April 30, 2011

Overnight Thread-Photobomb Edition [CDR M]
— Open Blogger

Evenin' Moron Nation. You learn something new everyday and today I learned that there is actually a word that describes those photos when someone who wasn't supposed to be in it ruins the picture. The word according to the Urban Dictionary is photobomb.

This collection of photos is a twist on that phenomenon. Here are your 12 Hilarious TV Photobombs.


Moral of the story? Check what's on TV in the background before taking the pic. more...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 04:38 PM | Comments (563)
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BREAKING: NATO Airstrike On Gaddafi Home Kills Son But Not Colonel Crazy
— DrewM

It's pretty dangerous to be one of Muammar's kids.

It has been reported that Colonel Gaddafi's son, Saif al Arab Gaddafi, has been killed in a Nato-led airstrike.

It is believed that he was killed at his home in the capital, Tripoli, but his wife and the leader - who was at the house at the time - are in good health.

He was the sixth son of the Libyan leader and has been viewed as the most low profile of his sons.

So, I'm still unclear if the purpose of the NATO mission is to topple the regime and/or kill Gaddafi or just protect civilians. I'm not a military expert but I'm not clear on how bombing someone's home protects civilians hundreds of miles away. Actually, I do (no Gaddafi, no danger) but I was told by the President that killing Gaddafi wasn't part of our military strategy. It's almost like Obama and the rest of the NATO leaders are saying one thing but acting very differently.

Don't get me wrong, we should have offed Gaddafi years ago but I seem to remember something about Presidents lying and people dying not too long ago. If I recall correctly, it was a bad thing (even though there weren't any actual lies back then). Now suddenly talking out of your ass about policy and military goals is a good thing, Smart Diplomacy one might say.

Let's just be honest...we want this guy dead and we're going to kill him. Is that so hard?

Posted by: DrewM at 02:24 PM | Comments (255)
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Black Chamber Of Commerce Head: I Can't Believe I Voted For Obama
— Ace

As part of my continuing campaign to prove I Know What Black People Think,* I'll link this interesting interview on Laura Ingraham.

"Meat so red," Allah says.

One thing Ingraham says is that blacks have generally hung together on Obama. Based on this and that Blogging Heads I linked, I'm thinking that it's more they've outwardly hung with Obama, while privately starting to say, "Hey, this guy's kind of, uh, what's the word? Bad."

Yes, yay team and all, but this guy is a failure.


* Oh, and if Baldilocks comes in to tell me differently, I'll just ignore her, because one of the benefits of Knowing What Black People Think, as I obviously so do, is that I don't have to listen when black people tell me what black people think, since I already know. To listen would just be condescending.

more...

Posted by: Ace at 10:29 AM | Comments (345)
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"Tax Breaks for Big Oil"
— Dave in Texas

What are these, exactly? Because it sounds as if the government has given a huge break to this industry specifically, doesn't it? But nobody says what they are.

(I'm ignoring, for the moment, the stupidity of increasing the price of any commodity because we all know that price is passed on to the consumer.)

Every time prices increase (and often as a result of their friggin stupid policies such as shutting down drilling in the gulf, nixing pipelines and the GODDAMN MOSQUITO AND MOOSE RESERVE ANWR), we hear Democrats bang this "no more subsidies for big oil" drum like monkeys on crack.

Well what's a "big oil tax subsidy?" I know of one. Section 199. more...

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 07:14 AM | Comments (103)
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Last Chance To See Atlas Shrugged!
— Ace

Okay, it's probably not the last chance, but the movie is struggling, and will soon be exiting theaters.

I delayed seeing it myself -- I kept meaning to, but didn't -- but I'm seeing it tomorrow.

Find the nearest theater here.

The critics lashed the movie scornfully, but what did anyone expect?

“Critics, you won,” said John Aglialoro, the businessman who spent 18 years and more than $20 million of his own money to make, distribute and market “Atlas Shrugged: Part 1,” which covers the first third of Rand’s dystopian novel. “I’m having deep second thoughts on why I should do Part 2.”…

...

“Why should I put up all of that money if the critics are coming in like lemmings?” Aglialoro said. “I’ll make my money back and I’ll make a profit, but do I wanna go and do two? Maybe I just wanna see my grandkids and go on strike.”

Now, the producer has changed his mind since that peeved reaction to the critics' peevish reaction, and says he'll go ahead with Parts 2 and 3.

And he defended his film Wednesday by accusing professional film reviewers of political bias. How else, he asks, to explain their distaste for a film that is liked by the audience? At Rottentomatoes.com, 7,400 people gave it an average 85% score.

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, though, gave the movie zero stars, and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it one. A dozen others were equally dismissive.

"It was a nihilistic craze," Aglialoro said. "Not in the history of Hollywood has 16 reviewers said the same low things about a movie.

"They're lemmings," he said. "What's their fear of Ayn Rand? They hate this woman. They hate individualism.

"I'm going to get a picture of Ebert and Travers and the rest of them so I can wake up in the morning and they'll be right there. They're revitalizing me with their outrageousness."

