Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Fireside Chat for February 5th, 2011 (VIDEO)

The President discusses the labs at Penn State as an example of how American innovation, particularly in infrastructure and energy, can create jobs and win the future for America.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Desperate to change the subject after that last post...

I'm posting this not because it has anything to do with anything (other than being a damn good Super Bowl ad for Sunday...and featuring Star Wars), but I wanted to wash the taste out of my mouth from that last video I posted. Euugh.

KFC China, your new commercial was an INCREDIBLY BAD idea... (VIDEO)

Watch it while you can, and don't be surprised if its yanked...and soon.

Lord have mercy.

Was anyone else offended? I was.

Forget the old stereotypes of black men and fried chicken (that was chicken, right? My Mandarin is rusty). But crushing him with it, and having the crowd cheer? Tone deaf much?

Winning the Future with Clean Energy (VIDEO)

President Obama travels to Penn State University and speaks about encouraging and investing in innovation and clean energy technologies to create new jobs, grow the economy, and win the future.

The President's Address at the National Prayer Breakfast, 2011 (VIDEO)

Speech heavy day today:

The Bonddad makes it plain! The Economy Has Turned the Corner.

We talk about the Economy a lot on this blog.  Of course, the mission of Fort McHenryis Political, but I doubt you'll find much argument that the Economy isn't important to the President's re-election prospects. So when it comes to getting plain-english Econ-talk (backed by statistical facts), you gotta go to the Bonddad.

And boy, did he lay it out today!:

Let's start with top line economic growth. The economy has now printed six quarters of GDP growth. Simply put, economies grow in an expansion, not a contraction.

Next, let's turn to retail sales. The Christmas season was the best in several years. More importantly, consumer spending is now at levels higher than the previous expansion, and retail sales have been printing some strong numbers for the last several months. The data indicates the consumer has returned and with thesavings rate fluctuating between 5%-6%, there is plenty of ammo to keep spending.

Next, look at manufacturing, which the recent Beige Book also indicates is doing well. However, we've had two great data prints this week -- the first from Chicagoand the second from the ISM -- indicating that manufacturing is on track -- in fact, more than "on track;" on fire. A cheaper dollar and strong overseas growth should help manufacturing to keep the momentum up.

Services are also in decent shape, although not as good as manufacturing. This does not mean they are in a recession, but it does mean that on a scale of 1 to 10, they're probably 6.5; they're in OK shape, but also appear to be turning the corner. However, with an expanding economy, this sector should continue improving. (UPDATE: The latest ISM was strong as well, printing a stronger number).

Employment also finally seems to be improving. While weekly initial claims have jumped around for the last month, the problems have been administrative, but fundamental. The last two ADP reports have been good and while the BLS data has been weaker, NDD has correctly noted the data has been positive for some time and all the revisions have been positive.

Housing is still a basket case and will continue to be for for some, largely because of a massive inventory overhang. But if that hasn't killed the recovery yet, then it probably won't.

In short, the data (I know, those pesky facts again) indicate the economy has expanded for over a year and most of the underlying components are improving. There has been enough data over a long enough period of time to indicate we're turned the corner.

White House White Board: Austan Goolsbee on Startup America (VIDEO)

This'll show you how much Egypt has sucked the air out of the room. I almost missed this!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

President Obama's statement on the Transition in Egypt (VIDEO)

Rich Guys have somehow Jedi-Mindtricked themselves into believing that the First Amendment protects them from criticism.

First off, you don't have to be a football fan to enjoy (or understand) the following story:

If you root for the Washington Redskins, as I do, odds are you loathe Redskins Owner Daniel Synder. Mr. Sydner is a Maryland Grad, a brilliant owner, and one of the worst Owners in Pro Sports. He has managed to improve the Redskins balance sheets while simultaneously guaranteeing q burgundy and gold slump towards mediocrity. (4-12 in 2009, 6-10 in 2010).

Needless to say, the Press has noticed Mr. Synder's inept management of the team and one of them wrote a rather harsh (but funny as hell) article on the history of Synder's terrible, horrible management history. It was called: The Cranky Redskin Fan's Guide to Dan Synder.

Needless to say, Danny didn't like it.

Few of us like criticism (few meaning everyone planet-wide). It would be one thing for Danny to shake his fist angrily at the Washington City paper, or release a statement trashing the paper and the article for...well, whatever reason they saw fit.

But of course, that's not what Danny's doing.

What's Danny doing? He's trying to get the writer of the article fired.

With that we can now tie this Football story into a story worthy of a Political blog.

This isn't the first time Danny's done something like this. As the Skins were imploding in 2009, and the 'Skins fans were letting him have it in every manner possible, he banned signs in Fedex Field.

This seems to be the first tact of the those in power. We saw it in Egypt. We see it in China every day. The first idea that pops into the heads of those in power, when faced with criticism, don't address it, squelch it.

Now, let me not make the Steve Cohen mistake. I am examining an idea, an impulse in the human conditition. While on a really bad Sunday where we're losing to the woeful Detroit Lions, one might be cranky enough to compare Danny Synder to a totalitarian dictator, the comparison isn't really apt.

Danny Synder is an @$$hole. He's a bad businessman. He sucks at what he does, but he's not Murbarak, by any measure or stretch of the imagination.

So let's go back to the idea. Why is the first impluse to squelch dissent? Why do the powerful not only do it, but defend the practise as though it was a natural human right.

I would accept it's a natural human impulse. We're all human, and don't like it too much when criticism is hurled our way, no matter how mild it is. The first impulse is to shut it off. For you or me, that means turning away, walking away, pretending it never happened. While these actions may not be helpful in the long run, they are natural impulses.

But the rich and powerful are in a different position than the rest of us. They not only can turn away from such criticism of their wonderful selves (normal), but they have the ability to make sure no one else hears it either. And now we're into creepy territory.

And worse, as I have said, the rich and powerful tend to confuse their rights as a political authority or their rights as a property owner or business owner...with what is right.

It takes a brave person with a stout heart to turn and face criticism. It takes character. One of the things we're going to have to ask in the future is that people in power and authority have more than a little, and not just claim that they do.

Signs you've been in the Senate too long (a not-too-fond farewell to Orrin Hatch)

Courtesy Ezra.

It's not like I ever liked Hatch to begin with, but he is an arrogant bastard. And while it's very likely we wind up with someone like Mike Lee as his replacement, let it be said, Hatch is going down in 2012, and I won't shed any tears:

Perhaps the most telling moment came when Utah's Orrin Hatch scolded Charles Fried, a Harvard law professor who served as Ronald Reagan's solicitor general and considers the mandate easily constitutional, for the quality of his arguments.

The primary flaw Hatch pointed out in Fried's thinking was that, well, Hatch disagreed with it. Despite his preexisting respect for the quality of Fried's legal thinking, the fact that Fried's position differed from Hatch's had left Hatch "shocked" at Fried, not more skeptical of his own thinking. Motivated skepticism in action, I guess.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Affordable Care Act represents the last time Liberals will compromise on Health Care Reform damn careful what you wish for.  Because this ruling, also makes unconstitutional one of your preferred fantasies.

Ummm, what other thing would you like the Government to make us all go out and buy?

Would it be Stocks and Bonds...with your Social Security money, a scheme known as Privatization?

If you can't stomach the idea of being made to buy Health Insurance, how can you then justify making us all go out and buy stocks and bocks with our Social Security Insurance?

And you do realize that the Affordable Care Act represents something else, don't you?

It's the last compromise.

Yeah, because if you trash this, if you make this law invalid, we Democrats will be left with only one choice when it comes to reforming Health Care...that'd would be something we love, and you hate called: Medicare for all.

Yeah, Single...payer.

Not the Public Option.  Not Medicare at 55, Medicare...for...all.

Game on, fellas.

The next big and dangerous lie about Health Care Reform...

You watch it. What's going to happen is that the 26 Attorneys General who sued the Adminstration over Health Care Reform are going to seize upon Judge Vinson's ruling that the Law is unconstitutional, and start saying: "How dare the President enforce his unconstitutional law."

One problem.

Judge Vinson called the Law unconstitutional...sure.

He neglected...for some put a stay on it.

That's right, for all the hubbub and hoopla over this ruling, the Judge in the matter neglected stop it from being enforced. Mostly likely because he knew it wouldn't stand up in Court for more than a nanosecond.

Still, that won't stop a lot of Conservative douchebags and liars out there from proclaiming that the Law is unconstitutional. (Uhh, you've got two Judges saying it is, I got two Judges saying it is -- meet you at Anthony Kennedy's desk in a little over a year).

Once again, the Rhetoric around Health Care Repeal will escalate to dangerous proportions, because in their zeal to make their argument (which will be that the President is doing dangerous and unconstitutional things), we continue down the road that led to Congresswoman's shooting, only this time the the consequences might be far, far more tragic.

Do we even know what the Muslim Brotherhood is? (VIDEO)

Seems to me that a great deal of the commentary about the possible future of Egypt rests on a definition of the Muslim Brotherhood that may not be entirely valid.

That's not to say that they're not bad news, they are.  But co-flating The Brotherhood with Al-Qaeda (as a lot of Righties are doing) is not valid (apparently, they hate each other).

Should the Brotherhood get into power Will they be more radical than Murbarak? Yes.

Will they institute Sharia Law? They'll try.

Will they try to walk away from the 1979 Peace Agreement with Israel? Again, they'll try...they might even succeed as Israel is real unpopular in Egypt.

Will they wage War on Israel? Only if they really, really, really want to get their asses kicked by the Israeli Military and have their stay in power only be a few short months. (If the Protests are about a lack of food and jobs, how does attacking Israel, or sparking an attack from Israel help on either of these fronts?) My bet is they shake their fists real, real hard, but stop short of anything provocative, like sending aid directly into Gaza.

Will they attack America? See the Israel answer above, and multiply times fifty.

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