Friday, October 01, 2010

The Urge To Purge

Conversation with J. regarding the upcoming election:
J: Re your blog, try to not be so hard on Obama. He's doing what he can--which, in view of the hate campaign Fox and the republicans are waging, is not a whole lot. The democrats are terrified of the republicans and the republicans are out to do whatever it takes to regain power. Let's not forget Jimmy Carter's last year in office when democrats decided that since he was not doing what they perceived to be a perfect job they would get even by electing Reagan. It see that same sort of thinking now--we can't allow ourselves to fall for that again...
Interesting point - we both swooned for John Anderson in 1980, and look what happened. Age makes us bitter, I suppose:
M: Don’t worry, I’ll vote, and vote Democratic. But I’m also of the persuasion, along with a number of liberal bloggers, that purging the moderates and the Blue Dogs is a necessary thing to do, even if you lose in the short term. In the 70’s, the conservatives purged moderate Republicans, and lost elections as a result. Nevertheless, by the 80’s they had a unified, conservative, and above all, dominant operation running things. Compromise can get you places if you have two strong operations, but when the Democrats are just a bunch of scared surrender monkeys, compromise gets you nothing but surrender.

Obama may have some valid complaints, but remember, he had a hand in getting himself boxed in. The public option was the only effective cost control mechanism in the health insurance reform. By surrendering that, and delaying implementation until 2014 he decapitated his own troops – and got nothing in exchange. The stimulus is too small, but it was his plan and his people who put it together. Guantanamo lives on, even though Obama has the power to do something about it even now. Liberals had nothing to do with these bad decisions: Obama did.

One can go too far, of course: the Tea Partiers today are a prime example of the purging mentality run wild. But that’s a problem for another day.
J. doesn't like the urge to purge:
I'm not sure purging the party of less liberal elements at this point is a good idea. The purge of moderates from the republican party starting in 1980 made the once proud GOP the domain of liars and hypocrites who appeal to the fears and emotions of those whose well being is of no real concern to the party elite. The atmosphere of hatred toward anyone "not like us" has poisoned a large part of the nation. Democratic candidates in such areas must compromise on some issues that the national party considers non-negotiable. In other words, I have no problem with a democrat from a rural area opposing abortion on moral grounds while at the same time blasting republicans for supporting laws that help US business to ship jobs overseas. For example, the two candidates for governor in Oklahoma are both quite conservative but I feel better about supporting the democrat who I know will not resort to fanaticism in her policies.

Obama is fighting on several fronts. The economic disaster he inherited--created by republicans and democrats alike--is unknown territory. Roosevelt made plenty of mistakes in a similar situation and Obama will continue to veer off course now and then. Health care is a prime example of how republicans have manipulated people they care nothing about into voting against their own well being. It's remarkable that Obama was able to do anything with the combined attacks by big business and the entire republican party. Afghanistan is another terrible problem but Obama is doing what he can to try to balance the interests of all parties from the US military to the women held in conditions of slavery in that country. I would like to have seen him repeal don't ask--don't tell, but the religious fanatics--with the full support of the republican party--would have made that the only issue before Congress for the entire session. Still, depending on if democrats can hold majorities in both houses after the November elections (I think they will), I suspect there will be a presidential order on the matter sometime before the end of the year.

Having said all that, I feel that our nation's problems are very intractable. Both parties are afraid to admit that middle class entitlements (including Social Security and Medicare) will have to be cut along with military spending in order to even begin to restore any degree of fiscal sanity to the federal government. Boehner's comments Sunday that the American people "don't need to hear solutions right now" are typical of the thinking in both parties--understandably so. If the American people had a clue just what kinds of sacrifices will have to be made in the next 20 years they would be outraged.

