Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Expel. Lieberman. From. The. Caucus. NOW.

"I told Senator Reid that I'm strongly inclined -- I haven't totally decided, but I'm strongly inclined -- to vote to proceed to the health care debate, even though I don't support the bill that he's bringing together because it's important that we start the debate on health care reform because I want to vote for health care reform this year. But I also told him that if the bill remains what it is now, I will not be able to support a cloture motion before final passage. Therefore I will try to stop the passage of the bill."
- Senator Joe Lieberman
Actually, he's saying he will tryto stop a vote on the bill.

Harry Reid should have never let Lieberman back in the Democratic caucus after he spoke at the Republican Convention and campaigned for McCain. It gives Lieberman credibility and a voice in how the Democrats shape their legislative process. He does not deserve either.

It's fine to let independents into your caucus, but not when they have spoken at the opposing party's convention and campaigned against your party's presidential candidate!

Reid's action was a craven attempt to get to 60 votes and guess what? It ain't going to work.

Lieberman's strings are pulled by the Connecticut insurance industry (yes, Connecticut, is a leader in insurance and gun manufacturing), so of course he will try to keep any bill that the industry is against from getting a vote.

So now, expel him from the caucus and spend the next three years on a strategy to get a Democrat elected in Connecticut.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Unpublished Letter to the Editor

To the Editor, New York Times:

Christine Flowers writes (letters, October 2, 2009) that Federally subsidized health insurance which permits abortion would force her to pay for something she considers an immoral act.

Does Ms Flowers presume that anything the government undertakes which many believe to be immoral should be banned?

Ms. Flowers writes, “My wallet, my choice.”

I agree, to the extent that her choice is expressed at the voting booth.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Mininum Pricing for Books


Once upon a time in America, manufacturers could set a minimum price for their products. Most states passed "fair trade" laws making that practice illegal. Many manufacturers responded with Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policies. While they couldn't control what their products were sold for, they could keep prices lower than MAP from being promoted. This became particularly important with the advent of the web. A Supreme Court ruling in 2007 restored to some degree the ability of manufacturers to set actual minimum sales prices.

Even in the days of fair trade, there was a gray market. I remember going with my father in the 1960s to a warehouse in the Bronx to buy a TV at less than fair trade price. It hadn't "fallen off a truck." Instead, a distributor had sold products to an under-the-radar dealer. There was no sign on the building. Word of mouth was their sole sales agent. The internet will make it even more difficult to police minimum pricing for some categories of products.

The problem with books:

It has been the practice of book chains, wholesale clubs and internet stores (most notably Amazon) for some years to heavily discount best-selling books. Books are one of the few products that actually have suggested retail prices printed right on the product, so it's easy to communicate the value proposition.

Although Amazon now realizes less than 50% of its revenue from books, it is still very much associated with books in the consumer's mind. WalMart is, with good reason, very concerned about Amazon and has decided to launch a price war using books. They are now selling a limited number of bestsellers for $8.99 -- more than a 60% discount -- and Amazon has responded by matching that price.

If you're a publisher, you might view this as a good thing. You'll sell a bunch more books. Here's the problem. This heavy discounting will eventually have the effect of resetting the perceived value of a hardcover book. Even if the publishers continue to make profits on these bestsellers, they can't survive on those alone. Anyhow, eventually John Grisham and Stephen King will stop producing new products. The publishers need to develop new voices to become the next bestsellers, as well as having a deep product line today.

This is not a concern to WalMart. They only carry bestsellers, and if books eventually fade away, there will be some other product category to exploit. Amazon does care about books, but has to date responded to competitive challenges by not being undersold no matter what.

Independent bookstores have had a hard time surviving (and hundreds have not) since Barnes & Noble and Borders expanded in the '90s. Amazon and other internet sellers just added to their pain. However, publishers count on independents to discover and hand-sell new authors, some of whom eventually make the big leagues. Already, many have given up making any money on bestsellers -- either they discount them to match the online stores, or they just don't sell many copies. Selling at a 40% discount, an independent store at least breaks even. They can't go much farther without losing money and unlike Amazon and WalMart they don't have other key product categories to make up for loss leaders.

