Saturday, February 28, 2009

Belated birthday wishes

Checking out, I saw that Thursday was the anniversary of Johnny Cash's birth. Here's something good from the man in black.

Interesting stat

For all the grief Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal got for his speech Tuesday, remember he's only 37. He could run for president in 2040 and still be younger than John McCain was last election.

All-star lineup

The U.K. Daily Telegraph lists the top 10 anti-Obama conservatives. I'm glad I'm playing on their team.
h/t Don Surber

What's historic vs. what's junk

Friday in Bluefield, WV, the front of an old downtown hotel collapsed. It was over 90 years old, but little used over the past 20 years. People were trying to save it since it was once part of the downtown district and held lots of good memories of busier days.
How many old buildings do we need to remember those days? Should you just focus on a few buildings of most import and allow the others to be torn down?
Driving through West Virginia, you can see lots of buildings that have fallen into disrepair since the last coal boom of the late 1970s. Is it in the greater good to leave them standing, or is it better to tear them down and leave a vacant lot behind? If the owners stuck with buildings that are nearly worthless, what should happen?
With money tight in the near future, nostalgia probably isn't the best way to go in making these decisions. Fiscal reality should focus our priorities, and government needs to listen to those priorities.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Latest from Majestic Oakewood

Iowahawk is on the case about the housing bailout and tea party protests. Those protests aren't his cup of tea.

Kudlow lowdown

Fresh off news Larry Kudlow is considering a bid for the U.S. Senate seat in Connecticut, he lets President Obama have it with both barrels on his economic policy.
Study after study over the past several decades has shown how countries that spend more produce less, while nations that tax less produce more. Obama is doing it wrong on both counts.

Iraq deadline

So President Obama plans to end military operations in Iraq in August, 2010. If he can get the number of troops down to 50,000 by then (without an explosion of violence), then he should thank George W. Bush for his steadfast determination and going with the Surge in 2007.
If things get worse in Iraq, this decision will look pretty bad. He could have done pretty much the same thing without setting a deadline, but the announcement will become a marker if Iraq takes a turn for the worse.
My bet is on Bush's decisions being right, enabling Obama to do what he wanted to do in 2006 but with much better results for the Iraqi people.

Where there's a will...

George Will defends his column on global warming hysteria today. He's definitely not backing down.
As for the anonymous scientists' unspecified claims about the column's supposedly myriad inaccuracies: The column contained many factual assertions but only one has been challenged. The challenge is mistaken.

President Panic

Dick Morris looks at how President Obama is throwing gasoline on the financial situation, increasing panic instead of trying to calm things down. He tries to figure out the motivation.
Why does Obama preach gloom and doom? Because he is so anxious to cram through every last spending bill, tax increase on the so-called rich, new government regulation, and expansion of healthcare entitlement that he must preserve the atmosphere of crisis as a political necessity. Only by keeping us in a state of panic can he induce us to vote for trillion-dollar deficits and spending packages that send our national debt soaring.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

We need a tougher drillbit

Via Instapundit, a press release from the Institute for Energy Research that exploration for oil shale in areas of the Rockies has been withdrawn by the Interior Department. Nope, can't research and try to develop this energy source. We need a stronger drillbit to drill through the heads of some of these Democratic bureaucrats.

Interesting take

American Spectator's website highlights a side of the Harvey Milk story that seems to have slipped from memory - that Ronald Reagan also opposed the November 1978 initiative that would have allowed teachers to be fired if they were gay or lesbian. You don't hear much about Reagan assisting the gay movement at any time in his life.

This week's Idol predicts Allison and Adam to advance in tonight's results show. Jesse and Matt G. top the group going for the final spot.

With friends like these...

The Hill reports that top Democrats are defending earmarks despite President Obama's continuing opposition to them.
“We cannot let spending be done by a bunch of nameless, faceless bureaucrats,” Senator Harry Reid said Wednesday.
Hey, something I agree with Reid on.
At this rate, they won't have to worry about their earmarks in 2011 when they're back in the minority.

Enough straw to feed thousand head of cattle

Karl Rove's weekly column looks at President Obama's use of "straw men" in his arguments for his policies.
Continually characterizing those who disagree with you in a fundamentally dishonest way can be the sign of a person who lacks confidence in the merits of his ideas.
For those who believed Rove to be an evil genius in the Bush administration, his words should have more merit.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How to leave Iraq quickly

President Obama has to write on a chalkboard 100 times
"George W. Bush was right on the surge"

It's only because of George W. Bush's decision against the conventional wisdom two years ago that there's a chance we can leave Iraq both safely and quickly. He may not want to acknowledge it, but it's the truth.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bright blue scrotum - a song parody

A song parody, with apologies to Toby Keith.

Update: Linked by Don Surber

See that bright blue scrotum
Over there on You Tube
You’ll want to watch it man
It’s a real put-you-downer
It tells you what I think of
That anchor guy: He’s bad.

