Sunday, February 28, 2010

One year anniversary Tea Party rally round-up... in absentia. UPDATED

Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

-Winston Churchill

Despite the rain, it looks like there was a pretty good turnout for the 1-year anniversary San Diego Tea Party rally.

Job obligations prevented us from attending but we want to extend our heart felt thanks to those who did make it out there yesterday.

A round-up of yesterday’s events:

B-Daddy here and here

W.C. Varones here

Temple of Mut here

(UPDATE #1): Sweet. Lefties have started up their alternative to the Tea Party movement and have named it, wait for it… the Coffee Party movement.

No real strong policy positions but we busted out our statist decoder ring and broke down the unspoken meaning behind the talking points:

“Cooperation” = Pass Democratic legislation

“We object to obstructionism” = Pass Democratic legislation

“reality-based” = Pass Democratic legislation

“fear-based tactics” = Pass Democratic legislation

“the system is broken” = Pass Democratice legislation

“Congress works for us not the corporations” = Pass Democratic legislation

“We need to get people out of the way” = Pass Democratic legislation

Nice little whiny strawman set up by the young lady that the media has portrayed the Tea Party movement as “representative of America”. Really?

Interesting bone-throw to the Tea Partiers, though, with respect to finding common ground on fiscal conservatism. Given what we saw in the video, however, we aren't buying the sincerity of the claim.

No matter. It’s pretty obvious these are net-rootsy types who find it incomprehensible that more than one year in, Hope and Change has been, for the time being, derailed.

But in the spirit of grass-roots democratic activism, we welcome the Coffee Party to the scene. Let’s get it on!

H/T: Hot Air

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Rainy skies and high tides (UPDATED)

Confirmed. Our favorite part of the job is launch week.

The USNS CHARLES DREW (T-AKE 10) was launched this morning at 0735 into San Diego harbor. She is a general purpose cargo ship that will be capable of underway replenishment of naval combatants in need of fuel, food, spare parts, ammo… whatever – the DREW will have it.

Picture at left is of shipyard workers burning off the steel clips attached to the flat bottom of the ship that were supported by the spur shores that were knocked out moments before this photo was taken. It is one of the last acts that is performed before the trigger is released and the ship slides off the ways and into the water.

The launch went flawlessly. The ship had creeped a full two inches down the ways in the last 24 hrs. prior to launch. She was itchin' to go. Always a good sign.

(UPDATE #1): Courtesy YouTube, we've got video evidence of the launch below. Dig the tsunami effect as the displaced water rushes back in and up the ways.

Our words-eye view of things*

More than any other athlete in our time, Magic Johnson personified the selflessness and the joie de vivre that was achievable in team sports

B-Daddy has a must-read post on the spiritual nature of athletic competition and the fraternal draw of being part of a team.

Read it here.

On a somewhat related note, our 10 year run with the mighty Raptors of the San Diego Bar Association Basketball League has come to an end. We got the news right before reading B-Daddy's post, which made his points even more relevant. At times, getting geared up on a Monday night to play hoops was percieved as a drag. But win or lose, the highs of extreme physical exertion and the comraderie forged through a commonality of purpose will be things that can never be replicated by anything else we do in life.

* It's proven science that a post improves by 15-20% with a Chick Hearn reference.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Radio KBwD is on the air

No long-winded intro for this installment of Radio KBwD – it’s been way too long of a week.

Ladies and Gentlemen: it’s The Mamas and the Papas performing “Creeque Alley”.

Scott Brown: Sellout?

OK. It seems everyones’ panties are in a wad over Scott Brown voting in favor of the $15 billion jobs bill in the Senate on Monday. Allow us a moment to offer our own blistering critique to this obvious sellout as it appears we’ve been duped yet again by another RINO: People, relax.

This was one vote on a miniscule $15 billion package that everyone… everyone, Democrats and Republicans included, knew wouldn’t do jack squat about actually increasing the number of jobs and which everyone recognized was merely a bone-throw to the electorate to demostrate that Congress is not nearly as dysfunctional as they really are. Do we wish he voted against it? Of course, but we sort of see the logic. He ran as an independent under the (R) flag and was presented an early opportunity to prove it to his constituents back home on an inconsequential bill. "No harm, no foul" as the late great Chick Hearn would say.

We forgot exactly how he phrased it but Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said something along the lines that one’s conservative chops are dependent somewhat on locale. He’s right. To wit, if Brown cast this “yes” vote from a red state like Georgia, that truly would’ve been news. But Brown is from deep blue Massachusetts so it would be totally unrealistic to think he’s going to vote like Sam Nunn all the time.

And that’s why these purity and litmus tests are so ridiculous and ultimately counterproductive. To pigeonhole people in this manner is a huge mistake.

His votes on cap and trade, health care reform and those on legislation like it will prove Scott Brown’s conservative mettle.

Hopefully, this yes vote does not portend worse things to come but let’s keep our eye on the big picture. We have no problem with Scott Brown voting yes on a $15 billion photo op.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good thing this all didn't mean a damn thing.

... we wouldn't want them actually doing anything, would we?

Healthcarepalooza went down Thursday where the C-SPAN cameras were let in to the debate between the President, his Democratic allies and the Republicans. And just in case anyone was wondering whether or not this thing was pure theater, about halfway through the proceedings, the Democrats not in the room let it be known that they were going with the Dem-only reconciliation route starting first thing next week.

It’s all good, though. We view this as roughly akin to knowing the Olympic results of a particular event prior to settling into the highlight show later that evening. No angst, no drama… it becomes just about the process.

First clip: the Prez playing the it’s good to be the King card.

We actually thought it was pretty funny. Guess what? Dude is the President and
there are a certain amount of non-egalitarian perks that go along with it. Deal.

And now for the star of the show as far as we are concerned, if you can spare 6 minutes. Paul Ryan (R-WI) does an excellent job of breaking down what a fiscal trainwreck Obamacare will be.

Ahhhh…… Wonk out!!!!

“We don’t think the government should be in control of all this. We think people should be in control.”

No drama. No angst. It really is that simple.

Smog, traffic, gang violence, Mayor Maiden Name and all they've got to show for it is this crappy newspaper

Out: Teapartyers are a bunch of crypto-facist racists.

In: Teapartyers are a bunch of self-absorbed, well-to-do, aging hippies.

In a shocker, the L.A. Times commissions a couple of Democratic party flaks for the latest deconstruction of the Tea Party demographic. The angry bigot meme has run its course to no real avail so now its on to two former hippies looking at the tea party movement and discovering, hey, they’re just like us 40 yrs. ago.

The tea party is a harbinger of midlife crisis, not political crisis. For men of a certain age, it offers a counterculture experience familiar from adolescence -- underground radio, esoteric tracts, consciousness-raising teach-ins and rallies replete with extroverted behavior to shock the squares -- all paid for with ample cash.