Aglialoro said he had to scale down his ambition for the film to be in 1,000 theaters this weekend, so it will likely be closer to 400. During its opening weekend, the movie took in $5,640 per screen but then only $1,890 in its second. Through Wednesday, the film had grossed $3.3 million since opening April 15.

This whole situation frustrates the hell out of conservative filmmaker Ladd Ehlinger, Jr.

Before I say this, please don't take this as carping at you -- it's carping at myself. Well, it's carping at all of us, including myself. I could have seen this April 15th and should have but I didn't. Because, in the end, I just said, "Eh, I'll wait."

On the one hand, Ladd wants to make conservatively-themed movies.

On the other hand, conservatives say they want to see conservatively-themed movies.

But on the other other hand, conservatives tend to not actually see the movies they say they want to see, and wind up instead only weakly supporting video rebuttals to Michael Moore -- that is, conservatives aren't seizing the initiative and supporting movies which can actually positively, proactively inject ideas into the public market, but tend instead to watch attack-videos on the liberal media, which is well and good -- but that's a negative, reactive posture. A pushback against a meme that's already been positively established by the media, not an actual pushing forward of the conservative idea in the first instance.

Over the course of many years I have tried to explain to you that you need to stop feeding Michael Moore.

I understand the need to drive up hits. And writing a blog about the Fat One's latest outrageously stupid comments or shenanigans is always a sure-fire way to get the faithful whipped up into a frothy frenzy.

But this is a short-sighted and harmful strategy in the cause of Liberty. It's even counter productive. Sort of like tinkering with the books to make your stock look better to investors.

When you feed the Fat One, you only make him stronger.

Meanwhile, filmmakers who are concerned with Liberty are left to die on the vine. Take, for instance, Andy Garcia.

He made a wonderful indie film called The Lost City back in 2005. Ever hear of it? No, because you were too busy carping about Michael Moore.

Congratulations, you screwed the cause of Liberty.

The Lost City was about the Cuban revolution, and more specifically, its effects on the musicians, dancers, and other artists in Havana. It deserved far more press than it got, and deserved far more air than Michael Moore's jockstrap got that year.

Ayn Rand is not, of course, what most of us would recognize as some sort of mainstream conservative. She's not.

But her main message of individualism, achievement, drive, and the natural rewards for such accruing to those who actually create things -- and her dire warning about the well-meaning slavery imposed by a state determined to coerce people into its conception of perfection -- is as conservative as it gets.

The dystopia depicted is claimed to be in 2016, after a hypothetical second term of Barack Obama, for crying out loud. It is essentially blaming Obama's policies for the dystopia.

And we're gonna pass on that?

Ultimately, Hollywood is, as John Landis said in an excellent documentary on grindhouse/exploitation movies called American Grindhouse, pretty reactionary. If something is proven to stoke audience interest and make money, there will be movies about that, whether it's nudie cutie exploitation films, or excessively gory exploitation films, or black-power pimp exploitation films, subversive/punk/biker exploitation films, or... or even conservative-ideology promoting films.

On the other hand, if topic is proven to be a box office loser, they won't make such movies.

Yes, I know, this is not an iron-clad rule because Landis didn't seem to know (or want to admit) that Hollywood has a strong liberal bias and will tend to make movies it knows (or should know) will lose money, as long as they can be proud of the message (Stop Loss, Lions for Lambs, and on and on and on), and will not make movies they know (or should know) will make money, if they disagree with the message (Passion of the Christ, which everyone passed on, and wouldn't even agree to exhibit in theaters).

Still, the bottom line is always important. There are in fact film-makers who want to make conservative movies. Furthermore, there are plenty of wealthy conservatives who would love to invest in a conservative movie... as long as they think there's a reasonable chance of getting at least most of their money back, and, who knows, maybe even turning a profit.

Like I said, I'm not scolding you. I'm writing this mostly to myself, because I've had the opportunity now two weekends running to support a conservative film and I just haven't. I've put up links and stuff but a link isn't a review. A link is just a Do as I say, not as I do.

I think many conservatives have just tuned out of a hostile culture to such an extent that they've fallen out of the simple habit of supporting arts and entertainment, the habit of just going to a theater to see a movie. If almost everything in the theaters is either politically hostile, or simply stupid and made for 14 year olds, why not just drop that habit entirely?

But there's a drawback to that, as is the case here, when a smart, well-intentioned conservative movie comes along, but still no one's really animated to go to the theaters and support it. Sure, we support it with good feelings, but good feelings don't pay production and distribution costs. Cash-money, which does.

Actually, the arrangement the producers of the film currently have with most exhibitors is that the producers are paying them a flat fee to show it, and then collecting the ticket receipts for it. Which means if each screening isn't reasonably well-attended, they're losing money, and not just on the film itself, but each time they show it to a mostly-empty theater.

Anyway, I really should have seen this two weeks ago. I'll see it tomorrow, promise. And I'll probably write an overly-long review that spills out into irrelevant tangents.

Still in theaters, for now.

