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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Attention All Gadget Nuts

February 9th, 2012 - 8:28 am

iPad 3 coming first week of March. Just in time, as my iPad 1 is a little long in the tooth.

Now if only I could reserve one already…

UPDATE: The “retina” display is all-but official, too. That’s 2,048-by-1,536 pixels on a 9.7-inch display. By comparison, my awesome 24-inch monitor shows slightly fewer pixels — 1,920-by-1,200.

The Trouble with Romney

February 8th, 2012 - 4:17 pm

From Michael Memoli at the L.A. Times:

But looking at the state-by-state results, there are some troubling signs for the Romney team in Boston. For starters, Romney won both of last night’s caucus states in his 2008 bid for the GOP nomination, when he was seen as a more conservative alternative to John McCain. And Tuesday’s third-place finish in Minnesota was especially embarrassing, both for Romney and his national co-chairman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

The kind of person who votes in a meaningless primary or goes to a party caucus in February is the same person a nominee will need this fall volunteering to make phone calls, go door-to-door and rally others to vote in the general election. In other words, the base.

So even as the narrative was that Romney was getting closer to locking up the party’s nomination, hundreds of thousands of the party’s core supporters turned out and voted for someone else.

Up until yesterday, Romney was doing as well — if not better than — anybody else with self-described conservatives, Tea Party voters, and even SoCons. That’s still true this afternoon, only less so. And a chink has appeared in his armor. But then there’s this:

That being said, the fundamentals of the Romney campaign are still strong. He’s got a decided advantage in fundraising, and a super PAC ready to fuel an air war ahead of Super Tuesday contests. Those resources were notably not deployed this week.

He’s got an organization that can wage a multi-front campaign, while rivals Gingrich and Santorum won’t even be on the ballot in some states, like delegate-rich Virginia on March 6.

If he wins the nomination, as still seems likely, then Romney’s general-election strategy would seem to be a mirror-image of Obama’s: Just absolutely smear the other guy with everything and everything and hope your base remains slightly less dispirited than his base.

It would make Election 2000 look absolutely wholesome.

I need a drink.

Everybody Knows

February 8th, 2012 - 12:04 pm

Good news for Android owners: Google’s Chrome browser is coming to your phone.* This is good, because Chrome is an awesome browser.

Better news for Android owners: It won’t support Flash. This is good, because Flash is battery-killing, OS-crashing malware — no matter what certain smartphone makers have been trying to tell you for the last few years.

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The Same One She Swore to Uphold and Defend?

February 8th, 2012 - 10:30 am

Trifecta: What is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg doing on Egyptian TV — trash-talking the US Constitution?

Santormentum!

February 8th, 2012 - 8:53 am

So what happened last night? Is Rick Santorum suddenly the GOP frontrunner? Well, let’s look at yesterday’s contests and what might happen next.

Missouri’s beauty pageant was a nice, if ultimately meaningless win — although the magnitude of it should give Mitt Romney pause. Still, I grew up in the Show-Me State, and voters there tend to be very Catholic and quite conservative — and that’s just the Democrats. Santorum came in with a strong hand, and played it perfectly.

Colorado held a caucus, which tends to bring out the less-moderate voters. That’s never a plus for Romney. My next of the woods, El Paso County, is the heart of the state GOP. It’s evangelical and very socially conservative, and not at all comfortable with Romney. We also just had our third (fourth?) snow storm in the last six days. Only the most energized voters bothered to caucus, and that ain’t exactly Team Romney. The moderate wing of the state GOP has also been slaughtered in recent years, in a fratricidal mess the likes of which I’ve never seen before firsthand. Calling it “ugly” is calling Ava Gardner “pleasant to look at.”

Minnesota is more difficult to explain. Honestly, I figured the moderates would hold sway there, giving Romney a nice plurality. That so did not happen. It looks instead like Santorum might be cementing himself as either the Midwest Candidate or the Small State Candidate — or perhaps both. He could keep racking up some impressive caucus wins, and be a real force at the convention.

Does that mean I don’t see him as the nominee? That’s exactly right, and I’ll tell you why.

Romney didn’t get caught exactly by surprise in South Carolina. As I’ve written here before, losing there was always part of the gameplan, with Florida as his backstop. So far, so good. What did, I think, catch Team Romney by surprise was the sudden swift rise of Newt Gingrich as the non-Romney flavor du jour. Surely, Santorum’s Tuesday Trifecta must come as an equal shock.

So now Santorum will have to deal with something new. So far, he’s run a scrappy campaign where Romney could afford to mostly ignore him. That’s about to change. I posted on Twitter last night:

Santorum’s next challenge: The Romney machine that is about to come down on him like it came down on Gingrich after South Carolina.

Santorum hasn’t had to face that yet, and he’d best start raising (and spending) some serious money if he’s going to combat it. Gingrich was absolutely pummeled by attack ads in Florida, and they brought his campaign to a screeching halt. The former frontrunner wasn’t even a factor in yesterday’s races.

The next stop is Maine’s weird week-long caucus. It’s a small state, so a scrappy little campaign can fight there. But it could also prove an expensive diversion, with Arizona and Michigan coming up shortly after. Then comes Super Tuesday, where money and organization –perhaps Romney’s only real strengths — will mean much, if not everything.

Does Santorum have a path to victory? If he can win Maine, Arizona, and Michigan — then maybe, yes. But it’s still a longshot.

Made-ish in America

February 7th, 2012 - 3:36 pm

Trifecta: Clint Eastwood’s Super Bowl ad for Detroit — you know we had to go there.

Kathleen Sebelius: Under the Bus?

February 7th, 2012 - 3:35 pm

Looks like the White House is trying to walk back on the decision to require Catholic charities to cover birth control in their health insurance plans:

“There are conversations right now to arrange a meeting to talk with folks about how this policy can be nuanced,” said Pastor Joel C. Hunter, a Florida megachurch pastor who has grown personally close to Obama and advised his White House on religious issues. “This is so fixable, and we just want to get into the conversation.”

Hunter’s comments followed a statement by David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Obama’s reelection campaign, who indicated on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday that the White House might be open to a compromise on the matter.

“We certainly don’t want to abridge anyone’s religious freedoms, so we’re going to look for a way to move forward that both provides women with the preventive care that they need and respects the prerogatives of religious institutions,” he said.

Axelrod — if nobody else on Team Obama — has to know how dangerous it is to mess with 77 million Catholics on an issue on conscience. Besides, there was no “right” to free contraceptives before ObamaCare simply dictated one into existence.

The quicker the White House can figure out a way to back down, the better for it.

The NFL’s Free Endorsement Deal

February 7th, 2012 - 2:40 pm

The most effective ad on Super Bowl Sunday might have been the one nobody paid to broadcast.

Reading for Pleasure

February 7th, 2012 - 1:02 pm

I still haven’t read Austin Bay’s new book on Ataturk, but it’s going to the top of my (virtual) reading pile after seeing this WSJ review.

Got caught up in the whole region years ago, after getting sent Noriwich’s A Short History of Byzantium, because I’d forgotten to fill out the Do Not Send card from the History Book Club. Followed that up with a couple of books — since forgotten — on the Ottomans, who replaced the Greeks as the imperialists of the Eastern Med. But I’ve been short on post-WWI reading on Turkey, so Austin’s book will be a welcome addition to the library.

I have no pity for this woman:

Former Democratic congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper, a Catholic from Erie, Pennsylvania, cast a crucial vote in favor of Obamacare in 2010. She lost her seat that November in part because of her controversial support of Obamacare. But Dahlkemper said recently that she would have never voted for the health care bill had she known that the Department of Health and Human Services would require all private insurers, including Catholic charities and hospitals, to provide free coverage of contraception, sterilization procedures, and the “week-after” pill “ella” that can induce early abortions.

Next time, read the [REDACTED] bill so you can know what’s in it.

You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Box

February 7th, 2012 - 8:46 am

Frank-Dodd, in a box. Click to embiggen.

Think you’re confused? Most of the rules & regulations aren’t even written yet, so fiancesclurosis is the rule of the day.

Hair of the Dog: Bob Schieffer brought out the inevitable long knives for the inevitable Mitt Romney, David Gregory squawked for the White House, and George Will is the Fat Lady of ABC News. All in all, a pretty fabulous weekend for me, and a pretty terrible one for everybody else.

BONUS: See Callista Gingrich’s shopping spree!

From the Ministry of Truth:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney explained that the number of people dropping out of the work force, which artificially depresses the unemployment rate, can be regarded as an “economic positive.”

“A large percentage of that is due to younger people getting more education, which in the end is an economic positive,” Carney said. “This increase in the number of people leaving the work force has been a trend and a fact since 2000, because of an aging population, which is not to say this is wholly — that’s not to say that I would wholly disregard as an issue.”

Well, no. The labor participation rate continued to rise, even an unemployment levels fell, from Reagan to Clinton to Bush 43. A shrinking labor pool in a growing economy is strictly an Obama-era phenomenon, and it can be explained by all the change taking away people’s hope.

In other news, drones are peace, unemployment is freedom, and ignorance is what they’re counting on.

Working on Hope, Short on Change

February 6th, 2012 - 9:21 am

Golly, but you’d think a visiting lecturer of Constitutional wisdom-type stuff at a big Chicago school would have had some inkling of this before becoming President — but I’m sure glad to see Obama grow:

“What’s frustrated people is that I’ve not been able to implement every aspect of what I said in 2008. Well, it turns out our Founders designed a system that makes it more difficult to bring about change than I would like sometimes. But what we have been able to do is move in the right direction,” Obama said.

But it gets better:

“And you know what? One of the things about being president is you get better as time goes on,” he added.

Let’s just give him a “Most Improved President” trophy and send him on his way.

Pick a Winner

February 6th, 2012 - 8:56 am

We have our lucky (and very smart) iPad 2 winners in the PJ Media Nostradamus contest.

“We have a Hulk.”

February 6th, 2012 - 8:32 am
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Goodness covered in awesome wrapped up in fun.

Next Up: Subsidies for Happy Thoughts

February 5th, 2012 - 2:29 pm

You know what we don’t have enough of? Taxes on make-believe. Fortunately, we do have overweening politicians:

An Oklahoma lawmaker has proposed levying a new tax on violent video games. Oklahoma Democrat Will Fourkiller has suggested the tax be applied to all games that receive an ESRB rating, which is intended for adults only. In addition, Fourkiller thinks T-Rated games should also have a tax added to the cost of the games, since some include “simulated gambling.”

His name sounds violent. We should make him change it.

A Scotsman Buys an iPhone 4S…

February 4th, 2012 - 1:36 pm
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I had to save this for the weekend, because the language is so not safe for work.

OWS’s race problem, your blood is interstate commerce, the President’s giant screw, and the triumphant return of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz — all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

BONUS: Joe Biden, a bunch of condoms, and a congressional candidate, but not all at once.

Friday Night Videos

February 3rd, 2012 - 9:21 pm
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Weird band, Depeche Mode. They have a ton of singles I love, but not a single album I can sit down and listen to all the way through. I can almost listen to Violator without a break, but that’s probably because it came out and a time and a place still special to me.

Anyway, “Personal Jesus” was the monster hit off that album, and for good reason. And here is Depeche Mode performing it live in Barcelona in 2009.

Fill it to the RIM — With Fail

February 3rd, 2012 - 11:06 am

RIM is now giving away free PlayBooks to developers willing to write an app for the beleaguered tablet. The deal is good, even if all a developer does is repackage an Android app to run on the PlayBook.

Heck, some sharp coder might even figure out a way to use BlackBerry email or calendars on the useless crapslab.

So It’s Come to This

February 3rd, 2012 - 9:59 am

Think of how much fun we’ll have with Roseanne Barr over the next few months, as she runs for President. Really:

“Both the Democratic and Republican parties are bought and paid for by corporate America and cater to the needs of the highest bidder as opposed to the people they claim to represent,” Barr said in a statement on Green Party Watch. She adds that she’s been “a tireless advocate of Occupy Wall Street” since its beginning.

Roseanne Barr is going to save the planet.

Sweet.

Your Friday Morning Dose of Doom & Gloom

February 3rd, 2012 - 8:14 am

The good news: “Nonfarm payrolls jumped 243,000” last month.

The bad news: The unemployment rate is nowhere near the BLS’s damned lie of 8.3%. It’s somewhere more like 11.5%. I haven’t even started digging around for the U-6, but it can’t be much lower than 15%, and perhaps still higher.

As usual, Tyler Durden is happy to scare the bejeebus out of everybody, which he did to me this morning with the following chart.

What’s it mean? I’ll let Tyler explain:

Sick of the BLS propaganda? Then do the following calculation with us: using BLS data, the US civilian non-institutional population was 242,269 in January, an increase of 1.7 million month over month: apply the long-term average labor force participation rate of 65.8% to this number (because as chart 2 below shows, people are not retiring as the popular propaganda goes: in fact labor participation in those aged 55 and over has been soaring as more and more old people have to work overtime, forget retiring), and you get 159.4 million: that is what the real labor force should be. The BLS reported one? 154.4 million: a tiny 5 million difference.

Shorter version: The old are staying in the workforce because they must, and the young are dropping out of the workforce because they have no hope of finding work.

So forget the big, red “8.3″ glowing above the mast at Drudge. This country is still very deep in a very long employment crisis.

UPDATE: Hold on to your breakfast, but 1,200,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force last month — a record.

Down in the comments, “pldew” said “as you were saying” and shot me this link:

North Carolina Democrat Heath Shuler won’t seek re-election to the House.
The former professional football player, a frequent critic of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, announced in a statement Thursday that he will not seek a fourth House term.

Shuler says he and his family have discussed his running for governor, but Shuler’s statement does not reveal any decisions. Shuler says he intends to spend more time with his wife and two young children.

Republicans in the North Carolina legislature redrew the state congressional lines, making Shuler’s district more friendly to the GOP.

And the emerging Democratic minority continues to veer to the left.

Yes. Next Question?

February 2nd, 2012 - 9:54 am

Trifecta: Is President Obama really the most polarizing president in American history?

BREAKING: Jobs the BLS dreamed up may prove to be imaginary.

Sign “O” the Times

February 2nd, 2012 - 8:08 am

From Jim Geraghty on Twitter: “Rep. Heath Shuler had only two donations from individual North Carolinians last quarter. Retirement watch?”

That’s not a good sign Shuler plans to stick around another term — which should tell you something very important about this election year.

Two years ago, I beat most of the bigs, in predicting how many seats the GOP would win in 2010. Just three days before the election, I wrote:

And that gives you a Republican majority of 242-193 — a mere 13 seats shy of the supermajority the Democrats have enjoyed these last two years. That’s a pickup of 64 seats, and as decisive a repudiation of a ruling party as any of us are likely to see in our lifetimes.

The GOP picked up 63 seats. Not bad for a guy sitting at home in his pajamas. But how did I get there, without having an in-house pollster and massive databases and a roomful of geeks with advanced degrees in statistics? I used my — wait for it — judgement. I came up with a few rules of thumb, concerning Cap & Trade’s effect on Appalachia voters, Obamacare on suburban voters, and weak Democratic freshmen. And then I looked at individual candidates, and applied a little Kentucky Windage to each race. Shuler’s race was an easy one to call, and I did so three months before the election:

Former quarterback Heath Shuler is all over the place in NC11. In just a month, he’s gone from Leans Dem to Likely Dem then back to Leans Dem. He’s socially conservative and voted against Porkulus and Obamacare. This seat’s probably safe for the Democrats.

Shuler’s seat was safe in a midterm Tea Party wave election that absolutely murdered Appalachian Democrats. Two years later, President Obama will top the Democratic ticket, presumably with an incumbent’s coattails — and Shuler isn’t bothering to raise any money from his own constituents?

Something is fishy about that.

Either Shuler feels so safe he doesn’t think he needs money — or as Geraghty wonders, he’s heading for the exit.

The former seems unlikely, to say the least. The latter tells me that President Obama has become absolutely toxic in North Carolina. And that’s not the only sign we’ve seen recently, with NC’s Democrat governor Bev Perdue announcing just last week she won’t seek reelection. Her reason? For the Children™!

Yeah, I don’t think Obama’s re-coronation ceremony in Charlotte this summer is going to do him much good there come election day.

An important observation from Al Nofi:

In 1871 the Prussian General Staff, which between 1864 and 1871 had scored three successive triumphs, against Denmark (in 272 days), Austria (70 days), and France (295 days), numbered just 70 officers, a figure that by 1914 had risen to 650, on the eve of a much less successful undertaking.

I’m sure there’s a lesson in there somewhere, if you squint hard enough.

Time to Fall in Line?

February 1st, 2012 - 11:58 am

The PJ Tatler kept me busy last night, trying to figure out what happens next in the GOP nomination fight.

Don’t Go Away Mad

February 1st, 2012 - 10:28 am

Trifecta: Dear Ron Paul supporters — let’s kiss and make up, OK?