It is in the publishers' interest to begin setting minimum prices, or at least minimum advertised prices, for books, at least for those by current bestselling authors. The unintended consequence of extreme discounting may bite them hard if they don't.

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Fox News - Crazy Like a...You Know

Here is Fox News' response to being dissed by the Obama administration:

Surprisingly, the White House continues to declare war on a news organization instead of focusing on the critical issues that Americans are concerned about like jobs, health care and two wars.
This proves they are in the tank for the opposition -- actually are the opposition -- and know it. If that wasn't the case, they wouldn't respond with an attack, but would instead wonder why the White House was being mean to them.

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Blue Cross, I'm Calling You Out Again

Blue Cross would rather I got the flu and had to go to the doctor or the emergency room than to pay for a flu shot.

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Blue Cross, I'm Calling You Out!

I'm one of those millions who have been laid off and have continued health insurance via COBRA. It's kinda ironic that the unemployed have the opportunity to pay the full price of their insurance...with what? Fortunately for some of us, the stimulus bill included a temporary subsidy. I'm frankly not sure how this helps stimulate the economy, but I sure am grateful for it. When that subsidy runs out in April, I will have to pay $1,100 a month (with what?) to keep my "gold-plated" insurance if I'm not employed with benefits.

So what evidently happens is the day you get laid off, the employer tells the insurance company to cancel your policy. Then you sign up for COBRA and the policy is reinstated. In my case, I did this as soon as the opportunity was presented, and while some doctor bills have been paid by Blue Cross, they have at same time on several occasions now told a provider that our insurance was terminated.

How can they be paying bills (sorry, we've had a bunch recently) with one hand and with the other telling people our insurance was canceled? You'd think with this process happening to millions of people they might have a system. Yes, it's just an annoyance, but it's really one we don't need when we're sick and unemployed.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Polanski is ‘tired and depressed’

London, Oct 13 (ANI): Troubled filmmaker Roman Polanski is ‘tired and depressed’ in jail as he battles extradition to the US, his lawyer has said.

“I found him to be tired and depressed… Roman Polanski, who is 76, seemed very dejected when I visited him. Polanski was in an unsettled state of mind,” the Daily Star quoted him as saying.

Awww. Maybe he'd feel better if someone drugged and raped him. You busy Woody Allen?

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Michael Steele - I'm Calling You Out!

Writes the head of the Republican party:

"The Democrats and their international leftist allies want America made subservient to the agenda of global redistribution and control...And truly patriotic Americans like you and our Republican Party are the only thing standing in their way."
I happen to be a Democrat. You can disagree with my positions on issues and who I vote for, but you have a lot of nerve impugning my loyalty to this country, my patriotism.

You are the poster boy for what's wrong in this country -- not because you're a Republican, not because I disagree with your positions, but because your call to action is based on the assumption your opponents do not want what's best for the United States.

How dare you.

emailed to Chairman@gop.com

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On the Constitution

Seems to me that most of the folks on the right I've seen quoted or on TV that talk about the Constitution haven't actually read it, and those that talk about what the Founders would have thought haven't read a history book, much less watched an historical mini-series on PBS.

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Let's ask Whoopi if it was "rape rape"

I don't need to ever hear another word out of Whoopi Goldberg's trap. Her "fact" that Polanki was initially charged with rape and later pled to a lesser charge does not mean it was not rape. It means the justice system, as it often does, choose to accept a lesser charge rather than go to trial.

She should have a love child by Jeff Sessions.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Vote for Failed Republican Businesswomen!

As much as anyone, I'd like to see more women in high political offices. However, two who are running in California make me queasy, and not just because they are Republicans. The only platform they have is that they were CEOs of major corporations.

Carly Fiorina, running for Senate, was the failed CEO of HP, engineered the near-disastrous acquisition of Compaq and was eventually fired.

Meg Whitman, running for Governor, although she left eBay a at a time of her choosing, presided over a period where eBay went from star to moribund, and acquired Skype, one of the worst business deals (for the buyer) in history -- not only did she pay billions for a company with no business model, there was no synergy with eBay, and she didn't acquire the underlying technology, which had to be licensed back from the sellers.

