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Monthly Archives: February 2012

New Avengers Trailer

February 29th, 2012 - 10:43 am
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You’re welcome.

One Week Out

February 29th, 2012 - 10:33 am

Here’s a roundup of iPad 3 rumors. The totally unsubstantiated one I hope comes true is Aperture for iPad.

Apple’s own GarageBand and iMovie made the jump from desktop to tablet, so why not Apple’s best in-house photo software? It’s a powerful piece of software kit, so it might not run on iPad 2, just like iMovie won’t run on iPad 1 — giving a lot of people a powerful reason to upgrade.

Comb, Baby, Comb!

February 29th, 2012 - 8:39 am

The Donald:

“I have many friends in Saudi Arabia and other countries and they can’t believe what they’re getting away with,” Trump said. “They can’t believe how stupid we are. We don’t need Saudi Arabia.”

“President Obama has not seen fit for [energy to be] a major agenda. Obamacare was a major agenda,” said Trump, referring to the president’s health-care plan. “If he spent one-third of the effort on energy we wouldn’t even be bringing oil in.”

I hate waking up and having to agree with Donald Trump first thing in the morning.

Never One-Click While Drinking

February 28th, 2012 - 6:08 pm

I’d forgotten I’d done this until the package arrived from Amazon, but Melissa and I were watching Contagion on Sunday night, and sometime during the first act I ordered a box of surgical masks.

Scariest movie I’ve seen in a long time.

I’d (Rather Not) Buy That for a Dollar

February 28th, 2012 - 2:51 pm

If you’re looking for a tablet with two tiny screens instead of one usable one, that opens up like a laptop but doesn’t have a real keyboard, that would appear to wobble back and forth on any flat surface, and that costs more than an entry-level iPad — well, has Sony got just the thing for you! The Tablet P — derided here before — is going on sale soon in the US.

I just don’t get it. $549 for this thing — or $399 if you’re willing to subject yourself to a contract with AT&T. It runs an old version of Android, almost no on-board memory, and a form-factor pretty much nobody wants.

What the hell is Sony thinking?

I Want to be Evil

February 28th, 2012 - 1:41 pm

You might have read that Google has promised to stop circumventing your browser’s privacy settings — by the end of the year. Thanks, fellas. Now, Google has an browser extension called “Keep My Opt-Outs,” which promises to “block all cookies related to personalized ads.”

Of course, it only works with Google’s own Chrome browser.

Set Amex for Stun

February 28th, 2012 - 12:57 pm

Looks like the iPad 3 will be unveiled, as expected, on March 7.

I’m thinking I’ll get the 64GB model this time. I have my 32GB iPad 1 so loaded up with books for the kids, there’s no longer room for any video. Yep, I filled it to the rim.

But 3G (or LTE) connectivity is an automatic upgrade. The genius of the tablet is that it makes computing ubiquitous — if you have a cellular connection. Well worth the extra cash.

UPDATE: Will the iPad 3 come with a price hike? That’s what one report claims:

The last few weeks have seen a whirlwind of iPad-related rumors in anticipation of the event. Another purported leak from a Chinese microblogging site has suggested that Apple’s high-definition Retina Display could add a previously unexpected $80 premium to the price of the iPad, pushing the entry level price up to $579 for the Wi-Fi-only 16GB model. All Wi-Fi models would see an $80 price boost, the documents suggest, while 3G-capable models would see their prices rise $70 each.

I doubt this is the case. A $70 hike on the most expensive model, would bring the price of a 64GB, 3G iPad up to $899. That’s just $100 less than a similarly-equipped MacBook Air. And boosting the entry-level to almost $600 — at a time when Apple still has no serious competitor — seems like lunacy.

Dark horse? Apple keeps producing a single, low-end iPad 2 model, yours for just $300 or $350.

The Marching Song Remains the Same

February 28th, 2012 - 11:39 am

“If only all of Rome had just one neck.”
-From Gore Vidal’s Caligula screenplay (1979)

Megan McArdle reiterated her ancient call to eliminate corporate taxes yesterday. It’s a good column, even if she did forget to mention that corporations don’t actually pay any taxes. But what most intrigued me was this bit from the end of her column:

If we really hate corporate power, we’d probably want to look at the things that entrench it–like heavy regulatory burdens that are more easily borne by large, powerful companies. But this is not an argument that ever gets much traction outside of some economists, and the libertarian community. Which makes me think that the corporate income tax is largely expressive–we like policies which penalize corporations, particularly big ones, regardless of their actual effect on corporate power.

