Well, to begin with, Screw Strollers….
All posts for the month February, 2009
Posted by happycrow on February 28, 2009
Because it’s been a tense week. Enjoy
Posted by happycrow on February 25, 2009
UPDATED: Senator Byrd (!!) Seems To Agree.
Putting on the “Analyst Hat.”
I swore I was not going to join the “Obama Derangement Syndrome” bandwagon, but the historian in me is seeing dangerous things which need to be monitored very carefully. If they move forward, Impeachment Proceedings would need to follow, and quickly. That may sound extreme. However, if these same actions were taken in, say, Eastern Europe, or Turkey (where Erdogan is actually moving to rapidly consolidate power), or any of the other places our spooks watch like a hawk, the analysts’ articles would already be hitting the presses.
- RAT in the Stimulus Bill. The legal language appears to have been changed per Volokh, but the political ramifications remain clear: such boards remain political and legal cover for a politically-motivated IG to go to town, and legally to delay the IG’s investigatie work during a board hearing which could be dragged out interminably, and, as I read it, w/o any recourse on the IG’s part.
That by itself would be mere overreach, except for both:
- The Office of Urban Affairs , to wit:
Obama and Biden will create a White House Office of Urban Policy to develop a strategy for metropolitan America and to ensure that all federal dollars targeted to urban areas are effectively spent on the highest-impact programs.
This is a direct assault on the authority of state governments, and in setting up such an office, the President explicitly violates the federal-state contract guaranteed in the Constitution. On its own, it might be discounted, were we not informed that the stimulus bill contains provisions expressly intended to bypass State executive authority. These manuvers have not gone unnoticed, and the Oklahoma House of Representatives has already declared that it intends to assert its rights as protected under the 10th Amendment,
- Yesterday’s speech delivered to a Council of Mayors, delivered by Obama, which I believe must be taken at face value.
Emphases in the following are mine:
We will use the new tools that the recovery act gives us to watch the taxpayers’ money with more rigor and transparency than ever. (Applause.) If a federal agency proposes a project that will waste that money, I will not hesitate to call them out on it and put a stop to it.
And I want everybody here to be on notice that if a local government does the same, I will call them out on it and use the full power of my office and our administration to stop it.
Given that the definition of “wasting resources” is defined on an inherently political basis, this is a direct threat to city mayors (and was even reported as such on ABC newswire after the speech). Given that the President has
- obtained legal power to order or hinder audits while requiring IG to justify counter-actions against the board (thus providing full legal cover to blatantly political auditing, known to have been abused on a widespread basis in both the 80s and 90s — Elizabeth Dole even made a joking reference to the practice on Letterman during her husband’s electoral run).
- President Obama has instituted an executive-branch office bypassing state authority
- President Obama has informed the nation’s mayors that he intends to exercise direct federal oversight of their budgeting.
He has violated his Oath of Office by directly moving to Undermine the Separation of Powers inherent to the Constitution.
This doesn’t inherently mean we need to get all paranoid, or buy into the wilder of the tinfoil-hat theories floating around. Obama’s “private army,” for instance, was almost certainly mere campaign rhetoric, and essentially harmless rhetoric at that.
If one were a tinfoil hat type, one could posit that the banking crisis has been engineered specifically to create the “unusual circumstances” justifying the FDR-like rhetoric and unusual political moves (including the unheard-of instance of Congress rubber-stamping the president by voting on a bill wildly increasing federal authority, which just coincidentally they did not realize and were not provided time to read about ahead of time). Even combined with the unheard-of move to put the Census, and thus the balance of political power, directly into the hands of an appointed political operative (this being the likely reason for Gregg’s “resignation,” as his position would have been completely untenable), we could be seeing significant coincidence at stake. One should never assume conspiracy if incompetence and overreach explain things sufficiently.
That said, the United States has gone fascist in the past under Herbert Hoover, (e.g., the proto-Orwellian CPI )and while the US was fortunately able to roll that back during Harding’s “Return to Normalcy,” the precedents are here; the President has taken actions which would allow him to pull a Weimar on the U.S., should he obtain the political muscle to do so.
