Monthly Archives: November 2011

Ketchup to reduce debt. Who knew?

Richard Nixon said ketchup was a vegetable and the only vegetable he ate. And yet the man lived to 81. Plus he got all famous and wrote books and stuff.  So maybe Congress is on to something here.

In the great tradition of this country congress declared ketchup still a vegetable “following intense lobbying from the pizza and French fry industries.” (Lottsa fried potatoes still okay too.)

This agreement improves childhood nutrition by providing school nutritionists with the ability to serve healthy foods kids enjoy while avoiding burdening schools with massive new costs,” institute President and CEO Kraig Naasz said in a statement. “Of particular interest to frozen food producers, this agreement ensures that nutrient-rich vegetables such as potatoes, corn and peas will remain part of a balanced, healthy diet in federally-funded school meals.”

It’s a damn good thing they’ve managed to find time to pass this bill, as busy as they’ve been with matters so critical to the nation by addressing the tough economic issues like . . . ( 🙂 ! I’m kidding. Fooled ya’, didn’t I!)

The 112th Congress is on pace to be one of the least productive in recent memory — as measured by votes taken, bills made into laws, nominees approved. By most of those metrics, this crowd is underperforming even the “do-nothing Congress” of 1948, as President Harry Truman dubbed it.

 

Say it ain’t so Newt

I know it’s hard to believe, but The Newtster is a hypocrite.

Newt Gingrich slammed Democrats in 2008 as wholly owned subsidiaries of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Guess it takes one to know one.

As Republicans presidential nominee John McCain struggled to match his opponent in the polls, Newt Gingrich urged the Senator to reboot his campaign by relentlessly attacking Democrats for being too close to housing giant Freddie Mac.

That would be the same Newt Gingrich who took a reported $1.6 million in “consulting fees” from Freddie Mac during an eight-year relationship that had ended only months earlier.

He says today he was a consultant to Freddie Mac/Mae. I think last week he thought he’d been engaged as an historian.

Income gap – no comment

h/t mac at Talk & Politics

Let’s just pin the tail on the donkey. Now, that’s leadership!

From the transcript of Cain’s interview at the Milwakee Journal-Sentinel

He defended his view that presidents and presidential candidates don’t need to be immersed in the fine print of world affairs – they simply need to be leaders who can surround themselves with the right people and sift through their advice.

“I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy. Just thought I’d throw that out,” he said, a dig at his critics.

So he’s saying he will make decisions on which advisor to believe, and he doesn’t need any personal knowledge to evaluate that advice. Okay.

“I want to talk to commanders on the ground. Because you run for president (people say) you need to have the answer. No, you don’t! No, you don’t! That’s not good decision-making,” said Cain.*

Having the answer is not good decision-making. Doing what someone else has decided is good decision-making. Okay that too.

The constant iteration ‘I’ll listen to the commanders on the ground’. is nonsense. The generals’ job is to determine a strategy to fulfill the mission as defined by civilians, in the person of the CinC.  (Has there ever been a general for whom more troops and more weapons is not the answer to everything?)  That statement almost always goes unchallenged.

*I guess the man means: I’m not supposed to know anything about the Constitution.

Not unbloggy, busy . . .

. . . and Orhan has it covered, which is a good thing.

Meet US Debt Clock dot org:  I was directed to this site today. Lots of candy, so use caution if you go there – it’s a time hog. Be sure to check the tabs at the bottom of the home page or click for the World Debt Clock or a State Debt Clock.

Zuccotti Park raided

POSTED BY ORHAN

NYPD raided Zuccotti Park at 1 AM this morning and cleared it. They destroyed all property, including the library. There were 70+ arrests.

Cain on manhood

POSTED BY ORHAN

In a wide-ranging GQ interview a thoughtful Herman Cain presents his views on the nature and expression of masculinity:

Chris Heath: What can you tell about a man by the type of pizza that he likes?

Herman Cain: [repeats the question aloud, then pauses for a long moment] The more toppings a man has on his pizza, I believe the more manly he is.

Chris Heath: Why is that?

Herman Cain: Because the more manly man is not afraid of abundance. [laughs]

Devin Gordon: Is that purely a meat question?

Herman Cain: A manly man don’t want it piled high with vegetables! He would call that a sissy pizza.

Bertrand Russell, 99 Percenter

POSTED BY ORHAN

Bertrand RussellJohn Reynolds opened a copy of the Selected Writings of Bertrand Russell to this passage from the introduction, written in the 1920s on the eve of the Great Depression:

“It is evident that, in a world where there was leisure and economic security for all, the happiness of all would be greater than that of ninety-nine per cent of the present inhabitants of the planet. Why, then, do the ninety-nine per cent not combine to overcome the resistance of the privileged one per cent?

Reynolds researched the quote, sure the 99 Percent movement was inspired by Russell, but found no connection–it appears the good philosopher, as usual, was just ahead of his time.

Es un milagro!

Google Translate will now do your entire website with the simple click of a button. Quite remarkable. Or . . . es un milagro! (h/t mac).

