Friday, December 31, 2010
A special Radio KBwD double feature!
We were having a conversation with B-Daddy a while back about the nature of country music and how the Nashville hit machine had corrupted a unique American art form. Ironically, we blame Ray Charles and his landmark Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music for starting this trend of blanding-down the genre. (Yes, we do own the album and it is a classic. It just got things pointed in the wrong direction).
Small wonder then, that we often depend on people not from this country and not regular participants in that music form to be faithful interpreters for the rest of us.
Back in 1983, an all-star cast of British invaders got together for the ARMS benefit concert to raise money and awareness for Multiple Sclerosis research.
It's an embarrassement of riches. To our knowledge, it was the first time that guitar legends Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck (all formerly of The Yardbirds at different times) had ever appeared on stage together. Stevie Winwood, Kenny Jones (the Who), Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman (love the cigarette!) and Andy Fairweather Low also in attendance.
And speaking of Andy Fairweather Low and country music, we would love to see someone like Dwight Yoakam or George Jones give the treatment to the following George Harrison classic "Give Me Love".
But then again, why bother? Is that not country enough?
For the first time in our life, we will be making some New Year's resolutions. Nothing earth-shattering but the time had come to set in concrete some goals and routines regarding fitness (natch), community service/volunteerism and long-form reading. If you have anything specific with regard to your own resolutions and feel the spirit, please feel free to share in the comment section.
Nice year for the blog as readership picked up quite a bit in the last two months of the year. Statcounter revealed that we have apparently been picked up by a news aggregator, Liquida, though we cannot find ourselves at the site itself. Any clue?
A special thanks to commenters B-Daddy, KT, 'Dawg, Steve, Harrison, Sarah B., drozz, Foxie, Ohioan@Heart and the SLOBs (San Diego Local Order of Bloggers).
One thing we were thinking about earlier today is the memories of a 12 yr. old waking up on New Year's Day 1980 and feeling giddy about the prospects of a Cotton Bowl (morning), Rose Bowl (afternoon) and Orange Bowl (evening) that all mattered. It was like Christmas Pt. II and being able to open those gifts the entire day through on Mom and Dad's RCA CRT. No longer. Sigh.
We wish for the tea party to remain a highly viable, dynamic, influential and decentralized political entity that champions the cause of individual freedom, limited government and fiscal discipline. The 'party has accomplished much and though we don't have a reliable crystal ball to see what the future holds, we always will strive to, at least, be that brick-bat to beat about the head and shoulders of the good ol' G.O.P.
And we wish for all of you reading this a safe and prosperous New Year's. May God's blessing be upon you and your family in 2011.
Experiencing a bit of blogger's block at the moment. For the time being, however, we're hoping everyone has a safe and enjoyable New Year's with family and friends. And despite all the ills of the Golden State in which we live, the following remains one of the reasons why we still call it home.
Like it so dropped down into the 30s here in inland San Diego last night.
100 cars? In South Dakota?
Thursday, December 30, 2010
One in a series that takes a look at some of the zany and madcap things said by Sarah Palin.
"The issue of the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done.".
Actually, it was Ezra Klein of the Washington Post being interviewed today on MSNBC. Here's the clip.
To Klein's credit, it was written over 100 yrs. ago although some of it (amendments) were written more recently than 100 yrs. ago.
And what of this reading of the Constitution to open the 112th Congress? Klien's right - it is gimmicky. How the Republicans actually legislate is what will count.
ROTC and its warrior ethic taint the intellectual purity of a school...
Who the hell says things like this? The same person who also says this:
I admire those who join armies, whether America's or the Taliban's: for their discipline, for their loyalty to their buddies and to their principles, for their sacrifices to be away from home.
And from the nanny-state files...
If you really want Mayor Bloomberg to do something about the snow, just tell him that people are enjoying it.
Here's B-Daddy on end-of-life counseling:
The left is on the defensive over federal funding to incentive doctors to counsel patients to forgo aggressive end of life treatment, aka "death panels." I am not arguing that doctors shouldn't have a discussion about end of life treatment and patients make their wishes known ahead of time rather than in extremis. Good planning is good planning. But here is why I object to the regulations:Yes. We're teases. Go here for the rest.
We don't think anyone denies that having the "sit down" with the doctor to map-out what you would like done in end-of-life scenarios is a good thing.
However, as Dr. Donald Berwick, HMFIC of Medicare and Medicaid services comes barging into the room...
"Traditional medical ethics, based on the doctor-patient dyad must be reformulated...The primary function of regulation in health care, especially as it affects the quality of medical care, is to constrain decentralized individualized decision making."
How does that inspire any confidence? How does that convince anyone that this law that was fashioned in such a haphazard and slap-dash fashion is truly concerned with the quality-of-life of the individual rather than bowing before the new statist god of controlling costs?
Good lord, they've become budget hawks!
Beers with Demo new follower update: Karsten Ray is in the house. Welcome, Karsten!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
We were hanging with our buddy "Max" the other evening and got to talking about the intersection of sports and politics. Max is of the belief that football fans (or people that prefer watching football to other sports) tend to be more conservative than, say, baseball fans.
We weren't quite so sure but then we got to thinking about the video clip below and thought that maybe Max was onto something. How? We'll let George Carlin explain:
Of course, the natural reaction to that classic Carlin routine is to think one sport inherently attracts a particular ideology over another but it is really more complicated than that.
With that said, folks, it's time to take the test!
The old one-dimensional categories of 'right' and 'left', established for the seating arrangement of the French National Assembly of 1789, are overly simplistic for today's complex political landscape. For example, who are the 'conservatives' in today's Russia? Are they the unreconstructed Stalinists, or the reformers who have adopted the right-wing views of conservatives like Margaret Thatcher ?