Reviews From the Comments: Andrew Breitbart has probably read these. more...

Posted by: Ace at 06:45 AM | Comments (472)
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Saturday Morning Open Thread
— andy

The AoSHQ crew is off somewhere carefully studying this diagram.

Talk Whisper amongst yourselves.

Added: [rdbrewer] More realistic hangover poster below the fold.
more...

Posted by: andy at 04:04 AM | Comments (141)
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April 29, 2011

Overnight Thread-Emergency Chaos Edition [CDR M]
— Open Blogger

Evenin' Moron Nation and welcome to another weekend. Genghis seems to have been tasered while trying to chug a can of beer while upside down so I'm stepping into the breach to fill in.

Well, I guess there was some kind of big wedding today. This picture kind of stood out to me. Coincidence?

more...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 05:15 PM | Comments (786)
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Mitch Daniels Announces Planned Parenthood Funding Cut-Off, Presidential Run
— Ace

Yeah, he's running, as Allah figures too. The politics of it are actually a bit riskier and more complicated than I would have guessed (ending PP funding puts the state's whole Medicaid federal kickback in jeopardy), so one supposes it would have been easier for him to reject the funding cut-off.

As has been noted many times before: Although Mitch Daniels keeps (incomprehensibly) talking up a "truce" on social issues, he is in fact pro-life and has governed that way. He hasn't just talked it up as his own "personal choice" the way others do. When the question is put to him in a tangible way, either up or down in legislation or executive policy, he almost always chooses the pro-life position.

I don't think this "truce" idea is smart politics, and I ding him for that, but on the actual issue of abortion he's pretty solidly red.

(Not that I care or reward him for that; that's not my issue. But, just setting the record straight.)

Posted by: Ace at 02:58 PM | Comments (278)
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Bloody Racine: Huge Anti-Ryan Crowd Storms Town Hall
— Ace

Jesus, this is getting out of control.

Prayers for anyone caught in the melee.

Thanks to Johnny. I think that's John McCormack's picture; I hope he's okay. I'll email him to make sure.
more...

Posted by: Ace at 01:53 PM | Comments (332)
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The Conspiracy Widens: FoxNews Reports Their Expert Says Birth Certificate Is 100% Genuine
— Ace

I don't believe him. He doesn't have a psuedonym and a blog.

He said the layers cited by doubters are evidence of the use of common, off-the-shelf scanning software — not evidence of a forgery. “I have seen a lot of illustrator documents that come from photos and contain those kind of clippings—and it looks exactly like this,” he said.

Tremblay explained that the scanner optical character recognition (OCR) software attempts to translate characters or words in a photograph into text. He said the layers cited by the doubters shows that software at work – and nothing more.

“When you open it in Illustrator it looks like layers, but it doesn’t look like someone built it from scratch. If someone made a fake it wouldn’t look like this,” he said.“Some scanning software is trying to separate the background and the text and splitting element into layers and parts of layers.”

Tremblay also said that during the scanning process, instances where the software was unable to separate text fully from background led to the creation of a separate layer within the document. This could be places where a signature runs over the line of background, or typed characters touch the internal border of the document.

What would a forgery look like?

“I’d be more afraid it’d be fake if it was one in piece. It would be harder to check if it’s a good one if it’s a fake,” Tremblay said.

That's exactly what Nate Goulding, NRO's tech-guy, said, but we won't believe these guys, because they know what they're talking about.

This Market-Ticker guy, though. He knows. He knows. And also, the Kenyan Birth Certificate, signed by Dr. Color-Safe Tide, that's the real one.

And: Before I get more whines that I shouldn't be posting about this, that I should let people have their delusions rather than splitting the party -- fine.

Then how about I don't have to read about this batty bullshit in every thread?

If it's in a thread, then it's being put out to the public, and then I have the right/duty to call nonsense and made-up horseshit for what it is.

If it's some sustaining privately-held fantasy, fine, but then we don't have to keep hearing about this dopiness every ten minutes, either.


Posted by: Ace at 01:44 PM | Comments (215)
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A Response To One Birther
— Ace

Over here. I keep seeing this guy cited authoritatively as an expert on the long form's falsity. He's an expert on Adobe photoshop and imagery analysis because he says so.

Now, "TechDude" and the other guy who claimed the original COLB was fake also swore they were experts, too, and every single thing they said, even the most basic stuff, turned out to be 100% false. Like saying the COLB should have a signature (it actually should be on the BACK of the document-- where it actually was), and a stamp (also on the back), and a watermark (zoom in, hoss, it's got that too).

So every single thing these experts said turned out to be 100% horseshit. Didn't stop them from further "investigation" into the matter, of course.

But that was then, this is now.

We have new "experts" telling us pretty much the same crap TechDude did three years ago.

So let's believe these guys. At least, they haven't been proven to be full of shit yet.

Let's skip past the beginning of MarketTicker's analysis and focus on a statement he makes, the reasonableness or unreasonableness of which can be easily determined without any of the "expertise" he claims for himself.


