19 December 2010

WikiLeaks: Cuba banned Sicko for depicting 'mythical' healthcare system | World news | guardian.co.uk

WikiLeaks: Cuba banned Sicko for depicting 'mythical' healthcare system | World news | guardian.co.uk

Now that is really rich. Cuba found Moore's propaganda too implausible to allow. As they say, read the whole article.

11 November 2010

Simpson-Bowles commission presents a "Wimpy" proposal; don't give them the hamburger!

The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform ("Simpson-Bowles Commission") has released its preliminary report on debt and deficit reduction. The report has met a mixed reaction, although on balance, it seems that Democrats are most strongly opposed to it. It's hard for me to understand why, and I mostly agree with ATR's take.

The most important thing for you to know about this "measured, bipartisan" proposal is that it boldly calls for balancing the budget in thirty years. Yes, thirty. To accomplish that, it calls for a number of measures that I still need to take some time to absorb, but let me take on one of the more alarming ones here.

The report calls for "capping" tax revenues at 21% of GDP. At a glance, I suppose, most people like any sort of cap on taxes. Here are some reasons this may be the most appalling proposal
  • Since the end of the Second World War, the tax burden has gone above 20% only twice, and only very briefly (in 2000 and in 1945.) For the past thirty years, it has averaged 18.2% of GDP. That "cap" of 21% would be the highest tax burden in American history, and nearly a 17% tax hike above the average. See here.
  • During times of recession, the burden normally appears to fall. Right now, tax receipts are about 14.2%. Under Simpson-Bowles there would still be room for a 33% tax hike. Think about that.
  • Based on track records, there is reason to believe that the "cap" would in practice become a "floor."
  • One of the many difficulties of pinning taxes to GDP is that it requires accurate forecasts of GDP, income and profits. There are no such forecasts - especially from the Congress.
  • Having a cap suggests that tax rates would automatically drop if the cap is exceeded, but there is no enforcement mechanism; tax rates don't adjust throughout the year. There is also no mechanism for a "make-up" if the burden is exceeded in any given year.
There are numerous problems with the proposed cap, not least of which is that, as I pointed out above, it would be the heaviest tax burden in our history. And in exchange for that, we'll balance the budget by the time your unborn grandchildren get married.

When I call this a wimpy proposal, I don't mean it isn't bold enough. I mean it reminds me of Wimpy: "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

Don't fall for it. Don't give them the hamburger.

10 November 2010

There may not be a conservative "mandate," but there is definitely an anti-liberal "mandate"

Democrats can't wait to jump in front of a microphone to declare that, despite the overwhelming margin of victory in last week's elections, Republicans don't have a "mandate."

Well, what does that mean, exactly?

There is really no question that electoral victories - by any margin - can be won without regard to, or even discussion of, any issues. (Alvin Greene anyone?)

There is also no doubt that parties and office-holders can "go too far" interpreting a mandate to do so from their election.

What Democrats are in denial about right now is that it is they who went too far. There may or may not be a mandate for conservative policies, but one thing is abundantly clear: there is a mandate to undo everything Democrats did for the last two years.

04 November 2010

It turns out, "the most electable conservative candidate" is exactly who got nominated

I'm a little tired of being lectured about the supposed iron-clad rule of William F. Buckley, Jr. that one should vote for "the most electable conservative candidate." Or was that "the most conservative electable candidate?" Because that would mean something different, if you think about it.

Either way, the phrase has been over-used, mis-used and abused, and mostly brought out to hammer candidates like Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell. So let me lay some things to rest here.

Exactly who was "the most electable" in the Nevada primary? Sue Lowden? Why? Because she's represented one state senate district for a few terms? That would have made her a formidable opponent to the sitting Senate Majority Leader, who's held statewide office in Nevada for decades?

Let me put it this way: I'll bet chickens to doctor's appointments that Sue Lowden would not have fared any better in the general election, and would have been painted as just as much of an eccentric as Angle.

Who else was there for Republican primary voters to consider? Danny Tarkanian? Tarkanian, though successful in suing his opponent for defamation in a failed state senate bid, has never won an election for anything. The sum total of arguments in his favor seems to be that his father was a very famous basketball coach. Enough said.

CNN's exit polls in Delaware tell us that voters would not have elected Mike Castle, either. That's not really provable, because it's an election that never took place, but the data puts a bit of dent in the ongoing claims that he'd have been a shoo-in to the Senate. Neighboring Maryland rejected the eminently "electable," likable, popular, mainstream Republican Bob Ehrlich for governor by a margin similar to O'Donnell's. Some states were remarkably immune to this year's "wave."

Ultimately, though, the sheer emptiness of the "most electable" dictum comes down to this: electability is determined by elections, and that includes primaries.

And that is the one really big flaw in the ongoing arguments for the "electability"of Mike Castle, Sue Lowden, and all those others that we were too stupid to nominate: they lost their elections.

You can argue that Republicans could have used some better candidates in places like Nevada and Delaware. You can't argue that they were ever on the ballot.

The American Spectator : The Observer at His Own Funeral

The American Spectator : The Observer at His Own Funeral: "Obama's metaphorical 'car in the ditch' is apparently an electric car which, if it ever gets out, will drive America into a glorious future by picking up 26-year-olds and depositing them at job interviews for work made possible through the 'Stimulus' package."

As they say, read the whole thing...

03 November 2010

The morning after

Before getting too worked up about the handful of races Democrats managed to pull out, let's reflect on the enormity of last night's electoral victory.

  • Republicans now hold a larger House majority than at any time since the 1946 election. AS big as 1994 was, this one is bigger.
  • Republicans gained more seats in the House and Senate than Democrats gained in the wake of Watergate and Nixon's resignation in 1974. Keep that in mind as a "scale of repudiation."
  • Democrats will want to talk about the races they squeaked out, starting with Harry Reid. Reid, the sitting Senate Majority Leader, squeaked out barely 50% against a complete unknown, and may well have broken election laws to do so. Let the Democrats talk. They were thoroughly thrashed. No party wins every race.
Now comes the fun part - holding Republicans' feet to the fire.

31 October 2010

Tuesday predictions...

Prediction time:

75 seats (minimum) in the House of Representatives.

Majority in the Senate.

I arrived at this conclusion about two weeks ago, and I think it's conservative. We'll see. I am working on another post about exactly how much - or how little - it will matter.

27 October 2010

Who's afraid of corporate cash?

The blogosphere was all abuzz with stories about the protester who got kicked by a Rand Paul supporter in Kentucky during an attempted publicity stunt.

Now we learn that the victim was a paid protester who has participated in various stunts across the country.

Naturally, liberals want to paint  this as an example of Tea Party types trying to prevent free speech. A few thoughts on that:

First, it wasn't, technically, "free" speech, since she got paid to do this.

Second, she was an employee of MoveOn.org, a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation. Remember back when President Obama criticized the Supreme Court's Citizen's United v. FEC decision because it would bring that dreaded corporate cash into our elections?

Citizen's United is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation, same as MoveOn.org.

Funny how that works, isn't it? In January, we needed to stop the evil influence of corporations like that. Now we have to stop the people who are stopping those corporations from buying political speech.

I shouldn't have to add this qualifier, but I suppose I do: I am not advocating tackling, beating or kicking liberal protesters. In fact, I think the best argument against them is to let them talk.

25 October 2010

"Miss me yet?" "Yes!" says...Donna Brazille???

Everybody wants to own Ronald Reagan now. Even President Obama, while campaigning for office, held up the Reagan presidency as his model. But Reagan's enduring popularity, his clear victory in the Cold War, and people's tendency to avoid speaking ill of the dead make it mush easier for even the most vicious of Reagan's contemporary detractors to have softened in retrospect.

Not so with George W. Bush. The mysterious billboards that have popped up, with a smiling, waving W asking "Miss me yet?" have not been embraced by the angry left - including the President, who stubbornly (bitterly?) clings to blaming Bush for everything bad.

Yet, in a New York Times forum this morning, Democrat strategist Donna Brazille, decrying current "extremism" in Republican politics, says:

With the departure of George W. Bush, the (Republican) party has lost its integrity. Its once principled soul is gone.

Say again? George W. Bush fondly remembered as his party's "principled soul" by a key operative of the party for which Bush hatred as been the heart, soul, and raison d'ĂȘtre for ten years now? That's a dizzying turnaround.

Somebody put a billboard up outside of Donna Brazille's office...

22 October 2010

"Partial repeal" will only make the GOP accessories after the fact

Recent reports suggest that Republican leadership is already toying with compromise half-measures as opposed to total repeal of Obamacare. Some might argue that they should get rid of whatever they can. After all, it is mathematically impossible for the GOP to win a veto-proof majority, so isn't it better to get what you can get?

How do I put this?


Very little could be more destructive. Partial repeal is partial ownership.

Imagine you've bought a house, and the day you move in, you find a dead body in the basement. What do you do? Cover it with a tarp and buy a bunch of air fresheners? Wait for the neighbors to cal the cops and then try to explain you didn't do it?

How do I put this?


Of course you wouldn't do that. Because if you did, you wouldn't be making it better.

You'd be an accessory after the fact.

Compromises and half measures, insofar as they are ever used at all, are for building legislation, not for tearing it down. Of course Obama will veto repeal. Make him do it. Make him explain to the police where the body came from.

12 October 2010

If I only had a brain - or a Harvard diploma...

Anne Applebaum takes on the topic of anti-elitism in the Washington Post today, and gets it exactly wrong. While it may be true that the view of what constitutes the elite has changed a bit over the years, the constant has been that those who wish to be part of the elite value credentials, while those who deride the idea of elitism believe in accomplishment.

Take Applebaum’s assertion that affirmative action expanded the “meritocracy.” To the contrary, the opening of Ivy League doors through affirmative action is, instead, expressive of a Wizard of Oz view that all you need to prove you are smart – indeed, to actually be smart - is a fancy piece of paper. Recall, the Scarecrow does not receive a brain at all, he only gets a diploma. Affirmative action only replaced the old legacy system with a different system, but one which still enables the elites to choose their own successors. They are the Wizards of Oz, deciding which hapless Scarecrows shall be deemed worthy of their diploma – their mark of approved intelligence.

The outcry against elitism was never against education per se, or even against particular schools. "Yale" and "Harvard" are figures of speech to the meritocrats, while "University of Idaho" and "community college" are evidence to the elites.

It is important to note that Yale and Harvard, while used as symbols of elitism to those who deride the elite, are equally marks of superiority to those who consider themselves to be the elite. The difference between the two is that meritocrats believe you go to Harvard or Yale because you are smart; the elites believe you are smart because you went to Harvard or Yale. The university names become figures of speech not to question the educational merits of the institutions themselves, but to mock the shallow credentialism that they too often represent.

Recall, as Applebaum points out, that Clarence Thomas graduated from Yale Law. Yet Tea Party activists never decry Thomas’s elitism. At the same time, the left sniffs derisively that he got there by affirmative action. In other words, he ought to be grateful to have had his empty Scarecrow head bestowed with this honor.

George W. Bush must cause the greatest distress for all. A third generation national political figure, scion of East Coast wealth and a graduate of both Yale and Harvard, he was nevertheless derided as an idiot by the elite. Because, you see, he only got in under the old rules for "legacies," not the new rules for today's favored groups.

The reason some (like Applebaum, apparently) get so confused by criticisms of the elite, is that they are so completely caught up in their own credentialism fetish. It isn’t about the school you attended. When Christine O’Donnell says “Yale” it’s just a figure of speech.

To the elites, though, there are no figures of speech, and even if there were, Yale and Harvard could not possibly be “just words.”

03 October 2010

It's fine to read between the lines. But you ought to read the actual lines, too

Over in the Washington Examiner, Byron York documents the union-driven (and funded) attendance at yesterday's "One Nation" rally in Washington.

In his report, he quotes Maida Odom (representing AFSCME) who says "I'm saddened that people haven't risen above their bigotry.  If you read the Republican Contract with America, you can see the bigotry in between every line."

Interesting. Given that she can't even get the title of the document right, you'll pardon my skepticism about whether she read any other part of it.

Maybe she figures that "between the lines" is just white space anyway, that she might just as well stare at a blank piece of paper, then spout off her preconceived notions and Democrat talking points.

For the rest of us, "reading between the lines" is just a figure of speech, and you can't read between the lines if you haven't read the actual lines.

29 September 2010

Van Jones endorses Tea Party candidates!

Van Jones recently popped up to offer dire warnings about the Tea Parties:

I don’t think you want the Tea Party running your community, running your family, running your government.

Well, the good news for Van is this: the Tea Parties don't want to run your families and communities. They're the ones that want the government to leave us all alone. It's the crowd in power now who think they know best about your schools, your doctors, the food you eat, how much money you "should" make, how much you weigh and an endless list of other concerns that are rightly no concern of the government's.

So if you really, really, just don't want the Tea Party "running your family," the best thing you can do is vote for Tea Party approved candidates.

So, thanks for the endorsement, Van!

This is what "rescue" looks like? Really?

I keep hearing that TARP was necessary to "save the financial system."

Really? Two years of decline, stagnant growth and 10% unemployment? This is what rescue looks like?

I feel like I'm on Season 3 of LOST - "we have to go back!"

22 September 2010

Why is this recovery so weak? "This time you've got me."

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the "Great Recession" ended in June of 2009. Why does that bit of policy arcana matter?

In June, 2009, not one penny of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka, "Stimulus," had been spent. Our government spent 862 billion dollars to stimulate and economy that was already out of recession.

What did we get for our money? Persistent unemployment hovering just below 10% and a stagnant growth rate.

Historically, recovery period growth has been explosive. This time, it hasn't.

What's the difference? Well, to quote President Obama in a different context, "The big difference here (is) you've got me."

Obama to Tea Party: "What would you cut?" Short answer: "Everything"

At his "town hall" forum the other day, President Obama responded to a question about the Tea Party movement saying, in part, this:

And so the challenge, I think, for the Tea Party movement is to identify specifically what would you do. It's not enough just to say, get control of spending. I think it's important for you to say, I'm willing to cut veterans' benefits, or I'm willing to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits, or I'm willing to see these taxes go up.
 As I've explained previously, this is a standard to which liberals and the media (but I repeat myself) do not hold any other demonstrators. Did Obama demand of anti-Iraq War protesters in 2006 that they present a plan indicating which brigades should draw down first, or outline a transition plan to hand off to Iraqi forces? Of course not.

