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      Not unexpected. This will make direct competition with entrenched players nearly impossible, since they will be able to buy access to customers, and upstarts won’t. The Internet as a place where anybody could start a new business will constrict. Oligopoly and monopoly providers (and many areas effectively have only one ISP) will extract even higher […]
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Conflucian Cocktail Party: We need a little Christmas

Oh, man!  I am all lost now.  WordPress has changed its post page.  All the icons have moved to different places.  Bear with me while I figure this sucker out.

It’s that time of year again.  Time to break out the decorations.  You don’t even have to be Christian to play along, as my mother, the Jehovah’s Witness never tired of reminding me.  Much of the Christmas holiday is grounded in Saturnalia that the Christians copped from the Romans.  That whole holly and ivy thing?  Probably copied from the Celts who had a thing for dragging greenery into the house, as did the Germans with their trees.

This year, I’m a little more excited about Christmas than I have been in the past.  The days got short on me almost without warning.  I don’t know where the summer went while I was blogging and coming home from work in the dark is just dreary.  But right around Christmas time, the days will start to lengthen again and before you know it, the birds will be waking you up at 5:00AM.  It’s something to look forward to, not to mention the smell of Christmas tree, the sparkle of tinsel and the taste of cinnamon and cloves.

So, settle back and join in this first of many Conflucian Holiday Parties.  I hope to see a Hannukah party and a little something on Kwanzaa too.  Rico our bartender with flair is taking the night off.  He’s beat.  I know just how he feels.  But never fear.  We still have cocktails.  Our guest bartender tonight is Alberta Straub, or “Flighty”.  Her special drink for the night is a Date With David Bowie.  Check it out:

I’m sipping a Bulleit Bourbon with middle notes that remind me of Juicy Fruit gum.  Delish!  But you can order anything you like.

Our entertainment tonight is from an American classic, a Charlie Brown Christmas.  Vince Guaraldi’s cool, west coast jazz was a perfect accompaniment to the round headed kid who was the very opposite of cool.  Feel the anticipation with Christmas is Coming:

Or Saturnalia.  Feel your inner pagan.

Ladies and Gents, regulars and newcomers, we run a respectable joint around here.  If you can’t say something nice, leave it with Florence, our lovely checkroom attendant.  The waiters will be circulating with some of the marshmallows we made earlier in the day, some cheddar cheese sticks and piggy back dates.  Please drink responsibly, tip your wait staff generously and join me at 10PM EST for Conflucians Say on PUMA United Radio (PURrrr).

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Roe-Hopenol

Whither Roe?

Whither Roe?

For many months, we PUMAs heard that the main reason people were voting for Obama was the Supreme Court. NOW and NARAL endorsed him without qualifications, so Obama must be pro-choice, right? Hey, ladies, what’s yer problem? Barack Obama will preserve Roe v. Wade forever, won’t be too mean when you’re periodically down, and will even give you a kiss, sweetie!

Well, now that a majority of women believed this Supreme Court Roe-Hopenol and voted for Obama, let’s see how realistic that whole relentless campaign was, shall we?

For example, who among the four “liberal” justices is planning to retire? Justice Stevens seems to be the most likely, since he is already 88 years old.

Or, maybe not.

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Nov. 18 (UPI) — U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, at 88, isn’t showing any signs he’s considering retiring from the bench, observers say.

Stevens, who leads the high court’s aging liberal wing, remains vigorous, still plays tennis, swims in the ocean and says he doesn’t consider the Supreme Court’s workload to be overly taxing, The Washington Post (NYSE:WPO) reported Tuesday.

A prime motivation for some voters in backing the campaign of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama was to ensure a Democratic president would be in a position to replace Stevens and fellow Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75, and David Souter, 69, with other liberals. But none of them, especially Stevens, has indicated any plans to retire soon, the newspaper said.

Huh. Stevens, Ginsburg and Souter are not planning to retire anytime soon. Ooooops!

Well, what about Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is not a liberal, but who is often a key swing vote for the liberal wing of the Court? Kennedy is 72, but despite repeated searches on Teh Google, I cannot find any stories that quote him about his intentions to retire before 2012. The most I’ve seen is a lot of wishful thinking from Obama supporters based on his age and health. Oooooops!

Okay, but what about Stevens standing before The Ultimate Judge in the next four years? It’s entirely possible that the 88-year-old (Gawd forbid) could pass away anytime. (Of course, so could any of the Justices, so I’m a bit dubious regarding the wisdom of basing one’s electoral strategy on when the Grim Reaper will strike). Assuming this sad event does in fact occur, who, oh who, will Barack Obama place in his stead?

If you read through the list linked in this Salon article (Salon being an extremely Obama-friendly press outlet), you will see a diverse mixture of men, women, moderates, liberals and nods to various ethnicities. Sounds great at first.

But do you notice anything about the summaries next to the candidates’ names? Not one of them mentions Roe v. Wade.

Oooooops!

Are we now supposed to pretend that Obama has no responsibility to live up to the expectations of his female voters? Are we women, and the men who support us, supposed to forget that his campaign scared us for months about McCain and Palin and their extreme anti-choice views leading to the overturn of Roe v. Wade? Now, we don’t even merit a mention, as if Obama does not even have to consider Roe v. Wade in his possible judicial appointments?

