I recently received a new TV for my birthday.
This TV has built in WiFi.
It connects to my Netflix Instant View account.
My Netflix Instant View account has Fawlty Towers.
Modern Technology is fantastic. If only it could move my house 3 feet to the left.
Jamie posted this at 11:11 PM CDT on Monday, February 28th, 2011 as Brave New Worlds
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If your name is Koch, it’s pronounced cock. And if your name is Boehner, it’s pronounced boner. They can always change their names if they want. Until then … I’m calling it like it is.
From The Daily Beast’s latest hire.
Question: Do you think he can qualify for his own Moore Award?
What a douchebag.
Jamie posted this at 3:54 PM CDT on Monday, February 28th, 2011 as What Ever Happened to Andrew Sullivan?
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Fred Thompson on the Oscars:
In case you were wondering, I did watch the Oscars last night. My wife, Jeri, and I were settled in for the red carpet show. What was I wearing, you ask? A frown. It was a Thompson original designed just for that event.
To be fair, I didn’t take too many issues with the show, but I would point out a few things that did highlight my “fashion statement” for the evening.
Not to be an “anti-short-ite” but are there any actors over 5′ 8″ anymore? Perhaps that explains their over-compensation with long speeches.
Hubbard posted this at 3:23 PM CDT on Monday, February 28th, 2011 as Film Rants, Right Said Fred
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This article on higher education – despite using my absolute least favorite metaphor in its title – is worthwhile. It’s not an overtly political article, but these question got me thinking:
What good does it do to increase the number of students in college if the ones who are already there are not learning much? Would it not make more sense to improve the quality of education before we increase the quantity of students?
On so many issues, the Obama administration has approached problems by just insisting that if we do a lot more of the same, things will work out. Education is one example: Our children is not learning? Send them all to college. There’s no concern about the quality of education, that students carefully select what career and educational path suits them, or that education costs too much. No, simply having more of it will fix the problem.
This is the preferred solution in other areas: Healthcare costs too much and not enough people have insurance? Well, we could address the underlying issues that are forcing the price of healthcare too high (hard), or we could just make everybody buy insurance (easy). Our massive deficit spending is draining capital from the economy and inhibiting growth? Well, we could analyze the budget and keep those programs that are genuinely productive while making cuts elsewhere that will free up capital and spur growth (hard), or we could just borrow more for investments while leaving current deficit levels alone (easy). The most heavily regulated industry in America, banking, has an utter meltdown and millions of people lose billions of dollars? Well, we could take a serious look at how the regulators failed and rearrange our system to reflect the understanding that the government cannot adequately monitor every single aspect of a free market and it shouldn’t let investors think that it can (hard), or we can blame it all on the greedy bankers, ignore the failings of the government, and add on significantly more regulation while telling everyone that we’ve fixed the problem and the market is safe again (easy).
It’s even apparent in the president’s political activities. Failing to convince the American people that your signature legislative policy is a good idea? Well, we could slow down the process, schedule a few carefully crafted speeches that take our opponents’ arguments seriously, and gradually advance a convincing argument (hard), or we could just have the president on every channel half a dozen times a day repeating the same talking points for months on end (easy). Trailing badly going into a midterm election? Well, we could consider the things about our administration that people don’t like and carefully coopt the issues that we think we can sensibly address without ticking off our base and make rational arguments for why our policies are a success (hard), or we could insist that we’ve done everything right and send the president out every single day to hammer into the minds of the American people the most important facts of this election: D stands for Drive, R stands for Reverse, and Republicans drink a lot of slurpees (easy).
Time and time again we see that this administration has an utter lack of imagination. Obama should be near the top of modern liberal intellectualism: two Ivy League degrees, married to a woman with two Ivy League degrees, community organizer, civil rights lawyer, race-conscious author, with his pick of advisers from among the most celebrated academics in the country. Every tenet of the modern Left tells us that this man should be among the most able men around.
And yet, I’m not sure I’ve seen a spark of original thinking, or a hint that he’s open to creative solutions, since his inauguration. There’s nothing wrong with the status quo that more of the status quo can’t fix.
Apollo posted this at 11:33 AM CDT on Saturday, February 26th, 2011 as Barack Obama Couldn't Persuade a Bear to Crap in the Woods, CHANGE!
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So John Legend is out bragging that he’s a millionaire and believes he should pay more taxes. Great for him; I aspire to have so much money that marginal tax rates don’t matter to me.
