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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Back in Action

February 16th, 2011 - 7:28 am

Trifecta: Multiculturalism is being killed off in Europe — by the elites. When is it America’s turn?

The headline refers to the lack of decent blogging around here the last couple days. Everyone in the house has had a terrible cough, except for yours truly. But that doesn’t mean I’ve had a peaceful place to sleep. Honestly, nighttime around here sounds like a dozen dogs with kennel cough chasing after an asthmatic mailman.

It’s Like a Valentine from a Broke Stepchild

February 15th, 2011 - 4:11 pm

Trifecta: Everybody agrees — Obama’s new budget sucks.

You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Drink

February 14th, 2011 - 4:39 pm

Hair of the Dog: Obama takes a beating from everybody over Egypt, even Google.

Bonus: NBC spent like two million dollars on a new set, just so you can watch David Gregory read his Twitter feed.

Making Commies Cool Again

February 14th, 2011 - 12:57 pm

Trifecta: Just in time for Valentine’s Day, a little red bus is coming to your town — and it’s filled with Communists!

Forgot to Mention

February 12th, 2011 - 12:08 pm

Up on the PJM home page today, my latest on Egypt — The Turkish Solution.

Also Revealed: The Big Lie

February 12th, 2011 - 8:26 am

Al Gore, global warming and Godzilla — all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

Rudderless in the White House

February 11th, 2011 - 9:08 am

Reuters has put together a timeline of the White House’s various and varied responses to the ongoing political crisis in Egypt — and it’s worse than you think.

Obama doesn’t get around to taking anything close to a firm stance or decision until Day 7, when he dispatched Frank Wisner as Special Envoy. On day 11, the White House calls for “concrete steps” to a transition. The very next day, Wisner flatly contradicted the new policy and is called back to the U.S.

On Day 14, “State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, acknowledging doubts about the credibility of the transition process, says: ‘Our advice would be: test the seriousness of the government and those who are participating to see if it can deliver.’” I don’t know what that means. Nobody knows what that means.

On Day 15, “Vice President Joe Biden speaks again by telephone to Suleiman, stressing U.S. support ‘for an orderly transition in Egypt that is prompt, meaningful, peaceful, and legitimate.’”

On Day 16, “After appearing to throw its support behind a transition process led by Mubarak’s new vice president, Omar Suleiman, Washington shows growing irritation, saying it has still not seen ‘real, concrete’ reforms.”

Then of course yesterday, CIA Chief Leon Panetta said Mubarak was probably on his way out, right up until Mubarak said he was staying. Power, however, seems to lie with the Army and Vice President Suleiman — who has held the three-decades-vacant office by appointment for all of twelve days. One wonders if this is what Biden considers “meaningful” or “legitimate.”

And then there have been things like the false assurance to Congress by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper that the Muslim Brotherhood is “largely secular,” and Biden’s insistence that Mubarak is not a dictator.

Things didn’t get really bad, however, until Obama began insisting, quite publicly, that Mubarak take all those “concrete steps” to leave office. It’s a generally accepted rule of diplomacy that you don’t make demands in public unless you know in advance the answer is Yes, or that you have the means to enforce your demand if the answer is No.

We saw this same behavior when the administration was young and still trying to find its footing. Remember when Obama traveled all the way to Denmark to win the Olympics for Chicago, only to get rejected in the first round of voting? Same thing now. If you’d been hoping Obama would grow into the office, those hopes just got dashed against the stones of the Presidential Palace in Cairo.

Instead, we have a president determined to prove to the world that he and his administration are ignorant, indecisive, and impotent.

Let’s call them the Three I’s of the Obama Doctrine.

UPDATE: The New York Times app just flashed that Suleiman just announced Mubarak has stepped down. No doubt, the White House will claim this is a great victory for its Egypt policy — but which policy?

Featuring I, the Host

February 10th, 2011 - 12:06 pm

Trifecta: It’s another members’ only grab-bag episode, with questions taken directly from you, the viewer.

These are awfully fun to do, especially since somebody else writes the questions and Scott and Bill do most of the answering. After nearly 42 years, I might have finally found my calling.

Capitalist Pigs in Spaaaaaaaaaaace!

February 10th, 2011 - 9:15 am

Trifecta: Whither NASA? Who cares! The real action is in the private sector — and it’s a uniquely American epic.