So it just comes down to which side has a better track record of doing what is best for our country. One party has run up massive deficits without a word of dissent when they held power but now they have suddenly decided that deficits are terrible when they are not in control. One party--to a much greater degree than the other--has tried to take away fundamental rights under the guise of "national security". One party has repeatedly tried to keep the American people in fear of nebulous "threats". One party has shamelessly used religious fanaticism to promote their agenda. Democrats need to keep reminding the nation of these things. Obama is starting to do so during the last couple of weeks. I hope he ratchets it up and helps hand the republicans the defeat they deserve.
I'm less sanguine:
M.: I have no problem with compromise on secondary issues if that helps electability. Fortunately Democrats are less strident than they used to be regarding apostasy. For example, I have no problem with Harry Reid wandering off the reservation on abortion rights (which he does routinely, since he’s anti-abortion, as is virtually required in Mormon-heavy Nevada) as long as he is solid on Social Security and health reform, etc. Someone like Joe Lieberman is anathema, however. He routinely bucks the Democrats on everything. He caucuses with Dems while he plots and votes with the GOP. There are others like him. These jerks need to be maneuvered into defeat, even if the seat goes GOP for awhile, because they do the Dems no good.

Middle class entitlements need not be cut if the nation’s leadership values them high enough: high enough to favor them over defense spending, for example. The nation is rich enough to afford the entitlements, if the rich don’t insist on looting the programs for their own enrichment first, through their unreasonable demands for low taxes.

I think people ignore the extent to which mid-term elections revolve around local concerns more than national concerns. Despite the media warnings, and the recession, I’m optimistic the Dems won’t suffer too much this election, because the GOP offers few real alternatives. The Dems that lose won’t be the liberals, but rather the Blue Dog compromisers who offer no one anything of value. (Then again, I live in a Blue State, you live in a Red State, and things can look different from the two perspectives.)

Barbara Jackson Honored

An angel:
Davis' Barbara Jackson is not given to speeches, but she has long been given to giving to the arts and artists in the Sacramento region.

Jackson picked up the lifetime achievement award today from the Arts and Business Council of Sacramento, a token of the community's respect for her steadfast support of the Sacramento Opera, the Mondavi Center for the Arts and local theater groups.

(You can read staff writer Edward Ortiz's profile of Jackson in The Bee's Living Here: Sunday section this weekend.)

Meg Whitman And Her Quandary

This story is still evolving, so we'll see what happens. Some folks wonder what the response of Latino voters might be to all this fuss.

I suspect Latinos would understand, and forgive, Meg Whitman for her manner of hiring illegal aliens. The use of third parties to hire illegals, and take the blame for any problems, has long been commonplace among the rich of California.

Latinos would also understand, and forgive, Nicky Diaz, for lying about her immigration status. That, too, has been par-for-the-course for many decades.

I think they will judge harshly, however, the speed with which Meg Whitman tried to distance herself from Nicky Diaz. The advice from lawyers was to separate herself just as fast as possible, of course. The pressure would be nearly-irresistible to do so, of course. Nevertheless, Diaz had been Whitman's housekeeper for nine years. How could a clean separation be made so quickly? And there was such a gulf in power between the two: a billionaire compared to a $23/hour employee. The power balance was so unequal that it wasn't even a standard employer/employee situation, but more like a typical patron/serf relationship that was once common in Latin America and still widely prevalent in many places. Noblesse oblige would require, at the very least, that the patron attempt to assist her employee. No such help was extended.

This is an old story. One of the critiques the old Confederate aristocracy used to throw at the hated Yankees was the assertion that industrialization and the growth of large work forces would inevitably lead to "wage slavery", with no sense of obligation between the classes. They had their own problems, of course (slavery is more barbaric than wage slavery). Still, the old Confederates had a point. Meg Whitman the Barbarian came into view here.

There are many unexplored angles, of course. How did Gloria Allred get mixed up with this? Does the Brown campaign have anything to do with all this? These angles will get more exposure over the days ahead. I'm looking forward to whatever gets exposed.

The nice thing about democracy is that the voters can pass their own judgment of all this on Election Day. Latinos can be part of that jury.

Interestingly, the employment agency Whitman used is backpedaling away just as fast as possible. What use is an employment agency if they don't take the heat?:
There is no signature on page 14 of the documents provided by the Whitman campaign. Suskind says that's a violation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.

Because this wasn't a temporary situation -- the nanny was employed for nine years -- Whitman was responsible for completing the I-9. The I-9 form provided by the campaign does not have the signature of either Whitman or an authorized agent like the placement company.

