January 31, 2011
— Maetenloch Won the future again today. Woo hoo I'm on a roll.
Really you say? Well then why else would they have a map of the US with target-y things over the districts and schedules of political candidates?!??
By the MFM's new Sarah Palin-AZ standard that's the same as putting out a hit on candidates, right?
Will no one put an end to this hateful imagery? At long last have you no sense of decency or irony?
Politico - take down this assassin's guide!
— Ace Old and Busted: Fire can't melt steel
New Hotness: Fire can melt tar heroin.
Of course, this will just lead to further conspiracy theories. The man set him up.
Thanks to Patrick.
— Gabriel Malor This question has come up a few places. I've also seen incorrect media reports that Judge Vinson's decision declaring all of ObamaCare unconstitutional "will have no instant effect on implementation." This is probably fueled in part because "senior White House advisors" are apparently saying that implementation will continue while the lawsuits play out.
That is incorrect, at least for the moment. The law is unconstitutional and that ruling is binding on the parties. Not just the 26 plaintiff states, mind you, as I've also seen erroneously reported. All parties to a lawsuit are bound, including and especially the defendants, that is, the U.S. departments attempting to implement ObamaCare.
That means that at this moment all parts of the law are unenforceable, including the guaranteed issue rule, the preparations for the exchanges, the minimum standards, the Medicaid expansion, the FSA adjustment, the 1099 debacle, and, of course, the individual mandate. The Obama Administration risks a contempt order if it attempts to continue to impose any of these ObamaCare requirements on the states.
Now, don't get too excited. The Administration will, I guarantee it, be seeking to stay Judge Vinson's order pending appeal. At the moment, there is no order on a stay and the District Court's docket is closed for the day. So, at the earliest we're not looking at Judge Vinson taking a crack at their stay motion until tomorrow. And if he denies the Administration stay motion, they'll seek it from the 11th Circuit. The appellate court will very likely grant it, given the disparate court decisions so far and because the stakes are so high. I can't imagine that the Administration would have to go so far as the Supreme Court to get a stay, but any way it happens, they're going to get one eventually. I guarantee that too.
That, by the way, is what happens next. First comes a stay motion, then the appeal notice. At which point the stay motion will be resolved and the case will be set for briefing. Briefing could take up to six months or longer. And it could be even longer until the case gets set for oral argument (which, in a case like this it certainly will be). After that comes a decision a good year down the road. Then possible en banc review and only then a petition to the Supreme Court. So this is a long process. We're talking years.
— Ace Via DeMint's tweet.
I've noted this before (but I always note things before, and always note I've noted them before) but they say the Supreme Court reads the election returns.
Laws are usually afforded some deference (in theory) as they represent the will of the people. In this case, it's quite clear ObamaCare was passed against the will of the people.
AllahPundit notes that the Supreme Court will review all this without deference to the lower courts, but nevertheless these decisions are important in letting Anthony "Coinflip" Kennedy know there is a persuasive and good argument for ObamaCare's unconstitutionality.
BANG. (link updated)
"Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void"
This is the 20 something state lawsuit that was argued in the Northern District of Florida federal court.
As I noted on Twitter...it's hard to get too excited about this because nothing matters in the federal courts until Anthony Kennedy flips his magic coin but tossing out the whole law is a big, big boost politically for advocates of repeal.
Stand by for updates.
From the decision:
It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause. If it has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party merely by asserting --- as was done in the Act --- that compelling the actual transaction is itself commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce [see Act § 1501(a)(1)], it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted. It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place.
In the final analysis, this Act has been analogized to a finely crafted watch, and that seems to fit. It has approximately 450 separate pieces, but one essential piece (the individual mandate) is defective and must be removed. It cannot function as originally designed. There are simply too many moving parts in the Act and too many provisions dependent (directly and indirectly) on the individual mandate and other health insurance provisions --- which, as noted, were the chief engines that drove the entire legislative effort --- for me to try and dissect out the proper from the improper, and the able-to-stand-alone from the unable-to-stand-alone. Such a quasi-legislative undertaking would be particularly inappropriate in light of the fact that any statute that might conceivably be left over after this analysis is complete would plainly not serve Congress main purpose and primary objective in passing the Act. The statute is, after all, called The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, not The Abstinence Education and Bone Marrow Density Testing Act. The Act, like a defectively designed watch, needs to be redesigned and reconstructed by the watchmaker.
