Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The theme of that Christian militia group:

If you visit HUTAREE.COM and check out the links, you'll find that they are overwhelmingly about guns. Guns to purchase. Training for the use of guns. A rank system that uses gun names (e.g. Gunner, Senior Gunner, Master Gunner, Bronze Rifleman, Gold Rifleman, Gold Rifleman).

It dominates the website so much that whatever ideology is at play is hard to find. What little is there is about martyrdom while fighting the anti-Christ.

One of their external links goes to the Adjutant Briefing website which itself has links to stuff like aircraft carrier locations* and the Rapture Index. It's all good stuff.

* - almost a year out of date


Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's not going to work:

In the news: (emp add)
The Times of London will charge readers for Internet access starting in June, News Corporation announced on Friday, putting Rupert Murdoch at the forefront of a movement to erect toll gates on news sites.

Mr. Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of the company, has suggested that all of its news sites should have pay walls — a range that includes The New York Post, Fox News Channel and the British tabloid The Sun, among many others. The Wall Street Journal, acquired by News Corporation in 2007, has had such a barrier since 1996.

News Corporation said that people who subscribe to both the printed Times and its sister paper, The Sunday Times, will have free Web access. But beginning in June, it said, a reader who does not subscribe in print will have to pay — ₤1 for a day, or ₤2 for a week (about $1.49 or $2.97).
I can see wealthy people (or those hoping to be wealthy) paying for the Wall Street Journal. But the New York Post?

As for the Times of London, $150/year is a very high price as these things go.

Also, is Murdoch going to charge people to visit Fox Nation, the website that's supposed to be for the Fox watching community. There is nothing at that place but teaser links and the expected conservative comments. Maybe people will pay a penny a day for that, but not more.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Voices not heard recently:
  • Pat Buchanan
  • Joe Lieberman
  • The Cheneys (Dick or Liz)


More of this please:



Republicans are losing badly with their message dismissing violence and violent language:

Case in point, John McCain on the Today show. What's most significant is the attitude of NBC's Ann Curry, who was concerned about Palin's use of crosshairs showing where some Democrats reside, along with language of "aim", "salvo", and "reload".


Shorter Cokie Roberts:
The only problem with Fox News is that Glenn Beck guy.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Obama's what?

Jim DeMint said that health care legislation would be Obama's Waterloo.

On the other hand, William Kristol writes that it's Obama's Borodino.

Maybe a better analogy is Wertingen, since that was waged, not by the man himself, but two subordinates (a parallel with Reid and Pelosi).

Yeah, that the one. Although you have to consider the weighty arguments that health care legislation is Obama's Austerlitz. Also, Aspern-Essling is a strong contender as well.


Wall Street Journal attacks David Frum!

Frum responds (best part is the snarky last paragraph).


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Warning of Armageddon is effective politics, but what do you say when Armageddon arrives?

That's the position of Republicans, now that the much feared health care reform is going to become law.

The current campaign (spearheaded by William Kristol) to repeal Armageddon is simply not going to work.

Republicans are going to have to find another issue to make hay with. Immigration? A still-soggy economy? Middle East conflict? It'll be something like that.


Monday, March 22, 2010

William Kristol has peaked:

He's dismissed by Yglesias, Chait, and Joe Klein. Convincingly.


Atrios on HCR:

21 March 2010:
Both on substance and politics, better to pass it than not. It does not do the important work of sowing the seeds of the insurance industry's destruction, leaving the skimmers in place, and only takes baby steps towards moving them to the regulated public utility model. It also doesn't get rid of their anti-trust exemption, leaving the effective monopolies in place. This leaves us open to continued abuses by the industry and fails to do the most important cost-cutting measure, cutting out the paper pushers who serve no useful purpose in the economy. But there is good in the bill, too, and one has to be a bit Hopey that over time demands by the public will make the bad and unpopular stuff less bad and less unpopular.
22 March 2010:
My marker for Obama was whether he'd get a health care bill with a public option. He didn't. A year ago passage of some sort of health care reform seemed inevitable, and not a tremendous challenge. Only a year of dithering and bipartisaning and gangs of wankers and pre-compromising and, frankly, failure to put forward something simple and popular jeopardized it.

The bill's more good than bad, but it isn't what we should have gotten. It isn't what we voted for.
I agree.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Well, yeah:

At the conservative Weekly Standard, Matthew Continetti writes:
... the House of Representatives of the United States of America will pass into law a health care reform that the people they represent oppose. In so doing, they will complete the decades-long project of American liberals to create an American welfare state along the lines you find in postwar Western Europe.


Media reaction to health care bill passing:

On ABC's Sunday evening national news, with Diane Sawyer at the desk, there was a surprisingly pro-reform tilt now that the bill is going to pass. Their in-house doctor, Timothy Johnson, was saying that the bill would do many good things, that it's the sort of thing all other developed countries are doing, etc. Sawyer seemed to share his upbeat view. This mood was evident on the local news as well.

Until something like this passes the media tend to take a "hands off" view that gives equal time to every voice out there (including confused or deceptive Republican ones). But that when "it" passes, either out of a respect for the power that the majorities represent, because they think its good policy, or because its the new status quo, the media will defend it.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Frum vs. Hannity:

On the topic of Hannity's Freedom Concerts and how funds were spent. References Schlussel:
I discovered that Freedom Alliance gives very little money to the children of slain troops to pay for college and even less to wounded troops. The stories of injuries to troops and how much Freedom Alliance gives them–$200 for a soldier from a poor neighborhood who lost three limbs–is heartbreaking. Soldiers with traumatic brain injuries, severe wounds to the face from disfiguring burns and explosions, and multiple amputations got $1,000 or less, with only a handful of exceptions.


[L]ess than 20%–and in two recent years, less than 7% and 4%, respectively–of the money raised by Freedom Alliance went to these causes, while millions of dollars went to expenses, including consultants and apparently to ferret the Hannity posse of family and friends in high style. And, despite Hannity’s statements to the contrary on his nationally syndicated radio show, few of the children of fallen soldiers got more than $1,000-$2,000, with apparently none getting more than $6,000, while Freedom Alliance appears to have spent tens of thousands of dollars for private planes. Moreover, despite written assurances to donors that all money raised would go directly to scholarships for kids of the fallen heroes and not to expenses, has begun charging expenses of nearly $500,000 to give out just over $800,000 in scholarships.

According to its 2006 tax returns, Freedom Alliance reported revenue of $10, 822, 785, but only $397,900–or a beyond-measly 3.68%–of that was given to the children of fallen troops as scholarships or as aid to severely injured soldiers.

[In 2008] Freedom Alliance took in $8,781,431 in revenue and gave $1,060,275.57 total–or just 12%–to seriously wounded soldiers and for scholarships to kids of the fallen. Remember, this is well below the 75% required to be considered a legitimate charity.
As you might guess, a lot of money goes to Hannity and his entourage.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

No paranoid conspiracy types here:

Over at, Michael Medved defends Obama from charges that he wants to destroy the U.S. economy:
If President Obama really means to wreck the U.S. economy (as many influential conservatives stridently insist) then why didn’t he finish the job when he had the chance—in September, 2008? (...)

If Barack Obama yearned for a financial catastrophe he could have gotten his wish with ease and with no risk of blame had he responded differently to the Wall Street crisis of the Fall of 2008. (...)

With ... President Bush struggling mightily to win Congressional approval for his $700 billion TARP bailout package, candidate Obama provided decisive support. (...)

... those who believe that Obama intends to wreck capitalism must somehow explain the inconvenient fact that he passed up a golden opportunity to do just that two months before his election. (...)

No economic analyst doubts that a final defeat of the Bush bailout would have produced a devastating wave of major failures in the financial world and a near total freeze of the banking system.
What's best are the comments. Here's one: (emp add)
You ... cannot come to grips with the reality of how radical Obama is. All one must do is listen to what he says. He wants to remake this country in his image and to do that he must first destroy the old country we have known for 200+ years. In response to your question why didn't he destroy the economy during the campaing when he had the chance, the answer is obvious. He was a candidate who could not openly reveal his true intent.
In fact, Obama still hasn't revealed his true intent. That will come later duringhis third term as president.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bernanke defends the Fed:

And in a convincing manner: (emp add)
... others will be skeptical, trotting out the Fed's spectacular underestimation of financial problems during 2005-2007. That criticism is of course well taken, and both the Fed and the economics profession as a whole have much more work to do in terms of recognizing exactly what should have been done differently. But let's be practical. What other institution did a better job?
That's telling 'em Ben. You screwed up but that's okay because you can't find an "institution" that did a better job of dealing with the housing bubble - whatever that's supposed to mean.