But let's look at why Denninger now thinks that might be real -- what he thinks is an odd "coincidence" -- that the time of birth (and now the certification dates) on the Kenyan punking match the ones on the long form?

Here is his cached, original version of the post. The version before he began rewriting it to edit out laughable errors once people had pointed them out.

Other curiosities include the fact that the time of birth is exactly the same on the (now-discredited – or is it?) Kenyan birth certificate that has been floating around the Internet. How did a purely fraudulent document in a foreign nation happen to wind up with the exact same time of birth as the alleged "real" certificate – if Hawaii never released that information until now?

First of all, let's just note that the "Kenyan birth certificate" appears fake. (Note: See correction at post's end.)

Is it a strange "coincidence" that the time of birth on the Long Form should match, precisely, the 7:24 time of birth on the Kenyan hoax? Really?

And does that odd coincidence tend to suggest the Kenyan hoax was real?

Really?

The short-form COLB which has been available on-line for coming on three years always showed the time of birth as 7:24.

So you tell me -- is this coincidence, suggesting an obvious hoax is real, or is this just the guy who made the hoax copying data from the COLB available online?

As to the next claim (which I think was added to cover up his previous illogic) that the COLB doesn't show the "certification dates" -- well, I see rather plainly an August 8, 1961 date of registration on the short form. Also long available.

So you tell me: If this guy takes a strange "coincidence," which is not a coincidence at all, but rather just a hoaxster copying a time of birth from a publicly available document, proves that hoax is actually genuine --

How much should I trust his claim of expertise in the field of document authentication and the conclusions he derives from that expertise?

Tell me.

Because it seems to me, based on his bewilderment at the "coincidence" of a forgery matching the 7:24 time of birth that has been well known for almost three years, that he is not capable of considering even the most basic alternate possibilities before rushing headlong to his desired, traffic-sucking conclusion that the Long Form is fake (and, bizarrely, the confessed spoof "Kenyan Birth Certificate" is real).

You tell me. How much credence shall I place in this guy's self-asserted expertise?

Credibility counts.

And those who piss it away on lies and foolishness and rathole fantasias won't have it when they need it later.


Update/Rewritten: This post got complicated because the post I meant to respond to seemed to change before my eyes.

Yes, Market Ticker began re-writing his post to avoid making the obvious stupid errors I was ripping him for. But here is the cached, original version of the post. The one he had written before he realized I was calling him out.

Other curiosities include the fact that the time of birth is exactly the same on the (now-discredited – or is it?) Kenyan birth certificate that has been floating around the Internet. How did a purely fraudulent document in a foreign nation happen to wind up with the exact same time of birth as the alleged "real" certificate – if Hawaii never released that information until now?

As I suspected, when he saw I was pointing out the gaping hole in this illogic he changed the post, to claim he always knew the time of birth was always well-known, and adding in that he didn't see how the "certification dates" could have been known.

So what do we have? Well now we have someone saying incredibly stupid, ignorant shit, not even doing the most basic research into this or thinking about any alternate possibility besides "the Long Form is FAKE!"

And then, when caught being a perfect jackass, he stealth-edits, without any acknowledgement of a correction or rewriting, to try to cover up his absurd errors.

Here's what he got wrong:

1. Everything he thought.

2. Everything he wrote.

3. Everything he re-wrote in a futile attempt to hide his embarrassing errors on this score.

But oh, by all means, Let's follow this man to the Gates of Hell. He seems to know what he's talking about.

Whatever.

Are we smarter than this? Or are we really this dumb?

Are we this credulous? Are we this stubborn? Are we this impervious to logic and fact, preferring our cherished delusions over the hard reality of the waking world?

In short -- are we everything the liberals say we are?

I didn't think we were.

I am now wondering, however.

I have learned two uncontestable facts from the Birth Certificate Conspiracy Theory Saga:

1. There is a sucker born every minute.

2. Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4th, 1961.

And I learned a corollary:

For every person who goes to market seeking to purchase snake-oil and magic geans, there is at least one person who will set up a stand and agree to sell him such products.


Correction: I retract the claim that he began stealth-editing only when I caught him.

He definitely stealth-edited his egregious mistake -- witness the cached version -- but he may have done that far earlier, when one of his commenters pointed out how dumb his claim was.

Which leaves me wondering -- how is it I *read* his original not-stealth-edited version before he corrected it?

It could be that he was stealth-editing in response to his commenters pointing out his errors just as I was reading his post.

Or it could be I actually misread his post -- but, oddly enough, the way I misread it (and then remembered it) was exactly right as far as the previous, unedited version.

Weird coincidence that would be, huh?

Well, not really. See, if you want to catch someone in an error, you just might actually make an error in finding an error. As Market Ticker did.

Maybe I did the same thing... but got lucky, because my misreading was actually, by coincidence, actually congruent with his previous version of the post.

That is, maybe I misread but just happened to misread in such a way that I correctly figured out what he'd originally written, before he started adding in "Oh of course I know the date was 'out there' despite the fact my whole argument is premised on my ignorance of that."

