Friday, October 29, 2010


Randy Quaid seeking refugee status in Canada:

Mr. Quaid said he has been embezzled of everything to the tune of $40-million in earnings over the course of a 40-year career that has included parts in Independence Day, The Last Detail - for which he was nominated for a supporting actor Oscar - and Brokeback Mountain by a “monstrous ring” of estate planners and lawyers trying to “murder me” to assume control of his royalties, stating that he is better off dead to for these gangsters.

This is why you don't start using drugs.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Easy way to check if you are registered in Los Angeles and where you vote.
Brilliant Interview

Michael Totten with Martin Kramer on If Iran Gets the Bomb. Good point here re: The Gulf:

Iran wants to create uncertainty there because oil is the only thing it has. Iran has nothing else — some carpets and pistachio nuts, and that’s it. Their population continues to grow, their needs continue to grow, and their grand ambitions continue to grow. So this, I think, is the first thing they would do with it. All it takes is to create a crisis or a succession of crises.

Iran knows it can’t wrest sole hegemony in the Gulf from the United States, but it wants to create a kind of dual hegemony shared with the United States. Nobody knows where the lines would run, but they wouldn’t run just five to ten miles off the coast of Iran into the waters of the Persian Gulf. Iran would like to see its share extend to both sides of the Gulf, to effectively create a kind of push and shove between the United States and Iran.

Terrorism is a tool used by weak states against stronger states to wrestle away resources. Similar to the aggressiveness of a poker player with a small stack and a half decent hand.

The article talks about how Gulf stability relies on the US for security. Iran gaining the bomb would obviously undermine this stability. Likewise, Israel bombing Iran would also undermine the stability. He lays down the gauntlet on Obama:

It would be an astonishing lapse if a man who promised to roll back nuclear proliferation watched proliferation develop in one of the least stable parts of the world, a place where the United States has only been able to maintain even a modicum of stability by a massive projection of its own forces. The region is of prime interest to the entire world for its energy resources. If it becomes nuclearized, it will be the one thing for which Barack Obama would always be remembered by history, and he would be remembered by history as a failure.


Would would want to be President - dealing with this kind of shit?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Japanese Guys Turning Into Hipsters

A study on the new generation of Japanese men.

Look, guys searching for more well rounded lives and less focused on work, work, work, or in prior generations, raping and pillaging all of Asia is probably a good development. The problem is - with this pussification of men - is the fact that Mongol hordes or Fascist Stormtroopers will rise again from some backwater civilization and stomp all over our wealthy, debaucherous, progressive, former powers such as Japan and the United States. If not literally, at least metaphorically.

Running one can be bad for your heart.

No part of me wants nor feels the need to run a marathon.
Storming Off

Sometimes I wish liberals weren't such fricking sissies.

But if you’re any kind of liberal at all, even in the softest and most non-political possible sense, it’s basically an indefensible thing to do. Fox News wants liberalism to perish from the face of the earth. Going on their air on a regular basis and lending your name and reputation to their ideological razzle-dazzle is like agreeing to be the regular kulak guest columnist at Pravda in 1929. For “balance.”

Jesus Christ. You don't win arguments by refusing to talk to the other side. You win by making better arguments. Problem with liberals, they think they're right without needing to defend themselves. Problem with conservatives, they think they're right and will twist the facts to support their views.

Watched this 6 hour movie at the Egyptian on Saturday about the famous Venezuelan terrorist from the 70s known as Carlos "the Jackel." I enjoyed the experience overall as a sort of anti-Avatar epic. Plus, I'm a sucker for political intrigue, terrorism, spy, kind of stuff. The biggest takeaway from a subject matter standpoint was how much these terrorist organizations were puppets in the greater Cold War. They were tools of various organizations - radical offshoots of the PLO, the Syrians, later the Iraqis, who in turn were being used by the Russians to counter-balance American and Israeli power. The best sequence was an airline hijacking gone awry when his state supporters abandon him and the Saudis use their diplomatic muscle to force Carlos to "sell out." It really goes to show how terrorist organizations need sponsorship - a place to kick back and relax and plan. A way to eat and get weapons. A way to meet and train with like minded people.

It still surprises me that we can't roll up Al Queda. It means they still have supporters and sponsors. What I don't understand is how we don't know who these supporters and sponsors are. Why they aren't named. We know tens of millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia go to training these dudes in camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. How can we not figure out a way to stop it?

It has to do with leverage. Clearly, the spy services all over the Middle East and Muslim world have ties and are linked with these terrorist organizations. They don't always have full control, but they know what is going on. And they don't a reason to roll them up, only to keep them in a box, and unleash them "just in case."

Call me paranoid, but some of these fuck-faces we call allies knew about 9/11 and kept their mouths shut. Or looked the other way. Or, I suppose it is possible, they tried to warn us, but we ignored them or didn't have a way for the information to get to the right places. It is pretty impossible to believe that a terrorist organization can operate without some state support or at the very least, states choosing to ignore.

Monday, October 25, 2010


From Mark Steyn:

So we’re not facing “decline”. We’re already in it. What comes next is the “fall” – sudden, devastating, off the cliff.

Read the whole thing.
Overlawyered Morons

The NFL officials defend the Miami-Pittsburgh call. Maybe they followed the rules, but the rules are stupid and contradictory and don't make common sense. I hate the NFL. I'm cutting myself off.
Michael Mann

What filmmaker other than Michael Mann is able to pull off an interview in the Financial Times.

What's next: Foreign Affairs?
And Don't Forget Me

Kaus on how did Obama lose Moe Tucker, the Velvet Underground drummer.

I'm serious. Was it really necessary to piss people like her off? Tucker's almost a perfect Obama voter. She's a single grandmom. Not rich. Famously worked at Wal-Mart (after being a rock star) and complained about it. A lifelong Democrat—until now. Was what Obama felt he had to do—save Detroit, save Wall Street, jumpstart the economy, pass health care reform—inevitably incompatible with her world view? Was a huge rebellion of people like her simply what you get when you "impose a liberal agenda" on a "center-right country," as Charles Krauthammer argues? Or did Obama gratuitiously fail to reassure her that her not unreasonable fears (e.g. "How the hell will this utopian dream land be paid for?") were unfounded?

Good points, all. One of my biggest beefs with the stimulus wasn't that it was tried, but how it was tried. It all seemed so phony from the get-go. Census workers. Really? Green jobs? Come on. FDR built the Golden Gate Bridge. Obama paid some people part time wages to go around and count households (plus, was this really additional anyway, wouldn't we have done census taking with or without the recession?).

If I were Obama, I'd point out how this was an opportunity to get labor on the cheap. A sale, essentially. Now we could build an awesome new tunnel underneath Los Angeles that runs from Santa Monica to downtown - and the cost would be 75% of what it would cost during a boom time because the labor would be cheap. It would solve the traffic problem in LA. Unclog the 10. And just as importantly - it would be symbolic. Something we can see and understand. People would see others laboring and working at building something useful. Cool idea, right? I'm sure other cities have cool ideas, too.

