August 31, 2011

Andre Carson: You're a Racist If You Don't Like Infrastructure Projects
— Ace


Read down to Allen West's rejoinder. Absolute moral authority combined with an absolute slam.

The black lobby has always muddied what they considered racism -- is racism actually racism, or is "racism" simply opposing the black political left's laundry list of programmatic preferences?

Carson makes it pretty clear he doesn't even care about actual racism any more, and all he means by it is opposing the Congressional Black Caucus.

Well, then all it means is "anti-liberal." Congratulations. You've officially turned "racist" into a sort of goofball self-description like "Playa-Hata" people might proudly wear on t-shirts.

OUT: We shall overcome.

IN: We shall overspend.

Posted by: Ace at 05:58 PM | Comments (165)
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Overnight Open Thread
— Maetenloch

Was flying all day so you know what that means: teh sux0r 0NT.

How To Get The Girl...According To Movies

Ok I think having feet and ruining her wedding are probably achievable for most of the morons.


Posted by: Maetenloch at 05:08 PM | Comments (791)
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DoJ Gets to Pick Corporate Winners and Losers Too
— Dave in Texas

Kind of a recurring theme in the Obama administration, we'll tell you what's good for your economy. And if we decide your acquisition of T-Mobile is "bad for America", we don't have a problem at all forcing your commitment to pay your competitor $3 billion to its parent Deutsche Telekom because we pulled you out against your will.

Not to mention airspace and a roaming agreement worth considerably more.

The termination requirements are designed to protect Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile in a particularly precarious deal, said Robert Bell, co-chairman of law firm Kaye Scholer's antitrust practice group. Waiting for the controversial proposal to go through could leave T-Mobile vulnerable as key employees consider leaving and competitors circle, Bell said.

"Agreeing to this fee was part of the price AT&T had to pay to convince T-Mobile to go forward, to take a calculated risk in this transaction" he said. "Typically, the longer it takes to get to closing, the more problematic it can be for the seller. You're really putting your company in limbo."

Someone remind me again why businesses are unwilling to invest capital to expand right now? Why they want to punish Obama by sitting on their capital and adopting a wait and see attitude?

What could it be, what could it be?

Posted by: Dave in Texas at 04:38 PM | Comments (87)
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Updates On Obama, Palin Speeches
Obama Accepts September 8th Date

— Ace

Breaking: Obama takes the offered Thursday date.

Very good (at least, it's interesting) piece on the Palin/O'Donnell confusion in Indianola from ABCNews.

It gets at a point I was just making to Russ From Winterset in emails: Many people find it charming and authentic that Palin is planning her campaign (or non-campaign) at a kitchen table with her husband and a very small number of confidantes, but that leads to a disorganized sort of disorganization.

But then it goes on to the O'Donnell matter:

According to rally organizers, O'Donnell reached out to the Tea Party of America and asked to speak. Crow agreed, and on Monday she was invited to speak. Crow said that almost immediately, the group received negative e-mails and at that point "panicked" and decided to rescind the invitation. (They added that O'Donnell's team was "less than truthful" about her current relationship with Palin, implying it was closer than it actually is.) On Tuesday, Crow said he decided to re-invite O'Donnell because "it was the right thing to do and we made a mistake." O'Donnell tweeted that she "humbly re-accepted the re-invitation" to speak.

But then that offer was rescinded. And Palin's team confirmed the former Alaska governor was indeed back on board.

Did anyone in this Tea Party of America think about asking Palin about that? Or are we operating on the Honor System here? (True Conservatives always tell the truth!)

Honestly. I don't get it. Naiete is not a virtue.

More on that:

Then on Wednesday, Palin's team "put the event on hold" and one of the things on Crow's list of "mistakes" that he needed to correct was informing O'Donnell that she was back off. Crow said that he "found out we in fact had been lied to by her [O'Donnell's] people and we didn't want to participate. I didn't want to expose the governor to that sort of stuff."

It seems O'Donnell stretched the current relationship she has with Palin, whose endorsement led to her beating Rep. Mike Castle in the 2010 Delaware senate race. One of the Tea Party of America organizers said it's just not the case: "I can tell you that the governor and Ms. O'Donnell have not spoken in a year, but that's none of my business."

O'Donnell did not return requests for comment left with her publicity firm.

It gets very difficult when so many of your political allies are swearing someone must be a wonderful, sweet woman, and yet the vibe you've always gotten is "shifty fame-hound."

