"about 11 people wandered into the rows of seats set up hopefully in the basement
"The event was scheduled to last three hours, but ended after 55 minutes, with Joe having sold a total of five books. "
I don't know that the video proves anything definitively, but I think the conjecturing at places like Daily Kos about timelines is also less than fully convincing.
One of Barack Obama’s most audacious claims in his budget Thursday is that he has identified more than $2 trillion in savings over 10 years. But his budget document shows that a big chunk of those savings comes from a flick of the budgetary pen — a helpful side effect of Obama’s pledge to be more open with war costs than his predecessor.
The method: bringing hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan costs onto the budget’s bottom line, and then reducing them over time..
He estimated the total economic hit from subprime mortgages and derivatives (when the latter are priced at last) may "substantially exceed the gross national product of all the economies of the world" - something in the range of 60-80 thousand billion dollars.
While some may want to fight the vote, appeal the decision, throw the same measure on a ballot for April — there will be no resurgent campaign, no second wind, no “one last chance.”
This was ASM’s last chance. To entertain the notion of propping up a decaying corpse in hopes that it lurches back to life is an insult to the student body.
At this point, ASM can do only one thing in hopes of reviving some sort of viable system of representation on this campus — bury this parliamentary casket once and for all.
Sounds like something I've heard before...
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A Baptist pastor in the South Caucasus country of Azerbaijan has been found guilty of what supporters say are bogus weapons charges and given "a two-year corrective labor sentence," according to a worldwide Baptist group.
The Virginia-based Baptist World Alliance announced Feb. 20 that Hamid Shabanov, who pastors a house church of approximately 60 members in the town of Aliabad, had been convicted. He was arrested on June 20, 2008, after police claimed to have found an illegal weapon in his home after a raid.
Denying the allegations against Shabanov, and claiming that the weapon was planted by the police, Baptist Union of Azerbaijan General Secretary Elnur Jabiyev said the arrest "was a provocation by the police" and that it was "a deliberately targeted action," according to a BWA press release. Jabiyev claimed "the police’s aim is to halt Baptist activity and close the church in Aliabad.”
Azerbaijan is trying to forge a national identity based on Islam, and any groups that get in the way of this, officially tolerated or not, will be harassed until they no longer effectively exist. This goes to extremes: a store in Aliabad was torn down because it had a roof "shaped like a steeple." This has the amusing side benefit of sidelining ethnic Georgians and others who tend to be less in favor of the current regime than most; indeed, to the extent that there is an opposition party in the Zaqatala region (where Aliabad is located), it tends to be ethnic Georgians who simply have a better sense of what democracy actually means.
"After 47 years ... the unilateral embargo on Cuba has failed to achieve its stated purpose of 'bringing democracy to the Cuban people'"
"The current U.S. policy has many passionate defenders, and their criticism of the Castro regime is justified. Nevertheless, we must recognize the ineffectiveness of our current policy and deal with the Cuban regime in a way that enhances U.S. interests."
Richard Lugar is calling for a change to America's Cuba policy. It's about time this ineffective nonsense was brought to an end.
Since the gate stands open, as usual, and the doorkeeper steps to one side, the man stoops to peer through the gateway into the interior. Observing that, the doorkeeper laughs and says: "If you are so drawn to it, just try to go in despite my veto. But take note: I am powerful. And I am only the least of the doorkeepers. From hall to hall there is one doorkeeper after another, each more powerful than the last. The third doorkeeper is already so terrible that even I cannot bear to look at him." These are difficulties the man from the country has not expected...
My brother and I set off from our hostel last night to find the Institute of Contemporary Art. We were chased out by some of the worst coffee ever (our hostel's; but I've yet to find a really even decent cup of dark roast in this town), and by a sense of adventure on our first night in the city. The packed train screamed a protest, metal grating on metal; a dragon racing through the crumbling cement and exposed wiring of the Boston metro. We were on our way.
We missed the stop.
We knew roughly where we were bound, yes, but the hostelier we'd asked was a bit vague on exactly where to get off the bus after the metro. So we rode around the airport and took a second crack at it. We got the stop right this time. It was a rough-ish part of town at night, and we jumped across a low fence and made our way up to the "big glass building" we were told was the ICA, and we jumped into the elevator that was marked "service entry." We were in the wrong building. We did not want to see the boat expo.
Back out into a night that was beginning to drizzle, we cut across a parking lot that was spotted with a gritty sand and uneven concrete. We cut through a break in the fence. We met these fellows:
The ICA is a squat, garishly lit building, surrounded on three sides by an oddly-fenced parking lot, through which we trekked, guided on by the lurking Obey Giant.