What we got with the Obama stimulus was a bail out of the auto companies -- leaving us thinking -- fine, it keeps jobs, but I still won't buy their cars. Whereas with the tunnel, I'd be like - fuck yeah - now I can drive on the 10 during the week without crazy ass traffic. With the census - it feels like nothing significant - with funding "Green Jobs" it just feels like politically correct nonsense and I can't see and understand who is being funded and for what purpose. Maybe if someone put a solar panel on the roof of my office and now all of sudden our energy bills dropped or something like that - but I don't see that happening. These "Green" projects don't seem ready to go. I don't feel like taxpayer money ought to go towards a bunch of hippies sitting around "thinking" about Green Energy solutions and in absence of alternative evidence, it seems like that is what funding Green solutions amounts to. If not, it is the job of the Green community to demonstrate otherwise.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Hate the NFL

Watching Miami-Pittsburgh game (because I can no longer bear to watch the 49ers) and there was a play that makes no sense whatsoever. Roethlisberger dives on a QB sneak towards the endzone and the ball is knocked loose for a fumble. But the ruling on the field is touchdown because they think he crossed the plane before fumbling. On a similar play earlier this year, Calvin Johnson catches a ball at the end of the game for a touchdown, but the ball comes loose at the end of the play and the rule says in order for it to be a touchdown, the player must "complete the play," ie in the CJ case, come down with full possession. How do these rules make any sense? On one play, all that matters is that he crosses the plane with possession. On the other play, he must "complete the play," and not just have possession for a moment in the endzone? These are totally contradictory and defy common sense.

The NFL sucks. The players are too fast and too 'roided up. The league knows the long term damage it is doing to the players - and not just the head injuries. It's all fucked up. The games are awful to watch - too long - too many reviews - to many commercials. There's too much pressure on these teams. They all play nervous and are all worried about being cut or fired every moment. I'm about ready to swear off the whole league. It reminds me of a hot chick you keep hooking up with despite knowing it is headed no where good, but you can't pry yourself away because she has a hot body and it beats doing nothing on Sunday. Every minute I spend watching football, I hate myself afterward for wasting the time and money.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Kaus gets a prize for being one of the O.B. (Original Bloggers - I count him, Andrew Sullivan, Drudge, Instapundit...maybe I'm missing someone) and running against Boxer and being harshly critical of Democrats as a Democrat and having super good bits. But he also gets the prize for sloppiest and most difficult to read blog format. He reminds me of a dude I went to school with who was super smart but a total slob and would come into class like that Peanuts character with dirt surrounding him, just a total mess and slop trying to find his homework in an overstuffed backpack full of loose papers. Anyhow, here is the good bit.

Update: Peter Thiel emails:

One critical point, that I have perhaps not stressed enough: We have a runaway debt bubble in education, and the costs of servicing these debts makes it much harder for students to take a number of lower-paying salaries (in non-profits, in start-ups, and indeed in a range of intangibly rewarding jobs). Effectively, our education system is steering people away from the high-risk careers that will take our civilization to its next level. This is a relatively recent change, and I don't think the debt levels were so daunting in the 1970s or 1980s.


The left and right blogosphere seem to agree NPR overstepped in their firing of Williams. Kaus makes a funny bit.

National Public Radio CEO Vivian Schiller has now apologized for a "thoughtless" remark about Juan Williams, whom she fired as an analyst for admitting that he gets "worried" when he's flying and sees people in "Muslim garb" on the plane. Schiller had told an Atlanta crowd that Williams should take his feelings up with "his psychiatrist or his publicist."

Will Schiller now fire herself? NPR officials seem to have a free-floating hair trigger oversensitivity, even about their own thoughts. This wouldn't seem to make for exciting, or even honest, radio. It's clear from this interview, for example, that Williams' firing was in part delayed punishment for him saying that Michelle Obama had "this Stokely Carmichael in a designer dress thing going on." I guess that was a colorful line. Can't have that . . .

They were wrong and overreacted. Better to fess up quick rather than string it out.
If Liberal PC Monsters Get Their Way

All public language will be neutered and we'll all soon talk like politicians for fear of being called racist or otherwise not subscribing to the party line.
Political Correctness Backlash

Good to hear journalists on the Left and Right are coming to Juan Williams defense on being fired for his harmless remarks.

Sad that in America today you can be fired for speaking a truthful, if perhaps unenlightened, opinion. Contrast this with the fact that NO ONE has gone to jail for the entire financial mess, no one at the Fed or Treasury department was fired, no one was fired for the intelligence failure of 9/11 or the WMD situation in Iraq. No one gets fired for any of these absolutely massive breakdowns and failures -- and a journalist gets fired for being asked his opinion and stating it.

You wonder why the mood in this country is low. Because of bullshit like this.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Elect Fareed Zakaria Already

Can we just elect this guy President or something already? Or can Obama just do what Zakaria says? The dude comes correct.

Here is a smart point about the present state of the economy:

And yet something feels different this time. Technology and globalization are working together at warp speed, creating a powerful new reality. Many more goods and services can now be produced anywhere on the globe. China and India have added literally hundreds of millions of new workers to the global labor pool, producing the same goods and services as Western workers at a fraction of the price. Far from being basket-case economies and banana republics, many developing economies are now stable and well managed, and companies can do business in them with ease. At some point, all these differences add up to mean that global competition is having quite a new impact on life in the U.S.

Two weeks ago, for example, I sat in a Nano, the revolutionary car being produced by Tata Motors in India. It's a nice, comfortable midgetmobile, much like Mercedes-Benz's Smart car, except that rather than costing $22,000, it costs about $2,400. Tata plans to bring it to the U.S. in two to three years. Properly equipped with air bags and other safety features, it will retail at $7,000. Leave aside the car itself, whose price will surely put a downward pressure on U.S. carmakers. Just think about car parts. Every part in the Nano is made to global standards but manufactured in India at about a tenth of what it would cost in America. When Ford orders its next set of car parts, will they be made in Michigan or Mumbai?

The math is simple. Easy jobs can be done for cheaper overseas. Managing those easy jobs can be done cheaper overseas. Our cost of living is too expensive to be competitive for most manufactured goods. To justify our cost of living, we need to be producing shit that no one else can produce - examples - Hollywood movies, world wide pop stars, Apple ipods (although I bet they are built elsewhere), and other cool shit. If you ain't building that shit or doing shit that needs to be done local - teaching, police, fireman, etc, you're losing your job to Indians or Mexicans or Chinese eventually.

Why didn't anyone see this coming? What have economists been doing the past 30 years? How did we get into this ridiculous, unsustainable cycle where economic growth was based upon two falsities that propped each other up: inflated house prices, ie wealth and easy/cheap credit.