But, just for the sake of argument, I'll appoint myself as a Tea Party spokesman. Why not? It's not a top-down organization. So, the question was, what would I cut?

Short answer: EVERYTHING.

Only in Washington, DC is that notion considered beyond the pale, but the simple fact is that this year's estimated(!) deficit of $1.4 trillion is larger than the entire Federal budget was as recently as 1995. That's only fifteen years ago. Some of us are still driving the same cars as we were then, but Congress has very nearly tripled its spending (of our money) and they can't figure out where to cut? Honestly, anybody who has to ask "where should we cut?" is fundamentally unserious. There is no reason that the first cut cannot be across the board, applied to every single line of the budget.

We often discuss regulations and spending as if they were unrelated, but for every regulation, there is an enforcer. As you may already know, in the early 1990s, Congress mandated "low flow" toilets. It is unlikely that law will ever be repealed, but we can defund it. Sure, it's only one example, but it symbolizes so many things. How about somebody bring a sing to the next Tea Party rally?

Get rid of the toilet cops!

15 September 2010

Was O'Donnell the strategic choice? That depends on your strategy.

Picking a candidate in a primary solely because you think he has a better chance to win the general election is not voting. It is, strictly speaking, gambling. But that’s what some GOP gurus call "strategic thinking."

The simple fact is that making bets on how to get that 51st vote in the Senate this year isn’t strategic at all – it’s tactical, and it's short-sighted. It ignores the next four years of Castle’s potential term in office, not to mention the 2014 election, in which, presumably, he’d be favored. It simply isn't enough to vote for 51 "R's" if the R doesn't stand for anything.

Delaware primary voters made a strategic choice; a choice for 2020, and 2016, and 2012 – and maybe this year, too. That remains to be seen. But this is what change looks like. It doesn’t happen all at once, but it has to start someplace. First you take the hill, then you take the bridge, then you win the war. Always be advancing.

We’ll know in November whether the day has come when Delaware is ready to elect a Conservative the Senate, but we already know that day would never come if Republican primary voters weren’t ready to nominate a Conservative first.

Karl Rove continues to attack the character and integrity of Christine O’Donnell, as if Mike Castle or Chris Coons have no baggage. It's not as if Coons has ever won a statewide race. Is he not a self-descibed former "bearded Marxist?" And now he's a shoo-in? Really?

The Delaware Republican primary voters who have already weighed the issues Rove raises found them not to be disqualifying. For that matter, the Delaware Republican Party presumably weighed those issues when it made O’Donnell its nominee for this very same Senate seat just two years ago.

So when those same experts tell us now that O'Donnell has no chance, or she is unqualified, they are proving only their own cynicism and bad faith.

Morning in America? The NRSC got a wake-up call, and (for once) didn't hit the snooze button

After initial reports that it would not support O'Donnell, the NRSC now says it has sent her the maximum donation allowable.

After backing Specter, Crist, Bennett, Murkowski, etc., maybe the NRSC is finally figuring out that they shouldn't be trying to figure out how the Tea Party fits into the Republican coalition, but how the Republican Party fits into the Tea Party coalition.

Okay, Rove, Castle and NRSC, we know what you think of us. Now you know what we think of you, too.

Just a few days ago, your betters were lecturing you about how important it is to win elections, and that therefore Mike Castle ought to be the Republican nominee for Senate from Delaware. It did not matter to them that he votes with the Democrats half the time. All that mattered, they argued, is that he can win. We all had to pull together on this one.

But before all the votes had even been counted in Christine O'Donnell's win over Castle, there was Karl Rove, attacking the freshly-minted nominee; there was the NRSC, pledging to spend not one dime in support of her candidacy; there was Mike Castle himself, refusing to support her.

Why? Because not one of them really thinks victory is important. Not one of them thinks we need to pull together - they want you to get out and push.

They have clearly already surrendered.

When Karl Rove launches into his diatribe of accusations against O'Donnell, he's not calling her unqualified, he's calling Delaware primary voters stupid. When Mike Castle refuses to endorse O'Donnell, he is telling those same voters that he still knows better than they do. When the NRSC says that if the Tea Partiers want O'Donnell, they can pay for her campaign themselves, they are saying that Tea Partiers are useful only if they shut up and do what they're told.

And all of that just proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Delaware Republicans made exactly the right choice.

14 September 2010

The time to support liberal Republicans is against Democrats, not in the Republican primary

A lot of high profile conservatives have been debating the O'Donnell/Castle primary for the Senate in Delaware, and their debate raises some important issues.

I have not followed the race closely enough to comment on the issues that have been raised about O'Donnell's character and honesty, which i think are an entirely separate matter. I only want to comment on the whole notion of choosing a nominee based on general election "electability."

I can understand the argument that even a liberal Republican is better than any Democrat. the first vote either one casts will be for the leadership from his own party. Here's where I jump off, though:

This race is for a Senate seat. In the House, the agenda in majority driven, and each member, proportionately, has less power due to both procedural rules and sheer numbers. In the Senate, every member is a minority of one, with the ability to torpedo major legislation, sometimes entirely singlehandedly.

If Mike Castle gets six years in the Senate, it is a virtual certainty he will be the one man to stop some major Republican initiative, probably before the 2012 election. That's what liberal Republicans do. And when they do, it is enormously destructive politically. It not only defeats that specific piece of legislation, but validates Democrat attacks on Republican "extremism." After all, it is so extreme, the party's own members are sticking out there necks to stop it.

The time for conservatives to support a Mike Castle is after he nominated, not before. It is only after he is nominated that he is the lesser of two evils. To argue that the general electorate is not conservative enough to support the more conservative candidate from the Republican primary ignores the fact that the first step towards changing that general electorate is for the Republicans themselves to move to the right. If they are a little bit nervous, prominent Conservatives don't need to be enablers for the moderates and squishes.

06 September 2010

Eugene Robinson needs his diaper changed

Over at the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson is plugging his ears, closing his eyes, and singing really loudly.

Wait, did I just call him childish? Because that would be a really immature thing to do. It would be uncivil, really. It would be worse than name-calling. I would be implying that there is no legitimate reason to disagree with me, so he must be mentally impaired in some way; arrested development; bad motives.

That would be a really poor example for me to set. So I take it back. He's not childish.

But he thinks you are.

01 September 2010

Obama wasn't damning Bush with faint praise - it was just another "bitter clinger" moment

During his Oval Office Address on Iraq last night, President Obama said that "no one can doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security."

Many have criticized the president for his lack of graciousness; accusing him of, in effect, damning former President Bush with faint praise.

In fairness, from Obama's perspective, perhaps support for the troops and love of country is a pretty high bar to clear. After all, can you imagine anybody (with a straight face) offering the same assessment of our current president?

Still, it came across to me as another "bitter clinger" moment. In other words, Obama was not praising George W. Bush at all. Rather, he was analyzing the petty, backwards, and childish motivations that must have led him to try to win a war in which the nation was already engaged.

It's perfectly understandable, you see? Bush was bitterly clinging to an antiquated notion of patriotism and tribal loyalty. Not like President Obama, Citizen of the World.

