Thursday, April 30, 2009

Specter Defection Will Haunt Dems On Souter Replacement


Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion: Specter Defection Will Haunt Dems On Souter Replacement
But ironically, Specter's defection may give Republicans the ability to filibuster judicial nominees at the Judiciary Committee level, so the nominees never get out of committee.

Huh, you say. Here's the explanation, from Professor Michael Dorf of Cornell Law School at his excellent blog, Dorf on Law, written two days ago before Souter's retirement was in play:

"Does Arlen Specter's defection from R to D strengthen the President's hand in Congress? Perhaps overall but not on judicial appointments because breaking (the equivalent of) a filibuster in the Senate Judiciary Committee requires the consent of at least one member of the minority. Before today, Specter was likely to be that one Republican. Now what?"

Hate Crimes Bill

I'm sure there's no agenda going on here.

Hate Crimes Bill Protects Cross-Dressers and Pedophiles but Not Veterans or Grandmas
On Wednesday, April 29, the U.S. House is scheduled to vote on so-called "hate crimes" legislation, which would give "actual or perceived" "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" the same federal protection as race. Last week the House Judiciary Committee refused to exclude pedophiles from the bill's protection. The Committee also refused to include veterans. Moreover, the bill does not include the elderly.

Pew poll: Support for torture highest among most devoutly religious

An interesting poll that will I suspect will get a lot of attention:

Hot Air » Blog Archive » Pew poll: Support for torture highest among most devoutly religious
Wonders Rod Dreher, “What on earth are these Christians hearing at church?!” No doubt Hitch would snicker and mumble something sardonic about the Inquisition, but I think the results probably indicate political correlation more so than religious influence. Evangelicals are more likely to be conservative and conservatives are more likely to support coercive interrogation, ergo evangelicals are more likely to support coercive interrogation; atheists are more likely to be liberal and therefore less likely to support it. In other words, the more interesting question may be not whether the Bible’s driving Christians to torture but why Christians are ignoring the Bible when thinking politically about this issue.

Gettelfinger Motors

Nationalized car manufacturers.  For those who know anything about British cars think British Leyland... yep, they were junk.

Gettelfinger Motors -
President Obama insisted at his press conference last night that he doesn't want to nationalize the auto industry (or the banks, or the mortgage market, or . . .). But if that's true, why has he proposed a restructuring plan for General Motors that leaves the government with a majority stake in the car maker?

The feds have decided they should own a neat 50% of GM, yet that is not the natural outcome of the $16.2 billion that the Treasury has so far lent to the company. Nor is the 40% ownership of GM that the plan awards to the United Auto Workers a natural result of the company's obligations to the union.

Yet Secretary Timothy Geithner and his auto task force, led by Steven Rattner, have somehow decided that Treasury and UAW chief Ron Gettelfinger will get to own a combined 90% of GM. If there's a reason other than the political symbiosis among the Obama Administration, Michigan Democrats and the auto union, it's hard to discern. From now on let's call it Gettelfinger Motors, or perhaps simply the Obama Motor Company, though in the latter they'd have to change the nameplates.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Presidential News Conference

Just a couple of thoughts:

1. When he is off his notes his speech becomes very disjointed.
2. Long answers. A trick in communication is to have a long meandering answer so that you forget the original question.
3. It is very difficult to follow his line of reasoning. It is circular as opposed to linear.
4. False analogy concerning Churchill and torture. The Brits are tough, ask the Irish. Also the POW's that were captured would not have known anything strategically. They were also legitimate enemy combatants.

Over all interesting. The reporters never dealt with serious questions on the economy. In other words they were easy.

Grade: C-

Monday, April 27, 2009

Reid says Obama told him, 'I have a gift'

The humble side of Obama:

Reid says Obama told him, 'I have a gift'
Everyone knows President Barack Obama can deliver a great speech, including the president himself, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The paperback version of Reid's book, "The Good Fight," is coming out May 5 with an epilogue called "The Obama Era." Reid said he was impressed when Obama, then a freshman senator from Illinois, delivered a speech about President George W. Bush's war policy.

Reid, D-Nev., writes: "'That speech was phenomenal, Barack,' I told him. And I will never forget his response. Without the barest hint of braggadocio or conceit, and with what I would describe as deep humility, he said quietly: 'I have a gift, Harry.'"

