Archive for January, 2011

January 31, 2011

SOTU Responses Are Afrar From The Consensus

by WIZ

So says Frank Rich:

New polls show that Americans don’t even buy the principles behind these specifics. To hear the G.O.P. wail about it, you’d think the entire country was obsessed with the federal debt — cited 12 times in Ryan’s under-11-minute speech. But only 18 percent of Americans chose the deficit as a top priority for Washington in the most recent NBC/Journal survey and only 14 percent did in the New York Times/CBS News poll. Job creation was by far the top choice — at 43 percent (Times/CBS) and 34 percent (NBC/Journal).

Health care was a low-ranked priority too in those polls. And for all the right’s apocalyptic rants about the national horror of “Obamacare,” most polls continue to show that Americans are evenly divided about the law and that only a small minority favors its complete repeal (only one in four Americans in the latest Associated Press/GfK survey). The surest indicator that voters are not as inflamed about either the deficit or “Obamacare” as the right keeps claiming can be found in Karl Rove’s Wall Street Journal musings. To argue that Americans share his two obsessions, Rove now is reduced to citing polls from either Fox or a Brand X called Resurgent Republic, which he helpfully identifies as “a group I helped form.”

Those findings are a relief and makes me thankful that everyone isn’t a little Bachmann or a Ryan.

Rich finishes with a fine point:

Obama must be laughing about how the party that spent a year hammering him for focusing on health care over jobs is now committing the same supposed sin. And one can only imagine his astonishment on Tuesday night, when the G.O.P. respondents to his speech each played Jimmy Carter to his Reagan by offering a grim double-feature of malaise and American decline. Hardly had the president extolled record corporate profits and a soaring stock market in his selectively rosy spin on the economy, than Ryan, who has the television manner of a solicitous funeral home director, was darkly warning that America could be the next Greece. Bachmann channeled Glenn Beck to argue that we are living in a nascent police state where government “tells us which light bulbs to buy” (G.E.’s, presumably).

January 31, 2011

Money and Negativity

by WIZ

This expose shows how both connect to Sen. Mitch McConnell.

January 29, 2011

The History of Hip-Hop Through Beat Boxing

by WIZ
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January 29, 2011

Why Care About Egypt?

by WIZ

It seems that every time a foreign nation undergoes a revolution,

it is easy for America to ignore it. We can switch the channel on the TV, turn the page in the newspaper, and say to ourselves that, well, we can’t really do anything about what’s going on in Tehran, Tunisia, or Egypt. I have responded in all of those ways before and also struggle with wondering what to think, which side to take, and to what level of interest should I dedicate to becoming an informed participant in worldwide affairs?

I still feel that I am lagging behind in keeping up with the news in Egypt. I had a chance to talk to a friend about it today and was brought up to speed. It seems to be amazing how truly effective despotic regimes can be when it comes to stamping out oppositional forces (see China, Iran, and now Egypt).

Where I am going with this is to the money line: we as America fund Egypt in the amount of $1.3 billion a year. We should care; its our money. Not to mention its a fellow nation under the rule of its despotic leader. Unfortunately, I am left asking this question: will Obama support to keep Mubarak in power solely to keep an ally on our side in a oil rich and tense region?

January 29, 2011

Quote of the Day

by WIZ

“It’s all well and good to take the high road and try to persuade and all of that bla, bla, bla.  However, the *entire* reason FOX has the ratings they do is because they do all of that ranting which appeals to the undereducated and uninformed masses.  The majority of these viewers consistently vote against their best interest simply because they are only able to understand the “us vs. them” mentality that FOX shovels 24/7.  It’s all about outrage and it sells (big time!) to that particular demographic,” a reader who wrote in to the Daily Dish.

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January 28, 2011

Know a Better Shoot Out Scene? II

by WIZ

A reader provides a link to the fire fight in Boondock Saints:

January 28, 2011

Scenes From Within the NYPD

by WIZ

I can tell I may already love this book:

Especially during his early days as a foot patrol man, Serpico, in civilian clothes after a four-to-midnight tour, would often seek out muggers on his own. Besides his talent for minicry, he has an actor’s ability with his body, and in a variety of guises – his favorite being that of an elderly man shuffling along over a cane, a big slouch hat concealing his features – he would go alone down dark and silent city streets in high crime areas, waiting for the attack to come, actually inviting it, his eyes probing each doorway for a sudden shadowy movement, his ears straining for the predatory fooffall behind his back.

A girlfriend, lying next to him in bed one night, said, “You must be crazy doing things like that. What are you trying to prove?”

“I’m not trying to prove anything,” Serpico replied. “I just want them to know how some poor slob feels when they jump him.”

Once four young muggers jumped Serpico. He whirled, kicked the knife out of the hand of the leader, drew his revolver, and watched them freeze. He identified himself as a police office and lined them up. (p.23)

January 28, 2011

For Those in the Philly Area…

by WIZ

I talked to my Mom last night and heard you all got a foot and a half of snow. Yikes!

H/T: Tony Auth

January 27, 2011

31 Leg Race

by WIZ

That was really fast!

January 27, 2011

Reax to the SOTU II

by WIZ

It was no coincidence that John Boehner looked like he was completely bored at the State of the Union. He thought the speech was “ok”.

Michele Bachmann provides a Tea Party response below:

Bachman’s solutions for health care would only drop prices .5%-1.5%. She and other TP followers seem bitter that their little tweaks didn’t make the cutting board and continue to petition for Obamacare (nice pejorative term, as usual) to be repealed. Then what? Go back to how things were with a few minor changes? Their free market system gave insurance companies the power over us and they continue to go after tort reform (which I don’t fully disagree with in principle) as their vendetta against lawyers.

January 27, 2011

Quote of the Day

by WIZ

“Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul,”– Teresa of Avila

 

January 26, 2011

Know a Better Shoot Out Scene?

by WIZ

I just finished watching this movie.

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January 26, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by WIZ

Will things revert back to this as the honeymoon aura wears off from the kumbaya lame duck session and we enter the 2012 election cycle?

H/T: Tony Auth

January 26, 2011

Reax to the SOTU

by WIZ

I was glad to know the date of the State of the Union at least a week in advance. It gave me so time to mull over what Obama was planning on talking about and hedge out some time to watch it.

The blogosphere is bugging about it so I might as well add my two cents and share some of what I’ve found to be insightful.

The Daily Dish has a nice wrap-up of reactions to the SOTU here. Below are a few that stood out to me.

Drezner on Obama’s five-year spending freeze:

Let’s all keep in mind that budgets are set one year at a time, and they’re mostly set by Congress. The president has a certain amount of agenda-setting power, but that’s about it. Members of Congress will do whatever they want, and next year they’ll once again do whatever they want. If that means spending more money, they’ll spend more money. Obama could announce a hundred-year discretionary spending freeze and it would mean about as much as a five-year freeze. This is more a PR exercise than anything else and should be evaluated on those terms.

Garance Frank-Ruta on the keywords within Obama’s speech (I like this one):

Tonight is about many things, but one of them, perhaps encouraged by the pressures of the 140-character tweet stream, is KEYWORDS. Ones the White House is emphasizing: innovate, educate, build, reform, responsibility. Ones it is not: “climate; gun; abortion(/choice/women’s health); Clinton; Bush; Israel; Egypt; England.”

The topic of gun control does not come up in the speech.

Gregg Easterbrook takes Obama to task about his lack of details pertaining to the here and now:

In the address there was a lot of talk about jobs and innovation, both obviously important: but issues that no president controls. There was talk of better access to high-speed Internet and of regulatory and tax-loophole reform: not one single person opposes either. There was dream-world talk of high-speed rail and energy in the year 2035. But there were precious few specifics regarding what will be done right now to address runaway federal debt. And runaway federal debt, which suggests the U.S. future may be less bright, is a major issue holding the economy back.

And I couldn’t leave out the Republican response, could I? Obama may be playing the long game with job numbers and the economy (amongst many other things within his first two years) but Paul Ryan definitely called him out on the unemployment sticking around 9.6% after the stimulus:

January 24, 2011

Quote of the Day

by WIZ

“Previous political experience got us into this mess. People are looking for a leader, not a politician,” says the possible Dark (no pun intended) Horse candidate.

Intriguing.

January 22, 2011

Are You Smart Enough to Become a U.S. Citizen?

by WIZ

Take the test. You need to answer at least 58 correct.

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January 22, 2011

Bullet in the Dome

by WIZ

Thanks for the warning, Glenn.

January 21, 2011

NYC Timelapse

by WIZ
January 20, 2011

Starbucks and Our Stomachs

by WIZ

I have never ordered anything from Starbucks above a tall. The new Trenta would make our stomachs explode (or burst), would it not?

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January 20, 2011

Health Care and Cost: Let’s Be Serious

by WIZ

One of the common critiques of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is its cost. Some have said that the big costs over a ten year span are mortgaging away our next generation’s livelihood. Reform will cost money and be difficult to take in. The alternative? Yesterday’s House repeal bill.

The House GOP has been quite strident about out of control spending. They have even gone on record as saying they would reinstate a spending method from yore that only allows spending with money we actually have. The repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would in fact shred that very promise:

And they’re going to suspend their own rules about paying as they go to cover the CBO’s $100 billion dollars of projected savings. That shows they’re not really serious about being fiscally responsible. It seems to me that unserious is really the best word, because it covers so much of what’s wrong. When they pander to Fox’s audience with theatrical bills that have no chance of becoming law, that’s unserious. When they talk about fiscal responsibility and then try to add $100 bn to the debt without covering it, in violation of their own grandstanding rules, that’s unserious. But at the same time, when they start investigating the President — when they say this is the most corrupt administration in recent history — that’s unserious as well.

Even though the GOP repeal bill includes a few tweaks, it includes no general plan or policy. Opposition indeed is much easier than governing.