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    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    Idolatry: The Final 4 Awaits

    Tonight, the remaining 5 contestants will wow us with their musical prowess. Tomorrow, Fox will NOT air Obambi, so you can count on Idol starting on time!

    Tonight, the Rat Pack. With guest coach...Frank Sinatra...NOT!

    He's dead, so it will be Vincent Pastore...NOT!

    Jamie Foxx will be the guest mentor.
    1. Kris Allen will go first, with "The Way You Look Tonight" - I thought it was a little boring, and too much copycat to me. A teensy Chris Isaak at the end. Randy liked it, thought it was great, and I agree the vocals were very good. Kara likes. Paula wants to jump his bones. Simon says good, "quite nice" not "incredible."
    2. Allison again gets shafted with her placement second. Will this happen to Adam? "Someone to Watch Over Me." She can acually sing, and it would be a nice change from the rock songs on an album. I don't know if it distinguishes her in this group. Randy likes, Kara likes. Kara's not nervous, but, I am. Paula likes, too. Simon doesn't see her winning.
    3. Matt G sings "My Funny Valentine." He gets to wear the hat to hide The Mole. Well, I liked it. The guy has the ability to hit some notes. Randy has not been able to say "pitchy" very much this year, so, he got it. Kara didn't feel the emotion, Matt clearly disagrees. Paula loves The Mole. Simon is going to agree with Paula, felt it was authentic. "Brilliant."
    4. Danny is going next, so, SHOCK! Adam goes last. "Come Rain or Come Shine" I'm not familiar with the song, but, I thought he brought it home at the end. Randy can see Danny doing an album of these things. Kara loves the swagger. Paula loves (does she hate anything?). Simon loves the swagger, too. Simon wants to say, you came out to get Adam tonight.
    5. Adam Lambert we will watch with the rest of America as he does "Feeling Good." Hmmm. He's over the top and he pulls it off. Judges tell us so.
    So, tonight they were all good. Only Matt wasn't very good, and even he was good. Will Kris be hurt by the number 1 slot? Will Allison pick up any Lil votes? Time will tell.

    Is Matt toast?

    I think so.

    Is there any stopping the Adam/Danny train?

    What do you think?????


    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Final 5 Idols Are Set

    Well, folks, the save worked and got Matt G to the final 5. Allison, while in the bottom 3, was spared elimination.

    Anoop and Lil were sent packing.

    I was wrong about Anoop, and the bottom 3, but Mom had it right tonight.

    Good job, Mom!


    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Idol 7: No One Can Save You Now!

    Tonight, we have Disco night, let's see who breaks out of the box, and which 2 are going home.

    So, to give the judges ALL time to comment, we are getting straight to it, with Lil going first. Let's get to it:
    1. Lil - I'm Every Woman - Chaka Khan - Karaoke. It doesn't make use of Lil's substantial voice. Judges hate it, so do I. I agree with Simon - Lil is done.
    2. Kris - She Works Hard For the Money - Donna Summer - Before he begins I tell the 13 y.o. AI fan - "you can make a disco song fit your style." Kris does this with this song. It's a great version, done well, and, I agree with Kara - something I could see on his album. Well done Kris!
    3. Danny - September - Earth, Wind, and Fire - Danny has a unique enough sound, but, this strikes me as a little bit of an odd performance. People have it right about Danny, he screams everything. Randy likes. Kara likes. Paula likes. Simon agrees, but feels no star power.
    4. Allison - Hot Stuff - Donna Summer - I thought she was doing Led Zeppelin at first (that's a good thing for her, in my opinion). I love Allison. I want her in the final 2 with Adam. Randy and Kara are not thrilled with the arrangement, Paula doesn't care, she loves. Simon says that was "brilliant." Simon's the man.
    5. Adam - If I Can't Have You - Yvonne Elliman - is this what we can expect from a recording Adam? I don't know what to make of it. I really don't. The boy can sing. Randy loves, Kara loves, Paula was crying, Simon loved the originality and the vocals. Ok, everyone else is going for 2nd place.
    6. Matt G - Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees - I like the version. I think it's original and modern, while fairly true to the original. But, there's something missing to me. Randy not a fan of the song choice or arrangement, but he loves Matt's singing. Kara liked the disco flavor, and the performance. Paula - really liked it. Simon wasn't feeling it.
    7. Anoop - Dim The Lights - Donna Summer - Sporting a little facial hair this week. Is it real? Anoop can sing. But this song, doesn't even have the audience in it. Randy didn't love the arrangement, but loved Anoop's singing. Kara thought it was a good choice and liked the beat, really warming to Anoop. Paula - was she crying again? She loved the vocals, too. Simon? Didn't like it, "mediocre at best, worst peformance by a mile."
    1. Kris Allen
    2. Adam
    3. Allison
    4. Danny
    In trouble:
    1. Lil (for sure she is gone)
    2. Anoop (pimp spot rarely gets booted)
    3. Matt G
    My prediction:
    Lil and Matt G gone.

