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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The early signs of the shift

It has to be said that there are lots of single year and recession related specifics that made this true for 2009, and in 2010, it's likely to shift back towards the normal pattern, but, historically, I think it's highly symbolic that for the first time the Saudis exported more oil to China than the US last year.

(It should also be noted that the Saudis are pushing this narrative of a "failing" America to press the Obama administration on its energy policies.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

People to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to.....

An informal survey at the Tea Party Convention,
Tea Partyers also seem to have a very distorted view of the direction of federal taxes. They were asked whether they are higher, lower or the same as when Barack Obama was inaugurated last year. More than two-thirds thought that taxes are higher today, and only 4% thought they were lower; the rest said they are the same.

As noted earlier, federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president. And given the economic circumstances, it's hard to imagine that a tax increase would have been enacted last year. In fact, 40% of Obama's stimulus package involved tax cuts. These include the Making Work Pay Credit, which reduces federal taxes for all taxpayers with incomes below $75,000 by between $400 and $800.

According to the JCT, last year's $787 billion stimulus bill, enacted with no Republican support, reduced federal taxes by almost $100 billion in 2009 and another $222 billion this year.

How much does a mailing list of the willingly gullible go for these days?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rather fascinating

A media guy from Slate found a Google product that lets you run your own TV ads on national TV networks (pretty damn cheap.)

So they made a pretty weird ad and ran it during the overnight national replay of Glenn Beck.

It's a three minute video on the process, and it's really pretty interesting.

If you've got the time, take a look.

Political bits

With an election slowly creeping up on us, I've got to get used to doing these catchall posts again. Only two bits today:

(KLAS -Las Vegas) The DOJ has issued grand jury subpoenas to six local businesses to investigate whether Sen. John Ensign broke the law in trying to get his mistresses' husband a job.

And, (Rasmussen) Still out in front, but John McCain is only up 48-41 over crazy right winger JD Hayworth in the primary. (You figure McCain will hit Hayworth's negatives and win this thing, but that seems awfully close for someone who was his party's nominee just 18 months ago.)

Thought for the Day

Four years from now, before all the healthcare elements are phased in, the final legislation will look very different from what is passed now.

There will be tons of amendments changing this legislation tacked onto military and ag funding bills.

The "bones" of the bill will probably remain the same (I can't see a true "public option" being added later,) but almost every dollar figure and many, many of the requirements and mandates on individuals, doctors, and insurance companies will likely be modified through later legislation.

So, don't get too caught up in the details as they're very likely to change in the years ahead. This vote is more about a starting point and whether there will be reform at all.


Joe Biden at the Correspondent's dinner.
"I just got back from five days in the Middle East. It's great to be back to a place where a boom in housing construction is a good thing."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thought for the Day

Dennis Kucinich's vote is "relevant."

Help me

The coverage and time is being consumed by the healthcare back and forth, and despite all the ink being spilled, there's next to nothing being said.

Republicans are against healthcare, and although they say so with a ridiculous and evolving collection of over the top language, they're not really saying anything at all. The only story is in the language they use.

The Democrats, largely, aren't saying anything relevant. The leadership is being careful not to go on the record because anything could change, and the few members speaking are so far outside the circle that what they're saying is valueless in determining where this thing is going.

So, you've got the press covering alot of people saying things that don't really have any impact. It's taking up all the space, and there's not much else getting around it.

Probably the most interesting narrative in the larger story is the way the GOP and the press have turned GOP's minority opposition into the dominant storyline.

Look at the top headlines from the top three narrative driving publications. (NYTimes) States’ Rights Is Rallying Cry of Resistance for Lawmakers, (NYTimes) G.O.P. Leader Finds Weapon in Unity, (WaPo) GOP blasts Democrats' tactic for health-care bill, (Politico) GOP casts Pelosi as health care villain.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Worst Supreme Court Justice

I can't say Clarence Thomas is the worst Supreme Court Justice ever, but he's certainly the worst in recent memory.

And now, adding to his lack of credibility, his wife opens a new group catering almost exclusively to the Tea Party movement.

(PS. Think a large donation to his wife's organization might buy you a little something?)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Also in right wing media....

Kurtz has a long piece describing Glenn Beck's divisiveness among the Fox folks, which includes the interesting bit that he "travels" with a full time bodyguard.

Oh, and there's this. It's all an act.
...with an unabashedly emotional style. Yet even that has caused grousing. Some staffers say they have watched rehearsals, on internal monitors, in which Beck has teared up or paused at the same moments as he later did during the show. Asked about this, Balfe responded sharply: "Glenn reacts the same way to issues whether he knows people are watching or not, and is proud to show his emotions, unlike the cowardly, two-faced critics who hide behind anonymity."

Frightening Tthought for the Day

48 million people get all or part of their news from talk radio....

...and if you look a little deeper, that's bigger than the daily audiences of all the following COMBINED: three network newscasts, the network Sunday shows, the nightly cable news shows, NPR's two news shows and Jon Stewart.

More people get all or part of their news from talk radio than almost all other broadcast sources COMBINED.

Try to sleep with that fact.

Thought for the Day

Frickin' time change.....

I'm late. More later....