On the standard left-right scale, how do you distinguish leftists like Stalin and Gandhi? It's not sufficient to say that Stalin was simply more left than Gandhi. There are fundamental political differences between them that the old categories on their own can't explain. Similarly, we generally describe social reactionaries as 'right-wingers', yet that leaves left-wing reactionaries like Robert Mugabe and Pol Pot off the hook.
Take it here.
Here's a look at where some famous political and economics figures from the past land on the grid.
Hanging with our boy Milton.
Frankly, we thought we'd be a little more to the Southeast but we suppose we can't shake all of our radical centrist ways.
Go ahead and take the test and see if it grids you where you thought you would be.
Oh, and as for Max? He's a big baseball and soccer fan so of course he's a worthless liberal hipster.
Via Left Coast Rebel, a time-lapsed photo-log of the storm that hit the East Coast last week.
From Belmar, New Jersey:
And in other related news, KT has a fine post regarding the conflation of politics, public grants and the agendas of the faith-based AGW crowd and the resulting house of canards, here. KT wraps up his post with the following:
The end result of all of this will be cynicism from the press, the politicians and the public. Anyone standing with the global warming alarmists will end up looking like a fool, just like the UK MET Office.
This raised eyebrows in the comment section as some were wondering if the public was not standing alone in its skepticism of the mess the AGW crowd has left themselves.
The press and the pols may not be there yet but it's only a matter of time. Take this 60 Minutes piece (please!)
from a couple weeks back featuring New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, talking about the fiscal disasters awaiting the states.
Would we have seen something like this 10 years ago? Hell, would we have seen it 2 years ago? The flagship magazine program of the Tiffany Network acknowledging that we have a debt crisis?... a spending problem?
Every situation or crisis has its tipping point where no longer can an agenda or bias obscure the truth of the matter.
And strange as it seems, in our humble opinion, it was not even the run-away spending at the federal level that was cause for this sudden state-side awareness but rather the debt crisis in the EuroZone where the "California = Greece" narrative took hold.
No matter. By whatever impetus, the gig is up for the big spending days of the states and the faith-based AGW zealots' days are numbered as well.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Reason.tv and their horrible set designs and even more-horrible wardrobes are back talking about the appeal (or lack thereof) of libertarianism and its future both here in California and the nation.
Here, Tim Kavanaugh talks to some dude named Starchild.
During the run-up to the '08 Presidential election, we recall the liberal-Left attempting to fashion some sort of fusionism of their own with libertarians. Obviously, this didn't pan out. As with Bill Maher attempting to rationalize being a "libertarian" while voting for Ralph Nader back in 2000, the nanny state kids desperately want to look cool and to be able to hang with the rockers in the slicked-back hair and leather jackets. Life just doesn't work that way.
But Kavanaugh does ask Starboy, "Why does the Left constantly provide less welcoming ground than the right?"
'child blames Ayn Rand's fascination with big business and her brand of scorched earth individualism for not providing the rounded edges that might be appealing to liberals.
Not sure that is going to work either. John Mackey, founder and CEO of Whole Foods, is a "soft-core libertarian" and after a buy-cott of the Whole Foods in LaJolla in October of '09 to support Mackey's rejection of ObamaCare here is what we wrote:
One of his criticisms of the freedom movement is that he believes it to be overly-provocative and he goes all the way back to Ayn Rand’s seminal Atlas Shrugged for deliberately conflating selfishness and self-interest and fast forwards to the 80s movie Wall Street and Gordon Gekko’s famous line, “Greed is Good”. He believes the freedom movement has allowed themselves to be painted into a corner as evil corporatists because of Rand’s original sin which was manifested in popular culture by Oliver Stone’s movie 30 years later.
We have used Gekko’s term on several occasions on these pages with relish. When we have used it, we hope that we have left a clear signal that our tongue is somewhat in cheek because our use of the term is more a reaction to the general disdain the liberal-Left has for anything worthwhile resulting from the “profit motive” rather than an actual belief in the “virtue of selfishness” that Rand believed. We understand Mackey’s point, though we aren’t dropping usage of the phrase solely because it’s so fun to say and it just totally cheeses-off the right people.
We linked to a paper written by Mackey where there is some touchy-feely sentiments that might appeal to libs but at his core, Mackey is a small government, free-market capitalist... who opposes ObamaCare. There are only so many gaps that can be bridged.
Reformed libertarian, B-Daddy had his thoughts on the matter, here.
While Starchild believes the libertarian movement could benefit from their own Che' Guevara (please, no), we'd simply start with libertarians not acting like the humourless and pretentious political snobs we find many of them to be.
Monday, December 27, 2010
After being dropped from text of ObamaCare, the controversial and supposed "death panels" section looks to be making a comeback via the regulations-writing process.
When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.
Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.
Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.
"...achieve the same goal by regulation."
Yet another kick in the nuts for those Blue Dogs who voted for this monstrosity.
So, it's not actually part of ObamaCare but will be part of ObamaCare anyway. And don't let anyone know about it.
Back in August of last year, we sunk our teeth into the infamous Section 1233 to see if, in fact, there were any "death panels" lurking about. Here are a couple of salient bits from our analysis:
Executive summary: Although our review of Section 1233 does not turn up any “death panels”, the language in that section contains enough wiggle room for these “counseling” sessions to produce unsavory situations and outcomes because of the inevitable rationing that will come with government-managed healthcare.
Conclusion: First and foremost, this legislation, because of the Byzantine fashion in which it is written should be opposed on principle alone. Well, all legislation is written in that manner. Perhaps, but we all reserve the right to be smarter than we used to be and nothing this important should give someone a headache while trying to read it, let alone interpret it.
So while there does not appear to be a death panel, per se, the vague manner in which the language is crafted leaves plenty of wiggle room for physicians to steer patients towards decisions that would lead to a lessening of treatment(s), malnourishment, dehydration and a cutback on anti-biotics.
