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Saturday, March 28, 2009
 
Ask A Silly Question...

Do New Bulbs Save Energy if They Don't Work?

Yes, in fact they save even more energy, just like a broken refrigerator uses far less energy than a running one.
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Matt Yglesias On Designing Better 'Burbs

I'm sorry, but I have a hard time believing this kid has ascended to the top of the liberal blogosphere with tripe like this. He presents two different designs for a suburban area:



Obviously the second development pattern is more desirable (as Matt illustrates) from a gas consumption or bicycling standpoint. But who the heck would want to live there? You'd have to deal with lots of drive-through traffic. Second, it looks like a lot more streets in that tiny area which means more pavement to absorb the head during the day and release it at night; the well-known "heat island" effect.

Some of Matt's commenters point out some of the other problems. Lots of intersections in the second grid; that means lots of four-way stop signs, so there's more stopping and starting. All the greenery is gone in favor of small strips of land; there is no provision for wildlife.

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Friday, March 27, 2009
 
Bachmann's Money Fears Explained

You see, she confused it with the Amero.

Although Matthews dismisses Bachmann as a lunatic for her concern, there has been talk of a North American currency, the Amero.


So, okay, she's not a lunatic. She believes in the Amero.

American Power says she's saving America. Along with Glenn Beck. I can't tell you how comforting it is to know that those two geniuses are in charge of the resistance. Truly we are safe from the predations of the Obamessiah.
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Protester Du Jour



More of these dolts here.
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Your Daily Dose of Bachmann and Beck Nuttery



Bravely protecting us from the New World Order, instead of focusing like a laser on the out of control spending of the Obamateur.

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McCain Was Right

Byron York:

I asked McCain what might happen if Obama and Orszag get their way. First, the U.S. could have to print a lot of new money, "running the huge risk of inflation and returning to the situation of the 1970s, only far worse," McCain said. The second option is to raise taxes.

Just this week, former Clinton budget director Alice Rivlin conceded that Obama's budget could present a "scary scenario" that would "raise deficits to unsustainable levels well after the economy recovers." The solution, she wrote, is higher taxes, and not just for the richest of the rich.

Of course, that's what McCain said during the campaign. And it's what the much-maligned Joe the Plumber said, too. Remember when he took so much flak for objecting to Obama's plan to raise taxes only on those Americans making more than $250,000 a year? Joe didn't make anything near that, the critics said, so why was he worrying?


But I'm sure Bob will tell me that McCain was wrong and Obama was right. He certainly seems to be quite the Obama fan.

Update: Quoth the Bob: "Nope McCain is wrong about nearly everything but when it comes to talking of printing money and raising taxes he takes a backseat to no one."

Obviously Bob feels we're better off under Obama.

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Welfare for Gitmo Detainees?

So they can live in the USA?

Some of the detainees, deemed non-threatening, may be released into the United States as free men, Blair confirmed.

That would happen when they can't be returned to their home countries, because the governments either won't take them or the U.S. fears they will be abused or tortured. That is the case with 17 Uighurs (WEE'-gurz), Chinese Muslim separatists who were cleared for release from the jail long ago. The U.S. can't find a country willing to take them, and it will not turn them over to China.

Blair said the former prisoners would have [to] get some sort of assistance to start their new lives in the United States.

“We can't put them out on the street,” he said.


They get cited over and over as "innocent" but Tom Joscelyn points out that this is a new meaning for the word:

None of the 17 Uighurs are master terrorists on par with the likes of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. They were mostly new recruits at the time of their capture. However, as I have argued before, they are all affiliated with and/or members of a designated terrorist organization, received training at a training camp in the al Qaeda/Taliban stronghold of Tora Bora, and have admitted that they were trained by two known terrorists. And, on top of that, the group that trained them threatened to attack the Olympic Games in China last year.

Even if you don’t think that we should lock them up and throw away the key, do we really want to pay them to live on U.S. soil?


Perhaps we could give them a small stipend so they could buy tools of the trade (boxcutters) and perhaps a one-way ticket to Los Angeles?

