It’s a rare day when positive news surfaces from the frontlines of Iraq’s post-occupation government–or from its troubled economy. However, a U.S. Iraq inspector general report that concluded this week that $6.6 billion in shrink-wrapped cash the U.S. government previously feared had gone missing in the chaotic early days of the Iraq occupation has in fact been safely accounted for.
“The mystery of $6 billion that seemed to go missing in the early days of the Iraq war has been resolved, according to a new report,” CNN national security producer Charles Keyes reported Wednesday. “New evidence shows most of that money, $6.6 billion, did not go astray in that chaotic period, but ended up where it was supposed to be, under the control of the Iraqi government, according to a report from the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction or SIGIR.”
This is the scariest thought I can conjure for Halloween.
If you need sound EFX, think of the shower scene from Psycho.
We were returning from Central California yesterday and stopped at a light in Santa Maria, an agricultural town about an hour north of Santa Barbara.
There stood an OWS geezer, straight out of central casting: fuzzy white beard, long white ponytail and sandals. He hoisted a sign similar to this, but home made.
About 15 more OWS people were in a park across the street.
The apathy slogan dates to the 1960s. It struck me for the first time how presumptuous it is, assuming that only disinterest separates them from the rest of us, that we’re all in our hearts, anti-capitalist fools.
Not a chance.
I commented to my wife that the loony left never leaves the body politic, but lingers like a virus waiting for its moment.
“Like herpes,” she said.
Exactly. As I looked back at Apathy Man, I thought, “March on, you homely, foolish cold sore.”
There was a big story yesterday, but most of the blogosphere, caught up in shaping the narrative around the Occupy activists, ignored it. Too bad, because it is much more important.
The Census Bureau reported that American mobility — the condition of people moving around this vast and beautiful land of ours in search of new opportunity — has stopped like a car door slamming, and is at its lowest level since World War II. The reason given is that Americans are “locked in place,” confined by houses they cannot sell — or will not sell because they do not want to recognize losses that they have already incurred — and young people are living with their parents.
Any reasonably large employer knows how bad this has become — we are no longer really a national labor market, because so many otherwise excellent recruits cannot afford to relocate because they cannot sell their houses. The new American immobility is not only bad for our restless national spirit, it is terrible for GDP, and it needs to be fixed.
Separately, Mitt Romney drew rare praise from the Wall Street Journal for speaking the truth about housing and foreclosures.
Campaigning last week in Nevada, the epicenter of the housing bust, Mr. Romney was asked by the Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial board what he would do about housing and foreclosures. His reply:
“One is, don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom. Allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up. Let it turn around and come back up. The Obama Administration has slow-walked the foreclosure processes that have long existed, and as a result we still have a foreclosure overhang.”
Romney is right — the country will not really recover until housing transactions start to clear at something akin to a natural price. This is easier said than done for many reasons. Many homeowners heard some number for their house’s value back in 2006 and thought of their equity as savings, and now feel they have to hang on until they recover their paper profits. Others bought at those levels and will lose most or all of their down payment when they sell. Still others could sell if they could reduce the outstanding debt, but it is no longer a simple matter to negotiate with one’s mortgagee.
There is, however, a solution that might increase the velocity in the American housing market, restore the geographic mobility that is arguably our greatest cultural patrimony, and appeal to both Democrats and Republicans.
The Official TigerHawk housing proposal is this: Allow housing losses realized between 2011 and 2015 to be deductible against ordinary income with no limits (or some really high limit) in any tax year through 2021. What about sellers who cannot use the tax deduction (perhaps because it overwhelms their income, or they are part of the 47%)? Allow them to sell those losses, for cash, to individuals, to partnerships of individuals (the pooling of purchasers would create a more efficient market for the losses), and any corporation that hires and relocates the seller…
America’s National Parks are open to everyone. Visit the Grand Canyon or Yosemite and you’ll hear large numbers of people speaking French, Italian, Spanish and German.
But apparently, for whatever reason, black Americans haven’t been coming. And to some that’s a cause for action, for an outreach program.
Their Yosemite Valley tour was nearing its end, and the church ladies and gents from South Los Angeles had heard enough. Almost.
“He’s been telling us stories he thinks we want to hear for two hours,” said Ann Hale, 70, heaving a sigh of frustration from the back of the tram.
In fact, guide William Fontana had been regaling his listeners — most of them white — with stories about John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt, about fur trappers and rock climbers.
“We’re still waiting for at least a few words about Yosemite’s African American Buffalo Soldiers,” Hale grumbled to a fellow passenger.
…Hale said she’d always viewed Yosemite as “a country club for white folks.” Sure, it looked majestic in photographs, she said, “but I never felt that I fit into Yosemite’s design. I never saw people who looked like me.”
What a sour, small-minded complaint.
Look out the window, lady, the park isn’t about people. It’s about nature.
For more than 60 years, the National Park Service has been trying to reach out to African Americans and Latinos. But its 395 parks, monuments, waterways, historic places and recreational areas remain largely the province of white Americans and tourists from around the world.