    Early (10pm) dialidol.com predictions:
    Kris, Matt, Allison. But, last week, and in previous weeks, dialidol has way overestimated Lil (they have her 2nd right now) and underestimated Kris and Allison. So, my prediction stays the same.


    Monday, April 20, 2009

    $18B is chump change, John McCain! But look what Obambi is saving!

    So, today, the Obambi administration trotted out $100M in savings, which, I might add, is .0003% of his projected 2009 budget.

    Remember when Obama derided John McCain for suggesting that saving $18B in earmarks was basically chump change? Well, I do, and here is the clip from the debate where he made light of this:

    Today, Jake Tapper decided to question Robert Gibbs on this massive savings. Politico has the video.


    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Tea Parties, what do they all mean?

    Today, hundreds of cities held Tea Parties to protest the massive spending increases championed by Liberals and to protest high taxes, which promise to get worse to pay for at least some of the spending.

    Nearly simultaneously, the Department of Homeland Security is labeling anyone who opposes the government from the right as "Rightwing extremists," CNN's Susan Roper badgers Tea Party attendees and pretty much acts as a shill of the Obama administration,

    and Anderson Cooper (appropriately) informs that teabagging usually makes it difficult to speak.

    What are we to make of all this?

    1. I have seen no reports of vandalism, looting, or rioting. Clearly these people are not professional protesters.
    2. Fiscal responsibility is back in vogue. Maybe Republicans will take up the mantle, and, maybe they'll rediscover some other conservative principles to stand on.
    3. CNN really, really, really hates Fox.
    4. The people are smarter than the pundits give them credit for being. They recognize that to fund everything this administration wants to do, is going to require higher taxes on more than just the top 5%.

    I was pleased and gratified to see so many people pissed off about the uncontrolled orgy of spending that is going on. Maybe this will translate into real change in Washington.


    Idol Results

    Dialidol.com was way off last night, wrongly predicting Lil in 2nd, and Kris in last, and missed Anoop in the bottom 3. However, I had them right, but, I predicted Lil would get booted, and instead, Matt G did. The judges decided to save him.

    The use of the save could prove problematic, especially with disco week coming up.

    My fear is that Allison, who is the only person who could crack the Danny/Adam duo, could falter during next week's performance, and she is really the only person they needed the save for. But, since these are the last 2 weeks they could have used it, perhaps with confidence that Allison has built some fan base, they felt comfortable using it. The odds-on favorites to get kicked out next week will be 2 of Lil, Matt G, or Anoop. So, we will see...

    Was anyone surprised by tonight's bottom three?


    Idol 7: Surprise in Store?

    Looking at Dialidol's predictions tonight, does Idol have a surprise for us tonight?
    They have Kris Allen in last place, but, dialidol has consistently underestimated Kris's support (they had him last last week, and he wasn't even in the bottom 3), so, it's not going to be him.  Last week they overestimated Lil's support, but this week, they have her number 2 (ahead of Adam and behind Gokey). 
    Taking the next lowest, it would appear Matt G is in trouble tonight.  A forgettable performance, and a difficult mid-pack of guys with Anoop and Kris, probably means it's the end for Matt G tonight, and I doubt the judges would use the save on him.  I doubt also, at this point, that they would use it on Lil, who undoubtably benefited from her pimp spot last night.  Allison, conversely, was hurt by her placement at the front of the show.
    I would not be surprised to see a Matt, Lil, Allison, or Matt, Kris, Allison bottom 3 tonight.  In either of those scenarios, I think Matt G goes home.  If Allison is picked for elimination, I expect to see the save used at this point.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Idol - 7 remain, who will go home next