Our quixotic quest continued once inside; what purported to be a museum felt more like an uninspired airport terminal: long, badly-organized lines (20 minutes just to drop off our bags) and boxy architecture that took no heed of the beautiful water on the its one good side (indeed, the view of the water was almost completely blocked from the parking lots through which we entered).
The show was a Shepard Fairey retrospective, which seemed worth seeing. Somehow I'd thought it was Banksy who did the Obey Giant -- I see now that I was wrong. The layout was odd, the rooms jarringly separated from each other, leading into and out of themselves with no clear path, no obvious lines to follow, multiple entry/ exit points leading nowhere and everywhere, with only the slightest possibility of getting where one meant to go, the antithesis of the flow of the Guggenheim. It made the exhibition jarring, too -- one jumped from room to room, decontextualizing and recontextualizing quickly.
I enjoy Fairey's art in and of itself, but I think he gets away from himself; his irony creates recursive loops on itself as the pictures and text work with each other. His political work is so starkly, self-obviously ironic, while his portraits of rock stars so worshiping; it made me wonder about his Obama posters: is it in fact darkly ironic, meaning for us to share the joke that no, politics will go on as usual, don't really hope for too much? Or is it suggesting Obama is a rock star, a figure more about pose and glamor than substance, a simple pop-culture icon? I think Peter Schjeldahl gets it right in The New Yorker: It’s as if Fairey meant to ridicule rebellion.
The coffee has not improved.
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Honestly, it'd probably be better for people who vote superficially to base their votes by who's sponsoring whom, rather than just how a candidate seems or by the feelings he projects.
If I should ever run for something, maybe that'll be my gimmick.
I went to New York City for the first time last week. I think it was, to me, what the Grand Canyon is to others: the grandiose walls...
...the little details...
...even the night scenes.
There were moments of tranquility...
...and moments when everything flowed.
All in all, a very good time. I was sad to leave.
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Other than this mess, in general it appears he's well prepared.
What has always amused me about the logic of "sin" taxes - whether it is smoking, drinking or any other legal activity - is that the arguments for them are so self-defeating. Those in favor of the tax increase usually make two arguments: 1) the tax increase will pay for health care costs or other costs related to the activity; and 2) the tax will make the cost the activity so high that people will no longer do it.
That means that if the new tax increase succeeds in its objectives, there will be no increase in revenue because fewer people will actually be buying cigarettes. To be sure, the smokers I know are resourceful enough to find ways around the state tax buying buying online or crossing state lines.
Still, here we are on the eve of Governor Doyle's budget address and once again we get the same argument that the cigarette tax just isn't high enough. And the goal is still the same: The new 75-cent increase in Wisconsin's tax would be part of an attempt to raise money to pay for health care and smoking cessation programs and make the price of smoking so high it forces smokers to quit and stops children and teens from starting to smoke.
At the same time Governor Doyle is advocating for a new tax increase, there is a new report out from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau that has a very interesting line about the effectiveness of cigarette taxes. In explaining the reasons for the drop in tax revenues this year, the report begins with this:
On January 29, 2009, this office released tax collection estimates for 2008-09 and the 2009-11 biennium. Those estimates were modified on February 11 because of a reduction in estimated cigarette and tobacco products taxes due to an increase in federal taxes on those products.So, if I'm reading this right, part of the budget deficit is caused by an increase in the cigarette tax. But the Governor still wants the increase and is betting on the increased revenues in the budget. I guess this explains part of the reason we are in the mess we are in.
"If ever a rushed extravagant purchase was likely to induce a touch of buyer's remorse, it is this one."
En route to a long day of appellate brief writing on Saturday, I ran a bit late - when I ran into the floats of Pegasus rolling through the intersection of Jefferson Davis and Earhart in Gert Town.
What could happen, instead, is a bigger-tent liberalism - somewhat chastened, perhaps, by some big-government failures in the Obama era - that makes libertarian intellectuals feel welcome, engages them in conversations about smarter regulations and more efficient tax policy, and generally woos them away from their culturally-dissonant alliance with people who attend megachurches and Sarah Palin rallies. This would make for a smarter left-of-center in the short run, but I think in the long run it would be pernicious. It would further the Democratic Party's transformation into a closed circle of brainy meritocrats, and push the Republican Party in a yet more anti-intellectual direction. And it would produce an elite consensus more impervious to structural critiques, and a right-wing populism more incapable of providing them. The Democratic Party would hold power more often, and become more sclerotic as a result; the GOP would take office less often, and behave more recklessly on those rare occasions when it did manage to seize the reins of state.