16 August 2010

James J. Kilpatrick, RIP

Conservative columnist James J. Kilpatrick has died at the age of 89. I don't pretend to have known him personally, but about fifteen years ago we had a correspondence over a period of about six months or so. He tended to cover a lot of court-related issues, and I'd sent him some clippings from a local story on jury selection, and the rights of jurors. Like me, he found it interesting, and asked me to keep him posted on developments. As I recall, he wrote two or three columns on the case.

As a young man with a day job who was also an occasional free-lance writeer, I shared with him some of my own writing. He was kind enough to respond with kind words of encouragement, and I have always appreciated the time he took to do so.

Again, I did not know him personally, but I can tell you personally that he was a gentleman in the traditional sense of that word. I was, and am, an admirer of his work, and of the man. May he rest in peace.

You've got to see this Alvin Greene video...

(h/t Campaign Spot)

14 August 2010

Once again, Obama takes sides against America

Last night, to nobody's surprise, President Obama registered his official support for the construction of the Ground Zero Mosque. Like Mayor Bloomberg, he dismisses opposition as either emotional or bigoted, and lauds the mosque as a symbol of America's freedom and tolerance.

But building this mosque has nothing at all to do with either freedom or tolerance. Common sense, common decency and good manners should be reason enough not to build the Ground Zero Mosque. That they are not tells you all you need to know about the motivations of the Imam Rauf and his crowd. They are not unaware of the offense to all Americans. They are being deliberately confrontational. The people (like Michael Bloomberg) who defend the mosque on the basis of a false understanding of tolerance are deliberately ignoring the very nature of the ongoing threat against our nation.

The people who danced and sang in the streets in the Middle East on 9/11 will dance and sing again the day that mosque opens. They know what it means, even if Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama do not.

13 August 2010

'D' is for 'Dumb joke'

Obama the other day trotted out a lame old joke:

 "You want to go forward, what do you do? You put it in 'D.' When you go backward, what do you do? You put it in 'R.'"
Then, with another chuckle, he added: "I'm just sayin' that's not a coincidence."
Okay. Well, I learned back in high school that when you really don't know what you are doing, and you're barely scraping by, you're a 'D' student.

And when I watch football, it seems to me that the job of the 'D' is to stop all forward progress.

And when I go to the movies, 'R' is for adults.

Or, as Question the Culture puts it:

Well sir, if you've driven to the edge of a cliff, R is exactly the gear you want to be in. And no, it's not a coincidence and it's not funny.

09 August 2010

The presidency: just another dead-end job

Reading The Prowler over at American Spectator and this passage (emphasis mine) jumped out at me:

"The President is tired of dealing or bored with all the B.S., or that things haven't broken the way he wanted and it's not shaping up to be the job that he thought it was going to be. The way some of them talk they make the President sound like a recent college graduate unhappy with his first job stuck in the mailroom."

Back in the summer of 2008, I observed that if Obama were elected, the four year term would turn out to be the longest-held full-time job of his life. He didn't even spend four years in any one college.

Who knows what’s really going on in the White House (or Obama’s head,) but the quote above sure would fit a pattern, wouldn’t it? A “recent graduate unhappy with his first job?” It kind of is his first job.

And you know, for those of us who have always found the guy exceptionally self-absorbed and arrogant, it fits that pattern, too. I mean, who else would view the presidency as a dead end job?

27 July 2010

Want to curb childhood obesity? Then let kids be kids!

In Michele Obama's ongoing war against childhood obesity, one culprit has gone strangely unmentioned: the public schools.

Contrary to the ridiculously self-indulgent and superficial school lunch reforms called for by certain celebrity chefs, the greatest harm to children's health comes from the forced inactivity which has greatly increased over the last twenty years. This is important, because children are, by nature, active. Inactivity is trained behavior.

It's been estimated that some 40% of schools have eliminated recess in the United States. From my own experience in our local school district, although recess technically remained, it had been reduced to about ten minutes, with no running or shouting allowed, by the late 1990s. I suspect our local district is not alone.

Inside the classroom, modern school designs often include no windows, closing off even a view of the playground. The rooms are festooned with video screens and electronic instructional materials - exactly the sort of environment any good parent would try to avoid creating at home. All-day kindergarten continues to expand, penning otherwise active children into these cushioned cells beginning at ever earlier ages. Extensive homework is assigned beginning in very early grades, ensuring that free time after school will be occupied with even more indoor sitting.

The public schools are notoriously unable to teach basic academics, but they are succeeding in one area: teaching kids to sit around instead of playing. You want them to slim down? Let them be kids.

21 July 2010

The curious case of Shirley Sherrod; or the end of the race card?

In the curious case of Shirley Sherrod, there seems to be a lot of blame to go around. Andrew Breitbart ran with a video without trying to find any greater context. The NAACP issued a knee-jerk condemnation and called for her firing. The White House fired her. Sherrod herself, although she tempered her racial remarks, when heard in context, added several looney left-wing remarks in the speech, possibly violating other standards of conduct for Federal employees.

The NAACP retracted its condemnation, accusing Fox News of "snookering" them, by not showing the full speech - which was originally delivered to themselves. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs apologized, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack offered to re-hire her.

After all that - and more - I don't even remember now what got this whole ball rolling. Do you? I didn't think so.

But after a few days of knee-jerking, name-calling, firing and un-firing and spinning, I do know this:

The NAACP and the White House look like complete, incompetent clowns, and I know for sure that I should ignore them whenever they cry "racism."

Andrew Breitbart is a genius.

20 July 2010

If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we put a man on the moon?

I remember my dad waking us up to come downstairs and watch the footage of Neil Armstrong on the moon. His historic first step was taken forty-one years ago today.

I still have the envelope of 8 X 10s that NASA sent to me in response to a letter I wrote. I eagerly anticipated every moon launch that followed, and dreamed about adventure in space - our only modern equivalent of the age of exploration.

Yet in school, and on television, I often heard people arguing that all that space program money would be better spent on feeding the poor here at home.

"If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we (insert your cause here)?!"

So here we are, 41 years later, having abandoned manned spaceflight, and asking ourselves, "If we can put a man on the moon, why can't we put a man on the moon?"

In the end, or at least for the time being, those who argued the money would be better spent on earth have won the day, as present entitlement spending far exceeds the NASA budgets of yesteryear.

But has that made us a better country?

18 July 2010

It's long past time for Sheila Jackson Lee to go

The 18th Congressional District in Texas is considered by all analysts to be a safe Democratic seat. The incumbent, Sheila Jackson Lee, has held the seat since 1994, and won with just over 77% of the vote two years ago. But in a year that swept a Republican into a Senate seat held for more than half a century by teh Kennedys of Massachusetts, who knows?

One thing we know for sure - Sheila Jackson Lee is an embarrassment. She embodies the insulated arrogance of power that has driven ordinary people to march in the streets in Tea Party rallies, and to crowd town hall meetings to demand their voices be heard.

Lee, you may recall, is the Democrat rep who chatted on her cell phone at a town hall meeting while a constituent was asking her a question. Really.

Among her legislative initiatives was the introduction of a resolution to honor Michael Jackson last summer. Yes, really.

Her opponent this year is not a professional politician, but he is a US Navy veteran, a constitutionalist, and a strong conservative. His name is John Faulk.

The moneybomb is today.