“We” like these policies, as Megan alludes, because they make us feel good. Not because, as she says explicitly, they actually do any good. But why do they make us feel good? Because the progressive left has for years owned the moral narrative on corporations. Big bad corporations are bad, are must be reined in by big good government.

But how does the progressive left really feel about big business? Ten years ago, Michael Moore accidentally let that cat out of the bag — and then promptly ate it. This story is so old I have only a cached version of a Free Republic repost of an Arcata Eye story, which, for whatever reason, has disappeared from the Eye‘s servers. But here you go:

Asked about Arcata’s pending cap on pattern restaurant expansion, [Rotund filmmaker Michael] Moore – widely recognized as a corporate antagonist – again confounded expectations. “Where will you eat?” he asked. “Can’t you have at least one Jamba Juice?”

Why the love for the juice giant? Here’s why:

You know in my town the small businesses that everyone wanted to protect? They were the people that supported all the right-wing groups. They were the Republicans in the town, they were in the Kiwanas, the Chamber of Commerce – people that kept the town all white. The small hardware salesman, the small clothing store salespersons, Jesse the Barber who signed his name three different times on three different petitions to recall me from the school board. F**k all these small businesses – f**k 'em all! Bring in the chains. The small businesspeople are the rednecks that run the town and suppress the people. F**k 'em all. That's how I feel."

Mikey likes Jamba Juice because Jamba Juice is 750 juice shops — with just the one neck for him to squeeze. Racism? School boards? Republicans? None of it matters in the particulars. Progressives used to be for racism, when they thought eugenics was the path to power. And voter fraud is perhaps the oldest progressive game. Any excuse will do, so long as the goal remains in sight: Stasis. Big government and big business, all wrapped up together to lock out rivals to both.

It should be noted that stasis is essentially feudal. And we’re the serfs.

Let’s go back to a column of mine from 2003, called “Soft Fascism.” There are two key bits:

Forget Mussolini’s silly wars in Africa and Greece. Forget the horrible splendor of the Nuremburg rallies. Forget, if for only a moment, the Holocaust.

Instead, remember how fascism worked as a political system…

Businesses were seen as semi-private cogs in the government machine – useful for producing jobs, handing out tax dollars to favored individuals, earning kickbacks to favored politicians, and making the tools of war. Business was at once a means of getting and distributing money, and media businesses were useful and tolerated so long as they spewed propaganda, or at least hewed to the Party line.

Companies that weren’t useful didn’t get the juiciest government contracts, and they might just find they had serious labor issues coming up. Further recalcitrance could lead to more severe means of correction, best left to the imagination.

And then this, describing how much of Europe still functions today:

I call it “soft fascism.” Europe doesn’t have any concentration camps – but who needs those, when it’s just as easy to simply ban “offensive” speech, as France has done? Who needs to vest all power in one man, when one million men (bureaucrats, really) in Brussels can make the trains run on time? Who needs to wage war for resources, if you can buy off Middle East dictators for their oil? Who needs lebensraum when populations are declining? Who needs Joseph Goebbels, when you’ve got the BBC? Who needs a single political party, when all the many existing ones pretty much all agree that the way things have been done, is the way things should be done?

Now you tell me in which direction this country is moving. In small steps, these last few decades — and in a couple of giant leaps these last three years.

They’ll call it “consensus” and “community” and “moving together” and “shared responsibility.” But what those nice words really mean is: There’s no room for outcasts, upstarts — or dissent.

All of Rome can have just one neck. It’s simply a matter of concentrating the power — er, a matter of gathering the arteries — so that they may be squeezed by just a few hands.

And Chris Christie Does His Thing [LINK FIXED!]

February 28th, 2012 - 9:34 am

Hair of the Dog: We’ve got a little bit of everything, including Rick Santorum, the President’s most recent apology tour, and Juan Williams’ inter-show fling with Jennifer Granholm.

BONUS: First-ever This Week Sasquatch sighting.

Wasted Day and Wasted Night

February 27th, 2012 - 4:23 pm

Wow — now that was a nap. And it was as accidental as it was totally necessary.

We had a nasty little stomach bug running through Casa Verde. THe six-year-old had it last Sunday, then Melissa a couple days later. Our visiting niece dealt with it on Wednesday. By Sunday, I figured I must be pretty safe, having dodged it for a week.

Oops.

It’s vicious, but short-lived. Everybody else felt oogy all day, then fine by bedtime. As usual, I got it bass-ackwards. My stomach started doing flip-flops and my sweats started running cold right at dinner time. Was up most of the night doing unspeakable things — and not in a fun way, like I spent the ’90s. Everything was, ah, sorted out just in time to get two, maybe three hours of sleep.