Realistically, Bush should have sent them back to China. Yes, they'd probably have been treated pretty harshly, given that their objective was to terrorize the Olympics. But better them at risk from the Chinese, than us at risk from them.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009
 
Amateur Hour

I've kind of been ignoring the initial fumbles of the Obama Administration, but it is getting to the point that you gotta wonder if these guys are ever going to get their act together. USA Today lays out the stark reality of the budgets:

This brings us to Wednesday's start of budget season on Capitol Hill, which featured an underwhelming display of short-term tinkering to whittle down the cost of President Obama's $3.7 trillion spending plan for 2010, coupled with some of the same old backsliding on the long-term problem.

Among other things, the Senate Budget Committee abandoned the useful discipline of laying out budget numbers for the next 10 years, opting instead for a five-year display that conveniently masks the fact that deficits are projected to rise after 2013.

There are limits to how much the government can borrow without consequence — a fact underscored Wednesday when the Treasury had unexpected trouble selling five-year notes to cover Washington's enormous borrowing. It might have been a hiccup, but it roiled the stock market and sent a worrying signal that Treasury might have to offer higher interest rates, which could throw a wrench into the recovery.


That's bad enough without the spectacle of the Secretary of the Treasury talking down the US dollar:

As if the dollar didn't have enough problems, Timothy Geithner took China's bait yesterday and said he was "quite open" to its suggestion this week to displace the greenback with an "international reserve currency." The dollar promptly fell and stocks followed, before the Treasury Secretary re-emerged to say "the dollar remains the world's dominant reserve currency. I think that's likely to continue for a long time."


This of course has led to a round of conspiracy theorizing about the Amero, or even the Eartho replacing the dollar.

Although Title 31, Sec. 5103 USC prohibits foreign currency from being recognized in the U.S., the President has the power to engage foreign governments in treaties, and the President is principally responsible for the interpretations and implementation of those treaties according to the Constitution. As a result, legislation prohibiting the President and Treasury from issuing or agreeing that the U.S. will adopt an international currency would need to come in the form of a Constitutional Amendment differentiating a treaty used to implement an international currency in the U.S. from other types of treaty agreements.


Of course Geithner was not talking about replacing the dollar, he was talking about changing the dollar's status as the reserve currency. It was a boneheaded mistake, but Bachmann's now trying to conflate that with replacing the greenback inside the United States.

And there are other problems at Treasury:

The administration is in a fully fledged staffing crisis: having lost a record ten high-profile picks, it has scores of senior executive jobs unfilled—including every single treasury position below the department’s top job. The head of Britain’s civil service, Gus O’Donnell, has complained about the trouble he’s had finding key administration personnel ahead of the G20 conference in April. “There is nobody there,” he said. “You cannot believe how difficult it is.” Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner looks terrified before executives and television cameras alike. Five months after the election he has yet to deliver a plan for the banking system, much less restructure a single financial asset.


Update: Here's more of Bachmann's finest:



She's looking for constitutional provisions from Geithner? Look, Geithner's an amateur as has become clear to everybody. But Bachmann's grandstanding with her "where in the Constitution" nonsense and she deserves to be called out on it. And her performance with Bernanke is absolute conspiracy nuttery and I'm not going to apologize for slamming her for it.

Update II: No kidding, these are defenses of Bachmann from purportedly responsible conservative blogs:

American Power:

However, Greg Sargent spoke with Debbee Keller, Bachmann's spokesperson, and she said that the resolution only applied to the introduction of a foreign currency unit inside the United States. The proposal has no implications for limiting the introduction of a new international reserve currency to replace the dollar as the premiere unit of global finance.


Oh, okay. Glad we've banned the use of Pesos or Ameros or Whateveros in America, but we're happy to have it as the reserve currency for the world? Remember, this is another conservative blog supporting Bachmann.

Poligazette reads it the way I do:

Yeah. It must be that old conspiracy theory that Mexico is going to take over the United States using NAFTA and impose the “Amero” as a currency replacement while also (gasp!) constructing roads!!!!

It appears Ron Paul finally has a fellow traveler in the loony wing of the U.S. Congress.


Right Pundits supports Bachmann badly:

Michele Bachmann is the Republican Representative of Minnesota’s 6th congressional district. She really dislikes the ideal of a global currency! You can read her biography below, see photos and watch a video.


The point is that we should be fighting Obama about the obvious, which is the insane spending he's proposing, the carbon taxes, the universal health insurance. Idiots like Bachmann fighting Obama over a global currency are just diverting attention from the real battle, and making us look like idiots precisely at a time when we need to be disciplined.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009
 
Bravely Battling Imaginary Enemies



Glenn Beck and Michelle Bachmann, standing strong against the Amero. Heck this one isn't even limited to North America, maybe we should call it the Eartho.