I don't know if Anne Mulcahy, recently resigned from Xerox, has political ambitions, but she could certainly stand on a platform as being one of the most successful CEOs in recent historyg, male or female.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Monday, August 03, 2009

I think everyone now should have to prove their citizenship

Notwithstanding the fake Kenyan birth certificate, issues by a "republic" before it was a republic, signed by a brand of soap...IT DOESN'T MATTER.

One does not need to be born in the US to be a citizen:

Birth Abroad to One Citizen and One Alien Parent in Wedlock:
A child born abroad to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent acquires U.S. citizenship at birth under Section 301(g) INA provided the citizen parent was physically present in the U.S. for the time period required by the law applicable at the time of the child's birth. (For birth on or after November 14, 1986, a period of five years physical presence, two after the age of fourteen is required. For birth between December 24, 1952 and November 13, 1986, a period of ten years, five after the age of fourteen are required for physical presence in the U.S. to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.
To those who say such a birth makes one not "natural born," there is no agreement on the intention of that phrase, but from Wikipedia:

One possible source of the clause can be traced to a July 25, 1787 letter from John Jay to George Washington, presiding officer of the Convention. Jay wrote:

Permit me to hint, whether it would be wise and seasonable to provide a strong check to the admission of Foreigners into the administration of our national Government; and to declare expressly that the Commander in Chief of the American army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born Citizen.

Another possible source, worded differently, comes from Alexander Hamilton, a delegate to the Convention. On June 18, 1787, Hamilton submitted to the Convention a sketch of a plan of government. Article IX, section 1 of Hamilton's plan provided:

No person shall be eligible to the office of President of the United States unless he be now a Citizen of one of the States, or hereafter be born a Citizen of the United States.
Thus it's reasonable to say that "natural born" refers to someone who is a citizen at birth.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In case you hadn't noticed, we already have single payer government run health care

Or at least these people do:

U.S. servicepeople
Injured veterans
Poor families
Low-income children

(thanks to Political Animal)

As Bill Kristol said on the Daily Show this week, servicepeople deserve the best health care and they have it. Oh, then he tried to backpedal. Oops. I guess government can run a huge program reasonably well.

And that bullcrap about not wanting a government bureaucrat between me and my doctor? I'll take him over the profit-motivated insurance company stooge I have now.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

If she looks like a lame duck and quacks like a lame duck, she's a lame duck

Next time Palin runs for office, I'm hoping some reporter will ask her whether she believes all "lame ducks" should resign 18 months early.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

It was forty years ago today...

Janis even made a BeeGees song sound great...

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Yes. He Said It

It would be easy to dismiss G. Gordon Liddy if the only place he had to say these things were a street corner. Listen to the whole thing, but pay special attention to 33 seconds in:

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

On Sotomayor

I'm among those who have a problem with Sotomayor's statement about making better decisions that a white judge, a statement she has now backed away from. But the real point comes from Hilzoy:

I honestly don't know why so many people focus so much attention on their somewhat overwrought interpretations of one line in a speech and so little attention on ascertaining what kind of judge Sonia Sotomayor has been. Her decisions are not classified documents. They are public, and anyone can read them. Moreover, they plainly provide the best evidence of the kind of judge she will be.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

What did the President know, and when did he know it?

Sound familiar? Can't wait for a repeat of that question in a Senate hearing room!

From today's Face the Nation:

SCHIEFFER: How much did President Bush know specifically about the methods that were being used? We know that you– and you have said– that you approved this…

CHENEY: Right.

SCHIEFFER: … somewhere down the line. Did President Bush know everything you knew?

CHENEY: I certainly, yes, have every reason to believe he knew — he knew a great deal about the program. He basically authorized it. I mean, this was a presidential-level decision. And the decision went to the president. He signed off on it.

Oh man, nothing has pulled back the curtain on the wizard better than this one. What does this mean: "He basically authorized it." ? If anyone doubted Dick was running the show for about seven of the eight years...

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Washingtonpost.com needs pop music re-education

It wasn't the Beach Boys -- it was Ronny & The Daytonas.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Hit the reset button again Hillary!

I can't believe the White House is still referring to "reset" with Russia after Clinton's botched gag(me) gift of a red reset button whose Russian was misspelled.