In an interview, Park Service Director Jon Jarvis reiterated an old lament: Parks must attract a more diverse slice of the American public or eventually risk losing taxpayer support. Yet only about 1% of the nearly 4 million people who visit Yosemite each year are African Americans.
I’m all for outreach, but black people don’t need help getting to NFL or NBA games, do they?
Throughout the day, the group drew friendly smiles, stares and a few glares when they showed up at tourist stops such as Tunnel View, Bridalveil Fall and the Ahwahnee Hotel, where they had lunch after the tram tour.
What crap. I don’t believe people for a second that anyone glared at them. People might have been curious about 50 people in purple tee-shirts, but glaring at them because they’re black?
In the Tea Party, there are wackos. No doubt about it. But they are the exception to the rule. On the other hand, in the case of the Democratic Party, they are the Democratic Party.
Black and Latino politicians like to focus on the large financial gap between their constituencies and white Americans. What they choose to ignore is the humongous gap in education. Although I regard the first four years of liberal arts instruction as an unholy waste of time and money, the way the system is set up, one has to slog through them before going on to become a physician, mathematician, architect, surgeon, lawyer, engineer or CPA. But when most members of the two largest minority groups in America don’t even make it through high school, how on earth can they possibly wind up wealthy unless they are adept at hitting, shooting, running or passing, some type of ball?
It’s not bigotry, as the race hustlers and assorted liberals would have it; it’s reality.
Instead of comparing themselves to rich white people, they should compare themselves to the only minority group that editorial writers and various leftwing sob sisters elect to ignore; namely, Asians. In spite of coming to this country generally speaking a foreign language, they and their children apply themselves and, more often than not, wind up out-earning white Americans by out-learning them.
Roughly 50 years ago, Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty. Several trillions of dollars and countless state and federal feel-good programs later, the poverty level is basically unchanged.
The situation in Africa, in spite of the well-publicized efforts of Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bono and the U.N., is even worse. Considering the cast of characters, a cynic might even say, predictably worse. According to a recent study, in the 1970s, 10% of Africans lived in poverty. Today, the number stands at 70%. God knows Angelina Jolie has done all she can, but she’s only one person and she can’t adopt an entire continent.
The fact is, the War on Poverty, whether in Kenya or Detroit, and just about every other war that the U.S. has waged since 1945 has been an unmitigated disaster.
Am I the only one who finds it odd that although liberals were constantly attacking George W. Bush because he didn’t announce an exit strategy for Iraq, nobody ever demands an exit strategy when it comes to the unending wars on drugs and poverty?
On the other hand, there are a couple of wars that deserve to be waged. Both involve federal expenditures. Although they pale in comparison to the millions of dollars squandered on LightSquared, Solyndra and all those various “green energy” scams pulled off by Al Gore and Obama’s major donors, they are morally reprehensible. For instance, when Eric Holder’s Justice Department holds a conference, money is no object, so long as it’s yours and not theirs. Cookies typically go for $10 each, a cup of coffee runs $8, lunch costs $65 and if anyone feels like a snack, it’s another $32.
I haven’t seen over-runs like these since the last time the Pentagon submitted a budget. It makes you wonder if Michelle Obama is running a catering service out of the White House.
The other financial scandal involves pensions that are paid to 15 former members of Congress who were convicted of felonies including tax evasion, drug possession and racketeering. The list includes 11 Democrats and four Republicans. One of the bums collects $96,575-a-year. All told, these 15 ne’er-do-wells pull down nearly a million dollars annually.
Wouldn’t you think the pension rules would have been changed somewhere along the way, if only to provide Eric Holder with the wherewithal to order more cookies?
Finally, I have decided to make my play for the Pulitzer Prize, which has so far managed to elude me, by breaking the biggest news story of the year. It’s time to reveal the fact that Barack Obama is a Republican plant. In 2008, the RNC realized that after eight years of George Bush, if John McCain was somehow elected, the party was doomed to go the way of the Whigs.
By throwing the election and helping to elect a former community agitator with close ties to unrepentant terrorists, Communists and a racist church, the Republican Party wagered that once he showed his true colors, the voters would come to their collective senses.
But even in their wildest dreams, the GOP never imagined that within two short years, they would pick up Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat and elect a slew of governors and senators in Ohio, Virginia, New Jersey and Florida. When Bob Turner, a Catholic conservative, won the recent election in New York’s predominantly Jewish 9th district, millions of champagne glasses were hoisted all over America toasting their favorite mole, Barack Obama.
It’s ironic that in 2008, unsuspecting Democrats kept insisting that Obama was the Messiah. As things turned out, they were right. Who else, after all, could have raised the Republican Party from the dead?
Obama has barely managed to vote present as president.
He outsourced ObamaCare to that shrieking fool Nancy Pelosi and that mumbler Harry Reid. Likewise his stimulous.