The partyers are essentially replaying the '60s protest paradigm. (We're aging boomers ourselves, so we know it when we see it.) They fancy themselves the vanguard of a revolution, when in fact they are typical self-absorbed, privileged children used to having their way -- now -- and uninhibited about complaining loudly when they don't. It's the same demographic Spiro Agnew called "an effete corps of impudent snobs who characterize themselves as intellectuals."

The whole article represents a stunning bit of revisionism regarding the 60’s counterculture movement. Rather than gauzy memories of how they changed the world by making love instead of war they come to the sudden and convenient realization of what a lot of preening, attention-seeking, loudmouthed dorks they were.

To get a picture of just what a reversal of perception this is, imagine the entire cast of The Big Chill perishing in a house fire in the first reel instead of engaging in nostalgic navel-gazing as they do (now that would’ve made for an epic watch). And if quoting Spiro Agnew, for chrissakes, doesn’t prove their disengenuousness, we don’t know what does.

And frankly, as Gen X-ers, we have no idea what these two idiots are talking about especially when they start comparing the Che t-shirt to the Gadsden t-shirts favored by many in the angry mob. One loses all credibility when one tries to equate those two.

The Times beclowned itself when they simply refused to cover any of the tea party rallies initially last spring and they continue to do so playing catch-up with their lame analysis of the people who comprise the movement.

Programming Alert

If you don’t have anything going on Saturday… shoot, even if you do, reschedule it and come on down to the Star of India from 11 to 1 to celebrate and participate in the San Diego Tea Party 1-year anniversary rally.

It is amazing what has transpired over the last calendar year. We don’t think it’s hyperbole to state that we would most likely be living in a country saddled with an economy-crushing cap and trade legislation and a freedom-grabbing, not-good-for-your-health nationalized healthcare system in place were it not for the actions of everyday citizens that got off their respective couches and recliners and became active in politics for the first time in their lives.

Temple of Mut has the details on the whats, wheres, whos and whys, here.

Smile! You are an American living in the greatest country in the world. Providence has granted you that good fortune. Now, smile and kick some ass today!

By the numbers:

110.9% debt to GDP ratio is a threat to government solvency.

79.88% debt to GDP ratio (and growing) will lead to a stronger economy.

Such incoherent theorizing can only be found in one place. Our blog buddy, Harrison, has the details here at Just Politics?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Programming Alert

OK. Just trying some remote blogging with our new laptop at K and B Wine Cellars in Del Cerro this evening.

Pizza Port Brewery just released their massively hopped Port Mongo which we are enjoying right now.

Will check back in later with an update, perhaps.

Safety first!

We were going to run with a similar post a couple of weeks back but it just didn’t feel right at the time. Even still, we’re filing this under “Were not saying… we’re just saying”. And that is with respect to the government’s handling of the numerous alleged Toyota defects.

It just seems odd that a company whose name has been synonymous with quality has seemingly gone off the rails in such epic fashion.

Honestly, if you didn’t know any better, you might think that the Feds might be gunning for this mostly non-union, foreign auto maker.

From an anecdotal standpoint, we don’t ever recall the government being as aggressive or as openly vocal when it came to charges of vehicle defects and recalls related to those defects. But we’re sure all this venting is truly legitimate.

Congressmen like Bart Stupak and John Dingell from, uhhh, Michigan ripped into Toyota for dragging their feet on the recalls, but they’re really just trying to protect the consumer, right?

And we’re sure there is nothing to the fact that recalls are traditionally handled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration but in Toyota’s case the recall effort is being headed-up at the cabinet level by Transportation Secretary, Roy LaHood. Something this important can’t be entrusted anywhere but the highest levels.

Never mind the fact, also that there is absolutely no rhyme or reason for what triggers a recall effort.

"'s analysis of NHTSA data shows no clear pattern in terms of the number of consumer complaints that trigger an agency investigation. As few as five complaints have triggered an investigation; other investigations haven't started until 1,500 complaints had accumulated," noted Senior Analyst Michelle Krebs in her report NHTSA on the Hot Seat: What is Standard Operating Procedure? on

The report points out that between 2005 and 2010, steering problems on Chevrolet Cobalt were the subject of 1,157 complaints while Toyota Corolla steering problems were the subject of 84 complaints. According to's reading of the steering complaints on both vehicles, the complaints about the Cobalt's steering are far more serious and more dangerous than are the complaints about the Corolla's steering. NHTSA recently opened official investigations of both vehicles.

And that joint GM/Toyota venture (NUMMI) up in Fremont California that GM bailed out on and which Toyota is planning on moving its Fremont operations to right-to-work San Antonio, TX? To the naked eye one would think the investigations are being used as leverage somewhat in order to keep Toyota and its 5,000+ union jobs there in bay area. But that’s just non-sense, right? The federal government and, in particular, this administration would never try bullying or any strong-arm tactics in the auto-manufacturing sector, would they?

And Toyota’s charge that the administration and Congressional Democrats are not quite “business friendly”. Sounds like a bunch of conspiracy mongering to us but just to make sure we are not being too close-minded about this, let’s get a little different perspective.

News flash, geniuses: it's not an industry thing. They are your competitors. The Obama Administration owns Government Motors. You don't see them busting GM's balls about regulatory issues, do you? Quite the contrary, they're still using the fake bank "Ally Bank" to funnel taxpayer dollars to fund cheap financing for Government Motors vehicles.

If Toyota won't surrender to UAW demands and start writing big checks to Democrat campaign funds, they're in for the Dr. Jellyfinger treatment.

Well, alright then.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Premier Williams is oddly unapologetic about his efforts to stay alive

Recall the hoopla earlier this month when Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams travelled to Miami to receive a sternotomy for his heart rather than wait in line in his home country. Williams speaks out on the manner:

An unapologetic Danny Williams says he was aware his trip to the United States for heart surgery earlier this month would spark outcry, but he concluded his personal health trumped any public fallout over the controversial decision.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Williams said he went to Miami to have a "minimally invasive" surgery for an ailment first detected nearly a year ago, based on the advice of his doctors.

"This was my heart, my choice and my health," Williams said late Monday from his condominium in Sarasota, Fla.

"I did not sign away my right to get the best possible health care for myself when I entered politics."

It should be noted that the procedure performed by the American doctors on Williams did not require any bone breakage as the Canadian procedure would’ve entailed.

In a sane and rational world we would ask the question why acting in one’s best interest and best health would “spark outcry” and why anyone would think twice about being unapologetic about it.

Ah, but this is the bizarro world of socialized medicine where acting in one’s own best interest in order to get quality medical care in an expeditious manner is considered subversive and selfish behavior.

You do get the sense of descending into an Orwellian reality that settling for crappy health care becomes a societal badge of honor and indeed a source of patriotic pride.

Think we're kidding? Dig this:

"Debbie Hirst's breast cancer had metastasized, but the (British) NHS would not provide her with Avastin, a drug widely used in the U.S. to control such cancers. According to a report in the New York Times, Debbie opted to pay for the drug herself while getting the rest of her publicly funded treatment. NHS bureaucrats found out about Debbie's plan and informed her doctor that Debbie would have to accept the "free" care as is or, if she wanted the Avastin, she would have to pay for it and all the rest of her treatment too."

