Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Not the beer, the dog.
Lacy's very first puppy pal was a black Lab mix belonging to a co-worker of my wife. He was a rescue animal so was not always sure about his place in strange circumstances, as visits to our home and puppy play-dates with a 5-month old Lab surely were.
According to his owner, he was skittish with all men though by the time he and his mom left Phoenix, Guinness had warmed, at least some, to me and gladly accepted a rawhide or two when he came to visit. All in all he was a mellow little guy and likable as could be.
The Christmas letter from Chris & Patty was late this year and only arrived last night. In it we learned that Guinness had succumbed after a very short battle with cancer in May.
Be good little man.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
It's hard to escape A Christmas Story as it's become what It's a Wonderful Life used to be, namely, if not the most watched Christmas movie around at least the most available Christmas movie on television.
After watching it again on Christmas Eve Ralphie's run-in with reality became emblematic for me of a question that Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has asked off and on all year: Who, exactly, are the rubes? And how many after a brief moment of clarity share Ralphie's sense of betrayal.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Politico reports this morning that Southern Democrat Rep Parker Griffith (D-AL) is switching parties:
Rep. Parker Griffith, a freshman Democrat from Alabama, will announce today that he’s switching parties to become a Republican.
According to two senior GOP aides familiar with the decision, the announcement will take place this afternoon in Griffith's district in northern Alabama.
Griffith’s party switch comes on the eve of a pivotal congressional health care vote and will send a jolt through a Democratic House Caucus that has already been unnerved by the recent retirements of a handful of members who, like Griffith, hail from districts that offer prime pickup opportunities for the GOP in 2010.
The switch represents a coup for the House Republican leadership, which had been courting Griffith since he publicly criticized the Democratic leadership in the wake of raucous town halls during the summer.
Griffith, who captured the seat in a close 2008 open seat contest, will become the first Republican to hold the historically Democratic, Huntsville-based district. A radiation oncologist who founded a cancer treatment center, Griffith plans to blast the Democratic health care bill as a prime reason for his decision to switch parties—and is expected to cite his medical background as his authority on the subject.
It appears that House Democrats may be getting nervous. They read polls, regardless of what they may or may not say about them and perhaps, at least a number of them, see where their party is and it aint anywhere near where the public is at this point.
Griffith's defection seems significant in that he is but a freshman member and a Blue Dog. The jump from D to R isn't a great leap as Politico notes but important given where his Alabama district is: Though it has never elected a Republican to Congress, Griffith’s seat has a long conservative tradition and has backed Democrats who have a brand independent from the national party. As a result of the district’s Democratic heritage, Democrats still hold the majority of state legislative seats within the 5th Congressional District’s boundaries.
The district, however, is trending Republican: A wave of new residents is moving into the Huntsville suburbs, where the area’s burgeoning aerospace and defense industries have created a miniboom. And those voters, with fewer ties to the area’s past politics, have been reliably Republican at the national level.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Nick Gillespie at Reason wonders aloud how many people will ignore a Federal mandate to buy health insurance. Given the history of ignoring other such legal ultimatums, it's an interesting thought exercise.
There's lots of bravado in the comments about being willing to be a 'test case' but it all made me wonder; how many people in non-compliance would it take to grind that nonsense to a screeching halt?
They are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one."
With all un-due respect Senator, you can stuff that nonsense back down your pie-hole and choke on it. People don't want this bill because of what's in it, not because of who is for it.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Roger Kimball writes after learning of Senator Ben Nelson's decision to fall in with the other 59 Democrats: The good news is that today, December 19, 2009, is the day we got clarity on the Obama-Pelosi-Reid effort to steal medical care and call it “reform.”
I hope that Ben enjoys his final two years in the Senate.
OK, that’s not quite right. Since it was Ben Nelson of Nebraska that finally got Harry Reid his desperately needed 60th vote for socialized medicine, I hope 1) that the next two year are unpleasant for Sen. Nelson and 2) that he loses in 2012 by a landslide.
I’m still not being entirely candid. Nelson is a pathetic pawn in this game. He’s history and I hope he has plans for a new day job. He’ll need ‘em.
He's obviously angry but it comes across to me as somehow, almost muted. Or perhaps, despite being a writer, he--like me--can't find the words to adequately express the anger.
As was noted this morning on the FNS panel, everyone has a price and Senator Nelson settled on his yesterday. Moving past the anger for a moment, it becomes apparent that the true cost of this for Nelson and the other 59 pro-votes is minimal.
Yes, it's true they may lose their seats. But they--and many of them for decades--live on our dime and will continue so until the day they die enjoying their gold-plated Federal health benefits all the while, BTW.
They pay no real price for being gloriously wrong about the negative effects of this "reform" should they come to pass.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
It's official. President Obama's Disapproval rating, as an average, is higher than his Approval rating.
For a while now some polls have already been there while others have slowly followed suit. Pollster.com has compiled the average, and as of today, this is where we are. Were I a member of the Administration, the trendlines would bother me. Bigtime.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Byron York highlights the assessment of Democrat operatives James Carville and Stan Greenberg. It aint pretty:
All in all, it's a perilous situation for Democrats taking their House and Senate majorities into next year's elections. "The slow recovery and continued job losses, combined with Wall Street bailouts, big bonuses, government takeovers, deficits and possible gridlock are an ugly brew," Carville and Greenberg write. "For Democrats to reverse the slide in their standing, they need to focus with urgency on jobs."
