Thursday, June 30, 2011

MAXED OUT: Summer Is Here! Where Should I Beer?





Looks like it's going to be a spectacular 4th of July weekend so what better way to get into it than for Max to hook us up with some great outdoor beer joints here in San Diego. You have the floor, sir:



Aloha, my gorgeous gathering of grain-o-philes and welcome back to the summer edition of Maxed Out. Its days like today that I wish I was a teacher on summer break because the weather here in San Diego is the definition of the word “perfect.” Not a cloud in the sky and 75
degrees with a very mild breeze. So where should you be drinking in
San Diego on these gorgeous summer days? Dats wud imma tell ya’s all
taday!
No, no, after you, I insist.

As some of you may remember, I am a huge fan of bars with patios as I
love to smoke while drinking. So who better to tell you of the many
bars in San Diego with outdoor smoking (and non) than me? Nobody,
that’s who. So let’s count down my favorite patio bars in San Diego,
shall we?

I have to start the list with the most obvious bar to me and one that
I have talked about on several occasions, Toronado San Diego. Located
in the heart of North Park this bar features my personal favorite tap
list and just so happens to have one of the best patios to boot. It’s
a quiet little patio in the way far back of the bar and if you didn’t
know they had one you’d probably never think to look for it.
To be honest it took me several visits to this beer haven before I even knew they had one. And for that reason, especially during the day, there
is usually no one out there. So bring a few friends, order one of
their beautiful IPAs and rock out on the back patio. Kids are welcome
before a certain time so give 'em a call and check it out for yourself.

The Neighborhood is another beer bar in San Diego with a fantastic
beer line up, glorious service (by this I mean gorgeous service… and
by that I mean they are primarily hot girls,) but if you don’t have
one of the girls serving your table and bringing you tasty libations
you can be pretty sure that it will be a mustachioed young man helping
you out. Yes, they all are required to look like their hipster boss
and sport curled up mustaches. No, I don’t know why. There are two
fairly small patios here, smoking is allowed, and it’s just a few
short blocks away from Petco Park. So if you’re on your way to a
Padres game stop by here before hand and enjoy the last few hours of
daylight before the AMAZING and ALWAYS SOLD OUT Padres take the field for what is sure to be an epic battle on the diamond. EPIC!


I’m going to throw a curve ball in here because I just visited this
brew pub this past Monday. Pacific Beach Ale House has a roof top bar
that has a slight view of the beach, brews their own beers (Their IPA
was 6.5% and surprisingly delightful,) and seats close to 100 people.
I’ve been here a couple times now and have enjoyed myself thoroughly
both times.


Just do yourself a favor and don’t get the oyster
shots... NO BUENO! I’d recommend going after a day on the beach in
the early evening as the sun sets. Tres belle. I have yet to attend
at night but can only imagine that it full of the typical half-witted
blondies and neckless meat heads. Afternoons are definitely the way
to go here.

Hoffer’s has an awesome patio and I work there so it is a pretty damn
good place to go. Only problem is that it’s in East County and is HOT
AS HELL! I’ve told you all about Hoffer’s so I won’t bore you with
any more of the details. Just come visit me!

The last one I’m going to give you is the bar that is credited as
being the bar that has carried San Diego craft beers the longest:
O’Brien’s Irish Pub. Good pub fare, good, however small beer list
including several Alpine brews. They even have a beer named after
them from Alpine aptly called O’Brien’s Ale (just ok.) Their outdoor
patio is totally chill and located in the Korean area of Kearny Mesa.
So grab a beer, grab a burger, and chill on this here patio.

I’m sure I missed a few so tell me in the comment section below, on
Facebook, or email me at maxamilliondollars@gmail.com. Thanks for
joining me today and go check some of these patios out there in sunny
San Diego if you haven’t already.

Until next time my beer loving brethren, have a beer for me.



(ed. note: Concur with all of Max's recommendations, particularly The Neighborhood for the stated reasons. We will submit, as well, K and B Wine Cellars in Del Cerro which has the coveted SLOBs' seal of approval.... Also, while it isn't there yet, Alpine Brewery's back patio area has the potential to be an excellent beer garden. Right now, it's a picnic table and some plastic chairs but the folks there tell us they have plans... big plans.... Hey, how about your own back patio? You've got the kids and/or don't necessarily want to drive anywhere and more importantly, don't want to drive back, stock up on some good beer, ice 'em down properly, put on the iPod, crack open a few of those said beers and just relax in the back of your own castle in this glorious San Diego summer weather. Oh, and don't forget to call us up for the invite.

Operation Gunrunner/Fast and Furious update




If you're someone named Sylvia Longmire writing for the San Diego Union-Tribune last week, there's no update. In fact, there's no such thing as Operation Gunrunner, Gunwalker, Fast and Furious or any other such unseemly thing. Like, what are you talking about?


Here is a public challenge to both the National Rifle Association and the Obama administration. I challenge you to prove that either of you has any idea what you’re talking about when it comes to southbound weapons trafficking to Mexico.

The issue at hand is not whether guns sold in the United States are making their way into Mexican cartel hands; that’s indisputable. It’s trying to figure out exactly how many of those guns come from the U.S. and how many come from elsewhere.

The Obama administration has stated publicly that the United States bears much of the responsibility for the flow of firearms into Mexico and has pledged to work harder to stop it. The NRA is diametrically opposed. It has millions of members and represents gun owners’ right to bear arms, regardless of the caliber. They believe there are too many gun laws already and that the government only wants to take guns away from law-abiding citizens.
(italics, ours)

And on she goes without a single solitary reference to the deadly and illegal scheme carried out by the ATF to allow guns to be sold in the U.S. and then fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

It's jaw-dropping, really. What more needs to be said about the deplorable state of journalism in this country than someone can pen an op-ed piece in a major daily of a city that sets on the U.S.-Mexico border about the flow of guns across that border without a single mention of a gun-smuggling operation carried out by the U.S. government and which the head of that government agency will be testifying about next month?




P.S. Such was our incredulousness, we had to read the article 3 separate times to make sure we hadn't missed any word on Gunrunner/Fast and Furious. It has to be in here, right? This is the sort of stuff that makes our blood boil.

Not so random thought of the day




First, some set-up:


When Sarah Palin showed up in Pella, IA to attend a screening of her own documentary, “The Undefeated,” she hadn’t seen all the footage beforehand. So when the film opened with people calling her “slutty,“ ”scary,“ and a ”bit**,” she was a little taken aback.

“This is the first that I’ve seen much of that. It kind of takes you back,” she told The Hollywood Reporter (THR). “It makes you want to reach out to some of these folks and say, What’s your problem? And what was the problem? And what is the problem?”

THR describes the graphic opening:

The movie begins with Sen. John McCain introducing his running mate, then quickly cuts to the Hollywood sign, and the music turns ominous. A TV news anchor says, “Hollywood has a new favorite pastime: taking aim at Sarah Palin.”

Then the celebrity montage begins: Damon likens Palin to a “really bad Disney movie” and says she’s “really scary” and Letterman calls her ”slutty,” and the discourse descends in to the filthy from there. Maher calls her a “dumb twat” on his TV show, Madonna screams “Sarah [Fu**ing] Palin” while on stage, and comedians use graphic, severely bleeped language to describe how Palin gave birth to a “retard.” One entertainer after another calls Palin a “slut” or a “[bit**]” or describes the intensity with which they “hate her.”



Is it just us or is there more than a tad of misogyny thrown into the mix with the criticisms of conservative women like Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann - a degree of visceral and crude debasement in the attacks that is absent in the same for pols like Paul Ryan, Chris Christie and John Huntsman? Oh, wait... scratch that last, everybody loves John Huntsman.

Or maybe we're just overreacting, wanting to protect the fairer and weaker sex. After all, as white Republican males, we know chivalry when we see it. We're the experts.

And equally important, as white Republican males, we know misogyny when we see it. Again, we're the experts.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Your mid-week martini-worthy photo image

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.
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These days is there anyone who even comes close?






From Irma Cocktail Lounge Vol. 2 it's DJ Rodriquez and "Personality".

It's the freedom, stupid!

Via Dueling Barstools:





How far will we fall?

Time to do away with Fannie and Freddie?




We think maybe it's time. Here's B-Daddy on the matter:

Here is what I do know. Fannie and Freddie are political creatures of the federal government. Their lending standards are therefore set by politics, not market conditions. Surely there will be pressure for them to loosen their standards by those politicians for whom this will be expedient. This is why Fannie and Freddie need to be broken up into smaller entities and divorced from their status as Government Sponsored Entities. (I can't find that term in the constitution.) The new companies, by competing on how well they assess the riskiness of loans, will find the correct equilibrium for the housing market. Further, these companies could seek out innovative ways to hold banks and other loan originators liable for bad loans that were due to lack of due diligence. This seems like a great way to inject true free market principles to re-vitalize the housing market.


And what did we hear with respect to bailing out General Motors, the Wall St. financial institutions and Fannie and Freddie among others? Too big to fail, right? These smaller entities that will take the place of Fannie and Freddie take the starch out of that argument that was central to the justification behind Bailout Nation. Let's put the housing market back in the hands of the market instead of that of politicians.

Yep, time for them to go.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

California budget update




And now some news from a little closer to home here in California.


File this under What could possibly go wrong?

Abandoning negotiations with Republican lawmakers, Gov. Jerry Brown struck a deal with Democrats for a budget that assumes billions of dollars in fresh revenue — but could lead to major service cuts if the money doesn't materialize.

The proposal, which Democrats said they would pass as soon as Tuesday, does not include the renewed tax hikes that the governor had been pushing to put before voters. But it does contain some charges that Democrats believe they can legally raise without GOP support.

How optimistic are the Democrats? The budget plan is based on an expectation of $4 billion in extra revenue in addition to $6.6 billion in unexpected revenue that was forecast last month. Nearly $11 billion in new revenue that will magically appear. That optimistic.

With California's current business climate, one has to wonder just where Governor Moonbeam and his Democratic colleagues think this addtional revenue is going to come from?

And spending cuts are one thing but Brown does not show any inkling of addressing the pension and benefit packages of the state's public employee unions.

Republicans had demanded changes in pension, regulatory and spending policies in exchange for supporting an election. No such moves are included in the latest package, and GOP lawmakers accused the majority party of bending to special interests.

"The Democrats have proven once again that they are unwilling to stand up to the unions that fund their political campaigns and adamantly oppose meaningful pension reform," said a joint statement by four Republicans state senators who had been negotiating with Brown: Tom Berryhill of Modesto, Anthony Cannella of Ceres, Bill Emmerson of Hemet and Tom Harman of Huntington Beach.


And dig the closing paragraph of this article from the L.A. Times.

Democrats said they would gather signatures to place an initiative on the November 2012 ballot to ask voters to raise taxes, although they did not specify what taxes. Political strategists believe the electorate will lean more Democratic with President Obama on the ballot next year.

Two things: 1) Obviously, we don't know the language of the initiative but we see scant chance of people voting to raise taxes on themselves regardless of how many Democrats turn out and 2) a lot can happen in the next year and half or so but if the trend line continues, the L.A. Times will have grossly overestimated their hoped-for Democratic voter turnout for the President.

Great moments in the history of ObamaCare...

... and it's still 2+ years from being fully enacted!



Was this in the ObamaCare legislation as well:

U.S. Plans Stealth Survey on Access to Doctors


Alarmed by a shortage of primary care doctors, Obama administration officials are recruiting a team of “mystery shoppers” to pose as patients, call doctors’ offices and request appointments to see how difficult it is for people to get care when they need it.

The administration says the survey will address a “critical public policy problem”: the increasing shortage of primary care doctors, including specialists in internal medicine and family practice. It will also try to discover whether doctors are accepting patients with private insurance while turning away those in government health programs that pay lower reimbursement rates.

Federal officials predict that more than 30 million Americans will gain coverage under the health care law passed last year. “These newly insured Americans will need to seek out new primary care physicians, further exacerbating the already growing problem” of a shortage of such physicians in the United States, the Department of Health and Human Services said in a description of the project prepared for the White House.

You know, if you are going to do any, ahem, sleuthing to try to address the looming doctor shortage, would it not make sense to do it before crafting the legislation of ObamaCare so there would actually be something in the law to address this problem.

But as we all know, what was actually in the legislation played a distant second to just ramming the thing home and getting it on the President's desk for his signature.

And yet, what this represents to us is a stunning admission that what's in the law and what we're all now finding out is in the law with it's additional onerous regulations and red tape has merely exacerbated the doctor shortage problem.


And do we sense a trust issue here?:

Plans for the survey have riled many doctors because the secret shoppers will not identify themselves as working for the government.

“I don’t like the idea of the government snooping,” said Dr. Raymond Scalettar, an internist in Washington. “It’s a pernicious practice — Big Brother tactics, which should be opposed.”

According to government documents obtained from Obama administration officials, the mystery shoppers will call medical practices and ask if doctors are accepting new patients and, if so, how long the wait would be. The government is eager to know whether doctors give different answers to callers depending on whether they have public insurance, like Medicaid, or private insurance, like Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Dr. George J. Petruncio, a family doctor in Turnersville, N.J., said: “This is not a way to build trust in government. Why should I trust someone who does not correctly identify himself?”

Dr. Stephen C. Albrecht, a family doctor in Olympia, Wash., said: “If federal officials are worried about access to care, they could help us. They don’t have to spy on us.”

Dr. Robert L. Hogue, a family physician in Brownwood, Tex., asked: “Is this a good use of tax money? Probably not. Everybody with a brain knows we do not have enough doctors.”

While we realize the AMA does not represent all doctors, they are the most recognizable medical association in the land, so when they got behind ObamaCare, it was a signal that the medical establishment was ready to jump into bed with the administration and throw it's support behind the bill.

Perhaps now, more than a few of those doctors who thought that entering into a partnership with the federal government was a swell idea may now be having second thoughts as they're finding out their new partner will be going behind their back to check up on them.

And what was that again about exacerbating a doctor shortage?

Project Gunrunner/Fast and Furious update

Entrance question: What's the last thing you would want to do if you are in the midst of a CYA operation regarding an ill-conceived and deadly operation to allow weapons to flow back across the border and into the hands of Mexican drug cartels?


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is being accused of retaliating against an agent who helped publicize the agency’s role in allowing thousands of guns to cross the U.S. border and fall into the hands of Mexican drug gangs.

The agent, Vince Cefalu, who has spoken out about the ATF's so-called "Project Gunrunner" scandal, says he was served with termination papers just last week, and he calls the move politically motivated.

“Aside from Jay Dobyns, I don't know of anyone that's been more vocal about ATF mismanagement than me,” said Cefalu, a senior special agent based in Dublin, Calif. “That's why this is happening.” Dobyns, an ATF special agent based in Tucson, has appeared several times on Fox News to discuss the scandal.


Cefalu first told FoxNews.com about the ATF’s embattled anti-gun smuggling operation in December, before the first reports on the story appeared in February. “Simply put, we knowingly let hundreds of guns and dozens of identified bad guys go across the border,” Cefalu said at the time.

Since then, Cefalu’s claims have been vindicated, as a number of agents with first-hand knowledge of the case came forward. The scandal over Project Gunrunner led to congressional hearings, a presidential reprimand – Obama called the operation “a serious mistake” – and speculation that ATF chief Ken Melson will resign.


There was speculation as recently as a week ago that heads were going to roll at ATF. Funny thing is, no one expected that one of those heads was going to be the whistleblower. Melson, however, is still on the job.

The miserable hack that runs the Justice Department appears to be doubling down in the digging in of heels in the aftermath of this wretched operation of which he may or may not have had knowledge. One would certainly think now that he had knowledge of Cefalu's termination.