Now the chickens have come home to roost on this spin back loop of nonsense. It was as if a book author got paid to write a book, then wrote an anonymous positive review of the book for the newspaper to get some people to buy his book, and then bought more copies of the book with the money he was paid for book to further demonstrate he was a bankable author. Then he did it over and over for 30 years with the same cycle and finally someone who actually knows something said, maybe I ought to read this guy - he's published 30 books and then says "Shit, this book sucks why did all those reviewers and other people like the book so much? Just as the house of cards is about to collapse, we have other authors - who did the same thing as the first author - rush to the first authors defense and swear it is a good book and all his books are good (this is the bailout and stimulus). So the question is - when will it all stop? And are any of these dudes good authors?
I'll Believe It When I See It

Maybe Facebook will produce more entrepreneurs.

All these futurists, if you ask me, are rain making us. They predict rain. Then when it rains, they say "see, I predicted it." And when it doesn't, the say, "global warming" or some other "unanticipated" excuse.

Show me the entrepreneurs.
I Get Where She Is Coming From

Sharron Angle claims she is Asian.

I'm blacker than she is Asian. And we're both right. I'm more half asian than her, though. A lot more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Call It

A stupid New York Times article about all the one-liners disappearing from movies.

The obvious thing is that it takes some time for one-liners to be solidified into the verbal lexicon. But just off the top of my head, "Are you afraid of violence?" "I'm a fiend for mojitos," and "We can get down if the play calls for it." And that's just one movie, sucka.

And much as I love Chinatown - "Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown" isn't exactly quoted very often.

Lame, NY Times, lame.

It is mildly scary to read things like this:

CIA WAS WARNED OF ATTACK: A blistering CIA report outlines the mistakes the spy agency made which should have prevented an attack that claimed the lives of seven agents at a U.S. base in Afghanistan in December 2009. The CIA was warned that the assailant was a double agent. In spite of this, it failed to take necessary security precautions that could have prevented the attack by the double agent from Jordanian intelligence, suicide bomber Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawj. “He had confirmed access within extremist circles, making a covert relationship with him—if he was acting in good faith—potentially very productive,” CIA Director Leon Panetta wrote agency employees. “But he had not rejected his terrorist roots. He was, in fact, a brutal murderer.”

Judging by the amount of money we spend on the CIA and the relative poverty of our foes, I'd say their track record is pretty unimpressive. My gut instinct is that the CIA is bloated and stupid like most large corporations, which is why shifty cells of terrorists are basically able to run circles around them. They're set up to protect themselves from KGB infiltration and to wear down other large spy services, not deal with these run and gun terrorist groups. NY City PD would probably be better at their job than they are.
Whoop Whoop

To whoop or not to whoop

Yet the black church has long been ambivalent about whooping. Some scholars say contemporary black churches are abandoning whooping because they think it's crass. But more white preachers are discovering it through YouTube and by sharing the pulpit with black preachers.

Let me say without equivocation, I am in favor of the whoop whoop. Whoop Whoop!
Ivy League "Elite"

I'm a California dude born and raised, so I honestly don't have much experience with the Ivy League "elite" or faux-elite, as the tea party would have you believe.

"It's only one subset of Ivy Leaguers that seems to bother anybody....the lawyer-social engineers-journalist-activists they churn out by the boatload," as he writes in The Corner. "To the extent the Ivy League comes up it is as a code word [for an aggressive, progressive agenda] that is pissing so many people off."

To be fair, this just strikes me as a form of the limousine liberal critique of which perhaps the Ivy League is a leading subset.

More to the point -

This meritocracy has created an "elite" without merit. In everyone's eyes but its own.

All sorts of people, Ivy League or not, are born on third base and think they hit a triple. I suppose a couple things we can agree upon -

Who gives a shit where you went to college?

The elites - Ivy League or not - did a reckless job managing our economy, a piss poor job at educating us on the dangers of Islamic Radicalism prior to 9/11, and a bad job of managing the first half of the Iraq War.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hurt vs. Injured

NFL is looking into cracking down on head to head and other vicious hits.

They should. No one could watch the replays of the hits on Jackson and the Browns receiver right over the middle and think that is acceptable. Those are blind receivers being slammed with incredible force right to their brains. In some respects, hits like those are worse than boxers taking punches, which at least they ought to be slightly prepared for and both parties aren't moving at such speeds.

Harrison makes a fair and good point: he wants to hurt the other player when he hits him, but he doesn't want to injure him. That is a fine distinction I myself have never made, although I know exactly what he is talking about. I played soccer, not football, and going into to tackles, I certainly want to make the other player feel it. That's part of the game - part of the good part.
Storm off the Show

Good thing public musings isn't a talk show for woman, because just linking to this provocative article would cause several to storm off....

Leading Islamic Scholar Bernard Lewis:

The degree of thought control, of limitations on freedom of speech and expression is without parallel in the Western world since the eighteenth century and in some cases longer than that. … It seems to me it’s a very dangerous situation, because it makes any kind of scholarly discussion of Islam, to say the least, dangerous. Islam and Islamic values now have a level of immunity from comment and criticism in the Western world that Christianity has lost and Judaism has never had.

This is coming up now because in the Netherlands they are prosecuting Dutch MP Geert Wilders for hate speech. For saying this:

I have nothing against the people. I don’t hate Muslims. But Islam is a totalitarian ideology. It rules every aspect of life — economics, family law, whatever. It has religious symbols, it has a God, it has a book — but it’s not a religion. It can be compared with totalitarian ideologies like Communism or fascism. There is no country where Islam is dominant where you have a real democracy, a real separation between church and state. Islam is totally contrary to our values.

As the story goes, prosecutors didn't even want to bring the case, but the judiciary forced their hand. The rest of the article basically goes on to attack Islam as not a "religion of peace," but rather a totalitarian ideology incapable of coexisting with other faiths and systems. certainly poses an interesting challenge of values...say the free practice of a particular religion encroaches upon the freedom of other rights such as speech, property, etc. How do we balance these things? Very provocative article. Very good, too.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Being Monitored

Facebook friends may be a Federal Agent:

One document reveals widespread information gathering around the time of the 2009 inauguration of President Obama: “Narcissistic tendencies in many people fuel a need to have a large group of ‘friends’ link to their pages, and many of these people accept cyber-friends that they don’t even know. This provides an excellent vantage point for FDNS to observe the daily life of beneficiaries and petitioners who are suspected of fraudulent activities.”

I hope they catch the criminal who stole my identity and started a fake facebook page of me.
News on Bin Laden

Rumors are circulating about our knowledge of his whereabouts.

