Much to the surprise (and, one suspects, the chagrin) of the deranged doomsaying wing of the environmental movement, new forecasts of US CO2 emission are out and they point to an even steeper drop than the last set of predictions.
No cap and trade, no huge new taxes on oil, no draconian driver restrictions, no air conditioning bans, no rationing — and the US is on track to cut its CO2 emissions 17 percent below the 2005 levels by 2020 — and to keep cutting our emissions levels beyond that.
And this news doesn’t come from embattled climate skeptics banished to the fringes of the scientific community; these numbers come from the Obama administration and are sitting right up on Don Lashof’s well respected blog at the National Resource Defense Council website. Take a look for yourselves.
So, to summarize, the United States of America basically blew the global greens off completely, trampling all over their carbon tax and cap and trade agendas, and earning wails and shrieks of hatred at the Rio+20 Summit — while making huge strides toward reducing CO2 emission levels.
It’s almost as if there is no connection between the green policy agenda and environmental progress.
It’s a little more complicated than that, of course. As Lashof notes, fuel standards for automobiles play a role; American cars are more efficient than they used to be in part due to government fuel regulations, and policies already adopted to tighten those standards down the road contribute to the anticipated future reductions in CO2. And other regulations and incentives no doubt have a role to play.
(At Via Meadia, we’ve long believed that promoting telecommuting at least part of the time is a way to cut down the costs of highway construction, conserve fuel, reduce traffic congestion and cut CO2 emissions while making it easier for working parents and improving the country’s quality of life. Ideas like that can’t seem to compete in the imagination of many greens with grotesquely expensive, poor designed, and wildly impractical and punitive regulatory schemes. Go figure.)
In any case, the United States of America is living proof that there are more ways to address environmental concerns than the green movement as a whole is willing to (more…)
Let’s say Romney becomes president, but without Congressional majorities sufficient to repeal ObamaCare.
Under the Obama theory of presidential authority, Romney could just announce that he’s ordering all federal agencies not to enforce or implement any aspect of ObamaCare.
That would sure frost the Democrats.
Charles Krauthammer is a shrink. Maybe it takes one to understand how Justice Roberts thinks.
…Why did he do it? Because he carries two identities. Jurisprudentially, he is a constitutional conservative. Institutionally, he is chief justice and sees himself as uniquely entrusted with the custodianship of the Court’s legitimacy, reputation, and stature.
As a conservative, he is as appalled as his conservative colleagues by the administration’s central argument that Obamacare’s individual mandate is a proper exercise of its authority to regulate commerce.
That makes congressional power effectively unlimited. Mr. Jones is not a purchaser of health insurance. Mr. Jones has therefore manifestly not entered into any commerce. Yet Congress tells him he must buy health insurance — on the grounds that it is regulating commerce. If government can do that under the Commerce Clause, what can it not do?
“The Framers . . . gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it,” writes Roberts. Otherwise you “undermine the principle that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerated powers.”
That’s Roberts, philosophical conservative. But he lives in uneasy coexistence with Roberts, custodian of the Court, acutely aware that the judiciary’s arrogation of power has eroded the esteem in which it was once held. Most of this arrogation occurred under the liberal Warren and Burger Courts, most egregiously with Roe v. Wade, which willfully struck down the duly passed abortion laws of 46 states. The result has been four decades of popular protest and resistance to an act of judicial arrogance that, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, “deferred stable settlement of the issue” by the normal electoral/legislative process.
More recently, however, few decisions have occasioned more bitterness and rancor than Bush v. Gore, a 5–4 decision split along ideological lines. It was seen by many (principally, of course, on the left) as a political act disguised as jurisprudence and designed to alter the course of the single most consequential political act of a democracy — the election of a president.
- Upholding the Constitution is a not a popularity contest. Who cares about the stature of the court? This isn’t high school. Liberals and conservatives will always see its rulings differently.
- In Bush v. Gore, the Court ruled 7-2 to overturn the (Democrat controlled) Florida Supreme Court’s decision to order a statewide recount. That effectively ended things. The 5-4 decision was that there wasn’t sufficient time to do a legal recount by the Dec. 12 deadline.
Made on a shoe string, this movie demonstrates that it doesn’t take movie stars or flashy production values to make a good movie. The writer/director went on to make “Take Shelter,” another excellent film.
Even though Obama promised to be a post-racial president, we all knew that to be a lie as soon as he appointed Eric Holder to be his Attorney General. Knowing what I did about Mr. Holder, it was my assumption that the only reason he got the job was because Al Sharpton had already turned it down.
That being said, I was recently taken aback when I saw a video that Obama has produced for his re-election campaign. In it, he launched what he called “African Americans for Obama,” essentially beseeching blacks to keep in mind he shares their pigmentation.
Does anyone doubt that the media would have a field day if his challenger made a video called “Caucasians for Romney,” reminding white voters that he shared the same pigmentation as Washington, Jefferson and, say, war hero Audie Murphy?
Some people believe that George Soros and David Axelrod will employ the Occupy Wall Street hooligans to raise havoc during the campaign, believing, for reasons I can’t fathom, that such antisocial activity would accrue to Obama’s benefit. It would appear that they’ve forgotten that the Yippies, the earlier version of the OWS movement, cost Hubert Humphrey the 1968 election when Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden, and the rest of those self-righteous halfwits, turned Chicago into one big stockyard during the Democratic Convention.
Speaking of those young jerks who feel entitled to convert our city streets into their personal toilet bowls every time that NATO, the International Monetary Fund or successful capitalists, gather, it occurred to me that if they were shot down like rabid dogs, you’d only need to clean up after them once.
Speaking of the great unwashed, on Memorial Day, Obama said he deeply regretted the way that Vietnam vets were treated when they came home. Inasmuch as it was his fan base — at least that portion of his base who are now old enough to collect Social Security — who spit and swore at our soldiers, I found a huge disconnect between his words and his actual beliefs.
It’s no mystery to me why the polls show that if only military veterans were allowed to vote, Obama would do about as well in this election as Alf Landon and Walter Mondale did in theirs. This is, after all, the president who has decided to decimate the defense budget even when his Secretary of Defense said it would make us vulnerable to our enemies. That is obviously of little concern to a man who would rather spend the money buying up the votes of blacks, Hispanics and college students.
It’s possible that many of you are unaware of the fact that over 40 Catholic institutions have filed lawsuits in opposition to ObamaCare. If you missed the news, it’s because the three major TV networks have chosen to ignore what will be a major constitutional court battle, hoping that by circling their wagons they can maintain the charade that it is women’s rights and not religious freedom that is at risk.
During the week that the lawsuits were filed, the combined coverage by ABC, CBS and NBC, amounted to less than 20 seconds of air time.
The administration has tried to frame the question so that it appears that the Catholic Church is crusading against a woman’s right to birth control and abortion, and one can easily see why. After all, if there’s one thing that Americans take very seriously, it’s surely not the Constitution. Instead, it’s sex, in all of its odd and often amusing, sometimes repulsive, forms. As addictions go, booze and heroin aren’t even close.
But the truth is, Obama, whose only god is the one he sees reflected in his bathroom mirror, is attacking the First Amendment. If he can get away with forcing the Church to go against its own basic tenets, it would mean he could do just about anything. And after running our national debt up to $16 trillion; gutting the military; and taking control of the automotive, energy and health care industries, you can easily see where he’d get that idea.
As I have written on other occasions, I don’t understand why in this day and age abortion is even a topic of conversation. As I see it, if people wish to engage in purely recreational sex, that’s their business. The answer, though, is voluntary sterilization by both parties, not the vile practice of aborting millions of human lives every year.
While, as my title suggests, we should all stand with our Catholic friends and neighbors in this attack which threatens every religion, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the Church hierarchy gave their blessing to ObamaCare until the day arrived when the bishops finally spotted the devil in its details.
At the same time, I would question the morality of a Catholic university such as Georgetown that rolled out the red carpet, inviting Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to deliver the commencement address this past May.
For openers, Mrs. Sebelius, while a two-term governor of Kansas, vetoed legislation limiting abortion on four separate occasions. Not so coincidentally, the number one contributor to her political campaigns was none other than Dr. George Tiller, a Lutheran, who was notorious for being one of the very few medical practitioners in America who regularly performed late-term abortions. Eventually, he was gunned down by Scott Roeder in a church, of all places.
Not to excuse Roeder, but his crime consisted of committing just a single cold-blooded murder of a 67-year-old man who’d committed over 60,000 abortions. If I had been his defense attorney, I would have been tempted to argue that my client was guilty of nothing more than performing a very late-term abortion of his own. I’m not sure how long a sentence you get in Kansas for practicing medicine without a license, but I know it’s not life.
Sebelius is such an enthusiastic proponent of abortion that she was finally denied Holy Communion by the Catholic Church. But none of that mattered to Georgetown University. After no doubt looking far and wide for someone who best exemplified their values, they glommed onto a woman with blood on her hands and blood in her eye. If you think I exaggerate, I guess you’ve never seen her stare down a congressional committee and turn its members into pillars of salt. This shrew could moonlight at Disney, serving as a model for one of those ogresses who have menaced everyone from Snow White to the 101 Dalmatians.
As I see it, the biggest problem facing the honchos at Georgetown is trying to top their 2012 commencement ceremony.
This year, Sebelius; next year, Satan?
Frank Partnoy in the Financial Times:
…Watch Novak Djokovic. His advantage over the other professionals at Wimbledon won’t be his agility or stamina or even his sense of humour. Instead, as scientists who study superfast athletes have found, the key to Djokovic’s success will be his ability to wait just a few milliseconds longer than his opponents before hitting the ball. That tiny delay is why most players won’t have a chance against him. Djokovic wins because he can procrastinate – at the speed of light.
During superfast reactions, the best-performing experts in sport, and in life, instinctively know when to pause, if only for a split-second. The same is true over longer periods: some of us are better at understanding when to take a few extra seconds to deliver the punchline of a joke, or when we should wait a full hour before making a judgment about another person.
Part of this skill is gut instinct, and part of it is analytical. We get some of it from trial and error or by watching experts, but we also can learn from observing toddlers and even animals. There is both an art and a science to managing delay.
In 2008, when the financial crisis hit, I wanted to get to the heart of why our leading bankers, regulators and others were so short-sighted and wreaked such havoc on our economy: why were their decisions so wrong, their expectations of the future so catastrophically off the mark? I also wanted to figure out, for selfish reasons, whether my own tendency to procrastinate (the only light fixture in my bedroom closet has been broken for five years) was really such a bad thing.
Here is what I learnt from interviewing more than 100 experts in different fields and working through several hundred recent studies and experiments: given the fast pace of modern life, most of us tend to react too quickly. We don’t, or can’t, take enough time to think about the increasingly complex timing challenges we face. Technology surrounds us, speeding us up. We overreact to its crush every day, both at work and at home.Yet good time managers are comfortable pausing for as long as necessary before they act, even in the face of the most pressing decisions. Some seem to slow down time. For the best decision-makers, as for the best tennis players, time is more flexible than a metronome or atomic clock.
But SCOTUS says it is. Go figure.
A fact known to most people is that when you get a lower tier job in show business, a job that a lot of people covet simply because they seem glamorous from the outside, a job that generally combines the duties of a nanny and an errand boy, the pay is going to be minimum wage even if your boss is making millions.
That’s simply life in Hollywood, and one would assume the same would hold true for people who get to brag that they work in the White House. But much to my chagrin, I saw a list recently of the 20 White House jobs that received the largest raises since 2008. Before the Obamas moved in, four of the jobs paid less than $50,000, while another seven paid between $50,000 and $62,500. Four of the positions paid between $100,000 and $130,500. These days, nobody is making less than $70,000 and half of them are pulling down between $100,000 and $172,200.