The reason he might not have known any of this is that he's apparently not a Birther and hasn't been following this stuff. (Commenters tell me.) Apparently he just made the very-inadvisable decision to jump on the Birther train after it had collided hard with reality.

Ah well. Bad timing.

Anyway, there is an old saying, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

Please, please, please... can we honor the heritage of our 18th Century Enlightenment forebearers and begin honoring their commitment to reasoned propositions like that?

And stop making outlandish claims based upon nothing but "I think the font in that four looks 'hinky'" and "this guy on the internet told me it was fake"?


Correction 2: I got two "Kenyan Birth Certificates" muddled. I thought there was only one forged Kenyan Birth Certificate. No, turns out there were too; the first one the Birther Emeritus Philip Berg seized upon, and the second one, slightly better, that Orly Taitz seized upon.

One, which I thought was the only fake birth certificate, is not being referred to by Market Ticker. That one is an admitted fake. The hoaxster confessed to that one.

The one he's referring to is not an admitted fake. Just an apparent fake.

Sorry for getting the two fakes confused -- the confessed fake Philip Berg submitted vs. the apparent fake Orly Taitz began peddling.

However, my mistake aside, it doesn't change the fact here that part of Market Ticker's reason for thinking this second-chance-let's-get-it-right-this-time-forgery is real is that it contains the time of Obama's birth -- something he alleges was unknown until the long form was released.

It wasn't unknown; it was known, and part of Birther lore, for years. It was listed on Obama's COLB, his short form, the one first released way back in the summer of 2008.

Thanks to Rip for pointing this error out. I have rewritten the part of the post dealing with this for clarity and readability -- if I included this correction in the post (as I just attempted to), it would be difficult to read.

But here's notice of my error -- yes, I did think there was only one "Kenyan Birth Certificate," and I erroneously thought then that Market Ticker must be referring to that forgery, the admitted one.

But there are two, the original, and then the second attempt at forgery.

Posted by: Ace at 11:59 AM | Comments (585)
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The God That Fails: Round-Up of Obama Stuff From Last Night
— Ace

I was posting later than usual so maybe you missed.

This analysis by Walter Russell Meade about Obama's tendency to fail is the current buzzworthy thing among the intellectual establishment.

The President looks like a man who is ridden by events; at just the moment when the nation craves a strong leader, the President looks weak, dodgy, uncertain. The contrast with the inflated hopes that an untested and inexperienced Senator Obama did so much to build up is crippling. Obama has fallen so far precisely because he and his supporters so hugely oversold him.

...

We are starting to get to know this President a little better, and his chief besetting fault is increasingly clear: the President falls between stools. He is a man of half measures, a man who spends so much money hedging his bets that he loses even when he wins.

Time and again the President angers one side without conciliating the other....

This repeated lunge for the sour spot — the place where costs are high and benefits are low — now seems to be a trademark of the President’s decision-making style. On the left it is earning him Carter comparisons from people like Eric Alterman; on the right it means that despite his compromises and yielding of significant ground he continues to feed the incandescent hostility of his bitterest foes....

Here is the paradox we face: The President is a consensus-seeker whose decision making style rewards polarization and a conciliator who loses friends without winning over enemies.

The President’s problem is not, I think, that he seeks compromise. It is that the type of compromise he chooses is so ineffective. Splitting the difference is not leadership; leadership is looking at the positions of two sides and finding creative new directions that give something to all sides — but move the ball down the field.

I've omitted all the details/evidence presented in furtherance of this basic case, but they're worth reading. It's a good as any other (non-partisan, non-ideological) explanation for why he's such a failure.

Because it's not expressly ideological, it will be seized upon by the MBM as the Neutral Story Line explaining Obama's failures in terms appealing to liberals.

That said, it's still a smart piece. In addition to the ideological problems not mentioned here, Obama's inexperience and poor instincts cause him to fail and fail again.

In this funny piece I noted that Obama is doing victory laps over his ability to successfully produce a common form of I.D.

And BloggingHeads had a very interesting debate by two black intellectual Obama-voters over what his victory meant, and what is likely failure will mean.

Posted by: Ace at 09:53 AM | Comments (310)
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Royal Wedding Thread
— Ace

If you watched. I didn't.

Based on the picture below, it was more interesting than I was expecting. more...

Posted by: Ace at 09:12 AM | Comments (211)
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Paul Ryan Gets Standing Ovation At Town Hall
— Ace

Selling his unacceptable, poisonous, politically catastrophic plan to an audience comprised largely of older voters who will revolt in holy terror against it.

As I said in a comment: The better Trump does in early polling (and he just slid a little bit), the more likely it is that Paul Ryan will enter the race.

That's my suspicion. Ryan is all about the Plan and Trump has already rejected it as "too extreme."

I think Ryan is going to realize that no one, no one will run on his plan, because no one else can. They will give it, at best, weak-tea "I'll look at it" statements like Boehner does ("I'm not wedded to it").

This is not purely a matter of courage. Ryan has spent eight or ten years becoming an expert on budget and entitlements and fiscal policy. No one else can simply become an expert in a few short months.