I see this as the time that the libertarian movement needs to make a very concerted push into the Republican Party, which is a much more natural home for it. Going to the left will keep it in the same second-class position it has occupied in the GOP as that party went on its religious kick, and, as Douthat points out, push the GOP even further into its unfortunately anti-intellectual corner. It would be a shame if things came to that.
The oval-shaped pastry always contains a trinket of some sort, but the meaning associated with the person who finds the trinket has changed. At one time, finding the trinket would signify a person’s approaching death.
That's just the way we decided to designate which of the four of us happened to be making "the tweet" - as you can probably see, Steve S (designated by an /S) and I are the chief users, although Mike F has chimed in (as /F). So, in the case of the tweet you were referring to, that was me (the /B).
I'm still trying to get the hang of twitter myself - I've long been skeptical of it as being too shallow. I also think the term "tweet" is especially annoying - "Don't mind me, I'm just tweeting on twitter right now." It sounds inherently superficial.
Anyway, that's how we've decided to address the issue of a multi-party twitter account (actually, I can't think of any other multi-party account that has distinct individuals tweeting - Wispolitics, State Journal, Cato, etc. are possibly multi-party sourced, but they are thus far an anonymous whole when it comes to posting/tweeting).
I understand the impulse for smart, independent-minded libertarians to flee what seems like an increasingly anti-intellectual American Right and seek conversations and alliances with the friendlier parts of the left-of-center. But the vacuum on the Right also militates in favor of smart, idiosyncratic thinkers trying to fill it, instead of fighting for a seat at the crowded liberal table. That doesn't mean registering as a Republican, attending CPAC, or casting a vote for McCain-Palin (or the next iteration thereof). But it means being open to the possibility that the old fusionism, battered and bruised as it is, may still hold as much promise for the advancement of libertarian policy goals as "liberaltarianism" ever will.
The U.S. House passed President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus plan designed to help repair the economy through tax cuts for businesses and families and a half-trillion dollars in federal spending.
The chamber voted 246 to 183 for the measure with no Republicans in favor.
How did Cao vote?
Personally, I'm fine with that - I think the stimulus is unwise and irresponsible on many levels. But I don't know that the vote is a sound political move for someone in his position. Perhaps it's a subtle admission that Cao believes he simply cannot win reelection outside of his one miraculous moment given the numbers in his district.
"the Tercel was assaulted by a drunken dirty Marigny hipster who thought it would be funny to perform an ollie off of my trunk"
"There will be more," said consultant Peter Zeughauser. "Materially more. I'm aware of some big ones coming up."
While there are some nice tax incentives in the Governor's plan for nanotechnology and green energy and things like that; as far as existing business and industry goes, they get very little. And the tax incentives are dwarfed by the tax increases.
In the plan are two tax increases that could have a very costly impact on businesses in the state. The first is the Main Street Equity Act - sounds nice doesn't it. Under the act, "all prewritten computer software packages are subject to the sales tax" which would increase taxes collected an estimated $61.3 million. Another provision in the act would extend the sales tax to digital personal property if the "tangible" personal property would also be subject to taxes. That amounts to another $10.9 million for the state.
Once again, the Democrats' answer to finding something not already taxed is to tax the hell out of it. My question though, is how does increasing the number of things subject to taxes help "main street" businesses? Wouldn't it simply make the products that much more expensive for consumers, thus making them go elsewhere - such as online - to find the products they are looking for?
Plain and simple, making things more expensive during a recession is the wrong thing to do.
The other major tax increase in the "stimulus" proposal is to subject corporate income to combined reporting. this one move by the state government would increase taxes on businesses in Wisconsin by $187.3 million in the 2009-2011 biennium. It is reasonable to assume that the result of this kind of tax increase will result in one of two things happening: 1) the businesses effected by this tax will pass the cost on to consumers, thus inflating prices; or 2) many corporate headquarters will move out of Wisconsin, taking their jobs with them. Take your pick.
I know that there is more to the plan and once I've had the time to go through it more thoroughly I'll have much more to say. But for now, all I have to say is that once again the Governor has failed to offer any real leadership in this current crisis.
In my searching, however, I came across this that's-so-crazy-it-just-might-or-might-not-work idea proposed by Phoenix:
Now, Phoenix wants to find money and a facility to pulverize its own glass, and then sell the product to the Army Corps of Engineers for use in federally and state-financed wetland restoration projects, says director of business development Steven O'Connor.