In the mean time, as I attempt to climb my way up the economic ladder, higher taxes will make it harder for me to become a millionare. Liberals talk about taxes on high earners as though only the wealthy are the ones affected. But the wealthy already have their money and can shift it around in ways that doesn’t always produce income that’s taxable at the marginal rate. It’s the uppwardly mobile middle and upper-middle class that gets hit by high marginal rates. They don’t have vast sums of money lying around, and their income comes from their jobs and businesses, meaning they can’t hide it from the marginal rate. High marginal rates serve to keep these hard-working, high-earning, but not wealthy individuals from joining the ranks of the wealthy. In short, they keep the rich people rich, and the middle-class in the middle.
Once – just once – though, I want one of these undertaxed liberal millionaires to actually put his money where his mouth is. There he was, singing at the home of the CEO of the USA. All he’s got to do, if he thinks he should be taxed more, is to take out a checkbook and write a check. “Here you go, I think this country has been so good to me that I owe it another $50,000.” Someone on the president’s staff will know what to do with it. Perhaps a group of these liberal millionaires could get together, pool their funds, and then hold an event where they give someone from the treasury one of those giant photo-op checks they give contest winners. Show us how much you care, and perhaps we’ll start caring more too.
I’m not saying everyone who favors higher taxes needs to do this. But one would think, if paying more money to the government so it can spend more money is the moral imperative that some on the left make it out to be, that it would happen with some regularity. Those “Tax Me More Funds” that some Republican governors started last decade (IIRC, Mike Huckabee was the first to do so) were more than a little obnoxious, but they did make a valuable point. I thought we were supposed to be the change we want to see in the world, right?
Apollo posted this at 8:45 AM CDT on Friday, February 25th, 2011 as Grumblin Mumblins
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William Jacobson has worthwhile comments and links regarding the shocking breadth of the most recent court decision upholding Obamacare.
I think the biggest fallacy of the opinion is this line:
Making a choice is an affirmative action, whether one decides to do something or not do something. They are two sides of the same coin. To pretend otherwise is to ignore reality.
The opinion seems to pretend that everything we don’t do involves a decision to not do it. Not buying health insurance, the opinion reasons, is the result of deciding not to buy health insurance. But what if you just don’t think about it? Did I “decide” not to burn down my house or buy a new car this morning? Or did the thoughts just not cross my mind? Making a choice is an affirmative action, but not making a choice certainly isn’t. There is literally an infinite number of things about which I made no decision today and will make no decision in the future. It seems to me that a perfectly reasonable person can go through this world without it crossing his mind that he needs to go buy health insurance; and even if that’s not the case, does the Constitution give the federal government the power to determine those things that we need to be thinking about and making decisions about? What if I just don’t flipping care about my health? Congress, according to this opinion, has the power to make me care.
This opinion, like the main arguments in favor of the individual mandate, leads to a government of unlimited power. That may be what we have, it may be what we want, but it is absolutely, undeniably facetious for judges and lawyers to keep insisting that the Founders’ grant of power to “regulate commecerce . . . among the several states” gives the federal government the power to regulate my thoughts and inactivity.
Apollo posted this at 10:40 AM CDT on Thursday, February 24th, 2011 as We don't need no stinkin' Constitution
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Weird. I suggest reading the whole letter, but here’s what I take as the upshot:
- The president is declaring section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional because he believes the judiciary will strike it down at some point in the future.
- The president will continue to enforce this unconstitutional law.
- The president will not defend this law as constitutional in the judiciary because he believes that the judiciary will strike it down.
This strikes me as a bizarre sort of posturing. First, there’s no independent basis for the president’s determination of constitutionality. It defers entirely to the judiciary’s standards of constitutionality. Despite what this letter claims, the judiciary is not “the final arbiter” of constitutionality; all three branches of the federal government have an independent duty to examine the constitutionality of laws, and our system is designed so that the American people will not be afflicted with any law that any branch considers unconstitutional. The Congress can revoke a law or refuse to fund its enforcement; the president can refuse to enforce it; and the courts can refuse to allow it to be enforced. For any one branch to base its interpretation solely on the interpretation of another branch deprives the American people of the constitutionally-created division of power.
Second, if the law’s unconstitutional, don’t enforce it. Why are they planning to continue enforcing an unconstitutional law? That strikes me as an impeachable offense. The president has a duty to see that the laws are faithfully enforced, but the Constitution is THE law; that’s the whole rationale, for example, behind judicial review, that in refusing to allow unconstitutional statutes to be enforced, the judiciary is actually enforcing the Constitution. If the president is enforcing a law he believes to be unconstitutional, he is not seeing that the most important law is enforced.
Third, the president is refusing to defend in court a law that he is actively enforcing. This is pure bad faith.
Fourth, the refusal to defend defensible laws – even if the president believes they are unconstitutional and refuses to enforce them – is the end of constitutional government. We the people, through previous Congresses and Presidents, have expressed our opinion that DOMA is constitutional, and we deserve to have our interests represented in court by our non-political lawyers in the DoJ. Otherwise, I look forward to the next president defaulting on Obamacare, as well as any other laws I dislike. I’ll start making a list.
Finally, a less-substantive point after the break: Read the rest of this entry »
Apollo posted this at 1:15 PM CDT on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 as CHANGE!, Kulturkampf, We don't need no stinkin' Constitution
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I was in a coffee shop today where they had a muted TV tuned to MSNBC. I have no clue who was talking or what they said, but their conversation lasted a couple of minutes and, according to the text box at the bottom, the subject was “Does Sarah Palin Have a Secret Facebook Page?”
Apollo posted this at 3:45 PM CDT on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011 as Journalism, The Passion of St. Sarah of Wasilla
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Now there are six senators not running for reelection. Huzzah!
The U.S. Senate over the last decade or so has been a national embarrassment. I wish everyone who’s served more than one term would just quit. We might lose some good senators, but the amount of deadwood that built up over the 80s and 90s has made the institution the ass-clown convention we all know and love. We’ve been fortunate to see a lot of turnover in the last few elections, and it looks like this year we’ll have even more.
Apollo posted this at 6:24 PM CDT on Saturday, February 19th, 2011 as Amer-I-Can!, Politics
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John Thune. The man is unqualified to be president, having never led anything more involved than the South Dakota Republican Party (for two years). This article shows other evidence that Thune is a bad pick.
John Thune tells me that if he jumps into the 2012 presidential race, he will be in it to win it — no test-run for 2016, no show-horse spectacle. “The reason you do it is that you really believe that the future is now,” he says. “I believe that.”
OMG! Does he not realize that Obama’s “Winning The Future” motto is inane, nonsensical, and not to be emulated? Now, the future is now? But then what will it be in the future? I guess the obvious answer is “Then,” but if now is then, then then must be now. Non. Sense. I want a president who thinks clearly enough not to say crap like that.
“As Republican voters think about who they want to nominate, it really ought to come down to which candidate can defeat President Obama,” he says.
No, it ought to come down to who will be the best president. We’ve recently seen what happens when a party picks a nominee based on perceived strengths in the general election, and we can ask Presidents Kerry and McCain how that turned out.
Of course, Thune would have to win a primary first, and many of his past votes — he backed the Troubled Asset Relief Program and has carved out numerous earmarks for South Dakota — would come under scrutiny. . . . “My conservative credentials are probably not going to be satisfactory to this particular crowd or that particular crowd. But if you look at the totality of my record, you’ve got someone who is an economic, national security, and social conservative.”
Except when he’s not.
But here’s the number one reason this man shouldn’t be the nominee:
“There is an assumption that being from the Senate is a liability,” he continues. “I’m not going to overlook the fact that people hate Washington. But I also think, in this day and age, that people make their decisions very differently from how they did in the past. It is not always about who is up next or disqualifying someone because he happens to be from the Senate.”
He thinks senators make bad candidates because people don’t like the senate. The truth is that senators make bad candidates because they’re bad candidates and would make bad presidents (see e.g., Dole, Robert; Kerry, John; McCain, John; Obama, Barrack). Senators have no leadership experience, they’re blithering fools without responsibility or accountability, and their main political experience is dealing as equals with people who are exactly like themselves. Being an executive is about being accountable, holding others accountable, and telling people how to carry out your policies. Other than being homo sapiens on Planet Earth, senators have nothing in common with executives.
We can never thank Thune enough for ridding us of Tom Daschle, so what I say next I say out of love: Go back to South Dakota and get a real job, John. Call us back in 8 years when your economy is booming because of Gov. Thune’s excellent leadership.
