Americano Got the Sleepy Eye
Ed Morrissey mounts (then abandons) an attempt to catalog the entirety of Joe Biden's "symphony of stupid" vis a vis familial travel recommendations.
The (presumably well-staffed) Office of Vice Presidential Backpeddling didn't even bother trying to spin a fanciful contortion of Biden's comments. They're just insisting he didn't say what he said.
Biden on the Today Show:
I would tell members of my family, and I have, I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now. It’s not that it’s going to Mexico, it's you're in a confined aircraft. When one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft. That’s me. I would not be, if I had another way, another way of transportation, suggesting they ride the subway.
The White House quickly arranged for Biden to make this statement through a spokesperson.
“On the Today Show this morning, the vice president was asked what he would tell a family member who was considering air travel to Mexico this week. The advice he is giving family members is the same advice the administration is giving to all Americans: that they should avoid unnecessary air travel to and from Mexico. If they are sick, they should avoid airplanes and other confined public spaces, such as subways. This is the advice the vice president has given family members who are traveling by commercial airline this week. As the president said just last night, every American should take the same steps you would take to prevent any other flu: Keep your hands washed; cover your mouth when you cough; stay home from work if you’re sick and keep your children home from school if they’re sick.”
Do as I say, not as I said.
Pandemics: Pathway To Negative Nominal Interest Rates
Econ humor. Gotta love it.
Another Building-Buzzing Air Force One Glamor Shot Slated For DC?
When's the Shanksville fly-by? They ought to promote that one ahead of time to make sure there are people in the field to freak out.
Warm Feelings About 100 Days of Obama Buoy Stocks, Despite GDP Report
Even so, the unexpectedly severe shrinkage constitutes a deceleration from the previous quarter, when the economy contracted 6.3%.
Audio of 911 Calls Prompted by Ingenious Air Force One Photo Op
(HT: Rowdy Yates)
Democratic Opposition To Card Check Grows
Washington, D.C. (April 28, 2009) – The Workforce Fairness Institute today issued the following statement concerning Senator Arlen Specter and the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act (EFCA).
“Senator Specter has stated he will vote against cloture on the Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act because it requires ‘compulsory arbitration’ and ‘elimination of the secret ballot.’ His change of party simply increases the number of Democrats opposing this job-killing legislation,” said Katie Packer, executive director of the Workforce Fairness Institute. “Union bosses like Andy Stern and Jimmy Hoffa may believe they can pressure elected officials into supporting their causes – much like they do workers signing union cards – but Senate Republicans and Democrats alike have clearly expressed an unwillingness to support legislation that removes the right of workers to vote on contracts and on the formation of a union."
Strategy Room 3:00-4:00
After a few week hiatus, I'll be returning to Fox News' Strategy Room today at 3 pm.
My apologies for having left everyone so addled and directionless for want of my insight during this absence.
Video Of the Idiotic Air Force One Photo Op (And Frightened New Yorkers Fleeing)
Let's adopt this rule of thumb going forward: If it's low enough to sound a discernible jet engine Doppler effect at street level, it's too low for a jumbo jet to fly over lower Manhattan without alerting the public.
Lie To Me*
I'm jazzed about this for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the fact that I really enjoy Lie To Me* (any vehicle for Pumpkin/Ringo/Mr.Orange is a worthy vehicle) and wouldn't want to see a new episode preempted.
Yes, the irony is an added bonus (compounded by the fact that the show frequently showcases images of notorious fibbing politicians wearing fib-betraying microexpressions at the commercial cutaways).
But what I'm most eager to see are the Nielsen ratings for the 8 o'clock hour Wednesday night.
While Fox won't be donating its $10 million hour of prime time sweeps airtime to the 4th consecutive monthly polinfomercial, Fox News and Fox Business will (as will CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, CNBC, and MSNBC).
Are Hugs the Elusive "Giffen Good"?
Perhaps (despite the strong possibility that this is staged).
Either way, anything that teaches a hippie a lesson in economics is honorable work indeed.
Ahh... watching Jack Bauer (even in his neurologically impaired state) angrily putting Jeanine Garofalo's "24" character in her place regarding what's necessary to defend the country is indescribably gratifying.
The Gift Of [Teleprompted] Gab
Reid, D-Nev., writes: "'That speech was phenomenal, Barack,' I told him. And I will never forget his response. Without the barest hint of braggadocio or conceit, and with what I would describe as deep humility, he said quietly: 'I have a gift, Harry.'"
With no slight intended toward Obama's ability to read copy with deeply moving intonation and pacing, I have trouble imagining the phrase "I have a gift" being delivered "without the barest hint of braggadocio or conceit" or "with what I would describe as deep humility."
Awaiting Janet Napolitano Press Briefing
Topics to include swine flu, which - as the HomeSec sec will doubtless remind us - migrated into the U.S. in recent days via the Canadian border.
Pulpit Bully, Revisited
It's starting to look like the next in the series of cost-free, hour-long, prime-time infomercials might be scrubbed.
[P]rogrammers are starting to act peeved at Obama's primetime interruptions -- one a month since January -- because every speech and press conference results in a loss of ad revenue and scheduling problems.
Assuming a 30-second primetime spot runs an average of $150,000, media buyers estimate it costs the broadcast networks a combined $10 million per hour. ... "It's really cutting into them, especially with what's going on with the advertising market," said Brad Adgate, head of research for Horizon Media, a media-buying firm. "I don't think their revenue models anticipated these monthly State of the Unions."
The networks got Obama's request on Thursday. Both Fox and NBC said no decision had been made as of yesterday evening. Both networks also have the option of shifting it to their respective cable-news outlets, Fox News and MSNBC.
CBS and ABC news didn't respond to requests for comment by presstime.
Just throw it on YouTube. Anyone who cares to see it will go find it.
Previously: Pulpit Bully
"Nobody in this country realizes that cap-and-trade is a tax -- and it's a great big one," Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan) said Friday.
Protectionism: It's Not Just For Nations Anymore
With due respect and the utmost deference to my State Senator (who I can attest is a lovely person), how do I put this diplomatically...
Did I really lose to this woman?
(Albany, N.Y.) The New York State Senate today unanimously passed legislation that will create a program to provide for the planning and development of regional and urban farmers market facilities that will give consumers access to fresh, locally grown New York produce and other goods.
The legislation passed by the Senate creates a revolving loan system to aid in the successful adoption of farmers markets. It also allocates for planning grants and will support construction costs for the farmers’ market facilities.
By creating new, accessible and larger markets for small businesses, the bill will also cut down on pollution and shipping costs associated with transportation of produce from outside the state, and provide healthy, fresh food to New Yorkers.
“Buying locally builds relationships, economic and otherwise. This program is ideal because it benefits New Yorkers from every region of the state, while providing a terrific economic development model to keep investments local,” said Senator Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), who before being elected to the Senate was the Associate Director of the Community Food Resource Center where she became a nationally recognized leader in hunger and poverty issues. “This is literally a win for everyone involved—the farmers, producers, and consumers all benefit from healthy, fresh, easily transportable goods that remain in-state and help our own markets grow.”
Just to get some terms out of the way before we proceed, "revolving loan system to aid in the successful adoption of" = "economic subsidy to" = "fines against competitors of".
And while we're ironing out our econo-semantics, "protectionism" and "ideal" aren't two concepts I usually file in close neural proximity.
While Krueger's supportive quote is an emblematically silly endorsement of the ill-conceived measure, I only wish we could chalk this all up to the newly Democratically-controlled New York State Senate. But it was unanimously passed by our state's illustrious upper house.
Monetarily incenting buying behavior - no matter how quaint, organic, or soy-based the target beneficiaries may be - does not build relationships, neither economic, nor "otherwise". What it does is restrict free trade, drive up costs for all involved (other than for those direct, quaint, organic beneficiaries), and encourage retribution from parties outside the besainted ring of protection (in this case, including 49 other states, many of which know how to truck things), thus perpetuating a vicious cycle which can only result in a net destruction of economic value for all involved parties.
[Side note: I get the feeling that the people who favor this kind of legislation are the same people who hit the UP button while waiting for a DOWN elevator, even after having hit the DOWN button. They figure simply making more requests of the elevator can only expedite their trip (even if it might delay others). Despite the mathematical certainty that this irrational behavior will, at best, have zero effect on the transgressor's wait time to get to the lobby and, at worst, will slow him or her down, it's inexplicably common. -- Trying to get an elevator at Empire State Plaza must be murder.]
If "keeping investments local" is an axiomatically good thing, why not forbid (or at least monetarily punish) all foreign entities from investing in the United States (and invite them to do likewise)? Why not similarly dissuade the general public from investing in domestic companies, unless they can document a pre-existing geographic or familial relationship? Indeed, why not discourage by government fiat any U.S. citizen from transacting with any other citizen outside his or her home town? And/or his or her own family?
Obviously, I can't answer these questions.
I almost can.
No joke, it's on the tip of my tongue. And I know the answers have something to do with... division of labor, economic competition, the allocation of scarce resources... and other voodoo claptrap I've probably been spoon-fed over the years.
But I recognize that these nonsense phrases have finally become painfully passé.
And for any other drones out there who've wasted their time being indoctrinated with "economics", I'm confident you'll join in my jubilation at this cultural shift.
Yes (saints be praised), we've recently entered a glorious era of post-capitalism, wherein centuries of stubbornly validated free market theory are finally and definitively cast aside.
Still - and, admittedly, these are my pre-programmed, annoyingly rational, empirically-influenced neurons speaking here - do we really need to start pitting state against state in our noble effort to return to the salad days of 18th century pre-America, when we did our daily trading on charmingly sunlit cobblestone streets, happily exchanging our bread, tobacco, and typhoid? When we were sufficiently discreet to evacuate our bowels in pinewood outhouses? When we had the quiet dignity to expire before the age of 50?
I think our aptly demonstrated federal impetus to finally shed the illusory "benefits" of free trade should do the trick. And not a moment too soon. Give me an unholy, dystopic combination of "The Village" and "Logan's Run" any day. Who (other than the sort of animals who deign to walk into Starbucks without a disgusting, reusable coffee mug carabeinered to their Jansports) could ask for more than a sparingly brief, quaint life - full of cobblestones, sun-drenched open sewers, and whatever old-timey, cruelty-free equivalent we might one day find to tofurkey?
Fatal Hog Flu Comes to NYC?
Not only is it communicable person-to-person, but it can apparently leap straight from the US-Mexico border to the east coast.
I can't help but wonder if this is Waledac's doing.
Those Who Condemn the Past Repeatedly Misremember It
(Apologies for the bastardization, Señor Santayana.)
Rich Lowry weighs in on el presidente's selective and context-dependent validation of our nation's history of fighting for liberty.
Since NRO has an imposing new copyright heading their online columns, I'll go ahead and excerpt that bit too...
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column is available exclusively through King Features Syndicate. For permission to reprint or excerpt this copyrighted material, please contact: email@example.com, or phone 800-708-7311, ext 246.
The calendar says Pres. Barack Obama took office in 2009, although that’s only a technicality. In his own mind, Obama ascended in Year Zero, a time of ritualistic cleansing in preparation for the relaunching of an America free from its past sins.
Has an American president ever appeared less vested in his nation’s history than Barack Obama? He shrugged off a rancid attack on the United States by Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega at the Summit of the Americas, including a rant on the Bay of Pigs operation in 1961, by saying he’d only been 3 months old at the time. Nothing to do with me.
It’s Obama’s own personal novus ordo seclorum. Or as an Obama official put it, “His expectation is that these debates of the past can remain that, debates of the past.
In hopes of keeping the ghosts of William F. Buckley's lawyers off my back, I'll note that there's a lot more good stuff in Lowry's column and that you should click through to read the rest.
I'm All For Reducing the Size Of Government...
But the prosecution of crime seems like one of those functions we oughta hang onto.
It's Broken Windows theory in reverse.
Don’t even bother submitting the cases, [District Attorney Robert] Kochly said Monday in a memo to the Contra Costa County Police Chiefs Association. “If they are submitted, they will be screened out by category by support staff and returned to your department without review by a deputy district attorney,” he wrote…
Supervisor John Gioia, who represents Richmond, said the list of crimes that Kochly says he won’t prosecute is far longer now than what he told the board during its budget deliberations.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for the chief prosecutor in the county to inform the public at large what cases they’re not going to prosecute,” Gioia said…
Kochly said prosecutors will still consider charging suspects with certain misdemeanors, including domestic violence, driving under the influence, firearms offenses, vehicular manslauhter, sex crimes and assault with a deadly weapon.
At least Kochly had the good sense to announce this policy to the general public. Recessions can be stressful enough. The criminal element, so often the hardest hit by economic strife, doesn't need to be further disquieted by fear of reprisal for their indiscretions, instigated in the first place by the likes of Jamie Dimon and Vikram Pandit.
Happily, Andrew Cuomo's office remains sufficiently well-heeled to pursue the real villains.
(HT: Hot Air)
The permanent campaign is a lot more affordable when you can conjure up free, hour-long prime-time infomercials across the dial.
Here’s your feelgood story of the day: President Obama is saying “thanks for all your support” to the media behemoths who carried his water during the campaign by swiping a valuable hour of time during May Sweeps:
White House officials have requested up to an hour of airtime for Wednesday, April 29, according to TV Week. The press conference, which falls on the 100th day of Obama’s presidency, will probably air in the 8 o’clock hour and address questions of the president’s performance.
Broadcast networks have not yet announced their response, but a source said that they will most likely agree to the administration’s request.
I don't know if I'll be able to catch the jubilee's premiere, but hopefully it'll become available in a collector's edition leather-bound DVD set or as a podcast or at least commemorated with a "100 Days of Hopenchange" logo.
Shep Melts Down on Strategy Room
Via Allah, who aptly characterizes Smith's outburst as a bout of "mindless absolutism".
Children, avert your ears.
TARP in the 1st Degree
Larry Kudlow ponders widespread criminality lurking within the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Is the whole TARP plan a criminal enterprise? Sounds farfetched, I suppose. But after reading about Special Inspector General Neil Barofsky’s report, it may well be that TARP is just one big criminal problem.
Listen to this: Barofsky’s investigators reported Monday that they have opened 20 criminal probes into possible securities fraud, tax-law violations, insider-trading, and mortgage-modification fraud related to TARP. Yup, those are criminal probes. Barofsky is the special IG overseeing the bailout program. And for some reason the mainstream media refuses to report this on the front pages where it belongs.
Barofsky’s report spans 247 pages. And it says that the very character of the bailout program makes it “inherently vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse, including significant issues related to conflicts of interest facing fund managers, collusion between participants and vulnerabilities to money laundering.”
With due deference to Mr. Kudlow, who makes an important point here, it seems to me that his take is at once overly cynical and overly naive.
It's not that TARP on the whole is an inherently or conspiratorially criminal enterprise, but that government spending is always and axiomatically "inherently vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse." Take whatever fraud leakage estimate you favor, apply it to a several hundred billion dollar program, and you're going to find fraud on a scale to blush Mr. Madoff himself. Since the complexity of government programs - and thus the per-dollar opportunity to defraud - tends to scale with the size of such programs, the absolute scale of expected fraud likely increases non-linearly as the size of government programs swell. (Take a peek at New York's $45 billion in annual Medicaid spending for an arresting example.)
Kudlow will want to make sure he's sitting down before reading any reports Barofsky may issue on the prevalence of fraud among the multi-trillion dollar stimuli.
Question Of the Day
Coming soon in this series: Are bushes bushy? Is the pope catholic? Is the Spacepope reptilian?
Confirmed: Waterboarding Prevented Library Tower Attack
If it was okay to shoot to kill unmirandized pirate youths (under direct Presidential authority) in an effort to save Captain Phillips' life (a 3:1 tradeoff of baddies for innocents), mightn't it also have been okay to spook and discomfort a single terrorist leader to save thousands of innocent lives?
The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) -- including the use of waterboarding -- caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.
Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”
According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack -- which KSM called the “Second Wave”-- planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”
From Alarming News, "Facebook status of the day":
Matt Burke-- People are wondering how the President could have sat silent while Daniel Ortega trashed the USA for 50 minutes. It was easy for him--Reverend Wright used to go on for twice that time.
Patriotism vs. Nationalism vs. Self-Determinism vs. Crazyism
"Rethinking ... the very American ... principle of secession."
Ron Paul, will you ever go away?
We can revisit this once the dollar crashes and we're all bidding for canned goods with Liberty Dollars.
Don't Call It a Comeback
Charitably, you might call it premature.
From Roger Stone:
Having worked for Richard Nixon, I know a little bit about come-backs. The key element is timing. After some time in the wilderness, a public image can be remade. Eliot Spitzer seems to have missed this point with the wildly premature roll-out of his most recent bid for public respectability.
Newsweek, owned by the Washington Post Company that so loathed Nixon for doing exactly what Spitzer did - using the Government to spy on political opponents, leads the charge for the Spitzer rehab with a cover story.
Newsday tells us Spitzer has mastered the art of the recovery although 'the steamroller' has yet to grant an interview for anything but soft-ball interviews and known sympathizers in the media. No tough questions about his actions. In his recent Today Show, interview Spitzer tried to minimize his use of prostitutes by saying "it was not long"but in fact, Spitzer regularly used call-girls, sometimes as often as twice a week, for at least ten years including the time he was Attorney General and was prosecuting call-girl rings!
It is this hypocrisy which prevents Eliot Spitzer from ever having the public trust again.
Stone goes on to hint - none too subtly - that Kirstin Davis (the madam with whom Client #9 dealt) will divulge additional damaging information about Spitzer if he goes ahead with his plans to re-enter public life.
What's a few trillion among friends when you can save five hundred thousand a year on logos?
President Obama, whose healthcare and economic stimulus initiatives threaten to dramatically inflate the federal budget deficit, heralded a new push Saturday to cut wasteful spending in Washington...
The president singled out a move by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to end consulting contracts to create seals and logos that he said had cost the department $3 million since 2003.
After all, if there's one thing we know about this administration, it's that it has no time for superfluous logotyping.
(HT: Marginal Revolution)
"And I Hate... the F***ing Eagles, Man."
Eagles founder Don Henley and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell sued Assemblyman Chuck DeVore and a campaign worker Friday in federal court in Los Angeles, alleging that DeVore infringed on the copyright of their 1984 hit "The Boys of Summer."
According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court, DeVore, R-Irvine, and his Internet strategist Justin Hart created an online video in which new lyrics criticizing President Barack Obama replace Henley's words.
"The unauthorized use of Henley and Campbell's copyrighted work is synchronized with a series of photographic images of DeVore, Hart and President Barack Obama, among others," the lawsuit contends.
"Henley and Campbell did not, and would not, authorize the use of their song for this purpose," the suit said. "Viewers might also conclude that Henley and Campbell are political supporters of DeVore, which they are not."
DeVore is seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Barbara Boxer.
Henley, a longtime vocal supporter of Democratic causes, has drawn boos from fans in Orange County over the years for making political comments between songs during concerts.
E.M. Zanotti pens a preemptive amicus brief, in case it reaches the appellate stage.
"Mr. Henley has clearly missed that parody is a protected use of copyrighted material, through both the fair use exception and the laws explicit recognition that a derivative work, which this is, is a new work and therefore not subject to the copyright protections on the original work. Also, Mr. Henley clearly missed that this parody may, in fact, be better than the original song."
Update: Justin Hart (one of the two defendants) weighs in further.
One one side of the coin we have an excellent case. This was a parody (using a Don Henley son as a big trouble making lib) and a satire (on Obama). The former being absolutely protected, the latter being less so but still viable. Take, for instance, the Capitol Steps. Their Wiki page indicates that they never ask for permission for their parodies and satires.Still, there is the case against Jib Jab, which didn't turn out that way.
In short, it's relatively unsettled law in many respects. But I still feel confident we can go forward with it.
Update: More from Hart on the dead video link.
Here's the lowdown:1) The YouTube video was pulled early last week at the request of Henley2) We posted it on another streaming account (Hipcast)3) We filed an objection to YouTube pulling the item4) Henley had 10 days to rescind or file an actual lawsuit (which he did)5) Hipcast subsequently pulled it without the ability to counter (the jerks)6) We posted our second video of a Henley song "All She Wants to do is Tax, Tax" (which received 25,000 views)7) Henley doesn't own the rights to that but the REAL owners yanked it from YouTube yesterdayWe haven't decided whether to counter that one yet.Getting off the phone with a potential lawyer for our side we feel even more confident. The orchestration was a karaoke track from iTunes "(in the style of Don Henley)"He says our case is even stronger since Henley's lawyers indicated that they would have NEVER allowed permission for the use of the song. Which indicates that it's not about money but about politics.
Tax Facts To Make Your Head Explode
HT: The Corner
Georgetown "Neuters Self" For Obama
The Right Men For the Job
As we rejoice and marvel at the deft handling of the Somali piracy incident and the Navy SEALS' safe extraction of Captain Phillips, we can be thankful that the new helmsmen of U.S. foreign policy both served on the Senate Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on African Affairs.
No, neither one technically "attended" the subcommittee's meetings on Somali piracy over the last three years... but still, it was on their resumes. And that presumably gave the pirates pause. Perhaps just long enough to allow our dastardly military to do the deed.
Which Of These Things Would You Have To Be Paid the Least To Do?
From Jefferson to Dulles to Kissinger, there's a quiet dignity about the Secretary of State.
Select a prize from below, then make a contribution and you will be entered to win one of the below exclusive opportunities. These prizes are only being offered online and are only available for a limited time so you must act now.
- Spend a day with President Clinton in New York City
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- Attend the American Idol season finale
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- Spend a weekend in Washington, D.C. with James Carville and Paul Begala
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Gun to my head, I suppose I'd go with #2.
Seacrest seems marginally more tolerable than Bubba, Carville, or Begala.
You'll Read Nothing and Like ItI'm out of town through the weekend, during which time posting will be sporadic and half-hearted. Exuberant posting would make the baby Jesus cry anyway.
Rupert Murdoch: Cop Killer By Proxy
Worse still, Murdoch's Manchurian "may not be alone" in this "crazy, they're-coming-to-get-us mindset," per noted socio-criminologist Rick Sanchez.
Update: Please excuse my coarse rebuke of gentle Sanchez. A Hot Air commenter points out Rick's Twitter page, which makes it quite clear the courageous man-child is afflicted with some devastating variety of mental debilitation.
You keep on keepin' on, sport.
When an Irresistible Occam's Razor Encounters an Immovable Cognitive Dissonance
This is the God-awful train wreck of a result.
[Cliff's Notes for the rational: there's no ideological or technological conspiracy; crappy lefty blogs (even celebrated, crappy lefty blogs) offer a lower ad dollar ROI to lefty advertisers than traditional lefty media.]
I Don't Seek Amy, But...
Of course, it's possible that the Colorado DMV was simply offended by the applicant's public love of tofu (a perfectly reasonable reaction), not the "steamier" double spell-tendre.
Liberté, Égalité, Brutalité
PARIS (Reuters) - Almost half of French people believe it is acceptable for workers facing layoffs to lock up their bosses, according to an opinion poll published on Tuesday.
Staff at French plants run by Sony, 3M and Caterpillar have held managers inside the factories overnight, in three separate incidents, to demand better layoff terms -- a new form of labor action dubbed "bossnapping" by the media.
A poll by the CSA institute for Le Parisien newspaper found 50 percent of French people surveyed disapproved of such acts, but 45 percent thought they were acceptable.
"They are not in the majority ... but 45 percent is an enormous percentage and it demonstrates the extent of exasperation among the public at this time of economic crisis," Le Parisien said.
On March 31, billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault was trapped in a taxi in Paris for an hour by staff from his PPR luxury and retail group who were angry about layoffs. Riot police intervened to free him.
Kutner's Blood Is On Obama's Hands
If you watch "House" on Tivo, iTunes, or Hulu, and haven't yet taken in last night's episode, go ahead and stop reading.
The episode was billed by Fox as this season's absolute must-watch. And in terms of shock value, it didn't disappoint. Kal Penn's Dr. Lawrence Kutner (aka Kumar of Harold and Kumar) was found dead in his apartment, with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
The development didn't make a whole lot of sense. Of any of the team members, he was by far the least troubled (Thirteen is dying; Taub is a broke, guilt-ridden adulterer, excommunicated from his chosen profession; House is House; etc.). So strange was his suicide that House undertook an obsessive, but fruitless mission to prove it must have been murder.
The closest we got to any explanation was a snapshot House stumbles over in the final minutes, featuring Kutner looking less-than-ecstatic at some point during his adult life. The profound subtext is that House's perception may indeed be slipping, insofar as he was unable to discern that someone he worked with every day for two years was in crisis.
House has nothing to worry about. And neither do we viewers. He (and we) didn't fail to notice Kutner's suicidal trajectory, because there was nothing to notice. Kutner (the Kutner who lived in the brains of the show's writers, that is) wasn't suicidal.
It was indeed murder most foul.
Actor Kal Penn is leaving Hollywood for the White House.
Penn, best known for his roles as Kumar Patel in the “Harold & Kumar” movies and most recently as Dr. Lawrence Kutner on the television series “House” told EW.com that he will be associate director in the White House office of public liaison.
Penn was among many celebrities backing Barack Obama in his presidential campaign, and he spent a lot of his personal time volunteering for the campaign. The actor acknowledged that he will take a significant pay cut. “There’s not a lot of financial reward in these jobs. But, obviously, the opportunity to serve in a capacity like this is an incredible honor,” he said. (First daughters Malia and Sasha are also reportedly fans.)
In a dramatic exit, “House” executive producers had Penn’s character, Dr. Kutner, commit suicide in Monday night’s episode. “He worked very extensively for the Obama campaign and he’s been teaching at Penn. Kal is a man with broader ambitions than the entertainment industry,” producer David Shore said.
David Paterson's tenure of governor of New York may be a one-(partial)-and-done if he can't pull things together.
Top New York Democrats have privately set a deadline of early November for Gov. Paterson to turn his poll numbers around or they'll urge him not to run next year.
"The idea is to let him get through the budget and get through the summer," said a prominent Democratic donor who sees the fall elections as the cutoff for Paterson's improvement.
"Nobody really wants to go to a sitting Democratic governor who's African-American and say, 'Hey. You're a disgrace. Get out.'"
The reason this is bad news, of course, is because it could herald the end of Fred Armisen's gripping portrayal of the accidental governor.
What the Goracle Giveth the Messiah May Taketh Away
When Mother Jones and Jules Crittenden agree, isn’t that a sign of the apocalypse? Both take a hard look at the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, S.773 sponsored by Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME). The bill addresses the need to protect vital networks from cyber attack, but it gives a lot of power to the executive branch — perhaps too much power. Mother Jones reports:
The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (PDF) gives the president the ability to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” and shut down or limit Internet traffic in any “critical” information network “in the interest of national security.” The bill does not define a critical information network or a cybersecurity emergency. That definition would be left to the president.
Obama As Mom's New Boyfriend To Europe's Would-Be Stepchildren
Greg Gutfeld: grandmaster analogist.
So as President Obama continues to charm the hijabs off foreign dignitaries, he also cannot resist taking jabs at America – or more specifically, that horrible America that existed before he rose to power on a magical thunderbolt. According to the Messiah, "there have been times where America`s shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive," as this pigheaded country revealed "a failure to appreciate Europe`s leading role in the world."
While listening to all this, it dawned on me who Obama really is. He`s mom`s new boyfriend, trying to win over the suspicious offspring with ice cream and Happy Meals, while not so subtly crapping over the biological daddy - that poor soul paying all the bills and currently living in a one bedroom condo off the freeway.
If you ask me, it`s kinda gross. And I`m saying this, knowing that Obama has a sincere goal in smoothing over ruffled feathers. But enough already – at a certain point you have stop throwing your country under the double decker bus in an effort to get people to like you. It`s like the American tourist in a British pub who constantly tells everyone he didn`t vote for Bush. The more you apologize, the wussier you look.
#820 With a Bullet
And rising, mind you.
Global Warming Hyperbole Of the Day
"If China and India had the same energy consumption as the average American, we'd have all melted by now."
- President Barack Obama at G20 press conference
"But the thing you don't realize is that there's good naked and bad naked. Naked hair brushing, good. Naked crouching, bad."
- Jerry Seinfeld, The Apology
Self-declared socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (?-VT) doesn't seem to grasp the difference. Today, he succeeded in passing his non-binding budget amendment that seeks to "force the Fed to reveal the names of the entities it has lent money to, how much they've received and what they are doing with the money."
Transparency - particularly as relates to emergency lending programs and extra-particularly when we're getting so casual about throwing around trillions of dollars - is important. But not all transparency is created equal. Forcing disclosure on all Fed lending is a dangerous overreach, one which is certain to introduce a stigma that disincents banks from tapping traditional, long-standing, short-term funding mechanisms, like the discount window.
We have an urgent, crushing need for more transparency into where our trillions are being strewn around (and into how, by whom, and at whose behest those decisions are being so hurriedly made), which is why it's all the more regrettable that counterproductive (and possibly retroactive) transparency is being tossed in the mix.
I don't know that it's a coincidence that the market began to shake off its ebullience as soon as we got word of the amendment's passage.
Partying Like It's February 2009
Look kids, an 8-handle on the Dow.
Halfway through the trading day, the index is poised for its best close since February 9 (and more than 22% above the March 9 low).
Greed, For Lack Of a Better Word...
What Do You Get For the Woman Who Has Everything?
Especially after you snubbed her Prime Minister with a $320 box set of DVDs that don't work...
Well, if you've received a few etiquette lessons in advance of your meeting with Her Majesty, you might have enough savoir faire to recognize that the gift most fit for a queen is an iPod loaded up with some of your more memorable teleprompted orations.
Uploaded onto the iPod:
- Photos from the Queen’s 2007 White House State Visit
- Photos from the Queen’s 2007 Jamestown, Va., Visit
- Photos from the Queen’s 2007 Richmond, Va., Visit
- Video from the Queen’s 1957 Jamestown Visit
- Video from the Queen’s 2007 Jamestown Visit
- Video from the Queen’s 2007 Richmond Visit
- Photos from President Obama’s Inauguration
- Audio of then-state senator Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and
- Audio of President Obama 2009 Inauguration Address
HT: Hot Air