Clarification: I am referring to O'Donnell. I've said it. I will keep on saying it. You cannot judge a candidate solely on ideology unless you have some master plan to insure that only your ideological sole-mates vote.

Meanwhile, Jim DeMint says he'll do what he can to block the Joint Address, in the Senate.

“The president should pick another night. I’m planning to watch the Republican primary debate … and the president should watch it, too,”

The iconic South Carolina conservative said. “If he has a jobs proposal, put it in writing, give us a cost estimate, and send it over. I want to read the bill, not listen to talking points off a TelePrompter. If he insists on playing politics by picking the night of the GOP debate, I will object to the session.”

A lone determined senator can tie the chamber in knots for days, and the House and Senate must both pass a concurrent resolution to allow for the president to speak to a joint session.

Mark Levin says he hears Obama may just do an Oval Office address if Congress balks. This could work for him. It was speculated the whole point of calling a Joint Session was to force networks to cover him. And they are getting tired of giving him very pricey prime-time slots to speak in. But a Joint Session is fairly rare and networks wouldn't balk for that kind of speech.

However, now that he's raised the stakes for this, it could be that a simple White House address would get covered by everyone.

All Obama really needs is a chair, a desk, a camera, and a pair of teleprompters (plus a back-up emergency teleprompter, of course).

That's unconfirmed, though; Levin isn't certain of it. The Right Scoop passed that tidbit along.

Boehner denies he ever agreed to the Wednesday date for the speech. The White House "notified" him they were seeking that time, then announced it to the press, before Boehner had answered.

Posted by: Ace at 03:40 PM | Comments (265)
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Why Be a Global Warming Skeptic - Greatest Hits [ArthurK]
— Open Blogger

Charles Martin gives some reasons why he's skeptical of Global Warming. It's a decent read which includes some killer quotes I'm dying to share with you.

All modeling efforts will inevitably converge on the result most likely to lead to further funding.

Anyone with a unbiased eye who looks into it will find any number of people who have found that a model that predicts more warming gets funded; a model that predicts relatively less warming gets less funding. Pre-tenure researchers in particular are warned away from results that don’t fit orthodoxy.

YES! This work is done by humans with human weaknesses.


Posted by: Open Blogger at 03:15 PM | Comments (43)
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Well That Makes Sense: Park51 Group Requests $5 Million In Federal Taxpayer Money For Their Victory Mosque
— Ace


The ground zero mosque, called Park 51, has applied for a $5 million grant of federal funds from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The Corporation, set up to rebuild lower Manhattan after 9-11 is actively considering the grant request. Imagine! A federal entity set up to rebuild lower Manhattan giving tax money to a mosque designed to celebrate the attacks that killed 3,000 Americans!


Officially, the federal funds would not go to religious activities, but to “fund social service programs for all the residents of Lower Manhattan such as domestic violence prevention, Arabic and other foreign language classes, programs and services for homeless veterans, two multi-cultural art exhibits and immigration services,” according to its grant application.


None of it goes to religious activities. In a mosque.

Posted by: Ace at 03:14 PM | Comments (252)
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George H.W. Bush (41) Promised A Big Speech on Turning The Economy Around, Too
— Ace

Good piece on the danger of raising expectations.

The current squabble over the timing will elevate this speech's importance.

Can Obama rise to that challenge?

Um... does he usually rise to challenges?

On the surface, it might appear to be a good political strategy: gear up the public for a big announcement down the road and maximize attention to it. But in practice, the strategy is fraught with dangers, as the elder Bush found to his regret.

In the period between when Bush said he would unveil a plan and the actual rollout, public expectations for a magic solution skyrocketed to heights that no plan could have reached. After all, if there was some sure-fire cure for the nation’s economic ills, wouldn’t it have been tried by then?

Nonetheless, White House aides and strategists hyped the speech. They leaked hints of what might be coming and floated trial balloons in the news media to see how they might be received. Bush’s Democratic opponents gained tons of media attention criticizing the mythical plan from every angle, even though nothing had been officially proposed.

Inevitably, Bush lost control of the narrative to his critics. So when the much-ballyhooed speech was finally delivered, it crashed of its own weight. Obama could be facing a similar fate.

Here is what James Gerstenzang wrote in the Los Angeles Times on the eve of the 1992 Bush speech. Substitute Obama’s name for Bush’s and you have a textbook case of history repeating itself.

Now, the media will not be raising expectations here; instead, they will be emphasizing the difficulties Obama faces, and therefore lowering expectations as regards his abilities to overcome those difficulties.

