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Nu Obs & Ops
Violence is out of control in Syria – now Russia says it's sending planes to Beirut to evacuate Russian nationals.
Nothing’s quite as sure as change – once the biggest name in video games, Atari today filed for bankruptcy. They're most remembered for Pong, the early video ping pong game, one of the first such games to reach commercial success.
The latest listed victim of the hostage-taking in Algeria – 57-year-old Victor Lynn Lovelady, a graduate of Nederland high school south of Beaumont, Texas.
Obama took the oath of office again this morning, in that most unique American
ritual, the presidential inauguration. Then
Obama spoke specifically to his supporters rather than to all of America. As the Washington Post put it today, the
president that liberals were waiting for is finally here. The accompanying message is he’s the
president of liberals, leaving the rest of America wanting. In his speech today, there was precious little
for the millions who have no job, no hope for a job and only some home for part
time work. The unemployment rate is the same now as it was when he took office. He paid tribute to events of the last
century that for many of us seem like ancient history. He dissed the Tea Party, saying government
programs do not make us a nation of takers -- he promised to address climate
change, an issue not settled in the minds of many, and gay marriage, and defending
abortion on demand, he spoke glowingly of the collectivist approach to public
policy and called on the constitution to condemn the rich getting richer while
the poor grow. In this most divided time
in America politically, this is the Obama administration’s way. Then there’s the highway.
This was the most depressing day of the year -- worldwide, according to Wales psychologist Cliff Arnell. The combination of cold weather, a long stretch of days with little or no sunshine, Christmas bills coming in, difficulty keeping new years resolutions sinking in, spring seems a long way off – the confluence of these make January twenty-first most depressing, Arnell says. But now, look on the bright side, January twenty-first is over! Now of course, there's always April fifteenth...
1/16/13: Hostages in Africa -- and in America?
taken in northern Africa – the two dead during the kidnapping are now said to
be French and British nationals who were working at a natural gas facility deep
in the Sahara desert, on a bus headed for an airport when they were attacked by
terrorists. At least 24 others, including an unknown number of Americans, were taken
...President Obama is "frustrated with our republic," with the way it works. That’s the estimation of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, commenting on Obama’s speech this morning calling for more control on guns and gun owners. Rubio said this afternoon that when Obama made 23 executive orders instead of allowing the gun control debate to fully go to Congress, Obama was abusing his power and ignoring the constitution. But there are analysts on Capital Hill who say Obama’s challenge to Congress to ban certain weapons is being met with little enthusiasm by members of Congress – and may indeed by dead on arrival in the House of Representatives.
1/15/13: New York, Atlanta and other outposts of The Universe
It’s the biggest thing in the universe. The Royal Astronomical Society says an international team of researchers has found the largest known structure in the universe – a big clump of quasars – which are the center of galaxies – quasars that are lumped together in a mass so big it’s mind boggling even to astronomers. So big, seriously, that if you wanted to cross this mass of outer space matter in a starship -- travelling at the speed of light – it would still take you about 4 billion years to cross it.
Here in the United States, what are people in general concerned about? Gun laws? A new Gallup poll says people are worried about the state of the economy in general – then the budget deficit second – dissatisfaction with government third. And then, fourth, unemployment; fifth, lack of money; sixth, taxes – then gun control.
New York’s Governor has signed a new law, the toughest gun control law in years. Obama is set to announce his gun control plans any time now.
An Atlanta man named Larry Ward has designated this Saturday as Gun Appreciation Day. He says it may be coincidental that it's just hours before the president’s inauguration. Word is spreading fast and gun appreciation events are being scheduled nationwide.
Fitch’s rating service says the US will see a credit downgrade if Congress and Obama don’t raise the debt ceiling.
Dell computer is treading water on the markets – stock down 40-percent over the past five years – now the company based near Austin is talking with investors about going private. Investment houses are skeptical, though, that that will turn the company’s fortunes around.
The Golden Globe awards Sunday night had a turn of fortune – ratings way up. The consensus is it was an entertaining show – humor writer Howard Levane notwithstanding. Levine called it "Useless statues given for unimportant movies presented by people of modest stage talent." Yeah, but did you like the show, Howard?
1/11/13: Random Notes
There’s speculation that the White House may tap Texan Kay Bailey Hutchison to replace Transportation Secy Ray LaHood – and Hutchison would be a great choice, but Obama likely has lots of female candidates – he’s probably got binders full of women.
Obama says US troops this spring will begin taking on a supporting role in Afghanistan, as part of the winding down of our military operations there. We’ll still be training Afghan troops – but before you know it we’ll be leading from behind.
The White House announced today that the state of the union address is set for Feb. 12. If that date sounds familiar, well, it’s Lincoln’s birthday. But it’s also Josh Brolin’s birthday and he’s a big Obama fan.
The more we’re reading about the background of what happened in last year’s presidential election, the more it seems like the two candidates didn’t really want all that much to be president. It must have been nice to be around for the 1968 election. Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. Now there were two guys who really wanted to be president.
New York City – a comedy improvisation group plans to gain publicity Sunday by riding the subway wearing no pants. Don’t ask why, it’s New York.
Houston’s mayor Anise Parker says she’s supporting Wendy Greuel for mayor of Los Angeles. Sorry if I sound like Andy Rooney, but I have trouble supporting anyone who’s last name reminds me of that terrible food they kept feeding Oliver Twist in the Charles Dickens novel.
A study of the new Texas legislature meeting this week shows that nearly a third of members are lawyers. That means all you have to do is stand there in the senate or house and scream the words "I've fallen and I can't get up" -- you may draw a very interested crowd.