I am so pleased that Obama reappointed this extremely wise central banker.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How to win arguments:

Some guy at the Center for Equal Opportunity testified today against a federal bill that would require states to allow (ex)felons to vote.

He has two arguments. The first is states rights, where he admits that there are some Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment anti-discriminatory elements to comply with, but overall says that "Congress lacks the authority" to pass such a law.

The second argument is more interesting. Here's the essential part: (emp add)
Those who are not willing to follow the law cannot claim a right to make the law for everyone else. And when you vote, you are indeed making the law – either directly, in a ballot initiative or referendum, or indirectly, by choosing lawmakers.
Says who? Says Roger Clegg, that's who.

It's pure assertion. Also, he considers felonies but not misdemeanors as a criteria for denying a person the ability to vote. That goes against his argument, as do further writings saying that some ex-felons could be allowed to vote but only after review "on a case-by-case basis".

Anyway, back to Clegg's ex cathedra declaration :
Those who are not willing to follow the law cannot claim a right to make the law for everyone else.
Sure they can. And so can others who are not ex-felons, like me.


Shorter David Brooks:
I'm warning Senate Democrats, that if they do something Republicans don't like then "person-to-person relationships, with their sympathy and sentiment, will be snuffed out".
Serious analysis here.

Snarky analysis here.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Robert Samuelson's unenquiring mind:

He writes: (emp add)
The uninsured, it's said, use emergency rooms for primary care. That's expensive and ineffective. Once they're insured, they'll have regular doctors. Care will improve; costs will decline. Everyone wins. Great argument. Unfortunately, it's untrue.

A study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that the insured accounted for 83 percent of emergency-room visits, reflecting their share of the population. After Massachusetts adopted universal insurance, emergency-room use remained higher than the national average, an Urban Institute study found. More than two-fifths of visits represented non-emergencies. Of those, a majority of adult respondents to a survey said it was "more convenient" to go to the emergency room or they couldn't "get [a doctor's] appointment as soon as needed." If universal coverage makes appointments harder to get, emergency-room use may increase.
Samuelson isn't interested enough to check and see if that sort of thing takes place in other countries where there is universal coverage. He just throws it out there. His citing of Massachusetts doesn't help in any way. ER visits "remained" higher than the national average. Sounds as if they stayed at the same level or declined (you can be sure if they went up Samuelson would point out that fact).

And the logic is lame. "If" universal coverage makes appointments harder to get, then emergency-room use "may" increase. Two uncertainties!


Saturday, March 13, 2010


The Vatican should dismiss the nonsense allegations against it regarding child sexual abuse and get back to the more important task of declaring Pope Pius XII a saint.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Ayn Rand critiques:

Friday reading. These articles are both from February of this year and both keying off of a new biography by Heller.

A look at her infatuation with a serial killer at AlterNet (progressive) Warning, gruesome at points.

A critique at the New Criterion (conservative).


If not this year, maybe the next, or the year after that:

Supporters of the current health care legislation (i.e. Senate bill) say that if it isn't passed this year, then we will have to wait a generation until the next opportunity arises. So "Pass the damn bill!" echoes throughout the blogosphere. But one of the problems with the current legislation is that it's too timid (not anywhere close to Japan/Canada/Europe), partly because a lot of people are still enjoying the last gasps of the traditional employer provided and paid for system - and as a result there is limited support for substantial reform. That's soon to end:
Most big employers plan to shift a larger share of health-care costs to their workers next year, according to a survey released Thursday.

Many say they may charge more to cover spouses, tighten eligibility standards for their health plans and dispense financial rewards or penalties based on the results of certain lab tests. At some companies, overweight employees could be excluded from the most desirable plans.