Still, Obama is making this speech more prominent than it otherwise would have been.

George H.W. Bush proposed a mix of standard, unexciting, smaller-bore proposals to help spur the economy. They were greeted with yawns.

Obama is similarly hamstrung. He claims he wants to promote "bipartisan" solutions both parties can agree on, but the only stimulus the GOP would consider is a tax cut. Obama might propose another round of sending $400 checks to every citizen (as has happened before); but that seems desperate, and that also further worsens the debt problem.

So he can go small and bipartisan, which would wind up being greeted with indifference, or go big and liberal, which I think would be rejected outright. I don't think the public years for even more of what ails them.

He could try for that business payroll tax holiday I discussed two years ago, but paid for by what? He'd have to agree to cuts to domestic spending and entitlements (to take place, say, four years out) and he won't agree to that.

Swiped from Mickey Kaus.

Posted by: Ace at 02:13 PM | Comments (216)
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Hottest iPhone App? SCOAMF
— Ace

Well, not SCOAMF, per se, but a reasonable facsimile.

It updates unemployment, debt, polling data (Rasumussen's), housing prices, and gas prices. And how many days left of Obama's presidency.

Brilliant or not?

I'm going to go ahead an answer for you -- brilliant. Guy makes $0.99 a pop and what are his costs? Nothing.

Posted by: Ace at 01:35 PM | Comments (142)
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Green Jobs Are To Real Jobs as Unicorns Are To Horses: Another Vaunted Green Jobs Plant Shutters
— Ace

Obama's successes just keep piling on each other like kids playing Kill the Guy With The Meatball.

A California solar-panel manufacturer once touted by President Barack Obama as a beneficiary of his administration's economic policies — as well as a half-billion-dollar federal loan — is laying off 1,100 workers and filing for bankruptcy.

Solyndra LLC of Fremont, Calif., had become the poster child for government investment in green technology. The president visited the company in May 2010 and noted that Solyndra expected to hire 1,000 workers to manufacture solar panels. Other state and federal officials such as former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Energy Secretary Steven Chu also visited the company's facilities.

But hard times have hit the nation's solar industry. Solyndra is the third solar company to seek bankruptcy protection this month. Officials said Wednesday that the global economy as well as unfavorable conditions in the solar industry combined to force the company to suspend its manufacturing operations.

Yes, global economic conditions are very hostile to solar right now, with oil prices at historic highs. I mean, you wouldn't want to compete when your competitors are extraordinarily expensive, would you?

Of course that would assume that solar competes with oil. It doesn't. Solar competes with ObamaCare, welfare, food stamps...for subsidies. In as much as it relies on government subsidization to continue on.

And that is why the "global economy" actually disfavors it. Less government money to move from one slush pile to another. This product is not sold to consumers; it is sold to governments and lobbyists and tax lawyers.

Thanks to Chad.

Posted by: Ace at 01:06 PM | Comments (145)
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Next Step: Does Obama Request That Dingy Harry Host Him In The Senate?
— Ace

Although joint sessions of Congress take place in the House, there's not any particular reason Harry Reid couldn't invite Obama to the Senate.

Unfortunately for the GOP, this would result in increased coverage and public interest, as this would now be drama.

But unfortunately for Obama, it would still be Obama speaking. The same droning SCOAMF that never budges the public opinion needle when he talks.

If something like this were to happen, the story line would be Crazed House Declares War on President and the like. Not that I think the media has much power to budge the needle, either.

Our response would be to call attention to his delays and vacations. Is this the only day Obama doesn't have a late-afternoon tee-time?

Meanwhile, Obama's defenders are "fuming.

Republicans say Obama’s timing was intended to eclipse a major GOP presidential debate.

By the afternoon – as word of Boehner’s request leaked — Obama’s defenders were fuming over Boehner’s cheek in suggesting Sept. 8th — which would conflict with the NFL’s opening night matchup between the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.

Update: At Hot Air, Fox's Ed Henry reports the White House claiming they did clear the Wednesday date with Boehner, who lodged no objections when it was discussed.

This could have been Boehner saying "Let me check," or it could have been him making an error and not asking anyone else first.

Posted by: Ace at 12:15 PM | Comments (408)
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More On Indianola Screw-Ups: “The truth of the matter is you’ve got a couple old cowboys running a Tea Party and we’re not professional politicians"
— Ace

In my earlier post on this, I walked-back my criticism of Palin in updates, and walked-up my criticism of the bungling by the Tea Party of America, organizing the event.

