Pesca de ballenas

Refudiate Liberalism!

Sarah Palin was on to something.

Weekly Standard – BY William Kristol

Just before noon on Sunday, July 18, 2010, Sarah Palin enriched the English language. Referring to the planned Islamic center near the 9/11 site in New York, she tweeted: “Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate.”

Presumably, Palin was wavering between “refute” and “repudiate,” and, in the heat of the tweeting moment, typed or BlackBerried or iPhoned or texted the new amalgam, “refudiate.” Pedants in the blogosphere got all huffy. Palin decided to double down. A few hours later, she follow-up-tweeted: “English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”

Gotcha. So let us celebrate the new term “refudiate.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with “refute.” It means, according to Webster’s Third, “to overthrow by argument, evidence, or proof; prove to be false or erroneous.” Nor is there anything wrong with “repudiate,” meaning “to cast off .  .  . to refuse to accept as having rightful authority .  .  . to refuse approval or belief to.” And they’re distinct. To refute is primarily an intellectual act; a thinker refutes a claim or an argument. To repudiate is a practical or political act; a political party repudiates a sect that holds a discredited (and perhaps refuted) argument. A refutation that isn’t followed by a repudiation is just talk. A repudiation that doesn’t include a refutation is just arbitrary action.

The meeting of intellectual refutation and political repudiation is, after all, the usual prerequisite for the establishment of a new political order. The Tea Partiers—the most striking political development of our day—have understood this well. The movement is an assemblage of arguers and activists. Indeed, they might be called refudiators avant la lettre.

The original Tea Party was followed, of course, by the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims certain truths—that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. These truths are based on a rejection of other claims to rule, monarchical and aristocratic claims—a refutation of them based on “the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born, with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of god” (in Jefferson’s famous words)…

Siesta entre las aguas

Meet Gubernatorial Candidate Basil Marceaux: Proof America’s Democracy Is Still Healthy

Mediaiate – By Jon Bershad

A video has been going viral since yesterday evening of Basil Marceaux, a gubernatorial candidate from Tennessee, discussing his platform on Nashville’s WSMV 4 in a slightly less than lucid fashion. This was supposed to be a quick post for me (throw up the video, make a joke, get out), but I’ve been staring at my screen forever and I can’t do it. I just can’t make fun of this guy.

Part of the reason is that Wonkette has already completely (and hilariously) eviscerated him, but the other part is because it just doesn’t feel right. So I’m going to take a different route and point out how this viral video works as proof of what is so great about our country.

When I first saw the video early this morning, I thought Marceaux had just kicked back a few too many drinks to calm his nerves before a big television appearance but, after viewing Marceaux’s website (which, despite what he says in the video, totally isn’t or even and reading his writings, it became clear that what you see is what you get and that this is the real Basil Marceaux…or possibly the most brilliant political performance art prank since Andy Kaufman threw on some cheek puddy, faked a deeper gruff voice, and made everyone believe that there was a real man named “Richard Nixon“.

On the website, Marceaux has a list of “Things I done for my citizens,” asks “why Democracy invaded the U.S. State on July 16 1866,” and promises that, if people vote for him, “I WIN I WILL IMMUNE YOU FROM ALL STATE CRIMES FOR THE REST OF YOU LIFE!” Even more amazingly, you can check out his son’s site (Basil Jr. is running for Tennessee House Representative) and find some equally terrific quotes.

So, yeah, all of that stuff is pretty easy to make fun of (and feel free to do so, it is funny), but let’s look at the facts here. Maybe Marceaux isn’t the smartest man in the world, maybe he has some out there ideas, maybe he repeatedly connects routine traffic stops to slavery for some reason, but none of that matters. He is still getting his say out there. He is still running for office.

He even got to go on TV just like every other candidate, although the anchors introduced him as if they were introducing the “pity contestant” in an elementary school Talent Show. If that doesn’t scream America, a country that promises to give every single person their fair shot (and tries pretty darn hard to keep that impossible promise), I don’t know what else does.

So check out the video below. Check out his website as well as his son’s. Even check out his YouTube page which features nothing but eight minute long videos of Marceaux staring into the camera accompanied by static. Check out all of this and have a good laugh. But, once you’re done that, at least give the guy some credit; he’s kind of the American dream.

El Rey de la carretera

• Among those who identify with the tea-party movement, 26% support Mrs Palin, 19% choose Mr Romney, 16% go for Mr Gingrich and 15% for Mr Huckabee.

• Over three-quarters (77%) of Republicans have a favourable view of Mrs Palin (17% unfavourable). But 51% of the overall public gives her an unfavorable rating. Anyway, enough about her.

Data links: Our top-line numbers can be found here. Our tracking graphs can be found here. All of the data can be found here.

Source:  The Economist

Recovery Act in Action #8: Jobs in the Heartland

White House Blog – Posted by Jared Bernstein

Our latest Recovery-Act-in-Action installment features some exciting new technology, 100 good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the public/private co-investment that is critical to job growth right now.

It’s all taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Allison Transmission is building a new factory to make hybrid systems that go into energy efficient trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles.   The new plant, and the 100 folks Allison expects to put to work in it, was partially financed by a $62.8 million Recovery Act grant from the Department of Energy as part their advanced battery grant program.

There’s a lot to like about this project.  Once the new plant is fully operational, it will crank out more than 20,000 hybrid propulsion systems each year.   If you’re like me, your reaction to that is a) wow!…and b) um, what’s a hybrid propulsion system?

Laurie Tuttle, Allison’s VP of Hybrid Programs, was kind enough to explain it to me.  As I understand it, these are systems that take energy that a vehicle generates that would be otherwise wasted, and reuses that energy.   For example, when a vehicle slows down, conventional breaks create friction and heat.  “Regenerative breaking” recovers that energy and stores it in the battery for later use in acceleration or, on commercial vehicles, for other purposes like powering a boom on a utility truck.

That saves gas, so fuel efficiency in these hybrids are typically goosed by 25-30 percent.

Allison’s long-range plan was to start developing these new systems over the next few years.  But the Recovery Act grant, matched by about $68 million of capital from their private investors, enabled them to accelerate the production, creating jobs now when they’re most needed, and giving our industry the head start it needs to be globally competitive in the production of clean energy transportation.

Ms. Tuttle tends to be pretty technical in discussing this stuff, but she got downright emotional when she described the positive impact this new investment is having on their community, telling me, “Goodness, to be able to bring these jobs right here to our heartland…it just feels great.”

You don’t see a lot of people getting all choked up about building systems that capture and recycle kinetic energy.  But I think those of us who are rooting for new jobs in American manufacturing, lasting opportunities for middle-class workers, and energy efficiency are right with her on this one.

Jared Bernstein is Deputy Assistant to the President on Economic Policy

Iron Gate forced to suspend food box distribution

Iron Gate was forced to suspend its food box distribution program Friday morning when hundreds of people started lining up.

Tulsa World – By MIKE AVERILL

People started arriving at 6:30 a.m. outside the food pantry on the south side of Trinity Episcopal Church, 501 S. Cincinnati Ave. “We estimate there were 2,000 people here this morning,” said Connie Cronley, Iron Gate’s executive director. “The heat, the crowd and the incorrect information they have received rendered, in my judgment, a situation that was unsafe.”

Cronley attributed the crowd to false information sent via group e-mails and Facebook regarding supplemental food boxes, the 30-pound food boxes that are paid for by a $2 million federal stimulus grant to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

“It’s like a bad version of the old telephone game in which children whisper a sentence to one another and it is passed around a circle. At the end, the sentence is not recognizable,” Cronley said. The messages that were circulating said the food boxes were free for anyone. But the boxes are actually restricted to families with children younger than 18, and there is an income restriction, as well.

Families in the program receive one 30-pound food box for each child and one box for every two adults. Families also receive one household box — with toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste — for every two people younger than 18 in the household. Families may receive these boxes each week.

Iron Gate receives 250 food boxes and 125 household boxes each week that it distributes Fridays and Saturdays in conjunction with its regular grocery distribution program. The program runs through September. In June, Iron Gate distributed 382 food boxes and 191 household boxes serving 165 adults and 217 children. Cronley said distribution should resume in a few weeks once a better system is in place.

“The need seems to be overwhelming, not only in Tulsa but in the surrounding towns. We need to figure out how to better distribute these boxes. Other agencies are sending people to us for food,” she said. Sara Waggoner, director of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, said she’s not surprised by the number of people seeking food assistance.

“We’re providing food to 60,000 people each week. In our food pantries, we’re seeing a 40 percent increase in the number of families coming in and asking for help. Most of them are coming in for the first time,” she said. The food bank distributes food to food pantries in 24 counties in eastern Oklahoma.

Montreal Gazette – By Andy Riga

MONTREAL — No, apparently, you can’t blow it up. And taking it apart would be very expensive and time-consuming. So, the City of Montreal seems to be stuck with the ill-fated Olympic Stadium, an enigma and concrete representation of government incompetence, cost overruns and crumbling infrastructure, but also an iconic city symbol, a dramatic fixture on the skyline and a major draw for tourists.

It’s a venue vacated by baseball’s Montreal Expos who decamped for Washington, D.C., in 2004 and the CFL’s Alouettes, whose new downtown digs at McGill University were recently expanded to seat 25,000. The Als, however, do use the Big O periodically, including for the 2008 Grey Cup game, which drew more than 66,000 people to the stadium in Montreal’s east end.

With a new roof back on the agenda (cost: about $300 million), the question — more than three decades after the stadium opened on July 17, 1976 — is: How do Montrealers make the best of it? Sylvain Lefebvre has a few ideas. The Universite du Quebec a Montreal geography professor and expert on “festive spaces” has thought a lot about the stadium and its surroundings.

Unlike most Montrealers, Lefebvre doesn’t see a money pit, a crumbling relic, an object of ridicule mocked as a giant toilet. He sees an opportunity. “Yes, we’re fed up with the stadium — it’s always money, money, money,” Lefebvre said in an interview. “But if there’s an investment to make, let’s do it to profit from its potential.”

The stadium area is served by two subway stations, it’s close to downtown, it has a vast, 4,000-spot underground parking lot and it’s next to two of Montreal’s biggest tourist attractions: the Botanical Garden and the Biodome. But, Lefebvre noted, the area around the stadium itself is not a welcoming place: much of it is a concrete wasteland, a no man’s land with few amenities…

After 34 years as the butt of jokes, the Big O isn’t going to capture the city’s imagination without a lot of marketing, Lefebvre said. “The stadium has a bad image in our collective mentality,” he said. “We have to break that image and remake it by perhaps renaming the stadium and the park, without necessarily denying our Olympic heritage. “We need a spectacular, symbolic gesture so that people can re-appropriate this site.”

Sylvie Bastien, a spokesperson for the Olympic Installations Board, the provincial agency that operates the stadium, agrees there is far too much concrete. The board is open to greening the area around the Big O, but only after the roof issue is settled. “We like the idea. We want it to change,” she said. “It’s so huge that if you put a few flowers there, it won’t make a difference. It needs a major, overall, well-thought-out landscaping plan.”

Some concrete must remain, however. Walkways are needed to funnel tens of thousands of people to and from the stadium, as are access ramps for the many big trucks required to put on events, she said. The greening idea is also welcomed by heritage activists. “Maybe a little more green would help there — without blocking the view on the stadium,” said Heritage Montreal’s Dinu Bumbaru.

Then, there’s the roof. “What we want is to have a new roof over our heads, as soon as possible,” says Bastien. Last year, the Montreal fire department said if the current Big O roof, prone to tearing when it snows, is not replaced soon, it may “consider the permanent and final closure of the stadium.”

The Big O didn’t have a roof during the 1976 Olympics. A retractable roof, made of Kevlar, was finally installed in 1987. But it was opened and closed a grand total of only 88 times before it was left permanently closed, due to repeated tears. It was replaced in late 1998 by a fixed fibreglass membrane roof. In January 1999, that roof ripped, sending tonnes of snow down on workers setting up the Montreal auto show. Five people were injured.

More than a decade later, a replacement roof is still in the planning stages. Aside from the roof, the rest of the building is just fine, according to the OIB. A 50-tonne concrete beam that fell in 1991 was an “isolated incident” sparked by a welding problem, Bastien said. “Recently, an inspection of the structure was conducted by an independent engineering firm,” she added. “Some 5,000 pieces of the stadium, the sports centre and the tower components were analyzed. Conclusion: The building is in good shape.”

So how long will the Big O last? “The lifespan of this building is eternity,” Bastien said. “It’s not something that is crumbling; on the contrary, it is very solid. Of course it has to be maintained, but we can’t even imagine when it won’t be solid enough.” Currently, the Big O can’t be used between Dec. 1 and March 31, unless it gets special permission from Montreal’s fire department, because of fears the roof will rip under the weight of snow, endangering people below…

DISCLOSE Act Assault on First Amendment Continues

The Heritage Foundation – By Hans von Spakovsky

For those of you who believe in bygone notions like free speech rights and the ability to criticize politicians when they do things like nationalize 1/5 of the U.S. economy, you better taken advantage of that while you can. Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has filed for cloture on the DISCLOSE Act, S. 3628, which is intended to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United and impose burdensome new disclosure requirements. The cloture vote will probably occur next Tuesday in a move that avoids committee hearings. If Reid can get 60 votes, then the Schumer/Van Hollen Sedition Act of 2010 will proceed to a vote. At that point, he will only need 51 senators who believe Congress has the ability to circumvent and restrict the First Amendment.

Senator Schumer also introduced a new version of S. 3628 yesterday which differs slightly from the version passed in the House, H.R. 5175. For example, it drops the ban on political speech introduced by Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) by holders of oil drilling leases on the Outer Continental Shelf, which is a slight improvement over the House version. But the differential treatment between corporations and unions is still present in the new, refined, and “improved” bill, as are all of the other worst provisions of the original version.

The Center for Competitive Politics estimates that the ban on government contractors engaging in political speech will apply to over half of the fifty largest companies in the United States. The “NRA exemption” from the burdensome disclosure requirements remains in the bill as does the prohibition on speech of American companies with direct or indirect connections with foreign corporations (although unions and NGOs with foreign members are not affected). So companies owned 80% by Americans that are headquartered in the United States and whose employees are overwhelmingly American will not be able to engage in any political speech.

If this bill passes, it will become effective within thirty days, which will cause such confusion and chaos only two months before the fall congressional elections that many corporations, both profit and nonprofit, and incorporated associations, will no doubt stay out of the election and stay out of grassroots activity on other bills and issues being considered by Congress before November. But then, there is little doubt that deterring such activity that could lead to criticism of the positions and votes taken by incumbent senators and representatives is an intentional objective.

The Framers of our Bill of Rights are probably rolling over in their graves as they contemplate what may be about to happen in the United States Senate. If Daniel Webster asked “How stands the Union?’ as he did in the famous story by Stephen Vincent Benet in The Devil and Daniel Webster, it would be hard to give him the answer he would want. When members of the United States Congress believe they have the power to violate the First Amendment with impunity and censor the political speech of those who they believe should not be able to speak, then the Union no longer stands “rock-bottomed and copper sheathed, one and indivisible.”