Monthly Archives: March 2009

Priceless

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From Gary Varvel. Good find Mundo Reactivo!

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The Republican Tax Cut Hoax

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I was just looking at this funny anti-Obama poster calling Obama’s spending plan the Debt Star. Ironically, though, the real Debts Stars — the guys who amassed the largest deficits in American history — were Reagan and W. And they did it with the help of tax cuts paid for by debt, an arms race paid for by debt, and wars paid for by debt. As a matter of fact, the whole notion of tax cuts in the U.S. is really just one festering delayed taxation scheme we pay for in the short term by borrowing. We simply redistribute the wealth today by making someone else pay for it tomorrow.

And here we go again, the Republicans are calling for more tax cuts and Obama has had to put tax cuts into the stimulus bill. One day we’ll look back and won’t be able to distinguish the tax cuts from the toxic mortgages, predator lending, bailed-out flunkies and ponzi schemes.

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That’s Exactly What We Need

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I just saw an ad for the new Ford Flex. What is Ford’s response to the American auto industry’s dire outlook? A seven-seater SUV. Yes, another bigger, un-exportable vehicle is exactly what the U.S. needs for energy independence and economic survival. Unless, of course, energy independence is merely a ruse, a political gimmick, a distraction while government continues to dedicate citizen resources to enrich oil companies, resurrect the auto industry, and perpetuate consumer waste, aka the American Way of Life. That’s not all, the new Ford Flex has refrigerated cup holders in each of its three rows to keep our obese sodas perfected chilled while most likely sitting solo in traffic on absurdly long commutes. That’s exactly what we need.

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Always On the Side of the Egg

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Haruki Murakami, one of my literally idols (see #7, “25 Things About Me“), won this year’s Jerusalem Prize for literature, and my friend Sorin just sent me the link at Haaretz to Murakami’s acceptance speech, entitled “Always on the Side of the Egg”. Check it out: Continue reading

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When the Shoe is on the Other Territory

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In 2007, the Spanish King and Queen traveled for the first time during their entire reign to the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, located in Morocco. When Morocco officially expressed its discomfort with the visit, temporarily suspending diplomatic relations with Spain, the Spanish government and press fully and unapologetically defended the trip.

The Spanish press pulled out every argument in the book: Ceuta and Melilla were Spanish prior to the establishment of the modern Moroccan state and before the Alouite reign, were there a referendum in the two cities the citizens would overwhelming vote in favor of Spanish rule, etc. The government argued that as the cities were Spanish territories the royal family had every right and the obligation to visit their land and subjects; thus totally ignoring local sensitivities, as these lands have been regularly contested, sometimes violently, since the 15th Century. In yet another classic example of the Zapatero government’s verbal ineptitude (see the most recent), Spanish foreign minister Moratinos, against his government’s fundamental argument, repeatedly referred to King Juan Carlos’ trip to Morocco, not Spain.

Flash forward to today, and the shoe is on the other foot. This time it is Gibraltar and a member of the British royal family has traveled to that British rock in Spain. And guess who’s crying now? That’s right, the Spanish government has expressed its official discomfort with the visit, claiming that it was both unfortunate and offensive to the sensitivities of Spaniards. Sound familiar?

That is precisely the argument that the Moroccan government made to Spain — essentially a diplomatic appeal rather than a legal claim. Even though the Spanish press made it seem like Moroccans were protesting in mass numbers – which they were not — by permitting the Spanish King and Queen to travel to Ceuta and Melilla, the Moroccan government was put in a difficult domestic political bind, obliging it make a gesture that would at least mitigate any sense of injured nationalism. Nevertheless, the Spanish government completely ignored Morocco’s petition against the visit. So, should the British government be held to a different diplomatic standard in Gibraltar than the Spanish government in Ceuta and Melilla?

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Trial Lawyers, Health Care, and Conservative Schizophrenia

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Yesterday I was listening to a conservative pundit rant against the Obama administration’s health care ambitions, what he called a return to “big government”, and then, out of the blue, he whined about trial lawyers. Later in the day, I read about how the conservative, Republican nominated Supreme Court justices dissented, arguing against state rights; in other words in favor of federal preemption and federal regulation. Sounds like a major bout of conservative schizophrenia to me. Continue reading

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Lurch Meets Charleston Heston

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Last night I saw Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino. The movie did have a few touching (a.k.a cheesy) pro-immigration moments, but overall I would sum it up as Lurch meeting Charleton Heston. Eastwood spends the movie either sounding like Lurch from the Addam’s Family — errrrrrrr — or campaigning to take Charleton Heston’s role as the aging Hollywood face of the N.R.A. Was Eastwood purposely making the argument that the only way to protect one’s self, family and home from crime was to build up a personal weapon’s arsenal? Having found the only two minorities in the entire Republican Party (Michael Steele and Bobby Jindal) and promoting them as its new face, maybe the Grand Old Party hopes that Gran Torino will fool immigrants into believing that the Second Amendment alone can protect them from gangs.

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