And if you believe, as we do, that government-managed healthcare will lead to shortages and thus the eventuality of rationing, one can connect the dots to see where this is all going.
And it's not just us down here in the fever swamps of the blogosphere who believe that O-Care will eventually lead to health care rationing. Dr. Donald Berwick, the HMFIC of Medicare and Medicaid not only believes it but appears to be a big fan:
"It's not a question of whether we will ration health care. It is whether we will ration with our eyes open."
And it's because of this, we found the following quite amusing:
Mr. Blumenauer, the author of the original end-of-life proposal, praised the rule as “a step in the right direction.”Here's a portion of an email from Blumenauer to his peeps:
The e-mail continued: “Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it (ed.: uh-oh), but we will be keeping a close watch and may be calling on you if we need a rapid, targeted response. The longer this goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it.”
In the interview, Mr. Blumenauer said, “Lies can go viral if people use them for political purposes.”
While we (the royal "we") have been accused of spreading misinformation and lies regarding ObamaCare, we've taken a look back at our criticisms of ObamaCare and have concluded that our biggest guns, our strongest arguments against ObamaCare have come directly from the mouths of its biggest supporters and the very people charged with
And to think that they firmly believe the current unpopularity of ObamaCare is due to a "messaging" problem. Keep yakking, people, keep yakking.
Here's the Wall St. Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady talking about Cuba, Cuba's health care system and PBS's love affair with it.
So, Cuba actually has a doctor shortage because Castro is sending them overseas for cash?
Is there a burgeoning youth movement that could eventually overturn the Castro regime? Color us skeptical. Think its an ADD thing. The American media loves making a big deal about the "youth vote" of which we've also always been skeptical even when we were once "youths" ourselves.
"Why do Cuban policemen travel in threes? So that one can read, one can write and one can keep an eye on the other 2 dangerous intellectuals."
O'Grady's article can be found here (subscription to WSJ required).
In his memoir covering four years in Cuba as a correspondent for Spanish Television, Vicente Botín tells about a Havana woman who was frustrated by the doctor shortage in the country. She hung a sheet on her balcony with the words "trade me to Venezuela." When the police arrived she told them: "Look, compañeros, I'm as revolutionary as the next guy, but if you want to see a Cuban doctor, you have to go to Venezuela."
"Due to public safety concerns in light of today's snow emergency in Philadelphia, tonight's Vikings-Eagles game has been postponed. Because of the uncertainty of the extent of tonight's storm and its aftermath, the game will be played on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. This will allow sufficient time to ensure that roads, parking lots and the stadium are fully cleared. The National Weather Service states that a winter storm warning in Philadelphia remains in effect until 1 p.m. on Monday . . . "
That from the NFL league office. This from a league that made its name, in part, because of the "frozen tundra of Lambeau Field" (a popular phrase that was never uttered by John Facenda, in actuality) and the Ice Bowl
and the Sneakers Game
... games played in abjectly adverse conditions by legends like Bart Starr, Jerry Kramer, Lee Roy Jordan, Bronko Nagurski and Mel Hein. Legendary NFL players playing in epically horrible weather conditions. That is the NFL.
How fun was watching that game last Monday night at the Minnesota Gophers' outdoor stadium between the Vikings and the Chicago Bears? After years of playing indoors at the Metrodome (whose roof collapsed under the weight of the snow prompting the move outdoors), weren't you thinking that the Vikings should have been playing outdoors all along?
And this is Philadelphia for cryin' out loud. If they were concerned with "safety" in Philadelphia then the Eagles, Sixers, Flyers and Phillies would never have any home games.
And this is football... wait, no it isn't. This isn't football, anymore. Call it what you want but just don't call it football. It's a disgrace.
Via Deadspin, here is what Philly looked like at the time the game would have kicked-off.
And here's what it looked like after the game would've ended.
Yep. That's a lot of snow. A quantity of snow that may... may... have warranted a postponement in San Diego but not nearly anywhere else. Again, it's not football, it's a disgrace.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Look at what came in the mail the other day: Our updated Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage plan with an important note regarding coverage for dependant children.
Let's go straight to the money paragraph:
Starting this year and continuing on through 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) will continue to be implemented through federal regulations. As the regulations for its various provisions evolve, some timetables and details may change. Members should check our website www.fepblue.org for the latest information on timeframes and implementation details.(Parantheticals and italics, ours)
Forgive us for thinking that having to check a website to see which and whether laws have evolved portends bad things. Forgive us for believing that is not how you run a constitutional republic.
This is how dictatorships, or at least, kleptocracies happen: bit by bit and piece by piece.
Having seen how his own soup kitchen socialism has failed, Hugo Chavez, using natural disasters as the excuse, has asked the Venezuelan congress for new powers that would allow him to pass laws by decree for one year.
Never let a crisis go to waste.
The Department of Health and Human Services has currently granted 222 waivers to companies and unions from ObamaCare covering 1.5 million people precisely because "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it." Governing by waivers and exemptions is no way to govern. It reeks of cronyism and corruption. And if you do seek a waiver from that thug, Kathleen Sebelius, you had better do it quietly and with hat in hand, or else...
During this past election cycle there was some buzz over here on the right regarding getting behind Mickey Kaus, a Democrat, for Senate. As good as Kaus is on many issues, he supported ObamaCare. Sorry. That was grounds for automatic disqualification. That's how toxic we believe ObamaCare is and we are seeing the results of it before it's even been implemented.
That's not a governing philosophy we will abide by.
With Christmas out of the way, we can drop the goodwill and cheer and get on with the airing of grievances. For some related subject matter on the current distressed state of the Union, please see B-Daddy's fine post here and Leslie at Temple of Mut airs it out here.
It may just be a matter of getting used to but for the time being, we hate it.
