Fox News’ War on War on Christmas

John Stewart at his best. A must-watch (especially for fans of the Grinch– as I am)

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Point and shoot

After buying a DSLR this summer (an Olympus E-620) I’ve really gotten into photography for the first time in my life (as my wife, and facebook friends, can attest).  It seems now that I’m into trying to take good pictures, it’s becoming a lost art as so many pictures I see are really poor quality cell phone pictures.  According to this interesting Times story, sales of point & shoot digital cameras are suffering a steep decline as they’re being replaced by people’s cell phone cameras.  DSLR’s are doing just fine, as they are still the choice for those interested in good photography.  I actually still love my point and shoot– the terrific and amazingly compact Cannon SD700 IS.  Takes great pictures for all the times (lots) I just want to stick a camera in my pocket rather than strapping a DSLR around my neck.  Truth is, you can take great pictures with an Iphone (if you really know what you are doing), but most of the pictures I see on facebook that were taken with a phone look like crap.  I think this is a shame.

While I’m at it, here’s some photos I took at Duke Gardens with the Olympus that I’m pretty pleased with (though, nature deserves most of the credit).

Most bizarre music video ever?

You be the judge.  A truly amazing variety of stars from (mostly) 1980’s U.S. TV and movies singing in support of a Norwegian TV show.

The big picture on the tax cut deal

Both Klein and Yglesias suggest that the ability of Republicans and Democrats to still strike a deal in which both sides make some concessions and get some of what they want bodes well.  Maybe the GOP won’t try and destroy the economy to undermine Obama’s chances in 2012.  They had me feeling all optimistic.  Truth is, though, this is still the (nominally) Democratic congress.  Once Republicans and their influx of Tea Party nuts take over the House in 2011, I think deals like this will be exponentially more difficult.  We’ll see.

Obama and the tax cut deal

One thing that is really annoying me is all the liberal complaints about Obama’s role in cutting this deal on taxes.  I’m sure Obama could have done more, but this is so not his fault.  It is the fault of Dems in Congress.  If they had bothered to pass a bill extending taxes for only those making less than $250K they’ve had two damn years to do it.  But they, didn’t.  Now, they don’t have near the political leverage they once had.  But, because a few Congressional Dems were so afraid of being accused of raising taxes– even if it was only on the richest 1%– and a few more actually buy into the ridiculous “you’re going to ruin the economy by taxing small business” GOP talking point, it didn’t get done.  That’s not Obama’s fault.  I think he could’ve probably had more aggressive leadership on this issue, but there’s really no doubt the fault lies with Congressional Dems.  This is just part of our modern political system where the President tends to get all the blame and all the credit, whether he deserves it or not.

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