Apollo posted this at 2:46 PM CDT on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 as Is It 2012 Yet?, Lord, What Fools These Mortals Be!
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Ann Althouse, on birthers, makes a worthwhile comparison:
It’s perfectly rational to take as your working theory that evidence that isn’t produced would run counter to the interest of the party who could produce it and does not. In legal cases, if a party fails to produce a document requested in discovery, the judge can deem that the fact is established to be what the party seeking discovery is trying to prove. (See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 37(b)2)(A)(i)).
At this point, I think there are only three possibilities:
- There’s a birth certificate, and Obama refuses to produce it because he thinks it’s to his political advantage to paint all of his opponents as nutters.
- There’s no birth certificate because it’s somehow been lost, and rather than explaining this to us like we’re all adults, Obama would prefer to continue painting his opponents as nutters.
- There’s no birth certificate because there never was one.
I can’t think of a possibility that doesn’t reflect poorly on Obama. Either he’s willfully dragging out this issue for callous political gain, or else there are legitimate legal questions regarding the legality of the office he holds and he’s stonewalling rather than addressing those questions.
At any rate, we can tell when Obama is at his weakest – whether it was back when he was trying to explain Obamacare, or now that he’s telling us that not decreasing the deficit now is fine because someone else will decrease the deficit in seven or eight years – by watching when his friends in the media drag out the birthers. I think it’s become more of a meta issue now than a real issue.
Apollo posted this at 1:44 PM CDT on Wednesday, February 16th, 2011 as Barack Obama Couldn't Persuade a Bear to Crap in the Woods, CHANGE!, Journalism
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I find Mitt, Newt, and Sarah to all be unpalatable 2012 nominees. I had hopes that Haley Barbour would be a good candidate. He meets my qualification litmus test – he’s a two-term governor (I require a two-term executive, short of truly exceptional circumstances).
Unfortunately, he utterly fails my immigration litmus test. I don’t require that a candidate agree with me on immigration, but anyone who presents the amnesty-or-arrest-12-million-people false dichotomy is either so ignorant or dishonest as to be disqualified.
Apollo posted this at 3:23 PM CDT on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 as Is It 2012 Yet?, The Melting Pot Boils Over
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From my new political crush Sen. Rand Paul:
James Otis argued against general warrants and writs of assistance that were issued by British soldiers without judicial review and that did not name the subject or items to be searched.
He condemned these general warrants as “the worst instrument[s] of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty and the fundamental principles of law, that ever w[ere] found in an English law book.” Otis objected to these writs of assistance because they “placed the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer.” The Fourth Amendment was intended to guarantee that only judges—not soldiers or policemen—would issue warrants. Otis’ battle against warrantless searches led to our Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable government intrusion.
My main objection to the PATRIOT Act is that searches that should require a judge’s warrant are performed with a letter from an FBI agent—a National Security Letter (“NSL”).
I object to these warrantless searches being performed on United States citizens. I object to the 200,000 NSL searches that have been performed without a judge’s warrant.
I object to over 2 million searches of bank records, called Suspicious Activity Reports, performed on U.S. citizens without a judge’s warrant.
As February 28th approaches, with three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act set to expire, it is time to re-consider this question: Do the many provisions of this bill, which were enacted in such haste after 9/11, have an actual basis in our Constitution, and are they even necessary to achieve valid law-enforcement goals?
The USA PATRIOT Act, passed in the wake of the worst act of terrorism in U.S. history, is no doubt well-intentioned. However, rather than examine what went wrong, and fix the problems, Congress instead hastily passed a long-standing wish list of power grabs like warrantless searches and roving wiretaps. The government greatly expanded its own power, ignoring obvious answers in favor of the permanent expansion of a police state.
It is not acceptable to willfully ignore the most basic provisions of our Constitution—in this case—the Fourth and First Amendments—in the name of “security.”
For example, one of the three provisions set to expire on February 28th—the “library provision,” section 215 of the PATRIOT Act—allows the government to obtain records from a person or entity by making only the minimal showing of “relevance” to an international terrorism or espionage investigation. This provision also imposes a year-long nondisclosure, or “gag” order. “Relevance” is a far cry from the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of probable cause. Likewise, the “roving wiretap” provision, section 206 of the PATRIOT Act, which is also scheduled to expire on the 28th, does not comply with the Fourth Amendment. This provision makes possible “John Doe roving wiretaps,” which do not require the government to name the target of the wiretap, nor to identify the specific place or facility to be monitored. This bears an uncanny resemblance to the Writs of Assistance fought against by Otis and the American colonists.