Exit observation: Do you remember when they told us that if we voted for McCain it would mean a continuation of the politicization of the Justice Department and open season on whistleblowers? Well, they were right.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Campaign finance reform: yet another in the long list of unintended consequences




The U.S. Supreme Court shot down an Arizona campaign finance law that was supposed to "keep money out of politics" or "level the playing field" or some other such trope that the subject law never comes close to accomplishing.

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning handed down a 5-4 ruling in the consolidated cases Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett and McComish v. Bennett, striking down Arizona’s speech-squelching “Clean Elections” law. The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, concluded:

Arizona’s program gives money to a candidate in direct response to the campaign speech of an opposing candidate or an independent group. It does this when the opposing candidate has chosen not to accept public financing, and has engaged in political speech above a level set by the State. The professed purpose of the state law is to cause a sufficient number of candidates to sign up for public financing, which subjects them to the various restrictions on speech that go along with that program. This goes too far; Arizona’s matching funds provision substantially burdens the speech of privately financed candidates and independent expenditure groups without serving a compelling state interest.

The Court also strongly rejected the idea that laws like Arizona’s could permissibly be used to “level the electoral playing field”:

“Leveling the playing field” can sound like a good thing. But in a democracy, campaigning for office is not a game. It is a critically important form of speech. The First Amendment embodies our choice as a Nation that, when it comes to such speech, the guiding principle is freedom—the “unfettered interchange of ideas”—not whatever the State may view as fair.
(italics, ours)

Well said, Justice Roberts.

The Institute for Justice is now 4 for 5 in cases heard before the Supreme Court, their lone setback being the excrable Kelo vs. New London decision that caused 43 states, red and blue alike, to enact stricter eminent domain abuse laws.


Short video below captures nicely the unintended consequences of the "Clean Elections" law.




We all want clean elections and we all want transparent elections and perhaps it would be nice if there wasn't so much bloody money in politics/elections but because of the increasingly pervasive reach of the government into all areas of our lives, politics wield too much power to not be purchased in some form or another.

Long-time followers of this blog know one of our favorite sayings when it comes to the Sisyphean nature of campaign finance reform laws when it comes to the money and politics nexus: You will never keep money out of politics until you remove power from politics by corresponding degrees.

The Government's war on cameras

Just recently two reporters, Jim Epstein and Pete Tucker, were arrested, detained and charged with "unlawful entry" and "disorderly conduct" while at a Washington D.C. taxi cab commission meeting.





What kind of government do we have that watches us with cameras everywhere we go but recoils in horror and uses force when we try to watch the government with cameras?


Fortunately, this is a bit of a losing battle for big brother owing to slicker technology that allows for greater concealment of recording devices. However, what does that say about the state of our 1st amendment rights when those rights become dependent upon a mini/micro/nano technology arms race with the other side?

Quote of the day

Against the backdrop of an unwarranted and unnecessary release of oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve and a troop draw-down in Afghanistan informed, in part, because of "waning domestic political support" , Victor Davis Hanson wonders just who are the socialists?:

All this raises some questions. The strangest things about the global statist crack-up are socialists’ unhappiness with their socialist utopia, and their subsequent efforts to avoid the consequences of the very redistributive state that they themselves once so gladly crafted.

This discussion is, of course, a belabored example of why and how socialists do not like socialism. Indeed, statism is not a desired outcome, but rather more a strategy for obtaining power or winning acclaim as one of the caring, by offering the narcotic of promising millions something free at the expense of others who must be seen as culpable and obligated to fund it — entitlements fueled by someone else’s money that enfeebled the state, but in the process extended power, influence, and money to a technocratic class of overseers who are exempt from the very system that they have advocated.

Who are socialists?

There are none. Only technocratic overseers who wish to give someone else’s money to others as a means of winning capitalist-style lifestyles and power for themselves — in a penultimate cycle of unsustainable spending. When this latest attempt at statism is over, Barack Obama will enjoy a sort of Clintonism, a globe-trotting post officium lifestyle of multimillion dollar honoraria to fund a lifestyle analogous to “two Americas” John Edwards, “earth in the balance” Al Gore, a tax-exempt yachting John Kerry, a revolving-door Citibank grandee like Peter Orszag, or a socialist Strauss-Kahn in $20,000 suits doling out billions to the “poor.”

That is just the way it has been and will always be.


So, Marx had it wrong. It has turned out that statist-inspired entitlements are the opiate of the masses.

Apparently, no one took away any lessons from the Cold War. That wasn't just the global brand of the Soviet Union that was defeated. One of the take-aways should've been the acknowledgement of the unsustainable nature of over-regultated, top-down, command and control economies that guarantee a "right" to work, housing, health care and pensions.

Some 20 years on, looks like we're playing some catch-up on the lesson plan.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Programming Alert




Great news! Our friend and fellow SLOB (San Diego Local Order of Bloggers... rolled in the right-hand column) Sir Charles of Doo Doo Economics has put together a SLOB blog aggregator. The SLOBs as the name suggests are San Diego area residents who are committed to free and open markets and limited, transparent and Constitutionally-bound governance. A delightful mish-mash of conservative-libertarian poltics can be found at any one of the SLOB sites.


Automatic Blogroll will move the most recent blog posts to the top and easy-to-use "share" functions will allow you to help us get out the word on any number of social media platforms.


We're pretty excited about this and we want to give Charles a huge shout-out and a thank you for undertaking this endeavor and for a job well-done.


We will update our blog roll accordingly to take advantage of this development.

Check it out here.

Quickies




A look at some news items, articles, columns and blog posts that caught our eye over the past week or so.





Confirmed: Fewer Laws Make Better Beer in Japan


“This vibrant craft brew scene is a recent development—in part because it was actually impossible not long ago. Before 1994, microbreweries were illegal in Japan. Licenses were granted only to brewers producing well over half a million gallons a year. That protected the well-entrenched large brewers from any upstart competition.”

All things being equal, we believe fewer laws would make better beer, wine, spirits everywhere. We saw it here in California in the late 70s when wine makers broke out onto the international scene because they refused to be hemmed-in by strict French regulations and classifications and again in the early 80s in the craft beer scene when the last vestiges of the Volsted Act were wiped off the books.





Profiles in courage: House votes for resolution against our involvement in Libya yet does not pass a bill to defund our military kinesiology there.


Plus this from the NY Times marshalling all their strength to wrist- slap the President. It must have hurt. The Times that is.

Mr. Obama made the wrong choice, trying to evade his responsibility under the 1973 War Powers Act to seek Congressional authorization within 60 days of introducing armed forces into “hostilities” — or terminate the operation. The White House claimed that the Pentagon’s limited operations are not the sort of “hostilities” covered by the act. It is not credible.

Mr. Obama would have done better arguing his case for the Libyan operation. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was playing catch-up on Capitol Hill on Thursday. We are certain if NATO had not intervened, thousands more Libyans would have been slaughtered. We also believe Congress has an important role to play in this debate. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee plans to vote on the Kerry-McCain measure next week. The majority leader, Harry Reid, has said he has the votes in the Senate. Thankfully, some Senate Republicans also seem to understand the importance of the United States following through on its national security commitments.
(italics, ours)

Perhaps these born-again hawks from the Times can explain to us precisely what those national security interests are because the President sure as hell isn't interested in doing it.


And more from Charles Krauthammer:

But things are not so simple. No president should accept — and no president from Nixon on has accepted — the constitutionality of the WPR, passed unilaterally by Congress over a presidential veto. On the other hand, every president should have the constitutional decency to get some congressional approval when he takes the country to war.

The model for such constitutional restraint is — yes, Sen. Obama — George W. Bush. Not once but twice (Afghanistan and then Iraq) did Bush seek and receive congressional authorization, as his father did for the Persian Gulf War. On Libya, Obama did nothing of the sort. He claimed exemption from the WPR on the grounds that America in Libya is not really engaged in “hostilities.”