It wasn't clear if the copy of the documents provided by the campaign was made before either Whitman or her husband signed another copy.

Even if the placement agency, Town & Country Resources, filled out the form, Whitman and her husband are still legally responsible for the I-9 as employers, said Suskind.

The placement company told TPMMuckraker that records show that "as an agency we did everything that was legally required and followed standard procedures at the time."

Nasty Campaign, Utah Style

Californians probably wish things were this nasty here:
A visibly exasperated Gov. Gary Herbert accused Democratic challenger Peter Corroon of twisting facts and disparaging his integrity by suggesting that big donors got special treatment from the Herbert administration.

“There you go again, Peter,” Hebert said. “These accusations are absolutely false. The accusations you’re making impugn the integrity not only of the governor, but of many businesspeople, volunteers, state legislators, with accusations that have no basis in fact.”

Specifically, Herbert took issue with Corroon questioning whether $87,500 in contributions from a group of contractors garnered them meetings in the Governor’s Office and affected the outcome of a $1.1 billion contract to rebuild 24 miles of Interstate 15.

“I’m not questioning anyone’s integrity. I’m questioning your judgment and leadership on this issue,” Corroon said. “They’re using the Governor’s Office for campaign purposes. That’s wrong. That’s dead wrong.”

Herbert appeared aggravated at times during the debate, sponsored by KUTV and The Salt Lake Tribune. His hands gestured emphatically, driving home his points, and he shook his head with disgust.

Twice during the half-hour debate, he slapped his knees with both hands out of frustration as Corroon again questioned the I-15 bid.

Herbert said the winning bidder would build more roads in a shorter time frame and that winning the contract had nothing to do with the donations from the winning members.

Herbert also said Corroon hadn’t taken him up on his offer to review any of the material related to the I-15 bid.

“Peter Corroon won’t take the time to go get the rest of the facts because he’s not interested in the facts. This is all about political posturing,” Herbert said.

Missed It By *That* Much

Try, try again! (Thx to Jerry)

Dog Can't Tell The Difference

A thin line distinguishes reality from fantasy:
A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl had her top lip bitten off when she was mauled by a dog which flew into a rage after hearing barks from a computer game.

Little Megan Walker was dragged off a sofa by a Bull Mastiff named Saracen while she was playing on the Nintendogs game while staying at a friend’s house in Westland Avenue, Farnworth.

The dog then went for Megan’s face, biting her in several places and tearing off her top lip.

Megan was taken by ambulance to Manchester Children’s Hospital where doctors managed to re-attach the lip after it was rushed to the hospital by police officers who had put it on ice.

Saracen, a Bull Mastiff and Boxer cross breed, has since been put down after its owner, Deborah Melville, signed the dog over to police for destruction.

...Megan, a St James’ Primary School pupil, said: “When I woke up I turned on the Nintendo. It barked and Saracen dragged me off the couch by my foot. I was scared.”

...Megan was in surgery for two hours and spent five days in hospital. It is hoped that her lip will heal, although doctors will have a better idea when they take her bandage off tomorrow.

Mrs Taylor said: “Hopefully the surgery has worked or she could have to have more plastic surgery down the line. She’s been so brave.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Co-op Rocks Video Contest

If you are a member of a natural foods co-op, or even would like to be, please consider extending these videos a vote in their video contest. Uploaded last night, these videos are currently lagging against the competition.

Midtown Intersections Spook Me

There is something about having to repeatedly look across a full 180-degree field-of-view, and still failing to see the (fill-in-the-blank: bicyclist, skateboarder, automated wheelchair, pedestrian, sedan, Hummer, 18-wheeler) that makes Midtown intersections so dangerous.

Despite the leafy canopy and nearby buildings, the driver was still heading into the sun:
Two pedestrians were sent to the hospital this morning after being struck in a crosswalk in Sacramento by a sports utility vehicle.

The two women, who police only described as elderly, were in the crosswalk at 17th and K streets about 8:40 a.m. when an SUV traveling eastbound on K Street hit them.

The women were transported to UC Davis Medical Center in serious condition, police said.