This morning, I had an extra cup of coffee, taped Hair of the Dog while wearing enough makeup to cover any number of sins, and then passed the heck out. Back in a bit. Melissa is paging me from upstairs, and that’s making me nervous.

And Claire McCaskill Just Keeps Digging

February 25th, 2012 - 8:15 am

Alec Baldwin’s failtastic talk radio audition, David Cross’s peculiar drug habit, and the 300-pound naked Walmart shoplifter — all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

BONUS: Rick Santorum moneyman Foster Friess leaves Andrea Mitchell speechless.

Friday Night Videos [FIXED]

February 24th, 2012 - 9:58 pm
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Because if you’re going to steal shamelessly from Louis Prima, do it really, really well.

Fill it to the RIM — With Fail

February 24th, 2012 - 9:10 am

The Verge did a scarily in-depth review of RIM’s new PlayBook 2, but I’ve got the bullet-point version.

• “Most of the bugs are finally gone,” they say. So RIM’s got that going for them. Which is nice.

• It has email! Not very good email, but still.

• It can run some Android apps in emulation or something, because almost nobody is developing native apps for it.

• It’s the exact same hardware.

You read that last one right: PlayBook 2 runs on the same hardware as the original PlayBook, which sucked in comparison to 2010′s iPad 1. What RIM is pitching as PlayBook 2, is really just an OS upgrade — something Apple offers its iOS customers for free each year.

I think RIM has gone past “fail” and into “doom.”

Posted Without Comment

February 24th, 2012 - 7:48 am
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Required Viewing

February 23rd, 2012 - 12:57 pm

Trifecta: Scott Ott dug up the best story in the history of all things ever.

Seriously. Just click.

A Limited Time Offer

February 23rd, 2012 - 7:54 am

How to remove your Google search history before the new “privacy” terms go into effect.

Also, in the nine days I’ve been using Do Not Track Plus, it’s blocked nearly 37,000 tracking attempts. If you haven’t already downloaded it (it’s free), you’re missing out on a much, much faster browsing experience.

Forgive the Language

February 23rd, 2012 - 5:03 am

I know it’s childish, but I just don’t care.

Obama to OWS: “Suckers!”

February 22nd, 2012 - 3:50 pm

I alluded to a HuffPo story in this morning’s column, but it deserves a slightly fuller treatment. Here’s the meat:

President Obama’s campaign manager has a message for Wall Street: This time around, we’ll lay off.

Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, told the hosts of a $38,500 per-plate fundraiser geared towards investment bankers and hedge fund managers that the president wouldn’t make Wall Street look bad during his re-election campaign, Bloomberg reports. The assurance follows Obama’s call to raise taxes on the rich in his latest budget proposal.

The current attempt at appeasement also comes as Obama attempts to win back the donors that provided him with so much last election.

Off course Obama will go easy on Wall Street. That’s where the money is.

Program Note

February 22nd, 2012 - 1:45 pm

But of course I’ll drunkblog tonight’s big season-ending finale of GOP Celebrity Debate.

Tune in to the PJ Media homepage about 15 minutes before showtime for all the fun.

The GOP Cancelled Keystone XL, I Swear 100%

February 22nd, 2012 - 12:12 pm

BREAKING: Jim Carney is a big, fat liarhead.

“It’s the economy, stupid.”

February 22nd, 2012 - 10:02 am

Trifecta: Has the GOP field gotten too distracted by social issues to beat President Obama in November?

The Wall Street Journal has uncovered yet more madness in the President’s tardy budget plan:

Mr. Obama is proposing to raise the dividend tax rate to the higher personal income tax rate of 39.6% that will kick in next year. Add in the planned phase-out of deductions and exemptions, and the rate hits 41%. Then add the 3.8% investment tax surcharge in ObamaCare, and the new dividend tax rate in 2013 would be 44.8%—nearly three times today’s 15% rate.

Keep in mind that dividends are paid to shareholders only after the corporation pays taxes on its profits. So assuming a maximum 35% corporate tax rate and a 44.8% dividend tax, the total tax on corporate earnings passed through as dividends would be 64.1%.

That’s nearly two-thirds going straight into Uncle Sam’s pocket, just for sitting there and promising to maybe “go easy on you” next year. Nice work if you can get it. Way to sock it to those mean old corporations, too, Mr. President. And to which I’d like to add: Herp-derp-derp.

The problem is, corporations don’t pay taxes. Not one red cent. They never have and they never will, even if you jack up the corporate rate to infinity-percent-plus-one.

