Outside of the usual cultural warhorse issues (which McCain isn't very
good at exploiting anyway), can you name a single major area of public
concern today in which the Republican position is also popular with the
As previously ridiculed, John McCain's proposed lifting of federal gas taxes over the summer would do nothing to help the price of gas, with the added bonus that it will cut the amount of money that goes to pay for roads and bridges. McCain wants to keep us driving as much as possible, but apparently we'll have to cut across fields and ford rivers and streams on our own.
Not surprisingly, Hillary "No Republican Idea Too Bad To Adopt" Clinton has jumped on the McCain bus and is touting exactly the same, stupid policy.
Now Barack Obama is running commercials in Indiana and Kentucky promising that, if elected, he'll assess a windfall profits "penalty" against oil companies, who are making more money than they've ever made because the price of oil they're already pumping keeps going up. This penalty would do nothing to ease our energy woes, either short- or long-term. And there's no logical reason why oil companies should pay a penalty.
It's like they're in a contest to see who can come up with the worst policy.
How are Republicans going to sell John McCain's bravery in North Vietnamese captivity without highlighting that some of the torture techniques used on McCain are also a part of the Republican anti-terror agenda?
CLARIFICATION: The salient portion of the linked-to op-ed is stress positions, not the breaking of bones.
And, to head off the next Republican argument, just because what you're doing isn't as bad as what someone else has done, that doesn't make it good.
(It would) replace the inefficiency, irrationality, and uncontrolled costs
of the current system with the inefficiency, irrationality, and
uncontrolled costs of a government monopoly. We'll have all the
problems, and more, of private health care -- rigid rules, long waits
and lack of choices, and risk degrading its great strengths and
advantages including the innovation and life-saving technology that
make American medicine the most advanced in the world.
Born the son of a Navy admiral, he was cared for by Navy physicians during his childhood. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in the U.S. Military Academy, and the military's care continued until he retired from the service in 1981. In 1982, he won a seat in Congress, ushering him into the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, and in 2001, he qualified for Medicare. When he says, "we have the highest quality of health care in the world in America," he is speaking as a man who has enjoyed a lifetime of government-run care.
McCain loves his government healthcare, but he'd deny it to others because it's so bad.
I await the media outcry over McCain's obvious hypocrisy.
It's an age-old question: does taking action to mitigate a problem cause more of that problem? Conservative doctrine would say yes, that you don't offer a cure for a deadly sexually transmitted disease because it will cause people to have more sex, just for example, or that you allow the poor the dignity of starvation so that they'll be inspired to forage on their own.
What we're talking about here is more dire, however, than simple, awful death by disease or starvation: the problem of the American affinity for icky clothing at shopping malls. The question is, do you solve the whole problem by somehow convincing the nylon-and-stretch-fabric-clad masses that they could improve their lot in life simply by ordering everything a size bigger or maybe not wearing their jammies out in public, or do you do something to make whatever it is they're wearing less appalling without actually requiring that they stop wearing it?
On this issue I have historically taken a conservative stand. That is, I'm an optimist about human nature and believe that big change is possible. I've assumed that inappropriate attire and unintentionally-bared midriffs and butt cracks are unconscious mistakes, artifacts of the difference between standing still in front of a mirror and wearing clothing while in motion, however lumbering that motion might me. I've believed that with social opprobrium pushing on one end and fine role models like myself pulling from the other, we can move the lethargic masses into a more enlightened way of life.
But there's a company that makes the case that the clothing choices of the typical food court denizen are deliberate and worthy of respect in the same way that some liberals think that Ebonics is a language that should be taught in schools. It's a company that proudly proclaims that it provides "apparel solutions" and uses the phrase "crotch area" on its website more often than I, personally, am comfortable with.
The company is Product Masters, and the product they're mastering is called "NoRiders." NoRiders are stiff cloth pads that can be ironed-on into the insides of the the thighs of problem shorts to keep them from "riding-up," which will also eliminate the most horrible of public displays, "tweezing." If you're brave, you can watch the demonstration video here.