To deploy an excuse so transparently ridiculous isn’t just a show of contempt for Congress and for the intelligence of the American people. It manages additionally to undermine the presidency’s own war-making prerogatives by implicitly conceding that if the Libya war really did involve hostilities, the president would indeed be subject to the WPR.

The worst of all possible worlds: Insult Congress, weaken the presidency. A neat trick.

So, we've finally found that one area where the Nobel Peace Prize winner isn't like the cowboy? Good to know.






Terrific: Pam Geller, publisher of Atlas Shrugs comes out in favor of banning the burqa. Is it us or does anyone else see an inherent contradiction in the previous sentence?







There's that word again...

Reuters writing pretty much the same lede they have been for the past two years... as expected.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose last week, suggesting little improvement in the labor market this month after hiring stumbled badly in May.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed by 9,000 to 429,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists had expected claims to come in at 415,000.
(italics, ours in case you missed it)




Rich Lowry on Rick Perry and throwing dirt on the grave of that vile concept, compassionate conservatism.

The Republican noncandidate flavor of the week is Texas governor Rick Perry. If you squint just right, you could mistake him at a podium for his predecessor, George W. Bush. Except for his message.

There might be no more powerful symbol of the death of compassionate conservatism in the Republican party than Bush’s successor and former running mate in Texas stomping all over it with cowboy boots emblazoned with the words “Freedom” and “Liberty.”

We would love to see the Texas governor in the race. Nowhere close to endorsing/supporting anyone yet but it does make the dating pool that much more attractive.





Jonathan V. Last reviews a book that claims that since the late 70s, 163 million female babies have been aborted by parents seeking sons.

Mara Hvistendahl is worried about girls. Not in any political, moral or cultural sense but as an existential matter. She is right to be. In China, India and numerous other countries (both developing and developed), there are many more men than women, the result of systematic campaigns against baby girls. In "Unnatural Selection," Ms. Hvistendahl reports on this gender imbalance: what it is, how it came to be and what it means for the future.






Here's some more of that "new civility" everybody has been talking about.



If you're curious about a double standard here, remember that as per Harry Reid, it would be rather difficult to mock President Obama's dialect.

Besides, we actually like the idea of 3-page bills and wonder just how is it that Jon Stewart sees law-makers not bothering to even read what they want to foist upon us as somehow a "fictional issue".




B-Daddy on gun control and racism

So Garry McCarthy, Chicago Police Superintendent, links federal gun control regulation to racism. Turns out he is right, but not in the sense he means. First, his comments:

“I want you to connect one more dot on that chain of African-American history in this country, and tell me if I’m crazy: Federal gun laws that facilitate the flow of illegal firearms into our urban centers, across this country, that are killing black and brown children,”

Well, Garry, you are crazy. Keeping guns out of the hands of blacks and Hispanics has been the racist goal of gun control attempts. A review of the historical record reveals that gun control in America has been directed at keeping guns out of the hands of blacks.


We've had a strong notion all along that gun control was all about power, control and social engineering and had, at best, a tenuous relationship with public safety. Read more at the link about the soft bigotry of low expectations that is codified in the liberal-Left mentality.


And finally...
Shane Atwell's weekly regulation watch, here.


We may be back later today with a new post or an update to this one but we'll definetely be back tomorrow.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rejoice...

*



... because it's America here every day of the year.




More than 100 men and women from around the world gathered Friday at the Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Chula Vista to complete the process of securing their citizenship by taking the naturalization oath.


Remember, gang, despite the drivel you have been told over the years, our greatness does not lie in our diversity rather our diversity is because of our greatness and goodness as a nation.








* Not the actual picture of the ceremony as the San Diego Union-Tribune possesses the absolute worst website search engine known to mankind. The verbage and a picture of the ceremony appeared in the print edition but does not exist anywhere in the interwebs so you'll have to take our word for it on this one. We believe we have earned that concession.

Pension reform: San Diego style

Think the Chief of Police here in San Diego would be above politicizing and demogoguing the issue of benefit reform for his employees? Think again.

Statement: "In the last five years, I've had 345 officers leave the city of San Diego and go to other cities for better benefits, higher wages, and better vehicles and equipment. In that same five-year period I've had only 35 officers come to the city of San Diego," San Diego Police Chief Bill Lansdowne said at a law enforcement conference in April.

Determination:....








But Lansdowne's numbers don't match the Police Department's official counts. Between the 2006 and 2010 fiscal years, the department counted 182 officers leaving for other agencies and 18 being hired from other agencies. Lansdowne's numbers were proportional to the department's counts, but exaggerated the impact to total staffing.

Check out the rest of Voice of San Diego's analysis, here.


We love our Blue, our fire fighters and first responders. Please refrain from jerking us around, however, when it comes to serious discussions involving city budget matters and explicit threats to cuts in services.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Radio KBwD is on the air





What better way to get ready for Hootenanny next weekend which we will be attending than to put on something from this guy? In fact, some years back, he played Hootenanny and had a somewhat memorable run-in with one of the headliners.




Ladies and Gentleman, from Sherman, Texas, via California's Central Valley, it's Buck Owens performing "Streets of Bakersfield"




Tales from Bailout Nation (cont.)

*

Recall how Team O wants to make the General Motors bailout, the one that will cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars when all said and done, a centerpiece of their re-election campaign and how GM isn't, for obvious reasons, thinking that is not such a hot idea? Well, chalk up yet another reason why bringing attention to such a smashing success may backfire.





New emails obtained by The Daily Caller contradict claims by the Obama administration that the Treasury Department would avoid “intervening in the day-to-day management” of General Motors post-auto bailout.

These messages reveal that Treasury officials were involved in decision-making that led to more than 20,000 non-union workers losing their pensions.

Republican Reps. Dan Burton and Mike Turner say that during the GM bailout, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner decided to cut pensions for salaried non-union employees at Delphi, a GM spinoff, to expedite GM’s emergence from bankruptcy.

At a Wednesday hearing, the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending started pushing the Treasury Department for answers on the effects of the bailout and on how much of a role the department played in picking winners and losers.

The key point of the Wednesday hearing was to show that the Obama administration advised GM on how to eliminate the Delphi workers’ pensions. The evidence suggests Geithner’s team played a significant role in that process, despite claims to the contrary.

In 2009 congressional testimony, senior Obama administration official Ron Bloom said the president told the Treasury Department to stay out of the management of these companies and downplayed any administration intervention.

“From the beginning of this process, the President gave the Auto Task Force two clear directions regarding its approach to the auto restructurings,” Bloom said then. “The first was to behave in a commercial manner by ensuring that all stakeholders were treated fairly and received neither more nor less than they would have simply because the government was involved. The second was to refrain from intervening in the day-to-day management of these companies.”


We know that first directive was a crock as the unions were shoved to the head of the line ahead of secured creditors in the bankruptcy divvy-up and now it looks like the second was not adhered to either as that noted captain of industry and business tycoon, Timothy Geithner, was wacking pensions in order to hasten an exit from bankruptcy.



The exchanges go on to clearly demonstrate that the administration had a controlling stake in GM’s management timeline.

Borst replied that GM had not “begun conversations with the UAW pending hearing back from you and the PBGC. We can begin that dialogue but our reading of the benefit guarantee is clear that it’s for the benefit of the retirees and not the PBGC. The UAW may not be available to us this week as GM is in the summer shutdown.”

Feldman responded by reminding Borst the steps required to eliminate Delphi’s pension plans.

“Keep in mind we need the PBGC’s help to terminate this plan so we will have to deal with the PBGC,” wrote Feldman. “If you think there is a way to cause its unilateral termination (outside of Delphi going down an 1113 process) let me know.”

Team O will want to take credit for saving a couple of heartland American institutions and the domestic auto industry along the way but the record will show that this was a hostile take-over with the government wielding unprecedented powers in a private sector business to curry favor with the unions and where that government-GM partnership will lose billions of dollars while pushing a heavily-subsidized technology that nobody's buying right now and which may not even be any good for the environment and then turn around and lie about how it is they paid off the loan they received from the Feds. For that you are to be thankful.

