Giving credit where due.
The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.
The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.
Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.
Presumably, this doesn’t mean they plan to shut all the existing oil platforms off the California coast.
About 100 fans came out to hear Karl Rove at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills Monday night to discuss his book “Courage and Consequences: My Life As a Conservative In The Fight,” — but the fight wasn’t contained to his book.
Anti-war protesters came out, some rushing the stage, to call Rove a “war criminal” and worse.
The fans came to get their books signed, but they never got that chance.
One woman, the co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink, approached him with handcuffs and said she was there to make a citizen’s arrest. Jodie Evans charged him with “outing a CIA agent…you lied to take us to war…” and “totally ruining the country.”
What a twit.
1. Rove is not Bush, and Bush didn’t lie us into a war. See our section The Big Lie for details.
2. Valerie Plame was not outed by Rove. Her CIA employment was known to every player in Washington. Even the Democrat Washington Post concluded that it was self-promoting Joe Wilson – her husband — that drew attention to Plame.
3. Was Iraq ruined? In 2003, it had been in the grip of a genocidal tyrant for decades. Today, that tyrant has been tried, convicted and executed, and the nation has had five democratic elections, with voter turnout higher than the US. If that’s ruination, too bad Bush didn’t “ruin” a few more.
Meanwhile, Rove got at least one word in, noting:
… that the people shouting him down were an example of the “totalitarianism of the left…they don’t believe in dialog…they don’t believe in courtesy. They don’t believe in first Amendment rights for anyone but themselves.”
President Obama said Tuesday that the “core” of the Tea Party may always think he’s a foreign-born Socialist, but he hopes to cool the piping hot conservatives over time.
And how will he cool them down? By insulting them.
“There’s still going to be a group at their core that question my legitimacy,” Obama told the “Today” show’s Matt Lauer of Tea Party followers, adding “there’s some folks who just weren’t sure whether I was born in the United States, whether I was a socialist.”
A few cranks think he’s an illegal president.
Many more, quite legitimately, think he’s got socialist tendencies. As he told Joe the Plumber, he wants to spread the wealth around.
But Obama emphasized that he does’t want to paint Tea Party activists “in broad brushes” and that he still hopes to win them over – or at least address their concerns.
Classic passive aggression: he claims he doesn’t want to paint with broad brushes even as he does just that.
“I think that there’s a broader circle around that core group of people who are legitimately concerned about the deficit, who are legitimately concerned that the federal government may be taking on too much,” the President told Lauer.
“And I think those are folks who have legitimate concerns. And my hope is that as we move forward and we’re tackling things like the deficit, imposing a freeze on domestic spending, taking steps that show we are sincere about dealing with our long-term problems, that some of that group will dissipate.”
How can anyone who has run up record deficits, and whose Obamacare will impose deficits for decades to come, say that with a straight face?
This is a dangerous man.
When we left off at the end of Part One, you may recall that I was suggesting that if Homer wouldn’t constantly ballyhoo Obama’s intelligence on his radio show, he might not have to constantly deal with listeners questioning his own.
He went on: “Remember how appalling it was when libs all insisted that Bush (despite good grades at both Yale and Harvard Business School) was a moron? Did they advance their cause with these attacks? And as to the “Obama wants to wreck the economy” line, how destructive and idiotic is that? Can you imagine the president going to sleep at night and just hoping that the next day he’ll wake up to see the unemployment rate soaring? Oh, great, that’s a sure way to get re-elected!” (I don’t think FDR wanted to destroy the American economy, but he did want to radically transform the nation. Which he managed to do by putting more and more people on the government payroll, thus guaranteeing that large blocs of voters would become registered Democrats. I believe that Obama would like to be re-elected in 2012, but I take him at his word when he said that he would rather be a great one-term president than a mediocre two-term president. Based on his first year in office, I would say that just as you and I have a different take on the word “brilliant,” Obama and I differ when it comes to the word “great.”)
“The only way to appeal to the American mainstream (which is incurably sane) is to show them why Obama is wrong, not claim that he is a dullard, or a devious kamikaze on a mission of destruction.” (Most sane Americans don’t have to listen to your show or read my articles to know what Obama’s mission is. Everything from his America-bashing speeches in foreign lands to cap and trade, to the redistribution of wealth, to Cash for Clunkers, to trillion dollar pork-laden spending sprees, to lying about transparency and keeping lobbyists out of the White House, to bashing Goldman Sachs out of one side of his mouth while inviting them into his administration from the other side, to using the NEA as his personal PR firm, tells people everything they need to know about the man.)
“The beginning of this stupidity, I’m afraid, was Limbaugh’s battle royal over ‘wanting Obama to fail.’ I know, I know — Rush just wants the agenda to fail, to avoid a socialistic takeover, and so forth. But try talking to normal Americans who aren’t kool aid (or tea) drinkers — the kind who decide elections. Anyone who says he wants to see the president fail at a time of crisis has marginalized himself and his cause. Rush misspoke. He should have acknowledged it and dropped the line. Instead, he doubled down, suggesting that Obama himself wants the economy to fail in order to achieve total power. This is the same paranoid nonsense (which Rush doesn’t even believe) that characterized those who predicted Clinton (or Bush) would impose martial law rather than relinquish the presidency.” (I’m not about to defend Rush. I don’t even listen to his show. For all I know, he may be on opposite you. It was the MSM that tried to make a big deal out of what Rush said, mainly by twisting his obvious meaning. What Rush said and meant is exactly what most normal Americans believe in their hearts, and that explains the election results in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts.)
“Republicans are doing well right now for the simple reason that we’re not Democrats. Sooner or later, the public will start focusing on us and the alternative we offer. I hope and pray that when the time comes, we don’t look like lunatics who clearly aren’t ready for prime time.” (That’s always my hope. But at this time, anyone who stands up against Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Waxman, Barney Frank, ACORN, the SEIU, the UAW, Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and Van Jones, is aces in my book. p.s. I hope you enjoy “Liberals: America’s Termites” if you ever find time to read it.)