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The Fairy Tales Live On

We all know Barack Obama has never held a firm position on Iraq and in fact has prevaricated many times, here’s a couple of reminders for anyone who doubts:

and

What we might not have know is how extensive the sham was perfected throughout his campaign. Come to find out, the new UN Ambassador, Susan Rice, is a prevaricator on Iraq as well. If not an out and out liar. Here is what she told the New York Sun back in January of 2008:

“I was attracted to him in the very beginning as someone who was extraordinarily intelligent, thoughtful, and had a remarkably broad and deep grasp of the key foreign policy challenges of the day,” she said. Ms. Rice said she was drawn to him in part because of his early and vocal opposition to the Iraq war. She had also spoken out on the war before the American invasion, and she said she respected Mr. Obama for making “the same unpopular choice I had made,” despite what she described as a “huge amount of pressure in Washington to go along with or support the war.”

Here is what she said in an NPR interview on February 6, 2003 one day after Colin Powell made his case to the UN:

“I think he [Powell] has proved that Iraq has these weapons and is hiding them,” said Rice, a former Clinton administration State Department aide, “and I don’t think many informed people doubted that.”

Thursday: Rove makes a point

MC Rove dances at the WH Correspondents Dinner in 2006.  A date that will live in infamy.

MC Rove dances at the WH Correspondents Dinner in 2006. A date that will live in infamy.

Karl Rove says that McCain couldn’t compete against Obama’s money advantage.  Karl forgets that the media also fellated Obama while destroying the intellect of Sarah Palin, the DOW took a dive at a most conveeeeenient moment (Thanks, Wall Street!) and Flight Jacket Thrill Bush had the lowest approval rating in history.  It’s quite possible that Dennis Kucinich could have won against McCain.

Ok, maybe not Dennis.

Obama continued his lucky streak in November.  He has an uncanny knack for winning on everything but merit.  Karl says “follow the money” in his column in the WSJ called McCain Couldn’t Compete with Obama’s Money.  Hmmm, you could read more than one meaning into that headline.  But let us assume tha Karl is referring to the $250,000,000 advantage Obama had in October and November and the fact that *today*, both campaigns have to spill the beans to the FEC about where it all came from.

On May 31, as the general election began in earnest, the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee had a combined $47 million in cash, while the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee had a combined $85 million.

Between then and Oct. 15, the Obama/DNC juggernaut raised $658.7 million. I estimate today’s reports will show Mr. Obama, the DNC and two other Obama fund-raising vehicles raised an additional $120 million to $140 million in October and November, giving them a total of between $827 million and $847 million in funds for the general election.

Nearly a billion dollars.  Imagine how many foreclosed properties in Chicago that would have saved.

How did Mr. Obama use his massive spending advantage?

He buried Mr. McCain on TV. Nielsen, the audience measurement firm, reports that between June and Election Day, Mr. Obama had a 3-to-2 advantage over Mr. McCain on network TV buys. And Mr. Obama’s edge was likely larger on local cable TV, which Nielsen doesn’t monitor.

Whoa!  That’s a lot of ad time to fast forward through on the DVR.  Karl is giving too much credit to ad time.  It may have given Obama the air of inevitability but I don’t think it would have worked so well if there weren’t other factors in his favor.  I think Karl doesn’t want you to pay much attention tot he other factors that I mentioned above.  The Republicans were WILDLY unpopular.  If it weren’t for Rove, Obama could have never have carried it off.

Then Karl gets to the point: McCain was hoisted on his own petard.  One can almost detect a note of glee that McCain was done in by his own campaign finance reform.  Karl pronounces it dead and predicts that no candidate will ever make the mistake of going with public financing again.  It’s going to be one giant pool of money for each side. There will be ad buys the likes of which we have never seen, GOTV efforts that will annoy even the most committed voters, a Greek temple for every pol.

But the fact remains that Obama got only about 1/4 of his money from small donors of $200 or less.  The rest came from the same fat cats that have always contributed to campaigns, except that *this* year, they switched parties to the tune of about $500,000,000.  That’s a lot of money from untraceable debit cards.  Karl must be secretly admiring Obama.  Maybe he’s seen Obama in a Flight Jacket.  Heck, for all we know, he gave David Axlerod the idea to use the prepaid debit cards in the first place.  It could happen.

Karl is right about one thing though: we need to see where the money came from.  In this day and age, there is simply no excuse for not being able to publish this information instantly.  The technology is there.  Let’s see just how much money those fictional characters pitched in and by what means.  It’s only fair, especially now that Bill Clinton has had to cough up the list of donors to his library. In fact, Obama would look like a hypocrite if he didn’t let us examine his books. I mean, we *PUMAs* know what a corrupt politician Obama is but the rest of the progressive blogosphere who went on ad nauseum about how resilient Obama was to corporate cash will not believe it until they see proof.  Ok, they might not see it even then but maybe we can get them to shut up about the Clinton library and Global Initiative, which looks positively modest and beneficent at this point compared to Obama’s obscene amount of campaign cash.

The end does NOT justify the means, Obots.  Obama ruined our primary system, our campaign finance system and our right to self-determination.  He’s really no better than Bush and Rove in that respect.  He may be the president next year but we will remind ourselves *daily* about how he got there.

It ain’t pretty.

One more thing:

I found this video on Design*Sponge, one of my new favorite sites.  It takes you through the process of making homemade peppermint marshmallows.  What a great idea for a cold Saturday afternoon in December.