No, no, no, no, don’t bring it back up
‘cause tonight I don’t need it
Fox News heard about my video last night
An’ I heard they’re not happy
Besides, you don’t have to show it to the boys
For them to think that he’s bad

There used to be a time I had all the fun I wanted
All the jokes that I’d ever need
I came back to find, just like that, my job has vanished
An’ the only thing they left behind for me:

Was this bright blue scrotum
Still playing on You Tube
Yeah, don’t laugh, I can’t
I’ve been fired
Sometimes I have to watch the sucker twice
Just to remember that I’m long gone

You know, my employer said
“Tell me, what were you thinkin’”
When you dubbed those words
Into that Fox anchor’s mouth?
You know, I look at ‘em all
And they all say to me “Bright blue scrotum”

There used to be a time I had all the fun I wanted
All the jokes that I’d ever need
I came back to find, just like that, my job has vanished
An’ the only thing that’s left to do for me:

Is stand high on this cliff,
Overlooking the sea.
With my bright blue scrotum tape
That lives in infamy
An’ I’m gonna wait here a few more minutes
An' if time don't turn back for me:
You guessed it: I’m gone.

Crash landing.
Bye bye, baby.

Why 2008?

In all the talk about our current economic troubles, the questions occurs to me - why did things change in 2008? It's easy to just blame George W. Bush and his policies, but what else happened last year?
In 2008, the first of the baby-boomers could retire at age 62. Could that have had something to do with sending the economy down? Instead of paying taxes and putting money into Social Security, a large segment of our population began taking money from the government.
Instead of a large segment looking for investment opportunities to boost their retirement income, this group began looking to sell. And the group of buyers was smaller than it had been before.
We need to examine the looming retirement tsunami as a cause to our troubles, because it could sweep away any hopes of recovery for years to come.

Wisdom from Dilbert

The stimulus bill in perspective. We're all Asok the intern now.

Join the club

Five weeks into the Obama administration, groups are asking Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate Bush and Cheney. You can even add your group to those already on this list.
These people have been unhappy with Bush for eight years. Guess they can't let go.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A question

In the classic story of the "Emperor has no clothes," -
was the kid who pointed that out being constructive or destructive?

I'm getting whiplash

Last week, President Obama signed the record $787 billion stimulus package.
Today, he's talking about reducing the deficit by half in four years.
It's almost like today's event is what was planned during the campaign. No matter how events change, he's going to follow the plan. Even if it's opposite of what just happened.

Doom and gloom

A check of today's headlines on

The carbon market has collapsed
America's plumber shortage
Obama - feeling the chill
Solar prices drop, deeper discounts expected
Plus, hard times for cellulosic ethanol makers
Some reflections in the Times of Hysteria
Democrats resisting Obama on Social Security

It's like he's been listening to Glenn Beck

Trouble on the horizon

Pro sports looks to be the next bubble ready to burst. The NBA's bargaining agreement expires in 2011, and the New York Times looked at the looming trouble Sunday.
The NFL's deal also ends in 2010, which means a strike or lockout for the 2011 season. If the economy doesn't improve by then, either both sides will have to adjust to the new reality or the games will go silent.
The Arena Football League is on hiatus this season. It could be the first of many troubled sports leagues.

The Oscars were last night?

Couldn't hear the acceptance speeches over the roar of "Boogity, boogity, boogity."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Look what Lileks found

James Lileks of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (more famously, the Bleat at finds the wildest stuff. Here's a Pizza Hut commercial from 1965.

Look at DTV runs an item about the troubled DTV transition. It thinks the biggest trouble is the voucher program, which left millions waiting for their $40 coupon as the original Feb. 17 deadline loomed.
As I remember, the vouchers were not part of the plan when the original DTV law came into being in 2005. They were an add-on to help those Congress thought couldn't afford either new digital TVs or the converter boxes.
People knew about the transition, thanks to endless reminders whenever you watched TV. The FCC only got 25,000 calls to its hotline on Feb. 18, just six calls per additional person hired to man the call center.
People pay their bills and people would have handled the DTV transition fine. Trying to help a few cost many plenty.

Treacher rocks

Jim Treacher updates the Schoolhouse Rock "I'm just a Bill" for a new generation.

h/t Instapundit

Blame Albemarle

In the current controversy over increased real estate assessments in Augusta County, you must look east - blame Albemarle County.
Look around exit 94 in Waynesboro. There's a Home Depot, because Albemarle County rejected one on 29 north. There's a new Wal-Mart and a slew of businesses around that. We already have a Wal-Mart just off I-81 in Staunton, but this is closer to the people of Western Albemarle.
All these businesses built in 2003 to 2007 raised the base for land values in the rest of the county. Even those areas far from the interstate and access to Charlottesville and Albemarle.
We have our growth areas in Fishersville, due in part to Charlottesville and Albemarle filling up their growth areas. Lots of people travel over Afton Mountain to Charlottesville to work, and people moving here to find cheaper housing makes land more expensive.
Overall, I don't think the assessments are that far off base. For mid-2007. Times changed faster than anybody expected.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jump start your weekend

Call your accountant

From the comments in the Wall Street Journal.

Now that those of us who have been making steady, on-time payments on our mortgages for years will be paying off others’ mortgages through our taxes, can we claim a tax-deduction for our neighbors’ mortgage interest too?
— Edward G. Stafford, responding to “Dukes of Moral Hazard.”
h/t Instapundit.

