"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What's Wrong With Subsidizing Green Energy? Well, I'll Tell You... It's Actually Quite Simple

As posted below, Mitt Romney made a savvy campaign stop outside the Solyndra headquarters today, highlighting one of the most obvious failures of Obamanomics.   The White House predictably issued a statement:


White House press secretary Jay Carney defended the government's investment in Solyndra on Tuesday, after a Romney-campaign Web ad criticized the president for the loan aid.

"I would simply say what we've said all along, which is that this president is committed to the proposition that we will not cede the industries of the future to the Chinese or the Europeans or the Brazilians or the Indians, or any other nation," Carney said. "Clean tech industries will continue to grow. And some, apparently, in this country are willing to see those industries developed and the jobs created, those industries created in other countries than the United States."

The problem with trying to subsidize green energy -- or any other "industry of the future" -- in a nutshell is that, until the free market decides through willing consumers deciding to spend scarce resources on  new products, we simply do not know what the industries of the future will be!   We can't know.   This is the seventy-plus year-old wisdom of Hayek and it's why all socialist schemes inevitably fail.  

I'm Starting To Like This Guy Romney


Contrast this surprise visit by Romney to the former headquarters of Solyndra today... with this not-so-successful visit by Obama's campaign manager, David Axelrod, to Massachusetts trying to gin up the notion that Romney did a bad job in creating jobs while Governor.

Romney's campaign, although it's early on, seems pretty nimble, and pretty disciplined.   They are sticking to their themes, but they are looking for creative ways to do so.  

Girl of the Day - Scarlett Johansson


I took the Regular Daughters to see The Avengers last weekend, and found it to be surprisingly enjoyable.   It's ridiculousness is offset by its winking tongue-in-cheek self-referential pop culture-is-fun mood, particularly when Robert Downey, Jr.'s Iron Man character is talking -- he's a hoot.   Anyway, Scarlet Johansson is the girl super hero in the group, and she's cool in the movie too.

And, for the feminists at home, you'll note that I didn't use a gratuitous boob shot.



Not!

Ann Coulter is Wrong on Wisconsin

Ann Coulter, one of my favorites and a funny-funny writer -- sort of a femme fatale version of Mark Steyn -- gets it wrong for once writing about the Wisconsin recall election:


Democrats know what's at stake. They're treating this election like the Normandy invasion. Meanwhile, Republicans are sitting back, complacently citing polls that show Walker with a slight lead.

Polls don't register passion.

Public employee unions have vast organizing abilities, millions of dollars in union dues at their disposal, and millions of voters who are either union members themselves or relatives of union members. And it's their lifestyles being voted on.

The public sector unions will turn out 99.9 percent of their people. Even if they are only 15 percent of the electorate, that could be enough. Union members will have every distant relative, every neighbor, every person they can drag to the polls, voting to recall Walker next Tuesday.

Ordinary people answering polls may agree with Walker, but they'll have to decide: "Do I really want to get out of bed early and drive to the polls, just so they don't recall the governor?"

On the ground here in Wisconsin it feels quite different.   I think it's the Democrats who are disspirited and disappointed in their candidate, the dismal Tom Barrett.   Republicans are enthusiastically ready to vote for Walker, and people understand precisely how much it matters.   They know their property taxes have held steady or gone down under Walker after Act 10 (the legislation restricting collective bargaining by public employees on benefits).   They know that the state is predicting a budget surplus this year, just two years after a Democratic governor bequeathed Walker with at $3.6 billion deficit.  Everywhere I look there are pro-Walker yard signs and everyone I talk to is excited about beating back the recall.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Romney and the Politics of Envy

Ace has a great riff on Romney's apparent minor surge in polling among women that got me to thinking:

Mitt Romney has been astonishingly successful in his career.
 
Barack Obama has, too, but it's a curious sort of success: A constant "social promotion" based only on his purported potential, never upon anything he actually achieved.
 
Mitt Romney has achieved, and he's received the natural fruits of achievement -- money, fame, influence.
 
Barack Obama has received the natural fruits of achievement, without bothering with that difficult "achievement" business in the first instance.
 
Mitt Romney seems like a Man.
 
Obama seems like a Boy who's been spoiled since birth.
 
Mitt Romney seems like a Man who got everything he wanted because he had talent and dedication and focus and worked for everything he wanted.
 
Barack Obama seems like a Boy who got everything the way many (myself included) secretly wish they could get them -- by having them mostly just given to him.
 
Some of us might pine for that sort of Charmed Life of Reilly, but comparing the two pathways to success, I don't think there's much doubt about which road we find more evincing of character and competence.
 
Obama seems weak and out of his depth, while Romney appears strong and in command.
 
Yes, I think women will notice these things, and so will men. I have trouble imagining how anyone could miss them.


All true but (and it's a big but)... there are a lot of people out there (I will call them High IQ, English major, "Artsy," Permanent grad student types, or HEAPs) whose politics are governed by resentment born of frustration that began in high school and continued through college and into adulthood. I'm smarter than that handsome rich kid who drives the Camaro... how come I don't get the Cheerleader to go out with? I got higher SATs than the football player... how come I don't get into the cool fraternity? I got better grades than the business or economics majors... how come they got higher-paying jobs at investment banks while I am doing noble work at this foundation/non-profit/public agency? I read deeper books and go to foreign films and read the New York Review of Books... how come my accountant brother-in-law lives in a house that's three times the size of mine? They never stop to notice that they simply don't do anything that provides value to anyone else sufficient that they will pay them a grand salary for what they're doing.  And they never think that maybe, just maybe, the sellouts who took STEM classes, or who went into the private sector, or who started companies... maybe those guys were smarter than they were all along.

The question is not whether Romney is more admirable than Obama to well-adjusted adults who admire his successes without envying them. Of course he is. The question is whether the adult party has more members than the party of resentment and frustration and envy.

I hope so. But I don't know so.

Girl of the Day - Charlize Theron



I have been checking out the trailers for the new Ridley Scott sci-fi movie, Prometheus, which looks potentially very good.    It stars, among others, Charlize Theron, who is not necessarily my cup of tea -- too blonde, too cold-looking, somehow a little too tough-looking too -- but is objectively GotD-worthy.

Here's the trailer:

Game Over

These two articles in The Weekly Standard, were they to gain wide currency, would be devastating for the Tom Barrett campaign to recall Scott Walker as Governor of Wisconsin.