17 July 2010

This genre used to be called "progressive," but I am pretty sure it had nothing to do with Obama. Or did it???

Hey, funding 19th century technology like windmills and trains; advocating 1930s ideas like socialized medicine and corporatism - if that isn't "living in the past," what is?

15 July 2010

President Obama, you just don't send Europe flowers any more

Comes word today that EU president JosĂ© Manuel Barroso believes that the relationship is not working. It's much like when your wife wants to "have a talk." Barroso thinks we "should do more together."

As Hugo Brady of the Centre for European Reform points out, "Obama was always overblown as a symbol because US foreign policy interests tend not to change."

Ladies, don't you know you are not supposed to marry a man thinking you can change him?

Do you remember those heady days of 2008, when the Obama team told us how he could heal our foreign ties, tattered by eight years of the arrogant, cowboy Bush? Remember how he was going to "push the reset button?"

I think he must have grabbed the wrong remote.

13 July 2010

The national debt is not like a cancer, but a VAT is a lot like chemo

Erskine Bowles, co-chair of President Obama's debt and deficit commission, a.k.a., "pass the buck committee," declared yesterday that the nation's debt is "like a cancer."There is very little suspense in awaiting this commission's recommendations - they will certainly recommend substantially higher taxes, including, in all likelihood, a Value Added Tax (VAT.) In fact, equating the current deficits and skyrocketing debt to a mysterious and incurable disease is quite an obvious tip of their hand on that.

Despite the identification of many contributing causes to various cancers, nobody in the medical world really knows what causes the disease. Additionally, there still is no cure. There are, however, some treatments - awful, painful, disfiguring and permanently disabling treatments in many cases, but what can you do? It's brain surgery, radiation and chemo, or die right now.

The national debt, and the annual budget deficits which extend it, are nothing at all like cancer. We know exactly what causes deficits and we know exactly how to eliminate them. It would be idiotic to apply the high dose chemo and bone marrow transplant of a VAT.

Our annual deficit has been estimated to be in the range of $1.4 to $1.6 trillion dollars. The cause of that is overspending and nothing else. As recently as 1997, the entire Federal budget was only $1.6 trillion. Yet, during years of strong growth and low unemployment (suggesting decreasing needs for spending,) and exploding revenues (suggesting overtaxation,) Federal spending has more than doubled, to $3.55 trillion. There is no conceivable justification for spending increases of that scale in such a short time.

Bowles is wrong to call that a cancer. Cancer can attack anybody, and, while it can sometimes be cut out (surgically, radiologically or chemically,) it can't be cured. And if we treat this debt like cancer, it will certainly return, and be even more damaging to an economy which has been permanently and structurally weakened by a VAT.

Our government doesn't have cancer. It is just fat and lazy. To get rid of cancer, you have to endure horrible treatments. To lose weight, you just have to stop eating.

25 June 2010

Sure Obama is unpopular. So what?

With the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing Obama's approval ratings in negative territory (disapproval higher than approval) for the first time, conservatives once again thump their chests and take heart in the inevitability of electoral victories ahead. Indeed, NBC/WSJ would seem to be a trailing indicator, if one follows Rasmussen or Gallup's daily tracking.

But is it really that bad for Obama?

History suggests that it is not. Obama's approval numbers and trend line are very similar to Ronald Reagan's, and better than Bill Clinton's through his first year and a half. Clinton had fallen as low as 37% approval during his first year, a point Obama has yet to hit. Reagan dropped below 50% in December 1981, and stayed below for nearly two years.

We keep waiting for the bottom to drop out of Obama's numbers, and maybe it will, but it hasn't yet. The American people are impatient, but they are also willing to give credit - deserved or not - to the man in the Oval Office.

Reagan, of course, inherited a dreadful domestic economy and a perilous world from Jimmy Carter. His bold initiatives eventually paid off, and the people loved him for that. Clinton benefitted greatly from circumstances beyond his control, as well as from the election of Republican majorities in Congress in 1994. The people never did love him (his "personal approval" numbers were, and are, abysmal,) but gave him high marks on the job because we are a practical people. Things seemed to be going okay, so why change?

So what about Obama? It is difficult to conceive of a circumstance in which the United States economy, resilient as it has proven to be, can weather the radical attacks on it and thrive despite Obama, but I think that is what it would take to help his numbers. In foreign affairs, there is no doubt he is making the world a more dangerous place, but unless those chickens come home to roost, it is unlikely the average voter will care. In fact, even a successful attack on the United States, caused by Obama's ineptitude, could give him a "rally 'round the flag" type of boost in approval - at least temporarily.

All of this is just to say, pay no attention to the poll numbers. The reason to defeat Obama is that his ideas, stuck in the 1930s and divorced from reality, are bad for our nation and for the world. That is the message. Whether or not he is personally popular is only important to his own dictatorial cult of personality.

24 June 2010

McChrystal clear? Not so much.

You've been hearing about it for a few days, but if you haven't read the article for yourself, you should. A lot of folks have made a lot of comments - here are just a few quick thoughts of mine:

  1. Some are defending McChrystal on the basis of the fact that the most derogatory comments in the article are not direct quotes; they are quotes from aides, often un-named. This is absurd. Those close aides travel throughout the theater and beyond with the CG, and when they speak, they speak for him. That's why they were in the room with the general and the reporter. He is just as responsible for their statements as his own in this context.
  2. I think there is a tendency among conservatives to hail all the generals we hear about as the new Patton or MacArthur. At least ninety percent of these commentators don't know anything at all about these guys. Neither do I. I've read some good things about McChrystal (even in this article,) but that doesn't make him a towering historical figure. The one indisputable fact I know is that agreeing to this Rolling Stone profile, and the interview format employed, was plainly idiotic. I can't imagine what he was thinking, or why he was unable to see it would not end well.*
  3. To continue from above, I am certain there are other commanders equal to the mission - and not only Petraeus. If there were not, that would be a sad and dangerous commentary on the state of the Armed Forces. Stanley McChrystal is known to accompany troops on dangerous patrols on a fairly regular basis, a habit which put his life in jeopardy regularly. He clearly does not view himself as indispensable. If he is indispensable, then those patrols would be properly viewed as acts of utter recklessness, rather than as the acts of courage and leadership that they are.
  4. McChrystal clearly had to go, but that doesn't mean the points he and his staff made should be ignored. Thomas Sowell makes this point better than I can. What McChrystal said matters - to us and to our enemies, and how this affects the culture of leadership in the Army matters, as well. I don't think it will be as devastating as Sowell suggests, but it's a point worth pondering.
  5. Finally, and most importantly, President Obama must remember that loyalty and commitment run on a two-way street. We trust the armed forces to execute a mission, and they trust the civilian leadership to remain committed to that same mission. Obama has exhibited a pronounced finger-pointing tendency, and a detachment from world affairs. That, not guerilla tactics or difficult terrain, is what can turn Afghanistan into Vietnam. As General Westmoreland put it, "No nation should put the burden of war on its military forces alone."
We wish General Stanley McChrystal well in his continuing career of service to our country, and wish our nation victory in Afghanistan.

* UPDATE: Marc Ambinder's notes suggest one reason McChrystal thought the interview was a good idea: "He is a political liberal. He is a social liberal. He banned Fox News from the television sets in his headquarters. Yes, really. " I'm curious to see how many of his defenders drop their cases now.

18 June 2010

Negotiating merit pay for teachers

In the Washington Post, Michele Kerr argues that merit-based pay and promotions are fine, but ought to be subject to a few conditions. Those conditions are below, along with my comments:

  1. Teachers be assessed based on only those students with 90 percent or higher attendance. I think this is fair. If a student's performance is hindered by lack of attendance, that is clearly not the teacher's fault. I should note that in Texas, at least, 90% attendance is a requirement for advancement, so very few students would be excluded by this standard.
  2. Teachers be allowed to remove disruptive students from their classroom on a day-to-day basis. I would be shocked to find anybody who objects to this. A better disciplinary policy, based on common sense, might be one of the toughest things to actually implement, though. This is one of the areas where the education establishment stands in the way of reform. It is worth observing that this policy would take us "backwards" to those golden conservative days.
  3. Students who don't achieve "basic" proficiency in a state test be prohibited from moving forward to the next class in the progression. I think that eliminating"social advancement" policies is one of the prime goals of the merit-based pay movement. Setting this condition up front achieves the goal immediately. I'm on board.
  4. That teachers be assessed on student improvement, not an absolute standard -- the so-called value-added assessment. This is the most problematic condition. Ms. Kerr argues that an absolute standard would work against teachers dealing with the lowest performing students, and this is true. But an improvement-based standard works against teachers of high performing students. What's the middle ground? I think there needs to be a level of achievement after which performance can't be rated low. Say, for example, 90% efficiency. If your students are at that level, and they don't fall, you're good. If they are at 50% and improve to 55%, you've hit a performance mark. The other difficulty is this: how to decide the starting point. If you teach third grade, and you teach your kids well, there is no way to compare that to next year's third graders. The relevant comparison is last year's second graders to this year's third graders. It can be done, but let's not pretend it's simple.
Ms. Kerr's piece is worth reading. If more teachers are entering the profession with her background, that's a good thing.

15 June 2010

"Go shopping" vs. "Go on vacation" - a juxtaposition

In remarks to airline employees on September 27, 2001, President Bush said:
When they struck, they wanted to create an atmosphere of fear.  And one of the great goals of this nation's war is to restore public confidence in the airline industry.  It's to tell the traveling public:  Get on board. Do your business around the country.  Fly and enjoy America's great destination spots.  Get down to Disney World in Florida.  Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed.
That's the famous "go shopping" speech, for which liberals still mock him.

Earlier today, President Obama said:
Here in Pensacola, the beautiful beaches are still open. The sand is white and the water is blue. So folks who are looking for a good vacation, they can still come down to Pensacola. People need to know that Pensacola is still open for business.
And then he had a sandwich.

Read in context, Bush's remarks make a lot more sense than Obama's. Bush is sayng, "The point of the terrorists' attack was to make us afraid to fly. Our response must be to show them we are not afraid." Obama is saying, "People are losing money in Florida, but the oil isn't here yet, so please spend money before it gets here."

It is really tiresome to point out the double standard so often, but I do wonder when the Democrat-media establishment will begin the mirth and ridicule of Obama.


No, Mr. President, we are not "running out of places to drill"

It's hard to know where to begin critiquing the president's Oval Office Address on the BP oil spill. It was, as is typical for Obama, self aggrandizing, patronizing, shallow and dishonest.

For now, let's just take a look at one of the biggest lies - his claim that "oil companies are drilling a mile beneath the surface of the ocean -- because we’re running out of places to drill on land and in shallow water."

The United States imports a lot of oil, but the two largest exporters to us are Mexico and Canada. We further import from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, and even the Bahamas. So, of all these nations on the North American continent, we are to believe that the United States alone is running out of oil to drill, while everybody else drills enough to sell some to us? Canada exports 2-3 times as much oil to us as does Saudi Arabia.

The United States has 20 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, and an estimated 134 billion barrels of recoverable oil. Those estimates do not even include U.S. oil shale deposits, which are estimated to be the richest in the world, containing approximately 2,175 gigabarrels of recoverable oil.

We are not "running out of places to drill," we have chosen to place most of those areas off limits.

In fact, the very deposit BP was attempting to tap is estimated to be the second largest deposit in the world, covering "an estimated 25,000 square miles, extending from the inlands of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Texas." In other words, the very deposit now spewing into Gulf waters could have been reached from dry land.

Nearly all of America is placed off limits, by law, to exploration and drilling, and a combination of environmentalists and NIMBY governors of both parties have combined to push drilling farther and farther offshore.

In short, we're not running out of places to drill, we're getting run out of them, and now Obama wants to accelerate that by shutting down drilling in the Gulf.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg adds more info about "known reserves," and argues that oil is the green fuel.

11 June 2010

Russia, Turkey & Iran: Cuban Missile Crisis redux?

One of the things we remember best about President Kennedy's brief presidency is his steel-willed response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. It is difficult to believe that the current president - whose primary foreign policy belief expressed during his campaign was that we needed to talk more with our enemies - has the same nerve - or achieve the same results. It appears, though, that we may be poised to find out.

The recent "Gaza flotilla" incident, in which anti-Israel activists, sponsored by terrorist organizations, as well as by NATO member Turkey, clearly demonstrated how far respect for America has fallen, and how clearly President Obama's message that the United States is abandoning Israel has been heard.

Since its founding, Israel has been able to count on the United States as an ally, through both Republican and Democratic administrations. Yet, since entering office, the Obama administration has repeatedly snubbed, lectured and scolded Israel, while coddling Iran's dictatorship, and holding out olive branches to terrorist states.

In doing so, he has not increased respect for, or dialog with, the United States. To the contrary, Obama's overtures have been met with sneering disdain by Iranian "president" Ahmadinijad.

Now we come to learn two separate, but related things which portend a crisis in the Mediterranean that will challenge the United States in much the same way as the Soviet attempt to stage missiles in Cuba did 48 years ago. Following Israel's thwarting of the recent attempt to run the Gaza blockade, Iran has publicly offered to escort the next flotilla. Understanding full well that this has nothing to do with humanitarian aid to Gaza, Ahmadinijad has declared that "Israel is doomed." Perhaps most ominously, the leaders of Iran, Turkey and Russia held a summit in Istanbul on June 8th, signaling a shift in alliances, and perhaps much larger consequences to the next challenge of Israel's blockade.

Turkey, in sponsoring the first flotilla, tested the boundaries, and found that the United States was willing to let her ally Israel twist in the wind of ugly world opinion. The next challenge to Israel's blockade will not be a test of Israel at all, but of the United States.

President Kennedy responded to the Soviet challenge with a blockade of Cuba. Will President Obama join Israel's lawful blockade, or allow a major power shift in the Middle East? The fate of more than Israel hangs on the answer to this question.

03 June 2010

We Con the World (video)

Good stuff, from Caroline Glick and Latma TV.

UPDATE: Banned by YouTube, but available at PJTV.

Pretty short distance between Sestak, Romanoff and Blago

The corruption trial of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich begins today, and it strikes me that the timing could not be much worse for President Obama.

Among other things, Blagojevich is charged with trying to sell the temporary appointment to fill Obama's former Senate seat partly in exchange for a plum political appointment for himself. Among those with whom he reportedly negotiated, was one Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff.

Emanuel is also thought to be at the center of the "pay to play" scandals currently unfolding in Pennsylvania and Colorado, where Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff, respectively, appear to have been illegally offered political appointments in exchange for dropping their candidacies in Democratic Senate primaries.

When I was a boy, I learned in school about old time city machine politics, and the widespread use of patronage jobs to bribe supporters and donors. In the year since, we were taught, laws were put in place to prevent that sort of thing from poisoning our political processes.

Yet here we are, in 2010, with the White House's defenders out there arguing that "everybody does it," and "it was not, technically, illegal." They seem quite unaware that Rod Blagojevich, on trial in Federal court, is arguing the exact same thing.

Fair investigations and trials may eventually find that nobody involved broke the law. For now, though, the only facts we know are these:

  • There is a very high profile Federal corruption trial of a former Democratic Governor of one of our largest states on - the charges involve "pay to play" schemes
  • Candidates in several states all report "pay to play" schemes offered to them by the White House
  • Some of the same people are involved in all of these stories - and they work in the White House
It doesn't take ether a genius or a conspiracy theorist to see a strong connection. The only question is whether voters will connect the dots, and add it to the list of reasons they don't like Obama.

UPDATE : Looks like the press is connecting the dots...

28 May 2010

Employers Will Pass Obamacare Costs onto Employees (via NRO)

Survey: Employers Will Pass Obamacare Costs onto Employees

While White House spinmeisters continue to promote the false promises of Obamacare, out in the real world, employers have begun to put pen to paper to figure out the real impact of this thing.

Not surprisingly, they are finding it unaffordable and lacking in positive benefits.

It's no wonder support for repeal has grown to 63%, according to Rasmussen.

29 April 2010

I was wrong. Opponents know what's in Arizona's law. They are opposed to all immigration laws.

I have to admit, I had it all wrong. I thought opponents of Arizona's new law just hadn't read it for themselves.

That's why, in a previous post, I explained that Arizona law enforcement has not been given any new, broad powers to demand "papers, please," of random passersby; and that legal resident aliens were already required to carry documentation with them at all times - and had been so required under Federal law since FDR was president.

Under the new law, the circumstances under which police officers may seek documentation of immigration status are bounded by "lawful contact" and "reasonable suspicion," exactly like every other offense on the books.

These two concepts are well-defined through generations of law and precedent. If you can't accept those as the bars law enforcement has to clear before they can start poking around in your business, then you don't really object to the Arizona law per se, you object to any enforcement of immigration laws.

I guess that should have been obvious to me, as it falls in line with my cynical view of the political left. They do not care about facts. They will say anything to get their way. Once again, they are doing it. They know perfectly well there are no draconian measures in Arizona's law; they know it is not fascist or racist or extreme.

But they also know it will result in enforcement of existing immigration laws, and that's what they really oppose.

25 April 2010

Arizona's "radical" law isn't about new requirements - it's about enforcing old ones

I keep reading about the "harsh" new Arizona immigration law, passed as Arizona Senate Bill 1070. I think most people would be surprised to learn that many of the law's new provisions are not already the law across the land, and many opponents of the law would be surprised to learn that it simply does not do what they think it does.

In particular, virtually every opponent, from Saturday Night Live's Seth Myers to the New York Times decries the law's requirement to carry identification papers. The Times says it "would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime."

Only the law does no such thing. Nobody is required under Arizona's new law to carry identification papers at all times.

Now, it is a fact that Lawful Permanent Residents must have their identification ("green cards") in their possession at all times, as must holders of temporary work permits. But that isn't new, and it isn't a requirement of Arizona's law - it has been required for decades under Federal law, specifically, 8 U.S.C. § 1304 (e).

The Arizona law does list certain documents you can present to prove your citizenship if it is in question, including an Arizona Driver's License. That is not a requirement to carry such papers.

It should be noted, I suppose, that in Arizona, as in every other state in the nation, if you are pulled over while actually driving, you are already required to show your driver's license. There are no new provisions of law to make it easier to pull cars over, and no licensed driver will have his citizenship questioned during a traffic stop.

One new provision in this law is that police officers in Arizona, if arresting suspects for a crime, are now required to determine citizenship status of the suspect. Most Americans, I think, would be surprised to learn that this is not already standard procedure. In fact, though, in many jurisdictions in this country, police are specifically prohibited from inquiring into the citizenship of arrested suspects.

Think about that. In Arizona, police are now simply empowered, after arresting somebody, to determine who that person is, and where he is from. Pretty radical, huh?

Arizona's new law is only eighteen pages long. It does not impose any new requirements on citizens or legal residents, it only empowers state agents to more effectively enforce existing Federal laws.

20 April 2010

Where are the Tea Party policy proposals? How about three simple rules?

In addition to the ongoing attempts to portray Tea Partiers as racist domestic terrorists, the newest line being passed around the liberal commentariat is that the people at these demonstrations aren't offering any solutions of their own.

It is a pretty bizarre notion that any political demonstration consists of people with detailed policy proposals emblazoned on their signs. Nobody stood watching anti-draft demonstrations of the 1960s, scratching their chins and saying, "I just don't understand what these people want. Where is their policy proposal? They just keep shouting 'Hell no, we won't go!' Go where?"

Still, just to help clear things up for those dimwitted enough to actually not understand the purpose of these ongoing demonstrations, allow me to lay out what I believe are a few beliefs of the majority of Tea Party demonstrators. Despite their simplicity, these are serious "policy proposals" nonetheless:

  1. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. The Tea Party crowd does not care that Bush's budgets spent too much. Bush is not in office any more. They don't believe two wrongs make a right. They don't believe a ticket for going 80 on the freeway is the same as a ticket for driving 120 in a school zone. Most importantly, they can do math, and they live in the real world. They can see that annual deficits measured in trillions are completely unsustainable, and they are utterly baffled as to why those in charge of the White House and Congress can't understand this simple truth, and instead keep committing all of us to more and more spending. We don't have the money. We're not going to get the money. SO STOP SPENDING IT. NOW.
  2. STOP TRYING TO RUN ALL OF OUR AFFAIRS. Every day, it seems, we hear about a new invasion of the government into another business or sector of the economy. GM is now Government Motors; via TARP, the Feds have taken control of a large chunk of banking; they now want to overhaul financial regulations to give even more government control to that sector; they've taken full control of student loans; they are taking over the medical industry - the list is seemingly endless. Who do these people in government think they are? Send them to do a simple, well-defined job, and not only do they fail at that - driving our nation into an out of control financial tailspin - now they want to get their hands into everybody else's business. DO YOUR JOB. WE CAN DO OUR JOBS JUST FINE WITHOUT YOUR HELP.
  3. TRY TO REMEMBER WHO'S THE BOSS. If Obama and the Democrats had to live in the real world, they might understand that in most places of work, the guy who writes their checks is the boss. On the other hand, they don't seem to get who's writing their checks right now. Governments have no money. People have money. Businesses pay no taxes. People pay taxes. We are the people. Our taxes are the checks that pay for your salaries, your light bills and all your crazy schemes. So when did you get this crazy idea that you get to over-rule us on how that money gets spent? We understand it's not a direct democracy; it's a representative republic. That's why our signs don't contain detailed policy proposals. They just spell out general principles. The details are your job. You see, you are servants, not rulers, and your bosses want you to spend less money, and get out of our business. Make it happen. DO YOUR JOB.
So there you have it. Policy proposals. And to think, they were right there in front of you all the time.

29 March 2010

From NRO's Geraghty: Complete List of Obama Statement Expiration Dates

A Long Post: The Complete List of Obama Statement Expiration Dates

Excellent compilation from NRO's Jim Geraghty, backing up his oft-used line that "all of Barack Obama's statements come with an expiration date. All of them."

This one is not only worth a read, but is worth bookmarking for future reference!

23 March 2010

You can't repeal just parts; you can't unbake a cake

Republicans have begun running on a "repeal it" platform, and the Democrats have their predictable response ready. Prior to passage, they argued that "the individual parts of the bill are very popular, even if people say they oppose the bill as a whole."

Now, they ask, "Are you going to repeal insurance for poor children with pre-existing conditions? Is that what you're going to do? Okay, you go right ahead and attack the children."

Nobody bought their argument before the vote, and nobody should by it now. Nevertheless, in interviews today, both John Cornyn and Michael Steele have stumbled in response to this taunt.

It isn't that complicated. Think of it this way: Have you ever received a fruitcake at Christmas? Did you ever actually eat it? Why not? Don't you like like raisins?

Nobody picks the raisins out of the fruitcake. You re-gift it, or throw it out, then you thank Aunt Edna for her kind thoughtfulness. If you want something better, you have to start over.

You can't unbake a cake.

20 March 2010

"But the individual components are very popular!"

"Would you like a cookie?"
"That'll be $5."
"Um...I guess I'm not that hungry."

"Are you free Friday night?"
"Can you babysit my sick dogs?"
"Um...I just remembered I have plans."

"Wouldn't it be great if everybody had health insurance?"
"Okay, then you stop going to the doctor so much and start paying more for your insurance."

19 March 2010

A dark chapter in American history

I have followed politics since I was a boy. I have cheered at times and I have booed at times. I have participated in public debate, worked on campaigns and voted regularly. I watch political events and speeches like many folks watch sporting events.

But never, before Obama, have a I viewed political developments with dread. And over the these last few months of the health care "reform" process, that dread has been joined by a boiling, bottled up rage that i have never before felt against my own government.

Obama promised to "fundamentally transform" our country, and this would certainly do that - and not in a good way. In fact, the government is already transformed. I am not big on polls, but when, for over a year now, every single poll tells us that the people of this country do not want Obamacare by very large margins; when those people take to the streets in the thousands, month after month; when virtually every election of national interest results in a rout for the party of Obama; when the seat formerly held by Ted Kennedy is won by a Republican who explicitly promises to be the 41st vote to stop Obama care; when, after all of this and more, they drive relentlessly and increasingly lawlessly on to pass this monstrosity, I truly don't know what country this is any more.

We have become a banana republic.

And as if that weren't enough, Democrats have driven us so far into a completely unsustainable fiscal mess that the only way out will be bankruptcy, hyperinflation, or worse. Our annual deficits are now measured in trillions, yet here is Congress, poised to commit trillions more.

They are like the gambler who has lost his life savings at the tables who turns to the loan shark to stake him for one more shot. Only for us, there is no pot to be won - only legs to be broken when the loan comes due. Yes, our legs - the taxpayers.

And for what? What do we get in exchange for mortgaging our liberty, our health and our entire financial future?

The only answer Democrats can seem to muster is: Obama.

No thanks.

10 March 2010

New airline regs: unintended - not unpredictable - consequences

In December of last year, the Congress passed a new law providing for fines of airlines that delay passengers on the tarmac for more than three hours. Like so many pieces of legislation, it was a reactionary law, written by people who have no business regulating any industry to such a minute level.

Predictably, airlines have plans in place to avoid these fines, which, on an MD-80, could amount to more than $4 million on a single delayed flight. Their interpretation of these new regulations is simple: better never than late.

At least two airlines have already said they will now cancel flights rather than delay them and face the fines. Somebody will need to explain to me again how this law benefits air travelers, or why anybody ever thought that it would.

You see, that's why it's called the law of unintended consequences, not the theory of unintended consequences.

05 March 2010

Dangerous times continue - pro-lifers could give new life to Obamacare

Much has been made of Rep. Stupak and his 12 fellow pro-life Democrats who have indicated they will nto vote in favor of the Senate version of Obamacare without protections against funding of abortions.

Because it seems likely that an "abortion fix" could be attached via reconciliation, Steny Hoyer has proposed  separate piece of "abortion fix" legislation. NRO's Marc Thiessen calls it "the Hoyer gambit." Many commneters seem to think this move is a desperate one, and signals the impossibility of getting the pro-lifers on board.

I’m afraid I don’t quite share that confidence that this maneuver can’t work. I can imagine two scenarios in which it would.

First, separate, pro-life legislation pertaining to funding of abortions might be crafted in such a way as to apply to any future bills, and passed in advance of a House vote on the current Senate bill. Such legislation could pass both houses with strong Republican support, as did the original Stupak amendment.  With pro-life protections in place, the “Stupak 12” could then vote in good conscience for the Senate bill.

Second, Republicans could vote against this new bill. (Recall that at the time of the Stupak Amendment, some were condemning Republicans who voted in favor, since this amendment got the whole monstrous bill over the top for passage.) This time, if pro-life Republicans of principle vote against a pro-life bill as a purely cynical tactic to stop Obamacare, there is a risk of the “pro-life Democrats” voting for the Senate bill as a backlash against “Republican hypocrisy.” In exchange, they would likely get some sort of promise to re-introduce the pro-life bill after Obamacare is law – a fig leaf to show they stood up for their own principles. They would have their pro-life cover, the Republicans would be portrayed as obstructionists with no principles, and Obamacare would become the law of the land.

I hope I am not over-thinking this thing.

09 January 2010

The numbers say John Dingell can't add

In an op-ed titled "Numbers, not shouting, overwhelm health care debate," Michigan Democrat John Dingell lays out what he thinks is a case for the health care monstrosity working its way through the Congress. The numbers, unfortunately, don't say what he thinks they say.

It is simply fascinating to me that he thinks the top reason for Federalization is that the current system is "highly bureaucratic and unwieldy..." When, in the entire history of the United States of America, did creating a government program make anything less "bureaucratic and unwieldy?" No serious person could possibly consider the bloated, sclerotic, Federal government to be the antidote to unwieldy brueaucracy; it is the epitome of unwieldy bureaucracy.

Only a doddering, insulated, out of touch politician who has spent more than half a century in Congress could possibly be blinkered and foolish enough as to believe otherwise.

Each of his foolish and misleading claims warrants at least a paragraph. I am only going to highlight one:

"Ending co-pays for preventive care" will "put money back in your pocket."

Where to begin? Preventive care, like any other kind of care, costs something, doesn't it? You can't just wave a wand and say "now it shall cost less!" If you mandate that such services can't charge co-pays, then the cost will simply be included in higher premiums, or, in the case of subsidized insurance, higher taxes. That is simple math, and simple economics, neither of which are strong suits of the fools in Congress.

In other words, the numbers don't say what John Dingell thinks they say. The numbers say that John Dingell can't add.