March 31, 2010

Why Pretend to Open Up Domestic Oil Exploration?
— Dave in Texas

To find someone else to blame (hint: ChevronTexaco, et.al) for the increase in gasoline prices while the crushing economy and job market hammers Americans.

Short version if you don't feel like listening to it: Obama makes a meaningless announcement while the other wheels of obstruction to domestic energy production gear up to prevent any new production. Who has standing to sue and prevent the actual production? Every damned environmental organization that has been suing to shut down production and refinement for the last 30 years, that's who.

Here's a little arithmetic reminder from some of my past posts on the topic, the price of oil is approximately 55% of the price of a gallon of gasoline. Most other costs, delivery, refinement, marketing and distribution, are pretty much fixed.

This announcement from Obama is worth exactly what his promise not to raise taxes on the middle class is worth.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 06:18 PM | Comments (164)
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House Members are Smarter than You. Part 1.
— Jack M.

-An ongoing series examining the intellectual acumen of members of the House of Representatives or "Why the Senate laughs at you".

The Hill reports that, in questioning Admiral Robert Willard about the Navy's proposed relocation of 8,000 service personnel and their families to the Island of Guam, Rep. Hank Johnson (D- 4th District of Georgia) expressed an important objection.

Noted PhD and Mensa Chapter President Rep. Hank Johnson asserted that his "fear" is that the influx of people to the island would cause it to "tip over and capsize."

Let it be noted, that Rep. Hank Johnson, noted geologist and acclaimed expert on continental drift and plate tectonic theory, voted in favor of Obamacare. He knows better than you about things and stuff.

I especially like the way Johnson used his hands and the lean of his body to illustrate the Island's impending list. I hear James Cameron was so impressed that he's offering Rep. Hank Johnson (D- Obama makes the earth move under my feet) the title role in the Atlanta Little Theater's Off-Off Broadway rendition of Titanic.

I contacted Rep. Hank (D-Goin' down for the third time) Johnson's office and asked them if the good Representative had any other fears he wished to share. I was told that Rep. Johnson also fears:

-Future missions to the moon will cause Earth's satellite to "go all crazy and spin out of orbit"

-Drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge will mean "heavy drilling equipment will cause the poles to shift and Kansas City will end up as the new North Pole"

-Excessive use of the office microwave will cause "the oxygen in the oven to interact with the atmosphere, making it overheat and burn away."

Posted by: Jack M. at 04:51 PM | Comments (472)
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Overnight Open Thread
— Maetenloch

Good evening and happy Hump Day all.

The Top 160 Arnold Lines Stitched Together
Which makes about 10 minutes of awesome. And no it's not a tumor. So get to da choppa. Then get your ass to Mars.

more...

Posted by: Maetenloch at 04:27 PM | Comments (806)
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Voyeurs: Pete Sessions Held Fundraiser at Vegas Burlesque Club
— Ace

Yeah, wowzers. A burlesque club. Your grandfather's idea of having a rowdy dickens of a time, right up there with driving around their auto-cycles with a flapper in the sidecar shaking their mitts at layabouts and rapscallions and vowing, "Why I oughtta...!"

But -- oh! -- at one point PORN STAR JENNA JAMESON!!1!!eleventy! had a birthday party there that very year, so... you know.

[O]ne of the fundraisers, held in 2007, was at a Vegas burlesque club, Ivan Kane's Forty Deuce. FEC papers show Pete PAC spent $5,378 at the burlesque club, which also that year hosted porn-star Jenna Jameson's 33rd birthday party.

Our old pal Mary Ann Akers who writes the Sleuth column for the Washington Post's website also wrote about another more low key event at a racy Vegas club called Tao held in February 2009.

Tao is racy? Tao attracts a young party crowd, but what, exactly, makes it "racy"? Its Asian fusion menu?

It's one of the biggest, most popular and most imitated nightclubs in Vegas. It's not a goddamn key party.

Pete Sessions' fundraiser was most assuredly not taking place on late Saturday night/early Sunday morning when a bunch of out-of-towners are there Red-Bulling off their drunk and getting photographed for Hot Chicks With Douchebags.

It was just held at the place, for God's sakes. Because it has a racy amount of square-footage and offers a racy competitive price for catered affairs and racy complimentary Ginger Wasabi Salads for parties of 50 or more.

Behold the Narrative -- from now on, all places Republicans may gather are presumptively "lesbian-bondage themed."