The numbers cited in the piece are interesting, but I would still want to see a full feasibility study. Another option - which still might require the threshold step of grinding - would be to utilize the proximity to the Port of New Orleans to export the material via ship or barge in great bulk to some other locale.
Above the darkness of the first floor, the building teems with signs of life. In place of piles of bureaucratic papers once shuffled by city workers, there are piles of cigarette butts smoked to the filter and heaps of discarded food containers, clothing and bottles of St. Ides malt liquor and Heaven Hills Kentucky whiskey.
To me, the prospect of fires is the worst aspect of the illegal occupancy, however. While it's not at all conclusive, the article appears to indicate that homeless fires may have contributed to the recent fire at the old Carpet World building that was burnt to a black heap recently on Canal Street.
- Talk about arrogance. Sen. Schumer, try reading this blog - or any moderate to conservative blog for that matter. Oh, and since when are billion dollar amendments "tiny?"
- So much is wrong with the bailout and stimulus bills, but here is a pretty good wrap up of reaction to Secretary Geithner's press conference.
- Speaking of Geithner's press conference, the AP has a pretty damning quote from Jeff Buetow, senior portfolio manager at Portfolio Management Consultants: "basically [this announcement] puts a spotlight on the fact that the government has no idea how to fix the problem."
- Locally, the Wisconsin State Senate has decided to make a bad economy worse by raising the Wisconsin minimum wage to $7.60 an hour - that's $1.90 above the federal minimum wage. The bills passed also allow local municipalities to set their own "living wages." As Sen. Kedzie points out, the Senate Dems appear to have begun their "War on Jobs" - or at least job creators.
- And, last but not least, the Governor and legislative leaders are going to announce a plan to fix the state's budget deficit and stimulate the economy. I can't wait to see what taxes and fees - and accounting tricks - they plan to use.
Saturday marked the 18th year of competitive ice sculpting in my hometown of Kiel. I missed carving with my team for the second year in a row due to law school - we had carved together for the preceding decade, taking home several trophies.
It's great to see all the familiar teams at work along Fremont Street on an abnormally warm day in the video from the Tri-County News. There are even a few shots of a chili cook-off and a brat fry for good measure. Strangely, there's no image of my team...they must have been off on the traditional mid-morning doughnut run when the camera went past.
Yet by and large, the proper place for genuine conservatives today is in opposition, advancing a principled critique of the status quo with the hope--however quixotic--of persuading Americans to mend their ways.
When it comes to the culture, conservatives should promote an awareness of the costs of unchecked individual autonomy, while challenging conceptions of freedom that deny the need for self-restraint and self-denial. When it comes to economics, they should emphasize the virtue and necessity of Americans, collectively as well as individually, learning to live within their means. When it comes to foreign policy, they should advocate a restoration of realism, which will necessarily entail abandoning expectations of remaking the world in America's own image.
I'm not sure I agree entirely -- I should have some thoughts in the next few days -- but there needs to be more thought exerted along these lines. Feel free to do some of your own in the comments!
If it hasn’t opened by the time you read this, give it a week or so. Neal Bodenheimer’s new cocktail lounge, Cure, promises to take us back to a time when “ … having a cocktail and a bite to eat was both healthful and enjoyable.” Neal is quite the talented barman and his eclectic mix of coffeehouse, juice bar and lunch café by day, bar and restaurant by night, with careful crafting of both cocktails and cuisine, should be a smash hit. Kudos to Cure for being a part of the revitalization efforts on the beloved stretch of Freret Street between Napoleon and Jefferson.
Here's the spartan site for Cure. I'm extraordinarily glad to see the new place will be part coffeehouse - having an actual option within walking distance from my house will be great on a number of levels, especially for a potential new studying scene.
Coming Soon, Cure is a cocktail bar with small plates, esoteric beer and wine that...
Esoteric beer sounds like a great addition to the neighborhood, too.
In politics, leadership is about priorities and setting the right example. Apparently 92% of the legislature are looking out for themselves first.
The State Journal has an editorial admonishing the 122 legislators who took the raise and praising the ten who did not. While $25,300 doesn't solve our problems, at least a small percentage of our legislators still realize they serve the people, not the other way around. The ten members who aren't politically tone-deaf:
- Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills
- Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Waunakee
- Sen. Ted Kanavas, R-Brookfield
- Sen. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse
- Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan
- Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center
- Rep. Steve Hilgenberg, D-Dodgeville
- Rep. Dan Knodl, R-Germantown
- Rep. Margaret Krusick, D-Milwaukee
- Rep. Keith Ripp, R-Lodi
This site has no official connection with Marquette University. Indeed, when University officials find out about it, they will doubtless want it shut down.
