Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday's fish fry

NANNY STATE ALERT: naturally the Obama administration "welcomes" the bill just passed by congress regulating the tobacco industry. But note that Philip Morris makes an important point:
"The legislation would give the FDA power to ban candy and fruit-flavored cigarettes, widely considered appealing to first-time smokers, including youths. It would prohibit tobacco companies from using terms such as "low tar," "light" or "mild," require larger warning labels on packages, and restrict advertising of tobacco products. It also would require tobacco companies to reduce levels of nicotine in cigarettes. Altria Group, which owns Philip Morris USA, the nation's biggest cigarette company, called the vote "an important step forward on this legislation." But it expressed "First Amendment reservations about certain provisions, including those that could restrict a manufacturer's ability to communicate truthful information to adult consumers about tobacco products."
At least someone is pointing out possible costs to freedom...

In announcing federal monies coming to Michigan, the Vice President babbled:
"It's not just about rebuilding roads ... it's about rebuilding an economy that can lead us into the 21st century," he said, as cars on I-94 whizzed by behind him."
I guess he hasn't noticed--we're already IN the 21st century.
Just think of how the media would chuckle if Dan Quayle had said that...

BASEBALL DIARY: the Tigers lost yesterday to the White Sox, 4-3. They still won 3 of 5 in the series...but it could have been 4 of 5. Curtis Granderson had tied the game at 3 in the top of the 9th with a long, two-out home run off the Sox's closer, Bobby Jenks. The Tigers had momentum. But then Joel Zumaya failed to even record an out in the bottom of the 9th, and threw away a sacrifice bunt, basically ensuring the loss. Too bad. You hate to see one get away like that, especially when the team had battled hard through a long rain delay, etc...
Meanwhile the Cubs just aren't hitting--they lost again to Houston yesterday, 2-1 in 13 innings, and managed only 6 hits. Especially galling should be that mediocre Houston starter Russ Ortiz--he'd been banished to middle relief lately--held them to only 2 hits in 5 innings plus.
The Texas Rangers aren't hitting that well right now, either, but they still won last night over Toronto, 1-0. Credit the great start by Kevin Millwood, solid bullpen relief, and several outstanding defensive plays. That's the difference in this team this year--it's pitching and defense have improved significantly.

DAVID LETTERMAN UPDATE: an MSNBC celebrity writer suggests that he's on his way to winning the late-night talk show wars. And his recent, rather disgusting comments about Sarah Palin? Well:
"And no discussion of Letterman’s week can take place without bringing up Sarah Palin. Without going into laborious detail, regardless of your stance on his original inflammatory remarks, Letterman’s response to Palin can be categorized as deft and well-executed. It won’t hurt him."
"Deft"? A non-apology for an ugly joke made about a mother and her 14 year-old daughter is hardly that. Unfortunately, given the views held by most in Hollywood (reflected in the above piece), she's probably right--this whole episode won't hurt him. And that's sad.

MITCH DANIELS--THE FUTURE OF THE GOP?: remember when I mentioned him recently? Others see his ideas and accomplishments as a part of the party's future, too:
"Daniels went on to give a plug for empathy as an animating attitude for the GOP: “We must not only assert, but assert with credibility, that we understand what is going on in the lives of everyday people.” His pitch included a plug for Republicans directing themselves “almost entirely to the young people of this country.” In Indiana, Daniels explained, the GOP is “the party of purpose,” arrayed against Democrats who are “reactionary” and “negative” — “everything we must not be, as we address national events.” If this sounds like a call for a mushy me-tooism, it isn’t. When Daniels took office, the state had an $800-million deficit. He turned that into a $1.3-billion surplus (although it will be eaten into in the current downturn). Since 2005, he has saved roughly $450 million in the state’s budget and reduced the state’s rate of spending growth from 5.9 percent to 2.8 percent. “I tell you with certainty,” Daniels told his Washington audience, “concern about the debt and deficit has not gone out of style.” “Mitch the Knife,” as he was nicknamed when he headed George W. Bush’s Office of Management and Budget, has matched his fiscal probity with the restless innovation of a devoted policy entrepreneur. He leased the state’s faltering toll road to a European operator for nearly $4 billion. He created health savings accounts for Indiana’s poor. He deregulated telecommunications. And he attracted business to the state, with Indiana winning more foreign investment than any other state during the past two years."

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION UPDATE: I said recently that he'll begin to "own" some problems soon; now the NY Times is saying it, too:
at a certain point, a new president assumes ownership of the problems and finds himself answering for his own actions. For Mr. Obama, even some advisers say that moment may be coming soon. Mr. Obama got a taste of that in recent days as he and his White House were put on the defensive trying to explain why the unemployment rate had risen to 9.4 percent when his staff had predicted it would peak at 8 percent as long as Congress passed his stimulus plan, which lawmakers dutifully did. Mr. Obama obviously did not create the recession passed to him, but it was his administration that set the expectation that his policy would keep it from deepening as far as it has."
He's got until summer or early fall, it appears...

PAUL KRUGMAN, HATER: he claims Republicans and conservatives are providing a "climate" in which extremists can operate. Really? He writes:
"The R.N.C. says that “the Democratic Party is dedicated to restructuring American society along socialist ideals.” And when Jon Voight, the actor, told the audience at a Republican fund-raiser this week that the president is a “false prophet” and that “we and we alone are the right frame of mind to free this nation from this Obama oppression,” Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, thanked him, saying that he “really enjoyed” the remarks."
And how often, over the past 8 years, did those on the left label George W. Bush a "fascist", a "dictator"? I even read one claim that Bush hoped to do away with the 2008 election in order to remain in power. Did Mr. Krugman denounce such extremist rhetoric? Of course not.