Archive for January, 2007

Iran’s Not Funding All The Insurgency

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Iran certainly may be providing some means of equipment for the Shiite extremists. In a recent interwiew with USA Today Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno said: “We have weapons that we know through serial numbers … that trace back to Iran.”

Nowhere in the interview is any reference made to Iran and the Sunnis. Iran may be backing some elements of the insurgency but there is also a civil war occuring in Iraq which will not go away with any form of U.S. military intervention in Iran.

Rumor Has It

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Thomas Knapp posts on his blog a rumor that Susan Sarandon might consider running for President with the Libertarian Party.

Susan Sarandon does have some views that fit squarely with the Libertarian Party; Sarandon is anti-war, against the drug war, and pro choice. On the downside she is Susan Sarandon.

The History of Jeans Entrance In To Pop Culture

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Charles Paul Freund has an article on Reason Online about the politics and culture of jeans. Quote:

In the 1950s, Levi Strauss & Co. decided to update the image of its denim clothes. Until then, the company had been depending for sales on the romantic appeal of the Gold Rush and the rugged image of the cowboy. Hell, it was still calling its signature pants, the ones with the copper rivets, “waist overalls.” It didn’t want to abandon the evocative Gold Rush connection, but the postwar world was filling with consumption-minded creatures called “teenagers,” and it seemed time to rethink the company’s pitch.

So in 1956 Levi Strauss tried an experiment, releasing a line of black denim pants it called Elvis Presley Jeans. It was the perfect endorsement. On the branding level, it was a successful marriage of an old product and its developing new character. People had long worn denim for work, or to “westernize” themselves; now a new set of customers was wearing it to identify themselves with the postwar scene of rebellious urban (and suburban) outliers. Upon the release of Elvis’ 1956 hit movie Jailhouse Rock, writes James Sullivan in Jeans: A Cultural History of an American Icon (Gotham Books), “black jeans became the rage of the season.” That transition would eventually make undreamed-of profits for Levi Strauss and its many competitors.

The endorsement was wonderfully revealing from within too. Elvis actually disliked denim. To him, as to most people from real working-class backgrounds, it was just a reminder of working hard and being poor. The less denim Elvis wore, the happier he was. As for the company suits at Levi Strauss, they had no idea where their new customers would take them. The company was a lot more comfortable dealing with a safe, midcult crooner like Bing Crosby. In 1951 Levi Strauss had presented Crosby with a custom-made denim tuxedo jacket, just the kind of empty P.R. stunt the company bosses understood. The eroticizing Presley was unknown territory to them, and they nearly fumbled the whole bad boy connection—one that had already emerged via Presley, Brando, James Dean, and even the Beats—that would help put their product on nearly every pair of hips in the Western world (and on plenty of hips everywhere else too).

Hip-Hop and Wrestling: Melle Mel Edition

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Many readers of this blog have heard the meme before that the rap music industry is becoming more like professional wrestling. The idea has been discussed on this blog and elsewhere. At the same time Pro wrestler John Cena has adopted a hip-hop persona for his wrestling charcter.

In the latest turn of events Melle Mel has told allhip.com in a recent interview that he wants to join the WWE as a pro wrestler. Quote

“I’m going to try and get some of John Cena’s money [current WWE champ] and get with the WWE to do my thing,” Mele Mel told AllHipHop.com “I went to the wrestling school over the summer and picked up a little bit of moves. I wanted to see if it was something that I wanted to do, other than just dreaming of wanting to be a wrestler. It’s a little rough, but it’s something that can be done.”

This is a smart plan for Melle Mel to stay relevant by availing himself of the WWE’s large audience. As a wrestler in the WWE Melle Mel will surely be able to promote his new album Muscles.

Link via HipHop Ruckus

I Do Not Trust The CBO

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Since September I have been an intern at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. My main responsibility has been working on the BillTally project. Some of my analysis has come in part from the CBO.

I used to trust the CBO. But that trust has vanished. Today, I read the CBO report for HR 5 and it seems completely off base. The government is going to save money by reducing the interest they charge on student loans? I don’t think so. The CBO’s logic is that certain offsets will save boatloads of money.

It is highly dubious to think that the CBO has included the fact that people will be more likely to rely on federal student loans now that they will have lower interest rates. THe likely result of this legislation is a rising cost of college which would hurt the very students the legislation was designed to help!

P.S. I’m looking for a job preferably in D.C., N.Y.C. or somewhere else cool.

Bill O’Reilly Let’s ‘Em Have It

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

One of the few reasons to watch Bill O’Reilly’s TV show is because he has on people he disagrees with and tells the guests his view of his. Apparently,rapper Paul Wall is a fan of Bill O’Reilly for the same reason:

I’m a big fan of Bill O’Reilly too, even though I don’t agree with what he’ saying; most of the time I don’t agree with nothing he’s saying, its just funny to watch because he lettin’ the people have it.

A lot of times I watch just to see another point of view. Its something that my Mom taught me, to keep an open mind. Sometimes its just cool to hear the other side of people’s arguments. But I’m sure if I went on Bill O’Reilly he probably would have let me have it too.

Link via Tony’s Kansas City

Hillary Is Running For President

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

It is official Hillary Clinton is running for President. Hillary Clinton has established an exploratory committee to run for President. Clinton wants to have some sort of a listening dialogue with the American people. Last time Hillary Clinton had a listening tour she decided to run for Senate in New York.

It seems pretty clear though Hillary is intent on running for President. In an e-mail to supporters Hillary said “I’m in” and to clarify Hillary said “I’m in it to win.”

A Hillary Clinton Presidency sounds pretty scary. Hillary Clinton will be bad on fiscal issues, the war in Iraq and will generally increase the size of government to the benefit of the elites.

Health Care: It’s Going to Get Worse Until It Gets Better

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Arnold Kling writes at Cato Unbound that health care coverage in America is going to get worse before it gets better. Quote:

As that essay emphasizes, no serious health care policy approach (including the status quo) works well politically, because no approach is painless. The economic analysis says that we have to absorb pain in terms of limiting access to health care, limiting consumer insulation from health care costs, committing extravagant resources to health care, or some combination of all three. However, those trade-offs are evaded in political debates. Instead, there is strong demand in the political marketplace for gimmicks that purport to provide painless solutions.

This analysis is probably true. The American public does not generally accept large scale policy change until things have gone horribly wrong.

Barak Obama: Not A Terrorist

Friday, January 19th, 2007

If you have been living under a rock or you have been declared a military combatant, you may not know that there is a U.S. Presidential election in 2008.

Barack Obama is a relatively inexperienced Senator from Illinois but a lot of people would like him to be President. People think he is unqualified because he has little experience; other people believe Obama would bring a fresh face to politics. Part of the appeal also has to do with the fact that Obama is black and electing a black Senator might be cool.

The ad hominem attacks have started agains Obama now that he is in competition for front runner status with Hillary for the Democratic Party nomination. Now Hillary Clinton and Fox News have been attacking Obama for having attended a Muslim school.

An investigation of Mr. Obama by political opponents within the Democratic Party has discovered that Mr. Obama was raised as a Muslim by his stepfather in Indonesia. Sources close to the background check, which has not yet been released, said Mr. Obama, 45, spent at least four years in a so-called Madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia.

“He was a Muslim, but he concealed it,” the source said. “His opponents within the Democrats hope this will become a major issue in the campaign

Note: Obama is not a Muslim. There does not seem to be much substance for attacking someone based on what type of school they went to.

Harold Ford: Not Gay Enough

Friday, January 12th, 2007

In the past week Harold Ford has been proposed to be the new leader of the DLC. The National Stonewall Democrats are opposed to Ford’s nomination because he previously voted in favor of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

I’m not really concerned with gay marriage but it is one issue I do not think the federal government should be getting involved. State issues should be left up to the states. On the other hand, the CBO estimates legalizing gay marriages would have a positive effect on the budget.

Source: National Stonewall Democrats Press Release