Archive for February 23rd, 2009

New Approach To Defense Spending?

I hope this is for real:

President Obama late this afternoon nominated Harvard professor Ashton B. Carter, a leading authority on arms control, to take on a surprising new role, according to top administration officials — as the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.

(…)

Unlike most of his predecessors selected to be under secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, Carter has no professional ties to America’s arms makers or manufacturing industry, nor has he spent his career in government procurement. Instead, from his perch at Harvard’s Kennedy School, Carter has been criticizing the Pentagon for buying too many armaments it doesn’t need, decrying what he calls a lack of discipline and “failure to take account of cost growth in weapons systems and defense services.”

A trained scientist with a doctorate in theoretical physics and a degree in Medieval history, Carter’s advocates say the long-time Harvard professor and national security specialist is being chosen because his combination of technical expertise and knowledge of defense strategy will be needed to make what Gates calls “difficult choices” about which weapons programs to invest in and which ones to terminate.

“He is not being brought in to help the defense industry thrive,” said Loren Thompson, president of the Lexington Institute, an Arlington, Va., think tank. “He is being brought in to decide what we need and what we can do without.”

It would be a refreshing change to see something other than a blank-check approach to defense spending.  Now if Obama can get us out of Iraq, we might actually save some real money.

5 comments February 23rd, 2009 at 11:07pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Obama

Larry Kudlow’s Irrational Exuberance

You know, they have pills for that now…

Kudlow last July fantasized about a scenario in which

oil prices will keep on plunging — perhaps all the way to $75 a barrel, which is the profitable break-even point for lifting the extra barrel of oil.

His prediction?

That would drive the Dow to somewhere between 15,000 and 16,000, and it would have a huge tax-cut effect on the economy. And, of course, it could completely change the November election outlook in a highly favorable way for the GOP.

The price of oil today: approximately $39 a barrel. The Dow: 7,114.78.Massive, throbbing fail.

Wait, I know what the problem is: The price of oil went too low!  Yeah, that’s the ticket!

I think Kudlow sees everything as a catalyst for stratospheric stock prices.  It’s like the financial equivalent of “This can only be good for Republicans.”

1 comment February 23rd, 2009 at 09:52pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Republicans,Wankers

Republicinsanity

This just in – Republican noisemakers are nasty, horrible, crazy people:

In terms of speed and efficiency, the right-wing collection of bloggers, AM talkers, pundits, and yes, newspaper cartoonists, may have set a new land speed record for becoming collectively unhinged, as they wail and moan about how the new Democratic president’s turning America into a fascist state, or communist, or socialist, or whatever other bugaboo claim Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham are tossing out to viewers and listeners on a daily basis.

(…)

If we just pause and take one or two steps back from the daily/hourly barrage of hate, it’s obvious that faced with the new Obama presidency, the Republican Noise Machine has already lost all perspective — has gone totally loco — and it’s only February, a mere month into Obama’s first four years in office. Who dares to even imagine where the right-wing “conversation” goes from here?

It’s astounding to watch the avalanche of hate ooze from conservative media quarters. And why? Because Obama passed an economic recovery bill. Good Lord, imagine if he had failed to win the popular vote and then led the country into a pre-emptive war based on faulty intelligence, a war that lost thousands of American lives, and tens of thousands of foreign lives, while milking the U.S. treasury out of a few trillion dollars in the process.

(…)

[B]y openly embracing Limbaugh, leader-less conservatives are purposefully mainstreaming the talkers’ brand of loonyness. And by enthusiastically endorsing Limbaugh and his crowd, Republicans must accept — must take ownership of — the radical hate speech that defines the Noise Machine….

That hate speech is now, unequivocally, the sanctioned voice of the Republican Party. It’s a voice that, after just 30 days of an Obama presidency, has gone completely bonkers. And it’s a voice that’s revealed itself in the form of swastikas, dead monkeys, and bizarre talk of ankle-grabbing.

But liberals hated Bush! That’s the but-they-did-it-too defense being paraded around by right-wingers like Malkin after she was spotted with Swastika Guy. Everybody on the left compared Bush to Hitler, Malkin claimed last week. Really? Liberal protesters waved around Bush-Hitler signs at rallies to protest new administration policy during Bush’s first month in office? Bush hadn’t even finished filling out his Cabinet, and prominent liberals were demonizing the new president as an anti-American fascist?

Please.