I got this fantastic notion this morning, when I remembered an Econ 101 lecture given by Prof. Walter Johnson at Mizzou twenty-mumble years ago. He was an institution at the university, and punctuated his lectures with, “Money, money, money — I love it!” in his gravelly voice. See, Johnson was something of a Kennedy Democrat, back when Democrats still honestly cared about a growing economy.

During one class he told us the story of the Columbia, Missouri city council getting the idea that there were all these students in town — and those lazy good-for-nothings weren’t paying any property taxes. Why, true and sturdy full-time residents pay property taxes on their homes, but these meddling kids are here most of the year, and all they do is rent. We’ve got to make them pay!

So Johnson gave the council a good talking to. He told them — and I think this is an exact quote — that, “just because someone doesn’t have a receipt, doesn’t mean they aren’t paying taxes.” And then he gave the council his proof.

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You Magnificent Bastards, I Read Your Book

February 21st, 2012 - 4:05 pm

Trifecta: Timothy Geithner fiddles while the Treasury burns. Does President Obama have Cloward-Piven in full effect?

It’s Absolutely Uncertain

February 21st, 2012 - 3:10 pm

Microsoft may or may not have a version of Office ready for iPad.

Required Reading

February 21st, 2012 - 1:25 pm

There’s a lot of strong language — all of it richly deserved — as Matt Gemmell takes on Hollywood’s antipiracy efforts:

The majority of people have a basic desire to be honest – and I mean actually honest, rather than some limited definition based strictly on the law. People will go to reasonable lengths to be honest. It makes us feel good about ourselves, and it confers a certain immunity from legal problems.

But then you fuck us. First you fuck us with exorbitant pricing. Then you fuck us with inconvenience by not making your content universally available when we want it. Then you fuck us by treating every paying customer like a criminal.

Fucked by money, fucked by convenience, and fucked by judgement. We know that you hate us, and you’d better be aware that we absolutely hate you too.

Read the whole thing. This isn’t just a rant — Gemmell makes some very smart points about what Hollywood should be doing to please customers, reduce piracy, and increase profits.

Santorum’s Next Target: Apple Pie

February 21st, 2012 - 10:15 am

Ron Paul called social conservatism “a losing position” over the weekend. This might have something to do with that:

“This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country – the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age?”

“He attacks all of us and he attacks all of our institutions.”

Santorum made the provocative comments to students at Ave Maria University in Florida.

The White House contender described how Satan is even taking hold of some religions.

“We look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.”

“Provocative?” Santorum just attacked half the Protestant churches in this country. Way to win the middle, Rick, now that you’ve dissed Reagan and alienated the libertarians.

Candidate See ‘n’ Say does not have the judgement to be President.

Back Off, Pal

February 21st, 2012 - 9:15 am

Does Rick Santorum have a “libertarian problem?” You bet he does:

Polls of Republican voters almost always lump conservatives and libertarians together, making it difficult to gauge the number of libertarians in the party.

Clearly, though, there is a sizable and growing portion of the Republican Party that identifies with libertarianism’s more free-market philosophy. Libertarianism, which Ronald Reagan called the “very heart and soul of conservatism,” is particularly popular among young people.

And then:

It is not just Santorum’s voting record that frightens libertarians; it is his outward hostility to the libertarian movement. On one occasion Santorum stated, “I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement.” On another occasion, speaking on the ascendancy of the tea party, Santorum declared, “I’ve got some real concerns about this movement within the Republican Party and the tea party movement to sort of refashion conservatism, and I will vocally and publicly oppose it.”

We didn’t pick this fight with Santorum. He came looking for one.

There He Goes…

February 21st, 2012 - 8:45 am

From hopenchange to… dare we say “malaise?” I don’t think that’s too far off the mark:

“If you’re willing to put in the work, the idea is that you should be able to raise a family and own a home; not go bankrupt because you got sick, because you’ve got some health insurance that helps you deal with those difficult times; that you can send your kids to college; that you can put some money away for retirement,” Obama said recently in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“That’s all most people want,” he said. “Folks don’t have unrealistic ambitions. They do believe that if they work hard they should be able to achieve that small measure of an American Dream.”

I’m feeling so inspired I could just snort some Xanax.

Lighting a Fire Under Amazon

February 20th, 2012 - 1:23 pm

B&N might be preparing a new and improved Nook tablet to go head-to-head against the Kindle Fire at the $199 price.

I think the old Nook, at $249, is a better deal and a better tablet than the Fire. I’m almost tempted to pick one of these up if the story pans out.

Required Reading

February 20th, 2012 - 1:07 pm

From The Onion: “GOP Voters: ‘Can We See What It Looks Like With Huntsman And Perry Again?’”

I laughed until I cried. Or maybe it was the other way around.