Posted by: Ace at 02:37 PM | Comments (388)
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Vets For Congress…Chris Gibson In The NY 20th
— DrewM

When last we left the NY 20th congressional district, the Republicans waged and lost a lackluster campaign to replace Kirsten Gillibrand, who had just been named to the US Senate to replace Hillary Clinton.

One of the biggest differences in that race was candidate selection. The Republican establishment picked one of their own, a long serving state assemblyman who was all about old style bringing back the bacon type politics. It took him two weeks to announce how he would have voted on the so-called “stimulus” bill, even knowing all Republicans in the House had voted against it months earlier.

Well this time the county organizations went a different way and selected a novice politician and recently retire US Army Colonel, Chris Gibson.

Based on his kickoff speech, he’s just about everything a conservative could hope for.

(Sorry about the shaky video in parts, the AoS video budget is not close to the RNC bondage club budget)

A couple of notes from being on scene (yeah, I schlepped down there just for this)… more...

Posted by: DrewM at 01:00 PM | Comments (84)
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Racist Teabaggers Using Vile Epithets About Black Politicians
— Ace

On hyperpartisan archliberal Matthew Ygelsias' site:

yglesias-racist-comment.PNG

Several points:

1) Yglesias is always on hair-trigger for a pretext to accuse a conservative of being a racist. See, for example, this BloggingHeads segment, in which he answers the question "Is it okay to call your political opponents racist?" with an emphatic "YES!!"

Why the reluctance, then, to call out one of his own readers? Is it because his reader is a Liberal in Good Standing, or is it just because he needs the hits and can't afford to alienate racist liberals?

2) The comment was posted at 10:00 am. It has now been up for seven hours. In comment 12, one commenter noted the comments were "like a sewer" and tells Yglesias to monitor them --but still no redaction. And it's not until comment 125 that someone specifically takes "Michael Steele" to task.

This was Comment Number One. Not exactly hiding there, now is it?

The liberals on Yglesias' site seem to take this in stride without comment, as if it's standard operating procedure and normal course of business. This seems to underlie their claims of being oh-so-concerned about racism, doesn't it?

Also note how abusive lefties are to Obama, due to the fact he's taking a stance they don't like. For example, Comment 4:

Barack Obama Says:
March 31st, 2010 at 10:05 am
pree emptiv konsesshunz in reeturn for nothing wurked so well four helth car, im shur thell wurk
eevun bettur four enviruhmenntul polissee.

I’M A REEL SMART PREZIDUNT!!!!!1!!11!

Now, were that on a right-wing blog, Yglesias and the rest of the assholes would claim it's "race-baiting" and "in ebonics." Hell, a New York Times reporter might claim it's in a "Chris Rock Voice."

But here there is no comment upon it. It's accepted as quite normal. Again -- is this because those on the left are ipso facto incapable of being racists? The guy who drops the n-bomb in comment number one would seem to disprove that thesis.

What does Yglesias intend to do, precisely, to get his toothless teabagger commenters under control?

Posted by: Ace at 12:27 PM | Comments (172)
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Analysis: Shockingly Enough, Stimulus Money Awarded More Than Double to Democratic Districts Than Republican Ones
— Ace

2.5 : 1, actually.

This president sure does transcend petty politics and show that there is no red America nor a blue America but just the United States of America.

First: The idea behind the $787 billion stimulus bill is that, if the government spends money where it is the most needed, it will create jobs and trigger economic growth. Hence, we should expect the government to invest more money in districts with higher unemployment rates.

Controlling for the percentage of the district employed in the construction industry, a proxy for the vulnerability to recession of a district, I find no statistical correlation for all relevant unemployment indicators and the allocation of funds. This suggests that unemployment is not the factor leading the awards. Also, I found no correlation between other economic indicators, such as income, and stimulus funding.

Second: On average, Democratic districts received one-and-a-half times as many awards as Republican ones. Democratic districts also received two-and-a-half times more stimulus dollars than Republican districts ($122,127,186,509 vs. $46,139,592,26 . Republican districts also received smaller awards on average. (The average dollars awarded per Republican district is $260,675,663, while the average dollars awarded per Democratic district is $471,533,539.)

Of course, there are more Democratic districts than Republican districts in the Congress. So I checked for the correlation between political indicators and stimulus funding. I found that with the exception of the district’s party affiliation (whether the district’s representation was Republican or Democratic), political variables had no effect on stimulus funds allocation.

The good news here for Republican districts is (as Veronique de Rugy finds) that the stimulus funding was pretty useless anyway, costing $286,000 per job "saved or created (or funded)."

Thanks to StarChamberMaid.


Posted by: Ace at 11:32 AM | Comments (115)
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More USAToday Polling: 50% Say Obama Doesn't Deserve Election; More Than Half Say Obama Deserves At Least "Moderate Blame" For Economy
— Ace

Kind of weak, really, that only around half are willing to say he's earned moderate blame for an economy he's presided over for 14 months (and an economy whose major spending bills he all voted for as Senator before), but this represents positive movement (for us) on the question. Remember, the public has generally wanted to blame Bush for the economy.

Americans anxious about unemployment and the economy increasingly blame President Obama for hard times, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, amid signs of turbulence in November's midterm elections.

...

In the survey last Friday through Sunday, the president gets tough treatment:

• Obama's standing on four key personal qualities, including being a strong and decisive leader and understanding the problems Americans face in their lives, has dipped. For the first time since the 2008 campaign, he fails to win a majority of people saying he shares their values and can manage the government effectively.

• Twenty-six percent say he deserves "a great deal" of the blame for the nation's economic problems, nearly double the number who felt that way last summer. In all, half say he deserves at least a moderate amount of blame.

The blame directed at his predecessor, former president George W. Bush, hasn't eased, however: 42% now give Bush "a great deal" of blame, basically unchanged from 43% last July.

• By 50%-46%, those surveyed say Obama doesn't deserve re-election.

Hmmmm... less than a majority says he "shares their values." As I was remarking in that Letterman post, that's a big problem for The One.


Posted by: Ace at 11:06 AM | Comments (38)
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Economist: Get Ready For Worst 20 Years of Subnormal Growth in All of American History
— Ace

Decline?

It is an alarming, jaw-dropping conclusion. The U.S. standard of living, says superstar Northwestern University economist Robert Gordon in a new paper, is about to experience its slowest growth “over any two-decade interval recorded since the inauguration of George Washington.” That’s right, get ready for twenty years of major-league economic suckage. It is an event that would change America’s material expectations, self-identity and political landscape. Change in the worst way.

Now it’s not so much that the Great Recession will morph into the Long Recession. More like ease into the Great Stagnation. As Gordon calculates it, the economy will average only 2.4 percent annual real GDP growth over that span vs. 3 percent or so during the previous 20 years. On a per capita basis, the economy will grow at just a 1.5 percent average annual rate vs. 2.17 percent between 1929 and 2007.

That might not seem like much of a difference, but it really is. Over time, the power of compounding would create a huge growth gap measured in the trillions of dollars. To look at it another way, assume you had an annual salary of $100,000. If you received a 1.5 percent raise each year, you would be making $134,000 after 20 years, $153,000 after 40 years. But a 2.17 annual raise would boost your income to $153,000 after 20 years and $236,000 after 40 years.

The culprit, he says, is reduced productivity. The internet/computerization increase in productivity that grew the economy through the 90s and 00s is now at the point of greatly diminishing returns, and Obama's agenda isn't aimed at wealth creation, but merely wealth protection and wealth redistribution.

The thing is, few foresaw computer/communications technology goosing productivity for 20 years before it happened. There may well be some innovation we're not fully utilizing yet, or which has yet to be discovered, which will push productivity back up again.

Or: Maybe there isn't.


Posted by: Ace at 10:44 AM | Comments (117)
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I'll Leave This Banning Up to You
— Ace

I've had it with "someguy," myself. But I don't want to get all Charles Johnson here. I'll leave it up to you.

On one hand, he's a humorless, useless, brainless sanctimonious troll who has nothing to do all day but bitch and crow about how he and he alone is a True Conservative greatly concerned with Winning Back Our Freedom, primarily by being a 24/7 asshole in the comments.

On the other hand, Warden and other commenters had an awful lot of fun parodying his rhetorical style (read his initial comments at the beginning of the thread, then check down to post 75 where Warden and others mock him).

So -- should I ban him? more...

Posted by: Ace at 10:00 AM | Comments (681)
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Letterman Interviews Tea Party Leader
& Grand Unified Theory of Everything Political

— Ace

Before the link, let me say why this was such a bad move on Letterman's part, assuming he's still on Team Obama. If you don't want to read a lot of noodling, skip to the link and video at the end. more...

Posted by: Ace at 09:34 AM | Comments (99)
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Video Flashback: When Dissent Was Legal
— Ace

Evan Coyne Maloney digs into the dusty archives to reveal a world that existed just fourteen months ago.

Stick with it until the last soundbite. more...

Posted by: Ace at 08:13 AM | Comments (187)
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Shocking...GOP Already Starting To Go Wobbly On Repealing Health Care Reform Monstrosity
— DrewM

10 days! The GOP can't even muster courage for two whole weeks before they start thinking that maybe, just maybe they are being too strident about the whole health care repeal thing.

Somewhere, but not the offices of AEI, David Frum is smiling.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who chairs the committee responsible for electing GOP senators this fall, said in an interview, "The focus really should be on the misplaced priorities of the administration" and Congress' Democratic leaders.

"The No. 1 concern of the public is jobs and people losing their homes," he said. "The administration has been obsessing on this health care bill."

Asked if he advises Republican Senate candidates to call for repealing the law, Cornyn said: "Candidates are going to test the winds in their own states. ... In some places, the health care bill is more popular than others."

On Tuesday, Cornyn issued a 1,280-word campaign memo that mentioned "repeal" only once. It did not advocate repeal but noted that in a recent poll, "46 percent of respondents support a full repeal" of the health law.

Three weeks ago, Cornyn told reporters he thought GOP Senate candidates would and should run on a platform of repealing the legislation.

Cornyn and others increasingly are focused on several corporations' claims that a provision of the new law that cancels a tax benefit will hurt profits and hiring. This approach places a greater premium on pivoting to the economy instead of dwelling on the legalistic process of trying to repeal the complex law.

"The health care debate provides a natural segue into talking about the economy and jobs," said Nicklaus Simpson, spokesman for the Senate Republican Conference, a policy group.

Now part of this is AP spin to protect their guy in the White House but let's not pretend there isn't a go along-get along reflex embedded in just about every politician. If the path of least resistance is to nibble at the edges of this law, that's what most Republicans will do. It's our job to keep them focused on the task and more afraid of what happens if they go wobbly than not.

That's not to say every Republican campaign this fall should be one word long, to the exclusion of every other issue. As I said last week, talk about whatever you want but always bring it back to the fact that health care and its impact on the economy are the issues that frame everything else. And at the bottom of that issue is one word, repeal. Sure the GOP will put something else in place (I wish we didn't have to, unfortunately that's not in the cards) but first and foremost we will repeal this nation killing health care law.

It might not be a winning formula for every election. That's ok, we don't need to win every election. We need to win enough on a clear mandate to start taking steps in 2011-2012 to repeal this law and build moment going into 2012 for the final push.

Repeal is going to be hard and it's going to be a long process. Look how long it took to get the damn thing in place. We have 3-4 years, not 100 so we need focus and determination because if we don't succeed, nothing else matters.

Man up GOP.

Added: The Club For Growth has a "Repeal It" pledge website. See if your candidate has taken it and if they haven't, ask them why.

Posted by: DrewM at 06:32 AM | Comments (456)
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Obama To Approve Offshore Drilling?
— DrewM

Looks like the proverbial blind squirrel found a nut.

The Obama administration will approve significant oil and gas exploration off America's coasts, including a possible sale two years from now of leases off the Virginia shore, administration officials said Wednesday.

The move, which President Obama will announce Wednesday morning with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar at Andrews Air Force Base, ends a long-standing moratorium on oil and gas drilling along much of the East Coast, from Delaware to central Florida.

The new strategy also calls for oil and gas exploration in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, more than 125 miles from Florida's coast, and in large areas in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas in the Arctic Ocean, north of Alaska, after the government conducts detailed studies, an administration official said.

The administration will bar exploration in Alaska's Bristol Bay, officials said, which is home to critical wildlife habitat. Aides spoke of the plans on the condition of anonymity, to avoid preempting the president's announcement.

As always, there may well be a catch here. Will it be tied to a Cap and Trade bill? Or if there's not that explicit of a connection, it might be an effort to improve the atmosphere for getting one of the climate bills going.

With this group there's always reason for caution when they do something right. And as always, there's a promise that has reached it's expiration date.

Added: The Hill has a piece about five hurdles a climate bill faces. Number 3? Offshore drilling.

(Sierra Club chief Michael) Brune also pointed to another potential stumbling block: offshore drilling. “We will not be able to accept the dramatic giveaway that offshore oil drilling represents,” he said.

But expanding offshore drilling opportunities to lower dependence on foreign oil is one of the main reasons Sen. Graham is helping to craft a bill. The legislation is expected to have an opt-in, opt-out mechanism. State legislatures closer to shores will have to affirm they want drilling off their coasts.

Environmental groups are worried, though, that Democratic leaders are risking too much. Ten coastal-state Democrats wrote KGL last week warning against “unfettered” access to offshore areas.