It eliminated the spell-check function and replaced it with a
strikethrough function and now opens up a seperate preview window when bopping back and forth between the edit page and the WYSIWYG blog view in the same window provided the same function in a fraction of the time. Again, right now, we hate it.
If you blog in Google's Blogger, let us know what you think.
The currently dreadful game-day stadium experience can be made less so with this device.
After all, if they are going to charge us 8-9 dollars for 12 oz. of crappy 3.2 beer, at least they should be able to get it over the transom in timely fashion.
Boy, are we being cynical as this is pretty much the coolest thing we've seen in a while and has the potential to alter the course of human existence.
Check it out, here.
Hey, remember when they told us that if we voted for McCain it would mean 4 more years of trashing the Constitution by not granting suspected terrorist detainees due process and keeping Club Gitmo open? Well, they were right.
President Obama’s pledge to close the US terror detention camp at Guantánamo is now facing its most significant obstacle. On Wednesday, Congress gave final approval to a defense authorization bill that includes a provision blocking transfer of any Guantánamo detainees to the US – even to face a criminal trial.
At the same time, the Obama administration is working on an executive order authorizing the indefinite detention of certain terrorism suspects the administration deems too difficult to put on trial but too dangerous to release.
The combination of executive and legislative action suggests that Guantánamo may remain an important fixture in American antiterrorism efforts – despite assertions by Mr. Obama and others that Guantánamo has become an effective recruiting tool for Al Qaeda.
This confirms what we've known with respect to the show trial aspect of trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed where both that miserable hack that runs the Justice Department and the President assured everyone they weren't actually going to release KSM back into general circulation even if he was found guilty in our civilian courts.
Tis not the season for schadenfreude, however, not being able to keep a campaign promise is one thing but backing off moral preening combined with the fact they didn't have a clue about the terrorist threats there at Gitmo and how most Americans perceived those threats is entirely another.
Maybe they did and it was merely audacious moral preening. Not sure what is worse.
H/T: The Liberator Today
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
So just why do the end of songs fade out instead of coming to an abrupt end?
Well, if you've got a good ending to the song then use it?
Aside from musicians' writer's blocks regarding nice, neat and efficient ways to wrap-up songs, the reasons vary but a consensus emerges when it comes to pop music when it started getting played regularly on the radio in the 50s. Quite simply, it signalled to the DJ that the song was about to end so he would have time to put another disc on the turntable while introducing it or cut to commercial.
With that in mind, we'd like to feature a song that has probably one of the most famous fade-outs of all time... that to everyone's sheer delight fades back in again before fading once more to end the song.
Ladies and Gentlemen, from Tupelo, Mississippi via Memphis, Tennessee, it's Elvis Presley performing "Suspicious Minds".
(note: Word around the campfire is that Elvis was singing with such passion at the first designed fade-out, the singers decided to pick it up again, giving the song one more minute of life.)
And this being Christmas Eve, we're in the giving spirit and want to feature a second song that also fades-out twice.
Ladies and Gentlemen, from Manchester, England, it's The Smiths performing "That Joke isn't Funny Anymore".
No word if it was Morrissey's impassioned singing the convinced Johnny Marr and the rest of the band to keep the song rolling.
The vote yesterday came on H.R. 1388, which reauthorizes through 2014 the National and Community Service Act of 1990 and the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973, acts that originally, among other programs, funded the AmeriCorps and the National Senior Service Corps.
It not only reauthorizes the programs, but also includes "new programs and studies" and is expected to be funded with an allocation of $6 billion over the next five years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Many, however, are raising concerns that the program, which is intended to include 250,000 "volunteers," is the beginning of what President Obama called his "National Civilian Security Force" in a a speech last year in which he urged creating an organization as big and well-funded as the U.S. military. He has declined since then to elaborate.
Here's the President on the subject matter:
Now, were we advising the President, we would dissuade him from any resembling course of action as a wonderful confluence of this country's abundant natural resources and the 2nd amendment has rendered this supposed "civilian national security force" moot.
The state of Wisconsin has gone an entire deer hunting season without someone getting killed. That’s great. There were over 600,000 hunters. Allow me to restate that number. Over the last two months, the eighth largest army in the world — more men under arms than Iran; more than France and Germany combined — deployed to the woods of a single American state to help keep the deer menace at bay. But that pales in comparison to the 750,000 who are in the woods of Pennsylvania this week. Michigan ‘s 700,000 hunters have now returned home. Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia and it is literally the case that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world. America will forever be safe from foreign invasion of troops with that kind of home-grown firepower.
And as a practical political matter here's former Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn:
How we burned in the prison camps later thinking: What would things have been like if every police operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive? If during periods of mass arrests people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever was at hand? The organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt.
Go on over to Secular Apostate's place here where he fleshes out in fine fashion the importance of our rights in defending our nation against its enemies both here and abroad.
Via Gateway Pundit:
You think the President has had a rough go of it this year? Think of what the media has been going through. They abased their profession with shameless adoration for the guy in order to get him elected President and what does he do in return but give them a 45% disapproval rating.
Alas, even with unemployment still hovering around 10%, a struggling economy and mountains of debt, signing a treaty and 2 or 3 bills into law during a lame-duck session of Congress can do wonders for your image with some people.
For Caren Bohan from Reuters, at least, it looks like she can hold her head high at cocktail parties as happy days are here again!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
(please scroll down for update)
And then they came for the Rum and Cokes....
Wait. College students getting drunk and passing out?
(UPDATE #1): Reader and commenter drozz believed there was a "make your own Four Loko" video circulating out there somewhere on the interwebs.
Once again, YouTube does not disappoint:
Sounds absolutely dreadful. Crazy kids.
Via Temple of Mut:
The story of the Nativity in the digital age...