The difference isn’t that Obama’s gofers are working harder than the ones in Hollywood, and it certainly can’t be attributed to our booming economy. The difference is that Obama is paying them with our money. Just for the record, the Director of African-American Media is making $78,000-a-year. I’m not sure what the duties entail, but I would imagine that maintaining the White House subscription to Ebony is a priority.
I was listening to Michael Medved’s radio show the other day and I heard about a franchise operation down in Texas, Pizza Patron, that’s offering a free pepperoni pizza to anyone who comes in and places his order in Spanish. Being a supporter of the free enterprise system, I don’t have a problem with the promotion. I even think that restaurants should be able to offer their patrons the option of smoking if they want to, just so long as they let non-smokers know when they make a reservation. However, having said that, if I were down in Texas, I wouldn’t be caught dead ordering a Pizza Patron pizza in any language.
My reason is that nobody should be encouraging people to speak a foreign language outside a foreign language class. My maternal grandparents came from Russia about 20 years before I was born. By the time I was speaking, they still had not learned English. Do I wish I had learned to speak Yiddish or Russian? Not really. Do I wish they had been compelled to learn English? You bet.
America is making it far too easy for Latinos to remain outside the national culture, turning e pluribus unum (out of many, one) on its head. And I don’t want some pizza operation doing its part to promote the insanity.
In case you missed the news, Dr. Shakil Afridi has been sentenced to 33 years in a Pakistani prison for conspiring against the state. He was found guilty of helping the United States track down Osama bin Laden. And, in case you were wondering, yes, we are still sending foreign aid to Pakistan, thus helping to provide Dr. Afridi’s food and lodging until 2045.
Michigan’s former governor, Jennifer Granholm, recently came out four-square against photo IDs for voters. With the logic that left-wingers are so well known for, she said that having to show the same proof of identity that’s required for the purchase of airline tickets, cigarettes and beer, amounts to voter suppression laws. Moreover, she went on, those who support these laws are guilty of nothing less than treason. Wow, treason, no less! The last time I looked, that’s still a capital crime. Even David Axelrod hasn’t called for executing people who think that voting in our elections is a more sacred right than buying a six-pack.
Ms. Granholm, who has apparently memorized portions of the Democratic playbook, insisted that photo IDs are a Republican plot to disenfranchise five million potential voters. She said that most of them are Hispanics, blacks and young people, which, ironically, are the very groups that seem to buy most of the cigarettes and beer in this country.
Because I am not running for office, I will confess that I wish photo IDs really would prevent Granholm’s five million from voting. That’s because those three groups, Hispanics, blacks and young people, gave Obama roughly 67, 95 and 66%, of their respective votes in 2008, and will probably do so again.
But I am still wagering that Obama will lose the election. And no matter that the polls are calling the election a toss-up, I don’t think Obama is getting a lot of sleep these days. After all, in the West Virginia Democratic primary, Keith Judd, a guy doing time in a Texas prison, managed to get 41% of the vote.
As if that wasn’t discouraging enough, in the Arkansas primary, running against a lawyer named John Wolfe, Jr., Obama once again only received 59% of the vote. While it’s true that Mr. Wolfe is not serving a prison sentence and has had earlier experience running for office, he only garnered 34, 33 and 28%, the three times he ran for Congress, and a pathetic 2.8% when he ran for mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Quite obviously, he had far stronger competition on those occasions.
Finally, in the Kentucky primary, where his only opposition on the ballot was “Uncommitted,” Obama squeaked by with 57.9% of the vote. In other words, a switch of just eight percent would have sent Uncommitted to the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, with Kentucky’s delegates in his hip pocket, if only good old Uncommitted had hips or a pocket.
…Unlike even the professionals one encounters here in Tennessee, they emphasize becoming “change agents” and ponder the impact they have on “social justice.” I’ve been guilty of that myself. I’ve convinced myself that my work was vitally important — and the stakes were so very high — as I jetted around the country to speeches, court hearings, and (endless) meetings.
All that changed in the late evening hours of November 22, 2007, in a moment of blinding clarity while sitting in the back of a Chinook helicopter flying over Diyala, Iraq. As I looked past the door gunner to see fires burning in the distance and the arc of tracer fire in the air, I keenly realized that I was, quite simply, nobody.
My helicopter could go down, my Humvee could explode, and General Petraeus wouldn’t call off the surge. Taps would play, the flags in Columbia would fly at half mast, and one more gravestone would join hundreds of others in our church cemetery, but aside from a link to a news story or two and occasional fond remembrances from friends, I would be less than a whisper in the wind of history.
Not to my family, however. For them, my loss would change everything. That’s when I realized a fundamental truth — a truth we’d all do well to remember: We can have (at best) a small amount of influence over a large number of people, but we will only have a large amount of influence over a small number of people…
Chris Matthews likes everything about Barack Obama except everything about Barack Obama.
My thought: Obama says nothing about the issues Matthews lists because he has no idea.
Native German Philip Oltermann in the UK Guardian, tries to explain the German sense of humor.
…On New Year’s Eve 1972, NDR, northern Germany’s regional television channel, screened the sketch at 6pm, and something clicked. In fact, something amazing happened: Germany fell utterly in love with it. People put down their plates of potato salad and left their frankfurters to cool; entire parties huddled around the television set. The following year, each of the regional channels showed Dinner for One at 6pm, and a few showed a repeat four hours later. Since 1963, the sketch has been screened 231 times to German audiences, making it the most repeated show on German television, and, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the most popular show in TV history. In 2004, 15.6 million Germans watched it.[You can watch the sketch referred to below here. The intro is in German, but the rest is English.]
The sketch is called Dinner for One, and it is easily described. The curtain opens on butler James laying a lavish dinner table. The lady of the house, Miss Sophie, wearing an elegant evening dress, descends a flight of stairs, and sits at the head of the table. We soon realise that it is her 90th birthday, and that something is not quite right. “Is everybody here?” Miss Sophie asks. “They’re all here waiting, Miss Sophie, yes,” James says, gesticulating towards the empty seats around the table. “Sir Toby?” Sophie asks. “Sir Toby is sitting here,” James says, patting the back of the chair on Miss Sophie’s right, and continues to assign seats to the imaginary guests named by his mistress: “Admiral von Schneider”, “Mr Pommeroy” and “my very dear friend, Mr Winterbottom”.
The evening continues in this vein. James serves four courses: mulligatawny soup, haddock, chicken and fruit. With each, Miss Sophie requests a different drink: first sherry, then white wine, then champagne, then port. In the absence of any actual people around the table, James impersonates the different guests and toasts the host on their behalf. With each course, James’s walk becomes less stable, his tour around the dining room more haphazard.
Much of the comedy in Dinner for One is slapstick, knockabout stuff: James spills wine, drops food, crashes into furniture and downs the water in the flower vases instead of what’s in the port glasses. But the most memorable comic moment in the sketch is verbal. Before each change of wine, James stops short: “By the way, the same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?” The mistress of the house looks accusingly at her servant: “The same procedure as every year, James.” At the end of the sketch, Miss Sophie decides to retire to her bedroom. James, now completely drunk, offers his arm. For a final time, there is the catchphrase – but this time, the effect is different: “Same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?”
“Same procedure as every year, James.”
“Well, I’ll do my very best.”
As he is dragged offstage, James winks at the audience, baring his gappy teeth for a Cheshire-cat grin.
Originally scripted by the variety playwright Lauri Wylie in the 1920s, Dinner for One, also known as The Ninetieth Birthday, used to be a staple in the music-halls of seaside resorts from Blackpool down to Brighton: a very British kind of pleasure. Very British, that is, until German TV show host Peter Frankenfeld and director Heinz Dunkhase watched the sketch at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens in August 1962. Straight after the show, Frankenfeld convinced the two performers – veteran comic Freddie Frinton and 72-year-old May Warden – to record their act for German TV, even though it took the show almost another 10 years to find an audience there.
On New Year’s Eve 1972, NDR, northern Germany’s regional television channel, screened the sketch at 6pm, and something clicked. In fact, something amazing happened: Germany fell utterly in love with it. People put down their plates of potato salad and left their frankfurters to cool; entire parties huddled around the television set. The following year, each of the regional channels showed Dinner for One at 6pm, and a few showed a repeat four hours later. Since 1963, the sketch has been screened 231 times to German audiences, making it the most repeated show on German television, and, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the most popular show in TV history. In 2004, 15.6 million Germans watched it.
I grew up in the north of Germany and know Dinner for One practically by heart. The first time I watched it I was five – it must have been either the first New Year’s Eve that I was allowed to stay up late, or the first time I actually had the stamina to. Through my teens, the sketch stayed with me and continued to reveal new layers of interest: when puberty stirred, the double entendre of the line “Same procedure as every year” mystified me. “I’ll do my very best.” Best what? He didn’t mean that, did he? They’re so … old. And if so, where? And how? And for how long? The ambiguity drove me insane. Perhaps the fact that Dinner for One dealt in such universal taboo subjects as sex between the elderly accounted for some of its cult status. But then why was the sketch so particularly popular in Germany?
One reason might be that there is so little talking in the film. By wooing the audience for laughs with physical gestures rather than words, the sketch managed to tap into a specifically German distrust of language – the same mindset that had made it the natural home of silent cinema in the 1920s.
Spike Milligan famously said that “the German sense of humour is no laughing matter”, and it will take time to shift that cliche: a poll last year revealed the Germans are still considered the unfunniest nation in the world. Of course, it’s not as simple as that: it’s just that German comedy speaks its own language. Even today, most comedy in Germany is generally more physical and knockabout than in Britain, though this is not to say that it is all as crude and basic as a Benny Hill sketch.
I was reared on a wide range of comic acts: at one end of the spectrum was Otto Waalkes, a modern version of the circus clown, with oversized dungarees, a bald pate, a trademark bunny-hop walk and goofy laughter. At the other end was the late Vicco von Bülow, better known as Loriot: a more subtle act, whose sketches were usually set in the socially awkward realm of the upper middle class, a world of fine dining, book clubs and boardroom meetings. And yet the core of Loriot’s act was essentially physical. One of the most popular Loriot sketches is reminiscent of Dinner for One: a couple are at a table in a restaurant, eating soup; the man noticeably nervous. As he wipes his mouth with his napkin, a noodle gets stuck on his chin. The woman tries to point this out, but the man interrupts her. For the rest of the sketch, the rogue noodle travels from his chin to his finger to his forehead to his earlobe. The comic effect is heightened by the fact that the man is trying to have a serious conversation about their relationship, but the popularity of the sketch is essentially all down to the noodle.
German humour’s reliance on the physical is not just apparent on television, but also in the way Germans act on a day-to-day basis. After or before they have made a joke, many Germans will make a physical gesture to signpost their intention: sometimes just an expressively raised eyebrow, sometimes something more emphatic. Not for nothing are jokes also known as Schenkelklopfer, “thigh-slappers”.
The decorum of English joking couldn’t be more different. When I first moved to London in 1997, and the boys at my school made jokes, there was nothing in their body language to demonstrate it – no funny voice, no grimacing, no slapping of thighs. Particularly in my first year, I was caught out innumerable times by this. There was the vocabulary test that my classmates had warned me about that never happened, the boy who said his father was the prime minister who wasn’t, the teacher who said he had been drafted into the Oxford and Cambridge boat race at the last minute who hadn’t. They had all told blatant lies without raising an eyebrow. Deadpan joke-telling seemed to come from the same mentality as the British art of understatement: the point was that you would by all means avoid making an outward show of what was going on inside your head…
Dislike Obama? Then you’re racist, say leftist talking heads.