Meanwhile, employees at many companies can expect significantly higher premiums, deductibles and co-payments ...
Employees will be insured as individuals, which isn't going to be much different from individuals getting health care on the open market. Anyone following that area of health coverage knows it's rapidly approaching a situation where health care becomes unaffordable.

If health care legislation fails to pass this year, don't be surprised if it reemerges as a big political topic very soon thereafter.


Teaching kids stuff:

In Texas:
AUSTIN, Texas – A far-right faction of the Texas State Board of Education succeeded Friday in injecting conservative ideals into social studies, history and economics lessons that will be taught to millions of students for the next decade.

Teachers in Texas will be required to cover the Judeo-Christian influences of the nation's Founding Fathers, but not highlight the philosophical rationale for the separation of church and state. Curriculum standards also will describe the U.S. government as a "constitutional republic," rather than "democratic," and students will be required to study the decline in value of the U.S. dollar, including the abandonment of the gold standard. (...)

By late Thursday night, three other Democrats seemed to sense their futility and left, leaving Republicans to easily push through amendments heralding "American exceptionalism" and the U.S. free enterprise system, suggesting it thrives best absent excessive government intervention.
Also this:
There were no historians, sociologists or economists consulted at the meetings, though some members of the conservative bloc held themselves out as experts on certain topics.

They also included a plank to ensure that students learn about “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schalfly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.”

Mr. Bradley [a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate] won approval for an amendment saying students should study “the unintended consequences” of the Great Society legislation, affirmative action and Title IX legislation. He also won approval for an amendment stressing that Germans and Italians were interned in the United States as well as the Japanese during World War II, to counter the idea that the internment of Japanese was motivated by racism.

Other changes seem aimed at tamping down criticism of the right. Conservatives passed one amendment, for instance, requiring that the history of McCarthyism include “how the later release of the Venona papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government.” The Venona papers were transcripts of some 3,000 communications between the Soviet Union and its agents in the United States.

In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, among the usual list of economists to be studied, like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes. They also replaced the word “capitalism” throughout their texts with the “free-enterprise system.”

Cynthia Dunbar, a lawyer from Richmond who is a strict constitutionalist and thinks the nation was founded on Christian beliefs, managed to cut Thomas Jefferson from a list of figures whose writings inspired revolutions in the late 18th century and 19th century, replacing him with St. Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin and William Blackstone. (Jefferson is not well liked among the conservatives on the board because he coined the term “separation between church and state.”)
This is pretty much everything you'd hear at a Tea Party rally.

Why bother with these new Texas textbooks? Kids can get the same education from watching Fox "News".


Chait on Ryan and public policy:

He's got some sharp observations about Paul Ryan's budget and tax proposal, and also writes this:
The basic thrust of liberal public policy over the last century is to keep in places the market system but use government to slightly mitigate against risk--the risk of getting sick, the risk of outliving your savings, the risk that you just won't make much money in the first place. The downside of these policies is that, in order to mitigate the downside risk, you also have to mitigate the upside benefit. If you're unusually rich, you have to pay a somewhat higher tax rate than most people. If you're unusually healthy, you have to subsidize medical care for people who aren't. If you were able to invest well enough to cover your entire retirement, some of your good fortune will be siphoned off to those who weren't. The rewards for getting rich, or merely being born rich, will remain enormous, just slightly less so than in a completely free market.

Republicans want to eliminate these mitigations of risk. Ryan would retain some bare-bones subsidies for the poorest, but the overwhelming thrust in every way is to liberate the lucky and successful to enjoy their good fortune without burdening them with any responsibility for the welfare of their fellow citizens. (...)

The core of the Randian worldview, as absorbed by the modern GOP, is a belief that the natural market distribution of income is inherently moral, and the central struggle of politics is to free the successful from having the fruits of their superiority redistributed by looters and moochers.
Chait is saying that Republicans are opposed to national insurance programs. Of all types (health, retirement, employment). And they are!

Also, is the natural market distribution of income inherently moral? Certainly not in all cases. There is luck involved, as anyone who dabbles in the stock market can tell you. Large market forces in far-away places can affect one's fortunes here, for better or worse, no matter how much talent or effort is deployed. And how do the inheritors of wealth function within a market? Then there's health, which is not market driven in any way. But for those who are in good physical shape and well off, Ryan's governing philosophy is attractive.


Howell Raines unloads on Fox "News":

Big time.

Some excerpts:
  • Why haven't America's old-school news organizations blown the whistle on Roger Ailes, chief of Fox News, for using the network to conduct a propaganda campaign against the Obama administration ...

  • Ailes has overturned standards of fairness and objectivity that have guided American print and broadcast journalists since World War II. Yet, many members of my profession seem to stand by in silence ...

  • ... the network has sold a falsified image of the professional standards that developed in American newsrooms and university journalism departments in the last half of the 20th century.

  • ... it is precisely our long-held norms that cripple our ability to confront Fox's journalism of perpetual assault. I'm confident that many old-schoolers are too principled to appear on the network, choosing silence over being used; when Fox does trot out a house liberal as a punching bag, the result is a parody of reasoned news formats.

  • My great fear ... is that some journalists of my generation who once prided themselves on blowing whistles and afflicting the comfortable have also been intimidated by Fox's financial power and expanding audience, as well as Ailes's proven willingness to dismantle the reputation of anyone who crosses him.

  • Why can't American journalists steeped in the traditional values of their profession be loud and candid about the fact that Murdoch does not belong to our team? His importation of the loose rules of British tabloid journalism, including blatant political alliances, started our slide to quasi-news.

  • For the first time since the yellow journalism of a century ago, the United States has a major news organization devoted to the promotion of one political party.

  • News Corp., with 64,000 employees worldwide, receives the tender treatment accorded a future employer.


Get ready for another housing bubble:

Ben Bernanke: (emp add)
Although the severity of the financial stresses became apparent only in August, several longer-term developments served as prologue for the recent turmoil and helped bring us to the current situation.

The first of these was the U.S. housing boom, which began in the mid-1990s and picked up steam around 2000. Between 1996 and 2005, house prices nationwide increased about 90 percent. During the years from 2000 to 2005 alone, house prices increased by roughly 60 percent--far outstripping the increases in incomes and general prices ...
Janet Yelen of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (in her October 2007 speech at the Omni hotel in Los Angeles, printed in the Winter 2007 edition of the Town Hall Journal - not affiliated with (emp add)
Here in California, the rise and fall of house prices has been a lot like the nation's, only more so. In 2004 and 2005, many homeowners gleeflully watched the meter tick up and up on their house values. I know I did.
Today we learn that Janet Yellen will be tapped to replace Donald Kohn as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Go Michael Steele!

In the news:
Under Chairman Michael Steele, the Republican National Committee has been using controversial mailers posing as official Census documents to raise money. “Calling itself the ‘Congressional District Census,’ the letter comes in an envelope starkly printed with the words, ‘DO NOT DESTROY OFFICIAL DOCUMENT’ and describes itself, on the outside of the envelope, as a ‘census document,’” notes Politico. Although the mailers have been used before, they were heavily criticized this year because they coincide with the actual Census; many observers worried that people would confuse the two. Yesterday, the House voted 416-0 to ban “misleading mailings designed to appear they’re from the Census Bureau”:
The legislation passed 416-0, after two Republicans who sit on the House panel overseeing the census, Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Jason Chaffetz of Utah, agreed to co-sponsor the measure. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., has said he intends to move forward with legislation in the Senate.
Steele recently defended the mailers, saying, “If it’s against the law, I won’t [send them]. Until such time, this is an aggressive fundraising season.”
Here's the deal. The mailers will go to Republicans. As a rsult, some of those people will not return the official census form. That means Republicans will be underrepresented when congressional districts are redrawn, and they will get fewer federal dollars for infrastructure and the like.


Chile has a new president today!

Just what the doctor ordered:
Sebastián Piñera

Piñera owns 100% of Chilevisión, a terrestrial television channel broadcasting nationwide; 27% of LAN Airlines (LAN), 13% of Colo-Colo, a football (soccer) club; and holds significant stock positions in companies such as Quiñenco, Enersis, and Soquimich.

Piñera has built an estimated fortune of 1 billion USD as of March 2009, according to Forbes magazine. His wealth is attributed in great part to his involvement in the introduction of credit cards to Chile in the late 1970s and his subsequent investments, mainly in LAN Airlines stock.
This world would be much better off with more media-owning conservative billionaires in elective office (Berlusconi) or heavily influencing the dialog (Murdoch). Piñera is a welcome addition to that trend.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

I like the matter-of-fact tone in this report:

Over at TPM: (emp add)
Has Liz Cheney damaged her cause, and her reputation, by running an ad that questioned the loyalties of Justice Department lawyers who defended Guantanamo detainees? After a barrage of attacks on the ad, including some from prominent conservatives, it's worth asking the question.

Last week, Keep America Safe, the pro-torture advocacy group that Cheney co-chairs with Bill Kristol, ran a web ad that labeled seven DOJ lawyers who had previously represented detainees at Gitmo -- or simply filed amicus briefs in their cases -- "the Al Qaeda Seven."


Monday, March 08, 2010


New York Magazine:
"Fox is a regular pulpit, of course, but Liz [Cheney] is also all over NBC, where she happens to be social friends with Meet the Press host David Gregory (whose wife worked with Liz’s husband at the law firm Latham & Watkins), family friends with Justice Department reporter Pete Williams (Dick Cheney’s press aide when he was secretary of Defense), and neighborhood friends with Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski ..."


Palin does it again:

This weekend Palin said:
"My first five years of life we spent in Skagway, Alaska, right there by Whitehorse. Believe it or not -- this was in the '60s -- we used to hustle on over the border for health care that we would receive in Whitehorse. I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing and my parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse and I think, isn't that kind of ironic now. Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada."
September 2008:
"... there’s been a lot of times that Todd and I have had to figure out how we were going to pay for health insurance. We’ve gone through periods of our life here with paying out of pocket for health coverage until Todd and I both landed a couple of good union jobs.

Early on in our marriage, we didn’t have health insurance, and we had to either make the choice of paying out of pocket for catastrophic coverage or just crossing our fingers, hoping that nobody would get hurt, nobody would get sick."
But now it's the market dealing with individuals that's supposed to be the cure.


Friday, March 05, 2010

The real intention:

From TPM: (emp add)
CNN's Wolf Blitzer just expressed regrets for a graphic shown yesterday that read, "Dept. of Jihad?"

"CNN had no intention of suggesting that the Justice Department supports terrorism," he said.
Quite right. But it was CNN's intention to give wider exposure of the accusations made by a nasty McCarthyite group. They can't deny that.


Question for senator Judd Gregg:

Via Yglesias, this statement from Gregg:
... under the Senate rules, anything that comes across the floor of the Senate requires 60 votes to pass. It’s called the filibuster. That’s the way the Senate was structured. ...

The Founding Fathers realized when they structured this they wanted checks and balances. They didn’t want things rushed through. ... That’s why we have the 60-vote situation over here in the Senate to require that things get full consideration.
Why doesn’t someone ask Gregg if he supports a return to the previous two-thirds requirement for cloture? That would be even more effective in preventing legislation from being ” rushed through”. It would be interesting to see how Gregg justifies one particular number over another.


Thursday, March 04, 2010

Some good news:

TPM (14 Jan 2010):
When we last checked in on the U.S. history textbooks standards setting process down in Texas, the conservative-dominated State Board of Education was mulling one-sided requirements to teach high school students about Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, and the Moral Majority.

Now, in the home stretch of a process that will set the state's nationally influential standards, a liberal watchdog group is worried that the State Board of Education will try to push through changes to claim that communist-hunting Sen. Joseph McCarthy has been vindicated by history, among other right-wing pet issues.

The Republican-dominated board is meeting today in Austin to vote on amendments to the current draft standards. (...)

If such an amendment is proposed, [expect] it to come from outspoken conservative board member Don McLeroy, who has been talking up the idea. In a note to curriculum writers last fall, McLeroy encouraged them to "read the latest on McCarthy -- he was basically vindicated."
Dallas Morning News (3 March 2010):
Mount Pleasant Republican Thomas Ratliff narrowly beat veteran State Board of Education member Don McLeroy in the GOP primary for the board seat that represents Collin County and much of Northeast Texas.

