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June 29, 2009

Out to Lunch. Back in Five.

Days, that is.

I am on vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and plan to take full advantage of the many activities, attractions, and entertainment opportunities the area affords.

Vacation
If you are like most Planet Moron readers you are probably wondering, “Is he sure he has enough alcohol?  Because it doesn’t look like he has enough alcohol.”

Also, "You blog drunk now, or at least that's how it looks, so what's the difference?"

Just taking a little time to recharge the batteries. I plan to continue my Twitter updates and might post randomly, but it should be a light week overall.

Try not to wreck the country too much while I'm gone.

J.

June 29, 2009 at 01:42 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

June 27, 2009

CONSENSUS WATCH - 6/27/2009

An ongoing series dedicated to vigorously monitoring emerging threats to The Consensus that global warming is real, caused by humans, and must be addressed at all costs. Because without consensus, scientific conclusions would remain vulnerable to new data.

Last night, the House passed the American Clean Energy Security (ACES) Act, a sweeping piece of climate legislation that will result in dramatically rising costs, increased joblessness, and a massive expansion of government control over our daily lives.

However, that’s the price we’re just going to have to pay if we want to get serious about global warming and believe that it is our moral obligation to reduce temperatures nine hundredths of one degree Fahrenheit.

That's two years worth of warming!

Think of it.  Because of this bill, our children, and their children’s children, will be enjoying the cool sweet temperatures of 2048 even when it’s actually 2050!

It’s almost like they built a fantastical time machine.  Or, as Congressman G.K. Butterfield put it, the ACES act:

“…literally will save the planet.”

Given its importance, you probably feel badly that you didn’t take the time to carefully read the ACES act.

That’s okay.  No one did

Also, it technically doesn’t exist.

But there’s a reason for that.  Did you ever read the ingredient label on pasteurized processed cheese product?

And did you still eat it?

That is why such things really are best left to the experts.  Well, not all the experts.  Some experts disagree with The Consensus, which makes no sense at all since there wouldn’t be a consensus if everyone didn’t agree.

That is why such disagreement must be carefully suppressed.

In fact, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that in order to pass the legislation, representatives had to bear up under overwhelming opposition from "entrenched agents of the status quo," also known as "the constituents they represent" who rather like the entrenched status quo of having a job.

Don't these people know Al Gore won a Tony.  Or something.

What can you do to help ensure that The Consensus remains unchallenged? 

The next time someone mentions that they seem to recall reading somewhere that there is widespread and growing dissent among credible scientists regarding The Consensus and they are thinking of maybe looking into the matter with their congressman, take them aside and point out that there is overwhelming evidence that Michael Jackson just died. Madonna can’t stop crying! Justin Timberlake blogged about it! You can listen to the 911 call!

With any luck an attractive upper-class white woman will go missing when the Senate takes it up.

J.

Inappropriate Don't forget, Consensus Watch gear will make you a pariah among your peers faster than a Sanford/Palin 2012 bumper sticker on a Hummer! We have an extensive line of "Stop raping the planet! You may, however, touch it inappropriately," gear (coffee cup, bags, coasters, stickers, buttons), and the classic Consensus Watch coffee mug: "Consensus Watch Because without consensus, scientific conclusions would remain vulnerable to new data."

June 27, 2009 at 07:17 PM in Global Warming with CONSENSUS WATCH | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 26, 2009

Priorities Part 2

Early evening, CNN continues to cover the important stories of the day:

Pop Singer Still Dead:

CNN - Jackson 2

1

House Passes Bill That No One Has Read That Would Restructure Entire Economy at Great Cost With no Real Understanding of the Long-Term Ramifications to the Country:

CNN - Climate 2

1

1

The modern news media: Working diligently to make sure the citizenry is fully informed as to what Lisa Marie Presley thinks.

J.

June 26, 2009 at 08:26 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Priorities

From this morning's main CNN web page:

Pop singer dies:

CNN - Jackson

1

Major oil producing nation of 70 million that is seeking nuclear weapons and threatening peace in the region undergoing revolutionary upheaval:

CNN - Iran


1

1

Historic climate bill with far-reaching consequences that will affect the country for decades to come ready to pass house:

CNN - Climate 

Which is why it is important that we leave news judgment up to the professionals.

They went to school for this stuff and everything.

J.

June 26, 2009 at 10:33 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 25, 2009

Mark & Jenny Plus 8 Attorneys!

TLC’s newest summer reality series! Follow the real-life triumphs and travails of the Sanford family!

Mark Sanford Mark Sanford is the Governor of South Carolina. A noted fiscal disciplinarian, he enjoys hiking, saying he’s hiking, and quiet walks on the beach in Buenos Aires with his secret Argentinian mistress!

Jenny Sanford Jenny is his wife.  Formerly a Wall Streeter, she now busies herself with her duties as South Carolina’s First Lady, tending to the couple’s young children, hosting the annual Governor’s Christmas party, and going through trouser pockets for dated travel receipts and cocktail napkins.

Andrea Rincons Maria Belen Shapur is Mark’s Exotic Argentinian mistress.  (We could not find a picture of her, so instead we’re using Andrea Rincons, the exotic Argentinian dancer former President Bill Clinton reportedly paid $1000 for a lap dance.)

Our cameras will follow the Sanfords as they go about their daily lives and deal with problems that are all too familiar to any average, middle-class governor’s family, such as, who is going to pick up the dry cleaning?  Are we having company tonight?  And what should I tell the children when you disappear, turn off your cell phone, feed your staff a false cover story, and covertly fly to South America to spend time with your girlfriend on Father’s Day?

That Mark sure gets into some wacky hijinks!

No intimate detail will be spared.  Even the ones that should be!

Yes, these madcap adventures are sure to provide your family with hours of entertainment, and Mrs. Sanford’s lawyers with hours of confirmatory evidence.

You particularly don’t want to miss next month’s episodes when Mark finds out he’s in a big old bunch of hot water at work!

Hey, who can’t relate to that?

J.

June 25, 2009 at 02:48 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 24, 2009

You Know What Stings The Most? They Were Probably Going To Serve Neapolitan Ice Cream

In its first concrete action against the Iranian government in response to its vicious attacks on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators, the Obama administration has officially rescinded its invitation to attend our embassies’ Fourth of July Barbecues.

Of course, a decision like this cannot be made lightly as there were both upsides and downsides that needed to be carefully weighed:

Upsides:

  • Demonstrates a steadfast resolve to take whatever action necessary, no matter the impact it might have on the seating charts.
  • Potential crisis that there wasn’t going to be enough Independence-Day themed napkins to go around necessitating the need to break out the plain white ones mercifully avoided.
  • Moon Bounce won’t be as crowded.

Downsides:

  • The Iranians were bringing the potato salad.
  • Situation could escalate.  Potential retaliations: Ignored Facebook friend invites, anonymous insults left in the comments section at the Huffington Post, and acceleration of uranium enrichment program.
  • Could deal serious setback to the White House’s “Burgers for Nukes” diplomatic initiative.

The impact of the move was somewhat blunted by the fact that no Iranian had accepted the invitation but, like, we only invited them to see if they’d say yes so we could be all like, “well, you can’t come anyway,” and they’d be all like, crying and everything.

It’s all that high-level diplomatic statecraft stuff.  You probably wouldn’t understand.

J.

June 24, 2009 at 08:30 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 23, 2009

It Could Just Be A Jedi Mind Trick: "These Are Not The Basijis You Are Looking For..."

Although publicly denying that the United States is in any way involved with the Iranian protests, the White House is letting the truth be known through back channels:

Barack Obama did it.

Yes, apparently his Cairo speech, in which he was careful not to explicitly promote democracy, is the primary source of inspiration for the demonstrators demanding democracy.

Here at Planet Moron we believe it’s about time the President’s oratory gets the credit it deserves.  For example, while many believe the dramatic repair of the Hubble Space Telescope this past April was the result of years of preparation and training, it wasn’t really until the President’s speech at the graduation of the Columbus Police Division’s 114th class where he told the newly minted police officers, “You knew the risks involved, you knew the sacrifices required, and yet you stood up and said, I'll take that risk.  I'll make that sacrifice.  I will do that job," that NASA, and indeed, the whole scientific community was galvanized to fix Hubble, saying as if they were one, “We’ll take that risk.  We’ll make that sacrifice!”

“And yes, we will do that job!”

You probably didn’t know that.

You also probably didn’t know that it was the President’s remarks with Archbishop Demetrios commemorating Greek Independence day in March that was at least partly responsible for an uptick in Canadian housing starts that month. And who will ever forget those stirring words he spoke at the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act bill signing? 

Not the Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers, that’s for sure.

And don’t get us started on the profound effect that Barack Obama's presentation for his fourth grade science class on “Our Friend The Earth” had on the stunning rise of the environmental movement throughout the sixties and seventies.

That is why we can only imagine what impact his words today will have on the situation in Iran in which he said, more forcefully than he ever has before, that we would “bear witness” to what was happening and “monitor and see how this plays itself out before we make any judgments about how we will proceed.”

It is precisely this steely determination to not only witness, but to monitor, that we should all find so inspirational, for who else can command the power to so profoundly influence events, without actually doing anything.

LEADERSHIP3  
J.

June 23, 2009 at 05:58 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 22, 2009

When There’s a Real Crisis, Sometimes You Have to Let the Little Things Go

After a week of seeming reticence to confront the crisis head on, President Obama finally recognized the gravity of the situation and the need for the leader of the free world to speak out.  As he said:

“While I’m not spoiling for a fight, I’m ready for one.”

And so, displaying real grit and determination, no matter the political fallout, he made it clear on Saturday that he stands behind the brave souls fighting for their inalienable right, indeed, the inalienable right of all free people everywhere, to secure for themselves and their posterity, a “Consumer Financial Protection Agency.”

Yes, there is some kind of kerfuffle going on in Iran, but what the heck does that have to do with ensuring that mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts are periodically reviewed to assess fairness in terms of the dispute resolution process?

And isn’t that really where the future of our global leadership lies?

Barack Obama wants to protect “ordinary Americans.”  You can tell because he made reference to “ordinary Americans” four times in his Saturday radio address.  Who are these ordinary Americans?

They’re people just like you, except they don’t want to have to read things before they sign them.

Which is exactly what our founding fathers had in mind when forming this great union.  Do you think John Hancock actually read the entire Declaration of Independence before signing it? 

Have you seen the Declaration of Independence? 

Declaration of Independence

“When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds… blah blah blah.”

No, like most ordinary Americans, he just signed whatever was put in front of him and in so doing, inadvertently helped sever the political bonds between the colonies and the British crown thus launching the greatest experiment in self-governance the world had ever witnessed.

And possibly committed to a five-year balloon payment plus penalties and interest resets but then we didn’t read the thing all the way to the end either.

Who supports creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA)? A broad array of consumers, employees, investors, and community and civil rights organizers from all across the nation who believe strongly that ordinary Americans shouldn't have to read things anymore.  Really, can’t they just put mortgage applications on YouTube or something?

Reading is hard. 

But by mandating (pdf) “plain-vanilla” financial products, setting compensation policies, and requiring that products that are not plain vanilla please the government sufficiently, the Consumer Financial Protection Agency would make it so that ordinary Americans would barely need to understand basic arithmetic or rudimentary sentence structure to be able to enter into multi-hundred-thousand dollar mortgage contracts many of which are expected to include a coloring book, rudimentary word puzzles, and other activities designed to keep ordinary Americans from getting restless while the lawyers engage in all that boring grownup talk.

Not only that, but the CFPA would  “Strongly enforce the Community Reinvestment Act and fair lending laws."

We know what you’re thinking, "Didn’t the Community Reinvestment Act play a central role in the explosion of low-quality loans with minimal down payments and little required documentation that led to our current financial crisis?”

Don’t be ridiculous.  You’re thinking of the Community Reinvestment Act, which played a central role in the explosion of low-quality…

Uh, oh.

J.

June 22, 2009 at 04:59 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 20, 2009

Top Ten Reasons Obama Refuses To Speak Out Forcefully In Support of Iranian Protestors

President Obama has come under increasing criticism from both the right and the left for his lack of clear and unequivocal support for those protesting against the government of Iran over allegations of voter fraud in last weekend’s presidential election.

But there are some very good reasons for this:

Top Ten Reasons Obama Refuses To Speak Out Forcefully In Support of Iranian Protestors.

10 Does not want to appear to be supporting “terrorists” (at least according to the Pentagon’s definition).

9 There’s no need, as "You've seen in Iran some initial reaction from the supreme leader that indicates he understands the Iranian people have deep concerns about the election." In fact, the Supreme Leader is demonstrating just how clearly he understands their concerns by crushing them. It’s really all about the empathy.

8 Look, America helped orchestrate a coup in Iran over a half-century ago and he hasn’t even gotten around to apologizing to the Japanese for the 1940 oil embargo never mind the Spanish and that whole “remember the Maine” thing in 1898.

7 Joe Biden is on the job.  And as we all know, nobody messes with Joe! Except Obama.

6As with all his other major initiatives, decided to outsource the icky leadership detaily parts to Congress.

5 Having already gone from “troubled” to having “deep concerns” to being “very concerned,” he is hesitant to escalate it any further for fear of having to raise the nation’s emotional readiness level to DuressCon 4.

4 He already zeroed out money for Democracy in Iran as part of the 2010 federal budget so he’s just being fiscally responsible. There really is no pleasing you people.

3 Too busy dealing with the real threat to Middle East peace: Israeli Real Estate Development.

2 Does not want to meddle in a situation that is clearly difficult and painful to watch so it is probably best to try to turn the glare of the media away from what has become little more than a spectacle, if only for the good of the children.  Or are we thinking of Jon & Kate Plus Eight?

And the #1 reason Obama Refuses To Speak Out In Support of Iranian Protestors…

1 Teleprompter in the shop for 50,000-word service.                                                                                 

J.

June 20, 2009 at 12:24 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 18, 2009

We’d Take “Ma’am” Over Some of the Things We’ve Been Called. And That's Just Today.

From a hearing yesterday, an exchange between Senator Barbara Boxer and Brigadier General Michael Walsh:

Ma'am Boxer

Boxer: Well why has it been delayed?
Walsh: Uh, Ma’am, at the, uh, at LACPR is a…
Boxer: "I would a.., You know, do me a favor. Could say Senator instead of Ma'am?
Walsh: Yes…
Boxer: It's just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I'd appreciate it, yes? Thank you."
Walsh: Yes, Senator.

There are a few other titles we can think of that she’s worked so hard to get but this is a family blog. 

A dysfunctional family blog, but still…

And to be fair, The Honorable Barbara Boxer, Senator of California, did work hard to get that title, toiling in a wide variety of jobs these past 35 years.

From 1974 to 1976 she worked for the government. From 1977 to 1983 she worked for the government. From 1983 to 1992 she worked for the government, and in 1993, after nearly two decades of working for the government, she finally secured the title of “Senator,” and continued working for the government.

Clearly, it was inappropriate for a mere Brigadier General to display a level of respect typically reserved for commoners. Sure, he served a tour in Iraq, but she serves on the Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation.

You try sitting next to John Kerry for five hours.

And it’s not as if the Honorable Senator Barbara Boxer, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, is asking for a lot.

Yes, as a recipient of the 2007 “Margaret Floy Washburn Award,” the 2005 “Friend of the National Parks award,” and the 2004 “Oncology Nursing Society Honor Award for improving the lives of people with cancer,” she could certainly demand that her achievements in 1992 securing a Chinese-American commemorative stamp, her being granted in 1962 a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics or her receipt of a diploma from Wingate High School in 1958 receive more recognition but that’s not what she’s all about.

Yes you can find all that on her Senate web site and more, but in no way does that indicate someone so desperate for affirmation that she requires a steady diet of honorifics to quiet the raging demons of her own insecurity.

All she wants is to be called by her proper name.

That's Not My Title

And so we salute you, Honorable Senator College Graduate Award-Winner Extraordinaire Barbara Boxer!  May you always have the courage to publicly embarrass anyone who has the effrontery to carelessly address your exalted position with insufficient deference!

J.

Welcome back Eminent and Renowned Daily Crux readers. (We try not to offend.)

UPDATE: A political opponent notes an uncanny resemblance (via The Corner):

June 18, 2009 at 04:46 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack