More Republicans doubt Obama’s Every Move

(Reuters) – A growing number of Republicans are criticizing President Barack Obama for failing to lay out a clear plan on Libya and mounting costly military operations at a time when America’s budget deficit is gaping.

Republicans largely backed Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan. But senior party figures including House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard McKeon and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen are questioning the Libya air assaults.

via More Republicans doubt Obama’s Libya action | Reuters.

Personally I’m surprised it took them this long into the news cycle.  I mean, that’s like nearly 24 hours.

Ros-Lehtinen expressed concern that Obama has not yet clearly defined for the American people what vital U.S. national security interests are at stake in Libya.

Good point.  I mean…WTF…seriously people??   We couldn’t celebrate Egypt freeing herself, for fear of a group that haunts Glenn Beck’s “happy” nightmares, and now we can’t even help out as a guy we’ve fenced with for 20 years opens fire on his own people….and they stand up and fire back?

C’mon folks.   Can we give this one a week before someone drops the quagmire bomb?   (I’m guessing no…the Palin/Bachmann rhetorical multiplier is in effect)

Regardless….glad the U.N. was able to pull the trigger…not sure how much it will really do.  Air power doesn’t win wars, it can execute or stop mass genocide pretty good, but a scalpal, a sword, and a spear it is not.   We  can’t really offer air support to a rebel offensive, so the lack of Kwadaphi’s [sp] air power doesn’t mean all that much to his defense.

Waiting him out isn’t very politically tenable either.    I’m PDS (pretty damn sure) Obama is going to do the wise thing here and hand this one off to someone in Europe, quickly.  The derp will rise anyway, but it will be less than if he tries to take over command personally (not his style at all, and this isn’t really our fight…Europe needs Libyan oil a lot more than we do.).

I don’t expect Kharfaldi [sp] to last nearly as long as S. Hussein.

PR Firm Fights Back, Calls RPN an A-Hole: Don’t Make Us Pay : Chapter 2

This started back here. {and continued here} You can read the back story on the who and the what there.

What happened since then…well…your humble host here on RPN is somewhat of a geek.    He’s pretty good with computers and what-not.   One of his part-time gigs, in college…now remember…this was back in the late 90’s…was doing what came to be called “SEO” for a small, very forward thinking firm.   It’s the concept of making certain websites appeal to search engines for certain search terms.    A couple years later, I blogged about a new search engine Google (this was right after a post about that new music search tool…Napster).  Later “SEO” and google became intertwined as a billion-dollar industry grew up around the practice.   Many of them PR firms…

Now…considering that RPN is something of an anti-PR firm, this is going to be a fun fight, should it continue.   Currently that first post I linked to above and the video which accompany it are the first non-b.s. pages (i.e. ones not done by the astro-turfing campaign) returned for search for their chosen astro-term on the bing/yahoo and the google respectively.  Note to others: bing/yahoo link to my blog post, google finds the youtube video a more compelling search result, take that with a ‘no evil’ grain of salt, if you will.

Which brings us to the whole “A-Hole” thing I mentioned in the title.   It’s a widely known fact that “random disinterested persons” on the internets are rarely that.  Especially on obscure blogs only the most enlightened of humans are barely aware of, if that.   But when one pops right up in the middle of the ointment like a nasty fly, things like this pop up to neutralize it.

Comment by Jack on March 21, 2011 6:20 pmRPN, you’re an a-hole. It doesn’t matter WHO is sponsoring the pushback. Eliminating the ability for credit card providers to charge decent rates on debit and credit card networks will result in rippling surcharges for consumers. Whether or not credit networks are making billions, they will always be seeking to increase their profits. If you cut their ability in one arena, they will seek to make it back in some other area, like the elimination of free checking (mostly at smaller banks). So basically, it’s governmental interference in a place where it’s not needed. The only “nutjob” in this arena is you.

Ouch, that one hurts “Jack”.   Curious points you’ve made here.  They all seem eerily similar to what the official Don’t Make Us Pay website says.

Let’s analyze this in detail, like I learned how back in the day (I’m like a Jedi that went Dark…only in the PR/Advertising world, those roles are reversed).

 It doesn’t matter WHO is sponsoring the pushback.

Yes, it does quite a bit.  ESPECIALLY when the word “us” is in the title.  Most PR campaigns want to set up an “us vs. them” dynamic, because “we” are always the good guys  (psychologically).

Eliminating the ability for credit card providers to charge decent rates on debit and credit card networks will result in rippling surcharges for consumers.

One PR firm’s “decent rates” are one RPN’s “obscene usury”.  How does it makes any sense at all to charge the same PERCENTAGE of a debit card transaction that is completely digital when the only difference between a $1,000 charge and $10 charge is the number of bits?   Yet nowadays, one of those nets the banks $10 and the other one $0.10.