We couldn't help but note the people that put this together omitted Joseph's response to Mary's gmail informing him she was pregnant.
It is a "G"-rated production, after all, so we suppose we can understand.
On Tuesday, the FCC ruled in favor of a new set of regulations on Internet access.
New Internet access rules approved by federal regulators on Tuesday prohibit network operators from meddling with Web traffic into American homes but do not extend to the fast-growing market for smartphones and tablet computers.
The regulations passed the Federal Communications Commission along party lines, with two Democratic commissioners reluctantly siding with agency Chairman Julius Genachowski in a 3-2 vote.
The rules seek to uphold a principle called net neutrality, under which Internet service providers are supposed to give equal treatment to all legal Web content on their networks. But the measure met with swift opposition Tuesday.
Republican lawmakers immediately promised to work to overthrow the rules, while analysts predicted that cable and telecom giants will file lawsuits challenging the FCC's authority to regulate the broadband market.
Go to link above for more reaction to this ruling.
We freely admit that we don't know a whole lot about these new regs but what little we do know it seems to be a classic case of a solution in search of a problem. Is there anything wrong with how the internet is currently operating?
And why don't we know a whole lot about these new regs?
He's (FCC chairman Julius Genachowski) bringing a new set of proposed net neutrality regulations to the five-member panel Tuesday. Unfortunately, nobody knows any details of the new proposal because Genachowski has kept them secret until the last possible minute even as he rushed them forward for a vote. How ironic that the Internet, the great and empowering liberator of information that "wants to be free," is being chopped up behind closed doors by an unelected panel.
Obama era regulations and legislation kept in secret until the last minute before a forced vote? Shocking, we know.
Linked Op-ed notes that Genachowski tried this stunt before, last April, but was smacked down by a federal court saying the FCC had no jurisdiction over the internet. It is believed the courts will strike down whatever was adopted by the comission and there is indication that the Republican-controlled House of Representative will take this up when the 112 convenes in January.
Here's Meredith Baker, a Republican appointee to the comission:
"We have two branches of government -- Congress and the courts -- expressing grave concerns with our agency becoming increasingly unmoored from our statutory authority. By seeking to regulate the Internet now, we exceed the authority Congress has given us and justify those concerns."
At any rate, chalk up another victory for opacity and overeach for Team O as this time around they didn't even wait for a crisis. Indeed, far from it.
H/T: W.C. Varones
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
... of what we're up against.
Here's Keith Ellison (D-MN) going all John Lennon at something called the Network of Spiritual Progressives conference this past June.
"And God willing, one day the border will become an irrelevancy."
"... equity, generosity and engagement in our relations with other nations."
Because it was that and gift baskets that defeated Nazi Germany and saved Europe back in WW II.
Keith Ellison is a silly man. Unfortunately, because he is part of the law-making body of this country, he is a silly and dangerous man.
For nearly two years there have been "extremists" protesting and demonstrating for fiscal discipline and recognition of constitutional checks on the power of government that have been called out by the media and even elected representatives of the government. How is it then, that this guy and his pie-in-sky lefty utopianism gets a pass?
As idiotic as he sounds, because of the position he holds, he cannot be ignored.
Again, with respect to comprehensive immigration reform, this is the face of the opposition of which we find very little common ground which to negotiate.
They talk of compassion for the millions of people "living in the shadows" when the end game is no borders at all and a pathway not to citizenship but rather a chaotic, grievance-based, anti-American, 3rd world socialism.
Go on over to B-Daddy's place where he has a nice wrap-up of the legislative wrangling that went down and is proceeding to go down in this, the lamest of lame-duck Congresses.
As for ourselves, we're pretty pleased with the results, considering this is still the old Congress where we do not possess majorities in either house.
The two biggies, the omnibus spending bill and the DREAM Act got whacked in spectacular fashion.
Two things regarding the omnibus spending bill: 1) Republicans (for the most part) got the message from America (aided and abetted by tea partiers) that the current business as usual with earmarks was unacceptable and 2) $1 billion that would've gone to federal agencies to help them cope with ObamaCare start-up costs have been denied. The de-funding has just begun!
Don't Ask Don't Tell: This is real murky water for us. While we can't see denying someone their desire to serve our country in uniform because of their sexual orientation, the devil is in the details and we lack the crystal ball to see how this plays out and what the real implications are of overturning DADT.
Also, someone with a better working knowledge of this needs to educate us as we believe that repealing DADT conflicts with standing provisions against sodomy contained in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There needs to be reconciliation between the two.
One of our former objections to gays serving in the military was based on the grounds of group cohesion, combat readiness and morale. After reading more and more about true closed-quarters combat operations, we got to believe that the absolute last thing a soldier or Marine, such as those of the 3/5 who have been dodging bullets in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, is worried about is the sexual orientation of those in his rifle squad. It just doesn't print out.
START Treaty: Harry Reid had eight months to bring this to the floor of the Senate for a full hearing and debate. Why are we rushing through an international treaty in a lame duck session? And why are we signing treaties with people we can't trust? It makes no sense and the Republicans are not even putting up a fight as it looks like this will have been ratified by the Senate by the time this post goes to print.
Hit the link at the top for a complete rundown of legislative topics.
Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not violated but with his wrath?
- Thomas Jefferson, 1781
Bill Whittle provides an outstanding summation of morality, Christianity, self-governance and how they are woven into the fabric of America in the 8-minute Firewall video below.
If you are of a non-Christian faith or no faith at all, don't be alarmed. Give it a view and let us know what you think.
We dig the fact that he brings up good citizenship and upright behavior as the bulwark against government intrusion.
When we don't govern ourselves internally, there is always someone else who will do it for us.
