30 September 2009

Finding the right hole to dump the money in

Via a suggestion at Just One Minute I have to ponder the confluence of all that yet unspent stimulus money and the Olympics in Chicago. We can only hope that some of the grafters explode like Mr. Creosote.

29 September 2009

Immaculate requirements

Sarah Palin has a book coming out in the near future. Apparently it was scheduled for spring but the manuscript was done early so the release date was moved up. The one worrisome bit is this

Meanwhile, Politico claims that “©opy-editing and fact-checking are now underway in a race to meet the crash publishing schedule,” a detail bound to intoxicate liberals eager to find, flag, catalogue and crow about every last typo.

Yes, even the slightest mistake will be claimed as a massive failure / lie / delusion. I would hope that Palin’s team is going over everything in a very thorough manner. Of course, if there’s no actual mistakes or errors, the anti-Palinites will simply make stuff up, as they did so often in the past.

I agree with the prediction that the conventional wisdom will be the book was ghost written if it good, and Palin written if it is bad.

Warmenists solve health care problem

Via Tim Blair we have this quote —

James Lovelock, whose credentials include formulating the Gaia theory and discovering the hole in the ozone layer, calculates that billions (repeat billions) of humans will be killed one way or another by global warming in the next 40 years.

Well, let’s see. The world population is about 6 billion. Figure average life expectancy of 80 years (generous) and roughly even age distribution and we should expect about half the world’s population to die in 40 years, or about 3 billion deaths. Apparently all of them will be due to global warming. I think it’s good to know that the Warmenists have solved every other health problem.

Yet people still claim it's a good idea

The Federal Housing Administration is in deep financial trouble, demonstrating once again that however badly the private sector screws up, a government agency can do a lot worse, with a lot more money, a lot less accountability, and far fewer options to make the bleeding stop.

Dig they must

Digging through my “must write about” link pile, I found this obfuscating guilt redirecting editorial by the NY Times public editor. Many others have slammed on it but it’s so filled with Old Media failures that there’s still plenty to hit on.

The article attempts to explain away the NY Times failure to report on the ACORN scandal in a timely manner and for omitting key facts of the issue when it did deign to report (e.g., the existence of the videos that started the entire scandal).

The Times stood still. Its slow reflexes […] suggested that it has trouble dealing with stories arising from the polemical world of talk radio, cable television and partisan blogs.

What an amazing admission of ad hominem reasoning! The value of a news story depends on whether it “arises” from the “wrong” sort of people? Not the facts, accuracy, or significance? Groups who have ideologies of which the NY Times does not approve can taint a story so badly? I have thought that for a long time but it’s still a bit stunning to see it openly admitted.

Some editors told me they were not immediately aware of the Acorn videos on Fox, YouTube and a new conservative Web site called BigGovernment.com. When the Senate voted to cut off all federal funds to Acorn, there was not a word in the newspaper or on its Web site. When the New York City Council froze all its funding for Acorn and the Brooklyn district attorney opened a criminal investigation, there was still nothing.

It’s bad enough that such editors are so out of touch with modern communications, but wouldn’t they get at least a little hint that something is up when the Senate and New York City Council freeze funding for an organization? And maybe, oh, I don’t know, check out that organization? Maybe toss its name in a net search engine, or call someone else who might know? Forget the original scandal, the NY Times is admitting that it saw no need to cover the funding cut offs.

The Times quoted a statement by Bertha Lewis, Acorn’s chief executive, saying that the two activists, James O’Keefe, 25, and Hannah Giles, 20, spent months visiting Acorn offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami and Philadelphia before getting the responses they wanted. But the article left out one city Lewis cited: New York. Between the time of her statement and the publication of the article, a new video surfaced, featuring an Acorn worker in Brooklyn advising Giles to bury money from prostitution in a tin.

Some readers saw a deliberate effort by the paper to help Lewis out of a tight spot. Scott Shane, the reporter, said he had been unable to reach Lewis and felt that including New York among the cities she mentioned would have implied unfairly that she was lying, something for which he had no evidence.

No “evidence”. Not even a well documented quote that was clearly wrong? The NY Times accused then President Bush of lying about uranium purchases in Nigeria despite Bush not having mentioned the country in his statement, but the NY Times sees no evidence here that Lewis lied. Beyond that, the reporter doesn’t think he should just present the facts and let the reader come to a conclusion — no, he must decide on the proper conclusion first and lead the reader to it.