Sunday funny

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam on the highway outside Washington DC. Nothing’s moving. Suddenly, a man knocks on the window. The driver rolls it down and asks, “What’s going on?”

“Terrorists have kidnapped Congress! They’re asking for a $100 million dollar ransom. Otherwise, they’re going to douse them all in gasoline and set them on fire. We’re going from car to car, collecting donations.”

“How much is everyone giving, on average?” the driver asks.

The man replies, “Roughly a gallon.”

(Thanks to friend Jane.)

Seven Dwarfs are falling down, falling down . . .

Hats off to Scott Pelley and Major Garret, moderaters of tonight’s Republican debate. It was structured and had rules and they made the candidates stick to them, even holding back Bachmann, who tried (“But, Scott!, but Scott!”) repeatedly to cut in – something she’d managed to do in previous debates. But not this time.

I was struck again by how genuinely clueless are Perry, Cain and Bachmann. They’ve repeatedly revealed that they lack all knowledge of this nation’s history, its laws, it relationships around the world or its responsibilities at home and abroad.  And yet there they are, still standing.

Ron Paul and Santorum are running in the roles of ‘true-beleivers’. Paul is principled and knowledgable and is out there to deliver his libertarian message as honestly as he can. Santorum too (strike me dead Elvis!) is principled, and he’s surprised and impressed me a few times.

I’m confused by Hunstman. He’s smart, capable, attractive in multiple ways, yet remains the invisible man. It’s not likely he hopes to be a second Mormon on the Romney ticket in 2012. So why is he there? Like I said, I’m confused by him.

And the Newtser? Ah, the lad is just giving his ego an outing, selling some books, and trying to get those speaking fees up – you know, trying to make a living.

And that leaves Romney. Who actually is running.

Never gonna happen

(UPDATE below) Since there is apparently another GOP Presidential candidate debate tonight (twice a week now), let’s look at this gem from David Frum (my favorite no-longer-crazy Bush guy) in its entirety:

Had I been on the panel for Wednesday’s economics debate, I’d have opened with the question: “Are taxes lower or higher today than on the day President Obama was sworn into office?” Just for fun.

CBS and National Journal asked me among others to suggest some questions to ask the candidates . .  My suggested list follows.

1. Mexico is being torn apart by a civil war to control the drug routes to the United States. Many Mexican leaders urge drug legalization in the US in order to move the drug trade away from violent criminals to legitimate business. If a Mexican president asked you to consider such a step, what would you answer and why?

2. Canada is our largest trading partner and most important energy supplier. What do you see as the major issues between the US and Canada and what would you do to strengthen this supremely important relationship?

3. If asked, would you support a US contribution to the fund to stabilize the Euro currency? Why or why not?

4. Taiwan is China’s largest foreign investor. Taiwan and China have an intensifying economic relationship. Taiwan has refused to make the military investments that our military considers necessary to Taiwan’s security. Is the US security guarantee to Taiwan obsolete?

5. If you had been president in 2010, would Hosni Mubarak still be in power today?

6. Do you believe there is a peaceful way to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons?

7. It’s often said that our present energy policy leaves us dependent on oil suppliers who do not like us. Our top 10 suppliers are:

Canada, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Russia, Algeria, Iraq, Angola and Colombia.

The anti-US feeling of the Chavez regime is notorious. Which of the other 9 would you describe as a supplier who “does not like us”?

8. Afghanistan: At the end of your first term do you think we’ll have more or less than 20,000 troops in that country?

9. Iraq: Knowing everything you know now, if you had been in Congress in 2002, would you have voted to authorize force against Saddam Hussein, yes or no?

Good questions, all of them. However, attention must be paid to 9-9-9 and Texas.

MEA CULPA UPDATE: The debate is now over. I watched it. And the moderators from CBS and National Journal asked intelligent and relevant policy questions. They really did.

Extreme obfuscation. David Brooks duz it

I go back and forth with New York Times columnist David Brooks – he’s occasionally witty or even wise, but is more often the master of pretending that things that do matter, don’t.

Today Brooks is at his absolutely most dishonest as he pretends to answer a question that’s never asked. Ever.

Foreign tourists are coming up to me on the streets and asking, “David, you have so many different kinds of inequality in your country. How can I tell which are socially acceptable and which are not?”

Huh?

Who the Elvis asks such a question? We all know the question that’s really being asked, but that would be inconvenient to answer. So we have column committing the sin of fakery, and full of meaningless nonsense. I do miss Anthony Lewis.

Veteran’s Day Friday oldie

The one. The only. Phil Ochs.

 

The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

And with that, WWI was over. Until the next time.

Today is Veterans’ Day. And it is the 35th day of the 11th year of the War in Afghanistan.

Evolution?

It’s happening.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Requiem for a Perry

Perry. What’s left to say?

Just stopped in at the conservative site Hot Air to see the reaction to Perry’s Governor Goodhair’s shocking memory ‘failure’ at last night’s debate. They made it easy with a convenient wrap of comments from around the media. Their headline said it all – the Gov imploded and the campaign is over.

Via Business Insider. A few choice quotes. Larry Sabato: To my memory, Perry’s forgetfulness is the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate.

Rich Lowry: That might be the most uncomfortable moment I’ve ever witnessed in presidential politics.

Mona Charen: That was the greatest flame-out I’ve ever witnessed in a debate.

(skip to 1:35 into the video to see the disaster)

Even I was embarrassed for Perry – I never like to see a person humiliated in public.

Um, WordPress? 78 spam to deal with?

WordPress (this blogging platform) has a comments spam blocker called Akismet which historically has been very good. But in the last weeks, more and more are getting through – 78 just this morning, all of which I will review before deleting because maybe, just maybe one of them will be legit.

The life of the stat whore.

Herman Tyson – viral by tonight no doubt

Mike Tyson? Mike Tyson? Criminey, the guy is good!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

SNL. Still funny.

Here, perhaps the best Seth Myers rant ever. He has some fun with the Eurozone crisis and the Greek debt and wonders if the 17 countries of Europe can agree on how to solve the problems, when a unanimous vote is required:

Unanimous? I can’t get three friends to agree on a restaurant. Can you imagine how hard it would be if none of us spoke the same language and our grandparents killed each other in World War II?

 

Give them money and they will spend

It would cost $600 billion to simply give $2,000 to each of 300,000,000 Americans. If we confined it to just those who make under half a mil, say, we’d each get a bunch more. Now that would be a stimulus by golly. Narrow it further so that all the six billion ends up in the hands of adults and we’d be beating down the barn doors in a heartbeat. Instant demand! More jobs to meet the demand! GDP up! More revenue flowing into state and federal coffers!

Spend! Work! Grow! That would work, and we’re printing money anyway . . .

Note: Dr. Black (a real economist!) at Eschaton has been advocating this novel solution for a few years now. Perhaps they should have listened to him.

WSJ Editorial Page officially delusional

From Dorothy Rabinowitz, old time Wall Street Journal editorial writer, today we hear that Gingrich can win. Her evidence is the thunderous applause he got last month at a Faith & Freedom Coalition forum.  She’s got to want it very much to say something like this:

Whoever his competitors are in Iowa and beyond, Mr. Gingrich faces a hard fight for the nomination. His greatest asset lies in his capacity to speak to  Americans as he has done, with such potency, during the Republican debates. No candidate in the field comes close to his talent for connection. [Gingrich? Really?] There’s no underestimating the importance of such a power in the presidential election ahead, or any other one.

Perhaps she’s on to something; his favorable number in a recent poll is all the way up to 12%!

Those Commies are still out there you know . . .

The way Jesus wanted it

This is last week’s story and we political junkies know all about it: Congress voted 361-9 to re-affirm that the motto of the United States is still In God We Trust. But did you know that our ever-vigilant congress critters took time to do it five years ago too? I guess we can’t be too careful. This time, they had a thoughtful debate, but we may assume that this is the sentiment that carried the day:

“Is God God? Or is man God? In God do we trust, or in man do we trust?” said Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). He was laying out the deeper meaning behind this debate — saying it was a chance for the House to reassert that it believes there is divine goodness and order in the universe.

If there isn’t, Franks said, “we should just let anarchy prevail because, after all, we are just worm food. So indeed we have the time to reaffirm that God is God and in God do we trust.”

I was in school when the beautiful motto of this nation was tossed aside for a cheap political point. E Pluribus Unum –  Out of Many, One. Probably the finest most aspirational motto of any state in history.

But there were Commies out there in the ’50’s and they were – gasp! – godless! And atom bombs would not be enough to protect us; only a deity could do that. So we shielded ourselves with a completely unoriginal, generic motto, one that would make any theocracy proud: In God We Trust. Which means exactly nothing.

That wasn’t enough of course, because maybe Uncle Joe Stalin wouldn’t bother to read our motto. So to be really really safe, we added a little protection into the Pledge of Allegiance as well.

One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all would no longer do. To assure full-fledged homeland security, it had to be One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. (God’s justice or man’s?)

I never say it. I like the old one.

This man is out. of. his. mind.

The Family Research Council just honored Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) for his “support of the family” perhaps because Joe Walsh supports his own family by owing them six figures in back child support. But hey, Christians forgive each other, right?

After watching these videos (long – go make the coffee), I’m thinking if I were his wife and the custodial mother of his children, I’d take the financial hit and consider it a bargain just to have him out of the house and away from sharp objects.

(The original vid I posted above wouldn’t open for some. Thanks to mac at Talk & Politics for providing one that works)

Damn hippie

Is there a Ross Perot waiting in the wings?

Or . . . how Obama wins the election, scenario #14

 

 

The Cain saga just broke my brain. Let us laugh.

Dialogue, 2011 style

Meet the USS New York

She’s constructed from materials taken from the rubble of  the Twin Towers. How ’bout that!   (h/t friend Jim)