Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Last Call

Republicans aren't even trying anymore to pretend like they don't believe it's all Obama's fault.  Mitt Romney's guys have just stopped altogether.

Yes, that's right, 2007-2009 is the "Obama Recovery" because Barack Obama was actually elected President in 2006, it's just nobody knew about that except for Mitt Romney.  No, really.  Time machine, a calculator and three llamas.  All he needed.  I read it on the Internet under "Mitt Romney Thinks Voters Are Complete Idiots."

Gotta love how Obama's getting pinned for losing jobs in 2007 and 2008, right?  You know, while Bush was President?  Team Romney's explanation:

And the Romney folks say that's not what they did at all. They suggest critics take a look at the legend, which explains that the red line represents the recession (the 2007-2009) and the blue line is the 24 months after the recession was over -- in this case, 2009-2011 when Obama was fully in charge. 

Right.  Sure, that makes perfect sense.  And a guy who can't even give a plausible explanation for what caused and WHO caused the recession is supposed to have a brilliant plan to save us if only we elect him.

Gosh, I feel more confident already.

Carol Bartz Is No Yahoo

SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO - News), the premier digital media company, today announced a leadership reorganization under which the Board of Directors has appointed Timothy Morse interim Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately, replacing Carol Bartz, who has been removed by the Board from her role as Chief Executive Officer.
The Board has also named key senior Yahoo! executives to a newly formed Executive Leadership Council tasked with supporting Morse in managing the Company's day-to-day operations until a permanent chief executive is appointed, as well as supporting a comprehensive strategic review that the Board has initiated to position the Company for future growth.

Roy Bostock, Chairman of the Yahoo! Board, said, "The Board sees enormous growth opportunities on which Yahoo! can capitalize, and our primary objective is to leverage the Company's leadership and current business assets and platforms to execute against these opportunities. We have talented teams and tremendous resources behind them and intend to return the Company to a path of robust growth and industry-leading innovation. We are committed to exploring and evaluating possibilities and opportunities that will put Yahoo! on a trajectory for growth and innovation and deliver value to shareholders."

Bostock continued, "On behalf of the entire Board, I want to thank Carol for her service to Yahoo! during a critical time of transition in the Company's history, and against a very challenging macro-economic backdrop. I would also like to express the Board's appreciation to Tim and thank him for accepting this important role. We have great confidence in his abilities and in those of the other executives who have been named to the Executive Leadership Council."

One has to wonder if those possibilities and opportunities revolve around a long-standing issue where Microsoft has tried to acquire Yahoo. Much to the disappointment of the shareholders at large, Yahoo politely declined and continued to chug along. I truly don't think Yahoo is in danger of ever disappearing, but they haven't grown much in the last few years. However, I can't think of any of the original Internet giants who can make that claim. Yahoo has survived many a merger and collapse. This change could be the opening act for a short fall. For what it's worth, I hope not. It was a big deal for me to leave Yahoo for Google. I hope they hang in there, because they provide a lot of services and a choice for many.

The Planet's Worst Econ Pundit Strikes Again

Yep, it's our old friend, Jim "Poor minorities caused the recession" Pethokoukis with the mental masturbation exercise of "Would the economy be better now if there was no stimulus?" (and for Commentary Magazine, which makes it triply repugnant.)

The what-if debate is not merely an intellectual exercise. It will have some effect on American policy going forward. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was Barack Obama’s signature achievement in dealing with the most worrisome set of economic conditions since the Great Depression. It was how Obama, to use a pair of his now seemingly abandoned metaphors, sought to drag the economy out of the ditch while the Republicans were standing around sipping Slurpees.

As Obama said on the first anniversary of signing the bill, “It is largely thanks to the Recovery Act that a second Depression is no longer a possibility.” Economic analysis from the White House credits the Recovery Act with having saved or created between 2.4 million and 3.6 million jobs by the end of March, 2011.

In short: without Obamanomics, it would have been worse. Much worse. You’re welcome, America. Four more years, please.

But Republicans have a competing argument. Instead of saving us from a Greater Depression, the Obama stimulus (together with his health-care plan and financial reforms) was a two-year waste of precious time and money that may actually have impeded economic growth. The evidence for their proposition comes in part from the White House itself; its own economists predicted the stimulus would prevent the unemployment rate from hitting 8 percent. But the rate actually rose as high as 10.1 percent, has settled in above 9 percent now, and even Obama’s own team currently hopes for a rate of, at best, 8.25 percent by the end of 2012—if nothing else goes wrong.

Really, Jim?  That's like saying "Since the hurricane was Category 5 instead of Category 3, let's get rid of the National Weather Service."

Oh wait.  That's their exact argument on the National Weather Service, it turns out.  Hmm.  "They miscalculated, and as such the entire credibility is now shot, and that means my plan would have worked."  So, yes.  Much like Hurricane Irene, they got the path right, but not the power level, therefore they shouldn't have even tried to do anything to save jobs.

