Archive for May, 2009

Jesse Ventura on torture

I’m not exactly a fan of the View, nor of Jesse Ventura, who was a Navy SEAL in one of his previous lives. But good stuff is good stuff, wherever you find it.

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News from Fox that makes my day

“Most World Series and AL championship series games will have an earlier start on Fox this year.

The network said weeknight games will begin at 7:57 p.m. Eastern time, more than a half-hour before last year’s first-pitch times. The start of Saturday night games could be even earlier, and Sunday games will continue to begin following the conclusion of the network’s NFL coverage.

“Over the last few years, games have been ending a bit later than we’d like,” Fox Sports president Ed Goren said in a statement. “This new schedule . . . should help fans of all ages see weeknight games from start to finish.”


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Tougher mileage standards long overdue

Despite the startling advance of technology, despite our increasingly troublesome dependence on foreign oil suppliers, despite the estimated $700 billion we ship overseas every year to buy that oil, and despite the impact of burning gasoline on air pollution and climate change, we haven’t raised fuel-efficiency standards for new cars since the mid-’80s.

That’s roughly a quarter century.

In other words, the step being announced today by the Obama administration is long overdue. By 2016, new passenger car fleets will have to average 39.5 miles per gallon, up from the current 27.5 mpg. Standards for light trucks and SUVs will rise as well.

Yes, the change and others already in the works will add an estimated $1,300 to the cost of a new car, but that’s with existing technology. That cost should come down considerably as automakers commit to meeting the new standard. Even if it doesn’t, the consumer recovers the additional investment after saving 370 gallons of gasoline (assuming, …

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‘The permanent Republican majority’

New from Gallup:

PRINCETON, NJ — The decline in Republican Party affiliation among Americans in recent years is well documented, but a Gallup analysis now shows that this movement away from the GOP has occurred among nearly every major demographic subgroup. Since the first year of George W. Bush’s presidency in 2001, the Republican Party has maintained its support only among frequent churchgoers, with conservatives and senior citizens showing minimal decline.

….the GOP’s loss in leaned support over this time is evident among nearly every subgroup. The losses are substantial among college graduates, which have shown a decline in GOP support of 10 points. (The losses are even greater — 13 points — among the subset of college graduates with postgraduate educations.) This may reflect in part Barack Obama’s strong appeal to educated voters, a major component of his winning coalitions in both the Democratic primaries and the general election.

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CIA, Pelosi are conceivably both right

With no knowledge of what was said in secret briefings in Washington more than six years ago — briefings to which I was inexplicably not invited — I have no idea whether to side with Nancy Pelosi or the CIA in their dispute over who was told what and when by whom.

However, I think it’s entirely plausible that they’re both right.

One party comes into the meeting not wanting to give away too much information about what’s going on, and perhaps speaking in less than clear language. The other party comes in not wanting to press for too much information, and willing to accept less than clear language. Both parties come away believing they having accomplished their goals.

Six or seven years later, we have a mess.

However, in the scale of issues to be addressed regarding torture, it seems to me the Pelosi angle is exceedingly minor. Was legal? Did the Bush administration act within the Constitution? Was it effective, or did it slow the flow of accurate information? Did it end up …

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Huntsman had no chance in 2012 anyway


Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, right, appearing at the White House with President Obama to accept nomination as U.S. ambassador to China.

Over the weekend, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a moderate Republican, accepted an invitation to serve as U.S. ambassador to China. The move was depicted by some as a political coup by President Obama, a sly bit of sleight-of-hand that removed the popular Huntsman as a challenger in the 2012 presidential campaign.

That’s a vast overreading of both the motivation behind the pick and its political impact. Huntsman is perfect for the job of ambassador to China, and the job is perfect for Huntsman. He speaks Mandarin, has lived in China as a Mormon missionary and aligns with the Obama administration on issues such as economic development and climate change.

According to a political adviser, Huntsman “had not made a decision to run for president, but he had made a decision to prepare to run. We were probably a month away from announcing the formation of a …

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Life in a Talladega economy

Forty-three finely tuned race cars run in a pack, front bumper to back bumper, side by side, at speeds approaching 200 mph on the steep banked turns at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. With so much steel at such velocity in a tightly confined space, there’s no room for error.

But error happens. Somebody makes a wrong move, maybe just a slight bobble, and boom! Drivers have no time to respond. The result is so common at Talladega that they have a name for it —- “The Big One” —- a disastrous chain reaction that sends race car piling into race car piling into race car, sometimes wiping out a third of the field.

There is no justice to it, no fairness to it. The Big One shows no mercy —- it takes out the great drivers and the not-so-great, the rookies and veterans. Sometimes the guy who caused the Big One drives off scot free, while those sitting in his wake, their cars reduced to steaming wrecks, are guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It’s …

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How to manipulate a president…

Good thing it wasn’t a holy war:

Continue reading How to manipulate a president… »

Loose thread….

unravel it and see where it takes you.

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Just a few minutes to the Preakness post….

OK folks, step right up, the betting window is open. Who’s going to win the Preakness? (Whiner, I’m gonna want YOUR cash up front.)

The filly, Rachel Alexandra?

The Derby winner, Mine that Bird?

I’ll pick the filly, with Musket Man placing.

Continue reading Just a few minutes to the Preakness post…. »