Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Obama White House responds to new economic data... Predictions for general election

David Axelrod responds to new economic data..
Economic forecast:  Sucks!   The data is scary.  White House panics?  Prediction for general election:  If you think Mitt and Newt have been bad, wait till Barack Obama and David Axelrod find themselves backed into a corner.
Update:  Obama under 50% approval in key swing states...
Update II:  Doug Ross has the charts in a different format...still bad. 
Update III:  12 ways Obama could lose!
Update IV:  White House wages subliminal attacks on Romney...

Flipper's Greatest Flops: Starring Mitt Romney & Friends


David Brooks: Deals with a profound issue with a completely idiotic "solution"

Growing caste divides in America are real.  So David Brooks does a decent enough job explaining Charles Murray's "Coming Apart" and then offers a completely idiotic idea to correct it.  A big new national service program is not the answer.  Does anyone even think forcing people to join organizations like the Peace Corps would even help the Peace Corps?  Here is a better solution:  How about the government stop subsidizing behavior that is harmful?  There were not only social but economic solutions that pushed people to adopt a frugal work ethic as a lifestyle.  Immigrants adopted the Protestant* work ethic of America (a gift of the Dutch traders in New Amsterdam) because it worked.  What made America unique was the upward mobility of persons in it (and this was adopted in successful countries around the world).  We live in a society now where you can get by without adopting it.  People should have the freedom to drop out if they wish, but we should not be subsidizing, helping, and encouraging them to do so.
h/t:  Ann Althouse

*  Not the New England Pilgrim/Puritan theocratic form which ultimately failed, but the business form of the Netherlands.  

George Soros: Not much difference between Obama and Romney, Gingrich would be extreme (also known as good) on Supreme Court picks...

George "Creepy Dude" Soros
"If it’s between Obama and Romney, there isn’t all that much difference except for the crowd that they bring with them," he said while at Davos, Switzerland.The suggestion is that on economics, there is little to distinguish between the current occupant of the White House and Romney.  If Gingrich wins, however, he believes the situation would be much different.
"Romney would have to take Gingrich or Santorum as a vice president and you probably have some pretty extreme candidates for the Supreme Court," Soros added.
This isn't exactly the kind of endorsement the Romney campaign is looking for
Perhaps Soros was being candid or perhaps Creepy Dude was causing mischief, but these doubts (which more than a few on the right share) are all the more reason for this nomination process to go through to the convention.  Santorum needs to stay in.  The only way to have this nomination process remain open is for Gingrich, Santorum and Paul to take enough delegates so it has to go to the convention.  Claiming Romney won now and not letting this process vet out would be a big mistake by the GOP establishment.  The only way Obama is defeated in the general is with a unified opposition.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

Terraforming Mars: Can we do it and does Mars have rights?

Glenn Reynolds, Robert Pinson, Robert Zubrin, and Ron Bailey have raised the issue of ethics in terraforming, but Kim Stanley Robinson also dealt with the topic (in a fictional context) in some detail in his Mars Trilogy.  Robinson is a good job in creating characters debating the pros and cons of exploring, colonizing, and terraforming Mars.

Zubrin also makes the argument that the technology for (relatively) inexpensive travel to Mars exists now.  Too bad Newt Gingrich did not argue his Mars plan along those lines (although it is certainly not to late for him to do so).

Related site:  The Mars Society

The Grey (the movie): This film manages to upset both conservatives and lefty environmentalists!

(language warning on the trailer)
Wolves eating people--oh my!  Yes this will drive some environmentalists crazy.  Allegedly the crew actually ate wolf meat for the movie (at least they did not put a wolf in a car carrier, because that would be really bad)!  Yes the premise of this movie is mostly nonsense.  Alaskans say it may be one of the worst Alaska movies for falsely depicting Alaska (but it can't be worse than the nonsense from Steven Seagal and Alec Baldwin).  And The Grey actually got some decent reviews.  In North America there are two documented attacks by wild wolves on human beings over the last 100 years (zero in the United States, two in Canada).