See also: the myriad of social programs that have attempted to clean-up the mess caused by anti-social behavior to little or no effect.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The sometimes infuriating Joe Scarborough on a specific trend he notices in the media:
“This is curious and it was our staff that did it this time. I’m always curious when there is a controversial issue … that mainstream media doesn’t like, they’ll always will say a George W. Bush appointee or a Reagan appointee … when a Democrat does something unpopular they never say Clinton appointee. Never. Never.”
Love the body language and words of co-host Mika Brzezinski. She simply refuses to accept the possibility that there may be some media bias out there. It was her Pauline Kael moment.
In discussing American society's great ills, what's with "single-parent families"? (And we're just as guilty as anyone else, but...) Why can't we call it just what it is: "Father-less families"?
That's really what we're saying, right? Are we missing something?
... or breakfast for that matter as well.
Via W.C Varones:
Let's just call it the "Cheeto defense"
The unintended consequences of the actions of the federal government being parodied above does not reside exclusively in the domain of cartoons but in real life as well.
School districts like the one here in San Diego are wondering how it is they are going to pay for the extra benefits contained within the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Sound familiar?
But with new regulations come price points that may seem realistic in Washington, D.C., but aren’t as feasible in San Diego.
Last week, President Barack Obama signed the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a plan intent on diverting children away from sugary, fat-filled calorie bombs such as snack cakes and chocolate bars and igniting an interest in vegetables, fruits, exercise and healthy living.
First lady Michelle Obama promoted the bill as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign aimed at reducing childhood obesity.
The measure requires schools to make healthy choices more readily available and offers $4.5 billion in financial incentives over 10 years for those that meet nutritional standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
According to the bill, schools will be given an average of six cents toward each meal that meets USDA nutrition standards starting in fall 2012.
Gary Petill, the Unified district’s food services director, said the cost of those meals could hover around 20 cents each, meaning a loss of 14 cents for each meal. That’s a loss of more than a quarter per student per day if he or she eats both breakfast and lunch on campus.
In addition to losing money on the deal, critics of the law say that "on the fence" families that do not qualify for free meals may not be able afford the new and improved ObamaMeals.
Here's Gary Petill, the Unified district's food services director displaying his understanding of this dilemma via hyperbole perhaps owing to his job title:
“That’s where the biggest problem is in our society,” he said. “If they can’t afford to pay for the meals and they don’t have enough money to buy the right nutrients, the right meals, then what are those kids eating?”
We'd go with single-parent homes, drug use and crooked pols ahead of what kids are eating for lunch but, yeah, we get the point.
All this to say that healthier meals are a swell and fantastic idea (though were wondering what the hell the federal government is doing in the food business in the first place) but like anything else dreamed up by a President, Congressmen or First Lady someone has to pay for it.
And whether it's health care reform or school lunches there are trickle-down (unintended) consequences whenever you start engineering and increasing the reach and breadth of federal bureaucracy all for the "good of society".
Shoot, there's still a week and a half left... plenty o'time for more shenanigans.
"Looks good, tastes good, feels good..."
We thought we were in church there for a moment.
Again, the secular left has lapped (and then some) the religious right in terms of unneeded, unwarranted and unprecedented nanny-statism.
Have a nice day!
Monday, December 20, 2010
The CATO Institute has a nice little round-up of the market-distorting effects of ObamaCare in the 5-minute podcast below and which many of the concepts hit on have been discussion points at this blog as well.
The 2nd half of the video zeroes in on developments with respect to child-only insurance and how the insurance companies were going to handle pre-existing conditions that we were heretofore unaware.
(if embed no worky, please go here)
We were not aware of this letter sent from Sebelius to health insurers offering a waiver of price controls for children with pre-existing conditions so that the health insurers could charge these particular children more. Note the podcast claims that they weren't even sure if Sebelius could do this under the law but that she did it anyway.
We did a search and the following is what we came up with from this past October. As we read the news story a recurring theme kept coming back to us: no one knows what the hell is going on.
The Obama administration, aiming to encourage health insurance companies to offer child-only policies, said Wednesday that they could charge higher premiums for coverage of children with serious medical problems, if state law allowed it.
Earlier this year, major insurers, faced with an unprofitable business, stopped issuing new child-only policies. They said that the Obama administration’s interpretation of the new health care law would allow families to buy such coverage at the last minute, when children became ill and were headed to the hospital.
In September, the administration said that insurers could establish open-enrollment periods — for example, one month a year — during which they would accept all children.
Now, on Wednesday, the administration, answering a question raised by many insurers, said they could charge higher premiums to sick children outside the open-enrollment period, if state laws allowed such underwriting, as many do.
Insurers “can adjust their rates based on health status until 2014, to the extent state law allows,” said Jay Angoff, director of the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Department of Health and Human Services.
The difficulty in preserving access to child-only insurance policies is the latest example of unintended consequences of the new law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The problem may be solved in 2014. If Democrats can beat back Republican efforts to dismantle the law, most Americans will be required to carry health insurance, starting in 2014, and insurers will be required to accept all applicants, regardless of pre-existing conditions.
The new policy statement, issued Wednesday by Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, came with a fresh blast of criticism of the insurance industry.
“Unfortunately,” Ms. Sebelius said, “some insurers have decided to stop writing new business in the child-only insurance market, reneging on a previous commitment made in a March letter to ‘make pre-existing condition exclusions a thing of the past.’ ”
The White House has been tussling with insurers for months, trying to get them to provide coverage for children with cancer, autism, heart defects and other conditions.
In a letter Wednesday to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Ms. Sebelius said the decision of some insurers to stop issuing child-only policies was “extremely disappointing.”
But Ms. Sebelius acknowledged, “Nothing in the Affordable Care Act, or any other existing federal law, allows us to require insurance companies to offer a particular type of policy at this time.”
Insurance industry lobbyists say Ms. Sebelius mischaracterized their commitment. They denied that they had promised to continue offering child-only policies.
