Re: The End of Rabbit Ears

1

What if someone still has rabbit ears and it's their birthday on February 17th? Would that be nice? Instead of cupcakes, you get to spend the day dealing with either your kids or government bureaucrats talking smack you don't understand.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 6:43 AM
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It would be a birthday to remember, and all the better for it.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:04 AM
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It's all a matter of branding. Rabbits are cute. Just rename the things "cockroach antennae" and no one will want them anymore.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:15 AM
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When I was young, cable TV was new and unavailable to much of my area. I still remember the more rural kids getting asked 'What was on UHF list night?'


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:20 AM
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1,2: It's my birthday and I'll kvetch if I want to
kvetch if I want to, kvetch if I want to.
You would kvetch too, if it happened to you.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:21 AM
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I think JP Stormcrow's birthday is on the 17th. Everyone be nice to him.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:22 AM
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#4: When we first got cable, the "remote" was a big-ass thing about the size of a full-size tissue box, connected to the TV by a cord. It had about 15 chunky hard-plastic buttons, plus a toggle switch. Flip the toggle up to select channels 1-15, and down to select channels 16-30. You pushed down a button with a solid "thunk" that popped up the button you had selected previously; only one could be down at a time. My favorite new cable shows were the old Hercules cartoons, the Uncle Floyd show, and this weird thing called MTV. Good times.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:27 AM
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The Hercules cartoon in question.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:29 AM
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7: I liked the ones that had, instead of buttons, a clicky slide thing that went through all the channels in half a second. So fun!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:30 AM
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When I was little, our TV had a "quick start" button. If the button wasn't pushed in, it took a minute or so for the screen to warm up, I guess. I never understood the function of that button.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:31 AM
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7: GB is 89 years old.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:31 AM
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7: Ours box was about the same size, but it had a dial and a max of 15 channels, not that we got 15 channels. I didn't see the first two years of the Simpsons because we didn't get Fox.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:31 AM
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I never understood the function of that button.

Energy conservation. Remember "energy vampires" or whatever? With that button pushed, your TV's vampire was activated.

I liked the ones that had, instead of buttons, a clicky slide thing that went through all the channels in half a second. So fun!

That sounds so, so awesome.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:32 AM
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My lawn, get off it.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:33 AM
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Also, our computers didn't have hard drives.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:34 AM
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The Hercules cartoon in question.

As a purist, I disliked that cartoon a lot (a magic belt buckle? WTF? He was just super-strong). But I think I really underestimated the theme song - quality!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:35 AM
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It isn't just that people don't all know about the switch (though that is an issue, particularly among the elderly), but that the converter box coupon program ran out of money.

Broadcasting a message on the old analog frequencies for a while actually isn't a bad idea once the switch is made, but I think there's an obligation to make sure that everyone has pretty much uninterrupted access to a public resource that has always been free. People make light of old folks with Reagan-era TVs missing out on Friends reruns for a few weeks, but it is a problem.

Related.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:35 AM
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Turns out you still need the rabbit ears: The signal in the air is now digital, and you need a box between said ears and your television to decode the new technology.

- Picture is essentially cable quality.
- You can't really get any channels half-way anymore (like when you can/could get an analog channel that is 50% interference/snow, but you can/could still watch whatever is on). The reception is either perfect, or a garbled digital mess of melty little boxes.

Will there be a future for underground analog broadcasting?


Posted by: bah | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:36 AM
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I didn't see the first two years of the Simpsons because we didn't get Fox.

Same here, because our town didn't carry Fox network for a while. And yet, our middle school was packed with kids in Don't Have A Cow, Man t-shirts, despite no one in our town being able to watch the show.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:37 AM
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#16: Well, the animation was awesome. Um, compared to the competition, that is.


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:37 AM
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"our middle school"

Would you like a piece of hard candy?


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:38 AM
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but that the converter box coupon program ran out of money.

Ah, that makes more sense then. Fund the program plus air a message, I say!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:38 AM
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Sorry, magic ring. Which he carried IN his belt buckle.

Bah.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:40 AM
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I have a digital decoder and still use rabbit ears.

Anyway, take the following with a pinch of salt as a I learned everything I know about the US switchover situation a few days ago after a post on another blog, but as I understand it the problem isn't so much getting out the message. It's more that they've run out of subsidy, because for some asinine reason they let everyone in America get two free decoders per household rather than targeting the subsidy or limiting it to one TV. I'm sure there are some technophobic/insulated people who don't know about the situation at all, but in most cases it will be laziness or cheapness. When there's no more analogue signal, people who can afford the $30 odd dollars a converter costs will get one.

All that said, your idea is a very good one, but it has a cost, in that it will delay freeing up the analogue spectrum and somebody has to pay for the broadcasts.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:42 AM
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OK, and clicking about, I see that cartoon Spiderman wore a costume with 6-legged spiders.

No wonder our country has gone to shit.

There really are a lot of kids on this lawn, aren't there?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:44 AM
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It's more that they've run out of subsidy, because for some asinine reason they let everyone in America get two free decoders per household rather than targeting the subsidy or limiting it to one TV.

I have to imagine that the asinine reason is that the Republicans underfunded what should have been a very cheap process.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:44 AM
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Kids today, JRoth, I tell ya...


Posted by: Gaijin Biker | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:46 AM
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I think they just wanted everybody to buy new TVs or get cable.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:46 AM
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So will I get to smugly say, "I don't even own a converter box"? I still haven't gotten one or decided if I'll bother. Surely there's a DVD of an aquarium somewhere.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:47 AM
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Also, I bet some people with cable to got the coupons so that they would have a TV to watch in case the cable goes out. I know one person who did this.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:48 AM
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TVs are so 20th century.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:52 AM
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"I have to imagine that the asinine reason is that the Republicans underfunded what should have been a very cheap process."

But if the programme was underfunded, why not make it more targeted? In the UK, you only get a subsidy if you're over 75 or on incapacity benefit or in a few other circumstances. And as far as I know you can only get one.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:53 AM
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An alternative theory of the delay is that it is masterminded by an advisor to Obama on the transition who is also an executive with a company developing a 4G wireless network, a company which would benefit from pushing back its competitors' launch dates by delaying the transition a few months. But who knows.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:56 AM
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for some asinine reason they let everyone in America get two free decoders per household rather than targeting the subsidy or limiting it to one TV.