But don't worry, they saved some outrage to those on the right.  Apparently the oil company as depicted in The Grey is also evil.  An evil oil company abandoning a plane load of oil workers lost in the wilderness so they don't have to pay them?!  That is trial lawyer porn!  If you get off on the carnage of a pack of wolves devouring something, imagine that lawsuit.  A film with a heavy dose of hypocrisy?   We know Hollywood mogols hate oil companies, provided they have enough fuel for their private jets to go to Sundance and Aspen.  Don't get me started on those Muppets.

It does have witty dialog:  “I thought that Duran Duran song ‘Hungry like the Wolf’ was just an expression,” said one member of Liam’s crew as he was being scarfed up by one of our hungry four-footed friends.  “Wry to the end,” lamented Liam.

There also has to be a debate about big ideas!  "The fiercest invective comes from the two Catholic characters, interestingly enough. At one point, leader Liam Neeson even demands the Almighty come down and save him. He does not. This is seen as an important theological point, although it may merely mean that the Almighty is watching a better movie."

It is just a movie.  Your little kids who might get brainwashed by this nonsense are probably not going to see this one anyway (Ol' Yeller this isn't--even in Ol' Yeller they note only a rabid wolf will jump a fire).  Lighten up and take it with a grain of salt or don't go see it for that reason alone.  It will end up on Netflix soon enough anyway.    As snow thrillers go, The Grey looks like it might have higher production values and acting than Frozen and not be quite as good as Dead Snow (Liam Neeson is a fine actor, but it is hard to compete with evil zombie snow Nazis for quality entertainment value).

 I am neither a insane gaia nutjob on the topic nor do I hate wolves.   I am not a big supporter of using wolves as some trick to trigger the endangered species act to restrict people from developing or using private property.   If you want to save wolf habitat, put your money where your mouth is and save some habitat.  That is part of the reason why we have national parks and forests.

I support shooting individual wolves on private property if they harm livestock (look at my photo!) or threaten people.  I also support allowing private individuals to do so (without penalty) provided they timely report it.  Ironically there would be less opposition to wolves repopulating their range if that were the policy (so there would be more wolves).   As noted in The Beast In The Garden, while some lefty communities do not seem to get it, most people want action if their toddlers are threatened by wild life.  Cougars and bears pose far more of a risk than wolves and we managed to deal with them.  And domestic dogs (at least in North America) are far more dangerous than probably all large wild animals combined in terms of numbers of attacks.  That is of course because there are millions of dogs and they are in close proximity with people--but you deal with this by getting rid of problem dogs (not banning dogs).  And usually a problem dog is the result of a problem owner.  

Michelle Malkin makes the case for Rick Santorum...

Hugo Chavez threatens to nationalize some Venezuelan banks

Disgust: One of the Six Basic Emotions

In the last several years there has been an explosion of research on disgust. Disgust is one of the six basic emotions—along with joy, surprise, anger, sadness and fear—but it is the only one that has to be learned, which suggests something about its complexity.

Recently I am learning a lot about this basic emotion, but not in the context of food.
Among the most hard-core variants of fermented food is the Icelandic delicacy hákarl. Hákarl is made from the Greenland shark, which is indigenous to the frigid waters of Iceland. It is traditionally prepared by beheading and gutting the shark and then burying the carcass in a shallow pit covered with gravelly sand. The corpse is then left to decompose in its silty grave for two to five months, depending on the season. Once the shark is removed from its lair, the flesh is cut into strips and hung to dry for several more months.
Hákarl has a pungent, urinous, fishy odor that causes most newbies to gag. 
Tastes like chicken? No, it doesn't.
An extremely acquired taste, hákarl was described by the globe-trekking celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain as "the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing" he had ever eaten.
Funny, I know some political candidates that same description could be applied to.  And certain people who insist we eat something we really do not want.

h/t Althouse

Update:   Joy and surprise beats disgust any day.
Update II:   Ace of Spades has a story on micro emotions and the "seven" basic emotions

Jimmy Buffett- Floridays

Sunday, January 29, 2012

He who must be destroyed: The Palinization of Gingrich

The Palinization of Newt Gingrich is an ugly thing... (I warn you, you can't unsee it)
Prior EBL posts:
Florida Romney supporter hurts Allen West in redistricting
Romney and his establishment supporters chase Gingrich
Romney supporters go into panic mode (after South Carolina)
Related Links:
Mark Levin:  Character matters and Romney's worries me
The Mittinistry of Truth told you he will get rid of Obamacare...
The Suicide Party

The Daily Kos:
As you might have seen, yesterday Mitt Romney's Super PAC began blasting out an ad attacking Newt Gingrich for only having been mentioned once—and not in a flattering light—in Ronald Reagan's diaries. Today, National Review stepped it up a notch and actually claimsNewt Gingrich "repeatedly insulted" Ronald Reagan.The thing that makes these attacks so absurd is that they are being made on behalf of Mitt Romney, who wasn't a Republican when Ronald Reagan was president and specifically said in his 1994 U.S. Senate campaign that he was not seeking public office to support either Reagan or George H.W. Bush. Romney ended up getting trounced by 17 points.
Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, was busy leading Republicans to their first victory in forty years in the House. And the following year, Nancy Reagan credited him with taking up the mantle of conservatism, saying Barry Goldwater had passed it to Ronald Reagan, and that Ronald Reagan had passed it to Newt Gingrich.
I don't say any of this to defend Newt. Rather, I'm pointing it out as an illustration of the pathetic absurdity of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.
h/t to Neo at Sister Toldjah for finding that one. 

Fred Thompson: Mitt Romney has Matt Drudge in his back pocket...

FRED DECLARES: Romney has 'DRUDGE in back pocket'...
;D ;0 $$

All Mitt Romney wants is a simple offering of earth and water: Romney supporters are trying to redistrict Allen West out of congress!

Shark Tank reports on this "plan."  Legal Insurection notes that Romney supporters are trying to redistrict Allen West out of congress for failing to give the offering of "earth and water."  An appropriate answer is due.
h/t P.J. Tattler
As George Patton once said: "A man that eloquent has to be saved."
Prior posts:
The GOP establishment is after Newt Gingrich
Mitt Romney on the attack in Florida
Romney denounced Reagan in the past, but now attacks Gingrich on not supporting Reagan
Romney supporters go into panic mode (after South Carolina)
Update:  Good commentary from Sister Toldjah.  Yeah guys, we are seeing a pattern.
hat tip:  The Macho Response
Here is a suggestion Mitt:  Hurting Allen West does not prove you are a conservative.
Update:  Hot Air:  Bad Rap on Romney GOP supporters?  
Update II:   Allen West switching districts, which should protect him.  
Update III:  Stacy McCain on the intrigue of Florida politics and who is really Allen West's enemy...

Lack of solar activity and a mini ice age on the way: Well at least the skiing and outdoor hockey conditions should be good...

An Inconvenient Truth?
A mini ice age may be on the way along with ice skating on the River Thames?
Lack of solar activity suggests shorter summers and colder winters.
Scientists are refusing to join the "global warming" hysteria.
The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’sIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause.   
Of course there is something holding scientists back from objective inquiry on this subject:
 Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing, many young scientists furtively say that while they also have serious doubts about the global-warming message, they are afraid to speak up for fear of not being promoted—or worse. They have good reason to worry. In 2003, Dr. Chris de Freitas, the editor of the journal Climate Research, dared to publish a peer-reviewed article with the politically incorrect (but factually correct) conclusion that the recent warming is not unusual in the context of climate changes over the past thousand years. The international warming establishment quickly mounted a determined campaign to have Dr. de Freitas removed from his editorial job and fired from his university position. Fortunately, Dr. de Freitas was able to keep his university job.
While global warming could be easily dealt with, global cooling would be devastating to mankind:

The last “little” Ice Age started as early as the 14th century when the Baltic Sea froze over followed by unseasonable cold, storms, and a rise in the level of the Caspian Sea.  That was followed by the extinction of the Norse settlements in Greenland and the loss of grain cultivation in Iceland.  Harvests were even severely reduced in Scandinavia   And this was a mere foreshadowing of the miseries to come.
By the mid-17th century, glaciers in the Swiss Alps advanced, wiping out farms and entire villages. In England, the River Thames froze during the winter, and in 1780, New York Harbor froze.  Had this continued, history would have been very different.  Luckily, the decrease in solar activity that caused the Little Ice Age ended and the result was the continued flowering of modern civilization.