If that’s true, then the Democrat party is the most racist because key members are absolutely afraid of being seen with Obama, to the point where they plan to skip the Democrat nominating convention.
Normally politicians angle to get a prime speaking spot at the event.
The top Democrat in charge of getting other Democrats elected to the House is urging his party’s candidates to steer clear of the national convention later this year.
The piece of advice from Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, came during the Reuters Washington Summit Tuesday.
“If they want to win an election, they need to be in their districts,” Israel said of Democratic congressional candidates, according to Reuters.
The comment follows decisions by several vulnerable Democrats to skip this year’s national convention — to be held in early September in Charlotte, N.C.
“A trip to Charlotte may be interesting, but why leave your districts?” Israel reportedly said. He claimed President Obama’s approval ratings had little to do with the guidance — Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., former head of the DCCC, offered similar advice to candidates in 2008.
But Democrats have been ruling out attendance this year at a rather steady clip.
Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is facing a tough re-election fight, was among the latest to decide against attending the once-every-four-years affair.
She joined a growing roster of party figures skittish about showing their faces in Charlotte, which will host what will effectively be the biggest tribute to President Obama since the inauguration.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, as well as West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall, are in that boat. This is the state where a federal inmate won 41 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary against Obama.
Several Pennsylvania lawmakers have also decided not to attend.
…Life in general has never been even close to fair, so the pretense that the government can make it fair is a valuable and inexhaustible asset to politicians who want to expand government.
“Racism” is another term we can expect to hear a lot this election year, especially if the public-opinion polls are going against President Barack Obama.
Former big-time TV journalist Sam Donaldson and current fledgling CNN host Don Lemon have already proclaimed racism to be the reason for criticisms of Obama, and we can expect more and more talking heads to say the same thing as the election campaign goes on. The word “racism” is like ketchup. It can be put on practically anything — and demanding evidence makes you a “racist.”
A more positive term that is likely to be heard a lot, during election years especially, is “compassion.” But what does it mean concretely? More often than not, in practice it means a willingness to spend the taxpayers’ money in ways that will increase the spender’s chances of getting reelected.
If you are skeptical — or, worse yet, critical — of this practice, then you qualify for a different political label: “mean-spirited.” A related political label is “greedy.”
In the political language of today, people who want to keep what they have earned are said to be “greedy,” while those who wish to take their earnings from them and give it to others (who will vote for them in return) show “compassion.”
A political term that had me baffled for a long time was “the hungry.” Since we all get hungry, it was not obvious to me how you single out some particular segment of the population to refer to as “the hungry.”
Eventually, over the years, it dawned on me what the distinction was. People who make no provision to feed themselves, but expect others to provide food for them, are those whom politicians and the media refer to as “the hungry.”
Those who meet this definition may have money for alcohol, drugs, or even various electronic devices. And many of them are overweight. But, if they look to voluntary donations, or money taken from the taxpayers, to provide them with something to eat, then they are “the hungry.”
I can remember a time, long ago, when I was hungry in the old-fashioned sense. I was a young fellow out of work, couldn’t find work, fell behind in my room rent — and, when I finally found a job, I had to walk miles to get there, because I couldn’t afford both subway fare and food.
But this was back in those “earlier and simpler times” we hear about. I was so naïve that I thought it was up to me to go find a job, and to save some money when I did. Even though I knew that Joe DiMaggio was making $100,000 a year — a staggering sum of money at that time — it never occurred to me that it was up to him to see that I got fed.
So, even though I was hungry, I never qualified for the political definition of “the hungry.” Moreover, I never thereafter spent all the money I made, whether that was a little or a lot, because being hungry back then was a lot worse than being one of “the hungry” today.
As a result, I was never of any use to politicians looking for dependents who would vote for them. Nor have I ever had much use for such politicians.
Nothing changes human nature.
The waitresses at Twin Peaks wear skimpy plaid tops that accentuate their chests. In case you didn’t catch the joke, the chain’s logo is an image of two pointy, snow-capped mountains. And the sports bar doesn’t stop there: It promises “scenic views.”
Twin Peaks owner Randy DeWitt downplays all of that and insists that the appeal of the restaurant goes beyond the obvious. Hearty meals and a focus on making customers feel special, he says, are what really keeps them coming back.
“We believe in feeding the ego before feeding the stomach,” he says. Or as the website of the mountain lodge-themed restaurant states, “Twin Peaks is about you, ‘cause you’re the man!”
Twin Peaks is part of a booming niche in the beleaguered restaurant industry known as “breastaurants,” or sports bars that feature scantily clad waitresses. These small chains operate in the tradition of Hooters, which pioneered the concept in the 1980s but has struggled in recent years to stay fresh.
Kevin Williamson skewers Obama for his economic ignorance.
Could somebody please get Barack Obama to shut up about “outsourcing” until some undergraduate aide has explained to him what the word means? As it stands, the president is showing himself an ignorant rube on the subject, and that is to nobody’s advantage.
The Obama campaign, as you probably know, has been running ads denouncing Mitt Romney’s role at Bain Capital, in which Romney made various business deals that had the effect of making a whole lot of money for Bain’s customers while also allowing a lot of dirty foreigners to eat, and God knows the world would be better off if a billion-some Chinese were hungry and desperate, that being an obvious recipe for global stability.
Because the Obama campaign knows that one of its most important constituencies is economically illiterate yokels — a demographic to which the president himself apparently belongs — it is on the airwaves claiming “Romney’s never stood up to China — all he’s ever done is send them our jobs.’’ (Whose?) The Obama campaign cites a Washington Post story on the subject, and the Romney campaign has noted that the folks over at WaPo did not distinguish between outsourcing and offshoring (and, indeed, the story is not a very smart one — do read it and see). Obama responded thus: “Yesterday, his advisers tried to clear this up by telling us that there was a difference between ‘outsourcing’ and ‘offshoring.’ Seriously. You can’t make that up.” And indeed you wouldn’t have to make it up, because it is a real thing: different words with different meanings. (Seriously, can we get this guy a library card?)