Programs exclusively for the poor tend to hit some snags in congress. And so Warren Buffett gets a Social Security check, etc.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:58 AM
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But if the programme was underfunded, why not make it more targeted?

I don't know much about the program, but I was under the impression that they were targeting the elderly, mostly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:59 AM
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I didn't know people got free decoders. How many people know this? Where do they come from?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:59 AM
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I tried to buy a converter box at the local electronics place and the salesperson I talked to had no idea what the hell I was talking about. He tried to sell me a video card for a PC.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:00 AM
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There are big signs in the Country Kitchen Buffet.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:03 AM
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I don't know much about the program, but I was under the impression that they were targeting the elderly, mostly.

The outreach programs were mostly targeting the elderly (my mom is actually running one of these, which hit a bit of a snag when they had to start telling the old folks that there weren't any more coupons available), but the coupons are available to anyone, no means-testing required. I'm not sure whether that was a good idea, but means-testing does throw another hurdle in front of people trying to get a converter box by requiring them to demonstrate need before they get a coupon.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:06 AM
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The program maybe isn't really out of money depending on exactly what you mean by "out of money". There are a large number of coupons that were issued that have not been redeemed and likely will never be redeemed. Eventually the coupons will expire and more coupons can be issued. The problem is that not enough will expire before the transition date.


Posted by: Andy | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:10 AM
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"I'm not sure whether that was a good idea, but means-testing does throw another hurdle in front of people trying to get a converter box by requiring them to demonstrate need before they get a coupon."

Call me a heartless neoliberal liberal if you like, but there's nothing stopping most people from buying a not very expensive decoder without a coupon. And means testing would deal with the rest. We're not talking food stamps here, we're talking about TV. As hurdles go, it's not very high.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:19 AM
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In the UK, you only get a subsidy if you're over 75 or on incapacity benefit or in a few other circumstances. And as far as I know you can only get one.

But Ginger Yellow, that's discrimination against the well off. It's class warfare!

And so Warren Buffett gets a Social Security check, etc.
But Warren only pays SS on the first, what is it, hundred thousand dollars or so of his income? You know, if Warren had to pay SS on all of his income, he could probably fix the SS problem right all by himself. Although I suppose most of his money comes in the form of dividends and capital gains and stuff. But there are plenty of people earning salaries of several hundred thousands, and getting giant bonuses that are treated as payroll, who should be soaked, if not cooked and eaten.


Posted by: \ | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:20 AM
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Will there be a future for underground analog broadcasting?

I have wondered exactly this. I like to think of it being used for community TV of some sort or, I dunno, guerrilla reruns ("Earl's runnin' a Twin Peaks channel outta Maw's basement, so if the law comes 'round you tell 'em you don't know nothin'") but instead I expect it'll just be used for a shitty remake of Pump Up the Volume.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:22 AM
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18.3: I doubt it - the analog frequencies are being reassigned to police departments and the like to use for their radios.


Posted by: eohippus | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:27 AM
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6: I think JP Stormcrow's birthday is on the 17th.

But it isn't!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:37 AM
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LB's really going to dislike the pseud in 42.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:38 AM
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45: That's OK, I wasn't planning on being nice anyway.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:38 AM
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See here's the question: what would you do with the empty analog spectrum? Broadcast interviews with aliens? Run non-stop horror movies? Encode secret messages for cold ware KGB operatives who never got the Glasnost message?


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:40 AM
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48: Skynet.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:44 AM
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there's nothing stopping most people from buying a not very expensive decoder without a coupon. And means testing would deal with the rest. We're not talking food stamps here, we're talking about TV. As hurdles go, it's not very high.

Sure. This isn't a huge deal. But the boxes are ~$60, and the people who need them are by and large the people with the least discretionary income. Also, this whole thing is happening because we're taking away broadcast spectrum mostly used by poorer people and giving it to 4G wireless internet which will mostly be used by richer people.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:45 AM
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Call me a heartless neoliberal liberal if you like

You are a heartless neoliberal. That said, you're correct. There is no right to free TV. It's not like we're taking away food or water here.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:47 AM
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There is no right to free TV. It's not like we're taking away food or water here.

It's not about "free TV." It's about public access to the airwaves.

Call me a bleeding heart liberal, but I'm with Matt F on this one.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:52 AM
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There is no right to free TV. It's not like we're taking away food or water here.

Sort of. You have to buy the TV yourself, but the broadcast spectrum is publicly owned. Plus, emergency messages in the event of a natural disaster or something are harder to get out if a bunch of people don't have working TV.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:54 AM
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51: except that there is some assumption of providing a public good in spectrum allocation. There's no right to electricity either, but it'd be plumb crappy if you disconnected 6 million people for no good reason.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 8:55 AM
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51: There's no "right" to free TV, but there's theoretically a public interest in broadening access to the media, as a source of news/information. Of course, this does not factor in the quality of the information.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:00 AM
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It's perfectly reasonable that the coupons be available regardless of income level, but most publicized towards the poor and elderly, on the premise that they're most likely to own antique television sets.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:07 AM
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52-55: Bear in mind I'm agreeing with 41.last, which is a pretty straightforward suggestion. I don't plan on getting a coupon, since I can afford the converter without and I don't think subsidies to UMC people for trivial expenses are a good use of money. Means test people who can't make the stretch and just give them a converter for free.

IOW the "right" in question is that of people who can easily spring for a converter at the cost of maybe a single night eating chinese takeout to be subsidized by the government in order to make the switch to digital.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:19 AM
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I have to imagine that the asinine reason is that the Republicans underfunded what should have been a very cheap process.

The asinine reason for doing all this was digital TV - they (that is, the FCC) took the extremely stupid step of deciding to phase in digital rapidly, followed by phasing out analog rapidly. The reason being is that those rich people who own large corporations really want that spectrum so they can 'create new services' - that is, underpay for a government grant of monopoly on the spectrum and start charging people for it.

When you're trying to steal, being courteous about not destroying the furniture is kind of a nuisance.

