Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Magglio Ordonez to retire

At 38 y/o, Magglio Ordonez is set to announce his retirement from the Detroit Tigers. He played his early years roaming right field on Chicago's Southside and was the last legit five-tool player I've seen play. Maggs was the closest thing to Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays that the White Sox had in my lifetime.

Before nagging injuries sidelined him, Ordonez was a force who could run, throw, field, hit and hit for power. He was a consummate ballplayer and a gentleman.

 Paul Konerko gave a classy tribute to his former team mate:
"There’s been a lot of good hitters here, a lot of good defensive players. But he was the best that I played with all-around for that period. Those first few years he was unbelievable. It seemed like he never made a mistake."

Good bye, Maggs, and...thanks.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Neil Armstrong presents new footage

In an odd circumstance the usually reclusive Neil Armstrong agreed to an interview with, of all groups, the Australian Certified Practicing Accountants.

The video is here and contains actual footage (starting at 2:30) of the moon landing next to a recent Google Moon mock-up. This is presented in part to answer conspiracy enthusiasts who deny the moon landing ever occurred, but it is also a remarkable video in its own right.

The absolute coolest part of the video is that Google Moon shows the remains of the lunar module still in place (at about the 6:30's a brief glimpse and goes unmentioned by Armstrong but worth the trouble).

From a write-up in the UK Guardian we learn that Armstrong's father was an auditor which may answer the question why the astronaut gave his exclusive to a CPA group.

Link to the entire hour-long interview video is here

Thursday, May 24, 2012

H. L. Mencken

Religion, of course, does make some men better, and perhaps even many men. There can be no doubt of it. But making them better by filling their poor heads with grotesque nonsense is an irrational and wasteful process, and the harm it does greatly outweighs the good. If men could be made better—or even only happier—by teaching them that two and two make five there would be plenty of fools to advocate that method, but it would remain anti-social nonetheless. If the theologians could only agree on their doctrines their unanimity might have some evidential value, just as the agreement of all politicians that the first duty of the citizen is to obey them and admire them has some evidential value. It may not be true, but it is at least undisputed by all save a small fraction of heretics, which is certainly something. Fortunately for common sense, the theologians are never able to agree. Even within the sects, and under the more rigid discipline, there is constant wrangling, as, for example, between the Jesuits and the Dominicans. Thus the cocksureness of one outfit is cancelled out by the ribald denial of all the rest, and rational men are able to consign the whole gang to statistics and the Devil.

(h/t Jerry Coyne who is running a series this week on Mencken, calling him the first New Atheist.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Let Wrigley Field crumble

Story Image
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts
The Cubs can't get out of their own way.

The White Sox are relaxing today with a day off after taking batting practice on the Northside this weekend. There were so many balls bouncing on Waveland Avenue that some of the residents thought Iran had figured out their missile technology. The Sox completed the sweep of the hapless Cubbies behind stellar pitching, flawless defense and solid at-bats. 

 Before the season I really thought that the Cubs might turn their ship around with their new Chairman, Tom Ricketts , their proven General Manager from the Red Sox, Theo Epstein, and their stable of bright young talent, Starlin Castro, Bryan LaHair and Darwin Barney. I really thought they could compete, but alas, they look like the same old Cubbies crawling along the cellar floor of the NL Central.

As if having a crappy team isn’t distraction enough, Tom Ricketts seems to have gotten on the wrong side of the Democratic Mayor, Rahm Emanuel.  It seems that the Cubs are in dire need of $300 million to refurbish that relic that they call a ballpark. They’ve had their palm dug into the city coffers for the desired funding and then just this last week the news came out that the Ricketts family is funding a scathing anti-Obama political ad with SuperPAC money.

“I wouldn’t say it’s embarrassing. [But] it obviously was a distraction nobody wanted. I don’t think anybody in the family was pleased to see that article” in the New York Times about the ill-fated anti-Obama ad campaign, Tom Ricketts said.
Cubs prospect rests after a long at-bat

Of course, this begs the question: if the Ricketts have money to throw away on political ads, then why do they need public funds for their beloved privately-owned ballpark?  Are the people of Chicago best served having their dinner disturbed with political rhetoric and lies on TV while Wrigley Field gets a Jumbotron and new toilets at taxpayer expense?  Doubtful.

The miscalculation by Ricketts is that while Mayor Emanuel may not have the only say in this matter, he certainly has some influence....and he may just as well like to see the Wrigley crumble.

FYI: The Catholic Church is NOT a democracy

...and they pretty much don't care what you think.  

Despite recent polls that show Catholics favor Obama's rule requiring provision of birth control for employees of religious organizations, 43 different Catholic organizations have filed suit in federal court suing the Obama Administration.  

From CBSNews:
Amid continued controversy surrounding an Obama administration policy mandating that women working at religiously-affiliated institutions be provided with free access to contraceptive health care, a new CBS News/New York Times poll shows that most Americans - including Catholics - appear to support the rule.

...61 percent said they support the requirement, while 32 percent oppose it.  Majorities of both men and women said they are in favor of the mandate, though support among women is especially pronounced, with 66 percent supporting and 26 percent opposing it. Among men, 55 percent of men are in favor; 38 percent object.

And from the WSJ:
The University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York and 41 other Roman Catholic institutions sued the Obama administration in federal court Monday, the latest push by religious groups against a requirement that employers cover contraception in workers' health plans.

Your church contributions hard at work...filing frivolous lawsuits against your opinion and judgment.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Who should leave the Euro: Greeks or Germans??

From Kiron Sakar at Big Picture:
"Early days, but I for one believe that the trend away from [the Greek ultra-leftist party] Syriza will continue. Greeks, by an overwhelming majority (between 75% to 80%) want to remain in the Euro, as they realise that the reintroduction of the Drachma will result in an effective devaluation of at least 50%, by all accounts. The resultant hardship (the need to close the current account deficit to zero immediately) will make the current austerity plans seems like a mild dose of influenza, compared with the pneumonia that will follow an Euro exit."
One thought I had was what if Germany (and possibly Austria and the Netherlands) chose to leave the Euro and go back to their own currencies?  Why stay in an economic community whose goals are so different from your own? On some level that would make just as much sense. Ezra Klein broached this issue last year:

"Now, what would happen if a financially sound country like Germany decided to leave the euro, in order to maintain its own currency? Even that would hurt. A lot. Germany wouldn’t default on its national debt — in fact, its new currency would likely be worth more than the old euro — but its banks would suddenly have assets in the old, devalued currency. Balance sheets would be thrown out of whack, and Germany would have to pour an enormous amount of money into bailing out its banks. What’s more, the country’s exports would likely collapse. All told, UBS estimates, the cost of secession to a country like Germany would likely reach 20 percent to 25 percent of GDP, and remain at about half that for a few years thereafter.
One thing UBS notes is that it would be much, much cheaper for Germany to simply bail out Greece, Ireland, and Portugal outright (that would cost about 1,000 euros for every German man, woman and child in one swoop) than it would be for Germany to exit the euro zone (which would cost the average German 8,000 euros the first year and 4,500 euros thereafter). Bailouts are deeply unpopular in Germany, and for good reason, but they look like the cheaper path. Even Bernard Connolly’s estimate that it would cost Germany 7 percent of its GDP for several years to bail out all troubled euro zone countries, up to and including France, looks like a less-painful option at this point."
My comment: German citizens would be happier with a bailout scheme if the debtor nations were willing to enjoin some austerity, otherwise why not leave the recalcitrant deadbeats? Sure the Germans would lose some euros upfront, but who's to say that the longer term investment wouldn't be worth it?  Also, the German banks could prepare for such an event by hedging their euro positions with euro puts or dollar call positions-- something they are likely doing already. 
The export issue is less tricky: decreased exports from Germany to the peripheral nations is occurring anyway since Greece and other PIIGS won't be spending on imports regardless of what happens to the makeup of the eurozone.  Greeks won't be in the market for BMW's and coffemakers any time soon because they're broke.  German manufacturers would do well to seek other markets for their goods regardless of the eurozone issue.
Perhaps this is navel-gazing and I can't say I've heard much chatter lately about Germany leaving the eurozone, but that certainly would be a Black Swan event and a giant disruption in the world markets.  

At the end of the day, the odds are that the eurozone will remain intact.

A longer discussion:

"If they are not willing to bailout the debtors, then the Germans should just leave the eurozone. Put up or shut up."

60 MInutes: Dropping Out

Quote regarding the $1 Trillion in student loan debt: "College administrators are the subprime loan salesmen of today."

My comment: The emphasis of this piece is on entrepreneurship as an alternative to college, but perhaps the greater emphasis should be on vocational training versus 4-year college, with such training leading to necessary jobs and innovation for creative minds.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ray Dalio on the European Financial Situation

Interview from Barron's:
How do you expect Europe to fare?
Europe is probably the most interesting case of a deleveraging in recorded history. Normally, a country will find out what's best for itself. In other words, a central bank will make monetary decisions for the country and a treasury will set fiscal policy for the country. They might make mistakes along the way, but they can be adjusted, and eventually there is a policy for the country. There is a very big problem in Europe because there isn't a good agreement about who should bear what kind of risks, and there isn't a decision-making process to produce that kind of an agreement.0
We were very close to a debt collapse in Europe, and then the European Central Bank began the LTROs [long-term refinancing operations]. The ECB said it would lend euro-zone banks as much money as they wanted at a 1% interest rate for three years. The banks then could buy government bonds with significantly higher yields, which would also produce a lot more demand for those assets and ease the pressure in countries like Spain and Italy. Essentially, the ECB and the individual banks took on a whole lot of credit exposure. The banks have something like 20 trillion euros ($25.38 trillion) worth of assets and less than one trillion euros of capital. They are very leveraged.
Also, the countries themselves have debt problems and they need to roll over existing debts and borrow more. The banks are now overleveraged and can't expand their balance sheets. And the governments don't have enough buyers of their debt. Demand has fallen not just because of bad expectations, although everybody should have bad expectations, but because the buyers themselves have less money to spend on that debt. So the ECB action created a temporary surge in buying of those bonds and it relieved the crisis for the moment, but that's still not good enough. They can keep doing that, but each central bank in each country wants to know what happens if the debtors can't pay, who is going to bear what part of the burden?
Have the French and Greek elections changed the outlook?
They are the latest steps in a long drama that is not in and of itself much more important than most of the other steps. It's normal that the pendulum swings to produce these sorts of changes, and it is to be expected that tensions will increase and agreements will be harder to come by. This will add to the risks over the next year.
So what is the solution to this? How will the European debt crisis be resolved?
What is happening in Europe now is essentially the same, almost totally analogous, to what happened in the U.S. in 1789. It is an interesting comparison.
Post-American Revolution?
Yes. In 1776, the colonies declared independence from Great Britain. We didn't have a country. We had independent states that had a treaty with each other, called the Articles of Confederation, and it was similar to the Maastricht Treaty that created the European Union and the euro currency. The independent states had debt problems and they had tariffs with each other. It wasn't until 13 years later, 1789, that those states started to form a central government, largely because of their debt problems. There was a constitutional convention, and we formed a country and we chose a president. We formed a treasury and imposed central taxation. That gave us the ability to produce revenue for the country and restructure our debts. There was the ability to have taxation and to issue bonds and to borrow. Europe does not have an ability to borrow. It doesn't have central taxation, that's material, and it doesn't have a treasury. It is a collection of countries operating for their own individual needs.
Matthew Furman
Ray Dalio
Europe is approaching a decision point. It will have to decide whether it wants to create a sufficient central government that has more than a treaty, that has the ability to collect taxes from the whole and the ability to issue debt that obligates the whole, or whether it does not. That is the crux of this issue. The question is how much pain is it going to cause in Europe, and does the pain cause a collapse before it causes the choices? When a debtor can't print money and depreciate its currency, it will go into a self-reinforcing terrible economic situation. The deleveraging in Spain is just beginning, and they already have nearly 25% unemployment. They need relief.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Coyotes: Masters of Evoltion

From Sci Am:

"Researchers have long known the coyote as a master of adaptation, but studies over the past few years are now revealing how these unimposing relatives of wolves and dogs have managed to succeed where many other creatures have suffered. Coyotes have flourished in part by exploiting the changes that people have made to the environment, and their opportunism goes back thousands of years."

Read the entire article.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is God a testable hypothesis?

Victor Stenger
Is God a testable hypothesis? Victor Stenger says that the supernatural is indeed testable, and shows that science speaks to this issue on a regular basis as well it should. In Science and Religion Today, Stenger says:

The rationale usually given by those who reject any role for science on religious matters is that science concerns itself, “by definition,” solely with natural phenomena. Since the supernatural is unobservable, then, they assert, science has nothing to say about it.

However, while supernatural entities may not be directly observable, any effects these entities might have on the material world should manifest themselves as observable phenomena. Anything observable is subject to scientific inquiry. On the other hand, if the supernatural has no observable effects on the natural world, then why even worry about it?

In recent years, right under the nose of the NAS, reputable scientists from reputable institutions have vigorously pursued several areas of empirical study that bear directly on the question of God and the supernatural. Any one of these experiments was capable of providing evidence for at least some aspect of a world beyond the material world. I will mention just two.

Teams of scientists from three highly respected institutions—The Mayo Clinic and Harvard and Duke universities—have performed carefully controlled experiments on the medical efficacy of blind, intercessory prayer and published their results in peer-reviewed journals. These experiments found no evidence that such prayers provide any health benefit. But, they could have.

For my second example, over a period of four decades extensive investigations have been made into the phenomenon of near-death experiences in which people resuscitated from the brink of death report a glimpse of “heaven.” Despite thousands of such reports, not a single subject has returned with new knowledge that could be tested by further investigations. No prediction has been made of some future catastrophe that later occurred on schedule, and not for lack of opportunity given the many natural disasters—earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, tornados—of recent years. Similarly, no divine revelation has provided an answer for any currently unanswered question in science, history, or theology, such as the where in the universe we will find extraterrestrial life or the location of Noah’s Ark.

Jerry Coyne references Stenger’s piece and he notes:

Jerry Coyne

Now it’s harder to test one-off interventions like the supposed resurrection of Jesus, but everything we know about nature suggests that dead people can’t come back to life, and there’s no independent evidence for this outside the Gospels. And if you show that the more frequent interventions of God are bogus, one naturally begins to suspect the one-off miracles as well.  Even when one-off miracles are tested, like weeping Jesus statues or the Shroud of Turin, they, too, fail to pass the test of divinity.

... [Stephen Jay] Gould’s “nonoverlapping magisteria” brand of accommodationism works only with deistic religions that posit a hands-off God.  And, in the West, that kind of religion is found only among well-fed theologians and extremely liberal believers.

Of course, Stenger and Coyne are correct. I would add that every observation supports the lack of supernatural interaction in our physical world. Whether the children actually saw Virgin Mary at Fatima quickly becomes a matter of faith, but our immense history of observable phenomena tells us that more mundane explanations are much more likely.

Holy books have such a marked resemblance to fictional literature, and such literature is so pervasive in human experience that it’s hard to countenance any other explanation but fiction for the existence of the Bible, Koran, Bhagavad Gita, et al. We have no problem concluding that the Odyssey was manufactured in Homer’s brain, and the X-Files was borne out of imagination, yet so many accept similar stories as factual with no reliable evidence.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Jerry Rivers got raped

I learned something, what is it?

That the TSA is ham-handed? No, I kinda figured that already. Give someone a badge and the odds are pretty good it will have an effect, some effect, on their behavior.

That someone would want to get intimate with Geraldo? No... I mean, who wouldn't?

That Shep Smith is homophobic? Please.

No, the thing I learned is that you cannot say "junk" on television anymore, it must now be spelled out: J-U-N-K. 

Thanks for the heads up, Gretchen.... or should I say H-E-A-D-S up?

Oh, for the record: Ted Nugent is Full of Shit

...a draft-dodging liar who promotes violence, a true sociopath and hypocrite.  In other words, he's likely to get his own show on Fox News.  Here are his two draft deferments:

From Newshounds:

As you can see, Nugent received student deferments in 1967 (1-S) and 1968 (2-S). But according to the Internet Movie Data Base website, Nugent has been “performing professionally since 1958, non-stop yearly touring since 1967, averaging more than 300 shows per year '67-73.” Hmm, that would include the two years he was supposedly too wrapped up in his studies to be serving his country.

And from an interview in the UK Independent in 2006:

He has the rage, but he doesn't have the war record. At 18, he was called up to serve in Vietnam. "In 1977 you gave an interview to High Times [the cannabis user's journal of record] where you claimed you defecated in your clothes to avoid the draft."
("I got 30 days' notice of the physical," Nugent told them. "I ceased cleansing my body. Two weeks before the test I stopped eating food with nutritional value. A week before, I stopped going to the bathroom. I did it in my pants. My pants got crusted up.")
"I never shit my pants to get out of the draft," says Nugent, good-naturedly.
"You also told them you took crystal meth [methamphetamine, the highly destabilising drug sometimes described as poor man's crack] before the medical - as a result of which, and I quote: 'I got this big juicy 4F.'"
"Unbelievable. Meth," he replies, in a tone of deep sarcasm. "Yes, that's my drug of choice. You've got to realise that these interviewers would arrive with glazed eyes and I would make stories up. I never did crystal meth. And I never pooped my pants."
Interviewer: "But you did dodge the draft." 
TN: "I had a 1Y [student deferment]. I enrolled at Oakland Community College."
Interviewer: "You said then that you wanted 'to teach the stupid bastards in the military a lesson'. I'd have thought you'd have loved the army. Guns. Travel. Danger." 
TN: "Back then, I didn't even understand what World War II was."
Interviewer: "So basically," - I admit that I have, unaccountably, started to speak Nugent - "you didn't want to get your Michigan ass blown off in Vietnam." 
TN: "Correct. I did not want to get my ass blown off in Vietnam."

Catholic school forfeits game

The Arizona Charter Athletic Association state championship baseball game wasn't played Thursday night because Mesa Prep's second baseman is a girl.
Paige Sultzbach, a freshman, is playing baseball because her high school doesn't offer girls softball. But the school Mesa Prep was to face in the final, Our Lady of Sorrows Academy, said its boys would not compete against a team with a girl and forfeited the game - and the state title - to Mesa Prep.
"As a Catholic school, we promote the ideal of forming and educating boys and girls separately during the adolescent years, especially in physical education,” Our Lady of Sorrows said in a statement, according to CNN affiliate KTVK.
This isn't just behind the times, it's going backward. Five, ten, twenty years form now, how will the Catholic kids who forfeited the state title look back on this episode?  With a sense of moral pride that their institution was living it's ideals, or with a desultory sense of disbelief that they could be so karmicly flawed?

Harvey and Eddy


"I won't dance, don't ask me..."

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

President Obama's "evolution" re: Gay Marriage

 "I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married."

It's the hypocrisy, Mr. Romney

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney says life begins at conception and women should not have a right to interfere in any way, yet

...[Romney] seems to have no problem charging supporters $50,000 a plate at a fundraiser at the house of Dr. Phil Frost. Frost's company, Teva Pharmaceuticals, isn't exactly evasive about their relationship with Plan B, either. Think Progress points out that on the company's website, the logos for Plan B and other contraceptive products are displayed prominently (including ParaGard, an IUD, which also causes abortions in the eyes of the Personhood movement). Hypocritical? Yes. Surprising? No. 

Granted, being full of shit is de rigeur for most politicians, but being hypocritical and abridging others' rights about such fundamental personal issues is another thing altogether.  

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Friday, May 04, 2012

Scale of the Universe

From quantum foam to pistol stars and beyond! Click on the picture and let it load:

(hat tip Jay)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Obama in 2009: "Make [Medicare] fraud a cabinet level priority"

Perhaps of all the issues the president should run on this year, his enforcement of federal statutes against Medicare fraud should be near the top. From the WaPo:

Federal authorities charged 107 doctors, nurses and social workers in seven cities with Medicare fraud Wednesday in a nationwide crackdown on unrelated scams that allegedly billed the taxpayer-funded program of $452 million — the highest dollar amount in a single Medicare bust in U.S. history.
It was the latest in a string of major arrests in the past two years as authorities have targeted fraud that’s believed to cost the government between $60 billion and $90 billion each year. Stopping Medicare’s budget from hemorrhaging that money will be key to paying for President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

To say that previous administrations were lax in the oversight of this huge and important program would be an understatement. While the numbers of perpetrators caught in this recent sting might seem relatively small, and the dollar amounts recovered paltry compared to the billions transferred through Medicare, the message that fraud will not be tolerated acts as a strong deterrent: criminals will not be allowed to steal from Medicare. 

During World War II an obscure Senator from Missouri was motivated to squeeze waste and corruption out of the US military and presented it as a patriotic mission for the salvation of western civilization. His image as an inveterate stalwart for justice was exactly what FDR needed in a running mate during the anguish of a two-theatre war in 1944... and he chose this small town haberdasher, Sen. Harry Truman, for Vice-President. The rest is history.

I maintain that if Congress were not so dysfunctional an ambitious legislator might take on the graft and corruption in Medicare as a patriotic mission that would benefit every American for generations.  Maybe it's not as glamorous as cleaning up the military, and taking on entrenched moneyed interests may be dangerous politically, but imagine the legacy if such a job were done well.

In the absence of a forthright Congressman or Senator the President seems to be taking up the task, as well he should.  After all, it is his job... a job that had been neglected for a long time.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Bruce Bartlett: The US is a low tax country

...oh, and Republicans are wrong (again).  Former Reagan and Bush I administration official Bruce Bartlett on income taxes:

Since the beginning of the economic crisis, Republicans have insisted that tax cuts and only tax cuts are the appropriate medicine. They almost never explain how, exactly, this would reduce unemployment other than to say it worked for Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
One problem with the tax-wedge theory is that taxes are at a historical low as a share of the gross domestic product. According to the Congressional Budget Office, federal revenues will be 15.8 percent of G.D.P. this year. The postwar average is about 18.5 percent, and taxes averaged 18.2 percent during the Reagan administration; indeed, at their lowest point in 1984, federal revenues were 1.5 percent of G.D.P. higher than they are now.
Another problem is that there hasn’t been a significant tax increase affecting average working people since 1983, when Reagan raised the payroll tax rateto 15.3 percent from 13.4 percent (employer plus employee). Contrary to popular belief among Republicans, there have been no significant tax increases during the Obama administration. In fact, there have been tax cuts aimed directly at workers.

Bartlett continues:

As one can see, the United States is a low-tax country with a total tax wedge of 29.5 percent. Three-fourths of O.E.C.D. countries have a larger tax wedge on average workers.
I have also included the latest data on the percentage of workers employed as a share of the working-age population. I think this is a better measure of the health of the labor market than the unemployment rate, which goes up and down for a variety of reasons unconnected to taxes.
Here, too, there is little evidence that taxes affect employment one way or another. Almost half of the countries with a bigger tax wedge employ a larger percentage of their working-age populations than the United States does, and more than half of those with a smaller tax wedge have lower employment ratios.One argument Republicans could make in response is that the tax system has been in flux for the last 11 years. The Bush tax cuts were all set to expire at the end of 2010 and then were extended at the last minute for two additional years. The making-work-pay credit and subsequent payroll tax cut were also enacted temporarily.
One might reasonably conclude that businesses are unlikely to react to temporary tax changes and need some idea of the long-term tax environment to really affect their hiring actions.
But Republicans designed their tax cuts to be temporary in the first place; they rejected the idea of a bipartisan permanent tax cut because that would have required compromising with Democrats.
The latest Republican tax cut proposal, to reduce taxes for all businesses with fewer than 500 employees, no matter how profitable or big in other respects, would be in effect for only one year.
This is a key reason that the Republicans’ own committee report (see Page 20) said the legislation would have a negligible effect on employment.There is simply no evidence that cutting taxes at the present time will do anything to raise employment.

Daily Show: Victory Lapse

There is no possible way to wade through the knee deep bullshit in an election year, but the next time you hear someone complain about Obama's Osama bin Laden ad, remember this: