Blogs

Rudy Falls Off Ronald Reagan's Stool

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 3:31 PM EDT

Anonymous flier being handed out here at the super-Christian Family Research Council's Washington Briefing:

The American Stool
Designed by Ronald Reagan
INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1. Attach stool leg labeled: "Strong Economy"
Step 2. Attach stool leg labeled: "Strong Military"
Step 3. Attach stool leg labeled: "Strong Family"
DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
Someone make sure that Rudy gets a copy of this! He lost his!

The back? Completely blank. No one wants to take credit. What is this, South Carolina?

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Only Three Shopping Days Left 'Til the War on Xmas

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 3:29 PM EDT
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The phony war against the "War on Christmas" seems to come earlier every year. Via ThinkProgress, we learn that WorldNetDaily is already pushing its "Christmas-defense kit" to help "ward off the evil spirits of the ACLU grinches." Having just recovered from the War on Columbus Day, I figured I still had a few weeks before I should start dropping the H-bomb (Happy Holidays!). But while secular America sleeps, WND's been busy: It's even reclaimed Turkey Day too.

LJ's Gabby Glaser Goes Solo

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 3:23 PM EDT
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Gabby Glaser's first solo release, Gimme Splash, has all the great sounds that her 90s alternative band Luscious Jackson cranked out: 70s funk and hip-hop inspired drum beats, wah-wah guitar licks, minor-sounding chord progressions and sultry, un-forced vocals.

But Gimme Splash lacks the soft-touch keyboards of Luscious Jackson. Gone are the higher pitched vocal melodies of Luscious Jackson's lead singer Jill Cunnif. Glaser's 11 songs rock harder, and have her signature lower-register vocal range and fuzz-pedal guitar sounds. After listening to this CD a couple of times, I could definitely pull out my old Luscious Jackson albums and pinpoint exactly which tunes Glaser wrote.

This is a solid first album that is as sexy as it is tough.

Duncan Hunter is a Scary Man

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 3:15 PM EDT

dhunter.jpeg I'll just say this about Duncan Hunter— the man could not more be hawkish. At one point in his speech here at FRC's Washington Briefing, he promised more preemptive wars without even bothering to explain why or with whom, saying only that they might be necessary. And almost completely out of the blue, he said, "That little country, that little postage stamp called Israel, has stood by the United States on every major security issue in the Middle East. They should not give back an inch of their land." The room absolutely erupted in cheers—one woman literally jumped up and down. I guess I was unaware of how important Israel is to this community. I wonder why no other candidate has mentioned it.

China's CO2 Output Fueled By Us

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 2:00 PM EDT

5293336_4e517670cf_m.jpg I've wondered about this for a while, as it becomes all too easy to blame China and do nothing ourselves. Now we learn that one quarter of China's greenhouse gas emissions are produced making goods exported to the West. The report by the UK's Tyndall Centre worked with 2004 data, the latest available. The percentage may well be higher now. The authors concluded: "The extent of 'exported carbon' from China should lead to some rethinking by government negotiators as they work towards a new climate change agreement."

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.

Tort Reform Brings More Doctors to Texas, But Only for Rich People

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 1:44 PM EDT

In 2003, Texas voters approved a ballot initiative known as Proposition 12 that helped radically restrict state residents' ability to sue doctors or nursing homes that killed or injured them. Insurance company lobbyists had claimed doctors were fleeing the state because of lawsuits and high malpractice insurance premiums, threatening access to care. Proposition 12 was supposed to fix all that. Not only would doctors rush to Texas for its friendly legal climate, but, supporters claimed, obstetricians would move en masse to the 152 poor, rural Texas counties that had no ob/gyn to deliver local babies.

The New York Times recently declared Prop 12 a huge success because doctors (ob/gyns in particular) are supposedly flocking to Texas now that they don't have to worry about getting sued. One thing the Times didn't point out, though, was that the number of those new ob/gyns who've moved to rural, underserved Texas is exactly zero.
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The Texas Observer this month crunched the numbers, and came to the not-so-startling conclusion that while there may be more doctors in Texas thanks to tort reform, virtually all of them moved into the state's richest suburbs, which were already well-stocked with highly paid specialists. As it turns out, doctors don't shun the Texas sticks because of lawsuits but because they'd just rather live closer to Starbucks and their golfing buddies.

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Thompson Speaks With Substance. What?

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 12:56 PM EDT

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In the speech he just gave to the assembled Christian politicos, Fred Thompson bucked the trend by actually laying out some positions and issue ideas. Revolutionary idea for a presidential candidate...

Mixed with a certain degree of pablum (Examples: "We live in the greatest country in the history of the world. Our obligation is to do everything we can to keep it that way." "We must pass good laws. We must stop bad laws."), Thompson took strong positions on the following issues: (1) Unborn babies. (2) Courts. (3) Gays. (4) National debt. (5) "Global conflict with radical Islam."

Those positions were: (1) Save 'em. When Fred Thompson saw the sonogram of his youngest daughter, he knew he could never be anything but pro-life.

(2) Stop 'em. "Too often, it is our judicial branch of government that violates our approved law." (I thought that was called a check and/or balance?) Courts make our social and cultural rules, Thompson argues, and that's just wrong. We need more judges like Chief Justice John Roberts.

(3) Don't let 'em marry. No elaboration needed.

(4) Fight it. We're leaving near-fatal levels of national debt to future generations, who are too young to have a seat at the table during this discussion.

(5) Win it. Duh.

I'll add three things. Because I like numbering, apparently.

More On How The Weak Dollar Jacks Up the Price of Oil

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 12:40 PM EDT

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Yesterday I blogged on how the weak dollar is responsible for roughly $30 of the $90 a barrel of crude has (so far) topped out at. And I'm being doubted by some in our comment section and on Digg. Today, more confirmation from the folks at Bloomberg:

Crude oil breached $90 a barrel in New York for the first time as the dollar traded near a record low against the euro, enhancing the appeal of commodities as an investment....
"The weak dollar is pushing the price higher,'' said Simon Wardell, energy research manager with Global Insight Inc. in London. ``It's hard to see how this is going to turn around quickly.''...
The U.S. currency fell to $1.4302, from $1.4279 yesterday, and traded at a record low of $1.4319 earlier in the day.
A lower dollar makes oil cheaper in countries that use other currencies. In U.S. dollars, West Texas Intermediate, the New York-traded crude-oil benchmark, is up 46 percent so far this year. Oil is up 35 percent in euros, 40 percent in British pounds and 42 percent in yen.

I rest my case.

And for you yahoos who can't understand how this can be possible when they've always heard that the price of gasoline is so much higher in Europe...We're talking about CRUDE OIL, people. A raw commodity. Refined gasoline is indeed more expensive in Europe, because, largely, European governments choose to tax it to pay for roads and schools and health care and to discourage people from buying ridiculously big cars. Now you can argue about whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, but at least argue over the same issue.

Does Barbie Eat Fries?

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 12:14 PM EDT

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Back in June, under fire for marketing junk food to children, McDonalds pledged to become more socially responsible. The company insisted that it didn't need to be regulated by the government. It would do its part to fight the childhood obesity epidemic by producing new advertising that included "healthy lifestyle messages" for kids.

Well, here's what they've come up with: A Barbie on rollerblades in every Happy Meal. The plastic sex-kittens are part of a new promotion to get little girls to consume the 700 calories and 28 grams of fat that are the average Happy Meal. But hey, Barbie is rollerblading!

Tom Tancredo and the Plight of the Second Tier

| Fri Oct. 19, 2007 10:53 AM EDT

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Tom Tancredo has a tough sell here today. He is trying to pitch himself to a crowd that is salivating at the chance to hear McCain, Thompson, Huckabee, and Giuliani speak. In fact, in the lobby of the Hilton Washington earlier this morning, I overheard a girl in her twenties says to her friends, "I keep taking these quizzes on 'Who is your favorite candidate?' And it keeps coming up Tancredo. And I'm like, 'Who are you??'"

Tancredo takes this in stride. He opens his speech with a joke about being a second-tier candidate and by telling a story that goes something like this:

"I went to speak to the NAACP in Detroit recently, and when I got into the cab at the airport, I was wearing jeans, I didn't have an entourage, and I was still eating the sandwich I was eating on the plane. The cab driver asked me, 'What are you doing here?' I said, 'I'm speaking to the NAACP."
He said, 'Why?'
I said, 'Because they asked me to.'
He said, 'Why?'
I said, 'Because I'm running for president of the United States of America.'
And he turned back and looked at me. He paused and said, 'Nah.'"

That joke may not translate onto a blog, but it was pretty funny at the time. Sorry.