The fiercely contested race pitted McLeroy, a dentist from College Station and member of the board’s social conservative bloc, against Ratliff, a legislative consultant and son of former Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff. (...)

With critical board decisions looming in the future about such volatile issues as coverage of evolution in new science textbooks and which political figures are included in new history books, Ratliff and McLeroy offered sharply different views about how they would make those decisions.
The bad news is that this country is always on the edge of crazy.



A new book is in the works:
Sarah Palin's new book, currently untitled, will be a celebration of American virtues and strengths. Palin will reflect on the key values—both national and spiritual—that have been such a profound part of her life and which continue to inform her vision of the future.


Boys playing make-believe games:
A Louisiana sheriff plans to arm volunteers with shotguns, riot shields, batons, and a .50-caliber machine gun mounted on a "war wagon," as part of "Operation Exodus," a program to provide security in the event of a terrorist attack or civic unrest. "It's a calling," he says.

The office of Sheriff Larry Deen of Bossier Parish, near Shreveport in the northwest part of the state, last month selected for the program 200 local residents -- mostly ex-law-enforcement personnel -- and began training them in "defensive techniques in the event of a struggle" ...
This summer they will train to be pirates*, and after that, chivalrous knights of old.

* - the good, Disney type of pirate.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Kay Bailey Hutchison loses in Texas primary:

And decisively, to Rick Perry. My first reaction is that come November, this country could be voting for a lot of little Hoovers. Using Tea Party / Sarah Palin "common sense" notions about household budgeting - applied to the Federal budget - to cut spending, and cut it sharply.


When do they aim higher?

Starting from somewhere in conservative-land, a campaign has emerged against the "Gitmo Nine", lawyers who represented Guantanamo detainees. Part of that involves Liz Cheney and her Keep America Safe organization producing a Web video which implies that these attorneys are secret supporters of Al Qaeda. But at least one case involving these lawyers got as far as the Supreme Court, which ruled for the defendant.

So, when will Liz Cheney go after the Supreme Nine?


Taking the path you want to take:

Michael Gerson has an op-ed in the Post where, in every branch along the analysis tree, he denies that a person driven to suicide has made an objective and rational choice. So he ends up concluding that it's illogical, deluded, self-centered, impulsive, and all manner of wrong.


Washington Post likes to offload health care burden to individuals:

In a pitch to "Blue Dog" Democrats, the Post editorializes:
... the tax on expensive employer-provided health-care plans, which senators weakened from its initial form and whose effective date Mr. Obama then chose to postpone, could be strengthened and made to bite as soon as the spending begins. This tax has twin virtues. It raises money and it "bends the curve" on costs -- more than any other single provision. In other words, it would begin to affect the growth in health-care costs for everyone.
The old "costs" switcheroo.
  • Prices are not going to be reined in with this approach.
  • The Senate bill, by limiting coverage via the excise tax, will mean that individuals will pay more out of pocket.
  • Expenditures will likely not grow as fast, but there will also be a reduction in medical services received.
This is seen by the Post as a worthwhile "cost" control mechanism.

Not sure how to interpret this:
It raises money and it "bends the curve" on costs -- more than any other single provision.
Is the Post arguing that the excise tax:

Both raises money and "bends the curve" more than any other provision?


Raises money, and also "bends the curve" more than any other provision?

It's hard to see how it could raise more money than the House bill's tax on top incomes. Employers can stop paying the excise tax by reducing coverage for their employees, which they will surely do. Did the Post deploy the conjunction "and" in such a way to give readers the impression that the excise tax brings in more money, when in fact it does no such thing?


Monday, March 01, 2010

Limbaugh attacks the "scientific community":

Because the tsunami warning did not result in anything serious. Then Limbaugh went on to say that he, Limbaugh, had intuited that the wave wouldn't amount to much. He also wondered if a satellite could have seen the tsunami.

His main point is that the scientists are engaged in scaring everybody and that you shouldn't trust them.

This is Limbaugh and his audience, secure in their belief that they know more than others. Why debate issues with so-called "experts" in any field, since Limbaugh has declared them to be buffoons.