Cool Things To Put On An iPod For a Queen


Barack Obama gave the Queen of England an iPod and a rare songbook signed by Richard Rodgers. Anna Post of the Emily Post Institute said, “For me, the iPod only works if he has some catchy reason why he gave it as a gift.” Perhaps the contents of the iPod made it catchy:

  • Photos from the Queen’s 2007 White House State Visit
  • Photos from the Queen’s 2007 Jamestown, Va., Visit
  • Photos from the Queen’s 2007 Richmond, Va., Visit
  • Video from the Queen’s 1957 Jamestown Visit
  • Video from the Queen’s 2007 Jamestown Visit
  • Video from the Queen’s 2007 Richmond Visit
  • Photos from President Obama’s Inauguration
  • Audio of then-state senator Obama’s speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and
  • Audio of President Obama 2009 Inauguration Address

Choosing the gift was easier for the Queen. She gave Obama a signed photo of herself and her husband in a silver frame–the same gift she gives everyone. That must really make the holidays easy for her.

The real question is why so much attention is being paid to this. Right wingers will take any opportunity to attack Obama, but his Republican predecessor wasn’t  so hot with respect to following protocol. At least Obama didn’t try to give her a massage as Bush did with Angela Merkel.

Irreconcilable Difference: Reason vs. Faith


In the past I’ve played around with church sign generators to post signs clearly marked as being done by such a generator. P.Z. Meyers says the sign above is a real one from a church in Arkansas. A commenter backs this up with this link to a picture of the actual church from Google Maps. P.Z adds, “This looks like an irreconcilable difference to me.”

Fortunately not every church thinks this way, but it does explain why there are so many creationists in this country. Regardless of how much evidence there is supporting evolution, those who see reason as the enemy will not accept it.

Harry Reid Says Paying Taxes is Voluntary

Robert Stacy McCain and I have had several posts citing disagreements with each other, generally after we’ve wound up commenting on the same article in Memeorandum with opposite opinions. He had some snark yesterday at the expense of Harry Reid which I actually do agree with. Having just received this year’s completed tax forms from my accountant yesterday, I am particularly sympathetic to McCain’s objection to this claim about taxes.

McCain posted a video of Harry Reid trying to explain how our taxes are voluntary. Reid is using a definition of voluntary which is also used by the Internal Revenue Service which is rather Orwellian. To Reid and the IRS, taxes are voluntary because people do send in their returns every year along with checks minus what was already withheld. (Some even give the government an interest free loan by allowing more to be withheld than they owe)

People might send in their checks, but just try to avoid doing so. Anyone really want to try sending in their tax returns with a note saying Harry Reid says this is voluntary and not pay any taxes? Unless we can do this, payment is not voluntary.

Reid also tries to justify the claims that the taxes are voluntary by discussing their necessity. That is a totally different subject. While hard core libertarians will not accept this, both liberals and conservatives support involuntary collection of taxes (with the differences between what liberal and conservative politicians advocate collecting being minimal compared to the hyperbole coming from the right on taxation).  Being necessary does not mean it is voluntary. Humans are perfectly capable of agreeing intellectually that taxes are necessary and also refraining from paying if really given this option.

Conservative Self-Delusion On Liberal Economic Policy

The Anonymous Liberal has reviewed a number of conservative blogs and finds the same signs of self-delusion among many of them which I have pointed out in numerous posts (including here, here and here along with the previous post).

Most of the posts I read were filled with complete nonsense about the dangers of government interference with private industry (as if that’s not what always happens when companies go bankrupt). Many indulged in the paranoid fantasy that the Obama administration wants to take over and run GM, that administration officials would soon be sitting in the board room telling GM what cars to make, who to hire, where to build factories, etc. Others warned that this was a dangerous power grab by the Obama administration, that it was the first major step toward turning the country into a socialist state.

I’m always amazed by how willing conservatives are to believe their own lazy caricatures and, as a result, how completely and utterly they fail to understand the actual motivations and beliefs of their political opponents. The reality is that liberals in this country — including Obama — have absolutely no desire whatsoever to nationalize private enterprise. They’re not going around looking for excuses to take over corporations. Quite the opposite, actually…

The notion that there is anyone of significance on the American left who still believes in anything approaching genuine socialism is pure fantasy. That debate, to the extent it ever really happened in this country, was settled a long time ago. What we’re dealing with right now are differences of opinion regarding how best to manage the failure of a number of major companies. It’s not a debate about socialism vs. capitalism; it’s a debate about methods of damage control. But many conservatives have so deluded themselves with their own propaganda that they’re not even capable of following the conversation any more. So instead they spend all day indulging in paranoid delusions and debates that have no relevance to current events. It’s a sad spectacle.