(…)

The Republican Noise Machine, which has already turned its hate amplifiers up to 10, doesn’t like to admit it, but over time a strong majority of Americans came to share the liberals’ contempt for Bush, who they dubbed to be an utter failure as a president. And perhaps the worst in the nation’s history. The Obama disdain, though, is being unleashed against a president with extraordinarily high job approval ratings, which highlights how the Noise Machine remains completely out of touch with mainstream America.

As that fact becomes increasingly obvious in the months to come, I fear it’s only going to force feverish conservatives to ratchet up the hate.

Let’s see how that We’re The Spittle-Flecked Party Of Hate branding works out for the Republicans, shall we?  If the American people have any decency left at all, the backlash of disgust and horror will be discredit the GOP and all its mouthpieces with the 70-80% of the country that isn’t crazy conservative dead-enders.  Yes, we liberals loathe Dubya, but it’s not like he didn’t go to extraordinary and unprecedented lengths to earn our hatred.  And, as Boehlert points out, Bush hatred is hardly an irrational or fringe position these days.

But by all means, keep screaming, conservatives.  Everybody loves that crazy guy who barges into the family restaurant screaming obscenities and racial slurs.  You go ahead and be that guy, that’ll totally get your message across.

February 23rd, 2009 at 08:34pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Obama,Politics,Republicans

“You Got Your Church In My State!” “You Got Your State In My Church!”

Oh, this is not good:

In one term, the Supreme Court cut back drastically on reproductive freedom, it issued an absurd decision holding that when the President violates the Establishment Clause, there’s nothing you can do about it, and it held that it is unconstitutional for school boards to racially integrate schools (seriously!).   Since that one awful term, however, the Court has stayed relatively quiet on cultural issues.

Looks like that’s about to change, however, the Court just granted cert in Salazar v. Buono.  For folks who are unfamiliar with the case, take a look at the picture of the cross over on the right there.  That cross sits alone on a rock in the middle of a federal land preserve, which is a fairly textbook violation of the Establishment Clause—at least as the law exists right now.

When Justice O’Connor was still on the Court, she was the all-important fifth vote for the notion that government cannot erect whatever monuments to religion it chooses.  Four of her colleagues had no problem with, say, massive displays of the Ten Commandments in the middle of a state courthouse.

Anyone want guess how Justice Alito’s going to vote, now that he has the chance to destroy almost fifty years of precedent holding that government is not in the business of endorsing a state religion?

Ooo!  Ooo!  Pick me!  Pick me!  From November 2005:

[Althouse’s] sole piece of evidence to “prove” that Alito is more liberal than Scalia is their interpretation of the First Amendment’s protections of religion. Scalia wrote the Employment Division v. Smith decision which ruled that “neutral, generally applicable” laws cannot be considered infringements on religious rights.

Ah, but Alito found loopholes that allowed him to rule in favor of Muslim policemen whose religion obligated them to grow beards, and “a Lakota Indian who claimed he derived spiritual powers from two black bears.” This is all very well and good, but does it really prove that he’s not a conservative extremist, or merely that he defers to religion wherever possible? It’s admirable that he would be so accommodating to non-Christians, but it’s not much of a stretch to believe that he was thinking of precedents for future cases where Christian spiritual practices are being infringed. I must admit, it’s hard for me to imagine any law infringing on Christians ever getting passed anywhere, but why take chances?

Yeah, I think we’re screwed.

February 23rd, 2009 at 07:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Religion,Republicans,Wankers

Monday Media Blogging – Creepy Clown Edition

I have been looking for Das Clown for the last ten years, ever since IFC aired it in between movies, and it finally turned up on YouTube:

“‘Das Clown.’  Hmm.  I do believe that means… ‘The Clown.'”

On the plus side, my heretofore-futile search did lead me to discover Crispin Glover’s “Clowny Clown Clown” video…

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=730164

February 23rd, 2009 at 11:20am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging

Well, That Would Be A First…

Condi has inexplicably landed a huge $2.5 million three-book deal with Crown:

Rice will combine candid narrative and acute analysis to tell the story of her time in the White House and as America’s top diplomat, and her role in protecting American security and shaping foreign policy during the extraordinary period from 2001-2009,” according to a statement issued Sunday by Crown, a division of Random House Inc.

Candid narrative and acute analysis???  HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

You people have no idea who Condi is, do you?

February 23rd, 2009 at 07:09am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Books,Republicans


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