In his follow-up, Homer wrote: “By the way, the fact that you claim ‘I’ve never heard anyone question his (Obama’s) intelligence’ is stunning. On my radio show, that is the most common call we get — and we only take a few of those frequent calls in order to keep the subject matter diverse. I’ve also gotten impassioned emails on the subject. My assistant could forward some of them to you. You could also talk to him about the sick obsession (yes it is sick, and very possibly racist) that some people have to deny the President is bright.” (Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. I didn’t mean to suggest that I never heard anyone question Obama’s intelligence. I hear them on your show all the time. What I meant to convey is that I, myself, have never received a single email or had anyone say anything to me about his intelligence, even though I am constantly berating Obama. But I attribute that to the fact I never focus on his intelligence in my work. On the other hand, you often refer to his brilliance, and, so, people who believe that wisdom and common sense are major ingredients when it comes to intelligence wind up taking you to task.)
“Concerning his experience at the University of Chicago, you ought to know that it’s famous as a center of conservative thought — remember the late Alan Bloom, Saul Bellow, Leon Kass (who worked with Bush), and many others from the U of C faculty? I spoke with Richard Epstein, who’s a member of the faculty (and a very well-regarded conservative legal scholar, you can look him up) who expressed only the greatest respect for Obama and his work with students.” (I find it hard to believe that Obama would be your idea of a great teacher. I very much doubt that a left-wing ideologue would employ the Socratic method. I doubt that when he lectured about Saul Alinsky, he gave anything like a balanced or objective picture of the madman and his ideas to his young, impressionable students. Furthermore, while I don’t believe that Prof. Epstein ever sat in on any of his lectures, I have every confidence that if he bothered to ask the youngsters what they thought of Obama, they would have assured him that the O man was one very cool dude.)
“The idea that he was ‘only’ a lecturer — not professor — at one of the world’s best law schools is laughable.” (I don’t know why it would be laughable. For one thing, you’re the fellow who referred to him as a professor when you were trying to establish his intellectual credentials. For another, a great many screwballs lecture at a great many universities, and the tokenism that has become a large part of American academia could well have played a role in getting Obama his slot. I can’t claim to know what he knows or doesn’t know about the law, but if one judges by his former associates in Chicago and his present agenda in Washington, I can only assume that it is long on ideology and skimpy when it comes to wisdom and an appreciation of the Constitution. If I were running a university, I wouldn’t allow someone who has stated that the failing of the Constitution and the Civil Rights movement is that they didn’t deal with the redistribution of wealth to proselytize the student body. Speaking of which, inasmuch as he has made that socialistic ideal the centerpiece of his presidency, why do you think it’s wrong for people to call him a socialist? What else would you call someone who is dedicated to expanding the federal government into every facet of American life and using the power of the state to confiscate wealth from those who have it and giving it to those who want it?)
“Obama remained a ‘lecturer’ because he could only work there part time, while very understandably pursuing big money and (less understandably) big power through his day jobs.” (And, God help us all, he finally got one that was way above his pay scale. Regards, Burt)
Here in California, goldfish are sold both as pets (short lived ones) and as feeder fish. I buy them six for a dollar and put them in my pond.
But in England, the animal rights people have made selling any pet to a minor a crime. Not, I suspect, for fear of harm to the minor.
Now a 66 year old shopkeeper has a criminal record.
Her offence was to unwittingly sell a goldfish to a 14-year-old boy taking part in a trading standards ’sting’.
At most, pet shop owner Joan Higgins, 66, expected a slap on the wrist for breaking new animal welfare laws which ban the sale of pets to under-16s.
Instead, the great-grandmother was taken to court, fined £1,000, placed under curfew – and ordered to wear an electronic tag for two months.
The punishment is normally handed out to violent thugs and repeat offenders.
The prosecution of Mrs Higgins and her son Mark is estimated to have cost taxpayers £20,000 and has left her with a criminal record.
Mark, 47, was also fined and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.
Last night, as an MP criticised the magistrates, Mrs Higgins – who has run the pet shop for 28 years – said the family’s eight-month ordeal had left them traumatised.
Consider that Britain has parts of cities that are no-go zones, areas essentially ceded by police to Muslim thugs or drug lords.
Nice to see that the mother country has its priorities straight.
And CNN lost half its audience in the last year.
The debate over global warming has created predictable adversaries, pitting environmentalists against industry and coal-state Democrats against coastal liberals.
But it has also created tensions between two groups that might be expected to agree on the issue: climate scientists and meteorologists, especially those who serve as television weather forecasters.
Climatologists, who study weather patterns over time, almost universally endorse the view that the earth is warming and that humans have contributed to climate change. There is less of a consensus among meteorologists, who predict short-term weather patterns.
Joe Bastardi, for example, a senior forecaster and meteorologist with AccuWeather, maintains that it is more likely that the planet is cooling, and he distrusts the data put forward by climate scientists as evidence for rising global temperatures.
“There is a great deal of consternation among a lot of us over the readjustment of data that is going on and some of the portrayals that we are seeing,” Mr. Bastardi said in a video segment posted recently on AccuWeather’s Web site.
Such skepticism appears to be widespread among TV forecasters, about half of whom have a degree in meteorology. A study released on Monday by researchers at George Mason University and the University of Texas at Austin found that only about half of the 571 television weathercasters surveyed believed that global warming was occurring and fewer than a third believed that climate change was “caused mostly by human activities.”
Check out the Eagle Cam at Turtle Bay (CA). You’ll need to have Quicktime installed on your computer.
Just as I write this, the three chicks are being fed. Info on the project:
Caltrans completed the environmental review for the Dana to Downtown project (bridge on State Route 44 in Redding) in 2005. The next year, a pair of Bald Eagles moved to the area and built a nest.
After it was determined that the eagles would stay in the nest site, the California Department of Fish and Game required Caltrans to monitor the eagles to ensure the bird’s welfare and determine if construction activities have an impact on their nesting activities. Initial monitoring efforts were done physically by biologists in the field, until 2008 when a video camera was installed to aid in the monitoring effort.
