Posted by Brad @ 12:25 pm on August 15th 2011

The Ballad of Tony Plush

An interesting but largely uncommented-on development in the world of baseball this year has been the rise of meta-personalities. Largely through Twitter, a number of players, fans, and teams, have managed to use the medium to create parallel narratives to the season. Guys like Brandon Phillips, on sheer force of personality, has managed to completely reinvent himself from average second baseman known for copping an attitude, to one of Cincinnati most beloved athletes, all in 140 characters or less. Guys like my Blue Jays wind up creating a semi tongue-in-cheek hashtag (#BeastMode) to play up for comical affect a wildly disproportionate sense of swagger (first talking about great plays and big games with the tag, then applying it to everything mundane from Gatorade drinking to autograph signing, then morphing it into a tongue-in-cheek tag to talk about the bad plays done with aplomb), that winds up rubbing off into an actual swagger on the field, and a new language/marketing strategy.

But by far the classic of the genre relates to Nyjer Morgan’s move to Milwaukee, and the creation of Tony Plush, his fancy-man alter-ego, which wound up becoming a beloved icon among both Brewers fans and sportswriters generally. The author of Tony Plush’s Twitter feed, Jason Albert, unmasks himself today, and tells the story.

Posted by Adam @ 10:33 am on August 15th 2011

Indian Test cricket status update — Wheels: off. Also: Australia, you suck

And yea verily it came to pass that India were humiliated and England became the number-1 ranked team. England’s best batsman of the game scored 294 runs in his single innings, whereas India’s eleven players didn’t surpass that in aggregate in either innings (and a bonus: as I mentioned elsewhere, star opening batsman Virender Sehwag flew, injured, across the world to help out the team and got two golden ducks — which is to say, each of his appearances ended with his first ball — and spent two days fielding as England amassed a huge total).

We can see the relative ranking points of the top five Test cricketing nations:

Australia, you suck

The main point of this graphic, of course, is not to chart England’s rise — there’s clearly a long way to go and with some tough series ahead, the top position may change hands; meanwhile, England need to win an series in India and to beat South Africa, before they can really feel like a great team — but rather to laugh uproariously at Australia’s fall. Australia are actually doing pretty well in Sri Lanka in the One Day Internationals (a ridiculous and unimportant form of the game designed for people with short attention spans and a love for garishly-coloured clothing) but their fall in Tests has been pretty steep and all right-thinking individuals can agree that that’s a Jolly Good Thing. Well worthy of a snicker and possibly a chortle.

Posted by Brad @ 10:16 am on August 15th 2011

High Speed Rail: the Cost that Just Keeps Costing

Reason pretty much owns the world on HSR coverage, but this post by Megan McArdle caught my eye. In California, voters approved a ballot initiative that approved a high speed rail project that was estimated for $33 billion. Now, I have literally never heard of any of these kinds of projects ever, EVER, meeting budget projections, to the point where I have no idea why people who make them don’t just get laughed out of the room, or why voters don’t just mentally double whatever projection is put in front of them. Nevertheless, inevitably, the $33 billion project now might be more like $63-87 billion: or about half of the State of California’s entire annual budget. When it’s all said and done, I would guess it comes in at something more like $100 billion, with annual operating expenses also being far in deficit, year in and year out, for many years to come. But, you know, if there’s anybody that can afford a massive budget-sucking capital project, it’s California.

Posted by Brad @ 8:34 am on August 15th 2011

Pawlenty Out

We have our first go-nowhere dropout of the 2012 race.

Hiaku time!:

The problem has been,
Mitt Romney is already
the poor man’s Romney.

Posted by Rojas @ 8:21 pm on August 13th 2011

I couldn’t help myself

(AP) WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 9- In what many political insiders are seeing as a blow to his long-term election prospects, President Obama finished second in yesterday’s Presidential election.

The referendum, which measures support among likely voters via a balloting process, was conducted in all fifty states. With 100% of the vote counted, Obama stood at 47% and was deemed likely to earn 177 electoral votes. While Obama campaign spokesman sought to convey a sense of strength, terming the result “a strong second” and discussing “a performance well in excess of expectations, especially given the state of the economy,” others questioned whether the results of the poll would pose serious problems for the President going forward.