Despite what the critics think, [Jill] Abramson [the managing editor for news] said the problem was not liberal bias.

No, clearly just not paying attention to or being willing to cover stories from the news sources used by large section of the population because those sources aren’t liberal isn’t bias.

I think it’s a sign of trouble when the explanation for a failure is an even bigger failure.

Suffering from Real Life

Sorry for disappearing on you all, but work and family had me very bogged down this last week. Lots of family activity and I was fighting with my IP address & mask parser (which is complex because I want it to generate nice, context dependent hints for users).

Anyway, I did manage to make this T-shirt image — what do you think?

21 September 2009

Time to get a real job

What do you all think — Hillary Clinton resigns as Secretary of State and jumps in to the New York Gubernatorial race?

Credit check failing

Here’s an interesting little tidbit about asking President Obama’s about ACORN and its more recent scandals in which Obama claims that ACORN “it’s not really something I’ve followed closely”. In fact, Obama claims, he “didn’t even know that ACORN was getting a whole lot of federal money”. Once again we are left to wonder, is Obama really that clueless and uninterested in the world around him, or is he flagrantly lying? Who can tell anymore? Even Obamatons have difficulty.

The more interesting bit is the comments. This is at ABC news, so one would expect a rather pro-Obama tilt to those willing to take the time to comment, but the comments are, as far as I read, uniformly negative and hostile, many of then brutally mocking Obama’s response. Quite the change from the sycophancy of a year ago.

This is why I don't call them "main stream"

Ah, NPR, that bastion of the center, scrupulously holding to the main stream of the American Street. Our latest example comes via Kausfiles

MELISSA BLOCK, host: This week, a Web site called FiLife.com launched a Twitter contest to reduce policy on how to fix health care to a mere three words. Some entries so far…

ROBERT SIEGEL, host: Promote Healthy Living and Eat an Apple are two examples.

[…]

SIEGEL: Our staff made up some three-word policy proclamations: Doctors Make Less and Cuban Health Care.

Cuban health care? I may disagree with those who laud the health care systems in Canada or Britian, but I can understand why they could have such a view. It is a comparison that can be debated by rational, informed people. But Cuban health care? That’s what staff at NPR think we need here? I definitely think they need to expand on that and do a one hour broadcast. Who knows, maybe President Obama will pick it up, as he seems to be out of any new ideas for his own “plan”.

20 September 2009

That's what Pelosi meant

Via Founding Bloggers

Union thugs are gearing up for demonstrations to attack “enemies” of Obamacare:
But Health Care for America Now (HCAN), which is backed by a coalition of labor unions and liberal groups including ACORN and MoveOn.org, organized the protests to target insurance companies and drafted the plan, which describes the demonstrations as part of its “insurance enemies project.”
Even worse, they are openly talking about stoking anger.
The document, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times, details specific talking points, tactics, props and strategies to stage the protests. It lists goals that include action that “mobilizes our base by animating existing anger about private insurers.”
Must be more of that Pitchfork Politics President Obama is infamous for.

I am sure this is former President Bush’s fault somehow, or perhaps the fault of those bitter gun and bible clingers. Surely the MAL wouldn’t deliberately rile up people’s anger! That’s so right wingish!

Shouting "Liar" in a crowded Congress

Ann Althouse smashes on Frank Rich who is in fact an idiot, but it’s probably not worth the effort of reading either, especially since I am far more witty and interesting.

One thing that occurred to me is that for once, the Obama Administration is being the gracious one. Representative Wilson apologized for his outburst, the White House accepted it, and it is rhetorical bomb throwers like Rich who just can’t let go.

The other is that I agree with those who compare this to the Iraqi journalist who threw a shoe at then President Bush. I can still remember how he was lauded by the same faction and in some cases the same people who are so outraged at Wilson. I suppose they would say “it was just a press conference”, but then so was President Obama’s speech. It wasn’t a formal occasion, like a declaration of war, or the State of the Union, but just a political operation to push legislation that is floundering. I do think Wilson was right to apologize, but I do find the overwrought drama queens of Old Media a bit much.