Yeah, sounds like a record to run on.



* The dreariness of this post demanded we do something to cheer it up. So we did.

Sarah sez




One in a series that takes a look at some of the wacky, zany and madcap things said by Sarah Palin.





This is a mash-up of Palin expounding on our "sacred documents expanding" in the cause of expanding freedom and then moving onto the economy where she comes out for "grantng the federal government the right to hire in high unemployment areas... to rebuild crumbling schools." Then she doubles down on that by calling for a federal jobs program to "prevent bridges from collapsing" and for "a return of the WPA" (to wild applause). She wraps up her stemwinder by stating that "If the private sector can't or won't (hire people) then it's time for the federal government to step in." (more wild applause).



Except, of course, it's not Sarah Palin with a call for a continuance and even an increasing of failed statist and Keynesian policies but rather it's luminaries such as Reps. John Conyers and Jan Schakowsky and Sarah sez regular, Nancy Pelosi.






These people are absolutely obsessed with bridges... always with the collapsing bridges! And with Schakowsky's call for a return of the WPA to the obvious delight of the crowd, we are reminded once again of the liberal-Left's glee in recalling the worst economic stretch of the country's history as somehow the good ol' days. They love themselves some Great Depression, now don't they?





And for a bonus round of Sarah sez:





We'd probably look a little (a lot?) foolish if cameras followed us around 24/7 but we suppose it's expecting a bit too much to ask for some balance in the gotcha wars.


H/T: The Blaze and Hot Air

Thursday, June 23, 2011

MAXED OUT: Are you the key master?


We know it's almost July but do you have an umbrella handy? 'Cause Max is about to rain down some cold hard beer knowledge. Max?





Hello my key masters, I am the Gate Keeper, how the heck are you? So
today is the day that your fateful Gate Keeper reveals some of the
“Gateway Beers” that you non-beer-drinkers should give a try. I know
several of you are avid beer drinkers, but maybe you know someone who
isn’t. With this handy dandy guide you’ll be able to impart wisdom on
your “I HATE BEER” friends and see if you can’t get them to come to
the dark side, one sudsy brew at a time. Yup, here we go!

So, as some of you may remember from my first post, I wasn’t always
the beer-o-phile that I am now. I started my trip down Hoppy Lane
with Bud Light. That’s right, Bud Light. But on my twenty-first
birthday I went to lovely Las Vegas, Nevada with my Mom and a few
friends. While most normal human beings get to Vegas for their first
time and go straight to the black jack tables and grab their first
Long Island, I found myself drawn to a brew pub. I told the bartender
that it was my 21st birthday and that I was extremely interested in
the brewing process and in craft beer but wasn’t sure how to go about
getting into it. He gave me a sly smile (not creepy, I swear) and
poured me a…

...Hefeweizen is the best style of beer to get an anti-beer drinker to
say “Oh, that’s not terrible” to. Hefs are light, crisp, a little
sweet and pretty fruity. DO NOT PUT FRUIT IN BEER! If you MUST,
squeeze a lemon wedge in the beer and set the rind to the side. NO
ORANGES for the love of God! A little tiny bit of orange juice will
do absolutely nothing for the beer, I promise you. If it really makes
the beer drinker feel that much better about themselves or the beer
that they are drinking then go ahead but I can promise you that it
does nothing other than make the beer more acidic and will end up
tasting terribly half way through the beer. I’ve told you a few to
try before but as a reminder Franziskaner is a tried and true delight
straight from Germany. Nice banana flavor with a lovely, light yellow
color that is just beautiful in the light. German Hefs are also great
upgrades for your friends that only drink the swill that is Blue Moon
and Shock Top. PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM BLUE MOON AND SHOCK TOP! They
are the devil!

Pilsners are another good start for some people however you have to
find the right Pilsner. You can’t just throw out some crappy, bitter
Pils, you have to find something with a little sweetness because most
people just getting into beer are used to wine or sweeter cocktails.
Pilsner Urquell is a nice, easily obtainable beer originally from the
Czech Republic and is now brewed in Berkeley. Pilsner Urquell is a
nice dry, crisp and refreshing beer with a slightly sweet body. It is
also a good replacement for your Stella Artois fans out there, who
should be ashamed of themselves (just kidding Mom, I love you!)

Belgian Whites are another style of beer that are softer on the
pallet and offer a great break into the beer world. Avery’s White
Rascal is a beautiful example although you may have to hit up a BevMo
to find this tasty brew. Brewed out of Boulder, Colorado ‘Rascal’ is
nice and creamy with a slightly citrus body to it and a nice banana
nose. I’m not huge on the mouth feel towards the finish but overall a
very Gateway type beer.

Ciders are an obvious choice as they tend to be sweeter and most
people don’t really consider them beers. In fact, yes, they are a
style of beer. Not my personal favorite but pretty damn good on a hot
summer’s day. So if you must start with a cider try Julian Cider. It
is a bitterly sweet treat made with fresh Julian apples and at 7% gets
the job done, if ya know what I’m sayin’.

Delirium Tremmens, yes one of my top 10 favorites, is another beer
that surprises a lot of beer haters out there. It is technically a
Belgian Strong Pale Ale although, like I’ve said before, I think that
it is a perfect example of a Belgian Tripel. Call it what you will,
the beautiful notes of spices on the nose and finish, as well as the
sweetness of the body make this a beer that anyone and everyone can
enjoy. Sarah B, this is the beer that I want you drink when you take
me up on that beer challenge with the salmon dinner. But keep this
one cold, don’t pull it out of the fridge like I said before. This
isn’t that type of beer.

I’m also gonna throw stouts on the list. That’s right, the darkest
most chocolaty stout that you can find. If there are any red wine
drinkers out there, this is the style for you. Try Alesmith’s
Speedway Stout and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It has a
very strong coffee/chocolate flavor, and at 12.6% has relatively the
same alcohol content as most wines out there. You must be a fan of
chocolate, but if you are this is probably the beer for you. Me likey
this beer muy mucho!


Do any of my fellow beer nerds out there have any other suggestions?
Do any of my haters out there have any questions? Is there anyone
that needs more suggestions or advice for a step up for some of your
friends that are stuck on some crappy beer? You have a friend that
only drinks Newcastle and you want him/her to step it up? A
significant other that only drinks MGD and you want them to change
their stupid, stupid ways? You know what to do. Hit me up on
Facebook, comments below, or at maxamilliondollars@gmail.com. Thanks
for reading guys... love you all like my children. Or like my distant
cousin, Ralph. Yeah, more like him.

Until next time my beer loving brethren, have a beer for me.



(ed. note: He speaks the truth. For those of you that do enjoy beer but may be intimidated by San Diego and California's calling card, the West Coast-style IPA (India Pale Ale) may we suggest the training wheels of Bear Republic's XP Pale Ale
or Green Flash's 30th Street Pale Ale.

Freedom in the Fifty

... and speaking of freedom, Katherine Mangu-Ward for Reason.tv sits down with Jason Sorens and William Ruger to talk about how the different states of the union stack up on personal and economic freedom.





"...Because of America's federal system, states have a lot of ability to shape public policy in important ways that effect people's daily lives."

"A robust correlation between states that are free... and in migration."

"Maybe Oklahoma City will be the next Oz."


At the 3:35 mark there starts an interesting discussion regarding the illusion of cultural freedom vs. the reality of freedom.


Soren's and Ruger's "Freedom in the 50 States: An Index of Personal and Economic Freedom" can be found here.


Our home state, California? No. 48, natch.

Maryland: a state of firsts so to speak


The following is to read with the appropriate breathlessness:


In an historic vote today, the Maryland State Board of Education provided specific guidance to all public schools to require that each student be environmentally literate before he or she graduates from high school.

The vote cements Maryland as the first state in the country to approve a graduation requirement in environmental literacy, a credit to Governor O'Malley, to board members, and to Dr. Nancy Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools.

