Archive for November, 2010

Pentagon officially endorses an end to DADT, anti-gay bias

The results of the Pentagon’s ten-month assessment of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell have now been released. Here’s the money quote:

“Based on all we saw and heard, our assessment is that, when coupled with the prompt implementation of the recommendations we offer below, the risk of repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to overall military effectiveness is low. We conclude that, while a repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell will likely, in the short term, bring about some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention, we do not believe this disruption will be widespread or long-lasting, and can be adequately addressed by the recommendations we offer below. Longer term, with a continued and sustained commitment to core values of leadership, professionalism, and respect for all, we are convinced that the U.S. military can adjust and accommodate this change, just as it has others in history.”

In remarks today, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates endorsed the report’s findings …

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History will record TARP, stimulus as major successes

The much-reviled TARP — that socialistic, hugely expensive, $700 billion monument to foolish government intervention — will end up costing the federal government a grand total of about $25 billion, the Congressional Budget Office now estimates.

Among other things, TARP also happened to save Wall Street from total collapse, prevented a slide into global economic depression and — oh yeah — helped preserve about a million jobs at Chrysler and GM.

No, it wasn’t perfect. Nothing cobbled together in such haste could have been perfect. But history will note two important things about TARP:

1.) It was an enormous economic success story;

2.) Those who guaranteed its failure, bitterly fought its passage and continue to belittle it have somehow managed to turn their opposition into political gold.

Last week, the CBO also released its latest, legally mandated report on the impact of spending programs and tax cuts in President Obama’s equally reviled stimulus package. In the third quarter …

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Perdue didn’t do much; Deal likely to do even less

When Sonny Perdue took the oath as governor in January 2003, Georgia’s transportation system was hamstrung by a lack of funding and vision, and its education system was underperforming national standards. The state also faced a $620 million budget shortfall, and was tied up in a lengthy ongoing water war with its neighbors in Alabama and Florida.

Almost eight years later, with Perdue ready to leave office, little has been done to address those problems. In fact, some of those problems have become considerably worse.

In his 2002 campaign, for example, Perdue said he would call a summit of governors to resolve the tri-state water war. “We’ll come together face-to-face with no staff and hammer this thing out,” he promised. But years passed and no resolution was found, and with a federal deadline of July 2012 looming, Georgia’s legal situation in the water wars is much more precarious today than it was when Perdue took office.

The state’s transportation crisis has …

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Obama backs overdue freeze on federal pay raises

From CBS News:

“President Obama today proposed a two-year freeze in civilian pay for federal employees that the White House says will save $2 billion in fiscal year 2011 and more than $60 billion over the next decade.

“The hard truth is getting this budget under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by employees of the federal government,” he said, adding that he “did not reach this decision easily.”

The freeze will apply to all civilian federal employees — including, as the White House noted, doctors who care for wounded veterans, national parks workers, Department of Defense employees and other federal workers — but not military personnel….

American Federation of Government Employees president John Gage told the Associated Press that the move was “a slap at working people.” He suggested federal employees were being made into scapegoats….

Republicans have called for federal pay freezes (and even brief furloughs for federal …

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In apparent retaliation, Oregon mosque hit by arson attack

Someone broke into the Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, Ore., where accused terrorist Mohamed Osman Mohamud occasionally worshiped, and started a fire early Sunday morning, destroying a computer, a chair and a copy of the Koran.

U.S. Attorney Dwight Holton visited the scene and promised an aggressive investigation. “The fact is that violent extremists come from all religions and no religion at all. For one person to blame a group, if that’s what happened here, is uniquely anti-American and will be pursued with the full force of the Justice Department,” Holton said.

Before the arson attack, leaders of the Corvallis mosque had publicly condemned the terrorist plot. “We denounce this horrible plot in the strongest terms and repudiate all those who commit such acts of mindless violence in the name of Islam,” the statement said. “Islam is a religion of peace and these acts are not the legitimate acts of Muslims.”

It’s also important to note that Mohamud was identified …

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‘When Black Friday comes … gonna do just what I please’

I admire their musicianship. I appreciate their lyrics, and the complex interplay of their music and lyrics. But I can’t say I’ve ever been a huge fan of Steely Dan. To my taste, there’s something chilly and a little removed about their music that makes it hard to fully embrace.

That said, this is too perfect a match not to post today.

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I’ll let hardier souls take the plunge, thank you very much

You’ve probably seen them on TV or in newspaper photographs. They’re called “polar bear clubs.”

Groups of grown, presumably sane adults, in the middle of winter and surrounded by snow and ice, gather to jump in a frigid lake or river and go swimming, as if they were a bunch of polar bears.

Which they are not, by the way.

Polar bears wouldn’t be caught dead in such cold water without their thick, luxurious coat of fur. They certainly wouldn’t jump in wearing nothing but bathing suits, as these fools do.

And polar bears are driven to do it by necessity. They dive into the cold water to hunt seals, which they need to survive. Members of polar-bear clubs are hunting … well, I’m not sure what they’re hunting.

Pneumonia?

The car keys they lost in the lake last summer?

Or maybe they do it for the TV time they get on the evening news, even though their faces are so contorted by the cold that they look like someone being groped by a TSA agent at Hartsfield-Jackson.

At …

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A little holiday travelin’ music, to say thanks

It’s getting time to slide into the Thanksgiving holiday, so I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to all those partake in our sometimes vigorous discussions here, as well as to those who merely lurk in the shadows, agog and perhaps a little intimidated at the extreme erudition and beautifully crafted prose displayed by our regulars.

Or something like that.

Anyway, in the immortal words of Sam and Dave, “I thank you,” and have a great holiday. Catch you on the flip side.

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Motorhead takes King of the Dittoheads to school

As you may have heard, Motor Trend magazine has named the Chevy Volt its “Car of the Year:”

“some of the most advanced engineering ever seen in a mainstream American automobile … Attention to detail is impressive … The front end graphic is outstanding — strong, confident, and tastefully upscale … Just counting the gas, the Volt returned 126.7 mpg. Converting the gas used to energy used (79.5 kW-hr) and adding that figure to the electrical energy used gave us a notional 72.9 mpg. … Moonshot. Game-changer. A car of the future that you can drive today, and every day.”

But Rush Limbaugh wasn’t impressed with the latest offering from the much-despised “Government Motors”:

“Folks, of all the cars, no offense, General Motors, please, but of all the cars in the world, the Chevrolet Volt is the Car of the Year? Motor Trend magazine, that’s the end of them. How in the world do they have any credibility? Not one has been sold. The Volt is the Car of the Year.”

Todd Lassa of Motor …

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GOP blinded by its anti-Obama jihad

Norm Ornstein, a scholar with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, looks on in bafflement at the behavior of Senate Republicans. For example, he writes in Roll Call, “I cannot fathom why they are doing what they are doing” in trying to block ratification of the START treaty:

“The failure of START in the Senate would endanger future cooperation and be a major embarrassment to (Russian President Dmitry) Medvedev and a big boost to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. It would also devastate the existing regime of inspection over nuclear arms, ramping up the danger of nukes getting into the hands of highly undesirable people and groups…  The Russian willingness to work with us and the Europeans on a missile defense system will melt away if START falters.”

Ornstein is equally befuddled and appalled by the blanket refusal of Republican senators to support the DISCLOSE Act, which would require corporations to reveal the huge campaign donations made legal by the Supreme …

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