Las Vegas Death Ray

I just love modern architecture!:
Guests at a new hotel in Las Vegas have complained of receiving severe burns from a 'death ray' of sunlight caused by the unique design of the building.

Due to the concave shape of the Vdara hotel, the strong Nevada sun reflects off its all-glass front and directly onto sections of the swimming pool area below.

The result has left some guests with burns from the powerful rays and even plastic bags have been recorded as melting in the heat.

Chicago attorney Bill Pintas felt the power of the dangerous ray first hand last week.

'It felt like I had a chemical burn. I couldn't imagine why my head was burning,' he said.

'Within 30 seconds, the back of my legs were burning. My first though was, 'Jesus, they destroyed the ozone layer!'

Gordon Absher, a spokesman for MGM Resorts, which owns the Vdara hotel, said they was aware of the issue and designers were working with resort staff to come up with a solution.

In fact it is claimed that the designers foresaw the issue with the reflecting sun but thought they had solved it by installing a high-tech film on the south-facing panes of glass.

...And as the Earth rotates, the spot moves across the pool area. The 'death ray' can increase temperatures by around 20 degrees.

Image by e1bow at B3ta.

Occupied North Texas

Birthday Party

One of the things I was intrigued to learn at the DMTC fundraising meeting this week is that there is a birthday party circuit in Davis: places that host childrens' birthday parties.

Of course, these parties probably never turn out like this one:
The princess birthday cake for a 3-year-old girl was one of the few things left untouched after a brawl that police said involved 75 people at a hall in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio. ... Seven police jurisdictions were called in to quell the fighting.

"When (first responding) officers arrived there, it was a pretty intense fight going on inside," Elmwood Place Police Chief William Peskin said. "They actually had to wait until they got backup there in order to make entry because there were so many people throwing bottles and chairs, so they had to actually wait."

I Have To Agree With The Goat

(via Kathleen on Facebook)

Based on my very limited Spanish, the man is apparently asking polite questions regarding the ibex's opinion of the quality of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero's administration, among other Spanish politicians, but substitute President Barack Obama, and you pretty-much have America 2010.

(Elsewhere on YouTube they have this same video with 'translations' that have no bearing on what's being said, but I'm laughing so hard, it doesn't matter. This ibex is the 'Hitler' of 2010!

And sure enough, someone substitutes Obama's name into the 'translation'!)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Congratulations, Margaret!

Margaret Andrews is to be congratulated for her 3rd-place listing of her blog "Nanny Goats In Panties", in 'Best Blogs' in this week's 'Sacramento News & Review' special 'Best Of Sacramento' edition (p.40).

Colbert On Capitol Hill

Meg Whitman's Undocumented Housekeeper

Ha!.... Ha!.... Ha!....

The solution here, of course, is to bitch slap the Latinos even harder, maybe with iron bars, or maybe tase them a few times. What could possibly go wrong with that?:
How damaging the Diaz allegations are to the Whitman campaign may hinge on the question of how long ao Whitman knew Diaz was an undocumented worker. ...

A great many Latino voters may find more reasons for concern in Whitman's statement than in Diaz's claims. After "nine years of faithful service," Whitman terminated Diaz immediately. How many Californian Latinos know people who have worked faithfully for their employers, cleaning bathrooms, changing diapers, trimming the rose bushes, and in the process becoming "close" to their employers, and yet all the while living just one one whisker away from abrupt termination? Whitman says firing Diaz was "one of the hardest things" she'd ever done. But I think it was probably a bit harder for Diaz than it was for the billionaire candidate for governor. And I think a lot of California voters know that.

Not Clapping Loud Enough, Apparently

Quite tired of Obama blaming everyone but himself:
President Obama gave an interview to Rolling Stone and actually said this:
The idea that we've got a lack of enthusiasm in the Democratic base, that people are sitting on their hands complaining, is just irresponsible. . . . .If we want the kind of country that respects civil rights and civil liberties, we'd better fight in this election.
This may be one of the most audaciously hilarious political statements I've read in quite some time. The Holder Justice Department's record on domestic civil rights enforcement is actually one of the few areas where there has been substantial improvement -- and that's a perfectly legitimate argument to make -- but for Barack Obama to cite "civil liberties" as a reason why Democratic apathy is "just irresponsible," and to claim with a straight face that this election will determine whether we're "the kind of country that respects" them, is so detached from basic reality that I actually had to read this three or four times to make certain I hadn't misunderstood it.