NoRiders, like most inventions good or bad, is the product of a single visionary -- in this case, Catherine "Cas" Chetelat, a mother of eight from Baltimore. Here's some background from a press release:
It all began when Cas became fed up with the annoyance and embarrassment she experienced as her favorite shorts kept riding up her inner thighs, and she decided to do something about it.
The thing that most people would do about that particular problem would be to wear different shorts. But Cas isn't most people, and she started instead to sew various patches and stays into her "favorite" shorts to try to keep them in order. Eventually, she hit on a solution, and her enterprising son took it to market and the rest, as they say, is history.
According to Product Masters, there are 150 million Americans -- fully half the population -- who experience the horror of shorts that scrunch upward in defiance of gravity, confronting their wearers with a terrible dilemma: to tweeze or not to tweeze. (This number sounds about right to me, by the way, based on unintentional research at malls around the country.) That's their target market.
Still, we're left with a basic, moral conundrum: do we enable the wearing of terrible shorts by solving only one of the many problems associated with those shorts? Or do we leave the symptoms of the problem to fester in hopes that mall walkers will be motivated to depart their swishing nylon clothing in favor of something more civilized? Or, perhaps, do we go so far as to make the horrible clothing worse (perhaps requiring that it be made out of highly flammable material so that it will burst into flames after repeated thigh-to-thigh contact) to speed the process of change?
As I've said before, ordinarily I would come down on the side of letting things be and hoping that the market will provide the pressure to inspire change. I can shop somewhere else. But last week I wandered unthinkingly into a mall and saw something so horrible that I think maybe I'm going to get on the NoRiders bandwagon. There was this woman...no. No, I can't talk about it yet. It was too...too...well, you're going to have to take my word for it.
In 2007, cheese production in the United States rose 1.6%. The leading cheese producing state was, of course, Wisconsin, which was responsible for 25.3% of the 9.7 billion pounds of cheese produced in the U.S.
That cheese, rolled into one ounce slices, would form the heart of a grilled cheese sandwich 24.8 miles on a side -- 615.8 square miles in total. The loaf of bread from which that sandwich would have to be cut would be 75 miles long. The flour used to make that loaf of bread represents an above-average harvest on more than 40 million acres of land, more than twice the entire wheat output of Canada in 1921. Serving that grilled cheese sandwich with an appropriately sized side dish would require a bowl of tomato soup the size of Wayne County, Michigan, which has a population of just over 2 million people, each of whom could invite 16 friends over for grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. There would still be enough left over the citizens of Wayne County to have leftover soup and sandwiches for lunch the next day, assuming no one made a pig of himself.
The United States also imported 206,000 tons of cheese in 2007, enough to make a plate of nachos the size of Manhattan Island. Nachos on that scale would require a lot of sliced jalapeno peppers, and if you were to grow a single pepper big enough to provide all the slices necessary for Manhattan-sized nachos (and assuming it was a pepper of standard girth), that pepper would have to be long enough to stretch from the International Space Station to the surface of the Earth.
A big, fat Arkansas convict is suing the state for not giving him enough food.
Laswell says he weighed 413 pounds when he was booked into the
Benton County, Ark., jail last September. The accused killer -- who's
facing capital murder charges -- now tips the scales at 308 pounds.
"If we are in a small pod all day (and) do next to nothing for
physical exercise, we should not lose weight," he says in a lawsuit.
"The only reason we lost weight in here is because we are literally
being starved to death."
There is apparently no truth to the rumor that the Arkansas Department of Corrections will outfit an unused cell block with 1,000-thread-count sheets and begin charging rich people $800 a night for weight reduction.
Reed Hunt looks at John McCain's almost non-existent policy output and discovers that the apparently-not-real-Internet-savvy Senator is taking a strong stand against imaginary email taxes:
John McCain understands that the same people that would tax e-mail will
tax every text message - and even 911 calls.
There is, of course, no effort being made by anyone, anywhere to tax email and text messages. There was, however, a piece of scare-Spam that made the rounds 9 years ago that is the apparent inspiration for McCain's detached-from-reality policy stand. Click here to read the Snopes.com debunking of the rumored email tax.