Update [ace]: There was a second part of this challenge, largely put together by Randy Barnett of the Volokh Conspiracy, I think.
That challenge argued that ObamaCare violates the spending clause by imposing an involuntary expenditure on the part of the states, in violation of their sovereignty. While Medicare is supposedly a voluntary program, in fact taxes are collected from states' citizens involuntarily, so the "choice" a state has is either to comply with the federal law or give up all those billions taken from their taxpayers.
That, Barnett's objection states, makes a fiction of the claim that the program is "voluntary" as we typically use the word.
But this judge, unfortunately, finds against that claim. He notes that this is not really an issue ripe for summary judgment (which must be rendered on the law alone, not on any facts which must be discovered at trial), but also cites a welter of opinions calling Medicare "voluntary" and says the plaintiff's argument is "weak."
He then grants the defendants (the feds, Obama) summary judgment on that issue, deciding that the law is clear, Medicare is supposedly "voluntary" even though it's clearly not.
Question: What's hotter than this decision?
Correction: Drew tells me the second argument is about Medicaid expansion, not Medicare expansion, as I wrote.
Actually I didn't even write that. I invented some new program called like "Meidcare."
Judge Cites... The Boston Tea Party for Purposes of Analogy: Dave Wiegel is making hay over this:
It would be a radical departure from existing case law to hold that Congress can regulate inactivity under the Commerce Clause. If it has the power to compel an otherwise passive individual into a commercial transaction with a third party merely by asserting --- as was done in the Act --- that compelling the actual transaction is itself commercial and economic in nature, and substantially affects interstate commerce [see Act § 1501(a)(1)], it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could do almost anything it wanted. It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place. If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain for it would be difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power [Lopez, supra, 514 U.S. at 564], and we would have a Constitution in name only. Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended. See id. at 592
Wiegel cracks "subtle!" as if there's something wrong with citing an event crucial to our nation's definition of freedom, simply because some people with political might today also noticed that that even was crucial to our nation's defintion of freedom.
Does Wiegel think there's anything wrong with citing liberal-leaning analogies in liberal opinions?
— DrewM Looks like the guys with the guns (and public support) have picked a side and Hosni isn't going to be happy.
The army said on Monday it would not use force against Egyptians staging protests demanding President Hosni Mubarak step down, a statement said.
It said "freedom of expression" was guaranteed to all citizens using peaceful means.
It was the first such explicit confirmation by the army that it would not fire at demonstrators who have taken to the streets of Egypt since last week to try to force Mubarak to quit.
"The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and wellbeing. The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people," the army statement said.
"Your armed forces, who are aware of the legitimacy of your demands and are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody."
And that folks is that. It's simply a question of when and how but there is no way Mubarak or any of his clique can hang on.
Of course the real question is...who and what comes next?
More: Speaking of what comes next...Slu sends along this story on the Muslim Brotherhood.
They weren't the instigators of the protesters but even though they are an outlawed organization, they are probably the best organized group. When it comes to revolutions, it isn't always those who start them or even gain temporary control who wind up on top when the music stops.
Oh and why is the Army statement so big? Protesters are calling for a million strong march in Cairo. The military saying not only won't they shoot protesters but will protect them is a pretty big green light for people who may have been reluctant to go out and march.
— Ace The set-up was that the Tea Party Express had set up the camera for webcast, and mounted the TelePrompTer just above it (as they do) so that she'd be looking pretty much right at the webcast camera.
However, for purposes of televising the speech, FoxNews brought its own camera, which they set up next to the official one. That was the pool camera that CNN used for its coverage.
But Bachmann wasn't looking at that camera. She was looking at the one they'd set up. They tried to compromise, and suggest "Okay, if you're insisting on using another camera, let's put the TelePrompTer on yours, so she can look into that." FoxNews refused, deciding to do so would be to use their camera to service her speech, or, in their minds, to become part of the story instead of just reporting the story.
This was a very stupid call on Fox's part. Because, of course, the reason that Obama (and just about everyone else) can look right into the camera during a televised address is that the TelePrompTer is right above their camera, and they supply the feed the networks used. FoxNews (and CNN) were therefore not giving Bachmann the benefit of the same rules.
I don't know if they did this deliberately (it's possible -- I vented my own ire at Bachmann for trying, in my mind, to upstage an important rebuttal; it's possible that someone at Fox had the same annoyance), or if they were just being stupid.