    Because the producers and Ryan suck at time management, we only get to hear from 2 judges at a time. Come on, they sing 2 minute songs, so 14 minutes of performance, 16 of commercials, with the other 28 minutes, we can't get more judge time? We ALL await Simon's comments.
    1. Allison - Aerosmith, I Don't Wanna Miss You - I thought it was not that great, but I love her anyway. Simon - "You're the girl's only hope." He's right.
    2. Anoop - Bryan Adams, Everything I Do - Tough one for me to like, because I HATE Bryan Adams. So, he was good, but, yech, borrrrring song. Judges (Randy, Kara) like.
    3. Adam - Steppenwolf, Born to be Wild - sounds like it would if it were in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Paula's going crazy in her dog collar. Simon, explain what she means, please. (I wrote that about Rocky Horror BEFORE Simon said it)
    4. Matt G - Bryan Adams, Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman - Again, I don't need to express my hatred for Bryan Adams. Matt was - just alright. He could probably do this song justice in 4 minutes, vice 2. Randy - interesting, but, I think Randy for the first time blamed "pitch." Finally, Randy and pitch!
    5. Danny - Lionel Ritchie, Endless Love - okay, they are choosing some songs I detest. This is one of them. But, I like his version, and, I think it was better, more interesting than Adam's, and less manic, for sure. Paula - incomprehensible, as always. Simon - who cares, he's disappointed that it was so "traditional."
    6. Kris Allen - Falling Slowly - I don't know. I really don't. It was pretty. Randy - not into it, but he's on the "pitch" train. Kara - loved it, as did Paula.
    7. Lil - Bette Midler, The Rose - I hate this song, too. And, I hate this arrangement. And, I really have lost my initial love for Lil. Paula - huh? Simon - hated it, not enough goodness from her. She needs to join Mandisa on the Gospel circuit.
    Even with the 2 judge rule, they managed to go 2 minutes too long.

    Good tonight:
    1. Danny
    2. Adam
    3. Anoop
    4. Allison
    Rotten tonight:
    1. Lil
    Everyone else just average.

    Going home: Lil
    Bottom 3: Anoop (just doesn't have enough fans), and Matt G, and Lil

    Dialidol (at 9:30) is showing Lil safe. But, we'll see in the morning.


    Sunday, April 12, 2009

    Adam Lambert and Immigration Policy

    No less an authority than the NY Times opines this weekend (H/T: Mom) on the prospect of a almost-certainly-gay contestant (Adam Lambert) winning American Idol, and what it means for gays in America.

    While the Times tries to draw parallels between Adam's success and gay marriage being ratified in Vermont and Iowa, I find the whole idea that it matters pretty preposterous. I mean, anyone who has watched the show can plainly see that there is one great performer and singer (Adam) and then there is everyone else.

    Whether Adam wins or loses (and, it is his to lose right now), it is pretty clear to me that this boils down to who performs best each week. Isn't that the way it's supposed to be in America?

    Since the Times has broached the subject, I'll get it out there. My political (and personal) belief is that the government and society at large has an interest in the furtherance of the traditional nuclear family. I think there is a Conservative approach to this, and a Libertarian one. I can understand arguments for both, which are rational (as opposed to the Liberal argument, which I find irrational).

    Libertarians and conservatives alike would agree that there is importance attached to a cultural identity and that the United States should maintain some sense of what it means to be American. In that respect, I would expect both to favor policies that promote child bearing, and child rearing. This has the practical benefit of raising children who's parents are already assimilated, ensuring the children themselves are assimilated. I expect both sides would favor policies that promote this.

    Where we diverge is that conservatives will argue that the traditional (tradition being important to conservatives) nuclear family provides the absolute best chance for children to be raised and end up as productive, useful citizens. I expect libertarians would make the same argument for stable, gay couples - that they are just as capable of rearing good citizens. Of course, bearing them is an issue, but, were I libertarian, I would argue that of course, lesbian couples can take advantage of plenty of medical options to bear children, and gay male couples can surely adopt, were adoption made easier and more available to gay male couples. I think it's an open question whether gay couples are more stable than traditional families, but, in an era where we have massive illegitimacy rates, and a divorce rate about 50%, well, we don't look so good in the straight community, do we? Regardless of what your religious beliefs are, I think this is an important public policy debate to have.


