Sunday, August 30, 2009


I haven't posted any music videos in a while (OK...I haven't posted much of anything in a while), so here's something you might like, and unless you're from the Washington, DC area you've probably never heard of them.

Honor By August played at the Colonial Tavern here in Fredericksburg last weekend and Mrs. Poolbar and I caught the show. It was something like the fifth or sixth time we've seen them there, and they never disappoint. This song is probably my favorite from them.

If they play at a bar near you, don't miss it. You won't regret it and when they hit it big, you can say you saw them "when".

Update: Damn...with these Hi-Def videos, I really need a blog template with a wider column width.

"It ain't [America] no more, OK?"

A friend tipped me to this video from Jim Moran's (D-VA) town hall meeting in Reston, VA on August 25th. In it, police officer Wesley Cheeks Jr. tells a protester that he can't have his anti-Obama poster, and if he continues to display it, he'll be arrested for, er, trespassing or for whatever reason the officer feels like arresting him.

The mask slips completely when the protester reminds him that "this is America", and officer Cheeks replies "It ain't no more, OK?"


Update: I guess I missed a lot while I was in Vegas this week, because Hot Air had this up on Friday. But I think Allahpundit misses the point:
The question: Can a congressman bar signs, or certain types of signs, from an event at which he’s speaking? The answer (and the ambiguity) turns, I assume, on whether the event is “public” or “private.” It’s a public school and Moran is very much a public official, but recall that Claire McCaskill evidently got away with imposing a “no signs” policy at her own town hall where the incident with the Rosa Parks poster happened. That makes me think either there’s some sort of public/private wrinkle to these meetings that we’re missing or that banning signs is valid as a “time, place, or manner” restriction on certain forms of speech.
The cop obviously had no idea on what legal grounds he might be standing when instructing the gentleman to put away his poster. The cop didn't like it and was grasping at any justification for his actions, as Allahpundit himself points out:
But if that’s so, why does the guard here seem to distinguish between signs with images on them and signs that are text-only?
Not only did the cop grope for justification, he couldn't think of anything to arrest him for besides trespassing. It's pretty clear the cop was acting on his own and making shit up as he went along. This has nothing to do with whether or not a congressman can ban signs from public events.

Speaking of Iraq...

Here's a USA Today article from last May about Iraqis who fled Iraq during the war and later members of the US armed forces.
Aldawoodi, who is an Army interpreter, is one of at least eight Iraqis who fled to the United States in the midst of the war, only to have returned home as members of the U.S. armed forces, according to Lt. Col. Les Melnyk, a Pentagon spokesman. Melnyk said the figure likely understates the actual number of Iraqis in the U.S. military because personnel records don't require recruits to list their nationality.
Interesting stuff.

Is Iraq today better than Saddam's Iraq? Hell, yes.

This report (PDF format) on Iraq from the Brookings Institute, published monthly, carries some fascinating facts and insights on the changing face of Iraq since the invasion in early 2003. For example:
  • Under Saddam Hussein, prior to the invasion, there were NO commercial television stations and NO independent newspapers. By 2006, 54 commercial TV stations were operating and 268 independent newspapers and magazines in circulation.
  • In 2003, there were 833,000 telephone subscribers. Today, there are 17.7 million cellular subscribers and 1.3 million landline users.
There's a load of other information of an encouraging nature in the report. Take the time to check it out.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Red Sox watch

Well, the Red Sox got their revenge on the Evil Empire last night after Friday's beating. Over the course of two nights, Boston outscored the Yankees 25-21. Dude.

The only smile I got out of Friday's 20-11 loss was Andy Levy's message on Twitter:
Who missed the extra point for the Yankees?
Boston's 6.5 games off the lead in the AL East which leaves little hope for a division title this year, but on the bright side, they're in the lead in the wild card race.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Climate change freak pining away for natural disasters

Er, don't quit your day job, mkay?

How an economist - even a Nobel Prize winning one - comes to be considered an authority on climate change is beyond me, but apparently The Atlantic believes Thomas Schelling to be just that. But then again, they consider Andrew Sullivan to be an authority on, well, something or another, I guess. Oh, right...Trig Palin's real birth mother.

