Friday, October 31, 2008

Okay, I haven't kept up this blog. Partially, it's because of health problems and overtime at work. But partially, it was the fact that my initial candidate, Hillary, didn't win. It did get me down for a while. Of course I backed Obama, I'm a Democrat, but I wasn't terribly enthusiastic. But seeing him closer up for months now, seeing how absolutely brilliant his campaign has been, has raised my enthusiasm for him so much that, well, I'm thinking I might have been wrong to back Hillary at first. The other day, as Rachel Maddow said, Obama had three or four events in Florida, a national (and brilliant) half-hour on TV, and an appearance on the Daily Show, as well as a very candid and relaxed interview with Rachel. And he was smiling and happy, and arriving ahead of time everywhere. The guy is just cool.

My one concern is that, in health care, for instance, Obama doesn't seem to me to be committed to a universal system, just a "more affordable" system. I don't believe that's going to work. In fact, the best thing about Edwards' and Hillary's plans was that people of all ages could choose Medicare. A lot of younger people would choose that, solving the Medicare liquidity problem. And the private system would have to comete with a government plan to survive.

To do that, there needs to be a mandate.

However, I'm reassured that when medical plans come up for the vote, Obama will be responsive to grassroots.

But other than questions like that, other than wanting to push Obama to the left on some issues, I'll be ecstatic on November 5 -- if things turn out like I think.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I had never seen this guy before, and he looks really intense and maybe even weird. His name is Robert Zubrin, and he popped up on my TV screen on C-Net on Jan. 6. His topic was simple: how do we break the monopoly power of OPEC? That's the relevant question of the 21st century, and I had never heard of anyone give such a detailed analysis of how to get there. Well, he simplifies the process in the extreme: mandate flex fuel engines on all cars sold in the United States, and let the market provide the cheapest, least-polluting alternative. It wouldn't be more expensive than requiring seat belts in every car. Maybe $100 per: you'd reprogram the fuel injection computer, and make the engine more resistant to corrosion. Then you'd lift the embargo on imports of fuel from, say, Brazil -- once all the cars can accept a wide variety of fuels, we'll need way more fuel than we could produce. Say it's a trillion dollars a year: half of that could come from the third world, especially Africa. This is what would break the stranglehold of the financiers of terrorism. I'd love to hear other people's opinions about this guy.

By the way, the only presidential candidate who has a coherent policy on this is Hillary, but he finds her approach a little too timid. The fastest way to progress is to mandate all cars to have these engines, and then the market will provide the pumps and the multiple possibilities of fuels that compete with oil very well indeed. Hydrogen and plug-in hybrids are more expensive. Biofuels are here now.

His talk on C-Span is here:

Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Coalition of the Clueless.

That's who's on the other side of the picket line in the WGA strike, and the most distinct voice today is Michael Eisner. He's blaming it all on Steve Jobs. Really, Mikey? That is the epitome of stupid, and you ought to know better. The fact that you don't is the reason you lost your studio, Mike. Now, I don't know the breakdown of the price in movie and TV downloads in iTunes, but there's lots of evidence that the music side gives .70 out of .99 to the studio. The rest is bandwidth cost, credit card fees, and some small profit. Now, what is the cost of supplying that file to iTunes, Mike? Approximately nothing, isn't it? I mean, I could do the mastering, and I'm no pro. Now, where are the trucks to deliver the recordings? The lyrics sheet? The cover art? Well, nowhere, actually. So the additional cost of digital distribution is zero. What percentage of the $1.99 cost of a show goes to the writers? Why, that would be nothing, Mike. Zero. Zilch.

Now, the last thing that Steve Jobs did was put the .70 per track in your hands. If you don't share that added income with the artists, what fault is that of Jobs? You're the rights holder, Mike. Time you took some responsibility, and split up the profits like a man.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Crazy people of the day. Norman Podhoretz on the MacNeil News Hour. Why should we bomb Iran? Well, because, and I kid you not, if we had taken action earlier against Hitler, we could have avoided the Second World War. That's it, the whole sum of his analysis: Ahmedinijad is the new Hitler.

Iran has an economy the size of Finland. They may get a few A-bombs eventually, but at least according to al-Baradei, who was right about Saddam too, not for a few years at least, and maybe never. They couldn't defeat Saddam's army, which we took care of in 100 hours the first time and in a couple of weeks the second time even with the crazy man Rumsfeld's army. They may end up with some bombs, but they'd have to have missiles to deliver them, even to Israel, which has 200 bombs -- they say -- and it likely could never deliver them against us, and we still could make Iran into a glowing glass parking lot in an hour or two.

This former Trotskyite is another phenomenon of the circle being completed, along with Horowitz. From lefty fanaticism to right-wing, with never a stop in reality. Saints preserve us, Bush is talking to this man, and he's a Giuliani adviser. He's too extreme for Bill Buckley. Still more than 400 days to go with Bush. I hope we survive.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Pete Stark was right.

There is very little evidence, at this point, that Bush is acting out of any other motivation besides a narcissistic sadism. Right now, he's going down as the worst president ever, in charge of the most misguided military operation ever, that is hemorrhaging money and lives at a rate you normally don't see outside movies like Halloween 69, all for the benefit of high oil prices for Putin and a great recruitment field for Al Qaeda.

And yet, Pete Stark was the one who narrowly escaped censure, being forced to ritualistically debase himself... for what? I understand why Republicans play this game, but obviously the Democratic leadership does not.

If we were Rovians, we would have had third parties showing clip after clip of Bush discussing the most grave and deadly things with that sadistic smirk on his face. Or repeating what he said to the MSNBC host Tucker Carlson that Carla Faye Tucker, the condemned murderer, would say if he met with her: "Please," Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "don't kill me." Because it is a simple fact that Bush is a sadistic teenager, who got in trouble for exploding frogs, and seems to take pleasure in causing pain. Forget the "respect for the office," the man has to do something to deserve it.

Instead, we have "White Gloves Nancy" Pelosi decrying the truth because it is rude, oh, so rude, and forcing the truthteller, like so many Democrats before, to humiliate himself and the party.