Barrett Can't Name Any Schools Hurt by Walker's Collective Bargaining Reforms



Barrett Can't Name One Policy He'd Pursue to Create Jobs in Wisconsin

War on Women

One of the problems with political discourse is that you simply can't shame liberals.   If you demonstrate the historical links between Planned Parenthood and the eugenics movement of the 1920s, you get blank-eyed stares.   If you put the legalized abortion regime in America in the context of the forced abortion regime in China under communist rule... same blank stare.   Anyway, this video is getting a lot of play on conservative blogs in the context of offering a rejoinder to the liberal meme of conservatives "war on women," although I doubt it will make a dent in the unexamined premises of liberalism on abortion:





In a world where people "plan" their families, and, at least in the West, want smaller families (one or two children at most), it should not surprise anyone that there are people out there who are willing to abort their babies if they don't get the boy that they want.   It's been going on in China and India for decades.   But, look, science is moving fast, particularly in the realm of pre-natal genetic testing.   We already (immorally, in my view) have an effective regime of aborting Downs Syndrome babies who have been identified through pre-natal testing.   So we've concluded that it's OK to abort the 60-80 IQ baby.   What if a decade from now we have a more refined pre-natal test for IQ?   Is it OK to abort the 95 IQ baby conceived by the college-graduate parents?   How about the 105 IQ baby conceived to the Harvard alumni couple?    Perfectly normal, average kids... is that OK too, just because someone "chooses"? 

Take it a step further.   What if a decade from now we are able to test for homosexuality?   Liberals out there... is it OK to "choose" to abort a homosexual son?   What if we are able to test for darkness of skin color?   Liberals out there... is it OK to "choose" to abort a daughter born into a mixed race household whose Negroid characteristics are more dominant?   How about midgets?   Or the child with a propensity for obesity?  

When you get started down the path of deciding whose right to life is worth respecting, all roads lead to perdition.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

File This Under "What if a Republican Said X?"

Hell, this is pretty stupid no matter who says it.  But for a President of the United States saying it in an official ceremony at the White House.... sheesh!   We've got to get this guy out of there.

The White House said President Barack Obama misspoke on Tuesday when he referred to a “Polish death camp” while honoring a Polish war hero.

The president’s remark had drawn immediate complaints from Poles who said Obama should have called it a “German death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland,” to distinguish the perpetrators from the location. Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski called it a matter of “ignorance and incompetence.”

Obama made the comment while awarding the Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a resistance fighter against the Nazi occupation of Poland during World War II. Karski died in 2000.
 
During an East Room ceremony honoring 13 Medal of Freedom recipients, Obama said that Karski “served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself. Jan took that information to President Franklin Roosevelt, giving one of the first accounts of the Holocaust and imploring to the world to take action.”

Why Walker Will Win, and Should Win

If you needed any more reason to back Scott Walker in the June 5th recall election here in Wisconsin, consider this:

The UW's Teaching Assistants' Association (TAA) has declined to endorse Democratic challenger and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who faces Walker in the June 5 recall election....

"Through his use of Act 10 against the workers in Milwaukee [Barrett] has shown that he is not deserving of support of unions in Wisconsin," says Dan Suárez, a member of the TAA and a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at UW-Madison. Barrett made use of Walker's collective bargaining restrictions in Act 10 to increase pension and health care contributions for workers employed by the city of Milwaukee. Barrett has said he took those steps to avoid layoffs of public workers.

Without an endorsement, the TAA won't expend any of its volunteer or financial resources on electing Barrett, although individual members are still free to contribute as they wish.

"What this means for the TAA is that the conversation is going to shift back to how to meaningfully and effectively rebuild our membership [instead of wasting] time and money on supporting a candidate who doesn't care about us," says Suárez.

Consider how much of our nation's wealth is invested in purchasing useless college degrees in subjects like "sociology," degrees that do not prepare a young person to do anything other than complain about how people who supposedly aren't as smart as he or she is make more money.   Consider what a dying business model the traditional college is... as I've said before on this blog, right now you can get a first-rate education for free online if you're willing to spend, oh, about ten minutes coming up with a curriculum and then put in the time studying on your own.   In ten years the idea of having a "campus" with a "faculty" and "lectures" will seem quaint... they are the buggy-whip manufacturers of education.

Now consider the notion of a sociology graduate student and TA being a member of a freakin' union!

Because that's the kind of  nonsense Madison liberals stand for, and because everyone else in Wisconsin knows it... that's why Walker will win, and should win.

The Jekyll-Hyde President

Great stuff today from Victor Davis Hanson at NRO:

As the campaign heats up, one problem is that we continue to meet lots of different Barack Obamas — to such a degree that we don’t know which, if any, is really president.

I think the president believes that private-equity firms harm the economy and that their CEOs are at best indifferent and sometimes unsympathetic to the struggle of average Americans. I say “I think” because Obama has himself collected millions of dollars from such profit-driven firms, and uses their grandees to raise cash for his reelection. Cynical, hypocritical, or unaware? You decide.

I think the president is in favor of publicly funded campaign financing but against super PACs; but again I say “I think” because Obama renounced the former and embraced the latter. Are Guantanamo, renditions, tribunals, and preventive detention constitutional necessities or threats to our security? Some of Obama’s personalities have said they are bad; others apparently believe them to be good.

One Barack Obama crisscrosses the country warning us that a sinister elite has robbed from the common good and must atone for destroying the economy. Another Barry Obama hits the golf links in unapologetically aristocratic fashion and prefers Martha’s Vineyard for his vacation. So I am confused about the evil 1 percent. Obama 1 feels they have shorted the country and must now pay their fair share, while Obama 2 feels they are vital allies in helping the poor by attending his $40,000-a-plate campaign dinners.
To me, the takeaway is not just that Obama is cynical and/or hypocritical.   I think (and I've thought for some time now) that he's just not that smart.   This whole "smartest man ever to be President" stuff is malarkey.   I think he reads what gets put in front of him off a teleprompter and doesn't realize that it's different from what he's said elsewhere, or else when he actually speaks his mind it comes out as mean-spirited radical leftist cant, which naturally runs afoul of the non-partisan centrist load of crap that his handlers have gotten him to recite since 2007, but he doesn't register the difference because it's "just words."

G.K. Chesterton Quote of the Day

It's also G.K. Chesterton's birthday today.   Chesterton is one of the great 20th Century apologists for Christianity and, like the Regular Guy, was a Catholic convert as an adult.   His two great works of apologetics are The Everlasting Man and Orthodoxy.   There is a passage in Orthodoxy that has been meaningful to me in the somewhat superficial way that things become meaningful to the Regular Guy, but at least I wish to be better than I am, and perhaps that is a start:

If this book is a joke it is a joke against me. I am the man who with the utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before. If there is an element of farce in what follows, the farce is at my own expense; for this book explains how I fancied I was the first to set foot in Brighton and then found I was the last. It recounts my elephantine adventures in pursuit of the obvious. No one can think my case more ludicrous than I think it myself; no reader can accuse me here of trying to make a fool of him: I am the fool of this story, and no rebel shall hurl me from my throne. I freely confess all the idiotic ambitions of the end of the nineteenth century. I did, like all other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age. Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth. And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it. I did strain my voice with a painfully juvenile exaggeration in uttering my truths. And I was punished in the fittest and funniest way, for I have kept my truths: but I have discovered, not that they were not truths, but simply that they were not mine. When I fancied that I stood alone I was really in the ridiculous position of being backed up by all Christendom. It may be, Heaven forgive me, that I did try to be original; but I only succeeded in inventing all by myself an inferior copy of the existing traditions of civilized religion. The man from the yacht thought he was the first to find England; I thought I was the first to find Europe. I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered that it was orthodoxy.