We know what SWAC girl will be reading

I just got an email from the Waynesboro News Virginian. Sunday they will be starting an eight-part look at Augusta County's reassessment, district by district.

Rush on the Fairness Doctine

He's promoted it on his show, and today the Wall Street Journal runs Rush Limbaugh's letter to President Obama about the Fairness Doctrine.

"Pleasantly surprised"

From Bill Archer of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, the DTV transition has gone well in the mountains of far Southwest Virginia.
“We received 83 calls on Tuesday, and the number of calls has fallen off since then,” said Frank Brady, general manager of WVVA. “Most of our viewers seem to be prepared. Really, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the transition.”
Thanks for worrying, Congress, but we have this under control.

Obama's Maginot Line

Historians well remember France's Maginot Line. A line of defenses built prior to World War II, the Line was built to slow a direct attack by Germany. But the Germans used new technologies of blitzkreig and aerial bombing to get around the line and swiftly defeat France.
Is the stimulus bill a Maginot Line? We look at the pork products and see ways they are trying to buy and secure votes for Democrats in the future. But I think the economic environment has greatly changed. When they take money for purposes of giving themselves loyal voters, they create a class who sees their money and future being taken.
Republicans are riled up. And there's so many new technologies that they all can't be contained. Try to bring on the Fairness Doctrine. You can't contain all the blogs, internet pages and community organizing that has happened already. The people won't go back in their shell.
Obama adapted to new technology in the campaign. It's time for his administration to adapt to the new world out here.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Going downtown

Today's news locally is the closing of the Waynesboro gallery of the Virginia Artisan Center. It's obviously a nice thing to have in your town, but I'm not a big downtown guy nowadays. Downtown will be at least the third thing to come to mind about Waynesboro, after good place to stop on the Appalachian Trail and big box mecca for Western Albemarle residents.
Making your downtown a tourist stop is a trend that has spread widely across the country. But how many spruced up downtowns are too many? I lived in Baltimore when HarborPlace opened. It's a destination with plenty to do.
I lived in Georgetown, S.C. when it started its downtown revitalization. It has 250 years of history and open water views, so it has done well. I lived in downtown Bluefield, WV, but I don't know of many people who find it a destination. That's probably the same fate as downtown Waynesboro.
I'm glad to live close to a city with plenty of shopping choices. Unfortunately it's a few miles west of downtown. But it's a destination in its own right.

Fleeing choice

Mickey Kaus of Slate's Kausfiles likes to keep an eye on the Employee Free Choice Act. And he's found reporting that conservative Blue Dog Democrats would like to make no choice on that bill this year.
Sorry unions. Did you remember to get a money-back guarantee for your campaign contributions?

Programming note

Next week, American Idol will not be seen on Tuesday due to President Obama's State of the Union speech. It's Wednesday singing and Thursday results next week.
Maybe Vice President Biden can dress like Simon Cowell.

Doubling down

In the continuing battle about bailing out our automakers, columnist Paul Ingrassia beats up on both sides. But I found this line interesting.
The union, though, shouldn't bear the entire blame for Detroit's disaster. It wasn't the UAW that pushed GM into the home-mortgage market where it has incurred billions in losses over the last couple of years.

Why would GM enter the home-mortgage business? They needed more money for their pension obligations than their tradition business plan would provide.
Reminds me of a bit player in the "24" movie in November. He lost money in the stock market, and looking to make money back, agreed to help gun traders and money launderers. He would get extra cash if he asked no questions. He did ask questions and got a bullet in the head. He had to double-down on his bad bet and made a worse, fatal bet.

How does it add up

With the passage of the $787 billion stimulus bill, now state and local governments are looking for their share. Wanna bet their requests add up to more than $787 billion?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spotlight watch

Politico has an interesting story that goes in the file Hope. Change. Invisibility.
Several executive orders went to the Federal Register without going to the White House press office or website. Oops.
If a law isn't announced, does it have any force?

Busy signals

When American Idol season starts, I like checking which tries to figure out the winners and losers by tracking busy signals during the voting call-in period.
Tonight, they predict Danny Gokey will be the top male. Alexis Grace leads among the women, but it's too close to call. Tatiana, the favorite of, is third.

Pension news

Instapundit will often highlight, which posts a roundup of government pension troubles from around the country. Today's stories come from California, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
A poll of Rhode Island voters show they would like state employees to work 40 hours instead of 35 and change their defined-benefit retirement plan to a 401K. How's that going to go over?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

St. Peter's file drawer

For some reason, atheists have decided bus advertisements are a good way to get their message out.
Monday in Italy, their bus didn't get far.
I think a copy of this kind of story goes to a special file drawer at the Pearly Gates. When you arrive, they pull out the article. Not a good feeling.

Required reading

NRO's Media Blog highlighted a blog tracking the parent company of USA Today and Staunton's own News Leader.
CNN Money had a story about the blog, but no link. I had to Google for find the blog. Hope our local reporters can more easily find this important link.

Site to bookmark

The Obama administration is going live with its website. Won't be long until you can find all the pork and Democratic bribery.

