28% of Republicans Do Not Believe That Obama Is A Citizen (Updated)

When I wrote my satire of the Birthers last week, I assumed that the folks who seriously believe that Barack Obama is not a citizen was merely a small, but loud fringe with a large web presence. So imagine my surprise when I saw this poll, which indicates that the numbers are worse than I […]

Longest Recession Ever

Preliminary Commerce Department figures show that the US GDP declined at an annualized rate of 1 percent in the second quarter.  “While the contraction was less severe than the in the previous three quarters, it was the first time since official figures started in 1947 that the US has suffered four consecutive periods of declining […]

U.S. Life Expectancy: We’re Number 1

Tyler Cowen passes along a reader comment that, The difference in life expectancy between the US and Netherlands is often referred to as an example of how superior semi-socialized health care increases life expectancy. At birth, someone living in the Netherlands can expect to live 2.35 years longer than someone born in the US, but […]

Top 1% Pay More (Income) Taxes Than Bottom 95%

High income earners pay almost all of our taxes.

CEOs Invited to White House for Lunch, Charged Them

While not that big a deal, this would seem to take the “appearance of impropriety” thing a mite far: Four of the most powerful business leaders in America arrived at the White House one day last month for lunch with President Barack Obama, sitting down in his private dining room just steps from the Oval […]

Caption Contest Winners

The BuckingWhat Palace? Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

Why License At All?

In a rather tortured post about how some companies make profits, Matthew Yglesias makes an aside that just points out the absurdity of licensure laws in general. When you make it illegal to issue new liquor licenses in Adams-Morgan, you generate monopoly profits for existing license-holders. […] The liquor licenses thing is definitely wasteful—instead of […]

The Perverse Incentive to Foreclose

Doug Rushkoff points out that mortgage servicers have very little incentive to help out borrowers who could afford their mortgages by refinancing. What it means is that mortgage companies can often make more money when the homeowner goes into foreclosure than if the homeowner pays his bills. The longer a homeowner is delinquent, the more […]

Democrats Should Embrace States’ Rights

Alex Massie argues that the current inability of the Democrats to pass meaningful health care reform, one of their signature issues, despite overwhelming control of the government shows the system is broken. It’s more difficult than it was in LBJ’s day, mind you. All the horse-trading that once went on in private now takes place […]

Professor Sarah Palin

Doug J draws our attention to a new Fox poll suggesting career options for Sarah Palin: About a third of Americans think the best job for Palin is homemaker (32 percent), while nearly one in five see her as a television talk show host (17 percent). Vice president of the United States comes in third […]

Better to Be A Pessimist and Proved Wrong . . .

Responding to a rather harsh reader email criticizing him for a recent series of posts expressing his disappointment with President Obama, for whom he note only voted but wrote a whole series of pre-election mash notes, Andrew Sullivan responds, I am not a cheer-leader and I don’t think Obama wants cheer-leaders. He wants and deserves […]

Ideological Wind Tunnels

Glenn Greenwald rebuts those who think his strident attacks on Presidents Bush and Obama for abusing their power make his blog “an ideological wind tunnel” and that he is “oblivious to the practical considerations policymakers must contend with.” By the design of the Founders, most American political issues are driven by the vicissitudes of political realities, […]

Justin Barrett Kills Two Jobs with One Stone

Justin Barrett, a 36-year-old soon-to-be-former Boston cop and Massachussetts Army National Guard captain, is making the headlines with a letter he circulated describing, a bit too enthusiastically, his views on a Boston Globe column on the Henry Louis Gates incident. Alan Colmes has the background: His palpable anger appears to be directed at Globe columnist […]

Caption Contest

Time for the Thursday OTB Caption ContestTM REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni Winners will be announced Monday PM

Like A Day Without Sunshine

I Heart Chaos and a number of other sites have apparently decided that Megan Fox gets too much media attention. Their solution to this (perceived) problem is to draw still more attention to her by declaring next Tuesday Fox-free. This is, quite obviously, a profoundly stupid plan in every respect. There’s no such thing as […]

Police Taser Use: Cost-Benefit Analysis

In response to a commenter’s assertion in my Police Taser Deaf, Retarded Man post that “officers are killed in the line of duty are the time,” Jim Henley retorts, “Define line of duty and all the time.” Kelley Vlahos does just that in a piece for The American Conservative.  The numbers are surprising: According to […]

No OTB Radio Today

Tonight’s episode of OTB Radio has been canceled owing to scheduling conflicts.  We’ll get back into the swing of things next Wednesday at 5:30 Eastern.

“United States” a Terrorist Target

The Department of Homeland Security is removing the words “United States” from a New York border station for fear that it will make the station a terrorist target. Four years ago, when the federal General Services Administration unveiled its plans for a new border-crossing station here in northeastern New York State, the design was presented […]

The Case for COIN in Afghanistan

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal Bing West states the case for counter-insurgency in Afghanistan: War is not complicated. You have to separate the guerrilla forces from the population and kill them until they no longer want to continue. Al Qaeda, dominated by Arabs, is finished inside Afghanistan. The Taliban are Afghans, to […]

It Takes Two to Tango

Michael Gerson pronounces the Obama Doctrine of engagement DOA: But even lacking an ideology, the administration does have a doctrine. The defining principle of President Obama’s foreign policy is engagement with America’s adversaries. Much of the president’s public diplomacy has been designed to clear a path for such talks — expressing respect for legitimate grievances, […]

Obama Poll Numbers Dropping

The latest NPR poll, conducted by Democrat Stan Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Republican Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies (Disclosure: My wife is COO) finds President Obama’s approval barely over the majority mark and serious doubts about his health plan. The pollsters found 53 percent approving of the president’s handling of his job, […]

Police Taser Deaf, Retarded Man

Before turning in last night, we watched Monday’s “Colbert Report” which featured this segment on the increasing use of tasers by police forces, including on helpless old women: The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Current Events – Tasers www.colbertnation.com Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Tasers This morning, I see that several […]

Proof* That Barack Obama Is The Anti-Christ!

Here at OTB, I have brought up the “Is Obama the Anti-Christ?” discussion before. However, it’s not until now that I have seen definitive proof that yes, Barack Obama is the Anti-Christ. This video makes an undeniable case. * Not actually proof.

Birther Pains

Bill Pascoe, veteran of two federal campaigns against Barack Obama, bemoans the rise of the Birthers: I’ve held fire for the last several months as I’ve watched the so-called “Birther” movement gain steam. At first it was amusing, like playing a drinking game — you know, like taking a shot every time Chris Matthews explains […]


After long contemplation and discussion with my family, I have decided to continue working.  Further, I will not be attending training camp with the Minnesota Vikings. I had to be careful not to commit for the wrong reasons.  I’m 43 with a lot of time in front of the computer.  The problem with going to […]

Get Married Or Leave Town

In answer to James’ query below about when a state or county have forced unmarried people not to live together, meet Olivia Shelltrack, Fondray Loving and their three children. Welcome to Wednesday afternoon at 12475 Parkwood Lane in Black Jack, Mo.: In his room on the second floor, 8-year-old Cortez Loving wages an intergalactic battle […]

Overstatement of the Day – Gay Rights Edition

Andrew Sullivan: The survival of my own marriage is entirely in the hands of the federal government. I have no right to stay in my own home with my own husband – just the government’s permission until they choose to revoke it. Gays do not have core constitutional rights in America. They have no right […]

Federalism and Democracy

Continuing a long-running theme at his blog, Matt Yglesias laments that Senators from small states wield so much power.  The latest fuel is a NYT feature on six moderates who are supposedly the linchpins to putting together a bipartisan health care deal and who routinely hash out the details of same over snacks. [V]ast power […]

Having a Beer with Obama

Conor Friedersdorf rightfully notes that Henry Louis Gates and James Crowley should be having their beer at a local Cambridge pub rather than at the White House.   Bowing to the inevitable, however, ABC News moves on to the weighty issue of what beer will be served. Crowley told the president he was more partial to […]

Breaking News: Who Cares?

On second thought, maybe Chris Anderson has a point.  I just got this CNN Breaking News alert: Canadian beauty Jillian Harris finally found what she was looking for a lover and a best friend when she giddily accepted a proposal from Chicago computer software consultant Ed Swiderski on the season finale of “The Bachelorette” Monday […]

You Know You Got it When You’re Going Insane

Norm Geras (who just celebrated his 6th blogging anniversary) points us to this hilariously annoying SPIEGEL interview with Wired editor Chris Anderson: SPIEGEL: Mr. Anderson, let’s talk about the future of journalism. Anderson: This is going to be a very annoying interview. I don’t use the word journalism. SPIEGEL: Okay, how about newspapers? They are […]

Sarah Palin’s Farewell Addresss — Shatnerized

I have to say, Sarah Palin’s farewell address as governor makes a little more sense when William Shatner reads it: Also, speaking of William Shatner, there are a couple of things that are worth mentioning about him. First off, is there anybody who’s as good a sport about himself as he is? I know reports […]

Magical Thinking on Iran

In an op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor international tax lawyer Dashiell Shapiro leaps to the defense of both the Bush and the Obama Administrations’ policies with respect to Iran: Haifa, Israel – There are two fallacies about American policy toward Iran. The first, subscribed to by many liberals, is that the Bush administration’s black-and-white, […]

Mad Men Yourself

I haven’t done one of these memes in awhile but this one is pretty cool. Aside from the martini, which I never carry to the office, and the tie width, that’s not bad. via Jason Kottke ss

Caption Contest Winners

The Position I Can Support Edition OTB Caption ContestTM is now over.

Why I Hate Meetings

With rare exception, I find business meetings that involve more than five people, especially those not devoted to a specific task, an infuriating waste of time.  Paul Graham nails down why in a way that had previously never occurred to me: One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they’re on a different type […]

Controlling Medicare Costs—IMAC

The CBO has analyzed some of the suggested methods for controlling health care costs, and the Independent Medicare Advisory Council (IMAC) in particular. The findings so far is not all that good, In particular, CBO reviewed draft legislation transmitted to the Congress by the Administration on July 17, 2009, titled the Independent Medicare Advisory Council […]

Mmmm, C-Rats

They just don’t make pound cake like they used to: Forty years later, Henry A. Moak, Jr., still loves his pound cake. The Army colonel popped open an old military ‘C’ Ration can of pound cake from 1969 at his retirement ceremony, and dug in. Moak got the drab olive can as a Marine helicopter […]

The Curse of Undue Deference

Radley Balko has an excellent article on how the Gates arrest last week demonstrates conservatives’ disturbing deference to government power when it comes to the police. Commenting on Gates’ arrest, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg wrote that he counts himself among those who are “deferential to police,” and willing to “give cops the benefit of the […]

You’re Probably a Federal Criminal

Alex Kozinski and Misha Tseytlin explain in a book chapter titled “You’re (Probably) a Federal Criminal” that “most Americans are criminals, and don’t know it, or suspect that they are but believe they’ll never get prosecuted.” Having experimented with recreational drugs is the most obvious way that people (including at least our three most recent […]

Or Else What, Exactly?

When you have any number of alternatives to choose from and your opponent believes that you might actually exercise any of them, deliberate ambiguity can be a valuable negotiating tool. It preserves your options and may cause your opponent to expend resources he otherwise might not feel the need to. When you don’t have an […]

Caption Contest

Time for the Monday OTB Caption ContestTM (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Winners will be announced Thursday PM

Baby Bites Al Franken

Waiting at DC’s Reagan National Airport yesterday evening for a flight to Minneapolis, we caught a photo of this baby biting Al Franken’s nose: Okay, so it was our baby. Franken was very gracious and accommodating. One of the joys of being a United States Senator, apparently, is that one can not read a magazine […]

OTB Caption JamTM

Weekend Caption Jam Linkfest. . . Rodney has his hands up in the air like he just don’t care. Wizbang just don’t (expletive) care either. Wyatt Earp is having it out with the man. Cowboy Blob got water up his nose. RT’s Ponderings doesn’t think Girly men cut it. Blonde Sagacity is takin’ a road […]

Quote of the Day – COIN Edition

“[General Stanley] McChrystal is not inclined to draw attention to his storied history as a special operator. But when he tells you that it’s impossible to kill your way out of this war, you believe him — because Lord knows, he’s tried.” – Andrew Exum, reporting back to Abu Muqawama after a month working on […]

Is Barack Obama An American Citizen?

For those of you interested in the “Birther” controversy, I’ve written a lengthy philosophic defense of the Birthers at Heretical Ideas. Here’s a quick excerpt: There is no question that the evidence points to the conclusion that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and is therefore a “natural-born citizen.” No question, that is, if you […]

Medal of Honor a Posthumous Award Only?

The Conservative Wahoo makes an interesting point: “Are There No Live People Worthy of the Medal of Honor?” News yesterday of the upcoming posthumous award of the Medal of Honor to SFC Jared Monti, USA for conspicuous gallantry in Afghanistan. I am humbled and awed any time I read of the bravery and selflessness of […]

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