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Monthly Archives: November 2012

Top-Shelf Dread

November 19th, 2012 - 8:10 am

Barry Rubin says three things need to happen to end the fighting in Gaza. Here’s the third one:

Ideally, the world would help overthrow the illegal Hamas regime that represses people in the Gaza Strip and repeatedly drags them into costly and losing wars with their stronger neighbor. But that’s not going to happen. So the next best thing is a ceasefire that will last several years at least. While Hamas still has ties with Iran, and some factions are closer to Tehran, the Gaza regime’s real patron is Egypt. Both places are ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

It always seems to come back to either the Muslim Brotherhood or Tehran, doesn’t it? The West used to have the courage to deal with odious regimes out to destroy it. Now we’re too busy self-destructing to drum up that courage.

We did, however, somehow find it in us to convince our friends to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi for us, even though he’d been quietly helping our efforts to kill bad guys, and to throw our (admittedly distasteful) ally Hosni Mubarak under the bus. We get rid of the old autocrats in favor of the new jihadis, then blast Israel for defending itself.

If I didn’t have to take the boys to school this morning, I might already be shaking up a martini or two.

The Problem is Iran

November 19th, 2012 - 6:56 am

There is some sanity left in the Arab world still:

Against this backdrop [of renewed war in Gaza], editor-in-chief of the most-read newspaper in the Arab world, “al-Sharq al-Awsat”, Tariq Alhomayed tried to turn his readers’ attention to another tragedy in the Arab world; revealing what he believes brought upon the escalation in southern Israel – the Iranians and Assad.

In an editorial entitled, “The solution to Gaza…return to Syria,” Alhomayed wrote that, ” Unfortunately, wars in our region have become like a race, so each war is to cover another one. In other words, these wars are nothing more than a move to escape forward.

Therefore what is happening in Gaza is escaping forward, particularly in the hope of saving al-Assad or at least ensuring that the cost of toppling him will be greater for everybody. The greatest architect of such wars is Iran”.

Maybe we need to give them a reset button.

Just Half the Facts, Ma’am

November 19th, 2012 - 5:45 am

Here’s the big NBC World News headline this morning, along with the image they chose to run directly under it.

Meanwhile, Hamas continues to launch missiles at Tel Aviv (which some might also consider to be “heavily populated”) from launching sites at mosques and schoolyards and markets.

To be fair though, NBC did have this to say about missiles:

A missile strike on a truck killed three members of the radical Islamic Jihad group, Hamas security officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Good. Although I’m forced to assume there’s another side to this story. Somewhere.

The Week in Blogs

November 17th, 2012 - 7:07 am
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What ARE They Selling?

November 16th, 2012 - 6:54 am

Trifecta: Marketing the GOP — why aren’t people buying what they’re selling?

The NYT Provides the Spin So You Don’t Have To

November 15th, 2012 - 7:39 am

This is an actual unretouched lede from today’s Times:

Israel on Wednesday launched the most ferocious assault on Gaza in four years after persistent Palestinian rocket fire, hitting at least 20 targets in aerial attacks that killed the top military commander of Hamas, damaged Israel’s fragile relations with Egypt and escalated the risks of a new war in the Middle East.

Stupid Israel, defending itself.

The Beginning of the End II

November 14th, 2012 - 5:46 pm

Trifecta: The new jobless normal? Wait until ObamaCare really kicks in.

Fill it to the RIM — with FAIL

November 14th, 2012 - 4:35 pm

Ouch:

Thorsten Heins, the chief executive of Research in Motion, tells his employees, developers and customers that BlackBerry 10, the company’s new phones and the software platform running them, is a very big bet for RIM. If it catches on, he has saved the company.

In a meeting with New York Times editors and reporters, he expressed his confidence. “I don’t expect things to get much worse,” he said.

Famous last words.

Reporting Live from in Front of the TV Set

November 14th, 2012 - 12:57 pm

You know what that Obama press conference reminded me of? The old dictum that second terms rarely live up to first terms.

With that thought, it’s going to take a couple of brandies and sleeping pills to get to sleep any night for the next couple of weeks.

Good News from the Middle East

November 14th, 2012 - 10:26 am

Sure, it happens sometimes — thanks to the Israelis, of course. Anyway, an IAF air strike has killed Hamas military leader Ahmed Jabari:

Jabari, who is the most senior Hamas official to be killed since an Israeli invasion of Gaza four years ago, was killed in an air strike on a vehicle, in a dramatic resumption of Israel’s policy of assassinating Palestinian militant leaders.