"This is a momentous day not only for Maryland but for educators across the country who are watching what Maryland does, and hoping to increase outdoor learning in their states," said Don Baugh, Director of the No Child Left Inside Coalition (NCLI). "Governor O'Malley and Dr. Grasmick deserve our profound gratitude. For years they have put Maryland at the forefront of the environmental education movement."

The state school board vote clarifies for schools that each child must receive a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary environmental education that meets the approval of the State Superintendent of Schools. Regulations given final approval by the board provide critical flexibility and oversight for school systems as they develop effective environmental literacy programs aligned with the Maryland State Environmental Literacy Standards.

... Yada, yada, yada.



Of course, we'd settle for merely literate but in quite possibly related news:

Maryland has earned yet another dubious distinction: The lowest-ranked state for personal freedom in the country.

A recent study, "Freedom in the 50 states," from the market-oriented Mercatus Center at George Mason University faults Maryland's strict gun control laws, extensive automobile regulations, tight gambling laws, burdensome home-schooling laws and high drug arrest rates for our state's low ranking.

Maryland -- nicknamed "The Free State" -- is also ranked 28th in economic freedom and 43rd in overall freedom.

The study faults Maryland for "severe" labor regulation, high health insurance coverage mandates, eminent domain abuse and smoking bans.

And the state has been getting consistently less free since 2007, the study states.


Horrible ideas and bad government would appear to travel in pairs, it would appear.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Your mid-week martini-worthy image of the week



Ol' Blue Eyes taking a break at the Capitol Records Recording Studios.


Let's have a listen, shall we?



Lord, make me chaste but not yet




The Feds' macabre dance of death with Big Tobacco continues:

In a dramatic bid to get more Americans to quit smoking, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday released nine graphic warning labels that will appear on all packs of cigarettes by no later than September 2012.

One image shows a man's face and a lighted cigarette in his hand, with smoke escaping from a hole in his neck -- the result of a tracheotomy. The caption reads "Cigarettes are addictive." Another image shows a mother holding a baby as smoke swirls about them, with the warning: "Tobacco smoke can harm your children."



A third images depicts a distraught woman with the caption: "Warning: Smoking causes fatal lung disease in nonsmokers."

A fourth picture shows a mouth with smoked-stained teeth and an open sore on the lower lip. "Cigarettes cause cancer," the caption reads.

In addition to the images, the label on packs of cigarettes will include a phone number -- 1-800-QUIT-NOW -- so smokers will know where to go for help quitting.

By law, the labels must appear on every pack of cigarettes sold in the United States and on all cartons and in all cigarette advertising. The campaign marks the first major change to cigarette packaging in the last 25 years, the FDA said.

Cigarettes... looks like pretty horrible stuff. Maybe the government should ban it outright. Probably would were it not for the billions and billions of dollars that flow into the government coffers from the tobacco industry via taxation. Seriously... who would want to deny worthy programs like SCHIP and other childrens' programs from the necessary funding that it would take to see after potential future smokers so we can keep this whole thing going?



As Augustine, pleaded: Some day, just not this day.

Quote of the day




From the Congressional report on the ATF's felony stupid gun-smuggling operation, Fast and Furious.


Page 38: [Dodson, speaking about ATF supervisors in Phoenix and their disregard for lives lost due to Fast & Furious]

“[T]here was a prevailing attitude amongst the group and outside of the group in the ATF chain of command… I was having a conversation with Special Agent [L] about the case in which the conversation ended with me asking her are you prepared to go to a border agent’s funeral over this… because that’s going to happen. And the sentiment that was given back to me by both her, the group supervisor, was that…if you are going to make an omelette [sic], you need to scramble some eggs.”

OK. We got the scrambled eggs part. Got it. No worries, there. Letting guns walk across the border and into the hands of Mexican drug cartels definetely qualifies as some egg-scrambling and even egg-breaking stuff. But what about the omlette? Where was the omlette? Or more precisely, in what shape or form was the omlette to be? Because as far as we can tell, the only omlettes that were made came in the form of two dead U.S. federal agents and lord-knows-how-many dead Mexican officers and civilians.


But maybe the ATF had different omlettes in mind.

ATF agents testifying in front of the House Oversight Committee could not explain how the operation was supposed to succeed when their surveillance efforts stopped at the border and interdiction was never an option.
Wait, what?

ATF Agent John Dodson, testifying in front of the committee, said that in his entire law enforcement career, he had “never been involved in or even heard of an operation in which law enforcement officers let guns walk.” He continued: “I cannot begin to think of how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.”

The obvious answer is that Gunwalker’s objective was never intended to be a “legitimate law enforcement interest.” Instead, it appears that ATF Acting Director Ken Melson and Department of Justice senior executives specifically created an operation that was designed from the outset to arm Mexican narco-terrorists and increase violence substantially along both sides of the Southwest border.

Remember a year or two ago, all the bitching and whining we heard from the legacy media and the political class about the unfettered flow of weapons back across the border into Mexico? We sure do.

At the same time in 2009 that federal law enforcement agencies (the ATF, the DOJ, and presumably Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security) were creating the operation that led to the executive branch being the largest gun smuggler in the Southwest, the president’s team was crafting the rhetoric to sell the crisis they were creating.

On television, in various news outlets, and even in a joint appearance with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, Obama pushed the 90 percent lie, implying that 90% of the guns recovered in Mexican cartel violence came from U.S. gun shops
.

This is unbelievable but believe we must as the Justice Department, despite claiming they will conduct their own investigation, is showing zero signs of cooperating with the House committee investigation.

Omelette: a crudely cynical and deadly politically-motivated ploy to foster an anti-gun narrative.

How's that tasting?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Look what else we found once we passed it

The original title of this post was going to be "A glitch or a feature" because the White House, in an earlier version of this story that came out this morning was tripping all over themselves to take credit for the fact that middle-income couples could qualify for Medicaid.

President Barack Obama's health care law would let several million middle-class people get nearly free insurance meant for the poor, a twist government number crunchers say they discovered only after the complex bill was signed.

The change would affect early retirees: A married couple could have an annual income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who make long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

After initially downplaying any concern, the Obama administration said late Tuesday it would look for a fix.

Up to 3 million more people could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That's because, in a major change from today, most of their Social Security benefits would no longer be counted as income for determining eligibility. It might be compared to allowing middle-class people to qualify for food stamps.

Bear in mind, this monstrosity of a law was passed 15 months ago and the no-small-matter of a $450 billion* glitch or anomaly or whatever the Associated Press wants to call it, has only now been discovered.

Medicare chief actuary Richard Foster says the situation keeps him up at night.

"I don't generally comment on the pros or cons of policy, but that just doesn't make sense," Foster said during a question-and-answer session at a recent professional society meeting.

"This is a situation that got no attention at all," added Foster. "And even now, as I raise the issue with various policymakers, people are not rushing to say ... we need to do something about this."
(italics, ours)

Mr. Foster, good sir, welcome to the club where we've known all along it was the how to get this damn thing passed as opposed to what was actually in the bill that received any real attention. Proof of that is legion but a $450 billion glitch is certainly a good jumping off point if you just started scoring at home.

As we said before, initially Team O actually wanted to take credit for this but even they knew it wasn't passing anybody's straight face test.

Administration officials said Tuesday they now see the problem. "We are concerned that, as a matter of law, some middle-income Americans may be receiving coverage through Medicaid, which is meant to serve only the neediest Americans," said Health and Human Services spokesman Richard Sorian. "We are exploring options to address this issue."

Administration officials and senior Democratic lawmakers initially defended the change, saying it wasn't a loophole but the result of a well-meaning effort to simplify the rules for deciding who would get help under the new health care law. Instead of a hodgepodge, there would be one national policy
.


The spin got away from them and we're back at square one: an atrocious law that doesn't deserve fixing, is hopelessly beyond tweeking and rates only being killed dead in its tracks at the first available opportunity.




* The $450 billion figure appeared in an earlier edition of the story. Not sure why the AP chose to drop it in subsequent revisions. It's kind of important because it's a rather largeish figure, don't you think?

