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Monthly Archives: April 2010

There’s Several Apps for That

April 8th, 2010 - 12:56 pm

Coming soon to iPhone 4.0 (and then to iPad) — multitasking! And some other cool stuff, too, but most of the improvements seem to be under the hood. Although the ability to organize apps into folders will make life lots easier for app-hungry users like me. The new integrated Inbox will likely prove indispensable.

Honestly, though, I’m not that excited about the multitasking. My iPhone 3GS launches and shuts down apps so quickly, that it practically feels like multitasking. The iPad runs even faster. Older iPhone and iPod Touch models don’t have enough horsepower to multitask, and so won’t be getting that feature.

On the other hand, if El Jobso is up to his usual tricks, he’s introduced something I don’t want, but will later wonder how I ever lived without.

For the Children!™

April 8th, 2010 - 11:28 am

Because there aren’t any other pressing issues:

A Democratic member of Congress next week is holding a hearing into baseball player’s use of chewing tobacco.

Chewing tobacco has long been used by players both in the dugout and on the field, but there have been recent calls to tamp it down because of the health risks posed by the product, such as oral cancer.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), who helms the energy and commerce health subcommittee, said that the practice provides a poor example to young people who are baseball fans.

A congressman with nothing better to do ought to be voted out of office.

For today’s Trifecta, Bill Whittle got it into his head to… well… you’ll just have to see it for yourself.

Did it work? I think it did. But we’re still going to have to get Bill off the sauce.

Just because I could, I worked in references to The B-52s and some old DC Comics favorites, all while trying out my best (bad) Powdered Toast Man.

This is quality TV, people.

Handicapping the House

April 7th, 2010 - 1:14 pm

One of the most useful election handicapping tools (other than Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight, of course), is Real Clear Politics‘ averaged election maps. Today, let’s look at the battle for control of the House. We’ll start with the bird’s-eye view.

That’s an awful lot of information to take in at a glance, and not really very useful. Let’s zoom in on the really important bit, the middle three-fifths of the names and numbers above the map.

I’ve cut off the two extremes in this zoom — the “Likely” seats for both parties. There won’t be much action there, although you should prepare yourself for some surprises as Election Day draws closer. The real action take place in the middle, from “Leans Dem” to “Toss-Ups” to “Leans Rep.” I should also mention that RCP wisely leaves out the bulk of House seats which just aren’t going to change hands, period. Although a few of those could make surprise appearances in the “Likely Dem” column later in the year.

To give you a better way to keep track, let’s go back to the 2008 presidential race. Rasmussen created a similar chart for that campaign, using states instead of congressional districts. States Bush had won in 2004 were in a red font; states Kerry won were in blue. And the set-up was similar — Safe D, Leans D, Toss-Ups, Leans R, Safe R.

From the get-go, there were lots of safe D states, some safe R states, and just a few toss-ups. And they were almost all red. As we got closer to the election, more red states shifted left — from Safe or Leans or Toss-Up, and closer to Safe D or Leans D. It’s a lovely, and quite visual, way to judge the momentum of a campaign. And here I’ve wasted almost 150 words describing it to you.

Anyway. Keeping all that in mind, let’s look at that first zoom again. There is not a single Republican seat in the “Leans Dem” column. There are three Democratic seats under “Leans Rep.” And of the 30 toss-ups, 29 of them are Democrats.

Twenty. Nine.

Of 30.

If the GOP can maintain its current momentum, you’ll see one or two or more of the Democrats’ Safe seats move right into the Leans column. And bunches of those Leans into Toss-Ups, and, yes, bigger bunches of the Tossers into Leans Rep. The less red you see on the left side (there are only two there now) and the more blue you see on the right, the greater the odds of the Republicans taking control of the House.

Right now, the Democrats seem likely to pick up two Republican seats, while losing 18 of their own, for a 16-seat loss. But the action is in the very middle, where it’s 29-to-1. The magic number for a change of power is 40, so the Republicans need to net 24 of those 30 competitive races. That is, as of right now. If blues keep moving right, the numbers become even friendlier.

And don’t forget that all of this gives GOP a money advantage — the Democrats have a lot more turf at stake. Part of that is because the Democrats simply cover a lot more turf; a 78-seat advantage isn’t easy to defend. But the bigger part is that lots of voters have lost trust in the Dems.

They only have a few months to win back that trust, while trying to keep any more of the blue text from shifting to the right side of the page.

Later, we’ll handicap the Senate, where the GOP faces longer odds.

“Handicapping” will be a semi-regular feature between now and the election, so stay tuned.

UPDATE: Speaking of the Senate, the Democratic caucus seems determined to lose friends and infuriate people in the House. Read:

On the heels of their improbable passage of a massive health care bill, Democrats are weighing an ambitious global warming bill that few lawmakers were even willing to consider just months ago.

“After seeing health care reform pass, it seems to me they can pass any bill they want if they set their minds to it,” said Marc Morano, a global warming skeptic and former top aide to Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.,

Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., are expected to unveil their bill the week of April 19 in order to coincide with the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has suggested he’ll try to tackle it this year.

There’s a good reason Cap & Tax died in the Senate. After getting passed in the House as most egregious example of bribery, logrolling, and pork-barreling in congressional history*, nobody wanted to touch it. Plenty of congresscritters would gladly have changed their votes if they could have, after going home for August recess last summer. Barring that, their best hope was that the Senate would leave it be, and maybe voters would forget about it by November, 2010.

But if Reid & Co. want to revive Cap & Tax, I’ll bet you it’s worth at least additional ten seats for the GOP, all by its little old lonesome.

*Until very recently, that is.

Double Secret Campaign Tour/Not a Typo

April 7th, 2010 - 11:58 am

Click here for the details, but in all fairness, it shouldn’t take too many stops for Harry Reid to rally his supporter.

(Hat tip, Glenn.)

Apt — Crude But Apt

April 7th, 2010 - 10:13 am

If you thought yesterday’s Happy Fun Nuclear Posture was… all happy and fun, wait until you see this:

President Barack Obama’s advisers plan to remove terms such as “Islamic radicalism” from a document outlining national security strategy and will use the new version to emphasize that the U.S. does not view Muslim nations through the lens of terrorism, counterterrorism officials say.

The change would be a significant shift in the National Security Strategy, a document that previously outlined the Bush Doctrine of preventive war. It currently states, “The struggle against militant Islamic radicalism is the great ideological conflict of the early years of the 21st century.”

The officials described the changes on condition of anonymity because the document is still being written and is unlikely to be released for weeks, and the White House would not discuss it. But rewriting the strategy document is the latest example of Obama putting his stamp on U.S. foreign policy, as with his promises to dismantle nuclear weapons and limit the situations in which they can be used.

I realize now we didn’t so much elect a man to the presidency as we let loose a puppy in the woods for the first time — there is nothing on which he will not pee.

Is Bart Stupak retiring?

By choice, I mean. Because otherwise it just isn’t news.

Previously on 17…

April 7th, 2010 - 9:21 am

It’s Part II of Trifecta‘s dissection of President Obama’s bizarre town hall performance. This time, Scott Ott asks Bill Whittle and me just what kind of man does that?

Tax THIS!

April 7th, 2010 - 5:11 am

The Obama Plan promises a net tax cut for all American families earning less than $250,000 a year — unless they happen to buy any one single thing ever at all.

The Following Takes Place… Right Now

April 6th, 2010 - 5:14 pm

Is it possible for three basement bloggers to channel black-ops veteran Jack Bauer?

Well, no.

I mean — duh.

But we can sure steal some of his audio cues! And graphics!

It’s a very special Trifecta, detailing the secret connection between the fictional world of 24, and the slightly more over-the-top-world of a Presidential town hall.

Must-See Radio

April 6th, 2010 - 5:07 pm

I’ll be on The Rick Moran Show at 8PM Eastern/5PM Pacific, along with Rich Baehr and Larrey Anderson of the American Thinker. We’ll be talking about the new Nuclear Posture Review, and the state of the game in politics.

The live stream is right here.

Oh, and some of my best NPR stuff I didn’t use in this morning’s essay, so it should be a fun listen.

What, Me Worry?

April 6th, 2010 - 9:23 am

So President Obama made us marginally less safe yesterday. Jen Rubin calls the move “incomprehensible,” and I can’t argue with that. Here’s the story as reported by the Washington Post:

Under the new policy, the administration will foreswear the use of the deadly weapons against nonnuclear countries, officials said, in contrast to previous administrations, which indicated they might use nuclear arms against nonnuclear states in retaliation for a biological or chemical attack.

For decades, and especially after the US destroyed its chemical and biological weapons stores in the early 1970s, our policy has been simple: A nuke bomb is a chemical bomb is a biological bomb. We did not discern between WMDs — and we would retaliate with our own WMDs if struck by enemy WMDs.

And since we had no chemical or biological weapons, that meant one thing: We’re coming after you with nukes. Result? No weapon of mass destruction has ever been used against the United States. Pretty cool, that.

We went even further than that to keep the peace, believe it or not. During the Cold War, the Soviets loudly proclaimed they would never be the first to use nuclear weapons. (Although their defense posture, weapons procurement, and doctrine all showed that proclamation to be disingenuous at best.) Moscow then dared us to make the same commitment. And we stayed silent instead.

Result? The Soviets tread more gently than they otherwise might have. Because one treads lightly in a minefield — especially a nuclear one. Never define exactly what enemy action would make you push the button, and you keep the strategic initiative. Important, that.

Well, yesterday Obama — facing no pressure or need to change anything at all — quite recklessly turned over the strategic initiative (operational, too, for that matter) to the other guys.

Little countries can now act, with chemical or biological agents, sure in the knowledge that however we respond, we will respond with less. The other guy now gets to determine how much punishment he is willing to take. Before yesterday, we determined how much punishment we were willing to dish out (plenty).

President Johnson (and to a lesser extent, Nixon) made the same mistake in dealing with North Vietnam. “Escalation,” tit-for-tat, let Hanoi dictate the pace of the war, while simultaneously learning how to deal with, and obviate, our military might. Result: We lost the initiative and eventually the war. Sucky, that.

As of today, the little guys just got a bit bigger. They can hit us with the worst they’ve got, safe in the knowledge that the full weight of our might will never come down on them. (Note: This is not to advocate the use of nuclear weapons. But by publicly keeping our options open, the odds of us ever having to use those terrible things is reduced.)

The little guys, feeling a bit bigger, might feel big enough to push us around. And if they push hard enough, we might just find ourselves in a situation where nukes become the only answer, no matter what nice words might be contained in the President’s new Nuclear Posture Review.

About the best thing that can be said about the new NPR is this: Some in the Administration (the President himself?) wanted to make it even stupider, by forswearing first use unilaterally. But WaPo reported that the Pentagon and the State Department both worried (and rightly so) that such a move would “unnerve” our allies — allies President Obama has already made a habit of ignoring, snubbing or insulting.

And don’t think the little guys haven’t noticed — as the Iranian leadership continues to ignore, snub and insult Obama.

But, hey, Obama feels it’s his duty to “help the little guy.” What a shame some of those little guys sit in very nice offices in Pyongyang, Tehran, and Damascus. And in Beijing and Moscow, too.

The world hasn’t suddenly become a much more dangerous place — only marginally so. But the question is: Why? What pressure, foreign or domestic, did we face to make us change decades of smart defense policy? Answer: None. Stupid, that.

If you didn’t already question Obama’s judgement, now would be a good time to start.

(more…)

Baffle Them With BS

April 6th, 2010 - 8:48 am

Must-read from Politico and the Democrats’ special-election woes:

According to sources familiar with the effort, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has already assembled teams of top party operatives — including veteran pollster John Anzalone and longtime ad man Saul Shorr to work on the Pennsylvania campaign, and media strategist David Dixon, who signed on to work the Hawaii race — to oversee what are expected to be large and expensive independent expenditure operations.

More important, two Democratic sources told POLITICO that the DCCC is working feverishly to prevent a very real scenario in which the two top Democrats split the party vote and enable Republican Charles Djou to capture the heavily Democratic seat in Hawaii’s May 22 all-party special election.

Every ounce of effort expended protecting “safe” seats in Hawaii and Pennsylvania is one ounce less effort available to retroactively sell the public on the recent health care nationalization. That goes for all the money spent, too. A contested House race in Hawaii? Even Politico admits that a loss there could instill “panic among the rank and file.”

Hey, maybe they could try listening to their constituents and stop spending trillions we don’t have and radically expanding their control over the health care industry.

Naaaaaah.

Nobody Does It Better At All

April 5th, 2010 - 6:19 pm

Yes, Hair of the Dog is now streaming live for your innerweb pleasure. Where else can you get all in one show:

Lesbian strippers.

The Zombie Apocalypse.

And Alan Greenspan as channeled by Dustin Hoffman.

Seriously, I was sober when I came up with that stuff.

Required Reading and Other Assorted Items

April 5th, 2010 - 5:14 pm

As Will Collier (seriously, I can’t believe the crazy good stuff he’s putting out there lately) says: SHATNER!

Related: KAHN!

Also, sorry for the lame-ass blogging yesterday and today. But Hair of the Dog prep really got to me yesterday, as watching four talking-heads shows is wont to do. And today… well… on the Trifecta conference call, Scott Ott and I came up with something a little bit different for two of this week’s segments. And Bill Whittle came up with something dangerously different… so PJTV required more brain cells than I usually have functioning at any one time (up to six).

Now I don’t want to give anything away, because I feel it’s important that PJTV viewers stay spoiler-free. But Scott and I will be doing a matching set of minisodes based on a popular TV series, and Bill — Whomever help us — is making us do improv.

I’d tell you more, but then I wouldn’t have time to do all the got-dam prep work I still need to get done between now and then. And our top-notch production team tells me that today’s Hair of the Dog should be going live any time now. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

Buh-bye!

There’s an Appliance for That

April 5th, 2010 - 3:28 pm

The Telling Detail

April 3rd, 2010 - 5:26 pm

There he goes again — this time for 17 minutes and 2,500 words. But don’t worry, I won’t ask you to read the President’s entire oration. Just this:

Toward the end of a question-and-answer session with workers at an advanced battery technology manufacturer, a woman named Doris stood to ask the president whether it was a “wise decision to add more taxes to us with the health care” package.

“We are over-taxed as it is,” Doris said bluntly.

Obama started out feisty. “Well, let’s talk about that, because this is an area where there’s been just a whole lot of misinformation, and I’m going to have to work hard over the next several months to clean up a lot of the misapprehensions that people have,” the president said. [Emphasis totally added.]

President Clinton felt your pain. President Obama insists it’s all in your head.

I just finished reading Charlie Martin’s piece on President Obama’s political prestidigitation — and I suggest you do, too. In fact, let’s call it this weekend’s Required Reading. But to se tup my point, I’ll go ahead and give you one snippet:

In the meantime, with considerably less fanfare, the Obama administration announced several other changes. They intend to accelerate the CAFE standards, forcing the U.S. auto industry to increase average mileage from roughly 25 miles per gallon to about 35 mpg. That is, a 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency. By 2016 — that is, in six years. [Emphasis in the original. And also, yikes.]

At this rate, Obama won’t be just our first “post-American President,” to borrow John Bolton’s apt phrase. He’ll be our first post-industrial President.

It’s the dawn (dusk?) of a new Dark Age. And we won’t even have to remind the last person with power to turn out the lights.

Your Weekend Multimedia Extravaganza

April 3rd, 2010 - 1:49 pm

If it’s Saturday — and the size of my hangover makes me pretty sure that it is — then it must be time for VodkaPundit’s Week in Blogs on PJTV. And if TV’s not your bag, we hit you with the audio stuff on the new PJM Political.

Check’em out.

There’s an App for That

April 2nd, 2010 - 1:12 pm

I just don’t know why.

Book Review Review

April 2nd, 2010 - 11:02 am

OK, not really. But, Anne C. Heller’s review of Ayn Rand and the World She Made has me reaching for Ye Olde Trustye Amex already. Read:

“She was often at the center of a powerful male throng, taking on all comers, and she left an indelible and largely favorable impression,” Heller writes. ” ‘Tell me your premises,’ she would say on greeting new acquaintances, and having placed her serve would launch a volley of ideas. Contemporaries, including Buckley, remembered her as ‘singular.’ Recalling the first time he met her, he mimicked her Russian accent as she declared, ‘Mr. Buckley, you arrrr too intelligent to believe in Gott!’”

O’Connor–by all accounts a kind, good-natured gentleman who preferred gardening, shopping and painting to conversations about capitalism–couldn’t quite provide that dominance. John Galt did. Ultimately, only her fictional idealized man didn’t crumble under Rand’s staggering moral expectations, manipulative personality or scathing intelligence. (Followers were told “to judge, and be ready to be judged.”)

As someone who read (maybe too much) Rand in high school and college, this is a must-read. But the question remains: Order the hardcover and let it take up space on the nightstand for weeks, or order the Kindle or iBooks version of it and carry it around on the iPad in a few weeks?

Decisions, decisions.

Poetry in Motion

April 2nd, 2010 - 10:35 am

Today’s Trifecta: Bill, Scott and I seek beauty, truth and love — and find two out of three.

All kidding aside, today’s minisode isn’t what you’ve come to expect from us, and I really hope you’ll watch it.

Coolest. Fraud. Ever

April 1st, 2010 - 9:50 am

Coming soon for iPad. You wish.

(Hat tip, Will Collier, who’s on some kind of crazy roll this week.)

Nice Movement Kid, Now Don’t Get Cocky

April 1st, 2010 - 8:57 am

Today’s Trifecta: What’s next for the Tea Party — big wins in November or a return to obscurity?

Another Profile in BAWK! BAWK! BAWK!

April 1st, 2010 - 8:21 am

Will Collier emailed to say that he’s having “entirely too much fun” with Congressman Tim Ryan. And once you’ve read The Ballad of Brave Sir Ryan, you’ll agree.