Jabari has long topped Israel’s most-wanted list, the Associated Press reported, and was blamed for in a string of attacks, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit in 2006.

Hamas has warned that Israel “has opened the gates of hell.”

Biatches, I just lived through Obama’s reelection. Bring it on.

The Beginning of the End

November 14th, 2012 - 7:54 am

“Surrender” is a bold stand, right? Apparently:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is dropping his staunch opposition to federal health care reform.

Scott, a vocal critic of “Obamacare,” said Tuesday that he now wants to negotiate with the federal government in a way that could help families.

Scott previously stated that he would not go along with parts of health care reform that the state controls. But the governor said that in the wake of the re-election of President Barack Obama he is now open to discussing it.

Scott was willing to fight ObamaCare only so long as he figured Obama wouldn’t be around very long to fight back.

That’s as apt a definition of “cowardly” as you’re likely to find on a Wednesday morning reading of the news.

O, Pray for the Opossum

November 14th, 2012 - 7:12 am

There will be no opossum-dropping in Brasstown — I looked it up; it’s not a euphemism for something dirty — this New Year’s Eve. The News-Observer has the details:

An administrative law judge ruled Tuesday that the state cannot issue a special permit allowing a caged marsupial to be lowered 20 feet over a stage – a 20-year tradition once profiled in The New York Times and the highlight of the mountain town’s celebration.

“Hunters must afford wild animals the same right Patrick Henry yearned for,” Senior Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr. wrote in his order. “’Give me liberty, or give me death!’”

The decision hands a victory to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which sued the state in December and has long argued that confining a ‘possum and subjecting it to loud noises and heavy crowds constitutes cruel treatment, regardless of it being released into the wild after the event. Two years ago, PETA made similar charges about the handling of Punxsutawney Phil, proposing that the Pennsylvania town use a robotic groundhog instead.

I have questions for PETA and for Administrative Law Judge Fred Morrison Jr.

What if I happen to be lawfully transporting a opossum to Opossum Paradise, through dangerous territory filled with deadly… whatever it is that eats opossum… and so I’m keeping it in a plexiglass opossum transport device for its own safety — would that be OK and in keeping with the fine traditions of Patrick Henry?

Furthermore, what if once I reach my car, I find it has slipped down a 20-foot embankment. There is no way for me to safely climb down to my car while carrying my plexiglass opossum transport device, but I do find a length of rope sturdy enough to allow me to lower the device (and its precious opossum cargo) safely down to my car? Time is of the essence, as deadly opossum-eating carnivores of some kind are closing in. Would this be a violation of my animal’s civil rights?

Did I mention the deadly predators are playing loud music? And that it might even be country music? What now is my proper course of action?

And finally, what do you have against robot approximations of wildlife?

There’s Only You and Me…

November 14th, 2012 - 5:49 am

Someone was going to do this first, and I suppose given their history and inclinations France was the likeliest candidate:

France announced Tuesday that it was recognizing the newly formed Syrian rebel coalition and would consider arming the group, seeking to inject momentum into a broad Western and Arab effort to build a viable and effective opposition that would hasten the end of a stalemated civil war that has destabilized the Middle East.

Kissinger was supposed to have said about the Iran-Iraq War, “It’s a pity they can’t both lose.” Given that the Syrian rebels will almost certainly become dominated by Islamists once all is said and done, Kissinger’s sentiment is probably the correct one.

By the Numbers

November 13th, 2012 - 4:19 pm

And they are daunting, says the WSJ:

Note, however, that federal spending remains at a new plateau of about $3.54 trillion, or some $800 billion more than the last pre-recession year of 2007. One way to think about this is that most of the $830 billion stimulus of 2009 has now become part of the federal budget baseline. The “emergency” spending of the stimulus has now become permanent, as we predicted it would.

Yeah, as I told Will Wilkinson (I think) during a very early PJTV segment way back when, “Wait’ll this [stimulus] stuff gets baselined. “Stuffing the beast” is the unofficial White House policy for just spending any damn amount on any damn thing to justify new and endless taxes.

Anyway, back to the Journal:

Even if Mr. Obama were to bludgeon Republicans into giving him all of the tax-rate increases he wants, the Joint Tax Committee estimates this would yield only $82 billion a year in extra revenue. But if growth is slower as a result of the higher tax rates, then the revenue will be lower too. So after Mr. Obama has humiliated House Republicans and punished the affluent for the sheer joy of it, he would still have a deficit of $1 trillion.