Terrific: China's going green on us




Let's talk energy independence, shall we?

So, let's get this straight: electric car batteries which last between 3-8 years, cost $10,000 a copy and are difficult to dispose of because what they contain. Additionally, the lithium needed for the batteries and which the Chinese have most of will run out in less than 40 years.

Well, at least we have a willing trading partner in China for this lithium, right?

Ehhh...


Prices of some rare earth metals have doubled in just three weeks amid heavy stockpiling in China that has raised fears over global supplies.

China produces more than 90 per cent of the world’s rare earths, 17 elements used in hybrid cars, fluorescent lights and many high-tech applications.

A recent crackdown by Beijing on rare earth mines and restrictions on exports have caused chaos in some of these markets.

Japan and the US, the world’s biggest importers of rare earths, have repeatedly voiced concerns to China, while complaints from industrial users of rare earths have been growing. Last year, China cut their exports by 40 per cent and temporarily banned exports to Japan during a political dispute.

Rare earth prices have already been rising sharply this year, but the recent sharp price increase has puzzled Chinese analysts, who blamed it largely on hoarding by companies who expect prices to rise further.

Chinese officials said environmental concerns were the main driver behind a restructuring on the industry, which will close illegal mines and reduce output and ultimately put such state-owned miners as Minmetals, Chinalco and Baotou at the helm of the rare earth sector.


Isn't that rich? Green technology imperiled because of environmental concerns. Don't believe for a moment, however, that the Chi-comms have embraced any sort of come-to-Gaia moment, rather they have come to the conclusion that with ours and Europe's ill-considered, head-long plunge into electric cars, choo-choo trains, solar panels and wind turbines, they can set themselves up rather nicely as a one-nation rare earth cartel because lord knows, we aren't going to mine for any rare earths here.

And you thought that having to deal with OPEC was a bitch.

The more time passes and the more transpires with respect to its unfolding, the more underwhelmed we become with green/electric technology.

Wait, what?




Where we take a look at the absurd, the incredulous and certainly the unexpected.


The miserable hack that runs the Justice Department was speaking before an enthusiastic lot of like-minded people and was opining on the subject of countering terrorism.


Holder’s declaration came in a Thursday speech to hundreds of progressive lawyers, advocates, judges and students gathered at the American Constitution Society’s annual gala. “I know that – in distant countries, and within our own borders – there are people intent on, and actively plotting to, kill Americans,” he told his legal peers in the enthusiastic audience. “Victory and security will not come easily, and they won’t come at all if we adhere to a rigid ideology, adopt a narrow methodology, or abandon our most effective terror-fighting weapon – our Article III [civil] court system,” he declared to much applause.
(italics, ours)

Wait, what?...... Our court system?


This ought to clear up any lingering doubts you may have that these people operate on a different reality plane than the rest of us and should remove any doubt regarding Holder's fitness to serve in the capacity of Attorney General but we've known that for quite some time, now, haven't we?

Funny thing is, though, what Holder says is rather at odds with the behavior of his boss (setting aside whatever verbal drivel that's similar to Holder's) who acts as if drone and air strikes are the best way to deal with terrorists.

Glad the roles aren't reversed.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Clarence Clemons 1942 - 2011




Man-myth and heart and soul of the E Street Band, saxophonist Clarence Clemons passed away this past weekend.




He was the spirit of the E Street Band, and the oaken staff that Bruce Springsteen leaned on.
Clarence Clemons — the Big Man with the big horn — died yesterday of complications from a stroke he suffered last weekend. He was 69.

“Clarence lived a wonderful life,” Bruce Springsteen said in a statement last night. “He carried within him a love of people that made them love him. He created a wondrous and extended family. He loved the saxophone, loved our fans and gave everything he had every night he stepped on stage.”




When the change was made uptown

And the big man joined the band







One night we were playing in Asbury Park. I'd heard The Bruce Springsteen Band was nearby at a club called The Student Prince and on a break between sets I walked over there. On-stage, Bruce used to tell different versions of this story but I'm a Baptist, remember, so this is the truth. A rainy, windy night it was, and when I opened the door the whole thing flew off its hinges and blew away down the street. The band were on-stage, but staring at me framed in the doorway. And maybe that did make Bruce a little nervous because I just said, "I want to play with your band," and he said, "Sure, you do anything you want." The first song we did was an early version of "Spirit In The Night". Bruce and I looked at each other and didn't say anything, we just knew. We knew we were the missing links in each other's lives. He was what I'd been searching for. In one way he was just a scrawny little kid. But he was a visionary. He wanted to follow his dream. So from then on I was part of history.








R.I.P., Clarence

The sadly obligatory NBC omits "under God" from the Pledge post

Here's the full advert that was run during the U.S. Open yesterday.




And here's NBC's explanation for what happened:


NBC issued an on-air apology Sunday for omitting the words "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance during its coverage of golf's U.S. Open.

The words were edited out of a clip of children reciting the oath -- a move immediately noted by viewers, who took to Twitter and various blogs to voice their anger, the Huffington Post reported.

In a statement during the broadcast, NBC commentator Dan Hicks said, "We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago and when we did it was our intent to begin the coverage of this U.S. Open Championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being held in our nation's capital for the third time.

"Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we'd like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it."

Ah yes, the old "we're sorry if our 'editing' cheezed off anyone" defense.


How out of touch are these people that they thought this would be a good idea? For a modest fee, we would sit in on production meetings and earn more than our keep by warning off the suits from idiotic ideas like this.

The (il)logic that was employed seems to be along the lines of not wanting to offend the sensibilities of a few cranks in exchange for offending the sensibilities of a far, far greater number of people plus insulting the intelligence of everybody by thinking we all wouldn't notice and we wouldn't care. That's apparently what passed for a reasonable approach on how to handle that politically-explosive and divisive hot potato, The Pledge of Allegiance.

Memo to the brain surgeons at NBC: Next time you are considering how to finesse your way around what you believe to be culturally and politically-sensitive matters like, you know, the Pledge of Allegiance, either recite the thing in its entirety, or don't recite it at all.

Your Libyan kinesiology update

With Weiner-gate and the Sarah Palin email hog root both winding-down, perhaps it's time for the legacy media to turn it's focus on what's been happening with respect to our overseas adventure in Libya. Some interesting things transpired over the weekend.

From the NY Times:

President Obama rejected the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department when he decided that he had the legal authority to continue American military participation in the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization, according to officials familiar with internal administration deliberations.

Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military’s activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to “hostilities.” Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.

But Mr. Obama decided instead to adopt the legal analysis of several other senior members of his legal team — including the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh — who argued that the United States military’s activities fell short of “hostilities.” Under that view, Mr. Obama needed no permission from Congress to continue the mission unchanged.

Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch.
(italics, ours)


Here's Glenn Greenwald on ol' you know who:

Bush decided to reject the legal conclusions of his top lawyers and ordered the NSA eavesdropping program to continue anyway, even though he had been told it was illegal (like Obama now, Bush pointed to the fact that his own White House counsel (Gonzales), along with Dick Cheney's top lawyer, David Addington, agreed the NSA program was legal). In response, Ashcroft, Comey, Goldsmith, and FBI Director Robert Mueller all threatened to resign en masse if Bush continued with this illegal spying, and Bush -- wanting to avoid that kind of scandal in an election year -- agreed to "re-fashion" the program into something those DOJ lawyers could approve (the "re-fashioned" program was the still-illegal NSA program revealed in 2005 by The New York Times; to date, we still do not know what Bush was doing before that that was so illegal as to prompt resignation threats from these right-wing lawyers).


That George Bush would knowingly order an eavesdropping program to continue which his own top lawyers were telling him was illegal was, of course, a major controversy, at least in many progressive circles. Now we have Barack Obama not merely eavesdropping in a way that his own top lawyers are telling him is illegal, but waging war in that manner (though, notably, there is no indication that these Obama lawyers have the situational integrity those Bush lawyers had [and which Archibald Cox, Eliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus had before them] by threatening to resign if the lawlessness continues).



And betcha didn't know there's a new international award out there that will make its debut this year, though you just might know who is the front-runner to receive this award.

As the July 2011 deadline for Afghan troop withdrawal nears, President Barack Obama is gearing up for another significant milestone, the Nobel War Prize awards ceremony, which will be held in Oslo next month.

Among Obama’s list of war accomplishments, the committee highlighted Obama’s decision to double the number of troops and expand the number of private contractors in Afghanistan, as well as his dramatic escalation of drone strikes and targeted assassinations in Yemen and Pakistan. According to one committee member, “Two years ago, we worried that President Obama would rollback Bush administration policies and pursue a peace agenda, but in fact he’s expanded the militaristic Bush approach to counterterrorism. He’s managed to get the U.S. involved in three wars in the Middle East, keep Guantanamo open, and dramatically expand the use of covert CIA capture/kill operations across the globe. We could not think of a more worthy candidate for this award.”

The article doesn't mention it but we believe it would be a glaring ommission if the resume' didn't also include the President's war on jobs here stateside.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quickies




A look back at some news items, columns, blog posts and articles that caught our eye this past week or so.





Another U.S. education system success story:

Fewer than a quarter of American 12th-graders knew China was North Korea's ally during the Korean War, and only 35% of fourth-graders knew the purpose of the Declaration of Independence, according to national history-test scores released Tuesday.

The results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress revealed that U.S. schoolchildren have made little progress since 2006 in their understanding of key historical themes, including the basic principles of democracy and America's role in the world.

Article questions whether No Child Left Behind's math and science testing requirements come at the expense of history, art and other subjects. One would think that spending 5-6 hours of classroom time a day for 9 months a year might yield a degree of proficiency in all the aforementioned subjects. Guess we're mistaken.





Another Obamanomics success story:

American Electric Power on Thursday announced it plans to shut down several coal-fired power plants, convert or retrofit others, and cut as many as 600 jobs in the next few years to comply with regulations proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Based on the proposed regulations, AEP will have to retire nearly 6,000 megawatts of coalfueled power generation; upgrade or install new advanced emissions reduction equipment on another 10,100 megawatts; refuel 1,070 megawatts of coal generation as 932 megawatts of natural gas capacity; and build 1,220 megawatts of natural gas-fueled generation.

The cost of AEP’s compliance plan could range from $6 billion to $8 billion in capital investment through the end of the decade. The company said high demand for labor and materials due to a constrained compliance time frame could drive actual costs higher than these estimates.
But let's give the President some credit for carrying through on at least one specific campaign promise: When he said he was going to ruin the coal industry, he meant it.




Rich Lowry on Misplaced Bailout Pride

Ultimately, the moral stature of capitalism depends on a structure of rules that applies to firms large and small, politically connected and not. By this standard, the auto bailouts fail miserably, and so perfectly distill Obamanomics.

In the article, Lowry uses the term "corporatism" which was bandied about quite a bit by Bush's critics to describe his alleged cozy relationship with Big Oil. Funny, we don't hear that term which we equate with crony capitalism and economic fascism too much anymore so it stands to reason that is just isn't happening, right?





Wall St. Journal on Pursuing Palin:

But the buildup to their release was treated like the prelude to the release of the Pentagon Papers. David Corn of Mother Jones salivated at the prospect of what might be in the 24,199 pages being released. "I have a reporter in Juneau who will grab our set of documents and scan the docs for us in the DC bureau," he wrote. "I and the eight reporters in my bureau will then pore over these pages. Mother Jones, msnbc.com, and ProPublica will be putting up a searchable online database—very quickly —which will allow everybody (other reporters, readers, and GOP opposition researchers) to join in."

Other media outlets joined in. Ryan Kellett of the Washington Post asked the paper's readers to help out. "Join The Post in digging through them," he wrote. "We are looking for 100 organized and diligent readers who will work alongside Post reporters to analyze, contextualize, and research the e-mails. Think of it as spending some time in our newsroom.

"Our hope is that working together, we can efficiently find interesting information and extract new stories that will lead to further investigation. We don't know what we'll find, but we want you to be ready and open for the challenge."
Simply put, the language above is that of raw, visceral, irrational hatred and madness. Good to know that the 4th estate is all over this rather than boring ol' stuff like the deplorable state of the economy and our illegal war in Libya.






Oh, Goody: L.A.'s limousine liberals get to see photos of Che' at the Getty museum.


But the photo of the revolutionary leader that best encapsulates the show's themes and conveys the tensions of the country in its crosshairs isn't a picture of Che exactly. It's Virginia Beahan's 2004 image of a shoe store in the central Cuban city of Camag├╝ey. A portrait of Guevara dominates the shop's window display, but there isn't a single pair of zapatos in sight.

Viewers are invited to contemplate whether the United States' ferociously effective, decades-long economic embargo, the Cuban government's misbegotten socialist policies, or some combination is to blame for turning the store, and countless others like it into a ghostly shell. Similar questions and Cuba's many contradictions — physical beauty and stark impoverishment, political ideals and Cold War debacles, tragic failure and boundless potential — arise repeatedly in the exhibition, whose works span the early 1930s to the present.
(italics, ours)

Let's credit the Times, here. "Misbegotten socialist policies" is about as strong a criticism of Cuba's economics as we have read in a straight news story. We'll take these small victories when and where we can get them.




And speaking of L.A., good news for all the hipsters living there: Pabst is relocating their headquarters.


This summer, the hipster beer mothership, Pabst Brewing Co., will move operations of her silver cans from Woodridge, IL, a Chicago suburb, to the bosom of Southern California. The decision to relocate headquarters to Los Angeles comes following the company's purchase last year by billionaire investor C. Dean Metropoulos for for about $250 million. There was no immediate word on speculation that tax incentives may have prompted the move, or how many local jobs might be created.
Silver Lake and Los Feliz rejoice!








Via Michelle Malkin: Unbiased Headline of the Day.



Because demanding a degree of fiscal discipline is like so extreme or something.






It's still OK to hate on LeBron James and after his performance in the presser on Sunday night after the Miami Heat got their asses kicked in Game 6 at home by the Dallas Mavericks, there may be something wrong with you if you don't.

If you missed last night's schaudenfreudegasm with LeBron and the Heat getting lane-raped by J.J. Barea for 48 minutes, oh how you missed out. There hasn't been a more gratifying moment for sports haters since the Saints beat Favre and Manning back-to-back in the NFC title game and Super Bowl. It was glorious, delirious, WONDERFUL moment in hating. And the best part is that, come next year, we get to do it all over again!

Drew Magary of Deadspin has more on the matter, here. (Language warning)

Quickly. What's LeBron's signature go-to move? And putting his head down and making like a freight train while going to the rim doesn't count. Here he is, 8 years into his career and we cannot detect any discernable aspect of his offensive game that has improved appreciably since he entered the league. The jump shot has improved to a degree but it disappears mysteriously for long stretches.

The greats: Magic, Bird, Jordan, Kobe and now Dwayne Wade and Dirk spent countless hours in the gym during the off-season improving aspects of their game that needed it. We don't see the same level of fanaticism from LeBron as we have with the aforementinoned. We suppose that when you are a freak of nature, the Wilt Chamberlain of your era possessed of physical gifts that are unrivaled by every single player in the league, that level of urgency is perhaps not quite where it needs to be.





B-Daddy on the Republican/Democrat duopoly, the tea party and craft/micro brewers and the relationship between the three, here.





Change

Eventually I look out the front window and see one of the guys running around in the front yard screaming and acting like some kind of neanderthal. I cannot believe how this game transforms these young men into raging bulls. The guy that is really good, (because he plays every chance he gets between finals) is resented, even though loved like a brother at any other time.
Tiger Lily on the phenomena that is Super Smash Brothers, here.



That's a wrap. Hope everyone is enjoying Father's Day. We'll be back tomorrow morning.