Also in Denver

A demonstration against the signing of the stimulus bill will be held today at 2 p.m. People hoping for change.
h/t Instapundit

Monday, February 16, 2009

Next in Memphis

The blogosphere is up in arms since the Memphis Commercial Appeal posted a database listing people with concealed gun permits.
Next will be a database of people who are on vacation. And people who don't lock their back doors. Same kind of community service.

Interesting read

Jeff Jacoby's Sunday column has an interesting look at the years after the Supreme Court allowed Jim Crow laws to stand. In those days, who wants segregation now and segregation forever? The government, not the people.
He looks at the example of transit companies across the south in the first years of the 20th century. Something to think about.

This scientist is brought to you by Chic-fil-A

NRO's Corner highlights the latest "Change your ways to save the planet" study.

If people were to simply switch from beef to chicken, (global greenhouse gas) emissions would be cut by 70 percent.

Could be a future Chic-fil-A commercial.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


The Obama administration has its projects are shovel-ready. I don't know what they're shoveling, but I don't think it's dirt.

Chill out

This morning, columnist George Will takes on the global warming scaremongers. One of our fellow bloggers doesn't think Will has authority in comparision to the scientists. Because he is a baseball fan.
Hey, Will is a Cubs. He knows losers and unfulfilled expectations when he sees them.

Binge and purge

After passing the stimulus bill, the Obama administration may turn its' attention to the deficit.
We are know how well yo-yo dieting works in real life.

High School Musical economy

I know it's a shameless plug (HSM3 is out Tuesday), but the kids watch Disney Channel. And the songs get into your head.
"We're all in this together" describes the world economy perfectly. We're in debt, but China has to buy our new debt. Why? If we can't spend, we can't buy their stuff. And no one else takes our place.
"Now or Never" and "I Want it All" from the latest movie surely sound like themes the Congressional Democrats were thinking when putting the bill together.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Newspaper news

One of bloggers' recent blogs of note was They are trying to exchange ideas to keep newspapers vital and vibrant in the coming years.
So, do newspapers have a future? Yes. Unfortunately, 100 years ago if you asked if there was a future for people who clean horse poop off the streets, the answer would have been yes also. The future has fewer opportunities for newspaper reporters, likely less glamourous than the ones they've become used to.
In sports, it means goodbye traveling with the pro teams across the country and hello to more high school and youth coverage.

Story for every newscast on Friday

Whenever there's a plane crash (unfortunately very rarely now), the local news teams go get the local angle.

Kristol clear

Bill Kristol give a perfect example of how imperfect the stimulus bill is this -
The stimulus bill the Democrats just rammed through Congress is $8 billion for high-speed rail. What makes this appropriation special is that there was no money for high-speed rail in the original House legislation. The Senate bill had $2 billion. The legislation coming out of conference "compromised" on $8 billion.

I'll take a similar offer from the county. Say my real estate assessment tax bill should be $1000. After a Congressional conference, it will be $3.

Karl Rove and DTV

Early riser From on High highlights the governments struggles in the DTV transition. Aside from the political bickering (like no one could see that coming), you have two agencies involved. Which meant one could blame the other when things weren't going right.
Which reminds me of Karl Rove's column a few weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal. With all the cabinet members, special area czars and extra advisors running around the Obama White House, are they going to work together or just blame each other for the problem when things go wrong.
It's government agencies. There's only one logical answer. Fight, fight, fight.

Friday, February 13, 2009

New catch phrase

Mark Steyn and his colleague John Gross has the term "Obamateur Hour" and Steyn looks at the pratfalls of the new president this week.

No way to make friends

If you really want the press to be skeptical of you, stiff them. Hold off-the-record talks, just like Obama campaign manager David Plouffe did Thursday. Keeping the press out of the National Press Club is not change I can believe in.

While waiting for baseball to start...

...the Baseball Crank takes a whack at the stimulus bill with a great closing quote -
Obama and the Democrats, by ramming the 'stimulus' bill through on a party-line basis and bulldozing Republican opposition, have taken ownership of old-time Big Government liberalism; they have surrendered to Republicans the very issues that divided the GOP and attracted moderate swing voters to the Democratic banner; they have energized and galvanized their opponents; they have discarded the pretense of bipartisanship; and they have, in the end, lashed themselves to the mast of policies that are proven not to work. The only thing the stimulus bill will stimulate is conservatism.
Grand slam.
h/t Instapundit


Reading is Fundamental.
For kids, not for Congressmen and Senators.

Choose your sides

Who do you think know more about what's in the stimulus bill being voted on today?
The lawmakers who have to vote on it, or the bloggers collected here on
I'd take the bloggers and wouldn't have to think twice.

Boogity, boogity, boogity

Are you excited about the Daytona 500 Sunday? Don't miss "The Adventures of Digger and Friends" during the prerace show.
Ought to be interesting.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dilbert has the answer

Going through the archives, I found the perfect slogan for the stimulus bill.
"Measure once, cut twice." Click on the strip to see it in all its' glory.

Pick me, pick me

So President Obama's second choice for Commerce Secretary has withdrawn from consideration. Who can he pick now?
I'll volunteer. I can work from Fishersville and call myself the Secretary of E-Commerce. I'm a Republican, so it makes Obama look good. My birthday is the same as his birthday.
When this stimulus bill passes, there won't be much commerce going on. I can handle that.

Bad timing

Major league baseball has launched its own cable channel. Looking at tomorrow's schedule, they planned to air the 2004 Home Run Derby that Miguel Tejada won. The same Tejada who pled guilty to lying to Congress this week.
They might be scrambling to take that out of the schedule.

Stimulus debate

It has too many numbers. I'm bored. I'll pay (attention) later.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tell us your next of kin and email list

The Wall Street Journal highlights another unusual problem of today's economy - in Detroit you could die and be buried between press runs of the city's daily papers.
Next month, the two Detroit papers will only deliver newspapers on Thursday, Friday and Sunday. So if you die late Saturday and get buried on Wednesday, your friends might not read about it in time to pay their last respects.
So if you're not feeling well, prepare the list for the final email blast.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Power of Congress

Last week, Congress voted to postpone the end of analog broadcast until June. For the past year, TV stations have been broadcasting numerous reminders that the deadline was going to be Feb. 17.
Don Surber points out that Charleston, WV stations are also ending analog broadcasting on the original deadline.
So much for listening to the wisdom of our Senators, Representatives and the Obama administration.
I wonder how many stations will be broadcasting both analog and digital on Feb. 18? Won't need many hands to count them.


Sarah Palin waved the starters flag at the Iron Dog snow machine race this weekend.
h/t Don Surber

Watchdog watch

Glenn Reynolds at has mentioned Sen. Chris Dodd (corrupt-Conn.) for 17 of the 21 days since the Inauguration.
He often highlights the Dodd clock, which chronicles how long it's been since Dodd said he would release his mortgage records. It's at 200 days and counting.

Enjoy the last dance

Many Republicans are worried about the stimulus bill, that it adds pork to buy votes for the Democratic party for years to come.
But what if it's the final wheezing gasp of the welfare state. After this burst of spending, will their be any money left to spend on future pork? Probably not.
It's the last chance. The beer goggles are going to come off and we'll see how ugly this bill is. And no repeats.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Be a star

The continuing Obama campaign held their Economic Recovery House Parties this weekend. If you were too busy or too normal to attend, they have posted a link to Gov. Kaine's remarks you could have heard at the party.
You can even share your own economic trouble story. Like, I live in Augusta County and my property assessment is much higher than I could sell for now. If I could find the interested buyer. I wish you could help lower my taxes.

How to stop the Fairness Doctrine

Janet Reno mornings
Think about it.
Instead of Bill Bennett. Swapping a Republican former Cabinet secretary for a Democratic former Cabinet secretary will help provide balance, right?
Bill Bennett does provide balance. No other talk radio host encourages long-haul truckers to call and toot their rigs' horn.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

EFCA reminder

The Democrats are supposed to be ready to push the Employee Free Choice Act. So, I visited and found this story - Union to blame for Alex Rodriguez scandal.
A-Rod trusted his union. The union didn't want to give up bargaining power. They kept a list of players who tested positive for steroids, trying to find enough false positives to fend off steroid testing. Didn't work.
SI says:
That steroid survey list from 2003 was supposed to be anonymous, nameless and faceless. And the list of 104 player failures was supposed to be destroyed immediately after it was tallied up. That was the plan.
Remember this when the unions come calling. They don't always make the right decisions.

One more day

Rush Limbaugh is scheduled to be on vacation again Monday.
He'll be back Tuesday.
He did more damage to the Democratic stimulus plans while on vacation than most people could do working 60-70 hours a week.

Crickets in the grass(roots)

McClatchy Newspapers reports a less than rousing response to this weekend's Economic Recovery House meetings. Maybe if they tried my party games.
The answer can be obvious. It's easier to get angry people organized (I'm looking for a broom closet to hold a Citizens Happy with their Reassessment meeting). Another lesson for the new Obama administration to learn.

Remembering why Obama won

"I won" is the new mantra of the Obama presidency. Like the letter "O", there's a big hole in the argument. As Rich Lowry says
No president can adhere to every jot and tittle from his campaign, but the "I won" argument only works if the campaign program matches the governing program.
Here's various reasons Obama won in November:
1. He wasn't George W. Bush
2. He wasn't George W. Bush
3. He represented hope and change
4. Electing him president would be historic.
Don't see a $817 billion stiumulus bill filled with old Democratic wish lists among the top reasons.

MASN around

Baseball season is just around the corner, and the Orioles' baseball network is gearing up. Saturday I went to Baltimore to audition for a commercial to promote the coming season. Hopefully I'll picked by MASN's version of Paula, Randy and Simon.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sharpening the knives

President Obama has scheduled his first press conference for Monday at 8 p.m. Media Matters has a report up where they say the press has been tougher on Obama in his first days than on George W. Bush in 2001.
It's all a matter of perspective. If coverage of a candidate is glowing before the election, the only way it can go is down.
It's important for the briefings to start on time, because the press has better things to do than sit and wait for you. They can think of thousands of better thing while you make them wait. They make snarky comments back and forth while sitting in the chairs, and soon enough the tone comes through in your question.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Starting the weekend right

It's another installment from Iowahawk. Please finish all food and drink before starting to read. We don't want you choking while laughing uncontrollably.

Monday's TV

At 8 p.m. President Obama vs. the Press
At 9 p.m. Jack Bauer vs. President Taylor on 24.
I know which one I'll be watching.

Obey dooby doo

The Hill catches this quote from Rep. David Obey, chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
"So what?" Obey asked in response to a question on NPR's "Morning Edition" about the perceived lack of direction from Congress as to how money in the stimulus should be spent. "This is an emergency. We've got to simply find a way to get this done as fast as possible and as well as possible, and that's what we're doing."
The Buck stops...over there somewhere. Definitely not at my desk. Or anywhere on this building on the hill.

Good week for Steele

Michael Steele finished his first week as GOP chairman by hosting Bennett Mornings on the radio today.
And Barack Obama is helping him with candidate recruitment for the 2010 campaign. What else do you call his speech to the Democrats last night?
So then you get the argument, well, this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill. What do you think a stimulus is? (Laughter and applause.) That's the whole point. No, seriously. (Laughter.) That's the point. (Applause.)
h/t Byron York on NRO's Corner (for one more day)

DTV - don't touch that dial

So Congress voted to delay the DTV transition until June. If I had a dime for every 2-17-09 commercial the TV stations have put on, I could pay for the whole stimulus package.
I checked with the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, and their local stations plan on going ahead with pulling the analog pull on the scheduled date.

“We’re going full steam ahead,” Frank Brady, vice president and general manager of WVVA-TV said. “We have educated the public through enough public service announcements, and I’ve explained the process over enough rubber chicken luncheons to get the message across, and we think our viewers are ready.”

A deadline helps focus the mind. Right, President (I want the stimulus bill next week) Obama?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How it started

Since I have been initiated into the Old Dominion Blog Alliance, time for a recap of how I got here.
In mid-October, I was reading the News Leader's website. I read a letter by my neighbor, a.k.a. Yankee Philip. A commenter was fussing at him, so I wrote that I would host his opening fundraiser when he runs for office. If Bill Ayers was good enough for Barack Obama to start his political career in his living room, then surely I could help Phil.
A journey of a thousand miles begins by reading a letter to the editor.

Saving the newspaper biz

Time looks at finding a future economic model to save newspapers. Good luck.
The focus is readership is up, just on the free internet sites instead of the newsstands and subscriptions. So the business side is drowning in red ink while readers from around the world are picking and choosing what they'd like to read.
Now, we went through a similar media transition after World War II. Television grew up quickly and radio went from being the star to a niche product. I wasn't around then, but how did the radio stations survive?
One way was probably monopoly ownership, something not allowed by the government now. I worked for the newspaper in Bluefield, WV. The man who owned the paper in the 1920s started the first AM radio station in Bluefield, and when TV came along he owned that too. If you own all the platforms, you can survive a dip in one.
The trouble for newspapers is, how do you control your content in a world of the worldwide web? The New York Times tried Times Select, and people found they could live without the Times' columnists. Or another paper who carried a column posted it, so you could find what you want for free.
Newspapers offer a wide variety of information, a little of something so everyone has their part. But the future likely looms in narrow-casting (like the Wall Street Journal or college sports websites), where you find one thing you do well and focus like a laser on it.

What ails Obama?

Poor guy, just two weeks in and everybody's beating on him like a rented mule. Salon claims he's not a great Communicator, but he can be... just say these things I believe.
My favorite line from this piece -
Democrats know the Republicans are wrong. Little children know they're wrong. Cats and dogs know they're wrong. But somehow this week, unbelievably, Obama and the Democrats seem to be losing the spin war.
Just like the old Saturday Night Live skit from 1988, when Jon Lovitz as Michael Dukakis looked at the camera and said "I can't believe I'm losing to this guy."
Maybe if Obama's friends would stop panicking, he could get things under control. If panic becomes the storyline, it can stay the storyline.

Trust me, I know what I'm doing

The White House has a website up for the economic stimulus. It's empty now, but they promise to put the bill there when passed and show how the money's spent.
Meanwhile, in the real world...
National Review has it's list of 50 outrages being proposed.
You can see the bills as they stand now. Sites like this are letting stimulus opponents carve up the bill like a Thanksgiving turkey. The turkeys who wrote the bill should have thought of that.
We're not just going to watch the horses running away from the barn. We're trying to shut the door before the crazy things get out.

Get the lead out

Sneaking up next week is a law to protect kids ages 12 and under from products with lead. Sounds good, keeping the kids safe. Mainly if you are a lawyer.
Have you heard about the law? I hadn't until I started cruising the internet.
How do you prove toys, clothing or other items are safe. Test each item.
Does it cover just new items or used, second-hand stuff? Covers everything.
Who's going to pay for the testing? You are, with higher prices.
What if you're accused of selling something with too much lead? The lawyers get paid.
Good thing my oldest will be 12 soon and we have plenty of stuff to hand down.
Forbes had the roundup last month. Congress saw a problem - lead in toys from China - wrote a law and created another, probably bigger problem.
Congress is as Congress does.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Economic Recovery party games

So, you're think of hosting a meeting this weekend to support President Obama's economic recovery plan. But what party games go with a meeting like this?
1. Pin the blame on Daschle. Take a picture of former Senator and let guests jab something sharp into it. How could he mess up the health care plans by not paying his taxes?
2. Taxes twister. Try to explain why Geithner stays and Daschle goes.
3. Press secretary Gibbs pinata. He's starting to get poor reviews for his press conferences, and it's against a friendly press corps just two weeks after the inauguration.

When Nancy Pelosi speaks...

...people giggle.

missed it by a few hundred million.
h/t NRO and Glenn Beck

Pass the megaphone

As a former newspaper reporter now trying my hand at blogging, I thought the intersection between the two areas might be a good area to focus on. The labels will be bloggers vs. newspapers.

Yesterday, I found a link that ponders if bloggers can do the job uncovering government corruption that the mainstream media does now. But his example doesn't prove his point. He tells a story from Lynwood, California where the city council members took foreign trips on the citizens' dime.
The L.A. Times broke the story in 2003. But how did they break it. Did an enterprising reporter dig through the record to find the bad stuff?
Only after being tipped off by a citizen, who put in two years of effort to get the release of credit card records. When he got the records, the citizen looked to the owner of the biggest megaphone - the L.A. Times then - to help publicize his information.
If newspapers don't have the biggest megaphone, someone else will. Bloggers are working together through groups like and to give better access to their opinions and what they find is going on.
Newspapers have traditionally been the watchdog for government and business abuses. But probably because they have traditionally had the biggest megaphone. When someone else has a bigger megaphone, those stories will come from that direction.

Ready or not

In last year's Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton's best argument against Barack Obama was she would be ready on day one.
Obama was ready for day one,inauguration day. It's the rest of the days that are giving him trouble.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's a Rocky Road

Can you parody a parody by Weird Al? For the President’s two-week anniversary.

All the newspaper reporters think I’m cool
They just couldn’t wait to see me rule
But on the stimulus I’ve been rolled
This Daschle thing leaves me cold

It hasn’t been going good enough for me, yeah me
Don’t gimme no excuses
The briefings I can read

I say, it’s a rocky road
So don’t they read my clippings, baby
It’s a rocky road
Can’t have another day like this, ow

The way that Congress acts is still the same
All the committee chairs get the blame
Republicans aren’t gone
They won’t be movin’ on

I’ll try to come back some afternoon, you'll see
The blame won’t be stickin' to me, all to me
I'm cryin'

Sing it, it’s a rocky road
So don’t they read my clippings, baby
It’s a rocky road
Can’t have another day like this, ow
(oh, make it talk)
When I'm all alone, I just pick up a phone
And if I get beat and lose then it’s not fine with me
I’ll put Pelosi in the slammer and throw away the key
I say, it’s a rocky road
So don’t they read my clippings, baby
It’s a rocky road
Can’t have another day like this, ow

I say, it’s a rocky road
So don’t they read my clippings, baby
It’s a rocky road
Can’t have another day like this, ow

I say, it’s a rocky road
So don’t they read my clippings, baby
It’s a rocky road
Can’t have another day like this, ow

I say, it’s a rocky road
So don’t they read my clippings, baby
It’s a rocky road
Can’t have another day like this, ow

Bloggers vs. newspapers

In the debate about the future of newspapers, it's been questioned whether bloggers will be able to keep government from getting out of control. The story goes the public needs full-time newspaper reporters, who can pursue and uncover governments trying to secretly bend the rules. Bloggers won't have the time or resources to keep government in line.
Exhibit one on the side of the bloggers - SWAC girl.
Her publicizing Tuesday's meeting against Augusta County's reassessments shows the power of the blog megaphone. Obviously, getting people riled up about higher taxes is like shooting fish in a barrel. But discontent against government that might be diffuse has been gathered, focused and blasted across the county and state.
I think bloggers will be up to the task the future presents. Hopefully, some form of newspapers will be alongside to help.

Who to get mad at?

Tom Daschle withdraws as a candidate for HHS secretary. Obama's plans to change health care take a hit. But who can the left get mad at?
Republicans couldn't have stopped the nomination. They didn't force Daschle to take the extra benefits without thinking of paying for them. They didn't distract him so he couldn't deal with the unpaid taxes until it was too late.
The left sure can't blame Obama. Is blaming Daschle piling on? Can you blame Timothy Geithner for sliding through as Treasury nominee and making the ground too slippery for Daschle?
You can't blame Rush Limbaugh. He's on vacation this week.


I'm trying my hand at political song parodies. In December, I did one about Rod Blagojevich and now he's the ex-governor.
Last night, I was inspired to write one about Tom Daschle, since the White House used the phrase "Nobody's Perfect." (If you have kids who watch Disney Channel, you sure know that song). And he withdraws his nomination to be secretary of HHS.
Who's next?

Perfect snow day

After several disappointments, today was a great snow day for the kids. A bright sunny morning after overnight snow. Just two inches of snow, enough to sled on without being too hard to walk back up the hill. It's even good for making snowmen and snowballs.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A song for Tom

Apologies to Hannah Montana and all pre-teen girls.
But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs did say "Nobody's Perfect"

Everybody makes mistakes
Everybody has those days
Paying taxes is a bore

Everybody makes mistakes
Everybody has those days
Obama knows what, what' I'm talkin' 'bout
Republicans get in the way

Everybody makes mistakes
Everybody has those days
Obama knows what, what I'm talkin' 'bout
Republicans get in the way, yeah!

Right now I'm in a jam
I've gotta make a plan
Taxes are crazy
I'll pay it anyway
No way to know for sure
I figured out the cure
Tried patchin' up the holes
But then it overflows
When I'm not doin' too well
I'm not real hard on myself

Nobody's perfect
I've gotta pay it
Again and again
'Til I get it right
Nobody's perfect
Obama's learning
that I will mess it up sometimes
Nobody's perfect

My friend worked out a scheme
But then it flipped on me
Didn't turn out how I planned
Got stuck in quicksand
And no problem can be solved
Once TV gets involved
I tried to be avoid it
but crashed right into it
But my intentions are good,
Of course, yeah
Sometimes just misunderstood

Nobody's perfect
I gotta pay it
Again and again
'Til I get it right
Nobody's perfect
Obama's learning
that I will mess it up sometimes

Nobody's perfect
I can't hide it
I hope in time
I'll find a way

I sure ain't perfect
I tried to fix things up
And they fall apart again
Nobody's perfect
I tried to mix things up
now I'm getting it in the end
You know I am

Next time you think like
It's just one of those days
When it's getting hard to win
I can't hide my good ride
But I'll figure it out
Don't stay down, vote again, yeah!

Everybody makes mistakes
Everybody's gotta pay
Obama knows what, what' I'm talkin' 'bout
I want to get my way
Everybody makes mistakes
Everybody's gotta pay
Obama knows what, what I'm talkin' 'bout
I want to get my way

I sure ain't perfect
I gotta pay it
Again and again
'Til I get it right
Nobody's perfect
Obama's learning
That I mess it up sometimes
I sure ain't perfect
I gotta work it
I hope in time
I'll find a way

Nobody's perfect
Obama's learning it
Cause everybody makes mistakes

Nobody's perfect
(Nobody's perfect)
No no
I sure ain't perfect!

Hannah South Dakota

If Tom Daschele can sing "Nobody's Perfect" better than Hannah Montana, maybe we'll let him have the job. Maybe.

Questions for Kaine

Governor Kaine, in his role as head of the DNC, gets to host Sunday's video presentation for Economic Recovery House Meetings. The Obama campaign is soliciting questions for Kaine to answer as part of the presentation.
Will these questions make the cut?
1. Can I underpay my taxes for three years like Senator Daschele?
2. Is three million the number of drivers you need to drive your staff around Washington, D.C.?
3. Does Nancy Pelosi have any spending plans left after dropping her old ideas into the current stimulus bill?
4. If we borrow all this money for economic stimulus, who's going to pay for it?

Recovery meetings

Next Sunday, the Obama campaign has asked people to hold Economic Recovery House Meetings to build support for the stimulus bill now going through Congress. But I think they missed the boat.
Yesterday, millions of Americans hosted Economic Recovery House meetings (a.k.a. Super Bowl parties) where they stimulated the economy with food purchases and gathered to build support for the Steelers.
On Feb. 15, I'll be hosting Spark It Up Recovery House Meeting to watch the Daytona 500 and try to build support for my NASCAR fantasy team.
Boogity, boogity, boogity. Let's go racing, boys.

Let's learn from Geico

Can't we have a tax code so easy a caveman can do it?
Tom Daschle, Timothy Geithner, Charlie Rangel. If these guys can't get their taxes right, what hope do the rest of us have?
Here's the Bible quote they need to memorize, from Matthew 7:3-5

"Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ready for some football?

Here's the Intro to the Super Bowl in 1976 (a Steelers win) H/T

A quote for everyone

If you're a conservative blogger, here's a quote you should post.
“Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter. ” Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.
Thanks to those who brought this out. And to those who continue to publicize it.

Super Bowl priorities

Remember, if you need to go to the kitchen or bathroom during the Super Bowl, go during the game. If you miss an important play, they will show 15 replays. If you miss a funny commercial, you don't know when you'll see it again.
And the game will not end until around 10:30, unless we get lucky. That's why Pittsburgh schools will open two hours late Monday.
h/t Don Surber

We have a winner

After the election, the Washington Post profiled incoming press secretary Robert Gibbs. They mentioned he "monitors coverage intensively, pushing back against the smallest blog post he considers inaccurate. " I thought we ought to have a contest to get Gibbs' attention.

So today, via Instapundit, is a comment on Ann Althouse's blog.
“Watching Gibbs at work makes me yearn for the smooth self-assurance and commanding presence of Scott McClellan.” Ouch.

While waiting for push back, I think we have a winner.

A question

I haven't lived in Augusta County long, but watching the battle of reassessment makes me wonder - are any other localities going through reassessment on a four-year cycle now? We can't be the only ones in the state or country who do reassessments on this cycle.
Where are the other counties and cities going through reassessment?
What are they doing? Anything different from Augusta County?