Interestingly enough, rural congressmen managed to hold out for the low power VHF people, so they can continue to broadcast in places like Buttfuck, AR; anyways, the nobody wants to sell services there since sitting up transmitters everywhere would be expensive. So if you want your guerilla TV, gotta move out where the hillbillies live.

max
['I don't think that's going to fly.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:20 AM
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if you turn on your old analog television set, you're going to see static

If you turn on your analog set *and* don't have cable or satellite.

the converter box coupon program ran out of money

Not quite. They just can't issue any more $40 coupons until the existing coupons expire so that they know how much $ is left.

Picture is essentially cable quality.

Not necessarily. Just as with analog, it depends how strong the signal is and whether there are obstructions between you and the tower. Also, you may need a second antenna to get UHF stations if your current one is VHF only.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:24 AM
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own antique perfectly serviceable television sets that don't need to be replaced by some fancy-pants 400" plasma-LED-HD-WTF screen that allows you see every pore on Beyonce's face.

Take that, turbo-capitalism!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:34 AM
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We don't have cable. We got the converter. I am a little sad about it. In the back of my mind, I was thinking we would procrastinate and then be forced to be unable to watch any tv.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:35 AM
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59.2 multi-pwned.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:35 AM
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61: Cheap plastic-encased electronics aren't very hard to break.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:38 AM
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My house hasn't gotten a converter. We rarely use the TV to watch TV, so it's not really worth buying a converter. But it will be sad because occasionally it comes in handy (the inauguration, presidential debates, Super Bowl, etc.).


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:39 AM
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I suspect that in terms of costs, implementing a program where people were means-tested to get coupons would be more expensive than just mailing people coupons when they requested them.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:40 AM
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what would you do with the empty analog spectrum?

Isn't the whole point that it isn't going to stay empty?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:40 AM
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64 is us, too. We will surely get the converter (Iris does love her Mr. Rogers), but it's a bit of a drag. The whole reason we don't have cable is that TV isn't worth $$ to us (and indeed, our set is a hand-me-down).

If we ever have $$, we will get a nice TV, for watching movies (although AB's little MacBook works fine).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:45 AM
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What if someone still has rabbit ears and it's their birthday on February 17th?

What if someone still has rabbit ears and it's their birthday on February 18th? Maybe she'd feel better if someone made her chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and marzipan rabbit ears.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:45 AM
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One option for reusing it is as the last-mile for a hybrid fibre-wireless rural broadband network. In fact I'm in this month's Cook Report (not the British TV show) arguing about exactly that, with a lot of other people.

It has the advantage that 700MHz goes through walls and over the broad acres pretty well, even better than GSM. Of course there's a spectral efficiency tradeoff, but there's a lot of 700 going and there aren't that many people in the places concerned. Write your senator, etc.

Anyway, I remember when cable TV meant that the TV came down a cable from a head end that received the broadcast signal over the air...strangely pointless technology, but they deployed it in some new towns in the 1960s, and it still worked years later. In fact, I remember people still having the X-shaped VHF TV aerials, although that had been switched off many years before.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:56 AM
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I suspect that in terms of costs, implementing a program where people were means-tested to get coupons would be more expensive than just mailing people coupons when they requested them.

That's my suspicion too. And I guess I'm not inclined to worry too much that some people might get coupons who don't really need them, given the multi-billion dollar bailouts to the banks.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:59 AM
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BTW, I no longer have a TV set.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:02 AM
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"It's perfectly reasonable that the coupons be available regardless of income level, but most publicized towards the poor and elderly, on the premise that they're most likely to own antique television sets."

It's not reasonable in that people who "need" the coupons haven't got them, while people who don't do. Surely the whole point of a subsidy (beyond pure politics) is to make sure people who need converters and can't easily afford them get them. If a subsidy scheme doesn't even achieve that, it's clearly a failure.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:06 AM
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69: In the March issue? Do you write under a name other than Alex?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:11 AM
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The thing I've found most ridiculous about the publicity for the switch is that the networks have been broadcasting the "THIS STATION GOES ALL DIGITAL" message on the digital stream and not just the analog one. Uh, if I can see that message, I don't need to be told. But thanks anyway, I guess.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:16 AM
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I'm quoted in the discussion bits mostly under my surname, which as you know Bob is highly specific.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:25 AM
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Once again, my Victorian sensibilities have been shocked by modern-day crassness, viz. this headline about Cox cable company from a reasonably serious online publication:

Study Alleges a Cox Block on P2P Traffic

I mean, it's funny, but I'd feel uncomfortable circulating it among the 25 or so co-workers to whom I regularly send telecom articles.

Get off my lawn and take your filthy mouth with you!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:26 AM
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I suspect that in terms of costs, implementing a program where people were means-tested to get coupons would be more expensive than just mailing people coupons when they requested them.

Then how about they don't send any goddamn $40 converter coupons to ANYONE, and just send $40 checks to the poorest 33,500,000 households in America (based on most recent tax returns)? Same cost as the coupon program, MUCH better policy.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:28 AM
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That said, I just realized this digital thing is supposed to be better, isn't it? I hadn't planned to get a converter, since we have cable, but the main reason we have cable is that we were tried of getting shit for reception. If I could buy a converter box and get a cable-quality picture, that could be a real money saver.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:31 AM
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This is where Brits look at you funny. Anyway, I've learned not to swear or for that matter, attempt humour, style, or any other sign of humanity on US-heavy tech lists. Just the other day I got a NANOG MLC warning for taking part in the "talking heads" thread, and I'd already been banned for three months for using a naughty word a couple of years back.

I agree this isn't the right industry for being all laid back, but some organisations remind me of the railways in 1880, when you could be sacked for "whistling, laughing, or other levity while wearing the uniform".


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:31 AM
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76: Ah, but if your sensibilities were truly Victorian, you'd never have noticed the possible impropriety.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:32 AM
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based on most recent tax returns

The truly, truly poor might not even need to file, though. Isn't there a minimum before you have to file a return?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:33 AM
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81: sure, fine, I was being glib. Trim the 33,500,000 number somewhat, and also send a check to everyone on the welfare rolls. You get the idea.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:38 AM
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81: Yes, I say, with the authority of my extremely recent certification (this morning!) as a basic Volunteer Income Tax Assister. (I'll be doing the intermediate test this afternoon. Watch out, H&R Block.) Although a lot of poor folks should, because they're likely to be eligible for some significant tax credits.

I think I mentioned elsewhere that I've volunteered for a project that helps low-income folks file their returns and (usually) get their refunds.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:38 AM
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But it will be sad because occasionally it comes in handy (the inauguration, presidential debates, Super Bowl, etc.).