It was at that time Turtle Bay offered to host a web feed and the images were made available online to the public. During the summer of 2009, the camera system and feed were improved, and now Caltrans is able to continue with monitoring requirements, while providing a much sharper and better image of the nest to the web.
The photos say a lot. So does the bad grammar.
Under the health care overhaul, young adults who buy their own insurance will carry a heavier burden of the medical costs of older Americans — a shift expected to raise insurance premiums for young people when the plan takes full effect.
Beginning in 2014, most Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. That’s when premiums for young adults seeking coverage on the individual market would likely climb by 17 percent on average, or roughly $42 a month, according to an analysis of the plan conducted for The Associated Press. The analysis did not factor in tax credits to help offset the increase.
They better hope when it’s all over they still have some change.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the health care overhaul signed into law last week costs too much and expands the government’s role in health care too far, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, underscoring an uphill selling job ahead for President Obama and congressional Democrats.
Those surveyed are inclined to fear that the massive legislation will increase their costs and hurt the quality of health care their families receive, although they are more positive about its impact on the nation’s health care system overall.
Let me suggest here that Drudge’s power may turn out to be more of a curse than a blessing for Republicans and conservatives because in my view, it fosters delusions that can lead to defeat. Recently a Gallup poll, of course highlighted on Drudge, found that Obama’s numbers had (then) turned more unfavorable than favorable.
This has (now) dramatically changed, unreported by Drudge, with Obama’s favorables now well above his unfavorables. The generic Democratic vote is leading the generic Republican vote in the last Gallup congressional election survey.The healthcare bill has passed and the president’s polls have moved up. Democratic numbers have crept up.
Federal authorities have arrested a Philadelphia man and charged him with threatening to kill House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and his family.
Norman Leboon will be charged with two federal counts: threatening to kill a member of Congress and interfering with his federal duties, and posting video online containing such threats. He is scheduled to appear in federal district court in Philadelphia on Monday afternoon.
So, did this make the network news? Surely, you jest:
NBC on Monday night squeezed in a few seconds for the arrest of “a Philadelphia man for threatening the life of the number two Republican in the House of Representatives, Eric Cantor of Virginia.”
Yet after the networks led last week with less-immediate threats against Democrats, they weren’t so interested in a real case of a death threat against a Republican as neither CBS nor ABC aired a word about the arrest and NBC’s Brian Williams gave it short-shrift after leading last Wednesday with Democrats as the victims: “It’s getting ugly as anger over health care reform erupts into some over-the-top rhetoric, including threats now against members of Congress.”
The next night, Williams still portrayed opponents as the only ones with miscreants amongst their ranks: “While the White House continues to celebrate its largest-ever legislative victory, opponents of health care reform have reacted to the final vote with anger, a few of them with threats of violence.”
CBS last week started with “threats of violence against Democrats who voted for health care reform” as Nancy Cordes relayed how “Democrats complain Sarah Palin is also using violent words and imagery.” On Monday, the CBS Evening News devoted a full story to fretting over a “loophole” which insurance companies may use to delay providing coverage to kids with pre-existing conditions and Katie Couric spent half a minute on how the New York Yankees are “the best-paid team in all of sports,” with the NBA “the highest-paid league” followed by cricket’s Indian Premier League.
The New York Times has branded the religious nuts who allegedly plotted to kill a cop then bomb the funeral in order to start a war and bring on the New World Order as ‘right wing.” Why?
Pinch’s paper also couldn’t resist sticking this into the story:
A law enforcement official said the plot appeared to be unconnected to recent threats against Democratic lawmakers who voted for legislation overhauling the nation’s health care system. According to the indictment, the group — apparently centered in Lenawee County, about 70 miles southwest of Detroit — has been meeting regularly since at least August 2008.
Never miss a chance to tar your legitimate political opposition (NYT vs. GOP) with charges of extremism and racism.
A more interesting, and telling story, is one Big Baloney will never cover: how Dems tried to use racism as a political weapon. Will Collier:
It was as ugly a charge as you can possibly make in American politics. The national media picked up the story and ran with it, and right on cue the following Monday, the liberal commentariat slathered on the indignation, much of it simply echoing a florid DNC fundraising letter from Sunday afternoon. Leftie “JournoList” writers from activist Matt Yglesias to wacky professor Paul Krugman (or perhaps it was Krugman’s wife; it’s hard to tell who’s actually providing the invective in his columns these days) dutifully filed florid denunciations of “the dark cancer at the heart of modern American conservatism” (Yglesias).
Problem is, there is no evidence whatsoever that any such thing actually happened. YouTube is littered with videos from the “Pelosi March” (here’s a representative collection of them), but not one contains an actual racial epithet. There’s plenty of booing and partisan chanting (most notably “kill the bill!”), but the alleged racist rhetoric is nowhere to be heard.
It’s not like nobody was around doing any recording. Even the Democratic staffers who were in the midst of the “march” and clearly seen operating video cameras in other YouTube rolls haven’t come forward with actual evidence of the alleged slurs. Also roiling the waters is the fact that at least one of the guys making the original charges — Jim Clyburn — has a long and florid history of leveling charges of “RACISM!” in practically any conceivable political debate.
But what about the protester “arrested for spitting”? Didn’t happen. No one was arrested that day, and video of the alleged incident shows a protester yelling at Cleaver, but not spitting on him or uttering racist epithets.
All of which begs the question, what exactly did happen on March 20?
I wasn’t in Pelosi’s strategy meeting that day, but I’ll tell you what I think went on in there:
I think the House Democrats planned this from the start.
I think they looked out the window, and looked at the polls, and looked at their dismal electoral prospects this November and decided to try and smear their opposition. I think they decided before they ever walked out of the Cannon Building what they were going to say to the press once they reached the Capitol, no matter what actually happened — or didn’t happen — along the way. And just in case they did manage to run across some fool saying something really stupid, they had their own cameras rolling.