The Other McCain has more on all of this. This group may have their hearts in the right places, but their attention to details seems low.

Davie Wiegel had previously talked to the Tea Party of America president, Ken Crow, and found him a little... off-script.

I met Crow in Iowa this month (I've been unsuccessful reaching him today) and he struck me as a classic Tea Party archetype -- an amateur with big Field of Dreams ambitions. He made me well aware of all the projects he was working on but seemed a little laconic for a guy putting on a mega-rally.
"It's gonna be televised on C-Span," he said, "and maybe Fox, too."

Reading up on Crow today, we find that he's a talky activist prone to showing how much he knows. For example, on Palin: "I know for a fact she ain't gonna run." That's the guy bringing Palin to Iowa for an event that reporters are attending because they wonder whether Palin will run!

Wiegel's headline is "Blame the Organizers, Not Palin." It does seem like it's much more of that.

As I eventually concluded in the last post, this is a real "What the hell were you thinking?" situation.

Before inviting O'Donnell, did it occur to them they should run that by their headliner/whole reason to have the rally in the first place?

Did none of them wonder about this at all? Did none of them wonder if Christine O'Donnell was really a top-tier player worthy of sharing the stage with Palin?

Posted by: Ace at 11:44 AM | Comments (150)
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Boehner: How Does Thursday Sound?
— Ace

I like that he's saying no, but I think earlier would have been better. Why not do it this Friday? This is an urgent problem, you know; why wait, Mr. President?

How about Tuesday the 6th? Remember, this was going to be your tip-top priority... right after your vacation.

At any rate, he will not be calling the House to session on debate Wednesday.

Boehner: "I respectfully invite you to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8, 2011"

Thanks to Drew.

BTW, I put the Palin speech update into draft, as this is breaking news, and should be pushed out there now. I will publish the Palin thing in a bit.

Full Letter: Boehner says Congress does not even return until Wednesday and there will have to be a security sweep before the arrival of SCOAMFOTUS.

Hah: Thursday the 8th? The start of the NFL season.

Posted by: Ace at 11:22 AM | Comments (238)
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Man Decapitates Self When Police Come Following Domestic Disturbance
— Ace

I saw this earlier. I didn't read it, but I wondered, "How can someone decapitate himself?"

He figured it out.

A Fire Dept. officer noticed a cable attached to a nearby tree and wrapped around the neck of the driver. When deputies tried to get the man to leave the Explorer, he rapidly accelerated the SUV and was pulled from the vehicle and decapitated.

Dude must be a fan of Final Destination. Or The Hitcher.

And speaking of obscene mutilations: George Lucas now inserts "Noooo!" line from Revenge of the Sith into Return of the Jedi -- now Vader says "Nooo!" (apparently an out-take from Sith) when he tosses the Emperor into the nuclear shaft.

This will come in the blue-ray remasters, which are, supposedly, the final versions of the movie (until three years from now).

Oh My: It gets better and better. Check out Superman's new costume.


Posted by: Ace at 10:33 AM | Comments (160)
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The AoSHQ Pepe Serna Interview. [dri]
— Open Blogger

With the 30th anniversary of the epic film Scarface fast approaching, AoSHQ sent out entertainment reporter Zee to Balboa Island CA to interview the film's multi talented star Pepe Serna. Mr. Serna you no doubt recall played the role of Angel Fernandez who met a grisly demise at the business end of a chainsaw in a Miami motel room shower. Pepe Serna has acted in over 100 films and has worked with an amazing collection of Hollywood's biggest stars and directors.

Pepe Serna in Scarface. more...

Posted by: Open Blogger at 10:29 AM | Comments (65)
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More On The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index
— Ace

I mentioned this yesterday. Public Opinion Strategies posted some analysis of the debt-ceiling debate and how that impacted the political and economic mood of the country, as well as what the Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment (usually called "consumer confidence") presages for 2012.

The full pdf slide show is available at the link at the top of their blog post.

Basic points: The public well and truly hated the debt ceiling debate. Not just the outcome -- the debate. They didn't like the process.

I don't know what to say about this, except partisans on both sides didn't like the debt deal because it resulted in a punt, and those in the middle -- who don't like politics in the first place -- tend to resent having to choose sides in a partisan spat.

Thus, those in the middle tend to just take a position of "These are children, squabbling; why can't they come to a solution, without bugging me about it?"

Well, that may be possible in a status quo political situation, where both parties are arguing over very small deviations from the current status quo, but it's not possible when Obama wants to transform the nation, and then the Tea Party and the right-leaning Republicans want to transform it back (or transform it still further into a more limited-government situation).