Hubble's greatest hits: Hubble space telescope images

Hubble's greatest hits: Hubble space telescope images - Telegraph
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched in April 1990. After the problems with its main mirror were fixed, it started sending beautifully detailed images of space back to earth. Here are some of the best

Staring across interstellar space, the Cat's Eye Nebula lies three thousand light-years from Earth. One of the most famous planetary nebulae, NGC 6543 is over half a light-year across and represents a final, brief yet glorious phase in the life of a sun-like star

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hashima Island, Japan

Fascinating look at what happens to civilization after just 35 years, Hashima island.

How Morgan Cars Are Made: by Hand, Out of Wood

The wonderful unchanging Morgan:

Dark Roasted Blend: How Morgan Cars Are Made: by Hand, Out of Wood
How Morgan Cars Are Made: by Hand, Out of Wood

Historic World War II Aircraft Pulled From Lake

This is cool:

Historic World War II Aircraft Pulled From Lake
A vintage World War II aircraft was pulled from the depths of Lake Michigan Friday morning, some 65 years after it sunk during a training exercise.

The Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber was lifted onto a pier at Larsen Marine in Waukegan. It was rusty and covered in zebra mussels, but it will be restored for future viewing.

"I'd say it (was pushed) over the left side of the carrier," said Grant C. Young of Lanark, Ill., who flew bombers just like it out of Glenview Naval Air Station in December 1943.

"You see how the one propeller is bent backward. That tells me the engine was at idle -- if it was at full speed when it hit the water, they'd be bent forward."


Interesting: » Who Will Be Tech’s Next Winners and Losers
Let’s take a moment and try to imagine the U.S. economy when this recession is over.
Needless to say, that’s a big “when”, especially when Washington seems to doing its best to attenuate this economic downturn as long as possible.

But let’s suppose that there is a sudden outbreak of sanity among our political leaders: they stop driving the nation’s CEOs in defensive postures, they abandon their attempts to destroy entrepreneurship and venture capital, and basically, they stop threatening onerous new taxes and regulations – basically, they just get out of the way – and let the economy finish healing itself.

What happens next? Who will be the big winners, especially in high tech, in the next boom? Here are my guesses:

Students Fall Ill in New York, and Swine Flu Is Likely Cause

This is a cause for concern.  I'm not going to get too worked up about it yet but we do need to be vigilant. 

Students in New York Fall Ill, and Swine Flu Is Suspected -
Tests show that eight students at a Queens high school are likely to have contracted the human swine flu virus that has struck Mexico and a small number of other people in the United States, health officials in New York City said yesterday.

The students were among about 100 at St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows who became sick in the last few days, said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City’s health commissioner.

“All the cases were mild, no child was hospitalized, no child was seriously ill,” Dr. Frieden said.

Health officials reached their preliminary conclusion after conducting viral tests on nose or throat swabs from the eight students, which allowed them to eliminate other strains of flu. Officials were also suspicious since some St. Francis students recently had been to Mexico, where the outbreak is believed to have started.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Debt Day!

This could be depressing but I'm not going to allow it to be:

Power Line - Happy Debt Day!
Sunday is "Debt Day": As of Sunday, the federal government has spent all the money it will raise in taxes for the current fiscal year. From now until the end of the fiscal year in the fall, the government will be spending money that it will borrow from the Chinese and others, which will be repaid by our children and grandchildren. With interest. This is the earliest Debt Day in modern history, if not ever. From 2002 until now, it has fallen between July and September.

Barack Obama and the CIA:

Ouch, now the English press is turning on Obama:

Barack Obama and the CIA: why does President Pantywaist hate America so badly? :: Gerald Warner
If al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the rest of the Looney Tunes brigade want to kick America to death, they had better move in quickly and grab a piece of the action before Barack Obama finishes the job himself. Never in the history of the United States has a president worked so actively against the interests of his own people - not even Jimmy Carter.

Obama's problem is that he does not know who the enemy is. To him, the enemy does not squat in caves in Waziristan, clutching automatic weapons and reciting the more militant verses from the Koran: instead, it sits around at tea parties in Kentucky quoting from the US Constitution. Obama is not at war with terrorists, but with his Republican fellow citizens. He has never abandoned the campaign trail.

That is why he opened Pandora's Box by publishing the Justice Department's legal opinions on waterboarding and other hardline interrogation techniques. He cynically subordinated the national interest to his partisan desire to embarrass the Republicans. Then he had to rush to Langley, Virginia to try to reassure a demoralised CIA that had just discovered the President of the United States was an even more formidable foe than al-Qaeda.