I go to bars for this. Works great.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:39 AM
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78 - Digital broadcast TV is better than analog (and better than all but the best cable) if you have good enough reception. The problem is that there's not a gradual decline in picture quality like you're used to with analog TV. It's either perfect or unwatchable.

You can plug your address in at AntennaWeb to find out what sort of antenna you'd need and what kind of reception you can expect. I live about four miles as the crow flies from the broadcast towers in DC, and my reception is great with a rooftop antenna -- except for the FOX affiliate, which reportedly canceled its plans to raise its tower to the full height for which it had a permit. Anything on FOX we generally have to watch on Hulu. I keep meaning to get back on the roof to tweak the antenna, but getting up there is hard so I haven't done it yet.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:41 AM
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84: if you always root for the home teams. Otherwise, it can be tough to find a bar showing the game.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:41 AM
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I go to bars get drunk at home for this. Works great.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:42 AM
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It is true. Finding the Australian inauguration was a bitch and a half, I tell you.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:43 AM
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Instead of the costly bureaucracy involved with a thorough means-testing program, maybe people who want subsidized converter boxes should send pictures of themselves to that Phoebe person, and she could determine their eligibility based on what they're wearing.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:48 AM
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If this report on the death of Analog is true, then I'm going to be doubly pissed off. I do not subscribe to cable tv because it would mean effectively paying for advertisers to have intimate access to my living room. This is the same reason why I don't buy women's fashion magazines. Advertising companies should pay, and find it difficult to reach ME, not the other way around! I do, however, have bunny ears, which allow me to watch live news events from relatively good sources such as the cbc. I used to get irked by the imperfection of the picture, and now I'll have no access to it whatsoever. In a way, all the important political addresses, for which my television's reception is necessary, will be available on the net the next day, but I hate the idea that I'll be the last to know just because I refuse to pay for freaking cable tv.

Does anyone know if this applies to Canadian broadcasting systems?


Posted by: Lucy | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:53 AM
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And in case it's not utterly clear here: broadcast HD is the best picture quality you can possibly see. Most cable and satellite companies have to compress the HD signal they're given in order to support the number of channels they're sending down a limited pipe. The same thing happens with standard-def stuff, but I'm not sure to what extent because I canceled my DirecTV service a year ago.

The sole exception to that is any company with both fiber to the premises and adequate equipment in their control center. This was apparently an issue for some FIOS markets, as Verizon had the fiber but not the equipment -- I'm not up to date on where they've rectified this and where they haven't, so it's possible it's not a limiting factor for them anywhere anymore.

But regardless of what Comcast and DirecTV like to claim in their advertising, neither one of them actually has the best picture quality. Your local digital network affiliate does, and you just need an antenna to pick it up and a digital-ready TV or tuner on which to watch it. For standard-def stuff, the picture quality on Hulu is just as good as, if not better than, what I was getting from DirecTV. For high-def, broadcast is leagues better.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 10:57 AM
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90 - yes, but not until August 31, 2011.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:01 AM
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If you want to watch TV on your computer monitor, you could get one of these (the linked one is for Mac, obvs, but there are many PC equivalents).


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:01 AM
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91: Not much compression with fiber. I haven't seen it yet, but the reports are glowing.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:07 AM
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So, to go back a bit to Ginger Yellow's complaint - why is the subsidy for *two* converter boxes? Maybe I'm just weird, but multiple-broadcast-TV-watching households haven't ever been a norm I've seen (extras for video games or VCRs, sure), but for the point of maintaining public access, wouldn't one box be enough?


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:08 AM
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Is this a good time/place to express my distress about the stimulus bill?

Apparently it's dead in the Senate; it will only be revived in the form of a shitty, shitty bill co-written by Senators Nelson and Inhofe*.

I've been holding my tongue about various displeasing things Obama's done, trying to recall the September exhortation. But you know what? He's lost hold of this, and fucked up badly. The Democratic/sane human message isn't getting across on ANY outlets. We're getting hammered in the media and on the floor of the Senate, and the results are going to be awful.

Christ.

* Not literally true


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:11 AM
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93: Praise Jesus! I can get rid of my TV altogether.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:11 AM
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You already bought a TV, Lucy. This box will not require you to pay any monthly fees.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:13 AM
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97 - As long as your computer is fast enough. My 1.83 Ghz Mac mini (Core Duo, not Core 2 Duo) copes, but only barely.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:21 AM
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85: Hey, that's awesome. As I suspected, ABC is the outlier - for some reason, their antenna is pretty far away from the city. For that reason, I haven't watched anything on ABC since the early 1990s (not an exaggeration at all). I'm not going to bother with a directional, roof-mounted antenna for 1 station that I never watch; I'll just go with one of the cheapies, which will suffice for everything else. Sweet.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:24 AM
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Also, I just plugged my mom's address into AntennaWeb and it predicts no digital service at all. I hope that's wrong; there's no cable out there and I suspect she doesn't have the southern sky view for satellite.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:26 AM
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93: Dammit. That's an elegant solution, but totally not what works for my household. I keep trying to work it out, but - based on 99 - it doesn't seem that there's a machine available to allow anyone to watch TV while I'm working. Rats.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:30 AM
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Maybe I'm just weird, but multiple-broadcast-TV-watching households haven't ever been a norm I've seen.

You are very weird. There was a report a couple of years ago that the average U.S. home has more TVs than people. (I can't guarantee the methodology, but I don't think they did anything really stupid like divide the total number of TVs by the total number of people.) People have TVs in the family room/den, the kitchen, 1 or more bedrooms, etc. Not me, but people.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:32 AM
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51: "There is no right to free TV."

Pfui. We got that right, or its tradeable value, when we gave up the right to broadcast freely.

Low power to the people!


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:36 AM
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I think he was implying that anyone with enough TV interest to have multiple TVs has cable or satellite -- for the last decade or so, broadcast reception has been limited to households who really didn't care much about TV, and so only had one. I'm not sure I buy it, but there's an argument there.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:36 AM
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We have 3 in a house of 2. 1 for watching in bed, 1 in the living room, 1 in the basement mostly for playing Wii.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:36 AM
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We don't have cable, so one roommate picked up a converter box the other day. The picture is really great when it works, but for a couple of channels it's really dicey adjusting the rabbit ears to get anything besides digital mess.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:36 AM
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96: Yes, in my opinion. I wasn't optimistic about Obama, but I was willing to have my mind changed.