...Speaking of inspirational messaging, Vice President Joe Biden yesterday said we must "remind our base constituency to stop whining." Last week, Obama condemned "Democrats griping and groaning," and the day before he mocked Democrats who "just congenitally, tend to get -- to see the glass as half empty." That, of course, was preceded by Robert Gibbs announcing that liberal critics of the President who complain about continuation of Bush policies "need to get drug tested,"....

...What is notable about it is what it reveals substantively. The country is drowning in a severe and worsening unemployment crisis. People are losing their homes by the millions. Income inequality continues to explode while the last vestiges of middle class security continue to erode. The Obama civil liberties record has been nothing short of a disgrace, usually equaling and sometimes surpassing the worst of the Bush/Cheney abuses. We have to stand by and watch the Commander-in-Chief fire one gay service member after the next for their sexual orientation. The major bills touted by Obama supporters were the by-product of the very corporatist/lobbyist dominance which Obama the candidate repeatedly railed against. Rather than take responsibility for any of this, they instead dismiss criticisms and objections as petulant, childish, "irresponsible whining" -- signaling rather clearly that they think they're doing the right thing and that these criticisms are fundamentally unfair.

...Talk about "self-pitying and self-indulgent." It's just amazing to read about how union members are reluctant to work for Democratic victory because of the economic suffering they are experiencing -- or how young, first-time and minority voters see little reason to work for Democrats -- and then hear Joe Biden dismiss those concerns as "whining" and Obama deride them as "irresponsible." Democratic voters aren't unenthusiastic because they're reading too much blog criticism of the President; they're apathetic because they see what has happened in their own lives over the past 2 years and see little reason to work for those who have been in power during that time.

...What's going on here seems clear. Each time there is a Democratic loss on the horizon, White House officials find someone to blame other than Obama; that happened with Martha Coakley, Creigh Deeds, and a whole slew of other Democratic defeats. By incessantly complaining now about the "irresponsible" "whiners" who aren't sufficiently grateful to the Obama White House, they seem to be setting up in advance a nice excuse for Democratic defeat in November: it wasn't anything we did to cause this; it was the fault of those whiny, unrealistic irresponsible liberals who didn't cheerlead loudly enough. What seems to matter most is that Obama be exonerated for the Democrats' electoral woes, even though he clearly bears substantial responsibility for much of it.

Wonder Drug

Move over Vitamin C:
"We believe sildenafil could be an excellent candidate for incorporation into cancer treatment protocols with the potential of enhancing the anti-tumour efficacy, while protecting the heart against both short term and long term damage from doxorubicin," Kukreja told The Telegraph.

In case you've forgotten Viagra's other purported benefits, the drug is already touted as speeding up jet lag recovery, boosting orgasms in depressed women, treating Crohn's disease and even cellulite.

TD16 Makes Tampa Folks Nervous

TD 16 should miss you. Your problem looks the biggest today, with abundant thunderstorms that are associated with TD16, but not a part of it. Nevertheless your band of thunderstorms will slowly move off to the east this evening, leaving you basically OK.

TD 16 will be troublesome for the folks in Miami, however, and up to SE Florida coast, to Cape Canaveral. Right now, TD16 doesn’t look very powerful, mostly because it’s a very-broad, slow-moving gyre, a legacy of Tropical Storm Matthew. To the National Weather Service people, it looks very strange: it doesn’t fit the usual mold of tropical storms. They are more-familiar with smaller systems that pack more punch.

The National Weather Service discussion makes interesting, maybe even amusing, reading:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gunther's TV Commercial

Jetta's call came in at 9:15 a.m., but I didn't receive it until 9:45 a.m. "Wake up," she said, "The TV ad starts filming at 10 a.m. at Gunther's at 2801 Franklin Avenue Get there quick! I have coupons for free food for everyone!"

Ugh! I rubbed my eyes and got my creaky bones out of bed. That's Franklin Boulevard, not Avenue. Gunther's has gone 70 years without a TV ad, so why does it need one now, and at the gawdawful hour of 10 a.m.? The ways of TV are cryptic. At least it's my own neighborhood, Curtis Park, so I don't have to go far.

The mood at Gunther's was very convivial, and the place was very busy. The crowd was mostly older folks. (Probably to reduce problems related to photo releases, the event was marketed primarily to retirees, so the usual Gunther's crowd of children was all-but-absent.)

I stood in line and watched the filming. At one point, they presented an enormous banana split to a customer, with my face conveniently placed just on the opposite side of the banana split from the camera. The presentation of the spoon was fumbled, however, so it's probably the cutting room floor with that.

I was surprised to learn that the pretty woman on the opposite side of the counter lived in Los Angeles (her slim figure betrayed the absence of ice cream in her normal diet). I asked, "do you know my friend Kelsey? She lives in LA!" She said no (in the same way my father said 'no' when travelling as a GI in Italy in WWII, when people would approach and say "my cousin Vinny lives in Chicago - do you know him?) Then the pretty woman asked, "what are you going to have?" I said, "a Swiss Orange Chip cone!" She commenced on a perfectly whimsical monologue: "a Swiss Orange Chip cone? A Swiss Orange Chip cone!" The camera closed in on her face for reaction shots ("orange" is a good, rotund word to recite on camera).

After a few minutes, the camera crew headed outside. I stood in front of the counter in a state of befuddlement. It slowly dawned on me that, after all that, no one had bothered to take my order for a Swiss Orange Chip cone. I eventually found someone who could fill my order.

A fun time for all! (Except maybe for the absent children.)

[Update: And Jetta now says it was a Lincoln Continental commercial, and not an ice cream commercial at all? It's too confusing! It makes my brain hurt!

Apparently it's some kind of California Lincoln Mercury road trip.]

"Morality" On FOX News

Class warfare, the rich against everyone else, on FOX News.

Robo Band

In front of Elk Grove's Golden Corral Sunday evening, a Robo Band played for a parking lot containing many cars, but largely-devoid of people. Somehow it seemed apropos to have machines entertaining other machines.

Elly Echoes

After aerobics, I saw Danielle Hansen preparing for her dance class. She was at the Ellys last night, and performed with RSP's "25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" crew. Congratulations for RSP were in order!

Late last week, Dannette forwarded the following:

Connect with Your Peers
(They have the same problems you do!)

League of Sacramento Theatres
Member Mixer
Monday, September 27
5:30-8 p.m.

Celebrate the Fall season and network with your fellow theatres.

Scott's Seafood on the River
Le Rivage Hotel
4800 Riverside Boulevard

That sounded like fun. I especially liked the acronym L.O.S.T. So after aerobics, I headed down there, and caught the tail end of the mixer. I saw Jeff Kean, and congratulations were in order once again, this time for Woodland's Ellys. We spent the time talking shop, and talking about everyone's favorite topic of trouble, The Internet.

Australian September Rainfall

So, what's happening Down Under? Apparently, with the important, persistent, and very-notable exception of southwestern Australia, they are wet. It's that La Niña!:
The La Niña event in the Pacific Ocean has strengthened further over the past two weeks. All computer models surveyed by the Bureau predict the La Niña will last through the southern hemisphere spring, with the majority indicating the event will persist into at least early 2011.

La Niña indicators have consolidated in the Pacific. The central and eastern Pacific Ocean is now more than a degree cooler than the long-term mean, the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) has continued to rise, trade winds are at their strongest since 1998 and cloudiness over the central tropical Pacific remains suppressed.

La Niña periods are usually, but not always, associated with above normal rainfall during the second half of the year across large parts of Australia, most notably eastern and northern regions. Night time temperatures are historically warmer than average and Tropical Cyclone occurrence for northern Australia is typically higher than normal during the cyclone season (November-April).

Monday, September 27, 2010

It Could Be Worse

Neighborhood booster looks on the bright side:
Upper Darby police and health officials discovered a makeshift kitty morgue Wednesday when they searched a vacant rowhouse on Ardmore Avenue in the township's Drexel Hill section.

..."I don't know what the cat autopsies are going to show," Chitwood said. "My expectation was that these cats just died, but I think being so mentally ill, she's trying to preserve them even in death by putting them in a freezer. Cryonics. That's exactly what's going on."

...Residents of the block, just off Lansdowne Avenue, are still recovering from last week's raid of an alleged brothel across the street.

..."On one side, you got prostitution, on the other side, you got cats in the freezer," Chitwood said. "It's tragic."

...Neighbors say the well-kept block isn't the type of place where you'd expect to find hookers and frozen pets.

"At least it's not drugs," one resident said. "Just crazy people."

Controlling The Narrative Is Essential

And it's amusing when control breaks down:
Elements within the House Republican leadership "prearranged" an editorial in the National Review praising the GOP's "Pledge to America" manifesto, according to the Daily Caller, in an effort to counteract widespread conservative criticism of the document.

"Two high-level Republican sources" told the right-leaning Daily Caller's Jon Ward that Neil Bradley, a top aide to Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), pulled strings with senior officials at the National Review Institute to get the editorial published.

...The September 22 editorial by the National Review, a conservative opinion magazine respected by elites, was published on the same day the document was released. Titled "We'll Take the Pledge," the editors effusively praised it as a manifesto that aims to diminish the size of government, increase accountability in Congress, and make America "more prosperous."

...The National Review editorial has raised some eyebrows because, for the most part, the 21-page "Pledge to America" has infuriated conservatives and tea partiers, who claim it lacks a courageous conservative vision and omits specific proposals to rein in the deficit and slash spending.

Cataloging The Damage

So, for Davis, precisely zero. So tell me, again, why are we still part of this process?

Wow! Amazingly High Temps!

Downtown LA sizzles:
It's not just you. Monday turned out to be the hottest day ever recorded -- at least in downtown L.A.

At 12:15 p.m., the weather station at USC hit the 113-degree mark, breaking the old all-time high of 112 set on June 26, 1990.

It makes Monday the hottest day ever since records in downtown L.A. started being kept in 1877, said Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service.

Seto said the record was impressive, "especially after such a cool summer."

As of noon, reported that Santa Monica had hit 106, West Hollywood was at 111, and Long Beach was at 107.

We Thank You For Your Cooperation

Interesting. Salt Lake City ozone pollution is driven to an unusual extent by hydrocarbon emissions from the refineries at the north end of the city, so, if pollution levels have dropped, it may well be the oil industry that is to be congratulated for their diligent compliance with air pollution rules. And, to the extent that people are actually driving less, it is probably because the recession has basically left them too broke to drive:
The Utah Division of Air Quality said Monday its data from the 2010 ozone-pollution season showed a downward trend in the number days when ozone topped federal limits and became unhealthy. In Salt Lake and Davis Counties, there were five “red” air-quality days, when ozone made the air unhealthy, and there were 18 “yellow” days, when high pollution threatened to become unhealthy.

Cheryl Heying, director of DAQ thanked the public for its role in reducing ozone pollution by driving less and reducing the vehicle exhaust, which creates ozone pollution when it mixes with sunlight and heat.

“Although weather has a lot to do with the fact that we are seeing a decline in ozone,” she said, “I do believe that the public has become more responsive and aware of the need to drive smarter on days when pollution builds.”

The Mysterious Reluctance Of Latino Voters

Bitch-slapping Latinos seems not to have produced the desired movement in the polls:
Latino voters, who have helped to propel California's leftward political swing over recent years, remain reluctant to embrace Republican candidates as the November general election nears, a new Los Angeles Times/USC poll shows.

Registered voters who identified themselves as Latino backed Democrat Jerry Brown by a 19-point margin over Republican Meg Whitman in the race for governor, despite Whitman's multiple appeals to Latino voters during the general election campaign. Registered voters who identified themselves as white gave Brown a slim 2-point margin.

In the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer held a 38-point lead over Republican Carly Fiorina among registered Latino voters, five times the lead she held among white voters.

...Whitman has reached for Latino support in myriad ways. She began airing ads on Spanish-language television stations after her June primary victory, highlighting her opposition to Arizona's new immigration law. She also noted her opposition to the particulars of the 1994 California measure, Proposition 187, which would have denied taxpayer-financed services to illegal immigrants. She erected billboards in Latino communities, opened a campaign office in East Los Angeles and spoke to Spanish-language media outlets.

But she remains the favorite of only one-third of registered Latino voters, the survey found.

...Whitman herself has long hoped that her business background and the growing small-business pursuits of Latinos would provide some common ground. "Latinas are the fastest-growing segment of the market in starting new businesses," she told supporters at an Orange County event in May 2009, explaining why Latinos were a key component of her plan for victory.

But that affinity has yet to translate into political gains. Latino voters gave Brown the edge in a range of comparisons — including which candidate would bring a clear plan, energy and decisiveness to the governorship — that white voters thought were best represented by Whitman. Latinos gave Brown the edge over Whitman in handling the economy, immigration, developing jobs, taxes and education. White voters gave Whitman the edge in handling the economy and taxes.

'Bronx Beat' With Katy Perry

Saving Incandescents

I remember California's electricity crisis of 2001, and how I panicked and installed compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) in virtually every socket of my house. I was astounded and pleased how my electricity bill fell 45% overnight. I was certain that other people would be similarly-pleased when they did the same, and anticipated a quick turn to CFLs.

The quick turn has been slower in coming than I thought. Consumers can be conservative in their choices, and not everyone was happy with the 'warmth' of CFL light. I thought this might be one of those situations where consumer preference as expressed in the marketplace might be handy. Some people prefer 'warm' lighting. Some people prefer cheap electricity bills. Surely consumers could decide for themselves where to draw that line.

Governments have nevertheless tried to jump-start the shift. For example, Australia, under the gun from the drought earlier this decade, and quickly-losing hydropower as part of its electricity-generation capability, mandated the use of CFLs. In contrast, the U.S. has used a regulatory approach to slowly phase incandescent lights out.

Interestingly, the GOP now wants to save incandescents as part of industrial protectionism. Protectionism doesn't work well over the long term, however. It didn't seem to help those Democrats that embraced it with regards to the auto industry, for example, but here it is again!:
Three House Republicans, Joe Barton and Michael Burgess of Texas and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, have introduced the Better Use of Light Bulbs Act, which would repeal the section of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 that sets minimum energy efficiency standards for light bulbs and would effectively phase out most ordinary incandescents.

While the new standards won’t take effect until 2012, the authors argue that they are having a negative impact. Specifically, they say the standards have led lighting companies to close several incandescent light bulb factories in the United States and send jobs overseas — particularly to China, where most compact fluorescent light bulbs, which are more efficient than incandescents, are manufactured.

Compact fluorescents are likely to be the cheapest bulbs on store shelves after retailers stop selling ordinary incandescents.

“The unanticipated consequences of the ’07 act — Washington-mandated layoffs in the middle of a desperate recession — is one of the many examples of what happens when politicians and activists think they know better than consumers and workers,” Mr. Barton, the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement. “Washington is making too many decisions that are better left to people who work for their own paychecks and earn their own living.”

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Rough Week Coming For Florida Weather

The dissipation of Tropical Storm Matthew in the Yucatan has resulted in the appearance of a large gyre that will help trigger a lot of thunderstorm activity over all of Florida almost the entire week long. It will be a rough week, weatherwise! It is even possible a tropical storm could generate off of Cape Canaveral and head offshore, to the NNE. So, no major threat to Tampa, but lots of rain and lightning can be a menace enough!

[Update] Newest model results suggest worst of it will be east of Tampa, so it looks like Tampa is probably sitting pretty.

Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat, Fat - Part 2

Well, that's one way to deal with the superfluous furniture in the house.

I sat down on the coffee table I inherited from my Dad, and broke it in half.

Perhaps I should sit in some of these redundant chairs? If I sit on enough furniture, maybe the place will lose some that 'hoarders live here' ambiance.