“Outsourcing” happens when a firm contracts out its non-core functions to other vendors, e.g., a hotel decides to hire a cleaning service rather than keep maids on the hotel payroll. To take an extreme but illustrative case, consider that the firms that provide car-driving services do not manufacture their own automobiles or stitch their drivers’ uniforms, even though doing so would “create jobs.” They outsource those tasks to GM or Ford and to whomever makes their uniforms. Likewise, their communication systems are outsourced to Apple or Motorola or RIM.
But at least they should “buy American,” right? GM is an “American” company building “American” cars, but it too outsources many of its needs, sometimes to other U.S.-based companies, sometimes to companies overseas. Moving facilities overseas is what “offshoring” means; it is not synonymous with “outsourcing.” GM has decided that it can build cars without manufacturing brake pads or tires, much less manufacturing steel or rubber, and its production partners include facilities, workers, and investors from around the world. (This is, it should go without saying, a good thing. People who talk mistily about the virtues of “global cooperation” rarely recognize it when they see it.) But of course the idea of GM as an “American” company is (more…)
…pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
Tax cheats were given $1.4 billion in government-backed mortgage loans under President Obama’s economic stimulus, and the government doled out at least an additional $27 million in tax credits to delinquents who took the first-time-homebuyer tax break, according to a government audit released Wednesday.
Under government rules, delinquent taxpayers are supposed to be ineligible for the mortgage insurance program unless they have reached a repayment agreement with the Internal Revenue Service. But the Federal Housing Administration didn’t have the right controls to weed out bad applications, said the Government Accountability Office, Congress‘ chief investigative arm.
That meant FHA insured $1.4 billion in mortgages for 6,327 borrowers who collectively owed $77.6 million in unpaid taxes, or an average of more than $12,000 each.
That’s what you get when you beat the Oklahoma City Thunders.
In an LA Times article about Eric Holder:
In the Senate, controlled by Democrats, his biggest champion is Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, who chairs the Judiciary Committee. Leahy has largely ignored Fast and Furious, and prefers instead to bring up issues such as the national crime rate, which has dropped under Holder despite the continuing economic crisis.
“Many expected violent crime to explode,” Leahy said recently. “Normally it would have. But the department has had historic success in keeping our communities safe from crime.”
One, liberals have long believed in “crime creationism,” the idea that poverty causes crime. History proves otherwise, but liberals can’t stop believing.
So much so, they are surprised when crime rates don’t track the economy.
Two, the crime wave Leahy expected would have been at the state and municipal level. The “national crime rate” is an aggregation.
The Attorney General has nothing to do with fighting most crime in the cities.
Art can be tricky. People scoff at Christo and his fabric art projects, but I lived in Miami when he did Surrounded Islands, and it was very cool. I still have a piece of the pink fabric.
However, when the Los Angeles Museum of Art announced that it would pay to haul a 340-ton boulder to a special pedestal and proclaim it a sculpture at the cost of $10 million, derision was in order.
The famously reclusive Michael Heizer [the artist] was on hand for the opening ceremonies and stood at the exit with LACMA director Michael Govan, shaking hands with museum guests and signing tickets.
“It does make the impossible possible,” Govan said to an audience of donors, trustees and government officials. “As Michael [Heizer] said to me once, ‘When do you get to see the bottoms of sculptures?”
Yes, I’ve always felt cheated not seeing the soles of David’s feet. Michelangelo? What a piker.
Some expressed wonder at seeing a large boulder (excuse me, monolith) in the midst of a city. Los Angeles is criss-crossed with mountain ranges. Beautiful boulders are everywhere, although you can’t see their bottoms.
What makes “Levitated Mass” art? Lots of blather.
Tom Wolfe wrote a biting history of modern art — The Painted Word — that argued once art stopped being something the average schmoe could understand, the art critic became essential.
We needed experts to tell us whether something was good and why. In Wolfe’s telling, savvy artists began to study the pet theories of the influential critics and painted works that fit the theory, got themselves discovered and got rich.
Here’s the LA Times art critic:
…The pyramidal stone has been cut across the bottom to fit those heavily ribbed steel shelves. Thick bolts anchor it in place, conforming to essential demands for earthquake safety. Slits at each side of the concrete floor provide drainage for inevitable rains, as do drains hidden beneath the surrounding decomposed-granite field.
Returning to the surface, other details emerge. The long channel is encircled by a lozenge-shaped line of Cor-Ten steel, embedded in the earth and rusting to a velvety brown. Decomposed granite, sloping gently toward the slot, seems like a forecast of the megalith’s slowly decaying future, reaching forward to its destiny thousands of years hence. The surrounding cityscape suddenly appears vain and fragile, the sculpture’s most affecting feature…
Well, he tried. But it sounded like an engineering report.
My advice is to visit the Petrified Forest — walk down past those stupid scenic overlooks– and you’ll be in one of nature’s sculpture gardens. There are eroded stone pedestals topped with jewel-like petrified wood. Gorgeous. You won’t need anyone to explain it.
Or for that matter, there is this stone I photographed two weeks ago at San Simeon Point, California. I was thinking of making up some fancy words about it, as satire. Instead, I’ll let it speak for itself.
With Eric WithHolder as his AG, this isn’t a smart fight to pick.
President Barack Obama’s campaign issued an attack video Friday ripping Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for evading the media’s immigration-related questions.
The video was released even though immigration activists are still seeking answers about the president’s June 15 proclamation in the White House’s Rose Garden, where the president pointedly declined to answer The Daily Caller’s questions about how the policy impacts American workers.