Some of the cries of "this is so stupid and childish!" are, then, rather stupid and childish themselves. I don't know what you can do about that.

Now, the net effect of this debate was to severely weaken consumer confidence. The public seems convinced that no actual progress can occur in the current situation, and that's probably because, um, no actual progress can occur in the current situation. Obama claims his mandate from 2008 is still in effect, while Republicans have a fresher mandate from 2010 -- and neither side is budging much.

The public is right -- our politics are paralyzed and we cannot have actual solutions until the whole of the government has the same mandate.

By the way, consumer sentiment has rarely plunged as much in has in the last two months. It dropped only 8.8 points after 9/11, for example. It's dropped 15.8 points in the past 60 days.

Finally, there are the slides near the end about the impact of consumer sentiment on the incumbent president seeking reelection. I've mentioned the main points -- no president has been reelected when the Index was at 75 or below; and the index currently stands at 55.7.

While liberals want to keep citing Reagan -- "Reagan dropped to 40% in the third quarter in the year before his reelection!" -- they fail to look at the numbers undergiriding all of this.

While Reagan's approval had dropped, in Q3 of 1983 GDP was suringing, and consumer confidence was likewise rising -- it was over 90 in Q3 1983, and would rise still further by November 1984.

A more telling comparison is, of course, with Jimmy Carter.

And how is Obama doing compared to Carter?

Only slightly better.

See, I lied again. He's doing worse. The consumer sentiment is now lower than it was in the equivalent quarter of Carter's term. And further, the index rose near the end of Carter's term to a lame but not awful 75. Carter still lost .

Below, one of the slides tracking consumer confidence in Reagan's and Carter's last two years of their reelection-term, and Obama's, for the portion of the next two years we actually know. more...

Posted by: Ace at 09:57 AM | Comments (122)
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Obama: Hey, Little Favor. Can I Deliver a Droning Speech to a Joint Session of Congress At the Exact Same Time As the Much-Anticipated Republican Debate?
UPDATE: Carney Gives Permission to GOP to Reschedule Debate

— Ace

Boehner should just say no, or propose that it comes earlier.

That would be the smartest play-- for Boehner say "There must be no delay, let's do this sooner, not later." I think.

The other possibility is just to say no. Or to counter-propose a public debate, or information exchanging session, as happened a while back, when Paul Ryan sort of embarrassed the hapless Obama.

Ed says to let him have the event on this night:

Besides, this actually plays well for Republicans. Usually, the opposition party gets a few minutes for a rebuttal speech, shot in an anteroom with none of the drama and flair of a joint session speech. Instead, the GOP will have eight or nine responses to Obama on live television in a dramatic setting. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Republicans at the debate decide individually to focus their criticisms on Obama all night long and his plan, especially if — as I suspect — the plan will amount to a junior-grade Porkulus.

I disagree with that. Obama's speech will, as usual, consist of pleasing soundbites, most of which are entirely meaningless (and hence hard to object to) without actual numbers behind them.

It puts the Republicans on a very bad footing to have to respond to Obama's speech within minutes of its ending.

Furthermore -- for God's sakes, the candidates are supposed to be talking about themselves and their vision -- not just letting Obama be Alpha Dog and determine the subject matter and parameters of their own debate.

Mitt Romney played Alpha Dog in the last debate.

This proposal means the Alpha Dog is determined in advance -- and it's Obama, apparently the 12th Republican candidate for President, and then one who gets to talk for an entire hour without getting a single question from the others.

BTW: The typical rebuttal to the SOTU isn't really a response to it, because the speech is released very late in the process, and the person giving the response can't incorporate very much of it into his response -- which is of course written in advance.

That's what Obama has cooking here. He gets to bigfoot an important debate, and essentially be the 12th Republican candidate, the one who gets to speak forever in an environment of power and pomp, while the actual Republican candidates stand at 11 podiums on stage and give two-minute answers.

The answer should be "No."

The back-up answer should be "The crisis is to urgent to tarry; let us have this much sooner than that."

The second-back-up should be "No."

And the third back-up should be "Are you kidding? Can you make it more obvious that all you care about is your ego?"

Update: If you were already angry, this isn't going to help.

Jay Carney has granted permission to the GOP to change the schedule of its months-in-planning debate.

So we've got that going for us.

Rethinking This: The standard paradigm for responses include the assumption that politics isn't involved here. And my own suggestion for Boeher -- "Let's have it earlier" -- avoids calling Obama out for playing politics.