So, have they found out about it? And did they want to shut it down? Seems the thing has been going long enough, and that enough students know about it, that the administration must...
Also, it would be nice to see government officials stop extolling the virtues of making personal sacrifices and private individuals helping individuals - while pushing an astronomically large government spending plan based on the undeniable premise that government is the answer to this crisis. The rhetoric is growing rank.
According to a capsule bio on the Draft Stormy Web site, Daniels has been "breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings her entire life," serving as editor of her high school newspaper and president of her school's 4-H Club and eventually transferring "her determination and talents to the professional level, becoming a featured performer in the adult entertainment industry."
Only the stimulus bill to be approved this week, the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program passed four months ago and $168 billion in tax cuts and rebates enacted in 2008 have been voted on by lawmakers. The remaining $8 trillion is in lending programs and guarantees, almost all under the Fed and FDIC. Recipients’ names have not been disclosed.
Barack Obama's campaign manager will give a paid speech to "a pro-government NGO and mouthpiece of the president's office" in a post-Soviet autocracy with a major interest in American energy policy, according to a report.
Azeri President Aliyev, fresh off a crooked win in the November presidential race, is seeking to cement his power by putting through a constitutional amendment to end presidential term limits (the current limit is two terms). As a good democrat, Aliyev has blocked opposition access to the media, while he uses his his cronies to push the measure:
Chairmen of the parliamentary commissions Ali Huseynov, Rabiyat Aslanova and Safa Mirzayev expressed their opinion about the changes during the parliamentary meeting.
The US embassy there claims he will be acting as a "private citizen," but Plouffe would have to be hopelessly naive not to realize that his talk will be used by the regime as a further piece of evidence that this referendum is a perfectly legitimate form of democratic expression. I had Azeris tell me with a straight face that the same election watchers who lambasted the legitimacy of the previous election cycle in fact saw nothing wrong, and that this proves that the country is democratic. By giving this speech, at this time, in this country, Plouffe is doing a massive disservice to the cause of democracy.
The new biomass boiler will be online in the heating plant before the end of 2012.
The boiler will be able to burn 100 percent biomass fuel, up to 250,000 tons a year.
Biomass fuels range from wood chips to switchgrass pellets.
I don't think a power plant is the best way to implement alternative fuels because plants are good places to burn dirty stuff. To burn coal cleanly takes equipment. Plants produce a lot of energy so economies of scale make buying big cleaning equipment and large systems more worthwhile than if everyone at their house had to have a small set of equipment.
There's a certain amount of energy capacity out there and if power plants were to switch away from fossil fuels, their demand will decrease, lowering their cost which provides an incentive for other energy consumers to switch to the cheaper source of fuel. It would be better to encourage houses to switch to biofuels and keep the coal at plants than to switch the plants to biofuels and do nothing for houses.
Also the article doesn't address how the fuel will be making its way to the plant. Coal comes by train all the way from the mine. Trains are the most efficient way of moving stuff on land.
For more on the actual plant, I posted a tour of the plant with photos more than a year ago.
I'd like to see the film because I think it looks like a great titanic debate movie that could be really good, but I was worried that the typical prejudice against Nixon would turn his character into a disturbed, petty, evil man. This has made me reluctant to see the film.
So I was very pleased to see this post by everyone's favorite law blogger that answered many of my fears. My favorite excerpt of the linked post (please read the whole thing, quite interesting):
Again, I have to wonder if this was the intention: Without any preconceived notions, Nixon comes out nearly heroic. A tragic hero, for sure, but heroic nonetheless. The script refers numerous times to his achievements (his foreign policy coups with Kruschev and Mao), and even his fiercest opponents admit that he was quite accomplished. They just believe him to be criminal.This is something that has always intrigued me about Nixon - especially as a history and poli sci major at UW. His gifts as a diplomat and his foreign policy credentials were amazing and for the most part he was extremely successful in getting his domestic agenda passed. We know that he was vindictive and that he was paranoid about his enemies, but after 30+ years of parody and caricature, don't we owe it to ourselves to take a second look? Maybe time will give a clearer, more accurate portrait of a very complex man.
I saw a man with great ambition and ability who was beset by partisan hacks out to destroy him. They blame him for Vietnam, for the Khmer Rouge, for Watergate--though the point is never the crime, as the gotcha--and all Nixon wants is respect. There's a fictitious scene where a drunk Nixon calls Frost and goes on a rambling analysis of his own and Frost's sense of inferiority which I felt overplayed the dramatic hand, but even that didn't undermine my sense that this was a partisan witch hunt.