The Democrats and the left in general have been trying unsuccessfully to smear and marginalize the tea party movement for over a year now. I think that in the face of a storm of opposition, they decided to try for a Hail Mary pass; they picked a charge perfectly calibrated to excite the prejudices of their allies in the media and get big coverage. In the last, at least, they were successful.
But that was simply preaching to a very willing choir. In the arena of public opinion, the “Hail Mary” failed. No such video exists. If it did, we’d all have seen it a thousand times by now. Andrew Breitbart was confident enough about the un-video to publicly bet $10,000 (since raised to $100,000) that nobody could produce one. So far, there haven’t been any takers.
…but Friday’s Gregalogue still holds true:
So as the anger surrounding the health care bill escalates, many in the media are reporting how the anger surrounding the health care bill is escalating!
Now I’ve been down this road so many times I could navigate it blindfolded and covered in peanut butter.
It goes like this: for the media, anger is only okay if its targets meet their stereotypical, romanticized criteria. Meaning: the corporation, the conservative, the daddy who never loved them.
Here’s a list of people doing angry things the media is okay with:
-People calling Bush a Nazi
-Students and non students rioting on college campuses
-Animal rights freaks dousing rich folks with paint
-Actors wishing average folks would get rectal cancer
-Bureaucrats labeling military vets as potential violent right wing extremists
-Radical environmentalists advocating violence against loggers
-Pranksters throwing pies at conservative commentators (you know, somehow they never pie Michael Moore, which makes him sad; he likes pie)
But this health care bill anger is different from all that – not just because it’s right, but because it involves Obama. And being angry at Obama is like being mad at Santa Claus. How can you be mad at Santa, when he brings us so many gifts?
And so, this anger is scary! It’s a mark of incivility! It’s deadly!
But you have a right to be angry. Unlike the entitlements we’re saddled with until death, being angry is free and actually works! But we need to define why we’re angry – instead of letting our adversaries do it for us.
We are angry not because we lost, but that we lost to losers. I’m not talking about Obama, or the Dems. They’re winners, sadly. I’m talking about progressivism. The reason why I’m angry, my friends are angry, and my imaginary unicorn Captain Sparkles is angry – is because the greatest, most winningest country in the history of the world, just embraced the loser’s doctrine.
For two hundred plus years we’ve kicked ass, and we’re now choosing the belief system of the idiots whose asses we’ve kicked.
So that’s why I’m angry. And why you’re angry too.
And when jackasses try to take away your right to be angry – by calling it racist or extremist – tell them they’re the racists. Because it’s those tools who assume that anger can only be about race. And if they disagree with you, then clearly they’re not just racists – but probably homophobic cannibals, too.
Powerline blogger Paul Mirengoff’s daughter, Emily, wrote about her experience at today’s Dartmouth.
I was characteristically nervous on the day of my English final, but in spite of my anxiety, I couldn’t help noticing something remarkable. My class had doubled in size. Even students who regularly skip class deign to show up for the final, but what’s noteworthy is that those students in absentia now comprise a good half of the class.
Not long ago, I was examining colleges for [a related] quality — class participation. I was one of those indecisive teenagers who took nearly an entire month off from high school to visit colleges. It was difficult to tell one campus from another, but one distinguishing factor was student involvement in the classroom. To me, the students’ passion for their classes was crucial. . . .
It was at Dartmouth College where I saw the most student interaction in class. So, in spite of other reservations about the college, I enrolled.
It’s ironic, then, that my other reservations (the cold, the Greek life, the rural setting) have completely dissipated and I am now disappointed with the academic passion of the students. I regularly observe students coming into class 20 minutes late; reading the newspaper; text-messaging on their cell phones in the back of the room; keeping their laptops open during class to “take notes” but really play solitaire; or simply dozing off during lecture.
And yet, these are the “good kids”–they’re the ones who bothered to show up.
To be fair to Dartmouth, I don’t think this is a school-specific phenomenon. For one thing, I’m told that this is a prevalent attitude at colleges across the country, and again, Dartmouth was the best school in this regard that I saw back in 2006.
For another, these habits are learned in high school, where students regularly get away with dozing off or text-messaging while teachers turn a blind eye. In fact, high schools have contributed to this trend by increasing the use of the computer in classrooms — several of my peers have mentioned that at their private high schools, laptops were required during class.
The omnipresence of the personal computer has allowed students to perfect their ability to simultaneously take notes and get high scores on Tetris. Students may be learning to multitask, but they’re not getting their money’s worth out of their education (which, at Dartmouth, costs about $125 per lesson).
But how can students today get away with such academic negligence when 40 years ago a student caught reading a newspaper in class was liable to be thrown out by the professor? Don’t overachieving young college students fear bad grades if they sleep through class?
No, because grade inflation makes it all too easy for students to sleep through class and still get As. Grade inflation certainly varies from school to school and subject to subject, but overall there is no doubt that the Gentleman’s C is slowly yielding to the Gentleman’s B-plus. I would be the first to admit that econ and math probably have much less grade inflation than, say, French and English, but as a humanities student, I am well-acquainted with the dizzying heights of modern grade inflation…
“And everybody praised the Duke,
Who this great fight did win.”
“But what good came of it at last?”
Quoth little Peterkin.
“Why that I cannot tell,” said he,
“But ’twas a famous victory”
– Robert Southey,
“The Battle of Blenheim”
Barack Obama hopes his famous health-care victory will mark him as a transformative president. History, however, may judge it to have been his missed opportunity to be one.
Health care will not be seriously revisited for at least a generation, so the system’s costliest defect — untaxed employer-provided insurance, which entangles a high-inflation commodity, health care, with the wage system — remains. Obama could not challenge this without adopting measures — e.g., tax credits for individuals, enabling them to shop for their own insurance — that empower individuals and therefore conflict with his party’s agenda of spreading dependency.
On Sunday, as will happen every day for two decades, another 10,000 baby boomers became eligible for Social Security and Medicare. And Congress moved closer to piling a huge new middle-class entitlement onto the rickety structure of America’s Ponzi welfare state. Congress has a one-word response to the demographic deluge and the scores of trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities: “More.”
There will be subsidized health insurance for families of four earning up to $88,200 a year, a ceiling certain to be raised, repeatedly. The accounting legerdemain spun to make this seem affordable — e.g., cuts (to Medicare) and taxes (on high-value insurance plans) that will never happen — is Enronesque.
As America’s teetering tower of unkeepable promises grows, so does the weight of government, in taxes and mandates that limit investments and discourage job creation. America’s dynamism, and hence upward social mobility, will slow, as the economy becomes what the party of government wants it to be — increasingly dependent on government-created demand.
Promoting dependency is the Democratic Party’s vocation. The party knows that almost all entitlements are forever, and those that are not — e.g., the lifetime eligibility for welfare, repealed in 1996 — are not for the middle class. Democrats believe, plausibly, that middle-class entitlements are instantly addictive and, because there is no known detoxification, that class, when facing future choices between trimming entitlements or increasing taxes, will choose the latter. The taxes will disproportionately burden high earners, thereby tightening the noose of society’s dependency on government for investments and job creation.
After the House of Representatives voted on Obamacare, Representative Louise Slaughter, the New York Democrat who chairs the Rules Committee, told the Wall Street Journal: “It makes me so happy that, after 100 years, we can finally catch up with the rest of the world!”.
Does Ms. Slaughter really believe the U.S. has lagged behind the rest of the world since 1910? During that period, we saved the planet in four major international conflicts while our surging economy brought higher living standards to most of the world.
The key distinction between Democrats and Republicans involves attitudes toward America. The right believes the world would benefit by following America’s example; the left thinks the U.S. should become more like the rest of the world. Democrats may long to emulate France, but most Americans feel proud – rather than embarrassed – by our nation’s uniqueness.
Sarah Palin told thousands of tea party activists assembled in the dusty Nevada desert Saturday that Sen. Harry Reid will have to explain his votes when he comes back to his hometown to campaign.
The wind whipped U.S. flags behind the former Alaska governor as she stood on a makeshift stage, holding a microphone and her notes and speaking to a cheering crowd. She told them Reid, fighting for re-election, is “gambling away our future.”
“Someone needs to tell him, this is not a crapshoot,” Palin said.
At least 9,000 people streamed into tiny Searchlight, a former mining town 60 miles south of Las Vegas, bringing American flags, “Don’t Tread on Me” signs and outspoken anger toward Reid, President Barack Obama and the health care overhaul.
Meanwhile, CNN’s coverage claimed “hundreds if not at least dozens” showed up.
After a year of crippling delays, President Barack Obama’s $5 billion program to install weather-tight windows and doors has retrofitted a fraction of homes and created far fewer construction jobs than expected.
In Indiana, state-trained workers flubbed insulation jobs. In Alaska, Wyoming and the District of Columbia, the program has yet to produce a single job or retrofit one home. And in California, a state with nearly 37 million residents, the program at last count had created 84 jobs.
The program was a hallmark of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a way to shore up the economy while encouraging people to conserve energy at home. But government rules about how to run what was deemed to be a “shovel-ready” project, including how much to pay contractors and how to protect historic homes during renovations, have thwarted chances at early success, according to an Associated Press review of the program.
“It seems like every day there is a new wrench in the works that keeps us from moving ahead,” said program manager Joanne Chappell-Theunissen. She has spent the past several months mailing in photographs of old houses in rural Michigan to meet federal historic preservation rules. “We keep playing catch-up.”
Iraqpundit says his fellow citizens are optimistic.
The rain continues today with the happiness that people feel about Allawi’s win. Everyone had grown tired of Maliki’s government. Sure he did good things for a while, but he turned out to be sectarian, which is something Iraqis don’t want.
When I read the western papers online, I get the impression that war is around the corner. I also love WaPo’s description of the situation as “the country’s fledgling political system.” Why is WaPo afraid to say democracy? We might as well all pack up and leave the Iraq that is about to burst into hellish flames. That’s the outsider view.
Here people are optimistic. It’s true that Maliki is acting like a sore loser. But in all fairness he says he will challenge the results in court.
Just like Al Gore.
He didn’t say he would take up arms. And of course people worry about al-Qaeda who made it clear they don’t care who wins, they plan to keep killing Iraqis. And people fear Moktada Al Sadr’s Jaish al Mahdi and its offshoot Asa’b ahl al Haq. They are likey to keep up their wicked deeds. But if the Iraqi Army and police feel like they are working for their country, they will work to protect the people against terror.
Under Maliki, plenty of ordinary workers didn’t know whether they were working for Iran or Iraq. Too many of Maliki’s top advisers took their orders from Iran. Now at least they can have a prime minister who puts Iraq first.
I grew up reading Time magazine. Over time, I grew to disdain it, at first for it’s cutesy writing style, later for its liberal bias.
I haven’t read it in years, until I scanned its article on Andrew Breitbart.
…On its first day of business, Big Government produced a scoop: undercover filmmakers James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles — the would-be Borats of the right — had shot videos that appeared to show workers at ACORN, a liberal organization that lobbies for affordable housing, offering tips on how to open a brothel. For Breitbart, the videos proved to be a gold mine, putting the left on the defensive and Big Government on the map. That the filmmakers were accused of entrapping their subjects and editing in footage of O’Keefe dressed as a pimp seemed almost beside the point.
Stupid media trick. Slip in an accusation and treat it as fact. Why not, “that the filmmakers were accused of being Martian agents almost seemed beside the point.”
The Corrizo Plain is a little-known, little visited National Monument about 45 minutes east of Santa Maria, California. We made the trek yesterday to capture the brief moment when the flowers light up the place.
The mountains you see below are the Temblor Range, so named because the San Andreas Fault runs along their line. The aerial photos of the fault that most people remember were taken here.
The primary yellows are from a flower aptly known as goldfields. The blue band in the photo above is a soda lake, normally dry, but with enough water to give off the blue color.
The scent from the purplish blue flowers, above, was powerful.
The dry soda bed wasn’t entirely dry, which you discover at your own peril. Your feet sink and the stuff sticks to you.
I know someone who hosts a very popular radio talk show. Even though we’re friends and political allies, it’s been a very long time since he’s invited me on as a guest. That wouldn’t be so bad, but when you realize that nobody at Fox, where I have no friends, has ever invited me on, you might better understand why my wonderful books don’t tend to wind up on best seller lists.
But let us get back to Homer, an alias I’m saddling him with because he asked that I not use his real name. It all began a week ago when I was driving on the freeway and, for what seemed like the millionth time, I heard Homer refer to Barack Obama’s brilliance. In the past, I have taken Bill O’Reilly to task for this very same offense, but I don’t know Mr. O’Reilly and if I wrote to him for any reason other than to rave about “A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity” or to buy some of his paraphernalia, he would ignore me. But because I’ve known Homer for several years, I decided to send him an email. He replied. Then I replied to his reply and he replied to mine. Because he’s a good guy, he agreed to let me devote an article to our exchanges.
He only asked that I change his name. The way he put it was that “It’s better to keep it anonymous because otherwise it’s another pointless feud between prominent people who agree on everything important.” I would only disagree about our both being prominent people. Honesty, not modesty, compels me to say that while Homer is prominent, I am not. I should be. I should also be rich and handsome, but you play the hand you’re dealt.
It all began with my writing “Although I generally agree with you, I found myself agreeing with the caller who took you to task for constantly referring to Obama as brilliant. I understand that you don’t wish to be seen as an Obama-basher and that you simply wish to give him credit whenever the rare opportunity offers itself.
“I do agree with you about brilliance not necessarily being a prerequisite to winning elections or being president. I also agree with you that Eisenhower was smarter than Adlai Stevenson, a man I always felt was born to play Hamlet in real life.
“Still, I don’t think you need to keep calling Obama brilliant in order to prove that you’re not overly partisan. Okay, he graduated from Harvard. But if attending an Ivy League school is proof of brilliance, then, as Mandy Patinkin’s Montoya said to Wallace Shawn’s Vizzini in The Princess Bride, I don’t think the word means what you think it means.”
By the next day, I hadn’t heard back from Homer, but on his radio show, I heard him lash out at a caller who dared call Obama’s brilliance into question. That led me to send along the following email: “Perhaps my earlier message set you off because you sounded angrier than I had ever heard you when you took on the caller who disagreed with you.
“But for the record, I have never heard any conservative claim that Obama is stupid. That isn’t the basis for their reasonable objections to him and his administration, so when you and Bill O’Reilly keep insisting that Obama is off the charts when it comes to brains, it has an air of condescension. It’s similar to Joe Biden’s assuring the world that Obama is clean and Harry Reid’s announcing that Obama doesn’t sound like a Negro.
“However, if your defense of his brilliance is based, as you indicated on today’s show, on Obama’s having been a professor, I think you’re wandering off on a very slippery slope. Bill Ayers, after all, is a professor; Ward Churchill, the faux Indian, is or at least was a professor; Angela Davis is a professor. If these folks are your idea of brilliant people, I would have to assume that you and I speak different languages and that in your native tongue “brilliant” is a synonym for asinine.”
In the following, I have combined Homer’s comments along with my rebuttals.
“No,” Homer began, “your email didn’t set me off.” (I’m glad.)
“What sets me off is the utter inability of some conservatives to understand how foolish they look, and how foolish they make us all look, when they take truly absurd public positions suggesting that A) Obama is less intelligent than he is or B) Obama wants the economy to tank and thereby destroy the country.” (A: I haven’t heard conservatives say that Obama is stupid; and B) Perhaps he doesn’t want to destroy the economy, but if that’s the case, one has to wonder why he is pursuing a course that seems to have no other possible result. To be fair, he has never announced that his goal is to destroy America’s economic system, but he has often declared that it’s his intention to radically transform it. In the case of Obama, it’s always prudent to judge him by his actions, and not merely by the words he reads off the omnipresent teleprompter.)
“Concerning all the people you mentioned — Ayers, Churchill, Angela Davis — all are clearly bright, if not brilliant.” (I’m really at a loss, Homer, when you say these people are bright. What is your basis for believing that? If it’s simply that they were hired by numbskulls to teach, I can’t argue with you; they were definitely hired. But I find it hard to believe that you regard that as proof of their extraordinary intelligence. It’s reminiscent of Hollywood, where any schnook who is hired to direct a movie is automatically granted genius status.)
“As Jimmy Carter memorably proved — and as I’ve said repeatedly on the air — there is a world of difference between intelligence and smarts.” (I’ve heard you say it and I agree completely.)
“The difference in the academic record with Obama (and Ayers or Davis or Churchill) was that he taught Constitutional Law (not “Ethnic Studies” or Marxist Philosophy” or “Educational Policy”) at a top five law school and even his conservative colleagues thought he was good.” (What conservative colleagues did he have at the University of Chicago? And when Obama says that the problem with the Constitution is that it didn’t deal with the redistribution of wealth and when, in nominating Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, he said that a justice should be, first and foremost, compassionate, I have to wonder if you really believe that indoctrinating youngsters with left-wing propaganda is the appropriate role of a constitutional law lecturer. He wasn’t actually a professor.)
“More to the point, his first book (not so much the second one) is beautifully written, which means the only way to go on denying the guy has a first class mind is to claim he didn’t write it — an absurd proposition given that he got his contract before he even graduated from law school, before he achieved any celebrity status, and in a situation where a ‘ghost writer’ would be very weird, if not unthinkable.” (For openers, he got the book deal in 1989 when he received national media attention as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. The book was supposed to be about race relations in America. Somehow it morphed into a personal memoir, but wasn’t published until 1995. I don’t know if he wrote it or not. Heck, John Kennedy even won a Pulitzer Prize for a book he didn’t write and may never even have bothered reading. But the main reason that people are aware of Obama and his beliefs is because of his life in politics, not because of his non-fiction. So far as I can tell, his belief system hasn’t changed at all since he was a pot-smoking nitwit, seeking friends and mentors among revolutionaries and communists, as he wrote in that book you so admire.)
“The deeper point here is that those who cry racism on this issue actually have a point. Imagine if the president were named Baruch Schwartz, and he had the same credentials — Columbia, Harvard, acclaimed books, twelve years as lecturer in Con Law at the University of Chicago. If someone called President Schwartz a dummy, it would be laughable. But because Obama is black, people can claim that he’s merely the beneficiary of affirmative action, etc. In other words, they are responding to him differently, more negatively, because he is black. And what do we call that?” (Again, I have to repeat that I don’t know anyone who has taken him to task over his intelligence or lack thereof. I hear from a great many conservative readers and in the past two years, I have not had a single one of them question his intelligence in the way you mean. I don’t know where you are running into all these people who give a damn about Obama’s brain power, although I personally find it difficult to regard anyone who parrots left-wing claptrap and pursues a leftist agenda as being truly intelligent. It certainly indicates that he lacks wisdom, horse sense and the ability to recognize that the policies he’s pushing have failed everywhere they’ve been tried. Far from proving he’s intelligent, that sort of behavior suggests he’s insane.)
“The main question here is, what’s the point? Arguing over Obama’s intellect doesn’t make him look bad, it makes us look bad. Could any sane observer doubt that the President has at least 25 IQ points over Goveror Palin? That doesn’t make her a bad politician and him a great one, but it does suggest how pointless and pathetic it is to even raise the issue.” (I don’t pretend to know what either of their IQs happens to be. Moreover, I don’t care. It was annoying enough when because of my own lofty IQ, high school teachers and counselors made my life hellish, constantly nagging me, insisting that I should apply myself more strenuously in classes that bored me to tears. God, how I came to hate the importance they attributed to that damn number! However, I happen to agree with you about raising the issue of Obama’s intelligence, which is why I wonder why you keep raising it. Frankly, I don’t know if Obama is brighter than a 40-watt bulb, but what difference does it make? The bottom line is that he’s a disaster in the Oval Office, and a menace to America.)
“Well, conservatives do raise the issue, and they harp on it. You should see my mail.” (Obviously, it is much different from my mail. But perhaps that is simply because you keep bringing up his alleged brilliance. I never do and, so, I never get that kind of feedback. I am willing to wager that if you ever go an entire week without saying “Obama” and “brilliant” in the same sentence, your mail will soon begin mirroring my own.)
To be continued…
“A Chattanooga Police officer, while running radar at 1410 Workman Road on Sunday night, had his patrol car attacked by a ferocious bulldog. Officer Clayton Holmes said he had stopped to work on a report when he felt his car shaking. He got out to investigate and what he found was a bulldog chewing on his patrol car. The dog chewed two tires and the entire front bumper off of the car.”
…but redistributing income. And these Dem Cong get huffy when someone calls them socialist.
Sen. Max Baucus (D): “Too often, much of late, the last couple three years the mal-distribution of income in America is gone up way too much, the wealthy are getting way, way too wealthy, and the middle income class is left behind. Wages have not kept up with increased income of the highest income in America. This legislation will have the effect of addressing that mal-distribution of income in America.”
Follow the link to see the video.
This other clip suggest Baucus and Baccus are well acquainted.
Every time I write anything about Social Security, I get at least one person arguing that everything is fine because after all, the trust fund is not going to run out until 2036 or so.I want to assume good faith, but I have a hard time believing that anyone takes this argument seriously. Today, because social security payments exceeded revenue, we’re going to either have to raise taxes, or borrow more money, in order to cover the benefits.How would this be different if we didn’t have the trust fund?Entitlements are a problem because they represent a growing demand on tax revenue. You can’t fix this problem by changing the way you account for the transactions, any more than a corporation could fix runaway inventory expenses by charging them off to the IT department instead.
by J.C. Phillips
There was much laughter following the president’s signing of the health care bill. Democrats were positively giddy over having successfully secured America’s decline. There were fist bumps and back slapping; the champagne flowed.
Democrats were not alone in their celebration. Republicans too shook hands with constituents and lapped up attention and praise for, let’s face it, having done very little. But, hey, why let that spoil a good time? My fear is that not only will Republicans not “repeal the bill” should they take control of congress after the mid-term elections, but that in the very near future Republican candidates will also be running on promises to nurture it. Such is my confidence in the current GOP.
Inasmuch as we are toasting the expansion of the administrative state (and thus the demise of our American Republic) we should perhaps also raise our glasses to Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. All these nations are on the verge of economic collapse due to their fiscal promiscuity. They too love their entitlements and are demanding them even as the ship of state sinks. Portugal is currently running a deficit that is 9.3% of GDP with a debt that is 80% of their GDP. Greece has a deficit of 13% and a debt of 113% of GDP. Just for laughs consider that they are appealing to the United States for financial aid. The U.S. currently carries a deficit that is over 12% and debt that is 94% of GDP.
Closer to home we should also raise our flutes in celebration of, or perhaps in memory of, an American icon: the United States Postal Service.
At the same time President Obama was putting his signature on Obamacare, the Postal Service Board of Governors announced its decision to drop Saturday delivery, close some post offices and increase rates for service. Before instituting the changes, the Postal service must first get an official opinion from the postal regulatory commission followed by the approval of Congress. Good luck.
This year the postal service projects a deficit of $7 billion. Without changes that shortfall is expected to increase to $238 billion by 2020.