Look - if part of the deal we get out of the Taliban-Pakistan-Afghanistan talks is OBL and Zawahiri - we absolutely need to give Obama credit for the Afghanistan surge/drone use uptick and recalibration of the conflict. IF...
Troubling Story

How the housing crisis and reaction to it is crushing the spirits of regular middle class folks trying to play by the rules.

Dealing with the bureaucratic process of rejigging mortgage payments with all sorts of weird new rules and faceless/nameless organizations sounds like a complete nightmare. I had a similar situation, albeit on a much smaller scale, dealing with the City of LA trying to assess me a business operating fee when I did some independent contracting. I still hold the City of LA owes me $300.

I know this is naive and impossible, but it strikes me this mortgage business needs a quick, painful clean up. The "ripping off the band-aid" solution. The longer we kick the issue down the road and ignore the fundamental issues, the more complex and burdensome and nightmarish it becomes. It's like the person with credit card debt who starts transferring the balances all over the place to get better rates. It is totally useless and wasteful activity and does not address the core issue. With something as large as the mortgage crisis it just compounds itself, creating more useless side industries of government agencies "managing" non-bankruptcies, predatory lawyers and accountants helping navigate the new confusing and nonsensical rules and small print.

The way I see it, people ought to either pay their mortgage, declare bankruptcy, or renegotiate with the bank to avoid bankruptcy.

I don't understand why mortgage holders deserve a special class of debtors. Why are they entitled to rights beyond regular debtors and borrowers? Why are they entitled to "pay less" than say, student loan holders, or small business loan holders?

Homeowners get to keep the profits they make off their homes if the prices skyrocket. Thus, if the prices go down, they need to accept the losses. Sure, the market was manipulated and it wasn't fair. But so what? When the market was manipulated in the other direction (up), I didn't see a lot of homeowners giving the profit back. Sometimes life sucks and you need to take it on the chin. At the same time, you signed the loan. That was money you borrowed. Nothing more. On some level being "underwater" doesn't matter. You borrowed X, you need to pay back X. No one said prices were guaranteed to go up. Or maybe they did, but they were lying, and you gotta admit to being a bit of a sucker to have believed it.

I suppose I'm unsympathetic because I'm a renter and generally don't any significant debt and probably would feel differently with an underwater house. Nevertheless, I'm talking about how to solve the problem and I ain't volunteering to pay for all these various bail outs, so someone has to, I figure it is the debtor.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Not Less Wrong

A French woman rips a burqa off a Muslim women and is unrepentant --

“To me wearing a full veil is an attack on being a woman. As a woman, I felt attacked.” Marlene, whose country has since banned women from wearing a face-covering veil like a burqa or niqab in public, added, “I knew I would crack one day. This whole saga of the burqa was really getting to me.”

Well, she certainly was wrong to do this, but she isn't "more wrong" than anyone claiming offense at the Muhammad cartoons -- or non-Muhammad cartoons.

I think the concern with Muslim feelings, etc, isn't about respect for liberty or rights or anything other than an instinctual fear of picking on the small guy or the minority. The irony, of course, is the Muslim world has not demonstrated any sympathy to minority opinion or rights or the small guy, yet cravenly demands it from the West.

Friday, October 15, 2010


The Fed wants to lower interest rates. At this rate, soon they'll be negative.

The Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, indicated on Friday that the central bank was poised to take additional steps to try to fight persistently low inflation and high unemployment. “Given the Committee’s objectives, there would appear – all else being equal — to be a case for further action,” he said in a detailed speech at a gathering of top economists in Boston. Bernanke noted that “unconventional policies have costs and limitations that must be taken into account in judging whether and how aggressively they should be used.” But he suggested that the Feds were prepared to manage the risks associated with the most powerful tool remaining in the Fed’s arsenal of weapons to stimulate the economy: vast new purchases of government debt to lower long-term interest rates.

I remember being a kid and putting money in a savings account and getting like 3-4% interest. It may have been even higher. Now, I'd happily take a stock with a dividend of that much with low growth potential. Why? Because I'd like a little return on my money. Does anyone care about how much money is being redistributed from savers to borrowers with this whole interest rate ridiculousness? I can't imagine these low rates are sustainable. It all kind of grosses me out fundamentally. It rewards borrowing, so does it come as any surprise to find ourselves in incredible debt?

A scathing critique of newspapers pulling a cartoon.

This is not about showing polite consideration for the feelings of others, which is entirely appropriate. Gratuitously mocking other people's religious beliefs is uncalled for. But there was nothing remotely, never mind gratuitously, offensive about the "Non Sequitur" cartoon -- the target of which was violent intimidation, not Islam. Nevertheless, many newspapers apparently feared that some Muslims somewhere could, maybe just possibly, take offense. Parts of the media seem to have been intimidated to such a degree that they are now pre-emptively silencing their most entertaining and creative voices.

Once upon a time, members of the media could be counted upon to champion free expression even when nobody else would. Where the First Amendment was implicated, newspapers were willing to go to bat for everyone from neo-Nazis to Hustler magazine, and to take on powerful institutions from the Vatican to the Pentagon, often while patting themselves on the back for "speaking truth to power." Yet when it comes to the Islamic question, many in the media will not even stick up for themselves. That is, to say the least, a very ominous development.


I'm pretty excited to see Carlos, the epic 5.5 hour biopic on Carlos the Jackel.

It sounds like the anti-Avatar, a return to a David Lean like epic in the post 9/11 world. Nothing fancy. Just good old fashioned character and action. I may just need to devote a day to the cinema.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wait A Second....

Sullivan almost suckers me into thinking we're all giving Obama too hard a time.

Preventing a second Great Depression, which was a real possibility (and not just the jobless recovery we're in, but a full-scale collapse), rescuing the banks without nationalizing them, saving the auto-companies with precision and technocratic skill (I didn't think it would work at all, and it did), re-setting relations with the rest of the world, bringing a new sanity and balance to Middle East policy, taking out 400 al Qaeda operatives, using the myth of the surge to get the hell out of Iraq (for the most part), upping the ante to get a deal with the Taliban and enacting a centrist, moderate law that for the first time in history ensures that anyone can get health insurance in this country ... really, in perspective, pretty damn remarkable.

Hold up, hold up, hold up. Why does Obama get credit for preventing a second Great Depression? First, I still find the claim we were several days from total financial collapse a bit dubious. It is impossible to know this, of course. And yes, I suppose we ought to listen to the experts (nevermind they are the ones who got us there), and the top people seemed to all think this whole thing was pretty goddamn serious and close to major disaster. But let's be honest here - it was Bush's people who reacted to the crisis first and it was their plan that saved "total initial meltdown" with the TAARP bail out.