Another potential hurdle is whether states should get a share of the royalties for oil and gas operations in federal waters off their coastlines. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has said the royalties should go to federal coffers. But legislative fence-sitters, such as Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), have pushed for states to take a greater share.

It will be interesting to see what Lindsey Graham (Rish-Really SC?) says after today's announcement.

Posted by: DrewM at 05:38 AM | Comments (199)
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Boeing Will Also Take a $150 Million Charge Because of ObamaCare
— Gabriel Malor

Another day, another CEO likely getting called to the carpet for just doing what they're supposed to be doing.

Democrats think that accounting is a grand conspiracy to make them look bad.

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 04:45 AM | Comments (122)
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Top Headline Comments 3-31-10
— Gabriel Malor

Posted by: Gabriel Malor at 04:21 AM | Comments (73)
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March 30, 2010

Overnight Open Thread
— Maetenloch

Good evening all M&Ms.
Don't forget about the job bank at the AoSHQ yahoo group.

Jamie "Mistress of Disaster" Gorelick now on her way to a 0-3 record of FAIL

Okay given the scale of her first two FAILs, she's more like 0 and 2.5. She's infamous for writing the "intelligence wall" memo that prevented the FBI from investigating Moussaoui and possibly unraveling the 9/11 plot and then later serving on the 9/11 Commission despite a clear conflict of interest.

Next she moved on to Fanny Mae where she made $26 million over 6 years despite Fanny Mae being hit with a $10 billion dollar scandal. Despite her claims that it was managed safely Fanny Mae's later insolvency would help take down AIG, Lehman Brothers, and other financial institutions.

After that she was hired by Duke as a defense attorney while the university was busy railroading the lacrosse team players accused of rape. And then after that she went to work as a lobbyist for Sallie Mae which has been a complete fail since her efforts got Sallie Mae exactly nada and then the recent health care bill completely nationalized student loans.

So it's worth googling her periodically to see what's going to fail next. And based on her track record I figure she'll soon be running ObamaCare.

943_jamie_gorelick.jpg
more...

Posted by: Maetenloch at 05:05 PM | Comments (919)
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Media Declares War on Dissent
— Ace

Via Newsbusters, thanks to AdamSBaldwin aka Jayne Cobb.

Posted by: Ace at 03:15 PM | Comments (313)
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And Now Prudential, Too: ObamaCare Will Cause $100 Million Loss
— Ace

How did this help Michelle's kids?

Insurer Prudential Financial Inc. said Monday that it will take a $100 million charge in the first quarter in relation to the recent health care overhaul legislation.

The life insurance and annuities provider said in a regulatory filing that it will take the charge against earnings in the first quarter.

Prudential joins a growing list of companies that have said they will take accounting charges because of the health care bills. AT&T said last week it would take a $1 billion charge in the first quarter. AK Steel Corp., 3M Co., Caterpillar Inc., Deere & Co. and Valero Energy have also said they would take smaller charges.

Prudential said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that the health bill signed into law by President Barack Obama last week and a companion measure he is expected to sign Tuesday will reduce its tax deduction for retiree health care costs beginning in 2013.

Companies that provide prescription drug benefits for retirees have been getting subsidies covering 28 percent of eligible costs but could deduct everything they spent on the benefits — including the federal money — from their taxable income.

That subsidy was to induce companies to keep retirees on their own corporate plans rather than dump them into taxpayer-funded Medicare. Now that they've cut the subsidy, not only is it costing these businesses money, but many are thinking of giving up the subsidy and dumping them into government health care.

Remember, if you like your insurance, you get to keep your insurance.

And Henry Waxman is going to drag these CEOs in front of his committee, to harass and threaten them, and badger them into answering why they're bound to accurately account for additional new tax costs.

In fact, Waxman doesn't want an answer to that; what he wants is for companies to hide these new, embarrassing costs illegally, so that Democrats don't have to answer questions about them. And he figures harassment and the threat of punitive legislative action should be enough to give other companies the hint.

Preemptive Strike? Rich Lowry says it's part of the Democrats' plan to claim that all negative consequences of this bill are due to a conspiracy between evil corporations.


Posted by: Ace at 12:59 PM | Comments (295)
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Charles Johnson Pretty Sure He's Found a "Neo-Nazi Flag" at a Tea Party Rally
— Ace

But the expert on Christojihadism hasn't quite identified the logo yet.

But someone else did.

Taken from the sidebar, posted by XTCBradXTC.

Posted by: Ace at 12:58 PM | Comments (195)
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