Victor Davis Hanson makes sense (as usual) in a general way:  Human nature and the laws of physics, not technocratic liberalism, are still the best guides to the madness around us. Money borrowed has to be paid back or the debt eaten by someone, period. Poverty is defined by a want of material necessities, not by lacking the appurtenances that someone else better off enjoys. Gas and oil are miracle fuels and it is very hard to find alternate energies at comparable costs and reliability. And as a rule, the green class of environmental elites usually uses more fossil fuels per capita than do the muscular classes who mine and drill them out of the ground 

Update:  Nevermind that Mini Ice Age was due to volcanoes.  Global warming/manmade climate change still on!  

Update II:  Global Warming engine slows...

Blondie - Sunday Girl

Blondie Call Me (1980)

I do not recall seeing this video before (It is probably from that bad Richard Gere movie American Gigolo). But what the heck, I like Blondie and it's an early Sunday morning treat.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Night Poetry--the view from someone's window

Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich...and it is increasingly clear that there is a battle happening between conservative/tea partiers and establishment republicans

Julie London Fly me to the moon...

With all this moon talk by Gingrich, I linked Sinatra on this the other day.  But this is a great cover by Julie London (I really like the arrangement too).

Advantages of a moon base...
You know you want to know more about this...
Prior Post:
TV shows that Newt Gingrich probably liked...

They have an awful lot of coffee in Brazil...

I needed a pick me up.  Here is another... (her, she was an amazing artist)

Amazing animals - Pikas

Okay, David Attenborough can't help but give a global warming lecture (what is with these "borough" guys and their lectures), but pikas are amazing little guys. They do not hibernate, but remain active all winter, living off the hay they make in the summer.  They are industrious and self made.  They do not believe in taxes.  Pikas do not pretend to be conservative (they just are).  They know no handout will be coming if they do not prepare.   Unlike some former conservatives, who left congress years ago due to the threat of sandal and spend all their time with a girl whose name is spelled similar to pika, tearing down conservatives everyday (well beyond Newt Gingrich).  Perhaps we should recruit a pika at the GOP convention to be the nominee.  Because who doesn't like a pika?
Update:  Oh wait, there is this guy too.  And he is endorsed by pikas.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pulp Fiction (Sweathog style)

RIP Robert "Juan Epstein" Hegyes

h/t Weird Hollywood (on Pulp Fiction parody)

Update (in comments):

chickenlittleJan 27, 2012 09:51 PM
I don't want to welcome Carter back and you can't make me. :P
  1. EBLJan 28, 2012 06:24 AM
    Kotter! Kottter!

A Republican candidate and his establishment GOP supporters chase Newt Gingrich...

Déjà vu 

"The creature was a party of boys, marching..."

Prior Posts:  
What goes around comes around... (Do you remember what Newt was doing just a few weeks ago?)
Romney claims Newt was not a Reagan supporter...  (Mitt obviously took Smitty's advice...a bit too much)

The Conservative Choice:

