Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Graham bails and bails again

I know Lindsey Graham has been under a lot for fire from his do-nothing obstructionist colleagues for doing what he is paid to do: legislating on the issues of immigration and climate change with the Democratics (Chuck Schumer and John Kerry respectively) across the aisle. He's even been writing joint articles on these important issues with his legislative colleagues here and here. Bravo.

However, Harry Reid was absolutely right on with his criticism of Senator Graham's bailing ship on the bipartisan climate change bill (because of some misguided concern about immigration taking priority).
I will not allow him to play one issue off of another, and neither will the American people. They expect us to do both, and they will not accept the notion that trying to act on one is an excuse for not acting on the other.
And today we learn that Graham also seems to be bailing on immigration reform too. This time because he thinks that border security is more important than immigration reform. Huh? Is border security not a part of immigration reform?

Graham's schizophrenia aside, I say "come now people!" These issues are important to the American people. Our government can and must do both. Let's not let the Rush Limbaughs of the world convince us that compromise is impossible and consensus is impractical. Of course we come from different places, culturally, economically, and politically, but we should all agree that these issue need a federal response now.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Economically to the right... Socially to the left

"I'm economically to the right... but socially to the left", someone recently told me at a party. Hilarious.

She's probably a Schwarzenegger Republican. Came out against Proposition 8. Supports stem cell research, some aspects of the recent health care reform, and climate change legislation. Perhaps she believes in a woman's right to choose. Not so bad.

"Economically", she probably believes in unfettered free-marketism. She wants lower taxes, fewer governmental employees, and less "red tape". She probably has a knee jerk reaction about wasteful Democrats and thinks that Republicans are somehow more trustworthy on economic issues.

This last assumption is a little debatable. Historically, Democratic presidents tend to be more effective in combating unemployment (see Bureau of Labor Statistics). Even Obama's administration, after months of plummeting payrolls, has seem some improvement (see the "bikini" graphic here). Similarly, under Democratic leadership, despite common knowledge about wasteful "entitlement programs", federal debt has generally decreased (see historical data in recent federal budget).

There is some disagreement on how important these numbers are. Although a number of fiscal conservative disagree, Dick Cheney famously once said that "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." Not sure what he meant by that, but conservative think tanks would probably say that the best way to combat debt is to grow the economy and to cut "entitlement" programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Now, another name for these "entitlement" programs is social programs, because they provide social services which go beyond what the free market can provide. In that these programs take care of people who cannot take care of themselves, these programs reflect our social values. I am not saying that keeping social programs solvent is easy, but I do think we need to be reminded that they exist for a reason. Poverty, health and old-age are social issues not purely economic realities.

Friday, April 09, 2010

President Bart

From an interview with Bill Cosby:
Q: Now that some time has passed, what do you make of people who say that “The Cosby Show” paved the way for Obama’s presidency?

A: I’ve had a chance to think it over, so I’ve had a chance to say something funny. If that is the case, that “The Cosby Show” is Obama and family — then when he comes out of office, the next one is going to be whoever is going to represent Bart Simpson.

Friday, April 02, 2010


I think this from Gruber covers the instinct to wait for Gen2 well:
If you bought an original iPhone and regretted it a year later, though, you probably ought to skip the original iPad.
I did and I never did. I'm just trying to be frugal!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Person Or An Animal

Stephen Fry:
The iPad does perform tasks — it runs apps and has the calendar, e-mail, Web browsing, office productivity, audio, video and gaming capabilities you would expect of any such device — yet when I eventually got my hands on one, I discovered that one doesn't relate to it as a "tool"; the experience is closer to one's relationship with a person or an animal.
I also love this quote from Steve Jobs, in the same article:
"I don't think of my life as a career," he says. "I do stuff. I respond to stuff. That's not a career — it's a life!"