“While one must always be skeptical of limited samples and questionable voter models such as this one”, said Dr. Forrest Stevens of the University of Iowa, “this result raises serious questions about the President’s electability. With more than half the country unwilling to back the President, one has to wonder which Republicans might be best poised to move into the vacuum–either one of the announced contenders or a wild-card such as Sarah Palin, Chris Christie, or Jeb Bush.”

“Particularly at this late stage,” said Stevens, “results like these demonstrate that it’s still anybody’s ballgame.”

The first-place finisher in the voting, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, pulled in an estimated 53% of the vote and 358 votes in the electoral college. Paul’s strong showing was reflective of his enthusiastic libertarian support, which regularly enables him to overperform in straw polls and online surveys. Stevens noted that Paul’s showing “further illustrates his credibility among Tea Party voters, where he can claim a following that, on occasion, rivals that of Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann.”

Posted by Brad @ 8:06 pm on August 13th 2011

The Least Essential Pundit In America

Or: Can we start a Deathwatch-style betting pool as to when Andrew Sullivan stops analyzing the Romney-Palin race that wasn’t?

Posted by Rojas @ 5:58 pm on August 13th 2011

Bachmann “wins” the Iowa Straw Poll

Exact totals here. Bachmann 4800, Paul 4700, Pawlenty 2300, Santorum and Cain a distant fourth and fifth.

It kinda says something about Paul’s rise to the mainstream that I find myself disappointed in his finishing second, one percentage point behind a native Iowan.

Being in the media headlines as the “winner” of the poll is important, particularly for a candidate like Bachmann who is seeking to gain stature. But it is very, very difficult for me to accept the idea that she strengthened her position today. For one thing, there’s Ben Smith’s report that she gave away 6000 tickets to the event to…um…”supporters”. A candidate competing in her home state who loses 20% of her core when the polling begins and who wins over close to nobody who enters undecided cannot exactly claim to possess Reaganesque campaign skills.

And, to state the obvious: goodbye, Tim Pawlenty. The media certainly seemed to think you mattered; damn shame nobody else did.

Posted by Rojas @ 1:24 pm on August 13th 2011

Early anecdote from the Iowa Straw Poll

A friend of mine on the scene in Ames reports that Ron Paul is at this hour about to address the gathered multitudes. Meanwhile, with Paul supporters filling the floor and eager to roll, the current speaker is…a representative of the ethanol industry.

His account: “First time I’ve heard corn booed in Iowa.”

Posted by Adam @ 7:29 pm on August 12th 2011

Journalism excellence, not.

The London (and, to a lesser extent, Birmingham, etc) riots have received a lot of coverage around the world, such as this example from the Montreal Gazette. From another forum, I know someone living in the area (Hackney), who had a burning van outside his house and could see the rioting going on from his windows. That poster, Eurhetemec, gave me permission to repost his comments (which I’m doing rather than linking them as it’s from a part of an rpg forum on which you have to be registered in order to read and much as you all love my occasional rpg references, joining an rpg forum might be a step too far over the river Kwai, or something), so long as I attributed them to his nick to save him the embarrassment of association with our blog and pointed out that he has different political views to ours. Anyhow, here’s his commentary on that news story:

Here’s an article from the Montreal Gazette that includes interviews with some self-described rioters in Hackney whose accounts of the riot conflict with mine, so people may be interested:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/…682/story.html

Of course the problem is, interesting as it is, the article unquestioningly passes on as if were true some stuff that’s would be easily demonstrated to be untrue – For example:

“She and others had little sympathy for many of the store owners whose premises had been looted and burned, identifying most as big chain stores that offer little to their community.

Many of the more upmarket stores cater for growing numbers of middle-class professionals and white hipsters who have moved in recent years into Hackney’s handsome townhouses, of which many sit yards away from poor housing estates.”

First off, as far as I know, not a single store in Hackney got burned, so that’s pretty weird! What did get burned were a number of cars and vans – all of which, funnily enough, seemed to belong to poor Asian people. I wonder what could possibly have lead to that? Just a shocking coincidence, I’m sure. /rolleyes

Second off, no “upmarket stores which cater to middle-class professionals” were burned OR looted. The reported could have checked this by walking literally two hundred yards, it’s not like it wasn’t easy to see which stores got smashed. There are actually a fair few stores like that in Hackney – albeit none on Mare St, Narrow Way. or Clarence Road, where the looting happened.

