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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Going Boldly… Home

March 11th, 2011 - 8:41 am

The Space Shuttle Endevour has been rolled out for its final flight, with mission commander Mark Kelly. The US Government is now two shuttle flights away from being out of the business of manned spaceflight.

Despite remarkable achievements in the private sector, it’s hard not to see this as the end of an era — and ending with a whimper, not a bang.

Now That You Ask…

March 10th, 2011 - 2:57 pm

Trifecta: So, ya miss W yet?

Release Your Anger

March 10th, 2011 - 9:10 am

Trifecta: We take a look at the dark side of last month’s rosy jobs report. This one ain’t for the squeamish.

Madison Was Just the Beginning

March 10th, 2011 - 9:07 am

Buried deep in the WSJ‘s Wisconsin coverage is a hidden gem from that other midwestern state battling public unions. No, not Indiana — the other, other state:

Another fight over public-employee collective-bargaining rights is under way in Ohio, where Republican Gov. John Kasich supports eliminating most bargaining rights for the state’s 400,000 public workers. A bill that cleared the Senate is now in the Republican-controlled House and is expected to be passed after a series of committee hearings that began this week.

I mention it because later today I’ll be speaking with Chris Littleton for Coast to Coast Tea Party. He’s President of the Ohio Liberty Council, which he describes as the “Chamber of Commerce” for tea parties — and he’s part of the fight there in Ohio. Looking forward to this one.

Hedge Your… Everything

March 9th, 2011 - 11:26 am

Over at Cumulative Model, Aaron C has been doing tremendous work keeping track of inflation/deflation risks. Today is no different, as he has charts stuffed with BEA data showing that expenses (food, rent, gas, etc) are rising as a percentage of disposable income.

Normally, workers would demand higher wages to match, but as I emailed to Aaron just now, fears of

unemployment should easily keep a lid on wage demands in the face of rising expenses. But something’s got to give — either prices fall in line with income & employment, or we double dip. Or am I missing something?

I haven’t heard back yet, but that double dip is looking perhaps as likely as not.

UPDATE: Aaron replies:

That’s my feeling. If gas gets much above the 4%, I think we’ll double dip. It’s not quite as high a share of DI as in ’08, but healthcare has put more stress on budgets.

Earlier today, David Paul Kuhn asked, “Could gas prices sink Obama’s reelection?

Seems that way to me.

Trifecta: Watch Michael Moore rouse the rabble in Wisconsin! Watch as Bill and Scott and Steve have tremendous fun at his expense!

Need a Course in White House Studies?

March 9th, 2011 - 8:26 am

Well, of course they don’t:

“We don’t have any contacts in the administration,” said Avi Zonneveld, founder of Muslims for Progressive Values, based in Los Angeles. “The Canadian government is much more accessible,” she said.

Classically-liberal Muslims are the poor victims of false consciousness, and must be shunted aside in favor of authentic Muslims – you know, the ones in favor of shari’a and the veil and maybe blowing stuff up and all that.

Or so goes the thinking in the White House, apparently. And if you needed a clearer indication that this administration is led and staffed by faculty-lounge Marxists with absolutely no concept of where America’s interests lie, well, there ya go.

National Palestinian Radio?

March 8th, 2011 - 3:22 pm

Trifecta: It’s a rapid response episode as Scott Ott, Bill Whittle and I take on the latest nonsense at National Public Radio.

Every Silver Cloud Has a Dark Lining

March 8th, 2011 - 10:35 am

When the Saudi pat us on the head and pledge to “ensure adequate supply” of oil to global markets, that doesn’t mean everything is OK. The Saudis are excellent capitalists, and like to squeeze the world for every dime on a barrel it can get — without squeezing us dry. If oil prices rise too far, too fast, then the economy shuts down — and demand goes down the toilet.

And ask any Saudi prince: It ain’t cheap bringing in chartered jets full of scotch. They need our economy to stay healthy.

So the message I take away from the story is that the Saudis are afraid that our recovery hasn’t really gained much momentum, and that we’re just one oil shock away from taking a ride on the Double Dip.

Monster Chiller Horror Sunday Morning

March 7th, 2011 - 4:15 pm

Hair of the Dog: See the evil experiments Dr. Christiane Amanpour is conducting in ABC’s dungeon, David Gregory gets transmogrified into a cricket, and madman John McCain zaps an entire Chinese city out of existence.

It’s a very scary episode, kids.

And Another One Bites the Desert

March 7th, 2011 - 11:45 am

BREAKING: Nevada Swinger Senator John Ensign is likely to announce his retirement.

Anyone? Anyone?

March 7th, 2011 - 10:34 am

Nice piece in the WSJ about the mess that is ObamaCare. And the very first item in a very long list of the law’s complaints and injuries is this one:

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has handed out nearly 1,000 waivers to allow select companies, unions and states to escape, at least temporarily, some of the burdensome new insurance rules she has created. This is a continuation of the trend of the “Cornhusker Kickback” and the “Louisiana Purchase” that Senate Democrats used to get the law passed in the first place, and that so disgusted the American people.

Isn’t there an Equal Protections case to be made against ObamaCare? When the HHS director gets to pick and choose winners and losers at whim, I’d say the law makes a mockery of the 14th Amendment. There might even be a Due Process problem here.

Or am I totally off-base on this one?

On a Lazy Sunday Afternoon

March 6th, 2011 - 1:28 pm

All these years later, and I still never tire of reading fresh takes on Firefly.

Union thugs, a cry for help from Libya and nuclear Teddy Roosevelt — all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

The Big Man Runneth?