What Obama added was the Stimulus, Cash for Clunkers, extended welfare benefits, and the Auto Bail Out. Is Sullivan seriously claiming that without the Stimulus we would have sunk into a second Great Depression? I find this claim to be ludicrous. I know about 2 people who got stimulus help. I assume a few others got extended welfare benefits. I know about 250 people - meaning everyone I know - who are going to paying for that Stimulus in the years to come.
Agreeing with O'Reilly

Call me crazy, but I'm agreeing with O'Reilly now. Jesus, what is the world coming to? First of all re: Whoopi and the other lady walking off...let me give major props to Barbara Walters who totally calls them out on their childish nonsense. If the Left at all wonders why they are losing people like me (I actually don't think they care), they need to look no further than the behavior in this video.

Second, O'Reilly is right about the Ground Zero Mosque. Just take it to the Skokie, Ill case. Of course the Nazis have the "right" to march. But it doesn't mean we need to endorse it, or be in favor it? Or march with the Nazis. Now before going all crazy and saying I'm comparing Muslims to Nazis, just take the point that you can believe in rights vs. support an activity/cause. I don't support all sorts of things -- from Nazis to Facebook to Internet Dating to building a mosque on ground zero. Don't ask me to support them. I agree anyone has the right to be a Nazi (I suppose), or use Facebook, to Internet Date, or to build a mosque on their property, or root for the Yankees. Do I think these things are smart or wise: NO. Do most Americans agree with me on the mosque: YES.

But so what if people agree? 500 million people disagree with me about Facebook. I'm still right. And if I'm President and someone asks: are you in favor of Facebook, I say "No, I'm not." I don't say, "No comment," which is exactly what Obama said. No comment? Really, dude? Well, isn't the whole point of being President for people to listen to your "comment?" I suppose there are things that don't deserve comment or are political traps or something. But still. You're freaking President. He felt it necessary to weigh in on a he/said/she/said about the cops and the professor and did a whole beer summit about a complete non-issue. Yet, when it comes to the symbolic nature of how America is to deal with the Muslim world and a site of a huge national wound, all of the sudden, the President becomes judicious and humble. Really? Is that what we want of a President - to weigh in on an individual cop handling/mishandling a loud mouth college professor - and to remain silent on whether he thinks a Mosque at Ground Zero is a good idea?

Last question - does the Left not understand how building a mosque on Ground Zero is provocative?

It goes back to the very basics of 9/11. You hear it in the discussion on the View afterward. The ladies keep wanting to make the point that we are at war with TERRORISTS/EXTREMISTS and it has nothing to do with religion. It makes me wonder if they at all understand what Al Queda is - how it gets money, foot soldiers, land, guns, etc all from the backing of either Muslim states or Muslim individuals. Don't try and pull the US-Soviet nonsense for a moment. Just look at the present state of affairs. Look at Hizbollah and Hamas and how they are supported by at least 3 Muslim states. Are they related at all to Al Queda? Is there such thing as Islamic Radicalism? What has more in common Tim McVeigh and his tactics (ie terrorism) or the Muslim Brotherhood and it's philosophical relationship to Al Queda? Remember Egyptian Islamic Jihad was a violent offshoot of the Brotherhood and then later merged with Al Queda. Remember Hamas is an offshoot of the Brotherhood. Does this bear any relationship to say, the US Militia Movement, the Basque Separatists, or the violent Quebeciois in Canada? No. If we rolled up the KKK and the all the Militias in the US, would that at all affect the issues we are facing with Al Queda? No. But what if we rolled up the Taliban? What if Iran had a revolution and tossed out the Ayatollahs? What if Saudi Arabian individuals stopped funding Al Queda? What if young Muslim men weren't being recruited by radical clerics to join terrorist training camps? Would that affect Al Queda? You bet it would.

So you can't - if you have read anything on the issue - argue Al Queda has NOTHING to do with Islam and how it is currently being practiced around the world. Are we at war with Islam? Of course not. But one would either need to be completely clueless or a mealy-mouthed apologist to think Islamic Terrorism is not at all related to the practice of Islam. It would be the equivalent of saying, the War in Iraq has nothing to do with America because in the abstract it doesn't represent America and not all Americans support the War in Iraq and so forth. Guess what? That's wrong. The War in Iraq does have to do with America and our role in the world and our decisions, who we elected, how we came to the decision, how we interacted with other countries surrounding the decision, how the war was fought, etc. We ought to take responsibility for it in the same way the Islamic ought to take responsibility and acknowledge how Al Queda and other groups stem and are supported by the Muslim world. (granted a portion of it -- but a surprisingly large portion of it -- upwards of 25%).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Paper Pulls Another Muhammad Cartoon

They say they are pulling it because "it isn't funny." Reason cites another possibility:

If the Post's new standard for comics is to make jokes "immediately clear," then it might be time to kill the comics page altogether. No, Martel/Brauchli, you pulled the cartoon because your fear of Muslims outweighs your commitment to free expression, period.

I wonder if cowardice is a factor in the decline of newspapers. They always cite the internet, but one can't help but ask.

BTW - how is it possible that Facebook is worth $25 billion based on online "advertising" and newspapers are going out of business. Is it fundamentally more interesting to look at pictures of friends from the weekend or read their status updates than reading about news stories happening the world? What does this say about the value we place on information? Do people prefer to read yearbooks than new stories? Isn't there such a thing as "news," ie stories out there than matter to the world vs. just whatever happens to individuals each day?

Riddle me that one.
Tampa Bay Fans Suck

I was struck by the image last night of Tampa Bay fans exiting the stadium en masse with one out left in the game. Sickening. Truly sickening. Tampa Bay - from all accounts - played beautiful baseball this year. I obviously didn't watch much Tampa Bay baseball, being in SoCal and being an Oakland A's fan. But I'd read about the Rays and caught a glimpse here and there. They have a great core of players and pitching and the best record in the American League. They won a close pennant race with the outspend everyone else Yankees. In short, they reminded me of the Oakland A's under the Big-3 and Giambi from 1999-2001. The Moneyball A's.

And their fans never showed up. It got so frustrating, their star, Evan Longoria called out their fans. He called it embarrassing to be in a pennant race when only 13,000 fans would show up to games. Players on other team would ask the Rays "where are all your fans?"

Why this particular case is so offensive: it is rare in life to find greatness or anything close to it. It happens so infrequently in anything - sport, movies, politics, books, people - whatever. And so when it happens - for it to go unnoticed or uncared for is a great betrayal of the human spirit. I can understand fans giving up on teams. I've given up on the 49ers this year because it is heartbreaking to watch their stupidity. It is tough to muscle through rooting for a mediocre team with no shot at the playoffs like the Oakland A's. I get it. It is frustrating to watch a lame-ass studio mashed together 3D monstrosity for $18. It is painful to march through a life of mediocre work with mediocre people all around. The only temporary cure - I think - for this repetitive boredom is to seek out and strive for greatness - either in your own pursuits or simply as a fan. There is no shame in this. It is why we watch the Oscars and the Playoffs. It is why I watch ski videos on youtube of guys launching off cliffs. It is why we all watch Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent. It is why we watch Jewel-karaoke. The rest is boring.