    Because without some kind of renewed focus on the birth rate in this country, we are doomed to the fate of Western Europe and Japan, who are now in negative population growth situations among the native population. This means, the only way to maintain their economic growth is through immigration. In Europe's case, they have chosen to do this with largely Muslim immigrants from Northern Africa, and other points in the Middle East. These groups are largely resistant to assimilation, and, we have seen the results throughout Europe. I've got news for Liberals - you're not going to like the states these people try to create.

    In the United States, I have discussed this before, but, we have a better fate ahead, perhaps, given that the vast majority of our immigration is coming from Mexico, a 90% Roman Catholic country. Of course, Liberals won' t much like where this group takes the country either, but, I think they feel they can co-opt them into becoming another victim group, dependent upon politicians (mostly Democrats) for their well being.

    Here, I think W was mostly right in recognizing that this group held tremendous potential for the GOP, and Conservatism in general. Of course, you might have thought the same thing about the black community 50 years ago, too, until their leaders sold out to the Liberal establishment. Both these groups have in common generally higher devotions to their Churches than the white community, and tend to be more conservative in their personal beliefs because of their generally stronger, and more tightly-held, faiths.

    Anyway, what does this have to do with Adam Lambert's sexual orientation?

    Not much, but, from a public policy perspective, gay marriage is a sideshow. The real question is our survival as a country, and how we define marriage is not nearly as important as how we manage the growth of this country and the continuation of our unique American culture (which, I might point out, has always included gays and lesbians).

    So, let's have a debate about immigration and how to incent families to have more, and better-raised children, and to reduce the illegitimacy rate in all areas of the population.


    Health Care - More Discussion

    I promised more analysis of Ramesh Ponnuru's recent WSJ article suggesting universal health care coverage is probably not the best goal for healthcare reform.

    Among his arguments, Ponnuru points out that more Americans are concerned about cost and portability, vice coverage. In other words, we care about the impact on us, not on everyone.

    Ponnuru posits that two reforms will both address the cost and portability issue head on, and have the secondary effect of leading to more insured, those being:
    1. Break the bond between health coverage and employer-provided benefits. This was the centerpiece of McCain's plan, and I know people who have fantastic health benefits hate to hear this - it is the single biggest problem with our health care system. In McCain's plan, essentially the tax break that goes to employers today for providing coverage, would go to the covered, in the form of a tax credit to use on health care spending. In McCain's plan, extending this to all taxpayers would immediately increase coverage. It would make some - at the high end of the benefit scale - pay more. It was designed to be a wash on the majority of employed people.
    2. Allow consumers to cross state lines to buy health care plans - this would have the impact of allowing consumers to purchase cheaper policies from providers in states with fewer mandates and lower costs for the administrators. Sure, these consumers would get less generous plans, but they'd get cheaper plans, as well.
    With both these reforms intact, and direct government subsidies (those tax credits), you'd immediately benefit from lower costs for most plans, and more people covered. It might not lead to universal coverage, but it would significantly increase the number of people covered. As we know from system analysis theory (and practice), the marginal costs to squeeze that last bit of efficiency from any system, far exceeds the benefits gained. Health care, as a system, is no different.

    It is still law in this country that no one can be denied life saving health care. That won't change, and we'll still see the cost of the uninsured spread across those with insurance, but the percentage of your bill that goes towards that will go down, as more are actually insured. I think this is perhaps the best we can do, without a radical makeover of our entire system, which, will be in the European manner, and lead to rationing, reduced services, and less availability of health care.



    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    Free Market reform of health care? Can it reduce the uninsured?

    Ramesh Ponnuru argues against universal health care coverage, and for free market reforms that would greatly reduce the uninsured in today's New York Times.

    If you're on the universal health care side, try broadening your horizons. If you're for free market reforms, get some more ammunition.

    More analysis later from me.


    Six Flags over Georgia

    Every year, my daughter and I get Six Flags passes. We love the coasters, and Six Flags over Georgia has several good ones.

    We made our first visit of the season yesterday, and it was not the greatest experience. I'm giving their management a chance to respond to my complaints, so I will withhold the long story here, until they have responded.