That he will do so, does not seem likely. That he has obtained the means to do so — recall that electoral backlash can be effectively neutered if one party alone controls the (incredibly important) Census — potentially paving the way for one-party rule, is unnerving, but possibly coincidental. That he seems to have intentionally sought the means to do so while speaking in a manner consistent with those actions, is cause for legitimate concern, no matter where on the political spectrum an individual citizen may lay: potential for abuse written into law tends to be maximally exploited over time, and even some liberal critics of the push for the renewal of the “Fairness Doctrine” have noted that it has been used in the past by both major parties to muzzle their critics.
Have a good day.
Posted by happycrow on February 25, 2009
Don Surber has an interesting editorial this week, and at least parts of have a bit of the ring of truth. It’s been said that Democrats are fiscal populists and social elitists (contrary to Republicans, said to be social populists and fiscal elitists). You can see this at work regularly, for instance, on NPR, with it’s notable upper-middle-class vibe — it’s not uncommon to hear editorials there decrying other news sources on grounds that are essentially “they’re loud and shabby.”
Certainly wouldn’t take it so far as to say it’s a good broad stereotype for liberalism at large, but there’s something in there.
Posted by happycrow on February 24, 2009
Saudis say “alternative energy not yet ready.”
No, I’m not making this up.
“Saudis say ‘now that we’ve paid millions of dollars to overwhelm your society with Salafish bullshit, don’t you dare leave us back in the 19th century?’ ”
“Saudies: We still pwnz yer wallet.”
“Oil still necessary for our headless-wife future.”
Posted by happycrow on February 16, 2009
handily animated, here.
The meek shall inherit the earth.
Posted by happycrow on February 15, 2009
on the latest round regarding the head of Bright TV’s… well, beheading of his wife.
From “Lyle, in the comments section“:
Mohammed was a warlord
Who slaughtered and enslaved
But hey, I’ll bet that Jesus,
On bad days, misbehaved.
Christians fail to understand
The Muslim way of life,
And to help me demonstrate,
May I present my wife?
This is the guy who’s supposed to be pushing inter-faith understanding? “Lyle,” whoever you are, I applaud you.
Posted by happycrow on February 15, 2009
To Madeleine, with twisted.
(cannot embed this one, but trust me. Click the link. You know you want to.)
Posted by happycrow on February 9, 2009
“Our early progenitors 200,000 years ago were just another element of the fauna, rather than the king of the hill,” said Susman, who was not involved in the new study.
And what was this new study? What did it involve? How about human hairs found in fossilized hyena turds.
Never have trusted hyenas. Don’t trust any mammal that devours its prey alive, that’s what I say. Déclassé, really. 450 for a little while, with a nice sauce and a bit of brandy, otoh…
Posted by happycrow on February 7, 2009
Next Big Future carries a good writeup: Sand that blocks water access, providing a stable water table which also seals away salt carried further down into the sand.
The ramifications for this are simply stunning. This won’t do you any good in an area like much of the US southwest, where the sand is merely blown rock. But for significant chunks, and for putting around areas which already tend to be ponds and lakes when there’s not a drought, this would be amazingly helpful. The capacity to reclaim the Sahara also comes to mind….which would be a blow for world peace, as thousands of muslim goatherds currently are constantly pushing south on the fringes of an ever-expanding desert, into animist zones, helping to create cultural conflict. Hydrophobic sand would go a long way towards helping to relieve that ongoing catastrophe.
Posted by happycrow on February 6, 2009
But, and perhaps this is the important way to say it, Cheap, but Not Bored.
Being pretty nerdy, I’m fairly far into this territory to begin with. No cable, and we don’t miss it, absolutely no plans to upgrade the idiot box at all, which is only turned on when watching movies (and, true, I could romantically watch them in bed using Mister Lappy’s wider-than-average screen and good-quality speakers.
On the other hand, I have a hobby, which tends to involve constructing sets of armor and the like, and sometimes using said material skills to make something with real-world payback. But if you’re careful, I think that can easily get factored in. Reducing “lifestyle fees” isn’t necessarily brilliance — but reducing unnecessary ones is definitely the bright way to go.
Posted by happycrow on February 2, 2009