“On Friday, the president announced a change to U.S. immigration policy. Ever since, Mitt Romney has been dodging questions about repealing the order,” said the attack video, released by the “Obama Biden Truth Team.”
The stench of corruption reeks. Kimberly Strassel
Rewind to 2009. The fight over ObamaCare is raging, and a few news outlets report that something looks ethically rotten in the White House. An outside group funded by industry is paying the former firm of senior presidential adviser David Axelrod to run ads in favor of the bill. That firm, AKPD Message and Media, still owes Mr. Axelrod money and employs his son.
The story quickly died, but emails recently released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee ought to resurrect it. The emails suggest the White House was intimately involved both in creating this lobby and hiring Mr. Axelrod’s firm—which is as big an ethical no-no as it gets.
Mr. Axelrod—who left the White House last year—started AKPD in 1985. The firm earned millions helping run Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. Mr. Axelrod moved to the White House in 2009 and agreed to have AKPD buy him out for $2 million. But AKPD chose to pay Mr. Axelrod in annual installments—even as he worked in the West Wing. This agreement somehow passed muster with the Office of Government Ethics, though the situation at the very least should have walled off AKPD from working on White-House priorities.
It didn’t. The White House and industry were working hand-in-glove to pass ObamaCare in 2009, and among the vehicles supplying ad support was an outfit named Healthy Economy Now (HEN). News stories at the time described this as a “coalition” that included the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the American Medical Association, and labor groups—suggesting these entities had started and controlled it…
If a scandalous act happens and the media doesn’t cover it, is it still a scandal?
The left-leaning press should be all over this, no? Evil Big Drug Companies (PhRMA) funnel money to David Axelrod’s old ad firm (which is still paying him for his share) even as they are negotiating with the Obama administration? Hello? Josh Marshall? Arianna? You there? Someone explain to me why this isn’t a scandal. … P.S.: If you can’t rely on the WSJ editorial page to make the most of this because that would require blaming PhRMA, and you can’t rely on the left because it would make Axelrod and Obama look awful right before an election, that leaves …
Uh, Mickey, the article you linked to was from the WSJ editorial pages. But otherwise, point taken.
Lewis Page in the UK Register.
My favorite part is the work done by the elephant seals, seen below playing off the coast of California. These are young males of the northern species.
Twenty-year-old models which have suggested serious ice loss in the eastern Antarctic have been compared with reality for the first time – and found to be wrong, so much so that it now appears that no ice is being lost at all.
“Previous ocean models … have predicted temperatures and melt rates that are too high, suggesting a significant mass loss in this region that is actually not taking place,” says Tore Hattermann of the Norwegian Polar Institute, member of a team which has obtained two years’ worth of direct measurements below the massive Fimbul Ice Shelf in eastern Antarctica – the first ever to be taken.
According to a statement from the American Geophysical Union, announcing the new research:
It turns out that past studies, which were based on computer models without any direct data for comparison or guidance, overestimate the water temperatures and extent of melting beneath the Fimbul Ice Shelf. This has led to the misconception, Hattermann said, that the ice shelf is losing mass at a faster rate than it is gaining mass, leading to an overall loss of mass.
The team’s results show that water temperatures are far lower than computer models predicted …
Hatterman and his colleagues, using 12 tons of hot-water drilling equipment, bored three holes more than 200m deep through the Fimbul Shelf, which spans an area roughly twice the size of New Jersey. The location of each hole was cunningly chosen so that the various pathways by which water moves beneath the ice shelf could be observed, and instruments were lowered down.
The boffins also supplemented their data craftily by harvesting info from a biology project, the Marine Mammal Exploration of the Oceans Pole to Pole (MEOP) effort, which had seen sensor packages attached to elephant seals.
“Nobody was expecting that the MEOP seals from Bouvetoya would swim straight to the Antarctic and stay along the Fimbul Ice Shelf for the entire winter,” Hattermann says. “But this behaviour certainly provided an impressive and unique data set.”
Normally, getting sea temperature readings along the shelf in winter would be dangerous if not impossible due to shifting pack ice – but the seals were perfectly at home among the grinding floes.
Overall, according to the team, their field data shows “steady state mass balance” on the eastern Antarctic coasts – ie, that no ice is being lost from the massive shelves there. The research is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
This is good news indeed, as some had thought that huge amounts of ice were melting from the region, which might mean accelerated rates of sea level rise in future
Maurice Sendak died last month at the age of 83, and I was sad because I’ve loved Where the Wild Things Are since I was a child. Now he’s given me another reason to be sad.
Last October, Sendak was interviewed by Gary Groth of The Comics Journal. And unfortunately, he said this:
SENDAK: Bush was president, I thought, “Be brave. Tie a bomb to your shirt. Insist on going to the White House. And I wanna have a big hug with the vice president, definitely. And his wife, and the president, and his wife, and anybody else that can fit into the love hug.”
GROTH: A group hug.
SENDAK: And then we’ll blow ourselves up, and I’d be a hero. [Groth laughs.] To hell with the kiddie books. He killed Bush. He killed the vice president. Oh my God.
GROTH: I would have been willing to forgo this interview. [Sendak laughs.]
SENDAK: You would have forgotten about it. It would have been a very brave and wonderful thing. But I didn’t do it; I didn’t do it.
Well, that ought to sell a few books posthumously, among a certain segment of his audience.
It’s altogether acceptable to fantasize about blowing up George Bush with a suicide bomb, of course. It’s a wonderful thing to put his head on a pike. Making a movie about his assassination is delightful. And needless to say, throwing your shoe at him makes you a Hero of the Left.
But if you ask Obama a question he doesn’t want to answer, it’s an international incident.