"Don't be discouraged by what's happened the last few weeks," he told intelligence officers. Is he kidding? Thanks to him, al-Qaeda knows the private interrogation techniques available to the US intelligence agencies and can train its operatives to withstand them - or would do so, if they had not already been outlawed.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tapping your cell phone

Pretty scary.  HT Glenn:

Tapping your cell phone - WTHR | Indianapolis
Imagine someone watching your every move, hearing everything you say and knowing where you are at every moment. If you have a cell phone, it could happen to you. 13 Investigates explains how your cell phone can be secretly hijacked and used against you - and how to protect yourself.

3D Parts Copier

This is really amazing. HT Glenn:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ivy Leaguer `infiltrates' Falwell's university

Not surprising even though it is on the right side of conservative Christianity:

Ivy Leaguer `infiltrates' Falwell's university
Kevin Roose managed to blend in during his single semester at Liberty University, attending lectures on the myth of evolution and the sin of homosexuality, and joining fellow students on a mission trip to evangelize partyers on spring break.

...he found that "not only are they not that, but they're rigorously normal."

Yielding to Ideology Over Science


Yielding to Ideology Over Science : Why don't environmentalists celebrate modern farming on Earth Day? - Reason Magazine
One might think that environmentalists would celebrate the accomplishments of modern farming on Earth Day. After all, the biggest way humanity disturbs the natural world is in how we produce food. Agriculture uses up more land and water than any other human activity. To the extent that we want to preserve biodiversity and protect natural areas, boosting agricultural productivity is the most vital thing that we can do.

Since 1960 global crop yields have more than doubled, with the benefit that the area of land devoted to producing food has not increased very much. If farmers were still producing food at 1960 levels of productivity, agriculture would have had to expand from 38 percent of the earth's land to 82 percent to feed the world's current population. This enormous increase in yields is the result of applying more artificial fertilizers, breeding higher yielding crops, a wider use of pesticides and herbicides, and expanding irrigation. More recently, advances in modern biotechnology have also contributed to boosting yields. However, last week, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released a new report, Failure to Yield: Evaluating the Performance of Genetically Engineered Crops, by its senior scientist Doug Gurian-Sherman that tries to make the case that modern crop biotechnology should be largely abandoned because it has failed to increase agricultural yields.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bogus waiter tricks customers at 2 NJ restaurants

Rotten but clever:

Bogus waiter tricks customers at 2 NJ restaurants
Police say a man posing as a waiter collected $186 in cash from diners at two restaurants in New Jersey and walked out with the money in his pocket.

Diners described the bogus waiter as a spikey-haired 20-something wearing a dark blue or black button-down shirt, yellow tie and khaki pants.

Police say he approached two women dining at Hobson's Choice in Hoboken, N.J. around 7:20 p.m. on Thursday. He asked if they needed anything else before paying. They said no and handed him $90 in cash.

About two hours later he approached three women dining at Margherita's Pizza and Cafe. He asked if they were ready to pay, took $96 and never returned with their change.

Campus Leftists Don't Believe in Free Speech

For some free speech only extends to those they agree with:

Campus Leftists Don't Believe in Free Speech -
I arrived in Austin, Texas, one evening recently to give a speech about academic freedom at the university there. Entering the hall where I was to give my speech, I was greeted -- if that's the word -- by a raucous protest organized by a professor and self-styled Bolshevik, Dana Cloud. Forty protesters hoisted placards high in the air and robotically chanted "Down With Horowitz," "Racist Go Home," and "No More Witch-hunts."

Fortunately, a spokesperson for the administration was present to threaten the disrupters with arrest if they continued on this course. (The threat was administered very carefully, with three formal warnings before any action could be taken.) This quieted the crowd enough that I could begin my talk, which proceeded without further serious incident.

Even so, there were occasional heckles and demonstrative cheers from the group when I mentioned the name of Sami Al-Arian ( whose organization, Palestine Islamic Jihad, is responsible for the deaths of more than 100 innocent victims in the Middle East), Black Panther Huey Newton (convicted of killing an Oakland police officer in 1967, although he was eventually released on a technicality), or when I uttered the word "communist" -- even though I did so to remind the audience that communists killed 120 million people in the last century trying to implement Marx's ideas.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The water cooler is spreading a virus

The time of old media controlling the what the direction of news is over: » The water cooler is spreading a virus
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, two events have leapt into America’s consciousness this week. The first was the Tea Party protests involving hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans in hundreds of cities all around the country.