"NHS officials told the British press that to allow Debbie to pay for extra drugs to supplement government care would violate the philosophy of the NHS by giving richer patients an unfair advantage over poorer ones. British Health Secretary Alan Johnson told Parliament patients "cannot, in one episode of treatment, be treated on the NHS and then allowed, as part of the same episode and the same treatment, to pay money for more drugs. That way lies the end of the founding principles of the National Health Service."

(italics, ours)

The science is settled. Nationalized healthcare has nothing to do with improving your personal health but everything to do with preserving a philosophy that we all possess an inalienable right to the same crappy healthcare.

It's about equality, right?

If and when Obamacare does become a reality, we look forward to participating in a robust healthcare black market.

Forever Young

Running backs hold a special place in our hearts as growing up we imagined ourselves as Lawerence McCutcheon carrying the ball for the old Los Angeles Rams or Ricky Bell or Charles White doing the same for the USC Trojans.

Some 30-35 years on, some things never change.

Thanksgiving weekend, the year 2000, and we’re sitting in the Brigantine in La Mesa watching John Carney line up a 40 yard field goal against the Kansas City Chiefs which would give the hapless 0-11 San Diego Chargers their first victory of the season when without warning, CBS News interrupts the broadcast to go live to Florida and Florida’s Secretary of State, Kathleen Harris, certifying the Florida vote count for George W. Bush.

While the fate of western civilization hung in the balance, we missed Carney’s successful field goal which would result in the only win for the Chargers that season and which would also result in the young bar tender at the Brig’ scratching his head and wondering what all this irate talk of the “Heidi Game” was coming from the other side of the bar. Such was the fate and image of the San Diego franchise at the time, that their most glorious moment in that miserable 1-15 season was pre-empted by something as seemingly mundane as to who would be calling the pre-9/11 free-world shots for the better part of a decade.

That following spring, the Chargers would trade out of the top spot that the Atlanta Falcons would use to draft Michael Vick and would instead select LaDanian Tomlinson out of Texas Christian and Drew Brees out of Purdue.

LT was released by the Chargers yesterday and it proves just how fast that 9 years can blow by and how decisively the fate and direction of a franchise can change. From a 1-15 laughingstock the year before he arrived to the Chargers being perennially tabbed as Super Bowl contenders in the second half of his career, LT was the finest running back of the decade and for one unforgettable season in ’06, LT was the finest football player on the planet.

We’ve been blessed in being able to witness in-person 3 great running backs at different stages of development here in San Diego: Reggie Bush (Helix High), Marshal Faulk (San Diego St.) and LT as a Charger and can say with certainty that no running back possessed more of a sense of the moment than LT. Putting the ball in LT’s hands late in the 4th or in overtime was fait accompli… game over. His instincts around the goal line or in picking up needed yardage for a first down was unparalleled. And no one, repeat, no one owned a single team like LT owned the Raiders which in these parts is grounds for live canonization.

LT wants to continue playing and we wish him success wherever he goes though we really, really hope it’s somewhere in an NFC uniform.

Perhaps we were inspired by that Jim Brown-LT jump cut in that NFL Pepsi commercial but we thought of this song when reflecting on LT’s career.

This one goes out to the two chumps we and our boy Jerry were sitting next to at LT’s very first game for the Chargers back in 2001 against the Redskins who scoffed at the notion there could ever be more than one “LT”.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Different author, same story

Nearly a year after letting the House and the Senate do his heavy lifting with respect to crafting health care legislation, the President is putting forth his own plan. From the AP:

President Barack Obama is putting forward a nearly $1 trillion, 10-year health care plan that would allow the government to deny or roll back egregious insurance premium increases that infuriated consumers.

Posted Monday morning on the White House Web site, the plan would provide coverage to more than 31 million Americans now uninsured without adding to the federal deficit.

It conspicuously omits a government insurance plan sought by liberals.

(italics ours)

You know you are going to get a balanced analysis when the piece kicks off with that paragraph.

And the absence the public option? We’ll get to that later.

The premium increase referenced was Anthem Blue Cross in California that jacked up its rates by 39%. This gives the President the fodder he needs to claim the system is broken and that Obamacare is the cure in front of the much ballyhooed bi-partisan healthcare summit with Republicans on Thursday.

There’s one problem, though, with the President’s claim of budget neutrality. The CBO says it won’t be anywhere near being able to provide a score to Obamacare (we can now use that term in full veracity) by the end of the week.

Moreover, preparing a cost estimate requires very detailed specifications of numerous provisions, and the materials that were released this morning do not provide sufficient detail on all of the provisions. Therefore, CBO cannot provide a cost estimate for the proposal without additional detail, and, even if such detail were provided, analyzing the proposal would be a time-consuming process that could not be completed this week.

But back to the government being able to deny or roll back "egregious" premium increases. This is a defacto price control and economics 101 teaches us what happens when price controls are put into place: the goods and/or services that are being regulated in this manner go away. They go away because those providing the capped goods and services will not be compensated at market value and since it won’t make any financial sense to do business with those price controls, health insurance providers will a) either be forced to cut services (rationing) or b) simply go out of business altogether.

It makes sense then not to add the public option into the initial language of the legislation as that is something that people will be clamoring for once the price controls effectively drive the health insurance providers out of business.

Also, define “egregious”. Perhaps there will be a number or some sort of sliding scale that will be used as the threshold for kicking in the roll back but no matter – at the end of the day it will be decided upon by legislation (that may or may not be influenced by the headquarters address of the health insurance provider. Pickin’ winners and losers!) or by bureaucratic fiat. Either way, we lose.

Congrats to the President for finally getting off his backside and taking the lead on his legislative crown jewel, though, it doesn’t appear it’s going to be much different than the pieces of crap generated by the House and Senate.

Addendum #1: Anthem Blue Cross has agreed to a request by the California Department of Insurance to postpone their premium adjustment by two months to allow the Department additional time to review it. The new rates were filed with the appropriate regulators in November of 2009 and the news release suggests there were no problems raised by the regulators during the 3 months in the interim.

Anthem claims the steady increase in medical costs, which are not sustainable, as the reason for the rate increase. Exacerbating the situation is the increasing number of healthy young people who choose not to be covered leaving an insured pool that require more services. All current versions of health care reform legislation mandate that everyone buy health insurance from private insurers so that everyone is, you know, “paying their fair share”.

Fighting the wrong battles

So, why isn’t health insurance truly insurance? Why won’t an increase in access to health care necessarily equate to a healthier populace? And why will a federalization of the health care industry result in higher health care costs across the board?

B-Daddy confronts some inconvenient truths that must be addressed if we are to truly effect health care reform in this country.

If you dare, enter the free market zone of the The Liberator Today, here.

Thank goodness, he’s black

As viewed through the prism of a statist, what else gives them cover for the Obama agenda? After all, wasn’t it the statists/progressives who were caterwauling about the cozy relationship the Bush administration had with big business and in particular Big Oil and weren’t we constantly scolded by the same people about the public/private sector hand-in-glove “corporatist” relationships developed between Wall St. and Capitol Hill.

What are we then to make of a forced government take-over of General Motors and Chrysler, the specter of which was compounded by a rather curious deference being paid to the unions at the expense of the secured creditors during the bankruptcy proceedings?

And what are we to make of this tax on the bailed-out Wall St. firms in light of the fact that the government’s special pets, the aforementioned Big Two and the government sponsored entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, also the recipients of hundreds of billions of dollars of bailout tax dollars, will be exempt from “paying their fair share”?

What also is to be made of these horribly conceived and dubiously executed demand-side incentive dog and pony shows like Cash for Clunkers and home-owner assistance programs where the government is again injecting itself in an unprecedented manner into the private markets (another indirect source of Fannie, Freddie and Wall St. bailouts)?

Faced with a government take-over of the healthcare industry where personal choices and freedoms will certainly be curtailed, has the statist broke out his "Keeep Your Laws Off My Body" t-shirt and marched in full-throated opposition?

But we’re asking all this of the wrong people. “We” all know how we feel about it, so we are asking it of the statists and progressives - those supporters Obama’s Bailout Nation and the debt-bomb it is creating?

We’ve received the answer. In light of the overwhelming evidence showing the Bush administration’s incipient crony capitalism being child’s play compared to the economic fascism or “corporatism” as practiced by the Obama administration, is there any chastening or at least a sober recognition that these are not the people they’ve been waiting for? Hardly.

You’re all just a bunch of racists!

Temple of Mut and one of the organizers of the San Diego tea party takes a look at the tea party movement one year on from its inception, here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Singing the tarmac blues

As ones you have just recently returned from a vacation that involved 4 separate flights we feel the pain of those who have been stuck on the tarmac for hours at a time because of flight delays.

And just as we can sympathize with those stuck in a crowded, stuffy cabin, we can also see how the inevitable government intervention into this inconvenience can and will actually make the problem worse.

The nation's recent onslaught of flight cancellations is a harbinger of what passengers can expect from airlines looking to avoid new multimillion-dollar fines for leaving people stranded on grounded planes in bad weather, according to federal data and aviation experts.

The government announced in December it would fine airlines $27,500 per passenger for long tarmac delays — or $2.75 million for a 100-passenger flight.

Cancellations cost far less than a huge fine, especially since seats are routinely prepaid and airlines save fuel cost.

These fines were a result of something called the Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights enacted by the FAA designed to protect passengers, however when one starts extending bills of rights beyond what is in the constitution, the law of unintended consequences kicks and and you have airlines cancelling flights and leaving passengers in the lurch which is cheaper than having passengers stranded on the tarmac for more than 3 hrs.

This rule does not go into effect until April 29th but airlines such as JetBlue have already begun cancelling flights just to get into the swing of things (those learning curves can be a real bitch, sometimes).

All this is a shame and could've been avoided if the airlines had just followed BwD's advice and rolled out the cart in order to serve up some of these to tired and cranky passengers

O Canada....

... our sleds are in a terrible bind.

We got back from our snow-mobiling trip in West Yellowstone, MT late last night and are in full decompress mode today. Laundry, a new battery for the truck and some rest are the order of the day (you’d never think one would get so beat-up by sitting on one’s rear end for 8 hrs. a day).

Every time we go on this trip, we pick up some more knowledge that can be applied towards making the next trip an even more enjoyable and rewarding experience. Our big lessons learned from this trip: bring Canadians! And short of that, make friends with them either out on the trails or in town because you might be needing them.

As we are wont to go off trail, we do spend some time digging out and most of our group’s accumulated conventional wisdom with respect to digging out was proven to be bunk this past week as demonstrated by a group of helpful Canadians who in a matter of minutes had freed 3 of our sleds that had collectively achieved an epic state of submergence, unfavorable inertia and/or implausible operating positions.

It’s Family Week or something up there where the whole country shuts down, so a bunch of them roadied south to spread around some of that famous Canadian friendliness and sno-mo knowledge. Will definetely be eyeing the Canadian calendar to see when this Family Week is in a couple of years.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Throw the bums out?

Just 8 percent of Americans want the members of Congress re-elected, according to a CBS News-New York Times poll taken nine months before roughly one-third of the Senate and the entire House face voters.

The Feb. 5-10 survey found 81 percent of respondents saying the lawmakers shouldn’t receive another term.

By 80 percent to 13 percent, Americans said members of Congress are more interested in serving special interests than the people they represent.

Anti-incumbency fever is something we catch from time to time and we Americans talk a big game but the numbers tell a different story.

So, what gives? Are we electorally hypocritical? The great George Will quote: “We talk like Jefferson but govern like Hamilton” comes to mind. Or is the system, with its campaign finance laws and congressional districting, hopelessly rigged? We’re thinking a healthy combination of both.


We're flying back in from Montana and our snow-mobile trip as of this posting but we hope to be doing some live blogging tomorrow.

To The Barricades

Figuratively of course.
B-Daddy here. Drudge is linking to an article that claims the Dems are preparing to "Rahm through" Obamacare through reconciliation, if they don't get their way with Republicans at the so-called health care summit.


This makes a mockery of any pretense of bipartisanship on Obama's part, as if any more were needed.

Time to call and write your Congress critter, get to the next Tea Party rally, write letters to the editor, write on your blog, twitter or facebook. If the only accomplishment of the Tea Party movement is killing Obamacare, then it will have been worthwhile. We will accomplish much more, but this can be the signature victory that convinces Americans that ours is still a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

This monstrous assault on our liberties must be defeated, or our government will be set inexorably on a path of socialist expansion and ruin. I also urge the Republicans in Congress to earn our votes, by using every parliamentary method possible to defeat this bill. Walk out of the "summit" if necessary, embarrass this embarrassing President.


P.S. Please see my article about why the assumptions and premises of the debate are faulty. Until we attack the real issues, health care insurance cannot be reformed.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Radio KBwD is on the air

We’re flying back in from our snow-mobile trip tomorrow but we wanted to keep our weekly kick-off-the-weekend Friday Radio KBwD series rolling.

Ladies and Gentlemen: from Saginaw, Michigan via Motown it’s Stevland Hardaway Judkins performing “I Was Made To Love Her”

''Like a sweet magnolia tree, my love blossomed tenderly, my life grew sweeter through the years''

Time's up.

John Murtha (June 17, 1932 – February 8, 2010)

Unindicted co-conspirator in the ABSCAM scandal.

Consistently cited by watchdog groups as one of the most corrupt members of Congress.

An unapologetic pork barrel politician who lived for earmarks for his district

A smear-merchant of the highest order, including, infamously branding Marines as murderers in the wake of the Haditha incident in 2005. Murtha went to his grave never apologizing for or walking back his reprehensible comments.