But that's the wrong response. This is obviously politically motivated and it would make liars of anyone pretending it wasn't.

The timing should simply be rejected as animated by crass politics. Call him out. Refuse to play political games while he goes on vacation and indulges in procrastination and then suddenly divines that September 7 is the only possible day on which the dog will not eat his homework.

Call him out, refuse flatly. Don't play games with it ourselves -- it's obvious this is a political play, and we should refuse on those grounds. Not play politics ourselves in crafting a cute response.

He was on vacation for ten days. He has promised this "plan" (now more of an "outline," it turns out) for two months.

He can do it earlier. He just doesn't want to.

Posted by: Ace at 09:02 AM | Comments (445)
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Palin's Tea Party Speech In Indianola "On Hold"
— Ace

She announced yesterday that she'll fly to New Hampshire to meet with a Tea Party group there right after she's done in Iowa -- a sign that maybe she is running after all.

But meanwhile, there's a problem with the much-promoted September 3rd appearance.

Sarah Palin’s Saturday appearance at a tea party rally in Indianola, Iowa, is on hold, a person close the former Alaska governor told The Wall Street Journal.

The person said Ms. Palin’s appearance was “no longer confirmed” and cited “continual lying” from event organizers at Tea Party of America, including a recent mixup over whether former U.S. Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell of Delaware would also speak.

Ms. Palin is known for last-minute schedule changes that whipsaw supporters and media across the country. But the latest decision is puzzling. Ms. Palin’s speech at the rally was viewed as her most high-profile appearance of the summer, fueling speculation she was indeed plotting to run for the Republican presidential nomination.

Attendees were reportedly traveling from across the U.S. to attend the rally in Iowa, which holds the nation’s first nominating contest next year.

The whole article is jam-packed and I can't excerpt it all. One major issue seems to be the invitation extended to Christine O'Donnell to speak before Palin, which, if I'm reading this right, the Palin team quashed. But then, after cancelling that, the Tea Party group re-invited O"Donnell, some Tea Party organizers of the event "lying" (a source claims) in telling Palin's people that Palin herself had authorized a re-invitation.

I always thought it was pretty dumb that Christine O'Donnell would be speaking before Palin, if she intended to announce her bid for the presidency-- she doesn't need that headache. And I took this (silently; didn't write it) as a sign maybe she wasn't running.

But it turns out the Tea Party group organizing the event did this on their own, and Palin rejected it, and then they re-invited Christine O'Donnell, and Palin put the whole event "on hold."

She's apparently putting together some other appearances, without this group's involvement.

I know this is going to cause the typical fights in the comments but it's news.

I also know there is no point in saying this, but Ms. Palin's current jobs are 1, to appear on FoxNews, and 2, to manage her appearances, and she is forever cancelling appearances for one reason or another. This doesn't give me confidence in her management abilities, but I'm sure that's just because I hate women.

It also doesn't give me confidence that we have more accusations of "lying." Maybe the Tea Party organizers did lie. Or maybe they were just confused. Maybe they were just disorganized.

I don't know. But things tend to get personal with the Palins, and accusations of bad faith and malice quickly issue.

Yes, It Was About Christine O'Donnell: We already knew this, but...

To cut Palin a break -- What. Were. They. Thinking?

Assuming Palin wanted to announce for President-- did she want the nightly news report on this announcement to feature "speaking before Palin was failed Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell, who earlier had to deny she was a witch"?

The Tea Party often says it wants to bring "common sense" to America. I believe them, and I think it's important.

But they seem to have a blind spot, or an unwillingness to accept certain "common sense" realities -- such as the fact that while some (not all) Tea Partiers may still view Christine O'Donnell as a maligned hero, most of the public -- and, I'd imagine, most of the Tea Party -- views her as a drag on the movement.

There is a "Never give up on anything" spirit in some Tea Partiers which is kind of laudable but also kind of dunderheaded. Some bets have been lost. The house took those bets back hours ago. Going to the ATM and withdrawing another $5000 to win those bad bets back is a losing strategy, and exactly what the house -- the Media-Democratic Complex -- wants you to do.

The More I Think About It... The less I find fault with Palin.

What was the Tea Party of America thinking?

A Christine O'Donnell appearance siphons some of Palin's prestige and viability (which are not in oversupply) to Christine O'Donnell. Palin would validate (to some extent) O'Donnell, but only at the expense of Palin's supply of political capital.