Urgency -- that's the key word, and the reason for Obama's "Jobs Summit." But voters know Democratic leaders haven't shown that urgency about jobs, and are in fact working 24/7 to pass a national health care bill that isn't the country's top priority. What "The Economy and Politics of 2010" shows is that this could be a very costly mistake.
Suffice to say, if they keep doing what they're doing Congressional Dems will get slaughtered. There will be collateral damage in Republican seats but the Dems will get slaughtered.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Fitting indeed that the Senate's Dimmest Bulb chairing the Committee that may or may not hold hearings on Climategate.
Politico points out the irony of all ironies today---President Obama's Afghan Strategy is being heavily criticized by
My head hurts...make it stop!
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Over at Politico's Arena today lots of folks are taking their turn at Vice President Cheney's remarks on Afghanistan. Most of them appear to be academics and more than a few Democratic political types...folks you would commonly refer to as 'operatives' in some cases. Regardless of the labels, the outrage is palpable.
Meanwhile, the contrast between conservative criticism of President Obama's cautious decision-making on Afghanistan and the Democrat's criticism of the previous Administration's handling of...well, everything...is, ironically, on display for all to see (at least at this writing) on Politico's home page where Rep. Maurice Hinchey accuses President Bush of purposefully allowing Osama Bin Laden to escape Tora Bora:
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) on Monday accused former President George W. Bush of “intentionally” letting Osama bin Laden escape during the American invasion of Afghanistan.
“Look what happened with regard to our invasion into Afghanistan, how we apparently intentionally let bin Laden get away,” Hinchey said during an interview on MSNBC.
“That was done by the previous administration because they knew very well that if they would capture al Qaeda, there would be no justification for an invasion in Iraq,” the Democratic congressman continued. “There’s no question that the leader of the military operations of the U.S. called back our military, called them back from going after the head of al Qaeda.”
When host David Shuster followed up to ask if Hinchey really thought Bush “deliberately let Osama bin Laden get away,” the congressman responded: “Yes, I do.”
Rory Cooper of the Heritage Foundation rightly exposes the contrast between Democrat reaction to President Bush (even now, having been gone long enough to have had a third child) and Cheney's criticism of President Obama's decision-making process and it's consequences for the military forces already in Aghanistan.
Read the criticisms of Cheney and agree if you like. But don't let the differences between his comments and the 8 years of Bush-rants escape you.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The Good News
My State Senator, Abel Maldonado was tabbed yesterday as the Governator's choice for Lt. Governor to replace California's newest member of Congress, John Garamendi. Maldonado began his political career as mayor of Santa Maria, eventually moving into the state legislature where he hitched his wagon to Governor Schwarzenegger. That loyalty has now paid off...
I have to say that in my 4 years as a constituent of the good Senator, I've not been overly impressed. The good news in all of this as far as I'm concerned is that now that he's moving into a notoriously un-important and un-productive position, he can't cause too much more mischief for the state (Thank you again for the 1% sales-tax increase and the waste of time that was the May special election).
The Bad News
It's not been a very well-kept secret that Maldonado has his eyes on higher state office and this is an easy first-step. As the incumbent Lt. Governor he will have a leg up on the Republican Gubernatorial nomination, a contingency that didn't exist while Garamendi filled the slot.
Monday, November 23, 2009
A bit about the NY Times response to the hacking/leaking of sensitive emails surrounding the climate change debate:
The NYT’s environmental blog, Dot Earth, covered the disclosure of e-mails and other files from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, noted that the files are available on various other website, but did not reproduce any files on its site. As Andrew Revkin explained in the post:
The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.
Am I wrong in thinking that this is a change in policy for the NYT? Hasn’t the Grey Lady published illegally obtained documents on national security and other matters in the past?
As I posted earler this morning, there are reasons to believe these documents were released by an internal whistleblower, rather than an external hacker. If so, would the same considerations apply? My initial thought is that arguments against publishing hacked documents might not apply to those disclosed by a whistleblower. In any event, it seems these documents contain substantial material of legitimate public interest, and this interest is not diminished by the way in which the documents were obtained. I readily concede that if the documents were stolen, as it appears, the individual responsible should be prosecuted, but this is a separate question from whether to disseminate the contents of the documents themselves.
Hide the Decline indeed (Well, they are trying).
Thursday, November 19, 2009
UPDATE: Victor Davis Hanson along those lines: Add it all up and there is a growing sense that America is in fact hemorrhaging — as both friends and enemies abroad smell blood in the water. The president through conciliation and concession — not to mention constant talk — is trying to superficially restore the influence we once earned by virtue of our economic power and self-confidence in our exceptional past and singular values.
But being both loud and vulnerable is not a winning combination, since political influence and military power are ultimately predicated on economic strength.
The United States needs to re-establish itself as financially credible and responsible so that when we lecture — about everything from global warming to Iranian nukes — we do so from a position of strength. That means we need to stop borrowing other nations’ money.
America also can’t afford to keep importing high-priced oil that we won’t produce at home. And we should stop promising ever-more government entitlements to ever-more voters that we can’t even begin to pay for.
For as we continue in our self-indulgence, a more defiant world seems to be saying that the old rules of the game have changed. In response, America should keep quieter abroad — and try finding a bigger stick.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Now, Ed Pound, director of communications for Recovery.gov, has stepped in it too. When asked to explain the phenomenon of stimulus-related job creation in non-existent congressional districts, Pound told the New Orleans Times-Picayune, "who knows, man, who really knows."
Remember how the other guy couldn't get anything right? If only...
Saturday, November 14, 2009
If there's an upside to all this, after months of watching KSM up close, even liberal New Yorkers may be ready to give Dick Cheney a medal.
Combine it with the navel-gazing on Afghanistan and I'm running out of reasons to even pretend to give the President the benefit of the doubt on any of these high-profile issues. Is it willful? Is it incompetence? What explains it?
Posted by Paul Hogue at 2:06 PM
Or everything AP at least. The ROI on this is atrocious so I wonder what the guys in the Finance office think:
If you wonder why American newspapering is dying, consider this sign-off:
AP writers Matt Apuzzo, Sharon Theimer, Tom Raum, Rita Beamish, Beth Fouhy, H. Josef Hebert, Justin D. Pritchard, Garance Burke, Dan Joling and Lewis Shaine contributed to this report.
Wow. That's ten "AP writers" plus Calvin Woodward, the AP writer whose twinkling pen honed the above contributions into the turgid sludge of the actual report. That's 11 writers for a 695-word report. What on? Obamacare? The Iranian nuke program? The upcoming trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?
No, the Associated Press assigned 11 writers to "fact-check" Sarah Palin's new book, and in return the 11 fact-checkers triumphantly unearthed six errors. That's 1.8333333 writers for each error. What earth-shattering misstatements did they uncover for this impressive investment?
Nothing worth mentioning, though Steyn does go on to include the
horrors errors. Suffice to say, AP paid 11 people an undetermined amount of money to pick at nits.
As an added bonus, Steyn goes on to note the free transcription services provided by Media Matters.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
And that is what they are doing:
Starting Sunday, cash-strapped California will dig deeper into the pocketbooks of wage earners -- holding back 10% more than it already does in state income taxes just as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks into gear.
Technically, it's not a tax increase, even though it may feel like one when your next paycheck arrives. As part of a bundle of budget patches adopted in the summer, the state is taking more money now in withholding, even though workers' annual tax bills won't change.
Think of it as a forced, interest-free loan: You'll be repaid any extra withholding in April. Those who would receive a refund anyway will receive a larger one, and those who owe taxes will owe less.
Just so we're all clear...you're going to take more than what I rightfully owe as determined under state law based on my W-4 witholdings and you're going to 'apply' it in some sort of accounting gimmick to make your bad financial situation look only slightly worse? Why, yes: The extra withholding may seem like a small amount siphoned from each paycheck, but it adds up to a $1.7-billion fix for California's deficit-riddled books.
And the timing couldn't be better: Brittney McKaig, 23, of Santa Ana said she expects the additional withholding to affect her holiday spending.
"Coming into the holidays, we're getting squeezed anyway," she said. "We're not getting Christmas bonuses and other perks we used to get. So it all falls back on spending. The $40 gift will become a $20 gift."
As a small business owner, I'm especially looking forward to that...not enough when you're in a state that is performing worse than the national economy and a community that is performing even worse than the state. And when you add this on top of the sales tax increase (1%) earlier in the year, I'd say the state has bent over backwards to make life as difficult as possible for small businesses, especially in retail.
Veronique de Rugy noticed this earlier today over at the Corner and asked a question that I screamed out at the computer on Saturday when I first read this; namely, is this legal? She posted a reader response later in the day from, I can only presume, somebody with at least a quasi-legal background:
This is a gray area, and if the right paintiff emerges (probably a large private-sector union local) then it could go to the U.S. Supreme Court. My guess is that there are plenty of justices who would not be readily convinced regarding the coincidence of a state cash-flow crisis and the "discovery" of a need to boost a formula developed to be reasonably related to what taxpayers should owe.
This is just another piece in a mosaic of idiocy that has been sewn together over the last 10 years in Sacramento. If it weren't going to do so much damage to so many people (including my family), I would just sit back and laugh as this state collapses under the weight of it's own idiocy. But it will damage too many far too much by the time all is said and done for that.
As to what to do...I'm sure I don't know. In any just world we'd show up in Sacramento with the torches & pitchforks and pound some sense into their heads.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I'm disgusted. TJ Simers says it well:
The Dodgers had the best start, the best record for a long time, and finished with the top mark in the National League -- squandering it all, the home-field advantage and all that success, to finish exactly as they did a year ago.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I don't find this the least bit funny:
Rollins lined a two-run double with two outs in the ninth inning off All-Star closer Jonathan Broxton and the Philadelphia Phillies rallied past the Dodgers, 5-4, Monday night for a 3-1 lead in the series.
Rollins? Jimmy Rollins? That Jimmy Rollins!?
Good Lord...guy's not hitting his weight in the playoffs after a year of epic suckage and he all but knocks his team into the World Series.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Bad Management is Everywhere. That's something I tend to save for the world of business but it's also applicable to the world of politcs as Jim Gerahty notes:
Democratic California lieutenant governor John Garamendi is running for Congress, in that special election in the district near San Francisco, and the expectation is that despite his flaws as a candidate, the fact that it's a heavily Democratic district should save him.
But . . . maybe not. Besides the fact that he looks silly on the stump, insisting questioners not use "the T-word" — taxes — his campaign is looking pretty amateurish.
For starters, Garamendi's campaign sent out a mailer, accusing Republican rival David Harmer of supporting "off shoring jobs" and citing a story from Utah's Deseret News from April 23, 2004.
Except that story wasn't about the David Harmer running for Congress; it was about Utah's executive director of the State Department of Community and Economic Development David Harmer.
Same name, different guy. What's more, congressional candidate David Harmer wasn't even living in Utah at the time.
Who's in charge here?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
That's good news...
Senate Democrats pushing healthcare legislation received a boost from the Congressional Budget Office today as the much-watched nonpartisan agency estimated that a bill being debated by the Senate Finance Committee would cost $829 billion over the next decade.
Shouts of — “Stop printing money,” “We don’t care what you think,” and “You’re a moron” — permeated the 90-minute session, which drew far more than the 450 people who filled Van Nostrand Theatre. Scores more were not allowed inside after a Suffolk fire marshal closed the doors.
People opposing the proposed health care reform outnumbered those in favor, though both sides strove to outshout each other during the question-and-answer period.
Definitely funny though, especially in light of this today: Americans' approval of the job Congress is doing is at 21% this month, down significantly from last month's 31% and from the recent high of 39% in March.
There's bringing it on yourself and then there's bringing it on yourself...
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined the administration in their annoyance over General McChrystal's recent comments on Afghanistan:
“Let me say this about General McChrystal, with all due respect,” said Pelosi. “His recommendation to the President should go up the line of command. They shouldn't be in press conferences.”
Um, he did...and has yet to get an answer.
Posted by Paul Hogue at 11:06 AM
Monday, October 05, 2009
It is rumored that Rush Limbaugh is interested in becoming a part-owner of the St. Louis Rams. I could think of worse things.
A Rams fan for 30-plus years I don't talk much about them these days as they've had about 5 good seasons in the last 20+ years (see here for a fine example of the chilling effect such suckage has on fans). Over the near 30 years of Georgia's ownership of the franchise the most infuriating thing about it was the lack of committment. Oh, there was "committment" mind you but not to winning, only to Georgia's bottom line. I'm more convinced now than ever that whatever success the franchise found under her leadership (NFC title game appearances in the late '80s, the SB 34 win in 2000) was accidental at best and/or in spite of her management.
Looking forward all a fan can ask for is ownership that wants to win and will do what they can to put their coaches and players in a position to win games. Rush is well-known as a fan of the game and no one can accuse him of not wanting to 'win' in any aspect of his professional life.
From that standpoint, if he has the money and the want-to I'm all for it.
Posted by Paul Hogue at 12:54 PM
Friday, October 02, 2009
A snippet from what the LA Times blogged about the First Lady's speech to the IOC on behalf of her hometown:
I would really like these games to come to Chicago. My beautiful daughters would like the Games to come to Chicago. My wonderful husband, who has brought hope and change to the world, would like the Games to come to Chicago. But more important than all of that, bringing the Games to Chicago would be a wonderful way to honor my father, now deceased, who had Multiple Scelrosis.
I understand of course that she loves her husband and as any good wife would, offers tangible and verbal support for her hubby. But really?
I find the whole thing laughable on the day that unemployment goes up again to a 26 year high...I suppose losing 3 million jobs since the passage of the un-stimulus does qualify as change. When does the hope kick in?
The President flies to Copenhagen to meet with IOC reps and close the deal for the 2016 Olympics in Chicago--granted taking 25 minutes to meet with the commanding General in Afghanistan--only to come up short (Pie, meet Face):
The Olympics were awarded to a South American city for the first time when the International Olympic Committee on Friday voted for Rio de Janeiro to be host of the 2016 Games.
Rio de Janeiro was the winner over Madrid in the final round of voting.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
More from TM on Afghanistan:
The WaPo discusses the ghastly short-term political implications of McChrystal's emphasis on protecting the Afghan population rather than our own forces:
Less Peril for Civilians, but More for Troops As U.S. Toll in Afghanistan Rises, Lawmakers And Families Are Questioning New Restrictions
Concern is rising in Congress and among military families over a sharp increase in U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan at a time when senior military officials acknowledge that American service members are facing greater risks under a new strategy that emphasizes protecting Afghan civilians.
...McChrystal, in a major assessment disclosed by The Washington Post on Monday, castigated the U.S. military in Afghanistan for being "preoccupied with protection of our own forces." He wrote that U.S. and other military personnel must minimize their time in armored vehicles and walled bases and "share risk, at least equally, with the people." McChrystal also called for coalition troops to "radically increase" joint operations with Afghan forces. Both steps, he said, mean greater risk for coalition troops in the near term but could "ultimately save lives in the long run."
The problem is, the long run is a series of short runs, and sometimes you can't get there from here.
If we had strong public support for the effort in Afghanistan, or a President inclined to use his rhetorical gifts to rally some, a strategy that literally trades more deaths today for the prospect of fewer deaths down the road might be sustainable. Bush managed a similar feat (and sans the rhetorical gifts) with the surge in Iraq, which projected a short term increase in deaths with the new mission of population protection coupled with new Rues of Engagement. But as Obama would say with pride, he isn't George Bush.
Like I said before, fight the war to win or don't bother.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Minnesota's Governor has ordered a review of ACORN's ties in his home state.
Meanwhile, NY AG Andrew Cuomo opened an investigation there as well (completely foreseeable by some).
What's next? Well, the WSJ wonders aloud about Legal Armageddon.
Update: California getting in on it as well...
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The House voted earlier in the day to rebuke Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) for his outburst during President Obama's speech last week:
The rare resolution of disapproval was pushed through by Democrats insisting that Wilson, a South Carolina lawmaker, had violated basic rules of decorum and civility in his outburst.
It's that last phrase that frys me. As noted earlier, the Left wouldn't know civility if it jumped up and bit them in the collective ass.
At least some in the House are willing to pick up where the Senate left off yesterday:
Today House Republicans will introduce a bill that would end all federal funding to ACORN and its affiliates. Republicans are also sending a letter to President Obama on the same subject.