That makes no sense.   Banks needs to play fair.  Not only that, but the current rates currently result in a “rippling surcharge for consumers” of about $450/family year, that proverbial “dollar a day”.   This is expected to double in the next five years as a rapidly increasing percentage of our economy goes digital, and people only want to spend their own money (debit) and not someone else’s (credit) money (a big and very important distinction).

“Rippling surcharges” will now reflect something close to the actual services offered by the banks.  Banks shouldn’t be trying to make billions of dollars just for giving you access to your own money.  That’s what they do as a bank, they aren’t a bank if they don’t do that.   Banks should be making money by making good loans, and good investments.   This is like a supermarket charging you more for charging you, having nothing to do with the service they actually offering (selling food/loans).  

 Whether or not credit networks are making billions, they will always be seeking to increase their profits.

Well, they currently are…making billions.  About $18 of them a year…in pure profit, just by charging people three times as much as it costs to access their own money.   Why do you think they keep paying out those huge bonuses?   They can lose a billion dollars a month on risky investments and still make a yearly profit.   Why do you think they were so willing to risk it all?   They had guaranteed profit.   A 1-2% tax on people accessing their own money.

If you cut their ability in one arena, they will seek to make it back in some other area, like the elimination of free checking (mostly at smaller banks).

It’s called “competition”.   Businesses offer varying services, and charge for them.   Giving you access to your own money is not a service banks should be charging for.  It’s highway robbery.  

So basically, it’s governmental interference in a place where it’s not needed.

No, this is “governmental interference*” precisely where it is needed.  As I’ll mention a third time, making billions of dollars by charging people to access their own money is not a sound, fair, or hopefully very soon legal practice.

* for those technical wonks, the Frank/Dodd Financial Reform Bill included a clause that ordered the Fed (of Ron Paul “End the Fed” fame) to set these debit interchange rates to something reasonable.  Seems some folks wanted banks to stop ripping them off, so that’s how it technically works.  BTW, the Fed also gives these same banks large loans from time to time, so they follow the rules, when told to do so.

Extra-Terrestrial Rain Clouds Observed on Titan

In 2006, Jonathan Mitchell and his team published a model for Titan’s methane clouds in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His model predicted that tropical rainfall could occur after equinox, when the intertropical convergence zone passes over the equatorial region. The recent report in Science, by Elizabeth Turtle and her team, corroborates Mitchell’s model with observational evidence.

The Cassini’s Imaging Science Subsystem (ISS) detected low-latitude clouds that persisted for several weeks in the equatorial region of Titan on April 2008 and September 27, 2010. In October 2010, Cassini’s ISS observed a darkening of greater than 10 percent in areas spanning roughly 510,000 square kilometers. The majority of the darkened areas lasted only until October 29, 2010, after which they reverted back to their original brightness.

via What do April showers on Titan bring?.

Glad to see science doing its prediction thing accurately on the climate of another planet.   Really sad to see that so many people think it’s impossible to do here.

CEOs tell Arizona; “Your constant derp is hurting business”

Dozens of major Arizona employers are urging state lawmakers to not pass additional legislation targeting illegal immigration, saying it would damage the economy and tourism industry.

document The CEOs’ letter to Russell Pearce

A letter signed by CEOs of major employers and several business and civic groups says Arizona should be pushing for federal action on immigration and border issues.

via CEOs urge Arizona to forgo immigration measures.

This is pretty much exactly what I predicted would happen. When you have a bunch of old white people (the Tea Party) pushing for harsher and harsher legislation against young brown people, folks who actually run the numbers realize something….old people don’t contribute much to the economy (although they do take quite a bit) …

Federal spending on the average person 65 or older will rise from nearly $17,700 in 2000 to more than $21,100 in 2010 (in constant dollars, which exclude the effects of inflation).

Federal spending per child will increase from about $2,100 in 2000 to about $2,500 in 2010 (or $2,500 and $3,000, respectively, if spending on parents that is solely attributable to having children is included).

[s0urce pdf]

The sad thing about this (for those who thought it was nice to see more pushback against the idiocy) is that the Chamber of Commerce is only asking Arizona to step back because the race-based wing of the Republican party is already stepping up to the plate and, literally, re-defining what makes a human an American.

We agree with you that our borders must be protected first, and now. We also believe that market-driven immigration policies can and should be developed by the federal government that will sustain America’s status as a magnet for the world’s most talented and hard-working people and preserve our ability to compete in the global economy.

If the Legislature believes it is worthwhile to debate the question of citizenship, we believe that debate is best held in the U.S. Congress. Already, Senators David Vitter of Louisiana and Rand Paul of Kentucky have introduced legislation aimed at amending the 14th Amendment to deny “birthright citizenship” to those born to individuals living in the U.S. illegally. Iowa Rep. Steve King has introduced similar legislation in the U.S. House.

[full letter from the CEOs]

Ultimately though, young brown people are cute, cuddly, the future, and people don’t like to see them tread upon (especially old rich brown people).  I see this ending pretty much one way, it’s just a matter of how much kicking and screaming goes along with it.