Considering that what I want is the marginalization of the Republican Party, and what he wants (and ran on) was post-partisanship, there's no reason to be surprised. The hard part is that there's no reason to believe that Obama has a real clue about the present economic crisis. All the evidence is that his playbook was written before the shit hit the fan, and that he's sticking to it.

I still hate Democrats.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:42 AM
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Is there much broadcast HD in the US? Admittedly the UK is way further along on digital than it is on HD, but over here you can only get HD via satellite (although you don't need a subscription to get the BBC's HD satellite channel).


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:45 AM
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There's a fair bit of broadcast HD, like fedward described in 91. I think basically all of the major-network affiliates can transmit HD and do so for the programs that are shot that way.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:54 AM
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105: Agreed that people more into TV may be more likely to have cable or satellite, but of the 11 or 12 million households (10%) that don't have pay TV, plenty of them must have multiple TVs. They're a very cheap form of entertainment -- the TVs themselves don't have to cost much, especially secondhand. My rather non-TV-caring parents had an extra black & white in their bedroom in the 70's, and even when I lived alone, I used to have a little b&w in my bedroom. (Which got the most use when the Iraq war started and I stayed up night after night watching and feeling horrible.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:55 AM
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Okay, so I'm weird. But it still seems true that the public-service utility of subsidizing access falls off very quickly for N>1.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:57 AM
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what he wants (and ran on) was post-partisanship, there's no reason to be surprised.

Well, it's a perfectly sensible thing to want. It's just that no one is going to get that.

The hard part is that there's no reason to believe that Obama has a real clue about the present economic crisis.

The Rubin/Summers/Geithner complex is very liberal on things that don't count. As it is, the banks are essentially negotiating with themselves over how hard they're going to get it. (Answer: not very.) This is where that faith in technocracy lets people down... what happens when the technocrats are corrupt? (Or wrong? Or wrong AND corrupt?) If you expect to depend on expert advice, you're just screwed.

All the evidence is that his playbook was written before the shit hit the fan, and that he's sticking to it.

He made an adjustment to cope with Hillary. He made another (not terribly good) adjustment to cope with McCain. Now he's going to have to get over Senators and Low Broderism.

max
['This whole 'Let's replay the entire Clinton administration in a few months thing' is giving me whiplash.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 11:58 AM
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112: But I need to watch my programs!! And they're at the same time as your programs!!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:00 PM
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'This whole 'Let's replay the entire Clinton administration in a few months thing' is giving me whiplash.'

Amen. I just can't believe how easily he's getting rolled. Fine, he doesn't care about the same things I do. At least care about the things you care about, dude.

At least I have work to throw myself into.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:07 PM
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I just can't believe how easily he's getting rolled.

You've watched the Democratic Party in action over the past 25 years, right?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:10 PM
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Are there DVRs that will work for broadcast TV? Or do you have to have either cable or satellite?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:14 PM
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Daschle is now a Christ like figure, sacrificing himself for the good of all mankind, or the Obama administration, so samey samey.

Josh Marshall is shocked, shocked that the Republicans are willing to sacrifice the country for political gain. Of course, The fact that some Republicans may have different policy positions than the administration doesn't enter into it.

Have the rules changed for real? Maybe. We will have to see if Obama's plan can put all 500 million Americans that have lost their jobs back to work, so they can pay their mortgages.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:20 PM
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117: Yes. See 93 if you're on a mac.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:22 PM
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119: But I'm not on a mac, and, more to the point, wouldn't want to have to route anything through my computer. There's nothing standalone?


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:29 PM
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109 - Most of the prime-time schedule is broadcast in HD, as well as the big late night shows and even a couple daytime soap operas. Depending on the capability of the local network affiliates there might even be local news in HD (we get it here in DC), and there are some syndicated shows available in HD for the local stations that can handle it (so we get Jeopardy! in HD on one channel, but Ellen is carried by another channel that apparently can only do syndicated shows in SD, despite being available in HD).

Part of this is just technological. In the UK the spectrum was allocated differently than here in the US, so there is apparently just a much smaller amount of bandwidth for broadcast to begin with (hence all the Freeview satellite receivers, etc). Broadcast tests in the UK for HD did not go well, but I'm too lazy to go look up where I read that, and my sister moved to Canada so I don't have to know now anyway. :-)

In the US, the big outliers for prime-time shows have been on-location reality shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race, and Survivor went HD for its newest season. The new TAR season starts in a couple weeks, but the commercial I saw didn't trumpet HD like the Survivor ads did, so I'm guessing it was still going to be too expensive for them to produce in HD. They rely on local production crews around the world and have a camera with each team plus any location-specific cameras, and editing HD requires expensive equipment and more storage capacity for footage.

The other curiosity I've seen was that NBC wouldn't pay for Scrubs to be produced in HD, but now that ABC has picked it up it's in HD. If only the writing were in HD to go along with the picture.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:32 PM
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Amen. I just can't believe how easily he's getting rolled.

All those Senators are rolling him for the Republicans. I figure we're up to '94-'95 budget brawl.

Of course, the fact that some Republicans may have different policy positions than the administration doesn't enter into it.

Yes, indeed they do have different policy positions. They're also crazier than hell and could talk themselves into believing that if everyone went outside and jumped at the same time, there would be a massive earthquake.

max
['The Broderites haven't bled enough.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:32 PM
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120: TiVo works with OTA broadcasts, but the monthly fee is prohibitive.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:33 PM
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116: The problem is that the Democratic Party is actually a big tent while the Republican Party is a very tightly disciplined organization. That's how they manage to be effective despite majority opposition to their policies. The GOP is willing to punish its own members for disloyalty. The Democrats are not. Tom DeLay was the highest expression of this tendency, but he wasn't an anomaly so much as the most prominent example. Gingrich knew how to crack the whip, too.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:34 PM
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could talk themselves into believing that if everyone went outside and jumped at the same time, there would be a massive earthquake.

This seems like a pretty good description of the stimulus plan. Throw enough money around, and something's got to happen.