No one can answer the questions he can. He's looked at them all and has answers for them.

Since most other people's understanding of the plan is spotty and tentative -- that will be the extent of their ability to promote it. Spotty and tentative.

If he's serious about this -- and I think he is -- he's going to have to put aside personal concerns and do what a statesman does: Run, not because he wants to run, but run, because we need him to.


Awesome: Brains are one thing, but cunning and wits are another.

Paul Ryan notices the same astroturfing heckler coming back to a second town hall after a change of clothes for a disguise.

He calls him out on the deception.

At the last of four events on Rep. Paul Ryan's "listening tour" of his district Thursday, he called on a man in the front row of a high school auditorium, then instantly recognized him.

"You changed clothes!" Ryan told Steve Jozefczyk. The 54-year old salesman from Franklin, Wis., had asked Ryan several critical questions from the front row of an event six hours earlier in Waterford, when he wore a shirt and tie. In Greenfield, it was a black "Faux News" parody T-shirt.

But then he answered the astroturfer's question anyway -- pwning him twice.


Posted by: Ace at 09:04 AM | Comments (132)
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Trump Drops F-Bombs In Full-Out Populist Tirade
— Ace

I don't know what to do about this. The problem with populism is that it divides people emotionally. You hear this crowd? They're loving it.

And an equal number of people are turned off by the vulgarity of it. And I don't mean the vulgarity of the vulgarities. I mean the vulgar tenor of it. Easy answers, resentment masquerading as policy.

There is no point in arguing over that; it is what it is.

I'm not fully anti-populist because Hey, it works. To an extent, anyway.

Although Trump's being knocked by the liberal media for offering up "Easy answers," especially easy answers premised on the idea that only Trump knows how to talk with foreign regimes and get results -- I can't help but notice that that was the sum and entirety of Barack Hussein Obama's entire foreign-policy brief for himself, that he knew how to talk to foreign powers, that the very force of his personality would make all the persistent old problems suddenly solvable.

Back then, the media didn't call this an easy answer or a fantasy. Not at all. They embraced this idea and reinforced Obama's claims that "Things will change just because I say they will" by postulating a series of reasons that all hostile/rival foreign powers would just fall in line.

Chief among them: Because of Barack Obama's strong Muslim heritage. (But oh, by the way, if anyone notes this outside of the context of praising him for it, you're a racist.)

So now Trump is similarly promising he's going to change countries' basic behavior simply by saying the right Magic Words. Whereas Obama would appeal to Reason and use his Personal Magnetism, Trump is going to employ his Business Savvy and Toughness to back them down.

I think both men are silly and vain to imagine such power to just order people about.

But the media cannot join me in criticizing Trump for that -- as they expressly and enthusiastically endorsed the idea of President as Speaker of Magic Words in the case of Barack Hussein Obama.

My worry with Trump is twofold: First, by making such a ferociously populist pitch, he's going to find himself dividing the party, maybe too much to be patched back together when it needs to be. Too many people see populism as a cheap whipping-up of emotion and so don't respect it.

Second: Let's say he wins the presidency.

What the hell does he say to China and Saudi Arabia?

If you think they're just going to be a-scared of him, well, I guess it's all to the good.

If you think they're going to be unimpressed by demagogic theater at their expense, and inclined towards payback, that's something else.

I don't even object to Trump's populist appeal to tariffs. I've never been fully sold on the idea that free trade benefits us whether our partners reciprocate or not.

But calling out the "face"-obsessed Chinese leadership as "motherf***ers" to be bossed around? Doesn't he know, at least, the conventional wisdom read on the Chinese mentality that if you back them into a corner with no face-saving escape route, they dig in their heels and will pushback as hard as they're being pushed?

Maybe he doesn't believe that. But I'm not sure if he's really even aware of it. It's one thing to Know the Rule but decide the Rule Is Wrong. It's another thing to just violate the rule because you didn't even know the rule.

Oh --one last thing. Despite the worries I have here, I have to admit, I like it.

The power of populism. It's appealing on a gut level.


Here's My Bigger Problem: A populist is well-placed to run as an independent, because populism is a high crossover voter strategy.

The country is in a more populist mood than it's been since the 30s.

If Trump wins the Republican primary -- which he just might; this is canny politics -- then we become a populist party, not a conservative one. He's already rejected the Ryan plan. (I assume he'll use "common sense" on our budget and entitlement woes, whatever that means.)

But a populist can't cross "the people." That means, if Trump wins, another eight years of simply allowing our financial situation to deteriorate into nothing.

And I wouldn't put much stock in his "Look, I said it" position on social issues, either.

And if he doesn't win, he's plausibly positioned to run as an independent, which can only hurt us. There's a 5% chance he pulls about equally from both parties, and a 95% chance he pulls mostly from Republicans.

That means, with 95%+ confidence, a second term for Obama should he run as an independent.