19 September 2009

Apparently name calling is no longer enough

Speaker of the House frets about violence resulting from intemperate speech from non-MALists. Her example is the murder of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. The murder was a former city employee and a member of the Democratic Party. So is Pelosi telling the rest of us, “shut up or we’ll kill more people”?

17 September 2009

The journalism will be democratized

Even though the LA Times managed to properly harsh on ACORN’s mellow they still had to get in a dig at the investigators —

O’Keefe’s hidden-camera methods are distasteful, and the extent to which his videos were edited is unknown.

This is why normal people have come to distrust and dislike Old Media and its practitioners. Hidden cameras are wonderful when used by the privileged elite (that is, “journalists”) but distasteful in the hands of the hoi polloi. And for Old Media to complain about improper editing of video … the mind boggles.

It may well be that the previous generation of journalists behaved no better, but at least no one expected better nor did those reporters flaunt their putatively higher morality or indispensability. Better an upfront shyster than a lying weasel.

Not all law professors are this clueless

Ann Althouse writes

Lots of people who voted for Obama believed that his election would reflect the extent to which Americans had moved beyond racism. […] Little did we realize that it would turn every criticism of the President into an occasion to make an accusation of racism.

[…]

Imagine if, before last year’s election, someone had argued: If a black man becomes President, anyone who dares to criticize him will be called a racist.

I am flumoxed that someone would actual put this in to print. As the commentors point out, exactly this was predicted by basically the entire conservative blogosphere. I suspect many MALists also saw it but simply gloated about it silently so as to not tip their hand. So why would we have to imagine it? It happened thousands of times. Even Instapundit made that argument and he’s hardly obscure in the online community.

Wow. It’s like hearing a co-worker say “I didn’t realize the card could go in the slot only one way”.

14 September 2009

Illinois politicians show the nation what's important to them

The Senate voted 83-7 to cut off all federal funding for ACORN in response to the videos of ACORN employees appearing to be willing to help out with underage prostitution. I can’t say I was the least bit surprised to find that of the seven Senators voting to keep ACORN federal funded are my two Senators, Durbin and Burris.

P.S. Don’t forget that Durbin is in line for Senate Majority Leader if Senator Reid is recalled by Nevadan voters.

Your moment of cute

One of the local girls protesting our incarceration of the “Guinea Pig Three”

The next version

I was just thinking about

and I think what we may be seeing is the replacement for Old Media in terms of actual journalism. In this cases, Old Media not only didn’t report on the issues (the failure in the Van Jones case being “particularly massive’:http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/kausfiles/archive/2009/09/06/van-jones-does-the-nyt-know-what-a-truther-is.aspx) but almost all of the useful information was found or created by amateurs. I don’t see any reason to expect this to do anything other than become more so as the years roll by.

I would also point out one thing which I am sure will be missed by the “Old Media is indispensable” faction, which is that there is no need for any of these amateurs to ever do any journalism again. It is, in my view, very likely that they won’t. It will be other amateurs who do and that is a key unappreciated strength of this thing, that each story can be done not by someone who gets assigned to go through the motions, but by a small set of people passionate about that particular issue.

Won’t this kind of amateur hour lead to a generally increased skepticism of all such reports? Yes it will, and that is a good thing.

Executive Experience Watch

I was going to write about the entire “President Obama gives speech to school kids” issue but Ed Morrisey at Hot Air beat me to it. I completely agree that what it really demonstrates is the stunning convergence of arrogance and incompetence that characterizes the Obama Administration. Had Obama not released the “study guides”, or had those guides not been so arrogantly pro-Obama, this would have been a non-issue. Had Obama released the speech at the same time, it would have not have gained so much traction. Had Obama not spent the last 8 months basking in his own little sun lamps of self-admiration and used up the slack the American Street gives a President, it wouldn’t have been such a problem. It took a serious amount of execution failure to get to where the Obama White House arrived.

P.S. Let’s be very careful to not forget that when then President Bush gave a similar speech, a Democratic Party controlled Congress launched an investigation instead of doing as the Obamatons said and just accepting it as irrelevant pablum.

13 September 2009

Best suggestion this week

Let’s apply Sarbanes-Oxley to the federal government so that if President Obama’s budget numbers for any health care bill he signs turn out to be bogus, he gets heaved in to prison, just like a private sector CEO.

Via Gregory Koster

P.S. From the same string, “No Legislation without Explanation!