What I don't understand is why the Democrats give to shits about what the Republicans say. They won the election, Have Majorities in both houses- pass whatever you can. If you want somebody's buy in, you got to go along with what they want.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:45 PM
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What I don't understand is why the Democrats give to shits about what the Republicans say.

You and me both, brother. You and me both.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 12:52 PM
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The problem is that the Democratic Party is actually a big tent while the Republican Party is a very tightly disciplined organization.

Baloney. The elected members of the Democratic Party are more homogeneous than the Party at large, which I will allow you to think of as a "big tent". Party discipline is a matter of having the right person as whip.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:01 PM
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This seems like a pretty good description of the stimulus plan.

That's why it would be an excellent idea at this point to stop the whole TARP business, and cancel the stimulus altogether.

They won the election, Have Majorities in both houses- pass whatever you can. If you want somebody's buy in, you got to go along with what they want.

Because the buy in they want is everything. To the point that slipping and saying 'million' instead of 'thousand' is seen as an error of catastropic proportions.

max
['It's aluminum baseball bat time.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:01 PM
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What I don't understand is why the Democrats give to shits about what the Republicans say.

That's exceedingly mysterious to me as well. And reminds me of this thread, where several of us kept insisting that trying to play nice with the opposition would get Obama exactly jack shit and that the only reasonable thing to do if a Democrat managed to get a foot on the GOP's metaphorical neck is to stomp as hard as possible.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:02 PM
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I would lower the cloture to 55, break the arms of a couple of disloyal Democratic Congressmen, and seat Al Franken immediately.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:02 PM
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The Rs (as they've pretty much admitted) know that their opposition to the stimulous bill is kind of a gimme: costs them nothing politically; it'll pass anyway so they won't be tarred as obstructionist; and if it doesn't work/ proves unpopular down the road, they get to claim supernatural foresight. Conversely, the Ds would at least like to be able to claim that they tried to include the Rs, so that they partially defuse charge of high-handedness, while still taking credit for the thing if it works.


Posted by: JPool | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:02 PM
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Because the buy in they want is everything.

If you don't need their buy in, don't give in. If you do, for whatever reason, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:06 PM
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I would lower the cloture to 55,

How 'bout just making the old farts actually filibuster, instead of just pantomime.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:08 PM
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At this point the Republicans have already watered down the bill, and they plan to water it down more.

People, including Democrats, almostincluding Obama himself, are parroting the century-old balanced budget slogans. They're saying imbecile things like "I might support a stimulus bill, but this is just a spending bill." They have no idea what a stimulus bill is.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:09 PM
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You've watched the Democratic Party in action over the past 25 years, right?

I know, but he seemed so different.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:10 PM
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The Blue Dogs are fired up and ready to roll. My COngressman is one of them. That's the biggest problem.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:10 PM
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'This whole 'Let's replay the entire Clinton administration in a few months thing' is giving me whiplash.'

Hey, if we can just skip ahead to the part with record surpluses and prosperity, I'd be cool with that.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:11 PM
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Baloney. The elected members of the Democratic Party are more homogeneous than the Party at large, which I will allow you to think of as a "big tent".

Bullshit to your Baloney. Heath Shuler and Barney Frank. And I don't think that either of them is the most extreme in their respective directions.

I will grant that the Rs in the Senate are at least on the same order of magnitude political diversitywise as the Ds, but the House is completely different.

This would be an interesting test: look at the median-voting D and R. Look at their districts. Could the extreme right and left of the respective parties get elected in those districts? I know the D caucus - and have enough of a sense of where the median is - to say with near-certainty that neither extreme of D could get elected in the median D's district (well, in 2008 they could have; I mean in a regular year). I'd be pretty surprised if the same is true of Rs (maybe one extreme or the other, if not both).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:20 PM
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I know, but he seemed so different.

Racist.


C'mon, get with the program, people.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:35 PM
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138. Here's a gerrymander hall of shame. Full disclosure, I was on the Board of Governors of the Institute for ten years.

http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/rose/redistricting/hall_of_shame.php


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:36 PM
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There's nothing standalone?

There are tons of them in the UK. I find it hard to believe there aren't at least a few in the US. But then again in the UK the schedule is sent over the air by the broadcasters, which I gather is not the case with PVRs in the states.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:39 PM
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Heath Shuler and Barney Frank

Ben Nelson and Bernie Sanders.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:41 PM
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"The picture is really great when it works, but for a couple of channels it's really dicey adjusting the rabbit ears to get anything besides digital mess."

Word. You have to have incredible patience and skill to get it to work right. I sure hope the government gets something for this inconvenience.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:50 PM
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Look, it's simple. When the Democrats have the White House and the Republicans have the congress, we have to do what the Republicans want because of the filibuster. When the Republicans have the White House and the Democrats have the congress, we have to do what the Republicans want because of the president's veto power. When the Republicans hold no power at all, we have to do what they want because they're probably at least 40% right, so we might as well err on the side of caution.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:50 PM
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144: What happened to "I won"?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:52 PM
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Alternately, an explanation that doesn't rely on Democrats being morons would be that it is impossible to get elected to office without being dependent on huge quantities of bribes from forces opposed to everything the Democratic Party claims to stand for. This seems more likely to me. But then I wonder, why doesn't that happen in every country? Or maybe it does.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:55 PM
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Dave Drier and Denny Rehberg. So?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 1:57 PM
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David Dreier and Denny Rehberg, two people from different places who stand for exactly the same things, therefore are not too difficult to corral into supporting the same things. You miss the point!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:01 PM
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But then again in the UK the schedule is sent over the air by the broadcasters, which I gather is not the case with PVRs in the states.

Anywhere from zero to seven days of schedule are available as part of the digital data stream, depending on the channel. Many channels seem to have about three days of schedule, and some channels have had a very hard time getting their program data to be accurate. The EyeTV software that comes with the widget linked in 93 can use the broadcast data, but IME this is never a good idea.

If you want a reliable PVR in the US you need a reliable program guide, and all the companies providing those want money for them. TiVo gets (or at least used to get) theirs from Tribune Media Services, which charges quite a lot of money for the feed. EyeTV software has until very recently used TitanTV, which only provides a week's data on the back end even though two weeks' data is usually visible on their web site. The latest version of EyeTV switches its data provider to TV Guide, which will now cost EyeTV users $20/year after the first year (similar to the situation in Europe, where there has always been an annual charge for program guide service).

There's also an open source project under the XMLTV umbrella which seeks to make program guide data available to the geeky, but I've never bothered with that.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:01 PM
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Please, one is a closeted homo.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:03 PM
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At this point the Republicans have already watered down the bill, and they plan to water it down more.

no they haven't. THey haven't cut any spending at all, they just helped add a tax break or two.

I think 131 is correct. If the stimulus works, the Reps are screwed anyway. If it doesn't, they get maximal benefit by having opposed it.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:11 PM
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OT: Lawyers, help! I'm trying to figure out what it means if a state legislature passes a law creating a private cause of action. Does that mean that ordinary members of the public can now file criminal lawsuits rather than just a civil suit if they are injured by some situation covered under the law? I thought only the state was allowed to file criminal cases. Or does it just sort of make you a whistleblower, or what?

Maybe I'm way off track. Any advice or links appreciated (although if you send me to a legal database please remember that I have no subscription access to any of them).


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:15 PM
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Hey, if we can just skip ahead to the part with record surpluses and prosperity, I'd be cool with that.

Sadly, no. Granted the circumstances are similar: an (at the time) monster stock market crash followed by a real estate bubble (which was followed by the decision to essentially liquidate the industrial base for cash). Much bigger stock market crash, much bigger real estate bubble, no industrial base left to liquidate. Politics may be proceeding at warp speed, but changing the economy is g o i n g t o b e s l o w.

The Blue Dogs are fired up and ready to roll.

Hamsher:

Cooper, in a statement, didn't directly admit he misspoke when he told a Nashville radio host he received "some quiet encouragement" to oppose his leadership -- but now says no one in the White House encouraged him to vote "no," but did sympathize with his concerns.

It's Summers. Summers doesn't like the spendy spendy, except for banks. So he's working as an 'advisor' and on the phones to those concerned congressmen telling them how he too hates all that liberal spending. And now Obama is a in a political mess. Thanks, Larry, you useless, incompetent fuck.

max
['Are you familiar with the name Iago, Larry?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:15 PM
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This post gets it right. TLL is correct that some Republicans in Congress have actual beliefs, specifically that they want to get government out of the business of accomplishing things or attempting to pursue goals, since the government is by definition bad. These are mostly the low-level office holders who pay attention to Rush Limbaugh instead of regarding him as a rube. But most of the real leaders of the party have the less ideological desire to just make sure the country experiences a major economic crisis so that it can be blamed on Democrats.

I don't know what the Democrats' priorities are. Their actions are hard to explain.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:17 PM
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a state legislature passes a law creating a private cause of action.

It means that a private individual can bring a civil suit for violation of the law, rather than having to wait for the state attorney general, who is doing more important things like making sure that traffic scofflaws don't get their licenses back, to bring one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:20 PM
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152: no, it means private persons can now file civil suits relating to violations, whereas before it must have been a law that could only be enforced by state regulators.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:22 PM
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Summers doesn't like the spendy spendy, except for banks.

But he's spent the better part of a year publicly calling for spendy spendy! Is he a crazy person?


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:22 PM
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Further to 155: What's confusing is that lots of statutes naturally create a private right of action without mentioning it; what you must be looking at is a statute where a natural reading of the statute wouldn't give a private citizen standing to bring an action, so it has to be explicitly specified that they can. With a cite to the statute, I could tell you more.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:23 PM
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And what Brock said.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:24 PM
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Did I say something additional? I thougth 156 was fairly thoroughly pwned.


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:26 PM
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155, 156, 158: Ah, thanks. I love it when a legal question can actually be answered in a few sentences.

With a cite to the statute, I could tell you more.

I think I've pretty much figured it out. I was suspicious that this was partly political grandstanding (this is Mississippi) and now I see that it probably is an explicit confirmation that private citizens have standing, though the reason that anybody bestirred themselves enough to pass a law spelling it out, is likely political.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:28 PM
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I love it when a legal question can actually be answered in a few sentences.

Of course, if you were paying by the hour, that would have been a 5-page answer...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:31 PM
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For the paying clients, there are subtleties.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:42 PM
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But then I wonder, why doesn't that happen in every country?

Because they have proportional representation.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:47 PM
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165

Because they have proportional representation.

That, and the number of congressmen is fixed, even as population of the country continues to grow. How do 435 narcissistic kleptocrats represent over 300 million people?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:52 PM
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Is it really a question of proportional representation? I think it has more to do with the financing of the electoral process. The only way to at least partially offset the power of corporate money is to keep that money out of the electoral system (through publicly financed campaigns, strict limits on donations and etc).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:58 PM
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164 and 165 are both exactly right.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:59 PM
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I don't know. How do 435 narcissistic kleptocrats represent over 300 million people?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:59 PM
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169

168: The Aristocrats!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:59 PM
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That, and the number of congressmen is fixed, even as population of the country continues to grow.

As I've mentioned before, this drives me nuts, mostly because it seems like people who think about it at all think of it as something which can't be changed, when all it would take is passing a law (a law which would reduce the power of individual legislators needed to pass it, but a law nevertheless).


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 2:59 PM
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171

168: 535.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:00 PM
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Apo, Sanders is not a Democrat.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:01 PM
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173

165: yes. There should be over 46,000 members of congress at this point.


Posted by: Brock Landesr | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:01 PM
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Is that you, over there by the tower?
http://gigapan.org/viewGigapan.php?id=15374&window_height=425&window_width=753


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:02 PM
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171. Not talking about Senators, JE.

173. Why not? Who says they have to all be on the appropriations committee?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:04 PM
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The House voted 264-158 to delay the shutdown of analog television signals by four months, to June 12.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:04 PM
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Me: At this point the Republicans have already watered down the bill, and they plan to water it down more.

PGD: No they haven't. They haven't cut any spending at all, they just helped add a tax break or two.

Trading spending for tax breaks is watering down. Taking out the birth control program is watering down.

Some of the Republican resistance seems to be pure showboating for the reason of making the Democrats look weak, which they are.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:06 PM
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There should be over 46,000 members of congress at this point.

Constitutional cap for rep's, based on CIA world factbook figures of the current U.S. population, is 10,127.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:10 PM
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Apo, Sanders is not a Democrat.