March 4th, 2011 - 10:24 am

Coast to Coast Tea Party: Today I talk with Steve Lonegan of the New Jersey chapter of Americans for Prosperity, about the counter-protest he put together in Trenton last week in support of Governor Chris Christie.

It’s always fun to interview New Jersey people — they hold nothin’ back.

Bonus: Lonegan’s prediction about Christie and 2012.

Dude, Where’s My Plug-In Car?

March 4th, 2011 - 9:07 am

OK, so all-electric vehicles [er, mostly-electric -ed.] are a flop. The good news is, Nissan can pull the plug on the Leaf at any time. The bad news is, GM will keep building subsidized Volts at your expense for as long as their political masters in the White House deem they should.

Crony capitalism: It’s not just for Asian potentates!

Return of the Seven Cent Nickle

March 4th, 2011 - 8:59 am

Are my inflation fears overblown? Perhaps — the surge in commodity prices ought to tamper demand, and even with today’s good jobs report it’s not exactly like the labor market is so tight that workers will demand (or get) inflationary wages.

That said, the Fed is monetizing more than half a trillion dollars in federal debt this year, and Washington continues to borrow money at unsustainable rates. Eventually, the urge — need? — to inflate that debt away might well prove irresistible.

Ziggy Could Not Be Reached for Comment

March 3rd, 2011 - 9:42 am

Funniest thing you’ll see all week — New Yorker comics re-done with Charlie Sheen quotes.

Trifecta: How to survive the mancession.

Bonus: Best laughing baby video evah.

Just a thought: You can always spend money you’ve saved, but you can’t save money you’ve spent.

That, and don’t count on Uncle Sam to honor those Social Security payout projections.

Get Them Before They’re Gone

March 2nd, 2011 - 1:42 pm

$100-$150 discounts on new and refurbished first-generation iPads, direct from Apple.

$349 for a base model? I might just get one for the five-year-old. And a bulletproof case.

Intolerance Will Not Be Tolerated

March 2nd, 2011 - 1:34 pm

Trifecta: You want the dish on Tea Party haters? Bill Whittle has it.

Steve Jobs Lives

March 2nd, 2011 - 11:05 am

He’s at the Apple iPad event and “looks good!

That’s worth eight bucks a share in today’s trading right there.

Obama Stays True to Formlessness

March 2nd, 2011 - 10:35 am

Ruth Marcus on the “Where’s Waldo?” president:

For a man who won office talking about change we can believe in, Barack Obama can be a strangely passive president. There are a startling number of occasions in which the president has been missing in action — unwilling, reluctant or late to weigh in on the issue of the moment. He is, too often, more reactive than inspirational, more cautious than forceful.

Um… Ruth? This is surprising from a politician who made a career out of voting “present” on tough bills?

Run for the Hills

March 2nd, 2011 - 9:31 am

D-Day: June 30, 2011 — or “who will buy bonds when the Fed stops?Business Insider has the scary story on Bill Gross’s prediction:

Investors should view June 30th, 2011 not as political historians view November 11th, 1918 (Armistice Day – a day of reconciliation and healing) but more like June 6th, 1944 (D-Day – a day fraught with hope for victory, but fueled with immediate uncertainty and fear as to what would happen in the short term). Bond yields and stock prices are resting on an artificial foundation of QE II credit that may or may not lead to a successful private market handoff and stability in currency and financial markets. 15% gratuities may lie ahead, but more than likely there is a negative two-bit or even eight-bit tip lying on the investment table. Like I did 45 years ago, PIMCO’s not sticking around to see the waitress’s reaction.

The Fed’s been papering over our problems with paper money, but that doesn’t mean the bill won’t come due.

What to Expect from iPad 2

March 2nd, 2011 - 8:44 am

Apple’s iPad 2 event starts at 10AM Pacific, so a few thoughts on what to expect.

•An evolutionary improvement, not a revolution. Apple had the revolution with the iPad last year and there are at least two reasons not to expect any major improvements to the new device. First, it just isn’t yet economical to put a “retina class” display in a ten-inch device. Second, not one competitor has yet matched or exceeded the original iPad. Motorola’s Xoom is the closest — and it’s not all that close.

The new iPad will be thinner, maybe lighter. The new screen won’t have more pixels, but it might have improved antiglare. It will certainly have a front-facing FaceTime camera, as Apple strives to put FaceTime into every product they make. Rear camera? I’m less certain. One Xoom reviewer said that taking pictures with a tablet was like taking pictures with a shiny lunch tray. The new version of iOS will have some nice improvements: FaceTime, Photo Booth, and hopefully an improved alert system.

•There will be versions for both Verizon and AT&T cellular networks — and 4G speed is a real possibility, although I haven’t seen that discussed anywhere. Still, with Motorola providing free (but far from hassle-free) 4G upgrades for Xoom buyers, it makes sense for Apple to sell 4G right out of the box.

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With Apologies to Thurl Ravenscroft

March 2nd, 2011 - 8:09 am

Trifecta: Is this week’s members-only grab bag our funnest episode ever? We’ve got Charlie Sheen, Congressman Wu, and San Francisco nuttiness — so, well, yeah it is.

Trifecta: Watching the President’s non-response to the Libyan Civil War, it’s fair to ask if the US is still a superpower.

How to Get Your Drink on for Mardi Gras

March 1st, 2011 - 9:51 am

Via Will Collier, natch.

Especially Ugly for the Mullahs

March 1st, 2011 - 9:20 am

Over at The Tatler, Michael Ledeen has connected the dots in Iran — and the picture isn’t pretty.