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Posted by: Ace at 07:24 AM | Comments (376)
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Ah, Here You Go: Lefties Cheer Tornado Deaths As Teachable Moments Mortems
— Ace

Yesterday I dropped this prediction but deleted it for two reasons:

1, it's an awful idea. People have just died. More deaths are being discovered. Even if I believed what I was saying was true, it was wrong to make a prediction of a political nature. And the cover of "I don't want to politicize this" is obviously inadequate.

2, a very quick check of Democratic Underground only turned up a little of this, but a lot of pushback on it from more reasonable, humane lefties. So besides being meanly political, it also wasn't as true as I expected it to be.

At least, in the immediate aftermath of the storms, and based on my very brief canvas.

But you'll never be disappointed expecting leftists to disappoint you. You just have to give them time to find their voices, find their kneejerk talking points, and grow comfortable with their savage hatred once more.

I looked in the wrong place; I should have looked at Think (sic) Progress (sic).

The congressional delegations of these states — Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, and Kentucky — overwhelmingly voted to reject the science that polluting the climate is dangerous. They are deliberately ignoring the warnings from scientists.

Slublog notes their is pushback there, too, and I guess that should be credited, but the fact that some are behaving in an ethical, humane manner really doesn't mitigate the fact that many aren't. We don't usually give out gold stars for just behaving like a normal decent human being. We generally expect that to be the default setting, and only remark on deviations away from that, whether heroism above and beyond or villainy beneath contempt.

Jammie Wearing Fool finds plenty more where that came from.

As has been said many times before -- The Left loves "the masses;" they hate actual people. Along the lines of Lenin's famous quip about tragedy and statistics, humans only count to the extent they can be reduced to symbols and abstract political impulses.

Whereas most would say human lives are each precious, the nastiest of the left must always add a caveat: * For some definitions of human life.


Posted by: Ace at 06:57 AM | Comments (128)
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A DOOM! We Can All Believe In
— Monty

DOOOOM

Spare a thought for the folks down South who were affected by the tornadoes and other bad weather. Do what you can to help: donate to the Red Cross, donate through your church, volunteer your time and skills with the clean-up. Many folks have lost everything they have. Remember: a handout is what you get from the government; a hand up is what you get from friends.

The Powerline guys ask a fundamental question: what is the purpose of government?

[H]ere in the U.S., the practical answer is easy: the principal function of our national government is to transfer wealth from the young and the middle-aged to the elderly. Such transfers currently account for around $1.159 trillion, nearly one-half trillion more than we spend for national defense, and far more than any other category of the budget.
You cannot keep a civilization on a paying basis if you take from the young to give to the old -- especially when the non-working old outnumber the working-age young. The fundamental building-block of any society is the family, and we as a country have made it very difficult for young people to start and maintain a family. It's not just the transfer-payments and onerous taxes; it's the entire emphasis of the government. Someone has said that the United States is now basically a pension-plan with an Army, and it's hard to argue with that, given where the money is going.

The residential housing market still stinks, in case you were wondering.

The WSJ joins the chorus: Keynesianism has failed.

With deficits this year estimated to hit $1.65 trillion, are we really supposed to believe that more deficit spending will produce faster growth? Would $2 trillion do the trick, or how about $3 trillion? Two years after the stimulus debate began, the critics who said all of this spending would provide at most a temporary lift to GDP while saddling the economy with record deficits have been proven right.
Teh Krugman shakes his wizened little fists and insists the scheme would have worked if only it hadn't been for Shaggy and Scooby and the gang!

Yes, Virginia, there really is a state and municipal pension crisis. People who insist that there is no problem often have a vested interest in saying so. (*Cough*Labor unions!*cough*) The problem is a simple one: states and cities made pension promises that they cannot possibly keep. It's not even a question of intent, or good-will -- it's a question of basic math.

As for the Loyal Order of the Terminally Boned (LOTB) -- it looks like Illinois is on track to be the recipient of the coveted Most Terminally Boned award, narrowly edging rival California.

I said to watch the metals markets after Teh Bernank's press conference to see what the reaction was. Result? Both gold and silver hit historic new highs against the USD. I don't think the doubters were reassured, Ben. (The USD is now worth 1/50 of an ounce of silver, and 1/1535 an ounce of gold.)

Financial martial law comes to Michigan. And only fifty years too late!

[UPDATE 1]: More Democrats oppose raising the debt ceiling. (Via Insty.)

[UPDATE 2]: As an antidote to the hurtful and divisive rhetoric against rocker-jockeys that opened this post, a story that warms even my cold black cinder of a heart: seniors more amenable to the Ryan budget than expected. (Though the cynic in me suggests that this is because Ryan promised to make no changes to current benefits; the brunt of the cuts is borne by people under 55.)
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Posted by: Monty at 04:26 AM | Comments (205)
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Top Headline Comments 4-29-11
— andy

Moron Cuffy lives in Alabama and shot this photo of what used to be the gas station he stopped at on his morning commute.

As he said - leveled. Continued thoughts and prayers for all those affected.