But it was never about growth. It was always about spreading the misery around.

May You Live in Interesting Times

November 13th, 2012 - 3:31 pm

This is a real lede from a real news story about real people doing real things:

Both Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. John Allen intervened in the same nasty child custody battle involving Natalie Khawam, the “psychologically unstable” twin sister of Jill Kelley, whose bombshell claims of being threatened by Petraeus’ lover led to the top spy’s resignation last week, the Post has learned.

You’ll need a flowchart and maybe disinfectant to get that one all straight in your head.

Happy Days Aren’t Here Again

November 13th, 2012 - 2:20 pm

Washington sneezes, and America catches the flu:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s U.S. employees will pay between 8 and 36 percent more in premiums for its medical coverage in 2013, prompting some of the 1.4 million workers at the nation’s largest private employer to say they will forego coverage altogether.

In mailings sent to employees for its recently completed open-enrollment period, Wal-Mart noted that its rates would increase because healthcare costs continue to rise.

But… but… ObamaCare!

I’m not sure which part of “massive new bureaucracy financed by taxes on damn near everything” convinced people health coverage costs were going to come down.

Trifecta: Mea culpa — how did three reasonably bright and well-informed people get the election so disastrously wrong?

Forward into the Past

November 13th, 2012 - 1:05 pm

Well:

Elon Musk is known as a bigtime Barack Obama donor, and he is hoping he will get his money’s worth. Musk thinks (hopes? knows?) that government largesse for electric cars will continue unabated during the second term.

“I think that we can expect at least that things will continue as they have,” Musk told Reuters. “I wouldn’t expect it to get any worse for electric vehicles, hopefully it will get a little better.”

Not surprisingly, Musk also is for raising the federal tax credit for electric cars to as much as $10,000. Tesla received a $465 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy in early 2010.

Sure, why not? “Mandate” to give more borrowed dollars to big campaign donors. “Mandate” to build more cars Americans won’t buy. “Mandate” for further bailouts for companies stuck with cars they cannot sell.

If the stakes weren’t so high, it would be tempting to tell John Boehner to just go on and do what he really wants to do — and give President Obama everything he wants. Boehner would be relieved of the duty of having to stand for something, and Obama would be burdened with his own addenda, like throwing a drowning man an anvil.

However, we are talking the real economy and real lives and really shattered hopes and dreams of millions of real Americans. It seems petty to chuck them whole in the lefty blender just to prove a point.

But, man, is it ever tempting.

“The Toilet Paper Revolution”

November 13th, 2012 - 12:15 pm

That’s what StrategyPage calls it in Iran:

The government is trying to cope with the stricter sanctions but inflation continues to rise. It is currently 25 percent and headed for 30 percent in the next few months. Most luxury goods imports (including toilet paper) are now banned. The only items allowed in legally are those that preserve jobs (raw materials and components for factories) and keep the security forces going (“legal” smuggling of weapons and items needed for the nuclear and other weapons development and production). But there is already more illegal smuggling of luxury goods. People with money are willing to pay a big markup to get iPhones and softer toilet paper.

The impact of the sanctions can be best seen in how many rials it costs to buy a dollar. On September 24th it took 24,000 Iranian rials to buy one dollar on the black market. Last month it cost 39,000 rials, and now the government has managed to get that down to 32,000. The official exchange rate is 12,000 rials but there are severe restrictions on who can get dollars at that rate. Two years ago the market rate was under 11,000 rials per dollar.

Revolution? I don’t have my hope up. A revolt at best, and even that’s a maybe.

Iranians won’t overthrow their government because they know two things. First, that there is no brutality the Mullahs won’t commit and, second, that President Obama is no friend of Iranian revolutionaries. Once burned, twice shy.

And the sanctions won’t stop the Mullahs, also for two reasons. First, they don’t give a damn what sanctions might do to their own people (see: brutality) and, second, they want nukes more than they want riches.

Nullification Acts Against NDAA

November 13th, 2012 - 9:45 am

We’ve been down this road before, and it ended badly:

Texas State Representative Lyle Larson introduced House Bill 149 (HB149), the Texas Liberty Preservation Act. This might be the strongest anti-NDAA bill introduced yet.

It states, in part:

Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Pub. L. No. 112-81) violate portions of federal law, the United States Constitution, and the Texas Constitution and, as such, are invalid and illegal in this state.