In a series of questions and answers intended to clarify its reading of the law, the administration said Wednesday that insurers had two options. They can enroll all children year-round, or decline to enroll all children outside the open-enrollment period.
... and on it goes.
Again, what sort of warm and fuzzy are you getting that anyone has a firm handle on precisely how this law is going to be implemented? Neither do we because at this point it's all being negotiated. The government is not governing, it's haggling. In between rounds of granting waivers, that thug Sebelius will saber-rattle, threaten and cajole before offering up another round of waivers, relaxations, open enrollment periods and out clauses. Sorry, this isn't our idea of a constitutional republic rather one more of the banana variety.
As KT reminded us, when the government can at once force an economic activity on you while simultaneously granting exceptions and waivers, the resultant arbitrariness and uncertainty is an invitation to disaster.
Make your own Joe Biden holiday mashup. It's easy like Sunday morning talk shows.
1 part beloved animated Christmas special
1 part Joe Biden YouTube clips.
2 parts fever dream.
Mix until completely out of context.
Hopefully it's over. The "war" that is and the cottage industry it has inspired.
Folks, we won. In fact, timestamp that victory date some 2,000 years ago. It's over. We. Won.
Why would you entrust faithful depictions of the Nativity, just as an example, to the city government?
That Christmas is being "purged" from the "public square" and thus eliminating any future dubious interpretations of Christmas made by the government, may one day prove to be one of the best things that ever happened to Christmas.
Tax-payer sponsored propaganda or an attempt to play catch-up in the marketing game as Team O knows they are losing the public relations battle on this? Or possibly both?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has bought a Google advertisement to steer people searching for "ObamaCare" to a page that is customized to detect searchers' locations and steer them both to local health insurance information and to a list of "what's in the law for you."
"We are using a bunch of search term[s] to help point people to HealthCare.gov. Part of our online efforts to help get accurate information to people about the new law (i.e. also use Facebook, Twitter, blogs and webcasts)," an HHS official confirmed by e-mail.
Google search for "ObamaCare" does indeed yield a pro-ObamaCare website called Healthcare.gov as the top result.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
The goofy robots, Joe Buck, Tony Siragusa, the theme song that sounds too much like the Sleigh Ride Song... and Fox's NFL broadcast presentations are still head and shoulders above that which CBS dishes out in woeful fashion every Sunday.
Well, friends, that gap is about to close considerably as Fox will be adding in-game "mood music" to their football telecasts.
A new kind of NFL scoring: adding music to TV game coverage.
Don't laugh. Fox will formally announce today that it will do that on its regional Arizona Cardinals-Carolina Panthers game Sunday (1 p.m. ET) after an unannounced test on last week's Seattle Seahawks-San Francisco 49ers game. Fox Sports President Eric Shanks on whether such soundtracks will pop up on Fox's upcoming Super Bowl: "It's a possibility."
Given you're bombarded with mood-prompting music in TV shows, ads and movies — and in stadiums and arenas during games — it's seems inevitable that sideline shots of, say, Bill Belichick could end up being accentuated by Lady Gaga's Poker Face. That's Jay-Z's I Know What Girls Like taking us inside the heads of kickers who just made game-winning field goals. Cue It's Raining Men as players run out of tunnels. Everything going wrong for a team? Who you gonna call?Ghostbusters!
Fox's Shanks says game playlists could include famous artists — "the rule is you use it just once and don't edit it" — but will also draw on original medleys. For Sunday's game, Fox has 15 new cuts from James Cardoni, who has composed music for the prime-time show CSI.
But having cuts you'd hear in movies, like spooky chords when babysitters find out the calls are coming from inside the house, is one thing. Knowing when to use them is another. "This is all in the execution," Shanks says. "Just like music in movies, you have to use it at the right times. And imagine trying to score a movie the first time you're seeing it." Plus, he says, announcers during last week's test game needed to get their groove on "to get a feel whether to keep talking or let the music build the suspense or drama for the next play."
Just how bad will it sound? Take a listen for yourself as Fox sprung an announced demo run during last week's Seahawk/Niner game.
Do us a favor, Fox Sports. Keep the mood music with Harry Kalas, John Facenda and NFL Films.
Over-dramatizing Seahawks/Niners does an injustice to Sweetness, Gale, Barry, LT, Jim and other true NFL legends.
H/T: Hot Air
What do Joe Paterno, Josh Groban, USC and the University of Texas all have in common?
They combined forces to produce what the Wall St. Journal is calling one of the worst college football seasons ever.
If there's one thing that sets apart the 2010 college-football season, it's how humiliating it has been for so many of the nation's proudest programs.
We're not just talking about an off year, like the one Penn State had. That happens. We're talking about several of the sport's biggest names enduring preposterous frustrations and indignities all in the same season.
Michigan's coach spoke emotionally at a team banquet about a Josh Groban song. Tennessee's coach made a lengthy analogy comparing his overwhelmed players to the Germans during World War II. Florida, a preseason top-five team, had its worst season in years. Then its coach quit. The same week that an ex-Gator won the Heisman Trophy. For a conference rival.
Every college-football season features a couple of bumbling behemoths, but this year is extreme. Six of the sport's top-10 teams all-time in winning percentage—Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, Tennessee, Southern California and Penn State—aren't ranked in the Associated Press top-25 poll. Never have all six of those teams failed to appear in a season's final AP poll.
Apparently, the misery is causing fans to lose interest (or shield their eyes). TV ratings at both ABC and NBC were down over 10% this season for college-football telecasts. CBS fell too, though less significantly (4.5%).
Here's Derek Dooley, head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers comparing himself to.... Rommel?
Which school had the roughest go of it this past year? The Journal has the goods, here.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
The lamest of lame-duck Congresses shambles along with some more pleasing results.