Warm enough for you, sir?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Republican Slogan - We Suck Less

B-Daddy here. The Republican Party does not deserve the support of the Tea Party movement. One of the key goals of the movement is to get Congress to reduce spending and especially useless, wasteful spending. However, Republicans who have been publicly criticizing the stimulus bill have been at the trough, requesting funding for projects in their home states and districts, as documented in this WSJ article (H/T DailyKos) Here is a prime example:

Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who called the stimulus a "wasteful spending spree" that "misses the mark on all counts," wrote to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in October in support of a grant application from a group in his district which, he said, "intends to place 1,000 workers in green jobs." A spokeswoman for Mr. Ryan said the congressman felt it was his job to provide "the basic constituent service of lending his assistance for federal grant requests."
Re-read that last sentence about "constituent service." I don't know about you, but it makes me cringe. This is why a Tea Party movement is needed in America. Such statements should eventually become shameful and embarrassing for any politician to admit to.

Ryan, who has put together a reasonable health care alternative, should have publicly trumpeted his refusal to perform "constituent service" in this case. It would have resonated with his district, I have no doubt.

I remember Bush imposing steel tariffs in 2002, for purely poltiical reasons during the Congressional election season. The damage to his credibility on free trade far outweighed the few votes he might have garnered. The Republicans went on a spending binge to buy votes as they forgot every principle that ever got them elected. Eventually, the Republicans actually polled ahead of Democrats as the "party of big government" and were subsequently trounced in the 2006 elections. I think the tea party movement proves that there are vast numbers of Americans who vote for principles, and can't be bought by being thrown the occasional pork bone.

Right now, the only thing saving the Republicans from permanent oblivion is that the Democrats are far worse when it comes to wasting the taxpayers' money. What a great campaign slogan "We Suck Less."

More free speech...

...more, more, more.

So, everyone has their panties in a wad over the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United v. FEC as some sort of assault on political free speech and democracy itself. The irony that the Supremes ruled against the government banning speech was not lost on us.

The concern that the floodgates of corporate cash will now be opened and poured into the body politic is laughable. That horse left the barn years ago.

Again, our refrain: You will never remove money from politics until you decrease the reach and power of politics/government by a corresponding degree.

Check out’s take on the matter here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On deck?

Forget Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and even Mark Levin (though, he’s solid), when Rush decides to hang up the golden microphone, there is only one person out there that could remotely be considered to fill Rush’s shoes as America’s conservative radio voice and that is Mark Steyn who guest-spots for Rush on occasion. No one that we listen to or read (outside of possibly Iowahawk) matches Steyn’s acerbic wit and humor.


Upon greater reflection, the Super Bowl ads represented a stunning array of grasping, hen-pecked beta-males portrayed in horribly lame attempts to justify their malesmanship*.

If you think “conformo-radicalism” is a contradiction in terms, well, such is the way of the world. It was reported last week that as many as a dozen men have been killed in disputes arising from karaoke performances of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.” Surely, bellowing out “I did it my way” to Frank’s backing track in a karaoke bar is the very definition of not doing it your way, but it’s marginally less pathetic than the song’s emergence in post-Christian Britain as a favorite funeral anthem: “For what is a man? What has he got? If not himself, then he has naught.” Nothing sums up your iconoclastic individualism than someone else’s signature song — right?

Check out the rest of Steyn’s piece on Super Bowl ads, masculinity, individuality and the tea party movement, here.

* Yes, we just made up that word. Catchy, no?

Photo image of the day

Good to know Google Earth has got our back if we ever need to track down the locations of strip clubs in the area

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Man missing dog

Doggone, it’s been a rough few months for the faith-based AGW crowd. Here’s one of the high priests of the cult, the disgraced Phil Jones of the East Anglia University Climate Research Unit, employing the-dog-ate-my-homework defense.

The academic at the centre of the ‘Climategate’ affair, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that he has trouble ‘keeping track’ of the information.

Colleagues say that the reason Professor Phil Jones has refused Freedom of Information requests is that he may have actually lost the relevant papers.
Professor Jones told the BBC yesterday there was truth in the observations of colleagues that he lacked organisational skills, that his office was swamped with piles of paper and that his record keeping is ‘not as good as it should be’.

The data is crucial to the famous ‘hockey stick graph’ used by climate change advocates to support the theory.

Professor Jones also conceded the possibility that the world was warmer in medieval times than now – suggesting global warming may not be a man-made phenomenon.
And he said that for the past 15 years there has been no ‘statistically significant’ warming.

Unfortunately, for Jones, the problem has not been his stated bout with being just a wacky absent-minded professor but rather the fact that they dumpstered the raw data.

The image of Jones as merely this benign tweed jacket-wearing, pipe-smoking academian would be more believable were not for the fact that he admitted earlier that he simply eliminated the data that would prove to be inconvenient to his cause and that of his fellow cultists the world over.

Damn those interwebs and their long memories

Programming Alert

We're flying out to West Yellowstone, MT this morning for our bi-annual snow-mobile expedition. Don't worry, we'll be outside of park boundaries, though it's possible the exhaust from our machines might make it inside.

Anyway, for the next 5-6 days you'll be in the capable hands of guest bloggers, scheduled posts and random drop-ins from our end if time and technology avail themselves.

If you see these hombres out on the trail.... say Hi. Not armed and not all that dangerous.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Kill 'em all 'cause Holder can't sort 'em out.

When a window of opportunity opened to strike the leader of al-Qaeda in East Africa last September, U.S. Special Operations forces prepared several options. They could obliterate his vehicle with an airstrike as he drove through southern Somalia. Or they could fire from helicopters that could land at the scene to confirm the kill. Or they could try to take him alive.

The White House authorized the second option. On the morning of Sept. 14, helicopters flying from a U.S. ship off the Somali coast blew up a car carrying Saleh Ali Nabhan. While several hovered overhead, one set down long enough for troops to scoop up enough of the remains for DNA verification. Moments later, the helicopters were headed back to the ship.

The strike was considered a major success, according to senior administration and military officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the classified operation and other sensitive matters. But the opportunity to interrogate one of the most wanted U.S. terrorism targets was gone forever.

Well, we suppose that takes care of that thorny issue of whether or not we will mirandize unlawful combatants and terror suspects out in the field.

In fact, the Post story reports that this unofficial shift in strategy from capture to kill has resulted directly from the Obama administration's and by extension, that miserable hack’s Justice Department’s lack of a coherent policy for detaining prisoners.

After all, when you promise to close Gitmo, are in process of trying one of the highest profile terror leaders in civilian court and offer inconsistent guidance to the boots on the ground with respect to Miranda policy, you’ve pretty much painted yourself into a corner where whacking these high-level operatives before valuable intel can be extracted remains your only tenable option.

Another McCain-Feingold success story

The myth that the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law is needed to keep corporate money from taking over politics took another hit as the New York Times documents the cozy relationship between the Congressional Black Caucus and corporate America.

When the Congressional Black Caucus wanted to pay off the mortgage on its foundation’s stately 1930s redbrick headquarters on Embassy Row, it turned to a familiar roster of friends: corporate backers like Wal-Mart, AT&T, General Motors, Coca-Cola and Altria, the nation’s largest tobacco company.

Soon enough, in 2008, a jazz band was playing at what amounted to a mortgage-burning party for the $4 million town house.

Most political groups in Washington would have been barred by law from accepting that kind of direct aid from corporations. But by taking advantage of political finance laws, the caucus has built a fund-raising juggernaut unlike anything else in town.

It has a traditional political fund-raising arm subject to federal rules. But it also has a network of nonprofit groups and charities that allow it to collect unlimited amounts of money from corporations and labor unions.

From 2004 to 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus’s political and charitable wings took in at least $55 million in corporate and union contributions, according to an analysis by The New York Times, an impressive amount even by the standards of a Washington awash in cash. Only $1 million of that went to the caucus’s political action committee; the rest poured into the largely unregulated nonprofit network. (Data for 2009 is not available.)

The very laws that were to prohibit this sort of arrangement, actually made it possible.

The CBC has been taking increased criticism of what is seen as a conflating of the charitable and political activities of the organization and in fact, federal tax records show that in 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation spent more on the caterer for its signature legislative dinner and conference ($700,000) than it gave out in scholarships.

The CBC is a great example of how McCain-Feingold did nothing to stem the tide of corporate cash flowing into politics but rather forced the money underground to be laundered through an elaborate nonprofit network.

Money isn't the problem, it's the transparency or lack thereof that is needed to show to what extent that money is influencing the political process.

H/T: Hot Air

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Road Trip!

If I was an eagle I'd dress like a duck
Crawl like a lizard and honk like a truck
If I get a notion I'll climb this tree
or chop it down and you can't stop me
Chop it down and you can't stop me

Ooo, freedom
Ooo, liberty
Ooo, leave me alone
To find my own way home
To find my own way home

W.C. Varones was up at the Orange County Tea Party in Laguna Hills on Saturday. His pics and some thoughts on the affair here.

Smack of the day

...extended in the most loving and compassionate of ways, of course.

Valentine’s Day is a “shameful day” for the Muslim world and for the radical Left. It is shameful because private love is considered obscene, since it threatens the highest of values: the need for a totalitarian order to attract the complete and undivided attention, allegiance and veneration of every citizen. Love serves as the most lethal threat to the tyrants seeking to build Sharia and a classless utopia on earth, and so these tyrants yearn for the annihilation of every ingredient in man that smacks of anything that it means to be human.

We read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World in high school and were unsettled by the de-humanizing nature of the book’s narrative. We don’t think it’s a coincidence then that three of the great anti-authoritarian novels of the 20th century (including We and 1984) entailed strong themes of the existing power structure de-sensitizing human intimacy.

In these statist utopias, eros is promoted and regulated and which completely fills the void in human existence that is absent philia and agape.

Happy St. Valentine's Day, everyone!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Give the woman a baton

… wait, she already has it.

Secular Apostate elucidates on a narrative that we have suspected with respect to Sarah Palin and the political class.

His musings on the matter, here.


Just a few days past Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthdate, it appears as if SDI (Strategic Defence Initiative), the bluff card he played on the Soviets a quarter-century ago has become reality.

A U.S. high-powered airborne laser weapon shot down a ballistic missile in the first successful test of a futuristic directed energy weapon, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said on Friday.

The agency said in a statement the test took place at 8:44 p.m. PST (11:44 p.m. EST) on Thursday /0444 GMT on Friday) at Point Mugu's Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division Sea Range off Ventura in central California.

"The Missile Defense Agency demonstrated the potential use of directed energy to defend against ballistic missiles when the Airborne Laser Testbed (ALTB) successfully destroyed a boosting ballistic missile" the agency said.

The high-powered Airborne Laser system is being developed by Boeing Co., (BA.N) the prime contractor, and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

Boeing produces the airframe, a modified 747 jumbo jet, while Northrop Grumman (NOC.N) supplies the higher-energy laser and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) is developing the beam and fire control systems.

"This was the first directed energy lethal intercept demonstration against a liquid-fuel boosting ballistic missile target from an airborne platform," the agency added.
The airborne laser weapon successfully underwent its first in-flight test against a target missile back in August. During that test, Boeing said the modified 747-400F aircraft took off from Edwards Air Force Base and used its infrared sensors to find a target missile launched from San Nicolas Island, California.

Iran, Russia, China.... right back atcha, baby!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Radio KBwD is on the air

We kind of blew off the whole New Wave thing during the early 80s, clinging desperately to our classic rock and heavy metal but these dudes did catch our ear.

If it does sound familiar, it should for a reason as it is the sound track for one Ferris Bueller’s penultimate dash through the leafy backyards of suburban Chicago.

Ladies and Gentlemen: from Great Britain, it’s the English Beat performing “Rotating Heads”*

Seriously. Back in the day, we had a fantasy of creating or performing in a garage/power pop band that would feature bass-heavy breaks and dubs with acompanying music videos of our band leaping off, in slow motion, buildings (or brick walls) in much the same manner as the care-free Ferris.

If only he were wearing Chucks.

*To be precise, the song in the movie is an instrumental version of “Rotating Heads” named “March of the Swivel Heads"

Terrorists in our midst

Proponents of prosecuting alleged terrorists via our criminal justice system will point to the successful prosecutions of Richard Reid and the “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla as justification for this method over that of the military tribunal system.

With respect to Padilla, here is the dirty little secret they don't want to tell you:

He was not convicted of the most important plot we had against him — the conspiracy with KSM, Binyam Mohammed, and others to carry out a second wave of post-9/11 attacks inside the United States. He was never indicted on that plot because he could not be convicted applying civilian due process standards.

Padilla refused to give information to the FBI, using its regular protocols. It was only when he was designated as an enemy combatant and transferred to military custody (no lawyer involved in interrogations, no Miranda, no case to plea bargain) that he began to give up valuable information. None of those confessions could be admitted under the standards applicable in civilian courts.

Moreover, we knew a lot of other information about him from the interrogations of other Qaeda detainees, like KSM, by the CIA. But that information, too, could not be admitted under civilian court rules unless we were willing to give the sources immunity from prosecution. Since we were never going to immunize the likes of KSM, that was never going to happen.

By the way, you’ll be pleased to know that in 17 years from this point, Padilla will walk as a free man in this country as opposed to the life sentence he would’ve received had he been convicted of his major activity.

Can't hit'em where they ain't

The early Christians living in the Roman Empire were very much a leaderless and decentralized movement. Far from being a detriment to the advance of Christianity, however, the nimbleness inherent to the early Christian church proved to be an asset resulting in the spread of Christianity in the face of Roman persecution.

Be it warfare, both ancient and modern, religion or even politics, there are key advantages to achieving your ends via diffusion as your enemy is swinging at air unable to land blows upon a vaporous target.

B-Daddy ties it all together here.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Even though police are tapping into the locations of mobile phones thousands of times a year, the legal ground rules remain unclear, and federal privacy laws written a generation ago are ambiguous at best. On Friday, the first federal appeals court to consider the topic will hear oral arguments (PDF) in a case that could establish new standards for locating wireless devices.

In that case, the (Bush) administration has argued that warrantless tracking is permitted because Americans enjoy no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in their--or at least their cell phones'--whereabouts. U.S. Department of Justice lawyers say that "a customer's Fourth Amendment rights are not violated when the phone company reveals to the government its own records" that show where a mobile device placed and received calls.

Those claims have alarmed the ACLU and other civil liberties groups, which have opposed the Justice Department's request and plan to tell the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia that Americans' privacy deserves more protection and judicial oversight than what the administration has proposed.

"This is a critical question for privacy in the 21st century," says Kevin Bankston, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who will be arguing on Friday. "If the courts do side with the government, that means that everywhere we go, in the real world and online, will be an open book to the government unprotected by the Fourth Amendment."

We audibly groaned when we read this news piece. Does this mean we’re going to have to do another one of those posts?

We enjoy doing them but we’re thinking that after a time, the novelty sort of wears off.

Please let us know what you think because we’re kind of 50/50 at this point. Part of us thinks it’s important to keep pointing out the hollow sophistry of Hope and Change for record keeping purposes but part of us also thinks that we’ve pretty well established how faithfully the Obama administration has cleaved to the Bush playbook. After all, with respect to this, isn’t the science settled?

Feel free to chime in. Thanks.

Not so random thought of the day

President Barack Obama said he doesn’t “begrudge” the $17 million bonus awarded to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon or the $9 million issued to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, noting that some athletes take home more pay.

The president, speaking in an interview, said in response to a question that while $17 million is “an extraordinary amount of money” for Main Street, “there are some baseball players who are making more than that and don’t get to the World Series either, so I’m shocked by that as well.”

“I know both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen,” Obama said in the interview yesterday in the Oval Office with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, which will appear on newsstands Friday. “I, like most of the American people, don’t begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free- market system.”

Well, well, well. After spending the majority of his turn in office demonizing such arrangements, this is quite a turn, no?

President Obama may be seemingly hypocritical but it’s all really much more simple than that. It’s one big ol’ fat ruse which the Prez is resorted to playing these days.

Obama will laud the bonuses as a demonstration of how relatively healthy Wall St. is and then turn around and cite the prosperity of these financial institutions as justification for his excise tax on the same to pay down the debt.

Just wait.

H/T: W.C.

After all is said and done, it's the thought that counts

The second stimulus bill that dare not speak its own name (known colloquially in these parts as Son of Porkulus or Porkulus the Younger) is all ginned-up and rarin’ to go to accomplish a whole lot of nuthin’.

It's a bipartisan jobs bill that would hand President Barack Obama a badly needed political victory and placate Republicans with tax cuts at the same time. But it has a problem: It won't create many jobs.

Even the Obama administration acknowledges the legislation's centerpiece — a tax cut for businesses that hire unemployed workers — would work only on the margins.

As for the bill's effectiveness, tax experts and business leaders said companies are unlikely to hire workers just to receive a tax break. Before businesses start hiring, they need increased demand for their products, more work for their employees and more revenue to pay those workers.

"We're skeptical that it's going to be a big job creator," said Bill Rys, tax counsel for the National Federation of Independent Business. "There's certainly nothing wrong with giving a tax break to a business that's hired a new worker, especially in these tough times. But in terms of being an incentive to hire a lot of workers, we're skeptical."

Rick Klahsen, a tax expert at the accounting firm RSM McGladrey, said his clients need to see business pick up before they can hire more workers.

(italics, ours)

Were not sure if beating these people over the head with a two-by-four would have the desired effect of realizing that the Obama administration’s own policies are putting a chill in the jobs market. How exactly does the undead nature of jobs-killing and tax-raising cap and trade and Obamacare create a hiring-friendly environment for employers? Just what is it about the massive debt we are accumulating which creates an environment of uncertainty prove to be an incentive for hiring workers?

A company could save a maximum of $6,621 if it hired an unemployed worker after the bill is enacted and paid that worker at least $106,800 — the maximum amount of wages subject to Social Security taxes — by the end of the year. The company could get an additional $1,000 on its 2011 tax return if it kept the new worker for at least a full year.

That’s got to be a typo, right? What small and medium-sized businesses are hiring people at six figures? Why are they even wasting their time with this? This is why:
Either way, Obama and lawmakers in both parties still could claim tangible accomplishments in addressing high joblessness and the inability of Republicans and Democrats to work together to solve problems, both top issues among voters early in 2010 midterm election season.

It’s come to this. The administration and Congress have chucked any ideas for actually improving the unemployment figures in exchange for the appearance of working in a bipartisan manner to improve employment.

This is not a very well-laid trap for the Republicans, especially given the AP is saying it won’t work, so even the extension of $33 billion in tax breaks that expired last year should not dissuade the G.O.P. for calling out this dog and pony show for the circle jerk that it is.

We’ve blown through the first $200 billion of the $787 billion that is Porkulus the Elder with no real discernible effect on unemployment so we are left to assume that this latest “stimulus” bill is demonstrable only of an administration and a Congress that is just mailing it in at this point.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

It's the speech, stupid

We encourage you to go over to Liberty Pen’s place to read his comprehensive take on the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission which struck down portions of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act.

E.J. Dionne, writing for the Washington Post applauded the President’s questionable act of calling out the Supreme Court during his SOTU in order to voice his displeasure over their ruling. And here is what Dionne had to say about the current make-up of the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court is now dominated by a highly politicized conservative majority intent on working its will, even if that means ignoring precedents and the wishes of the elected branches of government.

E.J., would you like some cheese with that…. oh, never mind.

I guess we should be mildly surprised that the concept of separation of powers is a foreign concept to Dionne (ignoring the wishes of the elected branches of government within the strictures of the law and the Constitution is precisely what they are there for!) but that is tempered by the fact that what Dionne is probably most cross with is the fact that the Supremes had the temerity to challenge The One… who would also happen to be the one who forsook public financing of his campaign in order to do the Australian crawl in the oceans of cash he was able to raise for his presidential run.

Another line of attack on the Supreme’s decision on this case revolves around the contention that the court is now granting corporations the same rights as individuals. The implication here being greedy and evil corporations that should be punished rather than rewarded with the practice of free speech.

This is a red herring but is perfectly in line with the statist mentality. It's not about corporations – it’s about speech. The first amendment speaks to protecting this speech and does not make any differentiation as to where or from whom that speech comes. Here’s Justice Thomas writing for the majority opinion:
If 10 of you got together and decided to speak, just as a group, you’d say you have First Amendment rights to speak and the First Amendment right of association,” he said. “If you all then formed a partnership to speak, you’d say we still have that First Amendment right to speak and of association. But what if you put yourself in a corporate form?”