    Let it be noted that we have some room for improvement.

    One thing you do learn through this kind of thing, is what a great resource the internet is, with a couple of good forums, including sixflags.net.


    Idol 8: I can see the end clearly now

    Last night, we lost another Idol.

    And, if you haven't heard, my prediction was correct. Scott left us! He's a nice guy and, as Paula said, brought some class and dignity to the contest, but, let's face it, he's not that good of a singer.

    I had Scott and Lil in the bottom 3, but, Anoop joined them, rather than Kris Allen. I just don't think Anoop is drawing enough fans to take him much farther. Dialidol had Kris last, but this isn't the first time they have underestimated his support.

    Next to go - Lil (unless she really pulls it together) or Anoop.

    What do you think, did America make the right choice?


    Tuesday, April 7, 2009

    Idol Final 8: End the competition now

    Tonight, although the morons that produce Idol couldn't get the trains to run on time, I was smart enough to program the DVR ahead 8 minutes and got to watch one of the best Idol performances ever.

    Like last year, when the Idol champ was revealed when David Cook did "Billie Jean," Adam Lambert's version of "Mad World" will be the number one download on iTunes tomorrow, and pretty much nails it as his competition to lose.

    Here's the run down on the rest, in order after Adam, who is light-years ahead of the rest of these:
    1. Danny Gokey - nicely done version of "Stand By Me"
    2. Allison Iraheta - my second favorite, doing Bonnie Raitt
    3. Anoop Desai - "True Colors" - another great song choice and well done
    4. Matt Giraud - Stevie Wonder's "Part Time Lover" - well done, by suffers by going so late in the show and just before Adam. That might hurt him.
    The others SUCKED by comparison, in order of suckiness:
    1. Kris Allen - Don Henley's "All She Wants to do is Dance." wierd choice, and you'd have thought he would have learned NOT to go into the crowd after Matt's disaster last week.
    2. Lil Rounds - Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to do With It?" Simon was right, a 3rd rate imitation, and without the voice or legs to pull it off.
    3. Scott MacIntyre - I don't even remember, other than it was a fairly obscure mid 80's song, and his guitar playing seemed wierd. And, he is wierd and can't sing.
    Who's gone - Scott.

    , in very early voting says Kris Allen is gone. We'll update after 11pm, when East Coast voting closes.

    I was hoping Adam would sing "Tainted Love" tonight, but, his choice was brilliant and he pulled it off. Maybe he'll still do Bronski Beat sometime (on Gay night), which would just make him an idol for many.


    Saturday, April 4, 2009

    Airlines to retire record number of aircraft

    As an aviation buff, the AP writing about the impact of the financial crisis on retiring is somewhat bittersweet.

    Go to airliners.net and search for some of these soon to be retired aircraft...


    Thursday, April 2, 2009

    Time Magazine blows for Obama

    I was in Borders tonight, and Time Magazine has a cover story titled, "The End of Excess: Is This Crisis Good for America."

    Can anyone realistically imagine such a headline 8 months ago? Imagine John McCain uttering this on the campaign trail.

    Haha! I knew you couldn't. Yet, now that the Big O is president, this is actually, in Time's thinking, good for us.

    It's only a matter of time before Time is competing with The Daily Kos and The Huffington Post for readers,


    Wednesday, April 1, 2009

    Idol: There is no Joy in Mudville

    Once again, boys and girls, Dialidol.com nailed the bottom 3 and the loser tonight, and (Spoiler alert!), the loser is:

    Megan Joy Corkrey!!!!

    The judges didn't even bother going through the motions of pretending to give her one more chance. They told the three beforehand they would only consider saving one (Allison, I am sure), and Seacrest put an end to that by sending her to safety.

    Votefortheworst.com is polling to see who they should support next, but no one could garner the kind of following a truly awful singer and performer like Megan could...could they?

    Well, ok, Scott could, but, would pimping Scott be akin to Obama slurring the Special Olympians? Somehow, I don't think vftw will much care, and I predict, he'll be their next choice.

    Anyway, no real drama tonight. Matt G was not in the bottom 3 (bottom 4 on dialidol), and Allison was quickly sent to safety. So, Anoop is next up...

    I like you Anoop, but, the Idol Tour was all you could ever hope for anyway.