The Senate on Saturday blocked a bill that would create a path to citizenship for certain illegal immigrant students who came to the United States as children, completed two years of college or military service and met other requirements including passing a criminal background check. The vote, 55-41 in favor of the bill, effectively kills the measure for this year, and its fate beyond that is uncertain.
Most immediately, the measure would have helped grant legal status to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant students and recent graduates whose lives are severely restricted because they are illegal residents, though many have lived in the United States for nearly their entire lives.
So severely restricted are they that many of them were sitting in the Senate gallery as the Senate clerk called role.
And in other possibly related news:
Authorities continue to comb the rugged southern Arizona terrain during the manhunt for a suspect they say was involved in the deadly gunfight that claimed the life of a U.S. Border Patrol agent late Tuesday night.
“I assure you, that every effort will be extended to bring that suspect into custody,” said Richard Barlow, the Border Patrol deputy chief of the Tucson Sector.
Agent Brian A. Terry was gunned down the frenzied shoot out that involved a cadre that robs illegal immigrants--vulnerable targets-- as they cross the border. One of the suspects was injured during the shoot out and taken into custody, said Barlow. Three more suspects were later apprehended.
Are we blaming the students for the death of Border Agent Terry? Of course not. However, you will not get us anywhere close to the table to begin discussing comprehensive immigration reform until we see some solid good-faith efforts towards comprehensive illegal immigration enforcement which entails securing the border and which we have not to date.
Taking back the Gadsen Purchase territory, once sovereign U.S. land, would be a good start.
Coming to terms with sadism
An orphan of the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge struggles to overcome his anguish.
We may perhaps be nitpicking* but one particular word in this paragraph stood out:
Bo Uce was 4 in 1975 when the Khmer Rouge, with its deranged vision of communism, took power. It purged the country of teachers, doctors, lawyers and writers and forced the population into hard labor on farming collectives.
Forced starvations, political prisoners, Kulaks, Killing Fields, imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize winners, forced abortions, The Great Leap Forward, gulags, general soul-crushing authoritarianism.... in an otherwise outstanding article by the L.A. Times, we question the use of the word "deranged" as it suggests some sort of outlier phenomena in the wonderful tapestry wove by 20th-century Communism.
* As minor league Birchers in high school, we can't help ourselves and will pounce upon any perceived softness.
Friday, December 17, 2010
A special KBwD feature as we will be seeing this band at the Belly Up Tavern in Solano Beach on Sunday evening with our good friend, Jerry (aka L.B. Roy Jefferson).
These guys were pretty much the first punk band we listened back in high school in the 80s as they led the way for the entire L.A. punk scene after forming in the late 70s.
The original band line-up will be performing (Billy Zoom left the band in the mid-80s and was replaced by The Blaster's Dave Alvin) and we are told there will be a short doc on the band shown before they perform.
We weren't quite sure what song to pick but decided to go with one of which you might be familiar as it's a Doors classic.
Ladies and Gentlemen, from Los Angeles, California it's X performing the Doors' "Soul Kitchen".
Note: The Doors' Ray Manzarek was the producer on their early albums.
And here they are at a SXSW music festival of recent vintage performing "Devil Doll".
There's an old saying about sports team general managers: sometimes the best trade is that trade you don't make.
Merry Christmas, America!
From last night:
Speaking now on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) says he is “sorry and disappointed” to announce that he does not have the votes for the omnibus spending package. Instead, he will work with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to draft a temporary continuing resolution to fund the government into early next year.
Reid says nine Republican senators approached him today to tell him that while they would like to see the bill passed, they could not vote for it. He did not reveal the names of the nine. A top Senate source tells National Review Online that “it looks like Harry Reid buckled under the threat of Republicans reading [the bill] aloud.”
With at least four Republicans onboard with a yes vote early on, which red-state blue dogs got peeled off?
Who cares? Maybe the message sent on November 2nd got through to a few people. Let's party!
And in somewhat related news also with respect to yesterday...
On this day in 1773, a group of colonists disguised as Indians boarded British merchant ships and dumped into the Boston Harbor an estimated £10,000 worth of tea as a protest against British colonial policies. John Adams declared this event, that we celebrate today as the Boston Tea Party, to be the “grandest event which has ever yet happened since the controversy with Britain opened.” What led once loyal colonists to protest the World’s leading power? How should we think about the Tea Party two hundred thirty-seven years later?
Reid will try to bring the DREAM Act and Don't Ask Don't Tell to a floor vote on Saturday. The votes on those may shed some light onto whether the defeat of this odious symbol of business-as-usual in D.C. was a product of mere vote-buying or a signal that the message sent last month was, in fact, received loud and clear.
Either way, we hope this will embolden the incoming class of Congressmen and Senators that they have a golden opportunity to change the culture back there and that with the will of the American people at their back, change is indeed possible.
Yes, we can!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Before the most woeful, inept and sorry excuse for a Congress in modern history officially ends business and leaves town for the holidays, let's take a look at the big steaming pile of an omnibus bill that's under the tree and which they are trying to get passed and put on the President's desk.
By the numbers:
1,924: number of pages in said spending bill.
1.2 Trillion: The dollar amount of the spending bill.
11: The number of months Congress had to work on it before it became such an emergency and something everyone has to vote yes on or else face certain disaster.
1.1 Billion: The dollar amount tabbed to start cranking up ObamaCare.
6,630: The number of earmarks in this bill.
8 Billion: The dollar figure for those earmarks.
0: The chances the President who claimed just a few days ago that one of the lessons he learned from the 2010 midterms was to take more seriously the public's disapproval of - and his pledge - to oppose earmarks, will veto the bill.
And to put a nice big red bow on things, let's take a look at how they've done over the past two years when they've had control of both chambers and the Oval Office.