But there you go-- that's the reason Bachmann wasn't looking at the camera is that the media insisted on not using her own camera as the feed, which they do for anyone else making that kind of direct address.
Saturday Night Live of course used this to spoof her in its cold open this Saturday (beginning of the clip here). (That's not really funny or worth watching -- I'm including it just because it's newsworthy, sort of.)
That said, while they did goof on her for something that turns out to have not been her fault, I thought it was a very mild spoof that wound up actually helping her a little.
Of all the attacks you can make on someone, goofing on them for a technical difficulty is pretty much the mildest. While they were busting on her for looking at the camera, they were not rebutting her facts and figures or suggesting they were in error.
Maybe people don't think like I do, but when a situation like that pops up, I assume (as a lawyer would) that facts not challenged are stipulated and admitted into evidence.
If I were a politician, and I had a left-leaning comedy show eager to attack me, I know I'd count myself ahead of the game if their only line of attack concerned some technical glitches.
A weak attack is almost a compliment -- it announces "This is all we've got."
— Ace Secondary benefit: Since our expenditures would be capped, but money would be directed to keep payments up, this would force reductions in government spending. Like, we've only got a thousand bucks, and we're not raising the limit up to 1200, but we've got 500 due in debt payments and 700 in planned spending. If we force the 500 in debt payments to come first, that 700 in planned spending must be reduced to 500 to stay under the $1000 cap.
Possible? Yes. Likely? Probably not, but it's a good option to have on the table, because the Tax and Spenders can't throw the "but we'll default and it will cause world financial chaos" line at us.
"I think it is a dreadful idea," Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) told National Journal.
I have a feeling that Kent Conrad calling it a dreadful idea counts as a virtue among readers here.
Conrad spins out the liberal rebuttal, that this plan is a "Pay China first" plan and what about the American people who need high-speed rail? Are you really so unamerican as to pay the Chinese first?
— Ace Via Hot Air, he trotted out this line of criticism on Fox & Friends.
He didn't use the c-word I prefer but he's in the ballpark, at least. I think "coward" is a lot more serious and therefore effective a criticism than "chicken," which is boyish in origin and in effect.
But maybe he's preparing the ground for the real c-word.
The only thing is -- I didn't think of this when I suggested the coward attack -- is that the person leveling the charge has to show Obama up by demonstrating what courage consists of in this context. That is, make the case for fiscally imperative but politically perilous entitlement reform. I more imagined someone not running for president would make this charge, like Tom Coburn.
I'm not sure if Tim Pawlenty is the guy to do it, not because I think he's a wimp or anything, but because, as he's running for president, he's likely to not show a great deal of courage on this issue, either. He names the problem, yes, but doesn't say what the required solution is.
I don't know if he can do that and maintain any hope of winning.
I hope others, like Tom Coburn, pick up on the idea and push it harder.
— Purple Avenger Easy for him to say as he makes a hasty exit stage left.
...Obama's chief political strategist, senior adviser, close friend, late-night sounding board and comedic foil is done at the White House. This was always his plan: two years of insider work from his office near Obama's in the West Wing, then home to family and more freedom in Chicago...So, you're joined at the hip with this Obama guy riding him to the top, so naturally your "plan" was always to bail on him when he needs you the most facing the most hostile political environment he's ever had to face and dump the mess in 2nd stringer Plouff's lap to try and sort out? Right. OK. Sure.
..."Probably more than any time in my lifetime, it's an unfathomable race," Axelrod said of the field of potential opponents...OK, my bad. I was obviously too naive and accepting above, this sounds a lot more like it. Translation: "This isn't an election we're going to be able to astroturf or bullshit our way through, or rig. It might be hard, we could actually lose. Those ignorant serfs want some steak along with their sizzle, but this Obama guy is kinda light on substance, and I don't have a fracking clue how to fix that sort of problem."
"We're going to play big...We're certainly not going to hunker down."As Tonto said when the shit got kinda deep for the Lone Ranger: "What you mean "we" white man?
The Axelturfer is taking a powder, beating feet, getting out of Dodge, making himself scarce, and otherwise insulating himself from aftershocks, consequences and of course sharply declining book deal payoffs should Obama lose in 2012. Losers and their inside story are generally interesting to political strategists, as bad examples and how not to do it, publishers and the general public OTOH aren't as fascinated by the story of losers.
— LauraW Quite literally discovered nakey together.
Picture of Professor Strumpet at the link.
The most heartwarming part of this story is her job description.
Bowles,31,was employed at his school as a teachers instructional coach. It was her job to trains [sic] teachers on how to maintain a professional distance from students.
Professional distance. Like, say, that provided by a thin film of lubricant.
— Monty This article caught my attention -- it states that only about 15% of the articles on Wikipedia are written by women. And it probably says something about me that my first thought was, "That many?"
Computer and software technology is a heavily male-dominated area, and always has been. There have been many arguments over the years as to why that is so, but the fact is unassailable. Every so often, feminists or journalists or sociologists will drag the dead horse out and beat it some more: Why aren't more girls into video games? Why don't women go into computer-programming in greater numbers? Why do girls seem to find the fact and detail oriented world of technology so much less interesting than males?
This sort of thing usually degenerates into stupid arguments as to whether men are "smarter" than women, which I think completely misses the basic point: I think that women can be as good at technology as men in general; I think they choose not to. In other words -- what we are seeing is a basic, cross-cultural gender difference. I think that men are simply more willing to devote the deep focus and single-minded intensity to master a given topic (which may not have any immediate practical application) than women are. And I think that there is a degree of natural selection at work here: men are high-achievers because they want to impress women.
I think that this is pretty much the same reason that men dominate the hard sciences and upper echelons of the arts. Women seem far less willing than men (not less able) to devote years and years of study and practice to the mastery of a given field. Women also seem to be more communal and less competitve than men in general, which may lead them to "give way" in the face of more competitive males.
I guess my point is that I don't think there's anything to be done about the "technology gap" because it's a facet of a deeper gender difference. Women can master technology when it's to their benefit to do so (they led the charge in the cellphone revolution, and are the main impetus behind social-networking sites like Facebook), but they seem to prioritize high-achievement less than men do. This isn't necessarily a bad thing to be "fixed". In fact, I think it would do lots of men good to be less focused on their jobs and careers and more involved in their family lives. (Some men become practically autistic in terms of narrow focus on a technology or gaming subculture. I have done this myself and know whereof I speak.)
— Gabriel Malor It lies awake waiting for foolish creatures, for such are food for its hunger.
— Purple Avenger Back in 2009 the cargo ship Arctic Sea mysteriously vanished and six men have been accused, and pleaded guilty, to hijacking it...but the story apparently isn't quite so simple.
...the circumstances surrounding their case are so murky, and the official version so implausible, that their relatives are convinced they were duped into covering up something the Russian government wants to remain secret...I have no fracking idea what's really going on here, and the stock "hijack" story sounds pretty thin, but I'm certain there's a heck of a spook novel or award winning movie script here waiting to be written.
...the alleged pirates claimed they had been hired to conduct temporary environmental work - gathering evidence of illegal pollution from ships - and were training on a rubber boat in the Baltic Sea when a storm blew them off course. They said they were rescued by the Arctic Sea...
...last year a handwritten letter allegedly penned by one of the jailed men - an unemployed roofer before the Arctic Sea incident - appealed to the international community to take concerns over pollution in the Baltic Sea seriously...
...Only a few crew members are taking part in the trial in Arkhangelsk. They've been barred from talking to reporters about the alleged hijacking...
...Mr Bartenev wonders why Russia is trying a case involving a ship registered in Malta, owned by a company in Finland, and alleged to have been intercepted in Swedish waters by residents of Estonia. He also wonders why the eight alleged hijackers and some of the crew - 16 people in all - were flown from Africa to Russia on two large Ilyushin-76 cargo planes capable of carrying 40 tons each, if not also to carry weapons or other illicit cargo...
January 30, 2011
— Maetenloch Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
And part of Monday morning too.
So here are six very familiar songs collected by Cracked that originally had the opposite meaning from what they have today. Among them are:
Wagner's "Bridal Chorus" AKA "Here Comes the Bride" - actually a murder anthem.
And "O Fortuna" AKA Damien's theme is a song about bad luck in gambling.
I was trying to think of other songs whose lyrics' real meaning is totally different from the mood of the song and off the top of my head came up with the Turtles "So Happy Together", Boomtown Rats' "I don't Like Mondays", CCR's "Bad Moon Rising", OMD's "If You Leave" plus a lot of ABBA songs. I'm sure you can come up with tons more than I can. more...
— LauraW Not Feeling The News Today? Let's Trashtalk Some Younguns
Traditional 'taking-care-of-yourself' skills are being lost by the younger generation. They can't cook, they can't mend their own clothes, they can't do basic maintenance on much of anything they own. They pay people to do that.
BASIC "female" skills are becoming endangered with fewer young women able to iron a shirt, cook a roast chicken or hem a skirt.
Just as more modern men are unable to complete traditional male tasks, new research shows Generation Y women can't do the chores their mothers and grandmothers did daily, reported The Courier-Mail.
Only 51 per cent of women aged under 30 can cook a roast compared with 82 per cent of baby boomers.
Affluence obviates the need for domestic skills, as the article notes. Though I'd argue that even the more affluent among us a generation ago were not as helpless with their hands as nearly any 20-year old is today.
I'd postulate that with the wide availability of cheap and reasonably durable clothing (easily obtained even by the poorest in society), it has become counterproductive to spend time and effort mending. I guess you could call that affluence, again, but on a societal scale.
On the other hand, the young have grown up in a new world and have other, brand-new and marvelous skill sets.
Maybe some of you can fill us in on what they are, because I'm drawing a blank here.
— Open Blogger We would be completely remiss if, on the birthday of our Dark Lord, we did not link to the most linked thread in AoSHQ history. Chuck Norris, John Bolton's mustache, Rosie O'Donnell's fat rolls... they all whimper and kneel in supplication to one of the finest vice-presidents to ever serve our country.
Happy Birthday, Mr. Vice President. May there be many more for you, and thank you for your service to our country.
Below the fold is Ace's contribution to get what may be the greatest thread in this blog's history... enjoy! more...
— DrewM Just because there's no football doesn't mean there shouldn't be a cheerleader.
— Purple Avenger That was easy, right? Decades of violence over just like that. Well, maybe not so much...
...The vote was promised in a 2005 peace deal which ended decades of north-south conflict, Africas longest civil war, which cost an estimated 2 million lives...Political eyewash aside, that civil war was was, at its deepest core, waged over oil to begin with going all the way back to when the Islamic Khartoum govt cut a deal with the French oil giant Total, which was repudiated by people in the south who, not unreasonably, thought the oil under their land should be theirs.
...Northern and southern leaders still have to agree on their shared border, how they will split oil revenues after secession and the ownership of the disputed Abyei region...
This whole "deal" and vote doesn't mean squat unless the Islamic Arabs in the north truly want peace and are willing to make genuine concessions to the heavily Christian south.
What do you suppose the real chance of that happening is - particularly with the Muslim Brotherhood feeling its oats in Egypt, which is right next door?
Slim? None? Vanishingly close to zero? Better than my chances of spotting Elvis in a 7-11 tonight?
— Monty [EDIT: It was John the Baptist, not jmflynny, who wrote "Brave Men In Desperate Times". Sorry for the error.]
I've been jonesing for a good sci-fi read for quite some time, so I picked up Greg Bear's Hull Zero Three. Bear is a pretty reliable novelist (his Blood Music is a classic of the genre), but I found this book somewhat...pro-forma. It's a variant on the "outer space shipwreck" theme, and I found some interesting parallels with his novels Forge of God and Anvil of Stars novels. It's a short novel, though, and I wish Bear would have developed the story a bit more -- as it is, it seems more like a fleshed-out short story than a full novel.
It pleases me when I come across Morons who are also authors (of which there are a surprising number), and on this note I present John McKay's (
jmflynny "John the Baptist" to you Morons) Brave Men In Desperate Times. I've mentioned that Civil War history is a hobby of mine, and this book concerns the rank-and-file soldiers who fought in that war. What brought these men, many of whom had never been more than twenty miles from the place where they were born, to battlefields hundreds or even thousands of miles away and in a cause many of them only dimly understood? Many military historians frame conflicts in terms of campaigns and individual battles, of political maneuverings, and neglect the men who actually have to bleed and die. I'm glad to find a book that might shed some light on the motivations and lives of these soldiers. (And it's cool to read a book written by a fellow Moron!)
I posted this link earlier, but it bears repeating: at Amazon, e-books have outsold paperbacks for the first time. Is this a tipping point where the printed-book market goes into permanent decline? I hope not, but I've contributed to the decline (ten of my last fifteen book purchases have been e-books for the Kindle), so it seems hypocritical to be concerned about it.
45 queries taking 0.022 seconds, 232 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.