The second was the sudden and stunning success of previously unknown church choir singer, Susan Boyle, who wowed judges and the audience in an audition for Britain’s Got Talent, the Anglican version of American Idol. Since Saturday night when her first song was broadcast to a British audience, Ms. Boyle’s televised appearance has been viewed by no less than 40 million people, a population eight times that of her native Scotland. In just the last 24 hours she has been mentioned, complete with a color picture, on the front page of the Washington Post, was interviewed live on the CBS Early Show, and has been booked for an appearance on Oprah.

What these two seemingly unrelated events have in common is the internet.

CNN Versus the Tea Parties

And Fox had some of its highest ratings ever, hmm.

CNN Versus the Tea Parties
When thousands of people in all 50 states assemble to protest government policy, you might suppose that this is news. Not according to the coverage on the front pages of the Washington Post, New York Times, or the Wall Street Journal. The "tea party" rallies went unmentioned. In Washington, D.C., despite temperatures in the 40s and a driving rainstorm, about a thousand demonstrators assembled across from the White House. The front page of the Times found space for a big story with accompanying pictures of competing public demonstrations in Kabul, Afghanistan, but not a word about the American protestors.

Perhaps this snub was intentional. Fox News (becoming a participant itself and not a recorder of events) had been beating the drums for these rallies for days, and some pressies clearly regarded them as therefore necessarily illegitimate. One reporter, Susan Roesgen, who "covered" the Chicago tea party for CNN, was downright confrontational with attendees she interviewed, challenging a protestor who referenced Abraham Lincoln with "What does this have to do with taxes?" The man attempted to explain. But the reporter interrupted him. "Did you know that you are eligible for a $400 rebate? Did you know that your state, the state of Lincoln, gets $50 billion out of the stimulus? That's $50 billion for your state." She then tossed back to the anchor noting that "This is really not family viewing."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Taxes Plummet

If we think the deficit is bad now, with these tax receipts it will be out of control:

Pajamas Media » Tax Receipts Plummet as Americans ‘Go Galt’
March is supposed to be a big month for tax receipts from regular corporations whose years end in December. In March 2008 (go to Table 3 on page 2 at the link), $32.6 billion poured in. This year? I’m not kidding: $3.4 billion. For the fiscal year thus far, corporate income tax collections are down almost 57%.

Through March 31 of last year, according to the Daily Treasury Statement, “individual income and employment taxes not withheld,” which are largely payments made by the self-employed, partners, and those in S corporations whose income flows through to individual tax returns, are down about 13%, or almost $15 billion, from a year ago. These not-withheld taxes are what drove last April’s all-time collections record, which is definitely not going to repeat itself.

Live Tea Party Coverage For Tax Day - April 15

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sales-Tax Revenue Falls at Fastest Pace in Years

Via Drudge.  This will cause problems for a lot of people:

Sales-Tax Revenue Falls at Fastest Pace in Years -
State and local sales-tax revenue fell more sharply in the fourth quarter of 2008 than at any time in the past half century, and has continued to erode through the beginning of 2009, according to a report released Tuesday.

The report by the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York underscores how swiftly the consumer slowdown has eaten into municipal budgets. The drop in tax revenue has forced cities and towns of all sizes to cut everything from police to summer pool hours, and has sent legislatures scrambling for federal economic-stimulus funds to help ease budget gaps.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Susan Boyle on Britain Got Talent

Just listen...

War By Any Other Name


Joe Queenan Says Obama's New War Terminology Has Started a Trend -
The Obama administration has come under intense criticism for replacing the term "war on terror" with the emaciated euphemism "overseas contingency operations," and for referring to individual acts of terror as "man-caused disasters."

This semi-official attempt to disassociate the administration from the fierce rhetoric favored by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney has enraged Americans on both the right and left. Many feel that such vaporous bureaucratese is a self-emasculating action that plunges us into an Orwellian world where words have no emotional connection with the horrors they purport to describe.

Yet, if the intention of the Obama administration is to tone down the confrontational rhetoric being used by our enemies, the effort is already reaping results. This week, in a pronounced shift from its usual theatrical style, the Taliban announced that it will no longer refer to its favorite method of murder as "beheadings," but will henceforth employ the expression "cephalic attrition." "Flayings" -- a barbarously exotic style of execution that has been popular in this part of the world since before the time of Alexander -- will now be described as "unsolicited epidermal reconfigurations." In a similar vein, lopping off captives' arms will now be referred to as "appendage furloughing," while public floggings of teenaged girls will from here on out be spoken of as "metajudicial interfacing."