Trillion Dollar Chicken

February 9th, 2011 - 6:13 pm

Trifecta: Refusing to raise the debt ceiling — the end of the world, or the beginning of a new one? It’s Scott Ott’s topic, but I have the numbers that might surprise you.

Wishful Thinking in Palo Alto

February 9th, 2011 - 3:16 pm

I’m reading through Engadget‘s liveblog of HP’s big “Think Beyond” webOS event, and this picture really says a thousand words.

Look closely and you’ll see that HP’s Jon Rubinstein is claiming that in the “2011 OS Bowl,” Windows Phone 7 beats iOS, that webOS beats Android, and the two winners will battle it out for market domination… and webOS wins!

In 2010, webOS commanded 1.3% of the smartphone market. That’s about 1/15th of either Apple’s or Android’s share. Now, HP does look to have some nice devices coming out this year, including a smart looking tablet with a “planned availability” sometime this summer — three months or longer after iPad 2 and Xoom 1 hit the shelves.

So if I had to guess, I’d say consumers are already thinking beyond webOS. Way beyond.

Renaissance Tea Partyer

February 9th, 2011 - 2:11 pm

If you missed it at the PJ Tatler, here’s the link to this week’s Coast to Coast Tea Party. Trent Humphries is the guest. You might know him as the Tucson Tea Party organizer, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik’s bête noire, or the guy whom Eric Fuller threatened on the set of ABC’s This Week.

Me, I call him “the nice man who picked me up at the airport last April 15.”

Feed a Fever, Starve a Revolution

February 9th, 2011 - 11:21 am

Yikes:

Chinese officials said Wednesday they were preparing for a severe, long-lasting drought in several parched provinces, causing wheat prices to spike on the prospect of the world’s largest consumer putting pressure on a global supply that’s already squeezed.

No wonder Beijing has cracked down on news from Egypt.

From the Earth to the Moon, Privately

February 9th, 2011 - 11:16 am
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On the off chance you missed it, and on the dead-certain chance you want to watch it again.

DC Needs to Outlaw Unintended Consequences

February 9th, 2011 - 8:36 am

Stimulus spending to help provide broadband internet access is bankrupting internet access providers.

High-Speed Rail to Nowhere

February 8th, 2011 - 5:58 pm

The money train never stops! Here’s the story from the WSJ:

Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a $53 billion plan Tuesday to upgrade and build intercity passenger-rail networks.

Mr. Biden, along with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, announced the plan at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. The six-year program is designed to give 80% of Americans access to passenger-rail service within 25 years—a goal President Barack Obama set in his State of the Union Address—and to create jobs.

Maybe it’s indicative of the chances of getting the GOP Congress to approve any of this nonsense that Biden made the announcement, but I still say: “We don’t have any money left. Cut it out.”

He Gives Good Kids Bad Ideas [LINK FIXED!]

February 8th, 2011 - 5:42 pm

Mystery solved: Which Cubs game was attended by Ferris Bueller.

Meanwhile, wait for it…

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Oh Fer Cryin Out Loud

February 8th, 2011 - 2:14 pm

The President’s upcoming speech in Michigan will be “open to the public by invitation only.”

We’ll just jot that phrase down next to “military intelligence,” “accurate horoscope,” and “congressional ethics.”

It’s Palin’s World, We Just Live in It

February 8th, 2011 - 2:03 pm

Matt Drudge, the King of Juxtaposition — sorry, Ed! — put together a little somethin-somethin for us this afternoon.

Now I admit I cringe a little every time Sarah Palin uses the phrase “lamestream media.” It’s just unbecoming for a presidential wanna-be. But I see stuff like that screencap from Drudge and think, “Well, maybe it’s about time somebody said it to their faces.”

There’s an App for That

February 8th, 2011 - 11:50 am

It’s a new world: Smartphones outsold PCs for the first time ever.

Given the power and utility of an iPhone or an Android, does anyone think PCs will ever regain the top spot again?

Another Stopgap on the Road to Hell

February 8th, 2011 - 10:04 am

Coming soon from the White House, yet another plan to bailout the states:

The Obama administration is proposing short-term relief to states saddled with unemployment insurance debt, coupled with a delayed increase in the income level used to tax employers for the aid to the jobless.

The administration plans to include the proposal in its budget plan next week. The plan was described by a person familiar with the discussions on the condition of anonymity because the budget plan is still being completed.

We don’t have any money left. Cut it out.