And during the BP oil spill, he couldn’t be bothered to do much at all, ignoring help from the Dutch that could have minimized the damage.
He sat on trade agreements negotiated by Bush for three years before submitting them for ratification.
Yet he wants another four years.
To get another term, he’s decided to run against a “do nothing” Congress, meaning the GOP members. Karl Rove notes:
In Las Vegas on Monday, Mr. Obama called for “funding to rebuild our roads and our bridges and our airports.” At a Los Angeles fund-raiser on Tuesday, the president was more expansive, saying “Let’s get construction workers . . . and let’s put them back on the job rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our hospitals and our schools.”
But he sat that out, too.
The problem with the president’s pitch is that it’s disconnected from reality. Where exactly has Mr. Obama been the last several years? Washington pays for highway and airport construction through multiyear bills—normally six and four years in length, respectively. This makes it possible for states and highway contractors to know how many dollars will be available for the foreseeable future.
The highway bill lapsed shortly after Mr. Obama took office in 2009. That June, his transportation secretary announced with great fanfare that the administration opposed the renewal being introduced the next day by the Democratic chairman of the House Transportation Committee. Fair enough. There can be disagreements about legislation even among political allies.
But the Obama administration then failed to work with the Democratic Congress to reach an accommodation. Though Democrats had big majorities in both houses, the highway bill renewal has languished since then with only eight temporary extensions keeping the program alive.
A piece of work, that Barack Obama.
Such a shame he can’t bring himself to do any.
Toward the end of 2006, comedian Dennis Miller made these interesting comments regarding the upcoming 2008 presidential election:
“Let’s see, maybe it’s time for a Democratic president. Stay with me. Because the next step in the inevitable escalation in this war with radical Islam is going to involve us being appreciably more brutal and ruthless than we have been to date. And I think the left’s cronyism with the mainstream media will provide cover for someone on that side of things to up the ante.”
It was a thought-provoking statement that really caught my attention. Miller of course wasn’t endorsing a Democratic president, as some blog websites speculated at the time. He was making the point that a Democratic president would have an easier time prosecuting the War on Terror because the media would not plague the administration’s actions with the same intense scrutiny they gave to George W. Bush.
It appears that Miller is not only a brilliant political observer, but also a prophet.
By the time Bush left office, his post-9/11 foreign policy initiatives had been completely and utterly excoriated by the media. The mainstream media had invested years into building the narrative that everything Bush had done had only damaged our nation’s image and invited more violence upon our country. That theme resonated with our war-weary nation, and the Democratic candidate who most disassociated himself with those policies won the presidency.
But something interesting happened once that new president took office. Barack Obama, one of the most outspoken critics of everything Bush, continued on with many of those very same Bush policies. Even more interesting was that the media really didn’t seem to mind all that much.
The contrast in reactionary media analysis has been nothing short of remarkable.
Let’s look at some examples:
It’s hard to think about the Iraq War without thinking about Abu Ghraib. After all, the story of prisoner abuse committed by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 had a profound impact on our country’s mission in Iraq. The disturbing images of naked Iraqis forced into humiliating positions by smiling members of our military sparked waves of violence and served as a recruitment tool for the insurgent groups committed to keeping the country in a state of chaos.
The story of Abu Ghraib was featured more than 50 times on the front page of the New York Times. The national news networks followed suit, (more…)
Remember when the Tea Party was in Arizona and that one guy lawfully carried an AR-15 in a sling on his shoulder? Remember how it made the news and how the beltway crowd was really freaking the Hell out? Remember how MSNBC used selective editing to make it look like it was a disheveled white guy when it was really done by a clean cut black guy? And the media went into OMG!!!111 mode?
Funny story. Turns out, theres a bunch of guys at Occupy Phoenix wearing camo, tactical gear and carrying around AR-15s and I haven’t heard a peep about it in the press.
And on the local radio news this morning, it was reported that the folks at Occupy Nashville asked the police for protection because, and I am not making this up, they were camped out near a bunch of homeless people. I guess the 99% swings the other way too?
And NYPD says gun crime is up because of Occupy Wall Street.
He and vice-president Biden went nearly a year without contacting Iraqi prime minister, U.S. Embassy logs reveal
BAGHDAD — Throughout the summer and autumn, as talks on a continued U.S. military presence in Iraq foundered, President Barack Obama and his point man on Iraq, Vice President Joe Biden, remained aloof from the process, not even phoning top Iraqi officials to help reach a deal, according to logs released by the U.S. Embassy here.
The omission is an unusual one, given the high priority that U.S. officials had given to achieving an agreement for some sort of residual U.S. presence in Iraq after the Dec. 31 pullout deadline set in a 2008 pact between the two countries. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other senior Pentagon officials spoke often about the need for an agreement in a pivotal country in a volatile region and insisted talks were continuing up until Friday, when Obama announced that all U.S. troops would be coming home before the end of December.