He then goes on to say that McCain's plan would have been all tax cuts, and Krugman's plan would have needed FIVE TRILLION DOLLARS!!!1!one! to work, so doing nothing is clearly the best choice.  He cites his work of BECAUSE and wastes about 1200 words on it.  Awesome.

Jesus wept. these people are idiots. Jim Cramer is an idiot, Megan McArdle is lazy, Larry Kudlow is a mendacious twit, but Pethokoukis is just the econ pundit equivalent of Space Herpes, with his terrible ideas on Medicare, on corporate tax cuts, on Glass-Steagall, on the balanced budget amendment, and of course, his famous "N*gga Stole My Economy" theory.

So no, I'm not going to believe his "What If?" crap for a second.

Unleash Joe Biden: Late Labor Day Edition

Here in Cincy, the annual AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic at Coney Island is always a big draw, and following last year's visit by President Obama, this year Vice President Joe Biden showed up to talk about the GOP's assault on Ohio unions.

Thousands of Greater Cincinnati union members say they are energized following a speech by the Vice President on Monday.

Vice President Joe Biden told crowds of people at the annual AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic at Coney Island repealing SB5, now Issue 2, is the fight of their life.

“You are the only folks keeping the barbarians in the gates. You are the only non-governmental power, the only non-governmental power, the only one that has the power and the capacity to stop this onslaught.” 

Issue 2, the referendum to overturn GOP Gov. John Kasich's bill that removes collective bargaining power from the state's unions, means Democrats have a big opportunity to send a major message to anti-labor Republicans in just two months.  Kasich's law removes strikes, collective bargaining, sick pay for teachers, and lets local, county and state government have the final say on labor issues, basically eliminating unions in the state, period.  Some 400,000 Ohio workers are affected by this law, and it's unleashed an anti-GOP backlash among Ohio's working class.

Hey Ohio?  Vote NO on Issue 2 and remember what Kasich tried to do to Ohio workers.

Scooped! Digital Legacy Will Shape Future

The editor-in-chief of Mashable just published an opinion on CNN about our future, and how being recorded and published will leave so much information for future generations.

Of course, that's old news to ZVTS readers.  Back in early July, we covered that subject.  And for the most part, came to the same conclusions.  While there will be plenty of noise and useless detail (your My Little Pony phase will be recorded right alongside your Bad Boys Are Fun season), we will emerge as fully chronicled people.  Our values and our culture will be referenced, the ultimate time capsule.  Dates, pictures, blogs and websites can exist forever.  Google will someday be the next ultimate information source, as the Internet generation ages and is replaced.

History is a mighty thing, and we should remember we are part of it.  Pavarotti, Hurricane Katrina, Barack Obama, John Williams, The Godfather, To Kill A Mockingbird, Stephen King, Michael Jackson, Star Wars, Princess Di... all of those live with us today.  Thanks to the Internet and relatively cheap storage, they will exist in perfect detail for people hundreds of years from now.  The information we have collected, the scientific breakthroughs that come out, they will never be erased.  We will never have to start our learning over.  I still say that will be one of the ultimate marvels of our generation.  We just said it way before Adam Ostrow, so he is officially scooped.

Digging It

Archaeologists in Austria say they have discovered a large, well-preserved school for Roman gladiators.

The remains of the school, at a site east of the modern capital, Vienna, were found using radar imagery.

The school was part of a Roman city which was an important military and trade outpost 17 centuries ago.

Though excavations have yet to begin, the radar images show thick walls surrounding the compound which contained 40 small cells for fighters.

There is also a training area and a large bathing area in the Carnuntum ruins.

This is an enormous find, and another chance to recreate how gladiators lived. Seventeen centuries seems like a long time, but it is just a blip for those who can reach out and touch the walls, walk the floors, and know what it is like to stand in the training field of a gladiator. There is a lot of work to be done, but the emphasis is on the quality of the preservation. We could learn a lot.

I feel a sudden craving to go watch History Channel.

We Don't Need No Education...

We just need her thought control.

Painting herself as a "constitutional conservative" Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann told Sen. Jim DeMint's forum Monday that if elected president she would look to get rid of the Department of Education, among other things.

"Because the Constitution does not specifically enumerate nor does it give to the federal government the role and duty to superintend over education that historically has been held by the parents and by local communities and by state governments," she said, responding to a question by DeMint, a popular figure among the tea party movement.

Another item on the chopping block: The Affordable Care Act.

People "see that the current government is acting outside the bounds of the constitution. Probably the most obvious would be this, Obamacare and the individual mandate that is unconstitutional and is currently contained in Obamacare," she said.