The action comes after the release, on the website BigGovernment, of three undercover videos showing ACORN employees in Baltimore, Washington DC, and New York City offering advice on how to evade taxes, cover up prostitution activity, and abet the use of minors in prostitution. In the wake of those disclosures, the U.S. Census cut its ties with ACORN, and yesterday the Senate voted 83-7 to cut off housing funds for the organization.
House Republicans point out that they have long pushed for a cutoff in government funding for ACORN.
Monday, September 14, 2009
After a week that would make Badluck Schleprock wince, the US Senate has voted today to defund ACORN:
The Senate voted Monday to block the Housing and Urban Development Department from giving grants to ACORN, a community organization under fire in several voter-registration fraud cases.
The 83-7 vote would deny housing and community grant funding to ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
The action came as the group is suffering from bad publicity after a duo of conservative activists posing as a prostitute and her pimp released hidden-camera videos in which ACORN employees in Baltimore gave advice on house-buying and how to account on tax forms for the woman's income. Two other videos, aired frequently on media outlets such as the Fox News Channel, depict similar situations in ACORN offices in Brooklyn and Washington, D.C.
What next? Well, far as I'm concerned the AG or a state Attorney General or two ought to rain down fire on these crooks and put them out of business.
The basic premise is insulting...beyond insulting:
Eight months into Barack Obama’s presidency, as criticism of his administration seems to reach new levels of volume and intensity each week, the whispers among some of his allies are growing louder: That those who loathe the nation’s first African-American president, and especially those who would deny his citizenship, are driven at least in part by racism.
Are there people on the extreme edge of this opposition? Certainly. There were people on the extreme edge of the Left's opposition to President Bush as well.
Frankly, the Left would do well to remove the log from their own eye before telling us all about the logs in ours. Not everyone who thinks Healthcare is a bad idea hates the President. Not everyone who is arguing against the largest deficits in the nation's history is a racist.
Perhaps some of us have an aversion to economic ruin; some of us think that this unsustainable spending arc needs to be resisted. Because President Obama is black? Of course not.
Because ruinous debt will kill our economy; because coming inflation will eat at American's wealth and further strain the very working families the President and his party so vociferously champion.
The vast majority of us who oppose the President's non-plan of a plan do so for a simple reason: we think it's a bad idea.
Does this sound smart to you?:
Trade relations between two of the world’s biggest economies deteriorated after Barack Obama, US president, signed an order late on Friday to impose a new duty of 35 per cent on Chinese tyre imports on top of an existing 4 per cent tariff.
Smart Presidents don't start trade wars.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
From NRO's Media Blog...just wow:
The Boston Globe was sold to the New York Times Co. for about $1 billion. The Philadelphia Inquirer was sold to Bruce Toll and the gang for about $515 million. The Chicago Sun-Times is on the block and the best offer so far is ... $5 million in cash and an agreement to pick up $20 million in debt and obligations.
Gives new meaning to "pennies on the dollar". As a former member of the industry (and one who rejoices daily at my freedom), I can't say, unfortunately, that I'm surprised.
Come to think of it, it's time for the quarterly check to see if Lee Enterprises is bankrupt yet...not that I can see but this analysis from earlier in the year is interesting.
Instapundit rounds up some of the discussion about Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst during the President's speech last night. He's basically right...
UNION TRIBUNE: Sure, he was a rude jerk. But Rep. Joe Wilson has a point. “The president is right that his proposal specifically says the plan does not extend to illegal immigrants. But one of the most undercovered stories in national politics is the fact that congressional Democrats have gutted the plan’s enforcement provisions.”
I’m finding it hard to get excited about this. It was a breach of decorum and civility. But someone who says “get in their face” and “punch back twice as hard” has little standing to bring that up. If you want to benefit from traditions of civility, you should respect them, and that has hardly been a hallmark of this administration, which has gone out of its way to try to demonize and shout down opponents.
UPDATE: Video Flashback: Dems Shout And Boo At Bush During 2005 SOTU. Goose, meet gander.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Video: Obama supporters boo Bush at inauguration. Like I said, you can’t stand on decorum when you’ve acted without it.
Or maybe we’re seeing the beginnings of British-style parliamentary debate in Congress!
MORE: Reader James Somers writes:
Glenn, it might also be noted that a lot of Democrats and MSM journalists (same thing, I know) who suddenly have the vapors over Joe Wilson’s breach of decorum thought it was just dandy when an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at President Bush. Sure, the journalist wasn’t a Congressman; and sure, a press conference isn’t the same as the SOTU. But that journalist became a folk hero to a lot of folks on the Angry Left – I think you actually could become a Fan of his on Facebook. The point is that lefties loved Sticking It To The Man when Chimpy McHitler was president, but now they’re prissily toting around copies of Robert’s Rules of Order.
Indeed. Sticking It To The Man is supposed to be their sole prerogative.
STILL MORE: Bill Quick: Remember When Harry Reid Called Bush a Liar?
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Rules of Engagement (Or, How we Turned a Fighting Chance to Win the War in Afghanistan into a Sure-fire Way to Lose)
Tom Maguire writes a post today that threatens to make me sick to my stomach. In Rules of Engagement, he relays the following via McClatchy Newspapers:
...four Marines died in an ambush in Afghanistan.
The four Marines were part of a US training group attached to a larger Afghan unit. The team (60 Afghan soldiers, 20 border police officers, 13 Marine and U.S. Army trainers and Mr. Landay) had arranged to meet with some village elders, but the meeting was apparently tipped to the Taliban, who prepared a deadly welcome.