Hair of the Dog: Christiane Amanpour takes over Egypt (yes, really), David Gregory celebrates Reagan (not really), and Willie Brown really, really understands what California politics can do to a man.

Plus, Andrea Mitchell says The Dumbest Thing of the Week.

I’ve been intrigued by Motorola’s Xoom tablet, as the first Android 3 device — and the first real iPad competitor. But wait, there’s less:

The Best Buy ad for the Xoom pegs February 24 as the launch date, Engadget reports, with the $799.99 price tag mirroring chatter late last month sparked by the “minimum advertising price” listed on some leaked Verizon Wireless documents.

If the purported $800 price tag has you seeing red, consider this: a note just below the Xoom image that says a one-month Verizon Wireless data plan is “required” to activate Wi-Fi on the tablet.

That’s right: No wifi on your $800 tablet without first paying for a $20-$80 cellular service. Don’t know yet if your wifi keeps working after your data plan runs out, or if you must keep renewing.

The howl is only just beginning, and don’t be shocked if wiser heads prevail at Moto and ditch this craptacular idea.

UPDATE: Gruber wonders if maybe Best Buy copywriters typo’d “WiFi” when it was supposed to read “wireless.” That makes a lot more sense than charging Xoom buyers an extra fee just to use their home networks for the first month.

Because a tablet that doesn’t have immediate internet connectivity isn’t a tablet, it’s a shiny brick. Personally, I’m glad I spent the extra cash (and extra $30 a month) for 3G service on my iPad. Because your internet connection shouldn’t just be immediate, for best results it should also be ubiquitous.

You Could See It Coming from a Mile Away

February 7th, 2011 - 10:42 am

This is what happens when a fighter gets too close to a bomber.

Just to Clear Things Up

February 7th, 2011 - 9:17 am
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For next year’s SuperBowl, maybe the national anthem should be sung by Buckwheat.

What This Country Needs is a Seven Cent Nickel

February 5th, 2011 - 3:20 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTLVYK3SwWM

Marxist economics: Groucho always was ahead of his time.

And See Mayor Mike Undone by a Rodent

February 5th, 2011 - 8:19 am

The latest from Sandmonkey, an enticement from Chris Christie and what the Super Bowl has in common with the federal debt — all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

Tune In

February 4th, 2011 - 4:09 pm

On the Tony Katz Radio Spectacular in five… four… three…

That’s an Awfully Big Number

February 4th, 2011 - 8:42 am

54% of Verizon’s Android and Blackberry owners are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to switch to iPhone? That seems high to me, especially given the cost to switch phone mid-contract — but time will tell.

But maybe not much time. Verizon just had its biggest launch ever with iPhone 4, even though first-week sales are limited to existing customers.

The Dismal Science

February 4th, 2011 - 8:09 am

Jobs are growing! The unemployment rate is shrinking! But all is not well:

The economy added only 36,000 jobs in January — falling far short of expectations. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate sunk to 9%, down from 9.4% the month before.

Economists surveyed by CNNMoney were expecting the economy to add 149,000 jobs during the month, and the unemployment rate to rise to 9.5%.

If those numbers don’t seem to add up (“They expected higher unemployment with more jobs?”), maybe this will help explain the discrepancy:

The Labor Force Participation Rate declined to 64.2% in January (blue line). This is the lowest level since the early ’80s. (This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force. The participation rate is well below the 66% to 67% rate that was normal over the last 20 years.)

The jobless, in other words, are simply giving up. And if all that weren’t dismal enough, let’s go back to the first story’s conclusion:

The Labor Department also revised payroll numbers for 2010. Eight months were revised downward, by a combined total of 298,000 jobs. Four months were revised upward, adding 83,000 jobs to the 2010 tally.

Overall, there were 215,000 fewer jobs added in 2010 than previously reported.

The labor market typically needs at least 300,000 job gains each month to make a difference in the unemployment rate, economists say, and at least 150,000 to keep pace with population growth.

So how do we get out of this hole? Maybe like so:

The productivity of U.S. businesses climbed a seasonally adjusted 2.6% in the fourth quarter as labor costs fell again, according to the latest government data.

For all of 2010, the Labor Department reported that U.S. productivity grew 3.6%, marking the fastest increase in eight years.

The part of the economy that’s working, is really working. But the economy’s job-creation engine — entrepreneurs — has effectively Gone Galt, and no amount of string-pushing or dubious tax incentives are going to bring them back.