Anyway, in July The Atlantic ran an interview with Schelling in two parts dedicated to the topic of climate change. Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. The interview is, er, revealing to say the least, in terms of the insights it provides to the fevered mind of the true global warming/climate change believer.

In Part 1, we learn that Schelling isn't happy with the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, not for the reasons that an economist might be unhappy with it, such as the loss of millions of jobs and the huge cost to consumers, but because it caps energy production in the wrong place:
If you were putting a cap on oil at the wellhead -- and a cap on coal at the minehead, a cap on gas at the wellhead, and on oil and gas at the port of importation -- so that it was essentially a cap on the fossil fuels, rather than trying to put a cap on electricity in the middle west versus electricity in the South. Or a cap on various manufacturing industries. Or a cap on refineries, even. That seems to me a not very serious way to tackle the problem where it originates. And my actual feeling is that the best you can hope for with this Waxman-Markey bill is that it'll take a few years to discover that it's a huge nuisance of the problem, and they ought to find a way to simplify it. And the way to simplify it is to put the cap on the fossil fuels, not on different industries.
In Part 2, we find out just how well he fits in with the climate change crowd, both in terms of exaggerating the threat and in expounding on scientific topics outside his area of expertise:
It's a tough sell. And probably you have to find ways to exaggerate the threat. And you can in fact find ways to make the threat serious. I think there's a significant likelihood of a kind of a runaway release of carbon and methane from permafrost, and from huge offshore deposits of methane all around the world. If you begin to get methane leaking on a large scale -- even though methane doesn't stay in the atmosphere very long -- it might warm things up fast enough that it will induce further methane release, which will warm things up more, which will release more. And that will create a huge multiplier effect, and it could become very serious.
And finally, Schelling wishes death and destruction upon the non-believers in fly-over country:
But I tend to be rather pessimistic. I sometimes wish that we could have, over the next five or ten years, a lot of horrid things happening -- you know, like tornadoes in the Midwest and so forth -- that would get people very concerned about climate change. But I don't think that's going to happen.
Yup...that'll lend a lot of credibility to the climate change movement.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who'll get hit hardest by tax increases?

Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress are spending money like drunken sailors, piling up deficits once considered inconceivable. Actually, that's not fair. I've known drunken sailors to exercise much more restraint and prudence. Clearly, Obama's campaign pledge to not raise taxes on those earning less than $250,000 a year is going to have to go the way of pretty much every one of his other campaign pledges...right under the bus. Don't believe me? Maybe you'll believe former Democratic White House staffer Lawrence Haas.

I made this graph to illustrate the distribution of who pays what taxes. On the far right, you've got the top 1% of earners in the country - those making $389,000 a year or more - paying close to 40% of all income taxes collected. Working our way to the left, the top 5% - those making over $154,000 a year are paying close to 70%. A little further left are the top 25% - making $109,000 a year or more - at around 86%. Next we have the top 50% - those making $32,000 or more - at around 97%. That leaves fully 50% of the population making less than $32,000 a year shouldering 3% of the load.

So, guess who's going to get hit hardest? Sure, everyone will see an increase, but there simply aren't enough of the top earners in the country to make up the difference. A big chunk of the additional burden - just by virtue of shear numbers - will have to come from that bottom 50%, those who can least afford to pay more.

Here, piggy-piggy!

My buddy Kris e-mailed me this today. As he says, probably apocryphal, but still a pretty good analog to what's been going on in this country.
A chemistry professor in a large college had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab the Professor noticed one young man (exchange student) who kept rubbing his back, and stretching as if his back hurt.

The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country's government and install a new communist government.

In the midst of his story he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked, 'Do you know how to catch wild pigs?'

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said this was no joke. 'You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in The last side. The pigs, who are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat, you slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd.

Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity.

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening to America. The government keeps pushing us toward socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc.. While we continually lose our freedoms -- just a little at a time.
Just the same, I'd have preferred it if the story were about wild horses.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Who's astroturfing whom?

While the Democrats smear anti-health care reform protesters as GOP and corporate "astroturfers", it's pretty evident who's doing the real astroturfing. The Obama administration is inviting union goons to health care reform conference calls with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.