On Clarence Road, I can tell you exactly what got looted – two convenience stores. Neither was expensive or oriented towards the middle-class (there is precisely such a convenience store nearby on Lower Clapton Road – it was untouched, and didn’t even shut!), and virtually all the customers of both were from the Pembury Estate. Both were owned by Asians, who put up with all sort of silly shit from variously slightly mad local customers.

On Mare St. and Narrow Way (and the road round the back, I forget it’s name), it seems like only four kinds of store got looted – Sports-ish clothing – JD Sports and Carhartt, all the mobile phone stores – including the locally-owned non-brand slightly dodgy one – the used video game store (locally owned) – and the betting shops (yay, tbh). All of these stores employ locals, none of them sell much to the “white hipsters” or “middle-class professionals”. There were tons of other shops they COULD have looted, which DO fit that profile – shops that did indeed get looted in like, Tottenham or elsewhere, but either barely got scratched (like M&S or Primark), or got totally ignored (like Tesco). Whereas the stores that got looted to hell and back were all small local operations, most of them owned, shock, by Asians.

So what the heck is this? Is “Jackie, 39” living in a fantasy world? Just how lazy IS this reporter that they couldn’t find out this was actually of questionable veracity in literally five minutes? I saw the L guy on some US news channel as well, where his claims that the police are out to get him and work for whitey were repeated.

It’s a conflict-causing situation for me, because I know on the one hand, the police do love to unnecessarily harass black people, but on the other hand, there is some motherfucking SERIOUS CRIME (like, say murders, shootings, stabbings – including of and by children – big crack-pushing operations who are also pimping girls out, for example) on the Pembury Estate, and people in the area love to pretend like it’s some happy village where these police are just barging in for no reason other than the colour of their skin. I also am vexed by the “Oh they love to arrest guys who just have a little weed on them!”. It’s, maybe, just MAYBE that wouldn’t happen if you didn’t sit out there in the street smoking it in public? Have you considered that?! When the “white hipsters” do that, they get arrested too if they don’t run away quick enough – I’ve seen it happen! I mean, it’s like, just because something shouldn’t be against the law, doesn’t mean it isn’t, and doesn’t mean you can exclude yourself from responsibility when you get arrested for really blatantly breaking the law, does it? What exactly are the police supposed to do when they see a bunch of guys sitting around on the intersection of decent-size roads, smoking weed? Just ignore it? I’m pretty sure they aren’t allowed to.

It’s all a bit different, isn’t it (and thanks to Eurhetemec for letting me post it).

Horace, from whose quotations any self-respecting pseud* should have at least a few handy, said something to the effect of “the word flies and cannot be recalled” (more normally, I believe, rendered as the rather less elegant “A word, once sent abroad, flies irrevocably”). That story is now part of the written record; for many people reading it in, say, its native Canada, it might be a significant element of the coverage they consume and from which they draw or adopt conclusions. Unfortunately, however, it seems that it builds a causal narrative based on an accounting that is laced with errors. Now, that doesn’t discredit the conclusion itself (just its presentation and derivation) and many people might hold that some of the accusations made are part of the complexity underlying the riots, but how the hell does something like this end up getting published? Is writing this crap like cheating on your wife, once you’ve done it once it gets easier? NB: If my wife should read this, I’d like to make clear that I’m speaking from hearsay.

None of us would ever write something as made-up as that story. Apart from Rojas, I mean, and as he isn’t married he can’t lie convincingly.

That was a joke, sweetheart, honest.

I was originally going to call this post Filthy Lying Canadians, but you never know when you might need to move to Canada if the US economy collapses into the toilet.

*And if we don’t respect ourselves, no one will respect us. Whereas if we do> respect ourselves, precisely one person will respect us. That’s, like, a zillion percent increase.

Posted by Adam @ 6:59 pm on August 12th 2011

History lesson from a man in a funny suit

This isn’t new and probably a bunch of you have seen it already, but I find it amusing and I only saw it recently. It’s one of the Yeomen Warders at the Tower of London (popularly called “Beefeaters”)

Posted by Brad @ 1:12 pm on August 12th 2011

Music Video of the Week

Noah & the Whale – 5 Years Time

Noah and the Whale – 5 Years Time

Have a great weekend.

Posted by Brad @ 12:38 pm on August 12th 2011

The HCR Mandate as Unconstitutional: Not a Fringe Idea Anymore

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on an appeal to a previous decision based on the suit by 26 states. They side with the states, although importantly they also say that because the mandate is unconstitutional doesn’t mean the rest of the law must be struck down.