A listing of direct conversations provided by the embassy — drawn, the embassy said, from the White House website — indicates that Obama had no direct contact with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki between Feb. 13, when he telephoned the prime minister, until Friday, when he called al-Maliki to tell him U.S. troops would be withdrawn by Dec. 31.
Songwriter and musician Paul Leka has died. His LAT obit tells about the song he co-created and hated — a song now sung around the world.
…After spending two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard chart in 1969, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” took on a life of its own as the signature chant at sporting events across the country, including the Chicago White Sox, whose organist started playing the chorus in 1977.
It also caught on at soccer games overseas, where the “goodbye” in the chorus is substituted with “Adios!” in Spain, “Au Revoir!” in France, “Ciao! Ciao!” in Italy and “Sayonara!” in Japan.
The familiar chant also turned up in the 2000 movie “Remember the Titans” and in TV commercials.
“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” was written by Leka, Gary DeCarlo and Dale Frashuer, all of whom had been members of a band from Bridgeport, Conn., called the Chateaus in the early 1960s.
While working at Mercury Records in 1969, Leka persuaded the label to sign his friend DeCarlo, who was then singing solo under the name Garrett Scott.
After Leka recorded four singles with DeCarlo, a Mercury executive felt all four songs were A-side material.
With a new B-side needed quickly for DeCarlo’s first single, they returned to the recording studio.
Historical note for young readers: 45 RPM records typically had one good song on the A side and filler on the B side.
With digital downloads, there are no “sides.” Allthough many songs sound like filler anyway.
A studio visit by their friend Frashuer led them to resurrect a song they had written in 1961, “Kiss Him Goodbye.”
“I thought it would be the perfect B-side, which used to be the throwaway songs you’d find on the back of every hit record,” Leka said in a 2005 interview with the Arizona Republic. “But you had to make the B-sides long, and that way, the deejay is never going to play it.”
As he told Fred Bronson in “The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits”: “I said we should put a chorus to it [to make it longer]. I started writing while I was sitting at the piano, going ‘na na na na, na na na na … .’ Everything was ‘na na’ when you didn’t have a lyric.” Someone else, Bronson wrote, added “hey hey hey.”
They began recording the song in the early evening “without a full complement of musicians,” Bronson wrote. Leka, who played keyboard, spliced in a drum track from one of DeCarlo’s previously recorded songs.
When the Mercury executive heard “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” he said it sounded too good for a B-side and should be released as a separate single.
Leka told Bronson that it was an “embarrassing record” and an “insult,” compared to DeCarlo’s four other songs.
So he, DeCarlo and Frashuer agreed that “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” should be released by the Mercury subsidiary Fontana under the name of a fictitious band, one that became a one-hit wonder: Steam.
A vaccine that protects against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus should be routinely given to boys ages 11 and 12 to prevent anal cancer, a government advisory committee has decided.
Though many parents may not wish to contemplate the future sex lives of their pre-adolescent children, vaccinating them young is the best way to avoid the risk of the cancer-causing virus, experts said Tuesday.
Government Nanny wants to overrule Mommy and Daddy.
…several studies have shown that the human papillomavirus is responsible for many cases of anal cancer in addition to cervical cancer and genital warts, and that the vaccine can curb this risk, warranting a shift to stronger recommendations, the panel members said. The vaccination of boys also will help protect unvaccinated females, the panel added.
Is anal cancer a big killer? There are 5,000 cases a year and 700 deaths.
Is everyone equally susceptible? No, it’s mainly a gay thing. So why not inoculate the bare back riders and leave everyone else alone?
…some health experts proposed recommending HPV vaccination only to gay or bisexual men.
But, as with girls, the vaccine would be most effective if delivered before initiation of sexual activity — and trying to target the vaccine based on sexual orientation for school-age males would be a practical and ethical morass, health experts have noted.
As opposed to subjecting 97% of the boys in that age group to an unnecessary intrusion. Which costs $300.
“A routine vaccination recommendation de-stigmatizes the vaccine and makes it likely that those people who would benefit the most will also get the vaccine,” Palefsky said.
An unidentified 21-year-old man allegedly made a $100 bet with his friends that he could fit in a child’s swing at Blue Rock Springs Park, police said.
After lubing himself with liquid laundry detergent, he shimmied into the swing and its two leg holes at about 9 p.m. Friday, said Mark Libby, spokesman for the Vallejo Fire Department
He promptly became stuck, and further swelling and circulation issues made it impossible for him to get out on his own, said Vallejo police Sgt. Jeff Bassett.
And then his friends left him.
It wasn’t until a groundskeeper heard him screaming for help at about 6 a.m. the next morning — nine hours later — that authorities came to free him.
But to add insult to injury, Vallejo firefighters decided the best tactic to go about freeing him was to cut the chains and then transport him to the nearest hospital still in the swing.
So the 21-year-old man who spent the night rocking in a child’s swing arrived at Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center, still wrapped in the diaper-like seat.
Firefighters used a cast cutter to finally get the makeshift diaper off of him.
The man sustained non-life threatening injuries to his body, but there’s no word yet on the condition of his ego.
Did they give him the $100?
By this time, we’re all aware that union thugs, including nurses and school teachers, not only went AWOL from their jobs, but caused over seven million dollars in damage to Wisconsin’s state capitol when they stormed Madison and tried to bully Governor Walker and the state legislators into capitulating to their outlandish demands. What you may not have heard about is that hundreds of goons from the Longshoreman’s Union descended on the Port of Longview (Washington), broke down gates, smashed windows, overpowered security guards, damaged railroad cars, cut brake lines and dumped carloads of grain, in a jurisdictional dispute with a different union.
Speaking of union thugs, Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa welcomed Chairman Obama to a Labor Day celebration by calling on his members to take out Tea Party members. I don’t believe he was suggesting an evening of dinner and slow dancing.
It all leads me to pose the following question: What is the difference between the folks who do the bidding of union bosses and Hitler’s Brown Shirts? Answer: The Nazis had a better dress code.
Watching Barack Obama demand that Congress pass his Jobs Act, a half trillion dollar bill that hasn’t been written and calls for funding with money that doesn’t exist, is a classic case of déjà vu. One can’t help being reminded of ObamaCare, which, as Nancy Pelosi coyly pointed out at the time, required passage as a precursor to our knowing what it said.
It’s obvious that Obama realizes that no Republican is going to agree to raise taxes to finance this latest bit of legislative lunacy. He tosses it out for no other reason than as a way to blame Congress for record unemployment and a disastrous economy as he campaigns for re-election.
Clearly, someone, David Axelrod perhaps, remembered that Harry Truman successfully used Congress as a scapegoat when he won the 1948 election. There are a few important differences, however. One, the opposition party controlled both houses in 1948. In Obama’s case, his own party controlled both houses from 2006-2010 and still controls the Senate.
For another thing, Truman was running against Tom Dewey, who had not only been walloped badly by a nearly comatose FDR in 1944, but had been famously mocked by Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Teddy Roosevelt’s socialite daughter, as bearing a striking resemblance to the little man who stands atop wedding cakes. Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney, on the other hand, are not only more photogenic than Obama, but are far less arrogant, annoying and narcissistic.
Finally, Harry Truman had been the man who green-lighted the dropping of A-Bombs on Japan, bringing World War II to an abrupt and joyous conclusion.
Although Obama will try to cast himself as the guy who single-handedly brought down Osama bin Laden, most people will recall how he hogged the credit, making it sound during his victory lap as if he and not the Navy Seals had carried off the mission.
Aside from those parasites feeding off the public trough, the majority of American voters will see him as the nincompoop they associate with the trillion dollar stimulus; ObamaCare; Cash for Clunkers; a fixation on “green” jobs; appointing leftwing dingbats like Kagan and Sottomayor to the Supreme Court; making the racist gun runner Eric Holder head of the Justice Department; kowtowing to Islamics while kicking Israel in the teeth; ignoring the counsel of his military advisors, instead using our young warriors as political pawns; and, lest we forget, lecturing Republicans on civility while turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to his political henchmen when they refer to conservatives as bigots, fascists, hostage-taking terrorists and, most recently, as sons of bitches.
About the only good thing that Obama can take credit for is that he has led millions of people to re-read their Bibles. It’s not that they’re seeking confirmation that he is in fact the Second Coming of the Messiah, a role in which he cast himself in 2008, when he spoke of himself as The One who would see to it that the oceans would recede and the planet would heal and America would, all thanks to him, be radically transformed.
Rather, the faithful are going back to the Good Book in order to better compare biblical plagues to those wrought by Barack Obama.
Nick Searcy, for those who don’t recognize him, plays Timothy Olyphant’s boss on the terrific show, Justified.
Anyone who watched the ABSCAM videos knew that John Murtha was dirty. Now that he’s dead, it’s all coming out.
Last week’s release of FBI documents finally put in writing what nobody had ever said on the record: The FBI suspected that former Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and lobbyists close to him were running a scheme to funnel earmarks to sham companies and nonprofits to benefit the lawmaker’s friends and former staffers.
Bits and pieces of this story were kicked around for years before Murtha died in February 2010. The Los Angeles Times, Roll Call, the Washington Post and others had documented the odd appearance of earmarks for tiny defense contractors that just happened to open an office in western Pennsylvania and just happened to hire one of the lobbying firms close to Murtha and just happened to begin making campaign donations to Murtha and other Members of Congress close to him.
That’s pronounced me shell, by the way.
National Public Radio’s Michele Norris, who co-hosts All Things Considered, is stepping down “temporarily” from her post as her husband works to re-elect President Barack Obama.
Norris’ husband, Broderick Johnson, worked for Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign, and for Obama’s 2008 White House bid. Norris did not step down in 2008, but did recuse herself from political coverage in 2004.
Johnson will be a “senior adviser” for the Obama 2012 campaign, according to an internal message Norris sent her colleagues.