In addition to the betrayal by either the village elders or the Afghan security forces, the Marines were let down by the new US rules of engagement meant to reduce civilian casualties:
U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines — despite being told repeatedly that they weren't near the village.
Helicopters that were supposed to be available on five minutes notice took an hour to arrive.
New ROE kept US forces from engaging the Talibani ambush in a way that would have ensured it's defeat and contributed to the death of 4 US Marines. The fact that the Taliban knew the force was coming is a bigger question that of course must be addressed but is one I'm not focused on.
In 2007 while we all debated the Surge in Iraq, I first came to recognize the self-limiting nature of US Rules of Engagement thanks to the contributions at Captain's Journal. Herschel Smith succinctly summarized the negative effect the then-current ROE's were having. The problem was two-fold.
Not only were there not enough forces in place to provide the security we wanted and the country needed, the ROE's under which forces were acting kept them from engaging insurgents and Al-Qaeda in any meaningful way that would further our strategic goals. I see a glimpse of something similar in this situation.
I've never accepted the parallels that some have drawn between Vietnam and Iraq and I certainly don't agree that there are any between Vietnam and Afghanistan in the larger sense. Maybe between the Soviet occupation and our current situation (though Fred Kagan goes a long way to debunking that notion here) but most definitely no to any thought that Afghanistan must ultimately end like Vietnam did.
However, adopting ROE's that do nothing to further your strategic objectives, that are so focused on creating no collateral damage--worthy in and of itself--that your own forces are exposed to greater risks is counter-productive. Wars must be fought to be won or there is no reason to fight them.
Mark Tapscott notes today that Congress has positioned itself to conveniently fore go any public option in health-care reform.
As I noted last night on Facebook when I saw that the President is doubling-down on the public option, I don't think he's this dumb; in fact, I think he's pretty smart, for the most part politically savvy but certainly he thinks he's always the smartest guy in the room. If that's the case, it may be the best of both worlds--hubris.
His health-care reform effort is in the ditch and if he truly is going to double-down on one of the single least-popular components then he risks running his entire Presidency into a ditch.
The key point of course being that the public option is not popular. People don't want it. If health-care reform passes with a public option and Congress exempts themselves, they will unleash a firestorm. The blowback will be intense. Perhaps historic?
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Friday, September 04, 2009
More like strategic Bull-shot...the country's smartest VP-ever, Joe Biden, on the stimulus yesterday:
"...the fact is, the Recovery Act is a multi-faceted piece of legislation. It doesn't reflect a lack-of-design, that was the design, that was it's intended design.
Our economy is so complex and so wounded that re-invigorating one segment alone or using one tool alone would never, would never do all that needed to be done. The Recovery Act is not a single silver-bullet. I think of it as silver-buckshot as opposed to a single bullet.
In 200 days the President's Recover & Reinvestment Act isn't just working towards something...see it isn't just working, it's working towards something, it's working toward a more resilient, more transformative economy."
It's BS alright, silver or otherwise...
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Hugh Hewitt asks for analysis of yesterday's interview with AARP's legislative director David Cetner. Sure, why not? It might be fun.
Well, I've listened to it, I've given the transcript a cursory glance to see if there's anything I missed and I'm not coming up with any glaring omissions...theres not really anything to analyze. I'm not sure he answered even a single question.
He talked a lot, certainly but answers? Not that I heard...
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
For whom the bell tolls...well, it's not a bell it's a clock and according to Byron York it ticks for Charlie Rangel:
It hasn’t gotten much attention amid news of Ted Kennedy, Obamacare and the worsening outlook in Afghanistan, but an extraordinary situation is developing in the House of Representatives. With each passing day, it’s becoming more clear that the powerful committee chairman in charge of writing America’s tax laws is a financial wheeler-dealer, a serial asset-hider, and a tax offender. . . .
Last week, we learned that Rangel filed a grossly misleading financial disclosure report for 2007 — failing to report at least half a million dollars in assets.
It turns out Rangel had a credit union account worth at least $250,000 and maybe as much as $500,000 — and didn’t report it. He had investment accounts worth about the same, which he also didn’t report. Ditto for three pieces of property in New Jersey.
Beyond that, we’ve learned that Rangel has failed to report assets totaling more than $1 million on legally required financial disclosure forms going back to at least 2001.
The news comes on top of revelations last year that Rangel didn’t report — and didn’t pay taxes on — income from a villa in the Caribbean. In that matter, the Internal Revenue Service gave him sweetheart treatment; Rangel paid about $10,000 in back taxes but was not required to pay any penalty or interest.
The crook needs to go...
Monday, August 31, 2009
I've been watching the recent stories about Charlie Rangel's latest round of financial mis-management and wanted to write about it but life has conspired against me; time hasn't been very abundant. Until I noticed these today I was content to watch.
At this point however I can't keep biting my tongue. Harlem has been getting the Government it deserves for way too long (Rangel has sat in Congress for nearly all of my 43 years). If ever a member of our Federal Government has begun to think he's entitled, it's Charlie.
The Congressman isn't entitled and the fact that he's ridden 38 years of Congressional service to his own little kingdom belies everything he's ever said about the virtues of public service. Us little folks could never get away with his recent history of non-disclosure in matters financial.
He shouldn't either. The crook needs to go...
Two of the not-so-smartest guys in the lefty blogosphere tell us all about why Obamacare is such a good deal. Or not really.
