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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Required Chortling

June 17th, 2010 - 11:14 am

At long last, Scott Ott’s Laughing at Obama, Vol. 1 is available for purchase — including autographed copies. As Bill Whittle noted on Trifecta this week, “Volume One? He’s going to need scientific notation.”

Scott even asked me for a blurb, and I sure gave him one. But I’m not sure he used it.

Also, if you’re going to judge a book by its cover, this would be the one.

And in This Corner…

June 16th, 2010 - 4:52 pm

Trifecta: Watch as the guys take on Congressman Bob “The Manhandler” Etheridge. Hilarity and clarity ensue.

Tribefecta

June 16th, 2010 - 1:01 pm

Another members exclusive — we’re taking your suggestions for one of next week’s episodes, and the winner gets fabulous members exclusive bonus swag!

Required Reading

June 16th, 2010 - 12:54 pm

Roger Simon — no, not that one; the other one — wasn’t much impressed with the President’s speech last night. An excerpt:

Maybe the location was wrong. Maybe using the Oval Office — and it was the first time the president has used it for a speech — upped the ante too much. Maybe we expected too much.

Like details.

Read the whole thing, as they say.

Absolutely Free Music Review!

June 16th, 2010 - 9:53 am

I don’t listen to a whole lot of country. Pretty much just ’60s-era Johnny Cash and the ’70s outlaw guys — Willie, Waylon, and Kris. “Twang-Pop” — Garth Brooks and the rest — I’ve no time for whatsoever.

Keep that in mind before clicking over to give Cary Ann Hearst a listen. Discovered her via a complicated chain of Google News Alerts-inspired clicks, and she’s just raw and honest and primal and good.

Oh, and that link will open the iTunes store, not a web page.

News Flash: AT&T Bites the Wax Tadpole

June 16th, 2010 - 9:44 am

First, AT&T’s servers couldn’t handle the demand for iPhone 4 pre-orders. What — they hadn’t seen the thing? Now, AT&T’s pre-order customers have had — what, exactly? — revealed in some kind of security breach.

C’mon, Apple. Your exclusivity contract with AT&T must have a failure-to-perform escape clause. And if AT&T’s network issues don’t qualify, surely the events of the last few days do. Add to that the crappy way AT&T is treating its customers by eliminating new unlimited data plans, and you’ve got a recipe for an epic fail.

Get with it, Mr. Jobs.

As Drunk As Blogging Gets

June 15th, 2010 - 5:47 pm

Obama comes on in 15. I’ve been on (the bottle) for 30. You do the math.

UPDATE: I’ve just been informed we’re having technical difficulties, perhaps as a result of one of our sober employees. Again, you do the math.

Anyway, I’ll keep blogging, and you can play catch-up as it finally comes online.

And it’s not too late to catch the pre-spin de-spin on today’s Trifecta.

Gettin’ It On for Gaia?

June 15th, 2010 - 1:02 pm

Yikes.

Viewers Versus Obama — It’s No Contest

June 14th, 2010 - 7:04 pm

Hair of the Dog: We have a contest with fabulous prizes, plus a Choir of Dumbass and I give Chris Wallace a lesson in how to speak Valley Girl.

Best show yet? You make the call!

And, enter to win those fabulous prizes.

Synchronize Your Watches

June 13th, 2010 - 12:29 pm

Just got the heads-up from Aaron Hanscom, our managing editor… so, yes, I’m scheduled to drunkblog the President’s address to the nation Tuesday night.

It’ll be so refreshing, finally finding Obama on the TV again, that I might not even need to drink that much.

Bankruptcy: National and Presidential

June 13th, 2010 - 11:14 am

There he goes again:

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Saturday implored Congress to provide more aid to states and cities to blunt “the devastating economic impact of budget cuts” by local governments that imperil the jobs of teachers, the police, firefighters and other public employees.

In a letter to Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders, Mr. Obama said the “mounting employment crisis” in the states “could set back the pace of our economic recovery.”

I think we can lay to rest the idea that Obama is some kind of post-partisan, deep thinker of new ideas. To Obama, every problem in the world can be solved by applying either his superior personality, or great gobs of other people’s money.

And it’s just not true and it’s got to stop.

We’ve Done It Again

June 13th, 2010 - 8:35 am

Is it possible to condense an entire week’s worth of the blogosphere into three minutes of pure silly?

I do it every week, on The Week in Blogs.

I don’t know how he does it, but Ed Driscoll keeps making PJM Political better and better — hey, all I do are the intros. This week’s show has James Lileks on Helen Thomas (not literally, OK?), Tech Central Station’s James Glassman, Glenn Reynolds enjoying a cool puppy smoothie, then Joe Hicks, Stephen Kruiser and Tracie Savage take on California politics, and Roger L. Simon interviews the Devil himself… Karl Rove!

Trifecta: Does President Obama want to lose Congress?

BONUS TOPIC: What is Fred Barnes smoking, anyway?

Stupid Is As Stupid Spends

June 11th, 2010 - 1:01 pm

CBO to House: “House financial regulation reform bill would increase deficit by $19.7B.”

Congress to CBO: “We don’t care.”

Stupid Is As Stupid Demands

June 11th, 2010 - 12:42 pm

Geithner to China: Stop us before we shop again!

Because if there’s one thing Americans don’t need in today’s economy, it’s affordable goods.

Stupid Is As Stupid Wonders

June 11th, 2010 - 11:57 am

How do people so unentertainingly vacuous earn important jobs at prominent universities? My PJM stablemate Richard Fernandez has the latest example, leading with: “Peter Singer, writing in the New York Times, asks whether a world without people wouldn’t be a better place.”

If I may quote Lou Diamond Phillips from the 1994 Skinemax classic, Dangerous Touch, “It wouldn’t make the world a better place for me.”

It’s just a helluva news day for a Friday — and usually they hold the bad stuff back until after the markets close. But since everything is everywhere, I have a job to do this morning. Let’s get to it.

Retail sales “unexpectedly” cratered in May. Especially telling is this bit from the WSJ story:

The retail sales report “is a reminder that households are not going to be the engine of growth for some time,” Capital Economics economist Paul Dales wrote in a note, adding that the retail sales report “dramatically weakens the outlook for consumption growth in the second quarter.”

Huh. So it seems that artificially propping up home prices doesn’t help people buy homes or avoid foreclosure. Who knew?

The plan, I suppose, was to purposely return us to the housing bubble, when Americans borrowed against their homes to buy lots of cool stuff. Of course, the first time the bubble popped it cratered the economy of pretty much the entire planet. American consumers wised up, and stopped borrowing (not always by choice) and started socking money away and paying down debts.

American politicians on the other hand didn’t wise up, and instead doubled down on stupid. Make that tripled down — because not even government can get consumers to borrow and spend, while at the same time stopping banks from lending any money. Again — who knew? Although don’t be surprised if our Dear Leader manages to reinflate the housing bubble despite himself.

Now that American consumers are loaded down with debts (both public and private), it’s apparently the perfect time to saddle them with ever-higher energy prices. Because if there’s one way to get people shopping again, it’s to drastically increase the cost of making, shipping, storing, buying, owning and operating virtually everything.

Meanwhile, official unemployment refuses to duck much below ten percent, and nearly one in five Americans is at best underemployed.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that American employers have been saddled with unknowable new health care costs. Oh, and that American entrepreneurs are about to get socked with increased taxes and American corporations are penalized with the industrialized world’s second-highest tax rate.

Or maybe it has to do with the First Grand Unification Theory of Sucking, explained on this page almost exactly one year ago. Back then I said the Stimulus was doomed to fail, for three possible reasons:

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.

Reason 1 seems the most obvious reason for the Stimulus Fail thus far — but the spending binge is yet. And back then I illustrated it with some very funny examples involving the Three Stooges and cute stuff like that, but one year and four days later, I’m not feeling very amusing. Or amused. Why? Because after spending $800 billion we didn’t have to create jobs that never materialized, Obama wants to spend $30 billion more we don’t have to create even more jobs that will never materialize. So please excuse me for not going “Ha!”

Meanwhile, we’re literally being crushed by the public debts we’ve already accrued, the public debts we’re shortly to accrue, and the long-term public debts which will make the last year seem like a Golden Age.

Again, American consumers are hunkering down and paying down their private debts, because we know someday we’ll have to pony up for the tab on Washington’s no-limit MasterCard.

But don’t worry — how high can those payments really go, when interest rates are still being held so low? Just try to forget those low rates give the Fed zero wiggle room to deal with any future crisis, while also reducing the value of the dollar and increasing the risk of adding inflation to our recession. And you thought “Stagflation” went out with bell bottoms and Donna Summer.

And we haven’t even gotten to what’s happening in the Gulf of Mexico — but for now let’s just hope I don’t have to revisit the Spill again in another year, and leave it at that.

Somehow, the Democrats grandfathered in every bad idea the Republicans promulgated under Bush, then asked themselves, “But how can we really make things bad?”*

Well, now we know.

And while I won’t say “I told you so,” please note the “Second” in the headline above.

(more…)

Radio, Radio Redux

June 10th, 2010 - 7:21 pm

Jimmie Bise’s “The Delivery” is about the best podcast out there — even when he doesn’t have on Ed Driscoll and me. But this week he did, and we talk some politics, but more importantly, the history of punk and new wave and how Dave Brubeck works in there.

Check it out.

Obama Pwns Talk Radio

June 10th, 2010 - 12:03 pm

Trifecta: President Obama has issued marching orders — and talking points! — to his supporters. Bill, Scott and I discuss and dissect.

But here’s a warning: Keep drinks away from your monitor.

And Everybody Hates Louisiana

June 9th, 2010 - 1:57 pm

Let’s see if I’ve got this straight.

The Bush Administration got in bed with the Gulf oil drilling companies, to do the Horizontal Rent Seeking Tango. Senator Barack Obama, running for president, was well aware of the naughty goings-on, and made it a campaign issue.

Upon winning the Oval Office, President-elect Obama then appointed offshore oil-drilling enthusiast Ken Salazar, who made a small show of maybe someday promising to buy some condoms. Instead, however, Salazar continued to do the Bareback Bow-Chicka-Bow-Bow with BP. And then the inevitable happened — a massive release of great pressures.

At which point President Obama, sitting in the next room, tapped on the door and said, “Quiet down, you two — people will talk.” And then the analogy kind of fails apart, because then there’s this thing with bunches of Dutch sailors that you really don’t want me to get into.

Other than that, did I miss anything?

Oh, yeah — somehow we’re the ones getting screwed.

Summer of ’69

June 9th, 2010 - 1:28 pm

The latest Silicon Graffiti and “the death of modernism.”

And here I thought it was just pining for the fjords.

Live on Tape from Los Angeles!

June 9th, 2010 - 11:55 am

Trifecta: A chin-stroking (not really), post-election special as Scott Ott, Bill Whittle and I explain What It All Means (yes, really).

Live from Los Angeles

June 9th, 2010 - 9:47 am

We’re broadcasting a special live Trifecta at 1PM Eastern/10AM Pacific, taking your questions about yesterday’s election results.

Tweet them in using the #Trifecta tag — or, since it’s #FailWhaleWednesday, drop us a line on the Trifecta Facebook page.

Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye

June 8th, 2010 - 7:10 pm

Trifecta: Watch as we try our hand at poetry. It’s a Helen Thomas Bye-Ku Extravaganza!

Radio, Radio

June 8th, 2010 - 4:57 pm

In just about an hour — that’d be 8PM Eastern — I’ll be on The Rick Moran Show with IBD’s Monica Showalter and Rich Baehr of American Thinker. Rick runs a tight ship so it ought to be a good show.

Then, at 9:30, Ed Driscoll and I will once again seize control of The Delivery from Jimmie Bise. Hilarity will ensue.

Oh, Behave!

June 8th, 2010 - 11:06 am

So, people are heckling Nancy Pelosi and throwing stuff at her, too.

I’d admonish my conservative and libertarian allies for taking part in these childish antics, except of course, it’s Code Pink just doing its thing.

Ignorance: A Feature, Not a Bug

June 8th, 2010 - 10:28 am

The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so.
-Ronald W. Reagan.

And, boy, if that ain’t the truth. There’s a fascinating study on political leanings and economic literacy, conducted by Zogby and reported on in today’s WSJ. First, the setup:

Zogby researcher Zeljka Buturovic and I considered the 4,835 respondents’ (all American adults) answers to eight survey questions about basic economics. We also asked the respondents about their political leanings: progressive/very liberal; liberal; moderate; conservative; very conservative; and libertarian.

Rather than focusing on whether respondents answered a question correctly, we instead looked at whether they answered incorrectly. A response was counted as incorrect only if it was flatly unenlightened.

In other words, just simple guesswork gave each respondent a 60% chance of getting a correct answer. You have to really try to suck at these questions. Onward:

Consider one of the economic propositions in the December 2008 poll: “Restrictions on housing development make housing less affordable.” People were asked if they: 1) strongly agree; 2) somewhat agree; 3) somewhat disagree; 4) strongly disagree; 5) are not sure.

Basic economics acknowledges that whatever redeeming features a restriction may have, it increases the cost of production and exchange, making goods and services less affordable. There may be exceptions to the general case, but they would be atypical.

And the results:

In this case, percentage of conservatives answering incorrectly was 22.3%, very conservatives 17.6% and libertarians 15.7%. But the percentage of progressive/very liberals answering incorrectly was 67.6% and liberals 60.1%. The pattern was not an anomaly.

Not an anomaly? Nope. Look at the totals for all eight questions:

How did the six ideological groups do overall? Here they are, best to worst, with an average number of incorrect responses from 0 to 8: Very conservative, 1.30; Libertarian, 1.38; Conservative, 1.67; Moderate, 3.67; Liberal, 4.69; Progressive/very liberal, 5.26.

Americans in the first three categories do reasonably well. But the left has trouble squaring economic thinking with their political psychology, morals and aesthetics.

So it seems that liberals aren’t lying to you, when they say that taxes create prosperity or that we can spend our way out of a debt crisis. But they might just be lying to themselves.

You decide which is worse.

There’s a Storm Coming

June 8th, 2010 - 10:04 am

Following President Obama’s example, now our Congresscritters are failing to lead — or even to perform their most basic duties. This AP story is especially brutal:

After betting their political future on a government-mandated expansion of health care to include millions more Americans, Democrats appear to have little appetite for more legislative showdowns given voter rebellion against government spending amid trillion dollar-plus annual deficits.

The solution in some cases is to simply not vote. Immigration reform is too politically toxic. Key bills with massive price tags are getting shelved.

Congress’ core duty, exercising its power of the purse by passing a budget? Negative. A vote for it could be seen as a vote for deficit spending. There’s no sign of the 12 annual spending bills that typically come up in June.

If our incumbents really, finally understand why we’re angry, then why don’t they sit down and get to work on cutting the spending and repealing the laws we’re so upset about? Instead, they’re sticking they’re heads in the sand, ignoring their duties — and ignoring us, too.

Vote ‘em all out. Every single one of these cowardly, useless and destructive SOBs.

Rotting from the Head Down

June 8th, 2010 - 8:59 am

From a recent Times-Picayune editorial:

We also need to know, Mr. President, whether you support legislation to give Gulf states our rightful share of offshore oil revenues now instead of in 2017. These are vital resources for our imperiled coast. During your visit last week, you did not publicly take questions from Louisianians. A local reporter’s question about the revenue-sharing proposal earned a “we’ll get back to you”-response from a White House spokesman. There was no followup.

Your visit is appreciated, Mr. President. But visiting Louisiana is not the same as listening to us and answering our questions.

And then this from Byron York:

The Obama administration is at first slow to see the seriousness of the accident. Then, as the crisis becomes clear, the federal bureaucracy becomes entangled in itself trying to deal with the problem. “At least a dozen federal agencies have taken part in the spill response,” the New York Times reports, “making decision-making slow, conflicted and confused, as they sought to apply numerous federal statutes.”

Leadership, Mr. President, does not consist of dithering and the occasional game of kick-the-can.

Just sayin’.