Birthdays Today - Hope and Change Version

It's Bob Hope's birthday.   Has there ever been an entertainer who better captured the basic optimism and decency of America?   I doubt it.   For my money, here's the greatest moment in cinematic history:




On the other hand, it's also Oswald Spengler's birthday, author of The Decline of the West.   It's going on a hundred years later (Decline came out just after WWI), but doesn't this ring true?

“For the Age has itself become vulgar, and most people have no idea to what extent they are themselves tainted. The bad manners of all parliaments, the general tendency to connive at a rather shady business transaction if it promises to bring in money without work, jazz and Negro dances as the spiritual outlet in all circles of society, women painted like prostitutes, the efforts of writers to win popularity by ridiculing in their novels and plays the correctness of well-bred people, and the bad taste shown even by the nobility and old princely families in throwing off every kind of social restraint and time-honoured custom: all of these go to prove that it is now the vulgar mob that gives the tone.”

For me, I choose Hope's optimism.   But it's getting harder to do.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day - The Huertgen Forest




The battle of the Huertgen Forest in Germany in October-December 1944 has a particular interest for me.   It is one of the forgotten battles of World War II on the American side.   In the European conflict, we remember D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge, but not that much in between.   Some of this is because our most crystalline memories as a culture are those we get second-hand through the movies -- we know about D-Day because of The Longest Day and Saving Private Ryan; we know about the Bulge because of movies like Battleground and the great TV show Band of Brothers.   The long, slow, somewhat useless slog through the Huertgen has never been lionized in that way.  

So today, let's recall the men who fought in the Huertgen... and all the other forgotten battles that helped America's Greatest Generation win America's Greatest War.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Potemkin President



In the 1920s and 1930s Western journalists were famously duped by Soviet communists who would display for them what became known as "Potemkin villages," seemingly functioning socialist communities that were really staged ruses for their consumption.  

Two years ago today, President Obama famously duped us (and, worse, himself) by showcasing the Potemkin green-energy company Solyndra as an example of how government investment was leading to a brighter, greener future.   Byron York highlights the irony:

Obama was filled with optimism. "The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra," the president said.  "Less than a year ago, we were standing on what was an empty lot.  But through the Recovery Act, this company received a loan to expand its operations.  This new factory is the result of those loans."

"We've placed a big emphasis on clean energy," Obama continued.  "It’s the right thing to do for our environment, it’s the right thing to do for our national security, but it’s also the right thing to do for our economy…When it’s completed in a few months, Solyndra expects to hire a thousand workers to manufacture solar panels and sell them across America and around the world."

"It's happening right now.  The future is here," Obama said.  "It's here that companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future."

Fifteen months later, Solyndra was bankrupt, and that taxpayers' money was lost.

President Obama is at pains to criticize Mitt Romney about his record at the private equity firm Bain Capital.  But, by definition, Romney was only successful because he invested wisely, because he made money for his investors.   If he hadn't made money for his investors, he would have been fired, and we'd never have heard of him.   Where is the evidence that Obama's huge "public equity" investments have been wise?   Where is the evidence that any of them have made money for his "investors," the American taxpayers?  

If Romney had taken $500 million in investors' money, hyped an investment shamelessly, ignored all of the "risk factors" (which publicly-traded companies are required to divulge in their prospectuses), and then lost it all within eighteen months, he would have been sued for securities fraud.  Guaranteed.  

Friday, May 25, 2012

Leading Indicator


When the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee says the Wisconsin recall election is not a big deal for the party nationally, they call that downplaying expectations.   You do that when you know you're going to lose, and lose big.   I think the DNC's internal polling must be even worse than what the published polls are saying.   Walker will crush Barrett, and they have to pretend that it's a non-story.

Well, maybe.   And maybe the national media will let them get aways with it.   But if I were the DNC I'd be plenty worried that a state that Obama won handily in 2008 now looks like it could go Republican in 2012.   And, long-term, I'd be worried that the jig is up for the major constituency of the modern Democratic Party, public employee unions and their private sector union cronies.  

The Thugocracy Has No Clothes.

Girl of the Day - Lolo Jones

Olympic hurdler and devout Christian, Lolo Jones, has come "out of the closet," so to speak, in recently confessing that she is a virgin and believes in saving herself for marriage.  It's somewhat of an odd world when that merits news coverage, but I hope her message gets an added boost when she wins the gold medal in the 110 high hurdles in London this summer.  (By the way, with the Regular Son getting so in to track this year, I'm really excited for the first time in decades about watching the Summer Olympics.)

Barack Obama, Pothead

Maybe it's just me, but doesn't this sort of thing matter more than whether Mitt Romney played a practical joke on a kid at his prep school when he was fifteen?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Girl of the Day - Memorial Day Version

Heading into the Memorial Day weekend, this seemed appropriate for some reason:




Yes, that is Jessica Simpson.   So sue me.

Scott Walker's Preference Cascade

There are some really atrocious ads being run by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett in Wisconsin accusing Scott Walker of some unspecified crimes on the trumped-up basis that he hasn't publicly revealed emails he provided to a John Doe investigation of certain members of his staff.   Putting aside the fact that Walker himself initiated the investigation, and has never been accused of any wrongdoing, it could very well be illegal for him to reveal information he provided to the John Doe investigation.

In any event, the ads appear to be backfiring, as people realize that Barrett has no positive message and cannot even bring himself to mention Act 10, the supposedly union-busting budget-balancing legislation Walker pushed through, for the simple reason that it has worked so well, including for the City of Milwaukee.   Here is the latest polling:


If this is even close to right, the recall election next week is going to be a wipe out for Walker.   That will do a few things:

  • Discredit public employee unions and embolden conservative politicians across the country who realize that they need to be reined in.
  • Put Wisconsin in play in November.
  • Make Scott Walker a major player nationally.

Birthday Today - Bob Dylan

... who turns 71.   I'm tempted to do some punning riff on Blowin' in the Wind or Times They Are a Changing, but I'll demur.   Here's the song that changed everything in the 1960s:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Regular Guy's Birthday...

... is not so exciting.   I guess I've reached the point where birthdays are more depressing than fun.  

Anyway, here's some enjoyable Youtube clips from folks I didn't know I share a birthday with, beginning with Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. in Robin Hood:













Oh, and I also share a birthday with this guy, one of the more forgettable Union generals, but for his extraordinary facial hair:



Altogether a somewhat motley crew.   Which sort of fits.

Cheers!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Extra Credit - Compare and Contrast

This?





Or this?

Questions

This seemed worth posting, as it's making the rounds on the Web:

Shameful

Really, Washington Post, really?   After the farce of going after Mitt Romney as a bully for something he allegedly may have done at age fifteen in prep school, now this?