This has become an interesting topic — especially now that I see support among many of our conservative opinion leaders moving toward Romney — even as many of these same opinion leaders took Santorum’s side during the Schiavo debate. Suddenly, however, they seem to fear Santorum as a religious social engineer, so much so that they’re beginning to throw their weight behind a candidate who is both the architect of ObamaCare (and frankly, is unlikely to repeal it) and has ties to the Wall Street culture the left (and even some TEA Party types concerned with cronyism) has set-up as a caricature they will play a role in the 2012 elections.  I am not a social conservative — as Rachel herself seems to know. I am no less a classical liberal now than I’ve been all along. But from what I can tell, and I’ve been arguing this for a very long time now, dating back to my open disdain for the Trent Lotts of the GOP, the biggest danger to our foundational principles, outside of direct assault from the left, is a right that comes to power as the putative corrective, and then simply reinforces the ways of the establishment.
Think about it.  
Update:   More Jeff Goldstein:
Gingrich’s (and Perry’s) attacks on Romney’s private equity work at Bain brought them jeers not just from Romney Republicans but from conservatives, as well. And so the organized attacks on Gingrich — and there’s no doubt from where they’re coming — shouldn’t be brushed aside as somehow “not surprising” and therefore palatable.
Update II:  Sister Toldjah 

Fear Factor is hardly the first: Doesn't the Drive By "Main Stream" Media try to get us to drink this all the time?

Crony Capitalism: It is good to be a friend of the Obamas!

Romney claims that Gingrich was not a Reagan supporter? Romney voted for Carter!

There is plenty to attack Newt Gingrich for when he has been less than conservative in the past.  But I do not hear Romney and his supporters attacking Newt over those things.  Rather they are going well beyond that and are suggesting that Newt Gingrich never supported Ronald Reagan and his vision.   “That kind of stuff is why people hate Romney so much," Rush Limbaugh said.  Michael Reagan points out:  “It surprises me that Mitt Romney and his supporters would raise this issue — when Mitt by his own admission voted for Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale who opposed my father, and later supported liberal Democrat Paul Tsongas for president.  Here is a clip of Gingrich and Reagan here that was edited and taken out of context by Team Romney.

Jeff Goldstein sums it well:

Watching the “pragmatic” center-right electability-jackals go after Newt Gingrich the last couple days — in a concentrated, concerted, and organized way — suggests to me that the establishment sector of “our” movement has adopted the worst tactics of the left, which it will use, amazingly, only against those to their right.
That is, these “pragmatists” are willing to smear and demonize conservatives (while pretending to define contemporary conservatism, in that way moving it leftward), and yet they make it their mission to woo the moderates and independents with pleasing panders and populist pablum.
And for this they deserve my vote?
Update: Robert Stacy McCain:  Romney or Gingrich is a false dilema:  Get yourself a sweater vest!  

Update II:  Mona Charen response to suggestions she is a RINO:
Why is it that people who support Newt believe they are backing the more conservative candidate? Where is the evidence that Gingrich is more conservative than Romney? Gingrich has supported embryonic stem cell research, Medicare Part D, global warming legislation, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, an industrial policy, amnesty for some illegal immigrants, and ethanol subsidies, among many other apostasies. True, he has also changed (and changed back) some of those views. But does harranguing the press really count for so much?
Okay Mona, doesn't this support Robert Stacy McCain and DaTechGuy's argument for supporting Santorum?  Rush Limbaugh is praising Rick Santorum.  
Update III:  Santorum to be a front runner very soon?

RIP Robert "Juan Epstein" Hegyes

Robert Hegyes

New Jersey camel picks Giants to win 2012 Super Bowl

Television shows that Newt Gingrich likes...because on the moon three marriages only weigh as much as one on earth

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Representing Brooklyn: Lisa and Jim Dolan of Lee Lee’s Valise transform the plus size fashion industry...And TLC and Stacy London televise the fun!

Stacy London, Producer

Lisa Dolan, Reality Show Rising Star

TLC and Stacy London Partner for a new fashion series...
Lee Lee's Valise:  Who says fashion ideas have to come from 7th Avenue, Milan, or Paris only...
According to the network, just 18 per cent of clothes available to buy in America are a size 14 (U.S.) or over, although the average size of an American woman is 14.It is no wonder that many women feel stumped when it comes to buying figure-fitting well-cut clothes, especially in New York, where the rule of the slimmer figure is all-important.

Stacy London's New Show Stars a Brooklyn Plus-Size Boutique:  Lee Lee's Valise