Throughout the question and answer, Bachmann highlighted her understanding of the Constitution and the need to return to a limited federal government.

"And when I'm working with the Congress of the United States, my guiding principle will be that the government works best when it acts within the limitations of the Constitution," she said. "The current president of the United States has failed to demonstrate an understanding."

For her next trick, after getting rid of corporate taxes and the federal government, Michele Bachmann will just get rid of America, period.  The resulting city-states will squabble among themselves for resources, but wars will mostly be prevented by regularly held Olympic contests.

Preferably ones near large pits you can kick Persian diplomats into.

I had no idea Bachmann was running on the Hunger Games ticket.

They Blinded Themselves With Science

Over in the Village Voice this weekend the great Roy Edroso takes on the right-wing blogosphere's lame defense of "anti-science" Republicans, and pulls a grand total of zero punches, especially on their defense of Rick Perry.

"In no sense that the ordinary person would understand the term is Rick Perry 'anti-science,'" asserted National Review's Rich Lowry. "He hasn't criticized the scientific method, or sent the Texas Rangers to chase out from the state anyone in a white lab coat."

In fact, said Lowry, "Perry's website touts his Emerging Technology Fund as an effort to bring 'the best scientists and researchers to Texas.'" As if that weren't convincing enough, he also pointed out that Perry's home state "has a booming health-care sector," which proves Perry's devotion to science much as Texas' record drought might prove his devotion to dehydration.

Lowry admitted Perry has a "somewhat doubtful take on evolution," but explained that it "has more to do with a general impulse to preserve a role for God in creation than a careful evaluation of the work of, say, Stephen Jay Gould." Also, lots of Americans don't think man came from no monkey, neither. So Perry has great motives for his anti-evolution stand: God, and possible election to the Presidency.

By contrast, said Lowry, liberals only believe in evolution because they hate God. "Science is often just an adjunct to the Left's faith commitments," he wrote. "A Richard Dawkins takes evolutionary science beyond its competence and argues that it dictates atheism... They are believers wrapping themselves in the rhetoric of science while lacking all the care and dispassionate reasoning we associate with the practice of it." Scientists, huh? Rich Lowry will tell them what science is!

Ridiculous as this is, Lowry's colleague Jonah Goldberg managed, as is his wont, to make it worse.

"You only struck a glancing blow at my biggest peeve about the whole anti-science thing," Goldberg told Lowry: "Why does the Left get to pick which issues are the benchmarks for 'science'?"

What? one is tempted to ask, but Goldberg went on: "Why can't the measure of being pro-science be the question of heritability of intelligence? Or the existence of fetal pain?"

Because the measure of pro-science has to do with widely accepted scientific principles, not "Whatever we want science to mean so we can attack President Obama."   Other countries laugh at us when in 2011 we have people running for the presidency that openly question evolution and climate change despite the overwhelming evidence that it exists, and the fact that is is widely accepted among scientists internationally, and in the case of evolution, has been for centuries.

Just because you don't want to believe it doesn't change the facts and evidence.  It doesn't make being challenged on your stance against the facts "persecution".  It means if you're a scientist, you should be able to defend your position in a scientific manner.

And when scientists do this and present reams of evidence supporting evolution and climate change, that evidence is ignored.  Instead, we get that anti-evolutionists and climate deniers are the "true" scientists because they believe the evidence supports their theories.  I could say the moon is made of delicious cheese too, and I could call anyone who challenged me a persecuting monster, but it doesn't mean the moon is made out of delicious cheese.

At some point, you actually have to be right on science, and ignoring the facts means you lose the fight automatically.  Dig?

Oh and yes, Edroso takes on all that plus "black people are intellectually inferior!"  It's a good read.

Getting Serious On Syria, Part 2

Meanwhile in Syria, President Bashar Al-Assad's bloody crackdowns continue.

Syrian security forces have killed at least 20 protesters since the European Union expanded its sanctions in response to President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on dissent.

At least two people died today in the central town of Talkalakh, in the Homs governorate, while several people were wounded in the northern province of Idlib, Mahmoud Merhi, head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights, said by phone from Damascus. Eighteen people were killed yesterday in Homs, Idlib and the Hama governorate, he said.

Nine people, including an army officer and five soldiers, were killed and 17 injured when a “terrorist group” ambushed a military bus in the central area of the country, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency said yesterday. Security forces killed three people after pursuing the attackers, the news service said, citing an unidentified military official. 

The EU has stepped up sanctions over the weekend, but that's only made the response from Al-Assad that much worse.  Not sure how long this will keep up in Syria, but something's going to give and shortly.  Of the big five UN Security Council nations, Russia is the one most in Syria's corner, but I can't imagine that will keep up for much longer either given the crackdowns being stepped up in response to sanctions.

We'll see where this goes, but Al-Assad can't have much longer.


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