Archive for June, 2009

Some thermally correct travelin’ music for y’all

I could not think of a more appropriate song to end this week, what with the summer solstice occurring this weekend and the fact that it is EVER LOVIN’ HOT!!

Besides, if this doesn’t put a smile on your face, you’re hopeless.

You’re not hopeless, are you? Good.

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On Krauthammer, democracy and Iran’s future

First, let me get this off my chest.

In his column today, Charles Krauthammer accuses President Obama of being “afraid of meddling. Afraid to take sides between the head-breaking, women-shackling exporters of terror — and the people in the street yearning to breathe free.”

In what he intends to be a fire-breathing defense of democratic yearning, Krauthammer opens the column with this paragraph:

“Millions of Iranians take to the streets to defy a theocratic dictatorship that, among its other finer qualities, is a self-declared enemy of America and the tolerance and liberties it represents. The demonstrators are fighting on their own, but they await just a word that America is on their side.

Really? They do?

Because my impression is that the Iranians aren’t waiting for anything, let alone for some word of support from an American president. It seems to me they are putting their lives, fortunes, freedom and futures on the line as Iranians fighting for their version of Iran. They …

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Wise Solomons needed to guide transportation

The book of Kings tells the story of two women, both claiming to be the mother of the same baby. Wise old Solomon, unable to decide who’s telling the truth, orders the baby cut in two so that each mother can be given half.

At the last moment, one woman relents, proclaiming she would rather surrender the baby than see him killed. Solomon, now recognizing maternal love, awards her custody of the child.

Now, just in case you hadn’t noticed, Solomons are few and far between in Georgia government. So too are responsible leaders willing to sacrifice their ambitions for the greater good.

During the 2009 legislative session, for example, Gov. Sonny Perdue and the state House of Representatives continued their long-running feud over control of the Department of Transportation, the mother lode of patronage dollars. With neither side able to get its way, the governor and House leaders made a deal, essentially agreeing to cut the state transportation baby in half.

Perdue got control of …

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Walter Cronkite reported gravely ill at 92

For those of a certain age, this will be news. For others, not so much. I think you had to be there at the time to get it, so to speak.

From TV Newser at Mediabistro:

TVNewser has learned legendary CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, 92, who once held the title of “Most Trusted Man in America,” is gravely ill, according to multiple CBS News sources. The network began updating his obituary more than a week ago, a source adds. CBS News executive Linda Mason, designated to speak on Cronkite’s behalf, had no comment.”

Today was the first time I ever saw this clip. As a piece of history, an artifact of its time and as testament to “Uncle Walter,” it’s pretty moving.

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Inspectors general need congressional backing

I don’t know what to make of criticism of the Obama administration for its firing of Gerald Walpin, an inspector general at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Here are the crucial paragraphs in a story published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“The controversy surrounding Walpin’s dismissal stems from White House claims that Walpin was “confused” and “disoriented” at an agency meeting as well as from a 2008 investigation into the potential misuse of AmeriCorps grants to the St. HOPE Academy of Sacramento, Calif. The group was founded by former NBA star Kevin Johnson, who is now mayor of Sacramento and also is an Obama supporter.

Walpin’s investigation concluded that Johnson and a colleague had misused about $850,000 in grant funding. Prosecutor Lawrence Brown, also appointed by Bush, settled the matter with Johnson and later filed a complaint with an inspector general ethics panel, alleging Walpin withheld key information and interfered in his investigation by …

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Here’s what’s happening with Obama poll numbers

Some folks in the thread down below got into a discussion about Obama’s allegedly declining job-approval ratings and the “fact” that the “liberal media” isn’t covering his fall from the public’s grace. So I decided to take a look.

Here are the Obama job-approval numbers — drawn from all the major polls — put together by the excellent folks at They do show a very gradual decline, although overall the numbers seem pretty strong.

If you look closely at the disapproval numbers, you’ll see a line of red dots consistently higher than numbers produced in the rest of the polls. That’s the Rasmussen poll. It’s somewhat of an outlier, producing consistently worse numbers for Obama than almost anybody else. Interestingly, the Rasmussen numbers have not gotten worse for the president. The most recent numbers put approval/disapproval at 56/43. Two months ago, those same numbers from Rasmussen were 55/43.

Nonetheless, the chart shows a very gradual if slight rise in …

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Almost 6 months later, and STILL no Fairness Doctrine?

Julius Genachowski, President Obama’s nominee as chairman of the FCC, was asked the question point blank in his Senate confirmation hearings. His answer was the same given by every other administration official.
(And for those who note his youthful appearance, he is apparently 48, having worked with Obama on the Harvard Law Review.)

The good conservative folks over at Hot Air, having posted the video, then asked themselves how this could be true. After all, it contradicted what Rush and their other leaders told them was true. The obvious answer — the best way to resolve the contradiction, so their heads would stop hurting — was to suggest that it maybe it wasn’t true, that this guy is just lying.

But then, dammit, a flash of independent thought hit: “If the Dems are right that Rush, Sean et al. are electoral poison for the GOP because they alienate centrists, why on earth would they want to limit their exposure by reinstituting Fairness?”

Why indeed.

Also recommended is the …

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I wish those gays would stop ruining marriage

“Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded. For those who say that the Constitution is so sacred that we cannot or should not adopt the Federal Marriage Amendment, I would simply point out that marriage, and the sanctity of that institution, predates the American Constitution and the founding of our nation.”

— U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.,

July 13, 2004

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Remaking the world, financial division

In his continuing effort to remake the world as we have known it, President Obama today laid out “sweeping changes to the way the U.S. government oversees financial markets”, reports the Wall Street Journal, including efforts “to grant new powers to the Federal Reserve to oversee the economy.”

(The official 85-page white paper describing the approach is available here.)

There’s a lot to digest, although some are already condemning the plan for going too far, and others for not going far enough. Among other things, it “includes giving more power to the Federal Reserve to police large, systematically important institutions, allowing the government to break firms apart, implementing new rules for complex instruments and creating a new federal agency to oversee consumer products such as mortgages and credit cards,” says the WSJ.

The plan lists five areas of action:

I. Promote Robust Supervision and Regulation of Financial Firms
II. Establish Comprehensive Regulation of Financial …

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Iran probably committed to acquiring The Bomb

Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, says he has a “gut feeling” that Iran is determined to acquire nuclear weapons. According to the New York Times, ElBaradei has made similar statements in the past, “but his latest remarks were more dramatic and less hedged with diplomatic caveats than previously.”

In an interview with the BBC, ElBaradei surmised that the Iranians have drawn lessons from the differing fates of Saddam’s Iraq and Kim Jong Il’s North Korea. Iraq — which did not have the bomb — was invaded and its leadership toppled. North Korea — which does have a rudimentary bomb — is addressed through negotiation, not invasion.

“(Iranians) want to send a message to their neighbors, to the rest of the world, ‘don’t mess with us,’” ElBaradei told the BBC, adding that Iran also wants to be “recognized as a major power in the Middle East.” Joining the nuclear club is “the road to get that recognition, to get that power and prestige. It is also an …

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