Recently, I wrote a piece in which I pleaded with Mitt Romney to toss away his copy of the Marquis of Queensbury rules and to stop playing defense in his battle with Obama and his gang of dirty tricksters. We saw what happened to John McCain when he tried to remain above the fray and prohibit his supporters from even mentioning Obama’s ties to Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, William Ayers, Valerie Jarrett and Van Jones, and we don’t need a repeat of his patty cake campaign.
I’m not suggesting that Mr. Romney play dirty, but that he constantly keep Harry Truman’s words in mind. In the 1948 presidential race, Truman pretty much ignored his GOP rival, Tom Dewey, and ran, as Obama will try to, against what he called a do-nothing Congress. When people urged Truman to keep giving the Republicans hell, he said he merely tells the truth, and they think it’s hell.
But it’s not just Romney who is reluctant to recognize that all’s fair in love and war, and this election is about as close to existential for America as anything since World War II. If Obama wins, it’s not just that the economy will be forever destroyed, but Israel will be left to the unmerciful mercy of Islam and our own Supreme Court will be skewed so far to the Left that FDR’s attempt to pack the Court will look amateurish.
It’s Republicans in general who insist on bringing a water pistol to a gun fight.
I realize that the Left has a great many more megaphones than we conservatives have, but we still have our blogs; a few people, such as Bret Baier, Steve Hayes, Charles Krauthammer, Bernie Goldberg, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Brit Hume, at Fox. Plus, we pretty much control talk radio, which is why the other side is constantly trying to find ways to get the FCC to nullify the First Amendment when it comes to our freedom of speech.
But why do we stand by while the Left demonizes decent rich people like Frank Vandersloot, the Koch brothers and Mitt Romney? Why aren’t we ridiculing wealthy left-wing hypocrites like Rosie O’Donnell, George Clooney, Jeffrey Immelt, Oprah Winfrey, Jay Rockefeller, Barbara Boxer and Barack Obama? And let us not forget George Soros, the man who’s so easy to demonize because his face, his voice and his personal history, are exactly what I have in mind when I try to visualize Satan.
When those on the Left strong arm sponsors into deserting people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, why aren’t we doing the same to those companies sponsoring the likes of Bill Maher, Chris Matthews, Al Sharpton and the rest of that creepy crew at MSNBC? For one thing, a lot of those lefties are college kids, the unemployed and folks on welfare. Who do you think sponsors are more likely to take seriously, millions of Republican adults with money to spend or the young, grungy hooligans who make up the Occupy Wall Street movement?
For that matter, when union thugs and Team Obama force a recall election on Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, why aren’t we doing the same to California’s Jerry Brown or North Carolina’s Bev Perdue? Governor Brown first told us we had a six billion dollar deficit, but, recently, while demanding a billion dollar tax hike, he has now decided the deficit is twice as large as he had first thought.
Governor Perdue recently said that, thanks to the 61% of North Carolinians who voted to ensure that marriage be limited to one man and one women, not only was she personally embarrassed, but that the entire country was so traumatized that we had begun to confuse North Carolina with Mississippi.
That’s a patent lie. Mississippi, after all, was wise enough to elect a Republican governor, Phil Bryant, whereas North Carolinians decided a few years earlier to elect its first female governor, a bonehead named Perdue, who made it one of her first orders of business to veto a law making it mandatory to show a photo I.D. when voting.
That leads me to wonder if perhaps it’s high time that we stopped using elections as a way in which to conduct social engineering. North Carolinians decided they would feel good about themselves if they elected their first female governor. At about the same time, Americans decided they would feel good about themselves if they elected their first black president.
All I can say is that not since Dr. Frankenstein pulled that unfortunate switch in his cellar have experiments gone this haywire.
Long term damage is being done to American influence.
The hardheaded case for President Obama’s foreign policy rests on twin pillars: He is a tough commander in chief who does not hesitate to slay the nation’s enemies, and he is “pivoting” from the Middle East to East Asia to confront the No. 1 threat to American power—China. There is some truth to both claims, but their essential hollowness has been revealed by a little-noticed defeat the U.S. has just suffered in a place few Americans have ever heard of.
Scarborough Shoal is a minuscule rock formation in the South China Sea that was discovered by an unlucky British East India Company ship, the Scarborough, which grounded there in 1784. This outcropping has been claimed by both China and the Philippines because of the rich fishing beds that surround it and the possibility of drilling for oil.
You would think that the Philippines would have the better claim, having built a lighthouse and planted its flag there in the 1960s. The shoal is only 140 miles west of Luzon, the main Philippine island, well within Manila’s 200-mile “exclusive economic zone” as recognized under international law. It is 750 miles from the Chinese landmass.
Nevertheless, China is trying to assert its sovereignty over nine-tenths of the South China Sea based on tendentious historical “evidence” ranging from purported trips by Chinese explorers 2,000 years ago to a 1947 map issued by China’s Nationalist government and recognized by no other state.
However unconvincing its claims, China is attempting to make good on them by sending fishing vessels and paramilitary patrol boats into disputed waters. In early April, a Philippine navy ship tried to prevent Chinese fishermen from poaching seafood from the area. Two armed boats from the Chinese Marine Surveillance Agency intervened and a standoff ensued.
Over the past two months, China sent more than 20 ships to the shoal, including as many as seven paramilitary vessels. The Philippines’ interests were protected by two Coast Guard cutters. The standoff finally ended, at least for the time being, when the Philippines withdrew its vessels rather than risk losing them in an approaching typhoon.
The U.S. is bound to protect the Philippines under the terms of a 1951 treaty. Yet even as our ally was being bullied by China, the Obama administration adopted a pose of studied neutrality.
Treaties are just legal agreements. Obama only honors those he chooses to honor.
The Obama administration did not orchestrate an international campaign to rally support for the Philippines. And it failed to take the most dramatic step of all by not sending an American destroyer or other warship to Scarborough Shoal. Would doing so have risked war with China?
Hardly. In fact China is the classic bully with a glass jaw. (more…)
One wonders if Obama watches the real versions of this commercial and thinks, “That’s me!”