TM has the details and does a far better job of ripping our esteemed know-it-alls then I could ever hope. First, from Kevin Drum:
Let's recap: the United States spends about twice as much on healthcare as any other developed nation in the world and in return receives just about the worst care. Can someone remind me again why there's even a debate about whether we should put up with this?
Once you've recovered from the magnificence of that non-argument, we go to the guy who replaced Kevin over at Washington Monthly, one Steve Benen:
They've pulled it off, so far, by telling almost comically-ridiculous lies, and managing to get scared, gullible people to believe them. It's no small feat. Indeed, it's almost impressive. Conservatives have managed to create a debate out of nothing but partisanship, paranoia, and greed.
And here's where I give you over to TM and his sharp-knives:
Really? If memory, that unfaithful servant, can be relied upon the Dem leadership has yet to put forth a plan costing less than a trillion dollars over the next ten years. Medicare is projected to be racing towards bankruptcy (whatever that would mean for a government-funded program) and no one has suggested any credible means of controlling, let alone cutting, its costs.
And the Dem health care reform favored by the left is to spend even more money and envelop the rest of us in some sort of universal Medicare. I'm not sure it takes a conniving liar to wonder how that is going to save us money. "We're spending too much on health care and the answer is to spend even more!" - do Dems really think that will be a winning message?
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Social Security payments are set to shrink over the next two years, for the first time since 1975 when automatic (COLA) increases were first instituted. Remember when the last Administration attempted to reform the system, understanding that within about 10 years the system was going to hit a brick wall?
I do too. I wonder what the now-Congressional majority thinks about it 4 years later?
Friday, August 21, 2009
Politico wonders today where the Obama Administration agenda will ultimately end up.
Earlier in the day I was simply dumbstruck by just this one day's worth of 'bad news' or, if you rather, commentary related to the Health care debate and the President's performance. These all come from one day at one blog:
ANDREW KLAVAN: A Subtle Theological Point.
Related: Obama’s Twisted Faith.
ANN ALTHOUSE: “Obama also has a big problem with moderates. Basically, Obama has a big problem. He got lots of people to trust him, chiefly by doing exactly what Krugman now complains about: speaking in vague generalities. It only works from a distance.”
UPDATE: Ron Brownstein: Obama’s Erosion.
POST-PARTISAN, POST RACIAL? Voight: Is Obama creating a civil war in America?
PEGGY NOONAN: Pull the plug on ObamaCare.
WASHINGTON POST: Faith in Obama Drops As Reform Fears Rise: Health-Care Effort Is Major Factor, Poll Finds.
DAVID HARSANYI: What would Jesus Obama do? “For with thee is the fountain of life: and in thy light we shall see the public option.”
UPDATE: A reader emails: “Most commenters are focusing on Obama’s words about being his brothers’s keeper and his sister’s keeper, but the most egregious statement he made was that , ‘we are partners with God…’. Really? As a long time student of the Bible, I can’t recall God ever saying he needed a partner or wanted one.”...
ANOTHER UPDATE: “As Jesus often said, ‘Let’s get the government to do something about it!’”
STEVE CROWDER: White House FAIL! The People Win…Now it’s Time to Keep Fighting.
JAMES TARANTO: Q: What’s the difference between the Associated Press and the Obama campaign? A: The AP admits the public is against it.
HAS THE MORTGAGE-MODIFICATION PLAN failed?
UPDATE: A reader emails: “When the present administration put the private sector, rather than trained, non-profit oriented bankruptcy judges, in charge of mortgage modification, what did they expect?”
L.A. TIMES: Americans’ faith in Obama fading: Poll.
DEBACLE, DISCONTINUED: Obama admin. to end cash for clunkers on Monday. Smart move — people were starting to wonder why they could handle healthcare when they can’t even deal with used cars.
How to sum it all up?
He's losing the Left, he never had the Right and the folks in the Middle are asking themselves, "Is this what I voted for?!"
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Lefty Angst is always entertaining.
My favorite part is hearing about how the 'regressives'--without a single lever of power anywhere on the national scene--are 'seeking to anihilate him [President Obama]' by 'murdering' the bill. The Good Professor seems to have forgotten that the Democrats own everything...they don't need a single Republican vote to pass anything.
If they could keep their own members in line, this bill would pass.
The CNN headline reads "New White House tactic to bring GOP back to health debate?" It's a bluff:
In the chess game over health care reform, the White House's last move was to say Democrats might use a procedural move to get a bill through without working with Republicans.
Slice it any way you like--polling, townhalls--but the public does not want what the Dems are selling and if it ends up being pushed down their throats, 2010 and 2012 look to be massacres.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
A number of Democratic Congressmen (and women) have chosen not to meet with their constituents, thus depriving them of the opportunity to vent, discuss or otherwise inquire about the Congressional Health Care proposals. This was a nice twist on such profiles in courage:
Rep. Giffords canceled her town hall in Sahuarita/Green Valley, AZ and Jesse Kelly, her Republican challenger, scheduled an appearance in the same venue at the same time and place. From the looks of the video below it was very successful. Both sides were allowed to speak for two hours and with no problems.
Sounds like this guy deserves a shot, if for no other reason than he's got serious cajones...
Friday, August 14, 2009
These guys have no Business sense:
The Obama administration made it a national priority to spread high-speed Internet access to every American home and it offered stimulus money to help companies pay for it, but the biggest network operators are staying away from the program.