Again, is not the New York Times a corporation? Well, of course, as a news organization, they would be exempt from any campaign finance laws. The internet has caused a fracturing and blurring of what exactly constitutes a news organization. Would for-profit internet ventures like HotAir, Pajamas Media and the Huffington Post, which possess clear partisan slants be exempt from campaign finance laws as well?

Bottom line: one should have every right to get nervous when the question of who does and doesn’t get to enjoy the guarantees of the 1st amendment becomes merely a privilege granted by Congress.

Out: Dissent is patriotic... In: Dissent is assisting the terrorists

The Obama administration’s counter-terrorism czar, John Brennan, took to the pages of USA Today’s Op-Ed section to scold critics of the administration’s handling of the war on terror and specifically the mirandizing of alleged terrorists. In the piece, he closes with this money paragraph

Politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda. Terrorists are not 100-feet tall. Nor do they deserve the abject fear they seek to instill. They will, however, be dismantled and destroyed, by our military, our intelligence services and our law enforcement community. And the notion that America's counterterrorism professionals and America's system of justice are unable to handle these murderous miscreants is absurd.

Never mind the self-serving nature of that first line, what it is that serves the goals of al-Qaeda is the out-of-the-blocks bumbling of the administration in the immediate wake of the Christmas crotch bomber where the President waited a whole three days to address the incident and where the director of the National Counterterrorism Center decided to stay on the ski slopes rather than return to D.C. in what was an obvious all-hands on deck situation.

What it is that serves the goals of al-Qaeda is that miserable hack that runs the Justic Dept. giving stuttering and incoherent answers to whether or not or troops would be expected to mirandize enemy combatants and known terrorists, including Osama bin Laden on the field of battle.

And 100-ft. tall terrorists? Just what is it about asymmetrical warfare does this counter-terrorism expert not understand. One snot nose punk barely out of his teens nearly ruined Christmas for this entire country. These idiots don’t have to be smart, strong, cunning or courageous, they need only be willing. That this appears lost on Brennan does not exactly inspire confidence in us that he knows what the hell he is doing.

And as for his overall whine about partisan politics injecting itself into the matters of national security, let’s take a little walk down memory lane, shall we. Here’s Brennan in August of 2009:
"The fight against terrorists and violent extremists has been returned to its right and proper place: no longer defining — indeed, distorting — our entire national security and foreign policy, but rather serving as a vital part of those larger policies."

Nope. Nothing partisan about that. Hell, Bush-bashing hardly qualifies anymore. Don’t know about you all, but all that “distorting” seemed to work quite nicely.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Might Stuart have a point?

Doesn't look like comedian turned senator Al Franken is planning a return to NBC's "Saturday Night Live" anytime soon.

In his opening remarks about the proposed Comcast-NBC deal at a hearing held by the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, Franken (D-Minn.) ripped into the deal and the risks it could present to not only consumers but media competition as well.

Franken, who was a regular on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" for years and also had a short-lived sitcom on the network called "Lateline" in the late 1990s, dismissed the claims made by Comcast and NBC Universal that the partnering of the nation's largest broadband and cable provider with the entertainment giant would not harm competitors or the public.

"You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t trust these promises, and that is from experience in this business," Franken snapped.

Franken noted that similar promises were made by NBC when it was supporting the gutting of federal regulations that limited the amount of programming a broadcast network could own. Known as the financial interest and syndication rules, the Federal Communications Commission removed them over a decade ago after years of debate between producers and networks. Getting rid of the so-called fin-syn rules cleared the way for the mergers of Walt Disney and ABC as well as Viacom and CBS.

Here’s what really interests us, though, and has us pulling up a chair to see what goes down. We wonder what public proclamations will be coming out of the White House that is dominated by net-neutral and Fairness Doctrine types given the fact that Jeffrey Immelt, who is the CEO of General Electric which owns NBC, is very chummy with the White House and, in fact, sits on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

But back to the matter at hand. Franken and others are worried that smaller production companies are getting squeezed by media conglomerates who demand part ownership of the intellectual property generated by the production companies in order to get air time. According to linked article, these indies either got swallowed up or went out of business when the aforementioned mergers went down.

Here’s our problem with that, however. Forget over-the-air, traditional network television and hit the “guide” button on your remote. Does that look like a dearth of a) outlets available to the consumer and b) material that is being generated by production companies? Save sports programming, we don’t even watch network television anymore – haven’t in years - as we find no shortage of excellent programming on Discovery, History Channel, PBS, Military Channel, NFL Network, etc.

We can sympathise with Senator Franken who probably knows a few people in the biz who’ve been downsized because of these mergers but we’re really having a tough time grasping how that has choked-out competition when we ponder the several hundred cable channels at our disposal and the explosion in numbers of which seemed to coincide with those mergers of 10-15 years ago.

A nice thought, but...

Republican politicians and conservative activists are launching a ballot campaign to suspend California's landmark global-warming law, in what they hope will serve as a showcase for a national backlash against climate regulations.

Supporters say they have "solid commitments" of nearly $600,000 to pay signature gatherers for a November initiative aimed at delaying curbs on the greenhouse gas emissions of power plants and factories until the state's unemployment rate drops.

Mary D. Nichols, chairwoman of the state's Air Resources Board, which is implementing the law, known as AB 32, called the initiative "a campaign that has to be taken seriously."

"It would put all our efforts at energy efficiency and renewable energy in the deep freezer for a long time," she said.

The measure would halt proposed regulations until the state's jobless rate dips to 5.5% or below for a year. That's a level that California has not seen since 2007. California has one of the nation's highest unemployment rates: 12.4%.

Uhhhh… we don’t get it. Why not just kill the thing altogether? Why set some arbitrary unemployment trigger at which it would just kick back in only to force unemployment upwards again?

We understand the concept of incrementalism but this is not that, it’s ping-pong.

If uncertainty is a jobs-killer, doesn’t predicting next month’s unemployment figures have the same effect?

The spirit of ol’ Blue Eyes does not take kindly to you butchering his tunes

Apparently, people are being killed over in the Phillipines over karoke renditions of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”. Authorities are attempting to figure out why the song has caused outbreaks of violence over the years which includes 6 murders in the past decade in the karoke subcategory of the “My Way Killings”.

As way of an explanation for this, it is reasoned that with karaoke being taken very seriously in that western Pacific nation, everyone thinks they can nail “My Way” much to the chagrin of the karoke bar patrons. And the New York Times offers up this possible rationale:

The murders have spawned urban legends about the song and left Filipinos grasping for answers. Are the killings the natural by-product of the country's culture of violence, drinking and machismo? Or is there something inherently sinister in the song?

Given that collective national skill set it's a wonder that karoke hasn't taken hold more in Australia, Mexico, the Ukraine, El Salvador, South Africa, Brazil and to hear the Harvard English Department tell it, right here in America.