Postmaster General John E. Potter argues that if the agency were “provided the flexibilities used by businesses in the marketplace to streamline their operations and reduce costs, we would become a more efficient and effective organization.” Word has apparently not trickled down to Potter that the way to save money is to spend goo-gobs of it along with establishing several more layers of federal regulation. As they say in the White House, “You’ve got to spend a trillion to save a billion.” That’s the way they do it in Greece.
How odd. Rather than requesting that the postal service be subject to 100 new government boards and a 3,000 pages of new official directives, and that he be named Postal Czar, Potter demands the freedom to respond to market signals – to run the postal service as a (hide the women and children) profit making enterprise as opposed to a quasi-government enterprise.
This is exactly the opposite of what we have been told as it pertains to healthcare. The left argues that profit is the enemy of reform; that in fact the only way to bring quality healthcare to the most people along with fiscal discipline is through large administrative oversight – that and about 3 trillion dollars.
How is it that the same political considerations that have governed the postal service into billion dollar deficits will elude governance of healthcare? They will not.
I will no doubt be admonished by new liberals: “don’t disturb this groove.” However, clear thinking Americans, which apparently exempts the entire Democratic caucus, understand that the choice was never between Obamacare and doing nothing as was often charged. As Potter articulated in his plea to Congress, it was always a question of the inflexibility and stagnation of government bureaucracy on the one hand and the fluidity and dynamism of the market on the other.
The magic of the present moment may do much to cement Obama’s legacy, but it does little to change this nation’s fiscal reality, to whit: the nation is running huge deficits, has grown the national debt, has unfunded promises it can’t keep and for the first time the majority of this nation’s debt is in foreign hands (alas, not in the hands of Greece, Portugal et al.) Rather than seek market alternatives that would cost nothing, this president and this Congress chose to inflict upon the nation an expensive boondoggle that will, they have explained — in the odd dialect of Congressional-ese and in contradiction of actual historical evidence — actually make us fiscally sound. It will not.
But far be it from me to break up the party.
Democrats dragged themselves over the health-care finish line in part by repeating that voters would like the plan once it passed. Let’s see what they think when they learn their insurance costs will jump right away.
Even before President Obama signed the bill on Tuesday, Caterpillar said it would cost the company at least $100 million more in the first year alone. Medical device maker Medtronic warned that new taxes on its products could force it to lay off a thousand workers. Now Verizon joins the roll of businesses staring at adverse consequences.
In an email titled “President Obama Signs Health Care Legislation” sent to all employees Tuesday night, the telecom giant warned that “we expect that Verizon’s costs will increase in the short term.” While executive vice president for human resources Marc Reed wrote that “it is difficult at this point to gauge the precise impact of this legislation,” and that ObamaCare does reflect some of the company’s policy priorities, the message to workers was clear: Expect changes for the worse to your health benefits as the direct result of this bill, and maybe as soon as this year.
Mr. Reed specifically cited a change in the tax treatment of retiree health benefits. When Congress created the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003, it included a modest tax subsidy to encourage employers to keep drug plans for retirees, rather than dumping them on the government. The Employee Benefit Research Institute says this exclusion—equal to 28% of the cost of a drug plan—will run taxpayers $665 per person next year, while the same Medicare coverage would cost $1,209.
In a $5.4 billion revenue grab, Democrats decided that this $665 fillip should be subject to the ordinary corporate income tax of 35%. Most consulting firms and independent analysts say the higher costs will induce some companies to drop drug coverage, which could affect about five million retirees and 3,500 businesses. Verizon and other large corporations warned about this outcome.
U.S. accounting laws also require businesses to immediately restate their earnings in light of the higher tax burden on their long-term retiree health liabilities. This will have a big effect on their 2010 earnings.
While the drug tax subsidy is for retirees, companies consider their benefit costs as a total package. The new bill might cause some to drop retiree coverage altogether. Others may be bound by labor contracts to retirees, but then they will find other ways to cut costs. This means raising costs or reducing coverage for other employees. So much for Mr. Obama’s claim that if you like your coverage, you can keep it—even at Fortune 500 companies.
In its employee note, Verizon also warned about the 40% tax on high-end health plans, though that won’t take effect until 2018. “Many of the plans that Verizon offers to employees and retirees are projected to have costs above the threshold in the legislation and will be subject to the 40 percent excise tax.” These costs will start to show up soon, and, as we repeatedly argued, the tax is unlikely to drive down costs. The tax burden will simply be spread to all workers—the result of the White House’s too-clever decision to tax insurers, rather than individuals.
A Verizon spokesman said the company is merely addressing employee questions about ObamaCare, not making a political statement. But these and many other changes were enabled by the support of the Business Roundtable that counts Verizon as a member. Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg’s health-reform ideas are 180 degrees from Mr. Obama’s, but Verizon’s shareholders and 900,000 employees and retirees will still pay the price.
Businesses around the country are making the same calculations as Verizon and no doubt sending out similar messages. It’s only a small measure of the destruction that will be churned out by the rewrite of health, tax, labor and welfare laws that is ObamaCare, and only the vanguard of much worse to come.
It perhaps was not the endorsement President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress were looking for.
Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform “a miracle” and a major victory for Obama’s presidency, but couldn’t help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago.
“We consider health reform to have been an important battle and a success of his (Obama’s) government,” Castro wrote in an essay published in state media, adding that it would strengthen the president’s hand against lobbyists and “mercenaries.”
…And he said it was remarkable that the most powerful country on earth took more than two centuries from its founding to approve something as basic as health benefits for all.
Cubans do have universal health care, but almost no one can get antibiotics or other basic medical supplies. Why? Because Cuba spends about $240 per person annually on health care.
But wait, it might get worse.
Cuba provides free health care and education to all its citizens, and heavily subsidizes food, housing, utilities and transportation, policies that have earned it global praise. The government has warned that some of those benefits are no longer sustainable given Cuba’s ever-struggling economy, though it has so far not made major changes.
In recent speeches, Raul Castro has singled out medicine as an area where the government needs to be spending less, but he has not elaborated.
Eventually, it will be BYOB — bring your own bandages.