With today the deadline to apply for $4.7 billion in broadband grants, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast won't be going for the stimulus money, sources close to the companies said.Their reasons are varied. All three say they have enough cash to upgrade and expand their broadband networks on their own. Some say the grant money could draw unwanted scrutiny of their business practices and compensation programs, as seen with automakers and banks that got government bailouts.
And privately, some complain about the conditions attached to the money, including a net-neutrality rule they say would prevent them from managing traffic on their networks in the way they want."We are concerned that some new mandates seem to go well beyond current laws and FCC rules, and may lead to the kind of continuing uncertainty and delay that is antithetical to the president's primary goals of economic stimulus and job creation," said Walter McCormick, president of USTelecom, a trade group that represents companies including AT&T and Verizon.
The stimulus bill could have been something helpful for the economy had it been structured more appropriately; meaning, had it actually been money spent in places and ways that would actually stimulate something in a timely fashion. But as Keith Hennessy pointed out a couple weeks back, that hasn't been the case.
FUBAR from Day One.
Appears we're about to find out:
The U.S. Senate should abandon efforts to pass legislation curbing greenhouse-gas emissions this year and concentrate on a narrower bill to require use of renewable energy, four Democratic lawmakers say.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Last year it was the oil companies that made too much money. Recently it's Insurance companies that are evil profiteers, refusing to provide coverage for the unfortunate among us.
If you have issues with cognitive dissonance, don't click on this.
Based on profit margins (which is everything in business), "Health Care Plans" (a.k.a. Insurance companies) rank #86, raking in a whopping 3.3 cents on the dollar.
H/T Real Clear Politics with thanks to Professor Perry.
Overall, 47% of voters say they at least somewhat approve of the President’s performance. That’s the lowest level of total approval yet recorded. The President’s ratings first fell below 50% just a few weeks ago on July 25. Fifty-two percent (52%) now disapprove.
Political polling; take it FWIW.
Critics of the current health-care reform proposals are crying out far-and-wide that any reforms put in place with a stated goal of cost-control must, repeat must entail rationing of care. This post details quite nicely why that will have to be the case:
The elderly consume 70% of all health care spending. That means that when it comes to cost control, they will bear the brunt of the burden. If we don’t cut spending on the elderly we can’t reduce cost without simply denying care for everyone else. When it comes down to choice between spending on old people and children, the elderly know full well who we are going to pick.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 07, 2009
So does this qualify as 'fishy'...? Should we email Dean Kamen's article to the WH?
Those answers not withstanding, it's definitely worth sending to proponents of Obamacare if for no other reason than to see their heads explode from the cognitive dissonance:
PM: So you're saying that rather than trying so much to control costs, we should be encouraging new cures?
Kamen: Every drug that's made is a gift from one generation to the next because, while it may be expensive now, it goes off patent and your kids will have it essentially for free.
Whatever the marketplace, if talented people are given resources they're going to keep driving us to having better, simpler, cheaper solutions to problems. And, by the way, if they come up with a better solution but it can't be cheaper—which, in the beginning, most things aren't—nobody says you have to buy it. If you think this new drug is too expensive, it's not a good deal, we have a crisis, buy the old one. It's a generic now. It's cheap.
You can't look at the problem and say, "I want them to do more, better, faster miracles—and not invest in research, not invest in development, and have those miracles delivered to me free." It's unrealistic. And people know that about most things. They do. Nobody expects that just because they've made computers better they're going to give them to you free.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Jake Tapper's tweet from yesterday nails it on the head:
Bemoaning lack of "civil dialogue,"Democracy for America's Jim Dean says "Teabaggers..don't want to pay taxes for schools, police, or roads"
Yes, out of one side of his mouth decrying the lack of civil dialogue while trashing the opponents out of the other side.
Poll results from Quinnipiac University. Take from it what you will...
-President's Job Approval Falls to 50%
-52% Disapprove on Health Care
-Right Track 35% Wrong Direction 64%
From CNN and equally interesting:
"Do you consider the first six months of the Obama administration to be a success or a failure?"
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Oh, and stupid too:
An unruly Little Rock crowd heckled and shouted at two Arkansas Democratic congressmen Wednesday, accusing them of supporting a government-backed health plan that would take away Americans' personal choice and freedom.
At one point, U.S. Rep. Mike Ross sat with his head in his hands while the crowd shouted. He and fellow Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder told audience members at a forum at Arkansas Children's Hospital that they wouldn't support a completely government-run, single-payer health insurance plan.
No, not Ross or Snyder. I'll take their claims at face value, least for now when it comes to their stance on the proposed health-care plan trumpeted by the WH and being discussed in the House and Senate.
No, the stupidity I'm referring to is that of the young and inexperienced. From the end of the article:
Though much of the crowd opposed Obama's plan, there were a few supporters.
"I'm a huge Obama fan," college student Jacob Kauffman told the crowd, which responded with a smattering of applause and a few chants of "Get a job."
Kauffman continued, "I was at mad at (Ross and Snyder) for not standing up for stronger health care reform. But after seeing this crowd tonight, I'm pleased with seeing what you have done. I've rather have you two overlook my health care plan than any private insurance bureaucrat any day."
Ah, to be young and naive...and stupid. I've got somewhere around 20 years on you Jacob. Learn from your elders, the last thing you want is the Gubmint in charge of anything complex. For details, give me a buzz and I'll fill you in on my ongoing feud with California's EDD (Hint: If we ran our business as poorly as the state manages this high-profile agency we'd have been out of business even before we began).
The story doesn't mention where Jacob attends school. My guess is the State system somewhere. Regardless, if this is really what he thinks dude needs his money back; he's getting screwed.