Friday, May 20, 2011

The Morning Blog

I have to admit that I didn't watch all of the President's speech on the Mid-East yesterday. Evidently, it ruffled some feathers. Netanyahu has said that he expects a reaffirmation of American commitments to Israeli security. And well, the thing is this: We are committed. I don't know that there's anything else we can do to show the level of our commitment. We've provided enormous military aid because of this commitment. We've permanently damaged our relations with every other country in the region because of this commitment. Frankly, we've opened ourselves to the threat of terrorism because of this commitment. Stating our position on what we'd like to see as a resolution to the endless Arab-Israeli conflict is hardy a walk-back on any of this. Considering the political and economic capital we've expended on this, it's reasonable to make clear what it is we're looking for.

To be perfectly honest, I think it's probably for the best that relations have become frosty. I don't believe that we can or should continue offering Israel our unconditional support. It's important to recognize that they're a very important ally. But clearly, as with any alliance, we have interests that diverge.

The Arab response to the speech? Meh.

Looks like the Chinese will be entertaining a foreign leader as well. Kim Jong Il may or may not be visiting China in his heavily armored Bat-Train. He may or may not be taking the boy along for the trip, just to give the youngster a chance to meet the neighbors before he seizes ultimate power. Here's a quick fantasy: The Chinese are the chief patrons of the DPRK. What if they said that they weren't comfortable with the idea of a Communist dynasty? Particularly one being set up in a family that's so...eccentric shall we say? What if they tied their continued support to the establishment of a responsible leadership? Oh my! Such zippy fun would be had upon the Korean peninsula!

Astonishingly, Ecuador's president Rafael Correra has pushed through a referendum handing him more power over the media and judiciary. Typically, one would think that's precisely the sort of power grab that would alarm the citizenry. However, the good people of Ecuador have their own concerns and are taking to the streets to protest a far more controversial measure: a ban on bullfighting.

Sheesh...C'mon guys. You're economists, for crying out loud. This is not the image I had of you. I was thinking of something far more tweedy and bespectacled. I guess that's just how economists on the world stage roll. It certainly gives a new meaning to the phrase "pencil pushers".

Here's something interesting they could look into: Bubbles in the market. Interesting question: Is gold a 4,000 year old bubble?

Same crap, different administration. Personally, I'm just disgusted rather than surprised. I would be shocked if any government abandoned powers seized by a previous regime.

While we're on the subject of the administration, we should raise a tiny question concerning legality. Though we've obviously passed the ludicrous "weeks not months" deadline in Libya, there's still the inconvenient fact of the War Powers Act. Have to give points to Sen. Rand Paul for this:

"You could say, 'Well, we have a good president, he'll do the right thing.' Well, someday you may have a president who does the wrong thing, and that's why you have rules, because you can never count on people being good people," Paul told CNN.

2012 Watch: Dodged a bullet. I still don't think that Trump was actually running but yikes! I don't think he ever really had a chance. I just don't think that he was mature enough to be in government.

More 2012 Watch: Here's someone else we won't have to worry about. I don't believe that it's possible to become President after a vicious glittering. Doom! Doom, I say! Doom for the Gingrich campaign!:

I can’t remember when we’ve heard a politician plead so desperately to take back something he said. Then again, naked desperation is clearly in order. The favorite parlor game in Washington this week has been trying to remember a more disastrous campaign launch than the one Gingrich is having. Many candidates have stumbled coming out of the gate, but few have taken off like a shot in the wrong direction.

Even More 2012 Watch: Hey! Who let a grownup in here?

Even More, More 2012 Watch: Lest the Republican primary be sullied by two many candidates equipped with "ideas" or "experience" or "intact frontal lobes", Vanity Fair has been kind enough to list some folks that could run. Because why the hell not?

Please note that Chuck Norris does not run. He kicks.

Obviously, whenever anyone chooses to sit down in the middle of a dark road and gets hit by a car, it's the fault of Four Loko. It's the devils drink! What could possibly be clearer? It couldn't be more obvious that they forced him to buy it illegally, ignore the labels on the can saying that it was alcoholic and go on to consume a mess of it. I also assume that they told him that there was candy in the middle of the road and if he'd just sit there a spell, he'd get some. In all seriousness, this is a sad story and I'm sorry for the family but can we please accept that there might be a few matters of personal responsibility here?

Any chance we can blame this on Four Loko as well? After all, a teenager is involved!

As long as Kentucky is giving a tax break to a Bible themed amusement park, I'd like to hope that they don't just focus on Noah and his improbable Ark. There's so much fun to be had in the Bible, I'd hate to see them leave a single verse out! Might I suggest a special, grownup section of the park celebrating Ezekiel 23:19-20?

In other religious news, is anyone else gearing up for the best damned party?

Call out the fashion police!

I think it's safe to accept that mandatory sentencing is moronic. Seriously... a man in California is facing life in prison for murdering a chihuahua. On what planet does that make sense?

The Transformers Movie. It's a little light on explosions and Megan Fox but that's probably for the best.

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