Thursday, February 7, 2013

Last Call

Orange you glad No Labels is back?

Lapel pins label problem solvers

Next week when Obama addresses the House of Representatives and the Senate in a joint session, 40 lawmakers from the two parties hope to add some beef: Under their official congressional lapel pins, they’ll wear orange buttons identifying themselves as Problem Solvers and displaying their pledge, “Committed to fix not fight.”

With congressional approval ratings at historic lows, the 23 Democrats and 17 Republicans say they want to move beyond mere symbolism as they tell their peers that they’ve pledged to try to end hyper-partisanship and work across the aisle to solve the country’s most pressing problems.

“We’re meeting on a regular basis, Democrats and Republicans just talking about areas where we think we can work together in a bipartisan way,” said Rep. Ami Bera, a California Democrat who defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Dan Lungren in November.

“The idea is we’ve got to move past being only Democrat or Republican,” Bera said in an interview. “It’s very evident in my freshman class. All of us got elected knowing there was an expectation that we would work together.”

Aww.  Aren't these guys precious?  And let's remember, the top priority of these totally bipartisan sentinels of awesome bipartisanship that is bipartisan is the House GOP Super Austerity Budget so we can get rid of that awful debt crisis that doesn't actually exist.  And yet they're against sequestration, too...because that would cut defense spending, a big no-no.  See, the kind of deficit reduction these guys are looking for has to be made up of all of us taking it in the shorts so the 1% can get more money, and then gift us with life like the overclass they were always meant to be.

In short, the primary constituency of No Labels is totally Villagers like Joe Klein.

For those of us who consider ourselves political moderates, life is a dispiriting slog, a sorry mix of rectitude and ineptitude. We simmer with anticipation each time a new bipartisan initiative or Gang (of Six, of ... anything) is offered--and we are inevitably disappointed. The results are either too pedestrian, in a Solomonic slice-the-baby way, or far too ambitious. Abolish the Electoral College! Grant public funding for election campaigns! Start a third party! In 2012 there was a megafoolish, if well-funded, effort by a group called Americans Elect to raise an independent Cincinnatus to run for President via an Internet draft. It flopped, spectacularly. Oh, there are worthy think tanks with names like the Bipartisan Policy Center and Third Way. And there is the memory of a centrist research group, the Progressive Policy Institute, that provided Bill Clinton with many of his best proposals in 1992. But we moderates generally suffer from too much righteousness, too little populist grit and too many compound sentences.

I am, however, slightly optimistic again. On Jan. 10 I witnessed a public act of humility by 24 members of Congress, equally divided between Republicans and Democrats. The event was sponsored by a centrist group called No Labels. It was revolutionary not only in its humility but also in its agenda. There was no agenda. They simply agreed to start talking to one another.

Oh there's an agenda there.  It completely involves bipartisan agreement to streamline and fix broken Washington and the political process, which I agree with.  They want to really, actually, totally reform the filibuster, which I agree with.  They want the parties to come together to form a large majority to pass major legislation, together, which I agree with.  They want to form a huge voting bloc of power enough to break the deadlock of Washington politics, which I agree with.

And then they want to take those badly needed structural repairs to our political machine in order to immediately ram through a massive austerity package and cause economic suffering of an overwhelming majority of American citizens for the benefit of enriching people with eight or more digits in their personal net worth numbers, which I kinda have a major friggin' problem with.

So yes, you No Labels guys can take your Right Ideas Used For Impressive Amounts Of Evil and go have a seat during the State Of The Union addy.  Thanks.

The Cold Core Remains Of What Began With A Passionate Start

But that can’t happen to us, cause it’s always been a matter of trust.

PPP’s annual poll on TV news finds that there’s only one source more Americans trust than distrust: PBS. 52% of voters say they trust PBS to only 29% who don’t trust it. The other seven outlets we polled on are all distrusted by a plurality of voters.
Just like its actual ratings, Fox News has hit a record low in the four years that we’ve been doing this poll. 41% of voters trust it to 46% who do not. To put those numbers into some perspective the first time we did this poll, in 2010, 49% of voters trusted it to 37% who did not. Fox has maintained most of its credibility with Republicans, dropping just from 74/15 to 70/15 over that period of time. But it’s been losing what standing it had with Democrats (from 30/52 to 22/66) and independents (from 41/44 to 32/56).
We find once again this year that Democrats trust everything except Fox, and Republicans don’t trust anything other than Fox. Democrats put the most faith in PBS (+61 at 72/11), followed by NBC (+45 at 61/16), MSNBC (+39 at 58/19), CBS (+38 at 54/16), CNN (+36 at 57/21), ABC (+35 at 51/16), and Comedy Central (+10 at 38/28). Out of the non-Fox channels Republicans have the most faith in PBS at -21 (27/48),  followed by NBC (-48 at 18/66), CNN (-49 at 17/66), ABC (-56 at 14/70), MSNBC (-56 at 12/68), CBS (-57 at 15/72), and Comedy Central (-58 at 8/66).

I would feel sorry for FOX News, but they brought this upon themselves with a business model designed specifically around building an echo chamber and then complaining about the acoustics to everyone else.  Dick Morris is gone, as is Snowmobile Snooki, but they’re picking up Assclown Assclownson and Professional New England Himbo Scott Brown, proving once again that wingnuts never really get discredited, they just fail along various vectors with a partial positive component.   In other words, if FOX is only bleeding credibility among the GOP at the rate of only one percent a year, they have a very long and lucrative time left wrecking our country.

Call it the Calculus of Derp.

Enjoying The Northern Lights

When it comes to light bulbs in the 21st century, it may be time to look to that world-famous bastion of technological innovation...


A trio of Canadians claimed Wednesday to have invented the world’s most energy-efficient bulb: a 12-watt LED light that shines as bright as a 100-watt incandescent one.

Product developer Gimmy Chu told AFP the NanoLight design consists of a circuit board dotted with LED lights and folded into the shape of a bulb that plugs into a regular light fixture.

“We needed the light to shine in all directions to mimic a traditional incandescent light bulb,” said Chu, who with pals Tom Rodinger and Christian Yan launched a company last year to market the product after working on it for three years.

The idea has raised more than $100,000 on a US crowdfunding website and generated pre-orders for more than 3,000 bulbs in the last month, according to Chu.


The best thing about the NanoLight is the fact it's a Kickstarter project.

The NanoLight is still dealing with an issue common to LED lightbulb replacements: cost. A 100W equivalent NanoLight will set you back a $45 pledge. If you want the super-bright white version that outputs 1800 lumens, it will cost you $100. Depending on the cost of electricity in your area, you may be able to recover the investment over time, especially considering the expected longevity of the LEDs.

Interest in the NanoLight has been pretty intense. With 44 days left to go on the project, it has already nearly quadrupled the original $20,000 funding goal. Kickstarter may well be giving us an early glimpse into the future of household LED lighting.

Indeed, looking at the page this morning, the NanoLight has left that $20,000 goal in the dust and is over 150 grand with a month to go still.   Considering the success of Kickstarter tech projects like the Pebble watch as full-fledged tech start-ups these days, it's nice to see that Thomas Edison's Menlo Park digs lives on here on the net, with a global reach.

And yeah, I just might drop a couple bucks on a light bulb with corners.


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