Well, yes, that's true. I suppose that isn't a category one can round up.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:14 PM
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Constitutional cap for rep's, based on CIA world factbook figures of the current U.S. population, is 10,127.

If one kept a "leadership" group in Washington, DC of around 500 or so, with the other 9500 full voting members remaining in their districts, one would have a very different set of lobbying requirements.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:16 PM
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Roll call votes would suck.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:24 PM
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I'll just copy & paste my positive case for more reps as contrasted to the comparative case, which consists of the ratios of pop. to number of reps in the largest national level legislative body in a non-random sample of mature democracies now: More finely grained districts might mean that districts actually cohere with existing communities and aren't just random lines on maps. Personal relationships between an individual and their Rep. become more feasible (how much more depends on how much we change the ratio by). House elections become much, much cheaper to run. Partially because of this cheapness factor, fund-raising becomes less important and therefore Representatives have to pay more attention to their lower socioeconomic status constituents in order to hold office.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:30 PM
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Roll call votes would suck

Interwebs video conferencing?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 3:32 PM
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It may be the number of people whom the representatives are representing, but I'm not sure that just public financing or just first-past the post voting can be the problem. I mean the UK has neither of those, and it certainly has corruption and funding scandals, but some stuff gets done. I think the main problem is that our executive is not part of the legislature.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 4:36 PM
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FDR 1st Inaugural Address:

Action in this image and to this end is feasible under the form of government which we have inherited from our ancestors. Our Constitution is so simple and practical that it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without loss of essential form. That is why our constitutional system has proved itself the most superbly enduring political mechanism the modern world has produced. It has met every stress of vast expansion of territory, of foreign wars, of bitter internal strife, of world relations. 19 It is to be hoped that the normal balance of executive and legislative authority may be wholly adequate to meet the unprecedented task before us. But it may be that an unprecedented demand and need for undelayed action may call for temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure. 20 I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as the Congress may build out of its experience and wisdom, I shall seek, within my constitutional authority, to bring to speedy adoption. 21 But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis--broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.

It's about leadership. FDR threatened a military dictatorship in his inaugural address. And meant it.
Thus we got the New Deal.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:23 PM
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185: Well, military dictatorship is one way to get rabbit ears distributed to those in need.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:29 PM
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Evil and TV both being banal, its a natural match.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 7:59 PM
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Instapundit is reporting the transition is now in June.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:11 PM
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"Instapundit is reporting"

Heh. Indeed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:15 PM
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188 meet 176.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:17 PM
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176 cited the NYT. I always wait for Instapundit before I consider anything settled.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:22 PM
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191: Well, as they say, "Insty: all the screws that's shit to squint."

(No it doesn't make sense to me either; it was the best I could do. I'm sorry.)


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:25 PM
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I guess the president could veto it. Vetoing something you asked for is a good way to keep Congress on its toes.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:30 PM
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Wait until it's in Rolling Stone, then we can really talk about it.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:32 PM
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Even better way of keeping people on their toes: "I was attacked by a giant swamp rabbit. Here's the head. "


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:34 PM
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"Just so nobody confuses me with Carter, here's a video of how I got the head."


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:36 PM
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"Just so nobody confuses me with Clinton, by 'head' I mean cranium. See the ears."


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 02- 4-09 9:38 PM
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PGD: No they haven't. They haven't cut any spending at all, they just helped add a tax break or two.

Well, actually, now Olympia Snowe wants to cut up to 200 billion more in spending. I just read the seven hundred and thirty six page bill. (Actually, I read about 400 pages, and merely scanned such sections as 'Health Information Technology' which is all about modifying the existing code, and not so much with the funding.) There's maybe 200 billion up front in what are essentially budgetary revisions to last year's budget bill. There's a large extension of unemployment benefits, medicare and food stamps. And then there are the tax cuts. Snowe wants to cut the budgetary additions, leaving (presumably) the tax cuts and the umemployment/food stamps/etc. Cuts there would not be a big deal; since they amount to nothing more than budget additions spread across the entire executive branch, that could've been handled in the budget, which isn't subject to fillibustering.

That just leaves the tax cuts. There are the AMT extensions, the business loss deductions credits (large profitable corporations get to not pay taxes this year), and of course, the help for S corporations. Apparently John Edwards needed some stimulation. All the D tax cuts are piddly: up to 2400$ exempted for unemployment insurance, full expense deduction for buying computers if the kid is in college. All the real action is in the R-sponsored cuts. Meanwhile, all the real stimulus action is in unemployment and the like.

They could have just passed a unemployment extension bill. Without it in the stimulus, the multiplier for the rest of the package is starting to look a whole lot like zero. Except now they wanna cut the additional spending, so we're starting to go for negative multipliers here.

[It's almost like the bill should be called the Michael Berube Stimulus Bill. There's 13.5 b for special ed, which isn't wrong, but that compares to 1 b for the homeless. I didn't notice we had a sudden influx of special ed kids - I did notice the foreclosures-causing-homelessness problem. Since Berube [*] has a special needs kid and a kid in college and maybe even an S corporation (if not, get one, dude) he should do ok out of this. Because the bill (ex unemployment) seems to be aimed at the suburban white-collar white guy with a nice income demographic, the demographic that reliably votes McCain and hates the stimulus bill. Don't tell me God doesn't have a sense of humour. Especially since Bush circa 2003 would've been well-pleased with this bill, particularly since he would've had to have made only a few concessions to the Democrats on UI et al.]

[Almost forgot! There's supposed to be a new council created in the WH for the purpose of determining how much waste, fraud and abuse there is in government! Yee. Haw!]

But he's spent the better part of a year publicly calling for spendy spendy! Is he a crazy person?

But that was in FT, where he was a conventional wisdom-spouting machine. And after he got the appointment, he's been taking it all back sotto voce. Tax cuts are good, infrastructure bad, hedge funds haven't actually totally imploded so why regulate, etc.

So either he was just auditioning for the role of Democrat, and now he can do what he wants, or he just says whatever the the listener wants to hear and then he does what he wants, or maybe he had a seance in Georgetown and is now hugging his inner Republican, or YES! He may in fact be insane!

max
['Maybe he went off his meds.']

[*] I like Berube just fine. I just find it amusing that the R's are going the distance to help tenured professors. Liberal professors, even! Anybody but those goddamn darkies poor people!


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02- 5-09 4:40 AM
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