouldn’t, and noticed there was an iPod icon (a shortcut to the real deal) in the root directory of my Time Machine drive. I’d probably accidentally created it while dragging the desktop iPod icon to the Trash Can to eject it. But then for whatever reason stopped short right on top of the Time Machine icon and dropped an iPod shortcut there.
Deleted the shortcut. Problem solved. I think that shortcut was trying to link up with the actual device, and in the process was resyncing with iTunes. Over and over again.
Hey, wait — I did just save one iPod. So happy it was my own.
The Daily Caller reports that RNC Chairman Michael Steele… well… just see for yourself:
The RNC explains that Steele charters jets only when commercial service is unavailable, or when his tight schedule requires it. “Anytime the chairman has taken any private travel has been a either to a route that doesn’t exist or because of connections and multiple travel to where he just wasn’t able to do so,” Heye said. Yet Steele’s office repeatedly refused to explain in specific terms the circumstances of the February charter flights.
Once on the ground, FEC filings suggest, Steele travels in style. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,620.71 spent [update: the amount is actually $1,946.25] at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.
I would like to nominate myself to serve as the next chairman of the RNC, a position which might be available sooner than expected.
All this comes via Jules Crittenden, who adds:
Does the Christian right wants him out? Or is this whole thing a putup, a cheap cynical bid for independents. You know, the big untapped independent bondage/lesbian-themed strip club American voters now up for grabs.
If any research is needed in how to best pursue these voters, again, I volunteer for the job.
You’ve watched the video, now click the links:
Come back again next Saturday for another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!
Nice analysis from Austin Bay on StrategyPage, on the vulnerabilities of the US power grid, contrasted with the weaknesses of China’s leadership. A sample:
Which leads to China’s cyber-struggles. Beijing complains that the U.S. has extraordinary cyber-warfare capabilities, and it does. China’s worries, however, go well beyond protecting military secrets and electrical grids: FREE information, disseminated by unfettered digital media on the Internet, threatens political control by communist elites.
China may have weathered the global recession, but if it has, Beijing regards its success as tentative, for even slow economic growth threatens the communist elites’ deal with the Chinese people: We will let you get wealthy, just don’t question the political structure. Beijing knows this.
And that’s why most days I’m pretty sure the US and China will remain as competitors and not enemies. If China were to attack our grid, we’d be hurting — but we’d untangle the damage and go on. But Beijing is, as authoritarian systems usually are, just one misstep away from regime change.
Just stumbled upon “Fingerzilla,” an iPhone game. You play, well, a giant touch-based monster, stomping on cities and eating fleeing civilians. It sounded like a silly little time-waster, and was about to plunk down by $1.99 for it. And then I noticed something in one of the screen caps.
Do you see it?
Click to embiggen if you need to.
The poor lonely little dude, standing on the sidewalk all by himself? The guy labeled “Tax Collector?”
These days, they could probably charge a lot more than two bucks for the privilege.
Have you seen the trailer for An Inconvenient Tax? An entire documentary movie about the evils of our present tax code — and the first two people in the credits are Steve Forbes and Noam Chomsky. That’s like getting Ayn Rand together with Steve Martin to talk about stand-up comedy.
Anyway, it looks good, not to mention timely.
If you want to know why tar & feathers are coming back into vogue, read this list from Pew of the most common words Americans use to describe their own congressman:
Dysfunctional, corrupt, self-serving, self-centered, selfish, self-absorbed, inept, confused, incompetent, ineffective, lazy, bad, suck(s), poor, crook(s), crooked, disappointing, gridlock, deadlock, idiots, idiotic, slow, mess, messed up, messy, lousy, terrible, disorganized, unorganized, divided, good, stupid, children, childish, child-like, dissatisfied, do nothing, failing, failure, inadequate, greedy, joke, jokers, not good, partisan, socialist, useless, worthless, bull(expletive), chaos, clowns, frustrating, frustrated, horrible, inefficient, liberal, liars, money-hungry.
It’s sad because it’s true. And if you ask me, a little too generous.
It sure is hard to be a criminal legislator in this day and age. Steny Hoyer explains:
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is warning that some of his Democratic colleagues are being threatened with violence when they go back to their districts — and he wants Republicans to stand up and condemn the threats.
The Maryland Democrat said more than 10 House Democrats have reported incidents of threats or other forms of harassment about their support of the highly divisive health insurance overhaul vote. Hoyer emphasized that he didn’t have a specific number of threats and that was just an estimate.
What that last line tells you is, this Politico report is totally bereft of any actual facts. Generally, those are things I like to find at least one or two of in a news report, but let’s set that aside.
The important part is this: If this abominable, unconstitutional, usurperous, injurious, unsustainable and ruinous new health care law has a mere ten legislatures afraid for their safety, then this country might already be too far gone to save itself.
UPDATE: Going through my referral logs, it’s (almost) sad how little power Kos wields on Twitter. For the once-king of the political blogosphere, that’s got to be sobering.
Yikes — sobriety!
Anyway, I’ll say it again — Kos is so ’07.
Here’s the measure of an honest politician: When he claims the government is spending too much money, he then shows you a list of laws he’d like to repeal.
Government never, in any single instance I can think of, ever saved any money by passing a law. Quite the opposite. In fact, if you look back through American history, about the only time government ever did any good is when it stopped doing something. Usually, something heinous and awful and bad. I’ve even prepared a few examples.
With the Bill of Rights, the government lost the ability to stop people from speaking out, from assembling freely, from owning guns, from violating homes and papers, from bossing around the states, etc.
After the Civil War, the government stopped telling some people that they were the property of other people. The government didn’t free the slaves — it finally recognized that all men are already free.
With the passage of the 19th Amendment, the government finally stopped telling women their votes weren’t welcome.
With the Civil Rights movement, the state governments finally lost the ability to tell some people that they couldn’t go places other people could already go.
Eventually, perhaps the government will even get out of the marriage business. And any two people who want to get married will be able to do so, and any other people who don’t want to recognize that marriage, won’t have to.
I could go on, but you get the point. Every advance in liberty is met with — isn’t possible without — a proportionate retreat in government power.
And none of it costs a dime in taxpayer money.
So if you’re lucky enough to ever find one of these honest politicians, give him your vote.