A Taliban spokesman reached in Pakistan said that the new phrasing was being implemented as a way of eliminating the negative associations triggered by more graphic terminology. "The term 'beheading' has a quasi-medieval undertone that we're trying to get away from," he explained. "The term 'cephalic attrition' brings the Taliban into the 21st century. It's not that we disapprove of beheadings; it's just that the word no longer meshes with the zeitgeist of the era. This is the same reason we have replaced the term 'jihad' with 'booka-bonga-bippo,' which has a more zesty, urban, youthful, 'now' feel. When you're recruiting teenagers to your movement, you don't want them to feel that going on jihad won't leave any time for youthful hijinks."

Activists with the power to ruin lives

Wow, and it seems to be getting worse.  If you have a single issue agenda you can ruin other people's lives.  Now that's power:

Classical Values :: Activists with the power to ruin lives
From a report that Glenn Reynolds linked earlier, I read that Joe Biden bought a pedigreed German Shepherd puppy from a breeder. Not much of a story there, but what happened later illustrates something I consider a very serious (and possibly unsolvable) problem.

Because of an unstoppable movement of single-issue activist fanatics, the breeder has faced huge legal problems:

EAST COVENTRY -- It was a proud moment for Linda Brown when then-Vice President-elect Joe Biden selected her kennel to purchase his new German shepherd puppy.

That was in mid-December.

For Brown, that proud moment was short-lived.

After the story about the puppy sale ran in the newspapers and on TV newscasts, three dog wardens from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture showed up on Brown's doorstep for a kennel inspection.

And they showed up again and again for four visits over four months.

She said she has also received death threats from animal activists against her and Biden, which were reported to the Secret Service and the FBI.

This is all too typical, and you don't have to be Joe Biden to attract the ire of these activists. As liberal feminist blogger Jessica Valenti found out when she dared commit the politically incorrect crime of buying a pure bred dog.

What ordinary people tend to forget is that animal rights activists have increasingly been put in charge of animal law enforcement.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tea Parties for April 15

View 2009 Tea Parties in a larger map

Calorie-Burning Fat? Studies Say You Have It

Bring on the brown fat!

Brown Fat Identified as Heat-Yielding Cells in Humans -
For more than 30 years, scientists have been intrigued by brown fat, a cell that acts like a furnace, consuming calories and generating heat. Rodents, unable to shiver effectively to keep warm, use brown fat instead. So do human infants, who do not shiver very well. But it was generally believed that humans lose brown fat after infancy, no longer needing it once the shivering response kicks in.

That belief, three groups of researchers report, is wrong.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Video: Liberal “Tea Party” in DC is Epic Fail”

Click through and see the video:

Video: Liberal “Tea Party” in DC is Epic Fail; Blogger Claims Real Tea Parties “Financed by Fox News” « Frank Strategies: The Blog
Also of note was a claim by liberal blogger Jane Hamsher that the real Tea Parties are “financed by Fox News” and that the movement is “just a bunch of people on the conservative end who are pissed off that they’re not the ones stealing right now.” Whatever that means. Of course, when I asked her about her comments afterward, she refused to answer and walked away.

Friday, April 10, 2009

2 Students Sue California College District for Threatening to Suspend Them for Praying

This should be interesting:

2 Students Sue California College District
Two California students can sue their community college district after their school threatened to suspend them for praying on campus, a federal judge ruled.

Kandy Kyriacou and Ojoma Omaga said the College of Alameda accused them of "disruptive behavior" after they had prayed with an ailing teacher in a faculty office in December of 2007, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The students said the school issued suspension notices to them.

Et Tu, Olbermann?


DISSENTING JUSTICE: Et Tu, Olbermann? Some Liberals Finally Realize That for Certain Issues, "Change" Actually Means "More of the Same"
Ever since President Obama became the frontrunner in the Democratic primaries, many liberals have gleefully discarded the useful concepts of dissent, critical thinking, and a sanely guarded view of politicians. Rather than approaching politics with critical distance, many liberals became so emotionally charged over the prospects of winning the White House, expanding the party's lead in Congress, and electing an amorphously left-identified black man that they refused to listen to others who questioned whether any politician could deliver the grand promises of "change" that Obama and his supporters made during his campaign.

