Thursday, January 31, 2008

Drink Up

Bummed about the prospect of a recession? You should probably have a beer. Apparently, everyone else is.

Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., the nation's largest brewer, said Thursday that a resurgance in beer sales helped push its profit up 12 percent in the fourth quarter.

If we get the economy some are predicting, Milwaukee's Best and Natural Light may be the ones seeing the benefits. Let's hope it doesn't come to that... unless you're going on a float trip.

Signing Statements

In the flood of things that the Bush Administration has done that are terrible, you can lose track of one piece here or there. John Dickerson's piece I referenced a couple of posts ago mentioned signing statements, which I must say jogged my memory a bit. Turns out the president is still using them in full force.

George Bush's signing statement frenzy has now reached epic proportions:

President Bush this week declared that he has the power to bypass four laws, including a prohibition against using federal funds to establish permanent US military bases in Iraq, that Congress passed as part of a new defense bill.

....One section Bush targeted created a statute that forbids spending taxpayer money "to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq" or "to exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq."

The Bush administration is negotiating a long-term agreement with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The agreement is to include the basing of US troops in Iraq after 2008, as well as security guarantees and other economic and political ties between the United States and Iraq.

As recently as a year ago the White House at least acknowledged that Congress had the power to defund military activities if it wished. In fact, their argument, essentially, was that funding was pretty much the only power Congress had over military and foreign policy. Now, apparently, they think Congress doesn't even have that.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

80's Movie Quote of the Week

Ferris Bueller's Day Off is loaded with good stuff. But I recently heard a story about the differences between the concerns of Clinton and Obama voters, and this quote seems to capture it about right.

Ferris: I do have a test today. That wasn't bullsh*t. It's on European socialism. I mean, really, what's the point? I'm not European. I don't plan on being European. So who cares if they're socialists? They could be fascist anarchists. It still doesn't change the fact that I don't own a car. Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in The Beatles, I just believe in me." Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I'd still have to bum rides off people.

One Last Thing...

...about the State of the Union. My favorite quote regarding it actually. It's from John Dickerson writing for Slate:

But there is chutzpah in George Bush, who perfected the use of the signing statement to circumvent Congress when it worked its will, targeting earmarks because they circumvent the regular congressional process. "If these items are truly worth funding, the Congress should debate them in the open and hold a public vote," he said. Next, Bush will offer executive orders that demand better elocution from public officials and ban smirking.


Another Suggestion

The next president should stop warning people about everything. Bush is always telling people he won't allow them to do this, or they must do that. You can't start a speech with a message of bipartisanship (or call for some other country to work with you) and then proceed to work with them by ordering them what to do.

Hooray for italics.

A Suggestion

How about the next president starts off the next State of the Union address with the words "Please hold your applause until the end."

That would make them a little more tolerable.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The End

If this isn't a sign of our imminent destruction, then God has a poor sense of humor.

Meet the Spartans was #1 at the box office.

I defy anyone to say that they saw anything in the trailer for that movie that made them think, "Hey, that joke isn't cliched, childish, or just plain unfunny. I think I'll go see that movie."

Friday, January 25, 2008

Who Counts

David Frum wrote an Op-Ed in the Times about how to stabilize the wobbly three-legged stool of the Republican Party. I actually thought he diagnosed the problem fairly well, but then he made his recommendation on how to fix the situation.

What the Republican Party desperately needs is a domestic program that responds to the values and needs of the tens of millions of American families making around $70,000 a year. That’s not an impossible order. But it will take some new thinking by our presidential candidates and other leaders to meet it.

Presumably, the interest in getting elected is to run the country. If you're serious about running a country, however, you might not want to set a target household income that is $20,000 greater than the national median. Then again, whoever said they were serious about running a country.

Financial Chicanery

Is it possible that a single French trader managed to get the Federal Reserve to panic and slash interest rates in an emergency convening (something they never do)?

It looks like a possibility.

If so, what does that say about the Fed's take on the economy?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

80's Movie Quote of the Week

Obi Wan Kenobi gets a lot of credit for talking about points of view in Return of the Jedi. But if you want to talk about perspective, nobody quite explains it like Throw Momma From the Train .

Larry: I can't just wrap my hands around someone's neck and squeeze the life out of them!
Owen: Well at least meet her. Maybe she'd be someone you'd like to kill.

Dream Job

I wish I could find employment as the guy who is charged with finding photos that convey the seriousness of given situations. This photo is from a story on a volatile day on Wall Street.

For the record, I suspect this guy was trying to get customer support for his laptop.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Getting Behind

This post offers no news that people who follow news probably don't know already. But I wanted to post about all of them, and I don't have time. So the point I guess is that I think all of these things are worth noting.

The economy is on the slow march into the sewer.

Freddie T. dropped out of the presidential race.

Baby Blunt decided his political legacy has been fulfilled.

The classic Hollywood death seems to have happened once again.

Someone finally counted and figured out how many times we were lied to about Iraq.

The woman who the mayor defended to start his downhill slide resigned and disparaged the mayor.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mustaches are Fascist

Earlier this week Jon Stewart had conservative author Jonah Goldberg on to talk about Goldberg's book, Liberal Fascism. Before the interview, Stewart says that the whole thing is 18 minutes long. Of course, it is cut down to 6 on the show. And the choppiness is exaggerated on the show. So what gives? Comedy Central hasn't posted the full thing, and I can't find it anywhere else.

I'd love to know what the other 2/3 were like.

Friday, January 18, 2008


The White House has it. After a long battle over recovery of emails they once admitted were lost, the Pres's crew has a new story:

Q Tony, on the subject, could you address the missing White House emails and the law suit? It is a subject of reports this morning. Are there in fact the emails missing? What's the likelihood of their recovery versus the --
MR. FRATTO: I think our review of this, and you saw the court filing on this, and our declaration in response to the judge's questions -- I think to the best of what all the analysis we've been able to do, we have absolutely no reason to believe that any emails are missing; there's no evidence of that....

Q So where are they?

MR. FRATTO: Where are what?

Q Where are part of --

MR. FRATTO: Which email? Look, no one will tell you categorically about any system -- any system, whether it's your system at Bloomberg or our system here at the White House, past and present, categorically that data cannot be missing.... We have no reason to believe that there's any data missing at all -- and we've certainly found no evidence of any data missing.

Well, if you can't show me the missing emails, then I guess they must not exist. That takes some brass ones.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fair Tax

The next time someone tells you what a great idea the Fair Tax is, ask them which of these income brackets they are in.

Via Matt Yglesias.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

80's Movie Quote of the Week

More of a scene than a single quote this week, but too good to pass up. From Goonies:

Chunk: Listen, okay? You guys'll never believe me. There was two cop cars, okay? And they were chasing this four-wheel deal, this real neat ORV, and there were bullets flying all over the place. It was the most amazing thing I ever saw!
Mikey: More amazing than the time Michael Jackson come over to your house to use the bathroom.
Brandon Walsh: More amazing than the time you saved those old people from that nursing home fire, right?
Mouth: Yeah, and I bet it was even more amazing than the time you ate your weight in Godfather's pizza, right?
Chunk: Okay, Brand. Michael Jackson didn't come over to my house to use the bathroom. He was about to. But his sister did.

Monday, January 14, 2008

All Over the Map

I just took my second political quiz that is supposed to tell me who I should vote for based on the issues. The last one told me to vote for Hillary Clinton. This one tells me to vote for Bill Richardson, though with him out, it looks like maybe Edwards is my guy. But this one (from, has an interesting feature that the others have not.

If you click on the different sets of issues, you can find out on each who you agree with (or who you agree with based on 3-4 multiple choice questions). Here is my rundown:

Gun Control: Romney
Environment: Edwards
Iraq: Richardson (Clinton & Edwards)
Economy: Richardson (Edwards)
Income: Obama
National Security: McCain
Family: Obama
Immigation: Richardson (Clinton)
Healthcare: Romney
Law and Order: Clinton
Education: Obama
Terrorism: Edwards & Paul

So, if you took nothing else about the candidates into account and you assumed I cared about all these issues equally then I should probably be sad that Richardson is gone. But now that he is, my scoreboard is thus:

Edwards: 4
Clinton: 3
Obama: 3
Romney: 2
McCain: 1
Paul: 1

Does this tell me anything? Probably not. It tells me that I agree with Democrats more than Republicans, which is no surprise. It also tells me that there is an awful lot of interpretation that takes place while answering these questions. Who is your candidate?

People Playing People 2008

Actors playing people from the real world continued their hot streak at the Golden Globes last night. As discussed previously, it pays to play a real person (though the discussion has centered around the Oscars).

Last night, Marion Cotillard and Cate Blanchett won Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy and Best Supporting Actress respectively playing the living, or at one time living. Surprisingly, no one won for Charlie Wilson's War. I guess the world of make-believe still has some life.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New Word

I would hereby like to introduce a new word to the English language:

Skulldrudgery -- the tedious work of listening to a conspiracy theorist give his 345th explanation for why the federal government cannot be trusted. (Note: this explanation need not be consistent, and may actually contradict, explanations 1-344.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Anything but Hillarycare

It seems we are now 19 out of 19 industrialized nations in deaths "potentially preventable with timely and effective health care."

Clearly this is the wrong time to suggest that the government get involved. Or as Kevin Drum put it:

But there's a bright side: at least our healthcare isn't funded by the government, like it is in France. Keep that in mind if someone you know dies of preventable causes. Their odds would have been a whole lot better in Paris, but who'd want to live in a socialist hellhole like that anyway?
Sarcasm is fun.

Read Anything Dumb Today?

I have. From the Star's Prime Buzz blog:

Worried about a push to take the religious references out of time, a state senator has filed a bill that would mandate the use of B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini or “Year of our Lord”). Many historians and textbook publishers have switched to B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and C.E. (Common Era) as a nod toward non-Christians.

Good to see one of our fine state senators following the lead of the Kentucky school board who:

"under pressure from religious groups, reversed a two-month old policy to also use B.C.E. and C.E. in schools. Education officials there said the policy was designed to prepare students taking college placement tests for the terminology."

What those education officials failed to understand was that college is for heathen liberals anyway, so it doesn't matter whether or not students do well on college entrance exams.

I'm glad we're getting on board with that.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

80's Movie Quote of the Week

From the highly underrated Johnny Dangerously:

Danny Vermin: Dames are put on this earth to weaken us, drain our energy, laugh at us when they see us naked.

In a Nutshell

This set of links from the Washington Post front page:

Bush Lauds Economy | Analysts Cite Softening

Reality? Whose reality?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Saturday, January 5, 2008

What it Takes to Get it Done

A quote of the day from the New York Times:

“If you had 30 C.E.O.’s saying, ‘damn it, we need new bridges or faster trains,’ then that would happen,” said Peter R. Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office. “The fact of the matter is that public infrastructure spending does not have much momentum behind it.”

Friday, January 4, 2008


More than anything else, what I remember about the 2000 election was feeling as though Democrats and Republicans were basically giving us the same candidate. I was much less observant about politics then than I am now, but I talk to quite a few people who say they felt the same way. If those people are Democrats, they now feel really stupid. But life is about learning lessons, and it would seem that Iowans learned theirs.

In 2000, Republicans had 87,000 caucus voters and Democrats had 59,000. Eight years later when it has become very clear that you do not get the same thing no matter who you vote for, things have changed.

Republicans had 115,000 caucus voters. Democrats had 236,000. That tells me people now see a difference in what they'll get from candidates. And they are doing something about it.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Young People and Change

Obama and Huckabee are the winners tonight. The pundits are making it about young people and change. So we may not be able to predict at this point that Obama and Huckabee will run the table, but we can easily bet that young people and change will be mentioned ad nauseum for the next few weeks at media outlets everywhere.

Important Question

Do your toenails grow faster when your feet are sweating? I don't think that makes any sense, but every time I get back from the gym I could swear they are longer than before I left.

And you're welcome for making you think about sweaty feet.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Best of 2007 Movies (Update)

I have seen three movies in the few days since I posted my "Best of 2007". All three have claimed spots on the list. So until I see a few more movies, here is the current list.

1. 3:10 to Yuma
2. Michael Clayton
3. The Darjeeling Limited
4. Eastern Promises
5. Live Free or Die Hard
6. Once
7. Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten
8. Walk Hard
9. Knocked Up
10. The Bourne Ultimatum

I Will Never Rule the World

A friend sent me a link to a site called Political Compass where you answer a bunch of questions and based on those answers you find out where you sit on the political spectrum. There are a lot of these kinds of things out on the web, but I do like the way the questions are put together in this one.

I came out about where I might have thought. I'm a leftist libertarian. Interestingly enough, one of my friends who I argue politics with frequently is also a leftist libertarian. I might have thought the whole thing was rigged if the other friend who I usually argue politics with hadn't come out as a conservative authoritarian.

Anyway, the chart above is from the analysis page of the web site. It shows (based on comments and policies) where various world figures would stand. It would appear that if you want a future in world politics, conservative authoritarianism is where it's at. Maybe my friend should rethink his career choice.

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