On Sept. 11, 1857, a wagon train from this part of Arkansas met with a gruesome fate in Utah, where most of the travelers were slaughtered by a Mormon militia in an episode known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Hundreds of the victims’ descendants still populate these hills and commemorate the killings, which they have come to call “the first 9/11.”

Many of the locals grew up hearing denunciations of Mormonism from the pulpit on Sundays, and tales of the massacre from older relatives who considered Mormons “evil.”

“There have been Fancher family reunions for 150 years, and the massacre comes up at every one of them,” said Scott Fancher, 58, who traces his lineage back to 26 members of the wagon train, which was known as the Fancher-Baker party. “The more whiskey we drunk, the more resentful we got.”

There aren’t many places in America more likely to be suspicious of Mormonism — and potentially more problematic for Mitt Romney, who is seeking to become the country’s first Mormon president. Not only do many here retain a personal antipathy toward the religion and its followers, but they also tend to be Christian evangelicals, many of whom view Mormonism as a cult.

1857.   Before the Civil War.   Does anyone recall the Washington Post noting that Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter were white Southerners and suggesting in breathless tones that somehow slavery might be connected to them more than a hundred years later?

In.   The.   Tank.  

Facebook and Fads

I have a Facebook page that I never use and never look at.   I suspect that I may be the last person who doesn't use Facebook -- supposedly there are 900 million users worldwide, which means just about everyone in North America and Europe and then a significant chunk of the rest of the world too.   So maybe I just don't get it, but why exactly would an investor bet on Facebook?  

Let's just look at this in the most basic way:  earnings.   Facebook last year had net income of $1 billion on revenue of about $3.7 billion.   According to its SEC filing in advance of last Friday's IPO, that worked out to $0.43 per share profits.  

Whoah, now.   43 cents per share.   That means that, at the initial offering price of $38, they were assuming that they could command a price/earnings ratio of about 90.   Now, I'm no Wall Street dandy, but back when my old man was first starting to buy stocks, the rule of thumb was that a P/E ratio of about 15 was appropriate for a good stock and anything much higher than that was overpriced and a pure speculative play.  

So the next question arises... can Facebook increase its profits so it becomes more of a real company and less of a speculative dream?   Well, to do so, they'd first have to increase their revenues.   How exactly can they do that?   What exactly is the product they're selling?   Access to personal information of dateable twenty-somethings?   I'm pretty sure that there's a price point at which young men and women with bills to pay and college loans coming due will say to themselves, "hey, maybe I'll just invest in buying that girl at the end of the bar a beer instead."   Say, more than $0.   So you're not going to sell the service itself.   Advertising?   Maybe... if people are looking at things a billion times a day, the advertising has to be worth something.   But people don't necessarily want advertising popping up next to their family pictures, so there's a limit to what users will put up with.   Mining marketing information?   Again, maybe... but won't people at some point balk at having their personal information sold to commercial users so that they can use it to bombard Facebook users with more targeted advertising or telemarketing?   Privacy lawers are already salivating at the class action potential.   And rent-seeking Democratic congressman want to have their names attached to the Facebook Privacy Protection Act.    

And shouldn't this worry investors?

Zynga accounted for approximately $445 million of Facebook’s total revenue in 2011.

“In 2011, Zynga accounted for approximately 12% of our revenue,” Facebook reported, “which amount was comprised of revenue derived from payments processing fees related to Zynga’s sales of virtual goods and from direct advertising purchased by Zynga. Additionally, Zynga’s apps generate a significant number of pages on which we display ads from other advertisers. If the use of Zynga games on our Platform declines, if Zynga launches games on or migrates games to competing platforms, or if we fail to maintain good relations with Zynga, we may lose Zynga as a significant Platform developer and our financial results may be adversely affected.”

This reads like Sterling Cooper's reliance on Lucky Strike... not good for long-term prospects.

Finally, the Regular Son, who is a technophobe of the highest and best order... he doesn't use his cell phone except to call me, doesn't email (except to me), doesn't text (ditto), doesn't play video games (a triumph of reactionary parenting!), doesn't "tweet," and doesn't have a Facebook page... told me the other day that he thinks Facebook is a "fad."   Just so.  


A decade ago they were making movies called "You've Got Mail."   That was AOL's tagline.   Wonder where that company is now?

Oh, yeah:

AOL stock went from $226 billion in 2001 to about $20 billion in 2006.
As of June 2010, AOL's subscriber base dropped to 4.4 million.
An AOL subscription was rated the "Worst Tech Product of All Time" by PC World in 2006 who stated that it had the "stigma of being the online service for people who don't know any better".

The Right Thing

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, for the most part a typical left-liberal example of a dying industry, actually did the right thing over the weekend when it "recommended" Scott Walker in the Wisconsin recall election:

Walker's rematch with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was prompted by one issue: Walker's tough stance with the state's public-employee unions. It's inconceivable that the recall election would be occurring absent that. And a disagreement over a single policy is simply not enough to justify a vote against the governor....

To his credit, Walker has helped to right the state's finances with a minimum of gimmicks - the governor reported recently that the state may be able to book a $154 million surplus next year. This good news has been lost in the clutter surrounding an unnecessary recall election that will cost as much as $18 million just to stage, according to the Government Accountability Board....

And while we think Act 10 - the law that clipped the wings of most public-employee unions in the state - was an overreach of political power, we understand and supported the need to rein in the state's labor costs. Municipalities and school districts as well as the state needed more control over their budgets, which Act 10 provided....

Even if you disagree with Walker's policies, does that justify cutting short his term as governor? And if so, where does such logic lead? To more recall elections? More turmoil?...

It's time to end the bickering and get back to the business of the state. We've had our differences with the governor, but he deserves a chance to complete his term.

No matter whether you agree or disagree with Walker's policies, including his efforts to reign in public employee unions, the orderly process of a representative democracy requires that we have regular elections, and that the people elected be permitted, absent illegal conduct, to serve out their terms.   Then, if you don't like what they did, vote them out.   But we can't function if we are going to have a permanent campaign, with new elections every time the teacher's unions disagree with what a Republican governor has done.  

Girl of the Day - Summer's Coming (Nina Agdal)

The Regular Son is in finals week at high school, and the Regular Daughters are in their last full week of school too, so summer's coming.   If the Regular Son aka "Honey Badger" goes to the local pool, I doubt very much he'll see anything like this:




But a boy can dream, can't he?

The Regular Daughters, needless to say, will be wearing burlap sacks and baggy sweatpants all summer.

Birthday Today - Fats Waller

Oh, my, is there anything hipper than Fats Waller and "Your Feet's Too Big"?  



It's the birthday of the original "big man" today... born in 1904, which means he was a very young man in the 1920s when he was a dominant force in early jazz.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jeremiah Wright and a New Double Standard


I never thought the Jeremiah Wright story was a big deal in 2008.   It always seemed obvious to me that Obama is a political animal and an atheist (if not a closet Muslim), so I knew all along that his membership in Wright's church in Chicago was purely for political advancement and nothing more.   Frankly, it occurred to me that the reason he famously couldn't remember Wright's rants from the pulpit was that he hadn't ever been in attendance.

That being said, the recent revelation from Wright himself that a confidant of Obama's, Eric Whitaker, offered Wright $150,000 in 2008 if he would shut up throughout the presidential campaign, is really really bad.   No wonder the Democrats are already crying foul:


Stunning! Will Mitt stand up, as [Sen.] John McCain did? Or allow the purveyors of slime to operate on his behalf?” claimed a 5.42 a.m. tweet from David Axelrod, the senior strategic at Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago.
 
The proposed advertising is a “hateful campaign being planned by GOP super PACs,” claimed Bill Burton, who runs a Democratic “super PAC” political action committee, dubbed Priorities USA Action, that is itself designed to run negative ads against Gov. Mitt Romney.
 
Burton’s tweet came at 5.58 a.m. — some 16 minutes after the alert from Axelrod, who has worked in Chicago politics for decades.
 
At 9.05 a.m., Brad Woodhouse, the spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, joined the hue and cry. “Unbelievable @MittRomney can’t do more on this Ricketts slime story than say he hasn’t read the story,” he said in reaction to a Washington Post report that Romney declined to comment.
 
At 9.32 a.m., Woodhouse followed up with another tweet, saying “If @MittRomney can’t clearly denounce the type of scum bag tactics planned by his allies as outlined by the NYT he’s not fit to lead.”

My initial reaction was to think... isn't paying someone to be quiet during a presidential campaign exactly what Jon Edwards is being prosecuted for right now?

My next reaction was... what if this had happened to Mitt Romney?   The media would be all over it.

But, then, it occurred to me that this couldn't happen to Mitt Romney.  I just can't imagine anything in Romney's background that would be anywhere near as shocking as Obama's relationship with Wright... or Bill Ayers... or Frank Marshall Davis.

The double standard is not a matter of media bias about newsworthiness. It's that no one wants to say that Obama's background is really really weird, when it's not appalling or frightening.

In other words, the double standard is not that stories about Obama and Romney's past aren't treated the same. It's that they're not treated as being wildly different in kind.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Girls of the Day - Funny-Looking Actresses With Great, Unique Voices Edition (Margaret Sullavan and Debra Winger)

I've seen Margaret Sullavan in exactly one movie, but it's a doozy -- The Shop Around the Corner, with Jimmy Stewart and Lionel Barrymore:



Great stuff.   What an odd, wonderful voice she had!   Sullavan was born today, in 1909, but died too young in 1960.

Meanwhile, another not that great looking actress who has a wonderful, unique voice, Debra Winger, turns 57 today.   She was a big, big star in the early 1980s from movies like Terms of Endearment, Urban Cowboy, and An Officer and a Gentleman, but my favorite work from her is probably with Nick Nolte in a very odd version of Cannery Row:



Oh, and it's also Megan Fox's 26th birthday:


Just because.

Pujols Update


The schadenfreude in St. Louis is regrettable, but understandable.   After his worst month ever in April, Albert Pujols in May is even worse.   To be sure, he finally got his first home run, and he has 10 RBIs through half a month.   But he's hitting third... RBIs will come almost by accident:  a ground ball with a man on third; a sacrifice fly; a little dribbling single with a man on second.   The real telling statistics are the following:

Extra Base Hits in May - 1

Walks in May - 1

On-Base-Percentage in May - .218

On-Base Plus Slugging in May - .477

The lack of power and the lack of walks go together... no one is afraid of him anymore, so they're throwing him strikes and getting away with it.   To put it bluntly, right now Albert Pujols may not be the best player in baseball, he may be the worst.

Sad.   I hope he pulls out of it soon, otherwise this is going to be a disaster of epic proportions.

Meanwhile, the two Cardinals who have been playing the most first base this year, Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig, have a combined 8 HRs and 36 RBIs, with Craig hitting above .400.   And they're not even the starters!   Lance Berkman has been on the disabled list.   Sheesh!   No wonder people in St. Louis aren't missing The Mang too much.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Girl of the Day - Jamie-Lynn Sigler

As a confirmed TV junkie, it's embarrassing to admit that I've never seen a minute of The Sopranos, which is uniformly considered to be the greatest TV show ever.   I will remedy that gap at some point, but for now, here's Jamie-LynnSigler, who plays the daughter of the mobster on the show:

Two Stories, One Story - Bullying v. Corruption

This one is probably too easy.   Last week, as I've talked about below, the Washington Post spent a front-page story and 5,000+ words talking about an alleged bullying incident involving Mitt Romney and a possibly gay student at Romney's prep school in 1965.   Other than concluding that the otherwise squeeky-clean Romney might have had a few icky moments as a teenager, the story is a big puffy ball of nothing.

Meanwhile, there's this over at Ace of Spades:

 
 

A new book by Edward Klein called The Amateur alleges that a friend/supporter of Obama tried to pay Reverend Wright $150,000 to just go away and be quiet.

““Well, what happened is that after ABC’s Brian Ross broadcast the video tapes of the Rev. Wright ‘God damning America’ and slamming whites and slamming Jews and America, he was contacted by one of Obama’s closest personal friends — a guy who travels on Obama’s plane, who plays basketball with him, who goes on vacation with him,” Klein said. “His name is Dr. Eric Whitaker. Dr. Whitaker is the vice president of the University of Chicago Medical Center and he’s a member of Obama’s very tight inner circle...."    

Does that hospital sound familiar? Oh, it sure does.

Klein reminded listeners that Whitaker’s hospital is the same one that paid first lady Michelle Obama $316,962 a year to handle community affairs for the University of Chicago Medical Center while her husband served in the U.S. Senate.

That’s the same guy who... got a “glowing” reference from Obama for Tony Rezko, which led to Rod Blagojevich hiring Whitaker to be the state’s public health director; and the same guy whose UHI program just got nearly $6 million from HHS as one of 26 grantees in an applicant pool of 3,000.

And then there's this nugget:

The Department of Health and Human Services last week announced it had awarded a $5.9 million grant to a University of Chicago Medical Center program tied to Michelle Obama and run by Eric Whitaker, one of President Obama’s closest friends.
The Urban Health Initiative, which received the award, was originally based on a smaller program launched during the last decade by Michelle Obama, who was an executive at the University of Chicago Medical Center before she departed to become first lady. The UHI is headed up by Obama basketball and golf buddy Whitaker, who has known the president since Obama’s days in law school and who also vacations with the first family.
Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett also has ties to the UHI.

Ace says he's wondering why this isn't the Number One story in America.    Me too.

The MSM is in the tank.   It's Pravda for the liberal welfare state.  


Monday, May 14, 2012

A Constitutional Crisis?

A sobering commentary from Clark Judge at Hugh Hewitt's blog:


Today is Monday, May 14.  In 1787, also on Monday, May 14th, in Philadelphia, the Constitutional Convention held its opening session.  

Now, two hundred and twenty five years later, we are engaged in a great presidential campaign that, at its most essential level, is about the future of the governmental system the delegates to that convention wrought. For in the last four years we have seen challenges to the long accepted meaning of many of the features and guarantees of the Philadelphia constitution.

In no particular order, here are examples:

  • The manner of recent presidential appointments including to the National Labor Relations Board challenged widely shared understandings about the constitutionally mandated advice and consent role of the Senate.
  • The expansive and aggressive use of regulation – for example, EPA’s moves to reclassify CO2 as a pollutant because of its supposed impact on climate after Congress had repeatedly rejected similar proposals – has challenged the line between legislative and executive powers.
  • By overriding bondholders, this administration’s federal auto bailout arguably challenged long understood constitutional limits to taking property without due process and upset the constitutionally mandated uniform rules of bankruptcy.
  • By requiring Catholic and other religiously affiliated institutions to provide health coverage that violated basic denominational beliefs, federal Obamacare challenged the widely understood standards of religious liberty.
  • In this year’s state of the union address, the president suggested that during a second term he would compel states to accept his spending priorities as their own, anticipating a challenge to the constitutional concept of federalism, as long understood.
  • As former White House counsel Boyden Gray has pointed out, the framing of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill that the administration championed so vigorously challenges fundamental constitutional rules regarding judicial review.
  • As Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy suggested in the recent high court hearings on the administration’s signature health care legislation, the central feature of Obamacare challenges the long-established relationship between the government and the citizen, in other words, basic constitutional understandings of liberty....

In calls around the country over the last few weeks, I have repeatedly heard anxiety expressed about the future of America’s fundamental institutions: the open economy, the family, religious liberty, as well as the Constitution.

Strong.  

Update on the Bain Ad

One thing to say about Mitt Romney's campaign... it's pretty quick on its feet in turning around Obama criticisms.  This morning you had Obama '12 hitting Romney for closing a steel mill.   This afternoon there's this Romney ad touting a steel company that Bain Capital financed that now employs 6,000 people.   Pretty good stuff.

Girl of the Day - Esti!

With Israel a bit under siege and the prospect of strikes against Iran later this summer, it's time once again to celebrate our favorite Israeli super-model, Esti Ginzberg.    In solidarity, you know.   As a political statement.   To express our support for an ally.   And for no other reason.


An Ad, A Riposte, A Question, and a Surmise

The Obama campaign unveiled a new ad today targeting Romney's tenure as CEO of Bain Capital, and specifically its purchase and (much later) closure of a steel mill in Kansas City.   The point, which is not too subtle, is that Bain took over companies, only to close some, which cost people jobs.   Here's the ad, which you can judge for yourself -- my favorite hammer-on-the-head unsubtlety is when they have an ex-steel worker (by the way, it's now 11 years later... how about looking for another job that doesn't involve shilling for the Dems!) talk about how Bain was a "vampire."  




This should be easy-pickings, but here's a fatal riposte that took less than one day from the man whom Obama himself put in charge of the GM bailout:




Finally, a question and a surmise:

Why would the Obama campaign choose to highlight jobs... the very issue he's been trying to distract voters about, given his dismal economic record?

My surmise:

The internal polling on the public's reaction to Obama's gay marriage announcement must be really, really bad.   And it won't be helped by the publicity that's being generated by this week's Newsweek cover:



I know we're a "tolerant" country, and we are all supposed to have "progressive" views, etc., etc.   But, still... I can't see any Presidential campaign really believing that being labeled the "first Gay President" is a good thing.   Sorry, not in America in 2012.   Maybe you wish it were so, but it just ain't so, Joe.

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope everyone out there had a happy Mother's Day weekend.   We had a great one here in lovely southeast Wisconsin, with the Regular Grandma up to visit, the Regular Son running the 3200m on Saturday (second in conference JV as a freshman, after getting nipped at the tape by a senior), and the Regular Daughters dancing up an Irish Dance storm on Saturday night, all facilitated through much hard work and hostessing by the sumptuous Regular Wife.  

Anyway, the Regular G wanted us to build a concrete pad off the side of the driveway so our soon-to-be-moving-from-2-to-3-drivers family can turn around rather than backing into traffic.   This morning the contractors were at the house, and the concrete is now suitably hardening.


Friday, May 11, 2012

On the Mitt Romney Hit-Piece



We know the Obama campaign will go dirty against Mitt Romney.   But how dirty is problematic for the simple reason that Romney has, by all accounts, lived an exemplary life.   We forget that Obama didn't go to Harvard Law until he was 27, graduating when he was 30, and wasn't married until age 31 (note:  he did better than the Regular Guy on all these things, but that's not the point).   Romney had married his high school sweetheart at age 22, and by the time he was 31 was a Vice-President at a prestigious consulting firm, Bain and Co., had been married for 9 years, had four children, and had both a J.D. and an M.B.A. from Harvard, after graduating with highest honors from BYU and having gone on a two-year mission.   Since then he has been fabulously successful at literally everything he's touched, there is no hint of scandal surrounding his marriage or children, he's given tens of millions to charity, he's been a public servant, etc.   In sum, there is no remotely plausible evidence anywhere that Romney is anything other than an exemplary character.  

So, in the absence of any substantive "dirt," you get the idiocy of an article yesterday in the Washington Post spending 11 pages talking about an "incident" nearly 50 years ago where Romney apparently hazed a boy in prep school who later apparently turned out to be homosexual.  

The story is falling apart as we speak.    The family of the boy (who died in 2004 in his 50s of liver cancer) has already issued a statement saying the story is factually inaccurate and would have outraged him, had he lived to see it.   Other "witnesses" have already said that the Post reported falsehoods about what they had to say.   And, of course, the Post only quoted people who are active Democrats.  

And, of course, you will wait in vain for an article from the Washington Post providing details about Obama's admitted drug use during high school.  Or about his relationship with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, the unrepentant 1960s radicals/terrorists.   Or about his relationship with Jeremiah Wright.   Or about his father's and mother's Marxist leanings.   

But here's the thing that rankles me, that a real journalist would try to investigate.   On Wednesday the President gave a big interview in which he admitted what everyone already knew, that he was pro-gay marriage.   On Thursday, the Post publishes a lengthy article that was clearly in the works for some time, with the unspoken premise that Romney is anti-gay.   There is no question in my mind that these two events were coordinated.   Which means that the Washington Post essentially gave a huge in-kind contribution to the Obama campaign.   Democrats are always harping on about "corporations" being involved in giving money to political candidates.   What exactly is the difference when the Washington Post Corporation gives a huge in-kind contribution to Obama?   I mean, if they simply published pro-Obama ads for free in their paper, wouldn't that raise some eyebrows over at the Federal Election Commission?   So explain to me the difference.

An enterprising U.S. Attorney might do start an investigation of campaign finance violations involving illegal coordination between the White House and the Washington Post.   I won't hold my breath, and I guess in the end I wouldn't like to criminalize bad editorial judgment in liberal newspapers, but, sheesh, does this sort of thing piss me off.

Really, WaPo?   High school boys not being nice... in 1965?    That's the best you've got?