After President Obama took office, it became abundantly clear that he would continue engaging in some policies that liberals derided during the Bush administration. A few progressives criticized the continuation of these policies, the inherent contradiction between Obama's promises and his embrace of these policies, and the hypocrisy of liberals who failed to condemn Obama, even though they skewered Bush for the exact same conduct. These arguments, however, led to a concerted "pushback" from many liberal protectors of the administration.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Gun control...not very popular

Before Recent Shootings, Gun-Control Support Was Fading
In Gallup polling conducted prior to last week's gun massacre at an immigrant center in Binghamton, N.Y., only 29% of Americans said the possession of handguns by private citizens should be banned in the United States. While similar to the 30% recorded in 2007, the latest reading is the smallest percentage favoring a handgun ban since Gallup first polled on this nearly 50 years ago.

The Most Polarizing President


Michael Gerson - Barack Obama, the Polarizing President -
Who has been the most polarizing new president of recent times? Richard Nixon? Ronald Reagan? George W. Bush?

No, that honor belongs to Barack Obama. According to the Pew Research Center, the gap between Republican and Democratic approval ratings for Bush a few months into his first term was about 51 percentage points. For Obama, this partisan gap stands at 61 points. Obama has been a unifier, of sorts. He has united Democrats and united Republicans -- against each other.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Is Obama Bringing Enron to Washington?

Read the whole thing:

Power Line - Is Obama Bringing Enron to Washington?
So according to the FT, it appears that the banks selling assets will also be able to bid on each other's assets.

US banks that have received government aid, including Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase, are considering buying toxic assets to be sold by rivals under the Treasury's $1,000bn (£680bn) plan to revive the financial system.

The plans proved controversial, with critics charging that the government's public-private partnership - which provide generous loans to investors - are intended to help banks sell, rather than acquire, troubled securities and loans.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Letting the inflation genie out of the bottle


Calling on the Animal Spirits of Inflation: Forcing the Inflation Genie out of the Economic Bottle. Germany Hyperinflation of the 1920s. » Dr. Housing Bubble Blog
Anyone thinking that breaking a one-dollar bill into four quarters is a method of creating more money is simply trying to create something out of thin air. Yet that is the path that we are following. The Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury who seem to be tempting the ire of the demons of inflation are now targeting the U.S. dollar with every weapon in their arsenal. As a nation, we still have a difficult time realizing that we have consumed too much for too long and debt only provided an illusion of prosperity. Some time ago, I walked into a staged open house. In the air the smell of bread baking, beautiful furniture adorned each room, and what would any home be without a nice mounted flat screen television? Yet none of this was real. The visceral feeling of this staging of course is to give you an idea of what you want. Or better yet, what you don’t have and should buy. The advertising machine is designed to keep you perpetually wanting. The staged home visually makes you forget the dollar and cents of the deal. Those that control the levers of power of our economic system have decided that tempting inflation is a small price to pay to continue on a spending spree that is clearly unsupportable.

Alinsky's Rules for Radicals

The strategy that those on the left fear the tea parties may incorporate.  Most conservtives won't stoop so low but to know what some radicals game plan encompasses is wise.

Alinsky's Rules for Radicals
To paraphrase some sage advice, "keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer." If your business or organization ever becomes a target of radical activists, it will be extremely helpful to know what strategies of attack will used against you. Short of having spies infiltrate their organization - a practice that is sure to be found out and exposed to your discredit - it would help to study their methods.

Known as the "father of modern American radicalism," Saul D. Alinsky (1909-1972) developed strategies and tactics that take the enormous, unfocused emotional energy of grassroots groups and transform it into effective anti-government and anti-corporate activism. Activist organizations teach his ideas widely taught today as a set of model behaviors, and they use these principles to create an emotional commitment to victory - no matter what.

Grassroots pressure on large organizations is reality, and there is every indication that it will grow. Because the conflicts manifest in high-profile public debate and often-panicked decision-making, studying Alinsky's rules will help organizations develop counteractive strategies that can level the playing field.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Field Guide To Narcissism

Hmm...sounds like many politicians.

Psychology Today: A Field Guide To Narcissism
There's the groom who wouldn't let his fiancée's overweight friend be a bridesmaid because he didn't want her near him in the wedding pictures. The entrepreneur who launched a meeting for new employees by explaining that nobody ever gets anywhere working for someone else. The woman who had such confidence in her great taste, she routinely redecorated her daughter's home without asking. The guy who found himself so handsome, he took a self-portrait with a Polaroid every night before bed to preserve the moment.