“[T]his economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives.”

Still, this one is definitely bound for the Supreme Court.

Posted by Rojas @ 11:09 am on August 12th 2011

“We have always been at war with Oceania, and we have always loved Ron Paul.”

Fox News:

Showing the wide diversity of opinion, Paul gave a staunchly libertarian answer to nearly every question from the economy to foreign affairs…

Yes, Fox News is now highlighting the diversity of opinion within the Republican Party as a highlight. Not quite the same meme they had going four years ago, is it? Meanwhile, their online commentator assigns Paul the second-highest bond rating available on the evening, and ratifies the obvious:

A note to the Republican establishment: Ron Paul isn’t going away anytime soon.

Fox News: ever the champion of the underdog, delivering hard truths to the Republican establishment.

The bottom line is this: the Republican party’s media organ has gone from treating Ron Paul as an embarrassing nuisance to treating him and his supporters as a sign of party health and as a constituency to be appeased.

The man moved the needle. That’s incredibly hard to do in American politics.

Posted by Brad @ 10:44 am on August 12th 2011

Quote of the Day – Debate Reax Edition

Q: “What did you make of Rick Santorum’s attack on your father?”

Rand Paul: “You know, I’d rather not talk about other candidates, particularly if they don’t have a chance of winning. I think there are some other significant candidates and significant issues, but I didn’t really see that as one.”

Runner-up:

Q: “What if Ron Paul wins the straw poll?”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus: “I think the party has room for Ron Paul, it has room for Herman Cain and Tim Pawlenty…it has room for everybody.”

A far cry from after a debate in Michigan in 2008, when then state party chair (and a candidate for RNC chair who lost to Preibus) actively floated the idea of banning Ron Paul from the party.

Posted by Adam @ 10:11 am on August 12th 2011

Learning to care about France

It turns out that in addition to wine, cheese and Gallic shrugs, France may now add economic and financial issues to its portfolio of national treasures. The economy has slowed down; meanwhile, French debt is still pretty cheap but, despite the AAA rating France still has, somewhat more expensive than recently-downgraded US debt and French banks are amongst those with significant exposure to Greek debt (although the latest Greek eurobailout may mitigate that and throw a bone to UK taxpayers as well). Consequently, austerity is on the menu or, as they say in France, le menu.

Obviously, as a right-thinking Englishman, I hate the French with the passion of a dozen burning fireflies. I’ve also been highly sceptical about the Single European Currency since I first heard about plans for it. On the other hand, though, whilst it would seem like good entertainment to watch France slide into an economic quicksand populated by quicksand-dwelling testicle-loving piranhas, having taken their fill of French sweetbreads those Piranhas will be looking for fresh testicles before too long*. Thus, we need France not to fail, which is clearly a disturbing sentiment but one to which logic drives us as surely as Alistair Cook has been stroking mediocre Indian bowling to the boundaries of Edgbaston.

Personally, I find it easier to rationalise if I imagine it as using France as a shield. One we can go back to hating when it has absorbed all the damage the bond market testicle-piranhas can throw our way.

*This metaphor may have gone too far.

Posted by Adam @ 10:11 am on August 12th 2011

India in England: Day Three of the Third Test

India’s still looking terrible. Loss of electrical power around some of the stadium. England still playing pretty well and Alistair Cook has caressed soft Indian balls all over the ground.

That didn’t come out right.

Another night with no significant rioting. Coincidence? Survey says no.

Posted by Brad @ 9:16 am on August 12th 2011

Emerging Meme Watch

Fiscal austerity causes riots.

Posted by Rojas @ 7:39 pm on August 11th 2011

Republican Screaming Pageant live blog

Eight candidates competing to get to the right of the Iowa Straw Poll constituency. What’s not to love?

Posted by Adam @ 12:26 pm on August 11th 2011

No kissing please, we’re German

With Britain and Europe in general being so uneventful at the moment, the BBC relentlessly reports on a German decorum organisation’s recommendation of how to avoid your coworkers kissing you on the cheek as a greeting:

“We can’t forbid [kissing in the workplace],” he told the BBC.

“But we have to protect people who don’t want to be kissed. So we are suggesting that if people don’t mind it, they announce it with a little paper message placed on their desk”.

The real problem, surely, is that you don’t want to be kissed by some of your coworkers. I think that emailing a spreadsheet of acceptable familiarity, by named coworker (or perhaps aggregate them into groups with certain personal space invasion permission levels) would be an appropriately Germanic solution. If Helga from Accounts knows she can cup my buttock while slipping her tongue into my mouth, that doesn’t mean Wilhelm from HR can and I think such distinctions should be made clear from the outset in an updateable and public format.

Posted by Adam @ 9:18 am on August 11th 2011

Cricket update, 3rd Test, India in England

England’s batsmen putting India to the sword.

Riots dying down.

Can these two facts be connected? YOU DECIDE.

Posted by Rojas @ 3:45 pm on August 10th 2011

Europe seems to be confused.

Greece, Italy, Portugal, and now probably Spain and France…all states with massive unsupportable entitlement programs, and all of them now with collapsing economies to match. What’s happening across the pond makes our problems look like tiddlywinks. For them, the crisis is here NOW.

One wonders why they don’t just solve the problem with an upper-bracket tax increase, coupled with a growth-stimulating set of shovel-ready infrastructure projects. Surely there’s room for more high-speed rail?

Posted by Rojas @ 3:30 pm on August 10th 2011

Weird Weird Soda Review Review

The mainstream media tries to piggyback for a few cheap hits.

Posted by Adam @ 12:29 pm on August 10th 2011

In the war between bee and moth, There Can Bee Only One

The foolish Chinese are attempting to deal with their moth problem by releasing 600 million bees.

This reminds me of the time I shaved my beard using a flame thrower. Except I never did that, because it would be stupid.

I think my point is made.

Posted by Adam @ 11:38 am on August 10th 2011

Marshall on the need to emulate Norquist and the GOP

Misleading title! However, Marshall makes an interesting point in reply to a question about whether the failed effort by Democrats to retake the Wisconsin state senate, which sucked in a lot of resources and energy from groups outside of the state (from both sides), was a wasted effort.

…it’s wrong to see political energy and resources as finite and something to be marshaled. It’s not a zero sum game. This kind of effort doesn’t take away from something else. It adds to it. It builds organizational muscle. In fact, it’s like muscle. You build it by exercising it. I don’t lose part of my allotment of muscle by doing some bench presses. I build it up. And the exercise itself demonstrates that a political movement can bite back.

In the recent budget and debt battle I saw numerous readers write in to say, Hey, how’d this Norquist guy get all this power? Or, Why is it that every time they can get every last member of their caucus to toe the line? Yes, Norquist’s got tons of cash from various moneyed interests. But his power is based on working this issue for literally decades in out of the way races across the country. Again, building muscle through the exercise of muscle. How do Republicans enforce such crazy amounts of party discipline? Because they have a record of primarying people. And over time people get that message.

I think that he has a point but it’s not all good, this stuff; it, particularly the outside engagement of activists and affiliated political and issue groups, can also lead to bizarre purity tests and a sort of national inflexibility featuring a refusal to recognise different political contexts in different areas. Any one group — “progressives”, say, or the Tea Party-style activists — are probably right that if they don’t do it, some other groups they don’t like will, but as much as it’s not a zero-sum game, it’s not an uncontended field of battle, either*. The same arguments apply to the reactive campaigning from opposed groupings so that Tea Party groups and other GOP affiliates, coming out ahead as they did, get the activism bonus and the satisfaction of victory. That’s not an argument suggesting that not competing, for fear of losing, is the best course, but it does suggest that being so sanguine about losing might well be misplaced. Norquist was building strength, as Marshall describes it, in “don’t matter” competitions, whereas the Wisconsin battles have been important on their merits and their importance has been magnified by the outside involvement, thus making them into bigger defeats rather than local ones; at the same time, as pointed out by the commentor to whom Marshall replies, similar GOP actions in other states have gone largely unchallenged by national forces, presumably in part because of the concentration of effort on Wisconsin.

If the Democrats fail to recall Governor Walker next year, they’ll have come up short three out of three (Prosser, Senate recalls, Gubernatorial recall); whatever Marshal says, that would have to be pretty disheartening and the point to which Marshall was replying might then well become “we could have lost these three a lot cheaper”. Still, they have time to try and win the last one (assuming they retain the Democrat State Senate seats up for recall next week), which would be the biggest prize.

*Nor, of course, is it a gift horse into the mouth of which one should not look, an ill wind blowing no one any good, or a burning platform. Or doing bench presses. Etc, etc.

Posted by Adam @ 10:37 am on August 10th 2011

Meanwhile, happier news from England

The Third Test between India and England is underway in Birmingham, fortunately not delayed or stopped by riots or anything gauche like that. India, put in to bat by England, are now all out for 224 after Alistair Cook, fielding at silly mid-off, accidentally caught the last man, Ishant Sharma, whilst taking evasive action from Sharma’s shot.

If this doesn’t bring our nation together, I don’t know what will.

If England’s batting collapses, mind you, there will be blood.

Posted by Adam @ 9:28 am on August 10th 2011

A new broom. Lots of them.

While England burning is on the news all over the place, apparently there’s a fair amount of this going on:

In the wake of the riots in English cities, law-abiding citizens have been picking up brooms and brushes and joining the clean-up. Is the broom the symbol of the resistance to the riots?

After the rioting every night this week, the news headlines told a bleak story of communities under attack. But hours later locals wearing wellies and washing up gloves were reclaiming the streets with brooms, bin bags and dustpans.

The fightback has been co-ordinated by the Twitter campaign #riotcleanup, launched by Dan Thompson and Sophie Collard, two strangers who were united by a shared sense of outrage at the scenes of devastation.

“The most shocking thing was the TV footage of fires spreading across London,” says Thompson, an artist in Worthing. “The pictures of the furniture warehouse in Croydon burning was like something out of the Blitz.”

The response to the Twitter campaign was dramatic. By the following morning crowds of people had gathered in riot-affected areas like Clapham Junction and Hackney.

BoJo, amusing and floppy-haired mayor of London (pictured), got in on the act early. It’s encouraging, given that the number of rioters is so relatively small, that the majority can produce people to do something active to mitigate the consequences.

Posted by Brad @ 12:27 pm on August 9th 2011

Shoot the Messenger

Michael Moore demands President Obama arrest the head of S&P. The Senate Banking Committee opens an investigation, with Timothy Geithner’s support.

Posted by Rojas @ 9:58 am on August 9th 2011

Everything will be all right if we just spend more money

Just when we thought the deficit might be a problem, along comes former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich to put us at ease:

The most important aspect of policymaking is getting the problem right. We are slouching toward a double dip because we’re getting the problem wrong. Despite what Standard & Poor’s says, notwithstanding what’s occurring in Europe, and regardless of U.S. budget projections years from now — our current crisis is jobs, wages and growth. We do not now have a debt crisis.

One wonders, how did so many people get the impression that a $13 trillion deficit, projected to expand to the point at which the interest payments alone would absorb most of the federal budget, was excessive?

But the government won’t come to the rescue by spending more and cutting most peoples’ taxes because it’s obsessed by a so-called “debt crisis” based on budget projections over the next 10 years. That obsession — which serves the ideological purposes of right-wing Republicans who really want to shrink government — has even spread to the eat-your-spinach media, deficit hawks in the Democratic Party, and a major (and thoroughly irresponsible) credit-rating agency that’s neither standard nor poor.

Ah, yes. If there is any force in America which is oriented towards deferral of pleasure and a cold, hard-hearted fiscal asceticism, it must surely be “the eat-your-spinach media.”

Posted by Rojas @ 5:31 pm on August 8th 2011

Remember when Ron Paul was stuck at 1%?

Every time there’s been an incremental boost to Ron Paul’s electoral fortunes, we’ve been told to dismiss it as background noise.

There’s been a hell of a lot of background noise over the last five years and particularly over the last couple of weeks. The latest Gallup primary poll has him at 14%, beating Bachman, quadrupling Pawlenty, and sitting SECOND among all declared candidates.

My feeling about Paul has always been that he had a ceiling in the 8% range, and that the dropping of other candidates wouldn’t change that. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to make that case.

And I’m STILL voting for Gary Johnson.

Posted by Brad @ 3:22 pm on August 8th 2011

“No matter what some agency may say, we’ve always been and always will be a AAA country.”

That’s the money quote from the President’s press conference this afternoon, which was just staggering in terms of the levels of denial.

A close second?

Obama put his seal of approval on the first down payment in the debt deal, arguing that it makes historic cuts in domestic and defense spending, but for the next round he also called for “tax reform that will ask those who can afford it to pay their fair share” as well as “modest adjustments to entitlement programs like Medicare.”

“This doesn’t require any radical steps…,” he said. “…My hope is that Friday’s news will give us a renewed sense of urgency.”

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