And so you have the world of the Yankees and the Lakers and the Wall Street Brokers and political dynasties and the oligarchs in the 3rd World and the dictators wielding power over small countries and Giant Mega-Corporations and chain stores and Walmart. Sure, these things are "great" by some definition. They are remarkable in their own way. But they are also boring, as they are the monsters on top struggling to maintain their grips on power by more cunning and poorer rivals. This is also, by the way, why so many folks around hate America. Because we became boring to root for the minute the Soviet Union died.

Anyhow, I guess what I'm saying is that is it rare to find a fresh alchemy of greatness the way Tampa Bay did this year. It happens every now and again. And when we don't recognize it, or support it, it makes it all the less likely we'll ever see it again. I dread the day it all disappears. For it might.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Catching Up

I still watch and like 30 Rock. The show makes me laugh. My favorite bit in last week's episode re: immigrants in America.

The first generation works their asses off.
The second generation goes to college.
The third generation snowboards and takes improv classes.

Mammoth anyone?
The Math

Winner of Nobel Prize discusses what to do with money - pay for daughter's college.

Let's see: $1.4 mil divided by three (he shared prize) = $466,666 minus 50% for taxes at that level = $233,333. Private college costs $50,000 per year x 4 = $200,000. So the Nobel Prize winner gets $33,333 left over. What can that buy you? A low end BMW? Or a high end Honda Accord? After sales tax, remember.

Now I suppose the next question - what about all the people - and by this I mean the 99.999999999% of the population who don't win Nobel Prizes - do about paying for their daughter's college?

My theory: people are getting a lot of help from extended family and tapping into savings and home equity lines of credit to pay for what amounts to a bubble being propped up by low interest student loans and enormous bureaucratic staffs helping to "sell" the idea of what a college education is worth.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Instapundit on academic culture.

Bending over for tyrants is a major aspect of today’s academic culture, even as the benders-over proclaim their own courage and independence, and demonstrate those by attacking those whom they need not fear, while fearing those whom they do not criticize.

Is It Islamophobia... acknowledge that the Muslim Brotherhoood just declared war on the United States?

In August 1996, al-Qaida declared war on America, the West, Christians and Jews. Nobody important paid much attention to this. Almost exactly five years later, September 11 forced them to notice. Let it be said that in September 2010 the Muslim Brotherhood, a group with one hundred times more activists than al-Qaida, issued its declaration of war. What remains is the history of the future.

Update: A well-informed friend in Egypt just said that while he's been expecting this move by the Brotherhood for some time that I have been the only one who's noticed it outside the country. This is the kind of service I'm trying to give my readers.

My greatest disappointment in the Left is our failure to acknowledge the biggest threat to liberty and liberal values in our generation - Islamic Fundamentalism.
Good Question

Hitchens asks "What normal person would put up with the inane indignities of the electoral process?."

What normal person would consider risking their career and their family life in order to undergo the incessant barrage of intrusive questioning about every aspect of their lives since well before college? To face the constant pettifogging and chatter of Facebook and Twitter and have to boast of how many false friends they had made in a weird cyberland? And if only that was the least of it. Then comes the treadmill of fundraising and the unending tyranny of the opinion polls, which many media systems now use as a substitute for news and as a means of creating stories rather than reporting them. And, even if it "works," most of your time in Washington would be spent raising the dough to hang on to your job. No wonder that the best lack all conviction.

Domestic Abuse Against Men

Well, I guess something good has come from the MTV show Teen Mom.

For the record, I have been hit by girls a lot more times than I've done the hitting (zero).

Thursday, October 07, 2010

To Read List

Mario Vargas Llosa, a Latin American writer. I don't know what it is, but I feel like I'm discovering tons of great writers right now. They've been flying under my radar and discovering them is a great revelation to me -

Nic Pizzolatto
Tracy Letts
George V. Higgins
Mario Vargas Llosa
Alice Munro

It's been a long time since I was this excited about was upon discovering James Ellroy, John Le Carre, and Hemingway (yes, strange, I came to Hemingway sort of late).
Looking At It All Wrong

Another "bullying" story where a teen hangs herself.

We are looking at these issues all wrong. You can't stop this vague idea of "bullying." Anyone who's lived in this world knows it.

The issue is privacy and how the internet is eroding it. People need to be able to make mistakes and do stupid things, especially when they are young, without being held to public account. This is how we grow, how we learn. In the future, if we continue to publicize everything about ourselves, our actions, our beliefs on live broadcast, we will all become the worst of all worlds: mealy mouthed politicians, unable to have an actual human opinion or response - all of our actions and words will be safe/pre-packaged, fearful of public scrutiny. We all all be saying a lot stuff without any meaning whatsoever.

How do people come to being moral creatures? It isn't zapped into our minds. It is through living and experiencing life and reading and learning and trying stuff that doesn't work. Abraham Lincoln would never have been Abraham Lincoln had he been subject to the type of scrutiny now given to everyone all the time. He would've probably be outed as a homosexual and never come to the very private (at first) conclusion about abolishing slavery and holding the Union together. Obviously, this is my own hyperbolic speculation. Nevertheless...
At War

Interesting thread at Andrew Sullivan about targeting Al Queda members, like Awlaki.

For the record, Al Queda has done one thing on the up-and-up - they publicly declared war on the US. The next iteration of fourth generation warfare will be an enemy who attacks us and then denies being at war. In a sense, this is how the Muslim Brotherhood operates, although it isn't clear they have an active military wing right now. It is going to be difficult for our legal/military system to fight such an enemy. We might as well start thinking about it now.
Katherine Heigl

Admits to having an image problem. I'd say she has more of a sucking-on-screen despite being ostensibly hot problem.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Becker does an analysis of the German vs. US response to the economic downturn. This will continue to be an interesting case study of different responses to the Great Recession. Becker really dishes it hard to the Obama Administration and I pretty much agree with all of it:

Let it be clear that I am not claiming that US employment and unemployment has been very sluggish in recovering to pre crisis levels mainly because the US has had a large stimulus package and large fiscal deficits. They probably have been factors, but the evidence is still too uncertain to reach such a judgment. But it is clear that the stimulus package completely failed relative to the explicit predictions of the Obama administration and its Council of Economic Advisers about what would happen to unemployment. They predicted unemployment would decline by about 1.5 percentage points from a much lower peak, whereas so far the total decline from the higher unemployment peak of 10.2% is only 0.7 percentage points.

I continue to believe that the biggest factor in the sluggish employment recovery of the US is that many of the actual new and proposed anti-business legislation, as well as the large fiscal deficits, made businessmen and investors cautious about taking on new workers. These proposals and laws include the health care bill, the pro-union bias and anti-business rhetoric of Congress and the president, suggested increased taxes on higher earners, changes in anti-trust laws to be less pro-consumer, and the endlessly complicated and largely misplaced financial “reform” law. Germany, by contrast, has continued with the same coalition government headed by the mainly pro-investment, pro trade Christian Democrats. Germany surely made various mistakes during this recession, but the US has made many more.

Whoa. When you read the truth written down clearly and elegantly, it packs a pretty sharp punch.
Fareed Zakaria

Why doesn't Obama hire Zakaria to be part of his foreign policy team?

He seems to be sensible and largely correct when it comes to the difficult questions.
So Strange

The Arizona Cardinals name Max Hall their starting QB. Becoming a starting NFL QB is one of the hardest positions to hold in the entire world. There are what? 28 teams? So basically, it is easier to be a US Senator and a little harder to be a Supreme Court justice. And yet, here we have an undrafted rookie now starting for an NFL team and throwing the one of the best receivers in the NFL - Larry Fitzgerald. Strange world.
Terrorists in Federal Court

A judge is throwing out evidence collected by CIA torture in a trial about the 1998 embassy bombing.

Note: this is pre-9/11 and pre-Bush Administration.

I suppose civil libertarians ought to happy. Although happy doesn't feel like an appropriate response to me.
Facebook Unveils A Group Email

This warrants front page news?

Groups will let Facebook users make groups like family, work friends, friends from school or friends with a specific interest.

They'll be able to share information specifically with members of those groups and even create group chats with those members.

Wow. Jeez. What a giant hoax this thing is.

UPDATE: Read the comments to this article - very telling. Nearly all of the comments are negative. People hate or disdain Facebook. I'm telling you, this is a pyramid scheme. A gigantic pyramid scheme.
Vote Steve Forbes

In hindsight, doesn't Forbes flat tax idea look pretty appealing? Check this story out.

The American Dream is to be successful. The old saying goes, “You can never be too rich or too thin”! But, with each extra dollar I earn, the government is going to take 50% (or more) of it. Is it really worth it? Come on, I’m never going to be a millionaire. For me, having more money means being able to go on a “flying” vacation as opposed to driving to Florida to visit my folks. It means going out to eat at someplace nicer than Chili’s once a week, buying slightly nicer clothes and maybe a new car every 5 years or so. We aren’t buying a second home in the Hampton’s.

Realistically, I could choose not to pay my mortgage and live in my house for at least a year (more if I can get creative about it). I live in a state where I can actually quit my job AND collect unemployment for 2 full years. Here is the math. If I collect unemployment and my husband stays employed, we can continue to live “fine”. We’ll be paycheck to paycheck and won’t have any disposable income but I would have oodles of time. I could volunteer at the kid’s school, scrapbook, exercise every day and watch Oprah.

When people like me seriously question whether or not to work, there is something very very wrong with our tax system.”

Hope and change. I have a feeling a lot of people are going through the same thing -- and these are the people that make our society function -- people who run and operate companies and are productive. Lost in the liberal dream of government providing for everyone: who pays for it. Always someone else...

Monday, October 04, 2010

Rutgers Student Suicide

The story goes - two students filmed another student having a sexual encounter with another man and posted it online. The filmed student ended up killing himself. The news is bubbling with calls for anti-bullying efforts - particularly against homosexuals.

But the real issue is privacy. Kathleen Parker addresses is here.

People think things like Facebook and smaller video equipment and internet dating are these neutral activities. They are not. They are bringing down walls of privacy and identity, walls that were constructed for a reason. For civilization to function. The world works on trust and limiting information to those that need it or can pay for it. Identity and reputation are constructed over years of behavior, by our actions, our decisions, etc.. Retarded brats like Mark Zuckerberg don't understand or care about such things. They want to "revolutionize" for no apparent reason other than the fact they didn't get laid very often. They don't seek privacy or care about reputation because they possess nothing of value. No thoughts of value. No relationships of value. Just insecurity, weakness, and ineptitude. These are who we are handing over control of our reputations, our identities? Unwise, if you ask me.
I'd Take Business As Usual

When I first heard about Rahm Emmanual leaving the administration my gut instinct was revulsion. I happen to think - and I thought members of the Obama administration agreed - that this country has serious problems to be solved. The economy, Afghanistan, the broader war on terror, education, healthcare, just to name a few. I may not agree with their ideas or their tactics or their strategy all the time, but I at least thought they cared. Rahm quitting to run for Mayor of Chicago makes me realize he didn't. He saw being White House Chief of Staff the same way Lane Kiffin viewed his job at Tennessee. As a career stepping stone.

Then I hear on the radio that it is normal for the White House to shake things up after two years or so. These jobs are so taxing, no can do it for very long, etc, etc. The average Chief of Staff takes 2.5 years and so on. But then I got to thinking - who are we kidding here? Rahm was there for 20 months. That is short. And he didn't leave because of exhaustion or because it was time for fresh blood. He left because even rats know when a ship is sinking and he smelled a better opportunity elsewhere.

Then part of me feels guilty for being hurt by all of this and surprised when professional politicians behave like professional politicians. Like I went to a whorehouse and came out feeling unloved. Fine. I hate to be soft and gullible. Forgive me for taking these problems like the economy and war on terror seriously. I didn't realize they were just resume builders.

Fuck 'em. How can they possibly ask us to take them seriously, these guys. They don't even believe in their own bullshit. They believe in winning the day. They believe in building their resume. They seek power, without any purpose. Herein lies the real, spiritual problem with America today. It is the Rahm Emmanuals and Aaron Sorkin's who lionize them. These people suck.

And then you have Obama. This is a guy who promised to "change the climate in Washington" and to be a uniter. What a crock of shit. It's like the filmmaker who wants to "reinvent cinema." People who speak like this are naive at best and charlatans at worst. Why are we suckered in? Because we are naive optimists, Americans are. There are worse things to be. Fact is, I would trade what we currently have for "business as usual."

One last thing - Facebook. Why do we assign importance to it? The minute they try to assign it value, ie through ads or through paid subscriptions, it will crash and die. It is a gigantic pyramid scheme built on narcissism and impotence. The only way to sustain it is to sell - probably illegally, but if not, immorally - people's personal information without them knowing it to interested parties. How else can this thing sustain itself. $25 billion, they say it's worth. I wouldn't buy it for $1000.

David Denby compares the dialog in The Social Network to Ben Hecht and Preston Sturges. I beg to differ. The similarities stop with speed. Sure, they speak fast in The Social Network and other Aaron Sorkin shows. But in Sorkin's dialog, the speak is a bullying, aggressive, smarter-than-though sort. It is speed that covers up vacuity. There is no purpose to the speak more than "winning." Hecht and Sturges are more playful. More artful. More joyous. Their dialog is pleasurable in-and-of itself. There is a one-ups-manship to it, but for fun, for joy, not for destruction. Sorkin is out to destroy an opponent. Hecht and Sturges dialog is about bringing out the best conversation in the other. The difference between a teammate and an enemy. The similarities end with the speed.