As Ted Turner put it: "If I only had a little humility, I'd be perfect."

But narcissism isn't just a combination of monumental self-esteem and rudeness. As a personality type, it ranges from a tendency to a serious clinical disorder, encompassing unexpected, even counterintuitive behavior. The Greek myth of Narcissus ends with the beautiful young man lost to the world, content to forever gaze at his own reflection in a pool of water. Real-life narcissists, however, desperately need other people to validate their own worth. "It's not so much being liked. It's much more important to be admired. Studies have shown narcissists are willing to sacrifice being liked if they think it's necessary to be admired," says Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Deep desire to be at the center of things is served by extreme self-confidence, a combination that makes narcissists attractive and even charming. Buoyed by a coterie of admiring friends and associates—protected by the armor of positive self-regard—someone with a mild-to-moderate case of narcissism can float through life feeling pretty good about himself. Since they feel entitled to special treatment, they are easily offended, and readily harbor grudges. Yet narcissists are often very popular—at least in the short term.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

The End of Christian America

Not surprising.  At the same time if the economic turmoil continues the church could (and most probably will) strengthen. 

Another thing that also seems to be happening is that the people who do claim to be christian are (anecdotaly) more committed.

Meacham: The End of Christian America | Newsweek Religion |
The percentage of self-identified Christians has fallen 10 points in the past two decades. How that statistic explains who we are now—and what, as a nation, we are about to become.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Connecticut Voters Revolt Against Chris Dodd

This may be a frequent occurrence for those involved with all of the bailout mess.

Connecticut Voters Revolt Against Chris Dodd
Chris Dodd may be the first political casualty of the bailout of AIG.

The powerful head of the Senate banking committee is in “severe political danger,” according to Politico. In the most recent Quinnipiac poll Dodd trails former GOP congressman Rob Simmons by 16 points, 50 to 34 percent. Among independent voters, Simmons leads Dodd by 31 points -- 56 to 25 percent. Dodd is up for re-election in November 2010.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Tax Day Tea Party Protests

This should be fun:

Gateway Pundit: Get Ready For the Tax Day Tea Party Protests
Enough is Enough...
Get ready for the Tax Day Tea Party Protests.
Freedom Works put together this map and information on the Tax Day Tea Party.

Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come From U.S.

When facts get in the way of a good myth...

The Myth of 90 Percent: Only a Small Fraction of Guns in Mexico Come From U.S. - Presidential Politics | Political News -
There's just one problem with the 90 percent "statistic" and it's a big one:

It's just not true.

In fact, it's not even close. By all accounts, it's probably around 17 percent.

What's true, an ATF spokeswoman told, in a clarification of the statistic used by her own agency's assistant director, "is that over 90 percent of the traced firearms originate from the U.S."

But a large percentage of the guns recovered in Mexico do not get sent back to the U.S. for tracing, because it is obvious from their markings that they do not come from the U.S.
In 2007-2008, according to ATF Special Agent William Newell, Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the ATF for tracing. Close to 6,000 were successfully traced -- and of those, 90 percent -- 5,114 to be exact, according to testimony in Congress by William Hoover -- were found to have come from the U.S.

But in those same two years, according to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered at crime scenes.

In other words, 68 percent of the guns that were recovered were never submitted for tracing. And when you weed out the roughly 6,000 guns that could not be traced from the remaining 32 percent, it means 83 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in Mexico could not be traced to the U.S.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

“Mr. Jefferson”

Headmaster: No Vampires At Our School

This fascination with vampires is becoming very prevalent in high schools and even youth groups in churches. 

Headmaster: No Vampires At Our School - Local News Story - WCVB Boston
The headmaster of one of the city's most prestigious exam schools is dealing with an unusual rumor sweeping student classrooms.

There are no vampires at Boston Latin School, says headmaster Lynne Moone Teta.


Students at the school, which was founded in 1635, began e-mailing news organizations Wednesday night with the strange story of vampires roaming the halls.

"Supposedly 3 students believe that they are vampires and today when a student was bitten the police were informed," wrote one student in a message to "I heard that one girl was arrested another suspended."

Police, however, denied reports that anyone at the school was bitten.

The rumors were strong enough to cause anxiety among the student body and disrupt classes on Thursday.