How does this help Palin? It doesn't. Quite the opposite. And even if the rehabilitation of Christine O'Donnell is a worthy goal (which it's not, but if it were), Palin would naturally object to being drafted into being a major player in this project.

Further, if there is one time it is not selfish to declare "It's all about me, and everyone must focus on me," it is when you are declaring for President.

If Palin had a mind to declare on September 3rd, what is the Tea Party of America doing by stealing some of her spotlight for the non-factor Christine O'Donnell?

And then, after Palin's objections, re-inviting her anyway?

Still, if this was to be announcement, it should have been better controlled. It should have been the case that Palin, not the Tea Party of America, invited the other speakers.

Now "No Change"? Seems like the toothpaste is being stuffed back into the tube. A Tea Party of America spokesman now says if there's been a change, he doesn't know about it.

But that conflicts with a prior statement from the Tea Party of America president:

Tea Party of America President Ken Crow told NBC News, "I had to cancel Ms. O'Donnell" after a conversation with Sarah Palin aides -- and is now hopeful Palin will attend the Saturday rally in Indianola.

He was told by Palin's team that he'd have a final answer shortly.


The group has spent about $100,000 on the event for Palin and are thus waiting "with baited breath" for an answer. An official press release will come out after Palin people give Crow final word.

Posted by: Ace at 08:12 AM | Comments (287)
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Huntsman To Produce Sweeping Changes To Tax Code, Eliminate All Deductions, Drop Top Rate to 23%
— Ace

The Alternate Minimum Tax would be eliminated, but I think with all deductions removed from the code, that would almost be a fait accompli anyway. (Wouldn't it? I don't know.)

He also proposes dropping the corporate tax rate to 25%.

I expect most candidates will propose similar sorts of things. I think this is largely the tax reform envisioned by the Ryan Plan.

Getting rid of two deductions -- the home mortgage interest rate deduction, and the charitable donation deduction -- will be hard sells.

I wonder if on that latter -- the charitable deduction -- removing the deduction would actually create a better system of charity.

That is, donating money would cost more than it does now. As it stands, you can deduct these deductions (assuming you make enough to itemize) from your gross income. It's not free money, but at least you're not taxed on it.

But this makes charity a tax strategy too. I wonder if some charities which we frankly hate -- stuff like John Kerry's wife's stuff -- are mostly sustained through "tax benefit donations." And I wonder if removing the tax benefit might get rid of some not-really-charity stuff like that, while people really moved to donate to true charities would continue, because they were never even thinking about the deduction in the first place.

That's just a counterintuitive idea I had five seconds ago. The most obvious effect, the most intuitive one, would be less charitable giving of all sorts, and hence, arguably, the anti-conservative effect of less private philanthropy and, in relative terms, more government hand-outs. And of course charitable donors would be smacked twice -- not only did they give away their money in the first place, but now the government wants its cut of the money they gave away.

Posted by: Ace at 07:48 AM | Comments (153)
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Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Frets Crazy, Unreasonable, Fringe Self-Defense Rules (Which Seem Popular Among Their Readers)
— Ace

If an intruder is unlawfully in your house, at night*, can you shoot him, without being arrested?

Under current law, maybe-- if you can satisfy the law's complicated test for the lawful use of deadly force in self-defense. Would an objective person in your place have a reasonable belief that a life was in danger? Did you afford the intruder the opportunity to retreat?

How about a simpler rule -- if you've entered someone's house unlawfully, at night, the law should assume the reasonableness of shooting him?

As Althouse writes:

I favor the bill myself, because people who are considering breaking into a house shouldn't have a complicated set of risk/benefit factors to weigh. It should be really clear.

But the statists don't want it really clear. They don't want a simple bright line rule. Bright line rules take them out of the equation.

What they want are muddled rules with complicated balancing-factors tests which always reserve a place for agents of the government to evaluate the actions of a citizen, and either bless it or condemn it.

The more complicated the rule, the more official state-appointed arbiters are required to step in and interpret it.

Which, to them, is a feature, not a bug.

Sandra Day O'Connor, the judicial decision-maker who couldn't make a decision, made a true hash of the law by always trying to punt on decisions, refusing to establish bright-line rules, instead favoring complex, lengthy laundry-lists of "balancing factors" to be considered in future disputes. This is simply litigation bait -- because no one knows what the rule is (Sandra Day refused to announce one), people have to litigate endlessly to see how they'll come down in the fifteen-questions tests she favored. Every following decision was, essentially, a brand new decision, arrived at ad hoc and based on the particular factors that a judge decided this week should be controlling. (Yes, she also failed to prioritize her numerous factors.)

So if you're in a lawsuit whose controlling law was decided by Sandra Day O'Connor, buckle up, because you (and your opponent in the lawsuit) are going to be in court for a long time. And don't blame your opponent-- he is similarly trapped by an unpredictable law, too. Like you, he also has no idea what the controlling principle for this case will be finally discovered to be.

Where possible -- and it usually is possible -- laws should be simple enough to satisfy the first requirement of written laws -- that the citizens subject to them should be able to understand them and predict the legality of an action. Maybe you need to consult a lawyer to understand it -- but you shouldn't have to "consult" a judge, at trial, because your lawyer can only tell you "It's really up to the judge."

That's not a law. That's the opposite of law-- an ad hoc right of a prosecutor or judge to surprise citizens with their own idiosyncratic, personal "law" for the day.

But those who like to keep things muddled like keeping citizens in a state of baffled ignorance. Because keeping it muddled always allows agents of the state to come in and render a judgment.

* Why at night? Criminal law has historically made "at night" an element of a crime. The classic burglary charge was unlawful entrance into a dwelling, with intent to commit a felony therein, at night. If it wasn't at night, it was a lesser charge.

There's a general understanding that night-time is different. Bad things happen at night.

Posted by: Ace at 07:18 AM | Comments (160)
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DOOM: The truth will set you free...or kill you.
— Monty


As most of you know, I consider the WaPo's Ezra Klein to be the equivalent of an organ grinder's monkey in a little red vest and a fez: not all that bright, a good target for mockery, and occasionally a hazard to passers-by. (Monkeys bite, you know, and they throw their own poop at people.)

Well, it was inevitable -- once you have a sufficient number of unemployed people, a class of "activists" will rise up and make a living exploiting advocating for this newly-minted victim-group.

If you want to feel better about our own economic plight, just look at the Eurozone. However bad our problems are, they're in more dire straits than we are (and have an even worse political class, if that's even possible).

Veronique de Rugy perform s a public service and presents a Venn diagram comparing Social Security to a classic Ponzi scheme. Veronique says: "You're welcome."

Obama and his "pivot to jobs": his leftist ideology trumps everything else. His record so far is crystal-clear on this. He is neither a leader nor a technocrat in the usual sense, but a Simon-pure ideologue who will not let the mundane fact of failure prevent him from chasing his leftist dreams. He doesn't consider the various failures of his Administration his failures, but rather the ineptitude of his staff or the intransigent blindness of the American people. In his mind, he is Moses, and he will lead us to the Promised Land -- whether we want to go there or not.

Who else is boned, you ask? Why, Australia! Australia is boned! Crikey!

You know how I'm always going on about how badly-served the world has been by the so-called "economic experts"? About my confusion as to why we're still listening to these idiots? Well, I'm not the only one.

Macroeconomic models have not fared well in recent years – the models didn’t predict the financial crisis and gave little guidance to policymakers, and I was anxious to hear the laureates discuss what macroeconomists need to do to fix them. So I found the lack of consensus on what caused the crisis distressing. If the very best economists in the profession cannot come to anything close to agreement about why the crisis happened almost four years after the recession began, how can we possibly address the problems?
Answer: common sense and fiscal probity go a long way, dude. Don't spend money you don't have. It's not complicated.

Europe continues to torture Greece. It takes a lot to make me feel sorry for the Greeks, who basically lied, cheated, and connived their way into the Eurozone and then spent like drunken sailors once they were in. But I do feel sorry for them -- they are being denied the expedient of default not for their own sake, but so German and French banks won't collapse. Greece will default at some point or another. It's just pointless cruelty to keep drawing it out like this.

As if Eric Holder's DoJ doesn't have enough on its hands what with running guns to narco-cartels in Mexico and raiding American guitar-builders, they're also finding time to pressure lenders to loan more money to minorities. What's the worst that could happen?


How a beloved children's story illustrates the concept that there's a sucker born every minute.

Annals of the boned: in California, cutting benefit payouts to new employees isn't going to solve the problem. The only way to start leveling the mountain is to cut the pensions of current retirees. This will end up in a huge court fight if someone tries it, of course, and being California, the pensioners will "win". But if the money can't be paid out, it won't be, no matter what the courts say.

[PERSONAL NOTE: Spare a thought (or a prayer, if you're inclined that way) for frequent commenter Vic, who will be in the hospital for awhile.]

Posted by: Monty at 03:54 AM | Comments (392)
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