Tarantino's early stuff is closer to Hecht and Sturges in terms of the joy and art of speaking. But in terms of dialog, the trophy still belongs to the Sopranos if you ask me...(paraphrasing)

Tony (on cell): He worked for the department of the interior.
Paulie (on cell) : What? I can't hear you.
Tony: HE WORKED FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR. A fucking Russian Green Beret.
Paulie: What? Shit. (hangs up cell phone)

Paulie (to christopher): Fucking lost service. The guy's an interior decorator.
Christopher: Really? His apartment looked like shit.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Social Network

Take away Fincher's camera-work. Take away the snappy Aaron-Sorkin-on-speed-talking past one another dialog. What do you have here? A CBS movie of the week. Similar to The Pirates of Silicon Valley and the Jay Leno vs. Dave Letterman mini series. I can't figure out if I'm missing something here. Is it just me or are guys in their early 20s insufferable bores? Maybe this was whole point of the movie.

I did like the twins...but really...who prefaces sentences with "I'm 6'5" 220..." And I'm sorry, but why did the cute Asian chick turn batshit crazy all of sudden? That seemed like a bit of a cheat to me.

The movie confirmed my initial impression of facebook - as an internet dating site in disguise. I suppose you can argue it has become something else. But I'm not so sure. The answer posed by his comrade in the movie remains unanswered: how do you monetize it? Ads, Ads, Ads. There is no other way. No one would ever pay for facebook.

Onto other things...the preview of the Tourist looks really good. It strikes me that Johnny Depp might be the one movie star who can still carry a movie. Then again, I liked The Town preview and the movie was terrible. True Grit also looks awesome. The audience in the theater applauded for the g-damn preview. You tell me Westerns are dead? I'll tell you what ought to be dead: Katherine Hiegel. Oh what a raging bore. This girl has been the lead in more romantic comedies in the past 5 year period - someone ought to do a count of her vs. Julia Roberts in her prime. Yet these movies look terrible. I saw "The Awful Truth" with Gerrard Butler - still one of the worst movies in recent memory.

Last thing - am I off - is The Social Network to be viewed not as a CBS movie of the week docu-drama, but a cautionary tale of ambition, youth, and arrogance, the "Citizen Kane" of our age? I simply don't know. But I've been on record - Kane is an overrated. Perhaps the most overrated of all time.
I Oppose Basically All Propositions

But I could probably get behind this one to fix California.

On public employee unions:

The one change that he said could restore the state's fortunes wasn't lowering taxes, cutting spending, or eliminating excessive regulations -- though these were all important. He said there was a deeper root cause: the power of the public employees unions. According to Wilson, public employee unions trigger a destructive dynamic. Public employee unions take money from their members and use them for partisan political purposes. They pressure government officials to cut them sweetheart deals, especially through things like job protections and pensions, that don't show up on the bottom line for years. They create a larger and larger interest group that demands more government spending and higher taxes, which drives out private entrepreneurship and swells their ranks even more. Reduce the power of the public employee unions, and you lower the size of government, reduce the costs of the state, and fix the looming pension problem.

Friday, October 01, 2010

I'm Confused

Was just watching some of Gloria Allred's press conference on Meg Whitman. I'm totally baffled by this case. As far as I can tell, the argument on behalf of the illegal alien housekeeper is "Meg Whitman knew I was an illegal immigrant and continued to pay me a salary." Am I the only one who is totally puzzled? If the housekeeper was so concerned about Whitman's compliance with immigration law...why didn't she just go back to Mexico? Why didn't she say to Whitman, "You know, I'm illegal, maybe I should go back to Mexico and you should hire a legally documented worker." Why would she wait until 3 weeks before Whitman is running for governor to come out with this goofy case?

Please note, I have no idea if the housekeeper is from Mexico, so please feel free to flog me in the comments.

The other thing - why would Whitman knowingly hire an illegal alien? Gloria Allred says it is because they are easier to exploit. Now I understand a regular ole upper middle class couple making 200,000 Gs a year and paying for two kids in college trying to go cheap on the help. But does she realize how much frigging money Meg Whitman has? She's like a multi-billionaire. She has the kind of money where generations after her don't need to worry about money. She has wealth beyond what most of us can fathom. She has what Hollywood calls "fuck you money" times a million. I'm serious about this. She has spent $100 million on this campaign alone. And so Gloria Allred is arguing Whitman hired an illegal alien knowingly to save...what...10,000 a year? At most.

I swear to God it wouldn't surprise me if Whitman hired Allred to bring this case up. It is making her look better.
A Preview Of When Women Rule The World

Gloria Allred goes after Meg Whitman by parading a tearing illegal immigrant and former employee of Whitman in front of the cameras.

We all see the writing on the wall - women are doing better than men in school and work and the mancession is going to further cripple the already emasculated American male...blah...blah...blah. And now all those dorm room claims that war and famine and all the scourges of humanity would never happen IF ONLY women ruled the world will be proven correct. Maybe.

I hate to break it to you - both men and women - but if women ruled the world - it'll be women like Gloria Allred and Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina and Sarah Palin and Anne Coulter and Hillary Clinton. It won't be nice stay at home moms who are always willing to make you soup when you're sick and take you shopping for new clothes. It will be manipulative ambitious drones who could suck the fun out of Disneyland - sort of like their power-hungry male counterparts.

How often do you read an article and think - I want to read more by whoever wrote THAT?

Here is one: on 15 overrated contemporary American authors.

Put simply, this is the best critical writing I've read in a long time and the best article I've ever read on the Huffington Post. Props to Anis Shivani.
Simmons on Vick

A nice Simmons article on the comeback of Michael Vick and how he's rooting for him.

There are legitimate questions about how and when we can forgive someone for their past. I remember someone asking David Simon about casting Snoop in the Wire. Snoop is a convicted murdered. She killed someone as a teenager and was let out of jail and thinking about getting involved with acting. She was a Baltimore native and The Wire happened to be shooting and someone got her connected up with the show. Someone asked Simon whether he felt like he ought to be hiring an ex-felon for a job - that in a way - she was profiting from her criminal past. I liked how Simon responded...he said (paraphrasing), "Look, what she did was inexcusably awful, but in the eyes of society, she had paid for her crime. She was out of jail. So the question then becomes - can she do the work? He thought she could. And so he cast her." All I know - the first time she comes on screen - as a audience member - I find her absolutely terrifying. She reads: gangster. Murderer. Who knows if the Wire has some social benefit. Or whether it is just another balm to white liberal guilt. I think the show matters. She contributed to the show. The world is an imperfect place. People are imperfect. Lemons to lemonade. I'll watch Vick this weekend.

And I hate dogs.