Here's four words you won't often hear around these parts: Matt Yglesias is right.

For any given insane freak-out, a majority of conservatives don’t happen to participate. But the non-participants don’t do anything to disavow their confrères doing the freaking-out.


These idiots need to be mocked with every bit of the fervor and anger that we typically reserve for 9-11 "Truthers".

Update: It's amateur hour at Treasury:

Geithner was asked at a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York about People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan’s call for a new international reserve currency. He said while he had not read Zhou’s proposal, he understood it as a plan “designed to increase the use of the IMF’s special drawing rights. And we’re actually quite open to that.”

The dollar slid as much as 1.3 percent against the euro within 10 minutes of news accounts of Geithner’s remarks. It recouped much of the loss about 15 minutes later, when Geithner then predicted no change in the U.S. currency’s role. The dollar was down 0.9 percent at $1.3591 per euro as of 3:39 p.m. in New York.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009
 
Greenwald on the Difference Between "Progressives" and Conservatives

Like everybody, he sees the dissent on his own side and not the dissent on the other. Everybody rallied 'round Bush while progressives hold Obama's feet to the fire. In other words, progressives are good and noble and true to their beliefs while conservatives are mindless robots.

Even as Bush implemented one massive expansion of government power after the next -- the very "un-conservative" policies they long claimed to oppose -- there was nothing but (at best) the most token and muted objections from them. The handful of conservatives who did object were cast aside as traitors to the cause, and criticisms of the President became equated with an overt lack of patriotism. Uncritical support for the Leader was the overarching, defining attribute of conservatism, so much so that even Bill Kristol, in The New York Times, acknowledged: "Bush was the movement and the cause."


Hilariously, under the words "overt lack of patriotism", Greenwald links to a speech by that well-known conservative, Joe Lieberman. As far as I can see, this is the offending passage:

It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be Commander-in-Chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.


But of course Lieberman is no conservative. The American Conservative Union graded him an 8 in 2008, which made him less conservative than Hillary Clinton (11) or Barack Obama (17) that year. So where does Greenwald get off calling him a conservative? Oh, he supported Bush on the war, ergo he's conservative.
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Monday, March 23, 2009
 
Women Should Be Allowed to Be Falling Down Drunk, Wearing No Clothes, And Not Get Raped

In a perfect world. Unfortunately this is not a perfect world.

Our post — which never criticized the Alexa Foundation — highlighted the fact that in the past, O’Reilly has implied that women who dress in a certain way or consume too much alcohol should perhaps expect to be raped. Here is what he said on his radio show on Aug. 2 about Jennifer Moore, an 18-year-old woman who was raped and murdered:

Now Moore, Jennifer Moore, 18, on her way to college. She was 5-foot-2, 105 pounds, wearing a miniskirt and a halter top with a bare midriff. Now, again, there you go. So every predator in the world is gonna pick that up at two in the morning. She’s walking by herself on the West Side Highway, and she gets picked up by a thug. All right. Now she’s out of her mind, drunk.

O’Reilly’s comments about Moore were part of a larger segment about the dangers of drunkenness. His other example was Mel Gibson going on a drunken tirade and yelling anti-Semitic comments. “I think it’s safe to say that if Mel Gibson didn’t get drunk, he wouldn’t be in this terrible situation he finds himself in,” said O’Reilly. “And if a young woman, 18-year-old Jennifer Moore of Harrington Park, NJ, didn’t get drunk, she’d be alive today.”


I don't know if Amanda Turkel, who wrote the piece, has a teenaged daughter, but if she does, I hope she's not telling her that she can get as drunk as she wants anywhere and anytime, with no fear of rape.

That said, the behavior of O'Reilly's producer seems a little out of line.

Update: Commenter Bob thinks I was slamming O'Reilly. I was agreeing essentially with what he said while thinking that he could have phrased it a little better. I think this "blaming the victim" backlash has gone a little too far. Sometimes the victims create their own misfortune; this does not remove the actual guilt for her rape and murder from her attacker, but it does acknowledge that people do have to use common sense.

And having seen the actual "stalking" video, I have to say that I don't think the producer was out of line.
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