It also, like Virginia’s law, requires full noncompliance with the federal act:

It is the policy of this state to refuse to provide material support for or to participate in any way with the implementation within this state of Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (Pub. L. No. 112-81). Any act to enforce or attempt to enforce those laws is in violation of this subchapter.

But, the Texas legislation takes it a step further, codifying into State law criminal penalties for violation of the act by even federal agents.

Of course, in the 1830s, the issue was tariffs which the North saw as beneficial to industry, and the South saw as harming the slave cotton economy. What we have today is a brazenly unconstitutional expansion of the Federal government’s powers to seize and hold American citizens.

The tensions between North and South ended in the Civil War. Where will the tensions between Washington and the individual take us?

Welcome Home

November 13th, 2012 - 9:09 am

So I come back from a five-day mountain retreat — no Drudge, no Instapundit, not RealClearNothin’ — to learn that David Petraeus can’t keep it zipped and that John Kerry, the man who once threw “his” medals away in protest, might be out new Secretary of Defense.

Right now I’m good to need one good reason not to throw my suitcase back into the truck and head right back up the mountain.

Better yet, make it three good reasons. No, twelve. Do I hear 17?

Gone Fishin’

November 7th, 2012 - 5:44 am

Our long-planned post-election vacation begins…

NOW!

Time to rest up with good friends, strong drink, and too much food.

The Pre-Post Mortem

November 6th, 2012 - 8:38 pm

As I write this, the election is not yet decided. But it doesn’t look good for Romney, and it’s over for the Senate. But even if Romney does pull out a squeaker, what follows still holds true.

Tonight’s mystery is, there were constituencies which should have flocked to Romney after years of legal and extra-legal assaults. “Catholics and coal,” I said earlier.

Yet they didn’t.

Why didn’t they?

Was it the largess of the last four years? Perhaps. If so, they’ll perhaps be hurt the most when one of two things happen. Either the gravy train will stop (was that Ryan’s threat to them?), or Obama will simply put them out of business. The Catholic church as an independent entity in this country is already an endangered species thanks to ObamaCare’s mandates. And we know exactly what Obama intends to (finish) doing to the coal industry. So why didn’t they turn the Industrial Midwest and the Great Lakes red tonight? I’m afraid they were bought off. I very much fear their bitterness when the gravy train does stop, as it must. Their reaction will be angry and unpredictable.

And that’s where I misread this electorate. It used to be a pretty sure thing in a democracy that, when the guy you supported screwed you, you would go with the other guy. Because in the end, that’s the only way to keep politicians somewhat honest. But when the Fed can conjure up trillions, when Congress can ease things along with continuing resolutions, when the White House has unprecedented power to punish its enemies and reward its friends…

…how, in these circumstances, do we keep the bastards honest?

We had a chance — not a great chance, but a real one — to stanch the bleeding. We failed to do so.

I fear that means we’re a country in deep denial of just what kind of a hole we’re in, and how much deeper we’ll be in it after another four years of spending-by-autopilot.

We can blame the candidate, sure. Romney didn’t fully capitalize on his first-debate win, and apparently the Chris Christie/Barack Obama lovefest turned a lot of votes back to the president, too. But overall, Romney ran almost as competent a challenger’s campaign as I’ve seen.

We can blame the press, sure. Benghazi alone would have sunk most presidents — most Republican presidents — in weeks if not days. The coverup by the Complicit Media was shameful in the extreme. But we’ve faced down the MSM before, and won.

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Election Night Open Comments Thread

November 6th, 2012 - 5:31 pm

Have at it, kids — I had to close comments on the main post to save our server.

Election Night Drunkblogging

November 6th, 2012 - 4:29 pm

Exit polls claim Obama has a lock on 190, Romney on 191. I figure that looks like this.

39 down. 12 to go.

I’ll be updating this post throughout the night, but without the frantic pace of a debate or SOTU drunkblog.

(All times Mountain)

4:47PM: Krauthammer says Romney has a slight edge with government workers in northern VA. Is that possible? And if it is, is it due to the sequester?

4:58PM: Wow. This is it. Polls start closing back east in minutes.

5:02PM: First wave of calls are in, but nothing that isn’t already on the map above.

5:09PM: If Obama loses the Industrial Midwest/Great Lakes — and thus the election — it will be because he went to war against Catholics & coal.

5:15PM: Ohio polls close in 15 minutes, but don’t expect quick results. If voters are already in line — and the lines are still long in many places — then they can’t be turned away until they’ve voted.