A letter to the LA Times:
Why have anonymous, targeted killings from thousands of feet from our planes and drones become accepted practice, no questions asked, but the up-close and personal killings of Osama bin Laden and Kadafi are met with criticism?
John C. Nelson
Good point. Also:
- Why wasn’t Hillary’s gleeful celebration of Kadafi’s death not considered bad taste?
- Why is killing by drone less offensive than waterboarding?
…the kind that doesn’t act imperial at all.
…Critics of U.S. foreign policy have long caterwauled about American “empire.” The term is used as an epithet by both the isolationist left and right, as a more coldly descriptive term by such mainstream thinkers as Niall Ferguson and Lawrence Kaplan, and with celebratory enthusiasm by some foreign policy neoconservatives like Max Boot.
The charge in recent times has centered on the Middle East, specifically Iraq.
The problem is, contemporary America isn’t an empire, at least not in any conventional or traditional sense.
Your typical empire invades countries to seize their resources, impose political control and levy taxes. That was true of every empire from the ancient Romans to the Brits and the Soviets.
That was never the case with Iraq. For all the blood-for-oil nonsense, if America wanted Iraq’s oil it could have saved a lot of blood and simply bought it. Saddam Hussein would have been happy to cut a deal if we only lifted our sanctions. Indeed, the U.S. oil industry never lobbied for an invasion, but it did lobby for an end to sanctions. We never levied taxes in Iraq either. Indeed, we’re left holding the tab for the liberation.
Trouble is, USA’s critics don’t care about facts. Which is why it’s pointless to try to appease them.
Created by Masato Takahashi, a researcher at Keio University, who crafted them from molds of his own arms. He believes that they can be used at concerts to enhance the sound of real clapping or as clapping avatars which allow online viewers to applaud via robots installed onsite at the performance. He’s even said they would make good “spanking machines”.
You think they’re creepy now? Wait ten years, when arenas all over the world are filled with them as our machine overlords stage one-sided death matches between human slaves and indestructible killer robots. Their perfect clapping will be the last sound we hear.
L. Gordon Crovitz writes about Google exec Eric Schmidt’s moment of candor.
“So we get hauled in front of the Congress for developing a product that’s free, that serves a billion people. OK? I mean, I don’t know how to say it any clearer,” Mr. Schmidt told the Post. “It’s not like we raised prices. We could lower prices from free to . . . lower than free? You see what I’m saying?”
An absence of consumer harm didn’t stop senators from offering some improbable recommendations. Among them: that Google replace its algorithm with a panel of experts to ensure “fair” search results. As Google tries to improve the relevancy of its search results for consumers, some sites inevitably come up higher and some lower in the results. The losers now lobby Washington.
“Regulation prohibits real innovation, because the regulation essentially defines a path to follow,” Mr. Schmidt said. This “by definition has a bias to the current outcome, because it’s a path for the current outcome.”
Then there’s Grove’s Law:
Mr. Schmidt recounted a dinner in 1995 featuring a talk by Andy Grove, a founder of Intel: “He says, ‘This is easy to understand. High tech runs three times faster than normal businesses. And the government runs three times slower than normal businesses. So we have a nine-times gap.’ All of my experiences are consistent with Andy Grove’s observation.”
Mr. Schmidt explained there was only one way to deal with this nine-times gap, which this column hereby christens “Grove’s Law of Government.” That is “to make sure that the government does not get in the way and slow things down.”
Jim Newton in the LA Times.
What’s a rebel to do? In New York, demonstrators have tussled with police, and in Rome, authorities used tear gas on them. Meanwhile, members of Occupy L.A. pitched their tents, erected their signs and girded for battle with the establishment, only to discover that City Hall has no interest in fighting back.
On what were once the lawns of City Hall sits a squatters community. There are the requisite signs and banners celebrating Che Guevara; condemning police abuse, banks and the corporate media; and demanding that the rich be taxed, the poor educated and the environment protected. Most of the protesters seem to be having a good time, and the encampment is thick with earnestness, though a few of the residents wear bandannas over their faces to show how dangerous they are.
That’s because LA pols are as whacked as the clowns on the lawn.
…then there was Councilman Ed Reyes. More than a year ago, he wrote a resolution calling for an economic boycott of Arizona, which members approved to express their disapproval of that state’s mean-spirited and ill-considered attempt to create its own immigration policy. Last week, Reyes asked the council to exempt itself from it. Why? He and other members wanted to attend a convention of the National League of Cities in Phoenix, and Reyes argued that an exception should be made to the boycott because Phoenix officials opposed the immigration bill. Phoenix, for the record, is in Arizona.
How to help the Phoenix economy without helping Arizona’s was apparently beyond the scope of Reyes’ reasoning. No matter. After first proposing that the council waive its boycott and go to Phoenix, he then withdrew the idea, to the relief of his colleagues. Some might be confused, he conceded. Why would anyone be confused by a councilman advocating a boycott and then moving to violate it? There, Reyes found solidarity with his friends camped outside. He blamed the media.
Andy Kessler ventured out to the OccupySF gathering and reported this nugget:
I spoke to a young woman who had clearly bathed more recently than most. I asked her why she was at OccupySF. She told me she’d done all the right things. Studied hard. Graduated college. (She was an art major.) And now she can’t get a job. It didn’t matter. It’s all messed up. She was lied to.
Of course she was. She’s a member of the Trophy Generation. Win or lose, you get a trophy. We embraced mediocrity to an entire generation of kids during good times who are now finding themselves mediocre in bad times. There still is that American dream: Go to college, get a job, buy a Prius. But like it or not, studying art or humanities or gender studies won’t get you there. Marissa Mayer at Google complains she can’t find enough computer-science majors. Civil engineers are getting hired sight unseen.
The self esteem movement that began in California muddled plenty of middling minds, especially among educrats.
I gritted my teeth through three middle school graduation ceremonies — they were actually called that — as my children advanced.
Apparently, the educrats forgot that having “an eighth grade education” used to mean you were uneducated.
This recalls a conversation from The Incredibles:
Helen: I can’t believe you don’t want to go to your own son’s graduation.
Bob: It’s not a graduation. He is moving from the 4th grade to the 5th grade.
Helen: It’s a ceremony!
Bob: It’s psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone is genuinely exceptional…
Indeed, if someone is truly exceptional and becomes wildly successful, employs thousands of people, generates wealth for many and more for himself, he’s not to be celebrated by scorned for his corporate greed.
A lot of good men and women gave their time, devotion and lives to the war in Iraq. Too bad Obama didn’t care enough to preserve the victory.
Tim Arango and Michael S. Schmidt in the New York Times.
BAGHDAD — President Obama’s announcement on Friday that all American troops would leave Iraq by the end of the year was an occasion for celebration for many, but some top American military officials were dismayed by the announcement, seeing it as the president’s putting the best face on a breakdown in tortured negotiations with the Iraqis.
And for the negotiators who labored all year to avoid that outcome, it represented the triumph of politics over the reality of Iraq’s fragile security’s requiring some troops to stay, a fact everyone had assumed would prevail. But officials also held out hope that after the withdrawal, the two countries could restart negotiations more productively, as two sovereign nations.
This year, American military officials had said they wanted a “residual” force of as many as tens of thousands of American troops to remain in Iraq past 2011 as an insurance policy against any violence. Those numbers were scaled back, but the expectation was that at least about 3,000 to 5,000 American troops would remain.
At the end of the Bush administration, when the Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA, was negotiated, setting 2011 as the end of the United States’ military role, officials had said the deadline (more…)
Because Obama cannot run for reelection on economic matters, and since killing Osama bin Laden and Gaddafi aren’t enough to distract people from day-to-day woes, what’s left?
Only one thing: Wage class warfare. Turn Americans against each other based on envy. Divide Americans into two camps: the “greedy” rich who don’t contribute their “fair share” on one side … and all the downtrodden, decent people struggling for a better life on the other.
Pitting Americans against each other simply for personal political gain would be bad enough. But for a president who rode into office on a magic carpet of lofty promises about hopes and dreams to make America a better, post-partisan place, this is truly despicable.
Nothing – absolutely nothing – is the same as race in America, but something like this politics of division has been tried before. Racist politicians in the Old South divided Americans based on the color of their skin – and they did it for just one reason: to win elections. They didn’t care about the harm they were doing. They cared only about themselves.
Turning Americans against each other by (over and over and over again) telling the middle-class (where the majority of the votes just happen to reside) – that Republicans are the Marie Antoinette Party that cares only about “millionaires and billionaires” and doesn’t give a damn about everybody else, isn’t as bad as promising to “keep those n—–s in their place” … but it’s still pretty bad.
And just as it worked (until it didn’t) in the Old South, the politics of envy may work again. According to a Time magazine poll, 79 percent of Americans familiar with the Occupy Wall Street protest believe “the gap between the rich and the poor in the U.S. is too large” and 68 percent believe “the rich should pay more in taxes.”
Never mind that the poor aren’t poor because the rich are rich. In fact, if we had fewer rich people we’d probably have more poor people, since rich people are the ones who invest their money in companies that produce jobs. And even if the rich paid 100 percent of their income in taxes it would barely put a dent in the national debt and wouldn’t create a single job. Barack Obama surely knows this. But he also thinks he knows – or at least hopes – that the American people are envious enough, and dumb enough, to buy into his class warfare strategy.
President Obama is smooth and can be convincing. He was once. And he may be again. After all, there are a lot of envious, dumb Americans out there who don’t have a clue as to how the economy works but they’re sure of one thing: they hate rich people. And not all of them are Occupying Wall Street.
When Big Baloney — the Washington Post, no less — seeks to besmirch your character, you know they’re (Democrat party) afraid.
Rubio is young, articulate, conservative and Latino (though Cuban Americans typically do not self identify that way.) So the WaPo decided to take him down a peg.
The Washington Post has taken a beating for publishing a report claiming that Florida senator Marco Rubio “embellished” the story of how his parents left Cuba. The story is ridiculously hyped and based on the false premise that Rubio’s parents don’t count as “exiles” because they first came to the United States in 1956, prior to Castro’s 1959 takeover. They tried to return in 1961 but could not stay because it was “clear that Cuba was headed full speed toward Communism,” as Rubio’s office told the Post. ”[I]f my grandparents left Germany in 1930 or 1931 and wanted to go back but couldn’t in ‘33. Wouldn’t they be exiles?” Jonah Goldberg writes on Twitter.
The Post was much easier on Barack Obama when a biography by reporter Janny Scott revealed that Obama falsely claimed his mother’s insurer tried to deny health care coverage because of a “pre-existing condition.”
The 1,610-word Rubio story was on the front page, and the headline clearly implies Rubio is guilty of wrongdoing: “Marco Rubio’s compelling family story embellishes facts, documents show.” The Post’s 486-word report on Obama’s mother’s health insurance was on page A-06 on July 15, with the headline: ”Obama’s mother had health insurance, according to biography.”
Why is it news that Obama’s mom had health insurance? Oh, right: To help win a presidential election and pass his health care overhaul, Obama claimed that his mother’s insurer tried to not pay for her cancer treatments by claiming her cancer was a “pre-existing condition.” In fact, her insurer covered all medical treatments but denied her coverage for a “disability insurance policy” because that policy was picked up after she was diagnosed with cancer. (But no need to indicate in the headline that Obama fibbed.)
The Post paraphrased Obama’s inaccurate tale but failed to provide a single quotation from Barack Obama actually saying his mother’s insurer tried to deny coverage of her “medical bills.” At the top of his July 11 Washington Examiner column, Byron York cited three instances in which Obama specifically claimed his mother’s insurer tried to deny coverage of her “medical bills.”
As York pointed out, the biography revealed that Barack Obama served as his mother’s attorney when dealing with her insurer. That detail–which the Post didn’t include in its report–shows that Obama clearly knew the story he told was embellished for political gain. There is no indication that Rubio has embellished his parents’ story.
So which of these stories deserved to be on the front page of the Washington Post?
Anarchy breaks out amongst the anarchists, and a new power structure emerges. Hilarious.
All occupiers are equal — but some occupiers are more equal than others. In wind-whipped Zuccotti Park, new divisions and hierarchies are threatening to upend Occupy Wall Street and its leaderless collective.
As the protest has grown, some of the occupiers have spontaneously taken charge on projects large and small. But many of the people in Zuccotti Park aren’t taking direction well, leading to a tense Thursday of political disagreements, the occasional shouting match, and at least one fistfight.
It began, as it so often does, with a drum circle. The ten-hour groove marathons weren’t sitting well with the neighborhood’s community board, the ironically situated High School of Economics and Finance that sits on the corner of Zuccotti Park, or many of the sleep-deprived protesters.
“[The high school] couldn’t teach,” explained Josh Nelson, a 27-year-old occupier from Nebraska. “And we’ve had issues with the drummers too. They drum incessantly all day, and really loud.” Facilitators spearheaded a General Assembly proposal to limit the drumming to two hours a day. “The drumming is a major issue which has the potential to get us kicked out,” said Lauren Digion, a leader on the sanitation working group.
But the drums were fun. They brought in publicity and money. Many non-facilitators were infuriated by the decision and claimed that it had been forced through the General Assembly.
“They’re imposing a structure on the natural flow of music,” said Seth Harper, an (more…)
From 1979. Phil Donohue was once a big time TV presence.
Ronald A. Wirtz writes in the fedGgzette in 2008.
In the debate over the direction of middle class lifestyles, there is a scene oddly similar to one in the “Wizard of Oz”: Pay no attention to all those things going on behind the garage door.
Money doesn’t buy happiness, as the cliché tells us. In the vein of this research on middle class progress, rising income is not the be-all and end-all for a contented life. But rising income is the gatekeeper to a higher standard of living that most people seek—indeed, have come to expect—over the generations and the course of their lifetime.
No matter how you crunch the data, there are examples of lackluster income growth for some kinds of households and in certain locations—stagnation that can’t be calculated away. And many are getting the double whammy today with the onset of much higher expenses for necessities such as gasoline and food, provoking complaints that the middle class standard of living is going in the tank.
But a long-term generational assessment of middle class progress has to look at the majority of the population over time, because there are always exceptions to long-term trends, and periods of slow growth tend to be balanced by periods of rapid growth. Throughout U.S. history, the middle class has had to persevere through periods of economic stress, and today is no different.
So in the big picture, is the middle class better off today than the previous generation? Given the many caveats to income and wage growth trends since 1979 (see cover article), it helps to take a look at how people actually live for additional clues. A look at the middle class through the lens of consumption shows that it enjoys considerably more creature comforts than previous generations…