Most of all, it’s nice to know that new Texas US Senator Ted Cruz has a sense of humor. After spending a week getting settled in Washington, he landed in Texas and said, "It's great to be back in America!"
1/8/13: Hottest US Temperatures In the History of the World -- and Even More Hyperbole!
Politics as practiced in Washington today is doing serious harm to the nation. That’s the takeaway from today’s Gallup poll – 68-percent of democrats agree – 79-percent of Independents – 87-percent of Republicans agree -- politics as usual is bad for America.
Lots of partying in Austin last night – the Texas legislature convened today at noon – Joe Straus remains speaker of the House – politicos will be settling in for a couple of days before they face a number of problems, including the increasingly scarce and important resource – water.
Headline in the Dallas Morning News today – "Texas School Districts Want the State to Get Off Their Back." Districts are starting to understand how many taxpayers and business owners feel about the federal government.
The Obama administration will be around another four years – so if you’ve got big bucks its time to get on board – a committee paying for the inauguration on January 21, encouraging everyone to contribute up to a million bucks. ASAP.
warming agenda – The National Climatic Data Center today said last year was the
warmest ever. USA Today says 2012 was
the hottest year in the history of the United States. The New York Times says, "It’s official:
2012 was hottest year ever in US." Okay. Actually, records have only been kept since
1895, so there are plenty of years when it could have been hotter but we don’t
know. 1782, perhaps. But you can read the entire
article on the New York Times website and they don’t even tell you how hot it
actually was last year – but the answer is -- 2012’s average temperature was
one degree higher than the previous hottest year, 1998 when the average
national temperature all year was a scorching 54.3 degrees.
12/31/12: Hold You In Their Armchair You Can Feel Their Disease
In the old
cowboy movies, "Go for your guns" meant a standoff on Main Street. But for Calfornia senator Dianne Feinstein,
it means tough new gun legislation she promises to introduce soon – calling
for fingerprinting gun owners, forced registration of guns that are not
registered, and widening the definition of assault weapons. Senator Feinstein says her bill will stop the sale, transfer, importation or manufacture
of deadly assault weapons. Unless of
course Eric Holder decides to let some loose in another gun-walking operation.
Recall -- more than Nap Nanny baby recliners are being removed from stores after at least five infant deaths and dozens of reports of children nearly falling out of the recliners – the Consumer Products Safety Commission says go to their website for details on the Nap Nanny baby recliner design problems.
Still nowhere near any solution to the so-called fiscal cliff – unless you
count the solution that Starbucks coffee shops have come up with – they say their cups will
feature the political message – two words – "Come Together." As in the old John Lennon song, now directed
to the pesident and congress. You know, the classic philosophical song about the spinal cracker and the Ju-Ju Eyeballs.
Our notes after spending most of Friday 12/14 covering a tragic shooting in Connecticut:
One note – emotions were running high this afternoon – some news media picked up the mistaken report that Ryan – not Adam -- Lanza was the shooter. Then they put Ryans facebook page on the internet. Big mistake, which led to some confusion. And emotions are still high – New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg used this tragedy to again call for gun control. So did the mayor of Boston. Connecticut has one of the most stringent gun control laws in the nation. Perhaps there should be a cooling off period while we mourn the loss of these children, before we jump back into politics as usual.
11/9/12: Trende says: It Was Not About the Minorities Who Showed Up, It Was About the 'Whites' Who Didn't
...But a Real Clear Politics.com columnist with the appropriate name of Sean Trende says apples-to-apples comparisons of the turnout on the 2008 and 2012 election days show only slight increases in minority voting. But the mix of people generically called white people just stayed home by the millions this past election day, largely in ignored rural areas where unemployment is high. Trende says the reason is likely that they don’t like the job Obama’s done – but the negative ads portraying Romney as an isolated, rich Wall Street fatcat who couldn’t articulate a clear positive agenda for the future made their votes look futile. The whole thing will be clearer when the official voter demographic breakdowns are released.
Masking In the Limelight
We were worried about this whole election. As a friend of ours points out, this election was complicated and verbose and very, very expensive and it put a lot of money into my industry, broadcasting, so I enjoyed it. And I enjoyed doing radio commentary about it, reporting the news stories about the election and hearing what people said about it and what people said about what people said and so on.
But we were worried because the whole election was a done deal days ago, if people had just been paying attention. Oh, we were caught up in the game of politics and the usual Gotcha stuff and My Way Or the Highway stuff that politics -- and political correctness -- is all about these days. And we were caught up in doing Hallowe'en with our kids too, so we didn't notice that an important bellwether had been mentioned in the news media.
The sales of Hallowe'en masks gave away the direction in which the election winds were blowing. The Obama mask outsold the Romney mask by a landslide: 60% for the incumbent, 40% for the challenger. No contest.
For heaven's sake. Why, our friend questions, did it take Romney till November 6th -- a full 6 days after the Obama mask landslide results were in -- to concede the election?
QUOTE OF THE YEAR (SO FAR:)
"The people who 'reach out' are also those whose thinking is always “blue sky," who can’t describe anything vaguely contemporary without incorrectly enlisting phrases such as “minimalist” or “modernist” and who don’t have to hurry to the airport but need to “rocket” there. But for now if we can just get everyone to delete “reach out” from their memory banks, opening our emails will be a less tense experience. And if they don’t, perhaps we’ll have to reach out – and grab them by the throat."
Contents copyright 2012 Michael Shiloh All Rights
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