5:19PM: From DM Hawkins: “Romney at 61% in Indian county FL, up 6% for what McCain did. Florida looking so good so far”

5:30 I’ll be turning off comments here, and opening a comments threat above. Save the poor Amiga 500 my blog runs on!

5:35PM: Here’s the open comments thread. I’m told we’ve upgraded the Amiga 500 to a full 4MB of memory, but why take chances?

5:37pm Get ready for a flood of calls about states that were never in doubt.

5:40PM SC just called for Romney — see what I mean?

5:50PM FNC is pretending they know what’s going on in Florida, but they don’t. Not yet.

6:02PM: Bunches of blue east coast states, plus DC and IL, all called for Obama.

6:03PM: And bunches of red southern states for Romney.

6:18PM: Late voting in VA. People in line won’t be turned away. It’s gonna be a long night in VA.

6:33PM ME-02 still up for grabs? I think so.

6:47PM: A quick personal note, if you don’t mind. My two-year-old came down with a nasty puking stomach bug at Zero-Dark-Thirty Sunday morning. My wife caught it yesterday during the day. And my six-year-old and I both got the damn thing at bedtime last night. So I’m working here on not much more than zero sleep, half a meal in 24 hours, and three cocktails.

So I’ll ask you the same question I’ve been asking for about ten years…

Who’s the hardest woking man in the blogosphere?

7:01PM: Longshot MI to Obama. Bunches of other calls, no surprises. Keep looking at the original map above.

7:11PM: No big surprise, but ABC says GOP will hold the House. At the very worst, we have that firewall.

7:15PM: It didn’t happen. PA is blue, according to Fox.

7:20PM Here’s where we are now.

7:26PM WI is blue.

7:38PM Rove says FL goes red by under 100,000. That looks like an automatic recount number.

7:46PM If you’re wondering why I haven’t put up a map yet showing WI, it’s because it might have been called too early. I’m not optimistic there (FL and OH should have been stronger), but I’m not coloring it in yet, either.

7:54PM NH goes blue, along with I assume, ME-02.

7:56PM With MN sure to go blue, that puts Obama within 19 of 270. To win, he needs any two states states in the East, or all three (CO, IA, NV) west of the Mississippi. Or FL all by itself.

8:45PM The Pre-Post Mortem.

9:14PM OH is blue. It’s all over, kids.

I’m going to the mountains for a few days to clear my brain, but will be right back in the mix next week.

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Colorado Redshift

November 6th, 2012 - 3:01 pm

John Nolte has a source here on the Front Range who has some solid numbers:

Adams County (Lean D County) – Strong Republican turnout based on morning data – on track to win since first time in 1984. Absentee/Early Vote margins will be hard for Democrats to overcome today. Right now it’s a virtual tie. Election Day thus far is 3696 D, 3549 R

Arapahoe (Swing County) – Election Day turnout this morning: 4,860 Democrat & 5,271 Republican. Over 83% of the vote was Absentee/Early Vote: 75,653 Democrat & 75,812 Republican.

Jefferson County (Swing County) – Absentee/Early Vote: 78,738 Democrat & 85,378 Republican. No election day numbers.

Rich Lowry has much more from other battlegrounds.

Down to the Wire

November 6th, 2012 - 1:43 pm

Here it is, your final pre-election Trifecta.

Making the Press Pay

November 6th, 2012 - 10:16 am

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this story:

Mitt Romney “appears to be setting a precedent this election year in charging journalists and news organizations for any access to a presidential campaign headquarters on the night of the election,” Mass Live reports.

Romney “will be holding his election night gathering at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, where access costs anywhere from $75 for a chair in the ballroom to $1,020 for permission to use the media filing center. Broadcast news organizations will be paying up to $6,500 for workspace.”

They are not your friends. Treat them appropriately.

The View from the Left Coast

November 6th, 2012 - 8:05 am

One of the legions of VodkaPundit Spies™ checked in from a lovely dinner in Seattle with this bit of anecdata:

Interesting eavesdropping at dinner. Older libs (restaurant in tony area near University of Washington) discussed how their friends wouldn’t donate to O this time. Hipsters at the bar downtown going on an on about how stupid their parents were to vote for Romney.

The common factor: both groups very angry… And very worried.

That’s the sense I’ve had of the electorate since the primary season got rolling late last summer.

Overheard

November 6th, 2012 - 7:33 am

Looking very good for Romney in OH — and with early voters. Obama ’08 counties down a bit, with GOP participation up. And counties that went Bush or McCain are up almost 15% over ’08.