Other provisions of the PATRIOT Act previously made permanent and not scheduled to expire present even greater concerns. These include the use and abuse by the FBI of so-called National Security Letters. These secret demand letters, which allow the government to obtain financial records and other sensitive information held by Internet Service Providers, banks, credit companies, and telephone carriers—all without appropriate judicial oversight—also impose a gag order on recipients.
NSL abuse has been and likely continues to be rampant. The widely-circulated 2007 report issued by the Inspector General from the Department of Justice documents “widespread and serious misuse of the FBI’s national security letter authorities. In many instances, the FBI’s misuse of national security letters violated NSL statutes, Attorney General Guidelines, or the FBI’s own internal policies.” Another audit released in 2008 revealed similar abuses, including the fact that the FBI had issued inappropriate “blanket NSLs” that did not comply with FBI policy, and which allowed the FBI to obtain data on 3,860 telephone numbers by issuing only eleven “blanket NSLs.” The 2008 audit also confirmed that the FBI increasingly used NSLs to seek information on U.S. citizens. From 2003 to 2006, almost 200,000 NSL requests were issued. In 2006 alone, almost 60% of the 49,425 requests were issued specifically for investigations of U.S. citizens or legal aliens.
In addition, First Amendment advocates should be concerned about an especially troubling aspect of the 2008 audit, which documented a situation in which the FBI applied to the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to obtain a section 215 order. The Court denied the order on First Amendment grounds. Not to be deterred, the FBI simply used an NSL to obtain the same information.
A recent report released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (“EFF”) entitled, “Patterns of Misconduct: FBI Intelligence Violations from 2001-2008,” documents further NSL abuse. EFF estimates that, based on the proportion of violations reported to the Intelligence Oversight Board and the FBI’s own statements regarding NSL violations, the actual number of violations that may have occurred since 2001 could approach 40,000 violations of law, Executive Order, and other regulations.
Yet another troublesome (and now permanent) provision of the PATRIOT Act is the expansion of Suspicious Activity Reports. Sections 356 and 359 expanded the types of financial institutions required to file reports under the Bank Secrecy Act. The personal and account information required by the reports is turned over to the Treasury Department and the FBI. In 2000, there were only 163,184 reports filed. By 2007, this had increased to 1,250,439. Again, as with NSLs, there is a complete lack of judicial oversight for SARs.
Finally, I wish to remind my colleagues that one of the many ironies of the rush to advance the PATRIOT Act following 9/11 is the well-documented fact that FBI incompetence caused the failure to search the computer of the alleged 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui. As FBI agent Coleen Rowley stated, “the FBI headquarters supervisory special agent handling the Moussaoui case ‘seemed to have been consistently almost deliberately thwarting the Minneapolis FBI agents’ efforts” to meet the FISA standard for a search warrant, and therefore no request was ever made for a warrant. Why, then, was the FBI rewarded with such expansive new powers in the aftermath of this institutional failure?
In the words of former Senator Russ Feingold, the only “no” vote against the original version of the PATRIOT Act,
“[T]here is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country that allowed the police to search your home at any time for any reason; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your email communications; if we lived in a country that allowed the government to hold people in jail indefinitely based on what they write or think, or based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, then the government would no doubt discover and arrest more terrorists. But that probably would not be a country in which we would want to live. And that would not be a country for which we could, in good conscience, ask our young people to fight and die. In short, that would not be America.”
I call upon each of my Senate colleagues to seriously consider whether the time has come to re-evaluate many—if not all—provisions of the PATRIOT Act. Our oath to uphold the Constitution demands it.
Rand Paul, M.D. United States Senator
Jamie posted this at 12:36 PM CDT on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 as Liberty and/or Security
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Its good to see Andrew finally holding Barry’s feet to the fire over his laughable budget. Even more shocking – he actually praised a Republican for a change (his knee jerk stance since 2008 has been Obama Good/Republicans Bad.) It’s about time. Its not like Obama’s fiscal fraudulence hasn’t been on display before.
I’m forced to ask Andrew: What the hell did you expect when you threw your support behind such an obvious liberal politician?
Jamie posted this at 10:33 AM CDT on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011 as That's Not Change!, What Ever Happened to Andrew Sullivan?
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