For those of you visiting for Derby, here's a schedule of this week's events:
Monday -- The Great Bed Race. Teams from various banks and insurance companies put women on tricked-out, wheeled beds and push them through the streets of downtown Louisville, accompanied by laughter and local TV crews. Elsewhere in town, people start laying-in supplies of bourbon and going out into the garden to make sure that the mint is growing. If you haven't got your hat yet, you're pretty much out of luck. All that's left is purple.
Tuesday -- The American Founders Bank Derby Festival Winefest, threatening "Kentucky's finest wines." If you've got any questions about why bourbon is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby, this wine festival should answer them. Also, for those who would rather watch than participate in a wine-related event, there's the Run for the Rose', a contest in which waiters and waitresses demonstrate how fast they can get drinks to your table. This is an event of real merit. The winner gets a 30% tip.
Wednesday -- The Great Steamboat Race. In this entirely rigged event, the Belle of Louisville and the Belle of Cincinnati face off in a death match that will be won by last year's loser, no matter who crosses the finish line first. Don't ask; that's just how it works. The steamboats start downtown, chug slowly upstream to Six Mile Island, turn around, and lumber back down. The banks of the river will be lined with tens of thousands of mostly
drunk people, barely noticing the boats passing by. The boats
themselves will be loaded with festively-dressed revelers, most of whom
settled for steamboat tickets when they couldn't get seats for
Derby.The two hour race is a vivid demonstration of why steamboats aren't seen very much anymore, since similar boats powered by internal combustion take about ten minutes to make the same trip. The prize is a rack of antlers, spray-painted gold.
Thursday -- In continuing with Derby's tradition of corporate sponsorship, the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade blocks traffic downtown for no good reason except to give corporate sponsors an excuse to parade promotional floats right up the middle of Broadway. This year, for the first time in memory, the Grand Marshall is not Willard Scott. It is, in fact, celebrity chef Bobby Flay, whose ubiquity at Derby is turning him into the Meat Loaf of the new millennium. Thursday is also "Louisville's Day At the Track," the day closest to Derby when all the tickets haven't been auctioned off to rich people from far away. Louisvillians take the day off of work to drink and gamble before the Eurotrash rabble arrives. Private jet parking will be in short supply at all three of the area's airports, and I've got one friend over by Bowman Field who makes his annual nut selling jet parking space on his front lawn to people who don't have on-field parking reserved in advance. He can pack a dozen Gulfstreams into his yard and if you duke him an extra twenty, he'll spray your fuselage down with a garden hose.
Friday -- Friday is Oaks Day, The Oaks being a huge, Derby-esque race for fillies, which are girl horses. The Oaks used to be the day Louisville went to the track, but it's such a big deal now that locals are barely allowed. Also on Friday are all the big Derby parties, many of which are affiliated with charities in order to give their depravity a sense of purpose. (No one has ever conducted a study, but I'm guessing the amount of bikini waxing that goes on in Louisville the Friday before Derby is enormous.) The most famous of Derby parties is the Barnstable-Brown event, which takes place in a big house across the street from Cherokee Park. Barnstable and Brown are twin blond hotties-gone-to-seed, former Doublemint Twins, in fact, and every year they invite the entire B-List of celebrities over and then charge regular people a couple of hundred bucks to come in and gawk. It's an uncomfortable event for all involved, and while I can't say for sure that Bobby Flay's going to be there, it's a good bet. Kid Rock will be, for sure, and when the question comes up the answer will be, "Why, yes, that is Meat Loaf over by the buffet." Tickets to the party are often described as "hard to get," but I just Googled the event and found several dozen for sale at face value. If you want to go, I'd wait until the price drops down to 50% of face. The fame of the Barnstable-Brown Party is a lesson in media laziness. It doesn't have the best celebrities and is far from being the best party in town. It's farther still, in fact, from being the most socially elevated, since really classy people don't want to run a gauntlet of tabloid TV crews to get into a party where they're likely to have a drunken confrontation with Larry Birkhead. Barnstable-Brown's prominence derives from its obviousness. The media-bots who come into Louisville for Derby are mostly interested
in filing their stories quickly so they can get drunk and laid like
everyone else. While the really good parties don't invite camera crews in at all, the Barnstable-Brown publicist -- who works year-round on the event -- will provide limo service to anyone with a pro-grade camera.