I still don't get how they could have fucked that up. Do we not have any qualified Russian translators?

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dissembling on Dope

Advice for the Prez: Don't try to be funny. You're not. At least when you're not scripted. The crack about marijuana during his virtual town hall masked what was a serious question about more than whether legalization would be a good economic move.

The truth: he doesn't want to deal with the politics of supporting legalization. This in the same week that Sec. Clinton told truth that the American market for drugs is behind the violence in Mexico. But that's only for one reason: The drugs are illegal.

It's time for the hypocrisy to stop and for some real conservatives to support an end to this government intrusion in our private lives.

Here's press sec Gibbs once again making a joke out of a serious question from Mark Knoller:

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Hebrew Mamita

I've never been into def poetry, but Katie Schwartz turned me on to Vanessa Hidary and I was hooked...

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Pinatas Never Had it This Bad

Hed is someone's blog comment on this:

I would say this was painful to watch, but not as painful as losing half of my net wealth in the past five months.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Best Jon Stewart Segment Ever: The CNBC Take-Down

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Friday, January 30, 2009

"You can't use taxpayer money to pay out $18-billion in bonuses... What planet are these people on?"

Thank you Senator McCaskill. Hey, I'm in sales. I like to make a good living and I like to get incentive compensation based on my results. I'm sure a lot of folks in finance and banking do too.

Let's just say that if those bonuses were earned, they were obviously based on the wrong metrics. I heard that last year had the 6th highest payouts in history. Can't convince me it was the 6th highest profitable year for that industry, so something is fucked up for sure. Perhaps the sales types did what they were told and produced. They should get paid. But the executives who set up those programs should be out on their asses rather than getting overrides and bonuses themselves as their firms drown because of their bad judgment.

These are public companies. Who are the directors? Who are the compensation committees? How do people make such bad judgments and then get millions. I just don't get it.

I love McCaskill's bill to cap executive salaries at taxpayer assisted firms at $400k, same as the President earns. These Wall Street types say they need to big payouts to attract the best talent. And that may have been true when profits were high and there were more jobs than people.

I'd like to see Wall Street and baseball, to name a couple, cap earnings at $400k. Prove to me you won't have talented players still wanting to work.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

George Mitchell's Listening Tour

Senator Mitchell just needs to ask three questions of the Middle East leaders he is visiting:

1. What do you want to happen?

2. What are you doing about it?

3. How's that working for ya?

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Operation: Idiocy

Yes, it was hard to believe that Justice Roberts screwed up the oath of office, but let someone INTELLIGENT read the Constitution and argue that it matters. Yes, it directs the President to take this oath before he does anything.

Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
It does not say that he isn't President until he does or even imply that an errant word delegitimizes his standing. There is no hint of what would happen should he not say those words, given that the 20th Amendment states "The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January."

What if the prior President's term ends and no-one has taken an oath? Do we not have a president? Jesus H, can't we all grow up?
"Well, again, we're wondering here whether or not Barack Obama in fact is the president of the United States," Chris Wallace told Fox News viewers, well over an hour after Obama had taken the oath of office today.

"It's just conceivable that this will end up going to the courts," Wallace speculated.
What a tool. Is he really Mike Wallace's kid?

And now there is a flap because Obama didn't employ a Bible when taking the oath again. Refer to the earlier quote from the Constitution. Does it say there needs to be a Bible? It actually doesn't even say who needs to administer the oath or that the oath needs to be administered. The new President could -- and in this case would have been better off if he had -- just recite it without help from the Chief Justice, his Dad (Calvin Coolidge) or anyone else. Don't need no Bible, don't need to raise your right hand, just need to say it. The rest is ceremony.


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What A Difference A Day Makes!

whitehouse.gov 10:45am EST January 20, 2009

whitehouse.gov 4:45pm EST January 20, 2009

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I Miss You Mom

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Friday, January 02, 2009

What I've been listening to this afternoon

Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto:

Linda Ronstadt:


Julie London:

The Angels:

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Ukelele Madness!


The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:

You Don't Bring Me Flowers:

Smells Like Teen Spirit:

While My Guitar Gently Weeps:

George Harrison was a great fan of the Ukelele.

Hey Ya:

Ukelele Lady:

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