Dog of the Day - Gibby!

It's our dog's birthday today... he turns 4.   He's not a very good dog, but he's our dog, and we love him.   Which pretty much is the definition of family, isn't it?

Happy Birthday, Gibby!



Thursday, May 10, 2012

Distractions

Gay marriage.   Contraception.   Occupy Wall Street.  Trayvon Martin.   Killing bin Laden.   What do all of these "themes" of Obama's re-election campaign have in common?

We're not talking about the economy.   And gas prices.   And the debt.   And unemployment.

Divide, distract, disrupt, dissemble.   Those are the mantras of Obama '12.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More on Obama's "Federalism"

David Harsanyi makes the same point I did below about the inconsistency of Obama's views on states' rights:

If Obama has endorsed federalism and believes that states have the right to define marriage, then why doesn't he support the ability of states to extricate themselves from Obamacare? Why don't states have the right to dictate their immigration laws? And does he “personally” believe that states should be able decide the issue of abortion? Roe v. Wade exists, but so does the Defense of Marriage Act....

Whatever you think of gay marriage -- and I've long taken the position that government should get out of the marriage business altogether -- if federalism can apply here, why not elsewhere?

President Obama and Gay Marriage

President Obama came out today and, after years of... well, the word I'm looking for is "lying," he announced what everyone already knew, namely, that he is pro-gay marriage.   It's an article of faith among the left-wing elites that populate New York, Hollywood and Washington, as well as academia and the non-profit world, that gay marriage is a civil right, and that refusing to grant gay men and women the right to marry is akin to Jim Crow or slavery.   So why would Obama, a dyed-in-the-wool leftist, not agree?   Of course he would, and he always did, he just never admitted it until now.

Why now?   Because Joe Biden and others in the administration "outed" him last week by coming out in favor of gay marriage.   Either they were wrong and he'd have to say so, or they were right and he'd have to recant his earlier opposition to gay marriage.   Either way, he had to do something.

Well, maybe.   But it's probably more likely that his money sources in the big New York investment banks have dried up, and he's going to have to hit money sources in Hollywood and the entertainment industry if he's going to compete in the fall.   And that means going hard pro-gay.  

Weirdly, his opposition to gay marriage was driven by political calculation and cynicism.   And his support of gay marriage is too.   (Or maybe that's not so weird, given the species of political animal Obama is.)

All that being said, the Regular Guy holds no brief one way or the other, frankly.   As a Catholic I am committed to marriage between a man and a woman raising children as the ideal family configuration.   It works.   But as a semi-libertarian I also don't care what other people do, and I'm unwilling to go to the mattresses to keep two men or two women from arranging their lives in the way they choose.   With divorce rates at 50% and unwed motherhood approaching 30% overall (and 70% in the black community), we simply have bigger fish to fry in terms of re-establishing the father-mother-children-dog family as the model for a functional society.

But there is one weird thing about President Obama's announcement.   I've looked to find the actual text of this, but here is what ABC reports he said:  "The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states' deciding the issue on their own."

Hmmmm... a controversial issue involving people's deeply held, personal beliefs about marriage, certainly something that cuts to the core of how we define ourselves, something akin to sexuality or child-rearing... hmmm, sounds a lot like the abortion issue, doesn't it?   So why does the President think that states can decide whether to sanction gay marriage or not, but he doesn't think states should decide whether to sanction abortion or not?   The position is logically untenable.

But, then, so much of the fluent BS that flows from our verbally diarrhetic President is logically untenable.

Girl of the Day - Diana Quick


We're watching the great great great Brideshead Revisited with the Regular Son, who unfortunately thinks dressing like a 1920s Oxfordian fop is just fine, complete with a flower in his lapel!   The follies of youth!  

Anyway, the girl who plays the sister of Sebastian Flyte is Diana Quick, who, like many British actresses I've admired in BBC roles, has almost never been heard from again.  

Wisconsin Fiasco

The Wisconsin recall election targeting Governor Scott Walker is now officially a fiasco.   Yesterday, the Democratic Party nominated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to run against Walker in next month's recall election.   Hmmmmm.... that's the same Tom Barrett who lost to Walker in November 2010, a scant 18 months ago.    That's the same Tom Barrett who, as Milwaukee Mayor, used the tools Walker put in place to balance the City's budget.   That's the same Tom Barrett who was not endorsed by the public employee unions or teachers' unions whose outrage at Walker's budget reforms (including his effort to rein in public employee union power) fueled the recall effort to begin with.  

So now we will have a recall election that will not even be focused on the issue that formed the basis for the recall in the first place!   All that is let is an election that will essentially be a "do-over" for Tom Barrett.

I hope Walker beats him like a drum.   And I think he will.   Americans are sick of politics.   Wisconsinites, after a bitterly contested Republican Presidential primary, complete with ubiquitous Romney robo-calling, are even sicker of politics.   I don't think they are going to like the idea of Barrett forcing them to trudge to the polls one more time, just because he didn't like the result the first time.   And, of course, I think deep down they are disgusted with the public employee unions who seem perfectly happy to drive the state off the cliff, so long as they can keep their lake houses and bass boats and cushy retirement packages.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Elizabeth "Fauxcahontas" Warren and the Gamesmanship of Race

One of the reasons why the seemingly minor brouhaha over whether Elizabeth Warren, candidate for the Senate from Massachusetts and Harvard Law Professor, lied about being a 1/32nd Cherokee is actually a big f***ing deal, as our Vice President would say, is because it exposes the underlying gamesmanship of race played by American liberal elites.   Conservatives have always known (and predicted, see, e.g., Thomas Sowell, Preferential Policies: An International Perspective) that the regime of affirmative action is corrupting and soul-killing.   Think:  what must an Asian-American eighteen year-old with perfect SATs and great grades think when he or she is denied admission to Harvard because of an unspoken maximum quota, all in the name of diversity, and then finds out that a whiter-than-white rich woman named Elizabeth Warren gets to be a tenured professor at Harvard at least partly on the strength of a bogus claim of "minority" status?   Nothing is more embittering than to think that there are secret rules of a game that others know and you don't.

Anyway, Ace of Spades has a hilarious/horrifying collection of recent news on the Warren fiasco, including this prime example of liberal hypocrisy:

Shelly Lowe, executive director of Harvard University's Native American Program (HUNAP), told Breitbart News today that U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren had not, to her knowledge, participated in the program's events while Warren was a professor at Harvard.
Last week, Warren explained that she had listed herself as Native American "in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group something that might happen with people who are like I am." However, she had not been involved in HUNAP, the most obvious avenue for meeting fellow Native American faculty and students.

Job One of a Political Consultant...

... is to not make your candidate a laughingstock.   Whoever came up with "Julia" for Barack Obama's campaign website... Epic Fail!

Girl of the Day - Pete Cambell, You Bad Man (Alexis Bleidel)


Sunday on Mad Men, Pete Campbell, secretly the darkest figure on the show, and whose character has certainly taken a turn for the worse this season, began an affair with the depressed wife of a fellow commuter to the Connecticut suburbs of New York.    The woman was played by Alexis Bleidel, whom I had never seen before, but who starred in a show that a lot of people apparently thought was pretty good, The Gilmore Girls.   A prediction:  I think we'll see a little more of her this year, as Pete continues his spiral.

Birthday Today - Keith Jarrett

My favorite jazz pianist, at least in terms of "contemporary" jazz, Keith Jarrett, turns 67 today.   I used to listen to Keith Jarrett's Köln concert over and over again, in the hope (quickly abandoned) that I could imbibe some of his improvisational genius:  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Recite. Then Repeat. Say This Every Day. Until November.

Here's Mitt Romney's open letter to Obama as published in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer:


Welcome to Ohio. I have a simple question for you: Where are the jobs?

As we enter the fourth year of your term, unemployment is over 8 percent and has been for your entire term. Nearly 23 million men and women are unemployed, underemployed or are no longer even looking for work. In the face of such challenges, many Americans have simply given up hope.

I recognize, of course, as do all Americans, that you inherited an economic crisis. But you've now had three years to turn things around. The record of those three years is clear. Your policies have failed, not only in Ohio, but across the nation.

Look, this shouldn't be that hard.   When Obama took office in January 2009, there were 142.2 million people employed in America.   This was off from the peak of 146.6 million in November 2007.    So, it's true, as Romney acknowledges, that Obama inherited an economic crisis caused by the financial industry panic, the collapse of the mortgage markets, the collapse of the housing market, etc.  But today, forty months since he took office, there are only 141.9 million jobs.   In other words, we've lost jobs.    And, as I've noted before, you actually need to be adding about 3,000,000 jobs a year just to keep up with population growth.   So he's about 10 million jobs shy since he took office, and would need to "create" about 15 million jobs to get us back to the employed/population ratio we had in 2007.    It's a dismal record, and all Romney should need to do is to just say so, over and over and over.  

Democrats and Lying...

What is it about Democrats and lying about their past?   Here are the candidates for President for the Democratic Party in the past twenty years, and certain statements they have made:

Bill Clinton - I saw black churches burning when I was a boy.

Al Gore - Tipper and I were the basis for the book Love Story.

John Kerry - “I remember Christmas of 1968, sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia."
Barack Obama - The composite white girl from Dreams From My Father.

Of the Vice-Presidential candidates -- Gore, Lieberman, Edwards, Biden -- the only one who's not a serial liar is Lieberman, and, hey, guess what?   HE'S NOT A DEMOCRAT ANYMORE!!   He quit the party when they veered too far to the left on the War on Terrorism.

The Buried "Gaffe"

Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) is in the news this week for a gaffe in which he confusedly thought that Solyndra -- the notorious solar panel maker touted by Obama and subsidized by you and me to the tune of $500 million or so, only to go bankrupt -- was a manufacturer of electric cars:

CA East Bay Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark, 80, identified Fremont-based Solyndra — perhaps the nation’s most notorious solar energy firm and a lightening rod in the 2012 election — as a car manufacturer in his editorial board meeting this week with the San Francisco Chronicle.

Stark’s comments appear to confuse Solyndra — which went bankrupt last year after receiving a $535 million federal loan guarantee — and Tesla Motors, a Fremont-based manufacturer of upscale electic cars now located at the site of the former NUMMI plant.

Asked about his views on new policies regarding Silicon Valley and high tech, including Solyndra, the Congressman said: “I wish I had enough expense allowance to get one of those new “S’s” that Solyndra’s going to make down there, the electric car..my 10 year old  (son) is after me. He no longer wants a Porsche. He wants dad to have an “S” sedan,’ Stark said. “They sound wild. They run $60,000-$90,000.”

The gaffe isn't what the newspapers think, however.  Stark, at 80 years old, should be cut some slack for confusing the names of two companies.   It happens.

But the real gaffe (or gaffes) to me is the following:

1. The reporter fails to note that Tesla Motors is also government-subsidized.

2. No one seems smart enough to ask... why are we subsidizing the manufacture of cars that can only be purchased by very rich people?

As for Stark, when so much of my tax money is flowing out of the federal government to so many Obama contributors and left cronies.... hell, I'd probably mix up their names too.   That's what happens when the government gets too big.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Girl of the Day - Easy Call Version (Audrey Hepburn)

The Girl of the Day is a very easy call today, since it's Audrey Hepburn's 83rd birthday.  




Wow!   Just... wow!

Two Stories, One Story - Or, Chuck and Vic Strike Again!

Charles Krauthammer and Victor Davis Hanson are, with Mark Steyn, in my triumverate of pundits whom I will read no matter what.   Here's Krauthammer on the hypocrisy of the Obama 2012 campaign, which self-evidently seeks to divide Americans along race, gender, class and ethnic lines, only four years after he ran as the "great uniter," the great healer of divisions:

The entire Obama campaign is a slice-and-dice operation, pandering to one group after another, particularly those that elected Obama in 2008 — blacks, Hispanics, women, young people — and for whom the thrill is now gone. 


What to do? Try fear. Create division, stir resentment, by whatever means necessary — bogus court challenges, dead-end Senate bills, and a forest of straw men.


Why else would the Justice Department challenge the photo-ID law in Texas? To charge Republicans with seeking to disenfranchise Hispanics and blacks, of course. But in 2008 the Supreme Court upheld a similar law from Indiana. And it wasn’t close: 6–3, the majority including that venerated liberal, John Paul Stevens.

Moreover, photo IDs were recommended by the 2005 Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by Jimmy Carter. And you surely can’t get into the attorney general’s building without one. Are Stevens, Carter, and Eric Holder anti-Hispanic and anti-black?

And here, in a nearly perfect statement, is Hanson, writing on the nearly sociopathic attitudes of Obama cabinet secretaries like Hilda Solis, Tim Geithner, Stephen Chu, and Eric Holder:

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has overseen some $5 trillion in new debt. To help pay for it, he wants the rich — the top 1 percent, which already contributes more in income taxes than does the bottom 90 percent — to pay more for what he calls “the privilege of being an American.” Geithner, whose department oversees the IRS, should have taken his own advice: As a rich American one-percenter, he once failed to pay his own self-employment taxes, and improperly claimed his children’s camp costs as a dependent-care deduction....

Then there is the even stranger case of Energy Secretary Steven Chu, whose department helped oversee millions in bad loans to green companies like Solyndra, First Solar, and Solar Trust of America — the Teapot Dome scandals of our times. Chu infamously quipped before assuming office that he wanted U.S. gas prices to reach European levels. Apparently Chu wanted to force a decrease in fossil-fuel burning — although he later confessed that he does not drive a car....
The common theme with these cabinet secretaries is loud, uninformed rhetoric; a lack of practical experience; a certain utopian zealotry — and an expectation that there are rules for government grandees and quite different ones for the rest of us.
What do these two stories have in common?

They.   Think.   We're.   Stupid.

God, do I despise these people.