Posted by: andy at 01:49 AM | Comments (285)
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April 28, 2011

Just Noting
— Ace

Obama's greatest victory of the entire past year -- his crowning achievement for the past twelve months in the most powerful office in all the world -- is his celebrated triumph in successfully producing a common form of secondary identification.

As of right now, that's what he's running on: That he, like 88% of all non-incarcerated adults in America, has access to his own personal records.

Look how ineffably pleased with himself he is about all this:

27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" id="ep">

And for the past two nights I've endured Chris Matthews telling me about Obama's "brilliant" "Perry Mason moment," how masterful he was in all of this.

This is what he's doing victory laps on right now. That's what Chris Matthews is praising him to the heavens for. He's grinning like King Shit of Fuck Mountain, and bathing in rapturous applause, because he accomplished something considerably less difficult than opening a Netflix account.

Pardon the word -- are we not treating the President of the United States like a retard? Are we not, perhaps, condescending to him in indulging him like this?

This is his big initiative for the month? He showed a piece of identification?

Years from now, looking back at the "good times," he'll turn to a former adviser and say, "Remember -- remember when I produced the shit out of that birth certificate? Like a Warrior-Poet I made a routine request of a petty bureaucrat for a mundane copy of a run of the mill record. Days of wine and roses that was, days of... Glory."

And his former advisor, who I imagine in chainmail and a Scottish accent, will say, "Aye, fine days indeed, fine days indeed. How the very Heavens shook at our mighty filings and furious paperwork."

That's what he's got. That's what he's managed for 2010-2011.

Six months from now, I hear he's going to announce a "major initiative" to subscribe to Sports Illustrated, and then a "five year plan" to buy a "nice pair of trousers."
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Posted by: Ace at 08:37 PM | Comments (168)
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Really Good Blogging Heads On Obama and Race
— Ace

John McWhorter plays here the sort of conservative guy who's not giving credence to the various claims that all criticism of Obama must be rooted in racism, but the surprise is that the other guy, Glen Loury, turns out to be mostly reasonable as well.

Oh, he's pushing for a little space to deem attacks on Obama racist, but ultimately concedes the bulk of McWhorter's point.

The whole thing is good, but if you're looking for a highlight, the birther/academic questions stuff is in the first 12 minutes or so, but the best part, for me, is the end.

The middle is about whether the media is/was in the tank for Obama and gave him a pass on his "shady" connections at Columbia and didn't otherwise vet him. Answer from both: Yes.

The end (starting around 26:30, but there are preludes to the idea earlier) is about these two black guys trying to figure out, intellectually and personally, what an Obama 2012 loss means. Both voted for him and were "euphoric" over the election, they both say. And the interesting thing here is that they're guessing as to the black reaction to a loss, the natural tendency to take a loss by Obama as a loss themselves (in the exact same way an Obama win was a win for themselves), and what the whole reaction to that will say about equality in the end -- what I took from it is that they're saying blacks will be equal not only when a black man can be elected president ("as Jesus," McWhorter notes) and triumph, but also when he can lose and fail.

They don't precisely say that, but that's what they're talking about.

The Triumphant Jesus part is a sort of immature Hero's Narrative, the Magic Negro thing so beloved by Hollywood, because blacks remain in that sort of narrative not fully human, but abstracted symbols of virtue or dignity in oppression or what have you. Whereas a man failing is just a man failing -- and that's human, not symbolic.

A man fails, rather than a Color.

Also interesting: They begin groping for lessons learned and good things about the Obama presidency, good take aways, things they can look back upon fondly. The way you take stock after a failed relationship.

What I'm trying to say is that both men seem to anticipate an Obama loss, and both men, further, seem to think if there's not a spate of sudden good news, Obama pretty much deserves to lose.

I sort of started this thinking Glen Loury was of course the Black Liberal counterpoint but I'm not sure there's all that much distance between them.

Anyway, fairly interesting, especially about the last question, the -- for lack of a better word -- normalization of blackness, the routinization of coloredness, such that the failure and defeat of the Great Black Hope is... well, something that just happens, just as anyone might fail. Not something pregnant with heavy symbolism or Lessons About America -- just something that happens. Something human, and not something particularly freighted with Meaning just because the human who failed was darker skinned than some.

Which is what it should be, after all -- a time (perhaps to come shortly) where it's neither remarkable that a black man should be elected president nor confounding and hateful that he should fail at re-election.

Actually: Just clicking over to the site reveals a breakdown of the discussion, to the second. The first, fifth and sixth are the best bits (especially the fifth and the sixth), and the fourth is an admission of liberal bias, which is always satisfying, but not exactly something that's going to rock worlds.

The second part is just standard-issue "the Internet has removed our inhibitions and permits unexamined and unmodulated thoughts to become viral" stuff, the stuff you've heard six thousand times from everyone on the planet. The third part is a friendly (read: boring) discussion over narrow semantic distinctions between "nothing to do with race" vs. "not really having to do with race but being shaped by race," and is a waste of time unless you really love semantic discussions where even the guy you're against is only marginally against you.

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Posted by: Ace at 08:04 PM | Comments (37)
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